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Money Carnivals

Here are the carnivals where Richly Reasonable was featured this week.  Read them; ALL of them.

Festival of Frugality – The GREAT Coupon Experiment – Week 5


Carnival of Personal Finance – In the Credit Card Details


Article publié pour la première fois le 06/07/2010

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Don’t Break a Sweat or the Bank: Save AC Dollars!

It’s another scorcher out there today folks!  This summer has been a killer all across the country, and where is it hurting me the most?  My wallet!  This month’s power bill was more than double that of last month’s, and that was me trying to be judicious about when to use the AC.  It has sent me searching for other ways to stay cool on the cheap, some of them are a little silly I realize, but they really do work!  I present free and nearly free solutions for the heat…

Before you take a shower put your underwear in the freezer or for more extreme heat soak clean underwear in water, wring, and then freeze underwear.  After your shower, slip into something more comfortable.

Use your pulse points.  Press something cold, like a soda can into places on your body where blood flows close to the surface of the skin like the crook of the elbow, inner wrists, or temples.  It cools down the passing blood that then flows throughout the rest of the body.

Try an arctic wind.  Place a bowl with a block of ice in it behind a floor fan.  Now, sit directly in front of the fan.  This pulls air over the ice making it chilly and then propels it at you.

Remember—fans don’t cool the air. Turn off a fan if you are not in front of it—it doesn’t actually cool the air, but only gives a cooling sensation for you.

Avoid the heat.  Use blackout curtains or blankets to cover windows during the day.  And don’t use stove, oven, dryer, blow dryer, or get the hot water heater going during the day.  If you must use them, do so at night.

Open the window and have a fan blowing out through it, sucking the heat out of your house.  FYI:  Not a good tip in extremely hot climates.

Make sure your AC vents are not closed or covered by furniture; you need that sweet cool air more that the back of the couch does.

Take a clean sock, soak in water, wring it out, and freeze.  Later, wrap frozen sock around the back of your neck and Aaaaaaah!  If you want a cold one available at all times rotate with the mate.

Remember your second grade Science—evaporating water creates a cooling effect.  Mist yourself often with a spray bottle of water.  It’s easy and portable, a 4 oz travel size fits in your pocket.

Wear natural, breathable clothing like linen or cotton in light colors and never wear hats, shoes or socks indoors.  Let that body heat escape!

Light = Heat, so keep any unnecessary lights off.

How low can you go?  If you live in a multi-level home head to the ground floor or, even better, a basement to wait out the afternoon.  That is the spot to find the coolest air.

Lower your inner thermostat by eating or drinking something very cold.  A pint of Rocky Road is a lot cheaper than cranking up the AC all afternoon.

If your home becomes unbearable in the heat of the day, enjoy some free public air conditioning in the fish sticks isle at the supermarket or the nearest library, mall, or café.

I want to hear your ideas for keeping cool.  What tricks help you survive the summer sun?

Article publié pour la première fois le 13/08/2012

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How To Save Money On Your Taxes

As a former accountant I can tell you the reason accountants become anti-social: they get yelled at ALOT .  Just as the employee at airline counter cannot control the weather, accountants cannot control tax law, the weather or, for the most part, the amount of time it takes to complete your taxes.

I remember my first beat-down.  I might have told the gentleman how he could save money the next year (like I’m about to tell you), but I was too busy crying under my desk.

For starters, you should know that most firms charge by the hour.  Depending on the firm, even small tasks like phone calls are billable.

They also operate on a first come, first serve basis.  So, if you bring your information in the day before April 15th, they’ll probably just do an extention for ya.

 

Here’s how you’re gonna save this year:

1. Look at your last year’s tax return to see what documents you brought last year.  If you can’t find it, or understand it, just call your firm and ask them what you need to bring.

I know you think you’ve got it covered, but you are going to forget something.  A phone call is a heck of a lot cheaper than the time it takes your accountant to sort through your documents, determine what you are missing and call you back.  That’s all billable time.

2. Make 2 copies of everything (make sure you have every page), then bring the orignals and one of the copies.  A. It’s cheaper than paying some frazzled, exhausted worker who may take a while (especially if you have a bunch of statements).  B. If an anti-social accountant calls you and accuses you of forgetting your 1099-Whatever, then you can rub it in their face.

Don’t forget to bring the originals.  Accountants can be anal-retentive and illogical.  Just appease them.

 

3. Put everything in some sort of order (maybe even highlight statement headers).  Accountants are not robots and it can be mind-numbing to go through a billion forms that all look alike – shockingly, you are not their only client.  When you take out room for errors you are likely to save yourself some cash.

 

4. When your accountant calls take GOOD notes and ask questions.  If you bring in the wrong document or you forget your checkbook you’ve made a trip for nothing.

How are you going to save on your taxes this year?

Article publié pour la première fois le 02/04/2014

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Toy OVERLOAD – Everyone’s Guilty

When I was 5, I begged my parents for a Go-go My Walking Pup.  I only used the darn thing once, but was absolutely devastated when my mom sold it in a garage sale.  It still hurts to talk about.

Toy

Kids love toys; and nowadays they have a lot of them.  Kids also love candy, but nobody’s giving Junior a King Pack of Snickers Bars and telling him to go wild.  Why does it seem like there are more toys than ever?  I’m no scientist, but I can speculate.

[click to continue…]

Article publié pour la première fois le 08/07/2010

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Five Skills to Save You $$$: Handyman Skills

My husband and I recently became home owners. While this life milestone was cause for celebration, I don’t mind admitting that it has also filled me with dread. Prior to being a homeowner, back when I merely paid my rent and thought little else of the cost of housing, it was so easy to call the landlord when an issue involving the home reared its ugly head. Air conditioner on the fritz? No problem! Call the landlord. Husband is inept and failed to properly screw in the water hose to the washing machine thereby flooding all of the carpet in the hall (true story)? Call the landlord. Need to bury a dead body? It’s the landlord’s problem! (Just kidding on that last one, a dead body is still your problem.)

So buying a house and suddenly assuming all of the responsibility for home maintenance and repair has been nerve wracking. Once you are financially responsible for it, it is amazing how much money goes out the door to pay for your house. It is for this reason that skill number one on our list of five skills that will save you money is handyman skills.

Learning to be a half-way competent handyman will not only help you to fix issues that might (will) arise in your house, it will help you assess what is wrong and know when to spend the money to have it fixed and when to attempt it yourself. It is an unfortunate fact of life that time really does equal money. Therefore, when you pay for a plumber, you are really paying for their time. The fix itself may only cost pennies, but the labor costs are what will kill you. Once you learn to handle the small repairs yourself, you will have money hand over fist. Don’t be afraid!  Use the vast knowledge of the internet and the people around you.  Look up a skill and learn it once, save money forever!

“But Richly Reasonable,” you say, “I don’t have time to become an excellent handyman. Which skills should I focus on in my limited free time to maximize my savings?” Well, you’re in luck, I was just getting to that. Focus on these skills and with even a minimal time investment, you will save your hard-earned cash.

Plumbing. While designing and installing the plumbing for a house is quite an ordeal, most minor plumbing issues that arise in a house are usually easy fixes. Learn how to unclog a drain, fix a leaky faucet, stop a running toilet, and replace that leaky pipe under the sink and you are about 90% of the way to plumbing financial independence.

Carpentry Skills. You do not need to know how to build a table from scratch, but some carpentry skills will definitely come in handy. Learn how to patch drywall, hang something heavy (tv, mirror, etc.) on a wall, straighten up a hung door that has gone askew, and seal the openings to your house, and (barring a man cave addition) you will probably never need to call for help again.

Landscaping Skills. While its so much easier to call a landscaping service, the $100 a month for their services starts to get old quick. Learn to mow your lawn, weed, properly water and fertilize your grass, trim trees, cut back bushes, and adjust your sprinkler system and you will save money and have something beautiful to look at. Nothing beats staring out over your well-manicured yard at the end of a long day.

What do you think readers? What handyman skills do you recommend for saving money around the house? Let us know below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 15/05/2013

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Best Time To Buy In A Recession

The current low interest rates being offered by mortgage lenders is making this a great time to buy a home for those in the market for real estate.

Compare Home Loans

Have you taken the time to compare home loans and seen just how low interest rates are right now? It was not that long ago that you would have been fortunate to get a loan that had rates as low as 9 or 10%. Today, borrowers can purchase a home and get rates that are in the 4 percent range. This makes home ownership a definite possibility for anyone with a good credit score.

Low Interest Rates

Low interest rates mean that you will pay a whole lot less money in interest each month. More of your monthly mortgage payment will go directly to the principal of the loan and less money will go to paying down interest. Interest charges on a thirty year loan could force you to pay two to three times the value of your home. Low interest rates will keep you from wasting cash on unnecessary charges.

Smaller Payments

Another advantage of low interest rates is the fact that your mortgage payment will be smaller. A lower mortgage payment frees up your cash and gives you more money to work with each month. You can use the extra capital to pay down high interest credit card debt or you can send in extra principal payments to your mortgage company. Either method will move you closer and closer to being debt free.

Lower Rates No Matter the Credit Score

Low interest rates benefit borrowers who have average credit scores just as much as those with great credit scores. In the past borrowers with iffy credit had to settle for subprime loans that carry really high interest rates. Subprime borrowers had a hard time obtaining financing from a mortgage broker and traditional banking institutions. Now borrowers can find much more suitable loan products for them which lowers the risk of a potential default.

You can see how real estate buyers benefit from low interest rates. They can use a recession to pick up a low interest rate that will amount to significant cost savings.

Article publié pour la première fois le 23/11/2011

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