What can you do if you want to move?
You don't need to have a crazy interest-only or adjustable-rate mortgage to feel the pain of the housing slump. A reader who posted a question at Free Money Finance wisely put 20% down and got a fixed-rate mortgage in Las Vegas when that housing market was sizzling hot. Now it's not, and he's upside down -- he owes more on the house than it's worth because of dropping values.
His problem is that he wants to move.
"Free Money Finance" wrote: "This is a tough situation. He's played by the rules, been faithful, and is now left paying on an asset that's worth less than what he owes on it. And, to make matters worse, he needs to move (or at least I think that's what he's saying.) So he has to sell at a loss."
Planning, coupon clipping will cut your food bill.
To some, 60 minutes may be a TV show, but to Kris at Cheap Healthy Good, it's the time she takes each week to implement her personal system for saving major money on groceries. With the rising price of food, this is something we all need to read about.
Before you try her system, she advocates three steps. First: Junk any food on hand "that A) you can't identify, B) is in an advanced state of decay or mummification, and/or C) is old enough to be carbon-dated."
Samples abound -- if you don't mind looking like a pig.
After reading "Filling up on freebies: Where to score free food," at AzCentral.com, we thought: Writer Scott Craven wasn't craven -- in fact, he was brazen -- as he scoured the Phoenix area for free food.
From car dealerships and grocery stores to churches, restaurants and probably the most celebrated source of free samples of all (all hail Costco), Scott scored so much free food that he probably put on weight.
- Bing: Costco vs. Sam's Club
He proved that "there is such a thing as a free lunch. Or breakfast. Or dinner." That is, if you know where to look.
First, he set several conditions and expectations:
Many need to look at their own financial actions instead of making excuses, blogger says.
Some people are financially sidelined by circumstances beyond their control, while others just poor-mouth -- making excuses for their circumstances with phrases like "The poor man just can't get ahead" or "We struggle just to make ends meet" or "I work hard so I deserve it."
"Frugal Dad" calls these folks the "perpetual poor" and explains how you can identify them in this biting and humorous post. For instance, he writes, those who use the "poor man" rant referenced above "can recite the last five winners of American Idle (that's not a typo) from memory, haven't picked up a book since high school," and "never stretched to learn a new skill at work, but complain about being passed over for promotions."
Steps will help her financially, even if she keeps her job.
This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.
It's probably a bit late to batten down the hatches, since the perfect storm has already made landfall.
On the other hand, I hadn't planned on being laid off, and that still looks like a possibility. My beloved employer, the Great Desert University, did not announce the predicted layoffs that were to have included everyone in my job classification. But with the economy still riding the down elevator, it's likely GDU will have to make more cuts.
So, I've taken a series of steps to help weather bad times. Some of these, I think, apply to just about anyone in most situations. Here's some plywood to nail over the windows:
Planning your meals will help you save.
This post comes from Lisa Wade McCormick at partner blog ConsumerAffairs.com.
A family of five now spends an average of $135 a week on groceries, according to the Food Marketing Institute's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report for 2008. Fuel costs and other economic concerns could force that grocery bill to climb even higher.
- Bing: Find grocery coupons
Consumers are already feeling the pinch of high food costs on their pocketbooks, and many have changed their eating and shopping habits, the survey found.
One responder laments decision to get liposuction.
"Fox" at Squawkfox once a week hosts "squawkback." She poses a question every Wednesday and invites her readers to sound off.
Hayden Tompkins' three worst covered the gamut: "Co-signing for my brother's student loan. Signing up for a credit card in college. They need to get those people off campus. Getting liposuction. Sigh. Don't ask."
Make it less painful by turning it into a game
This post comes from partner blog Blueprint for Financial Prosperity:
Keeping to a budget is like keeping to a diet. It's painful.
It’s a nuisance to keep track of the money you spend. However, it's a necessary evil. If you don't, you're setting yourself up for failure.
I’ve come up with seven tricks that will help you stay on track and not give up.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Children from lower income families are at greater risk of suffering accidental injuries and being sickened by food, according to a Consumer Federation of America study.