Is your time best spent looking for ways to save a few dimes or dollars here and there?
I bet this Devil’s Advocate post, which is part of a series I do to challenge conventional wisdom, is going to ruffle a lot of feathers.
Frugality is a pretty big topic in the personal-finance blogging community because there are so many things you can do to trim a few cents or dollars here or there. You can buy gadgets like a Kill A Watt to find out how much energy your appliances are using and disconnect them when they’re not in use. You can make your own laundry detergent or buy a rack to line-dry your clothes. There have been books filled to the brim with thousands upon thousands of ways to save a few dollars and cents here or there.
However, they never get to the heart of the issue:
The garden-variety millionaire is shopping at Target and Wal-Mart, just like you.
We’ve noticed that SmartMoney’s “10 things a millionaire won’t tell you” (a version appeared here at MSN Money) is still provoking commentary long after it was initially posted. We never tire of the inside scoop on the rich, even if they’re not famous.
So what’s it like to be a millionaire? Two bloggers who apparently are members of that club examined the question by asking: Did SmartMoney get it right?
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Yes and no, they said, but on one point they and we can all agree: Millionaires don’t feel rich, and with good reason.
States are rolling out "cash for clunker" appliance rebate programs. Check the rules to see if your state is offering a good deal.
The federal government wants to help you buy new energy-efficient appliances.
The program doesn’t have a catchy name, but $300 million was allocated last year to encourage consumers to upgrade their appliances and save energy. Exactly how the programs will work and which appliances are included is up to the states.
Once an employed homeowner, blogger is now jobless and living with her kids in an RV.
The recession has hit families where they live. For many, it’s forced a change of address. Think about all those foreclosed homes and urban deserts: One in every 400 homes received a foreclosure notice last year. Unemployment is nearly 10%. Some families no longer have a place to call home at all.
That’s the situation for Jamie Alden (not her real name), a single mom of four kids who found herself caught up in a series of recession nightmares that have left her homeless and jobless, but not hopeless. She’s chronicling her adventures at The Boxcar Kids, where she writes with painful frankness about trying to find a job, help her kids thrive at school and keep her family together while living in a small travel trailer.
You can put your blood in the bank. You can put your money in the bank. And now there are banks for your spare time.
Suppose you could earn a “time dollar” for every hour you baby-sat for your neighbor, drove the car pool or fed someone’s pet while they were away. Odds are you’d have plenty of time dollars saved up. Now imagine you could spend those time dollars getting other people to do favors for you.
That’s a time bank.
Why your 1040 should cost less this year.
This year’s tax-preparation fees are next year’s deductible expense, but competition among preparers may allow you to keep more money in your pocket.
Tax-preparation services face a lean market this spring. Last year’s economic woes have spurred more consumers to fill out their Form 1040 solo, says Vishnu Lekraj, an equity analyst covering the industry for Morningstar. Most taxpayers are simply unwilling or unable to spend the $100 or more it takes to get help, he says.
Nobody thought it was their fault, but it was everyone's fault.
Sometimes we forget we just lived through history.
Or I should say, sometimes we forget we’re living through it now. I read a post on Get Rich Slowly recently that reminded me of that. Twenty years from now, kids are going to ask us what it was like to live through one of the worst recessions in American history, just the same way I asked my parents what it was like to live during desegregation and they asked their parents how it felt to fight a World War.
Massachusetts recyclers celebrate reuse -- and the joy of a great score -- with an annual Trash Finders Ball.
We’re found a ball that Cinderella could attend without needing a fairy godmother to whip her up a new dress.
The annual Trash Finders Ball in Massachusetts, in its third year this weekend, celebrates recycling in a big way. If your dress is made of old newspaper, so much the better. The décor, of course, is also from recycled objects.
But the Trash Finders in Beverly, Mass., don’t just wear recycled outfits and parade around in a Trashion Show.
They also bring along their best trash-picking find for judging.
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