He's in the third stage of personal finance
It's been a long time since I wrote about the general state of my financial affairs. A few readers have written to express concern that I've lost my way. I haven't. If anything, I'm more devoted to this stuff than ever.
But as I wrote earlier this year, I've entered a different stage of money management. During the first two stages of personal finance (debt elimination and establishing a foundation), things happened quickly. They did not seem quick at the time, but they were.
Now I'm in the third stage of personal finance. Progress is steady, but there's not a lot of scenery. Have no fear: I'm still on the road to financial freedom.
Companies negotiate lease transfers
People who want to downsize and cut expenses often want to cut their car payments. That can be difficult if you are locked into a lease. LeaseTrader.com, a Miami company that acts as a matchmaker between people who want to get out of their car leases and people who want to take over leases, expects business to be up about 30% this year as people seek ways to save money.
Last year, people wanted to get out of their leases so they could pay expensive mortgages, John Sternal, the company's vice president of marketing and communications, told Niala Boodhoo of The Miami Herald. This year, he said, people are trying to cut their living costs.
Movement spawns new vegetarian recipes
Everybody knows that one way to save money on groceries is to eat less meat. In these lean times, lots of people have been rediscovering beans and rice, staple foods of many traditional cuisines.
Now there's an international movement for a Meatless Monday. While the motivations are environment and health, eating less meat is still a good way to save money.
Online service checks costs in your area
Do you ever wonder if your auto mechanic is charging too much?
You can get a second opinion for free. RepairPal provides free price quotes on repairs to most cars, customized by ZIP code. The quotes are created using a complex database that draws from a number of sources, including expert mechanics hired by RepairPal to analyze the data. You can access RepairPal on your computer or get the freeiPhone app.
iTunes U includes lectures, TV programs
We've all thought about how much more we'd learn if we got a chance to go to college again as mature adults. One of the best places to be a student again is at iTunes U, which provides free access to thousands of audio and video files from some of the world's top universities.
The service also provides free access to public radio and TV programs, and this summer the Library of Congress began participating. You can listen to American Public Media's "Marketplace" or watch PBS programs, all free and at your own convenience.
Home Depot, Web sites offer lessons
When we were growing up, no one ever called a handyman. If anything needed fixing, you fixed it yourself. Our father, who was an ad man (but not like the ones in "Mad Men"), built a bedroom and bathroom in the basement following instructions in books he got at the library. We got a toolbox to take to college.
Doing your own home repairs is a great way to save money. Not only can you check out books at the library, but you can look up nearly any home repair project online and get detailed directions and watch instructional videos. Plus, keeping up with regular home maintenance is one way to avoid expensive problems later.
Retail clinics charging $25 to $30
It's not comprehensive health care reform, but CVS is offering 100,000 free flu shots to the unemployed, and Walgreens will offer free flu shots to the uninsured in some cities.
CVS started giving flu shots this week at some Minute Clinics, at a cost of $30 or your insurance co-pay. Starting Sept 15, the drugstore chain will offer flu shot clinics at many of its stores. The vouchers for free flu shots will be distributed at events at One-Stop Career Centers, which offer job training and counseling.
Walgreens is distributing vouchers for free flu shots to the uninsured during the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour, which offers free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, bone density and body mass index. Uninsured patients who visit the bus between Sept.17 and Nov. 15 can get a flu slot voucher. Flu shots start at $24.99 at Walgreens Take Care Clinics.
46-inch TVs, netbooks, Wii to be on sale
Wondering whether to buy something now or wait for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when it might be cheaper?
The predictions are the lowest prices to expect, during the entire "Black Friday Season," mid-November to Cyber Monday. As the season draws closer, you can check for updates to these predictions at DealNews' Black Friday deals section.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Your health may improve if you cut gluten out of your diet, but your pocketbook will take a hit -- unless you follow these tips.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'