My mom's family has known hardship, but you never heard these Tennessee women complain.
Of course, that’s what they said when her older sister, my Aunt Elna, was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in her 70s. She went through chemo and lived for a few more good years before developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Both of these women were older sisters to my mother. All three of them taught me a lot about frugality, and about life. A few important lessons:
Paying no interest sounds inviting, but not every buyer qualifies.
If you've watched much television lately, you've likely seen back-to-back car commercials touting 0% financing. As carmakers compete to sell vehicles, nearly all are resorting to "no-cost" financing.
Zero percent financing offers often draw consumers to showrooms, but the results aren't always good for buyers.
Say 'birthday' or 'honeymoon' and the deals come rushing in.
When it comes to discounts, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses are often willing to give you a discount or special service if you mention that you’re celebrating a special occasion that ties into your visit, says Steven Cohen, president of The Negotiation Skills Company, a consultancy based in Massachusetts that helps clients negotiate for better deals. “It’s not unreasonable to say to someone, ‘It’s my birthday, anniversary, what-have-you -- are there any extra deals you can offer me?’” he says.
A ladder lets you take advantage of higher interest rates while preserving liquidity.
Creating a CD ladder is a great way to combine the high interest rates of long-term certificates of deposit with the liquidity of short-term CDs.
Years ago, laddering certificates of deposit was a lot of work. Not only did you have to go down to your bank to open up multiple CD accounts, but your options were very limited. Today, online saving banks make it easy by offering the best CD rates with terms ranging from three months to 10 years, no-penalty CDs, and even rising-rate CDs. And you can open a certificate of deposit online in minutes.
How does a CD ladder work?
San Francisco eatery revives offer of a free meal every day -- in exchange for some personal real estate.
What would you sacrifice in exchange for a free meal a day for life at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant? How about 4 square inches of real estate on your biceps, calf, chest or … whatever?
San Francisco landmark Casa Sanchez has revived an offer that got lots of publicity back in 1999 -- free lunch every day if you get the restaurant logo tattooed somewhere -- visible to the general public or not, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Play nice, do your part, and don't make fun of Bob's vegan macaroni and cheese.
Since freshman year of college, I’ve had approximately 15,000 roommates. Some are still my best friends, favorite people, and life partners. Others smoked crazy things too late at night. One remains the only unrelated adult I’ve ever yelled at. (Surprise! It was over the dishes.)
Whether you’re fresh out of university or shacking up with your significant other for the first time, living with other people has multitudinous benefits. It can save everyone involved a ton of cash. It can be a social opportunity, cultural experience, and culinary education. It can keep you from being plain lonely.
But if you’re not careful, it can also be a terrifying descent into a cohabitational hell, in which anger and discomfort become facts of everyday life. Living with the dishes guy? Was kind of like that.
This nonexistent device and numerous others submitted by fictitious companies were approved for Energy Star certification.
You know those blue Energy Star labels you sometimes see on appliances in the store? Think hard. No, not the train that gets stuck in the Channel Tunnel when it gets cold. That’s EuroStar.
Energy Star is a joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to help Americans “save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.” Their elaborate and cheerful Web site goes on to claim that:
Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2009 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 30 million cars -- all while saving nearly $17 billion on their utility bills.
That’s a savings of about $150 per household last year. And you are only vaguely aware of the program? Ungrateful wretch.
Couple wants to have four children, but can they really afford it?
Anthony writes in:
My wife and I have two children, ages 2 and 1. We’d like to have more; we both think that four would be a great number, although there’s no particular logical reason for that number. The problem is the expense. With day care costs, adding each additional child will cost another $260 a month. If we stopped paying extra on our student loans and cut our savings per month to $145, we could afford the day care for the third child, but a fourth would require more painful cuts. We already live frugally: buy used clothes, drive used paid-for cars, make almost all of our food at home, etc. I’ve looked into second jobs, but there’s very little IT work in the area, other than what I already do. And with our county having the highest unemployment rate in the state, I suspect even paper-route jobs and that sort of thing would be hard to find.
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