Xin Lu's blog

How to save BIG

A friend recently told me that someone she knows is so cheap that he would not let her use paper towels at his place. Yet at the same time he complains about not having enough mon

$8000 housing tax credit can now be turned into cash at closing according to FHA

As part of the Obama stimulus plan passed in January, first time home buyers in 2009 are entitled to a tax credit of up to $8000 that they do not have to repay. This tax credit was

Should you try to reduce your rent?

Lately it seems that rent prices have been dropping in many areas of the country. Here in San Mateo some residential apartments are dropping prices as much as 20%. This seemed a

The ultimate frugal vacation

Summer is coming up, and it is a great time to take a little break from work and relax. The recession may have put a damper on many people's vacation plans, but there is a way you

netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For

This is my story of shock, anger, and finally disgust at the practices of netSpend.

How will the new credit card rules affect consumers?

Today a new bill was passed by the U.S. Senate with the intent of restricting abusive practices in the credit card industry. A House bill was passed on May 12th and will be reconc

Would you get rid of credit cards if stores give more discounts to customers who pay cash ?

I am sure you have encountered a store or gas station that has a set of prices for cash customers and a set of prices for credit card customers. Usually the credit card customer h

Need cheap or free construction materials? Go to a demolished housing development.

Amidst the financial crisis, many home builders around the country have run out of financing. Last week a bank decided to completely level 16 completed and partially built homes i

Do Americans really want to "Go Dutch"?

I just read a very interesting article by an American expat named Russell Shorto in the Netherlands titled "Going Dutch - How I Learned to Love the European Welfare State". The

Mortgage bailout redux: new incentives for modifying second mortgages in the Second Lien Program

The United States government launched the "Hope for Homeowners" program back in October, 2008, and so far only one loan has received final approval to refinance under this program.

Should you skip a mortgage payment to get a bank's attention?

The Obama administration announced a foreclosure prevention and mortgage reduction program about two months ago, and as of April less than 1000 loans have been refinanced under th

What can you do if you cannot afford to pay your taxes

Today is April 15th, also known as the dreaded Tax Day in America. Due to the recession many people may find that they do not have enough money in the bank to pay what they owe. I

Easy weekend business: sell used books

When I started blogging I wrote an article about saving money in college. In this article I wrote that I made money by selling used books. Some people were curious as to how I co

Money making hobby: panning for gold

Lately many Californians have been heading to the rivers and streams to prospect for gold. The increase in people taking up this activity has some newspapers writing about "the new

Swoopo - great auction deals or great scam?

Today I stumbled upon a site called Swoopo. It is touted as a new auction site that combines shopping with entertainment. I took a quick look and it seemed like many items were s

How to recognize and answer illegal interview questions

In the United States job seekers are protected by a myriad of anti-discrimination laws. Despite these laws many potential employers still want employees that fit a narrow profile

Will these car buying incentives get you to buy a new car?

This week President Obama rolled out an initiative for the failing American automakers to restructure. The plan proposes several consumer incentives to jumpstart auto sales. Her

Do generous unemployment benefits prolong the length of unemployment?

The latest news is that unemployment benefits will be extended from 59 weeks to 79 weeks in California with the help of the new Federal stimulus money. The maximum benefit has ris

AIG employees - Why you should donate your bonuses instead of returning it

Lately many top AIG employees who were targeted by Congress in the $165 million "Bonusgate" incident have returned their bonuses. Some people are still holding out, and in my opin

Could you profit from Obama and Geithner's toxic assets plan?

This week the United States Treasury announced the Legacy Loans Program. The program is meant to be a partnership between the government and private investors to clear "toxic" ass