housing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4859/all en-US Avoid These 5 Pitfalls When Moving in Together http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_fighting_000051175734.jpg" alt="Couple trying to avoid relationship pitfalls when moving in together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Moving in with the person you love is a huge step! In fact, it's so huge that we get too swept up in the excitement to really look at the gritty details. These are five things you should never do when moving in together.</p> <h2>1. Don't Avoid Organizing Your Stuff Before the Move</h2> <p>This is one of the most useful things you can do to avoid fights about belongings down the line. You must be willing to self-edit (and to help your partner self-edit) before schlepping all your stuff into a new place where it may not all fit. Clean house and decide which items of yours are most important to keep, so you can make room for the new items you'll acquire as a cohabiting couple.</p> <p>Remember these key categories: Keep, Sell, Donate, and Toss. Keep items such as any clothing you have actually worn in the past year, or big ticket furniture items you can't spare. Sell items of some value that are either redundant or no longer needed. Donate items like new clothing you haven't worn in the last year, shoes, books, and anything not worth taking time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-things-to-buy-or-sell-on-craigslist">sell on Craigslist</a> or a yard sale. Toss pretty much everything else! Let your partner have a veto option.</p> <h2>2. Don't Reject Your Significant Other's Red Flags</h2> <p>This can range from extremely small to extremely big issues. To some, a loud snore could potentially be a deal breaker; but harboring an addiction to pills could go undetected for years before finally moving in with someone. It comes down to how well you know each other. What are your partner's triggers and soft spots, and will you be able to work around them? </p> <p>For some, a series of talks is all you need to answer questions like, &quot;How will our work schedules mesh?&quot; Or, &quot;Can we share a bedroom or do we need separate spaces as well?&quot; Or, &quot;Who will be in charge of the bills?&quot;</p> <p>There are also elephants in the room that you must address. For example: If your significant other has a child, you will need to be a part of the child's life. Is that something you're ready to do?</p> <p>Another example: If your partner has a disability, how will it affect your responsibilities to them and the home?</p> <p>Maybe you're the one with a lot red flags. Don't react defensively &ndash; deeply consider your partner's needs and decide if they are workable for you. You can't just hope it will all fall into place.</p> <h2>3. Don't Assume Finances Will Work Themselves Out</h2> <p>Finances are the largest source of stress and arguments in every household. Yours will not be an exception. While you're not legally obligated to each other's money, you do need to share some pertinent information with your significant other before you set up your household system. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-life-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">Are you in massive debt</a>? Are you terrible at managing bills?</p> <p>If you're the organized one who has their bills set up on auto-pay, you're probably going to be the one to shepherd the other into a better system. Try setting up an automatic monthly transfer from your partner's bank account to yours to ensure you get their share of the rent and bills on time. Don't think of this as babysitting; think of this as an investment of your time and expertise into avoiding future fights when the lights suddenly get shut-off!</p> <h2>4. Don't Let One Person Do All the Housework</h2> <p>This is a tough one that inevitably happens to most new couples. Whoever gets sick of staring at the unending tower of dirty dishes first is ultimately the one who cleans them. That's not fair, but it's really easy to get stuck into imbalanced patterns like this when living together.</p> <p>Have a discussion, before moving in, about housekeeping equality. Who takes out the trash? Who does the dishes? (Hint: if you don't own a dishwasher, I suggest it's whoever didn't cook the meal.) Who fixes the bookcase when it starts to teeter? These are tasks that have nothing to do with gender or who earns more money. It's usually whoever can do it with the least amount of goading. If neither of you wants to clean, agree to split the cost of a monthly cleaning service and never fight about dusting again.</p> <h2>5. Don't Pretend You're Married</h2> <p>This is a hard one. Many people see shacking up as a stepping stone to marriage, and for many, it is. This is a great time to test each other's willingness to compromise, generosity with belongings, and emotional, sexual, and financial compatibility on an everyday level. This is all invaluable.</p> <p>But it doesn't mean that you're married. Avoid forming unhealthy, codependent habits with him or her. Your stuff doesn't belong to your partner, nor theirs to you. You have a choice in every decision that doesn't necessarily have to include your partner. You can hang in there and try to make a relationship work, but you can always leave if it isn't going well. That's the whole point, isn't it?</p> <p><em>Did you fall into any of these traps when you moved in with a significant other?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-6-relationship-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years">Make These 6 Relationship Moves Now or You&#039;ll Regret It in 20 Years</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-relationship-rules-you-should-be-breaking">10 Relationship Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-balancing-love-and-money">10 Tips for Balancing Love and Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-scientific-reasons-to-ditch-the-luxury-brands">5 Scientific Reasons to Ditch the Luxury Brands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-signs-you-need-to-dump-your-friend">11 Signs You Need to Dump Your Friend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Personal Development Dating finance housing living arrangements moving moving in relationships Mon, 12 Oct 2015 17:00:44 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1586180 at http://www.wisebread.com Big Purchases You Should Make by 30, 40, and 50 http://www.wisebread.com/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_empty_piggybank_000018649757.jpg" alt="Man planning big purchases at 30, 40, and 50" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It used to be that major purchases such as a house or a car were rites of passage into adulthood. Sure, times are changing, and the new generation isn't buying all the things their parents did. But there are some things you probably <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-scariest-big-purchases-people-make">can't avoid buying</a>. Here are the big purchases most of us should make by ages 30, 40, or 50.</p> <h2>By Age 30</h2> <p>By the time we reach 30 we've turned the corner from the youth to adulthood, and our possessions show it.</p> <h3>A Car</h3> <p>As more people choose to live in cities, and use mass transit or ride-sharing apps, it's become less necessary to own a car. That said, many of us still have a lifestyle that requires owning a set of wheels. If this is the case for you, by the age of 30, you probably should have purchased a car <em>by yourself for yoursel</em>f. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-joy-of-buying-a-new-car-9-car-buying-tips?ref=seealso">The Joy of Buying a New Car: 9 Car Buying Tips</a>)</p> <h3>A Real Bed</h3> <p>This is something everyone avoids for years. Millenials have bought and sold cars well before buying a new bed for themselves. Once you are old enough to live on your own, an ugly used frame propping up a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deep-clean-your-mattress-for-a-better-nights-sleep">decades-old (and filthy) mattress</a> just won't do. A more comfortable bed will help you sleep better, and sleeping better will improve your overall health, which will cost you less in the long run. It's one of the best investments you can make in your 20s. Now that one can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-the-best-mattress-for-the-least-money">buy affordable and comfortable mattresses online</a>, there's no excuse anymore!</p> <h2>By Age 40</h2> <p>What lies around the corner from age 30? A nest and a family of one's own.</p> <h3>A Home</h3> <p>This can be the most emotional purchase you'll ever make, especially in areas of the country where it's virtually impossible for the average person to afford a home. For those of us who want to own our own home, working toward buying before age 40 is a worthy goal. It's wise to start making sound decisions in your 20s and 30s that will keep your financial state healthy, such as building your credit, in anticipation of a home loan.</p> <h3>Home Appliances</h3> <p>Not every home, whether bought or rented, will come equipped with everything you need. As you get older, you'll probably grow tired of washing your dishes in the sink, or going to the laundromat like you did in your 20s. Eventually, you'll break down and buy a refrigerator, dishwasher, a washer/dryer set, or woodworking tools for the garage. Make sure you do your comparison homework in order to get the best appliance deals.</p> <h2>By Age 50</h2> <p>By now the roots are set deep and the big purchases are behind us, but there are a few big buys that mark time's passage.</p> <h3>Life Insurance</h3> <p>As you get older and have children, you'll want to be covered for whatever may happen. By age 50, you'll almost definitely want to consider life insurance &mdash; well before you develop any chronic health issues or are old enough for premiums to skyrocket. Think about what you need from your life insurance and start planning your beneficiaries' financial future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/universal-life-insurance-and-whole-life-insurance-a-comparison?ref=seealso">Universal Life Insurance and Whole Life Insurance: A Comparison</a>)</p> <h3>Contractor Work</h3> <p>At this point in your life, making renovations on your bathroom or kitchen, adding on to your home, or re-landscaping your backyard is common. In fact, some renovations <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves">nearly pay for themselves</a> over time. If you've never hired a contractor, you'll need to create a budget and detailed timeline, along with a cash buffer for incidentals, accidents, and hotels if you cannot stay in the home at a certain point. Extra frugal? It's also worth <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">considering DIY renovations</a>.</p> <p><em>Which major purchases do you think signify life milestones?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-purchases-you-should-make-by-30-40-and-50">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha">$8000 housing tax credit can now be turned into cash at closing according to FHA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions">Is It the End of 6% Real Estate Commissions?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-50-rule-can-save-you-money">4 Ways the 50% Rule Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance appliances big purchases Cars housing life insurance real estate Thu, 07 May 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1410180 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-hotel-worker-tray-room-food-iStock_000025670142_Small.jpg" alt="woman room service" title="woman room service" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all need a roof over our heads and a place to sleep at night. Living with mom and dad is an obvious way to live rent-free, but you might prefer your privacy and independence. Fortunately, there are other tricks to score free rent that don't involve getting help from your folks. Here are five of them.</p> <h2>1. Work With an Accommodations Company</h2> <p>Contact hostels or private hotels and negotiate free rent in exchange for working for them on a part- or full-time basis. Some larger chains won't agree to this arrangement, but it doesn't hurt to ask. If a hotel or hostel has vacancies, or if it's understaffed and looking for ways to cut costs, the manager may consider your proposal. You can work in a variety of roles depending on your skill set, ranging from housekeeping to administrative tasks.</p> <h2>2. Home Share With an Elderly Person</h2> <p>Some elderly people live alone, and because of their age or health, they get behind on housework and home maintenance. If you have the skills and time, offer to home share with an elderly person on a temporary basis. In exchange for free rent, you agree to tasks such as cleaning, cooking, running errands, or handling repairs and maintenance. It's a win-win, since you provide your elderly roommate with companionship and assistance around the house, while you save money toward your financial goals. If I were actively seeking rent-free accommodation, this is totally a situation I'd pursue. I love elderly folks, and elderly folks love me. We'd watch our soaps, make fresh sandwiches for lunch, take afternoon naps, and get all gussied up for church bingo. Sounds like my idea of paradise.</p> <h2>3. Live in Your Van or RV</h2> <p>It might get a little cramped inside, but if you're serious about saving money for whatever reason, living in your van or RV for several months to a year (or longer) can really build your savings. This is especially true if you can park the vehicle on a friend or relative's property for free. Almost all RVs are equipped with small kitchens and bathrooms, so it's easier to be self-sufficient. On the other hand, if you live in a van, you'll need to borrow a friend or relative's kitchen or bathroom, unless you're planning to eat out for every meal or shower at the gym before work.</p> <h2>4. House-Sit for Free Rent</h2> <p>Some people are nervous about leaving their home and pets for days while out of town, so they ask a friend or relative to house-sit or check on the property. But what you may not realize is that some career house-sitters don't pay a dime for rent.</p> <p>&quot;House-sitting in return for a free retreat is growing in its popularity as more and more home and pet owners enjoy having the freedom to choose their sitter and having peace of mind that their fur family are kept in their own environment,&quot; says Rachel Martin, co-founder of <a href="http://trustedhousesitters.com">TrustedHousesitters.com</a>.</p> <p>You might not receive compensation for house-sitting, so you'll need an income source to cover other monthly expenses such as food, transportation, entertainment, and so on. However, it's a fair trade-off, considering you're able to stay in someone's home without paying rent or utilities.</p> <h2>5. Find a Job That Includes Accommodations</h2> <p>This is similar &mdash; but not identical &mdash; to my first suggestion. If you have the appropriate skills, look into employment opportunities that include free accommodations. You can work as a live-in nanny for a family who needs assistance caring for their children. Some boarding schools employ full-time resident advisors who live inside dormitories to supervise students. If you have experience in property management, some apartment complexes give employee rent discounts, and apartment managers can often even live in a unit for free. (Heck, I wouldn't mind being a modern day <a href="http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0025226/">Mr. Furley</a>.)</p> <p><em>Have you legitimately lived rent-free? What did you do? Tell us your story in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent">Should you try to reduce your rent?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-afford-to-live-in-your-dream-city">Can You Really Afford to Live in Your Dream City?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Real Estate and Housing accommodations free rent housing recreational vehicle rent Mon, 16 Mar 2015 08:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1338585 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: The Home Edition http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-home-edition <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-the-home-edition" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fixing-door-89987115-small.jpg" alt="fixing door" title="fixing door" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some of the best articles around the web on everything related to your home!</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Home-Repairs-You-Can-Do-Yourself-31124855">7 Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself</a> &mdash; Chances are you don't need a professional to do caulking or fix a squeaky door in your home. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2014/06/16/10-tips-most-first-time-home-buyers-dont-consider/">10 Tips Most First-Time Home Buyers Don't Consider</a> &mdash; Most first-time home buyers don't look beyond home staging or research grants or other forms of funding. [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://lenpenzo.com/blog/id1317-19-tips-for-saving-a-bundle-of-money-on-home-appliances.html">19 Tips for Saving a Bundle of Money on Home Appliances</a> &mdash; If you want to save a bundle on home appliances, take advantage of price match guarantees or buy a floor model. [Len Penzo dot Com]</p> <p><a href="http://sustainablepersonalfinance.com/house-staging-tips/">34 House Staging Tips</a> &mdash; When you are trying to sell your home, keep the toilet seats down and make sure the windows are washed. [Sustainable Personal Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/seven-simple-tactics-we-use-to-keep-summer-energy-bills-low/">Seven Simple Tactics We Use to Keep Summer Energy Bills Low</a> &mdash; Using ambient lights and ceiling fans can help reduce your summer energy bill. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2006/08/save_money_by_p.html">Save Money by Planning Your Home Improvements in the Off Season</a> &mdash; If you plan on updating your home heating system, save money by updating it in the summer. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thedebtprincess.com/2013/08/15/frugal-decorating-tips-for-decorating-on-a-dime/">Frugal Decorating: Tips for Decorating on a Dime</a> &mdash; Having patience when it comes to finding the right item for your home and shopping with a list can help keep your decorating costs low. [The Debt Princess]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/when-does-it-make-sense-to-rent-a-home-instead-of-buy/">When Does It Make Sense to Rent a Home Instead of Buy?</a> &mdash; It may make more sense to rent a home if the mortgage that comes with buying a house isn't affordable. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/home-additions-that-increase-your-insurance-rates/">3 Home Additions That Will Raise Your Insurance Rates</a> &mdash; Adding on an additional room to your home will increase your insurance rates. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-decorate-a-green-baby-nursery">How to Decorate a &quot;Green&quot; Baby Nursery</a> &mdash; To decorate a green baby nursery, opt for wood floors covered with rugs. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-the-home-edition">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-air-fresheners">The 5 Best Air Fresheners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move">10 Ways to Save on a Long-Distance Move</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mcmansion-to-mccottage-why-smaller-houses-are-smarter">McMansion to McCottage: Why Smaller Houses Are Smarter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing best money tips home housing Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:00:06 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1147492 at http://www.wisebread.com Can You Really Afford to Live in Your Dream City? http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-afford-to-live-in-your-dream-city <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-you-really-afford-to-live-in-your-dream-city" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/house-4366298-small.jpg" alt="family moving" title="family moving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It finally happened. You've been offered a job in the city of your dreams. Or you're coming up on retirement. Or you're just sick and tired of the Midwest winters. Before packing up your belongings, however, consider these five factors to avoid having your dream move turn into a financial nightmare. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-on-a-long-distance-move?ref=seealso">How to Save on a Long-Distance Move</a>)</p> <h2>A Dollar in Boise May Not Buy as Much in Dallas</h2> <p>To get a better handle on how living expenses &mdash; from groceries to a visit to the dentist &mdash; vary from city to city, use a free online <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx">Cost of Living comparison calculator</a>. This tool will also give you an idea of what your income needs to be in order to maintain the same style of living.</p> <p>The factors that make some cities more affordable than others varies. Kiplinger's compilation of the <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/real-estate/T006-S001-10-cheapest-u-s-cities-to-live-in/">cheapest cities in the U.S.</a> cites shows low grocery prices for some, low housing costs for others, and low medical fees in others. As Kiplinger's points out, however, cheaper living often goes hand in hand with less healthy economic conditions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-americas-awesomest-cheap-cities?ref=seealso">Awesome Cheap American Cities</a>)</p> <h2>Determine How Much It Will <em>Really</em> Cost to Hang Your Hat</h2> <p>Most financial experts agree that housing costs should represent 30% of your gross annual income. But to play it safe, some say to increase that to 35% to cover all the &quot;a-la-carte&quot; costs that come on top of the mortgage payment or rent &mdash; property taxes, utilities, assessments, or building/neighborhood amenities, like swimming pools or workout facilities.</p> <p>Property taxes can be a significant factor affecting the cost of owning a home or condo. New York residents contribute the highest percentage of their income to property taxes, followed by New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Wisconsin. On the flip side, Wyoming residents pay the least percentage (6.9%) of their income to property taxes. Alaska, South Dakota, Texas, and Louisiana round out the <a href="http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/04/02/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-taxes/">lowest property tax states</a>, according to 24/7 Wall Street.</p> <p>In addition, potential homebuyers need to consider maintenance costs, building or community assessments, and repairs (often hard to predict). Snow removal may not be a factor if you're moving to Phoenix, but your air conditioning costs may skyrocket compared to what you paid in Minneapolis! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for?ref=seealso">Costly Things New Homeowners Don't Prepare For</a>)</p> <p>Homeowner's insurance is required by most mortgage lenders. Average homeowners insurance rates are higher in states prone to extreme weather conditions or with higher building costs.</p> <p>If you're planning to rent, ask the property manager or landlord which utilities or building amenities are not included in the rent, and make sure your budget allows you to comfortably cover these expenses.</p> <h2>Chart Your Commuting Course &mdash; and Costs</h2> <p>How do you plan to get to and from work, the grocery store, or the movie theater and what will it cost? <a href="http://htaindex.cnt.org/">The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index</a> (searchable by city) factors transportation costs into the equation with its recommendation that your <em>combined</em> housing and transportation costs should be no more than 45% of your monthly income.</p> <p>Looking for a place where you can walk, bike, or take public transportation to work? Check Walk Score's <a href="http://www.walkscore.com/cities-and-neighborhoods/">rankings of the best cities</a> to live car-free.</p> <p>If driving is your preferred (or only!) commuting option, take a look at how fuel prices stack up with the help of GasBuddy's <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap.aspx">gas price heat map</a> or its list of <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com/GB_Price_List.aspx?cntry=USA#us_cities">average gas price by city</a>.</p> <p>Parking can put additional strain on your monthly budget &mdash; or not, depending on where you plan to live and work. A parking spot in a Chicago high rise could set you back $200 to $500 per month, but far less in Milwaukee, just 90 miles to the north. BestParking offers a <a href="http://www.bestparking.com/">searchable database</a> of parking costs by city to give you a general idea, but be sure to check with individual buildings, which may vary widely in fees. And don't forget the vehicle permit stickers required by many cities.</p> <h2>Be Prepared for the Unexpected</h2> <p>Unforeseen expenses for homeowners come in many forms, from a leaky faucet to a leaky roof &mdash; and everything in between. Where you live can impact repair costs. The national average cost to hire an electrician is $380 per project, but only $213 in Myrtle Beach, and $398 in Seattle, according to <a href="https://www.homeadvisor.com/">Home Advisor</a>. Any repair can put a strain on your wallet depending on the cause and the potential ripple effects.</p> <p>Renters are not immune to the unexpected. Renter's insurance &mdash; often required by the landlord or apartment management company &mdash; is always advised. Sure, if the roof leaks, the landlord will fix it, but what about your computer, clothes, and other personal property? Renters insurance not only covers personal effects, but often covers living expenses should your apartment become uninhabitable due to a fire or natural disaster. Generally very affordable, renters insurance can start as low as $10 per month depending on your coverage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-time-money-and-hassle-by-bundling-your-home-repairs?ref=seealso">Saving Money on Home Repairs</a>)</p> <p>As the saying goes, &quot;The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.&quot; In this economy, that could mean your job.</p> <p>If your dream city is a thriving employment mecca versus a job desert, you'll find yourself with more options if your company downsizes or your position is eliminated. MuniNet Guide provides a snapshot look <a href="http://www.muninetguide.com/employment-data/">employment trends</a> by metro area. (Note: I am the managing editor of MuniNet Guide.) When considering the health of the employment environment, check both <em>unemployment</em> rate trends (which should be heading down) and <em>employment growth</em> rates (which should be heading up).</p> <h2>Do Your Homework</h2> <p>We are fortunate to live in times where information is more readily available than ever before. Take full advantage of state, city, and county websites, which can provide valuable information and links to help you research a move to your dream city. Being financially prepared can make your dream become a prudent reality.</p> <p><em>Have you moved to another city or burg? Were you surprised by the cost difference (up or down) versus your old home town?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mardee-handler">Mardee Handler</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-afford-to-live-in-your-dream-city">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent">Should you try to reduce your rent?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/be-a-smarter-home-buyer-by-avoiding-these-12-house-hunter-cliches">Be a Smarter Home Buyer by Avoiding These 12 House Hunter Cliches</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-smart-and-fun-things-you-could-do-if-you-paid-less-rent">8 Smart and Fun Things You Could Do if You Paid Less Rent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing affordable housing home buying housing rent Fri, 11 Apr 2014 08:24:15 +0000 Mardee Handler 1135085 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save Money on Your Mortgage http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-money-on-your-mortgage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-money-on-your-mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3079962173_156302209a_z.jpg" alt="Save Money On Your Mortgage" title="Save Money On Your Mortgage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on saving on your mortgage, ways to make extra money and keep your day job, and how to ace a group interview.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://moneyqanda.com/save-money-on-a-mortgage/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MoneyQandA+%28Money+Q%26A%29">Tips To Save Money On A Mortgage</a> &mdash; Save money on your mortgage by renting vacant rooms in your home. [Money Q&amp;A]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thewisdomjournal.com/Blog/make-extra-money-incom/">26 Ways To Make Extra Money And Keep Your Day Job</a> &mdash; Consider cleaning businesses and offices to earn extra money while keeping your day job. [The Wisdom Journal]</p> <p><a href="http://amateurassetallocator.com/2013/01/14/how-to-ace-a-group-interview/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AmateurAssetAllocator+%28Amateur+Asset+Allocator%29">How To Ace A Group Interview In 18 Immaculately Conceived Bullet Points</a> &mdash; To ace your group interview, be confident and have questions. [Amateur Asset Allocator]</p> <p><a href="http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2013/01/15/the-rule-of-reciprocation-an-introduction/">The Rule of Reciprocation: An Introduction</a> &mdash; Did you know that research shows you will receive if you give? [Five Cent Nickel]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/debt-is-like-quicksand-the-struggle-to-escape-can-often-lead-to-greater-problems/">Debt Is Like Quicksand: The Struggle To Escape Can Often Lead To Greater Problems</a> &mdash; Sometimes when you are in debt and trying to escape it, the scarcity of funds can lead to poor financial decisions. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://steadfastfinances.com/blog/2013/01/13/5-ways-to-manage-marriage-and-money/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SteadfastFinances+%28Steadfast+Finances%29">5 Ways to Manage Marriage and Money</a> &mdash; When managing marriage and money, set a budget and ground rules for handling money. [Steadfast Finances]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/What-Do-Old-Clothes-26872552">Post-New Year's Resolution Plan: What To Do With Old Clothes</a> &mdash; Organize a clothing swap to get rid of your old clothes. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-survive-a-messy-toddler">How to Survive a Messy Toddler</a> &mdash; Cleaning as you go is key to surviving a messy toddler. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2013/01/15/in-defense-of-passion-with-the-help-of-reason/">In defense of passion (with the help of reason)</a> &mdash; When you have a passion for something, find a community of supporters to back you. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/01/the-power-of-simple-gestures.html">The Power of Simple Gestures</a> &mdash; Building relationships can help you get greater rewards in life and maybe even save a little money! [Free Money Finance]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-money-on-your-mortgage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable">Low Interest Rates Do Not Make Homes Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-take-if-youre-house-poor">5 Steps to Take If You&#039;re House Poor</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/need-cheap-or-free-construction-materials-go-to-a-demolished-housing-development">Need cheap or free construction materials? Go to a demolished housing development.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips housing mortgage Fri, 18 Jan 2013 11:00:34 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 966499 at http://www.wisebread.com What Do the Chinese Spend Money On? http://www.wisebread.com/what-do-the-chinese-spend-money-on <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-do-the-chinese-spend-money-on" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5412481533_0297f6687c_z.jpg" alt="Chinese family" title="Chinese family" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Four years ago I wrote about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">money habits of Chinese people</a>. Most notably I said that Chinese people have a very high savings rate. Some readers have asked me what Chinese people are saving for. Recently I just made another trip to China, and I would like to share some of my observations on the subject of how Chinese people spend their money currently.</p> <p>First of all, I should clarify that I am writing from the point of view of a upper-middle-class urban Chinese family that makes around $1,000 to $2,000 a month. There are many extremely wealthy Chinese people, and there are countless Chinese people who are much poorer. Their spending habits may be vastly different. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-your-last-name-affects-your-spending-habits">How Your Last Name Affects&nbsp;Your&nbsp;Spending Habits</a>)</p> <h2>Housing</h2> <p>Housing prices have zoomed out of control in the last decade, and the government has made efforts to cool the market. Prices have come down since 2009, but most young people still are not able to afford a house without help. In my hometown of Yangzhou, apartments are selling for about 400 to 600 yuan per square foot. This means it would take an upper middle class family eight to ten years of savings to buy an 1,000 square foot apartment in cash in Yangzhou. In larger cities like Shanghai, apartments generally cost over 1,000 yuan per square foot, so it is much harder to pay cash.</p> <p>Those who take a mortgage in China are called &quot;fangnu,&quot; which means house slave. Another slang for mortgagees is &quot;woniu,&quot; which means snail, because they are weighed down by their shelter. These people generally are extremely frugal with everything in their lives, but they spend a large percentage of their income on their mortgages. Additionally, mortgages are all adjustable in China, and the government can raise or lower the rates at will. So when people can pay cash they will do it because they just don't like the uncertainty. Upper-middle-class families generally try to provide housing for their sons once they get married, and including a new condo as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-wedding-registry-ideas">wedding gift</a> pushes the cost of some weddings into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.</p> <h2>Education</h2> <p>Chinese public schools are not free through the 12th grade. Parents usually have to start paying for high school, or if they want to go out of their predefined district they can do so by paying. When it comes to college, many upper-middle-class parents prefer to send their children abroad because they believe foreign colleges provide a more solid education. Additionally, there are many college students without jobs now in China, so a foreign degree gives a person an extra edge in the job search. Some parents actually sell their houses to fund these international students, but others simply pony up decades of savings. There are student loans in China, but they are very rare, so most people pay for college with cash.</p> <h2>Cars</h2> <p>Cars are very expensive in China if you consider the initial cost and the cost of upkeep. First of all, all imported cars cost two to three times the list price in America due to taxes and other markups. So a car that is about $30,000 new in America can cost $60,000 to $90,000. That makes a car almost as expensive as an apartment. There are cheaper, China-manufactured alternatives to import cars, but Chinese people prefer to buy import Audis and BMWs because they say that the quality of the cars made in China isn't as good. Since they're spending such a big chunk of money, they would rather buy something nice. In addition to the initial cost of the car, there are steep costs for car registration in some cities to help curb congestion. In Shanghai it <a href="http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1103&amp;MainCatID=&amp;id=20120521000018">costs on average $10,000</a> to just register a new car, and registration is done by a monthly lottery. After you get the car and start driving, you will find that practically all the highways have a toll of around 10 cents per kilometer (16 cents per mile). Even with these costs, more and more cars are getting on the road.</p> <p>The common thread that I saw in China is that Chinese people are still <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today">very frugal in their daily lives</a>, but many people are saving up for that one big thing. Another notable thing is that Chinese parents pour everything they have into their children even after their children are adults. Ultimately, Chinese and Americans all want to live better lives, but the difference is that most Chinese people don't reach that higher standard of living on borrowed money. Sometimes I don't know if the Chinese method is smart or naive, because it seems that so many Americans get what they want without saving for years, and it is not that hard to get rid of debt through legal maneuvers.</p> <p><em>What do you think? Is it silly to save for purchases in your life when you can just finance everything?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-do-the-chinese-spend-money-on">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-lessons-you-must-teach-your-kids">10 Investing Lessons You Must Teach Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-pitfalls-stay-at-home-parents-should-avoid">5 Financial Pitfalls Stay-at-Home Parents Should Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-in-a-big-city-on-a-small-town-budget">How to Live in a Big City on a Small-Town Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-truths-that-arent-always-obvious">5 Money Truths That Aren&#039;t Always Obvious</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Chinese housing savings spend less than you make Tue, 12 Jun 2012 09:36:38 +0000 Xin Lu 934439 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IMG_2324_0.jpg" alt="On a boat" title="On a boat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For two months, I <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/02/sailing-the-caribbean-video/">lived and/or sailed on five boats</a> spanning three countries. In so doing, I stumbled upon an entire culture, community, and way of life that is sustainable, adventurous, and full of variety.</p> <p>In those two months, I didn't pay for one night of accommodations, nor did I sleep on land once. Instead, I helped out with business ventures, cooked meals for charter guests, or just provided an extra set of helping hands wherever needed. Each scenario was very different &mdash; from the captain to the boat to the location. For me, that was half the appeal &mdash; incredible variety with a common theme of enjoying life on the water.</p> <p>Here are a few things to know about getting free accommodations &mdash; or even paid jobs &mdash; on boats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a>)</p> <h2>Free Accommodations on Boats</h2> <p>Similar to couch-surfing or hospitality exchanges, nomadic travelers (especially those with nautical skills) can find free passage on sailboats around the world by connecting with captains who need some extra help. (The company doesn't hurt either; it can be a lonely life on the water for a solo captain.)</p> <p>The responsibilities vary as widely as the boats do, but depending on your skills, you could be valuable for your technical expertise, sailing experience, or even your cooking talents. One of the boats I lived on operates some mobile video businesses, and aside from my own share of cooking and cleaning, my video production talents were put to use.</p> <p><strong>Things to Consider</strong></p> <p>Regardless of the agreed-upon tasks and chores, it's important to understand that you're staying in somebody's home &mdash; and a very small home at that. It's important to be adaptable, flexible, and to pitch in wherever you can with communal chores.</p> <p>Depending on the arrangement you make with the captain, you might be charged for your share of the provisions &mdash; mainly being food, water, and fuel. This is normal, and $10-25 U.S./day is a reasonable fee.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">Here is an article written by a boat owner about <a href="http://www.yachtmollymawk.com/2011/03/hich-hiking-across-the-atlantic/">what <em>not </em>to do when looking for free passage on a boat</a>.&nbsp;Seeing things from the captain's perspective through this article might help you better position your own skills and set the right expectations.</p> <p><strong>Where to Find Accommodations on Boats</strong></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">Here are a number of (mostly free) websites where captains and passengers alike can connect and determine if there's a fit for sailing together:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.findacrew.net">Find a Crew</a>&nbsp;(one of the largest resources)</li> <li><a href="http://www.desperatesailors.com">Desperate Sailors</a> (includes a section for skilled freelancers/tradesmen to advertise their skills for paid work)</li> <li><a href="http://www.7knots.com">7Knots</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.floatplan.com/">The Float Plan</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.latitude38.com/crewlist/cruising/skipper_results.lasso">Latitude 38</a>&nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.crewseekers.co.uk/">Crew Seekers</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>Paid Jobs on Boats</h2> <p>Some of the sites above also cater to people who are looking for paid jobs on boats. These jobs &mdash; and boats &mdash; also vary dramatically.</p> <p><strong>Charter Boats</strong></p> <p>Some sailboat owners make ends meet by opening up their floating home to charter guests. Depending on the arrangement, the guests might be paying for an all-inclusive fully-catered sailing holiday where they have nothing to do but enjoy the view.&nbsp;In this case, the captain might be in need of a host/hostess/cook. This person would be responsible for taking care of guest needs including meal planning and shopping, cooking, and cleaning throughout the week. Depending on the charter, meals can be multi-course affairs with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quick-easy-and-festive-cream-cheese-appetizers">appetizer platters</a> and drinks served through the afternoon. It's always good to clarify the charter's exact needs to ensure you can fill them before you're all stuck on a boat together and realize you're in over your head (so to speak).</p> <p>I had a chance to hostess a very small informal charter through the British Virgin Islands. I enjoyed this experience, which I found through word of mouth (the sailing community is very small, and once you're on one boat, it's easy to meet other captains). When I wasn't cooking or keeping the place tidy, I was swimming and snorkeling with the guests on a different island each day!</p> <p><strong>Mega-Yachts</strong></p> <p>When <a href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2012/02/getting-my-feet-wet-on-a-sailboat-in-st-martin/">I was in St. Martin</a>, the sheer prevalence of mega-yachts in the lagoon was overwhelming. And each yacht needs a crew to keep the boat &mdash; and the guests &mdash; in top shape.</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u290/IMG_2086.jpg" /></p> <p>Unless you're being hired for a boat-specific skill (like captain or engineer), work on mega-yachts is generally easy but onerous. It's comparable to working for a hotel, with a lot of cleaning, polishing, and pandering to guests' needs. The hours are often long, and from what I've heard, it can be a tough slog if you find yourself on the wrong boat. But if you're passionate about the nautical life, it might still be worthwhile. I've met people who love working on yachts, although they'll admit sometimes it takes a few boats to find the right fit.</p> <p><strong>Where to Find Paid Jobs on Boats</strong></p> <p>Many of the sites listed above have resources and sections for paid jobs on boats. But do a simple search for &ldquo;how to get a job on a mega-yacht,&rdquo; and you'll get pages of answers, including sites like these:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.yachtloop.com/">Yacht Loop</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.superyachtjobs.com/jobsearch.asp?hp=Y&amp;submitted=Y&amp;latest=Y&amp;TableOrder=Jobs.DateAdded&amp;Order=DESC">Super Yacht Jobs</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>Warning to Novice Seafarers</h2> <p>Whether you're hitching a ride on a sailboat, working on a mega-yacht, or taking up a position on a smaller boat, a few words of caution are necessary, and although this is directed largely at women, it's good for everybody to consider.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">When you are on a boat, you are living in a very small space, largely at the mercy of the captain. There is no escape if there's tension, whether you find yourself caught in the middle of a family fight or &mdash; worse yet &mdash; if a drunk captain feels like getting frisky or violent.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0cm">There are a lot of dudes who have packed up to live on their boats full-time, and they'd like nothing better than to have a partner to do it with. So be aware of captains who are also looking for love when they're looking for crew; miscommunications can happen.</p> <p>Thus, it's important for <em>both </em>the captain and prospective passenger/crew to get to know one another beforehand (at least through Skype and email) and to be very forthright about expectations.</p> <p>By no means are all boat owners like this; I met so many amazing people in the cruising world &mdash; people who I continue to stay in touch with and who have offered up a cabin on their boat any time. The boating community is a very small one, so the bad seeds tend to get bad reputations before long.</p> <h2>The Cruising Life</h2> <p>Some of the things I loved about the cruising life are how sociable it is, how easy it is to meet people, how mobile it is (duh!), and how lovely it is to hop on a dingy and enjoy &ldquo;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-save-money-at-the-bars">happy hour</a>&rdquo; on shore, meeting other like-minded people from all over the world.</p> <p>I feel like I've somehow pulled off a coup by having found free accommodations (and even a paid gig) to live on sailboats throughout the Caribbean for two months. Pinch me!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap">How to Host a Traveler: 13 Tips to Keep it Safe, Easy, and Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-do-the-chinese-spend-money-on">What Do the Chinese Spend Money On?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-make-a-hotel-feel-like-home">5 Simple Ways to Make a Hotel Feel Like Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting Lifestyle Travel adventure travel couch surfing housing sailing temporary work Thu, 10 May 2012 09:48:20 +0000 Nora Dunn 927930 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Hidden Costs of Buying a House http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hidden-costs-of-buying-a-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-hidden-costs-of-buying-a-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bigstock_Couple_Buying_House_4574433-1.jpg" alt="Hidden Costs of Buying a House" title="Hidden Costs of Buying a House" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on the hidden costs of buying a house, vacations to take when your budget is low, and alternatives to traditional gift-wrapping.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thousandaire.com/blog/the-hidden-costs-of-buying-a-house/">The Hidden Costs of Buying a House</a> &mdash; One of the hidden costs of buying a house you might overlook are the closing costs. [Thousandaire]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Cheap-Vacation-Ideas-20531368">5 Vacations to Take When Your Budget Is Low</a> &mdash; Want to take a cheap vacation even when your budget is low? Consider going to a winery. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.creditkarma.com/credit-scores/do-you-know-what&rsquo;s-not-in-your-credit-score/">Do You Know What's NOT In Your Credit Score?</a> &mdash; Things such as age and interest rates are not included in your credit score. [Credit Karma Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/11/22/that&rsquo;s-a-wrap-some-alternatives-to-traditional-gift-wrapping/">That's a Wrap: Some Alternatives to Traditional Gift-Wrapping</a> &mdash; Instead of purchasing wrapping paper, consider wrapping gifts in old maps. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2011/11/22/the-unemployment-plan/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thesimpledollar+%28The+Simple+Dollar%29">The Unemployment Plan</a> &mdash; If you are unemployed, be sure to investigate COBRA and build up your emergency fund. [The Simple Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2011/11/23/8-tips-for-turning-your-nest-egg-into-retirement-income/">8 Tips for Turning Your Nest Egg Into Retirement Income</a> &mdash; To turn your nest egg into retirement income, try to not withdraw too much of your portfolio. [Forbes]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/signs-of-a-bad-investment/">7 Signs of a Bad Investment</a> &mdash; If you only have a limited time to get in on an investment, it's probably a bad investment. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.financialwoman.com/6-steps-for-a-financial-health-checkup?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FinancialWoman+%28Financial+Woman%29">6 Steps for a Financial Health Check Up</a> &mdash; Give yourself a financial health check up by looking at what you spent money on in 2011. [Financial Woman]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/a-7-day-plan-to-preparing-your-home-for-holiday-guests">Parenting Squad Holiday Guide: A 7-Day to Prepare Your Home for Guests</a> &mdash; Prepare for home guests by dusting the entire house before the arrive. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.theopenappcenter.com/improve-cash-flow/essential-tools-maximize-cash-flow/?intlink=us-apfuel-hpcontentarticlecashflowmax">Essential Tools to Maximize Cash Flow</a> -- When calculating your cash flow, make sure you account for variable expenses. [American Express OPEN Forum]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2011/10/wise-bread-tweetchat-wbchat-2">Wise Bread Tweetchat (#WBChat)</a> &mdash; Don't miss our weekly tweetchat at 12pm PST! We will be giving away prizes and talking about Thanksgiving and Black Friday!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hidden-costs-of-buying-a-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable">Low Interest Rates Do Not Make Homes Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-buying-a-home-the-missing-manual">Book Review - Buying a Home: The Missing Manual</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing best money tips house housing Thu, 24 Nov 2011 11:00:43 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 798282 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Live in a Big City on a Small-Town Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-in-a-big-city-on-a-small-town-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-live-in-a-big-city-on-a-small-town-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2143600908_65f05aaebd_z.jpg" alt="Times Square" title="Times Square" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="186" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many young professionals and recent college grads dream of moving to the big city. Big cities offer excitement, culture, and activities that are hard to match in smaller locales. Plus, there are oodles of other young people to meet for the single set. But big cities are also known for their high cost of living, and if you don't have an equally high salary (something that is hard to come by in the current economy), you may have a hard time living your dreams. However, even with higher prices, you can get by in a big city with these helpful tips:</p> <h3>Choose your city wisely</h3> <p>You may dream of New York, L.A., or San Francisco, but there are many other big cities that offer the culture and entertainment benefits of these metropolises for less &mdash; especially if you are willing to venture away from the coasts. Chicago is a great example. As the third-largest city in America, it offers the amenities of its rivals at a fraction of the living expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/city-shopping-finding-your-new-frugal-home" title="City Shopping: Finding Your New Frugal Home">City Shopping: Finding Your New Frugal Home</a>)</p> <h3>Get a roommate (or two or three)</h3> <p>You&rsquo;ll save a ton on rent and utilities. Also, 2+ bedroom rentals are much less in demand in many big cities, since young singles often opt for their own places. You&rsquo;ll get a bigger, nicer place and for much less. Plus, it can be fun to hang out with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-good-roommate-relationship" title="How to Have a Good Roommate Relationship">roommates</a> &mdash; just make sure you live with like-minded people.</p> <h3>Pick an inexpensive neighborhood</h3> <p>Some neighborhoods that are a bit off the beaten path can be great places to live and save. Look for where the artistic/creative set is flocking to, and follow. However, make sure you feel safe in the neighborhood. You don&rsquo;t want to end up somewhere you are afraid to leave your apartment.</p> <h3>Ditch the car</h3> <p>You don't need a car in most cities. Use public transit, bike, or walk. If you have to have a car, remember to get something older, since you will likely need to park on the street, and dents and scratches are common. Or, look into car share services like <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-11220075">ZipCar</a> for short trips and shopping.</p> <h3>Save on restaurants and events</h3> <p>Restaurants and events are one of the big appeals of living in a large city, and while budgeting is great, sometimes you need to splurge. Save on dinners out by using sites like <a href="http://www.restaurant.com/">Restaurant.com</a> or <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10817658">Groupon</a> to buy gift certificates. Also, consider BYOBs that allow you to bring your own drinks and save. Groupon and <a href="http://www.livingsocial.com/">Living Social</a> can also be great places to save on tickets to shows and sporting events or other activities like yoga and rock climbing.</p> <h3>Share the groceries</h3> <p>Consider ethnic stands for buying produce and organize trips to the &quot;burbs&quot; to stock up on non-perishables with your friends. Split the cost of a warehouse membership, buy in bulk, and divide essentials to help save.</p> <h3>Host your own parties and get-togethers</h3> <p>Stay away from expensive social gatherings at bars and restaurants by hosting your own parties and get-togethers. Ask friends to bring their own refreshments or food. Plus, you&rsquo;ll be known as a planner/connector, a great way to boost your social life.</p> <h3>Shop at thrift stores</h3> <p>This is a no-brainer, but a lot of big cities have great thrift stores where you can find clothes, appliances, and furniture. With large populations, these stores frequently get new items. Plus, the retro look is in, and you'll look cool in your young hipster neighborhood.</p> <h3>Forget the gym</h3> <p>Big city gyms can be expensive. Take advantage of city parks and limited urban sprawl. Walking or biking to work and errands can keep you in as good shape as a gym. Or check out the Y, which offers discounted memberships, and consider splitting a membership with a roommate or significant other.</p> <h3>Use the library</h3> <p>Most big cities have extensive library networks to rent movies, books, and even music. They also generally offer free Wi-Fi to help you save on Internet.</p> <p>These are just some ways to help you fulfill your dreams of the bright lights in the big city without bankrupting your future. Saving money is important, but so is living your life.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Jesse Lynch. Jesse is a Chicago-based marketing professional and freelance writer. When not plotting ways to save money, he writes for his food blog <a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fastfoodreviewed.com&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHBAUBShaX79wIma26u8XecRzQrWA">Fast Food Reviewed</a> and his <a href="http://www.jessemlynch.com/">personal blog</a>. Read more by Jesse:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_5716102_advertising.html">How to Get Into Advertising</a></li> <li><a href="http://fastfoodreviewed.com/in-n-out-vs-five-guys/">East Coast vs. West Coast Burger Throw Down. In-N-Out Burger vs. Five Guys Burgers and Fries</a></li> <li><a href="http://fastfoodreviewed.com/burger-wars-burger-kings-1-double-cheese-burger-vs-mcdonalds-mcdouble-throw-down/">Burger Wars! Burger King&rsquo;s $1 Double Cheeseburger vs. McDonald&rsquo;s McDouble Throw Down</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jesse-lynch">Jesse Lynch</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-live-in-a-big-city-on-a-small-town-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-do-the-chinese-spend-money-on">What Do the Chinese Spend Money On?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-items-city-dwelling-dudes-should-keep-in-their-bags">9 Items City-Dwelling Dudes Should Keep in Their Bags</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-speculative-bubble-and-profit">How to create a speculative bubble and profit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle car sharing city life housing Thu, 04 Nov 2010 14:00:08 +0000 Jesse Lynch 280245 at http://www.wisebread.com Low Interest Rates Do Not Make Homes Affordable http://www.wisebread.com/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2683703739_818b785616.jpg" alt="real estate signs" title="real estate signs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does the sales price of your home matter if the mortgage rate is low enough?</p> <p>If you ever thought about buying a home, the recent all-time low mortgage rates must be enticing. And this is exactly how the government wants everybody to feel, by the way. In an effort to keep homes affordable (as they claim), the federal reserve is driving down interest rates to record lows. But is what they are doing helping? Let's take a look.</p> <p>Just a short couple of years ago, interest rates were at 6 percent. For a $300,000 mortgage, the payment would have been $1798.65 a month. With the interest rate at 4.5 percent, the monthly payment drops to $1520.06. So far so good, because it costs us less to own our home.</p> <p>But wait a minute.</p> <p>Most people don't just refinance and lower their payment. These days, with rates at 4.5 percent, roughly the same monthly payment ($1798.73, to be exact) could get you a $355,000 mortgage. So what do people do? Instead of buying a $350,000 home with their down payment and loan approval letter, they shop for a $400,000 home. And who can blame them? An extra $50,000 almost always gets them a nicer place. Sometimes, it would actually allow them to pay more for a house than they otherwise would.</p> <p>For example, they might have been able to get the house for $350,000 if they tell the seller that the offer is all they are approved for, but if a buyer can muster up $400,000, he might end up offering $360,000. Same house, higher transaction price. Having a lower interest rate also allows more people to qualify for a home. This is a good thing for someone who couldn't afford the payment before, but it drives prices higher because of more demand, ultimately lowering affordability for everybody.</p> <p>In other words, lowering interest rates gets more people thinking about buying a home and drives up demand. Most of the time, that's a noble and worthwhile goal, since home ownership is still a dream of many. But as you've witnessed in the last decade, allowing more people to own homes mindlessly is just reckless. What we really need to do is make homes affordable so financially responsible people can actually afford the payments, which is only achievable through lower home prices.</p> <p>I'm a homeowner too, so the selfish side of me is thinking that high-priced homes are good. But for the economy to grow and our country to be a place people want to be in the future, nice homes need to be affordable without government intervention. Unaffordable home prices will never get us there. Please allow homes to be affordable again for the hard-working American.</p> <p><em>Related articles from MoneyNing:</em></p> <ul> <li><em>How to Recast Your Mortgage</em></li> <li><em>First Time Home Buyer Tips and Guide</em></li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions">Is It the End of 6% Real Estate Commissions?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-buying-a-home-the-missing-manual">Book Review - Buying a Home: The Missing Manual</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-can-you-stay-in-your-home-after-you-stop-paying-the-mortgage">How Long Can You Stay in Your Home After You Stop Paying the Mortgage?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/need-cheap-or-free-construction-materials-go-to-a-demolished-housing-development">Need cheap or free construction materials? Go to a demolished housing development.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Real Estate and Housing buying a home government home ownership housing interest rate mortgage real estate Wed, 04 Aug 2010 17:00:31 +0000 David Ning 196125 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review - Buying a Home: The Missing Manual http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-buying-a-home-the-missing-manual <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-buying-a-home-the-missing-manual" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/buyinghome.jpg" alt="Buying a Home: The Missing Manual" title="Buying a Home: The Missing Manual" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Housing prices have dropped all across America in the past couple years, and more people are looking into buying a property instead of renting. If you are an eager house hunter and do not know where to start then <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/144937977X?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=stuffies-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=144937977X"><em>Buying a Home: The Missing Manual by Nancy Conner</em></a>(affliliate link) is the book for you.</p> <p>The book is separated into four sections. The first is <strong>Preparing for Home Ownership</strong>. This section discusses the pros and cons of buying a home, and the financial implications of being a homeowner. In this section the author also gives some good tips on improving your credit and lowering debt so that it would be more likely that you will get a loan.</p> <p>The second is <strong>Finding Your Home</strong>. This section zeroes into the house hunting portion of the home search. It included a good chart of common euphemisms real estate agents use to make properties sound better than they are. For example, &quot;jewel box&quot; and &quot;cozy&quot; both mean that the house is very small. This section also talks about finding a real estate agent and other professionals that would help with the home search.</p> <p>The third section is <strong>Financing Your Home</strong>. This section is important to any home buyer because it discusses the different types of mortgages and closing costs with real numbers and examples. If you could fully absorb this section of the book then you would have a good idea of what to expect on your loan and closing documents. This section may be a little overwhelming to read for those who do not regularly deal with numbers, but it is very important to understand the loan you are getting into before signing the dotted line. The book also goes over the HUD statement so that a potential home buyer knows what the fees are.</p> <p>The final section is <strong>Negotiating and Closing the Deal</strong>. This portion discusses what to offer for a home, and how buyers can negotiate with sellers on issues beyond price. For example, buyers could ask sellers to cover a part of closing costs. The book also discusses how inspections work and what happens if things go wrong.</p> <p>I really liked this book for its straightforward and informative writing style. I also liked that the book was very comprehensive and covers the entire home buying process from beginning to end. When my husband and I purchased his parents' house I did a lot of research on my own and it took a lot of time to gather all the information that was covered in this book. I could have saved a lot of time if I had this book. One word of warning is that this book is definitely targeted towards American home buyers because the laws and procedures mentioned do not necessarily apply to other countries. However, the general advice on preparing for home ownership and negotiation are useful for any house hunter.</p> <p>Finally, the book also has a <a href="http://missingmanuals.com/">companion website</a> where readers can get updates to the book. Another book in the Missing Manual series called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-your-money-the-missing-manual"><em>Your Money: The Missing Manual&quot;</em></a> was recently reviewed by Philip Brewer.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book and the post contains an affiliate link.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-buying-a-home-the-missing-manual">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/low-interest-rates-do-not-make-homes-affordable">Low Interest Rates Do Not Make Homes Affordable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-estate-appraisals-ten-things-most-people-just-dont-understand-about-them">Real Estate Appraisals - Ten things most people just don&#039;t understand about them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/need-cheap-or-free-construction-materials-go-to-a-demolished-housing-development">Need cheap or free construction materials? Go to a demolished housing development.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions">Is It the End of 6% Real Estate Commissions?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing book review buying a home housing real estate Fri, 21 May 2010 19:57:52 +0000 Xin Lu 92320 at http://www.wisebread.com 2010 Predictions from Wall Street and Main Street: Who's Smarter? http://www.wisebread.com/2010-predictions-from-wall-street-and-main-street-whos-smarter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/2010-predictions-from-wall-street-and-main-street-whos-smarter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/New Years Eve.JPG" alt="New Year&#039;s Eve" title="Time&#039;s Square on New Year&#039;s Eve" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again: everybody who's anybody sits in front of a camera and gives predictions on the year ahead. But just how smart are these &quot;experts&quot;? We do more than give them air time; we go back and see just how smart they are by comparing previous-year predictions with what actually happened.</p> <p>Every December for the last five years <a href="http://moneytalksnews.com">Money Talks News</a> has hooked up with David Wyss, the chief economist for giant research firm <a href="http://www.standardandpoors.com">Standard &amp; Poors</a>. We sit him down in a studio and ask him what changes he expects for the coming year in three critical consumer categories: stocks, housing and oil.</p> <p>But then we do something else: we go out, hit the streets and ask the same questions of the first three people we can find willing to talk to us on camera. The idea behind this little experiment is to see if the high-priced experts on Wall Street are really any smarter than a random stranger on the sidewalk. You might be surprised at the results. Watch the following 90-second story and see how Main Street compared to Wall Street with predictions for 2009 and who got it right. Then we&rsquo;ll get to the predictions for 2010.</p> <h3>How Smart Were They? Predictions from 2009</h3> <div class="video">&nbsp;</div> <p><embed width="480" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" src="http://blip.tv/play/kjqBuvhOAg%2Em4v" allowscriptaccess="always" height="300"></embed></p> <p>The first (maybe not so) surprising thing we learned from that story is that when it came to predicting what would happen in 2009, random strangers on the sidewalk gave pretty much identical answers as one of the most experienced economists on Wall Street. And as far as accuracy? Both David Wyss and our people on the street did a decent job of predicting how the year would go for stocks, housing and oil prices, but none hit the nail on the head.</p> <p>Consider this part of David Wyss&rsquo;s comment on stocks:</p> <blockquote><p>We're close to a bottom now, and I think we've probably hit the worse point already.</p></blockquote> <p>When he said that in mid-December of 2008, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 8,700, and that&rsquo;s pretty much where it finished the year. But was it the worse point? Hardly. Several months after he made this prediction the Dow bottomed at 6,440 so it fell an additional 26%. From there it bounced back, however, to end the year at 10,428 for a calendar-year gain of about 19%. That makes his prediction of 10-15% gains look pretty good. But had he said not to invest at all until the market bottom in March, we could be up 62%.</p> <p>Of course, nobody can accurately predict a market bottom no matter how smart they are. But it&rsquo;s interesting to note that Wall Street predictions were no more clairvoyant than yours when it came to predicting the direction of stocks last year. Ditto for our other categories. Wyss&rsquo;s predictions weren&rsquo;t far off, but then neither were sidewalk amateurs. Oil was around $75/barrel when I got my predictions on tape in mid-December. It ended the year closer to $80, which makes Wall Street&rsquo;s and Main Street&rsquo;s prediction of $90 not that far off the mark. Ditto with housing: both professional and amateur guesses of a 10% decline were pretty close to the 8% drop we actually experienced. But 2009 is now behind us: what&rsquo;s in store for this year? Here&rsquo;s the story we shot in mid-December 2009 with predictions for 2010.</p> <h3>How Smart Are They? Predictions for 2010</h3> <div class="video">&nbsp;</div> <p><embed width="480" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" src="http://blip.tv/play/kjqBu6ggAg%2Em4v" allowscriptaccess="always" height="300"></embed></p> <p>This year Wall Street and Main Street gave different answers. Our Wall Street economist was much more optimistic. Wyss said stocks would rise 12%, and our woman on the street said down 10%. On oil, both Wall Street and Main Street are looking for an increase: Wall Street says $80 per barrel (about where it is right now) and Main Street says between $85 and $90. On housing, our expert was kind of vague, saying only that we might have a bit more decline ahead, but for the year we&rsquo;d be up. Our more pessimistic man on the street said down another 10%.</p> <p>We&rsquo;ll be continuing our tradition by comparing predictions to reality at this time next year &mdash; stay tuned. But I&rsquo;ll leave you with a tidbit of knowledge gained from 10 years as a stock broker, 20 as a money reporter, and 30 as an investor: The only thing accurately predictable is that our world is unpredictable. That&rsquo;s why I keep some money in the market and some on the sidelines at all times. I own some oil stocks because they&rsquo;re likely to go up if oil does, offsetting some of the pain of higher gas prices. I regard my home as simply the place where I live, not an investment. And I try to live like I&rsquo;m going to die tomorrow, but invest like I&rsquo;m going to live forever. I also keep my debt to a minimum. That's why I just published <a href="http://moneytalksnews.com/store">Life or Debt 2010</a>. Check it out!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stacy-johnson">Stacy Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2010-predictions-from-wall-street-and-main-street-whos-smarter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-invest-with-these-5-stock-market-games">Learn How to Invest With These 5 Stock Market Games</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-financial-news-sites-for-investors-in-a-hurry">The 6 Best Financial News Sites for Investors in a Hurry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sobering-facts-about-the-stock-market">6 Sobering Facts About the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-cares-about-where-the-stock-market-is-headed">Who Cares About Where The Stock Market Is Headed?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-to-invest-in-during-the-holidays">10 Stocks to Invest in During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment gas prices housing stock market Sun, 10 Jan 2010 22:00:02 +0000 Stacy Johnson 4481 at http://www.wisebread.com $8000 housing tax credit can now be turned into cash at closing according to FHA http://www.wisebread.com/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fhahomeloans.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>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 supposed to be given to the taxpayer after they file their 2009 taxes in 2010, but it seems that a new set of FHA&nbsp;guidelines is allowing many to take the money during closing.&nbsp; Here are some of the details.</p> <p>First, to qualify for this tax credit you must not have owned a principal residence during the previous three years.&nbsp; However, if you own a second home or rental it is okay.&nbsp; Your household income also cannot exceed $95,000 for singles and $170,000 for married couples filing jointly. You also have to close on your new home by November 30th, 2009.</p> <p>The FHA's new &quot;tax credit monetization&quot; program allows many state housing finance agencies to provide second mortgages in the amount of the tax credit so that the borrowers can use the money towards the required 3.5% downpayment for FHA loans.&nbsp; These second mortgages are usually low interest and have very short terms.<br /> &nbsp;To check if your state's housing finance agency is participating in this monetization you <a href="http://www.ncsha.org/section.cfm/3/34/2920">can go to this website</a> and then contact your local agency if there is a program you qualify for.&nbsp;&nbsp; Essentially this is a form of downpayment assistance by the state government.&nbsp; You do have to pay the money back to your state based on the terms of the second mortgage.&nbsp; </p> <p>If your state's housing finance agency is not participating in the monetization program it is still possible for an FHA approved lender to give you a cash advance towards your tax credit.&nbsp; However, this cash advance cannot be used towards the 3.5% FHA downpayment requirement, but you can use the money to add to the downpayment, buy down interest, or pay any other type of settlement fees.&nbsp; The lenders will charge a fee for advancing you the money, but the FHA is limiting the fee to 2.5% of the tax credit.&nbsp; This means that the most a borrower would pay for the entire $8000 advance is $200.</p> <p>I think this program could be very advantageous to people who can responsibly afford a home's monthly payments, but just do not have enough money saved up and cannot possibly save up $8000 in the next 5 months.&nbsp; This especially makes sense in areas where home prices are not very high and a mortgage would cost less than rent after accounting for the &quot;free&quot; $8000.&nbsp; In markets like the Bay Area or Manhattan where $8000 would barely make a dent in the price of the home it makes less sense to take a loan against the tax credit.&nbsp; Additionally, in rapidly declining markets like Florida and Nevada a home might be worth a lot less in a few months anyway so there is no hurry to buy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Are you taking advantage of the credit? Why or why not?&nbsp; Do you think the government is irresponsible in doling out this credit?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8000-housing-tax-credit-can-now-be-turned-into-cash-at-closing-according-to-fha">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/more-tax-credits-coming-for-homebuyers">More Tax Credits Coming for Homebuyers?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-your-city-go-bankrupt">Could Your City Go Bankrupt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect you?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-45-mortgage-rates-jumpstart-the-housing-market">Will 4.5% mortgage rates jumpstart the housing market?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs Real Estate and Housing Taxes housing money real estate tax credit Wed, 10 Jun 2009 04:38:28 +0000 Xin Lu 3249 at http://www.wisebread.com Should you try to reduce your rent? http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/forrent.jpg" alt="for rent sign" title="For Rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Lately it seems that rent prices have been dropping in many areas of the country.&nbsp; Here in San Mateo some residential apartments <a href="http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/San-Mateo-County-tenants-have-reason-to-smile-46866122.html">are dropping prices as much as 20%</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp; This seemed a bit unbelievable until I looked on Craigslist and found that a specific apartment my husband and I looked at around two years ago actually dropped its price by $300 a month from $1699 to $1399 a month.&nbsp; With our lease expiring soon, I wonder if we should move or try to negotiate a lower rent.</p> <p>My husband and I both do not like moving because it takes a lot of time&nbsp; to look for a new place.&nbsp; There is also the cost of renting transportation and the general headache of carrying everything. However, if the discounts are large enough it might be worth the cost. &nbsp;&nbsp; Although occupancy rates are still quite high in San Mateo county I am seeing many similar nearby units for rent on Craigslist for anywhere from $150 to $300 less than our condo.&nbsp; It definitely seems that we are paying too much for what we are getting.&nbsp; If we are able to sign a new lease for $300 less a month for a comparable rental then it might be worth the hassle of moving.</p> <p> Another option is to just ask our landlord for a discount. A few months ago <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/wallet/2009/02/09/how-to-reduce-your-rent/ ">a Wall Street Journal blog post</a> showed how a simple letter detailing the declining of the rental market in Manhattan allowed the author to reduce her rent by $300 a month.&nbsp; I think this would probably work well for any good renter&nbsp; in a declining rental market since it would hurt the landlord quite a bit to leave an unit empty for a couple months.&nbsp; For example, if my landlord gave us a discount of $100 a month then he would be losing $1200 in a year, but he would lose $1700 a month if we moved out.</p> <p>I think the important thing is to craft a letter that incorporates evidence that the rental market is declining.&nbsp; It also helps your case if you are consistent on your rent payments.&nbsp; This probably would not work in areas where rental markets are still quite active, but I think&nbsp; it is still possible to negotiate a lower rental rate for a longer term lease.&nbsp; In general month to month leases are the most expensive, and leases that are a year or longer could provide a discount.</p> <p>Anyway, right now my husband and I decided to just write a letter to our landlord requesting a discount.&nbsp; I will probably enclose some of the cheaper listings I have found recently.&nbsp; I do not expect that I would get a $300 a month discount, but I would definitely be happy with a discount of $50 to $150 a month.&nbsp; That discount would add up handsomely over a yearly lease.&nbsp;&nbsp; The largest expense in most of our lives is housing, so I think it makes sense to try to reduce that cost if possible.&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Have any of you tried to ask for a rent reduction this year ? Have you moved recently due to large rent drops in your area?&nbsp; Feel free to share!</strong></em></p> <p>Update:&nbsp; I got $75 off per month on my rent after simply asking my landlord.&nbsp; We signed a new 1 year lease, and this would save us $900 over the year.&nbsp; <br /> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-live-rent-free">5 Simple Ways to Live Rent-Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints">Seller Funded Down Payment Assistance Charities - Scammers or Saints?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-does-the-fannie-mae-and-freddie-mac-bailout-affect-you">How does the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout affect you?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Real Estate and Housing bargaining housing rent Tue, 09 Jun 2009 00:22:38 +0000 Xin Lu 3242 at http://www.wisebread.com