Archive for February, 2011

3 types of rental scams on craigslist

I like Craigslist and both Mrs. Stew and I buy and sell frequently on the sight. Sometimes we do well . . . other times not so well, but I still heartily recommend this mostly free website. It is the modern-day equivalent of the yard sale, except Craiglist probably brings more eyes than telephone pole signs and balloons tied to the mailbox.

Over the past few months, we have been looking for a new place to rent. There are so many websites to choose from when looking for a home to buy or rent that it is impossible to keep up with all of them, so we focused on Craigslist. We were quickly exposed to the usual Craigslist scams and quickly learned to spot them. Here are three types of rental property scams that we observed:

Lessons from Luke: no shirt, no staff, no money

Another edition of our ongoing series entitled, Lessons from Luke.  Since the Gospel of Luke was most likely written to a man of means, a man by the name of Theophilus, Luke spends much of the book discussing the issues of wealth and money. Here at Gather Little by Little, we have been systematically moving through the book in an attempt to survey all of the various statements about money that it contains. Several weeks ago, we discussed the story of the Matthew the Tax Collector. Our passage today comes from Luke 9:1-5:

Do you spend money without a plan?

Why are personal finance professionals so focused on budgets? Because a budget is a plan for spending money, a written record of spending and the consequences of that spending. A budget provides accountability for the money that flows in and the money that flows out.

One of the worst financial habits that a person can have is the habit of spending money without a plan. This is the reason why credit cards can be such a trap – it is so easy to spend a couple of extra dollars every time that piece of plastic gets run through the machine. If I go shopping with $10 cash in my pocket, I can only spend that $10. If I go to the store intending to spend $10, I often walk out having spent $11.40 or $12.75 or even $15.38 without really thinking about it.

7 Financial Habits of Immigrants

I recently heard someone refer to a multi-family living arrangement as, “that’s what Mexican’s do”. I think that the comment was intended as a slight. Even if it was not, it was clear that the speaker thought a particular life choice was something that he would not consider. What he did not realize is that in a world drowning in debt, many Hispanics have figured out some of the secrets to achieving financial freedom without credit.

Is military service a good way to pay off student loans?

People who speak often or write a lot in the public arena sometimes make mistakes and leave themselves open to criticism. That has happened to me a couple of times on this blog and it will probably happen again. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article responding to a question about college loan payoffs. If you read down to the comments, you will see where a regular reader who goes by the moniker, “Damsel” shared how her husband’s military service has been good for their family finances.

My response, a hastily typed comment via my Blackberry, came across as rather flip:

Anatomy of a Craigslist scam

As many of you know, Mrs. Stew and I have been looking for another place to rent. We are not in a hurry, but we are consistently checking the ads to see what is available in our price range. In the course of looking on, we have happened upon some fishy offers, including one scam. I figured out that it was a scam pretty quickly, but I emailed the scammer for a bit just for kicks. I thought that readers might be interested in reading the responses from the con artist.

Avoid spending money while “on tilt”

For those of you who watch professional poker or even play the game once in a while, you understand when a player is “on tilt”. Tilt is when a poker player is making decisions with emotion and not playing according to a disciplined strategy. Being on tilt is usually the result of an emotional reaction to the events of the game. A poker player who is on tilt can often be taken advantage of by the other players and if he does not get control of his emotions, his continued presence in the game is at risk.