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 craigslist.com, 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.
When it comes to heating, some of us use natural gas, others heating oil, there are homes powered with the sun and a few folks are lucky enough to heat with geothermal energy.
Last week, I mentioned several ways to decrease the cost of going out to eat – if you must eat out. Of course, I neglected to mention the #1 way to hold down restaurant costs: get someone else to pay. I suppose some of you might be better at that than others . . .
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Mrs. Stew, the brood and I are on the road this week. In fact, by this time next week, I personally will have driven 3,500 miles in the previous ten days. I have doing a lot of thinking about frugal travel.
I did not own my own car until my parents bought me a 1989 Nissan Sentra just before my junior year of college. The car needed some work, but once the engine was overhauled, it reliably hauled me all over. The car had over 100,000 miles when I became the owner and I don’t think that I put more than $1,000 into it in the five years that I had it.
I went into the bank the other day to see if I should refinance our car loan. I have really outstanding credit and I wondered if I could parley that into a lower interest rate, shorter term or lower payment. Turns out that I could do all three, but I did not do it after I saw the numbers.
Original loan principle: $17,490
Interest rate: 8.01% Total term: 72 months
Monthly payment: $306 Total P and I: $22,085
Total interest paid over the life of the loan: $4,595
Every once in a while, I take a minute to sit back and think about life before some of the technology that we have today. I mean, I am not that old, but I can remember writing papers for college courses with an electric typewriter – some teachers were still accepting handwritten assignments. Our dormitory that housed seventy-five people had one pay phone for the entire building. I called home about once every two weeks. Then it was car phones, cell phones, mobile phones, texting . . .
I set out to write a post about how to get the best deal on air travel. My list consisted of the following:
- Book travel as far in advance as possible.
- Use an air travel aggregator site.
- Get an airline “miles” credit card.
- Look for airlines that feature child fares.
That is a pretty good list, not too much wrong with it, but most of you knew all of that already.
If our financial situation ever worsened to the point where had to cut every single unnecessary expense, coffee would be the last thing to go. There is something about that black, bitter brew that just keeps me coming back for more. And I am not picky about my java, if I listed all of the places and formats and temperatures at which I had consumed the beverage, this post would start to sound like a Dr. Seuss poem. I drink gas station coffee, truck stop coffee, bank lobby coffee . . . I would drink it in a box, I would drink it with a fox, I would drink it in a house, I would drink it with a mouse . . . As a result, I am always on the lookout for a cheaper way to get coffee for less.
Last week, I attended an Economic Conference about the global stock market. The economist pointed out that most Americans started saving again instead of spending away all their money. I was happy to see that the population has finally realized the impact of saving money towards achieving their goals instead of borrowing money on their home to pay off their credit cards. This is a huge step to gain control of your personal finance.
Back in early 2008, there was a review of SmartyPig done in this blog (you can read the Smarty Pig Review here). Since we have now arrived at a time to save money, I started looking for the best interest rates in savings’ accounts.