Monthly Archive: May 2014

29

Do You Really Need That? Don’t Be Owned By Your Stuff!

Stuff is the lifeblood of the American Dream, apparently. Our culture inundates with the clarion call to buy, to spend. Whether we NEED the proffered product is a secondary, if not tertiary, purchasing determinant. I fail to understand this seemingly unique-to-Americans drive to consumption. People buy material goods they don’t need in order to fill houses that are too big and then feel pressure to move to ever-larger houses in order to perpetuate the cycle. And then there’s an entire industry...

10

Are You Bored?

“Aren’t you bored not spending money? I mean, what do you DO?” I get this a lot yet I’m shocked every time. Shocked I tell you. No, we are not bored! We do not need to spend money to enjoy our lives! On the contrary, it’s freeing. You should try it. We don’t worry about “keeping up” or “competing” over material goods. We just don’t play that way. We never fight about money. For realsies. We don’t fret about money–we know...

39

Frugal Hound Costs $930.35 Annually

Pets are costly and while the most frugal option is not to have a critter at all, Frugal Hound (a rescued retired racing greyhound) brings so much joy to our lives and is well worth the expense. Though we love her dearly, we see no reason to spend serious dough; we care for her in a frugal, compassionate way. We believe in preventative healthcare and no spending on pet frivolities… yet, she still costs almost a thousand bucks...

13

What does it take to get a mortgage these days?

Several people in my office are thinking about buying a home and since I’m known as the resident real estate nerd, they’ve started asking me what they should do to prepare. I always start with finances–in my experience, that’s where people are most likely to get tripped up. Borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars is complicated — and it should be! It’s not for everyone. It’s essential for potential home buyers to understand their finances and how...

8

I’m Frugal, Should I Get A Pet?

NO! Just kidding, pets rock. They’re wonderful and often hilarious little additions to our lives, but they’re not free. Owning a pet is a serious financial undertaking and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. While I’m obviously in favor, I’m a cautious and contingent proponent. Any pet is going to impact your monthly savings rate and should be considered a budget line item. It’s a hard truth, but, you’re going to save less money with a pet in your...

11

7 Reasons Condos Can Be a Bad Investment

Condos can look enticing. In hot real estate markets, they may appear more affordable than traditional homes. But there’s a lot not to like about condos. If you’re considering purchasing a condo, here are a seven things to look out for: Condo Fees: Any condo is going to have a fee. Usually this is referred to as a Home Owners Association (HOA) fee on the MLS listing. Make sure to factor this fee into your monthly payment calculations....

46

Why Did We Buy Our House?

Buying a house is falling out of fashion in the Financial Independence and Early Retirement community. Not “Green Polyester Leisure Suit” out of fashion, more “Cherry Cabinets and Ornamental Backsplash” out of fashion. The oft-cited, and extensively researched, post on the matter is the awesome and amazing JCollinsNH’s “Rent v. Owning Your Home, opportunity cost and running some numbers.” If you haven’t read it, you should. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I weighed in with my own “Should...

27

Eat ALL the Things!

Yes, this is an homage to Hyperbole and a Half, possibly the most humorous blog. Ever. But back to the topic at hand: EATING! As part of our Uber Frugal Month experiment, Mr. Frugalwoods and I challenged ourselves to eat the backlog of food in our home. We’re not over-buyers by our very frugal nature, but we still had quite the collection of unique foodstuffs. All that bulk grocery shopping can sometimes come back to bite...

Rent Or buy? Housing options. 9

Is buying better than renting?

One of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make is whether to buy or rent your home. This decision can feel more important than mere numbers and ratios. After all, most realtors will quickly whisper in your ear “it’s not a house, it’s a home!” Once you’re settled in a career and have some money in the bank, the idea of renting quickly becomes less appealing. Moving every few years is a pain, landlords raise rent, and you’ve always wanted...

19

How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets: Part 2

Howdy! If you haven’t read Part 1, you’ll want to do that first. Step 12: Prep your primer (and later, your paint). Pour a small amount of paint into a personal paint cup/old plastic container. Don’t dip your brush into the gallon because it might contaminate the whole supply–eek! With a personal paint cup, if you get debris on your paint brush, you’ll only ruin a small amount of paint. Use a hammer and nail to punch small...