Also, if you’re considering the outsourcing of lawn maintenance duties, there’s reason to mow it yourself beyond the cost considerations. Some, in fact, might argue that you should make the chore as exhaustive as possible.
4 personal finance tips from Barack Obama. The best financial advice tends to be classic and straightforward, if on the boring side. At a personal finance summit this week, President Obama offered a few tips of his own, including:
“Save a little bit out of whatever you earn, and the magic of compounding interest applies.” This one came from his grandmother, who worked her way up from secretary to a bank vice-president, Obama said.
5 items that cost under $100 and will greatly increase your quality of life. Inspired by a Reddit discussion that drew nearly 10,000 comments (so far), this blogger offered his own list, which includes:
Curved shower curtain bar. I totally stole this one from the reddit post, but it couldn’t be more true. Nothing is grosser than having the wet shower curtain lining graze against my body as I try and clean the dirt between my toes. I’m not supposed to feel dirtier by showering, but a standard shower bar makes me feel just that.
5 reasons to mow your own lawn. Other than the obvious (the grass is nearly waist high), a health writer suggests mowing as a form of exercise. Ride-on mowers don’t count, and the old-school approach provides the best workout (though it may also provide the most frustration):
A gasoline- or electric-powered mower gives you a moderate workout. To maximize the benefits, choose a model without the self-propelled feature. Even better, pick an old-fashioned, manual reel mower. It offers a vigorous workout, and it’s also quiet and environmentally friendly.
6 reasons your dentist costs so much. Even with insurance, you can pay a ton out of pocket. Here’s why:
Insurance isn’t really insurance. Dental insurance, the dentists told me, is nothing like health insurance or auto insurance. It’s a maintenance plan that will cover cleanings and x-rays, maybe half the cost of a crown. It will not protect you if you need a lot of work done. The maximum annual benefits, $1,000 to $1,500, haven’t changed in the 50 years since dental insurance became available.
6 gas-saving myths that simply don’t work. Keep your tires properly inflated, but don’t overdo it:
Increase tire pressure. There is also the notion out there that by increasing your tire pressure above and beyond the recommended levels, you can improve your gas mileage. This is an absolute myth — and actually, a dangerous idea. Excessively upping your tire pressure reduces your tires’ grip on the road, increasing your chances of getting into a car accident.
8 best coupon sites. Actually, this posts has recommendations for the four “best” coupon sites, along with four more “OK” sites. All are worth checking out. Here’s one of the favorites:
Scoutmob: This site’s biggest draw, according to user reviews and articles, is that removes the whole “buying” element from the equation. All you have to do is click on a coupon and it’s sent to your email or phone — you don’t have to purchase anything.
The occasional outfit, pet costume, or protective wear is fine, but do watch the high costs associated with buying pet clothing. If you must buy winter or rain wear to walk your pet outdoors, invest in quality pieces that will last for years.
10 gardening lessons learned the hard way. Slugs suck! And they must be dealt with:
There is nothing so disheartening as going out to the garden, where there had been a row of beautiful seedlings, to find them chewed to the ground. All that work! I am currently using Corey’s Slug and Snail Bait, which works very well. A co-worker swears by the beer-in-a-shallow-dish organic method, but my slugs apparently have been to AA and are not interested. Chemicals are a must for me.
62 money-saving tips to survive another recession. More classic advice, though perhaps you’ve never heard of this one:
Have a no-spend weekend. Sometimes it takes a break in the routine to get spending under control. Try to go an entire weekend without eating out, shopping, or ordering something online. It won’t solve all your spending problems, but it’s a start.