This week’s link roundup also includes simple rules of thumb for buying everything from coffee to a home, and insights as to why personal finance can be as tricky—and messy—as potty training.
4 tips for buying brand-name clothes on a budget. Go on a treasure hunt for your favorite brands at a discount store rather than the mall:
Know where the designers hide. If you’re really hung up on designer labels, learn where to find them for less money than any mall store sells them for. Take Burlington Coat Factory, for example. I can’t stand their stores and think their clothing section is a disorganized mess that I don’t have the patience to wade through for an hour just to find one steal. But I will browse their handbag section – I know of no where else that sells bags by names like Nine West and Guess for less money.
4 ways personal finance is like potty training. Both can be frustrating, and having accidents is very common, especially in the beginning. And whereas with kids, you cheer and clap and hand out cookies with potty training successes:
It’s important to remember to celebrate your success when you reach personal finance milestones. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with a nice dinner at your favourite restaurant or with a weekend getaway to Vegas.
6 tips for how to eat when you’re really broke. The obvious and most important one is to cook at home, rather than go out. And meat lovers should learn to love meat less:
Demote meat. Beef, chicken, pork and fish often take a starring role in American meals, whereas in less-wealthy countries they’re often supporting players or make only cameo appearances: Think bowls of rice or grain topped with lots of veggies and a few bits of meat or seafood. Or you can skip meat entirely for much cheaper protein sources, such as eggs or beans (a half cup of beans has as much protein as 3 ounces of steak).
7 freebies for dad over Father’s Day weekend. Dad deserves at least a beer on Father’s Day, no matter the cost. But if you’re on a no-budget gift budget—some dads mandate that, especially if they’re the ones paying their kids’ credit card bills—consider taking advantage of one of this weekend’s freebies, like:
Free Yogurt at TCBY
With more than 470 locations nationwide, TCBY dishes out the Father’s Day love with free yogurt for the Big Guy. Stop by your local store for details; you can locate a TCBY here.
9 most annoying bank fees. Are any bank fees not annoying? Being charged simply for the desire to speak face-to-face to a human being has gotta be up in there in the most annoying stratosphere. Here’s an example of why ING Direct customers are freaking out since the bank was bought by Capital One:
At Capital One, branch support isn’t available for online banking customers. If an online banking customer stops for help at a branch, they will be connected to the bank’s online support team — by phone.
The harder you work, the luckier you’ll get.
It’s easy to belittle the good fortune of others by attributing their success to luck, and in some cases that may be true. However, the real wellspring of success is found through lots of hard work coupled with a serious passion for whatever you do — so make sure you find a job that you really love. If you’re fortunate enough to do that, the odds are good that you’ll end up making your own luck.
10 regular expenses you should reexamine to find a better deal. Cell phone, auto insurance, home insurance, Internet provider … maybe it’d be easier to list the regular expenses that are OK to keep paying without reexamining. While it’s annoying to always be shopping around, here’s one that pays off if you’re game to jump ship periodically:
Cable or Satellite TV: The last time we switched from Comcast cable to Dish Network we ended up saving around $20/month, along with getting more channels and Amazon gift cards. Over the year we saved hundreds by switching. When your initial signup deal expires, consider switching.
10 most affordable U.S. housing markets. There are 24 markets where the average reported listing price is under $100K. One of the top 10 (in the most affordable sense) is Georgia’s College Park, where the average listing price is $72,477, and where:
College Park, Ga. is the hometown to well-known R&B performers Ludacris and Monica. The world-class Georgia International Conventional Center is located there as well.
13 confessions of extreme penny pinchers. Ordering from the fast food dollar menu and taking advantage of restaurant early bird specials don’t seem too extreme. But sleeping in your car and office to save on commuting and rent? That’s what one anonymous penny pincher admits to:
I wake up early to take a shower in our office gym. I am fortunate to have an office room to myself, and I have a cot and mini-fridge.
I want to be anonymous because I’m afraid if my workplace finds out I could be in trouble.
16 things I wish I knew about money when I graduated college. Everybody should know this one. Why is it so hard to follow?
Never, I mean NEVER, get into credit card debt (not for a castle or the carpet or even a couch). Mounting credit card bills destroys your peace of mind and your quality of life. What good is a castle if you can’t enjoy it?
17 shopping rules of thumb. Formulas don’t always work, but they’re good for helping the consumer thought process. Here’s one to consider when buying a house, or renting for that matter:
Pay for location, not square footage. A home in a good location will always retain its value. On the other hand, lots of square footage mostly means room to store stuff you don’t really need, you often have to be far from your job in order to have a huge house, and there are tons of empty McMansions sitting in the suburbs that are unable to be resold due to the housing glut.
34 bartering & swapping websites. The resources for swapping and sharing books, cars, video games, clothes, bikes, and pretty much anything else you can imagine include:
If you need more than clothes, like baby bedding, baby furniture, or even sporting goods, you’ll be glad to find Zwaggle. It’s a network of parents who have joined together to share the expense of getting “new to your family” stuff in exchange for used or no-longer-needed items. You receive Zwaggle points for giving away your things, and you can use those points to get the things you want. Membership is free, and the community is powered by a points system rather than cash. The only money you have to spend is on shipping.
(LIST: 25 Best Blogs of 2011)