112 Money Tips: Smart Home Renovations, a Guy’s Guide to At-Home Dinner Dates, and Savings Strategies Too Extreme for Most

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This week’s roundup also features tips from a couple who manage to throw a wedding for mere $2,500.
5 worst pieces of financial advice. Our friend Liz Weston offers advice not to follow, such as buying a home with the likelihood that it’ll be an outstanding pure investment—even a means to get rich. While this is possible, no one buying a home should bank on it:

Most people who think their homes have appreciated considerably aren’t adjusting for inflation or subtracting all the money they’ve spent on maintenance, insurance, taxes, repairs and remodeling… Paying down a mortgage over time should increase your wealth, but buying a home is definitely not a slam-dunk investment.

5 ways to celebrate World Water Day and cut your water bill too. OK, so maybe you missed celebrating World Water Day, which was held on March 22. The day may sound like one in which there would be water gun fights and Slide ‘N Slide competitions, but those, while fun, would waste water—which is the opposite of what the UN-backed World Water Day is trying to accomplish. In any event, this link offers tips for using water efficiently at home, including changes to:

A WaterSense-labeled showerhead that uses only two gallons per minute can save you 2,300 gallons of water a year as well as the energy needed to heat it. To gauge how much water you use, turn on the shower and time how long it takes to fill a bucket to the one-gallon mark. If it’s less than 24 seconds, you can save water with a low-flow showerhead.

5 ways to reduce insurance rates. Increasing your deductibles is a classic, providing you always have enough in savings to cover your deductibles if and when necessary:

Increasing your auto insurance deductible to $500 from $200 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage by 15% to 30%, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded educational organization. Increasing your deductible to $1,000 could slash your premiums by 40% or more. Increasing the deductible on your homeowners policy to $1,000 from $500 could lower your premiums by up to 25%.

6 tips for smart home renovations. While fancy kitchen makeovers and designer upgrades get homeowners excited, it’s the overlooked “unsexy stuff,” as this link notes, that’s essential to keeping a home in working order—and that’s essential to avoiding prohibitively expensive home repairs. For example:

Maintain your roof. Know how long your roof life is. If it looks bad, then it probably is. And even when your roof looks fine, if you know it’s at the end of its life, replace it. It will be a much more expensive job if you wait.

6 reasons I’ll never own a home again. Wow, lots of homeownership bashing lately. Here’s one of several arguments why this guy refuses to buy ever again. Not sure I buy this conspiracy theory, but it’s interesting:

You’re trapped. Lets spell out very clearly why the myth of homeownership became religion in the United States. Its because corporations didn’t want their employees to have many job choices. So they encouraged them to own homes. So they can’t move away and get new jobs.

7 steps for an awesome, $2,500 wedding. Forget about a big invite list or a weekend ceremony. Also, get creative in terms of a caterer:

We were friends with the owner (through being loyal customers) of a Middle Eastern restaurant that we frequented while in school. We asked them if they catered and they did. Not only did this restaurant make great food, but it was astonishingly cheap. For less than $7, you would eat like a king.

8 odd reasons you spend more. I’m fascinated with studies explaining all the weird reasons people spend (or overspend) on shopping excursions. This post lists a few interesting oddball cause-effect theories, including one in which consumers who aren’t religious are more likely to be loyal buyers of brand-name products:

[Duke marketing and psychology professor Gavan] Fitzsimons and his fellow researchers surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found those with less religion in their lives were more likely to embrace brand-name products as a means to express their identity, while consumers who identified as being more religious felt less of a desire to find other ways to express themselves and so were more likely to purchase generic goods.

10 reasons extreme couponing is an extreme sport. The author of this post has embraced extreme couponing for the month of March. Why is the activity so hardcore?

It is not about competition with others, but the difficulty of the activity.


Those paper cuts really do hurt!

10 tips to avoid money worries. Here’s another insurance tip:

Clean up your insurance.
I had rental car insurance built into my auto insurance for a couple of years after I bought a second car. The chance I would need insurance for a rental was minimal. Money down the drain! Review your insurance policies and make sure you aren’t paying for things you don’t need.

10 commandments of the at-home dinner date. This one’s written for guy host-cooks, who are advised to prepare as much of the dinner in advance as possible, and to not bother with any fancy desserts:

Don’t go overboard: after you eat, stay out of the kitchen. Buy some ice cream, some sugar cones, and sprinkles or whatever. It’s impromptu and cute as hell. Who doesn’t like ice cream cones?

10 ways to do less laundry. Do less laundry for World Water Day and beyond by, for instance:

Hang Clothes
Sometimes, you can end up washing clean clothes because no one can remember if they were worn and thrown on the floor, or just thrown on the floor. Your kids have to be aware of this rule as well. They can add this to their chore list. Clean clothes stay off the floor.

15 things people forget to budget for.</a> Certainly, the “unsexy” house maintenance mentioned above. But, if you’re trying to create a realistic budget, you must factor in things like:

Gifts – Birthdays, anniversaries, showers, weddings, and babies all happen throughout the year. It is best to make a list of these events so an adequate amount of money can be put aside for gifts, cards, postage and celebrations.

15 weird frugal tips that aren’t for everyone. In efforts to save, some cheapskates are more extreme than others—and we’re not just talking about couponing. Most people are comfortable with the idea of buying secondhand clothing at thrift or consignment stores. But what about used socks, underwear, or shoes?

No amount of washing would make me feel clean wearing another person’s underwear. Shoes are a similar story, but for a different reason. Most pairs that arrive at a thrift store are on their last, ahem, leg of life. You’ll enjoy the comfort, shape and feel of new shoes much better than a pair already molded to some else’s feet.