The Roundup – Sea of Boxes Edition

A box by the sea…This is the first, of several, packing edition roundups. Most of our spare time is now committed to packing up everything in the house, making a determination on if the items are worth keeping or if we should get rid of them, but also to catalog all the work that will have to be done on the house before it’s ready to be sold.

One thing that’s going to cost me some money is that I’m probably going to have replace many of the light bulbs. To conserve energy, and to reduce our energy bills, we replaced most every light bulb in the house with a CFL. On top of that, we even reduced the number of bulbs in many of our lamps. We didn’t need 4 or 5, just 2, in at least 4 fixtures. So that’s gonna be an unplanned-for cost when we take those CFLs to the new house and still need light bulbs here.

Anyhow, I did get some time to catch up on my reading this week and here are some of my favorite posts:

Pinyo @ Moolanomy writes about his experience switching service providers. I’ve actually called Time Warner about lowering my rates before and was actually told that if I were a new customer, there were things they could do, but not as an existing customer. It just makes no sense to me why they don’t work with their existing customers sometimes.

Trent @ The Simple Dollar writes about how he prefers to give smaller quantities to a large number of charities instead of a large amount to a few. Melissa and I had this same debate and we wound up taking the other path – giving larger amounts to a few charities. We hope to expand the charities we give to in the next year. There are some really good local organizations we’d like to help support.

Lynnae @ BeingFrugal writes about her opinions on re-gifting. I have to say that I’m 100% with her on this one. I think re-gifting is fine, but you can’t let the person who knew about it find out about it. I think that’s just courtesy. Now, the one other caveat I would add is to make sure not to re-gift something that the giver expects you to see when they come to your home.

Glblguy @ Gather Little by Little talks cautions us to think and research the charities we give to. I think this is definitely good advice. I used to give to several charities that telemarketed to me until Melissa told me about where the money goes with many of those. Turns out they weren’t giving nearly enough to charity and I went out in search of alternatives.

Nickel @ Five Cent Nickel talks about some of your other scores that are related to your credit score. I thought this was really interesting, and I wonder if this had any effect when we applied for our mortgage this week.

Silicon Valley Blogger @ The Digerati Life talks about thedifferent kinds of loans and the risks associated with them. For our mortgage, we never even considered any of the exotic mortgages that are available. We knew what we could afford, and we got a 30 year fixed rate loan. There is something to be said for a consistently priced payment.

Generation X Finance talks about the sub-prime meltdown and how just insane the bailout is. This really upset me. I have good credit, pay my bills on time, and am a pretty safe bet for a mortgage. The best rate I found was 5.875%. Granted, that’s a pretty great rate, but according to this article, those with sub-prime mortgages may get refinanced at 5%. If only I were subprime I could be saving thousands on my home!

Brip Blap wrote a great article on high quality vs. high quantity. I completely agree with this philosophy. I don’t mind paying more for something of quality that will last, or is healthier, or is just plain better, rather than saving the maximum amount of money on item (at least in the short term). His example on choosing a nice restaurant vs. the cheapest restaurant was one in particular that really spoke to me. Eating out, at least for me, is as much about a social occasion and good time as it is about just eating. Eating at home is nearly always cheaper and healthier than eating out so if you go out, have a great time, a great experience, and a great meal.

Image source Fuzzhead

The Roundup – Friendly Skies Edition

Blue SkiesThis afternoon Eric left for a short business trip to a client site.  I hate it when he has to travel.  He doesn’t particularly enjoy it either but this trip he said is good because it will help him keep his gold status until 2009.  He called me a little bit ago and said the flight is delayed but that he got bumped up to first class.  Hopefully that will make up for the extra wait.

I had my first ever guest post over at Paid Twice this week.  When you get a chance, make sure to hope on over and read my article about The Clearance Craze.

Some of my favorite articles this week: 

The Myth of the Parent that NEEDS to Work @ Brip Blap -  I also find it hard to believe that most families are “forced” to earn a dual income in order to make ends meet.  It is all about lifestyle choices and determining what’s most important to you. 

Five Fabulous-Paying Jobs Anyone Can Do – Except They’re Totally Illegal @ Punny Money - I got a kick out of this.  This is a very entertaining read.  Just don’t get any ideas! 

How To Value Clothing Donations @ Clever Dude - This post is going to come in handy when we finally get our act together and start packing for the move.  We will have all sorts of donations (clothing and beyond) that we will need to value.  Thank goodness the weather is starting to cool down so it will at least be tolerable wading through the junk in the garage. 

Image Source: jetalone

The Roundup – House is Getting Closer Edition

Wait til you see the kitchen!Every time we go and visit the new house on the weekend more and more is done. We’ve been squirreling our money away in anticipation of a completion date in late December or January. Now it might happen sooner than that even. Even though we have been saving up as much as we can, we really wanted those last few months to put away some more because we know we’re going to find things that we will need to get for the new house that we didn’t anticipate. Now we also need to start preparing with the movers for an even earlier timeframe. It’s stressful and exciting all at once!

Here are some of my favorite articles from this week:

BripBlap wrote about 6 ways you are passing up free money. All great things you need to think about and make sure you aren’t missing out on. I’d add two more to that list : ESPP (if you have an option to get that at a discount from your employer) and the medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA) if you can get it.

Lynnae @ BeingFrugal wrote about the dangers of co-signing for loans . I had a friend who got caught by this when she co-signed for a car for her then boyfriend. It didn’t work out well when they broke up. You really need to consider if you can part with the money you are co-signing for because you may be the one stuck with the bill.

Sasha @ ConsumerismCommentary wrote an interesting article about living extremely frugally as a way to do the things you might otherwise not be able to do. I mainly skipped over the components of the MSN article and just read about her friends. She has a couple of friends who question every expense, and always look for the best deals, so they can afford to go on exotic trips throughout the year. I thought this was pretty amazing, and a testament to what you can do if you put your mind to it. Using conscious spending is how we managed to get ourselves out of debt, to fund our retirement accounts, and to save for emergencies. Without being conscious of all of our expenses, and working to reduce or eliminate unnecessary ones, we would not have been able to do all that we have done.

Dawn @ FrugalForLife has a frugal person’s take on 20 timeless money rules. The original set from CNN/Money was written more from an investing perspective than from a frugal perspective. Read both part 1 and part 2. I especially liked #2 – Take Calculated Risks, and #8 – Don’t Wait For The Perfect Time. Lots of food for thought.

Elizabeth @ DailyDollarDiary had a conversation with her family about their perceptions of how things would be different if they made more money. I could completely see myself having this same conversation with my family some day. It gives some interesting insight into what the different members think it will mean to their lives.

Blog Action Day

Tomorrow we’ll be participating in the Blog Action Day. Be sure to check back to see our article, and check out all the other articles tomorrow. It should be a great day of blogging, learning, and reading!

Image by Ctd 2005

The Roundup – Buying In Bulk Edition

The beauty of bulk buying!We drove into town this weekend to run a whole slew of errands. This was our weekend to go to Sam’s and to buy some of our toiletries and necessities in bulk to save costs. We came prepared this time to actually calculate the real savings (or lack thereof) with buying bulk. Melissa will be writing about that later this week.

Because we were running errands all weekend I didn’t get as much time as I would have liked to get my reading in. I did get a chance to read some good articles though.

How Can A Frugal Person Buy Expensive Items? – The Simple Dollar. I really enjoyed this article. I share a lot of the same opinions when it comes to cheap and frugal. You can be frugal and still allow yourself to buy quality things. We plan on upgrading some of our appliances in the new home, but we will save up for them, and make sure we get the right deal. We won’t just go for the cheapest, but we’ll buy what makes the most sense.

Money Lesson #3: Investiment Vehicles - Moolanomy. This article did a great job breaking down some investments into 3 levels of risk. Most of my investing is in low and moderate risk categories.

Caught By an Infomercial - One Frugal Girl. I never got caught by an informercial, but I’ve certainly fallen prey to slick advertising in the past. It’s a learning lesson I think nearly everyone goes through, and it’s best to get it out of the way when you’re young (and when it’s not something expensive).

Now I’m going back into the blogosphere to catch up on some more great articles!

Carnivals

How to Solve Money Worries Carnival was hosted this week @ Widow’s Quest. The carnival looked great!

Image source – Tom Lemos

The Roundup – Busy Weekend Edition

Time sure flies….This was a really busy weekend for us. We had several friends and some family over to the house the last couple of days. One of our friends came over and we helped her with her wedding album and to look for her first house. I think she’s really excited about searching for the new house. Saturday night, Melissa’s parents came into town unexpectedly (they were going to drive in on Sunday morning). Not only did they come in early, they had a serious car problem on the way down and we had to find a new part for them. Everything worked out great in the end, and we had a fabulous dinner and a great time visiting. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty darn good weekend.

I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to catch up on my blogging or keeping up with my blog reading, but here are a few of the articles I read :

Golbguru at Money, Matter, and more Musings, brings up some great things to consider about your security online. This is an area I feel very strongly about, and I wrote several posts on how to protect your finances online earlier this year.

Pinyo at Moolanomy has become “obsessed” with checking his blogging statistics. I have to admit I’ve been feeling this lately too. He put together some great goals to help overcome this, and I think I might do the same. It’s just not productive.

Nickel at Five Cent Nickel blogged about his experiences with Bank Of America’s high yield money market accounts. My current bank is the credit union I joined when I started my first job after college. I’ve been wondering about changing banks, and this post has me thinking of checking out BoA.

Brip Blap posted an absolutely great list of simple things you can do to improve your happiness and productivity. I do actually make an effort to follow a lot of what’s in his list, but not all of it. I think there is a word of wisdom there for everyone. I think this week I’m going to make an effort to take at least a 15 minute walk outside in the sunlight every day during the work day.

Whew! Now I have a chance to recover a bit from the weekend and catch up on some reading. Have a great week this upcoming week, and try and take some of Brip Blap’s advice this week. I know I will.

Image by givepeasachance

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