Month: May 2014

Build Relationships with Your Neighbors (243/365)

We have four sets of neighbors that are adjacent to our house. Our children play constantly with the children of one of the neighbors. There’s a swingset that’s on the border between our yards, and the children all play on this equipment. The five of them are making up games constantly together. Our daughter attends …

Don’t Panic!

For the last two days, I’ve been tending to my youngest child, who has been quite sick with a pretty severe cold. He had a significant fever yesterday which broke overnight and this morning he seems at least vaguely like his old self. I first discovered that he was sick when I gave him a …

Categories: Getting Started

Don’t Overspend on a Lawn Mower or Other Home Maintenance Equipment (242/365)

When you first move into a home, you’re going to immediately be hit with a lot of little home maintenance tasks that need to be handled with some urgency. The lawn will need mowed. The bushes will need trimmed. The windows need cleaned. The gutters will need to be cleared of leaves. A few overhanging …

Reader Mailbag: Bulk Questions on Faith

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Catching up after graduate school 2. Interesting games at Gencon 3. Making smoothies from almost anything 4. Bank cashier mistake 5. Frugality, children, and difficult places …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Learn How to Do Simple Home Maintenance Tasks (241/365)

Yesterday, I posted a long list of home maintenance tasks that you should consider doing regularly around your house. As was discussed then, doing regular home maintenance can save you a lot of money over the long haul and even directly put some money in your pocket with a higher home value. The problem is …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Couch to 5K Edition

For those who’ve missed the hints over the last week or so, I’ve been working on the Couch 2 5K program. I’ve tried going through it before, but I pushed myself too hard through it and wound up with an ankle injury. This time, I’m taking it slower. If I can’t execute a week without …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Practice a Monthly Home Maintenance Schedule (240/365)

Your home is one of the biggest investments you have. For most people, their first mortgage is the biggest financial commitment of their life compared to their net worth. Just like everything else, your home needs maintenance and care. Sure, we all clean our houses and such, but there are a lot of little things …

Our Enemy Is Resistance, and We Shall Defeat It

When I get up in the morning, I know that I should exercise, but I often really don’t want to do it. I usually have a checklist of other things I need to do, so I’ll use that as an excuse. Some days, I’ll find some minor physical reason not to do it (“I have …

Categories: Getting Started

Be Aware of Any Homeowners Associations or Covenants You’ll Have to Adhere To (239/365)

On the surface, homeowners associations can be very good things. For one, they usually ensure a clean-looking neighborhood without anyone letting their property fall into disrepair. In an area with a homeowners association, people don’t have unkempt yards or sidewalks in disrepair. Associations also provide for the maintenance of common areas. They’ll make beautiful road …

Reader Mailbag: Rainfall

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Next steps for maxed-out credit 2. Internet on the road 3. Blanket for window tinting 4. Motivation at home 5. Worried about parents spending 6. Fantasy …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Attend the Home Inspection Yourself and Ask a Lot of Questions (238/365)

One crucial part of the home-buying process is the home inspection, in which a licensed inspector examines the home for significant problems and (usually) prepares a report for the buyer. This enables the buyer to know if there are any significant flaws in the home, and that knowledge may lead to a lower negotiated price …

The Eyes of a Child

My youngest child has these deep blue eyes. If you tell him something that attracts his attention, he’ll stop and look at you with those piercing blue eyes for a moment, as though he’s trying to make up his mind whether or not you’re telling him something of real value. Every day, his eyes are …

Categories: Getting Started

Shop Around for a Mortgage (237/365)

I shop around for everything from cars to soap. Why wouldn’t I shop around for my mortgage? It seems like such a common-sense thing. Different banks offer different rates on their mortgages. They also have different amounts on their closing costs. Finding the best deal among many offers makes a lot of sense. So often, …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #88

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 1. Wayne Dyer on life as a rehearsal Don’t waste your time dwelling on the past. Don’t burn your days assuming the future will take care of it. “Stop acting …

Ask the Seller to Pay Closing Costs and Other Fees (236/365)

When Sarah and I were in the process of purchasing our current home, we ended up negotiating for a price on a house that had been on the market for a while. We were able to find some out-of-date online listings that had indicated that the price had dropped pretty consistently over the course of …

Making a Housing Decision

Since before we were married, Sarah and I have discussed building a home in the country somewhere. We’d like to have a home with a small yard and plenty of woods nearby to explore, with neighbors that are friendly but are quite happy to leave us to our own ends, too. We want to wake …

Know the Total Cost of the Move Before You Jump (235/365)

When you’re considering moving, it’s easy to simply compare the cost of your current rent or mortgage to the rent or mortgage that you’d be paying in your new home and decide that the new situation is less expensive and thus a good move. Relying on that simple of a calculation, though, can be a …

Reader Mailbag: Sore Legs

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Tankless water heaters 2. First step after rehab 3. Prioritizing spending and saving 4. Does faith matter? 5. Refinancing with a twist 6. Board games with …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Look for a Fixer-Upper but Avoid Homes with Problems You Can’t Fix (234/365)

A year or so ago, a friend of mine purchased a home in the Des Moines area. When I first visited his home, my first reaction was that it was just run down. The carpets looked worn. The cabinets looked very beat-up. The appliances looked straight out of the 1970s. The main floor was liveable, …