Housing

33 Ways to Maximize a Small Living Space on a Budget

Whether you’ve recently escaped the confines of your parent’s home for the first time or recently relocated to a posh condo downtown, adjusting to a small living space can be difficult. During my adult years, I’ve lived in a tiny dorm room, a spacious apartment, and a beautiful home with limited square footage. And each …

Categories: Home and Life, Housing

29 Affordable DIY Projects That Take Less Than a Week

Time is limited, funds are tight, but you desperately want to make over a few elements of your humble abode’s exterior and interior. Are there any feasible solutions? Definitely, but the most ideal option is to put on your “handyman” cap and perform the tasks on your own. But, let me warn you in advance: …

Best Home Warranty Company for 2014

If you’re considering a home warranty to help protect you from costly home repairs, there are several companies that want your business. Unlike the big insurance companies that provide home, life, and auto policies, home warranty companies aren’t household names. For that reason, you may feel like you’re starting from square one in your search. …

How to Find the Best Mortgage Rates in 2014

Even after the subprime mortgage crisis, homeownership remains a dream for many Americans. If you’re among them, you’re probably wondering how you can get the best mortgage rate to keep your payments as low as possible. Securing the best mortgage isn’t simply about finding a lender who offers you the best rate. You also need …

How to Curb the Rising Costs of Parenting

Parenting is the most difficult yet rewarding job I’ve ever had in my life. It definitely hasn’t been easy on my pockets, either. And apparently, I’m not alone in my experiences. According to a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost to raise a child born in 2013 will be $245,300. That’s the …

Home Cycling as a Financial Strategy

Home cycling is a pretty nifty financial strategy. At its core, the idea revolves around buying a low-end home, fixing and upgrading it, and then selling it for a profit off the back of your own time and energy investment in that home. It bears some similarities with the idea of “home flipping” that was …

Categories: Housing

Sixteen Tricks for Maximizing a Small Home or Apartment

When Sarah and I were first married in 2003, we moved into a pretty small apartment. According to what I could find online about it, it measured in at about 550 square feet. We viewed it as a temporary solution. It was okay for just the two of us, but we wanted a family and …

Categories: Housing

The Air Conditioning Battle

Summer is approaching (though from the unseasonably cool temperatures here, you could have fooled me) and with the approach of summer means summer cooling bills. Many, many households across the United States will be trying to maximize the cooling they can get from their central air units, window air conditioning, and fans in order to …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

Moving with Minimal Money: Nine Tactics for Frugal Relocation

The process of moving from an apartment to our home in 2007 was a big learning experience. We did some things right with that move – but some things we did quite poorly. Since then, we’ve had ample time to reflect on our own move as well as help others with their moving experiences and …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

Reflections on a Tiny House

Over the past week, I’ve been fascinated by a number of articles describing tiny houses – those measuring 100 square feet or smaller. Here’s an example: This type of house is outside the realm of possibility of most families. It would work for many single people and some couples, but I can’t imagine the five …

Rent vs. Buy: Which is Better?

Is it better to rent a place to live or to buy one? It’s a question that I get asked multiple times per week in some form or another. Usually, it comes from young couples who are being pressured by older people in their life to get out of renting and buy a home or …

The “Cheap Neighborhood” Problem

Connie writes in: “Right now, we pay $1,000 a month in rent. About ten minutes away, there are houses available that are as low as $300 a month in rent and they’re perfectly fine houses. The problem is the neighborhood. The area is loaded with people on welfare and most of the yards are really …

How Much House Can I Afford?

Another common email I receive from readers concerns whether or not the sender can afford a particular house – or how much house they can afford. The stories vary a lot in detail – some people have a down payment, while others do not, and some people have other debts, while others are debt free. …

5 Simple Tactics to Reduce Heating Costs

It is cold here. Really, really cold. During the day, I usually turn the temperature in our house down fairly low. I work on the top floor, where it’s usually a few degrees warmer than other parts of the house, and I wear layers of clothes and warm socks. Because of that, I usually feel …

Categories: Frugality, Housing

Is Home Ownership Worth It?

Megan writes in: “My husband and I are looking at purchasing a home next year. My parents and siblings think this is a great move and are giving me info on buying a home and how great the investment is. His family is adamantly opposed and they say that homes are a money pit that …

“House Poor” Versus Controlling Your Own Destiny

Anyone who’s been awake to watch the changes in the economy over the last five years is familiar with the burst of the housing bubble. Too many people were given mortgages that were bigger than their budgets could handle and when those people couldn’t pay, the banks that offered those mortgages were in serious trouble. …

Renting Isn’t a Throwaway

Kelly writes in: “Sometimes you encourage people to rent instead of buying a home ASAP. This seems like a giant waste of money to me. Renting doesn’t build equity or help with taxes.” When it comes to housing, I do not believe that either renting or buying living space is the right answer for people …

Want to Save Enormous Amounts of Money? Change Where You Live

One of the most mystifying things that readers write to me about is when they’re living in a very expensive urban area and struggling with a minimum wage job or just above it. I received a note not long ago from “Jenny,” who lived in San Francisco and made only $22,000 a year. She shared …

Setting Up a New House on a Tight Budget

You’re moving into a house or into a large apartment for the first time. You take all of your stuff there, unpack everything… and you quickly realize how spartan it is. There are lots of things you need… or you at least think you need. Silverware. Flatware. Tables. Furniture. Minor appliances. The list starts small …

Categories: Frugality, Housing