home for sale - how much house can i afford?

I’ll never forget an open house I visited in 2008. I asked our realtor to look around for some larger homes – possibly a two-story deal or a roomy ranch with a basement. I was thrilled when she came up with a list of six homes for us to see in one day — one of which I’ll call the “Coke House.” It’s not what you might think. The brick ranch wasn’t the home of drug users or unemployed wannabes …

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What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to summaries of five or fewer words. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Time for bankruptcy protection? 2. Alternative options for cremation costs 3. Tough decisions in retirement 4. Technical writing options 5. What’s next after student loans? 6. Cheapest way to start journaling 7. Lump sum after house sale 8. Sudden retirement help 9. Why pay for music? 10. How …

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From budget travelers to coupon clippers, there are compelling personal finance writers in every conceivable niche, save for maybe the ultra-rich (though it would be funny to read a serious blog about how to find an affordable personal chef, or where to find the cheapest fuel to fill up your private jet). Nowadays, I like to follow my favorite writers on social media so it’s easier to keep up with their new posts. Like most people, I probably use social media more …

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It’s doubtful many of you know what the CDIA or the NCAP are, but you need to know, and you need to know right now. People who have tax liens or civil judgments appearing on their credit reports are about to get a huge Christmas present… in July. The credit bureaus this week announced they’re going to delete or “purge” the vast majority of tax liens and judgments from consumer credit reports; that’s a big deal for many consumers. Let’s step back …

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Several weeks ago, I wrote an article on starting a side business as part of my larger 31 Days to Financial Independence series. In that article, I advocated strongly for writing a business plan for even a small little side gig: “Develop a real business plan for each idea. Take each of those three ideas and flesh them out into a business plan. This seems like a painful formal process to many, but there’s a very good reason for making …

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Recently, I’ve been trying to carefully track my working time in order to get some sense as to how I spend my time, what times of the day I focus best, and so on. The goal is to make my work as efficient as possible. What I’ve found, though, is that the simple act of tracking my time is actually causing me to be significantly more efficient in my work. Since I know that I’m tracking my work, I have …

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“31 Days to Financial Independence” is an ongoing series that appears every Thursday on The Simple Dollar. You might want to start this series from the beginning! Last time, we looked at what you can do when your goals change, even in the midst of working toward a major personal finance target. Today, we’re going to look at a much different but also incredibly vital part of personal finance change: getting your family and friends on board. Up to this …

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Have you ever jumped through hoops to save money, only to find you paid more – or, wasted a bunch of time? Maybe you misread the terms on a coupon, signed up for a fake or deceptive promotion, or just made a poor decision. Either way, it’s frustrating when you discover your money-saving efforts weren’t worth it, or that you were purposely misled. Despite the fact I can read and count, I’ve been there more than once. But there’s one …

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In the summer of 2015, our family collectively decided to get a pet dog. I was by far the least enthusiastic about the idea at the time, as I’ve never been a real enthusiastic pet owner, but after a lot of discussion, we made the choice to get a family dog. We decided to adopt a rescue dog with a history that would not indicate any reason for the dog to not be around children and we wound up with …

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If credit was easy, then everyone would have a VantageScore or FICO score of 850. But it’s not easy, and mistakes happen. Your challenge as a consumer of credit is to be smart enough to distinguish between what’s right and what’s a mistake, so you can avoid them at all costs. Credit Mistake No. 1: Co-Signing No, no, no — don’t ever do it. Co-signing is one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to protecting their credit reports …

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