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Centsible Money Basics - June 15, 2005 Newsletter
June 15, 2005

Did You Know?....


On average, in the West, people move about every 7 years.

Featured Articles:

Buying a House or a Home? by Cheryl Johnson

4 Thinking Points Before You Buy a House by Roger Sorensen

RECIPES

Stuffing Mix

6 cups cubed bread
1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
3 Tablespoons chicken-bouillon powder
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup dried minced celery ( or fresh celery may be sauteed and added just before cooking)
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/3 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cubes on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Cool. In a plastic bag or bowl, toss the cubes with the rest of the ingredients until well coated. Store in air tight container for up to 4 months or in the freezer for up to a year.

To Use:
Combine 2 cups stuffing mix with 1/2 cup water and 2 Tablespoons melted butter. Stir to combine thoroughly. Warm on the stove top or in the microwave. Stir again just before serving.(The Complete Tightwad Gazette)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Substitution Tip:

In a pinch for brown sugar? Use 2 Tablespoons molasses with 1 cup sugar to substitute.



Share Money Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas

"The quickest way to drive a man to success is the realization that he alone is in control of his destiny!" - Anonymous

Money Saving Tips:

  • When shopping for home appliances be sure to know all your options first and research the item. You'll know exactly what you're after and what a "good price" is. You won't get talked into buying an item with unwanted features that might actually end up costing you more money.
  • Save Gas
    Remove excess weight from your car and trunk to maximize gas mileage. More gas saving tips.
  • Cleaning Tip

  • Break out the cascade again. Mix 1/2 cup automatic dishwasher detergent with 1 gallon water and use to wipe ceramic shower tiles clean.
  • Dust Silk Flowers
    Place 1/2 to 1 cup raw white rice in a paper bag. Put in your silk flowers and shake. Remove dust free flowers.
  • Recycling

  • Save smaller spice containers to use for spices bought in bulk or in larger bottles. Spices in the larger bottles will stay fresh longer with less opening. You can keep larger quantities in the fridge or freezer to keep fresh longer and refill smaller spice jars as necessary.
  • Use newspaper comics to wrap gifts. I have used this one in a pinch several times. Fabric scraps also make unusually attractive and decorative gift wrappings.
  • Use left-over beans to make chili. Pinto, Northern, or Navy beans can be substituted for Kidney beans and still taste great!
  • Use left-over chili to make "Chili Mac."Simply mix chili with cooked macaroni and wha...lah you have a kid friendly dinner. Offer shredded cheese for topping and a side salad if desired.

  • FEATURED ARTICLES

    **Some of the documents and forms referred to in this article are in PDF format. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader if you need to.

    Buying a House or a Home?

    by Cheryl Johnson

    A house is just that, a house, until someone lives in it. That's when it becomes a Home. There's a big difference. At our house, we always say our home is "well lived in." And, with a family of six, four of them being between the ages of 9 and 15, this house has no choice! Our house, being in the family for over 65 years, is a well seasoned "home."

    Who wouldn't love to live in a luxurious home with all the newest gadgets and high tech inventions? Well, I would venture to guess that most of us have thought of it. But, what's really important when you consider buying a home?

    If you're a seasoned home shopper you may already have learned from experience what type, location, and price of home is good for your family. Setting some guidelines and priorities is a good way to start the hunt. First, make a wish list This is a great starting point for anyone and will help get your priorities in order! Knowing what you want or need is half the battle.

    This will include some essential questions you need to ask yourself like, what you can afford?, are you willing to do renovations?, and lists specific needs for your family.

    Location, Location, Location...

    Location can be flexible for some families, but must be specific for other families. Work, disabilities, and children are just a few factors that can influence location necessities or desires. For instance, if you don't want to commute long distance to work you will need to consider travel time to work. If you or a family member have disabilities that require special treatments or services, you will need to consider travel time to current providers, or consider availability of services in the new location. Local schools, and their reputations, will play an important role in location for those families with children, as well as neighborhood safety.

    Affordability

    There's no satisfaction in qualifying for a loan that you can't afford!Consider your other obligations and how the new payment will affect your budget.

    Sometimes, scrupulous mort.gage brokers and lenders don't really consider if you can actually "afford" the loan for your home. They boast that they can get "anybody" a loan. That's easy when you don't really care about the final results. Besides, it's a secured loan, which means, your commitment is secured by your property. They'll simply take your home if you don't meet your commitment. So, be careful. Always use a reputable company for your mortgage needs. They may not tell you what you want to hear, but they'll look out for your best interests.

    Ginnie Mae has a calculator to help give you some idea How Much You Can Afford? Always live within your means to prevent self-created financial disasters.

    When you know what you can afford, shop and compare. Hud offers a great home buying booklet Looking for the Best Mort.gage that answers questions and prepares homeowners for the mort.gage shopping experience. There is even a form for you to keep track of home loan comparisons.

    Don't be a Victim of Loan Fraud

    The Federal Citizen Information Center warns consumers to protect themselves from predatory lenders! Before you make a final decision, take the time to review these 11 Tips on Being a Smart Consumer

    Don't forget to ask about specialty loans. You may qualify for specialty loans if:

    • You're a Teacher
    • You are purchasing a home that needs remodeling.
    • You are a first time buyer

    More Home Buying Tips.

    HUD answers Common Questions from First Time Home Buyers

    Whether you're buying your first home or growing into a new home, you'll be successful if you take your time, know your priorities, and research all your options!

    Happy Hunting. May the "House" you choose become a happy "Home!"

    Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four helping herself and others become, and remain, debt free. Publisher of the budgeting and debt management site at http://www.simpledebtfreeliving.com



    Read Roger's Introductory Comment

    4 Thinking Points Before You Buy a House

    By Roger Sorensen

    So you’ve been renting an apartment for a while and your friends are all buying houses and settling down to nice, quiet suburban lifestyle. Is this something you should be doing too? To put even more pressure on you, every other evening news cast is talking about the rapidly increasing value of houses in your area. Before you rush out and buy the first house you can get a loan for, perhaps it would be wise to stop and decide if buying a house is really what you should be doing. To help you, here are four things to think about.

    1. How long will you live there?

    If your job requires frequent moves, or you are pretty sure you will not be in the same city in five years, do not buy a house. Real estate prices do sometimes dip and if you move you may have to sell your house at a loss.

    2. Are you a Flipper?

    Flipping is the art of buying a house, living in it for a time as you fix and improve it and then selling it for a profit. You then buy another house, live in it for a time, and sell it for a profit. The risk here is similar to that in the previous paragraph; the resale value of the house may go down. So if you are going to be a flipper, be sure to buy a house you would want to live in for the next ten years.

    3. Does renting cost more than owning?

    Sometimes you can find a house that is actually cheaper to own than the place you are currently renting. If you are purchasing a house purely for the sake of less cash outflow each month, be sure to consider all the costs of ownership: mortgage, insurances, maintenance, snow removal, etc. If you still find that owning is more cost effective than renting, go for it.

    4. Is it what you really, really want to do?

    Occasionally owning a house is what you really want to do, even if it doesn’t make economic sense. In that case, make sure you do your homework, consider the three thinking points above, and make the best choice you can. Buy the most house for the least money in the best neighborhood.

    Buying a house can be an emotionally charged time in your life. It is also an enormous user of your resources. Take your time and be confident that you are ready to move into another stage of your life where you can be proud to say “This is my house.”

    Roger Sorensen is a Financial Guidance Counselor with his website at www.slave2work.com. Join his newsletter Centsible Money Basics at www.slave2work.com/newsletter.html


    Personal Finance Q & A

    ASK A QUESTION: You Won’t Know Until You Ask

    Do you have a question about money, finances, or the economy? Send Roger your financial questions and comments. All will be answered, a few will be published. Email to:Ask a Question

    Q. Roger,
    What is the easiest way to save real money? I already put my cup of coffee a day money in a jar at home, but it still doesn’t seem to add up very fast. Do you have any suggestions?
    Mike

    A. Mike,
    The really easy way does not exist for most people. That involves an enormous inheritance. For the rest of us, we have to spend less than we bring home. This involves a spending plan that treats saving as another monthly expense. If you put a priority on saving, just like you do in paying the electric company, you will be able to watch your money increase. Saving is best done on a regular basis, month in and month out, to achieve the best results. If you have a question about it further, email me at roger@slave2work.com.

    Q. Roger,
    I want to put aside $200 a month for my two children’s college. They are 5 and 9. What is the best vehicle to put this money in to keep it safe, and yet make it grow?
    Pat

    A.Pat,
    I commend you for the desire and ability to save $2400 a year for your children’s college. That means by the time your 9 year old is ready, you will have almost $21000 in principle saved, excluding accumulated interest. There are several good ways to protect, and still grow this money. Your state 529 plan is good, though I prefer a Roth IRA. With a Roth, you can withdraw the money for specific allowable things other than college if your child decides to not attend. The money is invested after-tax, so you will not be hit with the same taxes and penalties as you do in a regular IRA. Talk to a qualified financial advisor in your church or local area who has been referred to you by a satisfied client.

    Have you been to the newly refabricated website Slave2Work.com

    Go there now. You'll find articles by Roger Sorensen, personal finance software, newsletter archives and lots more at http://www.Slave2Work.com



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    Favorite Sites

    Vist the National Fire Prevention Associations family fun website and meet Sparky

    Federal Citizens's Information Center

    Kids.gov
    FiFirst Gov For Kids Kid friendly U.S. government interagency Kids' Portal.

    Watersavers.com
    Eco-facts and watersaving tips.

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