When you’re shopping for houses, you can get giddy when you plug your numbers into a mortgage calculator and discover your dream home has a surprisingly low monthly payment. It’s lying to you. Mortgage payments are only part of the myriad costs home ownership heaps upon you. [More]
The second half of summer is “complain about textbook prices” season, and last week the New York Times put together a special section on the topic and asked experts to weigh in. Too many of the contributors just provide an overview of the situation but no solutions; a publishing industry representative actually defends textbook prices as trivial compared to other educational costs. Fortunately Anya Kamenetz, who writes for Fast Company, suggests Flat World Knowledge. And to be fair, the guy who defended textbooks prices suggests CourseSmart for ebook rentals. The Times also asked students, professors and parents to weigh in with advice. [More]
LodgeNet provides pay-per-view movie services to hotels, and the company’s latest financial filing shows nearly a 10% drop in revenue in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period a year ago. (And that’s after a 19% drop in revenue from 2008 to 2009.) Travelers seem to be wising up to the high prices of hotel pay-per-view and are resorting to other ways to stay entertained. Now if only our laptops and smartphones could contain a mini-bar compartment. [More]
This year it’s a seller’s market when it comes to buying airline tickets, reports the New York Times, so if you must travel via plane, buy early and try to be as flexible as possible.
The new government estimates are out on child rearing, and now “a middle-income family can expect to spend $291,570 including inflation to raise a child born in 2008 to adulthood” (not including childbirth or college), reports Reuters. In today’s dollars, it works out to between $11,000 and $13,000 annually. If you’re planning on having a family in the future, here’s another incentive to get your financial house in order first—take control of your debts and spending, learn how to budget, and start saving. You’re going to need it, unless you can score a reality show on basic cable.
Silly you — did you think you were overpaying for broadband access? Well, a study has gone and proven you wrong.
ConEd has just what you need in the middle of recession: a rate hike! Monthly bills are set to rise between $6-$8 as the energy monster tries to recoup a half a billion dollars to cover the cost of higher property taxes and the usual infrastructure maintenance that utilities never budget for in advance. The perennial optimists at the New York Post still somehow think you’ll still end up with a lower bill…
Cable is one of the first things you should cut to keep expenses down, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch your favorite shows. J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly cut his cable bill from $65.82 to $11.30 without missing a single harrowing plot twist. Here’s how he did it…
Looking for a “fire and forget” way to track your expenses and receipts? Check out Xpenser. You can submit data from any device or even phone them in, and Xpenser takes care of putting it all together. Plus it’s free. [Xpenser]
A survey by Kelley Blue Book says that new car shoppers are giving up Starbucks to help offset the cost of $4 gas. Sorry, big green mermaid lady! The KBB study results reveal that 28 percent of new-car shoppers have stopped going to Starbucks or other coffee houses entirely, and 21 percent indicate they are going less often due to skyrocketing gas prices.
US News & World Report’s Alpha Consumer Blog offers a quiz to help you determine the answer to the following ever-puzzling question: Can you afford to have a baby? [Alpha Consumer]
Budgeting a key part of travel, but your usual budgeting tricks lose their potency when you leave home. Get Rich Slowly compiled a handy list of budgeting tips to keep you from overspending on your next vacation.
If you have your own business, you can write off your expenses. This reduces you income, and lowers your tax bill. Sadly, you can’t just write off whatever you want.
Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law, our very favorite consumer debt expert, gave an interview to Marketplace this morning in which she talked about the rising cost of so-called “fixed expenses” and their affect on the American consumer.
Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren has spent a career looking at personal debt. I asked her if consumers can sustain the engine of our economy much longer.