Five Ways To Save Time And Money On Your Lawn

Five Ways To Save Time And Money On Your Lawn

We remember from our formative days in suburbia that managing a lawn was a lot like fighting a war. And like modern wars, outsourcing was the cleanest and easiest option, even if it cost a bit more. Well, with five tips from noted cheapskate Jeff Yeager, managing your own lawn could become just a little more manageable.

Family Lives Alone In 32-Story Tower

Family Lives Alone In 32-Story Tower

Thanks to their bank, Victor Vangelakos and his family live by themselves in a 32-story tower.

Save On Cooling Costs By Installing A White Roof

Save On Cooling Costs By Installing A White Roof

The New York Times says a white roof on your house “can cost as little as 15 percent more than its dark counterpart” yet “reduce air-conditioning costs by 20 percent or more in hot, sunny weather.” This is because, scientifically speaking, the color white hates the stupid sun and won’t have anything to do with it.

Want Free Housing? Become A Traveling Caretaker

Want Free Housing? Become A Traveling Caretaker

Cool Tools describes the Caretaker Gazette as “house-sitting classifieds.” The tipster writes, “I’ve used [it] to live rent-free for the past three years [...] living as a caretaker in California and Idaho. In exchange for my accommodations, my duties have included keeping trespassers off the property, taking messages, mowing the lawn, cleaning the pool and generally watching over the home when the owners are away.” An online subscription costs $30 a year, and includes a PDF issue every two months, plus listings online and a weekly email update.

25 Towns Where Homes Are Affordable

25 Towns Where Homes Are Affordable

CNNMoney has a list of 25 towns where the price of a house isn’t much more than the median family income. Guess where they all are?

Radioactive Chinese Drywall Is Stinking Up U.S. Homes

Radioactive Chinese Drywall Is Stinking Up U.S. Homes

The government thinks radioactive industrial waste from China is responsible for a recent sulfur stench that has plagued hundreds of Florida homes. Demand for Chinese drywall spiked during the housing boom, but federal regulators believe the drywall contained phosphogypsum, a banned waste byproduct that features prominently in Chinese construction. When used in drywall, the probable carcinogen can corrode “air conditioners, mirrors, electrical outlets and even jewelry.”

http://consumerist.com/2009/06/19/use-this-calculator-to-figure/

Use this calculator to figure out just how much paint you need for your room. [MyHomeIdeas.com via Lifehacker]

Tax-Saving Moves For 14 Big Life Events

Tax-Saving Moves For 14 Big Life Events

Life is full of surprises and challenges. Luckily, there’s a tax form for just about all of them. Via Kiplinger’s, here’s 14 major life events that allow for smart tax-saving moves, and how to make those moves.

WSJ Asks, "Is Your Home A Good Investment?"

WSJ Asks, "Is Your Home A Good Investment?"

Brett Arends at The Wall Street Journal has compared Case-Shiller house price data to annual inflation rates, and speculates that owning a home may not be a very good investment. “You can often do better on long-term inflation protected government bonds,” he writes.

Here's A Cheap Way To Install Solar Panels On Your House

Here's A Cheap Way To Install Solar Panels On Your House

Cool Tools has an interesting suggestion for home owners who want to incorporate solar technology, but can’t afford the steep investment costs: let the solar panel company finance it for you. The trade-off is you won’t save as much money as you would if you paid for them outright, but you will save some money, and the company that’s paying for the panels has a financial incentive to keep them working properly over the course of the agreement.

Wells Fargo Will Let You Refinance For No Closing Costs Online

Wells Fargo Will Let You Refinance For No Closing Costs Online

If you’re saddled with a Wells Fargo mortgage, now would be a good time to slash your rate and payment through little effort by hitting up the bank’s streamlined refinancing program, which under certain circumstances lets you refi without being gouged for closing costs.

Beware Of The "Model Home" Ploy From Window Salesmen

Beware Of The "Model Home" Ploy From Window Salesmen

Thomas says his wife was approached by a belligerent salesman the other day regarding the windows on their home. He tried to get her to agree to an instant estimate and promised a huge discount for being a “model home” for the window upgrades, but when she refused to make an instant decision, Thomas says he “snatched the card out of her hand” and “yelled at her.”

"We Build In Middle Class Neighborhoods Because You Can't Afford To Fight Us"

"We Build In Middle Class Neighborhoods Because You Can't Afford To Fight Us"

Meet Michelle. We met Michelle at Arbitration Fairness Day and she told us about being forced into arbitration when she tried to get her poorly constructed home repaired. Now she’d like to share her story with you.

Forced Arbitration: As Fair As A Sucker Punch

Forced Arbitration: As Fair As A Sucker Punch

We at Consumerist really hate mandatory binding arbitration, the faux-legal sucker punch that companies deliver when they screw up and you try to sue, and so should you. We’ve talked about its evils a lot, but no one can describe this legal abomination as well as the victims themselves, so this week we’ll let them speak.

Acting CFO Of Freddie Mac Found Dead This Morning

Acting CFO Of Freddie Mac Found Dead This Morning

David Kellermann, a former Freddie Mac senior vice president who had been serving as the acting chief financial officer of the mortgage buying company since its takeover by the federal government last September, was found “hanging in the basement of his Reston home, dead from an apparent suicide” early this morning. Police were called to his home by someone inside the house at about 5 am today and found Kellermann’s body.

New York Times: Walking Away From Your Mortgage, Not So Bad After All

New York Times: Walking Away From Your Mortgage, Not So Bad After All

Great news, distressed homeowners! If you aren’t eligible for the President’s homeowner assistance package and can’t negotiate a better deal on your mortgage, the New York Times says that turning in the keys and leaving your home may not be the end of your financial world. The Times mapped out a guide for dealing with the various players controlling your mortgage…

Sears' New 'Secret Eavesdropping' Phone Technique Improves Customer Service, But Totally Freaks Out Other Sears Employees

Sears' New 'Secret Eavesdropping' Phone Technique Improves Customer Service, But Totally Freaks Out Other Sears Employees

It looks like Sears has finally figured out a way to ensure good customer service for home deliveries. Unfortunately, this method induces extreme paranoia in other Sears employees. The woman referred to as “Delivery” in Jason’s retelling below will probably never trust another coworker again.

Housing Statistics Are Being Buoyed By So-Called "Vultures"

Housing Statistics Are Being Buoyed By So-Called "Vultures"

Sales of existing homes are up, which sounds like good news — except that if you really look at what is going on — it’s really sort of bleak. About half of all home sales in December were foreclosures, says Marketplace, where the house is sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage.