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Archive for the Money Category

Living On $20,000 A Year

I found this great article on living frugally and thought it was a good read.

Do you avoid a lot of the expenses that many of your peers spend money on, such as technology and meals out?

For the most part, yes. I have a lower-end Android phone because I needed a new phone. I went as cheap as possible. I don’t own a car, I rely on public transportation, and sometimes biking. I have a laptop, because I need it for writing. I do have Internet access because it’s pretty important to get online. My only extra bill is Netflix, and I’m considering getting rid of that. I don’t go out to eat, or just for special occasions. I cook for every meal. I don’t drink coffee. I try to stick with water. I do go out to bars, but not every night. That’s my best way to meet people and experience cities.

What’s your typical meal?

I usually buy a pound of beef and a package of chicken and make easy Mexican dishes. I get some vegetables and mix it all together and throw it on a tortilla. I do a lot of pasta dishes. When I’m working, I usually pack a lunch, I make a sandwich plus chips or cookies to get me through the day. Then I get home and cook a fuller meal. I try to have a good mix [of food] so I don’t get sick. My brother taught me little tricks to take different ingredients around the house, like seasonings, to make a sauce that’s different and more unique, to give yourself different tastes.

What about clothes?

Once or twice a year, I might get a few new things, like an extra pair of jeans or pants, or a couple shirts, but I still have shirts I wore to college, so they’re six or seven years old or older. If a job requires certain clothes, then I’ll buy clothes for that. I maybe get one new pair of shoes a year and make them last as long as possible. I mostly shop at cheaper places, like thrift stores or Salvation Army or Goodwill. Those are good places to hit up.

Read the rest at here

The Renter’s Manifesto

One of my favorite new websites is called Mint.com.  Basically it is a financial website that allows you to manage your money, but it also has this amazing blog.  I have now vowed to never rent if can avoid it.  I have been there, done that and found it that the outcome was less than desirable especially compared to that of living in a Tiny House.

The bloggers over at Mint have put out an interesting article about renting, they propose that they are in fact better off renting.  The big assertion they make is that if you are modest renter, who can manage your budget, that it is actually better at building equity.  By paying less than a mortgage, saving the difference and not assuming the risks, you can do better.

What do you all think?

Full Article

Tammy & Logan

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Tammy and Logan have long since been, for me,  “the poster child” for how living in tiny houses as a couple can work.  They recently were featured on peak moment and I really loved their interview.  As I watched this video I couldn’t stop agreeing.  One of the big things I admire them for is ditching their cars.  Every time I talk to Tammy she makes me feel guilty (in a good way) about my car.  Here is the video.

Food Stamps

I recently was hired by Americorp Vista, essentially Peace Corps, but domestic.  Americorp’s website describes it as  “the national service program designed specifically to fight poverty. Founded as Volunteers in Service to America in 1965 and incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs in 1993, VISTA has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for more than 40 years.”  (Americorp Website)  I work at a non-profit here in North Carolina where I am in charge of large scale volunteer facilitation.

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Technically my employer is the Corporation of National and Community Service A.K.A. the Government.  My paychecks are not infact paychecks, but a “subsistence allowance” where I am paid well below minimum wage and am not allowed to hold another job.  Technically I am on call 24/7/365.  This is a year commitment which I recently decided to undertake to take something that has always been a part of my life, volunteering, and bring it to the next level.  I’m not going to lie, a part of it was also because I need a job, but it was a minor reason.

Everyday I work to fight poverty here in Charlotte North Carolina and it has been immensely rewarding!  Not to mention a welcomed change from my previous corporate jobs.  If you are interested in checking it out click here

So today I had a unique experience, one which was very new for me.  I applied for food stamps.  Overall it was pretty quick and painless, which I was glad.  If only the DMV could learn from them, I have waited longer to give the DMV money than I did for Department of Social Services to GIVE me money.  I don’t know about you, but I try not to keep people waiting who are trying to give me money :)  What’s great about things now is that there are no “stamps”  you get this card that looks and acts like a debt card, but of course has restrictions on what you can and cannot buy.  Things like paper products, alcohol, tobacco, diet supplements etc.  Anyway, I am waiting to hear for the decision on my application, but I am hopeful because of the type of job I recently landed.

Its pretty much impossible to have not notice things going on today are not as good as they have been.  I found this great infographic about how more and more Americans are seeking aid in the form of food stamps and other resources.

Click here for larger, zoomable version

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The True Cost of Divorce

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Divorce is a really nasty thing to go through, there is no doubt, the emotional wreckage that it leaves is tremendous. I have talked some about the financial toll it leaves as well. With an average of $15,000 in legal fees alone, you then also lose half your assets or more. There is the kids, the house you worked hard to build, the relationships you built with your spouse and their families and friends. It’s a nightmare. But here is another toll of divorce.

Divorced households annually consume 73 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water more than they would if both partners were still living under one roof, costing an additional $10.5 billion each year.

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America
Age                                    Women             Men
Under 20 years old      27.6%             11.7%
20 to 24 years old         36.6%            38.8%
25 to 29 years old         16.4%            22.3%
30 to 34 years old        8.5%               11.6%
35 to 39 years old        5.1%                6.5%

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