Resources Mentioned by Daniel Britt


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07/02/07 Daniel Britt

Money Saving Monday: Home Purchase 43. You can often negotiate a lower sale price by employing a buyer broker who works for you, not the seller. If the buyer broker or the broker's firm also lists properties, there may be a conflict of interest, so ask them to tell you if they are showing you a property that they have listed. 44. Do not purchase any house until it has been examined by a home inspector that you selected.

Renting a Place to Live 45. Do not limit your rental housing search to classified ads or referrals from friends and acquaintances. Select buildings where you would like to live and contact their building manager or owner to see if anything is available. 46. Remember that signing a lease probably obligates you to make all monthly payments for the term of the agreement.

06/25/07 Daniel Britt

Money Saving Monday: Mortgage Refinancing 40. Consider refinancing your mortgage if you can get a rate that is lower than your existing mortgage rate and plan to keep the new mortgage for at least several years. Calculate precisely how much your new mortgage (including points, fees and closing costs) will cost and whether, in the long run, it will cost less than your current mortgage.

Home Equity Loans 41. Be cautious in taking out home equity loans. The loans reduce or may even eliminate the equity that you have built up in your home. (Equity is the cash you would have if you sold your house and paid off your mortgage loans.) If you are unable to make payments on home equity loans, you could lose your home. 42. Compare home equity loans offered by at least four reputable lending institutions. Consider the interest rate on the loan and the annual percentage rate (APR), which includes other costs, such as origination fees, discount points, mortgage insurance, and other fees. Ask if the rate changes, and if so, how it is calculated and how frequently, as this will affect the amount of your monthly payments.

06/18/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: First Mortgage Loans, Part 2: 38. Check the Internet or your local newspaper for mortgage rate surveys, then call several lenders for information about their rates (APRs), points, and fees. If you choose a mortgage broker, make certain to compare their offers with those of direct lenders. 39. Be aware that the interest rate on most adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) can vary a great deal over the lifetime of the loan. An increase of several percentage points might raise payments by hundreds of dollars a month, so ask the lender what the highest possible monthly payment might be.
06/11/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: First Mortgage Loans, Part 1: 36. Although your monthly payment may be higher, you can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the shortest-term mortgage you can afford. For each $100,000 you borrow at a 7% annual percentage rate (APR), for example, you will pay over $75,000 less in interest on a 15-year fixed rate mortgage than you would on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. 37. You can save thousands of dollars in interest charges by shopping for the lowest-rate mortgage with the fewest points. On a 15-year $100,000 fixed-rate mortgage, just lowering the APR from 7% to 6.5% can save you more than $5,000 in interest charges over the life of the loan, and paying two points instead of three would save you an additional $1,000.
06/04/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Auto Loans 33. To save as much as several thousand dollars in finance charges, pay for the car in cash or make a large down payment. Always get the shortest term loan possible as this will lower your interest rate. 34. Make certain to get a rate quote (or pre-approved loan) from your bank or credit union before seeking dealer financing. You can save as much as $1000 in finance charges by shopping for the cheapest loan. 35. Make certain to consider the dollar difference between low-rate financing and a lower sale price. Remember that getting zero or low-rate financing from a dealer may prevent you from getting the rebate.
05/21/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Credit Cards 30. To avoid late payment fees and possible interest rate increases on your credit cards, make sure you send in your payment a week to ten days before the statement due date. Late payments on one card can increase fees and interest rates on other cards. 31. You can avoid interest charges, which may be considerable, by paying off your entire bill each month. If you are unable to pay off a large balance, pay as much as you can. Try to shift the remaining balance to a credit card with a lower annual percentage rate (APR). You can find listings of credit card plans, rates, and terms on the Internet, in personal finance magazines, and in newspapers. 32. Be aware that credit cards with rebates, cash back, travel awards, or other perks may carry higher rates or fees.
05/07/07 Daniel Britt

Money Saving Monday: Checking Accounts and Debit Cards 25. You can save more than $100 a year in fees by selecting a free checking account or one with no minimum balance requirement. Request a complete list of fees that are charged on these accounts, including ATM and debit card fees. 26. See if you can get free or lower cost checking through direct deposit or agreeing to ATM only use. Be aware of charges for using an ATM not associated with your financial institution.

Savings Products 27. Before opening a savings account, find out whether the account is insured by the federal government (FDIC for banks or NCUA for credit unions). Financial institutions offer a number of products, such as mutual funds and annuities, which are not insured. 28. Once you select a type of savings account, use the telephone, newspaper, and Internet to compare rates and fees offered by different financial institutions-including those outside your city. These rates can vary a lot and, over time, can significantly affect interest earnings. 29. To earn the highest return on savings (annual percentage yield) with little or no risk, consider certificates of deposit (CDs) or U.S. Savings Bonds (Series I or EE).

04/30/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Life Insurance 22. If you want insurance protection only, and not a savings and investment product, buy a term life insurance policy. 23. If you want to buy a whole life, universal life, or other cash value policy, plan to hold it for at least 15 years. Canceling these policies after only a few years can more than double your life insurance costs. 24. Check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website (www.naic.org/cis) or your local library for information on the financial soundness of insurance companies.
04/23/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Homeowner/Renter Insurance 19. You can save several hundred dollars a year on homeowner insurance and up to $50 a year on renter insurance by purchasing insurance from a low-price, licensed insurer. Ask your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different licensed companies. Then call at least four of the lowest priced insurers to learn what they would charge you. If such a publication is not available, it is even more important to call at least four insurers for price quotes. 20. Make certain you purchase enough coverage to replace the house and its contents. "Replacement" on the house means rebuilding to its current condition. 21. Make certain your new policy is in effect before dropping your old one.
04/16/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Car Repairs 15. Consumers lose billions of dollars each year on unneeded or poorly done car repairs. The most important step that you can take to save money on these repairs is to find a skilled, honest mechanic. Before you need repairs, look for a mechanic who: is certified and well established; has done good work for someone you know; and communicates well about repair options and costs. >> Auto Insurance 16. You can save several hundred dollars a year by purchasing auto insurance from a licensed, low-price insurer. Call your state insurance department for a publication showing typical prices charged by different companies. Then call at least four of the lowest-priced, licensed insurers to learn what they would charge you for the same coverage. 17. Talk to your agent or insurer about raising your deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverage to at least $500 or, if you have an old car, dropping this coverage altogether. This can save you hundreds of dollars on insurance premiums. 18. Make certain that your new policy is in effect before dropping your old one.
04/09/07 Daniel Britt

Money Saving Monday: Auto Leasing 11. Don't decide to lease a car just because the payments are lower than on a traditional auto loan. The leasing payments are lower because you don't actually own the car. 12. Leasing a car is very complicated. When shopping, consider the price of the car (known as the capitalized cost), your trade-in allowance, any down payment, monthly payments, various fees (excess mileage, excess "wear and tear," end-of- lease), and the cost of buying the car at the end of the lease. A valuable source of information about auto leasing can be found in Keys to Vehicle Leasing: A Consumer Guide, which is published by the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Trade Commission.

Gasoline 13. You can save hundreds of dollars a year by comparing prices at different stations, pumping gas yourself, and using the lowest-octane called for in your owner's manual. 14. You can save up to $100 a year on gas by keeping your engine tuned and your tires inflated to their proper pressure.

04/02/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: New Cars 1. You can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of a car by selecting a model that combines a low purchase price with low depreciation, financing, insurance, gasoline, maintenance, and repair costs. Ask your local librarian for new car guides that contain this information. 2. Having selected a model and options you are interested in, you can save hundreds of dollars by comparison shopping. Get price quotes from several dealers (over the phone or Internet) and let each know you are contacting the others. 3. Remember there is no "cooling off" period on new car sales. Once you have signed a contract, you are obligated to buy the car. Used Cars 1. Before buying any used car: Compare the seller's asking price with the average retail price in a "bluebook" or other guide to car prices which can be found at many libraries, banks, and credit unions. Have a mechanic you trust check the car, especially if the car is sold "as is." 2. Consider purchasing a used car from an individual you know and trust. They are more likely than other sellers to charge a lower price and point out any problems with the car.
03/26/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Airline Fares 1. Compare low-cost carriers with major carriers that fly to your destination. Remember, the best fares may not be out of the airport closest to you. 2. You may save by including a Saturday evening stay-over or by purchasing the ticket at least 14 days in advance. Ask which days of the week and times of the day have the lowest fare. 3. Even if you are using a travel agent, check airline and Internet travel sites, and look for special deals. If you call, always ask for the lowest fare to your destination.
03/19/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: When deciding how to dress your windows, first take into account the style of the room. Most rooms are more casual these days, and don't require the heavy pinch pleat draperies of the past. Consider using ready-made items you might already own to create your window treatments. Lace tablecloths, pretty dishtowels, sheets and even quilts can make creative and charming window treatments. If you don't know how to sew, pick up some iron on hem tape at your local craft store. You can create simple hems and rod pockets easily with your iron. I don't recommend this for curtains that will be washed frequently. However, if the hem tape wears out, it can always be redone. Consider adding layers to your windows as your budget allows. First, a mini-blind for some privacy, then later, some sheers for softness. Finally, you might add curtain panels and a valance for a custom look that looks great all along the way. Be sure to hang your window treatments so they pull clear of the windows when open. This will make your windows look larger and let in more light. Even covering an inch or two of the window surface reduces the light in a room significantly. Hang them as high as you can, near the ceiling line if possible. It will add height to the room, making it appear larger and less boxlike. Use creative ideas for curtain rods as well. A garden room might do well with a smooth, long branch made into a rod. A sports oriented family room might be inspired by a ski or a hockey stick. Even an old boat oar would do in the right setting. Use your imagination, use your creativity, and save that cash!
03/12/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Ground Beef Savings Everybody knows that ground beef can be expensive, especially when it is lean. Look for London Broil to go on sale. In the Southeast, 1.99 is a good sale. Pick out a nice London Broil (I usually get a 3lb one) and have the store grind it for you. This is an excellent cut of lean meat. When I get one I divide the meat by the pound. I may brown some and freeze it or freeze some raw. When I need lean ground beef I already have it in the freezer by the pound and for a great price.
03/05/07 Daniel Britt What Our Mistakes Teach Us by Mary Hunt Have you made any mistakes lately? Want to talk about them? Most people don't. It's embarrassing. And when the mistake was particularly dumb, well that's something you hope to never think about again. And that's a mistake. Mistakes are useful because they teach us what doesn't work. But making the same mistake over and over again while expecting different results -- that's the definition of insanity. I've accumulated a list of mistakes over many years. Each one is like a trophy now, something that I do not have to do again because I've proven it doesn't work. Here's a quick list of mine that I hope you'll learn from. It Doesn't Work to Be in a Supermarket Without a Plan Walking into the grocery store without a plan (that includes a written list, coupons, and cash) is a terrible blunder. I know me. Without my "crutches," I am a $200 miscalculation just waiting to happen. And if I'm hungry? Make that $300. It Doesn't Work to Buy Extended Warranties on Appliances Statistically, if an appliance is going to fail, it will do so in the first 90 days (the product comes with a warranty to cover this time frame) or after five years (extended warranties aren't that extended). For the record, a laptop computer is one thing that might require an extended warranty. Laptops fail routinely; trust me. It Doesn't Work to Lease a Car Don't roll the shortfall and extra charges at the end of one auto lease into a new auto lease. To have repeated this goof over and again for no less than 22 years straight brought me dangerously close to insanity. It Doesn't Work to Buy a 7,000-Gallon Blow-Up Swimming Pool Actually, I didn't know such a thing existed so I can't even argue it was something we needed. Standing there in the middle of the Home Show I managed to pull off the impulse purchase of the century (thankfully, this was in the last century). Buying the blowup pool was a blooper that just kept on giving lessons to be learned until several years later when we begged Goodwill to just take it away. It Doesn't Work to Carry More than $100 Cash Carrying a single $100 bill is for me a great deterrent for overspending. I don't feel broke, but it's a bill I hate to break. It is also the tipping point. Carrying more than $100 creates a feeling of excess that burns a hole in my wallet. The overage simply disappears. It Doesn't Work to Live on Credit Depending on credit to bridge the gap between what you earn and what you spend is a big no-no. Debt is a terrible liar, insisting that while you don't have the money today, you'll have it next month. Or the next. Debt keeps you stuck in the past, always stealing from the future. Debt is reversible, thankfully -- provided you don't fall into the same traps over and over expecting that eventually, somehow you will get different results. That would be insane. Printed in its entirety from Everyday Cheapskate, Mary Hunt’s daily syndicated newspaper column. Used with permission from United Features Syndicate, 2005. For more information, visit www.cheapskatemonthly.com.
02/19/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Home decorating ideas (part 2). 3.Look for raw materials. You can find resources for fabric at yard sales in clothing, sheets, and quilts and blankets. Remember, a stained lace tablecloth can be cut down to make placemats or runners, and a beautiful ski sweater can be used to front a throw pillow. 4.Look beyond. Many items at garage sales may be used for different uses than originally intended, if you just keep your eyes open! You may find a beautiful serving bowl, but get it for $1 because of it’s chipped edge! No worries, a gorgeous planter for the front porch! 5.Learn some creative paint finishes. Most of the things you find at yard sales can be upgraded in an afternoon with an interesting paint finish. You can find many instructions on the internet. One good site for ideas is www.PaintIdeas.com
02/12/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Home decorating ideas (part 1). The time of year is here for yard sales, and there is no better place for budget decorators to find the best treasures! The trick is in recognizing an items potential. Here are some great ideas for turning low cost yard sale finds into great home decorating accessories for your home! 1.Look little. Don't overlook the impact little items can make in your décor. Costume jewelry, craft beads, even hardware wire can be transformed into beautiful details for your home. 2.Look big. An old 70's waterbed might not seem like a good find, unless you just use the headboard, paint it white, and turn it into a cottage style display case for your china and glassware.
02/05/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Gourmet Hand Crème - homemade! 2 T olive oil 2 tsp honey 1 tsp liquid lecithin 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar In the blender or with a wire shisk, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Pour into a clean container with a tight fitting lid. It may see a bit sticky at first but this stickiness will go away after sitting for a day or two. Source:"Natural Beauty for All Seasons" by Janice Cox
01/29/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Cutting Back on Toys … One suggestion was this: "Last year for Christmas we asked my parents for a zoo membership instead of gifts which would soon be forgotten. We were able to get many "free" trips to the zoo throughout the year!" -- Another I've heard is to periodically, trade toys with other friends who have children that are close in age. Even though the toys are used, they will be like brand new to your child - keeping your home free of accumulating clutter, and your child less bored with old toys. - Yet another suggestion is to have your child choose a toy to give away or donate before he or she can get a new toy (while that may not save you money, it will keep clutter down and possibly even could be used as a tax deduction if given to a non-profit charity).
01/08/07 Daniel Britt Money Saving Monday: Weddings for less The average wedding costs $25,000, a price most newlyweds can't afford. However there are simple ways to save and everything from the ceremony to the honeymoon. One tip: avoid April through August when you set the date. Prices are higher during those popular wedding months. By getting married on a Friday afternoon, rather than a Saturday evening, you can save over $4 per guest. Also, there are some traditions are worth breaking. The bride's family doesn't have to pay the wedding bills alone; divide costs as a couple. Think a wedding's cheaper at home? It actually can be more expensive because you rent everything from china and silverware to chairs and a tent. A rented facility will provide your basic wedding needs. If you are renting, formal chairs can create a dramatic look, but cost up to $13 per person. A simple chair cover can save you up to $9 a person. When it comes to flowers, they can cost thousands of dollars, but by choosing blooms in season, you'll pay less. Daisies, carnations and wildflowers run cheaper all year around.

Current Resources | 2006 Archives | 2005 Archives | 2004 Archives