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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stanford Group Meltdown Lessons and the Price of Tuna

I live in a medium-sized town. So, to hear about a company close to home allegedly bilking billions of dollars out of customers all over the world, -- it's like living in New York next door to the Madoff house. Huh? What happened to the nice people who sponsored the Symphony last week? Confusing. And since I'm not one of the chosen who received 8% gains over the past few years, I get to point fingers and feel a bit smug again. At least one person I know has tried to reclaim their money by running over to the Stanford offices and knocking on the locked door.

The lesson that I see we can all take to the bank here? Save more for retirement, we can't expect 8% gains. Frugal living pays off. The Millionaire Next Door is a plumber, and that's okay because it's an honest living.

Speaking of frugal living, here is a price comparison spreadsheet sample you can use. I had already created one from scratch when I read a blog on GRS outlining this very process. All my friends who laughed at me -- well, just enjoy knowing that you might be getting the best price on Tuna at Walgreens if there is a sale going on. See my "target pricing" table below. The section highlighted is just Tuna. It's an ongoing project! Share if you have scored Tuna for less than .20 per oz...

Target Tuna, Water Packed, Market Pantry per Oz $ 0.200
Wal-Mart Tuna, 5 oz., gv,albacore in water $1.08 per Oz $ 0.216
Wal-greens Tuna, Chicken Sea, 5 oz, Albacore $0.99 per Oz $ 0.198

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New York Times Rent vs. Buy calculator

My personal finance site has also recommend this Rent vs. Buy calculator from the New York Times.

I used it and I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!

But I have to be careful not to share it with my friends who just bought a house, because they get a little green around the gills when they realize how much they are really spending on housing.

You just go here...Rent vs. Buy Calculator. and enter your rent versus the cost of what it would take to buy a comparable place.

I sold my home last year, and am renting. It took a major psychological shift to get there! (Me? A Mom? A Citizen? A board member...A...a...a...renter???!!)

But I love my apartment and am saving $2,000 a year by renting. In fact, at my rental rate, I can't buy a condo or another house at $170,000 per year (which is comparable to the quality of my condo) and come out ahead, even after 30 years. Even with a 50% down payment. That's $85,000 folks!

One day I'll buy again, just because I believe in owning a place. But I know that I'll be paying a premium to do it.

In the meantime, I'm just a smug renter who doesn't have to worry about finding a new roofer, painter, or lawn boy.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Credit Bureaus, Handy Ref

Equifax 800-997-2493,

Experian 888-397-3742,

TransUnion, 800-888-4213,