Money Quote Friday – Bible Quote Edition.

If a man has enough to live on, and yet when he sees his brother in need shuts up his heart against him, how can it be said that the divine love dwells in him?” – John 3:17

I am by no means a religious person – I don’t even consider myself agnostic or atheist. But this quote rings so true for me that I had to share it with you guys. Too often people only look out for themselves, including some of those who preach the “word”, which is supposedly the exact opposite of selfishness. Let’s hope that changes as we evolve.

Have a fantastic weekend.


I Changed My Mind – Go Ahead And Walk Away From Your Mortgage.

Back in February of 2008, I wrote a post titled Do You Think It Is OK To Walk Away From A Mortgage You Cannot Afford? that got a lot of attention and comments. In it, I said “I gotta say that I think it is kind of crappy ““ I mean, people should take some responsibility for what their financial decisions, right?” – and at the time I fully believed that. In fact, I still do – but not when the banks are taking advantage of us who have saved them from failure. And with our government telling banks to start working with homeowners facing foreclosure instead of taking people’s homes, what are the banks doing? Not much – the help is just not coming to people who need to refinance and/or restructure their mortgage…so homeowners are starting to walk away from mortgages in droves. And I don’t blame them anymore. From the NYT:

“People like me are beginning to feel like suckers,” Mr. Koellmann said. “Why not let it go in default and rent a better place for less?”

After three years of plunging real estate values, after the bailouts of the bankers and the revival of their million-dollar bonuses, after the Obama administration’s loan modification plan raised the expectations of many but satisfied only a few, a large group of distressed homeowners is wondering the same thing.

New research suggests that when a home’s value falls below 75 percent of the amount owed on the mortgage, the owner starts to think hard about walking away, even if he or she has the money to keep paying.

This isn’t about having your credit score ruined or not being able to get another mortgage for a few more years. It also isn’t about a moral choice anymore, as I thought it was back in 2008. This is about people who have gotten screwed over by the very banks that we have been paying to keep in existence. The banks get all the help they need while the people get nothing – it’s a messed up system right now. I fully believe in personal responsibility (I know, surprising for a liberal, right?) and doing the right thing, but in these cases where a home isn’t worth much of anything anymore and banks are not willing to work with borrowers to keep them in their homes, I tend to side with the regular folks. If the banks and Wall Street can be unethical in how they conduct business, well… so can the people.

Unless, of course, you directly caused the problems you are in like, say, credit card debt from too much shopping. Please do the responsible thing and pay them off without filing for bankruptcy.



Weird Studies – Why Do We Waste Money On Stuff Like This?

Taller People Earn More Money. Your Brain Thinks Money Is A Drug. Pretty people make more money; ugly men make the least. Seriously – these are findings of studies about money, not headlines from The Onion. A friend of mine sent out a link to this article on Twitter yesterday, so I knew I had to take a look. With all the real problems in the world, and all the legitimate things that money could be spent on, why are we wasting a single dime paying for a study about ugly people making money? I understand that some of this money comes from private donors or organizations and not taxpayers, but wouldn’t we all be better off if instead they gave that money towards helping to feed a few hungry kids or send a poor teenager to college? Or help a library stay open? Or keep state parks around for another year?

I mean, my life is better for knowing that “attractive people earn more than average looking people in the workplace. Unfortunately, workers who are not at all attractive, earn even less. And ugly men are affected more than ugly women. Men who are uglier than average tend to make nine percent less, while below average looking women make only five percent less.” Isn’t yours?


What do you guys think about these kinds of things? Wasteful? Useful? I would imagine that if all stupid studies were halted today, we could do a lot of good with that money. I mean, we are all going to disagree on what the true definition of “wasting money” is in regards to our spending on social/societal issues. I get that, and that can make for healthy debate. But stuff like this seems like it would be wasteful to just about everyone – from the most conservative fiscal hawk all the way to the most liberal free-spender!

Photo from Shutterstock


Save Money & Be Green – Give Old Furniture A New Lease On Life.

Giving your old furniture a makeover is an effective and economical way to improve the appearance of a whole room. Not only is a makeover a greener option ““ it involves reusing what you already have ““ it’s also much cheaper than replacing old furniture with new. Using slipcovers is an eco-friendly, quick and easy method of updating tired looking seats, helping you to improve the look and feel of an entire room on a limited budget.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Slipcovers are a planet-friendly choice because they enable you to stick to the green principles of reducing, reusing and recycling. You can reduce waste by keeping your old couch out of landfill and prolonging its useful life. The energy required to make and transport new furniture, and to dispose of old furniture, is significant. So, you can minimize your carbon footprint by reusing what you already have.

Alternatively, if you really need to get rid of an item of furniture ““ maybe it is the wrong shape or size for your room ““ you could recycle it by giving it to someone who could make use of it. At the same time you could buy some cheap secondhand furniture that is more suitable for your home. It doesn’t matter what state the upholstery is in, or whether the color matches your decor, as you can easily cover it up with a slipcover.

A New Look

As slipcovers are constructed to fit over an entire sofa or chair, they are perfect for concealing unappealing upholstery. They can be used to hide unsightly areas, such as worn, torn, faded or stained upholstery. Or you can simply use them to change the color of your furniture. For instance, many people like to use different color slipcovers according to the season. Others find they are ideal for coordinating their furniture with a new color scheme if they decorate or move house.

They are easy to fit, having ties or elastic to keep them in place. You can get a smooth finish by tucking any excess fabric into the cracks around your seats. They can transform an unattractive couch in minutes. You can also use a slipcover to alter the style of your furniture. For example, a slipcover with a straight or pleated skirt can be used to cover up wooden legs, particularly if they are scratched or chipped. By wrapping old towels around wooden arms, you can make them padded and then fit a slipcover over the top to complete the makeover.

Easy to Clean

As well as being much cheaper than reupholstery, most ready made slipcovers are fully machine washable, so it’s very easy to keep them clean. Many people use them on seats that are in good condition to protect them from wear and tear. If you’re a parent or grandparent, you’ll find it’s a lot less of a worry if a child smears chocolate or pizza on a slipcover, than on upholstery that would have to be scrubbed by hand! Pet owners find them useful too.


Mass-produced slipcovers are usually made from cotton, polyester, or a blend of both. From a green perspective, cotton is a better choice because it is a natural fiber rather than a synthetic one. Cotton makes a durable, hardwearing fabric that can stand up to a lot of use and regular washing. It goes without saying that organic cotton would be the most eco-friendly choice. However, as yet, organic slipcovers are not widely available. Sure Fit has a small range, for sofas and loveseats. So far, I have been unable to find organic cotton slipcovers for other types of furniture, such as armchairs, wingback chairs or recliners. I envisage slipcovers made from environmentally-friendly fabrics will become more commonplace as consumer awareness increases.

If you’re looking for a frugal fix for your mismatched or tired-looking furniture, slipcovers are a cost-effective solution. You can help the planet and make your home look nice at the same time.

The above was a guest post from My Two Dollars reader Caroline Williams, who always tries to save money and go green!


Sunday Money Roundup – Nordstrom Rack Edition.

For Christmas, I received a sizable gift card to Nordstroms. Mind you, I have never shopped there or really ever been in one, but I was thrilled to be given some money to be spent on clothing, which I rarely buy for myself. So one day I grabbed my gift card and headed to the mall, where I almost had a heart attack looking at the prices of these clothes. $150 for jeans? $99 for a shirt? Um, at this rate all my money would have gotten me a whopping 2 or 3 items, which is crazy. Then someone reminded me about Nordstrom Rack and how much cheaper it was – and boy was he right! I went over there and spent only 1/4 of the value of my card on 3 new shirts, leaving me with plenty to go back again and look for more. So if you ever receive a Nordstom gift card, you may want to take it over to the rack so you can actually get more than 1 thing with it! On to the roundup…

Five Cent Nickel answers a reader question – “Will Moving to a Higher Income Tax Bracket Cost You Money?” Um, no, not really. But why not?

The Wisdom Journal wants you to Eat Your Own Dog Food.

Your Finances 101 talks about The True Cost of Credit Cards. Use credit wisely and it can pay off, but if not…

Money Smart Life explains the 9 Mistakes People Make with their IRA. Don’t make these mistakes!

No Credit Needed talks about the Principles Reinforced By A Television Show ““ Holmes On Homes. Good read, for sure.

Finance for a Freelance Life answers the questions What Is the Time Value of Money? as part of her Textbook Personal Finance series.

Single Guy Money has the Bachelor’s Guide To Savings. Good thing I learned most of these the last time I was single!

BudgetPulse talks about How Credit Cards Can be Used for Budgeting. I use them for budgeting myself, great topic.

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