My monthly rent just went from $1,500 per month to $350 per month. Yes, you read that right – I just started saving $1,150 on my rent each and every month! (Do I sound like a Geico insurance ad?) This is part of the move I have referenced as of late and part of my long-term plan to hitting the road full time within the next 12 months. The place I was renting in California was a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom stand-alone house with rather high utility bills each month, while the place I am now renting in New Mexico is a studio-sized bungalow near town with all the utilities included. Counting rent, utilities, and entertainment, my costs for the house in California added up to about $1,750, while the costs for the studio in New Mexico add up to, well, exactly $350. I no longer have cable TV, and my heat/water/internet service is included in the rent, so my monthly expenses for the place end at the full cost of my rent each month. This may be too much sacrifice for some people, but for me it’s a means to an end — one I am looking forward to.
As I alluded to a few weeks back, I just finished my move back to New Mexico. Seen by some in my family as a clear sign of my mental degradation, my short-lived trial run back in California didn’t last too long and I feel as though I am back where I am supposed to be. But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about here at My Two Dollars; rather, I wanted to take a look at the cost of moving a small amount of material goods in the most efficient and cost-effective way. So here’s a little backstory on my move, how I did it, and how much money it cost me.
Is your bank charging you a ton of fees for account maintenance, withdrawing your own money, or writing more than two checks per month? If so you aren’t alone, as most “name-brand” popular banks are coming up with anything they can to charge you fees for. While complaining loudly may make some account holders feel better about the fees, it won’t make the banks stop charging them! I used to bank with Bank of America and I felt like I was being dinged every week for any little thing I wanted from my bank, so I changed to a much better bank which I will talk about a little later in this post. But before I get to that, let’s take a quick look at the kind of fees and penalties that three popular banks are charging their customers, and then we’ll see what we can do to move away from them and into a much better banking relationship.
So, are you selling your own home or in the market to buy a new home for yourself? Guess what — you’re going to need a home inspection done by a qualified professional prior to completing the sale or purchase. Because purchasing a home is (probably) the largest single purchase you will make in your life, it’s important to get your potential new asset inspected for any problems before you sign on the dotted line. After all, there is nothing worse than finding any huge problems after you have taken ownership that are then your responsibility to take care of! While home inspections do vary in quality and requirements, there are some aspects that will usually be the same no matter where you live or whom you decide to work with, and this is because there are guidelines put forth by the National Association of Home Inspectors which good home inspectors take care to follow when doing their job. Let’s take a look at some of the items and standards included in a house inspection so you’ll know what to expect when it’s your turn to get one!
Is your retirement date coming up in the next couple of years? Is your target-date investment account about to mature? If so, and if you haven’t begun planning your retirement party already, it may be time for you to start looking for that perfect place to call home in your golden years. Where do you want to spend your time? What do you want to do on a daily basis? What kind of money do you have saved and/or are prepared to spend for a new place to live the rest of your life in? While all sorts of questions and configurations can figure into finding your perfect place to retire, thankfully there are many websites that do a lot of the research for you so that you don’t have to spend hours poring over maps and demographics of various towns across America. Two of the preeminent financial sites out there, CNNMoney and Smart Money have recently come out with their latest lists of best places to retire in the U.S., and I figured I would highlight some of their choices and reasons for picking them for those of you approaching retirement age. Let’s take a look…