Month: May 2016

52 Weeks: Wills, etc – Life Insurance

The purpose of life insurance is to protect your financial dependents from serious financial problems in the event of your death. Sales persons try to sell whole life insurance to young people with no financial dependents. They’ll tell you the premiums are so much lower when you’re young, get it while it’s affordable. My own opinion is that unless you are absolutely sure your income will never be interrupted, so that you can’t pay the premium and lose all or most of what you’ve paid in, it’s too risky. My income has certainly been interrupted several times over the decades, by layoff, illness, overwhelming expenses.

Term insurance is far, far less expensive than whole life. It gives the most death benefit for the money. The large fees and commissions on whole life, variable life, and universal life put them completely outside my comfort zone. Universal life is sold as an investment vehicle. The thing is, if there comes a time when you can’t pay the premiums, within a few months the whole value of it is gone. That is beyond risky. Making those payments into your own 401k, mutual fund, bank account, or IRA is much, much safer. If you lose your job and stop paying into an IRA, you still get to keep all the money you put into it before.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

Getting Heavy Stuff Taken Away Free

Quite some time ago, the start button on my treadmill stopped working. The motor is probably fine, but without the start button, that’s no good.

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

Benjamin Franklin

So, I spent way too much time wondering how to get the heavy, bulky thing down the steep stairs outside my front door. I’m not physically able to do that, and most people I know are very old or disabled. So it sat there.

Then, I remembered a part of my own book, duh!

“Getting rid of things without a haul away fee

You can give things away on www.freecycle.com and www.craigslist.org (the free section). This can be useful when you need to get rid of something that would cost a fee to haul away or to dump. If someone takes it away free, you come out ahead and so do they.”

I advertised it in the free section on Craigslist, making clear that it won’t work unless you can get past the start button. Someone took it away the next day. I think they were a scrapper, gathering metals to sell to scrap places.

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

 

 

52 Weeks: Vacations – Disney

I’ve lived fairly close to Disney World for a long time and have been there several times. The first time I went to Magic Kingdom, I followed the family group around all day with my mouth hanging open. I could ride that silly Small World ride all day if I didn’t have to stand in line again every time.

A way to make a Disney vacation cost less is to buy Disney souvenir products on eBay or at garage sales in advance and give those out to your kids after you get there. Security requirements are different now than they used to be. If it’s allowed, a fanny pack full of granola bars, string cheese, and fruit will cut down on food costs.

No expiration Disney tickets cost $20 years ago. If I had bought a dozen, that would have been one heck of a fine investment. Buying ahead can still work if you have reason to think you’ll be back and if they still offer no expiration tickets.

If you don’t mind listening to the timeshare sales pitch, some of them give free Disney tickets as a reward for listening. Once when Cliff and I were there we got a full breakfast with the sales pitch and free tickets to Disney. Cliff tried to pay the parking attendant with a roll of quarters and he waved us on in rather than deal with coins. We already had free lodging from a different timeshare company. So all we spent on that vacation was for meals and the room tax on the hotels. (And the dollar store package of underwear because he forgot to pack any.)

Some sources for discounted tickets to theme parks and attractions:

  • Your credit union
  • Your union
  • Your employer’s HR department
  • AAA
  • AARP

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

52 Weeks: Vacations – Cruises

As fancy vacations go, a cruise can be a good value. I found them to be on-beyond relaxing. All the food and entertainment was already laid on so I didn’t have to make any decisions, and had no need to pay for extra things. (Bring your own soft drinks. They charge a lot for the ones they put in your room.) If you don’t drink, shop, or gamble, the price you pay covers everything except the optional shore excursions.

If you live near a cruise departure port, you may be able to get a steep discount by showing up with your luggage just before they sail. They’d usually rather get a little money than sail with an empty cabin.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

52 Weeks: Vacations – Staycations

“Staycation” is a recently coined word for a period of time when you are on vacation from work, but you don’t travel anywhere. Lodging is not an issue and you aren’t driving or flying anywhere. You’re cooking at home so there aren’t any additional costs as there would be with actually going somewhere. I’ve done this more often than not, before it had a name. Having plenty of time to rest and to catch up on household projects does relieve a lot of stress. You could also take day trips to nearby interesting or educational places and activities. Perhaps there’s a time-consuming creative project that could enrich your time off.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack

52 Weeks: Vacations – National Parks

Summer vacation season is coming up. Frugal people already know that visiting family or friends not too far away is the least expensive going-somewhere vacation. Next up is simple travel with low-cost lodging and inexpensive or free activities.

For day visits, more than half of National Parks in the U.S. don’t charge an admission fee. Those that do charge have free days. Some have bicycles or canoes for rent and some have interesting guided walks. Anyone sixty-two or older can get a Golden Age Passport from the National Park Service, for free entrance to any site run by the NPS.

 

 

Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marie+brack