A friend is buying a house, or trying. And like many people of a certain age, he has very few adult friends who have ever gotten a mortgage. I have, so I know it’s a scary process. So let’s talk about what paperwork you need for a mortgage pre-approval, and how hard the process is.
One of the best estate sales I ever attended was a sale in a modest St. Louis suburb that happened to be the estate of a computer programmer. The sale had almost everything I look for. Books, music, vintage computer gear, and even recent-ish computer gear. There was only one problem. Her books smelled like an ashtray. So I had to learn how to remove cigarette smell from books and other items.
I’ve been driving a hybrid car for almost five years. If I’d had my way, I would have bought one much earlier, back in 2003, but I just couldn’t afford one then. Are hybrid cars worth it?
Driving a hybrid saves you around $400 a year in fuel costs. That makes it difficult to recoup the higher cost of a hybrid when buying new, but it makes used hybrids a bargain, since the resale value of a hybrid is comparable to an equivalent conventional car.
The huge power outage in Texas in February 2021 got a lot of people thinking about solar. But a question quickly came up in all the conversations I had with people around the country. Do solar panels work during a power outage? That sounds like an absurd question. But under some circumstances, they don’t.
Solar doesn’t always work during a power outage, and that’s something that naysayers used to try to pin the blame on solar power. On-grid solar panels will shut down to protect electrical workers during an outage, but there are ways for you to compensate for that.
The markup on cables is huge. The markup on premium cables is even bigger. That’s why the cable you need to connect your device to your TV frequently doesn’t come in the box. Making matters worse, it’s hard to know which cable to buy. Are expensive HDMI cables worth it? Are they worth the extra money?
It’s more complicated than it used to be, since an 8K HDMI cable is different and does cost more to make than a 4K HDMI cable. But all other things being equal, there’s no difference in audio and video quality between two cables with the same specs and a different price.
Is Harbor Freight getting rid of coupons? That’s the rumor, but it’s not what’s happening. At any rate, the rules changed in 2021, so let’s talk about the new rules, and how to coupon Harbor Freight in 2021 and beyond.
The rumor is that Harbor Freight doesn’t do coupons anymore. While they do a lot fewer coupons now than they used to, Harbor Freight does still issue coupons. That means there’s still opportunity for savings.
Blackout curtains help to keep light out, making them useful if you have a lot of light pollution at night or need to sleep during the day. But do blackout curtains help with heat? Do blackout curtains save energy? And how much?
Blackout curtains can have an R value of up to 5, depending on how you use them. Considering most windows have an R value between 1 and 5, and your walls have an R value of at least 13, blackout curtains do help with heat, and can save you hundreds of dollars per year.
Books are expensive, but some books are crazy expensive. There are generally three reasons for that. I don’t think I’m giving away any deep, dark secrets, so I’ll explain why some books are so expensive on Amazon. Like, $800 expensive, sometimes. Better yet, I’ll also explain how to know if the book you’re looking at is overpriced, or if it typically does sell for those high prices.
Some books legitimately are extremely valuable and expensive. But sometimes low-demand books get caught up in price wars that drive prices up due to short supply.
My coworker asked me for my honest opinion whether his house is a money pit. It’s actually a less complicated question than it might sound. Any house can become a money pit, but most houses won’t, if we don’t let them. Here’s how to keep house money pit issues under control.
In my experience, homes usually become money pits due to a combination of neglect and taking on too many projects at once. Both of these issues are manageable over the long term.
Years ago, I was having lunch with a friend. “You probably don’t save much money by building a PC. I know when I build a mountain bike, I end up spending more.” His logic makes sense. But it’s worth exploring. Is it cheaper to build a PC?