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Five Sure-Fire Ways to have a Beautiful Home and All the Best Gadgets for Less
Yes, you're making great money compared to what you were used to in college, but the economy is tough, ever changing and unforgiving. And while many of your friends are probably outfitting their apartments and homes with the nicest TVs and furniture credit can buy, it's in your best interest to keep your expenses low.
With sites like Craigslist website and Zaarly website, your ability to find really nice items that are gently used couldn't be easier. Granted, you'll be sitting on someone's old leather couch, but honestly, the leather looks cooler when it's been “weathered.” Plus, a brand new sofa and side chair with ottoman could cost upwards of $1,500-2,000 and a gently used set goes for $500-700
Here are five sure-fire ways to have a beautiful home and all the best gadgets for less:
- Google “frugal design” and scan through any of the hundreds of websites that come up. You'll find ideas on how to decorate your new pad with unique and somewhat expensive looking “treasures” that can be picked up at auctions and yard sales.
- Download the Woot! app for your smartphone to see the amazing daily deals and sellout items. Flat screen TVs have gone for 50 percent off their normal selling price and you can get furniture often for rock-bottom prices.
- Apple.com sells refurbished iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Airs that carry the same guarantee as items bought new in the store. Discounts as large as $200-300 off are common.
- Become a fan of HGTV's Design On A Dime This TV program takes creative, accessible and affordable design to the next level by dismissing the idea that a beautiful room has to be expensive.
- Ask co-workers, friends and family to save coupons from box stores and utilize these when the item you have your eye on goes on sale.
Car Buying Tips
Whether you are ready to trade in that hand-me-down hatchback or toss that bus pass in the trash, buying your first car is quite an adventure. It can be a time-consuming, frustrating and exhilarating process, so it's best to make a plan before you head out to the car lots. Here are a few tips on where to start.
- What Can You Afford? Before you begin shopping for a car, it's important to take a look at your budget and figure out how much car you can afford to spend on a vehicle, without strapping yourself or cutting into your savings. The number needs to take into consideration the monthly payment and operating expenses, like gas and maintenance.
- The Down Payment You're also going to need a big chunk of change for a down payment. To get a loan for a car, and often for a lease, you'll probably need to make a down payment of around 10 percent of the total price of the vehicle. The larger your down payment, the smaller your monthly payment will be and the less you will pay in total for the car in the long run.
- Keep Insurance Costs Low Insurance costs are typically more expensive for younger drivers, especially if they're younger than 25. Fortunately, there are other ways to keep premiums low.
- Be mindful of car insurance premiums when you're buying a car as certain models have steeper insurance costs than others. Generally, less expensive cars are cheaper to insure.
- Look for safe-driver discounts to save some cash. Discounts can range from 10-45%, depending on the carrier and its policy.
- Do Your Homework Start car shopping by doing research online. Third-party vehicle-information sites like Kelley Blue Book offer loads of information on new and used cars. Don't forget to shop your dealership's online department too. Sometimes this department offers lower pricing than you'll find with the dealership's traditional sales team. Sites like CarMax, a pre-owned car firm, can offer great online pricing. No matter what, always make sure to test drive the vehicle before making a decision.
- True cost of owning a car (infographic)
- New vs. Used Autos
- Top 5 Worst Car Buying Mistakes
- NADA Guide
- Save Big: Credit Union Auto Financing
There's an app for that. Apps to save money on car related expenses: