Author Archives: Steve Economides

Buying a Home with a Low Credit Score: Repeat & First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home with bad credit or a low credit score is possible.

Buying a home with bad credit can really be a challenge. And if you have a poor credit score it can be even tougher. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a home, but you’re struggling with saving a down payment or raising your credit score, we’ve got hope.

There are several steps you can take to repair credit, find a lender, and realize that goal of homeownership. This guide will help you find all the resources you need.

Table of Contents


Step One: Work on Your CreditRead more »

Paying for College With No Money or a Trust Fund

How to Pay for College with no Money - College graduate

A Reader asks How to Pay for College With No Money and without a Trust Fund.

Question: My daughter is a senior in high school and is preparing to head off to college. We have no money saved for her college expenses and feel like loans are the only option we have. What should we do?

MoneySmartFamily: You have more options than you realize.

 

1. Get Government Grants

Fill out a FAFSA application – it’s the Free Application for Federal Student Aid – StudentAid.ed.gov

Do this even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for any student aid. FAFSA … Read more »

Student Loan Forgiveness Programs: Get Loans Discharged Legally

Student Loan Forgiveness - Get Rid of College Debt Forever!

Do you have college loans? Are you looking for a list of loan forgiveness programs? Are you wondering if you can get student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness isn’t available to everyone, but it is a great way to pay off student loans that have already been accrued!

We’ve scoured the loan forgiveness landscape and found 9 different programs that might benefit you.

College Prices Have Skyrocketed:

Over the past 40 years, gas prices have increased by about 300% and Gold has risen more than 1200%. However, the cost of college has outpaced them both, skyrocketing more than 1600% higher than it was in … Read more »

37 Garage Sale Tips and Tricks: A Guide To Hosting Great Yard or Garage Sale

Wooden yard sale sign posted on a wire fence. Guide to Hosting Great Garage Sales.

If you’re looking for Garage Sale Tips and Tricks, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve hosted and participated in dozens of very successful garage sales.

We’ve written this Garage Sale Guide to help you turn your unwanted treasures into cash. There are 37 ideas presented on this page to help you run an efficient and profitable yard sale at your home. Or to host a rummage sale for a charitable organization where you volunteer.

Hosting A Garage Sale – Where to Start

Have you ever wondered how to host a great and profitable garage sale? We’ve hosted dozens of yard or garage … Read more »

How We Rehydrate Rubbery, Limp Carrots

A Terrific Limp Carrot Fix!

Have you ever purchased carrots that are rubbery, limp and droopy? Have carrots that you store in your refrigerator lost their crispness and crunchiness?

Don’t despair, your produce is not ready for the trash can or compost pile. You can rehydrate limp carrots and return them to their crisp and crunchy original condition.

 

Watch the video at the bottom of this page as Steve demonstrates how easy it is to fix limp carrots.

 

Why Do Carrots Get Rubbery and Limp?

Carrots are a root vegetable and consist of 88 percent water. By comparison, cucumbers are 96 percent water. Carrots get limp when their water … Read more »

3 Ways to Save Money on Utilities

Programmable Lux thermostat with a finger pointing to it to adjust it.

SAVING ON UTILITIES 

We’re in the dog days of summer (in the U.S.) and depending on where you live, you’re either enjoying the nice weather, sweltering in the humidity or broiling in the dry heat. For many people, summer is a time for relief from the high utility costs of the winter. But for us in Arizona, this is our most expensive season.

1) Planning Ahead for Utility Savings

The time to prepare for your most expensive utility usage season is NOT usually in the middle of that season.

If your winter utility costs eat you alive, prepare in the summer with:

Additional attic insulation … Read more »

Head of Lettuce – What is the Best Price, Weight & Nutrition

Buying Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce? Which Lettuce is best to buy?/ #BestLettuceDeal/ #BuyingLettuce/ #BuyingProduceCheap/ #BuyingProduceOnABudget

Leaf or Iceberg Lettuce . . . do you know which type of lettuce costs more?

Have you ever tried to calculate the best price for lettuce? Do you know which type of lettuce is the most nutritious? We answer all of these questions in this blog.

There are several ways to save money when buying lettuce. We outline a couple of our tricks on this page.

Finding the Best Deal on Lettuce is More Complex Than You Might Think!

Calculating the best price on lettuce is more than simply looking at the sale flyer. To determine the best deal we consider the price per … Read more »

College Home Study Program: Degree for $3100 – Dual Credit at Home

A College Degree for $3100? What About College Home Study? What About an Online College Degree? #CollegeDegree$3100 #OnlineCollegeDegree #CollegeHomeStudy

This College Home Study Program is amazing, clever, very different from other programs and inexpensive too.

If you have kids who want a fast track to a college degree or, if you’re an adult looking for an inexpensive and fast way to finally finish that degree, you’ve GOT TO READ what Becky and her kids have done. It’s absolute GENIUS.

We met Becky Muldrow in San Antonio, Texas at a conference where we were speaking. Becky is a mom and a smart one at that.

With 10 kids she has to be.

But what stood out most to us was her absolutely ingenious way … Read more »

23 Free Online Movie Websites Like Crackle, YouTube and Hulu

17 Free Online Movie Websites Like Crackle, YouTube and Hulu! #FreeOnlineMovieWebsites #FreeDigitalMovieWebsites

This list of 22 free movie websites like Crackle, YouTube & Hulu can help you save money by dumping cable. Check out these sites and other Blu-Ray/smart tv apps.

One of the biggest budget busters is overspending on recreation. We recently did a “dinner and a movie” date night. If we hadn’t had movie gift cards and a restaurant coupon we would have spent $60. There has to be a better way to spend time together without spending a fortune.

We love cocooning at home after a long day of work. After selecting a good movie, we sit on the couch … Read more »

Fathers Day: Serving & Teaching Your Kids to Work

Steve and Joe Economides standing in front of a cubbie hole shelf unit they built.

The typical Father’s Day celebration is to wait on Dad, hand, and foot, hand him the remote control and let him do whatever he wants for the entire day.

Try a Different Kind of Father’s Day

This Father’s day we’d like to encourage Dad’s everywhere to make it a day when they serve their families—giving time and love to their families, and receiving much more in return. 

There is no better Father’s Day present to receive than to have little hands squeeze your face after you fix a broken toy or finish swinging your child at the park. 

 

How about Work-Play 

We had several of … Read more »

Great Vacations With Limited Funds – Having Fun on a Shoestring Budget

Great Vacations with Limited Funds are Entirely Possible!

Have you ever thought about great vacations with limited funds? And what about this summer? If you’re thinking you can’t take a vacation, think again. We’ve got lots of frugal and cheap tips to make your vacation memorable on a shoestring budget.

If your only option is a Vacation with Limited Funds, can you still create a fun and enjoyable memory? Here’s how we and several other frugal friends have enjoyed great vacations on the cheap.

 

Great Vacations on a Shoestring Budget

Yes, money is tight, unemployment is still high and the economic climate is uncertain. But if you’re thinking there is no … Read more »

Sonic Drink Specials During Happy Hour Deals (Save 50%)

Sonic Happy Hour & Sonic Drive In = Happy Hour Deals Galore!

Have you ever gotten a Sonic Drink Special during their daily Happy Hour? Sonic is America’s Drive-In fast food restaurant.

They serve up Happy Hour deals every day (Monday – Sunday) between 2 and 4 pm. We confirmed this information and updated in December of 2017.

We drive by a Sonic location several times each week. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that we discovered these half priced Happy Hour Deals (an online friend gave us a tip).
You’ll want to see these amazing deals!

If you’re looking for some awesome drink deals and some tasty snacks check … Read more »

53 Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies

Fun, Inexpensive & Interesting Hobbies #InterestingHobbies #InexpensiveHobbies #FunHobbies #INeedaHobby #AffordableHobbies #MakeMoneyHobbies

Have you ever said to yourself, “I need a hobby.” Are you looking for some fun, inexpensive, or interesting hobbies to try?

Hobbies are a great way to challenge you, learn a new skill or provide some extra income. And they’re especially fun if they don’t cost a lot of money to get started.

If you’re looking for something new, check out these 53 choices.

Fun & Interesting Hobbies that Became Successful Businesses

Check out this list of people whose hobbies turned into huge earning potential. They each created a successful business from an at home hobby

Mrs. Fields Cookies. In 1977 Debbie Fields … Read more »

7 Rental Car Hacks for Business or Vacation

These Rental Car Hacks will save you hundreds of dollars on your vacation!

Want to save money on your next rental car? You’re going to love these cheap car rental hacks. We’ve tried every one of these and they really work to cut the cost of your trip.

Renting a Van for Vacation – Our Story

How these Rental Car Hacks that saved us $200+! 

We were traveling to Richmond Virginia to speak at a conference and to spend a few days vacationing with family and friends.

There were six of us traveling, plus luggage for one week … and 24 cases of books.

Rental Car Hack #1: Compare Prices

We reserved a minivan for seven days with Read more »

Could You Be Living Below Your Means Like These 2 Pro Athletes

What does living below your means do for your life?

What does living below your means . . . mean? Does it mean a life of deprivation? Does it mean a life of constant coupon clipping, or a life of regularly saying, “We can’t afford it?”

Living below your means – something different.

Maybe it’s saying yes to your top priorities like paying off debt and building savings/retirement.
OR,  it’s saying, “I’d love to take a cruise, but this year we only have enough money for a driving vacation.” And then making it a fantastic, fun family memory.
Maybe it’s saying, “I’m making great money right now, but this may not last, so we’re going to … Read more »

Vacation Meals on a Budget: 10 Ways to Save on Food While Traveling

Save Money with Vacation Meals on a Budget!

Vacation meals can be expensive! But with vacation meals on a budget and a little planning and creativity, you can enjoy awesome food. Even while you travel, you can spend much less than the average person doing it. We’ve got lots of ideas for having a great vacation on a budget and it all starts with saving on vacation meals.

10 Ways to Eat Yummy Vacation Meals on a Budget

1) Eat out Selectively on Vacation

When we fly to a destination and stay in a hotel we save money on food by minimizing the number of meals we eat at a restaurant. … Read more »

Companies with Excellent Customer Service

Top Rated Companies for Best Customer Service.

Getting excellent customer service from a large corporation is one of the seven wonders of the world . . . well, at least it seems that way. We love dealing with companies who have well-trained employees who really seem to care about their customers’ problems.

Companies with Bad Customer Service

We have had a number of frustrating interactions with companies lately – mostly internet/cell phone and utilities. Poor or non-existent customer service has become the norm. Long hold times and getting disconnected on phone calls is so frequent that we’ve come to expect it.

Celebrating Companies who Provide Excellent Customer Service

So when we … Read more »

Should You Buy Your Teenager a Car? Why this Dad Gave a 1965 Mustang

Why you should give your Teen a Classic Car.

Have you wondered if you should give your teen a car?

Are other parents in your area doing it and you’re getting pressure from your child?

What should parents do about Teens & Cars? Is it MoneySmart to give your kids a car and a computer? One dad thinks so.

We didn’t give any of our kids a car. But we did help them save and shop and buy their first cars for cash. 

When we heard about this dad who gave his teenager a 1965 Mustang, we thought he’d lost his mind. 

Why We Think This Dad is MoneySmart

The dad of the family wrote … Read more »

27 Fun & Frugal Family Vacation Ideas!

Fun & Frugal Vacations- 27 Money Saving Tips for Food, Lodging & Activities.

Frugal Family Vacations don’t have to be boring. And fun vacations don’t have to be expensive to be memorable.

We’ve compiled a list of ways for you to have fun and frugal family vacations. This list comes from friends and our own experience. We’ll share more than two dozen money-saving vacation tips for meals, lodging, and activities. You’ll make great memories on a budget.

27 Fun Ideas for Frugal Vacations

Our Facebook Friends asked, “Can you share one of your tips for saving money while on vacation?” Our first book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money, has an … Read more »

Organic Food on a Budget: 11 Ways to Save Money & Stay Healthy

Organic Food On A Budget #OrganicFoodSavings #OrganicOnABudget #SaveMoneyOnGroceries

Are you looking for ways to eat healthier organic food on a budget? Have you ever asked, “How can I save money on organic food?”

We are always asked about how to save money on organics every time we do a grocery seminar or take phone calls during a radio interview on grocery savings.

Organic Food Does Usually Cost More

Organic food products, on average, cost 50 percent more than standard foods. But you could end up spending 100 percent more, especially on dairy products and meat.

Organic Food Sales are Growing

According to Nielsen, U.S. retail organic food sales totaled … Read more »

How to Save on Lunchmeat: Slicing A Shank Ham!

A shank ham on a cutting board.

Are you looking for ways to save money on lunch meat?

Steve wanted to see what kind of “deal” we could get on ham lunch meat if we sliced up a smoked, shank ham for our sandwiches. Could we get quality sandwich slices for less?

We bought our shank ham on sale for 97 cents a pound. Because the Smithfield ham we bought was smoked, it was ready to eat (no need to cook it.)

In this article we’ve also placed two videos:

How to slice a shank ham for inexpensive lunch meat
Three ways to buy lunch meat and save money.

Video: 3 Ways to … Read more »

Cutting the Cost of Cutting Glass

How to Cut Glass at Home by Yourself. A Great Cutting Glass Project.

Do you know how much does it cost to have glass Cut?

Do you think that cutting glass at home is too hard, or dangerous?

Getting a piece of glass cut from a hardware store has become harder and much more expensive than 20 years ago.

Years Ago: We had 6 small pieces of glass cut for the outside lights/lanterns on our garage. We bought a large piece of glass for about $15 at Home Depot and they cut it for free.

Things have really changed since then.  We were looking at a $20 charge for 3 small pieces of glass.

Keep reading to … Read more »

11 Ways to Help Kids Save on Your Electricity Bill

In your home - kids save electricity!

We taught our kids to save money on electricity … and everything else. When we received this question from a website visitor from Australia, we thought we’d put our ideas in writing.

Question about how to get my kids on-board with saving money

Do your kids save electricity? How do you get your kids to appreciate ever-increasing electricity costs and to turn off lights and appliances? Mine just seem to walk away and have no care that Australian electricity costs are rising and rising and we now pay a carbon tax on top of this. I nag them to turn off lights … Read more »

Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich: Get Your Money’s Worth

Get your money's worth at Arbys. #rip-off, #sandwich weight

If you want to know how much an Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich is supposed to weigh, just read our story.

What would you do if you got 30% less than you paid for?

We got “ripped off,” but got it resolved quickly.

We had just completed a Once-A-Month cooking day (website subscribers can read more here) where Annette (with help from the rest of us) prepares between 10 and 17 dinner meals which we store in the freezer for use later in the month.

On our “Once-A-Month” cooking day, Annette gets the night off from preparing dinner (after preparing so many meals, she … Read more »

Places with Free Wifi Nearby [Updated May 2019]

How to get free internet from restaurants, coffee houses and retail stores.

If you’re looking for places with free wifi near you, we have lots of options. Or are you wondering where you can get the fastest wifi connections? There are more than 92,000 locations in the U.S. that provide free internet access. 

We’ve created a list of coffee shops, retailers and other places that give you free wifi AND we’ve provided the speeds you can expect too.

Internet access can be your connection to the whole world. You may use it to stay connected to friends, manage your finances, take simple surveys for cash, or find a buyer for your used … Read more »