Posts by Jeanie Ahn
Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 3 days ago
Amazon’s prices are hard to beat, but there are simple ways you can save even more—whether or not you subscribe to Prime membership. Check out my secrets for saving when shopping on Amazon, and share some of yours. Start on the coupon page When restocking my household and pantry items, I go straight to the coupon page and start my shopping there. You can find it under the tab for “Today’s Deals” and easily score an average of 15% to 20% off per item. If you're an Amazon Mom through their $99/year Prime membership program, you can combine the savings by adding the coupons to your cart. And no scissors necessary—you just click to clip the coupon. Check out its secret store Not a lot of people know about Amazon’s secret store: the warehouse within its warehouse walls. Also under "Today's Deals," this is where you’ll find all the “ open-boxed and used ” products. It’s like browsing through the “as-is” section at Ikea, but better. All the products are supposed to be hand-checked and fully functional, but review the product details to make sure you’re okay with the overall condition. On warehouse deals, you’ll often find half-off discounts just because the...
Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago
Despite an improving job market, more millennials are moving back home with their parents – and staying longer. A third of 18- to 34-year-olds are living with their families -- more than during the Great Recession, according to a recent analysis from the Pew Research Center. Yahoo Finance spoke with some 20-somethings and their parents to hear what they had to say. Weighed down by student debt
It’s nearly impossible to live a comfortable lifestyle when you’re drowning in student loan debt. The most recent class graduated with the most debt in history – an average of $35,051. And once you have your college diploma in hand, you only have six months before you have to start paying it back. While all the millennials we interviewed said they were able to find a job after graduating, every one of them felt financially unprepared to live on their own because of their education debt. Welcoming parents
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Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 1 mth ago
With Halloween less than a week away, folks are on the prowl for costumes, parties, and decorations to celebrate in style. The haunted holiday is the 8th biggest selling season and Americans are expected to shell out a total of $6.9 million, according to the National Retail Federation. Here are some budget-friendly tips to help you save.
The American dream of homeownership can quickly turn into a nightmare when you’re constantly being hit with unexpected expenses. Egypt Sherrod, HGTV host of “Property Virgins” and “Flipping Virgins,” shares her tips on how to prepare for some of the hidden costs. Landscaping Depending on where you live, landscaping can be a huge bill to consider. When Sherrod moved to Atlanta from New York City, she was billed $200 to get an acre of land mowed by a professional service. If you want extra curb appeal, add another $400 for seasonal flowers. If that’s not in your budget, Sherrod recommends investing in a riding lawn mower. It will cost you about $2,000 to purchase but will pay for itself within a year — and you won’t have to rely on a service you can’t afford. Gutter cleaning Every six months you’ll need to clear your gutters of built-up debris like dirt and leaves. Failing to maintain the exterior of your house will result in costly and dangerous problems like mold. If you don’t plan on cleaning your gutters yourself, you can expect to pay $200 to $300 for the service. A one-time installment of gutter guards can save you the hassle of dealing with this issue, says Sherrod. A gutter guard looks like a metal grate and shields your gutters. It can cost anywhere from a few hundred if you install them yourself to a few thousand if you get it done professionally. But once you set it, you can forget it. Repairs
This month, as students are diving into their college studies, many are also diving into some of the coolest pools you’ve ever seen.
Increasingly, schools across the country are spending millions of dollars on recreational water amenities that would rival some of the most elaborate waterparks out there. Colleges that used to compete on the basis of libraries and majors are now turning to lazy rivers and indoor beaches to attract and entertain a new generation of students.
The University of Missouri’s $39 million rec center comes complete with an indoor beach, a lazy river, a waterfall, and a grotto modeled after the one at Hugh Hefner's mansion. Texas Tech University spent $8.4 million on their leisure pool with a 635-foot lazy river, waterslide, and tanning terrace. Pensacola Christian College spent $1 million on a surfing “FlowRider” that pumps 600 gallons of water per second. And Auburn University reached record enrollment this year with their 240,000 square ft. rec center, complete with multiple climbing walls, a 45-person hot tub, and the nation’s longest indoor running track.
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Most parents have every intention of saving for their child’s college education – and as early as they can. But putting money aside for an expense that’s years away can easily be bumped lower on the list of priorities, especially when you’re confused about the best way to go about it.
Of the parents that do try to save, many are bogged down by misconceptions that are costing them. As a result, too many are stowing money away in their savings accounts and 401(k)s rather than using 529 plans that reduce the amount you lose to taxes.
In a recent survey by T. Rowe Price, nearly half of parents said they are using a regular savings account to save for college. And while 31% said that they are using a 529 account, 28% said they don’t even know what a 529 plan is.
If you’re among those not in-the-know, here’s the deal: 529 plans are investment accounts that let savings grow tax-free, and earnings are completely tax-free if withdrawals are used for qualified college expenses; these plans have no income limit, and many states’ 529 plans give parents a tax credit or deduction for contributions.
Here are three of the biggest misconceptions causing the most confusion about 529 plans:
Jeanie Ahn at Yahoo Finance 3 mths ago
Ten years ago, Carrey Bowers had a job he loved and a family home he was proud of. Then Hurricane Katrina disrupted his world. A decade later, he’s still putting the pieces of his former life back together. “Losing my job and my home at the same time was devastating,” says Bowers, 55, a native of New Orleans who left the city to find steady work after the storm. He spent six years chasing job opportunities around the country before he decided to move back to New Orleans for good. For more than two years, he’s been working as a full-time driver for a medical clinic that serves senior citizens. Shuttling around town 40 hours a week has afforded Bowers an up close look at the parts of the city that have recovered since Katrina, as well as still-struggling neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward. “I hate to say it but it’s like the Lower Ninth Ward and New Orleans East are forgotten,” Bowers says as he drives along quiet streets with empty lots, unpaved roads, and boarded-up homes that have been left untouched for years. By 2010, fewer than 5,600 people had returned to the Lower 9, or about 28% of the pre-storm population, according to the Data Center, compared to the city-wide average of 70% returning to pre-Hurricane Katrina households. Less than five miles down the road, there’s an abrupt change in scenery. The bustling downtown Central Business District feels like a different city entirely with new buildings, bright lights, and little sign that a storm ever came through. Stopping along Canal Street in front of Saenger Theatre, where he worked as a box-office manager for 11 years – where he was when Katrina barreled through New Orleans – Bowers looks out his driver’s seat window and describes what it was like to be sheltered inside the theatre for days. When the flooding began, he knew the venue was a solidly built structure, so he convinced some of his family members to go there instead of the Superdome where most of the city’s displaced were heading. Once the floodwaters began pouring into the basement, Bowers abandoned the theater and drove out to the first hotel that had room for his family. It wasn’t until they watched the news in their Baton Rouge hotel room that they realized the magnitude of the destruction and death in their hometown. “I’m not a man that is prone to cry, but you’re having all these emotions going on…My city is destroyed, our homes are destroyed, our jobs are destroyed – everything,” he says. Both the theater downtown and his home in Gentilly had suffered from significant water damage and renovations would take years. His aunt’s home, where his mother lived, in the Lower Eighth Ward, completely collapsed. Like one million others who were displaced after Katrina, Bowers had to figure out a way to make ends meet and stabilize his family’s life until he could come back home. While most of his extended family decided they would not be returning to New Orleans, Bowers, along with his wife, Jeanne, and their three children, always planned on coming home. But once they returned, jobs within his field were hard to come by. The Saenger had still not reopened, so Bowers decided to pursue more lucrative opportunities outside New Orleans, even if it meant being separated from his close-knit family. When the Apollo Theater in New York offered him a box-office managing position that would pay him twice as much as he made in New Orleans, he felt he needed to take the job. Still, Bowers regretted his decision to leave. “Being apart from my wife and kids wasn’t good for any of us. If I had realized that I could sustain myself then, the way I could do now, I would’ve stayed,” he says. There are still many parts of New Orleans where recovery has been stilted. But Bowers sees promise in the growing number of jobs created by expanding industries like film and medicine. “We might have to reinvent ourselves and be trained for various jobs, but we can’t say there won’t be any jobs because they’re coming back,” he says. When Saenger Theatre reopened, Bowers was interviewed, but didn’t get rehired. He’s no longer actively pursuing theater work because he finds purpose in his driving job today. But he has kept abreast of the changes in venue management by working part-time box-office gigs for the New Orleans Pelicans during basketball season. He says: “The job that I do now, even though it may not have the sparkle to it, the excitement, I like what I’m doing for a different reason.”
Dalia Gokirmak, 31, and her husband Oscar, 41, always wanted a big family. But when they found out they were having twins when she was pregnant for the second time, reality sunk in immediately. “I’ll be honest, I pulled out the calculator right away,” Oscar says.
Though they would’ve preferred to stay in Hoboken, N.J., the couple knew they would not be able to afford $1,600 a month per child, the going childcare rate in the area, plus the cost of moving to a bigger home. So they packed up and moved to the neighboring town of Union City where daycare rates are around $600-$700 a month.
But unlike college, where you have years to save up, the sticker shock of daycare leaves families scrambling to make ends meet. “We’re seeing a huge shift of families postponing buying a house, having kids, and saving for retirement,” says McCready.
Help for low-income families
Only 1 in 6 low-income families that are eligible for government subsidies are taking advantage of the financial help available to them, according to Child Care Aware. That’s a result of low awareness of financial aid and long waitlists for daycare.
Popping the big question can be one of the priciest events of your life. According to a recent report by Jewelers of America, couples spend an average $4,000 on the engagement ring alone.
But when celebrity couples get engaged, their often public declaration of commitment is symbolized by a rock that can easily get into seven-figure territory.
Here are some of the most expensive and extravagant engagement rings out there:
1) When NBA player, Kris Humphries proposed to Kim Kardashian, he went straight to her favorite jeweler, Lorraine Schwartz. He bought a 16.21 emerald-cut center stone ring with 1.8 side diamonds that cost $2 million. When the marriage didn’t work out, it was sold for $749,000 at a Christie’s auction in New York.
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You have less than a week to shop for a Valentine’s Day gift. If you’re still not sure what to get your man, Redbook magazine’s Cristina Pearlstein offers something for every kind of guy at the perfect price point – under $50.
1. Wrangler Checked Flannel Shirt - $20 at Walmart and Kmart This soft flannel from the iconic American brand, Wrangler, comes in several colors including red, blue and gray. For $20 or less, the bold checkered pattern can be layered with other comfortable favorites in his closet.
2. UNIQLO Ultra-Light Down Vest - $49.90 at UNIQLO Practical and stylish, this down vest is a great way for him to try out a layered look, says Pearlstein. The slimmed-down V-neck design can be worn as an inner or outer and is available in six colors he’ll love.