Here are 5 more things you should know.
01. Rent vs. Buy Housing
The decision to rent or buy your housing is not always black and white. Buying a home can be a really, really good decision or a really, really bad decision. Unfortunately, it’s really, really difficult to predict at the time of purchase whether the home will go up or down in value. So much of the value of your home is beyond your control and related to socioeconomic trends in your region. I thought I’d share a tool I found on the subject.
Khan academy has a fantastic set of videos that covers the differences in renting vs. buying, using a lot of simple math. Videos can be found here. If you are someone trying to decide between renting or buying, I highly recommend you spent a half hour to 45 minutes watching the series.
Here is my personal advice. It’s always good to look at your current situation and do what’s right for you. Sometimes buying is better, sometimes renting is better.
When is it better to buy
- When you have a stable job with little chance of moving anywhere significant (50 miles+) for at least 5-7 years.
- When you are able to save up a significant amount of money as down payment and still have plenty left over for any incidentals.
- (Generally speaking) When you are sick of your rent going up every year.
- If it’s worth buying the property as an investment both in eventually selling it or renting it out.
- If you’re relatively handy (or know someone) where you can fix most problems without issues.
- If you are sick of various apartment rules including lack of space and privacy (note: this obviously doesn’t apply in condos or townhouses).
- If you’d like to tap into your home equity as an additional asset.
When is it better to rent
- If you’re not sure if you’re going to stay in the area very long.
- When you scrape enough money to get a 3.5% down. The reason is that you do not have enough available resources to properly buy and maintain a house. If you scrape up to 3.5%, buy it, and have a major problem that costs thousands of dollars then what are you going to do? Some problems cannot be ignored.
- (Generally speaking) If you want to live closer to the city where housing is less affordable.
- If you really don’t want to worry about or pay for anything breaking. I will add a note and say that some things are not fixed by landlords or fixed poorly plus your rent can go up. If you own, it’s on you to fix it, how to fix it, and when. There are ups and downs here.
- If you feel the housing market will tank in this area where it’s cheaper to wait it out and buy something later on.
02. Google Now can notify you where you parked your vehicle
I didn’t realize this until I got a Google Now card notifying me where my car was. After you get out of your car, you’ll see a Google Now card that says “Parking Location” and shows a map with the approximate location of your car. To see other locations where you’ve recently parked, you can touch Previous locations.
You’ll only get parking location cards if you set driving as your main mode of transportation in Google Now. Follow the steps below to change your mode of transportation:
- Open the Google app .
- In the top left corner of the Home screen, touch the Menu icon .
- Touch Customize > Everything else >How do you usually get around > Driving.
03. If you’re dehydrated, you can make your own Gatorade
Mix 1/2 tsp salt and 2 Tbsp sugar per liter of water to replace fluids as quickly and effectively as possible. This is the Mayo Clinic’s recipe for oral rehydration solution, similar to the World Health Organization’s recipe but it can be made with common household items. The WHO uses oral rehydration therapy to combat diseases with high fluid loss such as cholera; it is credited with preventing an estimated 2 million infant deaths annually.
It can be lifesaving, or it can simply make you feel better when dehydrated from exercise, minor illness, heat exposure, or hangover.
This also works great when you feel the need to throw up. Drink it before or after you have thrown up. It will feel like a veil settling over your stomach and the need to throw up disappears. You might still feel somewhat ill or nauseous.
04. Some hotels have sensors in the mini-bar
They automatically charge you if an item is moved, even if you never intended to consume it. Check your bill.
The latest offender is the minibar at the Wynn in Las Vegas. It has tasty-looking food sitting on top of the minibar, but that classy-looking tray is actually a scale. If you take something off, it’ll know about it via scales and sensors, and you’ll suddenly find $25 worth of mixed nuts charged to your room bill.
05. USPS will give you nice cushy spacious bubble-padded flat-rate envelopes for free
You don’t need to keep stuffing things in those cardboard flat-rate envelopes. The USPS will give you nice bubble-padded flat-rate envelopes for free.
I’m as guilty as anyone of trying to cram a shirt or pair of shoes or whatever into a cardboard flat-rate envelope to get flat-rate shipping, and ending up with something that looks like this. Getting to that point usually involves a lot of tape and swearing.
It turns out the USPS has flat-rate bubble envelopes. I’ve never been able to get them at the post office itself, but I order them online for free and they usually show up in two to three days. It costs $5.70 to ship Priority if you print the label online, which is $.65 more than the regular cardboard flat-rate envelopes, but I think it is well-worth the lower stress. You can get them here.