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Ask DSM Readers: How Can You Use Your Home to Make Money?

by Tara Kuczykowski on November 4, 2010 · 7 comments

Ask DSM Readers: How Can You Use Your Home to Make Money?

Photo by Pink Sherbert Photography

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

Owning a home can be -- especially in this economy -- can be a money pit. Pay your mortgage, pay for repairs, pay for this, pay for that. But have you ever thought about using your home to actually earn money?

According to this article from Houselogic, there are several ways you can actually make money of your home. A vegetable garden may be an obvious one, but some of the other ideas they listed were new to me. For example, if you live near a busy metro area, you might be able to rent out your driveway to commuters. You could also take on temporary or long-term boarders, rent out a room in your home as storage space or even as a home-office-away-from-home for someone else, or purchase a wind turbine to produce your own electricity.

Do you currently use your home to make money?  If so, how? What other way can you use your home to make money? Are comfortable with the thought of other people using your home?  Do you know other people that rent out part of their home or land?

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

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Ask DSM Readers: Are You Ready For Halloween?

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 28, 2010 · 11 comments

Ask DSM Readers: Are You Ready For Halloween?Photo by Ramchandran Maharajapuram

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

Just three days until Halloween! Do you have your costumes and candy ready to go? This year, my two oldest boys are dressing up as Iron Man, my daughters are going as Belle and Ariel and our youngest is going to be Woody from Toy Story. At two-and-a-half, he's my polite one, so he's been practicing saying "Twick or tweat...pwease!"

Are you ready for Halloween?  Do you buy or make your costumes? Do you trick or treat in your neighborhood, or do you attend a community event?  Do you share your kid's candy?  Do you have any last-minute costume ideas?

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

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Ask DSM Readers: How Do Allowances Work in Your Home?

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 21, 2010 · 31 comments

allowance for kidsPhoto by Philip Brewer

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

Last week, Trent from The Simple Dollar had a great post about what he believes allowances should or should not pay for. In response to a reader question, Trent writes:

For us, the rule of thumb is simple: the parents take care of basic needs, period. Basic needs means food, water, clothing, housing, school and field trip fees, and so forth. While our children remain at home before college, we will provide these things for them without any impact on their allowance.

However, we will often provide for just the basic needs. My children will always have clean clothes, but the shirts might just be generic t-shirts and denim jeans. My children will always have food, but that might come in the form of a sack lunch instead of $10 to spend at McDonalds.

Expenses for “wants” either come out of their allowance or are earned in some fashion.

Mandi at Life...Your Way has also talked recently about allowance, chores and money management and whether allowance should be tied to chores or not.

Our oldest is eight years old, so this is something that's becoming a hot topic in our home, and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Do you give your children an allowance? Is it tied to chores or just a set amount each month for being part of the family? Are they expected to save or give a certain amount out of their allowance? Is their allowance just fun money, or do they have to pay for certain necessities out of it as well?

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

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Ask DSM Readers: Cheap or Frugal?

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 14, 2010 · 51 comments

Photo by Chris Owens

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

Saving money has always been important to me, even when I was a teenager, but I wouldn't consider myself "cheap." I happen to love Starbucks, especially the seasonal pumpkin spice latte, and there are other quality items I'm willing to pay more for, even if it's not always the most frugal choice.

I recently stumbled across this definition of a "ghetto latte", made by ordering an iced espresso and then filling up the cup with the free milk at the condiment station to make a latte for half the cost, and I wondered where the line between frugal and cheap is drawn.

Where do you draw the line between being frugal and just being cheap? How would you define being cheap? Do you think ghetto lattes (and other similar hacks) are dishonest, or is it just the same as taking advantage of loss leaders to build a stockpile of free products? Weigh in here.

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

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Ask DSM Readers: Do You Reuse Food Containers?

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 7, 2010 · 42 comments

Ask DSM Readers: Do You Reuse Food Containers?Photo by: feresc

Every week I'll pose a question for you to share your experiences and tips. If you have a question that you'd like me to post, I'd love to hear from you!

With five growing kids, we go through a lot of food, and even though we're eliminating a lot of processed food, we still have a lot of trash from the food we do eat -- things like egg cartons, pasta sauce jars, sour cream containers, yogurt cups, cereal boxes and so on. I recycle as much as I can, but I'd love to repurpose some of it too!

Do you repurpose food containers?  Which type of container is your favorite to reuse?  What types of food containers do you reuse as food storage containers?  For craft projects? What else do you use them for?

Join the discussion -- add your two cents to previous Ask DSM Readers questions too!

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