Reader Questions: Housing Expenses & What About Christmas?

reader questions

Reader Question:

Hi Anna! We have a housing decision to make in the next few months and I couldn’t help but think, maybe you might have some insight on this! We live in a great apartment with a pretty low rent for our area. We have 2 bedrooms and a small room we use as an office. We are looking for creative ideas to lower our rent without losing our office. Time consuming side hustles are not really an option. (One of us is going to grad school part -time) We’ve heard of things like Air B&B but not sure of the risks. Any ideas or resources? 

One idea is that you could ask the building owner if you could be the resident building manager which could significantly reduce your rent. There would be random requests from residents that you would need to deal with but it would be extremely time-consuming. Another option would be to see if you two could clean the common areas for a reduction in rent. Another idea might be to simply ask for your rent to be reduced (totally a long-shot but can’t hurt to try!). Air B&B could be a good option too but you might want to be super aware of safety… not sure how comfortable I would be having a stranger stay in my house while I’m there.

(Related post: Are You Overpaying for Your Rent or Mortgage? There’s an Easy Way to Find Out)

 

Reader Question:

Hey!! I have a few questions about a Spending Fast. What about Christmas?? We are pretty low-key about gifts as it is, but we usually do 3, a want, a need and a share. Want is something they pick, need is something I think they need, clothes usually and the share gift is something we get as a family. I have 3 daughters, elementary, middle and high school. What about school expenses? We don’t really do allowance, so what about their spending money?? School clothing?? Thank you!

It sounds like your approach to Christmas is already really moderate which is great! So, since I don’t have school age children myself this is all theory from me right now;) but it sounds like this would be a great opportunity to teach your girls about money, and really involve them in the conversation. Regarding school expenses like supplies and extracurricular activities I would talk to your daughters about how to decide which sports/activities they really want to be involved in combined with the cost of each one from registering to the equipment needs to expenses they may not have considered like travel. That way they can be involved and know about the cost of things. Regarding spending money, I would again use this as a chance to talk to them about wise spending habits and encourage them to make money that is appropriate to their age. Maybe for the elementary age daughter she can sell lemonade or art (similarly to how a lemonade stand is set up). Maybe the middle school daughter can mow lawns and the high school daughter could babysit or get a summer job. For school clothing, I would definitely maximize the hand-me-down potential that you have available to you with your daughters being the varied ages that they are. Look for clothes that are well made and classic styles. Wash in cold and inside out to help them last even longer. Also, clothing swaps are a great idea for adults but they are also an option for younger people. Of course garage sales, thrift stores, and upcycling of clothes are great options too.

 

Would you have answered the way I did? Do you have any other ideas that would be good solutions to these readers questions?

2 comments

in Kids, Practical Solutions, Societal Pressures

2 Comments

  1. Kate // July 11, 2013

    In regards to Christmas…

    I’m a fan of Dave Ramsey’s approach – “Guess what?! Christmas is on December 25th AGAIN this year!” We know it’s coming, so start planning now. Put a little money in an envelope every month. If you get paid twice a month, and you put $10 in the envelope when you get paid, by the time Christmas rolls around that’s $240 towards presents right there. And don’t be afraid to think homemade – some of my favorite gifts have been made by hand! It’s a great way to encourage people to be creative, and with Pinterest, you’re sure to find something you can do. Don’t get caught in “buying wars” either – I have two sisters who always seem to feel the need to come up with more and more lavish gifts. And if you can, buy throughout the year! I had my Christmas shopping mostly done by October last year – what a relief that was! Finally, check out Etsy – that place can be addictive.

    • Anna Newell Jones // August 21, 2013

      I love the idea of spreading out the cost of the holiday gifts throughout the year. Really eases the financial strain on ol’ November and December!

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    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Let's do this!

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