Save money in 2011 with these time-honored tips

Here are some money-saving tips from readers offered in 2010 that are worth considering for 2011:

Rules of thumb: Finance can be hard. Rules of thumb are easy. So financial rules of thumb are useful. A rapid-fire sampling: Your mortgage, including taxes and insurance, should not exceed 29 per

cent of your gross monthly income. All vehicle payments should not exceed 15 percent of your take-home pay. If an auto repair costs less than half of the vehicle’s trade-in value, repair it. Otherwise, consider selling it and buying another. Spend no more than 1.5 percent of your gross income on the holidays, including gifts and travel. Save 10 percent of your take-home pay. For kids’ allowance, give $1 weekly per grade in school. A fourth-grader gets $4. For life insurance, buy a policy worth 6 to 10 times your gross annual income. With mutual funds, be wary of funds with an expense ratio of more than 1 percent. Don’t borrow more money for college than you’ll make in your first year working after graduation. In a choice between spending on things or experiences with other people, choose the latter. Research shows it makes us happier.

Spending hiatus: Nothing brilliant about suggesting a four-week spending detox, but the idea resonated with readers. The concept is to cut all discretionary spending for one month, as tight a lockdown on your wallet as you can afford to do — no dining out, no paid entertainment, no new clothes. Whenever you skip a purchase and feel deprived, write it down. At the end of four weeks, examine the list. You might be surprised at how the burning desire for those things has been extinguished. The value of the exercise is not the money you save, but the lessons you learn about your spending habits and what’s truly important to you.

Time shares: Just the mention of “time shares” always draws notes from readers pleading for suggestions on how to get out of their time-share vacation commitments. It’s difficult. They will be lucky to sell them for pennies on the dollar. But for just that reason, it’s a fabulous idea to rent a time share from those same people desperate to be compensated for time shares they no longer use and can’t sell. You can end up with accommodations that are bigger, more luxurious and cheaper than a hotel room. Browse listings at such sites as MyResortNetwork.com, The Timeshare User’s Group (tug2.com) and RedWeek.com. You can also find time-share rentals at Expedia and Travelocity, as well as Craigslist.com and eBay.

Consumer myths: A sampling of some common consumer myths: Rinsing your dishes before placing them in the dishwasher gets them cleaner. False. In fact, the detergent doesn’t have any grease or grime to stick to, so detergents attack dishes, making them appear cloudy, scratched or etched, according to the Whirlpool Institute of Kitchen Science. And it’s a myth that ceiling fans help cool a room. Ceiling fans don’t cool the air; they create a wind chill that keeps skin cool. They cool humans, not air. So don’t bother using a fan in an empty room. And don’t bother storing alkaline batteries in the refrigerator or freezer to prolong their life. Humidity from cold-temperature storage can harm batteries.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Exterior of the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Tulalip Tribes reach deal with state on sports betting

If all goes to plan, the tribes could get federal approval for sports books at two casinos by the fall.

Demolition of the YMCA in downtown continues on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Apartments will rise from the site of the former YMCA annex

In all, 260 units are planned for the downtown Everett site. The older brick building will remain.

Rescuers carry a part of aircraft recovered from Java Sea where a Sriwijaya Air passenger jet crashed, at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. The search for the black boxes of a crashed Sriwijaya Air jet intensified Monday to boost the investigation into what caused the plane carrying dozens of people to nosedive at high velocity into the Java Sea. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
Lawsuit over 737 crash alleges autothrottle malfunction

A preliminary report indicates that pilots had repeatedly reported the problem days earlier.

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2020 file photo, traffic passes the Boeing airplane production plant, in Everett, Wash.  U.S. manufacturers expanded in March 2021 at the fastest pace in 37 years, a sign of strengthening demand as the pandemic wanes and government emergency aid flows through the economy.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)
Boeing sees uptick in airplane orders as travel picks up

The company in April delivered 19 Maxes, three 737s for military use and seven larger widebody planes.

Signs from the Department of Ecology warning about contamination in the creek that runs through Powder Mill Gulch on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State order targets Boeing Everett plant’s polluted history

Records show a dispute over cleanup requirements for chemically tainted water. The company denies there’s a disagreement.

FILE- In this Sept. 30, 2020, file photo, a Boeing 737 Max jet, piloted by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chief Steve Dickson, prepares to land at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle. Boeing says it has informed 16 of its customers that they should address a possible electrical issue in certain 737 Max aircraft before using them further. Boeing said Friday, April 9, 2021, that the recommendation was made “to allow for verification that a sufficient ground path exists for a component of the electrical power system.” (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Boeing: possible electrical issue in some 737 Max aircraft

The company said that the new problem was unrelated to the flight-control system.

The 214-foot tall cranes work to unload their first cargo shipments at South Terminal at the Port of Everett on Thursday, April 8, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Renovated Port of Everett terminal gets first cargo customer

The 655-foot Westwood Columbia is the first ship to call at the newly upgraded South Terminal dock.

Project Roxy is a proposed 2.8 million square foot distribution center that would be built on a 75-acre parcel at the Cascade Industrial Center. The rendering depicts the proposed project at 4620 172nd Street in Arlington from a northwest perspective.
1,000 jobs: Amazon to open distribution center in Arlington

The company is the tenant behind Project Roxy, a $355 million building at the Cascade Industrial Center.

Edmonds grocery store workers may soon earn hazard pay

Some employers are required to increase wages by $4 an hour, the city council voted Tuesday.

Aerospace supplier with Everett site files for bankruptcy

Wichita-based TECT Aerospace filed for Chapter 11 and plans to sell an Everett manufacturing facility.

Washington's Lottery ticket display. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
Want to get lucky? Washington’s Lottery lists Top 10 stores

One of the luckiest retailers in the state was a Safeway in Everett, as measured by $1,000-plus winners.

What local firms are doing to promote diversity and equity

Here’s how some of Snohomish County’s biggest companies and organizations say they are making a difference.