Use a Lease Option to Lock in Low Home Prices

Everywhere I turn, people are speculating on whether housing prices have bottomed. While I personally feel things are looking better, I'm never a fan of trying to time markets. Attempting this often encourages people to make large financial decisions before they are fully prepared or informed. Buying homes in haste is one of the factors that got us into our current financial crisis.

Luckily, there may be a silver bullet for those of you who aren't willing to rush to buy but are still considering a home purchase within the next couple of years. Your solution may take the form of a lease option.

What the heck is a lease option?
The first thing you need to know about lease options is that everything is negotiable. This can quickly turn a set of simple principles into an extremely complex transaction.

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More about...Home & Garden

Making the most of small windfalls

It's a big day at Get Rich Slowly HQ. Later this morning, I'll speak with my book editor for the first time. This project is about to devour large chunks of my life. Fortunately, the new Staff Writers will pick up the slack. (Actually, to be fair, I think they'll more than pull their own weight.) Here, then, is the first contribution from Adam Baker, Get Rich Slowly's first-ever Staff Writer!

Receiving a "mini-windfall" of unexpected income is an awesome feeling! However, I have a confession to make. Courtney and I are terrible at handling how we spend these pleasant surprises. More times than not, we find it insanely easy to justify squandering this unexpected money on impulse purchases, even when the rest of our budget is working well.

For the most part, we've slain the "justification" monster in our budgeting life. We've desperately attempted to eliminate the "I deserve this..." mentality. However, when it comes to "mini-windfalls", somehow we seem to always break down.

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More about...Investing, Budgeting

How to Use Couchsurfing to See the World

What if I told you there was a different way to travel? A way to see the world outside of the hotel chains, guidebooks, and tourist traps. A way to intimately experience the real culture of everyday life. A way to connect with like-minded travelers and interact with some of the most hospitable locals you could possibly find.

Well, it's not too good to be true thanks to CouchSurfing.com. Sure, it takes some effort, a little kindness, and a dash of confidence. But let me reassure you, it's well worth it. My ultimate goal is to help take you from the "I would never do that" phase into the "huh, this might be something I should look into" phase. I hope simply to pass along just a small portion of the incredible amount of hospitality I've received from the site and the community in the last couple of months.

What exactly is Couchsurfing?
Technically, I believe it's referred to as a "hospitality exchange network". But in reality it's a social networking site, much like Facebook or Myspace, but that focuses on enabling fellow travelers to connect, meet, and even host each other. And yes, it's free.

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More about...Frugality, Travel