Have a great new year! Thanks to all the readers who made 2005 a successful year for Consumerism Commentary. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge through the blog, which is my definition of success.
Just to see where I’m coming from, here is my first post, which included a net worth update and here’s the latest from the end of November. Don’t forget to check out the Best of 2005!
By the way, for a new years treat, ING Direct has increased its interest to 3.80% APY, but they’re still below some others.
See you all next year!
Free Money Finance is running an informative series on how to get your blog to 100,000 visitors and beyond. Unfortunately, so far he has neglected an important traffic grabber that was discovered by the Seattle Times. (This relates to personal finance because of the proliferation of “monetized” blogs — you know, with ads, like Consumerism Commentary.)
Apparently, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, the most popular (widely-read) story in that paper in the past 109 years is a story about a man who died from having sex with a horse. This article was not the only horse-sex article in the top 20. It’s what the people want.
Look for more horse-sex articles here, as I try to gain readership. Or… maybe not. (Apologies to FMF for stealing his horse picture.)
Nickel over at Five Cent Nickel reminded me that postage rates are going up on January 8. One of the most convenient things I’ve discovered last month is the ability to print postage yourself, using your internet connection and printer.
I’ve known this service has existed for a while, but I had been under the impression that fees are involved. As I discovered, that’s not true. You can print your own postage directly from the U.S. Postal Service for free! For some items, you will have to know the weight of your package (watch it!) but it doesn’t hurt to provide a conservative guesstimate if you don’t have a scale.
Printing my own labels and stamps has come in handy since I started selling used items on Amazon.com.
Are you planning to buy or sell a house in 2006? Personally, I think 2007 or 2008 will be my year. Regardless, Bankrate.com is presenting ten mistakes in real estate to avoid in 2006:
* Not understanding the length of the buying/selling process. Patience pays off.
* Exposing your hand. Contain your enthusiasm.
* Skipping the loan preapproval step. Let them know you’re serious about buying.
* Assuming the appraisal equals actual value. Don’t trust them, get a comparative market analysis.
* Timing the bubble “burst.” Markets are more likely to fade than pop.
* Hiring the wrong agent. Try one who is smart, empathetic, experienced and dedicated (SEED).
* Missing the big picture. You might find the perfect house, but don’t forget to look at things like commute distance, taxes, schools, and homeowner associations.
* Not knowing what you’re signing. Review the legally-binding contract!
* Poor timing. Not market timing, personal timing. Buying a new house before you’re able to sell the old? You could get stuck with two mortgages.
* Not completing your due diligence with a criminal search. You might have to research the community for sex offenders on your own.
I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of living in apartments with inpermanence and would like to settle down. There are still too many questions in my life to make such a long term investment, in my opinion. Perhaps that will change by 2007 or 2008.