How Much Can One Afford to Spend On a Car?

>Owning a car seems like a dream. No more commuting with public transport or depending on your friends to take you places; your own car means your own rules. But unfortunately, it also means your own money. Bill Tsouvalas explains how much you can afford to spend on that new car.

Calculating the Costs

While a car gives you enough freedom to transport yourself here and there, you need to keep the costs in mind. Maintenance, fuel consumption, and other similar costs can be even more important that the price of the car. Because let’s face the truth, how many people you’ve known have bought a new hot ride, but can’t afford to take it out for a drive because of the costs? It would just end up taking dust in the garage and you don’t want that.

Pick a car that suits your budget and your lifestyle instead. Become acquainted with the value of your vehicle and read some reviews that bring some light over the ongoing expenses. Keep in mind that as long as you own that car, those costs will not go away. By using a budget planner, you can calculate how much you can afford to spend on your vehicle and see where all the money will go.

Opting for Car Loans

If you want to get a car really fast, a car loan seems like a deal from the heavens. By signing that legal agreement, you state that you will make repayments until the loan is fully paid.

But first, you need to think: can you afford that loan? If you do not have a secure job, and you’ll not be able to pay for the loan, you’d end up with legal problems that could make you pay more than you were supposed to. Talk about the options with someone else who has already supported these costs.

The 20% Rule on Buying a Car

Overall, there is a general simple rule which tells you how much you can afford to spend based on your salary. By taking 20% of your annual income (before social security costs, taxes and so on), you can come to an average number as to how much you can afford. If you are in a relationship, then you can combine it and then divide it by two.

Long story short, if you have an average salary of 30,000 AUD, you shouldn’t spend more than 6,000 AUD on your purchase. That is, if you don’t want to end up broke for the rest of your life. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Buying a car can either be a blessing or a living hell. Knowing how to calculate your income and expenses might save you a lot of trouble in the future. Even by following something as simple as the 20% rule, you can save yourself from years of working your butt off to pay for a car you couldn’t afford.

The Thai Townhouse: An Attractive Compromise

When it comes to choosing a home for the future, one oft-overlooked example of a viable option is the little townhouse. Between the countless offers for beautiful three-bedroom bungalows and luxurious condominiums within an hour’s commute of the city center online on sites like DDProperty and in newspapers, there lurk the posts for the little townhouse – also known as the terrace house.

Originally a European idea, terraced housing basically had one real requirement – it had to be compact. Really, really compact. In a time when condominiums simply weren’t architecturally or economically viable for anyone, let alone the working class, people began to build townhouses instead.

And the concept worked really well. It became common throughout Europe and its colonies – and today, most developed and developing nations in the world use the townhouse model. But it’s not just a model for reducing the effort and cost associated with a house and lot, or bypassing the costs associated with funding and building a condominium – townhouses can be luxurious and comfortable places to live in, especially for young couples and retirees.

As Thailand’s housing market continues to do well, townhouses in the outskirts of metropolis and special economic zones such as the ones reported on One Asia news will continue to drop in price. And as per World Bank, Thailand has many other projects slated for the next few years.

If you’re looking for a home to invest in, or a house to buy, then chances are that you’ll find exactly what you need in a cozy little townhouse – and here’s a couple basic ideas why.

They’re Easier To Maintain

The basic gist of a townhouse is that’s it’s a small house without much of a lawn and shared walls. That means that within your two walls (since the other two are shared), you have the freedom to maintain your home as you please – much like in a single-dwelling home, also known as a house and lot.

If you’re living in a condo, on the other hand, your monthly fees would include maintenance for your unit and others – and you’d have to pay them month after month. This means that your association fees within a townhouse community are generally lower than those within condos, and you can deal with the upkeep of your house’s exterior as you please.

You Change A Lot – But Not Too Much

Owning a townhouse basically means controlling much of it – but not everything. You can replace your furniture, tear out a dividing wall in the kitchen, and replace the front door – but you can’t do anything that would compromise the integrity of the entire row’s structure.

Furthermore, how much you can really do depends entirely on your Homeowners Association. Some HOAs are fine with a little modification – others are strict in making sure you maintain the uniformity of the homes, even as the principle owner.

Since townhouses are stringed together, each one plays a role in keeping the other structurally sound – that includes a continuous fence, shared walls, and often a shared roof. Modifications to any of these are typically not allowed.

Access to Shared Amenities

Like a condominium, living in a townhouse means being a member of that townhouse’s Homeowners Association, and the Homeowners Association typically uses association fees to install and maintain some basic amenities found in high-quality communities, such as a well-maintained shared pool, a tennis court and basketball court, and other such amenities.

The HOA may also cover maintenance for parts of a townhouse, such as the paint on the walls and your fencing. However, being the owner of a townhouse doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about insurance payments. In Thailand especially, getting some flood protection isn’t a terrible idea – and depending on the tectonics of your area, earthquake protection can be a necessity as well.

You’ll Have Your Neighbors Close

This can be a pro, or it can be a con – or it can be both at once, varying now and again. On one hand, having your neighbors closer can help you foster a more pleasant relationship, and a greater sense of community. Neighbors don’t have to be a nuisance – they can be good friends, great company, and an essential and integral part in your social life.

On the other hand, obnoxious neighbors can be the antithesis of a peaceful life. It’s best to always check your prospective next home – and its neighbors – before you make any purchasing decisions. Always get someone to inspect the state of the home, and speak with your possibly fellow homeowners to get a feel for the community.

A townhouse doesn’t have to be a permanent thing – you can own one until the time comes to upgrade to a condo or house, or like a condo, you can rent it out once you feel like upgrading to a single-dwelling home.

Owners Live By the CC&R

Once again, this is a boon and a bane – although it is mostly a boon. Townhouses, like condominiums, have what is called a CC&R for the most part. The covenants, conditions and restrictions are a community-specific document that all owners have to co-sign and agree upon, outlining the strict rules of the community for homeowner conduct.

While the restrictions may be annoying, they also ensure that you get the most out of your townhouse – that is, a happy co-existence with other owners on a cost-effective budget.

The Different Types of Home Loans

Are you in the market for a new home or maybe an upgrade from your current home? Before you go jumping with both feet into the unknown you should probably do a little research about all the different types of home loans that are out there now a days for new buyers. Some of the jargon used in the descriptions of these loans can be confusing; while some may sound good they might not be right for you and vice versa.

Today we want to take a closer look into fixed rate home loans. This type of home loan vary greatly from an adjustable rate home loan. The fixed rate loans mean you pay the same amount each month, each year, for the entirety of your loan. The adjustable rate means your mortgage rate can fluctuate from year to year depending on the bank and figures. Traditionally the adjustable rate loans seem to be the better choice…in the beginning, when they begin to adjust and increase you could end up paying double what your payment started at.

This adjustment has been a problem for many homeowners; once the rates change it can double your payment if not triple it depending on how high the jump is. A fixed rate home loan is one of the safest choices when it comes to home loans, because you will always know what your payment will be and if it does change with a fixed rate loan the amount won’t be that drastic.

A fixed rate home loan can be chosen with more flexibility. For example, NPBS feature-rich fixed rate home loans come in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or even 10 year increments. These time frames for repayment can vary depending on the institution that is taking care of your loan, some places will allow you to opt for a 15 or 30 year fixed rate loan as well. Don’t let the fixed rate loan title fool you, when you have some extra cash you can pay more onto the principle of your loan in order to repay it quicker.

When you take out a reverse mortgage it pays you, rather than you having to make monthly payments to your lender. How a reverse mortgage works is by allowing you to request reverse loan payments to be made to you on a regular basis or ask for one large payment all at once. By taking out this particular type of home loan, you can avoid having monthly loan payments. You won’t owe the balance back on the loan until you move out of your house. In the event that you pass way, your family can choose to allow the house to be sold, in which case the lender would keep proceeds equal to the loan balance and any leftovers would go to your family. Alternatively, your family can pay off the loan balance themselves and keep your home.

It cannot be stressed enough to be smart when you are purchasing a new home, do your research when it comes to types of loans as well as all the different institutions that can provide loans, you might have better luck at a bank a little further than your current location. Bigger cities or towns tend to have better rates when it comes to home loans, so browse around before you settle on a final home loan.

Eco business: how to keep yours clean

It seems like the facts about climate change have been around forever, and for younger readers that might well feel like the case. Yet no matter how vital the information contained in An Inconvenient Truth or The Shock Doctrine seem, few companies have been willing to jump on the climate change bandwagon and help the environment in a meaningful way.

Major brands like Tesco, B&Q and DuPont have made great gains with carbon reduction in their business, yet their progress is relatively minor when compared with the amount that realistically needs to change if the climate is to remain stable.

Every business has to be able to markedly reduce its carbon footprint if the world is to remain safe for habitation. But, as Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine has made abundantly clear, free market capitalism will continue to diminish the climate and environment.

But you’re not a mega-corporation polluting the world with a chimney stack and wads of money. You’re a straight-up small business with an honest work ethic.

And your effort doesn’t have to be like spitting in the wind. With specific products you can make your company eco-friendly and do your bit for the environment – without ruining your profits.

The right adhesive

If you’re in the construction business, you’ll be more than aware of how much waste goes into the manufacture of any product. Sawdust on the floor, spent glues congealing on work surfaces and pieces of pointless plastic stacking up in the waste basket – it’s all symptomatic of a wasteful environment.

You don’t however, have to waste everything in a workshop. For a start, try out Tensor’s composite adhesive, which is designed to minimize wastage thanks to its high-pressure canister. Investing in one of these canisters will minimize waste, maximize the longevity of your product and, in turn, contribute towards a cleaner environment.

Keep employees in the know

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a free-wheeling climate change radical. But that doesn’t mean your employees are on the same wavelength. Some might even be cynical about the existence of climate change, especially if you’re located in the US.

This is your company, however, and you make the rules. No matter what the personal beliefs of your employer, you have to make it clear that you won’t stand for poor recycling protocol.

You can do this by sending out regular emails outlining your recycling and energy policy, and having semi-regular training sessions with them will ensure that, despite their conflicting opinions with you, they won’t have any excuse for avoiding eco-protocol.

The Argument for Requiring Renter’s Insurance

The trend towards investing in real estate properties isn’t slowing down, as an increasing amount of individuals are throwing their hat into the landlord-ing ring and renting out personal property for a supplemental income.

Americans are slowly shifting their mindset towards permanent renting instead of the old American Dream of buying a home. In fact, according to the New York Times, our nation’s homeownership rates have fallen for nine years straight. Combine that with the fact that rental rates are rising and you’ve got yourself a promising investment. Maybe you’ve decided to join the ever-expanding pool of landlords, or perhaps you’re already renting out your space and have been through the ins and outs of the process. In either case, there’s a new trend to remain aware of—renter’s insurance. As the rental market becomes more competitive, landlords have their pick of the litter when it comes to tenants, but as the old saying goes “It’s better to be safe than sorry”. Cue the argument for renter’s insurance. A vast majority of professional property management companies are now deciding to require renter’s insurance in their lease terms, with a whopping 84 percent of those surveyed in 2015 requiring renter’s insurance before leasing out a property. Small-time, independent landlords are now picking up on the trend, and there’s never been more reason to make this a lease provision.

Deductible Damage

Deductibles are the unwelcome part of insurance, but unfortunately there’s no way around them. Should damages occur in your rental property, say as a result of a tenant accident or some type of storm, you’ll have to shell money out of your own pocket to cover deductible costs. If your tenant has renter’s insurance, their coverage would likely cover the costs of your deductible.

The Proverbial Lawsuit

Hate to say it, but the law usually sides with the tenant in legal disputes, even if it seems that they’re in direct breach of your rules. It’s essential for property owners and their families to take the utmost in precautions when renting out a home. Should something happen at the home, a safeguard of renter’s insurance will help handle damage costs. Most times, when there are damages at a home, whether they be caused by natural elements or tenant mistakes, landlords will often find themselves being forced to cover the costs. If it moves to court, legal fees alone will cost a pretty penny. If your tenants were to have renter’s insurance, the damages might be covered, leaving you and your personal assets out of the equation.

Weed Out Bad Tenants

It can’t be said enough: you need to make sure you screen your tenants properly. There are thousands of tenant horror stories out there, resulting in huge damages to personal property and large cuts to property owners’ wallets. Hopefully one of your first steps as a landlord was to use a good screening service; if you haven’t yet, get on board the train with tenant screening from and make sure you tell tenants upfront that they have to purchase renter’s insurance to even be considered during the application process.

Make Sure They Renew

You pick a tenant, they show you proof of their renter’s insurance, and so begins a cohesive relationship between landlord and tenant for the foreseeable future. If you’re lucky enough to land yourself a long-term renter (every landlord’s dream), ensure you remain on top of the insurance issues. When it comes time for their lease renewal, ask your tenant to again show you proof of renewing their insurance.

Renter’s insurance from Progressive is a positive for both renters and landlords, and both parties stand to gain. If you’re renting out personal property, consider a lease provision that requires purchase and renewal of renter’s insurance for the entirety of a tenant’s stay in your property. This will keep your family and personal assets safer from legal action, and your tenants will have more to fall back on should an accident or natural disaster occur. It’s a definite win for everyone.

Easy Ways To Earn Money At Home Without Breaking A Sweat


ComputerThe Internet has become a really big part of everyone’s daily lives. Should you need to find a recipe of a chicken pot pie you have been meaning to make for your family, the Internet has got your back. A quick Google search will provide you a step-by-step guide on how to make that delicious meal possible. Do you wish to follow the score of your favorite sports team? Or do you want to check if your mother’s flight has been delayed or on time? Everything is practically one Google search away.

But the Internet has a lot more to offer than this. Much has been said about its capability to connect people from different parts of the world. But the possibilities you can get and do online should not and does not stop there.

Say you are at home, have an awful lot of time to do anything but can not seem to determine what, how about you earn some real money on the Internet? And the best part of this is you do not have to leave your house to make this possible.

Today we will be listing a few easy ways how you can earn some bucks without breaking a sweat. You can do these while waiting for that chicken potpie or while watching your favorite game on television.

Create An Awesome Blog

Blogging has been on the forefront of earning money online, and it has been here for quite some time. Although it takes time for the money to kick in, it sure as hell rewarding when people have started noticing your website.

When creating your blog, you must choose a topic that you really are interested in. It can be a hobby that you already have, for example: create a blog about the current fashion trends in Hollywood or otherwise. Or if you love your little furry friend, why not make a blog about dogs?

Blogging requires time and dedication. Once you got the hang of it and you post continuously, you will be able to build your readership along the way. Marketers will notice that your site is racking up in traffic and they would want to place an ad on your blog. This way, you can charge them for either a website banner or a sponsored post. Here is a tip though: blogging can be addictive, but the money you will be able to earn from it is going to be huge.

Sell Your Talents To Those Who Need Them

If you are someone you would consider to be really good in numbers, or if you paint really well, why not offer your services to those who need them? A lot of websites, including Craiglist, give you to freedom to post your ad for free. Some people look for an artist who can produce a logo for their business. Some will ask you to write about an essay on World History. Play your strength, and earn from it.

But there are times when it is us who need help. Sometimes we need help about setting up our home security or someone to help us on our homework and exams. There is a site called Prestoexperts that exists to help you. They have online experts on subjects ranging from education to technology and to health. They even have licensed online counselors to help you in your time of need.

Do Online Surveys

If you do not plan to spend a lot of time freelancing for online work, then perhaps doing online surveys is for you. A huge number of sites offer money in return of your answers to their surveys and questionnaire. This way companies, or their clients, can hear valuable feedback from consumers in order for them to do better in the future.

Auction Your Stuff On eBay

For sure, there are things inside your room that you no longer use but you could not find the courage or perhaps time to get rid off them? At this time and age, selling stuff online is already an acceptable way for you to get rid off stuff you no longer use while earning. It can be an old phone that is still in good condition, a desk lamp, or even a shirt from a Nirvana concert years ago. Things like that shirt have a sentimental value due to its antiquity. You can bet that a lot of people will bid on it and you can just sit and watch them compete for it by outbidding others. The price will go up and all you have to do is watch.


Be A Freelance Writer

Many websites would pay for your article. If you have a knack of writing stuff out of thin air, then freelance writing may be for you. What a freelance writer does is you would have to write an article based on your client’s needs and specifications. It can be anything under the sun, from guides to make your own sushi to more complex than binary options trading. You must be flexible because you never know what your client will ask of you to write.  Some websites pay per word, some pay per article. But the more article you turn in, the more money you earn.

Create Arts and Crafts And Sell Them Online

Believe me when I say that many people are so tired of buying the same product that has been mass-produced. It can be a shirt that says “I love NY,” or a coffee mug that says, well, “Coffee!” If you have a talent in making awesome and incredible things out of raw materials, then this is going to be for you. Make a bracelet that customers can easily customize so they can spell their names; a shirt that have a really wicked designed; a coffee mug that have really clever quotes that make their mornings good.

Have you recently earned money from doing an online work? Tell us more about it on the comments section! We would love to hear more!

Images by negative space and Alejandro Escamilla under CC0 Public Domain.

When Life Hands You Lemons, Get a Line of Credit

A recent study has found that the majority of Americans find themselves spending money they don’t have on essential car repairs or utility bills. For some low-income families, the cash shortage can be significant enough that they spend more than 182% of what they make in a year. Even the middle and upper classes aren’t without their difficulties, as each rung spends 89% and 61% more than their respective incomes. When you look at the numbers, borrowing money in order to cover basic needs seems inevitable.


For those financially green individuals, the thought of debt can induce heart palpitations, but there’s no reason to stress. Debt is a fact of life. According to a report conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, as much as 80% of Americans are in debt. Between mortgages, student loans, credit cards, and car loans, debt is unavoidable. Looking for a line of credit to help pay for sudden, on-going charges like home repairs or utility bills isn’t a sign of failure. In fact, if you do it right, it’s the best way to support you and your household.

Not all personal lines of credit are created equal;however, so it’s important that you do your homework before you check out these options. You need to confirm the lender you choose for your line of credit can provide security and responsibility through fast-acting, convenient loans. When time is of the essence, traditional lenders can’t offer all of these features, which is why so many Americans choose to investigate MoneyKey as their source for lines of credit.

Direct online lenders have an incredibly quick application process that requires very little time or effort on your part. As long as you have access to the Internet and can provide proof of your income, a valid bank account, and a working email address, you can apply. You’ll know if you qualify instantly. From there, your application will be reviewed and any of the information you provide is verified. Should everything check out and your application is approved, your limit (typically $1,000) will be available within one business day.

In order to apply to any lender, regardless of the quality of your loan, you will have to release information. To ensure your contact and financial data is protected online, your direct online lender must employ a minimum amount of digital security. Things like updated firewalls and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) should protect their website and their digital storage spaces.

To ensure your line of credit can provide a responsible solution to your financial situation, look for their license and online precautions. Your direct online lender must be licensed to issue loans in your state. Without this accreditation, there’s no way to guarantee the credit they provide abides by your state’s laws and regulations regarding money lending. This means they can raise the rates and change the terms of their loans with impunity, purposefully inflating and confusing their products so they’re harder to pay back.

While earning debt shouldn’t arouse fear or suspicion, you do want to be able to pay it back one day, so it’s critical for your financial health to ensure your direct online lender provides responsible lending opportunities. Take the time to research personal lines of credit in your state, and make the right choice about your finances.