What Are the Best Cheap Car Seats for Backup and Travel?

best cheap car seat

One of the most important things you will ever buy for your infant or toddler is a car seat. This is something that needs to keep your child safe during a car ride, or even during an accident. But, not everyone has the money to spend to buy the best and most expensive car seats.

This is why people are looking for the best cheap car seats. Car seats are affordable, but they are still providing the best protection for their children. For you to buy an affordable car seat, you need to remember these. A complete guide in buying the best car seats that are affordable as well.

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The True Cost of a Big House

Abstract

It’s no surprise that smaller homes cost less, but perhaps it is a surprise to learn just how much less.  The short answer is that every 100 square feet of new house costs at least $10,000 in the first 10 years of homeownership while existing homes are probably closer to $7,000 per 100 square feet in the first 10 years.  By this reasoning, buying 500 square feet less of a home can save $50,000 in the first decade of ownership.

electric feel

Introduction

How much does the average new house cost in the U.S?  The Census Bureau says it is about $80 per square foot (or $120,000 for a 1,500 square-foot home), but this misses some additional expenses, such as closing costs, opportunity costs (on average, housing isn’t the best investment), costs to furnish the house, interest costs, property taxes, etc.

According to my rough calculations, $100 per square foot is a more accurate estimate of the fully-loaded cost for new housing in the U.S., likely even more than that if interest costs and taxes are taken into account for the entire term of the mortgage, not to mention maintenance, utility, and upkeep costs, among other things (Update: ROI that includes utility expenses is available at the bottom).

So how much does a bigger house actually cost a homeowner over the course of 10 years?  That is the subject of this article, and the simple answer is that each additional square foot of a new house will cost about $100 over a 10-year time-frame (versus say, $70, for existing homes).  Therefore, deciding to buy a new 1,500 square-foot home will cost about $50,000 more than buying an equivalent 1,000 square-foot home, all else being equal.

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Skip Rush Hour to Save Time and Money

Abstract

Shifting one’s work commute to earlier or later in the day to avoid rush hour traffic could theoretically save the average American about $900 per year.

Intro

I’ve written in the past about the outstanding financial benefits of working from homeliving closer to work, and riding a bike to work.  But what if those aren’t feasible options?  Well, there are still other ways to save money on your daily commute.

kite surfer
if you can’t take a board (or bike) to work, avoiding rush hour traffic might be a second-best bet

I’m talking about avoiding the worst hour or two of the day… rush hour.  There is almost no other regular annoyance worse than rush hour traffic.  The average American spends almost a full work week (38 hours) stuck in traffic each year, which ends up costing them over $800 in extra gas money per year as well.  And the problem is even worse in big cities.

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(Il)legal Smiles: Are Marijuana Edibles Cheaper Than Alcohol?

With more and more states legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, it seems fair to challenge the bias against pot.  Pot is arguably three times less harmful to both individuals and society as a whole.  On top of that, it is cheaper, but not necessarily by leaps and bounds.

Having four edible pot candies a week versus having four beers per week saves more than $2,000 over ten years, but comparing pot to Trader Joe’s boxed wine, edibles only save about $150 over the same time period instead.  So even without switching to the pot, there are still gains to be had by drinking more economically.

lemon drops
Image by Brandon Dilbeck via Wikimedia

The real hidden gem here, in terms of saving on your weekend buzz, however, is drinking at bars less.  Substituting four drinks per week out for four drinks per week at home or at friends’ houses saves 13,000 every ten years!

All in all, between pot edibles, alcohol at home, and alcohol at bars, the biggest savings are had by not going out to bars as often.  After that, it is more marginal, but pot edibles will still save a few pennies over the long run…

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Dog Ownership: Follow Your Nose, Not Your Wallet

Abstract

At the recommendation of a regular reader, I’ve decided to start including a quick abstract at the top for people who don’t want to plow through all my BS commentary, haha.  Okay, those are my words not his, but to get on with it, this post is about how much a dog costs you.  At a minimum, not doing anything fancy, nor having a really unhealthy and/or poorly behaved dog, you’ll probably spend about $17,000 over ten years, so make sure you’re ready… we already have too many dogs at the pound as is!

dog on beach

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Is Hunting Cost-effective?

Introduction

Is hunting cost-effective?  Probably not.  My estimates show that hunting costs $2,000 more per year on average than simply buying meat from the grocery store (about $10 more per pound in this example).  Why the steep price for such a seemingly ethical and idyllic way of procuring meat?

The main reason that hunting is more expensive than the grocery store is that we don’t live in the wild west anymore.  Gone are the days of Elmer Fudd chasing game around just any old wood.  Simply to be able to play the game, hunting today requires licenses, private land leases, and lots of driving, among other things:

hunting costs pie chart

As seen above, at least according to the assumptions I used in this example, direct travel costs and land expenses account for nearly 3/4 of the money spent during a year of hunting.  And to be fair, I believe these are fairly optimistic assumptions.

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How Much Is Your Library Card Worth?

If someone would pay me to read the literature I would never have to work another day in my life.  I love reading.  Some people have bumper stickers that say, “I’d rather be golfing/hunting/knitting/fishing/etc.”  Guess what mine would say??

My old behemoth of a bookcase used to be filled with all the books I ever read from high-school on.  I’m a pretty big minimalist, but I always wanted to hold on to my books.  They were a big part of who I was, and I liked the idea of having them on display as an identity signifier in my future home (and also maybe to re-read, but that never seemed to happen).

bookcase

Maybe I matured enough to realize that I didn’t need that external identity validation or maybe my minimalist instincts simply won out in the end.  Either way, I eventually donated all my books to Goodwill and took a tax write-off.  The tax write-off was pretty nice but nowhere near as large as the original face value of the purchased books.

Fast forward to today… I get my books from the local library for free (or as hand-me-downs from friends), I maintain a digital bookshelf at Goodreads, and I don’t have any traumatic scarring from the hasty Goodwill book donation of yore.

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ROI: Cloth vs. Paper Towels

Cloth Savings

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet and get straight to the numbers.  How much money do cloth napkins and kitchen towels save you over the course of 10 years?  According to my back of the napkin calculations, switching to cloth is worth about $219 per decade per person.

Here are the full summary stats:

  • 10 Year NPV: $219
  • 10 Year ROI: 117%
  • 10 Year Payback: 1.3 years

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The Power of a High Savings Rate

A strong savings rate is the cornerstone of early retirement and financial independence.  A low savings rate means you’ll have to work longer to retire, while a high savings rate will allow you to retire earlier.

The idea of saving, specifically, spending less money than you earn and, say, stuffing the extra money under your mattress, has been around forever.  The basic savings rate formula is savings divided by income, where savings is income minus spending.  So if I make $40,000 per year and spend $30,000, my savings rate would be 25%, or $10,000 (savings) divided by $40,000 (income).

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As I said, this concept has been around forever, and I don’t intend to take any credit for linking high savings rates with early retirement and financial independence.  For me, that credit goes to Mr. Money Mustache, a regular dude that retired with his wife at age 30 after working less than 10 years, earning about 20% over the median U.S. household salary (each), and saving 66% of their take-home pay.

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When Can You Pretire?

Great news for the FG ROI clan this week… my brother and his wife had their first baby!  Big ups to the proud new parents!! 😉

So their new bundle of joy got me thinking about what kind of life I want to have when I have young one/s running around.  I would like to be able to retire by the time my kids start grade school so that I can be an attentive and involved parent, but quitting work in 6 or 7 years is basically out of the question given our current trajectory (more on the math of early retirement here).

leaf sprout

However, we should have a decent-sized nest egg by that point, and a second-best option would be to transition to a part-time career where it would be much easier to balance work and family life.  The pay would be lower, but it would hopefully still be enough to cover our living expenses.  It would also mean slowing down or completely stopping retirement contributions, but on the bright side, we wouldn’t have to touch our existing savings, which would continue to grow in the background.

To be clear, the obvious trade-off of retirement would be a longer waiting period until full retirement, but we’ll get to that below.

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