If your budget is tight, the last thing you need to do is get scammed out of your hard-earned cash, blow it all on a bad move or spend more than you should. Three new books provide a lift for those who are trying to do more with their money, and provide much-needed advice for avoiding common traps and potholes. “How to Survive (and perhaps thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary,” by Danny Kofke (Tate Publishing & Enterprises, $9.99).
According to a 2006 study by the National Education Association, 50 percent of teachers leave the profession within five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries. And yet, 69 percent of teachers report that they’re very satisfied with their jobs.
Until teachers get paid as much as Wall Street power brokers, they’ll have to get along on less. But with the cost of food and fuel skyrocketing, it isn’t easy to make ends meet each month.
It’s one thing to ask someone to spend less than he or she earns. But what I like about Danny Kofke’s book, “How to Survive (and perhaps thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary,” is that he shares the nuts and bolts of exactly how he made his numbers work.
In this slim volume, Kofke writes about how he examines every single household expense regularly, looking for ways to cut back. One summer, he discovered he was paying too much for his telephone service. “We had a premium package for our home phone service and were paying $52 each month for this plan. We were also paying $50 a month for our cell phone. Now, I may not be like some of you, but I hate the telephone,” he writes, adding that he changed around his plans to save $63 per month, or $756 per year.
It’s financial specifics like that, and the engaging way Kofke walks you through the choices and mistakes he’s made in his life that will help you rethink the way you spend your money. “Managing Your Move: The Complete Relocation Guide,” by Cathryn Duffy (Tate Publishing and Enterprises, $12.99).
If you’re moving a lot of stuff, changes are you’re going to hire a professional moving company to help you get the job done. But if you’re not careful, you could easily wind up overpaying for the job, or getting sucked into a scam.
Catherine Duffy has moved 12 times in 24 years, and lived in 11 states. Duffy’s claim: You don’t pack that many boxes and not learn how to do it right.
The first half of her book includes information on how to prepare your home for sale, select a real estate agent, and market the property. She also offers some tips on getting a new loan or leasing a new property and making an offer. While this information is good, and includes her personal experiences, you can find it elsewhere in a much more complete form.
Where the book shines is in her suggestions for choosing a moving company, packing up, moving into your new home and getting settled. “The Truth About Avoiding Scams,” by Steve Weisman (FT Press, $18.99)
Every single day, consumers get scammed. Someone knocks at the door and offers to fix your roof. Or, perhaps your medical records get stripped for your social security number. Or, you’ll get hooked by a tax or work from home scam.
Steve Weisman, a syndicated radio talk show host and journalist offers more than 200 pages of tips, broken up by category, including home-base scams, credit scams, identity theft, classic scams and social security scams.
Although there are a multitude of scams covered, neither Weisman nor Duffy talk much about classic moving scams, in which a mover holds your stuff hostage while he jacks up the contract price. For details on that scam, see www.MovingScam.com.