Four Things Making You Poor This Week

No small change! These four things can really dig into your budget.No small change! These four things can really dig into your budget.If you're renting a home, you may want to watch your wallet. In the 12-month period that ended June 30, U.S. rental prices rose an average of 5.4%. According to CNN Money, increased costs can be attributed to demand from former homeowners displaced by foreclosure and potential homebuyers who failed to qualify for mortgages.
AND SOME GOOD NEWS: With mortgage rates at a record low and home prices decreasing, now is a good time to consider buying a home instead of continuing to rent. If you're not ready to take the plunge and buy a home just yet, a new job could help make paying rent a little less of a financial burden. While it's not exactly wonderful, the job market did perk up last month. Claims for unemployment benefits fell, fewer individuals were laid off, and private businesses added 176,00 jobs in June.

This year, it's more expensive to own and operate a vehicle than it was last year. AAA recently released their 2011 Your Driving Costs report, which found that the cost of owning and operating an average sedan rose 3.4 percent to $8,776 a year, while SUV costs rose to $11,239 a year. The top three factors attributing to the increased cost were fuel, tire, and depreciation expenses.
AND SOME GOOD NEWS: While you can't completely eliminate these three costs, you can reduce them. We've rounded up 10 easy tips to help you cut spending on gasoline and car maintenance.

Independence Day celebrations may not seem expensive when compared to other holidays, but you'd be shocked at how quickly costs add up for food, drink, and of course, fireworks. The NRF estimated total U.S. cookout spending to be $2.3 billion. Beer is the biggest expense, with the 4 th of July being the fourth most popular holiday for drinks after Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Christmas.
AND SOME GOOD NEWS: If you splurged on the 4 th of July cookout, there's still time to enjoy a summer picnic and save some money. Take a look at these easy and affordable picnic recipes, complete with a printable shopping list

Now that we're in the peak of summertime, many Americans are setting out on road trips. You might not realize it, but you could be spending more money just getting to your destination. For instance, rapid acceleration and braking can reduce your gas mileage, as well as traveling at speeds over 60 miles per hour.
AND SOME GOOD NEWS: With some smart planning and research, you can save on road trips. Planning your fuel stops ahead of time, using cruise control, and turning on the air conditioner in moderation are just a few of the ways you can stretch your travel dollars.