Thursday, June 21, 2007

I came across this great article on Bankrate.com and thought you might all enjoy it too. http://www.bankrate.com/nltrack/news/pf/20070418_Compact_save_consumerism_a3.asp

I am finding that in my quest to change and live more frugally I am also becoming more "green" and I don't mean the jealousy kind of green. This article focuses on a group of individuals in the San Francisco area who call themselves The Compact, found that by living more green, they were saving money! I found it really interesting, hope you do too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My nephew interviewed me....

for a 3rd grade project. They are currently learning about jobs, money and responsibility. His assignment was to interview an adult in his family about their first job. I was thrilled that he asked me and had a great time sharing. It also brought back memories of that first job of bagging groceries at the local Albertsons and getting my paycheck for $50.40 before taxes for my 15 hours of work. Yes, I was making $3.36/hour and when I worked on Sundays and made time and a half, I really thought I had made it in the world! One of the questions he asked me was, "What did you learn from your first job that you have taken with you in your life?" I told him that it is important to find a job you love, and although it took many jobs and a lot of life experience to figure this next one out, you should always spend less than you make! He looked at me like I had instantly grown 2 heads! His mom looked at me and thanked me for that bit of advice and told him that one was very important and don't ever forget it. You will be much happier in life if you spend less than you make!

I hope these are lessons he is learning and will hold on to. I would hate to see him make some of the money mistakes I have made. Then again, sometimes it is by doing things the hard way that we learn the greatest lesson.

Money Can Buy Happiness

I am reading the new book by MSN Money columnist MP Dunleavey right now and so far it is a great read. Has anyone else read it? I'm curious to hear what others think. My favorite quote so far is:

"Never keep up with the Joneses, drag them down to your level, it's cheaper" ~Quentin Crisp

Truer words were never spoken. I will update more as I finish the book. Just thought I would let others know about it.

Make it a great day!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Maxed out

Has anyone seen this movie? I watched it last night, it was really informative, I thought about the state of debt in our nation and where it has been and where it is going. Some of the people on there were really in dire straits and others just thought that they were owed the right to borrow so much money. "It's the American way!" Not for this American, thank you! It's really disheartening to hear that the credit card companies seek out those with low incomes/no incomes because these are the people they make their money off of, not people like me that pay my balance in full every month! If you get the chance to see this documentary, I highly suggest it!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Feeling groovy.......

I am feeling really good about my finances right now. Of course I wish I had more in retirement and a larger emergency fund, but all in all, I have achieved several rather large goals over the last couple of years. I finished paying off all of my credit card debt, student loans, car loan AND I purchased my first home! Yeah! While in the process of paying off my debt and loans I really didn't do anything "for me" during that time. I rarely bought ANYTHING during this time. I had no new clothes unless my underwear or socks got holes in them. I didn't do anything to spoil myself either. So, yesterday I took the day off from work and went shopping with my 2 best friends. We had a ball, we went to the outlet mall and I got some very fun, cute, new duds! I got 2 skirts, 2 pair of shorts, 2 pair of pants, a dress, a sweater set, 6 bras, and a couple of shirts, all for $276!! The clothes are nice ones too, coming from Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Adidas, etc and the bras are all Maidenform. Then I went to the mall to meet up with my mom and I knew I was going to need some warm fleece pants this weekend because I am doing a long charity walk where I will be walking overnight, so I got those and a fleece coat, both for a total of $91! Now, I am not really much of a shopper, but it was really, really fun to get all kinds of new stuff. And of course I am wearing a skirt and the sweater set today! :)

Also while we were out shopping I took my car in for a maintenance service. The total bill for that was $77.56, plus the news that I will be needing a new battery and new tires. Both of which I was expecting to be coming soon. But, I have no problem spending the money on these things, my car is 7 years old and this will be the first time I have replaced the tires and the battery. The car only has 68,000 miles on it and it's a Honda, so I just may end up driving it for another 7 years, at which point my nephew will be getting his license and I think it would make a great first car for him. Maintaining a car is so much cheaper than buying a new one, and I still really like my car, so why would I want to go out and get a new one?!

Now I am looking forward to the weekend and the charity walk, hopefully it won't get too cold, but if it does, I'll be fine with my new fleece pants! :) Make it a great one all!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A favorite subject of mine.....

Surveys! I know, I know, you are thinking, holy moly she does a lot of posts about earning extra income from online surveys. Well, I do and there's a reason! I really think people are underestimating the earning potential in online surveys! I received an e-mail last week from one of the usual sites I work with and I filled out their preliminary survey to see if I would qualify for the study. Well lo and behold, I am just the type they were looking for and after doing the study on 2 different types of jar pasta sauces and answering several questions about them, I received a nice check in the mail today for $100 for my time and efforts! Yes, that's right, $100!!! All for purchasing, making some dinners and tasting 2 types of pasta sauce. I have to eat dinner and lunch anyway, so what the heck! Such a deal for me, I was able to make several meals, not have to wonder about what I was going to cook, and I earned $100. Ok, after purchasing the sauces and the noodles to go with it, I figure I netted $$93.97! Not bad, I would say. So, again I will remind you, check out the referral links to the right and give it a try! Unless of course you have all the money you could ever use! As always, make it a great day and be thankful for all you have in your life! Be blessed!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My next goal...

I find that I tend to better budget and control my finances when I have a goal. So, now that I have purchased my condo and have it all furnished and don't need to buy anything else for it, I am on to my next goal. I would like to put extra money towards my mortgage so that I can drop the PMI as soon as possible. As of right now, not taking in to account the appreciation, I will need to pay $22573.62 in order to have the 20% equity to drop the PMI. I have always been one to overpay my minimums in order to clear debt as quickly as possible and I found that once I had my debt paid off, I was kind of at a loss for what to do with my money. I know that sounds funny, but I am a very goal driven person, so I think this will be good for me and help me not foolishly spend my money. I'll keep you posted on how it is going.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sorry to have been gone for a bit, I had to head out of town for work unexpectedly, but now I'm back! It's funny how the brain works, the entire time I was doing my food stamp challenge I felt like I was starving! I could only think about things to eat that I in no way could have afforded with my $21 for the week. And I was so excited for the week to be over and to go buy all the things that sounded so good. I get to the grocery store and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't think of anything that I had been wishing for during the previous week. I think it's a mind over matter type of thing. Since I didn't mind spending more on groceries when the project was over, I didn't mind what I was eating! I went to the grocery store ready to really splurge and as I looked at things that sounded good, I would look at the price and say to myself, "Wow, that seems like an awful lot to spend on ...." Maybe the experiment was good in that it has made me think about what I am buying and spending on food and I will perhaps be somewhat more frugal in that manner. I'll see how it goes over the next few weeks.

As for this past weekend, I didn't spend much money. I could have, but I'm happy to say that I didn't. I watched my niece and nephew on Friday night and could have taken them to a movie like I would usually do, but instead we played outside at the park and went for a walk. We colored and watched a movie at home and had a blast. Saturday I went to the local farmer's market and could have bought some gorgeous flowers, but I decided to just enjoy them there and leave them for someone else to buy. :) Sunday was a my mom's 60th birthday, so we had a family BBQ and had a great time just spending time together as a family. I think I spend about $35 for the whole weekend, including a trip to the grocery store.

I went to the library and stocked up on several books and have been sitting on my balcony reading in the evenings and thoroughly enjoying it. I am having a great time finding more and more things to do that cost little to nothing. It's nice to indulge in these frugal activities.

Happy Monday!