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The other day in Reader’s Digest – which I read mostly for the reader-written humorous anecdotes and silly cartoons – I came across a quote from Peter Buffett.

It is an act of love to say, “I believe in you as my child, and you don’t need my help.”

On his billionaire father Warren’s refusal to help during financial hardship.

Isn’t it wonderful?

Do me a favor.  Put it in your card printing software now, print out 10 cards and tape them to your cubicle wall, refrigerator, mirror, windshield, toilet lid, children, forehead, lunch, television and bank statement.  

 

Pride is a major motivator for why we handle our money the way we do. 

It can be positive: saving enough to make sure we never burden our children when we retire.

It can also be negative: purchasing more stuff than we can truly afford in order to give the appearance of financial prosperity. 

Pride is what tells us to hide our mistakes and to be ashamed when our financial efforts fall short or when we fail to make an effort at all.  Pride can make us hold ourselves to a higher standard than we hold everyone else.  Pride can be a humongous downer, demotivator and can even make the situation worse.

Nobody’s perfect.  I’m surprised your mother hasn’t already told you this. 

This thought brings me to the heart of this post: successful people, who you are undoubtedly measuring your own success against, made/make/will make mistakes too. 

When I started writing this, oh, about thirty minutes ago, I had Sam Walton in mind (you know, the founder of Wal-Mart?).  Did you know that Sammy filed for bankruptcy? Him and quite a few others:

  • Macy’s
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Hershey’s Chocolates
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Donald Trump
  • Lady Gaga
  • MC HAMMER!

You did know that?

Well did you know that Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, was actually fired from Apple?

In his 2005 Commencement Address to Stanford (WATCH IT), he names this so-called failure, “the best thing that ever happened to me.”  It was during that time in his life that the college dropout invented NeXT, founded Pixar and met his wife.

Talk about making lemonade.

 

Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick.  Don’t lose faith. 

Steve Jobs

A brick to the head won’t necessarily kill you, but it will probably concus you.  Maybe you should invest in a helmet.

And don’t let your pride and your past mistakes discourage you from achieving your goals from this point on.


Article publié pour la première fois le 09/11/2010

4 comments

Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cost Comparison

60% more for my PB&J?  I’ll make it myself, thank you very much.

 

I may be alone on this one, but I used to think that those frozen, pre-made dinners were  cheaper than buying all of the ingredients and making the same meal from scratch.  It makes sense, buy one thing in one package and it should be cheaper; well, it makes sense in my mind at least.  As I’ve become a more savvy shopper, I’ve noticed that these meals are seeming more and more expensive.  This week I went to the store to compare the cost of store-bought, frozen meals and the cost of making the same meals at home on my own time.  I found that, as usual, when someone does the work for you, it’s going to cost you more. 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 29/07/2010

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How to make a great cable package for $34.99/month go up to $85.99/month.  It’s so easy, even you can do it!

There have been several times when I see a cable commercial and I think to myself, “Why don’t we have such a great deal for our tv’s?  Those people in the commercial have 1,000 more channels than us and pay half as much!  Why am I yelling?!”  Today I went to directtv.com to sort this whole mess out.  I think it’s important to start off by presenting my conclusions:

Over one year I would be paying $486 MORE than I expected at first click.  That’s $972 over the life of the plan that I’m locked into.

Look below to see how my bill went from $34.99 to $46.99 to $70.99 to $85.99.  The average cost of my bill for the 2 year contract would be $75.49. 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 21/06/2010

4 comments

Saving Rocks (Double Entendre Intended)

Today I was procrastinating.  Fortunately, it was one of my positive procrastination days.  

Rather than surfing the internet looking for totally rad Christmas presents, I decided to clean.

There’s one room in the house that is basically a big junk drawer.  Instead of paperclips, matchbooks and errant pieces of paper, however, the junk room collects boxes, small children (who can’t escape), holiday decor and glitter.  Lots and lots of glitter.  By the end of the day I looked like I had been mauled by a fairy.  

Picture the room in your mind.  It’s important that you do this so you can understand just how miraculous it was that I found what I found…  

I   f o u n d   m y   d i a m o n d   e a r r i n g !

Side-note: Now do you get the title?

Before you start judging:

A. They were a gift from my awesome sister.

B. They aren’t even 1/4 carat.   

C. Oh, like you never lost a diamond before.  Sure, sure.  Kettle much? 

Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that I lost it over 4 years ago and that I somehow managed to hold on to its pair all this time.  

I mean, what do you do with an unmatched, small diamond earring?  And don’t say, “Get a nose ring,” Hubs would kill me.  

Chalk another one up to saving – with a purpose.

I talk a lot about how we need to let go of things.  This is partially because I’m a little OCD and can’t stand clutter, and partially because I want people save what they do for the right reasons – sometimes any reason at all would suffice.  

I saved a single diamond earring for a couple of reasons:

1. This should be obvious: IT WAS A DIAMOND and no matter how small, it’s probably a teency tiny bit valuable.   

2. My sister gave it to me, on a college student’s income, and that’s special.  

Saving in general, be it money or things, should have a purpose.  

Lindy at Minting Nickels had an excellent post this week about, what I refer to as, “extreme saving.”  You know, the people who cancel cable and live off $2/week?

My question about this type of saving is always, “what’s the point?”  Sure, there are some valid reasons to undertake extreme cost-cutting measures, but when does it end?  Tell me. When does it end?!

Never save just because something is a waste of money (or it would be a waste of money to throw away).  Much of life could technically be considered a “waste of money,” depending on who you are.  Waste would be denying yourself simple joys for the sole reason of putting more money in the bank.  

Save with purpose.  And never ever throw away diamonds.  It simply isn’t done. 

Article publié pour la première fois le 18/11/2010

6 comments

The GREAT Coupon Experiment aims to solve a mystery as old as the Sunday insert itself: Is coupon cutting really a feasible way for people with lives and dogs and families to save money?  My mother would say, “yes”; I would say, “I don’t know, that’s why I’m doing this experiment.” 

GCE23 
 

My results from weeks 3 & 4 are, well, different.  Starting in week 3 I began to supplement my newspaper clipping with some printable coupons from couponmom.com (you have to sign up, but it’s free, including junk mail, so be careful).  Coupon Mom told me I could cut my grocery bill in half!  But I didn’t.  Yet.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 22/06/2010

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Boredom & Spending

As the old saying goes: Familiarity breeds contempt (of people).  There is, however, a lesser known variation of this famous phrase (lesser known because I just made it up, feel free to spread it around):  Familiarity breeds boredom (of stuff).   

Boredom can have many negative side effects: dizziness, weight gain, whining, grumpiness, and, perhaps most disturbingly, unnecessary spending! 

Don’t get me wrong, change is good, I’m a huge fan of change.  Why, I change my underpants almost daily (joke, just a joke people).  Sometimes, however, boredom can lead to discontentment which can lead to the urge/desire/need to change EVERYTHING.   

Most likely, everything does not need to be changed (unless there is shag carpet involved).  Often times, something “new” doesn’t even need to be purchased.  When you can’t get no satisfaction, looking around and working with what you already have may actually turn out to be more rewarding and fulfilling than going on a shopping spree. 

What if instead you:

Rearranged – your desk, your living room, your bookshelves.

Purged – I’m always amazed by how different a room looks when stuff is taken out of it. 

Cleansed – just as your car drives smoother after the car wash, your house will run more efficiently when it’s clean.

Or Changed Something…

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Article publié pour la première fois le 14/09/2010

2 comments