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The Problem with Easy Money

The other evening Husband and I had a very existential discussion… about The Jersey Shore.  I’m betting that even if you don’t watch the show, you’ve heard about it.  Cast-members have been in the news recently over their reported $10,000/show salaries.  For those of you who don’t know, the premise of the MTV show is a group of guido-types (as they call themselves, not me) live in a house together, go to clubs, lift weights, and tan.  I’ve watched it and it’s slightly entertaining.  Don’t judge me.

“What could be existential about a reality TV show?” you ask.  I mentioned to Husband that I feel bad for the cast.  That’s right, I feel bad for people who get paid $10,000 every time an hour of their “dirty laundry” gets aired to the world.  You couldn’t pay me enough for my reputation.  Easy money isn’t always as easy as it looks.  We all dream of hitting the big time but rarely consider the cost. 

Here are some of the problems I found with a few types of “easy money”:


Winning the Lottery

Full Disclosure:  There is a Lottery ticket sitting on my dresser for tonight’s drawing.  Hello Kettle, I’m Pot.  

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Article publié pour la première fois le 17/08/2010


Last minute gift ideas

I can’t believe it but we are less than a week away from Christmas and Hanukkah starts tomorrow. If you’re like me, your gifts are bought but sitting in a stack because you’re too lazy to wrap them. If you’re like my husband, you’re probably not done shopping yet.  While my husband doesn’t mind the stress, it’s something that drives me crazy. I can’t stand crowds, never mind crowds of pushy last minute holiday shoppers.Since I refuse to be stressed, I do my shopping early or online. My husband  enjoys the frantic pace of the mall and other assorted stores and I think he actually likes the stress . However, if you’re a combination of the two of us, a last minute shopper who hates crowds and stress, here are some options for you:

  • Utilize websites like Amazon that allow you to pay extra money to ensure that your gifts arrive on time (thanks, Amazon!). This allows you to get what’s on your list without the stress of the mall or big box stores. This extra money is worth it to me.
  • Purchase gift cards that can be delivered electronically.  We do this every year anyway, mainly to save on paper. Plus, it’s nice to open up my inbox and find a gift.
  • Purchase online subscriptions. I’ve done this for several people.  Sites like Netflix, Gamefly and Instructables all offer subscription services and are often services people do not want to pay for themselves. This is a great way to give that person a chance to try out those services on someone else’s dollar.
  • Make a charitable donation in honor of someone. You can do this from the comfort of your home, via PayPal. My in-laws do this every year for my daughter. They pick a charity and will make a donation in her name. I love this gift because it serves two purposes: it teaches my daughter about the importance of giving and it benefits a charity.
  • Give cash. Even though it may seem impersonal, I love receiving cash. It gives me the freedom to spend it how I want, free from the constraints of a gift card. I actually give my husband cash every year which he uses to feed his golf habit.
  • Offer a service. OK. I admit this sounds weird. But hear me out. Let’s say you have a friend who you know is stressed out and could desperately use an afternoon for herself only you know she can’t afford a babysitter. As a gift, you can give her an afternoon or two of free babysitting. This can go for cooking, housecleaning, helping with laundry…anything where you can help fill a need and help someone out.
  • Create a photo collage. This works really well for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, close friends. Print out some pictures, purchase some stock paper and scrapbooking supplies and you can assemble a really nice, personal gift. Homemade gifts. I am terrible at crafts. I wish I were better at them.  I can’t knit, paint, crochet or come up with any cool idea that someone would actually want to have in her home. Fortunately, there are lots of bloggers who are crafty. Check out these ideas:

What last minute ideas do you have?

Article publié pour la première fois le 19/12/2011


Money Carnivals

Here are the carnivals where I was featured this week:

Carnival of Personal Finance @ Live Real Now – Why are You Saving?

Festival of Frugality @ Simply Forties  – Paperback Swapping: Books on a Budget

Wealth Builder Carnival @ My Wealth Builder – Running on a Budget

As long as you’re stalking me, also check out my inclusions at Time and MSN Money.  

Article publié pour la première fois le 20/08/2010


Anchors Away!: Yard Saling– Part II

My article last time was a list of To Dos for having a great yard sale.  This time I will be sharing some important Don’ts.  Now, you may be thinking that no one would want your stuff so why go through the effort of putting on a yard sale.  Trust me, people will buy your junk.  My dad once bought an entire storage unit full of a stranger’s crap, sight unseen. I thought he was pretty much insane.  But then a few months later…enter Storage Wars, an entire TV show dedicated to THIS VERY THING!!  Hey, who knows, your trash could be my treasure.  As promised, here is my list of yard sale Don’ts

Don’t let your customers suffer. What you deem “great weather” might be too hot for your customers.  So set up your patio umbrella, or set up your tables on the lawn under a shade tree.  Also you can have a cooler of sodas and water for sale.  These ideas will make shoppers stay longer and buy more. Yay!

Don’t use a cash box.  Keep your money on you at all times.  Don’t tempt people looking for a different kind of big yard sale score!

Don’t ever let strangers into your house to use your bathroom or try on clothes or try out electric appliances.  Have an extension cord handy so they can see that the old TV really does “work great” and point them in the direction of a gas station for facilities.

Don’t hide away in the garage or plop down in a lawn chair checking Facebook. On the day of the sale, get your salesman on!  Talk to customers, look available to answer questions, have some strapping young men around to help bring old ladies purchases to their cars and bring young ladies to the sale.

Don’t set booby-traps. Get rid of hazards, that broken sprinkler, bucket of antifreeze, your hyper dog, garden hose.  The old WWII vet won’t have time to buy anything when he’s busy riding away in the ambulance. Also hide not-for-sale items.  Basically, you want a gutted, stripped, blank area for your sale.

Don’t let feelings or guilt get in the way. This is a hard one, Be Objective.  Your sentimentality and memories are of no value to other people.  If you love it so much it shouldn’t be in a yard sale, and if you truly want to get rid of it all offers should be considered.  Never feel obligated to keep or get a high price for things you don’t need, use, or even like.  And if you find you just can’t take ‘you’ out of the deal, ask some friends for honest opinions on if and what they would pay for your items.

These tips should help you avoid a few common pitfalls and problems with putting on a yard sale.  Have fun out there and make some money!  Do you shop yard sales?  What do you look for in a great sale to shop?


Article publié pour la première fois le 18/06/2012


Around the Interwebs – Week of July 5

How to Go from a Two-Person to One-Person Income @ Free Money Finance

Handling Occasional Expenses @ Christian PF

Are You Eating Yourself Into Debt? @ Man Vs. Debt

Article publié pour la première fois le 10/07/2010


10 Websites For Savin’

I will concede that I am not the only, nor the most knowledgeable saver/personal-finance-lover on the block.

But if I know anything, I know a useful website when I see/use one.  Since I cannot justify  writing an entire post about any of these sites individually (nor do I want to), I’ve been saving them for the time when I had 10 exactly. 

Why?  Because I like multiples of 10 and I’d forget half of them by the time I got to 20.

So here they are, with a little something for everybody.   


For eBay-ers:

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It’s just like eBay.  But cheaper.

Yes, you will find some of the junk that you find in stores, perhaps even some of the junk that you yourself donated.  However, you will find some excellent deals sans the too-high price tags that people place on their, ahem, “heirlooms.” 

If you think Antique Roadshow is exciting, then you’ll love this. 


For Parentals:

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I’ve always wondered how children’s clothes could be so expensive when they require so much less raw materials than real people clothes.  Someone figure this out, it’s gonna drive me nuts. 

Here’s how they sum up the process

1. Pick – Pick a great new box of clothes for your child – just $5 + shipping.

2. List – Post a box of gently-worn clothes your child no longer wears.

3. Send – When another member picks your box, send it 100% free of charge. 


For Book Readers:

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It’s just like thredUP, but instead of pants and shirts, you trade books. There are no fees on this one, you just pay shipping for the books that you mail. 

Great idea for people who are running out of shelf space; which is basically everyone I know. 

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Article publié pour la première fois le 10/11/2010