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How to Be Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. 

This time of year always gets me feeling thoughtful and introspective.  Like Ernest Hemingway without the drinking… or the man parts. 

The Ernest in me is thinking about being thankful – BIG stretch, seeing as how tomorrow's Thanksgiving. 

Writing a financial blog (and having a pulse in general) requires that, at times, I ponder negative issues like bankrupcy, debt, overspending and MC Hammer. 

These ponderings usually lead me to reflections on cheesy song lyrics:

If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

Lee Greenwood, Proud to be an American

Most people I know – apart from my mother who notoriously claims that even if a ninja appeared and sliced off her arm, that she would simply be grateful that she still had the other – would wallow for at least a couple of days after losing-everything before counting those lucky stars. 

BUT, they would eventually be thankful for what they had left. 

Financially and generally we sometimes become dissatisfied, not with what we have, but with what we don't have.  I've come up with a little remedy for that. 

How to be thankful for socks: don't wear them for a week.

How to be thankful for family: spend Thanksgiving apart from them.

How to be thankful for your right arm: cut off your left arm (DO NOT ATTEMPT, just take my word for it).

Striving towards a better life and better finances are great goals.  Just don't forget to count your assets; they'll help you achieve those goals even sooner.    

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all.  

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/11/2010

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On Making a Budget… Don’t Panic

When it comes to creating your budget, it may be tempting to say, “let’s not and say we did.”  Nobody likes a liar.

Picture1 When you finally sit down and figure out you net worth, aka your place in the financial universe, the results may cause what is known in medical fields as a “freak out.”  The best way to deal with this condition is to avoid your finances at all costs; no, not really, but many people do react this way. 

I understand that feeling of panic that washes over you.  Where do I start?  Can I ever pay off all that debt?  How can I ever save enough money for the retirement I’ve always dreamed of?  Remember those days at school when you realized that big test would have been a lot easier had you just studied over the semester rather than just that last week?  This is kind of like that. 

So, let’s talk about financial goals; otherwise, why do you even care about your finances?  Here are a few of ours:

1.  Pay off unnecessary debt.

2.  Save sufficiently to have the option of an early retirement.

3.  Save enough for our future children’s college funds. 

4.  Buy a house.

5.  Buy an airplane (that’s Husband talking).

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Article publié pour la première fois le 17/06/2010

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Mad props to the carnivals who featured my articles this week, mad props.

Festival of Frugality @ Generation X Finance3 Reasons Why We Keep & Buy Crap

Carnival of Money Stories @ Money ObedienceThe Non-Sale Sale


I was also featured in a little publication called MSN Smart Spending, perhaps you've heard of it?  Thanks Karen!


And some excellent blogs from the Yakezie Network this week:

Make it 70 by 2050 @ Thousandaire

Stores That Offer Layaway @ Out of Debt Again

The Kardashian Sisters Launch Their Own Prepaid Credit Card @ Money Funk

Article publié pour la première fois le 12/11/2010


It’s an Odd Job But Somebody’s Got to Do It

Looking back over my old posts, I realize that I mention quite a few of the jobs my husband had in his youth like ice cream scooper, baseball batboy, and others not mentioned like airport communications intern, fireworks warehouse grunt, and Target stock boy.  I had my share of odd jobs myself, but that is another story entirely.  Today I would just like to share some ideas I had for part-time, self employed gigs to help you make ends meet or to have a little extra mad money to play with.

When it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, put together a seasonal lights business including set up and take down.  Or hire yourself out as a holiday gift wrapper.  Everyone knows these things put a little more magic in the season but, in truth, many people would gladly pay to have someone else do it, worry free.

Run a cloth diaper washing service.  I think a lot more people would try this eco-friendly baby necessity if there was a good local service to help with the clean up.

Turn your hobbies into jobs. Do you knit, sew, or quilt? Make handmade gifts? Paint?  Make fancy artsy gizmos out of found objects? Make jewelry?  Try selling your wares at local fairs.

Start a furniture refinishing business.  Buy old, cheap stuff and fix it up to sell at consignment stores.

Teach cooking classes.  If people are always asking for your recipe why not teach people how to make it themselves.  You can do it in your own home if you feel comfortable or if a friend has a “show” kitchen ask to use hers.

Try good old-fashioned babysitting.  Parents these days are less willing to leave their kid with a 12 year old.  They are willing to pay more for a responsible adult who can drive and has extensive kid experience.

Housesit for neighbors. Walk their dog, feed their cat, water their plants, collect their mail, keep an eye out for suspicious persons. Their peace of mind is cash in your pocket.

Do freelance work like stuffing envelopes or making bill collection calls like Matt’s grandma used to do.  She found she had more courage for this intimidating task when she put on big dark glasses and a tough gal voice before she picked up the phone.

Start a lawn care business.  There really isn’t too much green growing here in the desert, but the weeds didn’t get the memo.   They love to ruin gorgeous desert landscaping.  A weed killer business would do well.

Take in laundry.   Gone are the days of scrubbing on washboards and cranking the ringer.  People don’t care much even about ironing anymore.  I have had friends who have done this and loved it, just grab some stain spray at get to it.

Teach language lessons.  But you don’t know a foreign language?  Do you have any idea how many people in this country are trying to learn English as a second language?  If you are reading this, you’ve got the job!

Last but not least, find a job writing content for great blogs and websites like I did!  Thanks Richly Reasonable!

I am sure there are many more odd jobs out there, some seasonal or particular to your area.  So if extra cash is what you are after, just get creative and get started.  One bit of advice, don’t forget to manage your time well so that your new business venture fits into your life and doesn’t take it over.

Got any great ideas for odd jobs?  What odd jobs have you found success in doing?

Article publié pour la première fois le 03/05/2012

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Take this job and shove it?

Surely you’ve been hearing quite a bit about Steven Slater this week.  He’s the fed-up Jet Blue flight attendant who, in a blaze of dramatic glory, quit his job and jumped down his plane’s emergency chute after a confrontation with a fussy customer.  Coincidentally, I received an email this week about this girl, who had her own epic job-quitting-moment via an email to her entire office that revealed that her boss played Farmville nearly 20 hours per week.  Although I do find both incidents amusing (alright, hilarious), I’ve noticed that many news organizations and bloggers have been categorizing these disgruntled workers as a “heroes” (see this article in the Huffington Post).  I think the term hero is a bit strong.     

Who hasn’t had a daydream about their own spectacular meltdown?  Mine was never quite as creative as these two, but nonetheless got me through some rough days at the office.  The fact is that most workers do not act on the fantasy.  This means that most workers either have the good sense not to, or, more likely, are too chicken to act on their impulses.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 18/08/2010


Where to Get Small Loans

Every now and then, you may find that you need to get a small loan to get by.  A small loan is usually less than $1000, but more likely in the $100 to $400 range.  There are several ways to go about getting a small loan, including looking at getting small loans from Wonga.com, which is an online lender that offer small loans.

Borrowing Money from Friends

One of the easiest ways to get a small loan is to simply ask a friend or family member.  For loans under $400, or even as low as $100, many times friends or family members are your best bet.  First, they will not usually make you jump through hoops to get the money.  There is no paperwork, and they probably won’t be too concerned with making sure that you pay it back exactly on time.

However, that doesn’t mean that you should take advantage and not pay it back.  Getting a loan from a friend or family member can put other strains on the relationship.

Getting Money Online

There are many places online to get small personal loans or payday loans.  Wonga is one alternative, since they make it very easy to get a small loan online.  However, there are other places online as well.

Make sure that when you look for a small loan online, you really check the rate and fee structure.  Small loans typically have large fees as a percentage of the loan, since the amount borrowed is so small.  Keep that in mind when you are getting money.

Using a Credit Card

Finally, if you have a credit card, you may consider using the cash advance feature of your card.  MSN Money recently highlighted why you should only use a cash advance in an emergency, but it is a viable option if you need to get some cash quickly and easily.

All you have to do is take your credit card to an ATM machine, and you can get cash out using the cash advance feature of your card.  Just make sure that you know the rates and fees before you do it.

Article publié pour la première fois le 26/06/2012