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Budget Saboteurs – E!

Flipping through the drivel on cable television I stopped on E! because they are always talking about relevant issues and things that are important in my world.  Really, I just like a good bit of gossip, so don’t judge me.  In between hard-hitting news stories, What’s-her-face in the short skirt did a human interest piece about putting together an affordable, multi-purpose outfit; she called it a “Day to Night” outfit, which somehow seemed fancy.

Here’s the breakdown of the ensemble:

Black Dress – $245

Day Shoes – $30

Night Shoes – $79

Necklace – $30

Purse – $250

Grand Total – $634

Many thoughts coursed through my mind as this woman, sincerely serious, looked into the camera and called this an affordable outfit selection.  

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Article publié pour la première fois le 23/07/2010

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September 2010 Archive

Pardon the dust.  It is an archive afterall.
 
September 2  Value Size
September 6  Spending Under Pressure
September 7  15 Little Budget Busters

Article publié pour la première fois le 08/09/2010

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I need to start this off with a disclaimer, lest anyone think I’m unsympathetic to the plight of sub-minimum wage restaurant employees. You see, I worked as a waitress – for one semester of college – and I know what it’s like to spend hours on your feet, shuttling from table to table, dealing with whiny kids, disgruntled adults, and people who treat you as the working professional that you are, but as someone too lazy to get a “real” job. I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

And so when it comes to leaving the appropriate tip, I tend to be generous. 20% is a pretty standard tip for my family when we’re dining out; if my kids have been particularly messy – and the server has been particularly good-natured about it – I might leave 30%. My dad’s the type of guy who goes even further – he’s been known to leave $100 tips for his favorite servers at restaurants he and my mom frequent week in and week out. So I know what it means to leave an appropriate tip.

Which is why, after a recent meal at a local Italian restaurant, I felt so bad about tipping the waitress well below my usual 20% threshold.

It began innocently enough. We opted for Italian because if was a Friday in Lent and, as good Catholics, my husband and I were trying to avoid eating meat. We thought pizza and spaghetti would be a good choice, both for us and our two young children (ages 5 and 2). We’ve been to the restaurant in question several times before and have always had good (if slow) service.

We didn’t order anything out of the ordinary. My kids split a pepperoni pizza. My husband ordered a sandwich; I ordered a salad.

That’s not what made it to our table.

My kids ended up with a cheese pizza – no biggie, they’re just as happy with all cheese as they are with pepperoni. But instead of getting the caprese salad I’d requested, I ended up with tomato and beefsteak mozzarella on two pieces of bread; my husband didn’t get the portabello mushroom, peppers, and eggplant panini he’d ordered, but rather a salad with those toppings (raw, not grilled). In other words, the kitchen had given us each the inverse of our order.

When we mentioned this to the waitress, she suggested we just “swap” plates. I actually laughed at her, because I didn’t think she was serious, but she totally was. When I explained that I wanted a tomato salad, not a mushroom salad, she realized what was going on. It still took some convincing to get her to accept the fact that she was going to have to take the incorrect meals back to the kitchen and bring us what we’d actually ordered. It took us another 20 minutes to get our actual meals. By that time, the kids were done with their pizza and were antsy to be going (re: they were starting to act like hooligans and disturb other diners). We ultimately took our meals to go.

As we left, I paid the bill, leaving what amounted to a 10% tip. I know some people think that’s an appropriate tip in general, particularly for bad service; I know a few folks who think it’s absolutely okay to stiff a server. Having done the job for a few months, I could never do that. But leaving just 10% left me feeling guilty.

It’s not that the waitress was rude or anything – she was actually just clueless. Things that seemed common sense to me (ie, if you bring out the wrong food to a customer, you immediately replace it with the wrong dish, no questions asked!) puzzled her. My husband suggested I look at my low tip as a way of telling her, “Maybe this isn’t the job for you.” However, if she couldn’t figure out that our meals were wrong and needed to be fixed, I doubt she’d read between the lines of a small tip to see what I was actually trying to tell her.

So my question is, what do you consider to be an appropriate tip for bad service when dining out? Do you stiff a server, and if so, under what conditions? Or do you tip the same percent, regardless of service?

Article publié pour la première fois le 20/10/2014

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The Only Thing You Need to Know:

To Save Money

 

Personal finance can seem cosmic.  As far as we know, it may actually be cosmic. 

Cosmic1

Q: How do people accumulate millions, billions, gazillions of dollars in outer space? 

A: They don’t; the “cosmic” reference was really just a metaphor.

So, how do people accumulate all those dollars on Earth?  In many different ways: they inherit, they win, they gamble, they take out life insurance policies and hire hit men (JOKE).  But for the most part, “rich” people become rich by saving and investing.

Saving is step one.  That’s why I put it first.  I’m making a point here.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 05/10/2010

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Here are some of the articles that I found worthwhile this week:

USAA Financial Power Pyramid @ USAA

The Power of Delaying Gratification @ Sweating the Big Stuff

The Cash Envelope Spending System @ Smart On Money

Should You Save Before Paying Down Debt? @ Punch Debt in the Face

 

Also be sure to check out the Carnival of Money Stories over at Nerd Wallet where my post What Would You Do? was featured.

Find more amazing reads by browsing through the Yakezie Blogroll.

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/09/2010

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A good credit score is something that millions of people struggle with. The slightest infraction on your credit report can stop you from obtaining a car loan, paying a lower deposit for cell phone service and can prevent you from gaining mortgage approval. Forget getting a loan, it’s nearly impossible with bad credit. The good news is that you can help your credit score little by little to help improve your bad credit. It doesn’t take much and won’t hurt your finances either.

Pay Off Small Balances on Credit Reports

Obtain a copy of your credit report. Look through it and find the smallest listings and make arrangements to pay them off. Start small and work on the bigger items last. As long as you have payment arrangements in place and are making those payments, it will help your credit score dramatically.

The reason that you start with the small bills is that they are easier to get off of your credit report and don’t affect your financial budget much at all.

Pay Cell Phone and Car Payments a Week Early

Always try to make payments with creditors that report to credit bureaus early. This includes your cell phone, car payment, credit cards and mortgage. Paying early does help your credit score. Paying within your grace period is okay but is still not considered to be a completely on time payment.

When possible, pay more than the minimum amount due too. This helps to bring down the principal more and reduces the amount of interest paid at the same time. You’ll be able to pay off balances on credit accounts much faster.

Difficulty Getting Loans

Should you need to apply for a loan, making early payments and doing your best to get out of debt and back on track financially will help you some with a lender. Keep in mind that it is quite difficult to obtain a loan with bad credit. Every inquiry into your credit is a mark against you and lowers your credit score so try very hard to not apply for credit accounts that you know you won’t be approved for.

When you have bad credit, you’re likely to have to pay higher deposits and interest rates if and when you are approved for a loan. The most likely option for a loan is with a quick cash payday loan or auto title loan.

Your credit score can even prevent you from getting a good job. Good credit shows responsibility in all aspects of life. Do your best to maintain a good standing with your creditors. If you have a problem or financial setback, stay in contact with the creditor to get more time to make your payment and keep that commitment.

 

Article publié pour la première fois le 25/08/2014

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