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April 23rd, 2013 at 07:26 am

I was remembering today a piece of advice I read a very long time ago. I'm pretty sure it was from Jane Bryant Quinn, who was kind of a Financial Advice guru way back before Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman made being a Financial Advice Guru so commercial and popular.

Anyway, she admitted to a habit of using shopping as an emotional crutch -- to combat boredom or stress or whatever. But she said she got into the habit of going to the mall and doing the whole "Find an outfit, try it on, and then decide to buy it" kind of thing. But at that point she'd put it back on the rack and instead of writing a check to the store she'd write a check to herself - we wrote checks back in the old days. She'd then deposit that money into her savings account, given the theory that there was a time when she would have just bought thoughtlessly and she always found the money, so she ~should~ be able to save thoughtlessly and still find the money.

I'm thinking of trying that for a bit next month and seeing what I come up with as extra savings.

----Started the Prosper Account and put in for an initial transfer of $50 from my Allowance bank fund over to Prosper. It has now been five days and the money has gone from my checking account but yet to show up in Prosper. Maybe I'm just too spoiled about seeing money move from point A to point B in 24 hours these days, but so far "Boo Prosper!"

I've identified a couple of loans that I might go for helping to fund, if my $50 ever shows up over there.

My new SwagBucks-Flakes Goals

April 19th, 2013 at 07:52 am

Every month I have a basic goal of earning at least enough points on Swagbucks to get the 5 - $5 Amazon gift cards. We are saving these up to use for year end Holiday shopping.

After that I tend to stick with the $25 Paypal payments. Last month I think I earned 3 of those. This month hasn't been as great, mostly because I haven't felt very motivated to do as many surveys. Still, I've earned one $25 payment in April.

I've never really had a good plan for this money. It is extra money and I tend to just put it into my bank account until I need it for something. As we all know, bank accounts pay squat for interest anymore.

But today I've opened up an account at Prosper.com and I've decided to start funneling this into Peer to Peer lending. I realize there is risk involved here ... but since I view the money as "extra" anyway I figure this is a good way to test the waters to see if I can generate a good investment return with this money. I haven't actually loaned any money out yet, I'm still waiting for my first bank transfer to clear. But I have been spending considerable time reading various blogs about how to interpret the loan ratings and devise a strategy to choose which loans to bid on funding.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ...... It is week 12!

March 22nd, 2013 at 05:51 am

Here it is the end of March and the only New Year's Resolution I've ever kept for this long is still going. I transferred $12 yesterday from my checking account over to Ally Bank for the Save an Additional Dollar Each Week Challenge.

My balance in there is currently $77.01 because I've earned a penny in interest.

Finally A Roof Estimate and a HomeDepot Gift Card Question

March 17th, 2013 at 11:53 am

So the guy finally came back and said they would fix the area around one window that is leaking for $900. Then when that is done and they know how the problem goes they will quote fixing the 5 remaining windows. So the major problem should be fixed next week and it sounds like the entire job will come in under my $6000 hyperventilating point.

Now for my question. I think we've picked out new patio chairs to buy from HomeDepot.com. I'd like to get a bunch of gift cards from Plastic Jungle to get a 7% discount. Does anybody know if there is a limit to the number of gift cards you can apply to an online order because right now there are only a whole bunch of $100 cards and the total is going to be around $1400 -- so I'd have to buy 13 or 14 of them.

Any other saving ideas also welcome but so far I've only found these chairs at Home Depot.

Drip Drip Drip Drip

February 4th, 2013 at 11:06 am

Tiny little snowflakes have been appearing all morning. $3.84 Paypal deposit from QuickRewards, a $22 check for some textbooks I sold and I won $5 in a Superbowl pool.

The funny thing is that I am such a numbers geek, putting all those little snowflakes into my YNAB and then dutifully assigning them a job gives me such a happy feeling. I wish everyday could be a happy little snowflakes day.

My husband this weekend discovered we live in what is known as YNAB Bufferland, which means we have one full month of budget saved up in our checking account and we are living on January's income in February.

"You mean I can have ALL my allowance for the month right now?"

"You betcha!"

So then later on he asked how our other savings was doing and I showed him our Retirement spreadsheets, Vacation funds, and Emergency Savings. He gets these bursts of interest in our finances about two or three times a year. Otherwise, he's content just to know the ATM will give him his allowance whenever he asks for it. LOL

We are very much opposites attract in that manner because I HAVE to balance my checking account daily or I get hives. I even do it on vacation -- wake up and balance the checking account online.

I Had Such Big Plans

February 1st, 2013 at 07:59 am

So earlier in the week I was looking at my Calendar and I noticed that February 1st happened to fall on Friday. Awesome! Because I had in the back of my mind this niggling thought that I should create a blog and what better time do accomplish that other than the first day of the month on a Friday --- which is typically the day when I have a good amount of free time.

Then Friday morning hit and my mind was a complete blank.

But here I am, and I had promised myself I would get this thing going, so let's all just push our way through.

My best piece of news for the week was that our family finished up the month of January $546.42 under budget. This was in categories such as Groceries, Entertainment, Clothing etc etc. Much discussion abounded amongst the household what to do with our windfall and the final decision was...

$100 to Emergency Savings
$100 to my Retirement Fund (separate from DH's 401k)
$300 to Our Big Adventure (vacations) and Gift Giving Savings Account

and the final $46.42 I gave to my older children to put onto their Student Loans. This was because they both spent a good amount of time here in January and I told them that if they would ~try~ not to eat me out of house and home and run us over budget in groceries I would split the "savings" with them.

So in other activity, I was recently watching a documentary from ESPN 30 for 30 titled "Broke." It has to deal with the enormous number of Professional athletes (over 70%) who find themselves bankrupt or in financial difficulties shortly after their careers ended.

I admit, I was fascinated as to how this could happen. These people make millions and millions of dollars and then it just ..... evaporates on them. My fascination is fueled a bit just by the sheer human nature of being attracted to other people's drama and failure as a means to make yourself feel better. I mean, sure I've made mistakes in my life but LOOK AT THEM, THEY'VE MADE MUCH BIGGER ONES!!! It is awfully judgmental of me.

Stepping back though I looked through that list of athletes and I realized they were all so young when they made their money and for the most part they went from relative poverty or at best middle class to enormous wealth. I tried to imagine what the results would be if somebody stuck a couple of million dollars into one of my 20-something children's bank account.

I have to tell you, it'd likely be a disaster. Just as it would have been a disaster if somebody had given me so much money in those early years of adulthood.

We talk much in this country about the lack of fiscal education. I think "Broke" shows this lack of such education at the most extreme level. It also shows our immaturity and failures personally (me included) and as a society. Most of us when we are young make financial mistakes, many of us (often me too) keep making them long after we are old enough to know better.

These athletes make them with lots of zeroes added onto the end as Dave Ramsey would say.

That's about all I can think of for now. I will try to get back in a couple of days to continue the blog. I do highly recommend the ESPN documentary Broke if you get the chance to see it.