Category: Saving Money

Santa Baby for Savers

Santa Baby for Savers

I can’t tell you how excited I am to share this with you today! As our Christmas present to you, Mr. T and I have written and recorded a brand new Christmas Carol for Personal Finance Geeks and Money-Savers alike! Enjoy!

NOTE: The Google ads in the video were not added by us, but by the owners of the copyright of the original song. 

Coloring Your Finances

Coloring Your Finances

Today we’re going to have a little drawing lesson. Don’t worry, even my 2-year-old can do this! For the purposes of this lesson, color=money!

*Special thanks to Mr. T for drawing our awesome moose-piggy bank for this demonstration!*

Coloring Your Spending

When you spend money, stay within the lines

When you spend money, you should “stay within the lines.” Only spend money that is actually in your moose bank. Think about this picture.

If you wanted to get the money out, you would have to break the moose bank (awwww… but he’s so cute!). Think of this cute moose every time you go to spend money. Does that mean you should never spend money? NO! But before you spend money from your cute moose bank, you need to get into the habit of pausing and thinking about it first.

Is this purchase worth breaking this cute little moose face? Ask yourself does this spending align with my goals? If it does, break that little moose face and go for it, but don’t spend more than is in there… looking at the picture, that isn’t possible, right? There’s no other money anywhere. Remember this. It’s really that simple. If the money isn’t in the moose, you can’t spend it!

Coloring Your Savings

When you save money, spread the color all over the place

Savings breaks all conventional rules. There’s no need to “stay in the lines.” The most important thing is to save. You want lots of color!

Imagine just dumping the color all over. Will some of it end up in your moose bank? Yes! Will some of it end up in emergency funds, retirement funds, brokerage funds, etc. Yes! We can argue about the nitty gritty details about which moose bank needs which colors, but that’s not important. Pour that color!

Until you increase the amount of color on your savings picture, you don’t need to worry about the details. If you’re pouring color, you’re moving in the right direction.

Mr. Moose Bank Says: “Stay in the lines for your spending, go crazy on your savings!”

Perfect Gets in the Way of Good: Finances Edition

Perfect Gets in the Way of Good: Finances Edition

I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase “Perfect is the Enemy of Good.” I’m experiencing that in my financial situation here at the end of the year. Last week, I calculated our projected taxes for 2016 (PRO-TIP: Do this earlier than November!) and realized we’re set to owe nearly $7,500! Yikes! (It doesn’t help that I am self-employed and our PFD and Energy Program Rebate are both taxable.)

*Rewind* *Rewind*

(blatant Hamilton reference, yes)

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It's Not Your Fault You Want to Spend Money

It’s Not Your Fault You Want to Spend Money

FLASHBACK: Thousands of years ago. You live in a cave, kill your own food, carve your own pictures into cave walls, and communicate very effectively through a series of grunts (clearly, I have no actual sense of what this period of time was like).

We know our bodies evolve based on our circumstances. THIS IS STILL TRUE. Example: Wisdom teeth. Remember back in the cave when we had to tear flesh apart with our teeth. No forks. No knives. Teeth. “Oh” you say, “THAT’S why we have wisdom teeth!” Now, wisdom teeth are a hassle. They crowd our smaller jawlines, mess up the rest of teeth, can get impacted, and cost money to get removed. Well, guess what? Humanity has gotten the memo! I, personally, only had 2 wisdom teeth, and my husband only has 1 that’s never grown in (I know. We’re advanced specimens). Some predict wisdom teeth will disappear altogether within just a few generations!

What does this have to do with spending money?

Oh yeah… I was talking about money.

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Ways to so no to spending money

Ways to Say NO to Spending Money (and still be cool)

How to Avoid Spending Money:

What is the number one reason you can’t save money? You spend it!

It’s hard not to! Everyone wants a piece of it.

“We’re just going out to eat!”

“It only costs $15!”

“You don’t want to miss out!”

You want to say: “NO YOU DUMMY, I’M SAVING MY MONEY!” But you don’t. Because you’re nice. But don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Today, I’m creating a handy-dandy list you can print off and keep in your wallet. Reference this the next time you get a proposal to spend that hard-earned cash!

There are three ways to successfully extricate yourself from a money-spending predicament: excuses, possibilities, and alternatives.

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People who became millionaires faster

Becoming a Millionaire FAST (and people that have done it!)

On Monday, we went over how easy it is to become a millionaire. Today, we’re going to look at a few people that have done it and have done it quickly!

Saving a Million Dollars FAST

1500 Days:

We’ll start with Mr. 1500 Days (he’s one of my favorites!). Now he started 2013 with over $585,000. He managed to hit $1,000,000 for the first time less than two years later! Note that Mr. 1500 days uses Personal Capital as well!

double comma

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frugality sucks frugal

Being Frugal is Overrated

When I started this blog, I thought “yes! We aren’t big spenders! We can jump in and discuss how frugal we really are.” Ironically, after over a year of blogging, I’ve realized that being frugal isn’t the answer. 

Frugality is all about cutting costs, but sometimes that’s not the best financial action plan. We still maintain some level of frugality, but it has shifted from counting costs to living mindfully.

FRUGALITY FAILS:

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How to cut cable and not miss anything

How to Cut Cable and Not Miss Anything

So you’ve decided to cut cable? Good for you! But you have some hesitations. I understand that. But let me tell you how we do it here in the Banks household and see if you are convinced.

  1. Get a Computer Without a Monitor – We have a small Dell that has no monitor. Instead, we hook it up to our TV as a monitor. Under our TV is our DVD player, the computer, and the computer keyboard.
  2. Get a Wireless Mouse – This will now be your remote. And just like all technology, these just keep dropping in price. And you can even buy one that looks like it emerged from a futuristic planet (easily amused).
  3. Set up a mini Antenna or Bunny Ears – I have no idea how to point you toward which one, but we got a midrange antenna at Radio Shack way back when we first set up ours (it was about $30). Which one you need will depend a lot on the geography of your area and your proximity to the broadcasting towers. This also gives you sub-channels that aren’t available through cable or satellite. We have France 24 news in our area!
  4. Stream, baby, Stream! – When you’re watching Hulu on a computer, the service is free (though there are limits to when shows are available and for how long). Netflix has raised its prices to $9.99 a month, but you can always buy discounted Target gift cards on Raise.com and then use those to purchase Netflix gift cards at Target! Also, sharing Netflix accounts is totally okay. Also, remember that you have a full computer with full internet access, so anything on network websites or YouTube is also fair game.
  5. Set up a DVR – For events like the Olympics, this is totally awesome. You can purchase a USB TV tuner with video capture. Your recording limit is based entirely on your computer’s hard drive! Mr. T and I have been recording all 8-10 hours of daily Olympic coverage on basic NBC (which is free through the antenna) and then watching it all in about 4 hours in the evening! This set-up is also great for awards shows (so many commercials!) or anything you think to record ahead of time so you can watch it commercial-free!
  6. Worried about Sports Events? – I admit, Mr. T and I only care about the Olympics when it comes to sports, but if you don’t want to miss a game, check out these resources on how to cut the cord and not miss a game here and here.
  7. Want to Watch Foreign TV? (I’m obsessed with British TV and need Doctor Who as soon as it airs) – Use a VPN! This reroutes your internet traffic through another country so it thinks you are watching locally. I’ve found that free VPNs are available, but they are entirely hit and miss. But there are several options of paid ones and they aren’t that expensive either.

Now that I’ve told you our system, I’ve got all of yesterday’s Olympic coverage to catch up on…

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