Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Long Overdue LinkFest!

I saw a YouData link somewhere on the blogosphere (sorry, I misplaced your link--but I did use your referral!), and I was a bit skeptical but I signed up anyway. And I already got paid--twice! Ok, it amounts to less than $2, but hello, that's part of a PaperbackSwap credit for sure. It was easier than any survey and also InboxDollars. So, if you're interested, here's MY signup link. I get a penny when you get paid (from them, not you) so this is quite literally a "penny for your thoughts". Although it's not even your thoughts, really, you just look at some google-like ads and go on your way.

Alternative Livings talks about making some money with her blog. I'd eventually like to get to the point that this blog makes enough money to pay for its own domain name, but I'm not doing it for the money for sure!

In this rather long guest post by Ramit Sethi on Get Rich Slowly, he makes a good point about the psychology of passive barriers that I could apply to my current goals of eating breakfast at home more often and doing yoga several times a week. The point is to remove all possible barriers to doing what it is you want to do. I learned this from FlyLady as well--when you create routines, things sort of do themselves. Washing the dishes immediately after use means you don't have a sinkful of dirty dishes to avoid. Making the bed as you get out of it means you don't have to make a point of it later. Getting a membership to a gym that is directly on your way home means you have fewer excuses to avoid going.

Rebates are always tricky. I never got a $50 rebate on my first cell phone and didn't realize it until it was too late, so now I usually follow up several times on any rebates I send in, and since I started doing that, none of them have been "lost". I still prefer to get a discount rather than a rebate, but I'll take what I can get!

Stacking Pennies talks about how to make progress bars for your blog. I don't really keep track of my sinking funds in that way (since I have a full emergency fund, and intend to spend all sinking fund money within the year) but when I start paying down my student loan debt and saving for the Sunny Beach Vacation, I would like to add these to my own page.

Google Tip Jar, via Financial Nut. This looks interesting! I wish it had an RSS feed, since I prefer reading things in Google Reader as opposed to poking around on a specific website, but it's still a nice collection of great ideas.

The more I hear about this whole AIG thing, the more I am flabbergasted. Aside from whether Obama and Congress knew about this but felt they couldn't do anything, I am just astounded that any company gives out bonuses of 6.4 MILLION DOLLARS. I agree with a lot of the comments that this is really a drop in the bucket compared to the entire economy, but it's ridiculous in bad taste, and AIG will never, ever get my personal business in any way, shape or form (which makes me mad that they're trying to change the company's name and hide their location). As much as it hurts watching my retirement savings dwindle to nothing, I am sort of glad the economy is rebalancing itself. A world in which employees who run a company into a ground get multi-million dollar bonuses is not one in which I want to shop. (Update: I am glad to see that at least some of the bigwigs are returning their bonuses, although I'm sure a big motivator was being taxed 90% on them!)

I agree with ParanoidAsteroid that it's ok to spend money, particularly on things that make you happy and when you're doing the right things in the big areas. But I think Trent also has a point--we do have a mindset of needing to spend money to be happy (see eating out, vanilla lattes, cell phones and internet access, and pretty much anything someone would list on their Ten Things I'd Take With Me to a Deserted Island).

I understand that she doesn't find Trent's advice applicable to her own life, and that's fine--a lot of the stuff that he promotes I would never do (like melting the last bits of deodorant) or can't apply to my own life (living in an apartment means no garden, etc). But he's a big, name-brand blog because many, many people find his advice useful and applicable to their own lives. He's no Dave Ramsey or Jim Cramer saying "This is the only way". He's not forcing his beliefs on anyone at all. I'm baffled by those who take offense by someone else talking about what works for them.

People like PA and myself are frustrated because there's no blog out there "for us", which might be part of the reason that we started our own blogs in the first place. It's evident from this AskMeFi that many, many people are looking for a blog for people who are doing the right things, no longer in debt, not interested in being superfrugal, and looking to invest--63 users favorited the post, and only 15 had suggestions, many of which were duplicates.

This "Undo Send" would have been really useful to me several months ago, when I accidentally sent my mother an email that was an application for a liquor company focus group . My mother is religious and traditional, and thinks drinking is sinful--and I may or may not have slightly exaggerated how often I visit bars in said application in hopes that I'd make it into the focus group (I didn't). She's speaking to me again, but that little trick would have saved me several weeks of grief.

I AM TOTALLY DOING THIS. Granted, I am not keeping on a gardener or housekeeper who I can't afford because I feel guilty letting them go, but I do swing by the bagel cart a few times a week even though I'd prefer to eat something healthier and cheaper at home in the mornings. A big part of it is laziness/habit, but also the cart guy has a little crush on me and he always says something nice to me in the morning, and when I don't show up for a few days he acts all sad and teases me about Peanut. I feel bad thinking about never going there again, although it's not like my $.75 is really making or breaking their day.

A more realistic scenario is what happened when I was a teenager--we had a housekeeper who came once a week, leftover from when my stepfather was a single dad with two rambunctious little boys. My mother wanted to let her go when they married, but my stepdad drove her by the housekeeper's house--it was little more than a shack, very run down. She really needed the probably $200-300 we were paying her each month. My mother agreed to keep her on, and we did until she "retired". My mother also made us all clean our rooms and do our laundry the day before the housekeeper came, so there wasn't much left for her to do, and she could sit and rest her feet.

I agree with my mother's decision in that case (and we could certainly afford it) but the best quote from the WSJ article is "Relationships based on financial transactions are not true friendships." Worth remembering!

Speaking of my mother--she followed me to a movie too! I don't know that it was on purpose, but she snuck in right after the lights went out and sat across the aisle from my boyfriend and me. I was totally mortified. She left right before the credits rolled and drove up 20 minutes later, as if she'd never been there. She didn't know I'd seen her--she said she just wanted to see the movie! Hmm.

This cartoon (from DINKS Finance) is funny because it's true.

These reusable lunch baggies are GREAT!

I really like the point Trent is making here--that taking the routine out of purchasing can make the exact same purchase feel special and provide more enjoyment. Going out to eat is more fun and feels more special when it's less frequent. Buying clothes is more satisfying when I am looking for specific items to complete my wardrobe and I'm doing a careful search rather than flipping through the clearance racks.

That's it for this one--congratulations if you made it this far!


  1. Actually, my problem with Trent's blog is that I do feel as though he's forcing his beliefs on his readers. I took offense at the tone of his post - it was holier-than-thou and self-righteous - which was what sparked my response.

    The comments on my blog (and Trent's blog) show that I'm not alone in feeling that he alienate his less extreme readers. His old posts weren't like that.

    YMMV and all that.

    I like your blog! I promise in the future to read your posts and NOT talk about myself in the comments.

  2. Thanks for the link! :)

    Yeah, i'm not sure what it is about the simple dollar that rubs me wrong. Get Rich Slowly is similar in content, and I never get the same feelings from that. Who knows? You are right, he has an audience, and he does put out some good content.

    Also undo send = brilliant


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