Monday, August 16, 2010
That's frugal living.
Food cooked over a fire. Hotdogs, corn, beans, s'mores. Evenings spent snuggling by the fire, in the peace of the neverending chirp of crickets (I think they were crickets).
Our meals were $12 for the weekend. I made a tray of banana brownies to eat for breakfast or a snack. Lunch was those military self-heating food packs, something Robbie got for Christmas (don't ask [don't tell]), and dinner was the aforementioned hot dogs, corn o'the cob, baked beans and s'more dinner. We made a giant jug of iced tea and slurped it down. On the way home outta the woods we found an ice cream stand on the highway and ate $5 of yumminess.
Anyway, we didn't do anything except walk around, chill out in a foldable chair, build fires and rent a canoe for an hour. The camp site was $20 a night (we split the cost of the first night) and the canoe rental was $15. We brought wood we split back at home.
I would really recommend camping as a great way to spend a weekend, cheaply. $35 in room and board, $12 in food, $15 in entertainment, and at risk of sounding cliche, a lifetime of memories.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It's super easy. You sign up to be a seller, click SELL SHIT and enter in an ISBN and a brief description of the quality of the item you're holding. It sells, Amazon takes an unreasonable commission, but gives you a more-than-enough shipping credit to make up for it (I guess, if you consider a $1 shipping profit some amazing thing).
So far I've sold 8 items and had about $40 deposited into my bank account. The 8 items I sold cost about $3 to ship, so I've made a $16 profit, whoopitydo. It's about an extra $5 so if my math serves it's an estimate $250 extra annually.
So yeah, whoopee!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
It's like Quicken, for the Internet, but more helpful. You input all your credit card, student loan, investment, savings/checking account info, and it spits back updated info about what is going on with that account. In addition, it will see all your Dunkin Donuts transactions, whether you pay with debit card numero uno or with a credit card. So you can track spending across categories.
This was an eye opener. I saw where I was hemorrhaging money, regardless of the account I used to pay for these purchases. Mint also deduced my net worth (*sob!*) and could track my income/spending/lots-of-stuff over many different filters and search settings. Maybe I wanted to compare May income to July income. Or see how one bank account was doing this week compared with last. Or how much I was spending on gasoline in April compared with August.
In addition to these invaluable tools, Mint allowed me to set up financial goals, and track my progress and see how I was sticking to a budget.
In other words, Mint.com is the bomb, yo. I love it. It is incredibly invaluable. Hopefully it won't get hacked into and make me a victim of identify theft, but I digress.
Friday, August 13, 2010
This link http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cesan.htm directs you to a regularly compiled bit of information that spells out how Americans spend their money. The average spent on housing, on groceries, on transportation.
For me, it gave some insight as to how much you have to earn, to spend money on these things.
In other words, I needs me some $60,000 annually if I was a family of 2.5.
See what I mean about the depressing stuff?
The figure is climbing. According to their data, in 2006 consumer expenditures totaled $48,000ish, and in 2008 it is a reported $50,000ish. Over that time period, pre-tax income went from $60,000 to $63,000. The biggest chunk of spending went toward housing and then transportation.
If you contrast that over a longer period, which the BLS happily does for us, you will see a drastic difference between 1988 spending and 2008. (I assume that's because price has risen and I make a bold assumption) Of particular note is spending on food: $3,700 in 1988 compared with $6400 in 2008. Sheesh.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Indeed, I even have socks that are of the non-derby variety, for work/play/leisure/winter/summer. Unfortunately I also have a fascination with vintage stockings, the fishnet and seamed varieties. Lo, I have three drawers just of socks.
WTF is wrong with me.
So as part of the 100 Things Challenge, I'm coming to grips with my sock surplus. I've loaded up all my lesser-worn socks and am bringing them to derby practice, for all the new girls to scoop up. I don't even care if they go for 50 cent each. Take 'em.
It was two giant bags of stuff. I came back home with nothing, save for 22 extra dollars.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I was stunned. 3.51 seemed like an amazing amazing amazing percentage rate. I immediately opened an account. The only parameters toward earning the high rate was to have an automatic payment billed from the account, have paperless statements, and agree to make at least 10 debit card transactions.
It's so easy. Any leftover money, any random scrap of anything, I plow into that account, so it can earn some interest.
I calculated the amount of extra dough I've earned in interest, over my previous checking accounts. I've racked up an added $24.95 in the three months of this account's existence. Not bad; the previous interest income for the whole year was $5.16 in the other accounts.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
And it hit me hard.
At two points in my life previous, I had to sell off a massive amount of my stuff. I called these periods in my life The Great Liquidation. I still didn't boil my life down to 100 things. In fact, after I read the above linked web site, I looked over at the top of one dresser and was confident there were more than 100 things just there, let alone hiding in drawers underneath. And in the closet. And under the bed. And in the garage...and on and on and on.
I started to get overwhelmed and sad. Why do I have so much stuff in my life? I am not a candidate for Hoarders, but I was just feeling burdened by stuff.
So today I start to sell off my stuff. I shall keep a tally and see how it goes.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Sunday, August 8, 2010
So yesterday I signed up for something called swagbucks.com, which is an elaborate scheme to get me to sign up for a bunch of shit I don’t need. If I use the official swagbucks toolbar (unintentional pun) to conduct internet searches, I can rack up more “swagbucks.” I can even have a swag-tastic time searching the swagbucks blog, facebook, et al, looking for special announcements for the latest swagcodes I can swag for swagbucks.
Oh, how very exciting. If I accumulate enough of those swagbucks I can redeem them for lame shit, but also Amazon gift cards and paypal payments.
At this moment, I have 75 swagbucks and have 375 to go before I can get me a sweet $5 gift card. Whoopee! I have spent an hour of my life hunting the Interwebs for swagcodes as though they were vials of crack cocaine. Obviously, I don’t have any drugs or swagbucks to show for my efforts.
Nevertheless, I installed the swagbucks widget onto this blog. If you sign up via my referral page, an angel gets its wings and I get some fraction of a penny.
File this one under: nonexistent income.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I often read websites such as bargaineering.com, which regularly directs readers to bank deals, where you get a monetary bonus for opening up an account.
So far I have claimed the following bonuses, totaling $250:
Chase checking, $125, need to set up direct deposit into this account. I have $40 routed from my paycheck to this account.
ING check card, $50. I already have a ING savings account, so I applied for a debit card to take advantage of the offer.
Bank of America online checking, $75. I had to have $125 in that account and make a certain number of purchases, and have a direct deposit into the account, AND, use online banking/paperless statements. I also sold my soul on this one because I frikkin’ hate BOA.
Finally, I also have a high-yield checking account. I net 3.51 % interest if I have a direct deposit or automatic payment, use online banking, and have 10 transactions with my debit card. Bargaineering gave me the great idea of making my ten transactions be $1 donations to a charity each month, so I also can claim that as a deduction on my taxes, and avoid using the card for purchases, thus keeping its balance high. I love my high-yield checking account and transfer nearly everything into it after I am done paying my bills for the month.
I am going to keep looking for this sign-on bonus accounts. I mean, $250 is not a bad take. These accounts have no minimum and no monthly fees. While I do have to claim the $250 as income, it’s the quickest $250 I ever made.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I thought to myself, it's best to rent the book from the library, thus saving you the money of buying it outright.
Except in my case, where I fail to bring back the books on time, accruing late fines instead of renewing.
Because, of course, I can't find my library card.
My fines: $23.17
Or, about the cost of one book.
These are, unfortunately, just the current fines owed. In the last 3 years I've owed much more, collectively. I've probably had to pay the library $150 plus in fines.
That's just retarded of me.
However, I do feel the books I've read (among the library books I've actually read, that is, opposed to the ones I've let languish unread in my nightstand) were useful and actually gave my skills to help me earn or save money. Which is good, I guess.
I just wish I woulda returned those books on time and saved myself $163.17. Maybe I shoulda taken out books on time management?
Shoulda woulda coulda.
I'm committed to earning back my late fees in extra income derived from the knowledge of my checked-out books.
I checked out one book on selling books online, and so far have made $23. Another book is about using your knowledge creatively, such as freelance writing and such. I've made $12 doing that. The other book was about selling on Craigslist. I've made $150 selling shit on Craigslist.
So, that's a total $185.
I'm ahead of the game, I guess. Now I just have to return these currently checked-out books, on time.