Tag Archives: frugal

Money Hacks Carnival #51 – The Office Edition

Welcome to the 51st edition of the Money Hacks Carnival! My name is Adam and I am pleased to be your host this week. Please feel free to poke around the site if it is your first time visiting! You can subscribe to the blog using the links on the right or you can follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

NBC’s The Office is my favorite show on TV. I just love watching the office banter and politics. Every week there is a moment that reminds you of something a co-worker did recently. For this carnival, I decided to categorize the topics by some great characters in the show.

Editor’s Picks

Michael Scott is the Regional Manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin. If anyone has the right to pick this week’s best articles, it’s him. He is the glue that holds his team together. Did I really just say that?

Credit Shout tells us to Beware of ATM Scams. Honestly, I really had no idea about some of these. I will be thinking twice about going to the ATM now!

Living Almost Large talks about a family that is in trouble and Their Ship Is Sinking. Looking at this person’s cash flow, it’s hard to believe that they did not see the major problem.

FIRE Finance shares a great story on how Smart Refrigeration Lowers Electricity Bills. Who better to tell you about saving energy on your refrigerator than someone who works with them every day?

PF Credit Cards shows you How to Beat Priceline and Get a Winning Bid. Personally, I have been using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price for over a year now. I will never go back to paying full price again! You really have no say in the brand of your hotel, but you still get to pick the star level. I have yet to be disappointed in the hotel I end up getting.

Career

To me, no one seems more focused on their career than Dwight Schrute. He is constantly reminding everyone about his position with the company and how he is the top salesman. He is also good at sucking up to the boss. Watch the show and learn from Dwight if you are searching for a new job!

Tom at The Strump gives his opinion on How to Translate Employment Ads.

FMF at Free Money Finance lets you know How to Waste Money on a MBA.

Debt and Credit

Kelly is really into fashion and fancy things. Only working at Dunder Mifflin, I can imagine that she has some major credit card debt. Hopefully, some of these articles can help her get on the path to becoming debt free.

Jim at Bargaineering has a Review of MyFICO ScoreWatch. He says it’s perfect for credit score junkies!

Tyler from CreditCards.com talks about how Credit Card Regulation is Brewing for College Campuses Again. Personally, I have never signed up for a credit card at a table at college, sporting event , airport, etc.

Looking for a new rewards credit card? Credit Addict tells us about the Pentagon Federal Visa Rewards Card.

Shaun from Learn Financial Planning gives his 5 Principles for Getting Out of Debt. Some great insights here!

Mr. Banker at Best Interest Rate Banks gives us his review of High Interest Savings Accounts.

Studenomics Breaks Down Student Loans in a non-confrontation manner.

Chris at StumbleForward gives you some tips on Becoming a Blogger to Get Out of Debt.

Housing

Jim just recently bought a house from his parents. I bet he wishes that he could have had some of these great articles to read!

Len Penzo provides us with A Layman’s Guide to Mortgage Application Junk Fees.

Passive Family Income talks about The Recession in America and Home Foreclosures.

Frugality and Saving Money

If anyone on the show is frugal, it’s Pamela. She dresses simple, religiously watched her money while going to college, and was thrifty while planner her first wedding.

Silicon Valley Blogger at The Digerati Life has a Valentine’s Day Tip on Using Ebates to Get Cash Back.

Pete at Bible Money Matters reminds us that Small Decisions Equal Big Results.

J Money at Budgets are Sexy says The Budget is Back, Baby!

Lisa from Greener Pastures presents Economic Collapse-R-Us: 22 Lifestyle Changes of Middle Class America.

The Writer’s Coin presents Am I a Thief or an Entrepreneur? The overwhelming majority of the comments suggest a thief. Head over there and give your input. He has even written a response post to the naysayers.

Matt at Stupid Cents gives us Five Simple Ways to Buy Everything Cheaper and Save Money.

The Shark Investor gives us Strategies for Raising Savings.

Mr. Tough Money Love show us how Arming Ourselves to Save Money on Car Repairs can be a good thing.

Patrick at Money Saving Deals has some Godaddy.com Coupon Codes to share.

David at Personal Finance Analyst gives us The Best Free Budget Worksheets on the Internet.

Dana at Not Made of Money tells us How Her Family Keeps the Breaks on Spending.

The Smarter Wallet shares some delicious Cheap Meals You Can Cook at Home to Save Money.

Debt Kid shows us Why Budgets Don’t Work for Everyone.

Hank at Own The Dollar wants to know Is Three to Six Months of Expenses Enough Money For Your Emergency Fund?

Aryn at Sound Money Matters shows you The Pros and Cons of Homemade Yogurt.

Taxes

When I think of someone who would evade income taxes, I think about Creed. Hopefully some of these articles will help him file his return this year. His first return ever?

Money Tipper lets us know about TurboTax Discounts for Vanguard Customers.

Nickel at Five Cent Nickel gives us Ten Common Income Tax Credits. Head over there to make sure you are getting all the money you deserve.

Thinking of buying a new house? Madison at My Dollar Plan talks about the Possibility of a $15,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit.

Patrick at Military Finance Network answers a question about What You Need to Do If Your Stimulus Check Was Lost of Stolen.

Christian Personal Finance found some places that have Free STATE e-file Online! Living in Maryland, I know that we have free e-file for the state return. It makes it nice and easy!

Insurance

If I had to guess which employee had the greatest amount of insurance, I would say it was Andy. I’d bet he has whole life, term, universal, two health policies and a deferred annuity. He also seems to be the most likely to be a insurance salesman. He just has that way about him!

Mr. GoTo at Go To Retirement gives you an idea about Fixed Annuities and Financial Risk. I think fixed annuities are a great thing to have in retirement. It’s unfortunate that they get such a bad rep from many mainstream media types.

Junior Boomer from The Consumer Boomer talks about Women and Long-term Care Insurance.

Economy

Now honestly, who cares more about the economy than Stanley? Just look at that face!

Kathryn at Out of Debt Christian tells us about The Importance of Shopping Local.

PFR at Personal Finance Reviews tells how the FDIC Plans to Restrict Interest Rates of Troubled Banks.

Curt at Penny Jobs presents The Fiat Money System is Failing.

Money Blue Book Finance wants to know is there a Second Stimulus Check for Obama in 2009?

Investing

Toby is the head of human resources at Dunder Mifflin. If anyone was maxing out their 401(k) there, it would be him.

Sun at The Sun’s Financial Diary alerts you to a Free Stock Analysis Tool.

The Financial Blogger shows you some Options to Secure Your Investment Portfolio.

The Intelligent Speculator wants to know if Super Bowl Ads are Really Worth It?

The Investor at Monevator gives their 10 Reasons to Be Cheerful as an Investor.

Jeff from Good Financial Cents has 7 Things to Know About the 2010 Roth IRA Conversion.

Dividend Tree shows us how Everyday Life Teaches us Dividend Investing.

Other

When I was thinking about what character would be good for the category other, I thought of Ryan. He definitely had some ups and downs with Dunder Mifflin!

MoneyNing presents What Everyone Ought to Know When Applying for Free Stuff.

Patrick at Cash Money Life has some $25 Sign-up Bonuses from Lending Club. You even have 2 chances to win $100!

Mara Rodgers at Secrets for Money gives some great Tips To Teach Kids About Money.

Chris at Financial Reflections lets you know How Identiy Thieves Sell Your Data Online.

Mighty Bargain Hunter gives you Some Great Sources for Free AudioBooks.

Miss M at M is for Money shares with you Deliverance from Debt: Budget Basics.

Mike at Money TLD shares with us 10 Places to Click for Cash. There are quite a few things on this list that I have never heard of. I think I will check some of them out!

5 Tips For Saving Money and Energy on Your Laundry

Believe it or not, I like to do the laundry in our household. My fiance does the cooking and I do the wash. It’s kind of a compromise. Some people would call that weird but I just call it helpful. I will admit though, that I am kind of weird about my laundry. I have a set way of doing things and I do not trust anyone else to do it. Anyway, now that we are living in our own place, we have to think about saving money and energy. Here are some tips that we use in order to cut down on those two items:

1. Brrrrrr….That’s Cold!

Yep, you know what I mean. Washing in cold water saves quite a bit of money and energy. You don’t have to waste energy and money heating up the water. We wash all of our laundry in cold water. Use a pretreatment product for your tough stains instead of hot water.

2. Less is More

I’ve heard that using less detergent still gets your clothes clean. I have been going off of that philosophy for a few years now and my clothes are always clean. So, my advice to you is to use half of the recommended amount of detergent when washing. There is such a thing as over washing your clothes! This will help save you plenty of money. Just think, you will only have to buy detergent half as much now!

3. Concentrate on the Next Tip

Buying highly concentrated detergent can save you a bundle. While it costs a little more up front, it can help you make less trips to the store. We use All Small and Mighty concentrated detergent. It is 3x more concentrated than regular detergent and comes in a small bottle. If you but it at Amazon, you can get 8 bottles for a lot less than buying 8 bottles at the store. Combine this tip with the previous one and save some money!

4. Fill It to the Brim

This is probably one that most people know and follow. Don’t do a load of laundry until you can do a full load. This one is probably the hardest one for me to keep up with. I guess it’s because I don’t have that many clothes (or ones I still wear) and I need them washed more frequently. This can also be a problem for people who need a certain outfit for work. When I used to work at Sears in high school, I needed to wear a black shirt and tan pants. I did not have that many items that worked and instead of buying more clothes, I did the wash more frequently.

5. Get it While it’s Hot!

I am very weird about getting the laundry out of the dryer the second that it is done. I even set an alarm on my phone! The reason? I hate ironing! Taking the clothes out of the drying as soon as it’s done makes sure that wrinkles do not have time to form. My fiance thinks that I am weird for doing this, but I feel great not having to iron. That means less electricity for the iron!

These are just a few tips that we use. I know that there are many other ways to cut costs, but living in an apartment complex, they are just not available to us. Anyone have anymore unique cost cutting ideas?

10 Things to Do When You Graduate Without a Job

When I graduated in December, I did not have a job. It was one of the worst job markets for me to graduate in. You would think that a master’s degree in financial planning would help, but most firms (ones that I would want to work for) just were not hiring. I guess the losses in the market amounted to losses in their revenue.

Because of not having a job in December, I thought of some ways to help others in my position. These are just some quick tips in order for you to stay in the game. Staying in the game (or hunt) is the best advice I can give you.

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1. Stay Positive

It’s not the end of the world! You need to relax, be positive and focus on the long run. You may not be able to find something right this instant, but if you keep your mind to it and follow some of these tips, something is bound to open up somewhere. Hopefully, it will be the job of your dreams!

2. Get a Part-time Gig

Bills still need to be paid and you cannot just sit at home on the couch. This is especially true if you are supporting someone else. Even if it’s only temporary, you need to get some type of part-time job that keeps you from going insane. If at all possible, find a job in a field that closely relates to the one you graduated in. For example, I am working part-time at H&R Block for the tax season. It’s obviously not the career path I want, but it relates closely.

3. Set Goals and Visualize

This is where you want to firmly state your goals. If your goal is to work at a top 50 ranked hospital, write it down. Visualize yourself working there and you will work even harder at that goal. As for other goals, list them and then start off with the easier ones and work your way down the list until you have reached them all. These goals can deal with your personal life as well as your career.

4. Network, Network, Network

This is a big one. Networking is a major part of finding your dream job. Knowing people who know the right people will help you get ahead in this world. I know that sounds bad and unfair but it’s the truth. I imagine many of you can agree with that. A great way to network is to join an organization in your community. Rotary is a great place to start as many business owners in your community attend these meetings. Not that great of a speaker? Start attending a local Toastmaster’s meeting. There you can work on your public speaking skills as well as meet local entrepreneurs.

5. Go a Knocking

I will be honest with you in saying that I do not trust web-related job searches. There is something about submitting my resume online that makes me feel like I lost control of my destiny. I know many companies have now gone solely to online submissions but they are just the big companies. Most of the small businesses (where most new jobs come from) still look for people the old fashioned way. I recommend you search around for the company that you would best want to work for, even if they are not hiring. Then, you should just pop in the business and introduce yourself. Bring along your resume as well! This will surely make a great impression on the business owner and if you are qualified enough, they may even make a position for you!

6. Be Willing to Make the Move

Chances are you will not find your dream job in Localtown, USA. You need to be able to say that you are willing to go anywhere. If there is a job open in a neighboring state, go for it! I know you want to stay close to family, but believe me, your future is much more important. Your family cannot support you forever.

7. Do Something Involving Your Field of Study

Another great way to stay involved in your field of study is to volunteer. Many of you may not have that option. It depends on your career choice. For example, I doubt I am going to be able to volunteer my time at the local financial planning office. However, if you are in the medical field you can visit the local nursing home or hospital. Not only will you be around the career that you love, you will also be able to NETWORK!

8. Continue Educating Yourself

I know you just probably graduated and you thought you were done with school. WRONG! In these times, you need to be constantly educating yourself. Things change in an instant now and you should always be at the top of your game. I did this when I decided to attend graduate school. Even if you have reached your peak in terms of education, start reading things in your field of expertise. Go to your local library for a list of good books. You can also search for journals that may be of interest to you. There is no better way to read about your career choice than from the individuals that are already doing it. Those are the people who contribute to journals.

9. Find Alternative Ways to Make Money In Your Field

Have you ever had an idea about something in your field that has not been done before? I sure have. This would make a great opportunity to start a small business. If your idea is great, it could turn into something amazing. Even if you do not have financial ability to start a business, if the idea is good enough you can find some financial backers. You may even want to start a blog about it. When I started this blog I had no idea that you could make money doing it. I just wanted to do it to share my knowledge to the world. Of course my blog is to new to make money but I still love doing it. It also keeps me up-to-date with my profession as I am constantly writing and reading about things in financial planning.

10. Be Frugal

Learning to become frugal is very important when one does not have a job. My fiance and I are working very hard at that right now. Without a steady income, some things are just going to have to wait until you get the right career. Now is not the time to be buying a car, renting that big condo, getting the sports package on TV, etc. You need to learn to buckle down and only live on the necessities. You will find that it will help you later on in your life as well. You will be want to be debt free and you will ultimately have a lot of money in the bank!

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2009: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers is a great book if you are searching for a job. It’s good for new job seekers as well as the seasoned ones.

Frugal Wedding Tip: Traveling Cocktail Party Reception

As I mentioned in a previous post, I will be getting married to my beautiful finance on July 18, 2009. In order to get me thinking about the wedding, I’ve decided to write a weekly post on frugal wedding tips.

This first tip of the series is about having a cocktail style reception dinner. This is what we have decided to do for our wedding. Basically, this means that we are not planning to serve a full course meal. Instead, we plan to have a variety of food stations that offer different selections of food. This means guests will be able to travel around from station to station in order to get the food they like! This will also require allow them to mingle with all of the guests. Here is an example of our food selections:

Station One:
-Honey Chicken Spears
-Fried Mozzarella
-Korean Beef Skewers

Station Two:
-Assorted Wings
-Veggies
-Ranch and Blue Cheese

Station Three:
-Assorted tea sandwiches

Station Four:
-Jumbo wrapped shrimp
-Focaccia Pizza

Station Five:
-Fruit Wands (a variety of fruits)
-Assorted cheese cubes
-Chocolate fondue fountain

Station Six:
-Punch Table, Assorted Beverages

Station Seven:
-The Wedding Cake

The book that we got this tip out of is titled 1000 Best Wedding Bargains. The book suggests that you can trim anywhere from 15 to 45 percent off of your per-guest charges by holding this type of reception.

When my fiance first suggested this to me, I thought about the money we would save. I think we can save quite a bit of money since we can cut back on some of the meats (which can be expensive if you have to buy on piece for each person). I also wondered if our guests would think that we were cheap for planning it this way. Then, I realized that most would think that it was unique and a great experience. Can you think of the last time you went to a wedding like this? I know I can’t!

Can you think of any other way this can save money or increase the enjoyability of your guests?

Friday Feed Frenzy – Auto Shutdown Edition

If you do not already know, GM and Chrysler have decided to extend their holiday shut down (they typically close down production about 2 weeks for the holidays). Chrysler has announced that it is stopping all vehicle production for at least a month. GM announced a few days ago that it is idling about 30% of their production during the first quarter of 2009.

I guess this is a clear wake-up call to the government that Detroit needs a bailout of some sort. Bush has also recommended an “orderly bankruptcy” for auto companies. This would mean a government run bankruptcy that would help speed things up for the companies. I feel this would be better than handing them money as I think they would not be able to pay it back. Bankruptcy is a viable option because it will allow them to restructure and get out of some of the labor contracts they are currently in. That seems to be the root of their problems.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite posts from the past week.

Jeff at Moolanomy shows you how you can lose money in this economy and still pay taxes.

Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity gives us the insight on 4 things that we are duped into buying. I have to admit that I have been duped into 3 of the 4. If I had a home, I bet that would jump to 4 of 4.

Five Cent Nickel gives you the insight on what a required minimum distribution is. My post on ideas to for saving your retirement account talks about a possible hiatus in RMDs.

Gather Little by Little gives us the inside scoop on Blue Hippo computers. I have always wondered about this company and how bad they rip people off. GLBL shows us just how bad the damage is.

Michael at Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck gives his 5 year-end financial planning tips to think about. These are some great tips to think about and act upon. Also, he has a great book titled Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck. It is a great read for beginners who do not know where to start.

By the way, I am getting married in July of 2009. I thought I would get myself pumped for the wedding by doing a weekly post on frugal wedding tips. I am going to call it Frugal Wedding Wednesdays. You can look for the first post next week! Enjoy your weekend and these great posts!

Friday Feed Frenzy

I’ve decided to share with you some articles that I enjoyed this past week (and every week from here on out). I am going to call it ‘Friday Feed Frenzy’, which sounds appropriate since I am getting the feeds from my reader. Sometimes it is a frenzy to read all of them!

Trent over at The Simple Dollar had a great article on creating things vs. just consuming things. It was by far my favorite of the week.

Five Cent Nickel gives some great tips on how to save money on prescription drugs.

Pinyo over at Moolanomy has some great tips on Asset Allocation and pretty much everything that you need to know about it.

Ben at Trees Full of Money has a great article on protecting your identity and credit rating. It is a must read!

The Frugal Duchess lets you know the best and the worst credit cards and how to avoid the credit pits.

Jim at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity has 5 reasons your should donate your car instead of selling it.

I am hoping to get some more posts up this weekend as I know that I promised them to you! This week has been rather difficult in terms of school and it has kept me occupied. Have a great weekend everyone!