“What should I do with an extra $2,000?” + other fun $$$ questions…

“What should I do with an extra $2,000?” + other fun $$$ questions…

gold money

Goooood Friday, everyone!!!

Have a good week with your money over there??? Pay off any nasty debts or lingering responsibilities? Score any extra cash that you’re just waiting to put to good use??

If it’s the latter you’re in luck today as I answer a bunch of good Q&A’s from readers, including one around applying extra funds 🙂 Hope this helps!


Sup J$!

What should I do with an extra $2000?

It was originally earmarked for something but due to a change in circumstances, I’ll have it available. My Roth is funded for the year, I’m contributing to a HSA, my 401k, I have an emergency fund.

Some considerations – stick it in Vanguard? Help out a friend or friends who are down on their luck? Help out stranger(s) – donate? Save it – indefinitely (aka retirement)? Towards a new vehicle (mine is 7 years old, will like need to update by the 12 year mark)? Towards the next trip/vacation? Use it to pay a friend’s way on a trip? (We are talking northern lights 2020 – tbd Canada or Iceland or ?)

What other suggestions might your or your readers have? If they were to pick a few from above, how would they split the money? If they were to share the money with friends, how would they do it? Slip cash to them? A gift card to a place you know they’d use it (Walmart Target Grocery Store)?


Excellent questions and a good problem to have, my friend!!

But like I always do, I’m going to fake answer it and pose the question back to you by simply asking: “what excites you the most??!” Saving and investing? Helping others? Blowing it all on cotton candy?? (Kidding, sort of…)

The more FUN it is for you to direct it towards something, the better odds it’ll fulfill you enough and keep you motivated. So long as it’s going towards *a* goal of yours vs frittering it away. Especially if it’s “free money” you weren’t counting on before!

But yes – happy to share it on the blog and get you more direct answers on it in case it pushes you one way or the other 😉 If I were forced to make a call I’d just sit on it for a while and stare at it every few days to really enjoy the spoils before unleashing it to the world, haha… And then probably divert 75% towards investments and 25% towards helping the world/friends…

Would be a fun situation to be in!


Hey J. Money… I figured out my net worth and I’m not worth a damn! LOL! Just kidding. Once my car note and student loans are gone it will look prettier.

How often do you look at your net worth? Also how often are you looking at your retirement portfolio? I look at mine 3 times a year to make adjustments. I work for the federal government at the moment. But starting to put money in Vanguard account so at the end of the year I can do a mutual fund. In the ne tworth…

If you have a rental property that is making you money where do you put that at? The extra income for the year per se? Thanks!

– Jessica

Hey Jessica! Good job tracking your net worth!! I like to do it monthly because I don’t budget anymore and it helps keep me accountable, but I know others who do it quarterly or even just twice a year, so really depends on what will motivate you the most 🙂

Since I track our investments in the net worth that’s when I look at those as well. As for rental property, you’d put your mortgages if any, along with the value of the place in net worth, but cash flow stuff stays outside of it – just like your salary or any other incomes streams would. But of course that stuff is SUPER important as well, so it would be tracked elsewhere like in a budget or retirement spreadsheet or something.

I’ve seen some people have one master spreadsheet that held their budget, net worth, and retirement calculations all rolled into one so you get a glimpse of everything – so maybe that can be an option for you? The cash flow stuff would still be factored into your net worth btw if it ends up getting saved/invested/etc, it just depends on what you DO with all those income streams that affect your overall worth. If you blow it all on beanie babies than you wouldn’t see an increase at all 😉 So that’s why it’s good to track that stuff separately and then see it naturally flow into your net worth if used wisely…

My thoughts, anyways.


And then here are some good questions I was asked in an older interview from last year whose blog is unfortunately not around anymore 😦 The average lifespan of a finance blog is only 1-2 years!

Each month you give an update of your net worth. Why did you start doing that? Any forecast of what it’ll look like in 5 years?

Yup – on Month #123 in a row now! One of the best things I’ve ever done for my money as it gives me an overall view of how everything’s going, and you can usually tell what areas you’re rocking and what you aren’t which keeps you super accountable. Seeing someone else’s net worth for the first time was just a game changer for me (shout out to My Money Blog – one of the first blogs I ever read!), so the second I started my own blog I knew I’d be sharing the same and I haven’t stopped since. And in fact, we now have over 500 other bloggers in the space being just as transparent as well! Pretty incredible!

As for 5 years from now, I honestly couldn’t tell you, haha… I’m great at living and thinking in the *present* but horrible about forecasting the future. Just because so much changes in life and dreams, especially when you keep popping out kids like we are (#3 is due any week!). I can tell you though that we’ll be continuing to save and invest as much as we always have, and God willing our net worth will continue to climb just the same… If that happens, we’ll be over the million dollar mark and maybe even pushing $1.5M? Who knows… As long as I wake up happy each day that’s what matters the most 🙂

UPDATE: We’ve since had baby #3 (now 15 months old!) and we’re on month #138 in a row now of tracking our net worth, presently at $940,412.06.


What were some lessons you were taught growing up that you appreciate now?

There were two main ones constantly brought up in our family, one from my mother and one from my father (although growing up of course we didn’t always follow them ;)):

#1) You don’t need to buy everything *new*! My mom was/is the queen of frugality, and I swear half of our stuff – if not more – came from yard sales and thrift stores. She was raising a family of 5 on a shoestring military budget, so she def. had to stretch those dollars far.

#2) Whatever you do, make sure you’re getting your FREE 401(k) matches from your employer! This one was brought up multiple times by my father once we were all old enough to work, and despite it being engrained in our heads early on we still failed hard 🙂

Once it finally clicked though and I saw the money continue to RISE and never go down, it was mind boggling as usually at that age you just deplete stuff, haha… $100 turned into $1,000 and then $5,000 and then $10,000, and I’ve been contributing to my retirement accounts ever since! Maxing them out every single year, even – the one and only main goal I ever give myself.


What are some lessons you hope to pass onto your kids?

That you can live a life on your OWN terms and not have to do what everyone else around you is doing (or buying)! We’re so caught up in this “American Dream” of the 9-5 work life and buying a home and having 2.5 kids etc etc that it’s hard to sometimes step back and really ask yourself what makes YOU happy in the end. Especially if you’re going to spend so much of your life *working* towards these goals!

So the #1 thing I want to teach my kids is to be more *conscious* about their actions and dreams, and let them know that they can set up a lifestyle that they truly enjoy themselves vs just chasing what everyone else is. I also want to teach them that no matter what is going on in their lives to always be kind and loving people and never apologize for it even if it’s not appreciated. This world needs as much love as it can get, and no matter how down we might feel some days others have it much worse!


What’s an app, a book, and a podcast/blog (either one, or both if you’d like) that you’d recommend to someone who wants to improve their financial literacy?

I really like the book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown right now. Not necessarily a financial book per se, but one that really gets you to stop and focus on WHAT YOU TRULY WANT in life and to start moving away from all the nonsense that detracts from it. Whether that’s a healthier personal life, career life, financial life, love life?, anything really… We do so many unnecessary things in our days, and often times we don’t even realize it because they’ve become habit! So this book – at least for me – was instrumental in opening up my eyes and clearing the path for a more efficient and happy lifestyle.

I also like the items on this list here I’ve added to over the years as well: Stuff I Recommend


Happy Weekend!!

j. money signature

Past Q&A’s over the months:


[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/what-should-i-do-with-extra-money/

Do you think we’re about to enter a recession?? Does it matter?

Do you think we’re about to enter a recession?? Does it matter?

stock market screen

Lots of talks lately on whether we’re about to enter a recession or not, so thought I’d throw it out to y’all and see what your thoughts are on it 😉

Personally I’m not smart enough to know whether it’s coming now or later or never, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s definitely NOT never, with my second guess being that it’s coming sooner than later.

But the real question at heart is – does it change anything?? Will it affect your personal finances and/or future goals? It surely matters to the world and all those who will go on to lose their jobs/houses/etc (definitely not wishing that on anyone!), but as it relates to you particularly – how would it change how you manage your money right now? And what moves are you making (if you are?) to adapt to this possible future?

Been thinking a lot about this lately, and honestly I don’t think I’d change much. I’d be a lot more cautious and try saving more / splurging less, but outside of that I feel like I’ve got a good handle on things, at least within my control. And job-wise it would actually be a BOON if a recession hit as it’s the one time everyone and their mother actually CARES about this $$$ stuff!! Haha…

Were you all around/old enough to remember the last recession when everyone was freaking out?? Hardly anyone had enough savings banked or enough incomes to tide them over and people were scrambling all over the place… Not a pretty sight. I’d like to think most of them have learned from it and are sitting pretty now with large savings cushions, but odds are they’ve forgotten and slipped back into their carefree ways 😦 Even the news outlets barely talk about saving or budgeting anymore!! It’s not sexy until it’s mayhem!

Another side effect of recessions of course is how stocks get pummeled and everything goes on fire – even though they’re literally the same exact stocks/companies and the only thing that’s changed are emotions! This is an area I lucked into myself during the last recession as it just happened to be when I finally had extra money to invest and so I took full advantage…  Particularly within my 401k plan when I jacked it up to 100% contributions to get the ridiculous 100% match (!!!). If it wasn’t for my heavy investing back then I’d literally have about a half or 2/3’s less in my net worth as I do now. No joke. It’s an insane buying period, and even better if you’re brave enough to hold tight throughout it all!

Not that I’m wishing for a recession or harm to anyone that typically follows, but with all crises there’s always opportunities to take advantage of if you’re mentally and financially prepared for it… Maybe a crash is right around the corner or maybe not, but hopefully you’re at least *thinking* about it and what it means for the future of your money/lifestyle while you have control over things… History proves time and again we’re not the best when making decisions in the heat of passion! Gotta get those game plans percolating now!

My quick thoughts on things, anyways…

What’s your take on the direction of the economy?! Think a recession’s coming or couldn’t care less? What are your plans of action if one is around the corner?

No need to share with us if you don’t want to, but promise to at least marinate on it all so you don’t get caught with your pants down… Not that that also wouldn’t be fun, but that’s a topic for another day 😉

Here’s to financial security no matter what’s looming!


[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/do-you-think-were-about-to-enter-a-recession-does-it-matter/

Would you pay for your favorite free apps??

Would you pay for your favorite free apps??

old cell phones

Saw a fun study in my inbox this morning and thought I’d play along 😉

Maybe one day companies WILL charge us for some of these apps?!

Have you ever considered the value you place on your favorite free apps? Many services remain free thanks to advertising. But what if things changed?

…In a recent study, we set out to measure the value regular users placed on 16 of the most widely-used apps, asking respondents what they’d pay if a subscription fee was required. They had the option to say they would pay nothing and discontinue use, without access to a free alternative.

Here were their results:

what would you pay for favorite app

So basically the least amount of people would pay for Facebook, haha, and the most would pay for WhatsApp. With YouTube coming in with the most people would pay for an app and Yelp falling all the way at the bottom.

Surprising? Maybe a little… I’d think Google Maps would be at the tippy top considering what an INSANE tool it is for most of us, but maybe people would rather pay for other similar apps like Waze? Also interesting to see Reddit score so high, along with Google Translate?! I honestly don’t know anyone who uses translate much, no less who’d be willing to pay for it…

At any rate, here’s what I’d pay for each if ever asked (and I haven’t been ;)):

  • Youtube — $0.00
  • Google Maps — $10.00/mo, maybe more?
  • Google Drive — $0.00
  • Facebook — You’d have to pay ME!!!
  • LinkedIn — $0.00
  • FaceTime — We don’t have that for Android 🙃
  • Reddit — $0.00
  • Venmo — $0.00
  • Instagram — $0.00
  • Facebook Messenger — $0.00
  • WhatsApp — $0.00
  • Twitter — $5.00/mo
  • Google Translate — $0.00
  • Pinterest — $0.00
  • Snapchat — $0.00
  • Yelp — $0.00

So basically I only use two of the 16 enough to really want to pay for them. And a quick glance on my phone would pluck out a few more that I’d happily pay to continue using as well:

  • My banking app (USAA) – $5.oo/mo
  • Amazon app – $3.00/mo
  • Ebay app – $2.00/mo (don’t judge!)

So looks like I’d be out an additional $25/mo – or almost exactly what I pay for service to begin with! – if apps ever started charging, haha… Not the worst, but not preferable either 😉

Really makes you think about all the crap you have on your phone though and what you truly “need” vs what you don’t… Remember the time when phones literally only made phone calls??!! (You shut your trap if you don’t! ;)) I like to think of it as the Zack Morris era! Haha…

zack morris cell phone gif

At any rate, interesting things to think about as you never know how the app world will play out over the years… Seems to be doing pretty well as is, but money does a lot of things to people!! And as the survey shows, we’re pretty addicted enough to pay for this stuff!

You can see the full results via McGuffin here if you’d like: Research Shows How Much Value Consumers Assign to Various Apps. They also detail how much $$$ these apps would make if they did ever implement some of these charges – pretty wild…

PS: You know what I DO think is coming sooner than later?? A dumb phone revival!! You’re starting to see it pop up here and there in blogs and “hipster talk”, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more of these companies start pumping out some sleek minimal phones to help people simplify more and cut out all the clutter… I’d be interested in testing it out at least and seeing if I have any hope left! 🙂


[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/would-you-pay-for-your-favorite-free-apps/

Lynn Hershman Leeson. Genetics and biopolitics

Lynn Hershman Leeson. Anti-Bodies, with texts by geneticist and molecular engineer George Church, Curator of media arts Rudolf Frieling, biomedical researcher Thomas Huber and Sabine Himmelsbach, the director of the House of Electronic Arts in Basel.

Publisher Hatje Cantz writes: At the center of this publication is Lynn Hershman Leeson‘s installation The Infinity Engine, modeled after a genetics laboratory. The artist demonstrates that the boundaries between natural and artificial life are dissolving at an increasingly rapid pace in the age of synthetic biology, and that today, life itself can be artificially shaped. This includes DNA manipulation, artificial human organs manufactured via 3D-bioprinting, antibody research, and use of DNA as a biological storage medium. Leeson presents these achievements as works of art embedded in an inimitable aesthetic. Documenting these work cycles in photographs of the exhibition at the HeK Basel, this volume also contains numerous essays that offer both a scientific context and insight into this trailblazing media artist’s oeuvre and her current focus on biotechnology.

Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Genetically modified cat from The Infinity Engine, 2010

Lynn Hershman Leeson. Anti-Bodies is thus the catalog of the exhibition that took place last year at the House of Electronic Arts Basel.

The show invited visitors to don a lab coat and enter a replica of a genetics lab, complete with a bioprinted nose, scientific equipment, a room wallpapered with photos of already existing genetically manipulated organisms, files of legal documents related to genetic engineering, videos and a facial recognition booth that identifies vital parts of visitors’ identity.

The installation had been exhibited in several countries before opening in Basel (i discovered its earlier version at the excellent RIBOCA biennial in Riga) but the Basel version featured two new artefacts: an artificially engineered antibody that bears the name “Lynn Hershman” in its molecular structure and a strand of DNA containing an archive of the artist’s video series The Electronic Diaries (1986 to 1994.)

Lynn Hersman with the Lynn Hershman antibody. Photo: Novartis/Laurids Jensen

Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Anti-Bodies Photo: Novartis / Laurids Jensen, via HeK

The exhibit explored the societal and ethical challenges of DNA programming and all the applications it enables. On the one hand, it leads to astonishing medical breakthroughs; on the other, it enables new forms of governmental and corporate biosurveillance. The work also invites us to ponder upon uncomfortable questions: How do these scientific practices challenge our understanding of human identity and life? Who owns the engineered human body parts when human cells and tissue are turned into commodities? How might bio-engineering affect human evolution on a planet that is getting increasingly inhospitable?

Without ever being judgemental, Leeson’s work aims to bring gene editing and a research that usually takes place behind shut doors closer to the wider public scrutiny.

“If we are unaware of the dangers that we’re facing,” Hershman Leeson told The Art Newspaper, “we can never change them, so you’re dealing with difficult issues and topics that many people have never heard about, and you’re able to look through the records of a lot of the supreme court cases against some of these giant conglomerates who are trying to control gene editing and access to pharmaceuticals, and that has to be a political statement.”

Structure of the Lynn Hershman antibody visualised using PyMOL and presented as powder in a glass vial. From Lynn Hershman Leeson: Anti-Bodies, exhibition at HeK. Image courtesy of Novartis

Lynn Hershman and Thomas Huber on the Novartis Campus in Basel. Photo: Novartis/Laurids Jensen

The book features many images from both the exhibition and the development process of the antibody of course but also essays by scientists, curators and the artists.

Thomas Huber’s essay was particularly compelling. Huber is the scientist who led the therapeutic antibody research group leader the Swiss Corporation Novartis Pharmaceuticals to create the new antibody. Without too much jargon and with great clarity he explains what antibodies do, the kind of ‘personality’ they have and he briefly describes the experiment he and his team did in order to generate a truly personalized antibody.

Another engrossing chapter in the book is the interview the artist made with George Church, the geneticist and molecular engineer who regularly makes headlines for his plans to bring back the woolly mammoth, end inherited disease and even reverse ageing. Their conversation was fascinating, it touched upon necessary regulations in the field, the shifting borders of life, biosurveillance, migration from Earth to colonies in outerspace, the importance of education and science communication, etc.

There is a german translation of the texts at the back of the book.

Artist Talk with Lynn Hershman Leeson, Art Basel 2018

Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Portrait of the artist as DNA, with compressed files and films from the Infinity Engine 2014-18. Photo via Tate

Lynn Hershman-Leeson, Section of a wallpaper showing hybrid crops and animals, part of The Infinity Engine. Photo via Tate

Related story: RIBOCA. A moment to reflect on our age of technoscience.
The book is on amazon UK and USA.

from Finance https://we-make-money-not-art.com/lynn-hershman-leeson-genetics-and-biopolitics/

New book & giveaway: “Quit Like a Millionaire”

New book & giveaway: “Quit Like a Millionaire”

quit like a millionaire book


Another awesome book came out while I was away, and wanted to get it out to y’all real quick while it was still hot off the presses 🙂

It’s called “Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required“, and comes from two of my favorite FIRE bloggers on the scene, Kristy and Bryce from Millennial-Revolution.com.

Haven’t had a chance to personally peruse it yet, but if it’s anything like they are it’ll be super fun, feisty, and of course informational. Sprinkled with a little a$$ kicking for good measure, haha… So if you’re needing a little extra motivation lately, or just looking for another great perspective on $$$, I highly recommend checking it out! Along w/ their killer blog!

Here’s a summary from Amazon that sums it up nicely:

A bull***t-free guide to growing your wealth, retiring early, and living life on your own terms.

Kristy Shen retired with a million dollars at the age of thirty-one, and she did it without hitting a home run on the stock market, starting the next Snapchat in her garage, or investing in hot real estate.

Learn how to cut down on spending without decreasing your quality of life, build a million-dollar portfolio, fortify your investments to survive bear markets and black-swan events, and use the 4 percent rule and the Yield Shield–so you can quit the rat race forever.

Not everyone can become an entrepreneur or a real estate baron; the rest of us need Shen’s mathematically proven approach to retire decades before sixty-five.

Interested in it? You can learn more or pick it up at Amazon here: Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required, or better yet enter our giveaway for a chance to win a free copy 🙂

Giving Two FREE Copies Out!

quit like a millionaire books

If you’re feeling lucky, answer this question down below in the comments or via email, and you’ll be entered to win one of TWO free copies I have:

If you were able to quit your job tomorrow as a millionaire, what would be the first thing you did?!

Get your entries in by this upcoming Friday @ midnight (8/23/19), and we’ll announce the winners shortly there after. Good luck!! Open to both the US and internationally! Though international winners will receive the e-book version instead of a hard copy…

First thing I’d do if I were a millionaire? Buy an expensive cup of coffee and then go for a long walk, haha… Which is hopefully way more lame than your answers 😉

(Congrats on the book, Kirsty & Bryce!!!! Love that your energy is spreading!!)

Amazon links above are affiliate links…


[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/new-fire-book-quit-like-a-millionaire/

What Type of ClutterBug Are You? [Quiz]

What Type of ClutterBug Are You? [Quiz]

clean home

Happy Monday!

Might I interest you in a fun little quiz this morning before you start the day? 🙂

It was passed to me by a reader of the blog who finally stumbled across an organizational system that works for her, and as someone who’s always intrigued by this sorta stuff I of course had to pop in and check it out for myself too…

And I gotta say – some of the questions I’ve never even pondered before or knew what my answers were until I stopped to think about them! So you’ll probably learn something about yourself too whether you’re looking for a new way to declutter or not.

Here are the notes from my friend, along with the quiz and other resources you might find helpful:

Hope your break was good – up until the health stuff, anyway! Interesting that you mentioned tidying up, because that’s what I’ve been obsessed with lately too. I’ve reorganized almost my full room these last few weeks, thanks to the four clutterbugs course. I’m a Butterfly, which was very enlightening to discover. And honestly, I think for the first time in my life, I may be able to stay organized now, because I’ve organized according to my natural tendencies. It’s pretty amazing!

And when I pleaded for more info so I could check it out:

Here’s the link to the main page: https://clutterbug.me/ and the link to the quiz: https://clutterbug.me/what-clutterbug-are-you-test (just click on the blue button below the picture that says ‘let’s play’).

She has TONS of free stuff online, but she also has books for sale and a $99 course too (plus a free version here: https://clutterbug.me/2019/05/new-free-organizing-mini-course-%f0%9f%8e%93.html)

She’s really helped me understand how I organize, and I would definitely recommend her. I’d suggest you and your wife both take the quiz, because if you are different ‘clutterbugs’ she does offer suggestions of how to organize and compromise.

I took it, and looks like I’m a Cricket 🙂 Which, “tend to be “traditionally” organized and prefer minimal visual clutter in their homes and work spaces. Crickets also prefer detailed, Micro-Organizing systems and are often a bit of perfectionists when it comes to setting up and using these systems.”

Haha… I’m not sure how detailed I am exactly (hard with ADHD!), but I do like my minimal clutter around my house and work spaces. I’d much rather have an empty desk up top and crammed drawers than the other way around! 🙂

I also tend to pile stuff up in places and then sort them out later – but at least they’re all “organized” and can easily be done in batches when time (like bills or depositing checks, etc. I hate doing just one or two piecemeal and would rather do them all at once, say at the end of the week!)

So while this quiz might be focused more on the house/living stuff, there may be some overlap with how you tend to manage your finances too. Or maybe not and I’m just stretching it, haha, but either way it’s a fun quiz!

Here’s the link to it again if you wanna play along: What ClutterBug Are You?

Only about 10 questions, and you don’t need to give your email or anything to get your answer (isn’t that the worst?). Let us know what you are if you try it out, or if you’ve found any life changing courses/books around this stuff too!

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “for every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” (True story!)


[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/what-type-of-clutterbug-are-you-quiz/

This summer’s favorite reads + FinCon Next Month!! 💰

This summer’s favorite reads + FinCon Next Month!! 💰

magical forest walk


So apparently this pneumonia thing is a LOT more serious than I gave it credit for! Just got back from my follow up with the doc, and when I asked her why I wasn’t feeling better yet she literally laughed in my face, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Turns out I need to be doing a bit more resting than “working”, so today I’m just gonna hit you with some of my favorite articles I tagged over the month and give my brain a rest while I’m at it too…

But before we get to that, if you haven’t decided if you wanted to come to FinCon this year or not, the answer is YES! Not only for the fun and learning and parties, but also to come see me so long as I’m not on my death bed 😉

And FYI you don’t have to be a blogger or podcaster or instagrammer or anything’er to attend either…

fincon19 dc

They have something called the “Community Pass” for those outside the industry with a passionate interest in personal finance and/or investing. These passes are severely discounted down to only $149, and you can apply for one of them by using this form here: #FinCon19 Community Pass Application Form

It’s in DC this year and starts in only a few weeks! (September 4-7) Hope to see some of you there!! 🙂

Now onto the goodies today…


periodic table of fire

The Periodic Table of FIRE! @ Minafi — “When you first learn about financial independence it can be an exciting time. There’s a whole new world of finances, life planning and investing out there that you can take active steps to change your life forever. But there’s a lot to learn!… Below is an interactive chart I put together that focuses on some of the must-learn topics involved in financial independence and early retirement”

Why You’re So Damn Afraid To Follow Your Passion @ Route 2 FI — “The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium that day in 1978. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.”

The Thrill of Uncertainty @ Collaborative Fund — “Variable interval rewards are why we compulsively check email. Some messages are really important, but you don’t know when the important ones will come, so you keep checking and checking. Same with checking Twitter and Facebook. Or watching cable news. Or waiting for a boring meeting to end. Find something that captures people’s attention and turns them into crazed animals and you will likely find a variable interval reward.”

This Military Money Trick Improved My Financial Life. Here’s How to Adopt It Yourself @ Money.com — “In the past, payday activities meant soldiers were dismissed early once a month — after payday, when they were handed cash — so that they had time to travel around town and settle bills, like rent and utilities, in person. I served as an officer from 2011 to 2016, a time when digital payment was already common. But we decided to bring this old tradition back to life anyway.”

dating money lessons

Lessons Learned From 42 Dates In 18 Months @ Bucks & Cents — “A few years back I found myself re-entering the dating world after decades of being absent… Over the course of 18 months, I basically spent around $2,500 in my estimation for 42 dates… A lot of them played an important role, more than they realize, on lessons learned of how I thought about personal finance as it relates to a partner in my life moving forward.”

Doors and Windows and What’s Real @ Sivers.org — ” Like everyone, I live in a little house with many doors and windows. One door goes out to my neighborhood… One window looks out at the nature around me… One door is just for my son… But one door is really no fun to open. Whenever I do, I’m horrified at all the shouting.”

This company will plan a surprise vacation for you. Here’s what happened on mine. @ USA Today — “Pack Up + Go, a Pittsburgh-based travel agency, launched in January 2016 and has sent about 16,000 travelers on 8,000 trips to 90 destinations across the country. The catch? The whole trip, from the destination to what to do there, is a surprise. Pack Up + Go functions like a regular travel agency — and is a fully accredited one, according to founder and CEO Lillian Rafson — it’s just that travelers have no idea where they are going until the day of departure. Now it was my turn to test it out.”

Pareto Spring Cleaning @ The Rabbit Hole — “To be conducted every 6 months or so in order to help you lock in and remove unwanted distractions…”

We Bought A Money Pit! @ Slowly Sipping Coffee — “The home inspection report (what a scam industry) was pretty clean and didn’t note anything of significance. We had a home warranty for a year to cover anything major. How did we still manage to spend over $50,000 in the past year?”

motorcycle in desert

Frugality Lessons From a Motorcycle Granny @ Frugal Wheels — “It’s OK to spend money on things that will truly bring you happiness. I buy fresh beans and vegetables, not the canned variety. And I will enjoy a meal out from time to time. FIRE isn’t about spending the absolute least amount of money possible, it’s about efficiency and identifying all the places we waste money mindlessly. It’s about maximizing happiness per dollar, as MMM says – or the phrase I coined, FOI: Fun On Investment.”

If You’re Regularly Investing But Not Getting Wealthy, This Might Be Why @ Forbes — “If you invested as little as $200 a month in the stock market for the last 40 years, you should be a millionaire today.”

Surreal photos of the beach that briefly existed west of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, in the early 80s @ UrbanFoxxxxThe site, created out of landfill material from the excavations to build the WTC, would later become Battery Park City… On the same site, in the summer of 1982, conceptual artist Agnes Denes planted and harvested two acres of wheat for her installation ‘Wheatfield’ – one of the most memorable images of Manhattan ever created.

Boy, 11, Uses ‘Ice Cold Beer’ Sign to Sell Soda with ‘Ingenious’ Fine Print @ People — “One Utah boy put a “twist” on the classic summer lemonade stand, offering up “ice cold beer” to his neighbors, many of whom actually called the cops on the budding entrepreneur… When Brigham City police arrived at the “beer” stand, however, they found out the catch: the 11-year-old was selling root beer — he just wrote the word “root” on his sign really, really small… The marketing ploy paid off, as police said the young man’s business has been booming…”

This Post Will Change Your Life @ Raptitude — “Every single thing that happens to you—your career, your ideas, your friends, your living situation—emerged into reality from its many parent conditions just like that rainbow did. In fact, nothing happens any other way: conditions give rise to a thing that wasn’t there, it’s there for a while, and then it disappears back into the mist of causality. Appreciating all this helps us remember the abundance of possibility we’re always living in.”


Happy weekend, everyone!!! Don’t catch pneumonia!!

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Previous roundups:

FYI: FinCon comped me to remind everyone about their community passes… which I would have done for them for free, but hey – thanks for paying my way, guys! 😉


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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/favorite-summer-financial-reads/

A silly little trick I started doing to make expenses feel better… ;)

A silly little trick I started doing to make expenses feel better… 😉

polka dot brain

So week one in our new house was pretty fantastic.

Our stuff made it all in one piece, our days were filled with sun and exploration, we joined our community pool for 1/2 off the price (woo!), and at one point my wife stopped me to say just how happy she was to finally have a place all to ourselves where we can live peacefully for years to come… It was great!

And then week #2 hit.

Or what I like to call – “SEE!!! THIS IS WHY I DIDN’T WANT TO BUY A HOUSE!!!” 😉

I bet you know what’s coming next, but basically a $hit ton of things broke all within 48 hours of each other and by the end of it we were out almost $1,600. Or pretty much an entire mortgage payment flushed down the drain just like that!

First – a toilet of ours was leaking and couldn’t be fixed so it had to be replaced.

Then our AC unit went out in the midst of a heat wave, and of course during after hours when extra fees are tacked on.

Then we found *another* toilet was slowly leaking underneath the floor board and also had to be replaced (hint: if you ever see yellow stain marks around the base of your toilet you might want to have them checked as that’s a sure sign! Something I wasn’t smart enough to know, nor our inspection guy apparently who didn’t even mention it!)

And then lastly, we had some tree guys come out to assess two very large – and very dead’ish – trees on our property that didn’t look the safest once we started paying attention, and those estimates came out to $4,000-$9,000 depending on how serious/fast we want them gone… Which is also something we should have caught PRE-purchase if we were being diligent enough! But we weren’t because I had seen those trees a million times before and the only thing that had crossed my mind back then was – “Oooooh!!!! Pretty!! I love creepy trees!”


There were some other little things we had to take care of that week too (like a fun wasp infestation – yay!), but basically it was a helluva “welcome back” to the Home Ownership Club, and for a little while there our family’s bliss was out the window…

BUT! The one good thing that came from this, outside of hopefully not having to replace toilets for the next decade, is this silly little trick I randomly came up with which really IS pretty silly.

I know you’re going to laugh and probably write it off, but hear me out as I swear it did wonders for me and maybe it’ll do the same for you if you guys combine your household finances too. (It doesn’t work if you don’t)

The trick?

Every time we had to pony up money, I pretended it was MY WIFE’S money we were spending and not a single dollar of my own 😉

Even though of course it IS my money too – and hers (it’s BOTH of ours!) – but thinking that it was all HER paying for it somehow took the sting away much faster, haha… And also reminded me that we’re technically splitting everything 50/50 anyways, so it really isn’t *that* bad when it comes down to it because at least it’s NOT all mine!

Of course I didn’t dare say any of this out loud as who knows how that would go (you’re not reading this right now, are you honey??), but at the end of the day you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes to keep sane, and pretending my wife was fronting the bills for everything here def. stopped me from putting the house right back on the market 😉

(I also think that for those of us who manage our family’s finances we tend to subconsciously treat the money as “our own” so we can do the best job possible, and often times this can add an extra layer of stress too which I bet plays a part here psychologically in the effectiveness of this trick… Though maybe a psychologist can chime in with some additional thoughts?)

At any rate, try it out the next time something breaks in your house/car/anything else your family shares and see if it makes you feel better. You’re not gonna lose anything giving it a shot (unless you don’t keep it to yourself – which is uncharted waters!), but if it calms you down even a hair I’d say it’s worth the 2 second experiment.

Or if you’d like – just pretend it’s all J. Money’s $$$ paying for things and you’ll both get off scot free!! Haha… There are no rules in fantasy-land after all, you can try anything you want! 😉

Interesting thing about “scot free” which I just Googled – it has nothing to do with the Scots, nor scotch! Here’s a cool article on it if you’re curious about its origins –> TodyIFoundOut.com


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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/silly-little-expense-trick/

Net Worth Update: $940,412.06 [+$20,873.72 or +2.27%]

Net Worth Update: $940,412.06 [+$20,873.72 or +2.27%]

net worth report - july

Alriiight, back to the cold hard numbers!

Net worth report #138 in a row here without missing a beat – even while on sabbatical 🙂

I took these snapshots at the first of the month before the chaos ensued so the numbers would prob. be lower today, but as we do every month we ignore all that happens in the middle there and focus only on our monthly check-ins. A looooot can happen in between the weeks, so we just keep steady and do our best to stay away from the distractions! It’s not a daily play we’re after here, it’s a long-term one!

So with that, here is the breakdown of July’s numbers as part of our Net Worth Series

Net Worth Report #138: July, 2019

CASH SAVINGS: $49,128.20 (+$1,978.17) — A nice bump after a few months of losses througout all the house stuff! Most of this comes from a check that’s been owed for months, but I’ll take a win wherever I can get on 🙂

BROKERAGE: $0.00 (n/a) — Still staying quite on this end for now… Want to get our savings up over $50,000 first and will then think about where to shoot the extra savings into. Though knowing me it’ll all get plowed into the newly attained mortgage as the idea of being debt-free again tends to trounce everything!

THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP): $22,202.93 (+$1,207.64) — Three years now with the wife back into the workforce and the benefits are piling up! It’s so much nicer being DIKs vs SIKs 😉

ROTH IRAs: $168,884.44 (+$3,478.18) — A nice little bump here, though of course hard to really get too excited since I already know they’ve been wiped out by now, haha…

SEP IRA: $621,244.50 (+$12,996.75) — Same with this guy here – though it sure was nice to see back on August 1st when I ran the numbers! Here’s the screenshot I took on the same day too:

vanguard returns

Almost $300,000 growth since 2015! Wild! And all our money here btw is in VTSAX, for those new to the site… You can read more about why here if you haven’t come across it yet.

HOME VALUE: $337,000.00 (n/a) — A stable boring number here as we leave it be for the next 6 months until we get our realtor to update it for us! i find this a much more pleasurable – and accurate – strategy than tracking the yo-yo fluctuations of Zillow et al… And plus since we literally just bought it it’s as close to true market value as you can get 😉

CAR VALUES: $8,977.00 (+$38.00) — There they go increasing in value again! Haha… But similar to our monthly net worth tracking here, I continue to track it the same way every month in order to stay consistent. Which is basically just clicking over to KBB.com and copying over the updated numbers.

Here’s what they say both cars are currently worth:

  • 2008 Lexus RX350: $6,768.00 (-$9.00)
  • 2005 Toyota Corolla: $2,209.00 (+$47.00)

MORTGAGE: $267,025.01 (-$1,174.99) — We finally have accurate numbers to report now, woo! After all the switching around our servicers were doing, we now have access to a portal we can log into and see up to date numbers which is great. Especially when you can see the totals go DOWN every month vs UP! Which means all our extra payments are working their magic! 🙂

And that’s the end of our net worth breakdown!

Total change in net worth this month: +$20,873.72

And then which is always more interesting to see – the last twelve months of reports to better put things in perspective:

net worth - last 12 months

Check out that delta from December to today – an almost $150k change! And then if you compare from this time last year to today, it’s about a $50,000 change. Which is a lot less exciting, but exactly how the game goes (at least if you’re heavily invested into the markets).

Here’s the breakdown of those past 12 months just for fun:

And then lastly, here’s how our kids’ net worths are looking:

baby net worths

That’s Baby Dime up there exploring some nature, who also got a $5.00 bill randomly from Grandma this month giving his savings a 20% bump, haha… He and his brothers are all enjoying their new home, and even more so playing with each other 🙂 Which makes it a lot easier on their parents!

And that’s July! Overall a solid month without much drama as it waits for August to more than make up for it 😉

How did you guys do??? Anything exciting happen?!

Will be back in just a couple more weeks to update everything for August, but in the meantime – keep your heads down and your savings up! You can’t control everything out there, but you sure can the way you manage that wallet!


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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/net-worth-update-july-2019-940k/

Dance of Urgency. Political power on the dance floor

“How do the Rave-o-lution of 12 March 2018 in front of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi and anti-fascist protests in Berlin relate to ancient Dionysian rituals, and why does the soundtrack to these events come from the drums of African Americans? And to what extent does dance club culture reflect the current socio-political situation and the struggle of individuals or of groups?”

Dato Koridze

Dance of Urgency, exhibition view. Photo Sam Beklik

If ever you find yourself in Vienna this Summer, don’t miss Dance of Urgency, an exhibition at Q21 that looks at dance as a political, social and economic phenomenon. The show was curated by Bogomir Doringer, an artist and curator whose interest in the connections between dance culture, crowds movements and politics stems from his experience of dancing and looking for ways to feel free inside a techno club in Belgrade while NATO was bombing his city in 1999. Perhaps it’s this personal experience that makes the exhibition so compelling, entertaining and thought-provoking. That and the music of course.

The show looks at club culture under all its facets. It opens with examples of underground spaces where young people shape countercultures and ideals that eventually spilled into the streets as protests against reactionary governments. And it closes with a spectacle of the massive (and massively lucrative) electronic music festivals that have become mainstream Summer entertainment.

All it takes to create change sometimes is just one guy:

Derek Sivers, First Follower: Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy, 2010

Writer Derek Sivers used the viral video of a guy dancing alone at a music festival in the USA to explain How to Start a Movement, in a TED talk. The humorous instructional political video is used as an introduction to the section in the exhibition that explores the connections between dance floors and activism, and how ideas resonate, from the dancing body in public spaces to the outside world.

Jan Beddegenoodts, Ayed, 2018

Jan Beddegenoodts, Sama

Jan Beddegenoodts interviewed by MuseumsQuartierWien for Dance of Urgency

Jan Beddegenoodts‘s short documentaries follow some of the strong creative minds who gave rise to collective cultural movements in their own countries.

NAJA is dedicated to Naja Orashvili, one of the icons of Tbilisi #raveolution and of young Georgians’s yearning for a new, progressive country. The artist and activist is one of the founders of BASSIANI, a queer nightclub which was under threat of closure by the Government until thousands of ravers protested in the streets of Tbilisi and forced the authorities to step back. She is also one of the main figures behind the White Noise movement, a political group founded in 2015 with the objective to decriminalize drugs.

AYED is a portray of Ayed Fadel, a member of Jazar Crew, a movement of young cultural activists dedicated to empowering music and culture in Palestine.

SAMA follows Sama Abdulhadi, a producer, sound artist and DJ who organized the first techno nights in Ramallah. She’s since been touring the globe, giving techno music workshops to kids and raising awareness around the violence of the Israeli occupation of Palestine (sometimes by introducing the issue shrewdly into her work but mostly because her interviewers keep on asking her about it.)

Dan Halter, Zimbabwean Queen of Rave, 2005

Dan Halter, Zimbabwean Queen of Rave, 2005

Opponents of the apartheid in South Africa used music and dance to make their voice heard and motivate fellow demonstrators to keep protesting against discrimination and segregation. Dan Halter’s video uses archive material to demonstrates one of the activists tactics: a war dance called toyi-toyi. Characterised by its rhythmic, stomping movements, it was used in political protests in South Africa during the Apartheid. As one activist puts it, “The toyi-toyi was our weapon. We did not have the technology of warfare, the tear gas and tanks, but we had this weapon.” After the Apartheid, people in South Africa kept on using toyi-toyi to express their grievances against current government policies.

The images of mass protest are mixed with archives showing the white young people of 90s rave culture dancing carelessly in public spaces.

The soundtrack of these images is Rozalla’s 1991 hit single Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good). The Zimbabwean electronic music performer became known as ‘The Queen of Rave’. No matter their skin colour and cultural experiences, people danced to her music at the time and understood its call for freedom.

Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Himey, Documenting Cxema (still from the film)

Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Himey, Documenting Cxema (extracts from the film). Music by Stanislav Tolkachev

Initiated by DJ Slava Lepsheev after the EuroMaidan revolution in which almost 100 citizens were killed by the police while demonstrating against the government, Cxema is the biggest rave event in Ukraine. The 2014 uprising has left a mark on youth culture. “The Euromaidan brought people together and created a community, but once it finished we wanted to continue that,” explained one of the organisers in an interview. “This is what CXEMA is about. The rave is political even if people don’t realise it themselves, it’s about community”.

Cxema offered a space for its participants to shape Kiev’s post-revolution identity. And even the less politically-active among them could dance and experience moments of normality, togetherness and freedom in a country where their future looks chaotic.

Yarema Malashchuk and Roman Himey, created an hypnotising movie that attempts to reflect on the atmosphere of Cxema, from swarms of individuals dancing in unison to the moment when they exit one by one and go back to the the light of the sun and the daily grind.

Events like Cxema move from illegal to semi-legal venues. Many of them abandoned spaces on the outskirts of the city. The kind of spaces Nikolaus Geyrhalter toured the world to film…

Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Homo Sapiens

Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Homo Sapiens

Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Homo Sapiens

Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Homo Sapiens (trailer)

Geyrhalter’s Homo Sapiens films features train stations, shopping malls, hospitals, amusement parks, power plants, schools, churches, whole streets, monuments and other ruins of our industrial age devoid of any human presence. These are the kind of locations that get invaded for one night or longer by ravers. Their choices don’t go unnoticed. Nowadays, cities are following the moves of club culture and other rituals of gathering as they see them as key parts of urban regeneration projects. In Amsterdam, for example, new temporary clubs are often harbingers of gentrification.

Francesco Pusterla, in collaboration with Dimitri Hegemann, commissioned by Bogomir Doringer, Tresor – Berlin 325 Longitudinal Sections, 2019

Francesco Pusterla, in collaboration with Dimitri Hegemann, commissioned by Bogomir Doringer, Tresor – Berlin 325 Longitudinal Sections, 2019

The Tresor club in Berlin is an iconic example of an industrial ruin that became a cultural space. Inaugurated in 1991, the club played an important role in uniting German youth after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It served as an experimental space where new relationships were established through collective dances to the sound of electronic music. Music without words, with repetitive beats, united people and healed unspoken traumas.

Tresor closed its initial location on 16 April 2005, after several years’ prolonged short-term rent. The city sold the land to an investor group to build offices.

The original architecture of the legendary techno club has been reconstructed as
 a laser-cut book sculpture produced by architect Francesco Pusterla with the help of Dimitri Hegemann, the owner of the Tresor club.

Anne de Vries, Critical Mass: Pure Immanence, 2015

The extravagant displays of lights and artificiality pictured in Anne de Vries’ video Critical Mass:
Pure Immanence shows another, more commercial side of techno culture. One that has been politically sanitised and rebranded subculture as a lucrative entertainment. The work highlights how far some techno events are from the 1970s electronic music values that came from an urgency to empower
 and unite its small (often queer) and alternative communities. Current electronic dance music events, in particular the ones dedicated to the genre known as Hardstyle, can reach grandiose proportions, with spectacular audio-visual productions mounted by promotional companies. In the film, swarms of tens of thousands of bodies in concert locations are filmed with the zoom-in and zoom-out of a sporting event cam.

The voice-over of a text inspired by the 1995 essay Pure Immanence by Gilles Deleuze accompanies the film and comments on the philosophical dimension of crowd-based experience. The film is as overpowering as the experiences it depicts. It demonstrates the power of the music industry’s spectacle and its potential to alter states of consciousness and control crowds.

More works and views of the show:

Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Lovesick. The Transfection

Shohei Fujimoto, Power of one Surface

Dance of Urgency, exhibition view. Photo Sam Beklik

Dance of Urgency, exhibition view. Photo Sam Beklik

Dance of Urgency, exhibition view. Photo Sam Beklik

Sampo Hänninen, Empiric Study Panorama Bar

Dance of Urgency, curated by Bogomir Doringer, remains open until 1 September 2019 at frei_raum Q21 exhibition space MuseumsQuartier Wien in Vienna.

Participants of the exhibition have contributed their favorite tracks to Dance of Urgency playlist!

from Finance https://we-make-money-not-art.com/dance-of-urgency-political-power-on-the-dance-floor/