10+ Money Ideas to Try Out

10+ Money Ideas to Try Out

ideas man

Morning!!

Here are a bunch of ideas for y’all to marinate on today, courtesy of some really smart – and good looking – readers of the site 😉

Including: gamer guilds, anti-bucket lists, value tracking tabs, credit score tests, mortgage time travel!, paycheck challenges, “what to do when I’m dead” letters, and then a half dozen ideas on gift giving.

Let me know if you’re gonna try any!

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The Gamer Guild

“I’ve see some online motivational tools, but I think what would be most helpful is a community of gamers who team up to achieve tasks and take down ‘monsters’.

You know, if you could log in somewhere and choose real-life goals or issues you’re facing and you’d get a suggested series of daily to-dos to help you achieve your problems (like quests). And then you could form guilds that could be applicable to your real-life area, so you could meet offline as well as on.

And it would be great to tackle some of the big things together. Like if the ‘monster’ was ‘Increase income by $2,000/month’ and anyone who wanted to battle that monster could team up and swap ideas and help each other out until everyone in their guild had defeated that goal. Something like that.

There might be something out there like it, but I haven’t found it yet.”

– Leah

[I would SO love to see something like this built, haha… We have so many gamer nerds in our community that you could form multiple guilds ;)]

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The Anti-Bucket List

“My anti-bucket list is a simple concept: instead of a traditional bucket list, where you write down things you want to do before you die, I write down a list of fears and discomforts that I don’t want to face – and then I try to do them anyway.

My guiding rule is, if I wasn’t afraid/squeamish, would I do it? If so, I try to experience it if the opportunity presents itself. If not, I don’t. Either way, I don’t want fear to rule my life. So I actively try to face and conquer them. 🙂

Everyone I’ve shared the idea with has really seemed to like the idea, so I’ve thought it could make a good book and/or blog content someday. It was first the subject of a speech I gave at my local Toastmasters group that I think I just called: Item 29 on my Anti-Bucket List. 😀

That got people’s attention!”

– Leah (again)

[I told her she needs to get that blog up and going as she’s always coming up with fun ideas!! These are only two of the 10+ she’s sent me in recent months, and they’re only getting more creative as they go 🙂 (SO GET THAT BLOG GOING, L$!!)]

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The Value Tracking Tab

“This year I created a value tracking tab on my spreadsheet, and anything I spend money on that isn’t a living essential goes onto this tab and I assign it a value (“shouldn’t have”, “obligatory”, “planned”, “relational”, “bucket list”). At the end of each month, I calculate the total and find the percentage of the planned, relational, bucket list items. I aim for 90% value spending.

I’ve been slacking on this the past couple months and there has been quite a bit more sporadic, thoughtless spending, so I plan to refocus and make sure I’m considering the value of any extra spending I do before handing over the cash.”

Financially Fit Mom

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Mortgage Time Travel!

“I’ve got a sexy idea: Mortgage Time Travel! As in, any extra paid *now* on your house can be seen as covering a *future* payment… and reducing your balance to where it was scheduled to be *in the future*!

You could also use futureme.org to write an email to you when the mortgage is scheduled to be paid off, saying “You can thank me for already being done with the mortgage!”

For me, I have the balance of the student loan I’ve been avalanching down to where it was scheduled to be in October 2024.”

– Moneybee

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“What To Do When I’m Dead” Letter

[This one comes from an older post I recently stumbled across again on how my wife should spend my life insurance money when I’m gone, haha… Couldn’t help but feature one of the comments here ;)]

“I haven’t written a letter to my wife yet, but you have inspired me. I think it would start out by saying “take the term life insurance money and get all the money in $100 bills and lay it on the bed. Then please roll around in it and snap a photo for me. If you feel sad please use the bills to blow your nose like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber. Afterwards please place the photo in my casket for me to enjoy. After that feel free to do whatever you want, you were always smarter than me.”

Mustard Seed Money

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The Credit Score Test / Living Paycheck to Paycheck Challenge

[This is two interesting ideas rolled into one, after the first one spurred some insight… I wouldn’t have the guts to try the first one, but the second is one I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try one day! Such a good challenge!]

“Morning – Crazy, crazy thing I did.

I teach part time as an adjunct professor to MBA students.  They have a ton of student loans and many have credit card debt. In thinking of ways to pay them off (of which I have explored many), I looked at those “checks” that come in the mail from the credit card companies – wherein you pay 1%, 2%, or 3% for use of credit line for 12, 16, 18 or even 24 months.

I was curious the impact to FICO score so I thought, let me try it out. I don’t have any credit card debt, so I just used the money to pay down the principal on my mortgage.  It was tens of thousands that I took because the first two borrowings didn’t impact my credit score.  So, my score went down from 802 to 733.  I paid back the loans (early) by working it into my cash flow (I have rental income).

So, now my credit score went back up to 807, but then a crazier thing happened – I started to question how it was that I managed to work that kind of payment into my cash flow.  Bottom line, I realized how many things I was purchasing – I have two kids – that were wants, not needs.  It was a serious wake up call.  So, now I’ve spent the last couple of months with a new experiment – living paycheck to paycheck – meaning, I put the majority of my paycheck and other cash flow into a separate account and only enough to cover the “needs” – groceries, gas and wellness (martial arts, ballet, tumbling, haircuts, etc).

I’ve even managed to induce a level of stress that is consistent with what my students tell me they experience when they cannot pay bills or there is an “emergency” – car repairs, etc.  Needless to say, it’s been a life lesson that reminded me why I have the goals I do and how much better I will feel with building my net worth beyond the $1M it is today.”

Best Regards,
– Prof Ackerman

PS: I attached a picture of the 12 month FICO score trend. I’ve learned a lot about FICO scores in the past year or so and how to make them go up & down.

fico score test results

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The Worst Case Scenario Test

“In my personal experience with owning several rental properties I’ve learned some valuable lessons. Before I start any business or project I always ask myself… “What’s the absolute worst case scenario & and can I live with that?”

In terms of rental properties it would be like if all of my tenants stopped paying rent, vacated the premises after causing major damage, and then I lost my day job AND we happenend to land in a market recession – all at the same time. That’s a pretty awful situation to find myself in. It would basically mean I lose everything!

Could I handle that, though? My answer is YES. Why, because in the end it’s only money. I still have my health, my relationships with family and friends, and all the experience I’d gained up to that point. I could do it all again in a shorter period of time, and more efficiently I’m certain. What’s the difference between giving 1 set of keys back to the bank or 10?

Also, the likelihood of any of this happening is very low. While on the other hand from a risk vs. reward standpoint, if it pays off in 8 years from now I’ll have $3M+ in property paid off and $15,000+/mth in positive cash flow. And that’s without doing anything different from today on.”

– Onwards & Upwards

[My answer to this question?? NO. WAY. IN. HELL. This would be too much of a nightmare for me, even though for some reason losing $$$ in the stock market doesn’t phase me hardly at all, haha… Strange, right?! But good thing there are many routes to this stuff!]

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*** A Bunch of GIFT GIVING Ideas ***

[From our post last month on how to be a better gifter 😉

“My favorite way to give a gift is unexpected. Not at birthday or holiday and not even in person where both people have the potential of awkwardness. Perhaps dropping off a bottle of wine (practical) with a note of gratitude for ongoing friendship (touchy feely crap people love but not wasting money) on a doorstep. Sometimes when I find that “this is oh so perfect” I will even wrap it up like a birthday/Christmas gift, especially if I know the person enjoys receiving gifts, no matter what time of the year it is to make it feel a little more special.”

Financially Fit Mom

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“Something I learned from by BFF is that if you find a product you really like to use (in her case it’s a hard case credit card holder – inexpensive and practical), more than likely your friends will like it too. So, when she is out and about and comes across something she likes, she will buy 4 or 5 of them. Then during random times or special occasions she will give a small “girlfriend gift” as she likes to call it. It’s such a welcome surprise.”

– Cindy

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“Origami money is always a ‘oh my gosh! how did you do that?’ sort of gift. Here’s a couple of websites to get you started if you are at all interested: https://www.origami-resource-center.com/money-origami.html and http://www.origami-instructions.com/dollar-bill-origami.html.”

– Leah

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“When it coming to thank you notes, I normally try to always send handwritten thank you notes because I feel like receiving snail mail (that isn’t a bill or junk) is a little bit rare and exciting these days. I also like to send the giver a picture of me using/enjoying their gift, so that could be a good alternative to writing cards!

– Hailey

[LOVE that pic option!! A much more fun way to text over a “thank you” since I’m not a fan of doing notes.]

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“Here is something that might work with the wife. We get catalogs and a few magazines. We both go through them and dog ear a page on something we like. Not as a gift indicator, just something that caught our eye. Sort of if I have a few bucks, I might get this.

My wife has a thing about llamas so I surprised her with a llama doormat. An example of a catalog we like (but rarely get anything from it due to becoming more minimalist) is AWE – At West End. We both usually dog ear a page or two. I will retrieve the catalog and either tear out a page or go to website and bookmark the item for future reference.

I would guess you two probably don’t get many catalogs with the hope of minimizing temptation, but this approach could work on pretty much any catalog even if it is unilateral. Pilfer the catalog she might have marked before disposing of it. Thumb through and see if there are any notations.”

Larry

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“I try asking people wayyy early what they’d like as a gift. Like, I’ll be asking those close to me what they want for Christmas around this time of year, hoping they’ll forget I asked them when December rolls around.”

– Blair

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“I have a simple principle that I can share with you! Go for the smile!

I had an old Christmas card that I saved for years that had a little mouse on the front with its nose pressed against the glass of a snow globe with a snowman in it and a huge grin on its face. The sentiment was, “May your Christmas be bright with surprise and delight!” So, I like to start at the end – what do you want their face to look like when they open the present?

If you are walking around looking in stores (or online) and saying, “What can I get ____? What can I get them? What?” then you are overtaxing your thought process, which is work. And it is hard to hold that focus long enough to come up with the answer. Or you are waiting for the universe to magically pop up the perfect present for you to stumble on.

The What Can I Get question is asked in the rational part of your brain, but what you really want is happiness for the other person (or at least a feeling of warmth and friendship if not actual delight) and happiness lives in the feeling part of your brain.

So start with the feeling and that should take you to every other time that you saw that look of happiness on your giftee’s face, which starts a chain of happy associations that not only tell you a lot about what that person likes, but probably the general direction to go to stumble on something. Did your friend smile when talking about going to a Comic Con? Stumble around your local comic shop for a while. Does your friend’s face glow when they talk about their cat? Stumble around a pet shop.

Following the feeling is more fun than wracking your brain, so you will do it for longer. So, to sum up, my advice is: Follow the feeling, chase the smile, and have fun!”

– Jane

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Hope you found something helpful here 🙂

Let me know which you liked the most or were just plain ridiculous!

(And if you have any good ones you’ve been testing out lately too…. It’ll go right on the list to be shared the next round! Thanks everyone for passing these over!!)

 

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[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/10-money-ideas-to-try-out/

Entangle. Contemporary art and physics

Entangle. Physics and the Artistic Imagination, a book edited by Ariane Koek, with essays by science writer Philip Ball, Ariane Koek, art historian Gavin Parkinson, physicist Carlo Rovelli, curator and historian Nicola Triscott. Graphic design by Maria Persson.

Publisher Hatje Cantz writes: Black holes, dark matter, gravity, time, motion—these phenomena fascinate physicists and artists alike. Both strive to discover how they shape our world. The connection between art and science is gaining increasing significance in contemporary art.

Now, the influence of physics on today’s art, design, and architecture is being more closely examined. Curated by Ariane Koek, the founder of the arts program Arts at CERN, the exhibition Entangle – Physics and the Artistic Imagination and its companion catalog present the works of fourteen contemporary artists who are inspired by physics and its investigation of natural phenomena. Besides their works, this ground-breaking publication also contains interviews with the artists and physicists who share their different ways of seeing.

Julius von Bismarck, Freedom Table & Democracy Chair at IMO gallery Copenhagen in 2013

Entangle. Physics and the Artistic Imagination is the catalogue of the exhibition that closed recently at Bildmuseet in Umea, Sweden. I haven’t seen the show alas but the book is an enlightening substitute for the museum experience.

Whether they are physicists or curators, the contributors of the book have an uncanny talent to communicate, in limpid and approachable terms, their enthusiasm for particle physics and other seemingly abstruse concepts. In her introductory essay, curator Ariane Koek articulates the mutual benefits physics and art can draw from each other. Physicists, she argues, allow artists to observe the world under a new lens. Conversely, artists allow all of us to see the world under a different light and help us make sense of our place in the world. Both expand our horizons, make use of imagination and don’t hesitate to probe the limits of knowledge.

Her point is illustrated further in the book by a series of duos of short texts in which one artist and one scientist present their own understanding and experience of a specific natural phenomenon or concept: gravity, matter, space, entropy, etc.


Ryoji Ikeda, data.tron [WUXGA version], 2011

Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli wrote a fascinating essay about quantum physics in which he explains the notion of ‘entanglement’. You have to hold on tight but his stories of traveling gloves and subtle connections make the whole experience rewarding.

Philip Ball makes the case for the importance of imagination, dreams, patience and failure in physics. He also has some interesting remarks about the dangers of a society where big data threatens to take precedence over knowledge. Gavin Parkinson recounts the Surrealists’s fascination with physics. Nicola Triscott shares her experience of bringing physics into the wider cultural experience and the arts into scientific practices (you can read more about it in the book she edited together with Fiona Crisp The Live Creature and Ethereal Things: Physics in Culture.)

Entangle. Physics and the Artistic Imagination presents insights and ideas that were new and exciting for me, challenged my perception of the world and pushed my imagination to places i would otherwise never enter. I still fantasize about a passage in one of the essays that explained that it’s not because we haven’t seen white holes that we shouldn’t imagine their existence.

Quick list of some of the works i discovered in the book:


Julian Charrière, Terminal Beach (Aomen II), 2016

Julian Charrière’s series Second Suns examines the post-nuclear landscapes and the architecture on the Bikini atoll, a group of islands that the U.S. used as an atomic bomb test site between 1946 and 1958. The artist’s photos of concrete bunkers and other decaying infrastructures are “corrupted” by grains of sand from the atoll’s still-radioactive beaches. The grains were placed on the negatives while they were developed, leaving behind their eerie, glowing marks on the picture.


Carey Young, Report of the Legal Subcommittee, 2010

A print featuring a map of the stars, together with a found transcription of a United Nations meeting in which international delegations declare frustration with their 40-year-old, ongoing efforts to devise a legal definition of outer space.

This admission seems to hold a rich poetic potential, the human attempts to bureaucratize and control outer space seemingly frustrated by the sublime scale and mystery of its infinite depths.

Entangle. Physics and the Artistic Imagination. Video produced by Bildmuseet

Solveig Settemsdal, Singularity, 2016


Iris van Herpen, Magnetic Motion shoes, 2015


William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time (installation view), Bildmuseet 2018

from Finance https://we-make-money-not-art.com/entangle-contemporary-art-and-physics/

A Peek Inside Amanda’s Money Notebooks!

A Peek Inside Amanda’s Money Notebooks!

money notebooks

Another day, another person’s money to snoop around in! Haha…

And this time along with some nifty MONEY NOTEBOOKS! The budgeting method of choice from our featured reader today – Amanda – which I just love for a number of reasons. First, anytime you *physically* track stuff it tends to sink in better!, and second – it’s always nice to see a snapshot from someone early on in their journey and not a millionaire success story that we tend to feature a lot here 😉

When I found out that Amanda used notebooks to track her finances I asked if she’d be kind enough to snap some pics for us, and she not only did that for us, but also included some of her backstory as well.

So here’s the backstory along w/ the pics!! Gotta love that cheetah one, rawr!

Hey J!

Attached are the pictures of my money notebooks. The purple one was the first one and the animal print one is the one I’m using now. I’ve included pictures from my first month of tracking and the current month. It’s amazing to look back and see how far I’ve come over the last 7 years.

When I started tracking my finances, I was living paycheck to paycheck with about 3 grand in credit card debt. Today, I have $17K in my checking account, $40K in my $401K, and I’ve paid off two cars since October 2012.

I know this doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, but considering I only make about $33K a year, I think it’s pretty phenomenal! I have been side hustling all along as well. I’m proud of myself! I’m so thankful I found MMM’s blog and yours! They’ve both taught me a lot and keep me motivated to continue saving!

Thank you,

Amanda 🙂

And she should be proud!! That’s a lot of growth w/ a salary of that size! Some people can’t pay off jack with three times that, so good on ya Amanda… Here’s to the next 7 years of kicking ass!

Amanda’s finances circa 2012:

money notebook net worth

[Click to blow up bigger]

You see all those saving funds???

  • Vehicle fund
  • Emergency fund
  • Medical fund
  • Gift fund
  • Baby fund

A total of *5* for a whopping $400 every single month!! And again, all the while living off of a $33k salary, and probably even less since this was 7 years ago… (although the more I dig in the more I realize that rent isn’t included in there anywhere?! Maybe she’s pulling a “live with mom and dad to save mad money” deal there? A great one that I approve of during that stage of your life… Else you’ll turn out like me and waste away your money those first few years out of school! Haha…)

Amanda’s Expenses – Sep, 2019:

money notebook expenses

There’s the house payment! Lol… And not too shabby either at $500 – nice! We pay over three times that right now and that doesn’t even include the extra we throw against the principal… I wonder if she has roommates/partners she’s splitting the mortgage with?

Amanda’s Income – Sep, 2019:

money notebook income

Lastly, here’s a snapshot of her income thus far in Sep… About $2,000 it’ll look like she’ll net by the time the month’s over, which is more than enough to cover all those expenses already listed and then some… Like those 5 savings funds if she’s still rocking them 7 years later?! They’d be pretty plump by now barring anything crazy!

Anyways, another great way to track this stuff if it fits your personality, and if it doesn’t here’s a list of some other options you can try as well if you still haven’t found one that clicks –> List of free budgeting spreadsheets and apps. There’s also that calendar method we featured here the other week as well –> A reader’s review of CalendarBudget.com

Hope something here helps!! And would love to see YOUR way of budgeting if you’d like to spill your numbers/screenshots with us?! 😉

 

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[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/a-peek-inside-money-notebooks/

Should have listened to dad…

Should have listened to dad…

mustache

Saw a funny message yesterday that brought back some memories 😉

should have listened to dadHAHA… yup! Sounds about right! Cars were right up there along with beers and girls for me and my friends too in the post high school years 😉 Who wanted to SAVE their money???!

And similar to Brandon, I too had a few #shouldhavelistenedtodad moments in the pre-J. Money days. Which I’ll happily share here to remind everyone that I suck with money too at times!

No one is immune!!

Flop #1: not listening to my dad about 401(k)s — Yearrrsss ago during one of my very own first “real” jobs (ticket agent for Contintenal Airlines), he advised me over and over again to contribute to my 401(k) at least up to the amount they were matching (3% I believe), and over and over again I told him “I will Dad!! Stop pestering me!” Only to then never actually do it, even though I thought I had.

One day I just told him I did it to finally get him off my back – fully intending to do so the very next day – however that next day I completely forgot while my brain subconsciously believed I had indeed checked it off the list. It wasn’t until a year later when I was looking for the balance to boast to my dad how much of an adult I was when I couldn’t find it anywhere on the pay stub. I strolled into the HR department asking where the mistake was, where they very kindly informed me that it was ME, haha…

My dad wasn’t very entertained by that 😉 Although from that point forward I never missed a retirement contribution since! And in fact it was my 401(k) which actually gave me my A-HA moment years later when there actually WAS a balance to be staring back at, lol..

Flub #2: Not listening to my parents about moving to Virginia Beach without much money. One day after college I got it stuck in my head that I just HAD TO move to the beach and get an apartment with my friend – even though I had no sources of income whatsoever. The plan was to move down there with the whopping $800 I had amassed from generous graduation gifts, and then quickly land a gig and live happily ever after by the sun-soaked sand.

My parents warned me that it really wasn’t the best plan considering rent and food alone would eat up a bulk of the money within the first two weeks (no mind the fact that it takes WEEKS to even get paid from new jobs, and that’s if you started them right away which almost never happens!), but bless their hearts they let me go off and learn some real life lessons on my own…

And true to their premonition, I was moved back in with them 3 weeks later with $15 to my name after not being able to scrounge up enough to pay the next month’s rent, haha…Which I still feel bad about to this day – not for myself, but for the poor landlord that had to put up with me!! What a jackal I was!!

But the lessons didn’t sink in quite yet…

Flub #3: Not listening to my parents about moving to New York City without much money! While I did last much longer this time around (almost two full years!!), I pretty much upped the ante on myself and tried to see if I could “make it” in the most expensive city in the world, because obviously I was a master at this 😉

And while to my credit I DID have an actual job this time around and somewhat of a decent plan on where I was going to live (friends’ couches – d’uh), in the end I too failed on this mission, though I’d never take it back in a million years… Sure I ran out of all $$$$ and was probably the unhealthiest I had ever been up to that point (NYC partying gets to you! Haha…), but WOW did I feel alive… And learned a $hit ton about myself in the process. Some things good, while others not so much that needed changing.

I eventually crawled right back to mom and dad when I realized it was unsustainable (and ran out of friends’ places to crash at – hah!), but not once did they ever utter a single “I told you so”, which looking back makes me realize just how fortunate we are to have people who care about us in our lives. Not only who will take us back every time we fail, but who will also take the time to *advise us* even when we’re too dense to listen! 😉 I don’t think I fully appreciated this one bit growing up, but I sure as hell see it now. And only hope I can do the same for my kids too as they grow up (but Lord do I hope it takes much less than 30 years for them to catch on! Haha…)

At any rate, I’ll stop the tales of yore there, but just know that we ALL mess up at times, and most especially yours truly despite being a personal finance blogger.

(See a most recent resume of fails here)

I don’t know if we’ll ever stop learning lessons, but at least it gives us something to talk about, haha… And would love to hear some of your flubs over the years too if you’re so willing 😉

What are things you #shouldhavelistenedtodad on??

Financial or otherwise?

 

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[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/should-have-listened-to-dad/

#OverHeard at the Coffee Shop – Volume VI

#OverHeard at the Coffee Shop – Volume VI

coffee life support

What up what up!

Been asked a lot about when our next #Overheard installment will be dropping, and while I haven’t stockpiled *too* many convos lately, I suppose we have enough to have some fun today 😉

So please to enjoy: things I’ve overheard at the coffee shop lately!

Courtesy of unsuspecting – but very interesting – people unlucky enough to sit near me, haha…

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“Mom – you don’t have to be there every time I make a decision… Just let me put a gold cap on my tooth! It’s cool!”

Haha… The things we spend our money and energy on as a kid!!! Though I can’t really talk – I tried putting earrings in as many holes on my face as I could back then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“I’m going to punch you in your boob”

Almost spit out my coffee on that one.

“She’s as fake as a $3.00 bill!”

YES!!! Excellent money analogy!!

“I asked for 6 inches, and he gave me 12…”

Here’s a perfect example of when context is key, haha… After my adolescent chuckle I realized they were talking about *hair cuts* 😉

“She looks skinny but is not…”

Here’s another one – they were talking about their cat!! Lol…

“I won a Nintendo Switch for only $9.00!”

Now that’s cool!!! Couldn’t quite hear *how* he pulled this off, but my guess is that he won it in some raffle or something… Either that or he’s a master eBay scout!!

“I never thought birds were cute.”

Say whaaaaaaa?

funny bird gif

“English is the language of money.”

True true…. I think? I actually don’t get this all the way, haha… Particularly as it was said directly to an hispanic woman?

(gets off the phone) “That was the tennis team – we’re getting matching skirts!”

*Followed by a bunch of high fives and deep dives into patterns and color schemes*

Friend #1: “I wanted to be a waitress but they wouldn’t let me.”
Friend #2: “Why?
Friend #3: “Because I wasn’t strong enough.”

Does it really take that much strength?? Haha… I’ve seen many a petite women excel at serving!

“He’s not the smartest crayon in the box”… “err…. brightest crayon in the box”

The best when people mess these up 😉

“Where would blacks be without the post office?”

Had to google this one as admittedly I was intrigued, and found this article right away from The Washington Post – What we’ll lose if we lose the post office.

Here’s a snippet:

“The post office has historically helped all kinds of people find jobs, including immigrants, rural migrants and those pursuing higher education. For African Americans in particular, the post office has been a job magnet and a vehicle for social activism and community development. Since changes in the law allowed them to enter the ranks in 1865, African Americans fought segregation and discrimination in the Postal Service and its unions, and they played a key role in modernizing the agency. Historically, the post office has been the largest employer of African Americans, and from 1970 to 2000, blacks were at least twice as likely to work for the post office as whites.”

I had noooooo idea about any of this, did you??!

For once my eavesdropping has taught me something!! Haha…

Here’s some more articles around this as well that I spent the next 20 minutes devouring:

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And then here are some other #overheard stories from readers of the blog who have passed them over…

“I was in a restaurant with my daughter once and a couple nearby was talking about a friend of theirs. The gentleman said: “She has a big ass….. retirement account” Such an unfortunate pause. My daughter and I still laugh about that one.” – Mary

“I was in a grocery store and these two women were talking to each other…. W1- “Hey!  What are you doing here? I thought you were picking Jason up off the bus?” W2 – “No, my ex said he would do it. He’s supposed to be getting out of jail this afternoon” – Log cabin Ruth

“I am at a conference this week and I overheard something interesting yesterday while drinking my coffee in the lobby. A lady was asking the hotel manager if the hotel is haunted and he was pretty adamant it wasn’t.  Her response, “I find that hard to believe because I was talking to two spirits in the lobby yesterday that used to be grounds keepers on this property.”  Freaky!” – Max Out of Pocket

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Always something to be overheard out there! 😉

Keep those ears perched, friends! Just not when you’re around me…

XOXO,

j. money signature

For previous #overheards:

 

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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/overheard-at-coffee-shop-vol-vi/

Linguistic capitalism. Has Google become an all powerful usurer of language?

Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is an advertising platform that allows businesses to bid on the keywords they are interested in. The higher your bid, the more prominent your clickable ad on the search engine results.

In poetry and other forms of literature, words acquire value based on the type of emotions, mental landscapes and history they evoke. For Google algorithm however, the value of a word fluctuates according to the power of the industry that uses and advertises it. The term “cloud”, for example, evokes meditative moments, dreams and celestial visions. But on Google planet, it is associated to the technology that uses the internet and remote servers to store data and applications. Which explains why the word “cloud” is much more expensive than the word “sunny” for example. This type of emotionless commodification of language has helped Google become one the most successful and wealthy companies in the world.


Pip Thornton, William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, 2019. Photo credit: Chris Scott

Dr Pip Thornton‘s research explores the economic, cultural and political effects of this monetisation of language.

As the value of words shifts from conveyor of meaning to conveyor of capital, she writes, has Google become an all powerful usurer of language, and if so, how long before the linguistic bubble bursts?

Thornton’s doctoral thesis, Language in the Age of Algorithmic Reproduction: A Critique of Linguistic Capitalism is accompanied by a series of artworks that feed poetry through the Google Ads system. Each of the words in the literary texts she chose are analysed and given an approximate price by Google. The results are then printed out in the form of a receipt.

She was particularly interested in how the Google algorithm would approach Orwell’s Newspeak, a language featured in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Newspeak is an extremely controlled language developed by the ruling Party of fictional Oceania to ensure that the grammar and vocabulary are so restricted and poor that it would be impossible for its speakers to articulate any freedom of thought and any other critique of the Big Brother ideology.


Pip Thornton, {poem}.py, 2019. Photo credit: Amy Freeborn

Until recently, the highly lucrative Google Ads system could not be applied to spoken-word poems that had not been transcribed online. This stronghold of resistance has started to crumble now that speech-recognition has improved and that we’ve welcomed Alexa, Siri and other “personal assistants” into our life.

Dr Pip Thornton is a post-doctoral research associate in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. I’ve asked her to tell us more about her research:

Hi Pip! Your PhD thesis, Language in the Age of Algorithmic Reproduction: A Critique of Linguistic Capitalism, was accompanied by creative experiments that consisted in feeding poetry, literary texts and even your own thesis through Google Ads (formally AdWords) in order to communicate and critique linguistic capitalism. How were art and creativity useful to your research? 

The creative intervention part of my research was a serendipitous accident, but foregrounding the importance of language as art became an integral method. I wanted to use the power of language – existing poetry and literature, as well as new experimentations and speculative work – to critique digital technologies/economies, rather than just using digital tools and technologies to analyse and experiment on language sitting passively in datasets and corpora. I wanted to give language its agency back as human, emotive language, rather than as a training set, or as a vehicle for the flow of advertising capital around digital spaces, which is what it is increasingly becoming. The monetised poem-as-receipt (the {poem}.py project) began as a simple way of visualising the idea of linguistic capitalism, and conveying it to multiple disciplinary audiences. When I worked out how to actually print receipts, and started framing them, it then kind of automatically turned into art – almost by default – which is interesting, as the words I had so carefully rescued from the algorithmic market then become enrolled in an entirely new market. I tried to make these tensions clear in my thesis, and resist them as much as possible.


Pip Thornton, William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, 2017

Apart from Google Adsense, where else can we observe linguistic capitalism in action?  

The definition of linguistic capitalism my thesis stems from is from Frédéric Kaplan’s discussion of Google AdWords in his 2014 article ‘Linguistic Capitalism and Algorithmic Mediation’, but it’s definitely also relevant to other Google platforms such as AdSense (as in its part in the spread of fake news) and GMail. An early inspiration for my own artistic intervention into AdWords was Cabell and Huff’s American Psycho, where they sent pages of Easton-Ellis’s novel through Gmail and collected the adverts that were triggered by the text. They then reconstructed the book physically, leaving the text out, but inserting phantom footnotes to the adverts, thus revealing an economic para-text in which the misogyny and violence of the text is obfuscated by its money-making potential.

For me then, linguistic capitalism occurs when the economic value of words – their exchange value – negates their value in their communicative, or aesthetic sense, with potential collateral effects on the wider discourse. Franco Bifo Berardi calls this the grammar of the digital economy.

I think about it in terms of the illiquidity of language in the digital economy – if words are now tied to an economic derivative value that is more and more distanced and decontextualized from its other – more liquid – values, then do they risk becoming subprime?


Pip Thornton, The price of 1894, 2017. Photo credit: Ray Interactive


Pip Thornton, NEWSPEAK, 2019. Photo credit: Maxime Ragni

The piece NEWSPEAK involves the whole text of Orwell’s 1984 being shown as a stock market ticker-tape, with the word prices fluctuating according to live data from Google Ads. How fast and how widely does the price of words fluctuate over the course of a day for example?  

I haven’t done an in-depth analysis of the changing prices of the words during the NEWSPEAK installation yet. Since Google Ads’ latest upgrade, the estimated bid prices change far more dynamically and quickly than they used to, so I need to update my analysis accordingly. What I can say is that when I first monetised 1984 through AdWords in 2017, and printed it out as a receipt, the text was theoretically worth just over £58,000. The final iteration of NEWSPEAK 2019 came in at around £72,000, so it’s gone up £14,000 in two years!


Pip Thornton, Intersections (exhibition view), 2017

Have you ever thought about what the ruling parting of Oceania would have made of this way of monetising words?  

They’d be raging at Google for pinching their model! The appendix to 1984 gives a full description of Orwell’s vision of Newspeak as deployed in Oceania. It’s specifically a language where words can only be used for a specific and controlled purpose – for example the word ‘free’ can be used to say things like ‘this field is free from weeds’, but can’t be used in a political sense of being ‘free’ from oppression, or intellectually ‘free’. Google’s search and advertising model exercises a similar method of what Anna Jobin and Olivier Glassey have called semantic determinism. Whatever the context of the words we put into the search engine, it is the linguistic market that decides the context of the search results based on the most economically lucrative version of that word – which is not necessarily the one you intended. The best example to illustrate this in my own work is the suggested bid prices for the words cloud, crowd and host in William Wordsworth’s Daffodils poem, all of which have high economic values, based not on Wordsworth’s vision of a Cumbrian springtime, but because of their re-contextualisation as valuable keywords relating to digital technologies such as cloud computing and web hosting. Likewise, in Newspeak, Orwell imagines that words cannot be used for literary purposes. What I think makes the 1984 critique so powerful is that in Oceania, this control of language is overtly deployed as a means of controlling thought, whereas in linguistic capitalism, the political and social effects of this semantic determinism go largely unnoticed, or are somehow dismissed as a quirk, a glitch, or as an acceptable trade-off for the wider perceived benefits of Google’s systems.

This year, you worked with Ray Interactive to add a voice recognition element to your project. What did voice recognition bring to your work?  

When I began the {poem}.py intervention back in 2015, it was ‘written’ words on the internet I was interested in – specifically the words going in and out of the search engine, so I would only do receipts for poems that I could cut and paste from the web. Conceptually the words needed to have been ‘vulnerable’ to the algorithm in some way. Indeed, the first collection of poems I monetised through AdWords included a VOID receipt for a spoken word poem that only existed as audio on the web.

Spoken word thus became a form of resistance against the forces of linguistic capitalism. However, now just a few years later, with the development of Siri, VOIP calling and home assistants such as Amazon Alexa, as well as developments in the monetisation of audio on YouTube etc, speech and audio are no longer safe from digital exploitation, so I wanted to reflect and explore that in my work.

I started imagining a kind of dystopian future when voice-based technologies are so prevalent that it becomes impossible to speak without our words being monetised in some way, and that what we say starts to be dictated by how much linguistic capital people create in different physical spaces. So maybe data packages or Wifi are dependent on the generation of value through speech, so people would earn social capital from making money in areas where keywords are worth more, such as cities, business/commerce hubs, rich areas etc, but not all people have access to those areas, so social divisions are magnified to the point of unrest or conflict.

To reflect this in my work I wanted to develop a voice activated version of {poem}.py, so that spoken words could be automatically monetised in real time, and also to integrate a physical spatial element – maybe in the form of a maze, or other structure, – to convey the idea (and the frustration), of having your movement through space controlled by how much or how little money you make with your words. It was just a theoretical idea at first, but after meeting Brendan and Sam from Ray Interactive through the Creative Informatics project here in Edinburgh, we managed to make it a reality.

You tested the voice recognition system with a group of playwrights, “asking them to create stories according to the economic value of the words they speak as they walk through and react to different surroundings.” Can you tell us how the experiment went?  

Yes – the first time we tested it was at a workshop hosted by the Edinburgh International Festival. We asked playwrights and writers to explain a play or book to their team in three scenes, or stages. We had boxes marked on the floor, and players had to negotiate their way through the space while avoiding running down their team’s budget with what they said. So it was all about an economy of words – trying to avoid using economically valuable language, while at the same time also not losing its communicative and creative value. It was very much a first iteration, but it had interesting results, and we’re hoping to develop it further in the future.

Does linguistic capitalism have any effect on the language people speak in their everyday life? or is it confined to the world of online advertising?  

I suppose there are links between online keywords and the buzzwords people use to gain social and economic capital in spoken communication, and of course language always evolves according to changes in technology and other cultural factors. It’s what’s ahead that bothers me though… like I said before, offline communication used to be relatively untainted by this particular form of linguistic capitalism, but it’s becoming more and more normalised for private and public spaces to be monitored or recorded – whether you consent to it or not. This might start as Siri requests being recorded, or data from VOIP calls and home assistants being monitored and monetised, to smart city projects like what Google is planning in Toronto or things like the technologies monitoring schools for audio signals of anger and violence. With the workshop at the Edinburgh International Festival, I wanted to convey the frustration that might be felt if we were to be aware that the words we say might be hoovered up and exploited in various ways, and also to challenge people to think carefully about their choice of words. Participants were encouraged to think of ways to resist linguistic capitalism by conveying messages (in this case plays) to their human teammates in ways which confounded the voice recognition software. For example, it became clear that strong accents are ‘misheard’ by the software, or participants could draw out their words so slowly that they could make themselves understood to their team, but avoid their words being monetised. As a critique of new voice technologies, it worked quite well. People were annoyed that the very basic voice recognition software we used sometimes didn’t understand them, and there was also the aspect that they couldn’t turn it off – players were arguing with off-mic team mates, but it was all picked up and monetised… there was no escape!


Pip Thornton, 1984 (end), 2017

You explained in a Linguistic Geographies post that “the final chapter of my thesis will examine ways of turning this power back around, and ‘making art political’, or more specifically to this project, reclaiming language as art.” Could you tell us more about that aspect of your research? 

Yes – the ‘making art political’ part is a direct response to what I argue is an aestheticisation of the politics behind technologies such as Google search and advertising. It comes from Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1936). Benjamin was writing in 1930s Europe, where the fascistic politics of the 1930’s had been ‘aestheticised’ by its co-option of popular culture and the myth of inclusion. I argue that a similar thing is happening today – we are lulled into a sense that we have any control or agency by the aesthetics and ubiquity of technologies like Google, and more and more this has extreme political consequences. Benjamin’s call to overturn the aestheticisation of politics required the politicisation of art, which is what I aim to do with my intervention – quite literally embedding the political critique in the material intervention, and re-aestheticising language.

Pip Thornton, 1984 poem.py, 2017

Any other upcoming events, fields of research or projects you could share with us?

I have a piece of speculative fiction coming out soon called ‘Subprime Language and the Crash’. It’s in an edited collection (Kitchin, Graham, Mattern, Shaw 2019) that imagines what would happen if cities were run by companies such as Amazon, Google etc. My piece explores some of the concepts I mentioned earlier. I also want to address Subprime Language from a more academic perspective, so am working with John Hogan Morris on developing the economic and theoretical concepts around such a project. I’m also thinking about the idea of a ‘digital écriture féminine’, an adaptation of Hélène Cixous’s work on the gendered binaries in language – which are so apparent in Google AdWords data- and how we can turn them around through intervention and creativity. Apart from that, I am really keen to take the NEWSPEAK ticker-tape project forward – a monetised version of 1984 playing in Piccadilly Circus or Times Square maybe?

Thanks Pip!

from Finance https://we-make-money-not-art.com/linguistic-capitalism/

What do you need more of in your life right now? [poll]

What do you need more of in your life right now? [poll]

Every now and then I like to randomly poll people on Twitter.

Here was the latest one I pasted up purely out of curiosity 🙂

twitter pollI assumed “money” would hit the top ring there, but nope! It was “time”!!

Which ironically money helps get you more of 🙂

On the flip side, one out of every 5 people said they were “actually good” on all of these which was also pretty surprising. Usually there’s *something* you’re struggling with at any given point of time, so to be good with three major areas like this means you’ve either figured out the Game of Life or are lying! Haha.. And if it’s the former – WE WANT TO HEAR ALL YOUR SECRETS!!! 😉

As nice as it is to be able to check off all three though, I feel like as long as you can hit 2 of them you’re likely headed down the right path. With money and love you can probably find ways to free up more time, while if you have plenty of time and money you can probably focus more on finding love – even if it’s not always/ever in your control. Likewise, if you have plenty of love and time you have the ability to harness some of that into more income generating opportunities!

The problem of course lies in only hitting one – or even none – of these 😦 People were joking that they needed an “all of the above” option in the poll, but hopefully that’s all it was as it’s not a fun position to be in. And in either case – it’s good to be surrounding yourself with like-minded *positive* people if you are struggling! So you remain as hopefull as possible and know it’s all do-able – which it is!

I saw a great quote the other week that I wish everyone could see:

“There’s never enough money to do things perfectly, but there’s always enough money to make a start.”

You can swap in *any* of these variables above (money, love, time) and it would still make sense. Except for maybe the love part 😉 But it is true that ALL OF US have enough money or time to get the ball rolling!! Even if just minimally day in and day out. Habit breeds great change!!

You just have to start. And then not give up.

I joke with people that the only reason this blog is still going is because I refuse to miss a scheduled blog post or else it’s all down hill from there, and the same could very well be said with my money. Most days/articles aren’t anything to write home about, but *collectively* over a long period of time it becomes something much greater than itself. A “collection” of thoughts and cents, if you will – all strung together by daily action and a refusal to give up!

And if there’s one thing to be stubborn about, it’s that 😉 Not giving up!! Something we all know deep down, but still good to be reminded of.

Anyways, nothing too mind blowing here today, just wanted to share in case you’re a lover of random polls too 😉 And if you didn’t get a chance to answer it, go ahead and do so now!

What do YOU need more of in your life right now?
Money, love, time – or are you actually good these days?

Whatever your answer, keep going strong and know we’ve always got your back 🙂 You can reach out anytime here.

j. money signature

 

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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/what-do-you-need-more-of-in-your-life-right-now-poll/

Meet Miguel – an Immigrant Who Became a Multi-Millionaire Without Any Help or Money

Meet Miguel – an Immigrant Who Became a Multi-Millionaire Without Any Help or Money

statue of liberty sunrise

Good morning!!

Was talking back and forth with a reader of the blog here, and the more we got into it the more I realized just how powerful his story is.

Most of us have come from a pretty solid background with plenty of opportunities to (easily) take advantage of, but Miguel here is proof that even without any of this privilege you can still succeed – and well!!! – with some good grit and determination.

Here’s his story of how he went from nothing to millions, all by the time he reached his early 40s. I hope it inspires you in some small way!!

(And if any of y’all would like to share your story/net worth with us, I’d love to hear it too because I’m no longer allowed to share my own anymore and we need to keep the $$$ train going!!! You can easily shoot me a note here!)

Show ’em how it’s done, Miguel…

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Hello,

I am a legal immigrant from Guatemala on my own since age 15. While in high school, I knew that I had to continue my education if I wanted options aside from the few limited possibilities that I had available.

I worked hard to stay focused in keeping my grades up, applying for every program possible to help me. During my college time in the mid to late 1990’s, I came across a few financial magazines and books which inspired me to seek out ways to start building my net worth.

As a sophomore in college, I began by buying a severe fixer upper home for $7,500 (monthly loan payment was $150, taxes around $800 a year). Also during college I worked part time jobs, which kept me afloat but kept me stuck financially especially with the home maintenance expenses. The home I bought was a huge learning experience about how difficult it is to take on work that you know nothing about.

After my college graduation in 2000, I sold the home for $41,000. Most of the money went to pay off loans I had taken to stay afloat during school and to pay for the home renovations. Although I did not come out with a large sum of money from the sale after paying off debt, I learned a lot about fixing homes, which would help me in the future.

After graduation, I moved to a bigger city and tried a couple of jobs before settling in a federal one, climbing the ranks through the years. I began to save as much as possible early on, starting with 5% pretax deductions (to get the 100% match), and eventually reaching my goal of maxing out to $19,000. I have kept the funds in the stock market without touching it, buying low during bad years and doing great through stock market highs.

As I gained knowledge, I adapted and did the following:

  • Bought reliable used cars at discounted prices through private sellers (having them inspected by mechanics and negotiating rock bottom prices)
  • Annually review companies for lower insurance rates
  • No cable or landline! We try to avoid reoccurring memberships or monthly fees that trickle down our savings.
  • Cook most meals at home. When we get take out we usually get it from ethnic restaurants where the food goes along ways at a reasonable cost.
  • Began a Roth IRA in my early 20’s contributing the maximum through today (<– that alone will get you to a million dollars over time!!)
  • Very rarely buy anything “new” – most of my furniture comes from local ads or consignment stores (including electronics)
  • Bought cheap fixer uppers in good neighborhoods, slowly moving up by taking principal from one to another
  • Without exception always pay off our credit cards in full every month. Points earned automatically go to an investment account (see Fidelity credit card)
  • Save for retirement in ETF’s (why pay mutual fund fees when most cannot even match the S&P benchmark?)
  • Always looking for ways to save and finding ways to earn money on the side by subscribing and learning from financial blogs like J. Money!
  • Most importantly, keeping track of all expenditures and savings in a notebook. Tracking my net worth and investment performance while continually setting higher goals

Aside from that, I also gained tremendously by having found a wife with a similar mindset and focus. I remember hearing from women while dating on how odd it was that I would bring up financial questions, but I knew that compatibility on that is essential (financial problems are the #1 reason for divorce after all).

I remember meeting a woman that had $150,000 in student debt and over $10,000 in credit cards but only earned $30,000 a year. I thought – Am I going to have to pay for that, and how long would that take? Most surprisingly was that she spent as if she earned four times what she earned thinking she would marry someone that would eventually pay off her debt (well that would not be me!).

I was very fortunate to have found a woman that had similarly worked as hard as I have, and who carried no debt with similar savings as mine. Although our strategies were different, we were able to align and coordinate to mutually agreed goals, constantly learning from one another.

Our summary net worth is as follows:

Home Value: $625,000 – Paid in full! This is our final home for the long run because buying and fixing homes gets old after several homes, and this is of course before we downsize to something smaller in retirement.

CD savings: $120,000 – We buy CD’s for emergency savings because they provide at least 2% interest, and we have applied the laddered CD strategy so money is available without much penalty if we truly need it.

Bank Savings: $10,000 – We keep a modest amount that, although does not provide much interest, is there for any immediate emergency and is quickly accessible.

Pre-Tax Retirement Savings: $1,200,000

Roth IRAs: $100,000

College Savings: $40,000 – We have just one child.

Vehicles: $30,000 – Both Japanese models, bought used through private parties after mechanic inspections.

Cash, coins, etc: $5,000

Although we put a big emphasis on savings, we are not by any means “misers.” We believe in keeping a careful balance, enjoying travel and things that makes us happy now because after all, we do know how long we are going to live.

Now in our early 40’s, our goal is to retire by age 50.

******

I asked him about his debts since in his first email to me he mentioned he was “almost” a multi-millionaire (and clearly these numbers above add up to over $2,000,000), and here’s what he said… Chalk full of even more insight!

******

Yes, a multi-millionaire, but just over – and because the market has been shaky it is why I have not really solidified the “multi-millionaire” status. Whenever I have hit a milestone, it seems surreal and yet I don’t feel any different inside except at times fear of loss and thought of how to retain what I have.

I tend to be very hard on myself, always thinking of what I should have done (and should be doing) a lot more in life. I also have a hard time dealing with the imposter syndrome or whatever it is as I am not sure how else to explain it.

Otherwise to address your question, we do not have any debts.

Our cars are bought used and paid in cash after we have saved for them (my Toyota for example has been an amazing truck with very few issues for 11 years and purchased used).

We did of course have a home loan mortgage. I applied various strategies to keep a low mortgage; applying the principal from the previous home fully to the next, avoiding paying closing costs, and buying the cheapest house on the nicest neighborhood (with good schools because that helps retain the value!), that needed work and strongly negotiating a price as low as possible.

In keeping the costs of buying low for example, I found after much research that Pentagon Federal credit union would pay for the closing costs (up to $15,000) if one would use their agents and closing company (which was not a problem and a no brainer). That saved us $40K in three homes that we bought/fixed and sold. Every home that we fixed up was in a real estate market that fortunately did well. We paid off the last mortgage after heavily sending everything possible each month. A big sacrifice, but it gives us a great sense of peace knowing we are just liable for taxes, insurance and maintenance.

As I mentioned, we put everything on credit cards but we don’t spend on unnecessary things. We never buy the latest electronics, and keep our monthly costs low. Our cards are paid in full every month – we use them because we get cash back and the cash back money is automatically invested through Fidelity, which I transfer to my daughters’ college education fund.

Our goals have also been helped from my wife who recently started earning a higher salary (it does not bother me that she now earns more than me, the more the merrier!), and she did her education in Europe so it was free.

When we met, she only earned around $35K but had no loans of any kind; she drove a used Toyota Echo without any options. 🙂 I had college loans because I did not have anyone to help me with my tuition, but I paid them off in full. I also went to a state university where the tuition was very low.

We are both immigrants, arrived to the US without any money, did not receive any help from anyone, and used our education and hard work to help us propel to good paying jobs.

******

For more posts divulging peoples’ money, click here.

 

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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/meet-miguel-an-immigrant-who-became-a-multi-millionaire-without-any-help-or-money/

Favorite Reads From The Month 📚

Favorite Reads From The Month 📚

fantasy book

Gooood morning!!

Grab those coffees and brains, and get ready to binge on some epic articles today! If Rockstar Finance was still around I’d post these right up on there, womp womp….

So many of these got me thinking HARD, and hopefully they have the same effect on you… Especially the David Cain and Elizabeth Gilbert pieces. I don’t know how people are so smart, but thank goodness we have them in our lives!!

Happy Friday!!

*******

bill murray

My Bill Murray Approach To Working In Retirement via Leisure Freak — “Bill Murray is famously hard to reach. He bucks the entertainment system’s rules by refusing to have an agent. Instead he just has a toll free 1-800 number that goes directly to voicemail. Those who can get his number and call have 2 minutes to make their pitch. If he’s interested he will reply with a PO Box address to mail a script or other details to. Then you have to wait to hear back from him. There’s no schmoozing, stroking, or endless auditioning. No obligations, expectations, or pressures to jump into anything with anyone. He isn’t motivated by money and you never know if he’s in or out.”

How to Make a Thousand Bucks an Hour via Mr. Money Mustache — “Earlier this month, I floated exactly this idea with the members of my coworking space, proposing that we form a group with the witty name “The Optimization Council.” The Council would meet every now and then to talk through life’s biggest expenses and opportunities, and harvest the wisdom of the group so we can all benefit from the best ideas in each category. The response to this idea was overwhelmingly positive.”

Does The World of Personal Finance Need More Politics? via Get Rich Slowly –“Earlier this week at The Washington Post, Helaine Olen wrote that the world of personal finance needs more politics. Olen specifically calls out FinCon, the financial media conference I attended last week. I love FinCon. She doesn’t. She’s disappointed that so many members of our community emphasize personal action and responsibility instead of directing our efforts toward changing the systemic and societal issues that make it difficult for some people to succeed.”

chris istace

Mindfulness and Your Money or Your Life via The Mindful Explorer — “By stepping out of the circular trap of our money focused society I was able to see clearly and put my life energy to work in the best way possible. It is funny how when you start living simply that all the pieces begin to fall in place and the once hard decisions with money begin to be automatic.”

The power of saying, “So what?” via City Frugal — “Rather than pushing harder to get the FI ball to roll down the hill even faster, I’m easing up. I’ve decided to strategically “waste” money in areas of interest in which I’ve never dared to invest before. ”

This 50-Year-Old Dog Walker Retired After Making More Than $1 Million via MarketWatch — “Many people dream of working for themselves. Many, of course, dream of making money doing something they love. Many also dream of working three days a week. Morrison managed to do all of that.”

two dollar bill

“They just call me the $2 bill guy” via Daily Hampshire Gazette — “Robert Nehring is a 14-year-old on a mission: to keep the $2 bill in circulation… Nehring estimates that he has spent more than 1,000 $2 bills in the community. And since he began this project, his mother, Suzy Fortgang, said she has started receiving $2 bills with her change.”

In Praise of The Inner Crone! via Elizabeth Gilbert — “We live in a society that romanticizes youth. We live in a culture where youth is considered a real accomplishment. You look at a seriously powerful classic crone like the woman in this photo and you see how foolish we are — to imagine that the young offer much for us to aspire to, or learn from. No wisdom like the wisdom of survival. No equanimity like the equanimity of somebody who plants a garden right on top of a nuclear disaster and gets on with it.”

Being Hungry In America Is Hard Work via NPR — “Hungry people are everywhere: You can’t necessarily tell who they are at a glance. They work with you and live in your neighborhood. They’re members of your church and family. They might even be standing in front of you like I was, sharply dressed in their mother’s hand-me-down suit, asking their community for a little help.”

nokia 3310 minimalist phone

“I Was Lacking in Enough Energy, Time and Attention” by Cal Newport — “Driven by these somber realities, he came to a simple revelation: “life would be better if I cut back.” A decision, as it turns out, he took seriously. Perhaps most notable among the many changes he executed, Robert replaced his smartphone with a Nokia 3310 (see the above image) — a popular alternative among the digital minimalists, as it boasts clean interfaces and its battery lasts forever.”

The Only Dependable Source of Happiness via Raptitude — “Whenever I’m out in public and I catch myself judging a stranger—for such offenses as poor sidewalk-sharing, or imprecise parking—I resolve instead to temporarily become their secret ally. Unbeknownst to the other person, I’ve gone from silently resenting them to silently watching out for them. For the short time we’re in the same vicinity, I’m prepared to leap into action should they need any sort of help.”

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And then lastly, a few lines I can’t stop thinking about:

“You know yourself mostly by your thoughts.

Everyone else in the world knows you only by your actions.

Remember this when you feel misunderstood.

You have to do or say something for others to know how you feel.”

James Clear

Happy weekend, everyone!

will ferrell happy

 

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from Finance https://www.budgetsaresexy.com/favorite-reads-from-the-month-%f0%9f%93%9a/

“I will listen to your complaints twice.”

“I will listen to your complaints twice.”

listening to complaints

Morning!

Was talking to a friend the other day on how people love to complain about things but never do anything about ’em, and he hit me with a convo he used to have with his employees back in the corporate days:

I will listen to your complaints twice.

Once right now, and one more time later.

And then it’s done or solved, and you can’t complain to me about it again.

BOOM!!!

That’ll stop you in your tracks! Haha…

But I love it for a number of reasons. First, it gives you some clear expectations right off the bat, but secondly – and more importantly – it RESHAPES the convo from something not very helpful to something ACTION ORIENTED! All the while still giving you a grace period to bitch one more time while you’re searching for solutions 🙂

Such a good mentality, and something I think we could ALL use a healthy dose of in our lives. Especially when it comes to money.

How many times do we love to complain about all the debt we have or how we’re “always poor”? Or that we suck at hitting budgets/promotions/goals/general life plans?

I know I do it! And I literally just became a millionaire!!

But while some of these complaints are legit, it also doesn’t help much putting negative energy out there when it can be processed in a much healthier way. Maybe we allow ourselves to whine only once, and then try hard to squash the second one and think of my good friend here?? How much better would our worlds be if everyone decided to do this?? All social media platforms would cease to exist!!! Haha…

I also think it gets easier when we stop to *appreciate* just how far we’ve come in this world. Both in our personal and our financial lives. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone worse off 10 or 20 years ago than they are now (and if so – they had some major changes in their life and are allowed to complain!!), but by and large most of us will find we’ve made leaps and bounds and life isn’t quite as bad as we often make it out to be. And honestly, I don’t think it’ll ever be *perfect* because life isn’t perfect! Whether you have a billion dollars or a hundred dollars to your name.

So while we can’t always help *thinking* negatively, we can at least stop the negativity from coming out of our mouth. And maybe even get a little done towards our goals too by directing all that energy – imagine that?! 🙂

If all else fails, try putting out a “complaint” jar, haha… Similar to a “swear” jar, except you throw in $1.00 every time you complain instead of curse. I did it yearrrrrs ago for Lent once and improved my thoughts by at least 80% – no joke. The hardest part was literally just *catching* myself before the words came out! Once you get that down the rest is easy. (And then you have a nice pile of cash from the jar to amp your goals too, haha…)

Anyways, food for thought today… If you know anyone would could use this message and want to slyly forward it over to them, I won’t tell anyone! Good friends are great, but good friends who don’t bitch 24×7 are even better. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

XOXO,

j. money signature

 

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[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/i-will-listen-to-your-complaints-twice/