I can think of 9 different cell phones that I have owned over the years. Granted, that may not seem like a lot to many of you who may get a new phone every 6 months or every year, but that’s how many phones I have bought/sold/traded in since 1996. Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s, there really wasn’t much of a market for used cell phones because the internet wasn’t as huge as it is today, so anyone who got rid of their phone usually just tossed it in the trash or recycled it if their community offered it. But today is a different story; there are cell phone recycling bins in almost every electronics store for phones which cannot be resold, and there are plenty of online avenues for making back some of your money on your purchase. This is especially true for smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberries and Android phones. These phones can have some incredibly high resale values, as was my experience selling my 1st generation iPhone. I sold it on eBay for more than I bought it for in the first place. Someone wanted an unlocked/out of contract iPhone to use either on ATT or T-Mobile, so they paid a pretty hefty amount for it – over $200. Considering I paid $199 for it in the first place, I would say I definitely got my money’s worth with that phone. I then rolled that money into my (then new) 3GS iPhone, saving me over $200 on that purchase. That was quite a score!
I bought a car with a credit card. There, I said it, and now everyone can gasp for air as I explain how I bought my latest car with a credit card. I drive a Mini Cooper S, a used car that I bought for just under $19,000 earlier this year, after selling my Subaru Forester for a more city-ish car. After all, I didn’t really need a 4WD station wagon in Los Angeles, did I? But back to the topic at hand – buying an automobile with a credit card. It’s generally frowned upon to buy a car in this matter, because you are at the mercy of the credit card company in terms of your interest rates, monthly payments, fees and charges, and just a general sense of dread when one gets a credit card bill every month saying one owes $18,000 or so. Sure, you can get 0% cash advances or promotional APR’s to buy a car with, but what if you don’t pay off that balance when the interest rate reverts back to 23.9%? What if you miss a payment and the interest rate goes back up only one month into making payments? That wouldn’t be too fun, nor would it be too smart a move. That’s why we all generally take out auto loans direct from lenders, where we know up front just what the interest rate is, how much the monthly payment is, and when we will be done paying off the loan. But with a credit card, a lot of those variables can change at any moment. Unless…
Recently, I ran a giveaway of the book “Be Thrifty: How To Live Better With Less” and asked those who wanted to enter to win to send their best frugal/thrifty tip in with their entry. Well, you guys certainly responded! And because the tips were so great, I wanted to assemble them in a post and make them available to all the regular readers and new visitors to the site. So without further ado, here is a collection of thrifty tips sent in by readers of My Two Dollars:
A while back, I had an unplanned conversation with an old friend about the expense of sending kids to school. Not having children myself, I don’t have first-hand experience with the costs involved, but I am smart enough to know that it costs a lot to raise a child. In fact, that’s the number one thing I hear my friends talk about – just how much money it costs! But my conversation with my friend was about the cost of school supplies they needed to purchase per the teacher’s request, because the public school district couldn’t afford to supply the items the classroom needed. We weren’t talking a lot of money here; rather, we were probably talking about maybe $40-$50 in supplies, or just enough to have enough on hand for their kid and to help cover the costs for those who truly couldn’t afford to spend the money. My friends have enough money to spend $50 on school supplies, especially considering that their kids go to free (taxpayer supported) public school. And yet, here I was listening to them complain about having to buy supplies with statements like:
The Internal Revenue Service will never contact you via email. Period. However, a very good scam artist will certainly try, and a good way for them to do so is to pretend to be the IRS in order to gain access to your banking information. In the past month, I have gotten three emails purporting to be from the IRS regarding a Federal tax payment having failed or been rejected. They look totally legit, if you don’t look carefully and not at the “Reply-To” address in the header, and I can see how many people would instantly click on the link in the email in order to rectify this failed payment. After all, no one wants to get in trouble with the IRS! This is what the latest email I received looked like: