Sunday Money Roundup – Food, Inc. Edition.

If you guys haven’t seen the film Food, Inc. yet, please do yourself and your family a favor and check it out. It will change your behavior and attitude towards food within the first 15 minutes. It has changed me forever. (steps off soapbox) And now, check out some great articles I read this past week:

Frugal Dad talks about Santa’s Workshop: A Kids and Money Lesson Even Adults Could Benefit From

Brip Blap talks about “what my grandparents taught me about money“. Great article.

Frugal For Life reminds us that cheap exercise is right under our noses.

Cash Money Life has some tax tips for those with newborns and children. Great advice here Patrick.

Man Vs. Debt tells it like it is – Excess is a Liability. Amen to that!

Remodeling This Life talks about Passing on Traditions, which is way more important than anything money can buy.

Fire Finance wants to know how much of a wedding gift is enough?


Money Quote Friday – Unnecessary Possessions Edition.

Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them! There is great freedom in simplicity of living. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest.“ –Peace Pilgrim

It took me until the last few years to understand this, but it finally clicked. Hope you guys all have a fantastic weekend and see you next week!


21 Crazy Ways To Make Extra Money.

Looking for extra cash either because of the holidays or because of your underemployment? Look no further than these 21 “interesting” ways you can make money part time. After all, we all need a little excitement and diversity in our lives, right? Right?

  • Compost all your kitchen scraps and sell it to gardeners.
  • Become a medical guinea pig.
  • Open up a pooper-scooper company.
  • Sell your sperm.
  • Marry someone for money.
  • Sell your eggs.
  • Sell ad space on your car.
  • Deliver sex toys and props to those in “need” at night.
  • Beg on a street corner.


  • Pose nude at an art school.
  • Offer to wash your neighbors’ car.
  • Become a fetish model.
  • Get a part-time job being a mascot for a minor-league team.
  • Sell your hair to The Hair Trader.
  • Buy flowers and/or fruit at a Farmers Market and try to sell it for a little more on freeway off ramps
  • Make drink cozies from old towels and sell them on Etsy.com
  • Sell your plasma.
  • Steal your mom’s gold and sell it. (Kidding – just wanted to see if you were paying attention)
  • Become a phone-sex operator from the comfort of your home.
  • Spend a day checking the change thingy on payphones in the entire city.
  • Live near a sports stadium? Sell parking spots on your front lawn.

OK, so – how many of these jobs have you done? Any you would consider doing? Any you are doing right now?

Photo by Ò®


Tax Law Changes In Store For 2010.

With only a few weeks left in 2009, now is definitely the time to look ahead to 2010 and what it can mean for your finances. My brother is my accountant, so I leave most of the paperwork to him, but I still need to know what big changes might be coming along from year to year. So in order to help you (and me!) out, I went looking for information on what tax law changes we have in store for 2010, and this is what I found…

No more deduction of new vehicle sales tax – Starting January 1 you can no longer take the itemized deduction or increase in standard deduction for sales tax on the purchase of a new car.

First-time Home Buyer Credit – The qualification period for first-time home buyers to purchase a home and qualify for the credit will continue through May 1, 2010.

Teacher deduction expires – I hope they reinstate this one, as teachers are given the shaft already. (I wrote about this $250 deduction before)

Unemployed? ““ In 2009, those receiving unemployment benefits could exclude up to $2,400 from their taxable income, but this ends in 2010.

Roth IRA conversion ““ There are no income limits in 2010 for individuals that would like to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Also, for any conversions in 2010, the tax will be paid in 2011 and 2012. Pretty cool. Check out this list of where to open a Roth IRA.

Charitable distributions / contributions ““ Charitable distributions made directly from your IRA account to charity will no longer be excluded from your income.

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) ““ The AMT exemption is scheduled to decrease to $33,750 for single filers and to $45,000 for those filing a married joint return. They need to do something about the AMT immediately before more and more lower-income people get sucked into it.

Sales tax ““ No more itemized deductions for state and local sales tax.

So, these are the changes I found. Those of you who know of others or are professionals, please weigh in with changes you know about!


Moving All My Money To A Schwab Brokerage And Checking Account.

OK, not ALL my money…but I am moving my checking, “immediate need” saving, and brokerage accounts over to Charles Schwab. I have written in the past about my displeasure with some aspects of Bank of America and while I have been with them for what seems like forever, it’s time to move on to a bank I can be happy with. I looked into credit unions, which I would have preferred to go with, but I didn’t find anything in my area that I could join that met my needs. So Schwab it is, and so far so good…with the opening of the accounts.


The big difference I will have with them from BofA? Schwab is online only – there are no bank branches. Sure, there are brokerage offices, where I could go deposit a check into my account if I really needed to, but most everything is done online and through the mail. Sound scary? Well, BofA doesn’t have a single branch in Colorado and the closest one in NM to my old house was 24 miles away, so I have been banking “online” for almost 2 years now. No worries there for me.

Why am I moving to Schwab? Well, for many reasons, but let’s take a look at a few big ones:

First of all, they reimburse any and all ATM fees. I have been paying up the wazoo for using an ATM in a pinch with BofA, but that ends now. Use an ATM with Schwab? They automatically reimburse you directly into your checking account for the amount the bank charged. Pretty sweet.

Free checks. While I don’t use checks too often anymore, free ones certainly beats having to buy some.

Their checking account pays interest. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than BofA pays me, which is zilch. At 0.75% it is not going to make me rich, but it will help me make a little cash on my cash.

There are no account minimums and no service charges whatsoever. BofA gets you for everything if you are not careful.

Organization. I am tired of having like 10 accounts holding all my money, and I am going to use these guys to consolidate most of my accounts.

The only accounts I am leaving put are my ING Direct savings accounts (emergency fund, tax fund, car fund) and my TRowePrice account that holds a few mutual funds and my Roth IRA. All other accounts – my Scottrade account, a holding account that holds my, er, BofA stock I inherited, and some bond accounts along with a few other little things will be moved to Schwab over the next month.

Schwab is one of the few banks/brokerage houses that didn’t take any Federal bailout money, so I am pretty happy about that. And so far, the account opening process has gone smoothly and I am slowly moving all my money over to them. It’s a little tricky when you have so much set up to be paid automatically out of your checking account, so I have to keep an eye on the few things I have left that are not charged to my credit card monthly. But overall I am excited to start using them and seeing most of my money in a single place, which will make my life easier.

What about you? Any of you guys bank or invest with Schwab? If so, let me know what you think!

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