Monies in your Twenties

Here is a great article about managing money in your twenties. Honestly this is the PERFECT age to start caring about money, I wish I had started earlier than I did. I know most people think “Well, I have 40 years to save for retirement”, but the sooner you start, the more you will have, and the less time you have to work to be able to retire. Compounding is king, my friends.

Your 20s: See how your wealth measures up – MSN Money


Sometimes the simple things can save the most money.

1. Brew your own coffee. Seriously, 3 bags of beans gets us through the month for a total of $20. Buying a cup every day would run about $4 for both of us, times 20 work days = $80 minimum per month.
2. Cut my own hair. Ok, so the teacher wife cant do this, but I can…I barely have any as it is!
3. Spend all your time blogging so you dont leave the house and spend money.
4. Put electronic equipment on (see this post) power strips. You would be amazed at how much juice your unused equipment uses.
5. Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs…seriously, go get some. The power bill goes right down.
6. Use a movie service like Netflix..for $6.00 per month we get 2 rentals…considering that renting from the store is about $5.00 per movie, and the movie theater costs $30, this is quite a deal. Plus, you dont have to drive anywhere, which saves money on gas.
7. Buy fruit and vegetables at the local Farmer’s Market if you have one…its fresher AND cheaper.
8. Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards, auto loans, mortagages, etc…every little bit helps in the long term when you are paying interest.
9. Coupons….pretty self explantory, but sometimes they can save you a lot.
10. Reuse paper products..in case you didnt notice, there are 2 sides to every piece of paper. After we use the first side of our scrap paper around the house, we just turn it over, staple it together, and you have an entirely new notebook for jotting down other money saving ideas!
11. Take public transportation – if I take the bus to the other side of town, it costs me 50 cents. If I drove my car, it would cost me about $3.00 in gas PLUS parking.
12. Buy a BRITA or PUR water filter and attach it to your faucet. A one time expense of $20 gives us about 3 months of free filtered water, that most of the time you find is just as good as the bottled stuff you pay a fortune for.
13. Go to the library. I dont remember the last time I actually bought a book or magazine, I just borrow them all now.
14. Take your lunch to work. Both the wife and I take (well, I did when I had a job) our lunch to work every day. This saves a fortune as you could easily spend $20 each day between the two of us.
15. Buy generic aspirin, ibuprofen, etc…its the same stuff as the name brand!
16. If you must use a credit card, make sure you are getting something for using it other than interest charges. We have dividend and airline miles cards…so we always get SOMETHING back if we have to charge a big purchase.
17. That being said, if you are about to make an impulse purchase, put it down and wait 24 hours. If you still must have it, think about it for another 24.
18. Turn down the heat setting on your water heater..you wont notice the difference, but your wallet will. Why pay a fortune to heat a giant tank of water that you might not even use?
19. Get some exercise, it keeps you out of the doctor’s office and thus saves you money.
20. Send your significant other out to get another job while you stay home. Whoops, how did that one sneak in there?
21. Pay your bills online…saves time AND money.
22. Get your news from the internet and not newspapers – save money and trees
23. Sell all your old stuff on Craigslist, Ebay, Half.com or some other site..just because you dont want it doesnt mean someone else doesnt!
24. Get rid of some cable tv services…if not all of it. We tried to get rid of cable, but we couldnt even get reception in our house with an antenna. So we got rid of movie channels and their remote control. Savings of about $20 per month!
25. Lastly, dont quit your job like I did. While I made the right decision for us, it may not be right for you. Its hard to save money when you dont have any coming in!



Boost Your Own Paycheck – Steps You Can Take Now.

BankRate is running an interesting little article on ways to increase your paycheck. Most of these you might already know…in fact, I know you already know them. “Take Initiative”? “Be An Entrepreneur”? Come on, those are easy ones. Anyone who wants to make money knows you have to work at it. But maybe if you are at a crossroads in your career and not sure of some other steps you can take to increase your earning potential, you should check out the article. The basic 17 ideas they list are:

1. Network, network, network.
2. Expand your circle beyond the people who are most like you.
3. Realize that your new part-time job is looking for your next job.
4. Think globally.
5. Trash your old-fashioned resume.
6. Take the initiative.
7. Keep up.
8. Seek advancement at your current job.
9. Stand out.
10. Keep ahead of the game.
11. Become an expert.
12. Look for career opportunities that can’t be outsourced.
13. Realize that the only constant is change.
14. Have a life beyond the job.
15. Stay plugged in at work.
16. Those who can, teach.
17. Be an entrepreneur.

To read the entire article, click on over to BankRate and see what they have to say about each idea. Go ahead, don’t be afraid, your paycheck might depend on it!


Got my last free credit report for the year, did you get yours?

I hope by now everyone is accessing their free credit reports every year (are there still some states that dont let you do this?). Through AnnualCreditReport you are allowed 1 report from each agency every 12 months. So we schedule ours for one report every 4 months, and I just got my last one of the year. Somehow, since the last one, my report went from a 743 score to an 805….not bad! We paid off a little debt here and there, but nothing major had changed. I guess moving the money we did owe around and then making it disappear did wonders for my score.

Forbes.com has a good little article up about the program, and how its VERY easy to be duped into using a different website to access your free report:

“The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.To get it, go to www.AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the only site authorized by the FTC to distribute free credit reports. Spell it wrong, and you will likely end up at a fraudulent site that is trying to sell you something, or worse, collect your personal information for fraudulent purposes. You can also link to the correct site through the FTC’s website at www.ftc.gov. You can order one from each of these reporting agencies every 12 months, or space them out over the period of a year. Credit scores are not offered as part of the free report. If you want your credit score, you will have to purchase this separately from one of the three reporting agencies.”

The first few times I went to get my score, I had not bookmarked the site and almost got tricked into buying credit protection plans, free iPods, monthly subscriptions to reporting agencies, assorted “coffee of the month” clubs and Martha Stewart’s Living. Ok, the last 2 are made up, but really, be careful when you go for your free report..make sure you go to the actual site. Since we get them 3 times a year, I pick 3 dates in my calendar for the upcoming 12 months, with 4 months in between dates, and then go get the report when the reminder shows up in my calendar. Make sure you note which agency you get the report from, because you can only get a report from each agency once per 12 month period. Also, the credit report is free, but the credit score you have to pay a few bucks for. If you are on the same schedule as me and have not gotten your last one for the year, go!


A Free Copy of Microsoft Vista yours for the taking. Really.

Time for free stuff!

Ok, this sounds strange. But then again I am an Apple user, so (and sorry to Microsoft users) it would sound strange. But according to Windows-Now, Microsoft is willing to give you a free copy of Vista and Office if you just watch a few videos. See, told you it sounded strange. From the site:

“So, if you watch three webcasts each for Windows Vista and Office 2007 within 30 days of registering, 6-8 weeks later you’ll get shiny new DVD cases at your front door. Only one free copy of each product per person.”

If you run Windows and are interested in Vista, this could be your chance to save some dough and get it for free. Head over to Windows-Now to see what the hell I am talking about.

Me? I will stick with my trusty OS X.

Windows-Now via Engadget

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