lifeboat

Posted: December 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: money | Tags: , | No Comments »

Came across this little African proverb today and wanted to share. My how true it is:

“Save your money, and one day it will save you.”

 

Remember: it’s not about how much money you make, but how much money you keep.

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words to live by

Posted: August 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: money, quotes | Tags: , | 8 Comments »

by unknown

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how many times did you overdraft last year?

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: consumerism, money | Tags: | 6 Comments »

If I asked you how many times you were hit with overdraft fees in the last year, you might give me a nasty look and tell me that is a rude thing to ask. You’d be right, and fortunately for both of us, I would never ask you. Luckily we have polls to give us information about these sorts of things.

Warning: this is a bit of a rant. I just took a quick poll on USAA (my credit union/insurance company) and guessed that the average number of times the average household had to pay an overdraft fee last year would be about 4 times. I was wrong. I was also really disturbed by the actual outcome.

You’re an optimist, aren’t you? Actually, the average U.S. household with a banking account incurred nearly 13 overdraft fees in 2009, according to management advisory firm Bretton Woods Inc. Add it all up, and those fees cost Americans a whopping $38 billion they could’ve spent elsewhere.

WHAT?! 38 billion dollars!! Between that money and parking tickets, it’s a wonder we as a country are in the sticky financial situation we are. But I’m no economist. All I know is, this is such an easy problem to resolve and it blows my mind that Americans (no idea what the spending habits overseas are like) are so undisciplined that we can’t even manage to keep some reserve funds to cover fees like this. Because it’s not the fact that we overdraft – I mean, it happens sometimes, even to responsible folks who try and keep the bulk of their money in interest-earnings accounts versus non-interest-earning checking accounts. But most banks today offer overdraft protection, like USAA who pulls from my emergency fund if and when I ever get low. Why is it so tough to set a dollar amount and say, “Ok, I will not let my balance dip below this line.” Or even to set aside a few hundy in a savings account that can transfer funds in a temporary lapse of spending judgment?

By the way – I totally understand that some people simply do not have the means to have emergency funds, but I would argue that given our silly lifestyle of living beyond our means and the amount of money we spend on cars, clothes, fancy food, spas, alcohol, etc… there is no reason that $38 billion number should be so high.

I also realize that I am in the minority as a person who enjoys budgeting, spreadsheets and forecasting net worth, etc. – but it doesn’t take a total nerd to be able to run a proper household budget, with goals and safety nets. There are like a thousand free downloadable programs and websites (like mint.com) that can make it as easy as 1-2-3. It’s REALLY NOT THAT HARD. And I’m telling you, the relief you will feel from knowing that you’ve got cash in case of a REAL emergency (not of the Louis Vuitton nature) is truly life changing.

Is this little statistic grossing anyone else out or is it just me? Why do you think people prefer paying overdraft fees and being strapped for cash to curbing their frivolous spending habits and saving money?

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what makes the world go round

Posted: July 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: money, work | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I’ve got a video for you guys. Watch the entire thing. Not just because the illustrations are pretty mesmerizing, but because the ideas are very interesting and dare I say… world changing? The topic is motivation – what motivates people? Money, right? We love money!! We’ll do anything for money!! It pays our bills, buys us shiny things (sometimes before we even have the money), makes us sublimely happy. NOT. According to the studies explained below, we aren’t as scum-sucking as we thought we were. People just want to make an impact and do cool stuff.

Watch & learn:


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Things I Love Thursday

Posted: January 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: art, money, music | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ahhh, it feels good to be back. Holidays and vacations are great & all, but I love a good routine. To anyone else, it may be boring, but for me, I get great pleasure out of knowing exactly when things are going to happen. Of course, I rarely stick to a plan, but I like to pretend.

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La Maison Rose (the pink house) in Montmartre, Paris, France… where I’ll be in 4 months!
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So here we are on Thursday, just a few hours before I get to pick up my man from the airport (!!), ready to share some of the things I’m loving right now.

THINGS I LOVE THURSDAY!

- Budgets. Saving money. Money blogs. Financial planning. What kind of a nerd have I become? I think it’s largely due to the fact that I’m smack in the middle of listening to the audiobook of The Millionaire Next Door, but all my free time lately has been spent reading and researching better ways to budget, save, and invest. I find our culture’s obsession with spending and consumption sickening yet fascinating, especially considering the pressure we put on ourselves to appear wealthy. News flash: driving a $90,000 car doesn’t make you look rich, it makes you look $90,000 (or more, if invested) less wealthy. I’m in a good place to save right now being somewhat young, able, and with minimal responsibility (no kids!) I’m not a resolution maker, but I’m vowing to increase my net worth by mucho dinero this year, not only to relieve the future me from the burdens of financial stress, but so I can give as much as I want to. Last night, I spent four solid hours creating my very own budget excel spreadsheet because I wasn’t pleased with the ones I found online. Plus, I’m not too crazy about Mint.com and I don’t feel like waiting for Quicken for Mac 2010 or paying $50 for the darn thing. Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing my magical spreadsheet (split into two columns because many of us are paid twice monthly), you can download it here. I added the standard categories, but you can edit to your heart’s desire depending on your needs. It doesn’t include any investment, asset, net worth or debt reduction calculations, it’s mostly just for setting monthly spending goals and recording how you measure up. Just add in your planned income and expenses, tally up your actual income and expenses and enter them in, and the numbers at the bottom of the page should automatically update to give you an overall idea of how you’re meeting your monthly goals.

I’m also pretty obsessed with reading financial blogs, these are some of my favorites:

- Catching up on sleep. That’s what breaks are for, right? Even the night I got back to LA, sleeping in my own bed was downright blissful. It’s remarkable how much of a difference getting a good night’s sleep can have on your day. I read a study recently that teens who sleep less than 5 hours a night are up to 70% more likely to be depressed and 40% more likely to have suicidal thoughts. We aren’t teenagers, but I’m pretty sure the same goes for adults. Not that we’re having suicidal thoughts, but it’s safe to say your mood is ~842x better when you get a full night’s rest. Many people I know brag about how little sleep they need to get by and feel that pulling an “allnighter” makes them look tough and seem more hardworking. Guess what? It’s just going to make you less productive the next day. There should be laws about how much sleep we are required to get. Arianna Huffington even published her Sleep Challenge 2010 and I suggest all you women take a look and take action get some rest! Yes, I’m a big, huge fan of sleeping. Especially if there is no end point in sight (nothing worse than taking a nap when you know your alarm is going to ring in 1 hour… 45 minutes… 38 minutes.. 14 minutes..) Oh, it doesn’t hurt that I’m obsessed with my bed, even though there is no rug under it which causes the bed frame’s wheels to slide all over the floor.

- (RAH)² (AH)³ + [ROMA (1+MA)] + (GA)² + (OOH)(LA)². Sigh. I’m sorry in advance for this. I tried to fight it, really I did, but I can’t stop listening to Bad Romance. Back at Thanksgiving, I asked my nine year old brother what his favorite song was, and he said “Bad Romance” (I guess he hasn’t reached the age when liking a pop song, especially by a girl, is an embarrassment.) At that point, the only thing I knew about Bad Romance was that it was Lady GaGa’s new song and that the music video was always on the top of Viral Video Chart. As I did with all her songs, I rolled my eyes and happily resisted listening to it… until I ACCIDENTALLY heard it on the radio – hello, ear worm! I found myself actually wishing it would come on the radio, shameful I know… then I bought the song. I even watched the video, which I loved, despite the white spandex Slim Jim outfits. So I watched it again. And again. And then started dancing like a mad woman all over my apartment (alone, of course). That’s another thing I love, dancing. I really need to find a good dance class in LA. Why is Lady GaGa so freaking infectious?! Are there subliminal messages in her songs? Am I being hypnotized? If I were 14, I’d gather my friends and make up a dance to this song.


- Scout and Pepper attention after a vacation. I love traveling but I hate, hate, hate leaving my girls behind. Especially Scout, because she is so attention-hungry. I tend to avoid thinking about them when I’m gone, because I know they miss me, strictly based on their behavior when I return. I seriously can’t peel Scout’s fat booty away from me the day I get back in town… and it is so, cute. She has to be thisclose to me at all times, sleeping on my head, laying on my shoulders if I’m on the couch, sitting on my lap if I’m at the dining table, etc. Whoever said cats are mean has never met my Scooba! Pepper is not quite as needy, though she is definitely a black fluffy bundle of love when I get back in town. I woke up to her on top of my head this morning.

- Anna Inghardt’s photography. Um, drool. I could seriously look at her photos all day long. I’m a sucker for soft lighting, pretty bows, comfy beds and cats, so her photostream is completely delicious to me. It kind of makes me want to paint everything I own white, get rid of all my bright colored clothing, and just lounge about all day painting my nails and looking at my jewelry. Too bad I look horrible in white. Cast your eyes upon these beauties, then check out her Flickr.

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That’s all I’ve got for you today, my dear friends. I’ve got a humongous ‘Bits ‘n Pieces’ that is just itching for me to write it up. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve had a headache for two days straight now and I need to go chug some water in an attempt to rehydrate myself if that is in fact the issue here. Until next time! ♥

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glamorous hollywood vs rural oregon

Posted: April 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: consumerism, life, misc, travel, work | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

I just read this article on CNN chronicling several families who have had to cope with job loss due to the current economic crisis.

One couple in particular really caught my eye and got me thinking. Leah Bird and Ed Wright used to live a comfortable and glamorous lifestyle in Beverly Hills, much like my own (ha!), eating at fancy restaurants and spending time at the beach. After Ed lost his job managing insurance portfolios for the wealthy, the couple was forced to move to Oregon and live out of a trailer they purchased on Craigslist. They’ve since learned to tend to the land and look after animals who share that land. Leah has acquired a simple office assistant job in town, taking a $15,000 pay cut.

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Their lifestyle has completely changed, a worst nightmare for most of us. But here’s the thing: Ed and Leah love it! When asked if they would move back to LA given the chance, Ed said “Not unless they offered me a great paying job,” Wright said. “But even then, I would work a few years, quit and then come back here.”

Interesting! Anyone with a brain knows that money does not equal happiness. I know this more than anyone.

Leah & Ed’s situation reminds me of myself – minus the unemployment, thankfully. I’ve been living (what I consider) a somewhat luxurious lifestyle in Los Angeles/Hollywood for going on three years now. I’m by no means rich, I have to budget myself and am living paycheck-to-paycheck, but I am making more than enough money to get by.

I have a brand new car (a reliable, gas-saving Honda Civic, which I desperately needed), a beautiful apartment (that I pay a pretty penny for), and am able to eat, cloth myself, get premium cable, and go out with my friends when I want to. I’d say I’m doing a lot better than the majority of people in America right now. Are these luxuries worth the stress that comes with living in a big city? Would I be better off living a more simple lifestyle?

Sure, I’m content. But I’m not blissfully happy. I have frequent fits of homesickness (almost my entire family is back in Virginia). I’m single, and have fabulous friends in LA, but I’m lonely out here. This has never been a place that I want to place any solid roots, and perhaps subconsciously I’m resisting settling here.

This article has given me some food for thought. I’m not leaving anytime soon, I’m too thankful to be doing what I love and making a good living at it. But one thing I could be doing is living a much more simple lifestyle and saving more. This is not a city of savers… this is a city of spenders. I suppose not joining in completely has something to do with my loneliness.

I didn’t edit this, so it’s a lot of rambling. But the point, I suppose, is: are we really happy living to work? Or should we be working to live?

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Everyone Loves A Recession

Posted: January 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: friends, life | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Raise your hand if you love economic recession! I’m so broke at the moment. I mean, I’m dangerously close to like having no money. I have to be careful next week. It’s my own damn fault, I still haven’t recovered from the Christmas shopping and the New Years events and then I went shopping this weekend and of course am buying snowboarding gear for my first trip ever next month. I guess I’m helping the economy with all my damn shopping.

Anyway, I’m really excited about going snowboarding. My brother Ben’s BFF AJ (did you get that) is stationed about two hours from here (they’re in the Air Force together) and we’re going to go snowboarding at Mammoth in Feb I think. But first we’re going to Vegas to go visit my brother’s girlfriend, Nadja.

Everyone is all bummed about being back at work but I’ve been working since the 26th. Aside from rearranging my apartment and loving it, I’ve just been working mostly. You know, all I ever do. I didn’t go out either night this past weekend, just stayed in reading and watching movies. Sunday I met up with Jacqueline to of course go shopping and go see Milk finally, then I went to dinner with Tracy, Cesca and Josie. It was fun.

Everything is pretty good right now… despite some homeless person (I’m assuming) trying to break into my apartment the other night… I feel pretty happy at the moment.

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