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Score!

2 Apr

Did you know that checking your credit score doesn’t lower it? I’ve always heard that and assumed it was true. Thank you, Mint blog, for setting me straight. Check out Credit Scores – Urban Myths Busted! for more credit score truthiness.

Minty fresh

23 Oct

I’m not really into keeping track of everything I buy (though I should be). But one thing that I have found to be handy is a free program at Mint.com.

Mint allows you to link all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, 401(k), and pretty much any other financial outlets all into 1 handy page. It’s not going to replace your online banking, but it allows for a quick way to get an overall estimate of how much you’re spending and where. It can be quite telling!

It’s safe (or as safe as an online account can be), and it’s free and easy to use. It’ll take a little time to enter all of the information for your accounts, but after that it’s a breeze.

One of the things that I really like about Mint is the transactions page. It puts every financial transaction (aside from things you paid for with cash) on 1 page and automatically classifies each transaction into a category. It’s necessary, however, to go through and look at how it classifies because sometimes it will put things in the wrong category.

It can also do strange things to the names of companies. My favorite one is from an awesome bar/restaurant here in Ballard (Seattle) called Hattie’s Hat. This is how it showed my transaction:

hattie

Ahhh. It still makes me laugh. While I certainly appreciate the Shat, I think my favorite part is the Wa. As in “Hattie shat whaaaaa?” Needless to say, Hattie’s Hat will forever be known as Hattie Shat.

Anyway, if you haven’t already checked out Mint, I suggest doing so. It might not change how you spend, but it’s at least a reminder about how much.

Small investments

7 Oct

A few weeks ago, I bought an apple corer/cutter for $4. It looks something like this:

corer

I’d never used one, but I was at a friend’s house and noticed that this person ate a lot of apples and used one of those cutters. I have never been much of an apple fan. I don’t dislike them, but I never went out of my way to buy apples because I knew I wouldn’t eat them – because I am really lazy. It’s not that hard to cut an apple; I used to do it when I was a kid. But somewhere along the way I decided that was too much of an inconvenience.

After thinking about it, I decided that if I had an apple-cutting gadget, I would be motivated to eat apples. So I went ahead and bought it. And guess what? I eat apples now. Fabulous, right?

But here’s the thing: I keep thinking about that $4 I spent on a product I didn’t really need. Could I have used a knife to cut apples? Sure. But I wasn’t doing it. And I think that’s where my frugal mindset meets my lazy reality. I didn’t need the apple cutter, but without it, I know that I wouldn’t be eating apples. That $4 wasn’t necessary, but I’m looking at it as a small investment in my health.

I also recently bought clips that are supposed to keep my comforter from getting lost inside my duvet cover. I can’t tell you how many months I have thought about buying them (they’re $5.99) and how many nights I have struggled trying to get my bed in order. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and the bedding is all bunchy and it irritates me. It was affecting my sleep, so I finally decided to buy it. I had a 25% off coupon at Bed, Bath & Beyond, so it wound up costing less than $5. It was another small investment in my health.

There’s a lot of good things to be said for not just running out and buying stuff without really thinking it through. But I find myself still thinking and doubting the value of buying relatively cheap things that are good for me, yet not ruminating as much on dropping $30 on a shirt that I don’t need.

Those are my screwed-up priorities. I’m trying to change that and to view spending in a different light. Taking care of myself is important and it’s not a crime to spend a little money on it … and to then spend a little less money on the things that I REALLY don’t need.

Oh, speaking of things that are good for you, I went ahead and got a flu shot yesterday. And to my surprise, my insurance covered half of it, so it only cost $13 – another small investment.

Burt’s Bees acne solutions sample

11 Aug

I’m not a big follower of Burt’s Bees, so I’m not sure if this is a new product, but Burt Bee’s has a Natural Acne Solutions product line. Click here to get a free sample. Please note that in order to get the sample, you must click one of the first buttons (mild, moderate or severe – if you click the last one “I do not …”, it won’t work).

(Thanks, Free Stuff Times)

Free financial spreadsheets

10 Jul

finance_bankSpreadsheets: Not so cute, but very useful for budgets – which means you can better manage your money … and perhaps get more cute stuff?

Get Rich Slowly has highlighted some useful free Google Doc financial spreadsheets. Here’s the link to the Google docs. So handy!

Making dough

3 Jun

In order to buy stuff – whether it’s cheap or cute – you need to have a source of money. For most of us, that means we get jobs.

With the economy being, well, craptastic, job searchers (a group I’ve recently joined) are facing quite the obstacle. Jobs aren’t quite as plentiful and competition is stiff.

My question to you is: Where are good places to find jobs? Of course, networking and knowing the right people is huge, but when it comes to online searches, what do you use? There are the big ones: Craigslist, Monster, CareerBuilder, HotJobs, along with specific sites depending on what industry you work in. What else have you come across? What other ways have you found jobs?