Working For a Small Compay

Posted January 25, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

First of all, let me say that life has been absolutely hectic lately. I have been so tremendously busy I haven’t had time to think. It’s good and it’s bad, but unfortunately the blog had to take a backseat to more important things. I apologize for that and I hope that you can forgive me!

Lately I noticed how amazing working for a small company can be. Last night I did a DJ event that is 2 hours away. The event started at 9 and went until 1 am. I didn’t get in the door of my house until 4 in the morning, harsh.

While we were out, they bought dinner beforehand, and we picked up some snacks on the way back. How often are you going to find the 9-5 company dishing out free food? Probably not that often.

Earlier this week I noticed that I wasn’t going to be able to pay my bills on time. I called up my boss and asked if he could cut me a check a few days early (we get checks on Fridays and I needed to pay some bills on Tuesday). He fronted me enough money to cover the bills, and I got everything in on time.

I highly recommend that if you are able to work for a small business that you should! It’s a great way to really feel like you are a part of the company, and it’s a lot more social and laid back that most big businesses.

Mint.com vs. Quicken Online

Posted January 21, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

I have recently become a major fan of Mint.com UPDATE: Allow me to place the disclaimer that I am not affiliated with Mint, nor do I really have any expertise in using either of these programs. I have provided my side of the story and what works best for me, and I would recommend that you try both, as they are both equally powerful, to suit your particular financial situation.

Not only do they have a nice blog with great information on personal finance, but their software is incedibly user friendly (a nice PC word basically meaning that any moron, such as myself, can understand it quickly).

Why do I prefer it over Quicken Online? Three simple reasons:

  1. Categories – Mint.com provides you with the ability to create your own categories. When using Quicken Online, I found that some of my expenses did not fit the mold of most consumer spending leaving me to categorize a purchase that didn’t quite fit. Not an issue with Mint
  2. Ways to Save – After tracking your spending and accounts for a particular amount of time, Mint will provide suggestions on ways that you can save yourself money. I have not found a way to do this with Quicken Online. If someone notifies me otherwise, I will edit this post. UPDATE: Quick is currently working on this with there software, the link is provided in the comments section.
  3. Blog – It was easy for me to find the personal finance blog with Mint.com. Quicken did not have a blog that I was able to find. The blog at mint is a very easy read that is targeted to normal people with regular spending habits. Occasionally I find myself skipping posts since I do not have a mortgage or investments, but more people have those than don’t. UPDATE: Quicken Online does have a blog, and you can find the link in the comments section from Chelsea.

Other than that, they both easily sync up with your current online banking, show your trends in spending, allow you to setup a budget, notify you with special alerts via e-mail, SMS or both, amongst a variety of other things.

Take control of your financial situation and starting budgeting your finances.

3 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying

Posted January 20, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

Debt freedom is not an easy task. I have only been at it for about a week now and I almost fell victim to buying something just to get something new.

I was at Circuit City today largely because I have a $25 gift card there and they are going out of business soon. I decided to buy a thumb drive for $20 as it’s something I’ll actually use.

While I was there, I found myself browsing. Browsing is one of the quickest ways to fill up your cart with a bunch of stuff you don’t need. I was wandering around aimlessly looking at how many things I want; GPS, HDTV, movies, CDs, etc.

I quickly realized what I was doing, chose my flash drive, checked out and left. It made me realize three practices that I need to become more disciplined about:

  • Grocery shopping and eating – never go out grocery shopping while you’re hungry. I have done this plenty of times and it results in your cart quickly filling up with a bunch of items that you know taste good. Most of the time, you don’t need any of these things, and they are all extremely expensive.
  • Browsing – as I mentioned before, I started to find a bunch of stuff that I simply wanted, but did not need, thanks to browsing. Whenever you go grocery shopping, or shopping in general, know exactly why you are going. Unless you have a valid reason to go, I would suggest not going at all. When you do go, do your best to be in and out with only those items you intended on picking up. My logic has always been this – if I did not think I needed before I left the house, and suddenly I see it at the store and think, “Oh, I could use this”, I actually never thought I needed it until I saw it.
  • Buying on price alone – I’m personally more about the idea of buying based on need rather than buying because something is on sale (unless the sale is stupidly amazing). For example, I saw that most of the TV’s at Circuit City were 30% off. Some of the TVs were dirt cheap and I noticed myself trying to figure out if I could maneuver my budget to accommodate a new TV. It was a quick answer when I reminded myself of how many people I owe money to. The lesson here is similar to the browsing idea; unless you know you need it to get by (or have been good and saved up specifically for that item) then you should forgo it.

It’s funny how a simple trip to the store made me think of all these items. I know that I’m not the only one that falls victim to this as I see people do it everyday. Those marketers sure are good at grabbing your attention and selling you things you don’t need. Become disciplined and force yourself to make the right decision. You will feel much better about yourself than you will with that brand new HDTV you can’t afford.

Bi-Weekly Report (01.01.09-01.16.09)

Posted January 19, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

Let me first begin to say that this month is totally screwy. I don’t know how completely accurate this infomration is since I have only really begun to be disciplined in my finances for the past week. I would like to get into the habit of reviewing my finances both monthly, and bi-weekly. This way, I can determine how I need to adjust my spending for the remaining two weeks of the month in order to maintain my goals. (I would highly recommend this for you too, regardless of your financial situation)

As of right now, I have only accumulated $383.30 in income. This currently looks bleak, but I have 3 DJ’ing events coming up for the rest of January which will provide $450.00 more at minimum. That number also does not include additional serving shifts which I can estimate will bring in an additional $300.00. So my budget income for January looks to be about $1,133.30.

After all my bills are taken, I am left with $434.67. That’s actually a lot more than I would have originally guessed, so I’m pretty happy with that figure.

Currently I have spent the following:

  • Dining Out – $79.67 – this figure includes any food or drink that is consumed out of the house. This number is the downfall of my finances, and since I started this blog on Jan. 12th, I have only spent $15.26 on food. I’m getting better!
  • School – $98.68 – it’s the beginning of the quarter here at school, so these finances include two books, verification fees to prove to my lender that I am enrolled in school full-time. These were obligatory costs that I can not do much about.
  • Entertainment – $22.33 – this includes one trip to Blockbuster and a trip for two to the movies. My girlfriend fronted some major costs in the beginning of the month with my huge overdrawn account. I took her out to help pay her back. Since then, we have planned to have some friends over for board games which will cost nothing!
  • Groceries – $6.47 – you are probably wondering what I am doing to eat. My house is stocked with canned goods and other goodies that I have not touched (or seen) in months. I have been attacking all of the food we currently have before I start buying more items. That figure was for bread, cheese, and milk. We run out of those frequently.

Overall, I am really happy with my current path. Every so often I have been getting frustrated, but I can already see some dramatic differences in my spending. Within the end of the month, I would like to have paid back my overdrawn account, which currently looks doable.

Save Money On Your Cell Phone

Posted January 16, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

About 2-3 months ago, I was serving it up at work when a co-worker of mine told me that she just saves 15% on her monthly cell phone bill. My natural reaction – how?

I may be living under a rock here, but all of the cell phone companies offer employee discounts. I just got mine yesterday (Verizon). Not only that, but I also received a free battery since my current one wasn’t holding a charge. I recently had all of my phone numbers transferred to a new phone for free (the used to charge for that service).

Here are the links to the employee discount programs for each respective wireless service (You will need a work e-mail address for each one):

Verizon Wireless
Alltell
Sprint
AT&T (Note: The place to enter your email address is on the right hand side, second box down)

How To Take The First Step to Debt Freedom

Posted January 15, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

So when I decided to become debt free, I started searching around the web. I decided that since I had accrued debt, I was obviously not a great saver. Since everyone in the world has a blog, I figured I could find some information on how to save money from regular people that live normal lives and would save in a similar fashion that I can.

You can argue that starting a budget is the first step to freedom, and I wouldn’t disagree. I could argue however that a behavioral change needs to take place, and that would be to practice frugality. Frugality is normally shunned in our society, but given the current economic status, is making a great comeback.

As I began digging into the world of frugality, I have read more than once that it requires small steps so that you don’t become overwhelmed. Here is the first step to your journey to frugality – ask yourself why.

Simple Dollar has an article about a man and his 2 year old son. He is old enough now to question the world around him and continuously asks his father why. It has made him start thinking ahead of why he is doing something so that she may be a good role model for his son.

It makes a lot of sense. Ask yourself why the next time you are about to make a purchase. Here’s a few why’s that I have been asking myself:

  • Why do I purchase name brands?
  • Why do I go out to eat?
  • Why do I go to the movies instead of renting them?
  • Why do I buy a book when I have a library card?
  • Why do I not use coupons when they are directly mailed to me?
  • Why do I pay more for heat instead of throwing on a sweater?

You get the idea. Take a few seconds to starting questioning yourself. You may find the answers you provide aren’t very good ones.

Quick Tips on How I Save Money

Posted January 14, 2009 by thedebtguy
Categories: 1

Yesterday I finally broke. I did not spend a dime since Sunday the 10th. It was only $26.50, so I can’t be too upset. It was something I had to spend money on as well. All school related, so not much I can do there.

Here’s some quick and easy ways to save some money:

  • Online Financial Planning – One of my newest friends (JoyfulAbode) turned me onto Mint.com. It will sync up with all of your online accounts and refresh them every time you log in. The reason I prefer to use this one over Quicken Online is that it shows your pending payments whereas Quicken does not. Not to mention they have a pretty good blog as well that I have subscribed to.
  • Clipping the Coupons – It seems like every other day Giant Eagle send me a ton of crap with coupons, weekly deals, etc. This week they have frozen bags of corn for $1.00. I plan on stocking up on a few of them to save some money for dinner. I also spent some time comparing shampoos the other day and saved a quick buck there. I got a 30 oz. bottle of Suave shampoo for $1.73 opposed to the 21 oz. bottle at $1.21 which costs 8 cents per ounce when the 30 oz. bottle cost 4 cents per ounce. I don’t know why, but I was so excited at this find.
  • Working in a Restaurant – I realize this only applies to a select few, but it’s helpful nonetheless. Last night someone decided to not show up, so they needed someone to close. I hate closing especially since I have homework to do. I decided to use my leverage and barter my time for a free dinner on the manager. I stayed longer, so I made more in tips, and I got dinner for free. It was probably a better dinner that I would have made for myself at home anyway.
  • Reading – Normally I spend a lot of time renting movies and watching TV. It’s brain-less but I do enjoy the shows with more “thinkability” than some of the reality shows out there. Since I don’t want to spend money on movies, I either log into Hulu.com to watch shows or I have been picking up a book or reading some blogs. If you aren’t familiar with Stumble Upon you should download it and give it a shot. I can spend hours just clicking the button and browsing pages that actually have some interest to me. I typically can spend about $5-$10 on movies, and I have been keeping myself just as entertained for free.
  • Being Creative – Yet again my friend came to the rescue with some ideas on becoming creative to save money. I noticed that the majority of my spending goes to eating out. The reason I do this is to socialize with friends. She suggested having people over for board games. I thought this was a great idea since my girlfriend and I have a lot of friends that are also couples. It can seem cheesy at first, but once you get playing (and start having a few drinks and relax) it can become a huge riot. If you decide to do this, don’t play monopoly.

Starting from Sunday, I have spent about $26.50 for school and I made $52 last night serving. For the three days, I am up $25.50 for the next three days!