Blogger finds preparing has some fringe benefits.
"Rutgerskevin" at The Red Stapler Chronicles coined a new term that's apropos for our collective economic situation. It's the "layoff drill," which, much like a fire drill, will help prepare you for an emergency situation.
Basically, you pretend you just lost your job and figure out how you're going to get by. "Sound like just a stupid game of make believe?" he writes. Tell that to the millions of Americans that lost their jobs this year.
- Bing: Find a new job
Kevin designed and executed a layoff drill just in case, and found that it was incredibly productive. While Kevin is usually one of the funniest bloggers we read, this was no joke.
Depending on the subject, debt might outweigh benefits.
Tina, my associate editor on the day job and my moonlight business partner, sent a link to this interesting discussion. The main post itself has several links to relevant, equally interesting posts and conversations.
Given the astonishing burden of student loans that too many young people are saddled with -- my son's roommate's girlfriend, for example, remarked that she will graduate from a top-quality institution with a master's degree in international business and $1,400-a-month student loan payments -- assessing the "value" of graduate education is not a crass or pointless exercise.
Make sure you use the cheap stuff, though.
Three cheers for vodka, an excellent jewelry cleaner, stain remover, glue dissolver, wasp killer, fever reliever, and cure for poison ivy and stinky feet.
We had no idea that vodka has so many uses, other than the obvious. And if you've indulged in too much of that, here's another tip from "The many uses of vodka" at Divine Caroline that may come in handy: "Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, then blot dry."
If you employ any of the 19 tips on Divine Caroline's list, common sense dictates that you use the cheap stuff.
Socializing with co-workers worth more than what you'd save.
This devil's advocate post attacks one of the hallmark money-saving ideas for the working professional: Bring in your own lunch. The money you save by not buying a $5 to $10 lunch every day amounts to more than $1,000 a year in savings ($5 x 48 weeks x five days = $1,200).
It's hardly bad advice and practically unassailable from a financial standpoint. But there are many reasons why you shouldn't bring in your lunch every day and eat it at your desk.
Blogger complied the best tips found on the Web.
OK, there is some repetition. (Believe it or not, brown-bagging your lunch for work comes up a number of times.) But David has gathered the best money-saving tips from the personal-finance blogosphere and assembled them in one place. We dare you to come up with one that's not included.
You can sign up for e-mail alerts about defective products.
We got a lukewarm response when we urged readers to sign up for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's daily e-mail report about recalls. How boring, you thought. Well, folks, you don't know what you're missing.
Every day we scan the e-mail and invariably cringe. At the top of today's list: Under Armour's voluntary recall of about 211,000 athletic cups. Wouldn't you want to know about it if you owned one of them? It also said:
Hazard: The cups can break if hit, posing a risk of serious injury hazard to athletes.
Incidents/injuries: Under Armour has received five reports of cups breaking, including an injury involving cuts and bruising.
We tried to warn you. And sometimes these notices are even worse.
Do you ever regret not spending?
As any reader of Bad Money Advice knows, I enjoy nothing more than tweaking the nose of personal-finance conventional wisdom. Well, joy of joys, The New York Times recently had an article, in the science section no less, that spits in conventional wisdom's face, knees it in the groin and then kicks it as it rolls on the ground.
The piece discussed the work (.pdf file) of Ran Kivetz and Anat Keinan, two professors of marketing from the Columbia and Harvard business schools, respectively. (Marketing professor is, incidentally, the same line of work as the authors of "The Millionaire Next Door.") They have discovered a new malady to avoid: saver's remorse. It's just what it sounds like: that sad feeling you get with money in your pocket that you could have spent in some enjoyable way but, in a moment of weakness, chose to save.
This is just so awesome.
Free entertainment abounds online.
One luxury you can cut when costs for essentials are rising is your cable or satellite TV service. But how can you still watch your favorite shows?
David at My Two Dollars presents "35 ways to watch television without cable or satellite," and he's not just talking rabbit ears. After Option No. 1, an antenna, the rest are Web sites. Readers provided more suggestions, so the list is now up to 42 possibilities.
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The pay for serving and protecting your country isn't great at first, but military service comes with some decent retirement and education perks -- and substantial risks.