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Showing posts from January, 2012

Control Your Money - The Dangers of Penny Auctions

OK, I have to say this.  I've been seeing a lot of ads for these penny auction sites.  You know, the "get a brand new big screen TV ($800 retail) for $23.96" sites.  They make it sound so easy to get things so cheap - like it's too good to be true.  Well it is.

Here's how it works:  you pay to get bids.  The price usually comes out at about $0.60 per bid (you buy them in lots of 100 or so).  The bids only go up in one penny increments.  So that TV that sold for $23.96 required 2,396 bids.  At $0.60 per bid, that's $1,437.60 the site made on the TV (plus the $23.96 you paid for it).  Somebody's making out like a bandit, but it's not you.

Basically, these sites are gambling sites.  You pay money for a chance to "win" stuff.  However, just like all gambling places, the house always wins - even if you win the auction.  If you lose, well you're just out a few bucks - just like playing the slot machines.

So, here's my view of penny auctio…

My eReader: The Kobo Touch

As you may know, I suffer from a malady called Gadget Lust.  I try to keep it under control and make sure when I purchase a gadget and have the means and I will actually use it.  Well, I love reading so it wasn't hard to justify an eReader although it did take some time to save up for it (I do have a strict budget you know).

Initially I wantedI a Kindle.  In fact, I've wanted a Kindle ever since they came out.  The whole eInk concept is amazing and I do get eye strain from regular monitors.  Unfortunately, I have since learned that they are limited to Amazon's store and little else (yes there are tools for getting other ebooks but they're not supported natively).  This put a real damper on things since I prefer to check books out of the library vs purchasing them, although, if they are really good then I might just purchase them.  The other thing I've become hooked on is the touch interface.  The Kindle currently does not have a touch interface and doesn't sup…

Control Your Money - An Easy Way To Save

I'm always on the lookout for new ways to save money.  I recently ran across a great article about the fundamentals of saving money.  It's called How To Save Money.  It was a good article.  Nothing new (for me anyway) but worthwhile stuff.

What struck me (and inspired this post) was a question posted in the discussion section.  A person simply posted:  "I need an easy way to save".  Don't we all!  My first thought was, too bad for you - there is no easy way to save.  Then, I thought about it.  Perhaps there is...

The problem is that saving money depends very heavily on how you spend money.  Each person is different.  Each person has a different definition of what is easy.  About 10 years ago, I cut my cable.  At the time, I would have called that moderately to extremely difficult.  Now I would call it easy.  It has saved me a lot of money and I don't miss 300 channels of nothing on.

So, back to the question.  What's an easy way to save?  I think the real…

Control Your Money - Saving Money Takes Time

One of my problems with money is that I want to save a lot - all the time.  Unfortunately, life has taught me that it doesn't work like that.  For every person that touts getting rich by doing "this one simple thing", there are hundreds - if not thousands - that failed at the same thing.  What's the moral here?  Don't expect to grab a few tips on saving money and end up with piles of cash at the end of the month.  It takes time and the piles tend to be smaller than you imagine.

In fact, I would say that learning to effectively save money is like getting in shape.  In the beginning, it hurts a lot and you don't see much result from your effort.  The key to success is to stick with it.  You have to be frugal every day.  You have to be on the lookout for ways to economize.  As time passes, your dedication begins to pay off.  You start to see success.  Your debt starts shrinking faster.  Your savings slowly increases.  You don't stress so much about unexpect…

Control Your Money - Control Your Wants!

A little while ago, I wrote about Gadget Lust - that is, wanting to get the latest and greatest gadgets.  It sometimes seems to cause a constant battle in my head between wanting a cool new toy and knowing that it's not practical or, in some cases, not even very useful.

A recent event caused the conflict to flare up again.  The retailer Staples issued a coupon for $100 off any tablet in stock.  Ooohh - could I afford one now?  I went to the website and looked at what was available.  Then I started looking up reviews to see which ones were the best.  The more I looked into it, the more I wanted one.  I started justifying why I needed to get one and had myself pretty much convinced that I deserved it.  Then something happened.  I don't remember exactly when I had the realization - either while talking with my wife, or studying my scriptures, or some combination of the two, but I realized that a huge portion of my desire for a tablet had come from allowing myself to obsess about…

Being Optimistic

It really is a wonderful time to be alive.  Sometimes we let our cares and responsibilities get in the way of appreciating that.  But here we are with the wonders of technology, a peaceful society (well, mostly peaceful), and indoor plumbing!  We live better now than kings did a few hundred years ago.  Pretty amazing.

A wise man once said, "We cannot control the things that happen to us, but we can control our attitude."  I don't know why I put that in quotes because it's probably not even close to what the actual quote is, but the gist is the same.  I can't stop work from being busy, or the bills from coming in, or the kids from being - well, kids.  But I can stop work from being stressful, or the bills from being depressing, or the kids from being frustrating.  That's where attitude comes in.

A negative attitude makes bad things worse.  A positive attitude can make bad things better (or at least not so bad) and helps to focus on the good things.

I choose t…