Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Festival of Frugality #63

Welcome to the 63rd Festival of Frugality, hosted right here at Stingy Students. This is my first time hosting a festival of this magnitude, and it has been quite a challenge reading and organizing all of these wonderful entries. I decided to organize the entries (henceforth to be referred to as entrées) by associating them with some of the stars of Food Network - the only channel I watch. Without further ado, I dish out the best that Festival of Frugality has to offer:

Alton Brown: My favorite Food Network star. A little quirky, a little balding, but highly entertaining and educational. Despite his name, he's green and practical.

- Bean-sprouts (could it be any greener?) shows us how to save money and save the planet. Yes, it's possible, once you get out of the Whole Paycheck mentality.

- PF Advice shares with us 10 ways to get free plants for your garden. More plants means more clean air!

- The Common Room explains the history behind frugality and potatoes (and even tosses in a few yummy recipes!)

- The Maine Life explains why cutting wood in the summer can pay off come winter. Or why you shouldn't live in Maine during the winter.

Anthony Bourdain: He isn't on Food Network too often nowadays, but his books are a blast. A little unconventional and always the risk taker, these entrées are for those who are unafraid to do it themselves.

- Ask Uncle Bill shows us how to save on taxes. What would Uncle Sam have to say about this?

- Savvy Steward created a collection of the ultimate DIY resource, for those of you resourceful enough to DIY.

- Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket explores Social Security alternatives. Good for those of us who won't reap the benefits of SSI.

Sandra Lee: This is one hot mom! These entrées have to do with parenting or things around the household.

- MotherLoad shows how with the birth of her daughter, frugality births creativity. So does that make creativity and invention cousins (since frugality and necessity are sisters).

- My Wealth Builder explains how having children has made them more frugal. I'm not sure if this would happen to me since I'll probably stop dumpster diving and eating PB&J's for half my meals.

- Mighty Bargain Hunter shows how his wife made frugal butterfly wings for their daughter. What about dragon wings for a son? Now that would be sweet!

- The Frugal Duchess reveals her 25 frugal habits and 5 spendthrift confessions. I have a confession to make too - I spend money sometimes :-(

- Bargain Quest shows how she saved 50% on her prescription drugs. Now if she could only find us a way to save 50% on illicit drugs.

- Queercents recounts when Rich and Rob go furniture shopping. Oh if only I had money.

Jamie Oliver: He doesn't come on too often nowadays, but whenever I've seen him, he seems to come up with random array of dishes out of nowhere, typical of the quintessential college student's cooking experiences. These are geared more toward students, or people with too little money and too little concern to worry about appearances.

- The Digerati Life has advice on how to furnish your house on any budget, even for free! Now that's what I'm talking about!

- Grad Money [Matters] give us five tips for a frugal spring break. Also known as "week of amnesia"

- Five Cent Nickel calls in on how to get free long distance calls via google maps. So could I call my friends in Timbuktu with this?

- Tight Fisted Miser asks himself, "I'm frugal, so why am I poor?" Why are you asking me? I'm in the same hole you are mister.

- Money, Matter, and More Musings explains why he walks to work. Now can you moonwalk to work? Now that would be impressive.

- Mortaine's Blog asks, "What do you do when you're not spending money?" I generally am sleeping.

- My New Choice shows how to save money on breakfast. Just remember, same thing applies to lunch.

- Stop the Ride! tell us why we should not to make a trip to the store. Ok! I won't! I promise!

Ina Garten: She strikes me as someone with a very committed marriage, but who could complain if you marry a woman who cooks like her? These entrées deal with money, relationships, and values.

- We're in Debt discusses saying no to your significant other. But what if they come at you with certain.... "favors"?

- My Financial Journey tiptoes the fine line of frugality. I've been walking on this tightrope as well.

Al Roker: Have you seen how much weight this guy has lost? Pretty amazing since he's kept it off after coming over to Food Network. Inspired by his weight-loss, these entrées show us how to cut back on debt.

- Debt Free has 3 more money saving ideas to help you get debt free. Good things always come in threes!

- My Money Walks demonstrates a wise decision in "How I plan on using my tax return" I on the other hand, will be buying myself a lifetime supply of gum.

- Debt Consolidation Lowndown gives us 17 tips for avoiding the debt trap. My tip? Don't go for the cheese.

Rachel Ray: You know her name. She's everywhere. Oprah even gave her a TV show! These entrées all contain something that all of us could use.

- Worldwide Success presents 10 simple ideas to save thousands of dollars per year. Thousands might be a stretch for those of us who only have thousands.

- Weboma explains how to use the internet and save time and money. I'm not sure I'm saving too much time by being on the internet, but oh well.

- Blueprint for Financial Prosperity says why we should skip newspapers, use the internets. Is this a typo or do they call it internets in the UK? I know they call math "maths," so I thought maybe the same rule applied. Crazy Brits.

- My Simple Trading System reviews "The Rich Jerk" Sounds kinda jerky.

- Ask Mr. Credit Card reviews the Discover platinum card. Discover it!

Reading through all of these made me realize how much good PF advice there is out there. Keep up the good writing bloggers!


StumbleUpon Toolbar

Friday, February 23, 2007

NPR publicity

Oh my goodness..... I was mentioned on NPR! No pressure, right? Now, I feel like I have to write again - not that it's a bad thing. Again, I apologize for not updating recently, but I'll try and update more after my test on Monday.

In the meantime, welcome to all the new readers, and here's a list of some of the posts that readers seemed to find most interesting - whether for financial insight or sheer stupidity, you'll have to determine that yourself.

Never Pay Off Student Loans Early

Get Up Off My Ads
Student Loan Corporation Doesn't Know Jack
Get Your G's Together G: #2 High Yield Savings Accounts
Best Book Prices
Voiding optional

Feel free to look around at other articles too (I promise, they're not half-bad), and like I said, I'll try to post a little more after this test.

StumbleUpon Toolbar

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Double Bonus Offer at Ebates

First of all, I apologize for going MIA recently. As my anonymous reader Avi alluded to, I've been slacking in the updating department. Unfortunately, school has been riding me harder than a cowboy on a wild bull, so I've lacked the time and creative juices to find and post things of much interest.

That being said, I just got a check in the mail today from Ebates, and along with it was a notice that they are offering a $10 bonus for signing up and completing an offer by March 15. That's double the normal $5 they offer, so this is a fantastic deal! Some free offers you can take advantage of are the 2 free CDs and if you want to use them to purchase the books that you've discovered that you need for midterms coming up.

Again, I apologize, but I'll update when I can. The hardest month of this entire year is now, and as soon as I'm done, I'll be sure to write of more ways to save money. In the meantime, don't go spending all your money.


StumbleUpon Toolbar

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Free Ozzfest

Normally, I would attach an exclamation point to something this huge, but I'm personally not a big fan of that style of music, so I'll just pass on the word. I'm sure some people will get a huge kick out of it though.

Ozzfest 2007 for free!

Tags: ,
StumbleUpon Toolbar

Circuit City Liquidation

Edit: A lot of people seem to be coming to this site to look for information about the current Circuit City liquidation. Look no further, here's an update 1/18/09.

Credit goes to uscpsycho over at SD:

Apparently, Circuit City sells a TON of overstock, open box, and closeout items over on eBay. Since I just found out about it a few minutes ago, I've never used this, but it looks like they have some very good deals out there. Go through Big Crumbs to get 36% back of the seller's fee (I just used this a couple of days ago, and I got much more than I would have had I used Fatwallet).

Circuit City eBay store #1 uses username trading_circuit

Circuit City eBay store #2 uses username trading_circuit_liquidation

Circuit City eBay store #3 uses username trading_circuit_entertainment

StumbleUpon Toolbar

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Best shirt ever, again!

I already posted this once a while back, but I had to post again since the deal is back. The best shirt ever is back on sale - Land's End's no iron shirts. They truly are no iron shirts. You wear it, throw it in the washer and dryer, and you put it back on. No ironing necessary, and you look so fresh and so clean. They have many styles of these on sale, starting at $12.99. They're also having a sale on a lot of other things in their overstock section, so look around. This shirt is the only Land's End product I own, but if it is any indication, they make some good stuff.

Don't forget your cashback: 4% at Mr. Rebates or 3% at Ebates. And just a reminder, if you haven't signed up for either of those programs, Mr. Rebates offers a $2.50 bonus for simply registering, and Ebates $5.00. You've got nothing to lose!


StumbleUpon Toolbar

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Sunday Paper #5

This edition of the Sunday Paper is the shortest ever. Whether it's because I stuck to my new rules or there were just a lack of good posts, who knows.

An English Major's Money discusses how financial independence works in her family. I've had similar discussions with my brother about this, and while I myself disagree with EM's conclusion, I think anyone can legitimately justify their own conclusion. Personally, I don't feel entitled to enjoy my parents' success considering I haven't done anything to deserve it except for being fortunate enough to be born to them. However, if I am ever in a financial emergency, would I take it? Of course. I plan on buying a house in the near future, but do I have the 20% down payment to avoid PMI? No, but I can borrow it from my parents. I think that is truly the crux of the argument: those of us with financial support have a safety net where we can take more risk, whereas those without have limited opportunity.

Get Rich Slowly had two excellent articles this week.
In one, he cautions us about Super Bowl ads. While I agree that ads can be extremely powerful, I believe - perhaps in a youthful, invincible mindset - that I am immune to the powers of most advertising, given that a. I'm cheap and b. I support local when I can. That's why I don't see the harm in AGLOCO since it's a personal decision, although I am opposed to advertising products which I don't endorse. Of course if the Salvation Army came out with Super Bowl ads, I'd probably be going on a shopping spree in their thrift store, so maybe I'm not so immune.
The second is actually a guest article by Sally about how to eat vegetarian on the cheap. While I'm not a complete vegetarian (I consider myself an opportunistic omnivore, for those of you with a biology background), I try to eat mostly vegetables because they are generally cheaper and healthier (if done right).

Personal Finance Advice gives us a story about the time he encountered the coupon lady. I must say, that's a pretty wonderful idea, especially since I recently had to throw out some coupons after I realized they had expired. Of course this may take a few extra minutes, but it's always good to send out good karma.

While I generally avoid articles about the economy, the news this week about our -1% savings rate couldn't escape my notice. The Big Picture takes this news and gives us some other interesting data along with predictions where this might take us: "Household Cash versus Debt"

If that wasn't enough and you want more of your Sunday Paper fill, read some of the other good posts of this past week, highlighted in my summaries:
Carnival of Ethics, Values, and Personal Finance #2 Summary
Festival of Frugality #59 Summary
Carnival of Personal Finance #85 Summary


StumbleUpon Toolbar

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Never pay off student loans early!

There are many good reasons not to pay off student loans any earlier than you have to. If you refinanced or consolidated your loans during the golden age of student loan interest rates, then you can easily make free money by investing in money market accounts(MMAs), CDs and/or savings accounts with higher returns than the loan interest rate. In addition, interest paid on student loans are tax deductible.

Both of those ideas are pretty well known, but I came across an interesting piece of information. According to the Higher Education Act of 1965 Section 437 (a):
If a student borrower who has received a loan described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 428(a)(1) dies or becomes permanently and totally disabled (as determined in accordance with regulations of the Secretary), then the Secretary shall discharge the borrower’s liability on the loan by repaying the amount owed on the loan.
What this means is that, if the unfortunate should ever happen, you are not responsible for paying your loans back. Of course the ethical implications of such a plan are a little sticky, but seriously, who plans on dying or becoming permanently disabled? Consider it more of a life insurance policy.

Let's say you have an extra $500 each month from frugal living and conscious budgeting. What do you do with it? Let's look at two examples.

Bob puts his towards his student loans, managing to pay off his student loan in 10 years after graduation. Unfortunately, the day after he pays off his student loans, he accidentally falls into an uncovered manhole on his way to his job and breaks his neck, making him a quadriplegic for the rest of his life. He doesn't have any student loans to pay off, but he has nothing saved up.

Rob, on the other hand, puts his money in some MMAs, CDs and/or savings accounts. It's 10 years post-graduation, and he still has 20 years of loan payments left. He goes off on a hiking expedition through the Himalayas, but unfortunately, he encounters a female Yeti who hasn't seen her male counterpart for over 5 years. He gets brutally ravaged, but survives to tell about it, sans genitalia and various other body parts. When he returns to the states, Uncle Sam deems him disabled, so his student loan is paid off, and the $500 a month he had been saving for 10 years has turned into a modest sum.

While these stories are obviously fictitious and very unlikely, it's to prove a point.

Never pay off your student loans early!


StumbleUpon Toolbar

Friday, February 02, 2007

Great news for eBay addicts - 1% cash back

Great news for all of the eBay addicts out there. FatWallet is now offering 1% cash back. Given that the only offer for cashback until now was at BigCrumbs, this is a pretty big deal. Given the way eBay keeps raising their seller's fees, however, BigCrumbs' deal of 36% of seller's fees could still be the better deal. Any thoughts?

StumbleUpon Toolbar

Carnival of Ethics, Values, and Personal Finance #2 Summary

Tired but Happy is hosting this month's Carnival of Ethics, Values, and Personal Finance #2 (they should really come up with a shorter title), and I'm taking part with my article on advertising. Out of all of the carnivals in which I take part, I think this carnival has the best overall quality in content. Maybe it's because many are writing from their hearts about ideas in which they sincerely believe. Maybe it's because the bloggers aren't looking to make a profit, unlike some of the ones in some of the PF carnivals. Whatever the reason, it's good to know there's a lot of good people (and good writers) out there.

Queercents asks "What class are you?" Me, personally, well I'm just classy..... ok, not really, but I like to pretend. In another article (yes, a rare feat, the two-fer), he questions profiting from what we morally don't approve. I feel the same way since I'm sure some of my investments are profiting from things I don't approve, but I'm not sure what they are since I only have mutual funds. Some socially responsible mutual funds exist, so I hope to look into that option next time I make an investment.

ISPF explores the value of tipping. I always tip my hat to the fair ladies - I'm such a gentleman.

Fiscal Responsibility looks at giving back. I can totally relate to his/her hesitation to give back to the alma mater. Last year, when I had an income, albeit very little, I did not donate to my alma mater. One of my reasons was that, "well, I'm hardly making that much, and I need the money more than the school." However, now that I'm in school and make no money at all, I feel compelled to give back. Why? I was awarded a generous scholarship, so I pay very little for my education right now. As much as I'd like to attribute it to my hard work and achievements, I could never deny the impact the first two years of college had on my personal growth and getting me to where I am today. My net value will be in the red for about another decade, but with how much money I save, I can justify donating some of those savings. Oxford College, look out for $100 donation at the end of the year.

Wise Bread retells the greatest story ever told (no, not Cinderella). I guess if you tell a story enough times, everyone will eventually believe it. Sound eerily familiar?

Getting Green sends out the red light about debt elimination scams. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is - except for the deals I post here :p

makingourway discusses turning of the tides against class action law suits. Seeing as I'm studying to enter a profession hit by them pretty heavily, I must say, I'm glad this is happening.

Millionaire Artist gives a good anecdote about the relationship between integrity and wealth-building. I think that's why it's important, no matter how rich or poor you are, to stick to your morals and be generous. What you give out will come back 10 times over. Call it karma.

There were many other great posts, but some of them, I've already highlighted in other carnivals or the Sunday Paper. Also, for whatever reason, there were more submissions with a political bent to them, so if you like that stuff, go check it out!

StumbleUpon Toolbar

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Money Give Away Report - January

Gotcha! You probably read the title and thought that this was going to be a post about how I am going to give away money. Well, I am. The only catch is, you probably won't be the recipient unless you are some worthy non-profit.

In keeping with my New Year's Resolution #1, I am keeping a record of the income I make through the course of the year, and I am donating half to a charity (to be chosen by the readers) in December. So, for a review of the numbers:

ING Direct referrals: $20
Ebates referrals: $10
BigCrumbs referrals: $0.10 (yes, the decimal is in the correct place)
Total: $30.10

Therefore, in addition to the $5 from December, I'll be donating $15.05, giving us a total of $20.05! Thanks to those of you who contributed by signing up for various programs, and I hope they've served you well. I truly appreciate it.

Where's the other half going, you ask? Well, if you must know, I plan on doing give aways here and there, so it gives me a little more flexibility to do those sorts of things as well as paying probably 0.000001% of my student loan interest, but that's another story. That's all for today, unless I come across some juicy piece of Paris Hilton gossip or I discover the formula for cold fusion while passed out from studying. I'm out.

StumbleUpon Toolbar