Money Corrups

Greedy People Surround Us

So it has been a couple weeks since I have posted here.  I apologize.  Sometimes real life just gets in the way.  In this case, it was more stress than anything else.  Between a big project that I had to get done at work and other stress... lots and lots of stress... I've just not been in the mood to be online much

What's this about stress????

Well, like I said, I am swamped at work.  Also, I had two cats die in the past few weeks, the one after having spent a week at the vet's trying to get her stabilized.  :(  Also, I previously wrote about how I became the crazy cat lady.  Well, my main stress mostly stems from that situation.

Despite the fact that I blog semi-privately, I am still going to keep this story generic and the 'players' anonymous.  So bear with me... I will try to keep this short and to the point.

When my cousin died, I was her sole beneficiary.  This came as no shock to anyone who knew her well because she and I have always been very close.  No one cared, and no one complained about my being the beneficiary... except for one relative.  He has been throwing a stink about "not getting his share" and has even complained to other relatives about it.  They just laugh at him.  Apparently no one told him you don't get to collect money off people when they die simply because you are a (not close) relative.

Now, here is the real kicker.  This relative has now started taking his disappointment out on me.  Yep, the green eyed monster has surfaced!  He has 'forgotten' to invite me to a family picnic, sent me snide emails, and even unfriended me from Facebook.  Now, I could understand being angry with me had I actually done something to him.  However, the only thing I've done in this case is EXIST.

It gets better.... this relative's wife has actually hinted around to both me and my parents that I could make the situation better if only I would give them some of my money!  (I will give you a moment to stop laughing now.)  So, apparently now I need pay off my family in order for them to treat me with respect? Interesting enough, this relative acted very much the same last year when another relative died and didn't leave him anything in his will.  Personally, I think that is a very sad way to live your life. Call me crazy, but I'd rather love people for who they are, not what they can give me. 

There is a lot I would like to say to this relative, but I am forcing myself to take the high road.  But with the holidays coming up I am going to have some interactions with this person.  How would you handle it?  My first instinct is to simply avoid the problem and keep my distance but, as my grandmother is still living, I feel I need to try to keep things as normal as possible so as not to upset her. The problem is, the stress and worry about this situation is starting to upset me in a negative way, and that is something I can not just sit back and ignore. 

So I am looking for any advice I can get.  Do you have greedy relatives?  How would you deal with people such as this?  Should I write a book about this experience, sell millions of copies, and have a good laugh at their expense?  :)

Welcome Yakezie Readers

Welcome Yakezie Readers

If you are visiting me today for the first time, welcome!  I am glad to have you here.

Below is a list of six of some of my favorite articles from this site.  They should give you a taste of my personal methods for saving money.  I hope you will enjoy reading them!

Organize Your Closet For Free - This article continues to be my most popular, and also my favorite.  It just shows you can find simple ways to save money using everyday objects.

I Reduced My Electric Bill By 30%, And You Can Too - Reducing your electric bill is a lot easier than you may have thought!

How To Make Seed Starter Kits - Another really popular article here.  Again, use everyday objects to make otherwise expensive seed starting kits. 

5 Ways Charlie Sheen Can Save Money - More satire than anything else, the tips are still valid.  Have a good laugh!

Don't Throw Out Good Eggs - Food Waste is a big money-waster.  Learn how to tell if your eggs are good, or if they need tossed.  You will save money by not throwing out good food.

Inexpensive Gifts - Container Garden - Gift giving CAN be inexpensive!  And fun! Make your own container garden and give it as a gift, or keep it.

Aldi Fun

I'm been super busy in real life, which means I've had to put 'The Single Saver' on hold for a bit.  I promise to return to normal posting in a week or so!

In the meantime, I invite you to read about The Frugal Girl's trip to visit with Aldi execs in Chicago!  I am soooooo jealous because Aldi is one of my favorite places to shop, and Chicago is one of my favorite places to visit.  And even though I hate grocery shopping, Aldi does make it a pleasant experience. 

Is anyone else jealous of The Frugal Girl right now?  If you could visit with execs from any company, what would it be? 

I hate grocery shopping!

Not Going To The Grocery Store Saves Me Money

I'll be blunt.  I really despise going to the grocery store.  Now don't get me wrong, I love food and cooking and eating... just not the act of going to the store.  I don't like wasting time wandering down isles and not finding what I need.  I don't like having to pay out the money at the check-out.  And I loath the physical act of lugging the groceries into my house and putting them away when I get home.  Hate it.  Hate it.  Hate it!

But today I had a "eureka" moment...a moment of insight that came to me while I was reading Little House in the Valley's article on food wasteMy dislike of grocery shopping actually saves me money!

Since I hate going to the grocery store, I tend to get creative in using up my leftovers, produce, meats, etc.  Rarely do I waste a lot of food, mainly because it is easier to eat up what I have rather than go grocery shopping!  :)  I can stock up (milk freezes well, as does bread and meat) and eat my produce in an order that will use up the items most likely to spoil first, I can make a typical shopping trip last around three weeks on average.  By the end of the three weeks, my fridge is looking bare but only because I am using up what I have, and not allowing it to go to waste. 

Americans, it is estimated, waste up to 30% of the food they buy.  I suspect Americans aren't alone, either.  That is simply shameful.  Food waste is a real waste of money.  By not grocery shopping on a regular basis, I am forced to use up what I have.  Win-win.  I save money and I avoid going grocery shopping as much as possible!

Do you enjoy grocery shopping?  How do you ensure you aren't wasting food or buying more than you can eat? 

3 Ways Steve Jobs Saved Us Money

The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, has passed away.  And while his loss will be felt for some time to come, the company will still live on and surely thrive thanks to his vision, drive, and energy.  Steve Jobs changed our of our lives in ways we never would have imagined 30 years ago.  And even if you don't personally use an Apple product, you have benefited from Steve Jobs' vision. 

Don't believe me?  Read below for three ways Steve Jobs saved us money:

1.) Affordable PCs -  Competition is good for commerce.  And while the Apple computer may not be the cheapest computer on the market, its presence in the market meant that IMB (and later other companies such as Dell, Gateway, and HP) had to step up its game to remain viable in the personal computer market.  Competition has a way of bringing down prices, which certainly happened here.  Now, owning a personal computer is well within nearly every consumer's reach. 

2.) Music By The Song - The invention of iTunes and the iPod has changed the way we listen to music.  Now we can purchase music by the song, instead of buying entire CDs, cassettes, records, or 8-tracks filled with music we don't want!  (We can now also easily share music digitally, but as that may or may not be illegal I won't go into detail here.) And it isn't just music that is affordable... now movies and television shows can even be purchased for on-demand viewing! 

3.)  Information At Our Fingertips - The iPhone and iPad were both revolutionary inventions that changed how we live our lives.  Now we literally have information right at our fingertips.  How does that help save us money?  Easy.  We can now search on the go for the cheapest gas, best sales, hot coupons, and exception deals.  We can search product reviews and consumer reports on a product prior to purchasing it to ensure it is the right product to suit our needs.  We can Google directions to avoid driving around a town needlessly.  In short, we can be informed consumers. 

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for changing how we view and interact with the world around us. 

How did Steve Jobs' vision change your life?  Are you a loyal Apple customer?  Do you feel the company can continue to be a success without Jobs at the helm? 

Indian Summer

Here in Ohio we are experiencing a bit of an Indian Summer with unseasonably warm temperatures.  It is supposed to be 75 degrees today and 80 tomorrow. I love weather like this!

Indian Summers are financially beneficial for several reasons:

1.) Mild weather means less energy usage. With temps in the 70s during the day and low 50s at night, the house stays comfortable without the use of the air conditioner or furnace. This is a huge electric and gas savings!

2.) Nice weather cheers us up. It is much easier to feel happy when it is 70 and sunny, instead of when it is 40 and rainy! And this is good for our wallets. According to Cahit Guven’s study for Deakin University’s School of Accounting, happy people:
• Are more likely to be savers
• Are likely to save even more money
• Are less likely to have debts
• Have more self-control over their spending decisions
• Are more likely to take the future into account
• Are more optimistic, which also leads to increased savings

3.) When the weather is nice, we are more likely to spend time outside.  Spending time outside in usually cheaper than hanging out inside at the Mall or sitting in front of our computer browsing shopping sites or watching shopping programs on TV!  When the weather is unseasonably pleasant, we stay active and engaged and are less likely to spend money out of boredom.

What is the weather like where you live?  Are you doing anything special to take advantage of it? 

Ten Frugal Tips For Single Students

If you're a single student trying to cut back on your spending while at uni, there are lots of measures you could take to rein in your outgoings - and make your money go further every month.

Here are 10 money-saving tips for single students.

1.    Look out for student discounts

One of the advantages of being a student is that you could get your hands on plenty of discounts - it's just a case of knowing where to find them and being upfront about asking.

Many high street stores - from stationers to clothes shops - offer around 10-15% discounts to students, so keep your eyes out and don't be afraid to ask! After all, the worst they can say is 'no'….

2.    Consider selling your old stuff

If you have any old items you no longer use, but could potentially make some money from, why not put them up for sale?

Games consoles, clothes, CDs/DVDs: you may be surprised at what people are willing to pay for what you no longer need.

3.    Why not cycle to uni?

Unless you're lucky enough to live close to uni, chances are you'll be spending a significant amount of your budget travelling to and from lectures.

If you have a bicycle, why not start using that instead? Even buying one secondhand could work out much cheaper in the not-so-long term than getting the bus or train every day.

4.    Trying to save money on food?

Getting the best prices at the supermarket can all be a matter of timing. Often, supermarkets will slash the prices on fresh products - such as fruit/vegetables, bakery items, meat/fish - near closing time, so try visiting your local shop half an hour before it closes.

Many supermarkets also have a 'reduced' shelf - so make that your first destination!

5.    Don't pay full price for books!

From chemistry textbooks to the collected works of Shakespeare, books can be a big student expense. But rather than buying them at full price on the high street, take some time to have a hunt around your local market or secondhand book shop to see what you can find.

Don't forget 'used and new' options online too.

6.    Look for money-off vouchers

Websites such as Groupon, as well as some magazines and newspapers, can offer money-off vouchers that can reduce the cost of everything from meals to cinema tickets.

7.    Why not look in charity shops?

You could find many a 'hidden gem' in charity shops - whether books, clothes or even crockery and furnishings for your flat.

8.    Save money on visiting home

See if you can get a student railcard, which could get you a third off rail fares - and make trips home to visit family and friends considerably cheaper.

9.    Split costs between friends

If you're cooking a meal or socializing with friends, split the cost of food and drinks between you - so you can still have all the fun, but at a fair share of the cost.

10. Try to say 'no' once in a while…

Of course, after all that revision and time spent in the library, you'll probably feel you've more than earned the odd night out socializing with friends in the Student Union. But going out too often could quickly become a major drain on your budget - so think about having a weekend in once in a while and you could see your budget grow.

How important is it to secure for the future?

This is a post written by Erika Stewart who is a freelance writer and writes occasionally on personal financial issues.

The importance of taking full responsibility in securing one's individual future is more important now than ever. If the recent recession has taught us anything, it is that the programs that we all thought would protect us in the age of retirement are no longer valid, and at best, they will serve as supplements to our own savings and investment efforts.

With Social Security and Medicare both facing bankruptcy, the financial and health security of all those without a retirement plan is at risk. Also, Obama himself recently offered these two programs up for further sacrifice in the recent debt ceiling debate. Had legislators accepted his offer, both Medicare and Social Security benefits would have been further cut. This type of action from major politicians just shows that the social programs that we used to be able to depend on are shaky at best, and at worst, incredibly bad investments.

Financial health security is being able to take care of yourself at an acceptable quality of life for the rest of your life. This gets harder and harder as time goes on, as health maintenance costs are the number one expenditure of retirees.

In this way, financial health security ties directly into health security. Therefore, it is necessary to secure one's health security as soon as possible, through a savvy mix of savings, investment, and insurance.

Life insurance is a necessity, not only for protecting the health of the insured, but the assets as well. Especially for those with assets over US $3.5 million, a life insurance policy can act as a tax barrier and as security for loved ones.

The right auto insurance policy is essential as many health problems are actually caused by automobile actions. Also, during one's working life, one has need of transportation security as well, to be able to build a future of financial security and health security. the cheapest auto insurance, like checking online car insurance brokers, is found when driving records are good, but there are many other factors which can cheap insurance help obtain the cheapest auto insurance. Like if you own a garage, GPS system, manual steering bar, or car alarm, tell your insurance company. These will all lower your premium payments. If you move closer to work, or change jobs or locales, check to see if the new zip codes are less expensive than your old ones. If they are, tell your insurance company to lower your rates. 

Cheap insurance does not stop there, as you will also need health insurance, at least to cover emergencies. Do not rely on employer provided health insurance. You may need gap insurance as well, especially if you have a family. 

Stop smoking. Exercise. Take advantage of all preventive treatments from doctors. This will get you cheap insurance which will help you save for retirement.

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