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8 Books That Helped Form My Outlook About Money and Things

13 Sep

The problem with growing up without money is that I once I had some, all I wanted to do was spend it.  So began my (still continuing!) adult journey from spending money, just because it was there, to becoming financially savvy and independent.  Here are some books that have helped me work towards the latter.

1.  How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously:  Based On the Proven Principles and Techniques of Debtors Anonymous by Jerrold Mundis

I have never been a member of Debtors Anonymous, but you certainly don’t need to be a part of DA to gain knowledge from this book.  First published in 1988, there are timeless principles here that you can use.  Mundis tells you that you must keep an ongoing spending record (done more easily now with sites like Mint.com) of all money going out and in, and from that you can glean a spending plan, versus a budget.  He also has a formula of how much to pay each creditor each month while still being able to live on your existing income.  Most importantly, he encourages baby steps: just take one day at a time not to incur new debt, while reminding you that there is hope to lead a financially stable life.

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Frugal Ways For Me to Stay Fit

22 Aug

I let my gym membership expire last week.  It wasn’t a monthly charge.  Rather, I had bought a prepaid 2-year membership for 24-Hour Fitness through Costco, and the term had run out.  When I bought it, the price was $299.99, so while the initial cost was a doozy, it amortized out to $12.50 per month instead of the $30 you would pay if billed monthly.

I let it expire because they had upgraded 4 out of the 6 gyms in my area to Supersport, which therefore rendered my membership ineligible to go to those branches unless I paid more.  Cost to upgrade would be $40 per month, so you can bet that I won’t be signing up for that.

Staying healthy can cost money, though it’s better in the long run than paying for doctor’s bills and prescriptions.  There are gyms in Los Angeles that can easily cost $140 per month or more  So, now that I’m a woman without a  gym, here are some frugal things I’m doing for exercise:

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Robbing Peter to Get a Discount from Paul…Sort Of

17 Aug

I’ve tweeted before about getting discounts from Shell gas stations, where they’ve made a deal with The Kroger Company.  If you shop at one of their stores – in my case, it’s Ralph’s supermarket – with your rewards card, you get 1 point for every dollar spent, which you can then redeem at any Shell station.  It’s currently 100 points for 20 cents off per gallon at any Shell station.

Since I live alone (also expect a post eventually about frugal living by yourself!), my grocery buying underpaces my gasoline consumption.  I usually fill up my tank every 7-10 days, and you can bet that I don’t buy $100 worth of groceries in that same amount of time!

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11 Frugal Things I Do For Which My Friends May or May Not Think I’m Crazy

30 Jul

Remember, I haven’t been frugal all my life.  There have been many things bought that I just had to have.  Over the years, I’ve learned to curb back, with the occasional splurge.  Now, the things I do on this list are just a way of life for me.

1.  I don’t buy lottery tickets.  Even when the Mega Millions jackpot hit $656 million, I refused.  For those who buy only $2 worth of tickets every week, that’s still $104 per year.  Take your pick: for me, that’s a month of gasoline, groceries, or money in my savings account.  When I told this to one of my friends, she said, “You know someone is frugal when they don’t buy special occasion lottery tickets.”  I’ll take that as a compliment.

2.  I cut off the ends of a tube of hand lotion so I can get the last bits out of the other end when it’s too difficult to squeeze.  This way, I get use out of the tube for 3 days if it’s small, up to a week if it’s larger.

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Pick Two: Fast, Cheap or Good?

28 Jul

With the exception of my birthplace and a brief stint out-of-state for my first year of college, I’ve lived in the City of Angels my whole life.  The advantages of being a native are plenty.  I never really had to adjust to the sticker shock that transplants get when moving to a metropolis that is currently ranked the 2nd most expensive city in the United States in which to live.

I know surface street routes to stay off the freeways during daylight hours, free places to park in highly congested areas, and the little “pockets” of neighborhoods where you can get more for your apartment rental dollar.  I’m familiar with inexpensive dive bars containing great jukeboxes, happy hours at higher end restaurants, and the cheapest places to go bowling.

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