savings

Case Study: Would You Be Better Off NOT Saving Money?

I don’t normally do this (no, really… but…)

I signed up for a Macy’s credit card last time I was at the mall.

Opening department store credit cards isn’t a great long-term play for your credit — especially if you haven’t paid off all your debt yet…

But I had no consumer debt.

And good habits — like paying all bills, in full, were locked in place.

I was buying a sweet luggage set (you know, because I’m 27 years old now and apparently adults own rolly suitcases, not L.L. Bean hiking backpacks) and with the credit card + other offers, I saved $100 in 5 minutes.

Eat it, Geico.

I paid off the monthly statement then tucked the card away so I’d never use it. All my purchases are kept across the minimum number of cards, to maximize reward earning and to track my spending.

Since I’ve signed up, I’ve gotten bombarded with these offers…

[click to continue…]

Living Like a Hollywood Baller with Fighting Broke Style

One night, a Client went to dinner with one of my Boss’s and two production executives at Lucques on Melrose. Both the executives had expense accounts, but the Client covered the tab anyway. In fact, he demanded it.

He told me the next day, without an ounce of brag, “Yeah, it was a nice dinner. Cost me about $300. Plus I left the waitress a $100 tip.”

It was a generous tip. I told him so.

I said, “I aspire to be as generous as you in a few years. I try, and I know I’m not there yet.” And then the Client said something very interesting back to me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized since that this was the secret to being a baller:

ballercars

How to Live Like a Baller in Hollywood

The Client said, “There were many times I was very poor. Then there were times where I’ve made a few extra bucks. And what I’ve learned: when you have the money, share it. You have to make the decision you’re a baller, and that’s how you roll…’

[click to continue…]

Save $1,200 on Car Insurance with These 4 Easy Steps

You’ll begin this post much like myself before I wrote it — a car insurance plebeian. When you’re done, you’ll be a gladiator, with the know-how to save hundreds of cash$ on car insurance. Hopefully, a chunk of those savings you’ll start saving automatically, to free yourself from the Hollywood’s vicious financial cycle: what you spend < what you earn. Here’s how we’ll do it:

  1. Lower your premiums
  2. Shop for different rates
  3. Ask for their discounts
  4. Combine insurances

Each step alone can save you an extra $100 a month!

First, let me tell you about my weekend: I spent an afternoon researching my car insurance. Not typically what I do for shits and giggles, but I can totally geek out over it. I studied my coverage and my premium, trying to understand what exactly I was buying with my $900 every six months. I stared at a breakdown of my coverage for 5 minutes, that could have been written in Arabic for all the sense it made:

“$300,000 / $300,000 on Bodily Injury Liability. That sounds reasonable if there’s an injury that involves bodies… and someone is liable?”

Okay, soooo… I had no idea if it was reasonable…

[click to continue…]

Where Did My $1,000 Bonus Go? – Results

Let’s review: I received a bonus check of $1,000 from a client three weeks ago basically for doing my job: making sure the (figurative) trains were on schedule, and that the (literal) checks kept coming.

One of my options was investing that money in the continued education of one lucky stripper via the American tradition of making it rain, like my colleague. Instead, I used  a general framework to save 50%. I’d suggest saving anywhere between 30% and 75% so I could spend the rest of the money completely guilt free.

A general framework works well in this situation — better than a precise system, because this isn’t recurring cash flow you can count on. If you have a strong approach that’s ingrained through practice, it’s a procedure you can use again and again. Windfalls like this aren’t going to change your life, but the system and the framework will — it will separate us from our Bosses who are still slaves to their paycheck.

[click to continue…]

Extra Cash$? How To Save It and Use It

I thought we’d continue our talk about bonus checks and talk about windfalls – what’s not to adore about windfalls? I love the temporary power-up in spending power, whether it’s a $1,000 bonus check for doing my job or an extra $20 I found stuck in my jeans, fresh out of the dryer.

It’s unrealistic to count on these little lotteries to come to your aid when, say, rent’s due and you’re short the whole way. But they definitely happen often enough that’s its worthwhile to have a framework to handle the situation when it arises, whether it’s a holiday bonus, birthday money, or your tax refund.

How Would You Spend $1,200

A co-worker encountered a windfall recently – he discovered he’d been overpaying his cell phone bill for exactly one year. AT&T continued to charge him $100 for a phone plan he canceled, despite paying an additional charge for early contract termination. After an infuriating two-hour conversation, three customer representatives and total bonding time with suicidal jingle music of 47 minutes, he received two things…

  1. More evidence that AT&T‘s customer service is a big flaming dickhead by design, to encourage frustrated customers to give up anytime the company decides to piss all over them
  2. A $1,200 windfall

[click to continue…]