How Much Do I Have to Earn to Be Rich?

How Much Do I Have to Earn to be Rich?In my freshman year of high school, I got my first paying job. I was a TA (teacher’s assistant) for the junior high school computer lab. It was a minimum wage job paying $5.25 an hour, and as every self-respecting high school kid would’ve done, I added up the hours that I needed to work in order to afford certain items on my wish list. Very quickly I realized how much faster I would be able to afford that latest video game or those new basketball shoes IF ONLY I MADE MORE MONEY!

At this point in my life, I thought of wealth the way most of the world thinks of it:  I exchange my time in the form of work for money, and I earn more money either by A) working more hours, or B) getting paid more per unit of time, or C) doing both.  So goes the proverbial “rat race” to “maximize earning potential” because the more I EARN, the RICHER I am.  Strive to get paid more.  This is the path to financial riches, right?

Well…not quite… [Read more...]

So I Just Bought Two iPhones for ½ Off…

iPhones Half OffWith the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus coming out this week, everyone’s got iPhones on their minds. Including me. In fact, I just bought two iPhones for my parents who will be upgrading to smartphones for the first time and moving to a much more affordable prepaid cellphone plan (more on this in a future post). In order to offer rock bottom prices, prepaid carriers don’t subsidize smartphone purchases, unmasking the illusion that new iPhones start at $200 a piece when the truth is that their TRUE costs are $650 and up! So we’re dealing with big bucks here to acquire an iPhone to use with a prepaid carrier. You know how we feel about paying full price for stuff, so we set out looking for another option.

My parents were comfortable with something in the $300 range and so I started hunting online. The iPhone 5s recently got a price cut with the arrival of the 6’s, but were still going for $549 a pop on the Apple website. (A whopping $599.78 after tax!) But in the end I ended up getting a 16GB iPhone 5s in excellent condition for each of my parents at $321.23 and $318.23 (out the door prices)—nearly HALF the price of getting it from Apple and still cheaper than Amazon or eBay.

How? Where? [Read more...]

The Benefits of Systematic Giving

Systematic GivingUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s been a phenomenal marketing success in generating awareness and donations for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research and even perhaps combatted global warming through immense amounts of ice being dumped on the ground.* It’s been fascinating to me particularly because I work in a nonprofit charitable organization and think about fundraising all the time.

Every donation is valuable and charitable giving is certainly a wonderful thing, but I think it’s important sometimes to think through HOW we give. The occasional “give-$100-tip-to-struggling-waitress” may be heartwarming, but I am an ardent believer that systematic giving is far better than the “give-only-when-challenged-to-dump-ice-water-on-my-head” way of going about it. (Systematic here is defined simply as consistent, recurring, and planned, as opposed to impulse giving.) Here are 3 reasons why. [Read more...]

A Random Crumb #1: Soapy Savings

Random Crumb-SoapEvery once in a while, the Crumb Saver household shares a snapshot of a recent crumb-saving (or wasting!) incident on A Random Crumb. This column is proof that, hey, we’re people just like you! Prepare for a little randomness, a little embarrassment, but hopefully mostly encouragement.  You’ll get a sneak peek at what we actually do to save (or NOT save) in real life, which is motivation to us to stay crumby (in the good way) and (hopefully) inspiration for you join in the crumb-saving action too!

I was browsing Craigslist one weekend (which is oh so addicting) and found an announcement in the FREE section from a man who was moving and needing to give away his whole garage of stuff. Free stuff? We were there early the next morning, but not early enough to beat the die-hards who had likely camped out on the front lawn before the owner himself woke up. Most of the place had been picked through, but one of the things we did manage to find was a very nice ceramic hand soap pump dispenser. We gave it a good wash and proudly set it by the sink in our guest bathroom. [Read more...]

The Secret Ingredient to Investing

Secret Ingredient to InvestingThere is a secret ingredient to successful investing.  This is a secret used by renowned investors like Jack Bogle and Warren Buffett, and it’s a secret that you can have access to too.

But rather than telling you what it is, I’m going to share two hypothetical scenarios to illustrate what this secret is.  Put on your thinking caps!

Ready? [Read more...]

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