Read a blog post on SimpleDollar.com that brought back a lot of memories.
I spent my money in countless foolish ways when I was first starting out. I don’t even want to calculate the money I lost to that first car, those poor grocery buying habits, those first stupid credit cards, and many other dumb moves that I could have easily avoided without giving up much of anything enjoyable in my life. Personal Finance Blogger, Speaking for ALL of us!
Sound familiar? For me, it was getting married too young, immediately jetting off to live in a cool city, in the coolest ($$$) part of the city, a just-starting-out salary, credit card debt, the whole dumb story. So this 30-something writer’s cautionary tips bear repeating. Here are the bullets from “Eleven Things I Wish I Understood About Personal Finance Before Starting Out.”
Other People Don’t Really Care What You Own, Wear, Drive, Etc.
The First Possible Moment Is the Best Possible Moment to Save for Retirement
The Smaller Your Living Space, The Better
The Less Stuff You Have, The Better
In Cities, Public Transportation Means Not Having to Buy a Car
Making Meals in Your Own Kitchen Is One of the Smartest Things You Can Do
The Best Thing You Can Do for Career Security Is Build More Income Streams
Shopping at Goodwill, Aldi, Etc. First Saves a Ton of Money
Renters Insurance Will Likely Save Your Cookie at Least Once
There Are More Free Things To Do Than You Can Possibly Imagine
Carrying a Credit Card Balance Doubles the Cost of Whatever You Buy (or More!)
Again, just the highlights. Lots more knowledge at the original piece. The BIG QUESTION: would I have listened to this advice at age 22? Would YOU? Would your kids? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!
Outlet Malls… it’s a love/hate relationship for me. OK, mostly a hate thing because I am not a good enough shopper to recognize a good deal. As far as I can tell, the name “Outlet” screams savings, but does not deliver. Plus, I had to drive two towns over to NOT save!
Well, now you can maybe almost save from the comfort of your own home, because (as ShopSmart.org puts it) you can find outlet savings on your computer!
What kinds of items are ripe for savings?
Footwear, apparel, bags and accessories
Marked-down, clearance, and overstocked everything
Designer clothing, shoes, accessories and home décor
Clearance, open-box and refurbished items
Discontinued and past-season products, furniture and housewares
Refurbished computers, printers, and peripherals; new systems ordered but not paid for; and scratched or dented products
Overstock, seconds and discontinued outdoor clothing and gear
Appliances, home items, apparel, and tools discontinued, customized, new but returned, new from liquidators, unboxed, used or scratched and dented.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey
Retailers should get a bigger boost from back-to-school shoppers this year, as a longer list of school supplies and larger demand for electronics are expected to drive spending higher during the second-biggest selling season of the year. CNBC.com
Total spending on BtS for 2014: $75 billion, up 3% from last year
Per family (K-12): $669 total, up 5%
School supplies: $101 per kid, up 12%
Number of items on school supply list: 18, up 30%
Spending on electronics: $212, up 7%
Per college student: $916, up 10%
I guess the takeaway here is that in every example, BtS spending will go up. Great for the economy, but not so great for your individual wallet!
So what can you do about it? Surf the web for savings tips!
In the past week, you will have probably received an email or two listing a random selection of studies currently available to you on the MindField Online SurveyCloud™. In addition, you will also find a larger list of available surveys when you log into your MindField Online home page.
BUT, coming soon, you can enjoy all of these opportunities on the new MindField SurveyCloud mobile app! As the notification says:
We realize our panelists are on the go more than ever. Use the (Apple or Android) links below to download the SurveyCloud™ app powered By MindField Online that will allow you on-the-go access to all of your account information, surveys, and much more.
Mind you, this is only a sneak peek of the many features and benefits the SurveyCloud™ will offer you in the future. The entire point is to get you accustomed to seeking out your own opportunities, instead of waiting for an email invitation. So, get proactive, folks – opportunity awaits!
I have a nephew in his 20s who suddenly realized that he didn’t want to work at the sandwich shop his whole life. He enrolls in junior college and picks (out of a hat, I think) Environmental Studies. “Helping companies conserve water and energy, and managing waste,” as he describes it. We were all pleased at the news. I mean, it sounds like the kind of thing companies need, right?
Little did we know that it will be one of the Top 10 Jobs of 2022! There will be 103,000 jobs in that field, with an average salary of $63,570 (today’s money). That’s a lot of sub sandwiches, kid!
So, if you’ve got a kid searching for direction, or maybe you are searching yourself, this might be a good start. If you could pick one, what would it be? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!
If there’s one thing that takes the sting out of Back to School shopping, it’s saving money. Fortunately, this is the time of year when many states have tax free weekends for shoppers, typically good for clothes, shoes and school supplies and computers. The Single Parents page at About.com has compiled a list for 2014. The list is smaller this year because several of the Gulf Coast and Atlantic states cancelled their Back to School weekends in favor of Hurricane Preparedness. Also, a few states have outright repealed it, because they want that sweet, sweet tax money!
Here are the Confirmed dates for Tax Free Back to School shopping:
Alabama: August 1-3
Connecticut: August 17-23
Florida: Cancelled in favor of tax-free Hurricane Preparedness
Georgia: August 9-10, 2014.
Iowa: August 1-2
Louisiana: August 1-2
Maryland: August 10-16
Mississippi: Whoops! We missed it! July 25-26
Missouri: August 1-3
New Mexico: August 1-3
North Carolina: CANCELLED! Try South Carolina or Tennessee!
Oklahoma: August 1-3
South Carolina: August 1-3
Tennessee: August 1-3
Texas: August 8-10. (They also have LAYAWAY!)
Virginia: Aug. 1-3
Did we miss any? Anyway, there’s MUCH more detail at the original article! There’s also a nice graphic boildown HERE. Also, you can check with your state Department of Revenue for details.
Have you done the tax holiday for back to school? Have any tales of big savings? Leave a comment at the MindField Online Facebook page. And have a great weekend!
Time for our monthly heads-up on the best deals! August shopping can be summed up in two ways: Back to School and End of Summer. These two notions that were a complete bummer for me as a kid. Seriously, I don’t know anyone who hated school more than I.
I’m pretty sure I have said this before but, as a kid, summer was like a long weekend. What was left of June after school let out was like Friday night. July was glorious, glorious Saturday. And August was Sunday, completely overshadowed by the dread of Going Back to School.
As an adult, although I don’t have kids, I get it. You are totally ready for school to start again. But it’s work – there’s so much to go out and buy! Fortunately, there are plenty of bargains to be had during the Dog Days. Here are some highlights, followed by some useful links:
And now, a little Friday fun – or frustration (your mileage may vary.) Consumer Reports has published a fun graphic noting “America’s most common restaurant complaints.” I believe it can be a matter of perspective. I admit that I sometimes go into a place looking for trouble and, if you’re looking for it, you find it. Other times, dissatisfaction is thrust upon you. Once at the Tattooed Moose in Charleston SC, about seven of the things on the following list happened even before our order was taken (so, like, we left!)
Anyway, what are our top beefs? Take a look…
76% Dirty utensils. That piece of spinach baked on the fork isn’t harmful in any way, but still…
73% Dirty restrooms. I’m going to guess that the Men’s room is worse…
72% Impolite or condescending servers. Yeah, see illustration above, from the aforementioned Tattooed Moose
67% Sloppy or dirty-looking wait staff. Same…
66% Hot food cold, cold drinks warm
62% “That’s not what I ordered.”
61% Feeling rushed to leave by the server. You know, the girl who you never saw throughout the meal, but now won’t leave your side as you write out the tip?
51% Slow service. Cousin of No Service. Or, watching the staff fawning over “regulars” while you die of thirst waiting for a drink refill. Or, my favorite, waiting forever for the check (I call it the Hostage Situation.)
What’s missing from this list? HIPSTERS! Either ones dining next to me, ones affecting the menu (Pabst Blue Ribbon, anyone?), or ones waiting on me (um, see illustration again.)
An elderly acquaintance recently moved into an assisted-living facility. Cleaning out her house yielded some interesting treasures, including a bunch of unopened food – some fairly recent, some not.
Dilemma… First, everybody hates to waste food. Second, this wasn’t weird, old-lady food like beets or sliced carrots, but stuff I would actually use. I have always heard that the expiration dates on unopened food are mostly “serving suggestions” designed to cover somebody’s butt in the legal sense. (I’m NOT saying that’s correct, just that I have always heard that.)
So how old is too old? Surely, a jar of olives from 2009 is going in the trash. But what about 2012 or 2013? Fortunately, the geniuses at Consumerist.com have broken the vacuum seal to give us the freshest take on food storage time limits…
Bread crumbs (unopened): 2 years in fridge, 6 months in cupboard
Dry Pasta: up to a year, airtight
Flour: airtight, 10-15 months
Ketchup: Unopened, in pantry, 1 year. Opened, in fridge, 6 months.
Mayonnaise: Unopened, 3-4 months past label date. Opened, fridge, 2-3 months past label date.
Mustard: Unopened, in pantry, 2 years. Opened, in fridge, 1 year
Oils: Highly dependent on type, but can last several years.
Soy Sauce: Several years
Sugar: Airtight, several years
And the winner?
Worcester sauce… 12 years!
More foods and their life spans at the Consumerist piece, along with further resources for you to check out on food storage and safety. And, just like that, you have an excuse not to clean out your fridge. You’re welcome.
A little Friday distraction on the psychology of corporate logos, courtesy of those masterminds at DailyInfographic.com. Logos are a serious business. They aim right for your brain, triggering emotional responses with their colors and shapes, making you feel safe, or content, or awesome! And urging you to buy, of course.
First, what’s in the color of a logo?
Red: blood and fire. Evokes emotion, passion, intensity
Blue: depth and stability. Evokes comfort, faith, confidence, trust
Brown: nurturing. Evokes reliability and dependability
Pink: GIRL STUFF! Evokes love, sweetness, warmth
Second, how do they hook you? By hitting you EARLY!
Starting at age 2, we start to “get” that logos represent companies. Mouse Ears and the Golden Arches come to mind. By age 8, kids have 100% comprehension of which logo stands for which product.
Another fun fact is Cost, and more money doesn’t mean a more memorable logo. Some college kid earned $35 for creating the Nike swoosh, while the London Olympics paid $600,000 for a logo that you couldn’t recall with a gun to your head (and which sucked.)
So, can you think of any examples of logos, based on the color code? There are lots of examples at the original piece, so check it out. What are your fave (and least fave) logos? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend
A Gathering Place for MindField Online's Valued Panelists!