Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Living a do it yourself lifestyle.

Do it yourself: keeps popping up everywhere, and I think it is for the best. It helps hone talents and abilities, fosters creativity and innovation. My wife and I have really thrown ourselves into this lifestyle and we love it. Keeping with the value of this blog it also saves us money. We just purchased a home and rather than spending thousands of dollars on new furniture we have been doing it ourselves. We spend our afternoons and saturdays looking at used funiture that can be refurbished. I have also been doing a lot of work in the yard using supplies leftover from the previous owners projects. I have posted several of the projects we have done on the blog already. One that I am trying to finish up before the snow flies is a pathway to our back entrance. All of the supplies I have used were found on our property. Right before we moved in, the house had a new waterline put in. So the yard was really torn up. However we are making great use of the unearthed rocks. I hope to put a post a week about new things we are doing. Most of all I want to see what you are doing.

(after the snow melts off the pathway I will post some pictures)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thrift Store Fun.

One of my favorite things about being frugal is finding great deals at thrift stores. Once every few weeks I head over to the local thrift store to take a look at what they have. I have found some really great deals doing this. It's a great place to find furniture for great prices and fix up to look exactly how you want. However I spend most of my time in the book section looking for personal finance or self help books. In fact, all but one book I have reviewed on pinchapenny was purchased from a thrift store. A few weeks ago our TV died and so the hunt began. We looked into a lot of options including buying a new TV. Luckily my wife helped restrain me from buying a brand new 60 inch flat screen. (electronics are my weakness) After a few trips to the thrift store we found one that we really liked. I grabbed a video game console and plugged it into the TV. Turned it on to check out the image and sound quality, looked great so we bought it. It set us back $50 and we couldn't be happier.

Do you look for deals at the thrift store? What was your best find?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Review: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki: A guide to learning financial intelligence. Robert explains that as a child he had two "dads" teaching him about finance. His poor dad, his real father was a educated man who worked for the government. He taught Robert that getting a education was important, and finding a successful career path with a safe job outlook was the most important thing he could do. Roberts rich "dad", who was really a friends father, taught him that learning how to make money work for him was the financial intelligence that he needed to be successful.

Rich Dad Poor Dad spells out how to gain financial intelligence. The book explains why it is important to know how money works and make it work for you. Robert gives great examples of how the rich are able to "legally" avoid excessive taxes and build more wealth. He advises individuals to take risk, so that they can find reward. Many of the Stocks or Bonds invested in by Robert are high risk. I found this book to be a easy read with fun real examples from his life. I enjoyed the the information contained and I have already begun looking into how I can apply its principles. However I was disappointed in the lack of actionable items to do. Many of his ideas are broad concepts that are hard to put into action.

What do you prefer broad concepts, that require you to investigate solutions, or actionable items that you can test out?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Cleanup

Growing up Saturday was a cleaning day. We would be given a list of chores to get done and on we went. For my parents Saturday was a financial cleanup day. They spent the day organizing and paying bills. Evaluating the budget and planning for the future. Here is a short list of activities that can be done on a Saturday to cleanup your finances.

1. Evaluate lifelong dreams and set written goals Are you living in your dream home? How is your retirement savings going? What debt do you have that needs to get paid off? What needs to be done to save for your dream home? How close are you to reaching those goals?
Write down a plan of things you can do in this order.

What can I do today to reach my goal?
What do I need to do this week?
What can I do this month?
Set a day to reevaluate the goals.

2. Make your road map to debt freedom. Take a good hard look at all of your debt, credit cards, student loans, car loans, mortgages, home equity loans and any other personal debt. Tighten up the budget and start paying off debt. Your income is your most powerful wealth building tool and right now its all tied up in debt. Check out the post on the Piggy Bank debt reduction plan for great tips on getting out of debt fast.

3. Develop or reevaluate the budget. Budgeting is never fun, however I think its is fun to find ways to save even more in a budget. Get creative about ways to save money. Most of us spend way to much on entertainment and eating out. Go on a eating out fast, and cut it out for the whole month. See how much extra money is left over. Plan a entire month of free or low cost weekend activities. (more on this to come in the next post)

4. Make some extra cash as you declutter the house. Take a look at what you are keeping in storage, and find out what you are not using. If the items have potential profit in them. List them on Ebay or a local classified page. Organize a garage sale with family or friends. Use the money earned in the areas you need it the most. Paying off debt, or building savings.

Saturdays are an important day of the week, its the day we get stuff done, play and spend time with the kids. Make the most of it.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Financial Education

Expanding our financial education is a life long journey. As technology, politics and economics change so does the financial world. I have read dozens of books spanning different decades in history. Most of which are about a successful investor and what he or she did to make it. Each situation was different. However one thing was always the same. The individuals involved were financially educated. I'm not saying that getting a degree in economics or finance is what makes a up a successful investor (although it would help). But I strongly believe that the only way we can be successful over extended periods of time is to continue to learn. There are hundreds of avenues we can learn from, and I want to list a few of my favorites.

Blogs: I love blogs because they are so personal. Each blog is managed by a person who loves the subject they are writing about. Many professional blogger's spend their entire day researching and practicing the techniques they blog about. I find their information refreshing and extremely useful. I especially enjoy blogs because everything is happening in real time. The information they are writing about is happening right then. Books can take years to publish, Magazines weeks or months. (I do love both of those resources as well)
Here are a few of my favorites.

Books: Books are a timeless resource, even in the financial world where some of the tactics and actionable items suggested can be out of date, the principles are often timeless. I love books because good ones can be read again and again as principles are studied and then applied. I especially like books because they tell the authors personal story. You get to walk with them through their personal failures and triumphs. A few of my personal favorites are.

Your Money Or Your Life: by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

A Million Bucks By 30:   by Alan Corey

Rich Dad Poor Dad: by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Podcasts: I love podcasts because I can listen as I drive to work. I can also listen to them as I work around the house. Podcasts are fun because like blogs they are very personal and based in close to real time. I also like podcasts for the change of pace they give compared to readying about the information. Here are a few of my favorites.

The Dave Ramsey Show.
The Money Girl.

What are  you doing to increase your financial intelligence? I want to hear what you are doing and where you are getting your information from?