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Suze Orman on SNL

October 23rd, 2008 at 05:47 pm

This clip comes from a place of love-- I love Suze Orman; but this SNL parody is too funny not to pass on.


via Jonathan at MyMoneyBlog.

Your Urgent Help Needed

September 23rd, 2008 at 06:43 pm

From Angry Bear

Dear American:

I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had
crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds
as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names
of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family
lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account
numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for
this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson

[I hope to have some of my own material up soon! It's been a hectic few months but I hope you find this funny!]

Bean, PhD

June 17th, 2008 at 07:16 am

I passed my dissertation defense yesterday morning. Phew!

The upcoming week is jam packed with making some dissertation revisions and packing. The movers come on Friday and I would LOVE to submit my dissertation to the Graduate School before I leave. You probably won't be hearing much from me in the next week, but when I return I hope I have some thoughts on keeping it frugal on the move! Any last minute tips are appreciated!

Hello, Lover!

June 3rd, 2008 at 07:43 pm

All the Sex & the City afficionados know this is what Carrie says when she spies a pair of Manolo Blahniks in the window of an upscale boutique.

I had a similar reaction this weekend. Only I was in the Goodwill. And the shoes cost 2.50. But aren't they beautiful?



I went to the Goodwill to drop off some clothes, but I convinced myself to go inside. The Goodwill in my new town might not be as plentiful, right?



This find was especially fortuitous because I was in the market for a pair of shoes just like this. You know, for walking to school. Kidding. Here's the story-- In summer of 2006 I bought this dress on eBay:



It has served me very well. I've worn for at least 4-5 different weddings and am taking it on the wedding circuit again this summer. However, the shoes I wear with this dress have never done the dress justice. I told myself that if I saw a reasonable priced pair of strappy, gold shoes at a store this summer I should buy them as a reward for getting 3 seasons of weddings out of the dress. Yes, I know that's irrational.

I thought I would end up getting a good deal if I found a paid for under $30, so imagine my glee when I saw these FOR LESS THAN $3!

But the good fortune didn't end there! Oh no! Then I spotted these pointy toe leather Bandolinos for $5 (perfect for jeans or black pants),

and then these adorable brown leather Naturalizers for $3.25.


Total cost: $10.75

Eat your heart out, Carrie Bradshaw.

My New Favorite Freebie

May 31st, 2008 at 06:44 am

I'm in love. With a woman. Her name is Pandora.

I think you'll fall in love with her, too.

Pandora is the culmination of project started in 2000 which assembles hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. To quote the Pandora site:

Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.


So what does this mean for you? Pandora allows you to create, for free, "stations" by defining musical elements you like, specific singers, bands, etc. There are no audio commercials, just free streaming music chosen specifically for the qualities you indicate. Furthermore, you can give individual songs a thumbs up or down to further guide Pandora to the types of music you like. Also, unlike radio, if you don't like a song you can just push a button and move onto the next.

Check it out! But beware, like a new relationship, you might find yourself wanting to spend all your free time with her!!

Finally I Get It!

March 22nd, 2008 at 07:36 am

Can't Grasp the Credit Crisis? Join the Club

Great article from the New York Times!

Be Nice to Your Babysitter

January 2nd, 2008 at 08:46 pm

The ad I posted on Craig's List for babysitting jobs has received a great response-- I'd call it a babysitting blitzkreig. I babysat yesterday for three hours at a hotel for a new Professor's kids while he and his wife went househunting. The kids were a little on the wild side and potty-mouthed. Tonight I babysat again for the new family with the 2 yo and 8 month old. I babysit for them 2 more times and then.. I AM DONE aside from my one glorious family whom I regularly babysit for.

At $10 / hour, babysitting can be profitable, but given the big jump in income I'll be experiencing in a few months after I graduate (I have a job lined up), it's not worth it when I don't feel like I'm getting treated well. Case in point, both parents were home while I babysat tonight from 5-9pm but they were in other parts of the house. The mother warmed up some leftovers for me to feed to the little boy for dinner, she then dished the remainder onto a plate for herself and her husband then then disappeared, leaving 'ol Beanie with nothing. Luckily, I was able to find a loaf of bread in the fridge so I ate a slice of that. I don't think they meant to leave me hungry, but it just seemed like as long as the kids were out of their hair, no one thought about me. When I took the job, the mom actually asked if I would wait to eat until I got there so I could eat with their son-- like many kids, he eats better when others are eating. I guess I made the erroneous assumption that they would provide me with a little food to eat!

One of the other new families made a big deal of constantly emailing and reminding me when they wife overpaid me $10 when she didn't have the correct change. We all acknowledged I had been overpaid and agreed to just carry over the "credit" for the next time. So what was the reason for all the emails reminding me of the $10 credit? Did they think I was going to skip town with their $10 bucks? I mean, seriously, who among us is the student and who is the "professional"?

The irony is, all these people want me to keep babysitting for them! Like many situations, it's a two way street and the money alone isn't enough to make me coming back. So, to all the parents out there, if you have trouble finding a babysitter and then finally find one, make sure to be nice to her! People think it's the kids that make the babysitter not come back, let me tell you, parents can be equally deterring!

I know many jobs involve weird bosses and difficult personalities, but when you hiring someone to come into your home and care for your kids-- don't make her feel like a second class citizen.

Kitty Wigs!

December 7th, 2007 at 11:56 am

If I wasn't a Cheapskate, I'd totally get one of these for my little furry friend.



She'd really look smashing, although she'd probably like destroying and chasing it more than wearing it.

Intrigued? Horrified? Find our more at KittyWigs.

My bike was stolen!

July 8th, 2007 at 04:01 pm

I stepped out onto my front porch this afternoon to hop on my bike and ride to the grocery store.

Hey wait, where's my bike?

My beloved bike had been stolen off the front porch!

Yes, I called the police and filed a report. I also walked around the neighborhood to see if I could find it abandoned somewhere. I checked the local classifieds to see if I could find it being re-sold. I'm not holding my breath.

I loved that bike. I loved riding the bike. Cruising home on my bike at the end of the day reminded me being 10 years old and cruising around my neighborhood on pink Schwinn banana seat bike.

I loved that bike and biking around so much I'll probably buy a new one. Unfortunately, they don't come cheap (even used bikes). I'll also need a new lock since my lock was dangling around the handle bars. No, it wasn't locked. I'm kicking myself now, but I thought it would be safe on the front porch of my own house.

I rode it home Friday and parked it on the porch. I don't remember tripping over it when I watered the flower boxes Saturday afternoon so it was probably stolen Friday night.

I don't like that someone crept onto the porch and took it. I'm not in anyway suggesting that the two events are related, but just earlier this week a few blocks from here a young woman awoke to her apartment being burglarized. The invader then beat and raped her. Such events are rare in my small college town. I have been extra vigilant to keep the windows shut and locked. I am thankful that I did not hear who ever took the bike off the porch because I think I might have suffered a heart attack had I awoke in the night to hear someone of the porch.

Live and learn, I guess.

Why Quitting my Job has Helped My Finances

March 18th, 2007 at 04:21 pm

My previous post elicited more of a response than I expected. Thanks to all who provided their thoughts.

My intention of the previous post was to shed some light on why living on a graduate student stipend (~15 - 18k / year, depending on a number of factors) is easier than living off a the same amount of money earned through a lower-paying job. I get annoyed when students compare their circumstances to those of low-wage earners. The situations are completely different, with the latter being a much more challenging financial feat.

With that said, aside from increased earning potential after I graduate (assuming all goes as planned), the biggest financial benefit of being a full time graduate student has been learning how to survive and prosper on this income.

By no means am I trying to infer that our student stipends are a pittance. I know there are many readers and participants on the message boards who do quite well with less, but for me this has been a quite a journey. I’m embarrassed to admit that pre-grad school I didn’t even balance my check book or have a rough idea of how much money was in my account. If I was out shopping and saw a dress I liked- I bought it. Dinner and drinks out were the norm.

It was fun, but it wasn’t thrifty.

The only reason I avoided consumer debt was that I have inherited my mother’s gene for bargain shopping but lived in a small enough space that I couldn’t accumulate a lot of stuff. In retrospect, I wonder how much I could have saved if I had been more responsible? I wonder if we had continued on working and earning more would I ever have stopped to think about long-term goals, like buying a house?

Now, it’s a moot point because I had the good fortune of learning financial responsibility when I quit my job and returned to school full time. I now keep exacting records of expenses. I’m also investing. I’m saving—and all on a fraction of what I used to make. The biggest difference is that I’m no longer passive about money. I feel really empowered.

I feel empowered because I feel like we have a good life on this salary. Sure, as an undergraduate, I made even less money, but my student apartment wasn’t my home, nor was I truly independent from my parents.

However, I think that if you ever came to our home, you wouldn’t say, “Oh, this is a student apartment”— or “This is just some one’s temporary home”. But this is a home. A real life Mr. Bean and I began together as graduate students. I’m proud of it.

The challenge will be continuing to keep our current frugal and mindful practices once we are earning more and released back into a consumer society.

$10 Dolla Drama

January 27th, 2007 at 06:34 am

A few months ago I received a letter in the mail from the brick & mortar bank where I have my checking account. The letter stated that if I completed 2 automatic bill payments by 12/31/06 I would receive a $10 bonus award.

The only bill I pay each month is my personal credit card-- Mr. Bean takes care of the rest. I already had my credit card set up to automatically deduct from my checking account, but I figured I could do the reverse for 2 months and get the $10 bonus.

The $10 bonus was never deposited. I called the bank's 1-800 number and waited while the CSR researched the situation. He politely informed me that this offer must have come from the local branch and to contact the local branch to get the $10.

I went to my bank, and in typical fashion, the teller (a sarcastic little 20 year old) doesn't know what to do, so but says, "Well, if you are so hard up for $10, I'll call to the main branch and see what they know". He calls the main branch, they tell him just to put $10 in my account. The teller does so, but says, "Ok Beanie, I deposited the $10, but don't go stealing any more money from me." Granted, I know this little doofus was trying to be funny, or flirt or whatever, but I was annoyed. It was unprofessional of him to joke with me like that. I had to bite my lip and to refrain from saying,....well, I’ll take the high road and refrain from writing what I refrained from saying.

Fast Forward 3 days:

Last night I was reconciling my account in Quicken (I do this manually and not through the automatic download option), but I couldn't quite figure out why my checking account was off when all the transactions seemed to be present.

Finally, I noticed that annoying little teller DEDUCTED $10 from my account rather than DEPOSIT it.

I guess I'll be going back to the bank. I'm going to go on the same day and time so I can deal with the same little twit again. If he gives me any lip, I'll be ready to give it right back to him!



NYT: Barons Before Bedtime

January 25th, 2007 at 12:43 pm

I have 4 eBay auctions ending tonight, so this article in today's NY Times made me chuckle. I may be 10 years older than these kids, but I think we share some common virtues! Ever since I started selling on eBay, I find myself looking at EVERYTHING in our house with a more critical eye!

My favorite quote:

Bradley, the eBay maven, has discovered his own source of passive income: books in his younger brother Justin’s room. “If I get into a selling mood,” he said, “I will look around the whole house for things to sell. All over my brother’s room there are books that we have never read just lying around.”

He has put Justin’s “Hardy Boys” books on eBay three times, he said. And each time Justin goes online and takes them off.

I'll report back on what sold in my auctions later today.

Help! I'm becoming my mother!

December 15th, 2006 at 11:28 am

I absconded the office potluck with a molasses cookie and a raspberry bar wrapped neatly in a festive Christmas napkin to bring home to Mr. Bean.