Happy Independence Day! It’s the summer and it’s the 4th of July, so that means many of you will be buying huge watermelons and serving it up to your guests today and throughout the summer. Wise Bread has a fun article today on 6 Unique Ways To Eat Watermelon. What does it have to do with money? Well, sometimes we buy watermelons way too big to eat, so instead of losing money and letting it go bad, try those 6 ways to eat it quicker! Here’s a few more great articles to peruse on your Sunday holiday:
Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. I started out loving it, because I was a pyromaniac as a kid, and any excuse to play with fireworks sounded GREAT to me. I still love playing with fireworks and watching them, but the 4th of July has brought so much more meaning in my life when I think about all of the men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives so that we could have the freedom to pursue a life of happiness. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and so many other Founding Fathers started this country with the dream that we would live free from tyrannical dictators, monarchies, and the constraints of oppressive government. Unfortunately, with every day that passes, every politician that we elect into government, every big government program that Congress comes up with, and every dollar we spend that we don’t have, we start slowly losing the freedoms we’ve experienced and taken for granted over the past 200 plus years.
We ALWAYS notice when something gets more expensive, but do we notice it when prices fall? We should, because the prices probably won’t be falling forever, so you need to take advantage of falling prices when you can. Sometimes recessions aren’t such a bad thing, because we often tighten up our finances which lowers demand and causes prices to fall in a lot of industries. Also, our wonderful friend called technology is also causing a lot of industries to make things more efficiently and drop prices. Remember when it was minimum $1,500 to buy a flat panel TV? Now you can get a 32″ for about $400! This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here’s some major things that are getting cheaper and helping many of you out according to the bureau of labor statistics data on consumer price index.
If you’re in your 20’s or early 30’s, then you’ve probably either seen an episode of “Saved By The Bell” or you’re one of those freaks that’s seen every episode and still watches the re-runs on TBS in the morning. It was an iconic TV show for our generation. I’m not sure why it gained so much popularity. It was just one of those addicting shows that any pre-teen would get hooked on whether it was 1990 or 2010. Surprisingly, the show did tackle a lot of deep issues that teens face every day, and it even dealt with some financial issues. Some of these lessons learned might seem like a little bit of a stretch, but I know you get bored reading about private mortgage insurance and mutual fund load fees, so take a trip down pop culture memory lane with me for a little bit.
I worked from home today, not because the World Cup was on, but because we were hiring new landscapers and I wanted to talk to them before they started working on our yard. BUT, since a huge World Cup match for the U.S. was playing at 10am this morning, I got my laptop, and started working in the living room while casually paying attention to the game. I saw ANOTHER goal that was taken away by a referee who probably has a chip on his shoulder towards the United States, and I saw a lot of missed opportunities by the U.S. to take control of the game. Then, it happened — one of the most dramatic moments in U.S. soccer history. Just when it looked like the U.S. team would be flying home tomorrow, Landon Donovan cleaned up a miss from Jozy Altidore in the 91st minute of the game to win it and advance to the next round. Your finances are just like that goal from Landon Donovan. Your finances ALWAYS have a chance, as long as you are patient and persistent. Here are five lessons you can learn from watching the World Cup this year:
At Money Crashers, we are big advocates of working with a financial coach or counselor rather than a financial advisor if your financial goals are geared more towards preparing a budget, a plan to get out of debt, and seeking ways to save money in your daily life. Trusted financial advisors and planners are good sources for some of the more technical questions about investing, insurance, and estate planning, but they often neglect the part about being in the right situation to start investing or estate planning. Ansley Sebring, owner of her own financial coaching company called, The Budget Author, is based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. She left the corporate world to be a self-employed financial coach because she saw the huge need for personal financial education during a time when jobs were being lost, real estate values were down, and people were waking up to the fact that they had WAY too much credit card and other consumer debt. I interviewed her recently about making the switch to being an entrepreneur while maintaining the role of mother of two children, wife, and owner of a company.
We’re often enticed by retailers when they have a sale. Many savvy shoppers know the best time to buy all kinds of different products right before their seasonal shelf life, because they know that the prices will be marked down to clear inventory. As responsible consumers, we’re programmed to look and wait for sales before we buy something. We love knowing that we “got a deal”. However, it’s not the same for us when we think about investing, the stock market, and other investments like real estate. We’re often paralyzed with fear when we see the stock market drop and our immediate reaction is to pull out and not put our money in it. Warren Buffett famously said that he’s greedy when other investors are cautious and he’s cautious when investors are greedy. Free From Broke has a great article about buying low or even LOWER in the stock market. It’s a great habit to fall into to invest in the stock market when it’s on sale.
Ever since I got the iPhone 3G about 16 months ago, it has been a gateway drug to Apple for me. I was so in love with it, that it caused me to buy an iMac, and then a 13″ Macbook Pro. I’m officially a Mac junkie, and I’ll never go back. You can go ahead and make fun of me, but having dealt with Windows PC’s for the past 15 years of my life and constantly being frustrated with them, I’ve drank the Apple Kool-Aid. That’s why I spent an hour and a half of my life on Monday following the live blog from Engadget about the keynote speech from Steve Jobs about their newest gadget, the iPhone 4. If you’ve already got an iPhone, then you’re probably either waiting for June 15th to pre-order it or you’re or the fence about whether you should upgrade. Or maybe you’ve been rocking an old Nokia cell phone for a while, and you’re wondering what smart phone you should upgrade to. Whatever your situation is, I’m going to throw a down and dirty review of the iPhone 4 and give you my not-so-unbiased opinion about whether you should get it or not.
The cost of health care is a big issue right now, and with the Obama administration recently pushing through a controversial health care bill, the debate has become even stronger. One thing I find ironic is that health care is one of the ONLY things we pay for and never ask how much it costs. The reason is because health care is one of the few insurances where we actually see the true cost of it and what we’re being billed for. We simply pay our premium, pay our little co-pay and go on our way. I really liked the article from Wisebread that asks for a price list at the hospital or doctor’s office. Such a simple concept, but I think if we actually saw the prices that we were paying for health care, we’d start taking matters into our own hands to drive down the price, and competition for doctors and health care providers would be more about price, and therefore, competition would drive the price down.
I do a lot of freelance work that I run through a separate business entity, and I’ve been a lot more sensitive to how start-ups and small businesses portray themselves to the public and on the Internet. I completely understand that small businesses should act and look as professional as possible to potential clients and other businesses, but there is a difference between acting professional and trying to look and act like something you are not. I’ll give you a few examples of what I am talking about:
Falsely Misrepresenting Client Work