Jesse Michelsen Jesse Michelsen is a 23 year freelance writer with a passion for personal finance. Without any formal education in finance, he writes about his own experiences in managing money, budgeting and investing with the goal of retirement at 40 always in mind. He resides in Utah with his wife, 2 girls, and baby boy on the way.
As the Principal of the Festival Of Frugality School, I’ve elected to award one participant the Festival of Frugality Valedictorian Award.
As the Valedictorian, this student of finance and life has been well-liked by his fellow students and always brings his positive attitude with him wherever he goes. He brings out the good in others and shines as an example of what other students should aspire to be like. In one particular instance, titled Squirreling Gone Wild #22: Drive-Thru Discount, Ray of the Squirrelers class exhibited grace and charity after his resourcefulness led him to a tiny financial discount along his day to day path.
The verdict is in. I have found myself guilty of not taking the value of my time seriously enough. When I was younger, I played video games and sat around not doing much. I called that using my “free time.” Really, there’s no such thing as free time. Time is the most valuable commodity because you can’t get it back, and you can’t make more. When it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s why learning effective time management skills and techniques is so important.
I struggle with Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t mean I love my wife any less than the guy who goes all out; it’s just that my wife isn’t all that romantic and I’m not all that creative. She doesn’t like foot rubs, manicures, facials, or any of the girly stuff that many guys give as gifts. She has a major sweet tooth, but chocolate and candy get old fast. It’s really hard to find a unique idea that she will love—and that neither of us will regret because it cost too much.
You heard it folks, Apple broke off its exclusivity with AT&T and released the iPhone to Verizon customers in early February 2011. With such a product release, big lines are sure to follow.
Apple isn’t the only company capable of creating such a buzz, however. The newest products and innovations from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and various other merchants have caused crowds to line up for what seems like miles.
Every once in a while, everyone wants to make a major life improvement. That longing for change can be created by many things: bad health, bad relationships, bad jobs, or bad money habits. I use the term “bad” loosely, because even mildly bothersome aspects of life can drive people to seek big changes, especially in finance.
I believe that what we think has a lot to do with what becomes reality. When I’ve tried to lose weight, just making an effort to think about losing weight caused me to be more conscious of what I was eating and how much I was working out. The same goes for money. When I’m thinking about being better with money, I find myself being better with money. The power of thought itself in creating change is invaluable.
Work is not the greatest of things that we have to do in life. Most people in my experience don’t like their job. I’ve heard that in order to be happy in your job, you must like two of three things: the people you work with, the work itself, or the pay. Pick two and you’ll be happy.
I’m sure there are plenty of other, more specific reasons to be happy, but I’d say these three things do a pretty good job of summing it up. So what about the other majority of people who only have one of these three things, or worse, none of them? There is a good chance that in this job market, they will have trouble finding something else even if they are unhappy in their job, so are they just stuck in an unhappy position?
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves in positions that may feel awkward and undesirable but is often necessary. For example, I’m sure that with the foreclosure rate in the US steadily climbing, many people are finding themselves in these very situations. They’ll need to do something about it even if it means swallowing their pride and moving back into their parents’ house.
I find one thing that is often forgotten in the hype of the New Year is the end-of-year review. In order for you to progress in the next year and head in the right direction, it’s very important to study where you were a year ago, what you did and didn’t do well, and what things you should focus on in the next year.
As people across the nation pick themselves back up after a difficult year, many will be focusing on improving their credit. Your credit score is an indicator of your credit trustworthiness, and it is reviewed in many life situations: job interviews, loan applications, credit card applications all will rely somewhat on your credit score.
As the weight of the new year sets in we start to realize some of our goals that have been set aren’t as important as they seemed in the buzz of the New Year’s party. We then shift our energy to things that are important like increasing our productivity, improving time management skill or simply making more money to better help us get out of debt.
The new year is such a great feeling when you can review the past but focus more on the future and things to come; it’s a time for planning, dreaming but most of all, starting over. All your previous years goals can be reworked or simply removed from your plate and you can go on to create new goals and new plans for the next year.
As the dust clears after Christmas, you don’t have too much time to breath before the next big year-end event, the New Year! I love the new year, it’s a time when we get to look back at what we have accomplished during the past year and look at what we can do better in the next year. Even if you don’t accomplish the goals you set out to during the new year celebration, it’s a fresh start for everyone.
It’s less than one week from Christmas and the anticipation is mounting; we are getting all the last-minute preparations in order, planning out the meal, and continually fending off the kids’ final efforts to figure out what will be waiting for them under the tree on Christmas day. But when all is said and done, gifts are opened, and food is eaten, life goes on after Christmas.
Life after Christmas is a blur especially as New Years hoopla takes over only a week later and we start making our New Years Resolutions.
Thanksgiving may be the holiday that revolves around dinner, but I get more interested in Christmas dinner myself. Maybe it’s because there isn’t an obligation towards the turkey and we can have more variety with Christmas, or because all the gift opening makes me really hungry.
Obviously, with the increased cravings come increased food costs (not to mention increased pants sizes…) and there is definitely an art to saving money during Christmas. One great way to save is to plan ahead, and on that note, check out this post calledOrganized Christmas – Plan Your Holiday Menu by Mrs. January detailing some basics of getting organized and saving at dinnertime.
It’s coming! Yes, Christmas, but more importantly, the end of the year, which is quickly followed by tax season! Hopefully, you are all on top of things and will get your tax documents wrapped up and processed early, but realistically, many of us will finish up somewhere around March or even the night before it’s due.
Remember that it takes time to get things together and there can be some unforeseen obstacles, so be prepared. With that said, for those of us that are employees at a company, it’s a good idea to wait to actually file your return until you are completely sure you have received all of your tax related documents from employers and government bodies.
It’s funny how this time of year, even the most frugal of us can lose our heads. Maybe it’s the smells in the air like cinnamon or cocoa, or the enormous amount of sweets and eggnog we consume, but there is something about the holidays that can make almost anyone go nuts, and I’m not talking about chestnuts!
Much of the craziness can be attributed to the lack of planning combined with the stress of getting everyone the perfect present.
The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.