For better or for worse, electronics have pretty much taken over our lives. If you are not staring at a computer screen, you have your face buried in your phone. If not there, you’re staring at the TV. Whether your vice is movies, video games, computers, or smart phones, gadgets are a source of distraction, if not obsession. In fact, some would say that we’re addicted to consumer electronics.
Trust me when I say that I am not a technically inclined person. I’m not one of those guys who has a talent for taking things apart and putting them back together. Some people have it naturally, and for that, I’m jealous. But I am not completely inept. And since I know I can save money with DIY projects, I’ve pushed myself to find ones that I can handle. Here are 5 DIY projects that I have successfully completed with positive results. If I can do it, I promise you can too:
I’m not going to lie. I love games. I do a crossword puzzle nearly every day. If I find myself at Pogo.com, I have to pry myself away. I think games are great for everyone.
Unfortunately, this mindset doesn’t apply to all games, specifically “money games.” Despite my love of games, there are plenty of games people play with their money that I would not dare. Some would call them “investments.” Others would call them “savings strategies.”
Though some of these are up for debate, and you may not agree with all of them, these are five games I would never play with my money:
Obtaining a college education is a highly sought-after achievement. Attending a college or university affords us the opportunity to expand our network and learn in great depth about almost any subject. While many students seek degrees for their studies, others may want to take a course just for fun or to advance their career where a degree is not necessary. In these cases, there are some great substitutes for your traditional, brick-and-mortar colleges. With the ever-expanding amount of information available online and the growing importance of a college education, a new wave of learning has arrived in the form of free web-based classes.
Teaching children not only how to save money every month,but also the importance of doing so is difficult for many parents, especially those who have issues with money themselves. Ultimately, your children will likely mirror your actions and habits when it comes to money management. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your current and future financial actions. Teaching smart saving and spending habits to your children early drastically increases their chances of becoming financially independent in adulthood.
Piggy Banks Can Make Saving Fun
Ah, the convenience store. It seems like there is one on every other corner. Actually, when I was living in Orlando, there were three 7-11′s within a mile and a half of my apartment. These stores do serve a purpose. Unfortunately, they hustle you as well.
While I know many of you will argue that your experiences with your local convenience stores are vastly different from mine and I understand this post may be construed as an offensive piece, I still think it’s worthwhile for me to explain my distaste for convenience stores because I’m sure at least some of these points will be applicable to you. I want to give you some important things to keep this in mind the next time you feel the urge to get some beef jerky or Zima.
Sale, sale, sale! Get used to hearing and seeing this for the next two months or so. But before you get sick of it, remember that you need to take advantage of the seasonal discounts that winter time brings. Even though you should try to save on anything you buy, there are six items above all else that you should not have to pay full price for this time of year:
1. Wrapping Paper
I have always thought the idea of a swear jar was amusing. Believe it or not, it also happens to be an effective savings tool if you actually keep up with it. As you know, I’m always looking for ways to save money, and I strongly support trying to save money for the unexpected. Recently, I have adapted the “swear jar” concept to help me grow a few different funds of mine, and I’m getting much better results than I expected.
61% of workers report that they always or usually live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, according to a CareerBuilder survey of more than 4,400 workers. This growing number may be due in large part to our ongoing recession, but according to the very same survey, that number was 43% in 2007. If you ask me, even that is still dangerously high. If you live this risky lifestyle, there are things you can do to rectify it. There are also things you should definitely avoid so you do not dig into a deeper financial hole.
Things You Should Do:
Did your parents decide to add a little extra incentive to your school work by bringing money into the fold?
More and more, I hear of parents (sometimes even relatives other than parents) that are willing to financially “reward” students for positive results in the classroom. Is this a smart move, or could it be sending the wrong message, both financially and academically?
Health insurance was not something that concerned me too much. I never had illnesses (besides an occasional cold or flu) and I have a pretty low risk of injury. I never felt that the cost was worth the protection. I felt especially confident since I had not seen a doctor in nearly a decade, and didn’t see a visit coming anytime in the near future.
If you’re standing, sit down now. I did not have health insurance for almost ten years.
There are literally thousands of business ideas floating around out there. Some are brand new ideas, while others have been successfully implemented by hundred or thousands of people. Many of these ideas are simple, straightforward, and inexpensive to start, while others are a bit more complex. What’s my point? My point is that there is almost no reason for you to not have your own business. Don’t think about the worst aspects of a business like incorporating, hiring help, or any other issues that you normally think about in order “talk yourself out of” having your own venture.
To many, coin collecting may seem like a boring and pointless hobby. The kind of thing that reminds you of your grandfather, who had an attic or basement full of miscellaneous hobby items that were off-limits. I can’t really blame you if you do take that view toward coins or collectors, but I respectfully disagree. I actually used to think like that, but over a period of roughly two years, I found many reasons to come to like and respect this dying labor of love. There is nothing wrong with collecting coins, and pursuing your hobbies in general, as long as you are passionate about it and have a hobby on a budget.
There are plenty of things we buy that increase in value over time. Unfortunately, not everything we purchase will gain value. Here are the worst “value-loss” offenders that people regularly buy:
Not just cars, but just about any vehicle will lose a good chunk of their value. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: “New vehicles lose half their value as soon as you drive them off the lot.” While it may actually be more like 35%-40%, you should always consider buying a used car instead of a new one.
- Video Games
If you’ve never heard of or had any experiences with a “daily deal” website, please allow me to enlighten you. If you, like many of us, are shoppers at heart but have a pension for finding a deal, there are some websites set up to help satisfy both of these desires. Some sites are more reliable than others. Some are more specialized than others. And, some are just not worth your time and efforts at all.
Matt’s Top 5 Daily Deals Websites:
1. Woot!: Woot is the originator of the daily deals sites. I have purchased Woot on more than a few occasions and have never had an issue of any sort.