This and That

Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

So I am starting off this morning with a rant.

Recently I saw a Chase credit card commercial with a cash back program. The Chase Freedom credit card gives you 5% cash back when you purchase $1500 worth of stuff.

First off I think the name of this card is very interesting. Chase Freedom card. Coming from advertising/ marketing background, the name Freedom screams to me thousands of dollars spent in market research to find the perfect word that speaks to feelings of control, individuality, and independence. My question to Chase would be: how does this card give a person freedom? and freedom from what? Many times marketing or advertising companies develop a name for a product that has little to nothing to do with the item itself. The name’s only purpose is to conjure up positive images to the consumer which will hopefully be associated with the product. I am no expert but I am pretty sure that a credit card does NOT give you freedom from anything. In fact it does just the opposite. Using a credit card only chains you to the credit card company and their insanely high interest rate.

The second interesting fact about the Chase Freedom card is the 5% cash back. The commercial is so hilarious to me. It yells at the consumer “Look at all the free money we are going to give you.” But it’s not free, because I have to spend $1500 to earn the 5%. That is a whole lot of money to spend to just get $75 back. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would fall for this gimmick. How can someone think spending $1500 to get $75 is a good deal?

Chase isn’t alone in this scam. Tons of other credit card companies do this too, so I guess this must be working on some people. So disappointing. So you are reading this here is my plea to you…”Please don’t fall for this trap! It’s a scam to get your hard worked money. $75 free cash does not equal $1500 of your income spent. Don’t do it, please!”

Let me start by saying I am all for protesting. I don’t think I would ever actually participate in a protest but I think it’s great when people stand up, take to the street, and express their feelings in a peaceful, constitutional manner. Protesting helped get women the vote, it got our government to withdraw from Vietnam, and was a huge motivator in the civil rights movement.

I am all for protesting.

Well that isn’t entirely true. Let me rephrase…

I am all for protesting with a purpose.

The protesters in the Occupy Wall Street/Orange County/Your Backyard movement that is happening now around the country is pointless and I completely disagree with it.

Of course I am against corporate and Wall Street greed, and of course I think it’s awful that so many people are out of work or can’t find jobs that pay them for what they deserve. My hubby had three jobs in one year due to the recession/depression of our economy. But here is where this protest totally comes unglued for me: I plan to fight against this greed by voting new, fresh people into congress, the senate, and our local government, so that we can turn things around from the inside. The Occupy protesters seem to just want to complain about life not being fair. Most of their random demands almost have an air of communism or socialism about them.

For example:

  • Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment. WHAT? That makes absolutely no sense unless we live in a socialist society. People work hard for the money and the positions they earn. Yes, many people are struggling right now making less than they should, but the economy WILL come back. We will not be in a recession forever and when it does those people who are underemployed now will be promoted. If you aren’t being recognized financially for your work find a new job (they ARE out there,) or go get more education to help make more money. But this whole one income for everyone only works in places like Russia or China, so move there.
  • Free college education. America is a democracy. Supply and demand. People earn what they get here and we pay for quality things like education. If you want free education I guarantee it would be a crummy one and again you should move to a communist country like Russia or China if that’s what you want.
  • Racial and gender equal rights amendment. Don’t we already have this???
  • Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. Go to Canada. Our American democracy will never have socialized health care and it shouldn’t. Think about something the government is in control of, like the DMV. How awful is the DMV? Do you really want the government running your healthcare system? I have family in Canada and they wish they didn’t have socialized healthcare. It takes months to get in and see a doctor. Most people call an ambulance for an ear ache just so they can be seen by a doctor immediately. Do you really want that?

The protesters pride themselves on being leaderless but I think that may be their main problem. Their demands are all over the place and most of them are so far off in left field; it’s ridiculous. There needs to be a unified point of a protest for it to, one: be taken seriously; and two: have demands met.

This last demand is by far my favorite and just sums up how absurd these protesters are:

  • Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Listen up protesters! You are to blame for your debt. Nobody held a gun to your head and made you sign up for a credit card, let alone to use it. Nobody forced you to buy a luxury car you couldn’t afford. You chose to go to that elite college that costs a hundred thousand dollars a year; when you could have gotten the same education from your amazing state college. You chose to be in debt. You chose to live outside your means. That is not the governments fault, that is you being immature and irresponsible.

This whole time you are out on the street protesting you could have been looking for a job, getting a job, or working a job.

Get off your lazy booties, take responsibility for your actions, and stop playing the victim.

Life is hard. Get over it!

Occupy Responsibility!

As many of you know I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey, financial expert. Dave’s purpose is to teach people how to get out of debt, how having no debt will increase your income and help you to become wealthy, and most importantly how being free from debt is a biblical teaching. Hubby and I have been listening to Dave’s radio show for months and we have made huge advancements in becoming debt free because of him.

But I saw something on Dave’s website yesterday that disappointed me.

One of the methods that Dave teaches is the Envelope System. This is by no means a Dave original thought. This financial system has been used by your grandma for decades. I even wrote a post on it a few weeks ago. The Envelope System is actual envelopes, or in my case a small file folder, where you put the cash you have allotted to each spending category every month.

As you can see in the picture, I have labeled each category in my budget (food, entertainment, medical, misc, etc.) and each slot has cash in it for the month. This file folder cost me $1.50 at CVS or I could have bought fifty white envelopes for $3.99. That’s why I love this system: it’s simple and inexpensive.

But Dave, oh Dave…

Dave Ramsey, the man who says his goal is to get people out of debt and to teach them to stop frivolous spending is selling a Deluxe Envelop System Kit on his website for $14.95.

This fancy leather envelope folder comes with coin purse, places for your checkbook and check register (which you could get free at your local bank), memo pad, debit card holders, and extra cash-management envelopes.  http://www.daveramsey.com/store/budgeting-tools/envelope-systems/deluxe-envelope-system/prod210.html

Really Dave? Really??

Why are you pushing this useless, unnecessary crap on people?

You are supposed to help break people of wasteful spending, not push it on them so you can make an extra $14.95 plus shipping and handling.

Dave, I get that even millionaires need to keep making money, but I am pretty sure you make enough money from your radio show, books, speaking engagements, and the other resources you sell.

I am disappointed Dave. Very disappointed.

Last Monday I wrote about making financial goals and how important they are in helping to increasing your savings and paying off debts. But this Monday I have a confession to make: I am having a VERY hard time keeping my goals and staying focused.

My financial goals are to pay off the car by the end of the year and then to save for a house down payment in one year. These financial accomplishments are very important to me but…

  • The mountains just got sixteen inches of snow and taking the boys to a cabin for a snowy weekend sounds so fun.
  •  I have really been craving Temecula wine as well as the amazing baked brie sourdough bread. Yummy!
  • Our Apple computer died and hubby would really like to get a new one.
  • Our good friends in Oregon just had a baby and I think it would be so fun to take a vacation there next summer.

My plans sounds so fun, don’t they?

Unfortunately all these fun things costs money. Money that should be going to the car and then the house down payment.

Ugh!

Sacrifice is hard.

Delaying all these fun things is hard.

Very hard.

I love setting goals.

Personal goals help push me to new limits, to try new things, to better myself, and to seize the most of my days in this life.

Setting financial goals helps my money reach new heights too.

It’s important to have financial goals to push my money beyond what I think it can do. With a focused goal I learn the value of sacrificing for what I want my money to achieve.

For example: hubby and I have a financial goal to pay off our car by the end of this year. To do that we have to prioritize our spending and sacrifice buying other things or going on vacation in order to make more frequent, larger payments on the car.

Do you have financial goals? Are you pushing your money to work for you?

Here are some great financial goals you should be setting:

1. Budgeting goals for each spending category

2. Emergency saving goals: usually between three and six months of expenses

3. Debt payment goals: paying off your debt to increase your income level

4. Retirement saving goal

5. Children college saving goal

Because it’s so hard to keep motivated and focused on any goals, I like put reminders on the refrigerator.

(These reminders can also make for good teaching opportunities for the kids.)

Lastly, when setting your  goals make them SMART goals. SMART stands for:

S – Specific;  M- Measurable; A- Attainable; R- Relevant; T- Time Bound

Your money should do what you want it to. Make it work for you.

Set goals, stay focused, and watch your financial goals come true!

I got a special invitation from the SoCal Blog Crush group to attend the opening of the OC Style Week at the Irvine Spectrum and though I have never been to a fashion show  I was super amped to go. Being a mom of two young boys, fashion isn’t on my daily radar so I need all the help and advice I can get. This was my first professional media experience so I wanted to look my best.

What do you think? I’m showing off my first media pass and I am pretty stoked about it!

Walking up to the show in front of the Ferris Wheel was quite a sight.  A huge LCD screen, a professional DJ spinning music, eight fashion company booths, and a huge candy bar.

Blog Crush had their own media booth filled speciality food from the Nordstrom Cafe Bistro. Let me just say this food was AMAZING!

I brought one box home for hubby but I ate it the next day instead. I just had to have more of that yummy goodness! Hehe!

The host of the show was Nick Verreos, from Project Runway, and he did such a great job. He was funny, animated, and thoroughly entertaining.

Doesn’t he look great in those hot red pants?!

We even got the pleasure of a visit from him to our booth where we gabbed about fashion, blogging, and the up coming Project Runway show, of course.

What I enjoyed most about the show was that it showcased companies from Nordstroms, to Macy, to H&M, to Target. Which means the prices went from high to low; and for a mom on a budget it was great to see some fashions that I knew I could afford.

So if you live in Orange County I highly recommend checking out Style Week at Irvine Spectrum and Fashion Island; it will running until Oct 8th.

To see the list of events go to http://www.StyleWeekOC.com

One of the lessons from Jesus is not to judge people. Matthew 7:1 says ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” The gospel of Jesus is about love; loving God, loving your family and friends, and loving your enemies. With love there is no room for judgement. I am a Christian, I love God, I love my family and friends, I try to love my enemies, but I judge others all the time.

I have always known I had this problem but it slapped me in the face this morning. The boys and I do a bible study once a week at a local church. The bible study is not affiliated with the church and members of the bible study come from all backgrounds and church denominations. The church we meet at is one of the largest and most influential in Orange County, maybe the country. Needless to say it’s a very rich church and it’s congregation is very wealthy.

This bible study seems to have a lot more wealthy women in it than any other studies I have been too and it is here, in this place, with these women that my judgements are coming out.

1. I make the judgement these wealthy women all go to this wealthy church.

2. I make the judgement that these women who wear expensive clothes, jewelry, and are dressed extermely hip can’t possibly, really love Jesus.

3. I make the judgement that women who get Botox, boob jobs, and nose jobs, can’t love Jesus.

4. I make the judgement that these women are here for the social aspect of the bible study; they don’t really read the bible or do the homework.

It’s only the third meeting and this morning I started to regret signing up for it. I was already composing an email in my head to my old bible study group (that meets in another city and church) about how much I missed them, how all this Botox and all the diamonds are completely distracting to the Word of God. I went on to say (in my head) none of these women are genuine believers and this whole study was fake.

I did go to the study and sat down ready to play on my phone during the lecture when the leader started speaking about being filled with the Holy Spirit and how the fruit of the Spirit is love. Love. SLAP! I believe the Holy Spirit slapped me in the face and called me a judger. Love is the main calling of our gospel. I know this and yet I was sitting in judgement of these women and completely not loving them because they have more money than I do, because they have made different financial choices then I would, because, because, because…the list could go on and on.

Ouch! I am judging these women, women I don’t even know. Then the Holy Spirit revealed even more darkness in my heart: I judge rich people in general very harshly. This is so eye opening to me because I am the first to tell anyone that God doesn’t call money a curse; it’s what we do with the money each individual is given that matters. Yet, I automatically assume rich people can’t really love Jesus because they are too busy loving their money. This is so untrue and I am disgusted at this revelation into my heart. Awful! Horrible! So wicked of me!

So I want to apologize to all the women at my bible study and to all the rich Jesus-loving people in the world. I am so sorry I have wrongly judged you. I am so ashamed at my thoughts and behavior. I pray you will forgive me! Lord, please forgive me.

“You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD.’” Ezekiel 24:14b