This Week in Money, Apps, and Sexy New $$ Books

by J. Money - Published April 24, 2015

Poor people spend their money, and invest what’s left.
Rich people invest their money, and spend what’s left.

– Jim Rohn

Something tells me we have more rich people reading this today than poor people, am I right? Right? Right??? (In the voice of Ned Ryerson from Ground Hogs Day ;) “Watch out for that first step, it’s a dooz-ey!”)

A big week for us here in the Money household, friends. For the first time in 2 years we didn’t pay a penny to daycare! Woo! My wife’s exhausted as hell, but our baby nuggets sure had a great time at home playing with each other and doing all kinds of activities Supermom prepared. And it wasn’t too hard working with them around either – though I did have to kill some spiders and play some games in between working :)

This will save us $500 every week for the next while, and will more than make up for the almost $17,000 we spent in daycare alone last year – eek. So life and wallets are good this week over here… And hopefully over in your hood too!

Here’s how the rest of our money played out this week:

  • $13.76 more invested automatically w/ Acorns
  • $14.29 more saved automatically w/ Digit
  • $46.00 randomly saved on our electric bill this month? Not sure why that is, but I’m not complaining :) I’m sure it’ll be higher now w/ the kids at home more I feel like?
  • $40.00 more towards the wife’s graduation! When I asked her what this one was for, she simply said, “Oh, just another fee – who knows.” Which is exactly how it’s felt so far wrapping up this degree of hers… Add this to the $150 to walk and receive her diploma, and then the $200+ to RENT her graduation gown, and we’re now hovering around the $400 range. What a racket!
  • But wait, there’s more! There’s also fees to officially “deposit” her dissertation and if she wants a nice hard copy of them. Mix that with some other fees my wife didn’t feel like explaining to me (I don’t blame her) and we now tack on an additional $105.39 making our grand total over $500 so far! And emphasis on that “so far.” We still have a month or so until she walks down that aisle – hah.

Around the Financial Blogosphere this week…

It seems like there was an e-book party and I wasn’t invited :( Two of my good friends came out with some pretty excellent (and cheap) reads, and then one of my favorite people in the world, Cait Flanders,  put out her bad ass budgeting program. Full of motivation and print outs and all! Because not everyone loves managing their $$ on the computer!

Here’s a blub on each of them – hope it helps :)

mindful budgeting program“The Mindful Budgeting Program” by Cait Flanders ($17). This line from her announcement sums it up perfectly to me: “A budgeting app can do some math for you, but it can’t ask how you’re feeling about the numbers; that’s why I created this program.” I smiled the entire time checking this out because it’s just so POSITIVE and ENCOURAGING. If you still haven’t found a budgeting system that works, this could be worth a try :)

Here’s what’s included with it:

  • The story of Cait’s relationship with money, so you know where she started and can see how it changed as she built these templates and check-ins into her routine
  • 5 x weekly spending sheets with 3 questions to ask yourself at the end of each week
  • 1 x monthly budget template
  • 1 x monthly check-in sheet with 5 questions to ask yourself before you enter a new month
  • Bonus: 1 x blank monthly calendar template so you can keep track of any important financial dates + have space to write your goals for the month
  • Her (very detailed) suggestions on how to use each of the templates, and
  • The link to a closed Facebook group for people who are using the program (a safe space to talk about discoveries you’ve made and wins that need to be shared).

If it sounds interesting, you can pick it up here: The Mindful Budgeting Program

one bed one bank account

“One Bed, One Bank Account” by Derek & Carrie ($13). Not only a clever book name, but a clever guy/girl combo too :) I spent many a nights sleeping next to Derek last year at our financial blogger’s conference (in TWO beds – hah!) and I can tell you he’s the real deal. Super sincere, NICE, and just passionate at helping people (mainly couples) get their $$$ on track. He and his wife run the blog, DerekAndCarrie.com, as well as a great podcast on the same topic, and are currently driving across the country with their baby on a killer book tour. Living the dream on their own rules!

Here’s more about the book: “Other books on finance obsess over adding and subtracting, but the most important asset has been overlooked:  How to have encouraging, worthwhile conversations about money.  One Bed, One Bank Account delivers hope to married and engaged couples by offering an enjoyable framework for improving financial communication.”

You can learn more about it here: One Bed, One Bank Account

dividend mantra way book

“The Dividend Mantra Way” by Jason Fieber ($4.99). Launched on Monday and currently the #1 Best Seller on Amazon right now in stock market investing – way to go Jason! Despite my dabbling in dividend investing earlier this year with Jason’s help (I’m currently in 8th place in our little blogger competition), I’m still very much a Vanguard index guy, but I can appreciate the strategy involved here and know a lot of people who swear by dividend’ing (new word).

So if you’re one of them, or one who WANTS to be one of them, you can pick up the book here for $4.99 on Amazon, or read more about it on his blog – which I highly recommend regardless. It all goes back to financial freedom in the end no matter how it is you get there.

Financial companies that came across my desk…

Stumbled upon a couple new pretty cool apps/services this week! Especially this first one – have any of you tried ’em out yet? A cool alternative to (or in conjunction with) Craigslist:

Offer Up — This is a free app where you pretty much snap a picture of something you want to sell, add a title, price, and brief description, and then hit submit and your item goes up for sale in a cool picture gallery to everyone around you! It’s Craigslist for the modern age, and a lot easier/quicker to use too – which is saying something :)

Big ups to Jason from DebtDeparture.com for giving me the heads up on these guys… Already submitted a few of the items I haven’t been able to offload on CL yet, so we’ll see how it goes. This will make my weekly selling mission even easier if enough people in my city use them! (That’s the only downfall really – they’re so new that the # of people using them, particularly in your area, is a ton less than on CL and the rest… But if they keep taking off it could prove really helpful!)

Fronto — This is another free app (only for Android so far) which pays you/gives you points to redeem stuff every time you unlock your phone. Which is probably 10,000 times a day :) What do they get in return? They serve you up an ad, coupon, piece of content (like Buzzfeed), and other stuff hoping you’ll play along/click/read/etc before you get into your phone. It’s actually pretty genius because it integrates something you’re already doing tons of times a day anyway, but on the flip side it’s pushing even more ads and content in your face possibly causing nausea ;) So you’ll either love it or hate it!

frugaa logo

Frugaa — This one is for all you online coupon lovers… I couldn’t tell how different it was from the others out there, so I just asked their marketing guy who had sent it to me and he responded as so:

Following are the features that makes Frugaa unique from other coupons sites:

  1. Average savings calculator – one can find great deals & savings after choosing their budget
  2. Frugaa Marketplace – we offer handpicked products at most competitive prices
  3. Frugaa Rewards Program – one can collect points by engaging in various activities (like Tweet, visit & comment on Frugaa etc) on our site & win gift cards

You can go here if you wanna check them out yourself: Frugaa.com. The only thing I made sure they had were Go Daddy coupons since I’m a recovering domain name hoarder :) And sure enough they did, so it covered my short “must have” list – hah.

Some interesting reads I came across this week:

If you like these sorts of articles, you’ll want to follow my other site, Rockstar Finance, where we share 3 new gems every day on $$$, biz, and entrepreneurship. People put out some good $hit!

And, lastly, George Carlin on “stuff” :) (NSFW)

See ya back on Monday for more $$$ talk!

——-
For the new readers to the site, every Friday I share the interesting things I come across weekly in money, business, and blogging. The stuff I don’t want to dedicate an entire article to, but things I still think can be helpful. I blog about my own thoughts/ideas on $$$ the other days of the week :)

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Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris @ Flipping a Dollar April 24, 2015 at 6:13 am

I’m jealous of the no daycare. We are actually expecting in the fall so we will have to pony up an extra 1k a month now to daycare! Positive is that my wife is doing her post-doc so will double her salary from her internship. This will more than cover the money, but if we had a 3rd, we’d definitely have to re-evaluate!

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2 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:38 pm

Well congrats man! That’s exciting! (the baby, not the $$ that the baby’s about to eat ;))

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3 Mrs. Frugalwoods April 24, 2015 at 7:07 am

Yay for no daycare payment! And, I’m so impressed with all of these e-books everyone is putting out–looking forward to reading them! Fronto is intriguing, but it might get really annoying… though for free stuff, it might be just fine :)

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4 Brian April 24, 2015 at 7:27 am

I think it is funny people would be willing to install an app that would make them look at ads when they unlock their phone. I wonder how many of these people complain anytime there is an ad on a youtube video or heaven forbid an ad on live TV. People crack me up.

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5 Jason @ Debt Departure April 24, 2015 at 12:57 pm

I wouldn’t use this on my phone but I’m currently using Tab for a Cause on my web browsers. They use ads to raise money for charity with each new tab you open. Currently they are up to $124,000. It doesn’t hurt me and it seems like a worthy cause.

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6 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Ooooh that’s a cool idea!

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7 Dee @ Color Me Frugal April 24, 2015 at 7:33 am

Yay for no more money spent on daycare! That’s gotta feel fantastic :-). I could never do the ad when you unlock your phone thing. I’d go crazy in less than 24 hours I’m sure! I can’t even tolerate commercials, I mute them all.

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8 Mr Zombie April 24, 2015 at 7:40 am

When’s your book out mate? haha

I’ve read Dividend Mantras book and can say it is a positive and motivating read, like you’d expect from the guy!

Day care is so expensive. I swear they make more money than investment banks… probably.

Managed a little extra money myself this week, sold an old surfboard for £140. Sad times in one way as I loved the board, but I haven’t used it in a while so happy times for my investments.

Mr Z

PS – YES. Groundhog day is epic.

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9 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:41 pm

Haha… I loved every line you wrote in this comment, good sir. Way to hawk the board and convert it to a passive income maker!

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10 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life April 24, 2015 at 8:41 am

I might need to use that offer up app before my move. I’d rather sell my stuff than haul it around NYC ;)

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11 Nita April 24, 2015 at 8:41 am

Oh my goodness is daycare a big drain on a budget. My husband and I cut out that cost by flip flopping our work schedules. He started a homebased business, worked the weekends for steady income flow, while I worked a standard schedule. Now that the kids are older, we homeschool them and have our oldest fill in the gaps in our schedule now that we both work mostly outside the home (although my husband works from home 2-3 days a week) and our kids are very self-sufficient. Now with 2 college students (eek! another budget buster) we are trying to recover for the ‘retirement and mini-retirements’ we want. Thanks for this great resource!

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12 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:43 pm

Oh man, I can’t even imagine all the stages that are about to come for our wee ones like you’re experiencing… Every stage has so many pros and cons! But it’s a helluva journey making a family, isn’t it? Really enjoying the ride :)

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13 [email protected] April 24, 2015 at 8:55 am

Congrats on no Daycare!! I find it interesting that each time I’ve read that you’ll be saving $500/week on daycare, my brain doesn’t register that as a lot of money, perhaps, because I don’t pay any bills weekly. But $2000/month!? Holy crap! You’re going to be rich! Will your savings be added to the Challenge Everything account?

Love the George Carlin video.Gotta have a place for your stuff!

p.s. Is it too early for flapjacks?

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14 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:47 pm

See, if we weren’t actually *losing* money every month this past year or so I would TOTALLY add it to our Challenge Everything funds and freakin’ explode it. But since that’s unfortunately not the case, it’ll instead mean that a) we’ll no longer be upside down cash-flow wise (yay!!!) but also b) we’ll need to start filling up the cash reserves again with whatever’s extra every month now as it took a lickin’… But in all cases it points in the right direction now!

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15 Mr. SSC April 24, 2015 at 9:00 am

Man, I can’t wait until daycare is gone from our monthly spend. We still have a few more years though. I hear you on the graduation fees. A hard copy was required for my degree, but they also wanted a fully printed color copy for editing purposes. They had all sorts of formatting rules and what not. After all the different revisions and the final “new and edited” version I think it cost close to $150 to get it approved. Then, they wanted 9 hard copies, AND I had to pay for the binding (done on campus). All in all, between graduation dues, cap and gown, thesis printing, etc… it was close to $600 when it was all said and done. At least a week of daycare can now cushion that blow right? :)

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16 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:53 pm

Oh wow – 9 copies?? That is a lot, haha… But at that stage it’s all about just getting that damn degree and being done with it, right? I can’t tell you how happy my wife is right now… even when she’s about to fall over from watching our two boys all day long now (which is why we pulled them from daycare!). And my wallet’s even happier :)

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17 Kati April 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

J$, tell your wife congrats! How is no daycare going to work when she lands a job? Daycare STINKS so dang bad – we spend $15504 a year on daycare, and I only make $38K takehome – yep, every other dollar I make goes straight to taking care of my kids.

BUT I think you should read Lean In by Shery Sandberg, because it talks about part of the reason WHY women make less on average during their lifespans than men – daycare is part of it! It’s so expensive to pay for daycare, that many women leave the workforce (also just plain ole’ wanting to, no harm there – I sure want to!) and by the time their kids are in school and mom can return to work, the men she went to school with have surpassed her in promotions and earnings. It makes sense, then mom thinks why go back when I’m stuck at a level that’s beneath me, so they may stay out of the workforce even longer – even further hurting their earning potential. It’s crazy! I recommend Lean In to guys and gals alike! so eye-opening!

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18 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I’ve never thought about that before, fascinating! Sucky, but still fascinating :) I’ll make a note of it and see if I can at least skim – thanks.

As for daycare once the wife finds a job, well, they’ll be going back to being watched again, but who knows where in the world we’ll be living (she’s applying all over and since I work from home we’re not tied anywhere) so I’m hoping/praying wherever it is is cheaper or at least allows part-time or perhaps we’ll even get a nanny or babysitter or something else. My wife REALLY wants to start her career now, but fortunately she’s having a blast with the kids too so at least we don’t have to rush-rush it or have her take something stupid while waiting for the “right” gig to come along, eh? I’m just enjoying every step as we go :)

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19 Kayla @ Femme Frugality April 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

I love that you saved so much more money this week with your no daycare and the Digit and Acorn apps. It does stink that you’ve had to pay more random fees for you wife’s graduation, but it’s a one-time thing so don’t worry about it too much :)

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20 Brian @ Debt Discipline April 24, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Has the daycare starting calling you asking you to come back? I’m sure they need their $500 fix. :) Ah George Carlin, one of my favorites.

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21 Heather Greye April 24, 2015 at 2:41 pm

Congrats to your wife on finishing up her degree. There’s an extra $20 you probably don’t want to spend on graduation: put a crisp $20 in the library copy of the dissertation for the first person who actually checks it out/reads it. Not sure why, but I always though that sounded pretty cool. ;-)

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22 J. Money April 24, 2015 at 11:59 pm

LOVE THAT!!!

Going right now to show her this comment, haha… That does sound cool!

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23 Dividend Mantra April 24, 2015 at 3:35 pm

J$,

Nice move with the daycare. $500/week is serious coin. Awesome!!!

Thanks for the mention. Much appreciated. Hope some readers out there enjoy it.

Have a great weekend, man.

Best regards.

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24 J. Money April 25, 2015 at 12:00 am

I admire the hell out of y’all who are putting these out, man… As you know, my brain shuts down the second I start thinking about a “product” :)

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25 Elise @ Simply Scaled Down April 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm

I just bought the Dividend Mantra’s book the other day…excellent read!

And congrats on getting rid of that daycare bill! Imagine how much faster you can get to FI with an extra $2000 boosting your savings every month!

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26 J. Money April 25, 2015 at 12:14 am

That’s great about the book! Not surprising in the least, but really good to see :)

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27 EL April 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

ITs cool that bloggers are putting out books and other projects up for sale. I guess ebay is getting some serious competition now, with a 2nd new for sale app. Slashing expenses is so much fun huh?

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28 Kim April 24, 2015 at 4:30 pm

I am not sexist in any way, shape, or form, but I think Dads should kill all the spiders. Always. I’ve had to stand in and do it in a pinch, but it’s by far my least favorite task in the whole world and I’d rather clean 100 toilets than deal with one eight legged creature!

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29 J. Money April 25, 2015 at 12:12 am

Haha… you must really like them! :)

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30 Tawcan April 24, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Man no daycare will be huge for you guys. Congrats! It’s inspiring seeing all these eBooks that fellow bloggers are putting out.

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31 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank April 25, 2015 at 6:24 pm

No daycare is one of the surest way to save much money. Hey J Money, Acorns sounds a cool app. I hope it is available in Australia so that I can use this and enjoy what it offers to users.

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32 J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:34 am

It is not, but I’m sure they would want it to be and are working on expanding :)

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33 Jennifer April 25, 2015 at 11:26 pm

Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Project? With your love of craigslist and garage sales, your frugal side would love one. http://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/

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34 J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:35 am

Cool! I have not – adding to my list to check into, thanks friend :)

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35 Michelle April 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

I wish our electric bill would go down. That would be amazing!

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36 Claudia April 26, 2015 at 8:40 pm

Long time listener, first time caller! Thanks for the great read and links to investing apps. We’re just starting to look at our retirement accounts, figuring out how much to invest, where, when, etc…finally!

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37 J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:36 am

Thanks for stopping by to say hi :) Remember that we’re all in different phases with this and had to start *somewhere*. You’re on the right track now!

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38 Brian May 8, 2015 at 8:37 am

Congrats! Im jealous! Our day care bills this year will hit almost 30k (3 kids will do that!), and now that i work from home we are seriously kicking around the idea that we keep them home and i work at rhe same time…though in highly skeptical that its possible.

The other downside is that the kids wont get as much socialization…not a bumig deal if you live in a family friendly neighborhood, but ubfortubatly we dont….

Post in another month or two how its going please!

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39 J. Money May 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

Oh yeah – all concerns I had too. I love them being around other kids and even getting sick/etc to build their immune system. Plus it’s a nice break from being at home or outside (though they did play outside a lot at daycare too).

It’s been about 3 weeks now and I can tell you that both are kids are FLOURISHING. My oldest is just so much happier all the time and love spending time with his mom (while also “checking in on me” at my office – so cute!!!!), and my youngest is getting more of the one-on-one time he didn’t as much at daycare.

On the flipside my wife is exhausted and now more than ever wants to get her career started and be around adults again (hah), but we’re both enjoying the time while we have them and taking it week by week :) And the fact we’ve saved $1,500 so far (!!!) is just incredible.

Oh, and she keeps a nice routine going so both kids know what to expect, and part of that is an adventure out of the house somewhere every morning. Right now they’re actually at a play date somewhere and yesterday they went to the park. We’re finding the routines help a lot especially with nap times and such too.

So we’re doing well so far! Only time will tell though :)

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