Me Gusta Mucho Dinero!

by J. Money - [Edit]

thomas edison painting

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work” – Thomas Edison

#BAM. Tell ’em Thomas! I’m pretty sure he’d approve of our Side Hustle Series, would you agree? Of which, btw, I’ll have a new one to share with y’all shortly – should be a juicy one!

Lots of interesting/fun/annoying stuff going down this week, so let’s dive right in… And as always, I threw in some new cool $$ companies I came across this week too, hope they help :)

In Money News…

  • Maxed out my Roth IRA ($5,500) for 2014! Here’s where I came up with the money…
  • Invested another $200 into Baby Nickel’s 529 account! Courtesy of a baptism gift from a family member. And one I’ll never hate receiving no matter how tacky society says it is! ;) It’s going to last (and grow) a lot longer than some random “thing” over the next 18 years, I’ll tell you what…
  • We saved/invested another $79.01 extra this week from the trusty Digit/Acorns combo
  • Day care (which ends today – holy crap!) tried billing us an extra $200 on the way out… They made a mistake in their accounting which put the burden of proof on us to figure out (unless we wanted to take their word for it – hah!), and after two hours of pouring through our checks over the past two years, my wife finally found the smoking gun. Their accountant fat fingered an entry magically shorting our account by $200, jeesh… Another reason it always pays to keep documentation! (Or use a bank account that does it all for you – Thanks USAA! ;))
  • Got a $382 dermatology bill :( My wife needed a bump chopped off, and when my eyes popped wide open when I saw the cost of it, she quickly chimed in with, “at least it’s not $440 like I thought it would be!” To which I lovingly replied, “Well, yeah! At least it’s not $400 million too but it still sucks, jeez!!” Haha…. some people…
  • We had to pay yet another graduation fee. This time $150 to I guess get the diploma? Between that and the $200+ we had to drop last week for her graduation gown (which she doesn’t even get to keep!!) we’re now at $350+. And just waiting to see what they throw by us next, jackals.

Money Question of The Week!

Every week I send out a fun Q to my VIP crew to learn more about their money, and this week we of course hovered around taxes. Being the week they were due and all, unless you filed for an extension. But if you forgot, don’t worry – apparently you weren’t alone :) But stop reading this and go fix it!

how much taxes poll

Personally I don’t mind getting back $$$ because it forces you to stop and think, and then hopefully SAVE IT which most people won’t do throughout the year anyways. But I’m in the minority of the finance world here ‘cuz apparently it’s the worst thing in the world to “give the gov’t a loan” – *gasp*

In Blogging News…

j money negocios

#1) J. Money goes world wide! I have no idea what this article says, but it totally inspired my post title today ;) A new follower of the blog said it’s a popular Brazilian magazine which makes sense as to why it’s kinda sorta in Spanish but not – it’s Portuguese! So, acolher meus novos amigos! Obrigado por estar aqui! (gracias Google translate)

#2) Remember that “One-Page Financial Plan” book giveaway we did? Well, I keep forgetting to tell you who won (sorry), so here you! If your name is Samantha (commenter #57) or Mary (commenter #162), congrats! You’ll be receiving a free copy in the mail :) And if you’re not any of these beautiful ladies, I still recommend picking up a copy at your local library or @ Amazon… It’s a good one.

#3) “Always ask yourself if you’d rather have that new item or a fist full of cash” – This was my shopping tip I contributed to a roundup this week. Some of the other bloggers dropped pretty good ones too: 11 Mind Tricks People Used Successfully to Stay Motivated and Get Out of Debt Faster.

#4) How I converted my blog to a mobile app –> WP-Touch. I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to how I made my new BudgetsAreSexy mobile app, now that Google will be prioritizing compatible sites in its mobile search engines, and all I really did was download the WP-Touch plugin and then customize the crap out of it. Anyone can install the free version which will make it compatible in a matter of seconds (if you’re using WordPress), but if you pay and upgrade you get a ton more options to pretty ‘er up. So that’s all I did! I’m not that talented!

#5) FinCon is coming, FinCon is coming!! Okay, well, in 5 months actually, but if you’re a financial blogger you know you better pick up tickets to our conference before the rates rise up more. That’s Saving Money 101 ;) If you’re wondering if you’ll get anything out of it, I can promise you that you will. Whether it’s meeting your fellow favorite bloggers, learning how to grow/build/make money off your blog, being inspired by the keynotes, or schmoozing with the 100+ companies that will try to woo your pants off, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Plus, hasn’t Charlotte NC been on your bucket-list for like ages? ;)

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Companies That Came Across My Desk This Week…

It’s funny, once you start paying attention to all the financial products out there, it’s amazing how much more they start standing out :) I only delete 90% of the press releases I get now – hah! These are the latest that caught my eye:

#1) Prism App (PrismApp.com)– This one’s actually pretty clever, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been done before? In a nutshell, “Prism puts all of your bills in one app that lets you review, manage and pay your bills for free – anytime, anywhere.” I feel like this can help a loooooot of people out there. Especially if your stuff is scattered all over the place. I asked the guy who reached out to me to pass me over more info to see if I should feature it here, and this is what he said:

So the app lets you add your bills from cable, phone, utilities, credit cards, etc. It connects with each of the providers’ online website and monitors your upcoming bills. If a new bill gets posted, you get notified immediately, and you can see everything that’s due all in one place; just like the screenshot below. When something is due you get a reminder, and you can use the app to pay. It takes one swipe of the finger to pay a bill! We don’t charge a fee because we don’t think it’s cool that you have to pay, in order to pay a bill. So far, the feedback has been awesome. People are loving the app. Instead of sitting down at your desk with a bunch of paper statements and going through each site, our customers get their bills done in a few seconds then move on with life! At peak (i.e. end of the month) we’ll sometimes pay $1M in bills just in one day!

prism app pay bills

#2) My Gallons (MyGallons.com): This one’s also another clever one! Especially as gas prices are so low right now! They pretty much give you a way to lock in today’s prices so you save a ton later when/if it goes back up (and we all know it’ll go back up and everyone will freak out again!). Here’s an example their PR person sent me:

“If a customer pre-purchases 100 gallons of fuel for $2.00 per gallon through MyGallons, and redeems 6 months later when gas prices have risen to $3.00 a gallon, the original purchase price of $2.00 per gallon would be refunded, plus the difference of $1.00 to reflect the price increase. The consumer wins by saving $1.00 per gallon at the pump.”

I don’t exactly get *how* they’re able to do this, but regardless it’s a damn good idea. You can check out their FAQs here and their fees (they do have fees!) here.

#3) Inbox Dollars (InboxDollars.com)– These guys win for the best logo of the week, haha… so cheesy it’s awesome!

inbox dollarsI’ve heard about them over the years (they started in 2000), but never really clicked over until yesterday. They basically pay you to do surveys and games and other similar stuff online, and looks like they work with some pretty legit companies like Target and Walmart. If you’re one of these survey hustlers out there, it might be another great place to include in your rhythm :) They also give new members $5 bucks when you sign up too.

This Week in “What’s the Deal, America?”

And Lastly, This:

(Hat tip to Johnny Moneyseed)

Hope this helped educate/entertain/make your work day go by faster! See ya back on Monday to discuss more fiscally sexy stuff… (ow ow)

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!

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness April 17, 2015 at 5:45 am

Hurrah – another member of the ‘Yay for a massive tax refund club’. We may be the only members :-) I mean I know I should adjust my withholding but I just love getting that big deposit in my bank every year. I also lie to myself about it so even though I know it *will* be big (due to previous year paper losses on rental property) I always expect just a tiny amount.
The important thing is what you do with it – I mean my husband and I got nearly 4k last year – now if we had adjusted withholding that’s like an extra $76 per week. Which is nice, but it probably would have been frittered away on travel expenses instead of maxing out our retirement fund (In New Zealand if we contribute $1042 per/annum the Govt will contribute $526 making it an easy 50% return) and paying a nice chunk off our mortgage.

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2 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Holy crap! Go New Zealand that is bad ass!

And I agree – *most* people fritter that away every paycheck, so if by waiting to get it at the end of the year forces savings/investments, I’m all for it :)

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3 Master Nerd April 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm

No kidding! That’s a sweet deal in New Zealand!

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4 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life April 17, 2015 at 7:14 am

Thanks for the wp plug in suggestion, I had been trying to figure that out but eventually caved and went back to my site designer saying HELP, haha.

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5 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Haha… yeah, a lot of this can really be a bitch :) That’s why I love WP-Touch, super fast and easy and FREE unless you want to make it sexier (which is probably worth the money).

Let me know if you end up giving it a shot :)

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6 Brian @ Debt Discipline April 17, 2015 at 8:23 am

Just Hustle baby! Love the video! Thanks for the wp plug in tip, need to check that out.

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7 Hannah April 17, 2015 at 8:28 am

The MyGallons app sounds a little bit like harnessing the “power of the people” to make money in commodity trading (essentially harnessing future demand to buy petroleum products at low prices and selling them at high prices). I’m pretty shocked that they are using state averages though- that seems really risky since there are something like 11 major pipelines that cut states in half and tend to have very different pricing depending on their specific suppliers. High risk, high reward I guess.

I guess the question I have to ask myself as a consumer/investor is, “do I think I know enough about oil prices/my consumption patterns to want to invest in my own oil consumption rather than alternative investments.”

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8 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Yes, great question to ask indeed. Much better than my “do I think gas will go up without any info backing this up whatsoever?” approach :)

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9 Jeff May 18, 2015 at 3:58 pm

I thought I’d chime in and let you know my experience using My Gallons.

I bought two lots of “gallons” using their service both at the end of Feb, 2015. The prices I paid to My Gallons were $2.64/gallon and $2.47 respectively. The price at the pump around that time was $2.70’ish.

The price at the pump today is around $3.25/gallon. I logged into My Gallons and the price they are reporting (which I can cash out at) is $2.50/gallon. I checked the retail gas price chart at http://www.nevadagasprices.com/retail_price_chart.aspx and prices should have gone up around 20% since my purchase.

Bottom line there are two ways to scam people in this type of arrangement:
1) Take money and don’t give it back/go out of business.
2) Just report fake prices when the market moves against you.

Seems like #2 is in play here. I’m calling scam. I wouldn’t recommend the service, you make your own call.

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10 J. Money May 20, 2015 at 11:54 am

Thanks for sharing!!! This is good stuff to know…

I recently got a message from another gas place too who saw this article and wanted me to check them out: http://www.lovemygasprice.com — “As opposed to prepaying for gas, which would not benefit you if prices dropped, we offer fuel price protection. If gas prices stay low, you benefit from lower fillups costs. If gas prices go up we pay you cashback automatically to help reduce higher fillups costs. You don’t have to return to our website to “redeem” your fuel or be restricted to any particular gas station. Let me know if you have any questions.”

Could be an alternative?

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11 Jeff May 20, 2015 at 5:52 pm

I’ll have to take a look at that site, thanks for the link.

I thought I’d update again, the CEO of MyGallons contacted me after I complained on a couple social media outlets (however before I posted anywhere I contacted their customer service directly and they gave me a worthless canned response).

The CEO of MyGallons explained that Nevada is a bit of an outlier at the moment in that wholesale gas prices in Nevada (which is what MyGallons works off) have stayed relatively steady while retail prices have climbed quite a bit. He offered up a variety of reasons but mostly it boiled down to, if the retail outlets can get it, they will.

His explanations seemed sincere. He offered to make things right if I was unsatisfied. I am going to stick with it a bit longer and see how things play out.

Using the MyGallons service I guess you have to be aware that your pump price may not always correlate well to the price you can buy or sell from on MyGallons.

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12 J. Money May 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Nice follow up – thx for doing so. And smart of their CEO to personally reach out! Sucks it has to come to that, but good to know the power of social media is growing stronger by the day ;)

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13 Fervent Finance April 17, 2015 at 9:09 am

That daycare! People always trying to sneak one by ya, and make a nickel! I had a little hustle myself this week, and was able reduce a bill just be sending an email! Post to come next week :)

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14 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:28 pm

BAM!

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15 John @ Frugal Rules April 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

No tax refund for us this year – we owed about $1700. I’m just thankful it wasn’t worse than that. The Prism app sounds interesting and think it could be helpful. I’m still shaking my head at that USA Today article – especially since the main reason given for not investing is feeling like they don’t have the money to.

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16 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Sad, right? :(

I think all those people need to read THIS article by my girl Emma:

http://emmalincoln.com/good-bank/

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17 Elise @ Simply Scaled Down April 17, 2015 at 10:00 am

Don’t you just hate it when you have a bill come up (like your daycare bill) that you know you paid but you just can’t remember when?!?! That has happened so many times lately…most recently was a donation/ad placement in a private high school program…I even showed her the cancelled check and she still had to “do some checking around”. Ahh!!!

Awesome job with maxing out the roth though! We are so close…but not quite there. I can’t wait until the day when I have to say “Honey…our roth is maxed out…what do you want to do with the rest of this money?” (As I swim through my mountains of cash like Scrooge McDuck)

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18 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Haha yes – that is a sexy position to be in, no doubt :)

And GREAT you had that cancelled check!! The burden of proof is always on us and the better organized you are the better chances of winning these battles… which suck, especially when someone else made the mistake and now you have to give up precious time to prove it, ugh.

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19 mobilehomegurl April 17, 2015 at 10:38 am

Another graduation fee? Oh my goodness! I’ve heard so many stories about the profitability of our educational institutions. Glad you caught the day care billing error; a lot can be done with an extra $200!

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20 Jason April 17, 2015 at 11:02 am

All that skin stuff can certainly cost a bundle. Now I am sure your wife needed it, but I am not sure sometimes my wife does. Its a good thing her mom works for a cosmetics company because she gets all that stuff for free.

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21 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Your wife doesn’t need it because she’s PERFECT, right? :)

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22 Kayla @ Femme Frugality April 17, 2015 at 11:03 am

I just joined your group. We’ll see what this is all about :)

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23 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Yayyyy! I hope you have as much fun as the rest of us nerds are :)

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24 Shannon @ Financially Blonde April 17, 2015 at 11:34 am

I LOVE what you have been doing here on Fridays. I find these posts SUPER helpful!! Thank your for compiling everything you get and sharing it so freely with the rest of us. :-)

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25 J. Money April 17, 2015 at 1:35 pm

I am SO glad to hear that. I really like doing these as well, but just want to make sure it’s helping people or at least entertaining them :) It actually takes a crap load of time to put together, but it’s always so nice to get it all out of my head and down into one article like this. So I’m glad you’re enjoying them! Thank you so much for telling me :)

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26 Sarah @ #hartzogswag April 20, 2015 at 2:39 pm

I don’t think I’m a fan of the Friday product round-up; at least, not with regards to products you haven’t tried yet. I lean towards “less is more” with product recommendations from bloggers. That usually makes me feel more like you only are broadcasting information you really feel strongly about.

Think you could help me feel better about you putting all those names out there?

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27 J. Money April 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

I can see that :) I think the biggest problem is that I rarely take the time to test out new $$$ products that come by me unless I’m really REALLY drawn to them. And in which case I miss out on stuff that’s probably kick-ass and super helpful to people just ‘cuz I didn’t take the time, ya know? (This is also due to getting literally 5-10 pitches a day on $$ stuff out there).

So I’ll still do those reviews as I come across the sites I fall in love with, but figured giving mini-shouts to those that have potential would be a good middle ground. So anyone who liked what they saw could investigate further and decide whether it’s worth trying out or not.

Not sure if this helps or hurts, but your comment is duly noted :) Appreciate you stopping by to tell me so.

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28 Tawcan April 17, 2015 at 2:21 pm

The university is certainly squeezing every single penny out of your wife while they can eh?

FinCon sounds like fun. We already have travel plans during that time, maybe next year I’ll be able to make it to this great conference.

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29 J. Money April 19, 2015 at 2:13 pm

I promise you you’d love it :) If only to hang out with all the fun bloggers you read!

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30 Derek @ Tools 4 Retirement April 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Love your bookends! Opening with Edison, one the most hustling peeps in history, and closing with the modern day hustle video clip!

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31 J. Money April 19, 2015 at 2:14 pm

heyyy, that is cool! didn’t realize that until you pointed it out :)

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32 Master Nerd April 17, 2015 at 4:07 pm

It doesn’t appear that Reacht is available in Canada. :(

The mygallons thing looks like a great idea; basically option trading, but for gas! Sadly, also not available in Canada, which would be extra beneficial due to the higher taxes we pay.

Maybe the daycare was trying to charge you for $200 worth of more child to take care of. I mean they are growing after all. haha. Just be happy they’re not like that airline that charges you by weight (Samoa, I believe)!

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33 J. Money April 19, 2015 at 2:16 pm

oh wowwww – never heard of that!

I wish a lot of this stuff was available to Canadians as well. At least y’all are usually next in line to get access too before it shoots worldwide :)

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34 Jover2 April 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I’ve been using InboxDollars for just over a year and have already cashed out (Yes, they send paper checks!) over $197 for filling out surveys and watching short videos while I watch TV. I was averaging about $30 a month until I started driving for Uber (and subsequently now watch less TV)

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35 J. Money April 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Oh nice! Thx for sharing that – always better to hear from actual users of these companies so we can get a better take on it :) I bet Uber pays a lot more, eh?

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36 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank April 17, 2015 at 8:11 pm

I am so excited for Fincon! I would never this opportunity to attend to such conference like this. See you there J Money.

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37 J. Money April 19, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Indeed, friend :)

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38 Donna Freedman April 20, 2015 at 2:32 am

I’ll see you at FinCon, too — ’cause those restraining orders aren’t worth the paper on which they’re printed. ;-)

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39 J. Money April 20, 2015 at 10:00 pm

Hah! Stop turning me on…

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40 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar April 20, 2015 at 8:46 am

I know this is a little late in the blogging world (3 days after a post? What gives??), but we have the same service as the Prism App using our PNC account. I’m not a big proponent of big banks but this works really well for us. They don’t charge for it you can set the dates yourself. I do it all manually but that’s because I like to track all of my transactions.

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41 J. Money April 20, 2015 at 10:01 pm

Well hey, that’s cool! More streamlined the better :)

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