So it seems I have approximately a kajillion experiments/challenges/habits going on right now, so rather than spam you with a dozen new “update” posts this week, I thought we’d condense them all into one sexy one here so you continue to learn and love me :) (You do love me right?? No? Whyyyyyyyyy????)
And keep in mind that’s really the reason for me sharing this with y’all – to inspire you guys to try out some challenges of your own to better get your $$ in order too. Sure it feels good to share my wins here with the world, but that’s not the reason I’m divulging it all. I want you to get motivated and take action, whether you try out any of these or your *own* brewing over there!
(In fact, if you are doing any of your own experiments, please DO tell me. I love hearing about other creative ideas and might even try it out myself!)
Okay, here we go… We’ll start with the most simplest one and go down the list. And FYI you can find all the updates on these over on our main Money Experiments page too.
★ Digit Savings
Last we checked I had saved a cool $199.04 for doing absolutely nothing except being lazy. And the month before that we were at $10.94. Now? $390.74 – BAM! All from hooking up my checking account once with Digit and letting their robots do the rest…
If you’ve never heard of them before, check out my full review here and see if it’s something that might help you out too. Going into my 3rd month here and I’m still their #1 fan!
★ No Spend Month II!
For Lent this year I decided to go back to my roots and take on another shopping ban again as I did in 2008 – which completely changed my financial life. I had learned to quit “bored shopping” after first trying this, and now 7 years later I was curious to see if I could still pull it off and what I’d learn. Well, we’re almost exactly half-way through this revived challenge again (that was fast!!!) and so far I’ve barely even noticed I’m doing it – hah. That’s great and bad at the same time :) Great that it seems I naturally curb myself from unnecessary spending already, but sucky that I’m not really learning anything new! Though I did slip up those couple of times which made me feel kinda naughty, haha…
How are you guys doing with it so far btw? Finding it helpful or already forgot you joined me?? :)
★ Motif Competition Status
Most of you will recall that I joined up just to learn more about dividend investing and I’m not really “in it to win it,” but it has been fun to watch my $500 fluctuate a bit as the weeks go by compared to my 20 blog friends. I don’t know if I’m really learning anything yet, but it is nice to have a non-retirement brokerage account again for once. Though talk to me at the end of the year when it’s time to do taxes and I’ll tell you if I’m still enjoying it ;) You can see my full review of Motif and this competition here.
★ Polling my VIP Readers with Reacht!
We’re now moving into week #3’ish with that mobile app I’m trying out – Reacht – and so far 350 of you have been answering my $$ questions and (I hope?) are having fun :) Or maybe I should just ask you – are you having fun?? Haha… Is it nice and simple as I promised, or is it starting to get annoying? I’ve been trying to send only 1 or 2 questions a week to see how it goes, and so far I’m having a blast at least on my end. So yay!
If you want to join in on the nerd-citement (get it? “Nerd Excitement”??) you can get the Reacht app here and then just search “money” and join my group. The current question of the week is if you updated your Net Worth like a good boy/girl this month, and you can see the results so far here. The app is free, and works on both iPhones and Androids.
UPDATE: Reacht went out of business… :(
★ Challenge Everything Savings Account!
What does 6 months of shaving bills and doing the Craigslist Hustle look like?
$3,442.39 – beautiful :) Up $488.25 this month and still going strong… Even though it now dawns on me that I’ve been severely SLACKING on the cutting-of-bills part since starting this?? I knocked out those 3 main bills after month one but then no others?? Damn… Gonna have to find something else to cut so I can tack it on to the monthly savings going forward! That’s the best feature of this challenge – one-time cuts for FUTURE GAINS. I’m concentrating on the wrong stuff here with CL, haha… that’s “lots of time up front for 1-time gains :)”. Though it’s addicting as hell. I feel so much lighter!!
Here’s how these savings came into my pockets last month:
And of course all $$$ is still being banked into our Challenge Everything Savings Account until the year’s up so we can continue motivating ourselves and watching it grow. And then it’ll probably be dumped into a Roth IRA if we can manage to get it up to the $5,500 which is maxing-out status! That would be cool!!
Here’s the breakdown of this new $488.03:
Cell Phones — Our switch from Verizon to Republic Wireless continues to pay dividends, quite literally at over $100 a month :) My wife is still iffy on them as she’s not happy with her Moto G phone, but I’m still a major fan and slowly forgetting what it was like to have an iPhone over 6 months ago… Though in my perfect world I’d love to have it back, just with my RW service.
Cable/Internet/Phone — Only $73.46 savings compared to the usual $80-$90, but we had to go rent a movie or two for Valentine’s Day ;) A savings move I’d make time and time again though! Real lucky to have a woman who appreciates her quality time as much as her money – hah.
Car Insurance — The best 15 minute move of the year – and I didn’t have to switch to Geico! (Bah-dum-ching). One phone call that continually saves us $30+ every month. Highly suggest giving yours a call and asking them “what they can do to help lower the rates.” You’d be amazed how easy it works sometimes…
Wife’s EBates Earnings — This one was awesome because not only was it free money out of the blue, but I didn’t even know she KNEW of Ebates?? My wife just comes up one day and says, “Here you go – $8 for just shopping online which I was going to do anyways.” HAH! I told her it’s a “hot topic” amongst pf bloggers because so many people use them to get these $5-$10 checks here and there, but that I’ve never blogged about it myself come to think of it.
So if Ebates is new to you, let me give you the skinny: it’s pretty much the place to go for cash back on online shopping. One of those “you have to go through their site first” type places and then every time you buy something you get some $$ banked in your account. Not a ton of course so you won’t get rich off it, but enough to add up to some bonus checks here and there. Which I guess my wife did, but only “because it was Xmas” she says… It doesn’t work so well if you hardly buy anything normally :)
(PS: Those links above are her “refer a friend” links, which means if any of you try them out (and spend $25 I wanna say?) you’ll get $5 dropped in your account and she’ll get $5 too, which is kinda cool.)
SOLD: Dragon! — The first item sold last month! My once-beloved dragon that I paid $50 for from World Market 10+ years ago… Off a Visa gift card my old work gave me which I deemed for “splurging,” haha… This tells you how far I’ve come – who needs a random dragon in their house??
SOLD: Old Surround Sound/home theater system — This one was a bit harder to let go of, but at the end of the day I rarely used it anymore and decided I’d rather have the cash in the end. Plus it was over 10 years old and the DVD system didn’t work with Blue-Ray anyways.
SOLD: Vintage Decanter — This was my favorite story of them all!!! I had tried 4 months ago to sell this for $5 to no avail whatsoever, and thought maybe since it had been a few months I could re-list and try again. And boy did that work! Not only did I get a buyer for $10 – double my original ask – but I ended up walking away with $14.00 because the buyer only had $20s on her, haha… And I only had $6.00 in change :)
But the best part was that she rolled up in a sweet convertible Benz, and when I asked her what she was going to do with it (as I always do), she said it was a Valentine’s gift to her husband – a collector of “fine whiskey.” I asked if she was going to fill it up with some nice whiskey to really make it a gift, but she just laughed and told me that was outside her budget. So a Benz driver who shops on Craigslist, only carries around $20s, and then budgets at the same time… Okay?
SOLD: Vintage Lantern — This is another item I swore I’d never get rid of cuz I liked it so much, but after sitting in my basement for a sold 5-6 years it was finally time to let it go. This one I sold at a consignment shop for $30 but had a commission taken off.
Birthday Money — My mother wanted me to pick out something cool for my bday back in December, but since I rarely shop anymore and couldn’t find anything she got tired of waiting and just sent me some cash, haha… and then gave me a hard time when I told her it was going into my savings acct :)
SOLD: Pink Leather Gloves! — These were a gift to my wife yearrrrrs ago that she wore a total of Zero times. They were from the high-end retailer of Thomas Pink and were sold within hours of me posting it up… Probably because I put too low of a pricetag on it, oops. The funny thing though was that when I went to go meet the buyer I was surrounded by 4 other Craigslist sellers too! She was cheating on me and had all of us meet her at the same time and place – hah! So either she’s reaaaaaally addicted to shopping, or she has her own flipping business going on ;)
Cash back rewards (c/c) — For some reason USAA gave me cashback rewards on my last credit card statement? Not sure if that’s a new thing or if I changed some settings somewhere (usually happens all at once at the end of every year), but either way it was a fun thing to see.
Found Penny — Lastly, I found a penny on the ground – woo!
All this to say our experiments are working for the most part :) Some take (way more) effort than others, but they all go towards the bottom line of pumping up our wallets… Plus, they’re kinda fun!
// End Updates
What have you guys been getting into? Find any $$ tricks of your own??
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!