Tuesday, May 19, 2009

An unusual way to 'make' money...

Quick tip tonight: The government holds onto your stuff (or sells it and holds onto the cash) for you-- indefinitely. After all, if they kept it, it would be stealing.

You've probably seen the commercials/spam for services that locate untold millions of dollars that are "rightfully yours." Truth be told, there could be some money that is rightfully yours; and you don't have to pay someone to find it for you!

Simply visit unclaimed.org, click on your state, and the link will take you to your state's treasurer's website where you can search for your treasures (and that of your family). Be sure to check each state in which you have lived.

Although not really a method for earning money, it is a fun way to spend a few minutes online and perhaps receive some money anyway. I think my husband's family might have something owed to them...

I look forward to hearing about your treasures.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Hooray for Murphy-repellant

Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong, will.

A few weeks ago, the air conditioner in my car went out. It started making a noise that sounded like air escaping and then started blowing hot air. Not a good thing, especially when it's already consistently 80-90 degrees here.

When we bought the car, the air was blowing hot. I'm glad we checked, because it was October when we bought it. We had them check it out before we signed anything. It was a good thing, the salesman insisted, because instead of the 'just a recharge' fix he had previously insisted it was, it was a crack in the condenser, and that would have cost several hundred dollars to fix. But, since they caught it before we bought it, they fixed it for us-- no charge.

Fast forward to April. After a few weeks of light AC use, it starts making that ominous hissing sound and blowing hot. Since I have very little clue about anything under the hood, I couldn't remember what part it was that was broken before or what exactly was wrong with it. We took it in to an independent mechanic and got it diagnosed and repaired-- this time they replaced the whole condenser. Stupid, slimy used-car dealer not fixing it like they were supposed to... Oh, did I say that out loud?

Damage: $600

But you know what? That's OK! Because even though Murphy was in my back seat by right (I did finance the car, you know), we made it clear he was not welcome and kicked him to the curb.

How? Our mini-emergency fund. We followed Dave's advice (Dave Ramsey) and kept $1,000 in the bank "just in case." So, a problem that could have wreaked havoc on our finances was really simply a matter of getting it fixed, paying the guy, and taking it home.

Moral of the story: Get an emergency fund! Sock away every spare dollar you find until you have that little safety net safely in a high-yield savings account! That way, when life throws you lemons, you can say, "Hey, look! It's a lemon!" and get on with your life. Without the safety net, life throws you lemons, and all you can do is suck the juice out until your face is puckered grotesquely. So just do it. Start today. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Brief update

Wow, it's been a while! I've missed March and April's budget/net worth updates, plenty of government financial insanity, Swine Flu panic, and plenty of other blog-worthy subject matter in the interim. But, rest assured, I have not been sitting around doing nothing. No! Here is what I/we have been doing these past two months.

I have been substitute teaching. A lot. I feel like I work, work, work.

I have been teaching voice lessons as well. This does not take up a whole awful lot of time, but it is nonetheless a weekly time commitment. More will be added this summer when some of my students from the school will be taking private voice lessons.

I traveled out of state to help my dad in a craft show that my mom was unable to go to. Not a lot of traffic but a very good time with my dad and a few bucks to show for it.

I started another part-time job. I teach at a well-known test-prep company. (I always knew those ridiculously high test scores would pay off). The pay is actually pretty good for a part-time job, plus I get paid for out-of-class time I spend preparing for each class. And by pretty good, I mean better than my mom's job that she's good at and has been at for several years. Too bad it's only about 15 hours a week.

Outside of work, we rescued a 1-1/2 week-old kitten, bottle fed her, weaned her, and are now litter-training her (she's now about 8 weeks old). We've made some inexpensive improvements to our apartment to make it more home-y. Currently, we spend a lot of time researching, choosing, and driving by homes for sale in our area that are in (what we believe to be) our price range.

I've fallen off the bandwagon a bit as far as couponing goes. I've been working so much and had been spending much more time looking for deals than I really should have that I put it on the back burner for now.

This post is not really very meaty, but I wanted to give everyone an update and mini-explanation as to why I've been so silent before abruptly jumping into more intense subject matter.

Posts may continue to be somewhat spotty for the next few weeks as the school year winds down, but once summer hits, look forward to more consistent work. I look forward to reconnecting with my readers.