Cut These 3 Things to Actually Save Money

At The Motley Fool, Morgan Housel has an excellent article on how to actually save money. The bottom line: stop fooling around trying to drink less coffee or make your own lunches and focus on three things:

  1. Your house or apartment. Keep it modest.
  2. Your car. Get a car, not a truck or SUV, and make it an inexpensive, fuel-efficient one. Bonus points for buying used.
  3. Education. Go to an in-state school. Better yet, go to a community college for two years, then transfer to an in-state school for two years.

Pinching pennies is all well and good if you like pinching pennies. But savvy consumers don’t pinch pennies; they pinch dollars by the thousands. [The Motley Fool, h/t @DanielGershberg]

Learn to Be a Cheapskate

The Cheapskate Next Door

Saving money is like losing weight: there’s really no secret. You just consume less, and a little exercise doesn’t hurt. When it comes to saving, exercise means self control, though it is just as hard to stick to. In The Cheapskate Next Door, Jeff Yeager talks about being “the Ultimate Cheapskate,” and his search for other cheapskates.

He found some interesting things. Budgeting may be important, but only 10% of the 300 cheapskates Yeager talked to actually have a budget. He also found that being a cheapskate doesn’t mean being a miserable hermit. Yeager’s cheapskates save, instead of spending, and value experiences over things.

And guess how they answer this question: “Someone drops a million bucks on you tomorrow, how would it change your life?” 9 out of 10 cheapskates say it wouldn’t change their lives one bit. That’s the mark of a true cheapskate.

Win money with physics

Winning guessing games may not be a valid retirement plan, but it won’t hurt the family finances. In this video, a physics teacher gives a lesson on how to improve your odds at “how many candies are in this jar” guessing games.

How to shark a ‘guess the number of M&Ms in a jar’ contest… | YouTube (via BoingBoing)

Citibank offers $5,000 loan to defendant in Citibank collection lawsuit

Allen Harkleroad is an angry debtor who blogs about his experience dealing with debt collectors. One of his creditors, Citibank, sued him on a defaulted credit card debt. After they started the lawsuit, though, Citibank offered to loan Allen another $5,000.

It is obvious why they need a bailout; the monkeys in charge of consumer lending are hellbent on making dumb loans. But tell me again, why are we spending billions to rescue these financial geniuses?

Mann Bracken Claims to be suing me on behalf of Citibank, So Citibank Tries to Give me More Money! | Five Million Dots

Celebrity Money Mistakes

Stretch Your Food Dollar: Rethinking Meat

Money is debt, debt is imaginary money

This video outlines what money is, where it comes from (nowhere), and why we should (or shouldn’t) care.

If money is debt, then paying off debt reduces the supply of money. So what about interest? Since the money to pay the interest does not actually exist, loans can never be paid off without creating more money/debt, and a certain amount of defaults and foreclosures are not only foreseeable, they are inevitable.

I’m no economist, but I found this video fascinating, and would love to hear some commentary from someone more knowledgeable than I am about the money supply.

(It briefly gets into some unnecessary world government conspiracy theory at the end, but it remains worth watching for its explanation of the money creation/supply system.)