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Maytag RIP

I meant to get a picture of our old Maytag washing machine because you would have laughed out loud (George really did duct tape the housing together).

After some research, we knew we wanted a Speed Queen. He called around, found a local dealer and went by to look at them and get more info. The dealer explained the features and then went over pricing.

My sweet non-confrontational husband stood there. (The last person who speaks loses.) The dealer then thought to ask him if this would be a cash deal. George nodded and all the sales tax was waived.

It all happened so fast I forgot to get that amount and move it. But we did save some significant money thanks to “cash”. Why did I put that in quotation marks? Because “cash” to them meant they didn’t have to do the paperwork to finance it in house. They had no problems taking Visa so we got to put another big chunk on our Costco rewards card.*

* We use our Costco card like a debit card and it is paid in full every evening. They hate us.

I keep noticing the gym money we budget each month. Our gym is crazy inexpensive as it’s in a large church a full blocks from our house. It bugs me though because two people I know haven’t been there since the first week of May. I’m moving the funds to the Money Game. If we start going to the gym, I’ll take some personal spending money to replace it. (The fees are $170/year for unlimited visits for both os us. We’re paid up until next March.)

Try going through your own expenses and see if you have a subscription or membership for something you no longer use. You may find some extra funds too.

Today’s Deposit: $125.00
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,672.04
Total Balance: $21,857.00
Our Money Game fund has increased 8.28% so far this month.

$199.14 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

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Why track percent growth?

ExponentialGrowth

This is the graph of $5 increasing 5% at a time until it reaches $1,000,000.00. The growth is so small in the beginning, it barely registers. It makes you wonder why even bother?

But the jumps at the end are huge. 5% is 5% whether it’s 5% of a little or 5% of a lot.

You may be thinking it’s a lot easier to make 5% on $5 than on $850,000.00. I’m not so sure.

Take $5, go to the grocery store, buy flour, kosher salt and yeast, bake artisan bread, post on Facebook that you have freshly baked loaves of bread to sell, hopefully get some orders without raising too many eyebrows and then drive around to deliver them to your customers. *

OR

Offer a bank $50,000 for a repo’d lot they own, see them accept the offer and then sign some documents via email from the title company and your real estate agent for the closing. Two years later notice every other lot on that street has sold and the last sale was $100,000. We actually did this and we have no doubt we could sell that lot this month if only we would put it up for sale (we won’t).

My point is it’s probably easier to make money with a larger sum of money. It didn’t take a ton of work to find that lot. It took a little bit of guts to buy when nothing was selling and to make such a lowball offer to the bank. We noticed it on vacation so it was there for everyone else to see and it was also on the MLS.

In the beginning, we’re grabbing coins and selling things on eBay to do whatever we can. But if we take the time to track growth in terms of percent, then maybe we’ll start to think of how to grow it in terms of percent. Look at the right hand of the graph and ask yourself if it’s worth the extra effort? It’s the whole heart of the Money Game.

And I do think it will get easier at some point (if no other reason than because I can outsource its growth to a great real estate agent).

*There are some easier ways too of course.

$7.91 left in fuel before I allocate for the next 7 days. Woot!

Today’s Deposit: $7.91
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,547.04
Total Balance: $21,732.00
Our Money Game fund has increased 7.66% so far this month.

$324.14 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Year to date percent growth

Don’t you love these riveting titles?

Now that I have 13 months + of data, I was curious how our Money Game fund has grown over the last 12 months. Drum roll … on August 31st, it was 541.5%.

Just one more fun thing to track each month.

George just texted with the amount of his expense check for last month so that gives me a nice power up to report today.

Today’s Deposit: $246.86
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,539.13
Total Balance: $20,724.09
Our Money Game fund has increased 7.63% so far this month.

$332.05 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

ADD means do it now

Every room in our house that has a sink has its cleaner and a pack of wipes stashed underneath. If the sink is in a bathroom, you’ll also find a roll of paper towels and some glass cleaner.

If I use that sink, I clean it. If it’s the bathroom, I also quickly clean the toilet and the mirror.

It only takes a second. Couple that with a weekly deep clean and your bathrooms stay clean. It really is that easy. (The weekly deep clean is fast because the bathroom stays pretty clean.)

It also means if I walk by a dusty floor or surface, I grab something and quickly dust it. It may be the nighshirt I just took off. I don’t care – it’s just a little bit of dust. My point is it’s easier to stop and pick up that bit of paper on the floor than to think I have to vacuum and remember, etc. I have ADD. I can’t remember squat. So I just do it now.

I allocated an extra week to fuel just as I did to groceries. This has been a happy mistake and I have $80 to sock into the Money Game fund today.

Today’s Deposit: $80.00
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,292.27
Total Balance: $20,477.23
Our Money Game fund has increased 6.4% so far this month.

$578.91 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Can you turn your car into a profit center?

Mr Money Mustache Mr. Money Mustache knows someone who did and he blogged about it here.

Another resource that never fails to inspire me is Dave Ramsey’s short video called Drive Free Cars.

Someone I respect on the YNAB forums linked to these YouTubes when a member asked how to buy a good used car without getting ripped off:
Chris Fix on YouTube

George stumbled on a great tip when he googled the VIN number of a Lexus we were considering. The owner told us it had been in a slight accident and he had repaired it. George’s search pulled up the actual accident photos and they showed considerable damage. The car had been totaled. We decided not to check it out any further as the owner had lied to us. It’s a tip that may not give you much but since it only takes a minute, give it a try. You never know what might show up.

I’ve also pretty much decided I’m not paying for a car fax report if I’m buying. When I sold my BMW, I proudly paid for and displayed the car fax report as a service to people who were taking their time to check out my car. Those costs can really add up for a buyer who may be looking at a dozen or more cars. If a seller doesn’t have anything to hide, he’ll probably profit by taking this step. I know I did.

I need to buy a car having sold my Lexus convertible to my daughter. I’m looking and trying to decide if I should buy one with an eye for resale or continue to tough it out and let the proceeds go towards some home repairs we’ll be making soon. I’m thankful George has a level head for this kind of stuff and that he makes good decisions. He has taken up all the slack of me not having a car and I know he’s conflicted about it too right now.

Today gave us another power up. I miscounted the weeks and allcoated an extra week of grocery money somehow. I hope you don’t get frustrated reading these posts. Fall allergy season is the hardest time of the year for me to think straight. The supplements are helping but I feel like I’m walking through fog most days. Add our recent trip + jet lag and well – those are my excuses. I used part of the money to even up dry cleaning and birthday gifts – both had gone over budget and I’m left with an extra $15.98 to toss into our Money Game. I hope these real world examples will encourage you that you don’t have to be perfect to play this game and score some solid wins.

Today’s Deposit: $15.98
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,212.27
Total Balance: $20,397.23
Our Money Game fund has increased 6.01% so far this month.

$658.91 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Night routine (Goals front and center Part II)

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I’m a huge believer that writing your goals and reinforcing them daily (like using your goal as a password) helps you achieve your goals.

I wrote about the power of your mind’s ability to solve problems while you sleep here. (That was written about 9 months ago and our Money Game fund was just over $6,000 at that point.)

I learned that James Colburn wrote a book about this phenomenom on an interview he gave to Hal Elrod a while ago. If you like it, you can check out Colburn’s book on Amazon titled “Resuceed”.

The basic premise is if you’ll develop a night time ritual of writing your goals at night, your mind will work on how to achieve them as you sleep. He takes it a bit deeper and I appreciated his insight very much. (Read why his coach said she could help him make more money but only after he learned to play Legos with his kids.)

The 5 minute ritual has you ask yourself 3 great questions every evening which open you up to finding the answers. He says many accomplished people have the answers but they may not be asking the right questions. The interview covers the type of questions and gives examples that flesh this out.

You can get some sample chapters and a checklist of the questions by registering on his site here.

Disclosing that these are not affiliate links and I haven’t read the book yet.

Today’s power up is sponsored by Optilink – our fiber optic internet/cable service which came in $4.14 under budget this month.

Today’s Deposit: $4.14
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,196.29
Total Balance: $20,385.21
Our Money Game fund has increased 5.93% so far this month.

$674.89 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Ragweed 201

OMG! I have been symptom free for 24 hours. My chiropractor suggested I try this (and his price was only $21). It’s like I don’t even have allergies. The sneezing and itchy eyes are gone. I’m not sleepy. I’m just normal. I’ve only used it for one day so far. I’ll update later if there are any changes but so far, I’m a very happy customer. I linked to the product on Amazon but this isn’t an affiliate link. (Maybe I should look into that LOL.)

Integrative Therapeutics Aopha Glycosyl Isoquertin

ISO

I have a ton of power ups to report so I’m just going to list them, add them up and make the deposit. Here goes:
$3.91 under budget on fuel
$110.52 Costco rebate check (this is the smaller check that is mailed out each year to executive members)
$125 Our regular deposit that we budget for the Money Game each month
$43.86 returned several things to Costco

Today’s Deposit: $283.29
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,192.15
Total Balance: $21,377.11
Our Money Game fund has increased 5.91% so far this month.

$679.03 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Sugar (and energy) cravings

I crave sugar the most in the afternoon. We don’t eat it so I usually reach for Raw Fit (a vegan protein shake that gives me a ton of energy from pea protein I think). It’s expensive though I lessened the cost by subscribing to it on Amazon. Adding 4 other items to the subscription bought the cost down another 15% (it was already priced a good deal less than what our local health foods stores were charging).

I started freezing bananas a few days so I bought a bunch of them at Costco yesterday. I didn’t know an entire bunch of bananas cost only $1.39! Try peeling one and freezing it whole. They taste exactly like a banana popsicle. It feeds that sugar craving that is making me crazy as I deal with fall allergies in a healthy and frugal way. This is definitely another example of a frugal choice being a better choice.

I have a small power up today with fuel coming in 3.91 under budget last Wednesday. I wrote before that I keep blogging about these small deposits as they make up the bulk of the $20k+ balance that’s in our Money Game fund. They keep make our fund fatter and fatter.

Today’s Deposit: $3.91
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $912.77
Total Balance: $21,097.73
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.52% so far this month.

$514.89 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Ragweed 101

George and I try to avoid OTC meds. We hit a point in our 40’s when our car, my purse and the kitchen all looked like drug stores. We started eating right and got off all medications. It’s a lifestyle we embrace and it helps our wallets too.

My respiratory allergies diminished as we cleaned up our diets but this fall has been brutal. We had a summer with many rainy days. Our yard looks green and lush and the ragweed is blooming in the south with extra intensity.

Yesterday was misery. I wanted to claw my eyes out. Here are some tips that actually are working for me and maybe they’ll help you.

  • Shower and wash your hair at least once a day – it removes the pollen from your hair which is also around your eyes. If you work outside for any length of time, suck it up. It means another shower and hair wash.
  • Drink a teaspoon of pure raw apple cider vinegar when symptoms are acute. I get relief right away. Sometimes I have to do this 3 or 4 times a day.I try to direct the vinegar to the back of my throat and away from my teeth. I read the vinegar can etch the enamel from your teeth but my dentist has never pointed out any problems with my teeth due to this so I don’t worry about it.
  • Every time you shower, the clothes you just removed need to go to the laundry for the same reason. They probably aren’t dirty, but they are pollen magnets.
  • I crave sweets when my body is freaking out from the pollen. Our youngest daughter taught me to make a salad from chopped organic green apples, arugula leaves and grapefruit sections. It’s dressed with as much raw apple cider vinegar as you can take. This salad helps me a lot. It hits that craving for sweets while strengthening my immune system. Thank you Carmen. That salad is a solid home run and it tastes good too.
  • Avoid any personal care product like hair conditioners that act like magnets for pollen. I try not to wear makeup during this time for the same reason.
  • Use a freshly laundered pillow case each night until the ragweed stops blooming. This minimizes pollen particles near your face during the night. I change the pillowcase at night right before bedtime. As I type this out, I’m wondering if I should cover our bed with a king sized sheet during the day and then remove it right before we go to bed. That might be a good idea actually.
  • Freeze some fruit to snack on. A bite of frozen grape or banana can feel heavenly. I don’t know if it’s the cold or just the great taste that diverts, but it helps.
  • Cold packs on your face can give you some welcome relief.
  • If all else fails, jump on a plane headed for Seattle or Italy. I never had ragweed symptoms in the fall in either of those two regions.

These tips help me avoid allergy meds. Sorry Zyrtec but you cost a lot and I worry about side effects.

Today’s power up is courtesy of our grocery budget that got a much needed rest while we were on vacation.

Today’s Deposit: $50.57
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $908.86
Total Balance: $21,093.82
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.5% so far this month.

$666.41 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

ADD meets dinner

When I heard Andy Stanley first talk about “rich people problems*”, I laughed out loud and realized how pathetic George and I can be.

*first world problems

Soon after, I realized that every freaking night doesn’t have to mean a gourmet meal gets served.

Don’t get me wrong. We are incredibly blessed and we eat decent food. But at least once a week, dinner is sliced chicken breast (Costco rotisserie chicken) served over salad greens. And you know what? It’s a great dinner.

Figure out what your basic meals are and keep after it. What can you do to make it easier?

Once a week we make a Costco run and buy one of those chickens. And once a week, we slice one breast, open a bag of salad greens, toss the two together and call it done. Washing up after means 2 plates and 2 forks.

If I have no other plans for the rest of the chicken, it gets dumped into a stock pan with the juices that ran into the bottom of the container it was sold in. I make bone broth, pick off the meat and refrigerate the two together. The next day it gets reheated with whatever fresh produce I have (at a minimum I’ll dump a can of tomatoes, a can of green beans and some Mrs. Dash into the soup pot). It’s another fast meal that nourishes.

That’s two nights done and two nights less of planning. I still love to cook. I like to have at least one special meal a week and I also like to have surprises for George. A recent one was to save some bacon we had diced and fried into crumbles for a baked potato topping when friends came over. I sprinkled the real bacon bits on his scrambled eggs the next morning. We rarely have bacon so it was an unexpected treat for him.

I think little things like that make our lives extra ordinary. If nothing else, handing him his food with a kiss and a hug is one more way to let him know I really think and care about him. (Reading that after a few weeks makes me think it’s pretty cheesy. But it’s who I am. It works. It stays.)

Today’s power up comes from AT&T. We were $2.50 under budget and we all know where it’s going.

I had an error in my spreadsheet (please forgive me – I’m dealing with severe fall allergies right now and can barely think straight) but these numbers are correct and match our bank.

Today’s Deposit: $2.50
Level Completed: 171 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $858.29
Total Balance: $21,043.25
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.25% so far this month.

$833.41 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game