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Zaelyn’s Rocks

ZaelynsRocks

I apologize for the low quality picture; my phone is about to die. A friend of mine has an enterprising daughter named Zaelyn. She made cute rocks like this for sale and I’m a sucker for cute kids with cute crafty things for sale. I bought two at a dollar a piece. For some crazy reason, I kept these over the years. Zae is in high school now and she’s looking at colleges.

I wish I had taken a better picture. The rock on the left has the cutest ribbon in its hair. These rocks have something to say don’t you think?

Meanwhile I have a power up to report. We have an expense check, extra from fuel and a $2 surprise for taking a Nielsen survey. $289.32 is a nice power up.

Level Completed: 153 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $406.59
Total Balance: $9,123.54
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.7% so far this month.

$41.24 is needed to reach the next level

Doing what’s working

I have had several struggles during January and February. I recognize part of it is winter. I literally ask Alexa (Amazon Echo) what time the sun will set every day after winter solstice and rejoice in each added minute or two of daylight. I’m counting down to daylight savings time (March 12 – bring it on!)

But I’m also realizing that I’ve been beating myself up as I play the Money Game for not doing better with sales. The game stopped being so much fun when I started trying to “make” myself sell stuff.

So let’s look at athletic games focusing on team sports. A good pitcher is not an outfielder right? A quarterback has a different skill set than a running back.

I’m an introvert who loves playing games and who enjoys writing. This game has made saving and finding ways to make our money work harder and smarter a blast. It’s obviously working for me.

But who cares? You probably don’t know me and even if you do, how is my skill set going to get you leveling up in the Money Game?

It won’t but reading about my experience may help you to keep playing while watching what seems to work the best for you. Pulling a few more dollars out of the budget to make a $2.63 deposit may be like pulling teeth to you. Constant budgeting may feel even worse. You may be the one who gets out there and sells like crazy making so much money in one transaction that you go from 0 to 60 so why in the world would you want to waste your time looking for spare change and a few dollars?

You may be the person who is so service oriented with great people skills that you start a service that takes off in a big way. You’re the guy hiring and training others to do the work. You hire an admin to bill for the services, pay the workers a fair wage and send you the difference. You’re spending your time helping other people while money keeps rolling in.

If you’re a teen, you may find ways to make money babysitting while you knock out your homework once the kiddos are asleep. Or you teach kids to swim or you’re buying and selling video games for a profit.

My point is to start playing. Go sofa diving if you have to in order to start but keep asking yourself what you can do with what you have to make more. If anything is obvious to you, dive in and do it.

The thing I’m beginning to love about the Money Game is that it shows you what’s best about yourself. It puts the wind at your back and pushes you along as you do the things you are naturally gifted to do.

Level 153: Kicking off March

We came in under on fuel for the week by $15.31 and under on utilities by $100.73. February was a short month so the interest earned on the fund was down slightly at just $1.23.

Today’s deposit is $117.27 which completes Level 153.

Level Completed: 153 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $117.27
Total Balance: $8,834.22
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.4% so far this month.

$330.56 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

February Wrap-up

The days are flying by faster than I can keep up. Here’s how February went down. We regularly deposit $125 in our Money Game fund on the last day of the month. That brought our total to $8,716.95. We are *this close* to finishing Level 153 and moving on.

The biggest thing I want to concentrate on is that our fund grew 12.7% this month. The month seemed a bit slow but it still grew more than what many investors would like to see for an entire year.

Level Completed: 152 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $979.77
Total Balance: $8,716.95
Our Money Game fund has increased 12.7% so far this month.

$10.18 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level 152: Using our Costco card as a debit card

and a hat tip to ibotta.

First, yesterday I had one more ibotta rebate that put me over the $20 threshold to withdraw more cash. They transferred $21 to my PalPal account. I keep checking for ibotta for available rebates. They don’t have many I can use but when there’s something I can use, I grab it. Every time my balance is $20 or more, I can transfer it to PayPal. The rebates really do add up over time.

Consider using my affiliate link to join ibotta. You’ll get started with $10 and I’ll get $5 at no cost to you. You’ll download the app on your phone, scan bar codes for rebates you want to use and snap a picture of your receipt. There are rebates for groceries and other stores. A new one just popped up for Best Buy and I often see Kohls, JoAnn’s fabric and World Market. My only caution is to buy things you were going to buy anyway. Grab the rebates and watch them grow.

You can earn $10 just by signing up and using
ibotta here.

Second, our Costco rebate check hit our mailbox today. It adds $472.85 to today’s deposit completing Level 151. We get a healthy rebate on our spending so we use it as a debit card. Costco partnered with Visa and they do allow us to make a payment every day. I track it in our “You Need A Budget” (YNAB) software so that all purchases are deducted from the appropriate spending category. This counters the common argument that if you use a credit card, you’ll spend more.

We get two rebate checks a year (the second comes in July if I recall and is usually a smaller check based on the rebate offered to executive members.

Level Completed: 152 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $816.45
Total Balance: $8,553.63
Our Money Game fund has increased 10.6% so far this month.

$174.73 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

A power up and an update

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching asking myself why I’m blogging. As our Money Game fund continues to grow, I see others who are struggling and it bothers me. Since I haven’t hit on any sure fire ways to quickly make money, it’s starting to feel like I’m just bragging.

I honestly thought by now I would have a system down for using our Money Game fund to make more money. That hasn’t happened yet. Anyway that was my intent and as my efforts aren’t producing (instant) success, I’ve been discouraged about writing.

I thought it would be so cool to start with a sum and just grow it on purpose. To just make it happen. It could be a tool to teach and inspire others that you have more than you think. You can do this.

It bothers me to see great people struggling. I know moms who want to be home with their children and who want to help their family’s finances. I know some gifted and talented people who I think could earn way more and be happier than they are working at a minimum wage job. I know some others who just long to leave to cubicle life. I know some people who lost their jobs and are struggling to find another. We all know these people. Many of us were or are just like them.

Though I haven’t found that formula yet, I’ve realized some things.

  • If you set this goal and then journal as work on eacch level (it can be private or public), it helps you make more progress.
  • This process helps you respect your money. More starts to come to you. This isn’t “magic” or “new age”. It’s not the “law of attraction”. It’s not a secret. It’s the same money that’s always been around you. You just figure out how to put it to better use.
  • I still think I’ll figure out a way to use our growing fund to make more money. It may be a year or so down the road when we start buying real estate or it may happen sooner.
  • Staying under budget won’t get us all the way there but we won’t get there if we can’t control our budget. This hasn’t been a waste of time and it won’t be for you either. This was one of the unexpected lessons. Getting through all 250 levels of this game will take controlling expenses AND learning to make more.
  • I enjoy writing and I especially enjoy interacting with people here. I’ve missed it. I’m going to resume posting and I’m going to try to stay on topic of saving and making money grow.
  • I’m going to keep reporting our progress in hopes that it will inspire you (especially if you are one of my kids or grandkids) to play along. I sincerely hope you find something that helps you get there faster and make enough to buy the freedom you want. I hope you leave me behind in the dust!
  • I’d love to see people come up with ideas and share them here. I definitely will be trying things and I’ll share what is working (and not working).

State Farm handed us a nice power up today. We try to drive safely and it paid off with a lower bills for my car over the last six months. Today’s deposit is $35.31. With these power ups, I hope they help you see how quickly they add up. It’s hard to beleive we are working level 152!

Level Completed: 151 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $322.60
Total Balance: $8,059.78
Our Money Game fund has increased 4.2% so far this month.

$252.95 is needed to reach the next level

Level 151: Leveling up with some catch up reporting

Winter is such a struggle for me.  For one, we definitely eat more. It’s been a struggle to keep the food budget under control.

I do have some progress to report though so here goes:

$1.25 Interest

$2.10 I balanced the Pay Pal account and more in the account than I realized

$3.42 Came in under on the internet/cable category (we increased our service to a higher internet speed and I misjudged how much more we needed to budget)

$237.23 January expense check

$46.64 Came in under for fuel two weeks – this is the sum total left over

With these deposits, we cross the $8,000 mark.

Level Completed: 151 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $287.29
Total Balance: $8,024.47
Our Money Game fund has increased 3.7% so far this month.

$288.26 is needed to reach the next level

Doubling

I read the One Year Bible each day adding the year under each day’s heading as I complete it. It fascinates me how new things stand out to me as I read the stories year after year and see my notes from previous years.

Recently Matthew 25 came up. This chapter includes the parable of the ten talents. I’ve heard it said that this is the only place where the words “well done, my good and faithful servant” were used. Two years ago, I noticed that the faithful servants had doubled the money “after a long time”.

I wondered how long “a long time” actually was and looked up the rule of 72. I jotted down a few examples. For instance, money growing at 12% a year would double in 6 years.

So when I read it again this year, I thought of our Money Game fund and wondered how it stacked up.  One thing I learned – if you play the Money Game your money will double every 14 times you level up.

I also learned that we doubled our money 10 times last year.

Do I think I’ll hear the Lord say “well done thou good and faithful servant?” I think it depends on how we use this money.