Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mr. Cheap Stuff's Energy Saving Tips!

This is a great article that Dean (Mr. Cheap Stuff) wrote:


Friday, October 10, 2008

A Money Disorder??

Ah, how I love intelligent friends and their Deliciouses (thanks Jonathan). I found this article from Heather M - it's about "money disorders". What is that? Well, I'll let you read the full article if you're interested, because if I told you, it'd negate the whole reason for posting a link to it. Also... I get paranoid about copying someone else's work. Oh, and because I'm lazy.


Anyway, this article reminded me of my friend/financial planner's money group. It's just a small group of pals who talk to each other confidentially, of course, about money issues and how to deal with them practically and even mentally. The meeting I was able to attend had everyone share their own story about how they came to have their attitudes toward money. My own - well, without going into gruesome detail...

My mother was a spender, my father was stingy. Both had clever ways of saving money, though they both saved for very different reasons. My mom saved so she could spend it on lots and lots of things, some of them big purchases. My dad saved in case of emergencies, or for helping his children pay for their educations. I don't mean to make my mom seem like a bad parent - a lot of things she bought was for us kids, too. She also helped me set up my first mutual fund when I was 16. Anyway, when I was very young, my primary caretaker was my mother. Up until they separated and divorced when I was 11-12, and from then on my primary caretaker was my father. Because my upbringing was split up, I've noticed, as an adult, that I've taken traits from both parents (as most people do in this situation).

The more responsibilities I got, the less I bought "things". I had no desire to purchase trinkets, leisurely items such as books, CDs, DVDs, accessories, etc., a trait I'd picked up from my dad. I started saving as much as I could (something they both do), for rainy days or large purchases, such as a laptop or remodeling parts of my home, justifying it - and rightly so for the most part - as an "investment", a largely "mom" trait. I don't really suffer from "buyer's remorse" as much as I suffer from "OMG, what if my car breaks down or I break my leg and I can't pay for it because I bought this important, but not THAT important, item?" - a reactionary trait my father inadvertently cursed me with. When I go out with friends or with Jason, I spend money freely, because I want everyone to have a good time and not to worry about silly things like money - that's my mom talking. But then again, I also hate spending on myself, and when alone I eat gross combinations of victuals because I don't want to spend the money going to the grocery store - that's my dad. This is the dichotomy within myself.

I, too, suffer from - perhaps not as severe as a "disorder" - but I certainly suffer from money-related issues stemming from my upbringing. I can't blame my parents for my financial stresses, though. They've taught me the valuable lesson of saving money, investing it in long-term funds, spending only on essentials and investments but also splurging responsibly - and most of all, they taught me the value of money and the correlation that goes with hard work and perseverance. People are also influenced by their environment and the people around them.

I just want you to think about where you came from, and why you do the thing you do. Sometimes knowing where you come from can help you find the root of problems - and triumphs - you may be struggling with pertaining to your financial habits. :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Frugal Modern Home Interior Painting 101

With the immense help from my darling Jason, I've FINALLY started doing something with it. After a year and a half of financial ups and downs (mostly downs, and the ups were more like "uphill battles") and having an absorbingly hectic schedule, I've finally gotten to a point in my career where I have more time to pay attention to my home - my abode, my sanctum sanctorum. It's a little overwhelming to think about all the plans I'd like to do to the house, so I have to slow down and just take one thing at a time. But knowing myself, it'd be more like 2-3 things at a time.

I wanted to share with you my experiences with this because between coming to the slow season for my business, the economy, the gas crisis - a girl like me has no choice but to be frugal about her home investments. My friend, Heather M. posted this NYTimes article on her Delicious account about becoming inspired by the frugal, yet creative mentality of many college students. I LOVE stuff like this - taking found objects and turning them into cool, creative, and functional household furnishings/items. ReadyMade Magazine is also one of my favorites, its namesake inspired by one of the masters of modern art, Marcel Duchamp and his avant-garde "readymades". But I digress.

Let's start with one of my first goals: PAINTING (interior)

I used to do murals here and there before I became a tattoo artist, so I've learned a few tricks that I was excited to utilize again. First, choose general color schemes. For example, I wanted the hallway to have a terra cotta kind of feel to it. I want the bathroom to have spearminty greens on the walls and inside the cabinets. Now that I know what colors I want, off we go to Lowe's and Home Depot in search of good quality paints - but for less than half the price.

HOW?!!! If you're adventurous (I'd say "like me", but I would NEVER go bungy jumping), you'd go to the "OOPS PAINT" section. This is my favorite shelf of the paint section.
oops paint n. house paint sold at a discount because it is deemed of unsatisfactory or wrong color, has been returned by a previous customer, or was specially mixed but never sold.
Oops Paint is usually sold for $5-7 a gallon at Home Depot, and $7-12 at Lowe's. But most of them are good quality paint brands, they were just orphaned. Even when I'm not looking for paint, anytime I go to those stores, I'd take a glance at the Oops Paint shelf. If I see a color that has potential, I'll snag it. If it's not the EXACT color you want, it's no big deal. You can mix paints! Do you remember what your art teacher taught you about the color wheel? Okay, so not all of you did.

But here's a good general rule of thumb, even for the most inexperienced:

*When choosing Oops Paint, try to choose a color of the same HUE as the color you want. For example, my hallway paint is to have terra cotta colors, which is like an earthy orange tone. I found a paint called "ginger", which was way too dark for what I wanted, but it was the HUE I wanted. It was muted like a plant pot, not bright and saturated like a creamsicle. So all I had to do was buy a can of white paint to lighten it to my liking.

*Better the Oops Paint be too dark than too light. Dark paints can always be lighten little by little by white paint. Light paints are harder to darken, unless you have a good grasp on the color wheel AND how paints mix with other kinds of colors.

*Make sure the paints have the kind of finish you want. If your Oops Paint is a matte finish, but you want an eggshell, then lighten your paint with a white with an eggshell finish or even a step above that - a satin finish, to compensate for the matte.

*If you want to do more than one color in a room, make sure you do some sample painting. Pick a small section of wall and paint an even coat of each color right next to eachother so that there's no space in between them. Colors may "look" different when juxtaposed with other colors. So make sure you have an idea of how they'll look together.

This may seem like a dangerous chemistry/art project - and it certainly can be a trial and error process. But if you have the mentality that anything can happen, and just freaking go with it kind of attitude, this can actually be really fun! And once you're done painting, you can tell people "I custom mix all my paintwork". That really gets them impressed. And it's even more fun when you've only spent $15 worth of designer brand paint on your new hallway.

For paint equipment, like rollers, dropcloths, etc. I've found the best place to go are places like Big Lots. The quality is just as good as at Home Depot or Lowe's, but cheaper. Use the plastic dropcloths over and over again. Rollers are re-usable, you just have to replace the actual roller covers. Buy a paint tray (or 2 or 3, depending on how many colors you're using in one session), and then buy paint tray liners. You can get 10 for just a few bucks. The liners are disposable, and you've still got paint trays to last and last. Paintbrushes can be re-used, as long as you clean them thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. If you take care of your equipment, they can last a long time.

(note: the blurry thing of brown and white is my dog, Millhouse)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vampire Energy!

Jason sent me this link about Vampire Energy - energy spent on items in your home that are plugged in, even though not in use. This article shows how much energy is used annually, to give you an idea of how much it is included in your electric bill. It'll take me a while to get used to unplugging various items in my home and at work! It might be that much money, but it DOES add up AND it's not good for the environment. Any little bit helps!

CLICK HERE for the article on Vampire Energy!

Thanks, Hunny Bunny! :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The "Bailout"

I wanted to share with you an article that my financial planner sent to me. It's really important for us to put things in perspective when all this sensationalist news is coming out about our economy. It's bad, but it's not that bad. DON'T PANIC. If we do, things will get that bad, because we feed into our own fears.

CLICK HERE for "Don't call it a Bailout"