Monday, August 20, 2012

FREE Personal Finance Class / Online

After taking a short break, I'm back.  And I have some new discoveries to share.  One of them is a great free resource offered by UC Irvine.  They have a personal finance class online that is completely free.  If you've never taken a class in personal finance, I'd highly recommend it.  This course takes 25 to 30 hours to complete, but you can switch around and do it at your liesure.  Happy learning!

click here:

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I've said it before but it's totally worth repeating:  Start a Roth IRA as soon as possible.  Even if you can only invest $50 a month when you start, it will help you in the long run.  Tonight I made a new friend while at a bar with some other friends.  She is a stage manager on a Broadway show.  She started a Roth IRA at the age of 22 when she graduated from college.  Since she started her Roth at such a young age, she only has to invest $200 a month until retirement to get around 1.6 million dollars!  But if she were to wait till the age of 32, she'd have to invest $500 a month to get the same amount by retirement.  So, start ASAP.  The sooner you start investing, the sooner that money turns into more money.  Awesome, right?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Coins in a jar

If you're like me, you come home at the end of the day, empty out your pockets, and place most of the contents on a desk, table, or any other piece of furniture within reach.  Most days there is a good amount of change included in that pile of pocket-stuff.  Well, for as long as I can remember, I've always had a "change jar."  Sometimes I'm disciplined and immediately insert my change upon emptying my pockets. Other times, when I'm less motivated, I let the change pile up on my desk or table until I can't stand it any more, and eventually take the pile of change and tuck it away.  Either way, eventually the change makes its way into the jar.  When the jar is full, I take it to TD bank in NYC where they count and cash your change for FREE.  That's right, no charge - in sharp contrast with Coinstar who charges a whopping nine percent!

Every time I cash in my change I get at least $40!!!  And I never put quarters in the jar.  No, they go into their own special jar (for laundry.)

So, if you'd like to boost your savings a little, or just have something extra to treat yourself to a good meal once in a while, try the jar technique.  Or plastic bag technique.  Or whatever container you find handy, as long as you're saving your hard earned change.

Happy saving!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Automatic Savings

Sometimes we need to save but it's tough to get into the habit of it.  That's why it pays to have a FREE online savings account at ING Direct.  They have an online account that automatically withdraws cash for you from your checking account (which can be from any bank) and puts it into your ING savings.  You can designate how much and how often.  For instance, if you decide to have it take $10 a week out of your checking and throw it into your savings, that's over $40 a month right there!

Give it a try and see how fast you accumulate extra cash!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Compare And SAVE!!!!

Ok, "duh," right?  But for reals... if you buy the cheap brand of food, it's gonna taste identical... at least most of the time.  Well, often enough to make it worthwhile in my honest opinion.  I just got home from Food Emporium where I picked up some parmesan cheese.  And I was kicking myself the whole time because I knew I was going to pay more for it there than at Fairway, where I was just shopping yesterday.  However, I was totally happy about the fact that there was the "cheap" brand in addition to the "good" brand.  And come on, it's parmesan cheese.  Once it's on the pasta, who's gonna give a damn?

As you can see in the photo.. the "cheap" brand is $2.00 less than the "good" brand!!  Seriously?  Who in their right mind would choose the expensive stuff?  You know what's even cooler?  They have the price per pound in red on the left of the actual price.  The "cheap" stuff is only $8.98 per pound while the "good" stuff is $12.98 per pound.

It's these little changes.  If you really want to make a difference in your wallet and savings account, get in the habit of making the little changes and you'll see a difference.

Happy shopping!

Creating your own projects

Yesterday I had the great fortune of taking a TV Hosting class taught by Jamie Carroll.  I was expecting to do the norm: get in front of the camera, get coached, get feedback, and sit and watch the rest of my classmates do the same.

But it was so refreshingly different and inspiring.  We started the class by getting in a circle and going around discussing what our ideas were about our own kinds of shows.  Jamie was so good about opening up the discussion.  She asked us about ourselves; what our interests were.  Each of us eight students had an idea and something to share.  But the cool part was that while everyone of us had our idea, at least a few other people, Jamie included, had more ideas for us to go on.  It was like an instant support/advisory group.

We did this for an hour then got around to doing our on-camera work, which was way easier and so much more fun since we now had an idea of who we were and why we were there in the first place.

But the most rewarding part of the class was realizing that each of us had a great idea and entrepreneurial spirit to guide it.  Jamie made sure we left the class with things or work on and goals to set and accomplish.  We learned that most hosts out there had come up the idea for their shows themselves.  And that's what we as actors have to do.  Whether it's hosting, writing a musical, getting a TV show going, or making a short film, it's really up to us to create our opportunities.

I highly recommend the class not just for people who want to be hosts, but for any actor who desires to create something.

Check it out at One On One Productions!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Buying Used Instead Of New

We all buy things.  Just about every day most of us buy some thing or another.  But how often do we buy used items?  Over the summer of '09 I was unemployed.  I wanted a set of dumbbells so I could workout in my apartment.  Over the summer I went on Craigslist and purchased dumbbells... pair by pair, using the subway and my rolling suitcase.  I ended up with a set ranging from 5lbs to 30lbs.  I never paid more than 50 cents a pound.  Had I purchased those same weights new, it would have cost me over $2 a pound!  Needless to say, I saved a lot of money by going used.

Below I've included a link taking you to a great article about things you should consider getting used instead of new.  A car is a perfect example.  My brother and his wife just bought a 2008 Camry.  It had quite a few highway miles but they knew the owner well and knew that the car was well cared for.  They paid only $9,000 for that car.  If they had purchased a NEW Camry (2010 model) like my father did, it would have cost them $21,500.  As we all know, aside from the whole sticking-accelerator thing, Toyotas are great cars and will last a long time when well cared for.  The only disadvantage of buying a car used is that you usually have to pay all cash for it, unless you want to get hit with a high interest rate.  But if you have the cash, it's the way to go.  My Dad scored 0% financing on his purchase, so that was pretty cool too.

Click here to see more items you may consider buying used to save your hard earned cash.