5 random things I’ve learned recently

This is going to be a hodgepodge of thoughts, but couldn’t help share them with you today ;)

5 interesting things I’ve learned recently!!

#1. You used to be able to buy human skulls on Ebay!

Was checking out a friend’s jewelry designs the other day, when I commented on how much I loved the mammoth skull ring he had made and how cool it was…

skull ring

His response was just as fascinating :)

Good to hear that you like it! That’s actually some guy’s skull that was being sold on eBay! 😁 Yes! You can actually buy authentic human skulls on eBay! When I did the sculpt I needed to have good reference images from a lot of angles. So, looking around online I ended up finding the eBay listing and learning about the legality of selling human skulls…


Another interesting thing about the ring is, when you spend a lot of time looking at skulls you learn that there are good looking skulls and not so good looking skulls just like there are good looking people and not so good looking people. I would have never thought that but I learned this is true. This skull is what I consider to be one of the good looking skulls. 😀

And then after some more back and forths (because of course I *had* to learn more!!), I got this gem:

Addendum: Ebay has since banned the sale of them. https://www.ebay.com/help/policies/prohibited-restricted-items/human-remains-body-parts-policy?id=4325#section1

And since you’re into the business of business. New business idea, go to old folks homes and buy their bodies for like $500 and then sell their skeletons when they pass away for around $3,000.


I’m still laughing at this three days later, haha….

And maybe even considered that hustle for a hot minute ;)

(You can buy the ring for $250 btw, which is a steal if you ask me for a “good looking” skull!)

#2. Walmart managers make BANK!!

This is a note I’ve saved for years now but always keep forgetting to share…

Might get you thinking a little differently about Walmart ;)

“I work in retail. We get an annual bonus each year for all salaried managers. This year mine was $108,000. This is my second smallest one out of the last four years.

The first thing I do is claim tax exempt before it hits my account and gets the heavy tax. Because of my income I still end up paying $30-$35,000 in taxes when I file my return. After I file my return in a week or so I’ll still have around $50K or so. My 401K is immediately maxed out, which is great. That way I don’t have to worry about it coming out every month. I also have $400 a month withdrawn for my two daughter’s 529 plan, $500 for my Vanguard, $1,000 for my company stock fund, and $325 for my Roth (also with Vanguard). I also bought some land in my hometown of Alabama and purchased a trailer that my nephew rents at $500 a month (mortgage is $455).

I grew up very poor and the only sibling of five to graduate from college. My greatest fear is going broke so I manage my money carefully. In the last six years I’ve increased my net worth from $14K to $500K.”

When I asked if he works at a Benz dealership he hit me with this ;)

“I actually work for Walmart as a store manager. One of the biggest secrets around. Starting salary begins at $109K and goes up to $175K a year depending on size and volume.”

#3. The average household has over 300,000 items in it

We’ve probably talked about this one before, but I can never get over just how RIDICULOUS this is every time I see it!! 300,000 things??? What is wrong with us??

Now according to this NY Times article that number literally accounts for *everything* in your household, even down to the # of paperclips you own, which softens this a little bit, but still. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years it’s that more stuff does not = more happiness! Or else everyone would be in bliss right now!

And always fascinating to see how generations before us lived as well to put it in even more perspective (hint: they did not own 300,000 things).

From a reader of the blog:

“Your pieces on “do I really need this” and amassing “stuff” always remind me to look at my ancestors’ wills from the 1600s-early 1900s. They are so specific and include no fluff (been doing genealogy for years). Such as, 1 bed, 2 cups, 1 sheep, 1 bin flour, 1 pewter tankard. No fluff there (One guy did have a race horse and bat guano but he was well off!). A reminder that more is not always necessary.”

#4. People get paid $200 to shove pizzas in their face

Only in L.A.!

pizza hustle

#5. A garden is more than just a garden…

This is more of a reflection than a fact, but haven’t stopped thinking about it since someone shared this with me, so thought it was worth passing over in case you can get something from it too :)

In response to our recent house purchase:

A few comments on the amazingly designed and maintained garden you are now lucky enough to inherit…

1. Gardening and landscaping is an amazing physical, mental and emotional activity. Need some zen in your life? Need to work up a sweat? Need a place to commune with the earth and think through your 21st century issues – get out in the yard! Seriously, it’s the one activity I do where upon completion, I feel stronger, more calm – dare I say serene?, more focused and accomplished… And unlike the gym, yoga mat or counselor’s chair – you can walk around and look at and enjoy the fruits of your labor…

2. I used the word “inherit” intentionally. You’ve inherited someone’s work of love+art, someone’s intentional creation – one of the few activities humans participate in that can have – when done right – nothing but a positive impact on the earth and it’s inhabitants – all of them… A successful garden offers insects, birds and animals a place to live, drink, eat and be at peace. Cherish that and honor those who created the space by maintaining it.

3. There are few spaces better for healthy and happy children than a well designed and maintained garden. I don’t know where you live but get some herbs and tomatoes planted – get the kids involved – enjoy life with your kids.

– Jennifer, avid gardener… Daughter of another avid gardener, Lucinda, who, at almost 80, maintains almost an acre of gardens every day… for fun.

And I must say… after a couple of weeks now working in the garden a little, I’m starting to see some of these effects :) I still can’t decipher between a weed and an un-bloomed flower yet?!, but it sure is nice to be out there in nature vs on a screen all day long! I even mastered that riding lawn mower and now get a little sad whenever I have to hop off! No one told me how much fun they were?? :)

(True story: took me over an hour and a half just to get it TURNED ON, and now I go around the house telling everyone how much of an expert I am on it, haha… And only crashed into the ditch once! ;))

At any rate, that’s what I’ve been pondering over here…

What have you learned lately?

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  1. Jason June 13, 2019 at 6:15 AM

    #2 is a well kept secret. Before purchasing my own company, I worked as an Evening Operations Manager (3rd in charge of the store, like an assistant assistant manager) for a New England grocery store chain. My base salary was about $60k, and my best year with bonuses I made around $80k.

    Retail management is an lucrative, underappreciated career choice. A career that can be done basically anywhere, and often does not require a college degree.

    1. J. Money June 13, 2019 at 7:27 AM

      Totally a well kept secret!! And much deserved too as working with customers all day long is not for the faint of heart ;)

      Would be interested in hearing more about that company you purchased if you ever want to share? Is it going how you thought it would be so far?! Easier or harder? :)

      1. Joe June 13, 2019 at 9:22 AM

        I think the managers at Walmart deserve a nice paycheck. It’s a zoo. Imagine having to manage that many employees and customers every day. Seems like a ton of work to me.

    2. Linda June 13, 2019 at 2:24 PM

      All of these are random interesting. The Walmart piece is timely and really does change one’s view on the minimum pay issue.
      #4 on pizza dough at $200 taken on the kisser. Wonder if is still warm or thrown when just out of the oven. Another job I saw offering up to $1000 per day involves tastings of pizza. The latter could be pretty unhealthy.

      1. J. Money June 14, 2019 at 6:53 AM

        I hope it’s not burning hot! Haha… Would cost more than that $200 just to recuperate from it all :)

  2. Nita June 13, 2019 at 6:46 AM

    #5 I couldn’t agree more. I dream of owning a garden. Not gonna happen soon with my job in TheBigCity of course, but it is one of my FIRE dreams: countryside, house, garden.
    In the meantime I help out with my mom’s garden when I’m there, and it gives me a workout and soothes my mind every time.
    (BTW I forgot to post to say congrats for the house then. So a delayed congrats now :) )

    #2… OMG. Seriously. In my main job I earn a fraction of that bonus here. I don’t think it’s the same in Europe though…

    1. J. Money June 13, 2019 at 7:31 AM

      You’re welcome to come visit and play in my garden anytime too!!!! We can talk money and FIRE to get you to your dream faster!! :)

  3. COD June 13, 2019 at 7:57 AM

    The average Walmart is probably doing several million a week in revenue, so paying somebody $150K to manage that seems pretty reasonable to me. I noticed a poster at Panda Express stating general managers started at $60K plus. And that is for a 30 seat restaurant with a very limited menu. Imagine what the person running a Cheesecake Factory is pulling in?

    However, those jobs probably require 60+ hours most weeks.

    1. J. Money June 13, 2019 at 9:53 AM

      Totally – and nights and weekends, especially the restaurants!

  4. G June 13, 2019 at 8:10 AM

    Where I work, a lot of people set their tax withholding to zero before their bonuses are paid, and then set it back to normal. They remind everyone every year that it’s against federal law to do that, but people do it anyway. Oh the times. Oh the morals. If I did that, I would not be dumb enough to admit to federal crimes to anyone.

    1. J. Money June 13, 2019 at 10:00 AM

      Is that illegal?! Hadn’t really thought about it before, but I guess if you’re not paying taxes on it then of course that’s not good… But wouldn’t you still be paying the taxes, just later in the year vs right there on the spot? (Or is that the illegal part right there? Squirreling it away for longer than you’re supposed to?).

      I’ve been paying quarterly taxes for so long that I can’t remember any of this W2 stuff :) But boy do I miss it automatically being taken out every paycheck! Or even having paychecks every two weeks on rotation! Haha…

      1. G June 13, 2019 at 11:31 AM

        It’s illegal even to delay it. Think about you paying quarterly taxes. What if you waited until the end of the year to pay it all? The IRS would be pretty upset. They like consistent revenue coming in throughout the year instead of all at once.

        You can only exempt a paycheck from all taxes if you paid no taxes the previous year, and you reasonably believe that you will pay no taxes for the current year.

        1. J. Money June 14, 2019 at 6:54 AM

          Good things to know!! :)

  5. Financially Fit Mom June 13, 2019 at 8:11 AM

    300,000 THINGS! That’s crazy! One of my items on my 100 list is “Own only what you need or love” and as we get ready to move, I have already decided I am in the perfect spot to make that happen. Maybe I need to keep count!

    1. J. Money June 13, 2019 at 9:57 AM

      Do it!!!

      A lot of minimalist bloggers will even share a pic/list of all their things which usually falls around the 100 item range :) (but clump things together, like – teeth cleaning stuff vs toothbrush + toothpaste + flosser + mouthwash, etc)

      Always fascinating to see, and of course downright impressive.

      1. Financially Fit Mom June 14, 2019 at 1:47 PM

        Challenge accepted!

        Though I do not claim to be or have a desire to become a minimalist :)

        1. J. Money June 14, 2019 at 3:19 PM

          You will be one once you’re finished with this, haha…

  6. Kenneth June 13, 2019 at 8:31 AM

    “My 401K is immediately maxed out, which is great. That way I don’t have to worry about it coming out every month.”

    They’re missing out on their employer match! What a sin!

    1. J. Money June 13, 2019 at 10:05 AM

      Good point!! Although I suppose the idea of maxing it out while you’re in the mood and excited about it trumps possibly changing your mind later – even if you do get those matches :) But I agree – perfect world you’d spread it out across the year to make sure you soak up every last free dollar you can (unless your employer matches 100% of 100% you put in like my old one did, in which case POUR ON THE FUEL!!)

      1. Wilkop June 15, 2019 at 3:52 PM

        Guess it depends on the 401k Plan. In our organization we reconcile the employer match to employee compensation at the end of the year and make a deposit to individual employee accounts for any under matched amounts.

        1. J. Money June 17, 2019 at 6:30 AM

          Oh wow – your company cares about their employees! Love to hear that!

  7. Fred Leamnson June 13, 2019 at 10:37 AM

    Dude. You come up with the craziest stuff! Skulls on eBay? You don’t need to leave the house for entertainment. Your audience provides everything you need!

    1. J. Money June 14, 2019 at 6:56 AM

      We do got a pretty good one here, huh? :)

  8. Justin June 13, 2019 at 1:23 PM

    I’d take a pizza to the face for $200. Afraid my mug isn’t pretty enough though!!

    Also, do I get to eat the pizza after it’s thrown? That’s worth at least a few bucks…

    1. J. Money June 14, 2019 at 6:58 AM

      Good point on that last one haha….

      Would have to purposely mess up a few times just to take home the “outtakes” pizza!

    1. J. Money June 14, 2019 at 7:04 AM

      Text Neck – ack!!

      I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until we hear about all the other implications from being on our phones/screens/laptops so much too!

  9. Becky June 17, 2019 at 2:55 PM

    The Walmart store manager salary is very interesting. The frustrating thing is how little they pay the rest of employees. My husband worked at Walmart for a few years, started out stocking shelves, eventually became the manager of the meat department. The highest he was ever paid there was around $11-12 an hour. We live in the Midwest, probably in the area with the lowest cost of living, but less than $25,000 a year for a department manager is not enough to live on, especially if you have kids to support.

    1. J. Money June 18, 2019 at 6:42 AM

      No doubt :(

  10. Pj Perez July 13, 2019 at 4:19 PM

    I just turned to my wife and said “what do you think about switching to retail?”