Dirty, Boring, Smelly Money

“We often neglect the things we love, in favor of our likes and wants, because likes and wants tend to cost less and take less patience to acquire.” The Budgetnista

BAM! Well said Budgetnista. The good stuff is definitely attainable but we always let those pesky likes get in the way slowing us down… It’s as if we were human or something ;)

But speaking of likes and wants, a fellow reader informed me that there are a few new coins for sale out there if anyone has some extra millions laying around… The “Ultimate Coin Collection” (ie Pogue Collection) will be auctioned off over the next two years, and is estimated to bring over $200 MILLION dollars. For literally a handful of coins.

It’s hard to imagine people spend more than others earn their entire lives on a little piece of silver or gold, but hey – wealth’s distributed/earned unevenly around the world, eh? And the idea you can own something that our founding fathers not only helped create, but also touched!, is enough to get any coin collector’s jollies off. I’ll just have to settle for early retirement instead ;)

This topic also got another buddy of mine talking too, (Brent from VOSA.com) and I thought his take was pretty interesting:

I often wonder when I’m holding money:

– who else worked their ass off to make this?
– who else decided to spend it?
– what has been bought with it?
– is it real?

So much history. If only money could talk!

If only! Open up your wallets/purses right now and just look at all those bills in there… Some of them took people hours/days to earn, while others use them for toilet paper since they’re so stinkin’ rich (not to get gross here, but paper money/coins are actually some of the dirtiest objects in the world. Do you know how many people have touched them before you? Have you ever seen anyone clean them up??)

Anyways, something good to ponder while you’re out there shopping and spending money this Memorial weekend :) All money was created equal, but the work and time that went into earning it is a completely different story. Give those bills the respect they deserve!

[And speaking of coins, thanks to everyone who participated in our Looney Tunes giveaway last week! The lucky winner of the Merry Melodies coin was Jean Pierre.]

In other money news…

In other money news… it was a pretty damn boring week. Which is good or bad depending on how you look at it. (I usually see it as a good thing since drama is seldom positive with finances ;)).

Here’s all the nothing that went down:

  • New savings Digit saved me: $0.00 (Thanks guys!)
  • New investments Acorns invested for me: $0.00 (Wow, you’re too generous!)
  • A refund check that USAA sent me:  $0.16 (Seriously, what did I do to deserve such adoration??)

Some fascinating articles I read this week:

How to Lose Time and Money by Paul Graham — Some of you will know who this guy is as he founded the YC start up accelerator as well as a number of other things, but what’s interesting about it is the way his mind shifted when he started making a lot of money and figuring out how to protect it. Not only that, but also how easy it is for us to confuse busy work with good work. If you only read one article this weekend, this one should be it.

The oddly uplifting story of the Apple co-founder who sold his stake for $800 — Remember that tweet last week about that unknown Apple founder – Ronald Wayne – who’d be a millionaire right now if he had stuck with them? Well this is a more in-depth look at what happened and where he is now :) (Hat tip to Pengepugeren for recommending this to me –  you were right, it’s awesome!)

Buy Nothing Project — This is a group/movement going on where communities are trading stuff instead of buying stuff. Fellow reader Jennifer turned me on to this, and although I haven’t participated in it yet I do very much love the idea :) Maybe there’s a group around your hood?

New books by financial bloggers:

There are two new books out by personal finance bloggers if interested (I like to share this stuff here because unlike “normal” books you find, bloggers typically keep it more real and share personal stories along with the info. Which is my favorite parts about blogs – real life numbers and stories!)

next rounds on me bookNext Round’s On Me: How-to Achieve Financial Freedom in Your 20s by Martin Dasko (blogger behind Studenomics.com). I’ve known Martin for almost 7 years now and have shared many a beers together, and I can confidently say that I don’t know of any other partier – especially in their 20s – that as figured it out like he has. This dude owns real estate, travels the world, parties like a mad man, and still continues to grow his wealth throughout. How? You’ve got to read to see ;) Or just buy him a beer and he’ll tell you all for free – hah. Seriously though, smart kid.

simple guides debt credit wealth

Simple Guides to Debt, Credit, and Wealth: Volumes 1-5 by Kurt Fischer (blogger behind MyMoneyCounselor.com). I don’t know Kurt as well as I would like to, but I’ve been reading his blog over the past two  years and have featured him on Rockstar Finance many a times. Completely different style as Martin above, but still very helpful. That link above goes to the compilation of his 5 simple guides, or you can pick off any of them separately for just a few bucks:

New $$$ companies that came across my desk:

stratos card all-in-oneStratos Card — This is one of those all-in-one cards that allow you to combine your plastic cards onto a single smart card. “You can load your credit, debit, loyalty, membership and gift cards onto the Stratos Card and use it anywhere your traditional cards are accepted.” Pretty good idea, although certainly not new (remember Coin from a couple of years back?). They’re getting a lot of press lately, however, and recently just won “Best of Show” at Finovate – the world’s financial technology conference. The card is free, but you pay a yearly membership for it ;) $95 and I think there’s a waiting list… Anyone have one already?

haven life logoHaven Life — These guys just went live this week and bill themselves as the first ever place where you can buy term life insurance completely online:

“Until Haven Life, there wasn’t a way to purchase a fully underwritten term life insurance policy entirely online. You could calculate your needs and receive a quote online, but after that, your application would be sent through traditional channels or through a cumbersome call center process. That process usually takes between four and six weeks. Now, you can calculate your own needs, fill out an application, and purchase the Haven Term policy entirely online.”

They’re only available in Massachusetts right now, but I chatted with them on the phone to learn more, and they say they plan on rolling out to other states as the year progresses as well. They’re also owned and backed by Mass Mutual which many of you have probably heard of before. And as a big fan of term life insurance myself – and quick and easy applications, for that matter! – these guys might be on to something. And definitely have the best tagline ever in the industry too: “If life insurance could start over, this is what it would be.” BOOM!

about instavest video

Instavest — Remember how I used to copy Warren Buffett years ago? Where I’d literally just invest in all the stocks he was investing in because I knew he was 1,000x smarter than me and already did the research so why bother even doing it? ;) Well, these guys pretty much built a company around just that: copying what other investors are doing in a Facebook-ish type way. Only the person you’re copying gets rewarded with a portion of your profit (you choose how much to give) if they happen to make you money, and they’re vetted before you even see what they’re recommending. (Also – all the investing runs directly through Instavest)

It sounds weird/crazy/illegal?, so I hopped on the phone with them too (why not, right? ;)) and their founder, Saleem Khatri, assured me it’s all aboveboard and legit. And he knows a thing or two of that having worked in the US Treasury for a few years, as well as being shot through YC’s start up accelerator program founded by that same person whose article I just gushed about above there ;) We’ll see how successful it becomes or not, but def. a clever idea for sure.. Especially if you like stock trading (vs, say, indexing like yours truly. I’m still lazy, just in a different way now – hah).

And lastly, if you love the smell of money….

dollar smell alarm clockThere’s a new alarm clock coming soon: SensorWake – an alarm that will release different scents to wake you up instead of music/annoying beeps ;) And money is one of them – hah!

The inventor, 18-year-old French entrepreneur Guillaume Rolland, apparently won Google’s Science Fair and will soon be launching a fundraising page on Kickstarter to start pushing these bad boys out there. Entrepreneur.com had a good write up on it if you want to learn more: This Aromatic Alarm Clock Wakes You Up to the Sweet Smell of Money

And that’s it for this week, friends… Y’all have a fun (and safe) Memorial weekend out there, and don’t forget to respect those dollars! Remember how much time and effort went into procuring those bad boys, so make sure they’re being used wisely. I don’t want to have to call the Money Cops on you… My very own invention that will soon be funded on Kickstarer – whammo!

[Dollar bill shot by dno1967b]

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  1. Chenell @ Bright Cents May 22, 2015 at 6:00 AM

    What a genius idea for an alarm clock – talk about a reminder to stop snoozing and start hustling! haha

    Digit saved me $0.00. I’m wondering if they took the week off? ;)

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 10:18 AM

      Weird! Maybe! :)

  2. Brian @ Debt Discipline May 22, 2015 at 6:59 AM

    Waking up to the smell of money, that that sounds like a motivator!

  3. Shah May 22, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    Why didn’t digit save you anything this week? I just started with digit myself and love it.

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 10:20 AM

      I dunno to be honest. Maybe I was just a rock star with saving and budgeting this week so there was nothing to move? :) Or maybe they’re making me wait in anticipation of hitting $1,000 saved so far w/ them – woop!

  4. Dee @ Color Me Frugal May 22, 2015 at 8:17 AM

    I read that story about the Apple co-founder who sold his stake for $800. You’re right, the story was oddly uplifting, but the cynic in me can’t help but think that’s probably not the whole story. I mean, who wouldn’t have huge regret all these years later if they did that???

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      Yeah, there’s def. more to it, but I did understand where he was coming from. I’ve passed up on tons of offers over the years that I knew had huge potential but just didn’t seem like I’d fit all the way or was the best man for the job. I give him mad credit for bowing out when it was time, even though that decision was worth billions! Could have easily gone the other route as well – much better odds ;)

  5. Hannah May 22, 2015 at 8:23 AM

    I used to think about currency all the time when I was waiting tables (I annoyed my boss like crazy because I would declare 100% of my tips every night, and I always had just a pile of singles and change to count up).

    These days my only cash comes from an ATM and is usually quickly spent.

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 10:23 AM

      that’s a dream job for us money collectors :) that, and working at the bank where everyone comes to turn in their coins/bills! one of my friends works at one and is always getting rare stuff that no one pays attention to. he literally only works there just for that opportunity, haha…

  6. Mr and Mrs Geek May 22, 2015 at 8:48 AM

    We love money but waking up with the smell of cash doesn’t seem to be great! Specially now that most of the money is plastic and digital :)

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 10:24 AM

      Yes! Definitely!

      I know there’s that WheresGeorge.com campaign going on from over the years, but tracking other ways would be much more interesting if someone took the time or spent the money to make it happen… You let me know when you find us some funding and I’ll work on it with you :)

  7. Adam @ AdamChudy.com May 22, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    Let’s not forget about all the drugs those bills have seen. They did that UK study that showed almost all the bills in the country had cocaine residue on them. If money could talk!

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 2:12 PM


  8. Kurt May 22, 2015 at 10:55 AM

    Thanks so much J for mentioning my new Simple Guide series, much appreciated!

  9. Kayla @ Femme Frugality May 22, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Waking up to the smell of money? Strange! I’d probably wake up quicker if it gave me money, haha. :) Sometimes a slow week is a good week!

  10. jestjack May 22, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    Just a brief note on suggested reading….I just finished reading “Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedman from our local library. Should be required reading for all for all frugal blog writers. This is the story of Huguette Clark and her father ….W.A.Clark….the richest man you have never heard of….Will give you a warning …hard to set this thing down.. I went thru +400 pages in a couple of days…The settling of Mrs. Clark’s estate is still in the Courts. The amount of monies described thru out the years is mind boggling…..as is the return on some of the investments. Might be a good subject for the blog….This book will make you think….on many levels….

      1. jestjack May 23, 2015 at 4:28 AM

        Interesting that it was a subject of your blog way back in 2012….but did you read the book? I’ve read articles about this lady before but reading the book painted an entirely different and more complete picture. It left as many questions as answers for me….

        1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 11:56 AM

          I have not, but you are slowly convincing me to :)

  11. mary May 22, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    That alarm clock sounds appealing. [but I think you meant scents not sense here… “an alarm that will release different sense”] If it could actually release money sense — THEN we’d be really talking about a great alarm!!

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 2:15 PM

      okay okay, I edited for you grammar lovers ;)

  12. Arizona Slim May 22, 2015 at 2:22 PM

    Count me as another member of the “buy nothings.” Here’s how I do it:

    1. I’m one of more than 10,000 members of the Tucson Backyard Gardening Group on Facebook. Our goal? To help each other become better gardeners. We have several seed exchanges each year. They’re free for all to attend.

    2. Did you know that Freecycle started here in Tucson? It’s now a global movement.

    3. There’s our monthly Free Market. Put the third Saturday of the month on your calendar, then head over to Himmel Park. Some of us bring used items to share with others, others come because they’re looking for something. Including emotional support. Our May market included a lady who was clearly mentally ill, and she spent several minutes on a rant. No one tried to stop her. No one call 911. We just let her get it out of her system, and then she started talking to us as if nothing had happened.

    4. I take walks and bike rides and find stuff. And then I repurpose it. Best recent find: One of those grids that was used in a store display. It was on a vacant lot that’s in the path of a road widening project. I’ll be using it as a garden trellis.

    1. J. Money May 22, 2015 at 2:51 PM


      That’s how you do it right there, I’ll tell you what.

  13. Richard Anthony May 22, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    Great post, J$, jampacked with great tips and practical advice, all delivered in your usual free-flowing, breezy (but never hot air) and inimitable style. You had me at “If only!” when you followed up with, ” Open up your wallets/purses right now and just look at all those bills in there . . .”

    Whoa! Yes!! Do look at them!!! Closely!!!! Here I was sure that you were about to mention graffiti on money and all the oddball, often fascinating ways people purposely dirty up their lucre–kinda hoping too, that you might alert folks to keep an eye peeled for one of our 54 “Bonus Reward” bills out there worth 100X face value: http://moneygraffiti.com/reward/reward.html (at this writing, not a single one has yet been redeemed). But then you breezed on to another hot-button topic for me–books–and I completely lost it.

    One of these days, I hope, you may decide to put your wisdom between covers and publish a book of your own. [Show of hands, guys–who else besides me would like to read a bubbling cauldron of financial wisdom distilled, curated and compiled by J Money?] But since you don’t have a book (yet) let me sneak in a plug for my own just-published tome for word lovers: http://www.amazon.com/Would-You-Mind-Repeating-That/dp/0989812405

    Also, as you obliged fellow grammarian mary by editing “sense” to “scents,” might you do the same for Instavest and correct “all above bored and legit”–unless “above bored” is your way to say how head-and-shoulders above “boring” their investment model is. If so, pretty zen. I’d like to discuss “legit” in another context but another time. Happy Memorial Day:)

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      hah! where do I start…

      “above bored” – fixed! interesting that it’s all one word too, eh? (aboveboard)

      books – yes, I am thinking of one actually for the first time in 7 years. but not a legit one like others are doing (you like how I slip that in there again for you? :)) but a much more low key one. will shout once I’m ready to announce more info…

      Your “reward” bills – I hope they’re still in circulation!!

  14. Christine @ The Pursuit of Green May 23, 2015 at 1:06 AM

    Many a time I’ve waken up because I smelled something delicious and my stomach started growling! That’s an alarm clock worth looking into. It needs to come with a chef though otherwise it’s a disappointment to smell bacon and not have any to eat! Combo alarm clock and bacon cooker?

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:03 PM

      HAH! I’d pay for that!

  15. EJ May 23, 2015 at 2:19 AM

    I think I’m going to have to get one of those alarms :)

  16. Vic @ DadIsCheap May 23, 2015 at 2:32 AM

    That seems like such a waste of money to pay $95 a year to have an all in one card. Is it really that hard to have a couple credit cards in your wallet? I use the CardStar app to hold all my loyalty rewards cards.

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      CardStar sounds interesting – thx for the tip

      1. Claudia @ Two Cup House May 26, 2015 at 8:05 AM

        For all of my loyalty cards, I see the Key Ring app. It’s free, except for the price I probably pay in privacy. Ha!

        I need to look into Digit and Acorns. I am a little concerned about linking to my bank account, but I guess my account information is digital and shared over the WWW with or without me. I am making investing a priority in the next week. Thanks for the regular updates about these apps!

        1. J. Money May 29, 2015 at 10:24 PM

          cool! Let me know how it goes if you ever try any of them out :) I got over the privacy thing yearsss ago when I realized everything we do nowadays is online – hah. At least banks have gotten better at shutting things down and covering you if/when you get hacked :)

  17. Jason@Islands of Investing May 23, 2015 at 6:31 AM

    Dirty money is right! I can’t stand thinking about how many people have touched those coins – thank goodness for debit cards! (and especially that fancy ‘pay-wave’ technology!)

  18. Mrs. Frugalwoods May 23, 2015 at 10:05 AM

    Actual money is totally gross. I rarely have any cash on me, but I have to count cash at my yoga studio job (which I do for free yoga classes) and it grosses me out. I always silently hope that no one will pay with cash so that 1) I don’t have to make change in my head while people stare at me, and 2) I don’t have to then go run and wash my hands. That concludes my thoughts on actual money. Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:04 PM

      Haha… nice hustle you’ve got going on there :)

  19. Brittney @ Life On A Discount May 23, 2015 at 11:37 AM

    Some great articles and books shared in this post! I am definitely interesting in reading some. Thanks for sharing!

  20. madeline May 23, 2015 at 4:02 PM

    I definitely don’t want an alarm that smells of money! Now one that smells of freedom…sign me up!

  21. Jennifer May 23, 2015 at 5:08 PM

    Yay for a mention and a Buy Nothing project link! It’s definitely a great community builder. Since September I’ve lost 85 pounds and it was great to see my old clothes be passed to people who wanted/needed them and to get interim clothes to wear as I was between lots of sizes myself!

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:05 PM

      Thanks for turning me onto it!

  22. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank May 23, 2015 at 8:54 PM

    I envy those people who can spend so much money with those coins. Though I am not a fan of this, I am just satisfied to see these coins in picture and know in part some history. I have something more important to deal with when it comes to my money.

  23. Harmony @ creatingmykaleidoscope May 24, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    I love finding random, foreign coins. Just imagine how far they have traveled!

    Thanks for the reminder that money is money, even if it’s just pennies. I really need to cash in our loose change, a few more dollars paid towards our credit card balances means less interest and every little bit helps.

  24. superbien May 25, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Great links, appreciate it.

    One question. You did a review of Instavest, and your entire research for something that sounded “weird/crazy/illegal” was to… call the owners, who told you no of course it’s all legit, no worries, trust us we’re experts. Ahh well that resolves the question then, people never lie from self interest! I love this blog, but that was just weird.

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      Haha… that does sound bad, doesn’t it? You of course want to do your own research before signing up to anything you read online (or from a blogger ;)), but for me – getting them on the phone and learning more always helps. And knowing they are backed by an incredibly successful, and trustworthy, source as YC does too. I guess I always prefer going to the source and then making a call from there.

    2. Saleem Khatri May 26, 2015 at 11:30 AM

      Thanks for your comment, Superbien!

      Instavest is registered with the SEC and 100% complies with all rules and regulations.

      It’s not crazy – we just think investors can do much better by sharing investment ideas and going through a better user experience to make an investment!
      Happy to answer any other questions you might have!

  25. superbien May 25, 2015 at 9:47 AM

    I found the story of the 3rd co-founder of Apple to be very sad. Robbed of his meagre life savings, living on social security, and having given away several somethings that could have set him up for life.

    The only vaguely uplifting part is his choosing to be philosophical, and that once the billionaires he founded Apple with got him a fancy trip. Woo. I don’t think that rich people ‘owe’ anyone money, but they could probably afford to help out the 3rd Apple co-founder so he doesn’t literally have to eat dog food to survive. It’d be nice of them.

  26. superbien May 25, 2015 at 9:50 AM

    I really liked the Graham article about losing time on fake or unproductive work, and losing money on bad investments. There’s a real kernel of truth in his article!

    1. J. Money May 25, 2015 at 12:15 PM

      Glad you enjoyed the articles :)

  27. Chris Muller May 27, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    Your thoughts posed another question for me… You can only smell and feel actual money (cash) yet it seems like nobody uses cash these days. So what are we smelling and holding? Credit cards! Yaaay! Seriously though, I think the “sensation” you talk about with feeling money helps us be more conscious of what we’re spending it on – when using a credit card we just swipe, swipe, swipe away.

    Maybe we need to start using cash again?

    1. J. Money May 29, 2015 at 10:27 PM

      Dude – I’m allll about that cash! I love love love having it in my pocket and spending it. I “feel it” each time I do which then makes me not spend as much :) I also feel a lot safer with some on me at all times in case cards aren’t accepted somewhere or they expire/get hacked before I realize it. Cash never expires!