This Week in Money, Apps, and Time Machines

“Carrying debt is as appealing as being covered with leeches, and has much the same effect.” – JL Collins

Gooooooood morning, my fiscally sexy friends! What it do? Where your money partying these days? Have you drank as much coffee as I have this morning?? :)

Another week down in our lives (scary!), but another week we’re all hopefully getting closer to financial freedom. The ultimate goal. And the reason I reckon you’re reading this right now, am I right? Or did you stop by to flaunt your millions with us today? (You bastard)

Anywho – here’s what’s gone down this week in money, life, and blogging. Along with some new financial services I came across that y’all seem to be enjoying (or is this getting old now?). Would love to hear how your week went afterwards!

This Week in Life and Money…

baby nickel birthday

  • Baby Nickel turned 1! That was fast!!!! That’s a pic of our little nugget from birth to now… It’s amazing how much kids grow in a year compared to us old ass adults… And how much we all wish the time would REVERSE in years ;)
  • We saved another $3.38 through Digit (hah!). Total now saved on the side: $768.13
  • We invested another $6.29 via Acorns (Double hah!). Total now invested on the side: $177.74
  • Found a birthday card with $30.00 in it! I had been given it by a friend while meeting up at a bar, and just figured I misplaced it somewhere like a turd. Then I find it in between our car console – woo! I totally need that drop stop thingie from Shark tank.
  • $0.01The amount of interest my checking account paid this month :)
  • $36,352.85The amount my investments have grown since switching to Vanguard – exactly a year ago, today! Talk about the power of investing/indexing… And I didn’t even lift a finger. (TIP: Start saving/investing NOW! It all adds up and compounds like a mother…)
  • $300’ishThe amount spent to attend a wedding this weekend (hotel + gas + food + $100 cash gift). Totally worth it, and I’d do it again in a heart beat (first night away together in 3 years since having kids!) but still a chunk of the wallet. Forgot how much freedom we once had before kids – if only we appreciated it then! :)

This Week In Blogging News…

j money republic wireless blogger spokesperson#1) You’re looking at Republic Wireless’ first blogger spokesperson :) It’s no secret I’ve been a fan of theirs since switching from Verizon last year and saving over $100/mo (it kick-started our Challenge Everything series!) so it was a natural fit to partner up and help them spread the love even further. That link up there will take you to the review I did on them last year, and then here’s a podcast we just did if you want to learn more about my history with money or RW or life in general. I think that’s where that quote up top came from that they shot across their member newsletter, haha… Sounds cheezy, but it’s SO TRUE. Challenging everything is literally changing my life, as well as my wealth.

(PS: To the bloggers reading this, these are the best types of partnerships to have and go after. It took me years to realize you could even work directly with your favorite companies like that, but you totally can and should give it a shot. Think about the services and products you’re addicted to yourself, and then reach out and see if you can make magic happen! You’re already naturally talking about them!)

#2) Fellow blogger, Jackie Beck, now has an app for those who hate debt: The “Pay Off Debt” App. Or maybe I’m just now catching on as it as over 1,000 4-star ratings already – wow! Way to go Jackie! Here’s what one of her customers said about it (it costs $4.99 FYI):

“Unique way of knowing exactly what you owe and how much is left to pay. No other app does this as smooth and perfect as this one. Lots of different features and customer service is great!”  – J_019

And here are some screenshots to give you a better idea:

pay off debt app

Blogging Time Machine…

I thought it would be cool to see what we were blogging about here on this same day over the past 7 years :) Which was sparked by realizing I had made the switch to Vanguard on this same day last year (which we’ll leave out here since I already linked to above).

See if my writing has gotten any better over the years too!

Some Cool Notes Shot My Way This Week…

Our article on what our Sexagenarian friend has learned about money over her 60+ years elicited some more messages from the two decades above HER. Just more proof that if you get your money on lock earlier in life it’ll help you forever going forward! Even through crazy times!

I am one of those oh so young 70 year olds who has no debt, divorced after 36 yrs of marriage… I own my nice little house outright..  buy anything that I can’t pay for in thirty days… get a nice return from AmEx on my Costco membership – plus reduced cost gas with a 4% rebate… I love my single life… Have three great kids and three grandchildren…

I am loud and proud to be where I am in life. I am a powerful example for other women who are suddenly adrift because of kids leaving, divorce (me) or death of spouse.  Fear of running out of money is real and a driving force for me to keep on going.  My parents taught us well.  We are careful with money and running up debt is unthinkable. But health costs loom large.  I fear for the future of this country unless we change our ways.

– Leigh

I’m nearly 86 years old and have been a fan of Larry Burkett and Dave Ramsey for years but never knew (before I found your site) of anyone putting their whole financial data ‘out there’. Very intriguing!

My husband and I married in 1950, started from nothing but good character, good work ethic and a supporting family. Raised by parents who lived through the 1929-30s depression era, we were frugal by culture and never even knew any one who had enough money to invest! So of course, when we finally were able to save anything, we had no idea other than bank CDs. Now ‘Seeking Alpha’ is opening a whole new world to me! And I go every day to ‘Budgets are Sexy’ to see what new thing I can find on your very large site…

Keep up the good work!

– still pedaling

And then a note from someone probably MUCH younger, haha… The last line is the best:

My favorite type of entertainment is each Friday looking over all the balances in my accounts. There is no bigger thrill than a good week when everything went up and the expenses were in line or went down.

Digit account started on March 30th, hit $130.11 Today. Now have 3 Vanguard accounts up and running…

And just for a fun weekend, I will withdraw some cash, hold it count it, just feel it and then make a deposit on Monday. Something I have been doing since I was a kid. It’s just good to actually touch your money sometimes!

– CashCollector

Some New $$$ Companies That Came Across My Desk…

level money blog message

Level Money — I found these guys on Twitter (@levelmoney) and they claim that you never have to worry about budgeting again using them – Sweet! Sign me up! Haha… Here’s what they do to make that happen: “Level Money automatically updates spendable cash as you make purchases each day, providing a simple, real-time picture of how you’re doing in order to stay in the black.” Not sure how this differs from a lot of the other products/apps out there, but if you still haven’t found one you like maybe they’re it. I like what their blog says there up above.

bill cutterz

Bill Cutterz — I’ve been following/tweeting these guys for a while now (@billcutterz) but keep forgetting to share them with ya. I remember thinking of what a DAMN good business idea it was when I first saw them, and how I was a bit pissed I didn’t come up with it first, haha… Not that I even knew you could do this on the behalf of others?

In a nutshell, they try and lower all your monthly bills for you, and if they’re successful they split the difference of savings with you. If they’re not, it doesn’t cost a thing.

How do they do this? By literally calling up each place on your behalf and negotiating with them. I’m not sure what type of privacy stuff is involved, or what the % of savings or times it works is, but you can check out their FAQs and then go from there. I personally prefer to do it all myself, but then again I’m a big nerd like that. It’s probably more helpful for those who don’t have the time or are just plain too lazy :) Though they claim they know the best ways to haggle it all down, which is a plus?

yerdle app

Yerdle — These guys are similar to Offer Up which we featured last week. Another app that helps you buy/sell stuff cheap like Craigslist, and looks like you can upload more than 1 pic unlike Offer Up (but I kinda like that cuz it keeps it nice and simple). They also have an “Unshopping Challenge” which is pretty cool too. Though if no one is buying anything for 30 days, how would you be able to sell your stuff?? Another alternative out there anyways :)

Lastly, a Hot New Record That Just Dropped!

“Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis (If this doesn’t make you smile I give up…)

How did your money / life go down this week? Tell us something good!

[Money doll shot by frankieleon]

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  1. Kirsten May 1, 2015 at 5:30 AM

    I love the idea of Bill Cutterz! I would do it myself, but honestly just don’t have the time. Time is money!!! Obviously, I’d love to keep ALL my savings, but the fact is I am probably not going to call anyone if you leave it up to me to do. I’m going to prioritize sleep and the kids. And sleep. Did I say sleep?

    I love the idea of Level Money, too.. though it seems like it’s more useful if you actually have money you can spend. All my money goes to debt, keeping the lights on, and putting food in our bellies. But it sounds like a neat way to have a budget without having a budget….

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 2:57 PM

      Let me know if you end up trying them out! I kinda want to submit my own stuff just to go through the process and see what happens, but maybe I’ll let you do that first :)

  2. Brian @ Debt Discipline May 1, 2015 at 6:53 AM

    Happy 1st Birthday Baby Nickel, wow that was fast. Congrats on the Republic Wireless partnership, nicely done! Now if LunchMoney Lewis wants to make sure everyone eats, maybe he should cut back on those second helpings. :)

  3. Mrs. Frugalwoods May 1, 2015 at 7:10 AM

    LOVE the photos of Baby Nickel! Could he be any cuter?! The answer is no. I also love (and agree with) the quotes from you and J Collins. SO true. Once you get rolling on the frugality train, it’s amazing how much you can save. My money news for the week is that I spent $10 at a garage sale and was reminded of how dirt cheap it is to shop used. There is just no comparison to new!

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      I’m gonna try and go yard saling for the first time since our baby was born tomorrow morning! I miss it soooooo much, but just gotta make sure to stick to the game plan of only picking up stuff either to flip or to add to my coin collection :) But really the fun is in the exploring and wondering what we’ll find, of course.

  4. S L May 1, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    Good things this week. My youngest is now 21. My work is comfortable and busy. And your early retirement calc is telling me I could retire 11 years earlier than I am planning. It is a good week.

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:00 PM

      There you go! Look at you!

  5. Kalie May 1, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    Cute kid! Sounds like ours are the same ages. We try to get away for a night every 6 months or so if we can find a babysitter. So good for our marriage and worth any money we spend (though we try to use hotel points).

    I love the comments from our elder readers in the PF scene. We can definitely use their wisdom!

  6. Jover2 May 1, 2015 at 8:13 AM

    I’ve been using LevelMoney for a while now. It automatically calculates your monthly income, separates recurring bills from other expenditures, and gives you a running total of how much you have left in your “spendable” for the rest of the day, week, and month. It even can alert you to big bills or payments that just hit your accounts. it will notify you mid-week, and at the start of the weekend as to how much you have left for the week. It provides a pop-in notification when you finish a week or month of underspending, that you can share on Facebook or Twitter.
    And the best part, which I should have mentioned at the top, is you can set a pre-determined savings amount, which comes out before your spendable is set… kind of like “pay yourself first”. They even allow you to categorize transactions as “ignore”, if for example an expense is actually a transfer to a brokerage account (which to me is savings, not spending).
    Caveat: they were just snapped up by CapitalOne, which I’m sure will want to monetize their investment in some way, or maybe they will offer a Level-like experience for their customers. Just putting that out there.

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:03 PM

      This is great!!!!

      Love the first account here – thank you.

      Sounds pretty decent :)

  7. Hannah May 1, 2015 at 8:34 AM

    Happy Birthday Baby Nickel!

    My son loves watching Music Videos, and this week Bills popped up on the iPad. It is now part of his regular rotation (along with Uptown Funk and All About That Bass).

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:05 PM

      Hah! Uptown Funk and Bass are also part of my 2 y’o’s rotation :) Along with Sia’s “Chandelier” haha… he loves to dance to it like that little girl in the vid!

  8. Alyssa Windell May 1, 2015 at 9:55 AM

    The company I work for switched to Vanguard for our 401(k) retirement plan a few years back. I’ve been appointed as the record keeper (heck yeah, I like taking notes/minutes!) for the administrative committee, and I get to attend all the meetings. Just yesterday we had a quarterly meeting with our investment advisors. I’m learning A LOT about our plan & I’m advocating for new changes to be made (auto-enrollment, auto deferral increase, etc.) because I think it’s incredibly important, especially for younger generation employees! Never thought learning about retirement plans could be so fun! :)

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:06 PM

      Boom! And so cool they switched to Vanguard! I would be in heaven if I still had a 401k and it was through them… What a fantastic learning experience indeed.

  9. Even Steven May 1, 2015 at 10:08 AM

    Big fan of “Bills”, nice little Friday happy song. Rode the bike to work today, things are on the up!

  10. Savvy Shopper May 1, 2015 at 10:14 AM

    Spring cleaning has struck! This past week, I have been working on cleaning/clearing out cupboards in my kitchen. I have a multitude of mugs, dishes, etc. that are headed for a yard sale this summer. So no realized $$ yet, but just the act of decluttering has made me feel better. All the clutter has been holding me back from truly organizing my life. And I’m get more joy moving these unwanted things out of my house/life than I ever did owning them!

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:07 PM


  11. Emily May 1, 2015 at 12:37 PM

    You’ve heard before about how quickly kids grow, but you can’t really grasp it until you become a parent yourself!

    My money life this past week? Paid off the last medical bill on my broken arm (happened last Oct.). While it feels good to be debt-free again, that $5500+ made me flinch. Okay, and cuss (it was a kind of out-of-the-blue/where did this come from bill. But we had an itemized list sent to us and sure enough, we owed it. Blah.).

    1. J. Money May 1, 2015 at 3:08 PM

      Ouch on the body and the wallet!

      Glad things are now passed and ready to be saved again :) Won’t be the last time you – or any of us – deal with stuff like that. Life happens!

  12. Danny MoreBucks May 1, 2015 at 2:08 PM

    That quote by Jim Collins is one of my favorite. He’s got some great nuggets of wisdom in that post on debt.

    1. J. Money May 3, 2015 at 3:18 PM

      Oh yeah… his investing series is particularly great as well.

      Loving your blog name btw, that’s killer :)

  13. Christine @ The Pursuit of Green May 1, 2015 at 2:12 PM

    Yay! Happy friday and happy birthday to baby Nickel! Amazing how much he’s grown! Whatttttt!

    I love being on the frugal train, as long as I don’t cross over and become cheap! Haha. There’s such a big difference between the two and everyone has a different perception of it. For some frugal and cheap are the same thing! Being frugal is about being smart about when/where/how spending money and living simple. Cheap is well…you don’t wanna be described as cheap! A pennypincher who has money but won’t spend it even when they should.

    1. J. Money May 3, 2015 at 3:23 PM

      Oh yes, the Frugal vs Cheap debate will forever be one we like to talk about :)

  14. Kayla @ Femme Frugality May 1, 2015 at 4:34 PM

    I love the comparison of what you’ve talked about on this day the past few years. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. J. Money May 3, 2015 at 3:22 PM

      it’s pretty wild having a record of your life/thoughts online to always go back to. Imagine if we all had this from back in the day? would be pretty fascinating! :)

  15. Free to Pursue May 5, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    I’m on to you J$. The “Bills” song is good but I bet what really got you excited about it is the musician’s hair style ;).

    Just announced in the National Budget this week: Canadians can now invest $10,000 yearly in their TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account, similar to a Roth IRA in the US or a ISA in the UK), up from the previous $5,500 limit. Woot woot! So my hubby and I were busy topping up those accounts this week.

    Sad that this news got us more excited than any other news this year. We must be certifiable PF nerds.

    1. J. Money May 5, 2015 at 10:03 PM

      I just heard that!! What a great thing for all you CA hustlers – so cool!!!

      REJOICE nerds, REJOICE! :)