Friday, April 24, 2009

Would you ever let your boyfriend cut your hair?


Now those of you who read my blog know that I’m very frugal and saving-minded. But under no circumstances would I ever let a boyfriend cut my hair to save money.

Yes, those extra monitos spent at a professional hair salon are well spent in my opinion. In fact the hair salon doesn’t even have to be a very “high-end” one for me, as long as they know what they’re doing and do it for a living ;)

Even discount hair salons I’ve been to. But even then I trust them imminently more than I’d ever trust a boyfriend with a pair of shears.

I came to think of this because I was searching for something quite different in Google and found this headline that read:

HOW NOT TO CUT YOUR WIFE’S HAIR - Since my wife's hair is about 3" long, I thought that it'd be nice to hold .... “Vicki, that haircut looks like hell,” and it would start all over again. ...

LOL ;) How could you not be curious after that, lol :) So I had to click on the link and read the story. And I can warmly recommend it. You got to read it.

(You can click on the blue link in the block quote above :)

So those were just my two-cents about this whole hair-cut thing :)

Would you ever let your boyfriend touch a hair on your head with a pair of scissors?

Would you ever let your boyfriend cut your hair?

You brave soul, you.

To Do List and A Story


I was reading through Beachgirl’s Budget Blog and I got the idea to post my own to-do-lists up here on my blog. This is a great thing for me because it combines productivity and blogging.

So I’ll give it a go.

  • Read chapter about DB

  • Read chapter about BS

  • Read chapter about RB

Every Friday I have to e-mail my thesis supervisor to tell him what I’ve done during the week. I only had to e-mail him what I’d done since Wednesday since I just had a meeting with him Tues. this week.

However, the last 2½ days I’ve been: Wed.: Meeting up with my Dad. Thurs. & Fri. morning: Taking care of some arrangements to view an apartment. This took 1½ day because of the annoying mess up of who actually has the keys: the apartment company, the maintenance guy or the tenant. So several phone correspondences and 2 visists to the actual apartment, but not being able to get inside – took all in all 1 and ½ day.

Still haven’t seen the apartment, lol :)

But so when I e-mailed my supervisor today, you can imagine, I had the worst guilty conscience. So I promised him all that I’d get done this weekend. So I better do it ;)

Hence the to-do-list :) And the “stay-at-home to study” weekend.

Here’s to having a guilt-free conscience when I e-mail my supervisor next Friday with a LONG list of things I’ve written and read! :)

(And to seeing that apartment finally next week, lol :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

30 Easy Ways To Save Money - Day 2: Coffee


This is Day 2 on my series “30 Easy Ways To Save Money” – Am I Doing All Of Them???”, where I decide to put my spending habits under a magnifying glass and tackle every point on the list.

  • 2.Make your own coffee: Everyone seems to have heard of the latte factor. Even though the author may have overestimated the savings from skipping a latte at Starbucks, don’t underestimate the ding it puts in your pocket in the long run. You don’t have to entirely ban drinking coffee, but skip it as often as possible unless you make it at home.

coffee_beansQuoted from original post at: Dumb Little Man, Photo: Coffee-Exchange. 

Now this is actually one I’m quite good at doing. Drinking coffee at home. I know that in an earlier post I mention that coffee-on-the-go is one of my spending vices. However, the ratio is probably 1:3. For every one cup of coffee I drink out, I drink 3 at home. Sometimes more. (I drink a lot of coffee, lol :)

And in this 1:3 ratio I also count the cups of coffee that I take at the university as “drinking out”. Which is dirt cheap ($0.80).

Often times I’ve caught myself wanting to grab a cup of coffee on the go, but then decided to wait either ‘til I got home or got to the university.

As these would be by far cheaper than spending anywhere between $5 to $9 on a cup of coffee.                                                  (Prices: $5 at the train station, $9 at a regular coffee place).

So despite that I do on occassion catch the expensive coffee on my way, I by far drink the majority of my cups fairly cheaply.

But I think this was a conscious decision made some years back when I more or less grabbed a cup of coffee and a small breakfast sandwich at the train station everyday. This was my trusty morning routine. But in the long run after having done this for one and a half years I realized that I was spending (wasting) too much money on this. And so changed this habit.

And so today it’s only on occassion that I grab a cup of coffee at the train station or at my favourite coffee place on my ‘travels’.

I still do it though, so I’m not guilt-free, lol :) But I’m very conscious about this, so I often choose to wait ‘til later and grab the coffee at cheaper prices either at home or at the university.

Today’s link love


I just came across a couple of sites that I wanted to share with you all. Enjoy!




  • PF Blog: One Man’s Mission To Have A Net Worth of 1 Million Dollars
  • One Year Rent-Free: One Girl’s Adventures Of Living 1 Whole Year Entirely Rent-Free


30 Easy Ways To Save Money – Am I Doing All Of Them???


I was reading an article called 30 Easy Ways to Save Money (and No, you are not doing them all!). That’s when I realized that I wanted to do a series where I tackle each and every one of the saving tips listed to take a deep and thourough look at which ones I do and which one’s I don’t.

This way I can maybe get new ideas on where I can save more money. I’ll give it a shot.

But as I love doing series I’m going to take my time with this and do it over 30 days (well, probably not 30 consecutive days, as my thesis writing doesn’t really permit this, I have a difficult time fighting my *ahem* (guilty conscience surfacing) internet procrastination as it is :) but as much as I possibly can on a regular basis.

I’ll probably be doing regular posts in between as well.

But as for now I’ll be enjoying my new series. The first series I did was a 10-day saving challenge (that lasted 36 days, lol :) But in the end who really cares how long it takes :) As long as I get out of it what is really important – and that is essentially the constant consciousness of saving on an everyday basis.

I’ll go ahead and start with the first one.

  1. Cook at home often. If both the husband and wife work, this is likely to be very difficult. Start out with the habit of cooking at home once a week and slowly increase the frequency until you find a balance between saving money and getting stressed out.”

Cooking with Wine







Quote: Dumb Little Man, Photos: Epicurious & Villa Milagro Vineyards.

Ok, let me take a look at this:

How many times have I eaten in and eaten out for this past week.

  • Wednesday: lunch: OUT, dinner: IN
  • Thursday: lunch: OUT, dinner: IN
  • Friday: lunch: IN, dinner: IN
  • Saturday: lunch: IN, dinner: OUT
  • Sunday: lunch: OUT, dinner: IN
  • Monday: lunch; IN, dinner: IN
  • Tuesday: lunch: OUT, dinner: IN

Points: IN: 9 points OUT: –5 points

Hmm… I seem to eat out a lot. Mostly for lunch, it looks like. But this is actually a good excercise. I’ll track my eating/cooking habits in a similar way during the course of this following week. To get conscious about eating IN more.

  • Wednesday:  lunch: IN, dinner: IN
  • Thursday: lunch: IN, dinner: OUT
  • Friday: lunch: IN, dinner: IN
  • Saturday: lunch IN
  • Sunday:
  • Monday:
  • Tuesday:

Hey, this constant consciousness of saving mentioned earlier is already kicking in. This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Calvin & Hobbes and The Economy


A cute comic strip with our beloved Calvin & Hobbes originally printed 15 years ago.


(Click image to enlarge)

Original post found at  Greg Mankiw's Blog: Random Observations for Students of Economics.

Accidentally deleting your recycle bin in Vista


Man, I just experienced something really stupid today.

I deleted my recycle bin in Vista! How in the #!!}! does that happen. What a stupid function.

Yes, I’m blowing off a little steam here ;)



But luckily after googling this incident I found out that I wasn’t the only poor sucker who’d run into this problem.

He he, look at this


And that’s not me posting the question ;)



Either click on the image directly above or go to this post titled “I accidentally deleted my Recycle Bin in Vista - how do I get it back?” at

Then no sweat, problem solved. It’s a super easy solution. BUT ALSO A SUPER STUPID FUNCTION. Why do I hate Vista? Longing for the days back when XP Service Pack 2 was the hottest thing around ;) LOL ;)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not much happening these days


There’s nothing much happening these days, sorry, blog readers. I’m buried in my thesis writing. I’m just here at home working, I’ve got all my groceries, I’ve got no new financial situation or news.







Just all  a bit boring right now ;)

But hopefully I’ll get back to you again soon with some exciting stories to tell. LOL, notice I say , I hope ;)

Will be talking to you all later!


Photo by: printmojo

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why did you name your blog what you did?


This post is inspired by Fabulously Broke In The City’s explanation of why her blog is called what it’s called under a post titled “About FB: My Blog Name And How I Got It”.

So I decided I would do a similar blog entry and explain to you all how I ended up calling my blog what I did.


“The Money Blog” came from the fact that the very first personal finance blog that I read and followed was Jonathan’s My Money Blog. And I’m a film student so I wanted my blog name to sound like a movie title. So the word “Revisited” was added. This comes from a mix of “Apocalypse Now Redux” and “Brave New World Revisited”.

I have to mention the movie title “Apocalypse Now Redux” as an early inspiration because my blog was actually for a short while named “The Money Blog Redux”. But I quickly changed this as this seemed a bit grim and gloomy for a blog title (mostly because it constantly was giving me associations to Marlon Brando, Vietnam and Napalm strikes) so I decided to change this.

“Brave New World Revisited” is the title of a book by Aldous Huxley that I remember seeing some eight years ago that is a non-fiction work discussing his fiction work “Brave New World”.

Both “Apocalypse Now Redux” and “Brave New World Revisited”, however, are retrospective attempts to look at something in the past with newer eyes.

I liked this whole idea of “returning” to the money blog with a new perspective – my own.

So that’s it, I guess. That’s how I came up with the name for this blog in front of you :)


Oh, and as a little extra, I can tell you that the quote on top “It’s all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation” is from the 1987 movie Wall Street (I’m a film student, remember :) that I grew up with and loved. My brother’s a businessman today and this movie and our generation’s fascination with 80’s yuppies back then when we were kids definitely played no small role in that, on the contrary ;)


So what about your blog? Why did you name your blog what you did?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

5 Things That I Waste Money On


Inspired by Broke Grad Student’s post 5 Stupid Ways We Waste Money I decided to write a post of my own tackling the ways in which I waste money. Hence the astoundingly original title. Because knowing your weaknesses is, as they say, half the battle ;)

1. Misplacing stuff and then buying them again

This first bullet point on the list is taken straight off the BGS’s list and I think was probably the one that inspired me to make this post.

Because this really struck a cord with me. I lose stuff all the time. I buy new stuff to replace the stuff I’ve lost. Then I find the first stuff again between 3 mths. to 6 years (and counting…) later.

This is really a big one for me. I’ve got so much stuff and “extra” stuff. I didn’t realize this ‘till I recently started making calculations regarding how much to pay movers, how much to put stuff in storage, etc… if I was to move out.

A lot of money… mess_sepia woman tugging on hair

…out the window.

Photos by: Silvia Jansen & Josh Blake.

2. Going to the convenience store in the evenings instead of buying things at the supermarket during the day

Yes, another weakness.

I have a convenience store just literally 30 seconds outside my door. They’re open until 8:00 p.m.

convenience store

But they’re prices are twice as expensive as in a normal supermarket. So you can really feel the difference in your wallet. But they’re just so darn handy, dammit.

The closest supermarket is situated 12 minutes away. And they close at 5 p.m.

And well, I guess those are my only 2 arguments against…it.

Photos by: Belgrade Cooperative Association.

3. Eating out and Coffee-On-The-Go

More vices.

Eating out to dinner, grabbing food on the run, and getting coffee-to-go are more ways I spend unnecessary money.



Photos by: pidjoe & Starbucks.

4. Not remembering to close the lights, unplug my charger, and other energy wasting activities

I’ve been considering setting up a timer that beeps every 3-4 hours just to get me to check around the apartment for lights that’ve forgotten to shut.

Because this is a recurring thing, that you do one day then perhaps forget the next. That you do in the mornings, then maybe forget in the evenings.



So a reminder is always nice.

Photos by: Trendir & Global B2B Network.

5. Buying stuff I don’t need

Yes, the sin of all sins.


clutter_1 clutter_3


Buying things we don’t need is the single most important weakness that we all have and need to be aware of.

If I had in my entire life never bought a single thing that I didn’t need.

Then I wouldn’t need to worry about personal finance for the rest of my life.

Photos by: Ryan Stephens, Maria Ink, Crystal Visions & Red Stapler Chronicles.

So here are the 5 things that I waste most of my money on. It’s good to take a long, hard look at the bad spending habits one has.

The better the chance of changing them.


"I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something." - Jackie Mason


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Take care of your kitchen appliances


I have a water heater for when I drink tea or instant coffee. And also a coffee maker for when I want real coffee. But this post is however about the water heater.

water heater tea 1 steel

water heater tea 1 greengray water heater tea

I was making a cup of coffee the other evening when the water heater began to choke and sputter.

I remembered that I hadn’t cleaned my water heater for a while.

I also have very calcareous (chalky) water, so leaving a glass of water on the table overnight leaves a white chalky lining, that you can’t brush off by normal dishwashing, you have to use some decalcifier, or alternatively, normal household vinegar.

So I do this every so often with my dishes, cutlery, sink, etc.

But back to the water heater. I noticed it was coughing a bit so I realized that it was time to give it a once over.

Three easy steps to do so:

  1. Pour in 3 cups of vinegar
  2. Run the water heater once (with the vinegar)
  3. Rinse the water heater afterwards by running it 2-3 times through with just plain water

If the chalky-ness is still there then repeat the process.

And if the chalky-ness is stubborn… then let the vinegar sit in the water heater for an hour or two before (just the actual contact with vinegar, not necessarily boiled vinegar, will begin to dissolve the chalk) and then run the water heater once (step 2) and rinse (step 3).

Here’s my saving tip for the day, lol, albeit done in a sort of Martha Stewart kind of way :)

Taking care of the appliances you have will save you money in the long run. You won’t have to shop for new ones on a regular basis just because they’ve conked out (or coughed, ahem, then conked out).

And another saving tip that was well-hidden but still present in this post is the using of vinegar to clean out your water heater instead of a liquid decalcifier. You can buy expensive brands of different liquid decalcifiers (which I often used before I found out this tip with the vinegar) but experience has shown me that not only is normal household vinegar cheaper, it’s also more effective.

Last however not least, it should also be said that this cleaning tip can be used for good old coffee machines as well as water heaters.

Take good care of them. They’re often times (especially for a thesis writer like me) you’re best buddies :)

My Net Worth: April 2009


You see, there’s a reason I don’t talk too much about my net worth on a day to day basis or have a graph of my financial situation on the sidebar. I want to. And I did for a while. But it was too depressing, I had to take it down again.

Because as you’ll see below my net worth is in the red. And my debt (my student loans) is just increasing and increasing and increasing every month. Until I’m finished in 6 months.


So nothing too impressive to write about there.

In 6 months though when I’m finished studying and I get out and get a job, then there’ll be more exciting things to write about concerning my financial situation. Then I’ll have a more exciting goal:  getting out of debt. (LOL, only we PF-bloggers would consider something like that exciting :)

But while right now it’s more in the lines of: save a lot to minimize debt, so I don’t have that much when I finally finish grad school.

However exciting or un-exciting this might be ;)

Well, there’s an update on my situation and net worth (negative net worth;)

Will be posting about something else in the weeks to come.

Well, at least until May :)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Update: Internet Service Provider


I called my internet service provider today to lower my broadband speed. (To see why I had to do this you can read the original post here.)

I changed my speed from 12Mbit/1Mbit to the cheapest speed they had (which was 4Mbit/512kbit). And by doing this I save $6 every month. Which isn’t so much, yes granted. But it’s a “sacrifice” that I don’t notice. Because I honestly don’t notice the difference whether I’m using a 12Mbit or a 2Mbit speed. My needs are always the same, and these don’t seem to exceed the 2Mbit range :)

So I’m happy. I’m saving $6 every month by doing nothing really :) And those $6 will accumulate and save me a whole lot more in the long run! :)


Photos from: Ikobo Money Transfer and Tommy Hill.

How much do you spend on your internet bill?

Can you save money on it?

Taxes: Student Loan Interest Deduction


I came across a  comment in one of the blogs I read about being able to deduct the interest of one’s student loans in tax.

I had too google this to make sure that it also applied to me (I live in Europe so the specificities are always a bit different). And it looks like that this is the case, that I can do this.

I’m not due to be begin paying back my student loans until Jan. 2011. So the specificities regarding how and how much I’ll take a more thorough look at then.

But now I know that this is a possibility. This is great learning new (financial) things around the blogosphere.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Got a letter from my Internet Service Provider


I got a letter from my internet service provider today.

And the title of the letter read: “Your broadband will be faster and a little more expensive”. Yes, it does actually say that. I couldn’t help laughing a bit and thinking ‘of course, not surprising one bit’. :)


The rest of the letter goes on to tell me that they will be increasing my broadband speed from 10 MB/1 Mbit to 12 MB/1 Mbit. And charging me of course for it. I can however still manage to revert to my old speed - and if I do it before June 30, 2009, it’s absolutely free. You can sense the irony I have in my voice here don’t you ;)

What a band of sneaky, low-life people behind such an endeavor.

They do this a couple of times a year. Switch my broadband speed to a something higher. It’s always free to begin with, so you won’t complain. Then they begin to charge you. However this time there’s no “free trial period”. It’s just up’ing it right away.

I’ve had this internet service provider for 2½ years and I ordered 2 MB/512 kbit back then. And I still want 2 MB/512 kbit now. But in the meantime they’ve managed to change my broadband speed probably 8-9 times. I’ve called them and changed it back 4-5 times. Whenever that I could see that I had to dish out more cash. And I’ll definitely be calling them about it this time (so I guess that’s 6 times then).


I just want an internet service provider that could give me 2 MB/512 kbit back then and keep giving the 2 MB/512 kbit until now. Steadily and stabile. Not all this up and down switching of prices and speeds. I pay my bills to them stable and steadily every month and have done so always throughout these past 2½ years with no exception. I’d at least think I deserve the the common decency to get this sort of stability in return. Man, if I paid my bills the way they switched their prices I’d definitely be going to court by now.


Well, I guess that’s just the way of the free market, and something we’ll have to live with. They have a right to change their prices as much as they want (and thank goodness for that:) as long as they give the consumers a choice - as to whether or not they want to buy the product.

They do make it difficult though ;) As difficult as possible. And sometimes as confusing and non-transparent as possible. But with a little critical judgement and old fashion common sense, you can very often quite quickly see and spot through all the bullsh*t and see what they’re really saying. And what it is they want. From you.

** Here’s a reminder to self to call them on Monday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

10 Ways To Save Money During The Spring


It’s finally here. Springtime.


photos by: justinKnol & Mark Bolton

Yesiree, wonderful springtime.

Here’s 10 quick ways to save money in this wonderful season:

  1. Let the light in. Pull back the curtains or pull up the shades. By letting the sunlight into your home you’re not only getting lots of important Vitamin D but also saving money on your electricity bill.
  2. Use your green areas. By going outside and sitting either in your garden or perhaps in your local park to study, read or write you are not only saving money by not using your lights at home – you are undoubtedly also saving money by not being at home to watch television or surf the internet. (This requires naturally that you refrain from bringing your laptop :)
  3. Eat outside. Everything tastes better outside. Somehow this seems to be the case. So take advantage of this by going on picnics, eating your dinner outside in the garden, and yes, even brown bagging your lunch at work and eating it outside. Eat outside a couple of times a week instead of going out to dinner at restaurants.
  4. Go to the beach. If the weather permits it, hit the beach. Fun, energizing, and free!
  5. Save on heating. Turn off the heating, that’s it. You’re done for this year.
  6. Save on laundry. You don’t have to do anything for this. This comes naturally. Because as the spring arrives we automatically begin to use smaller, thinner garments. We can have more clothes per load in the washer and dryer at any given time during the spring compared to in the winter, saving us money on both electricity and water.
  7. Dry your laundry outside. There’s even more to be saved if you refrain from using your dryer altogether and just simply hang your clothes to dry outside.
  8. Take cold showers. Get refreshed and save money.
  9. Spring Sales. Take advantage of the bargains at these spring sales. If you’re lucky then there’s a lot to be saved.
  10. Garage sales. Have them or frequent them - either way your taking care of your money! :)

These are just 10 ways on how to save money during the spring right off the top of my head. Do you have any ideas?


iStockphoto, by shaunl

I’m back


I’m back :) I’ve been gone for a little while, sorry ‘bout that. I’ve had to work on my thesis intensively these last few weeks.

But I have some time to say hi again now.

A couple of things have happened while I’ve been gone (that I wasn’t at all aware of until today):

  • First and foremost, both Tricia over at Blogging Away Debt, Krystal at Give Me Back My Five Bucks and Fabulously Broke over at Fabulously Broke In The City have all added me to their blogrolls as finance blogging buddies. Wow! These are the very first blogrolls I’ve ever been added to :) ! So I am naturally very happy and excited about this! :)
  • Secondly, my incoming links have increased since last. I even did a post on this where I was so happy and gleeful about having 11 backlinks and 5 (on average) vistors a day. But now, as I did a check tonight, I could suddenly see that my backlinks had increased to 448(!). My jaw dropped!
  • And I have a new personal best - 7 on average vistors per day! This is quite cool! :) Glass half-full kind’a gal, lol :)

I’m still very much in absolute astonishment about these things. Wow! And thanks.

Will do my best to keep this trusty little blog up to date - despite my hardy writings elsewhere :)

(the elsewhere being Microsoft Word ;)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Renting A Small Room


I’ve been thinking for a long time now to find a small room for rent and move (out of my apartment). I’d be doing this to save money on my rent as I finish grad school. Because since I’ve begun getting myself into debt (with student loans) last October then it’s beginning to look more and more like a good idea. And then I can stay there as I get my first job and then I can more easily (read as: more quickly) pay off my debt and start saving to buy an apartment. This is a really good idea.

However, it’s really difficult to find a cheap room these days as I’ve experienced first hand this week and the last (when I began to call and mail around). You’ve really got to be cutthroat fast and call as soon as you see a good, cheap place.

So I’m going to have to tighten my calling and searching skills these next few weeks as my search continues.

Got to be lightning fast.

I also have to talk to the company that administers my apartment. Because they state that they have a 3-month notice normally when terminating your lease, so I’m going to have to ask, what my options are.

I’ll get back to you and let you know how all this progresses at a later time.

How about all of you? How are you sitting with your rent and mortgages?

New Transparency In Retirement Fund Overview


I got a letter today from my Retirement Fund. The letter stated of course how much money I had in there, but it also stated some new changes that they were beginning, but changes for the good. They are from now on going to make the overviews more detailed and more reader-friendly so to create a greater transparency for us (the individual customer) to be able to follow how much money there is in your retirment fund and what the individual fees are, and where they go to. When I read their new overview it was definitely a new and big improvement.

Monday, March 09, 2009

How To Cut Your Phone Bill In Half


Why do so many of us rely on our mobile phones or landlines to make our calls when there is a far more economic solution available?

Today anyone can make phone calls over the internet using Skype. And it’s 100% free.

my money and savings blog Skype

my money and savings blog Skype screen-shot

Skype can be used anywhere as long as you have access to the internet


  • How does it work? 
  • Why is the service free?
  • How is the sound quality? 
  • Why are you recommending it?   
  • What do I need? 
  • How do I get started? 


  • How does it work? 

Skype is a peer-to-peer program that uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to allow you to talk to other Skype users using only your computer (naturally, with internet access).


  • Why is the service free? 

Basically, there are 2 types of Skype calls. Skype-to-Skype (also sometimes known as SkypeIn)  and SkypeOut.

The first type of call, Skype-to-Skype, is free because it just uses your internet access (think of it as “computer-to-computer”) to transmit the audio.

The second type of call however, SkypeOut, costs money because it provides you the opportunity to use your computer’s internet access to connect to landlines or mobile phones.

The service I’m recommending here is the free option, Skype-to-Skype.


  • How is the sound quality? 

The sound quality is excellent.


  • Why are you recommending it? 

I’ve been using Skype (Skype-to-Skype) for 2 years now and I wanted to share this money saving tip with everyone. I can truly and warmly recommend it. My Dad has it installed on his computer as well so every time we want to talk (we talk a lot, a couple of times a week and very often longer than 1 hour), one of us would just send a text message to the other saying something like “skype tonight at 8:30”. Then at 8:30 we are able to talk to each other for as long as we want - absolutely free. This has really saved both me and my Dad probably hundreds of dollars on our phone bills.


  • What do I need? 

The  only thing you need is a pair of earphones and a microphone. Or alternatively you can use a headset, a VoIP-phone or Wi-Fi phone, or you could even replace your earphones and use your good old fashion speakers. I would highly discourage this last suggestion though unless you want your neighbors to hear your entire phone conversation. But you can try it out for fun. I sure did.


  • How do I get started? 

Visit Skype and sign up. Absolutely free. They have a simple installation setup that will take 3 minutes. And then you’re done. Go ahead and begin skyping.

Just don’t forget to tell your family and friends to get it too, or else it doesn’t do you much good.

Enjoy many years of happy skyping! 



Want to know more about Skype visit VoIP Reviews Online where they give Skype a once over with a fine-tooth comb. And 4 out of 5 stars on top of that.

A New Personal Best


Wohoo!!! I have 11 backlinks and 5 (on average) visitors a day. Yesireee, this blog is growing. Wow, the simple joys we have in life ;) Like obsessively checking one’s backlinks and StatCounter 7 times a day ;)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Global Rich List


Check out a site that I came across!

my money and savings blog - Global Rich List

It’s called the Global Rich List. And what it does is, it compares what your earnings are with others people’s earnings. And tells you how rich you are, globally speaking.

Just type in your annual income in your currency and watch the results as the tool calculates in what percentage of the world’s population of wealthy people you’re in.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

4 Very Simple Ways That Taking Care Of My Plants Has Saved Me Money


Who would’ve known that taking care of one’s plants actually saves you money. And keeps you happy.

my money and savings blog - plants pot

Photo from: .

Taking care of my little green plants has saved me lots of $$

1. Your costs for continually buying new plants goes down. Being a single girl with lots of other commitments in my life, watering my plants wasn’t always one of them. I’d continually forget to do this, meaning I’d continually need to restock on plants. Taking care of these little green things has now saved me tons in expenses. I don’t use fancy fertilizers or the sort, just good old fashioned water.

2. Plants are cheaper than pets. I’d like to have a dog one day probably when I get a husband and kids, but having one now, would be downright harsh for the poor thing, I’m hardly ever home, I don’t have enough money to pay for its vet bills, I wouldn’t have the money to pay for its food or grooming let alone other extra expenses. Having plants in this point in my life is what I need. I can be away for days at a time, and all they need is some water and some sunshine. Then they’re happy. And in turn make me happy by brightening up my apartment and a little part of my life.

3. You can give plants as presents. If your out of ideas and money – then you can always cut a little sprout off your plant (or alternatively a flower or two) and give these as a present. And if you have a cute little container (and I’m sure you do) that you have stashed away in your basement or in the back of your closet, then this will make a charming and creative little pot or vase.

4. You can use little sprouts to make new plants. When you feel the urge to have more plants in your home, then instead of buying them at the store you can just use the little sprouts from the plants that you already have. That is, if you’ve taken care of the one’s you already have ;)

So here are the 4 ways that taking care of my plants has ended up saving me money.

Maybe you have more and other experiences with this…? Please feel free to share them with me!

Over the past 2 years…


Over the past 2 years I’ve noticed a considerable amount of motivation loss when it came to studying – simply because I’ve been studying for quite some time now.

So time and again whilst writing my exam papers I would search for motivational resources on the web and get tips and pointers on how to boost motivation and get things done.

So as a thank you and as my own contribution to the big, bustling online world of motivational tips. I’ve structured these 2 posts on my other blog The Everyday Life Of A College Student And Her Thesis that you’re more than welcome to read.

The list will no doubt get longer these months as I continually will have to battle the ups and downs of writing a thesis – and I’ll no doubt share with you the motivational and productivity tips and tricks that I learn along the way.

‘Till next time.


Thesis Update


I’m going to be focusing a lot on my thesis here on the blog during the next months.

Just to warn you ;)

But I’ve also set up 2 other blogs, one is called Thesis Update where I’ll be tracking my progress, and the other one is called The Everyday Life Of A College Student And Her Thesis where I’ll be mostly writing about motivation, getting things done and the whole writing process. I’ll never be mentioning or discussing my subject at any point whatsoever. I will only be documenting the journey. You’re more than welcome to join me on it.


The one thing that stands between me and money


The one thing that stands between me and money right now is my thesis.

I’ve got to get it written and handed in. The estimated time for this is 6 months.

6 months of racking up debt.

6 months of not having a full-time job.

This thesis is the killer of my finances right now ;)

So the best way to remedy my finances right now is just to get it written and handed in so that I can go out and get a job, start earning some money, and begin paying back my debt.


Friday, March 06, 2009

‘Saving Challenge’ Review And Recap


Today is the last day of my own personal Saving Challenge. I started this challenge on Jan. 30, 2009 as a way of paying attention to my saving and spending habits. This post will be documenting the journey:

Saving Challenge Day # 1: Turning down the heat. I turned down the heat half a notch in all my rooms.

CURRENT STATUS: This challenge has been “on-and-off”, literally, because some days I’ve had to turn the heat up again and on others I’ve turned them down again. But right now 2 out of my 3 heaters are turned down half a notch.

Saving Challenge Day # 2: Staying At Home. I needed to get some work done so on that Saturday I stayed home all day and all night working, which in turn, saved me money.

CURRENT STATUS: I’ve actually taken this tip to heart a couple of times since then. And this weekend I’ll be using it, as I need to get a lot of work done on my Master’s thesis.

Saving Challenge Day # 3: Switching off appliances on standby. I switched off all my appliances on standby.

CURRENT STATUS: Appliances still off standby!

Saving Challenge Day # 4: Talk a little less, text a little more. I implemented texting instead of talking.

CURRENT STATUS: This has also been an “on-and-off” gig. Somedays I’ve texted a lot (instead of talking) and somedays I couldn’t be bothered and resorted to talking (making phone calls) instead. But all in all I still talk for very little a month less than 100 (less than $20) so I am constantly trying to keep my phone expenses down to that.

Saving Challenge Day # 5: Savings container for your spare change. I implemented the use of a container to put away one’s spare change.

CURRENT STATUS: Ok, this is one challenge that I definitely fell off. Being a debit card person (and the keyword here is card) I don’t ever have any cash on me, let alone spare change. So the little jar I found and appointed as my new little piggy bank is in the same corner as it was put that day with not a coin in it.

Saving Challenge Day # 6: Comparing prices. I needed to by some materials for my university so on that day I compared many different prices to get the best deal.

CURRENT STATUS: This is again an “on/off” thing. This varies depending on how big a purchase I’m making and also on how much time I have.

Saving Challenge Day # 7: Saving On Paper & Ink. A couple of tips on how to save money on paper & ink. Like not using double-spacing, printing on both sides (for drafts), reusing your already-printed-on paper as small square pieces of scrap paper, and finally, jot down instead of print out. As for ink, print in “draft mode”.

CURRENT STATUS:  I haven’t  printed anything out since I handed in that last exam paper last Monday. Which, I guess, is a good thing is terms of saving paper and ink ;)

Saving Challenge Day # 8: Where were you when the lights went out? A light bulb in my kitchen went out and I decided that in the spirit of saving money I would leave it be since I had another lamp in the kitchen that I could use.

CURRENT STATUS: I put a new bulb in the following day because my heating guy was coming to check the heaters including the one in the kitchen. So I replaced the bulb so that he could have some light in the room to read my heating meters.

Saving Challenge Day # 9: Turn Off The Lights, Dammit! I noticed that ALL my lights were on in my entire apartment. And so during the course of the blog post, I shut them all down.

CURRENT STATUS: I’m taking this tip to heart and the lights in the kitchen and bathroom are at present time all shut off.

Saving Challenge Day # 10: If you ride it, then get a discount. I talk about the advantages of buying weekly or monthly bus passes/train passes instead of buying individual tickets.

CURRENT STATUS: I have a monthly bus/train pass that I have just used today.

So all in all this ‘saving challenge’ journey has lasted 36 days. It’s been the first of its kind that I’ve tried out, and I must honestly say that the value of it has been priceless.

It’s made me see saving in a fun light, has continually sparked my creativity when it came to saving both as I sat here by the computer but very much as well as I went grocery shopping or book hunting or when I made phone calls.

The awareness of money and saving during these weeks have truly been valuable and have helped me in more ways than one.

So this ‘saving challenge’ was a great and fun experience that I’ll no doubt pick up again and start a new series on at a later time.

For now, thanks for reading.

‘Till next time.

Saving Challenge Day # 10


Saving Tip # 10: If you ride it, then get a discount

This last post on my ‘Saving Challenge’ series is going to be about transportation.

I myself ride the bus and take the train everyday – yes, I don’t have a car - and if you take the bus or train often then there are always discounts you can take advantage of. To buy 1 ticket is naturally always more expensive than if you buy a bus pass for an entire week, month or whole year.

my money and savings blog bus

my money and savings blog train 

I usually buy bus passes for one month at a time. That way I can easily choose to skip those months that I don’t get outdoors very much – for  example during exam periods. Then it’s cheaper for me to just buy individual tickets on the few occasions that I do get out. Rule of thumb is if I use busses/trains more than 15 days a month, then there’s money to be saved by buying a monthly pass.

Try it out, yourself,  if you use public transportation. Calculate how much you can save by using weekly or monthly bus passes.

So this is the saving tip that I’ve used today (and will be using everyday this month).


Bus Photo by: Aaron Naparstek / Train Photo from website:

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Declutter - And Earn Money


In an article on Money Watch called How Much Money Is Lying Around Your House? the author talks about how you can declutter your house one room at a time – and then sell the things you find you no longer need on Ebay to generate some extra cash.

Now we all know this, however, I’ve never sold anything on Ebay myself (I’ve bought a few things though :) This article struck a cord with me, however, because I liked the thought of cleaning out all my old stuff AND earning money.

Especially since recently I’ve been thinking a lot about all the stuff I have in my basement, and how I have a feeling that a lot of it is rather useless for me and really just kept for sentimental reasons.

This Ebay tip sure sounds pretty useful. I’ll have to look into this some more.

Saving Challenge Day # 9


Saving Tip # 9: Turn Off The Lights, Dammit!

Yes, turning off the lights to save on your electricity bill – an oldie but goodie.

I’m adding this as a saving tip because I noticed just now that ALL the lights in my entire apartment are ON.

And I live in a studio apartment(!) So it ain’t that big.

But somehow I managed to turn on (and keep on) all the lights. Both the one in the bathroom, the 2 in the kitchen and the 1 over by my tv.

That’s 4 lamps – and I only have 5.

They’re all shut down now.

There’s a reason why people keep mentioning this as a saving tip and that’s because people continually forget to do this.

I’m no better…

So this is what I’m doing/have done today.

The heating guy

The heating guy from my building came by today to do the annual check of our building’s heating consumption. He checked my heaters and whether or not I’ve used more or less than the estimated amount for the year then I’ll either get an extra heating bill or get some money back. I’ll know next week.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Luxury Cars Can’t Sell


I read an article on the Wall Street Journal today that luxury car manufacturers are having problems selling their cars. This doesn’t seem surprising when you think about how the state of things are in the world economically right now. But according to the article, historically, luxury car makers have been less affected by economic downturns. It’s only because the global economic crisis that we’re experiencing is so massive that also they too are now affected.

But the most striking thing about all this is that earlier today while I was surfing around the internet I came across an article on Technabob about an amphibious Lamborghini Countach (wow!) built by Mike Ryan of SeaRoader.

amphibious_lamborghiniSo being curious and wanting to know more about this super cool car I looked up SeaRoader.

And here’s the webpage I was met with


Due to other business commitments the Worldwide manufacturing & design rights to SeaRoader are now for sale at a lower price!

Click on the business opportunities link.

The Worlds #1 Production Amphibious Car


What the ##??! They’re selling their manufacturing and design rights?!! Meaning their selling their entire business. That spelled from the get-go that they were in a rough spot, but then again how big is the market for amphibious cars normally, and then how big is it during a global financial meltdown. I guess they were bound to be one of the first luxury car manufacturers to go.

So when I read that article in the Wall Street Journal my heart sort of bled for poor SeaRoader and the rest of the brands that we know and love and hope to one day buy. 

I hope good old BMW, Lamborghini, Ferrari,  Porsche, etc. (yes, you know the names ;) make it through this.

I still have my eyes set on one of them. Maybe I’ll even go with the amphibious version ;)

A look at my financial situation


Ok, it’s been a while since I took a look at my financial situation here on the blog.

The last time I did this was when I was just starting this blog back in July 2008 (last summer). But a lot has changed since then.

So here’s a recap/summary:

  • I owe 33,000 ($6,600) to my dad. He helped me pay my rent for 3 months.
  • I owe 20,520 ($4,104)  in student loans. I just took out my first loans in January 2009.
  • So my debt total (so far) is 53,520 ($10,704).

And I say so far…

Because I had to quit my job back in the fall to study full-time. So until I finish my Master’s thesis at the university (estimated 6 months from now) I won’t have any earnings or income whatsoever. I’ll be living on and racking up some killer debt.

So that’s also the main reason why I haven’t really talked about my finances these past months on the blog. I’ve just been talking about saving, saving, saving (as opposed to in july when I was talking a lot about earning and job hunting and working - you can notice a striking difference in the posts). It’s because I myself (and of course my family) knew how bad it looked, but I didn’t want everyone else in cyberspace knowing how bad it looked.

But I guess blogging is about honesty, and sharing your life and struggles and putting it out there. Even when it goes bad. I think I’m still learning this hard circumstance about blogging.

But ultimately, I might sound a little down and out today, but the fact of the matter remains that I know (and remind myself) that this financial hole is merely temporary. And that when I’m finished with college I’ll be earning some money. I have to keep my sights on that. And normally I do. You just caught me on a bad day :)

So that’s how the money situation looks like today.

But just for the fun and humor in it, here’s a graph to show the inevitable downfall of my finances the next months.MyMoneyBlogGraph_mar2009

Hopefully, I can look back on all this in half a year and smile and laugh a bit. You’ve got to “always look on the bright side of life”, as Monty Python would sing.

And heck, people all around the world have it much worse than me. I should be thankful I’ve got a roof over my head, food, heating(!), clean water and a great supportive family.

So I’m hopeful, confident and will be working damn hard to make it through the next 6 months.

Got money back


On a brighter note, I got some money back. I got 3,778.26 (roughly $755.50) back, so that’s quite a nice sum. It’s actually a system where they take a small amount of your paycheck every month and put it aside for “vacation money”, and in March every year you get a check saying that you can cash it out now. So you always feel very happy when this arrives. ‘Cause you’ve pretty much forgotten about it the entire year, and suddenly you always get “extra” money every March/April. Which is actually yours to begin with, don’t ask me, why they hold it back, but nonetheless, it’s always very cheery and feel-goody when it comes through the door.

So great news today.

And if I get slammed/pulverized by that extra heating bill next week. Then at least I have some “extra” money now to pay it off.



The heating guy’s going to come tomorrow to check my radiators and note whether I’ve used more or less than the expected amount for the entire year. He does this once a year in my entire apartment building. If I’ve used less than the estimated amount, I get money back, but if I’ve used more, I have to pay extra to make up for the difference.  I sure hope that I’m within the estimated amount. It’s been a damn cold winter though. Hmmm… I’ll know the final results next week. I’ll post the results here, and let you know how it went. I don’t think I did too well this year, though.

Saving Challenge Day # 8


Saving Tip # 8: Where were you when the lights went out?

A bulb in my kitchen met it’s end last night. And after it fizzed out and I was tempted to change it, having a spare in my cabinet, I realized that I didn’t really need 2 lamps in my kitchen right now.

It’s really handy when I have guests over and I want to brighten the place up.

But right now, in the spirit of saving money and living frugally, I’ll manage with the one tiny lamp.

Ha ha, what we college students won’t do to save a buck here and there :)

my money and savings blog lightbulb

So that’s what I’ve been up to today.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Saving Challenge Day # 7


Saving Tip # 7: Save On Paper & Ink

Today as I was printing my exam paper out it struck me how much paper goes into such a thing. Sheet after sheet after sheet after sheet…

And with the university rules stating that there must me 1½ line spacing throughout the entire paper I was thinking that I could’ve printed the same paper out in 28 pages rather than 42.

So in saving paper there are 4 things (off the top of my head) that you definitely can do:

  • Unless university or other rules state so then no need to use 1½ or double line spacing
  • If your printing out unimportant stuff like bus schedules, first drafts, quick recipes, etc. you can print on both sides of the paper – cutting your paper costs in half
  • Cut out the paper you’ve already printed on (both sides) into small square cards with a scissors. Then when you need a small scrap paper to write down a phone number or the like, then you always have some handy.
  • Printer paper is always more expensive than normal lined paper. If you don’t need the entire map of your friend’s street but just the address instead of printing it out  consider jotting it down on a small piece of scrap paper instead.

Another thing you can save on is ink.

  • A quick tip here is naturally to print your documents out in “draft mode”. This mode again uses half the normal dosage, meaning you save half your ink cartridge expenses.

I used this tip today when printing out my exam papers. I did it today mostly because I was running short on ink, hadn’t had the time to buy a new ink cartridge, and was simply afraid that I didn’t have enough for the whole exam paper. Fortunately I did.

But actually I have (almost) always printed out in draft mode everytime I’ve handed in an exam paper. Both to save money (those ink cartridges are quite expensive) and also just because I happen to like the more subdued “look” of the draft mode prints. To each his own, I guess.

And, most importantly, because it’s faster to print out in draft mode. I forgot that important fact. Never underestimate this. This is truly a great thing!

So that’s what I’ve been doing today to save money in my personal finances.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

“Global Recession - where did all the money go?”


On The Guardian’s website under the title “Global Recession - where did all the money go?” you can take a look at this flash presentation named “The Global Financial Pyramid Scheme Explained”. It’s is a very good and interesting explanation on the global economic meltdown.

my money and savings blog Global Recession The Guardian

Saturday, February 28, 2009

BlackBerry Bullet Shows Apple Who’s Boss!


This is a cool video I found today when surfing the web. I myself have neither a BlackBerry or a Mac (I’m a frugal college student :) but I think this video is hilarious and very cool.

Why Commenting On Other People’s Blogs Won’t Improve Your Google Page Rank


There’s a common misconception out there that commenting on other people’s blogs will get you incoming links (backlinks) that will improve your Page Rank within Google.

This isn’t true. I learnt this the hard way.

Let me say from the get go that there are two types of blogs. Those that are self-hosted (they own their own domain) and those that are hosted for free (i.e. Blogspot, Wordpress).

Commenting on self-hosted blogs – No Problem

Commenting on blogs that are hosted for free (i.e. Blogspot, Wordpress) – Big Problem!!!

At least when it comes to gaining a bit of Google Page Rank in the process.

As I said earlier I learnt this the hard way.


I’m still a rookie when it comes to blogging only having started my own blog 7 months ago. So my best bet to get site traffic was through commenting on other people’s blogs. A common and well-meaning piece of advice that is floundering around the blogosphere.

So there I was… happy as a clam… commenting away…

Not spamming, mind you, but actual commenting, in my delightful, intelligent and witty way. Being supportive and encouraging.

I did a site search on my own blog in Yahoo recently (this was the first time I tried this - only having done site searches on Google before) when to my dismay –and horror– realized that my site only had 2(!!) incoming links. Those that I posted on a self-hosting blog. The rest, as they say, were…well, gone with the wind.

This shocked me a bit so naturally I googled around for a while and sure enough I found the information I was looking for.


You see evidently there’s a system (which I didn’t know of) that Google (meaning Blogspot) and Wordpress implement.

They attach a “No Follow” tag for URLs (that is, your in blog comments as a standard. This means that all the URLs in their blog comments are ignored, overlooked and just simply not paid any darn attention to at all.

This was of course implemented back then to stop or at least minimize spamming.

However, spamming hasn’t stopped and it sort of discourages simple folk like me to comment on Blogspot and Wordpress blogs now that I know about it. I don’t think they meant for that. I hope not.

The answer to this problem however is simple. “Do Follow” our blogs!

This means that we enable URLs in our comments to be picked up by Google spiders thereby giving others a chance to increase their incoming links and thereby their Google Page Rank. And in the end through both the links and the better Page Rank ultimately we help others generate traffic to their site.


Here’s a very simple step by step guide by The Blog Doctor named Remove No Follow Attribute On Comments that will help you to easily change your Blogspot blog from a “No Follow” to a “Do Follow”.

Afterwards to avoid spam change the settings in your blog so that you will now moderate your comments. Here’s a step by step guide on how to do this called How do I moderate comments on my blog? from the Blogspot Help pages.


For Wordpress Users there’s a “Do Follow” plug-in. You just install it.

And as for spam you will need to use a spam filter called Akismet. Or alternatively also moderate your comments. A quick guide on how to do so can be found in this eHow article called How To Moderate Comments On A Wordpress Blog.


And if you want to know more about “Do Follow” blogs and the whole “Do Follow” blog “movement” (not my words:) in general then read the post Why “Do Follow”? on

So what do you think? Show me the comments!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

6 Fun Facts About Me


I'm going to be going off-topic here and let you know a little more about me.

  • The last song I listened to was Phil Ochs' "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore"    

my money and savings blog - phil ochs






  • The last movie I saw was "The Constant Gardener" (dir.:Fernando Meirelles) last night

my money and savings blog - the constant gardener

  • I am a Film Studies major

  • I began blogging 7 months ago. You're looking at it. This is my very first blog.

  • I got a website recently because I finally dared to jump into the html and css domain. The site's still under construction, but I'll let you know when it's up and running. It's of course about film.

  • I love movies, music and technology.

That was it. A quick post here from me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Books, books, books


Being a student you can’t come around it – you’ll need books. And loads of them.


But college books are expensive. I mean really expensive. And being on a tight budget already, it’s really difficult.

So a few money saving tips in regards to books.

There are basically 4 options you have in regards to saving money on books:

  • Buy new at student discount prices
  • Buy used
  • Borrow at library
  • Borrow from a friend

Buy new at student discount prices I present this as the first option, but really, you should consider it as your last. Buying new books will always be the most expensive option. Below I present some alternatives. However on occasion you will probably for whatever reason need to buy your books brand new. In these cases always ask if there’s a student discount. Always. I mean it. Make this your mantra when buying new books.

Buy used If you really need to buy the book then consider buying it second hand. There are great options for doing so. You can buy it used at the bookstore, from a friend or (here’s my personal favorite) on the internet. Websites like Amazon or eBay are great for buying cheap second hand books.

Borrow at the library This is a classic. If you’re only going to use the book once (say for example on a specific term paper) then this is really a good idea. Just be careful about return fees! Keep a close watch on when your books are supposed to be returned. Because return fees are really just an unnecessary expense out of your pocket. Because they can always be avoided, you just gotta hand your books in on time. Then the service is free.

Borrow from a friend If your friend’s got a book you need and he’s not reading it at the time. Ask him, nicely. If it’s ok you borrow it. There can be variations on this as well, like book-swapping - he buys one book for the course, you buy another, and you swap regularly. Another alternative is that you split the expense of the book 50%-50%. That way you still save money by buying the book at half-price. There is only one warning that needs to be heeded here! That is, you have to make sure that the friend you’re swapping/sharing with doesn’t have the same day rhythm or study habits as you. In other words, if you’re a night person then find a day person to swap with. If you’re a day person find a night person to share books with. I’ll bet you, that chances are a 100%, that the two of you will never need the books at the same time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dubai’s financial crisis: the fall of the economic giant


I have been fascinated with Dubai for quite a few years now and have always dreamt of going there and experiencing first hand their excessively expensive lifestyle, luxurious Dubai Marina Parkhotels and lush attractions. However a recent article in The New York Times shows me that I’ll never get to experience that because those times are now over in Dubai and a new desperate reality has set in:

“With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisonedDubai if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.

The government says the real number is much lower. But the stories contain at least a grain of truth: jobless people here lose their work visas and then must leave the country within a month.

That in turn reduces spending, creates housing vacancies and lowers real estate prices, in a downward spiral that has left parts of Dubai — once hailed as the economic superpower of the Middle East — looking like a ghost town.”

These times are really crushing everyone, everywhere.

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