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

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