I “Won” a “Free” Vacation!

free vacation

“Free Vacation!!!”

Last Saturday, a few of us went to MetLife Stadium for a Monster Jam event.  I had never been to a monster truck event so I was looking forward to watching huge trucks do jumps and flips and a lot of awesome stuff.

After we scanned our tickets and went through the gates, there were a few people handing out forms for a raffle to win a pick-up truck or $50,000.  The raffle was free, all I had to do was write down my name and phone number so of course I was in.

We then went into the show and had a great time.  We saw a couple of back flips, and a first ever front flip!  Overall, good times.

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Johnson & Johnson’s New Parental Leave Policy Should Be The Norm

Last month, Johnson and Johnson announced its new parental leave policy that hopefully will be followed by all the other big companies in the United States.  All J&J employees, who are new parents, will now have the opportunity to take eight additional weeks of paid leave during the first year of the family’s birth or adoption.

Under the old policy, which is the policy of most major companies, the non-birthing parent (fathers, adoptive parents, same sex couples who don’t give birth) could only take one week of paid leave to take care of the new born and the mother who gives birth. Moms who give birth could only take seven weeks (nine weeks if they had a C-section).

With the new policy parents who don’t give birth can take nine weeks of paid leave, and moms who give birth can take up to 17 weeks off… with pay!!!

And J&J’s employees don’t have to take the paid leave consecutively, providing even greater flexibility during that critical first year of a child’s life.

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One Year with Ting and Special Offer

ting

Ting is Awesome

If you are here for the $100 Ting credit and don’t feel like reading this whole post, just click here.

It has already been one year since I switched my cell phone service to Ting and I could not be happier about the move.  I still can’t believe I was paying so much money for a service that I could have been getting for half the price.

As I mentioned in my Ting review, I used to pay $127 per month for two phones with Sprint.  That’s including a corporate discount of 25%!  Which means that I was paying $1,524 a year on my cell phone bill.

With Ting, I was only paying $42.23 per month for the same two phones and for the same service.  Ting uses the Sprint network so everywhere I had service with Sprint, I also have it with Ting.  The same service for $506.76 a year.

I saved $1,017.24 this year. One Thousand Dollars! Those, to me, are big savings!

If you have Sprint and don’t switch to Ting, you are just giving your money away.

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How I Saved $320 On a New Phone

new phone

Hipster Phone

I don’t know what it is about smart phones, but something happens to them around the two year mark after we buy them, and that makes me wonder.  Brand new smart phones are awesome. They are fast and powerful, and everything works great.

It makes that 2-year contract that tends to come with new phones feel not so bad.  I just know that I’m going to be happy with this new phone for at least two years.  And then, like clock-work, around the 2-year mark smart phones start being not so smart.  Everything starts slowing down, apps fail to open, or it takes forever to do a simple task.

Meanwhile, you see all your friends with their brand new phones being able to phone and do stuff.  It makes you think that maybe your phone is just old and you need a new one to keep up with the powerful new operating systems and whatnot.

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Why I Got Financially Real

financially real

It’s Time To Get Real!

April is the official Financial Literacy Month and to celebrate, Shannon at The Heavy Purse has put together the 2015 Financial Literacy Awareness Carnival.

This is an amazing list of articles, including this post, about what inspired us to get financially real.  I am truly honored to be invited to participate and share my story.

After you are done reading this post, please check out the carnival and read as many of those articles as possible. I am a regular reader of many of those blogs and I assure you that you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

You can get to the Carnival by clicking the picture above.

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Happy One Year Blogiversary To Me!!!

blogiversary

I Love Cake!!!

I can’t believe that I started Million Dollar Ninja 365 days ago. Time does go by fast when you are having fun!

I started this blog as a way of keeping track of my progress towards reaching financial independence and as a reference for my friends and family to do the same.  I knew it was going to be challenging coming up with topics to write about, but I had no idea it was going to be this much fun.

I also did not know that I was going to be virtually meeting so many cool, like-minded people in the personal finance blogosphere.  But the thing that still surprises me is the thought that thousands of people – not friends of mine – have stopped by this website to check out what I have to say.

To everyone that have taken some time out of their busy schedule to pay Million Dollar Ninja a visit:  Thank You.

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3rd Annual Ski Trip

Ski Trip

Top of the Mountain!

The events portrayed in the following post occurred from March 27th to March 30th.  The reason I’m only posting now is because I’ve been lazy to write any blog posts… Don’t judge, this is something I’m working on.

Spring is here and to me it means one thing… Spring Skiing!

I like to ski, but I don’t like skiing when it is -1,000 degrees outside.  Having to wear 77 layers and having frozen toes – and frozen snot – is not an enjoyable time for me.  That’s why we like to go skiing in March.

We live in New Jersey, which means we don’t really have any mountains worth skiing.  Whenever we want to go skiing we go to Pennsylvania, but even there the skiing is just meh.  Our best option in the East Coast is Vermont, and that’s why we decided to make an annual ski trip to Vermont.

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The Sexiest Financial Habit Is…

sexy financial habit

I’m Sexy and I Know It!

Have you ever thought, “finances are so sexy”?

No?

Me neither.

I have never been one to put finances and sexiness together, but Ally Bank conducted a survey that did just that.

Ally Bank’s Love & Money study asked 1,007 adults what was the most appealing financial habit in a significant other.  The result might surprise some of you, it sure surprised me.

The responses were divided into four major groups: Attracted to those who have higher credit card limits and like finer goods; those who are bargain hunters and thrifty; those who pay-as-you-go to avoid any kind of debt; and those with strong budgeting and saving strategies.

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I Am Debt FREE!!!

debt free

Piggy Bank Will Be So Happy!!!

Yes, you read that right.  I am officially debt free!

It probably has been over 10 years since I have been able to say that statement, but I can finally say it once more.  In fact, I’m going to say it again… I AM DEBT FREE!!!

It feels really good to be debt free.  Now I know that any extra money that I have will go towards my savings and maybe, just maybe, I might be able to reach early retirement… early-ish.

The beautiful thing about all of this is that I did in less time than I have initially predicted.

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To Get or Not To Get A Tax Refund

tax refund

Pay Your Taxes!

Last week I discussed some ideas on how you could spend your tax refund wisely.  I mentioned I get a tax refund even though some financial experts consider this to be a bad financial move.

The consensus among those experts is, “tax refunds are for suckers!”  Gee, sorry we’re not all suck-less like you, Señor Perfect – I’m assuming they are all men because ladies are nice and they don’t call other people suckers.  A little pandering never hurt anybody.

Getting a tax refund means that we overpaid our taxes and the government is giving us our change back… after 12 months.  It is like giving the government a loan without earning any interest on that loan.

Instead, we should adjust our withholdings so that we pay just enough taxes to come out even.  This means more money on our paycheck, which could be used for something else rather than have the government hold on to it.

And those financial experts are absolutely right.

However, the fact that they are right doesn’t mean that those of us who prefer a refund are suckers.  I’m not a financial expert, but I can see pros and cons to both: getting a tax refund and changing your withholdings to break even.

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