Archive for Savings

Profits Triple for No-Tipping Restaurant

no-tipping

No-Tipping Necessary

A few months ago, we learned about this Philadelphia restaurant that banned tipping and is paying its employees a decent livable wage.  The good news is that it not the only one.

Bar Marco, a Pittsburgh restaurant, joined the small but growing group of restaurants who are doing the right thing by paying their employees a livable wage and not having them rely on tips.  All employees at Bar Marco get a base salary of at least $35,000, health care, paid vacations, 500 shares of the company, and bonuses (based on profits).

Bobby Fry, the restaurant’s founder, says that this approach has made his employees work harder and waste less.  Fry told Entrepreneur, “Our water bill was cut in half, our linen bill was cut in half, our liquor inventory was lean.”  Since getting rid of tips and adjusting its employees compensation, profits at Bar Marco went from about $3,000 per week to $9,000 per week.

A portion of these profits go back to the employees in the form of bonuses, therefore annual salaries at Bar Marco are expected to reach $48,000 to $51,000 this year.

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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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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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How To Spend Your Tax Refund Wisely

tax refund

Enjoy Your Refund!

Tax season is here and to many of us that means one thing… Tax Refund!

I know there’s a debate whether we should be getting a refund or changing our withholdings to get more on our paychecks, but that’s a discussion for a different time.  Let’s not rain on anyone’s parade and let us enjoy our refund for now.

We all enjoy getting a tax refund.  It feels like we just won a scratch-off.  One of the reasons we love tax refunds so much is because we like to spend money and this is extra money that we can spend freely… or so I thought.

I used to buy all kinds of stuff with my tax refund – I bought my motorcycle with my tax refund – and it felt good for a few weeks.

That good feeling slowly faded when all that money was gone and I still had debt and almost nothing saved.

If this sounds familiar, here are a few suggestions on what you can do with your tax refund that makes you feel good for a long time.

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Save Money Like A Janitor

save money

Pay Yourself First

Last week I read about Ronald Read, a Vermont gas station attendant and janitor who was able to stockpile an $8 million fortune.  He passed away last year at the age of 92, but very few people knew he had that kind of money.  That is until a couple of weeks ago when he left most of his estate to his local hospital and library.

Mr. Read left $4.8 million to the hospital and $1.2 million to the library.

According to reports, he was a very humble person who drove a second-hand Toyota Yaris and who never splurged except on a daily cup of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

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Don’t Forget About Your Teeth

don't forget about your teeth

Your Teeth Are Important

Our teeth are a pretty integral part in our survival as human beings.  They help us with digestion by allowing us to chew food so we can eat more things other than just “mush.”  If we don’t properly maintain out teeth, it can lead to tooth decay and eventually tooth loss.  This can hinder our ability to chew a variety of foods.

Our teeth also help us with our speech.  Speech is affected by the way our teeth meet and by the movement of our tongue around our teeth.

Our teeth also help us trim our nails and open beer bottles – okay, don’t do either of those with your teeth – and they help us become approachable and find a mate by showing our teeth to people in a non-creepy way.

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What Is myRA?

myRA

Can myRA help?

We know about traditional IRAs and Roth-IRAs, but what is a myRA?  myRA is a new government-backed retirement account.  Last year, President Obama asked the United States Department of Treasury to create a new form of retirement account that could be used as a “starter” account for low and middle-income Americans who don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

The program is not really designed to be your only form of retirement account, but a stepping stone towards start saving for retirement.

How Does myRA Work?

myRA works in a similar fashion as a Roth-IRA in which all contributions are made after taxes, and withdrawals are tax free. Contributions are invested in a United States Treasury security, which means you never lose your contributions.  The U.S. Treasury security earns interest at the same variable rate as the Thrift Savings Plan‘s (TSP) Government Securities Investment Fund.

This is a safe way to save for retirement, but it also means that the rewards are low. The average annual rate of return for this fund over the ten year period of December 2003 and December 2013 was 3.39%.

These returns are better than having your money in a savings account, but not better than investing in index mutual funds.  However, you can lose your money investing in index mutual funds, which is not the case when investing in TSPs.

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