Thursday, January 26, 2006

College Loans Eating Up Salaries

I came across this interesting article about how many people graduating college are doing so in such debt that the debt is eating up a significant portion of their salaries. It's just another reason to start early and save. if I can come out of college debt free I feel that I will be in a wonderful financail position. From the article:

John Donald and Teresa Bujacich, both health care professionals, don't consider themselves poor, and they wouldn't meet anyone's objective measure of being poor.

Yet they share many of the same challenges as other working poor in the Seattle area. They watchdog their budget, juggle bill payments and live month-to-month. There is no money to save for retirement. No emergency fund. They've made a lifestyle choice not to buy cell phones and cable TV, but even if they wanted to, they could barely afford them. Mini-mansions have popped up like mushrooms in the area surrounding their practice, but they are raising their baby in a modest one-bedroom condominium in Bothell, a 30-minute drive from their work.

The reason? Student-loan debt.

Between the two, Donald, an acupuncturist, and Bujacich, who is both a naturopath and acupuncturist, have 16 years of higher education and nearly $350,000 in student loans, a massive liability that costs them $1,700 a month in loan payments.

Entire Article

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Busy Week

There wasn't anything posted this past week because my uncle was extremely busy re-launching his Financial Challenges. I keep telling him that he needs to learn to take afternoon naps like me. They are so wonderful and grown-ups underestimate their value. I'll continue to try and get through to him on this.

There haven't been any major developments in my finances, but he is going to look for some new investment antiques for me this week. I would have my fingers crossed if I could (still working on that hand - eye coordination thing although I do have one mean grip!) and hopefully i can add a bit more to my net worth before the end of the month.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Eddie Bauer $25 Gift Card

As I have noted before, one of the best ways to save money for college is to take advantage of free money when it's available. Eddie Bauer is giving a $25 electronic gift card (The Eddie Bauer e-gift card can be redeemed in our stores, catalog and online at for feedback about their summer catalog (hurry, these usually don't last long!)

If you regularly shop at Eddie Bauer, then take $25 and put it into you kid's college fund. If you don't, you have a nice gift for yourself for taking a survey!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

$5000 High School Senior Ethics Essay Contest

When I get older (and learn how to write), I'm going to enter a lot of different essay contests for scholarship money. The way I see it, the more I can get through essays and contests, the more I can save toward retirement (boy, doesn't that sound funny - a six month old talking about retirement) or other financial goals. There are a lot of essay contests out there and I will post any that I happen to come across. Here is one from Junior Achievement:

High School Seniors: Enter the "Excellence through Ethics" Essay Contest for the chance to win a $5,000 college scholarship!

Junior Achievement teaches students how to be successful in our free enterprise system. The students understand business, and they value ethics. JA defines ethics as rules or standards, for right/good behavior or actions.

Entries will be accepted until February 3

Contest Rules

This is the ethics question for the essay:

Lawn Care Service

Jessica, 17, has a summer-time lawn care business. One of Jessica’s customers is a neighbor, the Lee family. Jessica has mowed the lawn for Mr. and Mrs. Lee every week during the summer. Jessica is paid $20.00 each time she mows the lawn. Mr. and Mrs. Lee, who are unable to care for their yard themselves, frequently ask Jessica to do other yard work in addition to mowing the lawn. Jessica often pulls weeds, plants flowers, rakes leaves, and spreads mulch and pine straw. Mr. and Mrs. Lee have not offered extra wages for the additional work, and Jessica has been too shy to ask. Jessica’s other customers pay her additional wages for extra yard work beyond mowing.

Jessica is saving all of her money from her lawn mowing business for college. She is responsible for paying her tuition and all expenses and would like to make as much as possible this summer. One day, Jessica worked two extra hours pulling weeds at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lee after mowing the lawn. While checking her day’s payments at home that evening, Jessica noticed that an extra $100 bill was tucked inside the regular $20.00 bill from Mr. and Mrs. Lee. Jessica knows she has worked enough during the past summer to deserve the extra money, but she does not know if the Lees meant to give her such a large payment. Jessica wonders what she should do.

Essay Question: Jessica is faced with an ethical business decision. In 500 words or less, describe what Jessica should do. Be sure to explore the potential consequences of her response and why you think it is the most appropriate solution to the situation. Consider ethical behavior and decision-making as the foundation of your argument.

Thanks to Chree's World for pointing this contest out.

Teaching Children About Money

One of the important activities that parents need to do is teach their children about money because schools simply don't (at least that is what I have heard. It's a little difficult to go to school when you haven't learned to talk, crawl or dress yourself). Here is an article that discusses some of the activities and games that you can use to help teach your child about money: Tips & Toys for Teaching Kids Financial Smarts

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Toddler's Diet

This isn't financial, but it's good to know that I won't need to worry about my weight in the toddler years. I also wanted to pass a message along to mom and dad about what fun they can expect in the years to come:

The Toddler's Diet


• Breakfast - One scrambled egg, one piece of toast with grape jelly. Eat 2 bites of egg, using your fingers; dump the rest on the floor. Take 1 bite of toast, then smear the jelly over your face and clothes.

• Lunch - Four crayons (any color), a handful of potato chips, and a glass of milk (3 sips only, then spill the rest).

• Dinner - A dry stick, two pennies and a nickel, 4 sips of stale soda.

• Bedtime Snack - Toast piece of bread and toss it on the kitchen floor.


• Breakfast - Pick up stale toast from kitchen floor and eat it. Drink half bottle of vegetable dye.

• Lunch - Half a tube of "Pulsating Pink" lipstick. One ice cube, if desired.

• Afternoon Snack - Lick an all-day sucker until sticky, take outside, drop In dirt. Retrieve and continue slurping until it is clean again. Then bring inside and drop on the rug.

• Dinner - A rock or an uncooked bean, which should be thrust up your left nostril. Pour iced tea over mashed potatoes; eat with a spoon.


• Breakfast - Two pancakes with plenty of syrup, eat with fingers, rub in hair. Glass of milk: drink half, stuff pancakes in glass. After breakfast, pick up yesterday's sucker from rug, lick off fuzz, and put it on the cushion of your best chair.

• Lunch - Three matches, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Spit several bites onto the floor. Pour glass of milk on table and slurp up.

• Dinner - Dish of ice cream, handful of potato chips, some coffee.


• Breakfast - A quarter-tube of toothpaste (any flavor), bit of soap, an olive. Pour a glass of milk over bowl of corn flakes, add a half-cup of sugar. Once cereal is soggy, drink milk and feed cereal to dog.

• Lunch - Eat crumbs off kitchen floor and dining room carpet. Find that sucker and finish eating it.

• Dinner - A glass of spaghetti and chocolate milk. Leave meatball on plate. Stick of mascara for dessert!

and some added dieting techniques:

1. Refuse to eat unless you are sitting on someone's lap. Drop most of food on your parents' clothes.

2. Refuse to wear bib unless all others present also wear bibs.

3. Eat pretzels for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Refuse all other food.

4. Demand food that you've only tasted once long ago that nobody knew you'd remember the name of, and which is not on in the house.

5. Eat very little breakfast, almost no lunch, and no dinner. Go to sleep. Wake up at 1 AM and demand hot dogs with ketchup.

6. When your Papa is too sleepy to protest, convince him to let you eat graham crackers in bed. Make lots of crumbs. Demand for weeks afterwards to be given graham crackers in bed. Howl loudly when denied.

7. When served a bowl of soup, take a fancy to one particular ingredient of the soup, like the noodles. Force your parents to choose between watching you go hungry, or picking out all the noodles (from your bowl and their own bowls) to give to you.

8. Eat a large, well balanced meal. Then, while playing, throw up your entire meal on the rug. Appear to be fine immediately afterwards.

9. Reject an entire box of animal cookies because the lions have all been eaten. Also, reject all the ones that are broken.

10. Choose a food-of-the-week. Eat nothing but that food for an entire week. If that food is denied, eat nothing. (examples: pizza, applesauce, pretzels, oranges).

Source: Saving Advice Forums

Monday, January 09, 2006

Doing Well - Monthly Allowance

According to ING, kids age 5 - 12 receive the following amount in monthly allowance:

$5 or less: 13%
$6 - $10: 23%
$11 - $20: 39%
$21 or more: 24%

Looking at my current savings, I figured out the following. If I average $20 a month for my allowance, then I have already saved over 11 years worth! ($2800 divided by $20 = 140 months divided by 12 months = 11.66 years).

That also has me thinking that if I can save a portion of my allowance when I get older, I can add even more to my savings!

AAA Travel High School Challenge Scholarship

It's still years away until I can compete in something like this, but since my uncle loves to travel and I hope to take some trips with him, I'm hoping that scholarships like this are still around when I'm ready for college. The deadline is January 17, so go to register now

The AAA Travel High School Challenge is being repeated in 2006! More than just a geography contest, this scholarship program tests students' travel literacy by focusing on tourism destinations. It encourages youngsters to study geography and to consider careers in the travel and tourism industry. Designed by travel industry educator Dr. Marc Mancini and sponsored by AAA preferred partners, the Challenge is a three stage competition with over $100,000 in college scholarship funds up for grabs. Ninth through 12th grade public, private and home-schooled students throughout the United States can put their travel knowledge to the test for great prizes and a chance to compete in the national finals in Orlando, FL.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

$5 American Express Gift Card

One of the best ways to add little amounts to a college fund is to get free money whenever you can.

American Express through the Women's Business Initiative is offering a $5 Amex gift card for a short survey. Get the gift card and place $5 into your college savings account!

$5 American Express Gift Card

Friday, January 06, 2006

New Sponsor!

I have a new sponsor and he even made a long term commitment! He decided to sponsor me for 6 months and after a small discount for the long term commitment and taking out fees, I was able to add $46.27 to my net worth. The best part is that I can count this as earned income and earmark it for the Roth IRA I want to open.

I hope that I can find some other sponsors in the months to come as that will certainly help my overall net worth and savings for college.

Happy 6 Months To Me!

Can you believe it? I'm half a year old today and have been writing this more than half my life! I hope the next 6 months are as much fun as the first six.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The Costs of College

I hope that I can make a wise decision as to where I get my college education without having to have money come in as a factor, but the reality for most students is that money does play a role when deciding where to go to college. Here is a little piece through the eyes of four freshman college students about paying for college:

This combination of more selective admissions and higher tuition prices can cause much anxiety for high school students and their families. For many of those who are accepted by a college or university, alternate ways to pay are out there. Although in years past, a summer job, a little help from the parents, and maybe a small loan have been enough to cover costs, that is no longer the case.

I think this will be a fundamental question I will have to deal with. When does cost exceed the value of the education given? While I hope to save enough to attend any college I want, I would also like to leave college with some savings still intact. I will have to think about this more later...right now it's time for my nap

My 2006 Financial Goals

I need to make some goals for myself for 2006. Beside the basic ones like learning to turn over well, how to say "mom" and "dad" and all those other good things, I also want to set some financial goals for this year. Since it is still early in my career, I'm not sure how well I will do in meeting these, but I think it's important to have goals to shoot for to help keep you focused (let me say that I'm now much better on focusing than I was a few months ago) on what you want to achieve. These are my 3 financial goals for 2006:

I'd like to have a net worth of $7500 by the end of the year.

I'd like for this site to be generating $50 a month by the end of the year.

I'd like to have earned enough money on my own to open a Roth IRA and begin investing in it.

January Goals & December Goals Review

December was a good month with the help of a couple of gifts. I didn't meet all my goals, but I did surpass a few of them that I set.

My goal for my net worth at the end of December was to increase it to $2588.29 which I surpassed by over $250. I still like the 5% increase in my net worth per month since I don't have any expenses (thanks mom and dad). That would put my goal to increase my net worth by $142.24 or a total of $2987.09, so lets shoot for an even $3,000.

I haven't been doing well on getting my articles into carnivals to show off the site to new people. I really need to do a better job of that. I do have a post that should be in 2 different carnivals this Monday and I hope to get into at least 3 more after that which would make a total of 5 for the month.

I finally got ahead on my link trades and ended up with 17 while the goal was 15. I'll shoot for 20 ending this month. I failed to get another sponsor for the site and that will be one of my top priorities this month.

I did much better on the auctions this month getting all 10 up and selling 9 out of the 10. Now the problem is that I don't have any investments there and a pile of cash. I hope to spend at least $500 on acquiring new antique investments. I also have too much cash on hand so I need to stick that in an account where I can earn some interest on it.

I hope to have a good year with my finances and hope that all of you enjoy the ride along with me.