The 10 Minute Rule with Money

One of the better “time management” tricks I have run in to over the years, has been the 10 minute rule, where my interpretation of it is:

If something takes 10 minutes or less to get done, do that first, and do the other stuff afterwards

It has been useful for me, as I have a tendency to get “stuck” and be unable to select any task to complete, but now, I simply find the little tasks and start doing those (which then gets me going to work on larger tasks), but how can we carry out this in terms of personal finance?

Clock

How Long Can 10 Minutes Be ?

I guess the question is, what is a 600 second task financially ?

  • Updating your books (in Excel, Quicken, or whatever) should take less than 10 minutes, if you are doing it regularly.
  • Pay a bill as it arrives. Michael James commented on my Too Many Bill delivery Mechanisms posts that this is how he makes sure all bills get paid, pay them when they show up.
  • Call and cancel an unused credit card ? OK this one most likely might take a lot longer, but you never know, it might take less than 10 minutes.
  • Run a backup of your financial records, and/or your computer, you can never be too safe in that area (also maybe start-up an anti-virus check, or an OS update)
  • Do some shredding. You must have some old records lying around that need to be destroyed, do 1o minutes of shredding.
  • Go in your basement, find 2 things you know you will never use and either donate it, or throw it out, do that once a day for a month and  you might be surprised.
  • Ride a bike, go for a walk or do 10 minutes of stair  climbing, to plan for your retirement. (10 minutes of staring is not a good use of your time however).

Just some simple things to try to do, to get “unstuck” and start doing something. Are there other 10 minute financial tasks I have missed ?

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Financial First Date Questions

Given my amazing relationship skills (yes, like my investing, blind luck can be passed off as a skill), I figured I’d help out some folks with a set of useful questions that you can ask on your first date to find out if that person is compatible with you (or not), and has no Financial Skeletons in the Closet. I actually stole the concept from Reddit, but I have put a very financial spin on things, and please add your own questions in the comments, if I miss any good ones.

Rubik's Cube

Some Say Relationships are like a Rubik’s Cube

  1. How many credit cards do you have in your wallet? How many total?
    Note, if the answer is more than 4, run, don’t walk to the exit door
  2. Have you declared bankruptcy in the past 10 years ?
    This might even be a pre-first date question.
  3. How much did that purse cost? -or- How much did that watch cost ?
    If the purse cost more than your monthly rent, you are out with someone who likes the finer things in life (and that is not a compliment).
  4. Do you smoke?
    Any answer other than “no” means higher insurance rates later in life.
  5. Active, Passive or Dividend Investing?
    If the answer is, “I beg  your pardon?”, steeee-rike three!!! Can a dividend investor live happily with an active investor?
  6. Would you rather owe 100 people $10 or 1 person $1000 ?
    Again, there is no correct answer, the correct answer is, “Why would I owe people money?”
  7. When you need cash, do you use a “white” or no-name ATM?
    There is no way you should stay with someone who thinks $3 a withdrawal is OK.
  8. TFSA or RRSP ?
    Again, the answer “What?!?” is an automatic FAIL! However, if they answer TSFA, be on your guard.
  9. How much debt are you currently carrying, and what is your plan to pay it off (if you have debt)?
    If the answer is, “I have no debt”, he or she is a keeper! However, if they say they are carrying $120K in student loans, ask what their profession is, if they are a Dentist, Doctor or some other well-paying professional, then you might be OK, but be wary.

Who said romance is dead? Best to ask these questions so you don’t end up in a Loveless, Sexless Marriage.

Symantec CA

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2015 The Financial Year of the Mason Jar

Mrs. C8j is an avid reader of many diverse sites, and trawling Pinterest and such (where you can find Big Cajun Man as well), and she thinks that the new big exciting thing in personal finances and budgeting for this year is the Mason Jar.

As a Small Cajun Man, when I grew up, Momma C8j (my mother) had lived through rationing in the UK (and WWII) so she was very frugal and very careful with all kinds of food so we had an entire pantry full of mason jars for canning of:

  • Tomatoes, that Momma C8j had grown in the garden, and then used throughout the year in all kinds of wonderful sauces, soups and stews.
  • Strawberry, and Raspberry Jam, that she bought at the Jean Talon market in large quart baskets, when they were in season, and we enjoyed fresh jam all year round.
  • Some lovely pears and home made fruit cocktail, again from the market when in season, so we had this for the winter.
Mason Jar and Budgeting

Behold the Wondrous Mason Jar, for Tomatoes and Cash?

Growing up I viewed the mason jars as a part of life, and a way to make sure we had tasty food all year ’round. Momma C8j is the ultimate frugal lady, she worked hard to stretch a dollar as far as she possibly could (I wish that was genetic, but I never quite got the hang of it).

Later on, when I got to University a Mason Jar was used to hold Long Island Iced Teas or Bloody Caesars or the like. It was an odd site for me, seeing the frugal masonry jar being used as a liquor container, but, life changes.

Now mason jars are an entire bloody industry. You can buy candles that reek of cinnamon, cranberries or other obnoxious odors, in a masonry jar, absolutely not a frugal usage of this divine device.

Getting back to Mrs. C8j’s (my wife) observation, the main new exciting use of the humble mason jar is for budgeting and saving money. Strangely enough Big Daddy C8j (my late father) used a mason jar to hold his spare change (but that was because we had so many of the darn things), so I guess he was way ahead of his time, but I digress.

Many years ago, our friend Gail Vaz-Oxlade had her show “YOU SPEND TOO DAMN MUCH MONEY YOU MORON!” (I think it was called that, I might be mistaken), but she used the humble mason jar as a way to budget and segregate your funds to ensure you didn’t misspend your moneys on the wrong thing (they were all labeled carefully). This seems to be the new “In Vogue” way of doing budgeting (I guess Gail was way ahead of her time too).

I think this is an interesting “thinking differently” idea for folks who are used to living out of their wallets and using their debit cards (i.e. use cash only and segregate that into specific “pots”), but I am now wondering if maybe I should be buying stock in Corning or whoever makes these mason jars? Will there be a sudden shortage due to the glut of budgeting folks (and malodorous candles)?

Budget however you like, but if you use mason jars as your methodology and you fail do not blame the humble mason jar, it is the Symbol of Frugality to me, and should be held in great esteem!

Welcome 2015 the year of the Mason Jar.

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Favorite Financial Tweets from MMXIV (2014)

Given Twitter is one of the major Social Media sites that drives traffic to my humble Personal Finance Site, I figured I’d show some “love” to them as well. These are some good financial tweets from the past few months, from some folks who are on my twitter list.

Financial Tweets of 2014

I am still figuring out the best way to embed these tweets into my posts, but this seems to work nicely.

Not sure I disagree with Mr. Adams

Excellent graphic to teach you how not to buy and sell stocks (boy as a couch potato investor I do appreciate this more and more):

Wondering about that high-speed trading stuff? Here is a nice tweet that gives you an idea of just how fast things are on the web:

[click to continue…]

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“Everybody’s Got Plans…”

The real quote is from Mike Tyson,

‘Everybody got plans … until they get hit.”

Mike Tyson Manteresting

Mike Tyson Speaks the Truth

This is true in all walks of life, not just pugilism. What is wild is I already wrote about this topic 8 years ago.

If I could find a Financial Planner who would help put together the original plan, but have as part of that plan a “Plan B” and/or “Plan C” as part of that original plan, or gave an outline of a “Plan B” as part of Financial Planning, I think I might hire them. I have spoken to folks who were told what the risks were when they started to invest like:

  • The Stock Market is Volatile, if your risk aversion is high, then maybe you should be in Bonds
  • Bonds may not pay as high a rate as you wish
  • Things may go wrong
  • etc., etc., etc.,

However, do planners have other interesting ideas like:

  • If there is a market correction along the way, we will not be getting out of stocks, but we may rebalance things at some point during the adjustment, to make sure there is even distribution, in the portfolio.
  • If you suddenly have a large bill for your house, we can take money from the more liquid areas in your portfolio to pay for it, and then plan on how to pay it all back.

Planning is fine, but all plans change, due to unforeseen circumstances or just “life in general” (i.e. “… until you get hit”), your plan must either be flexible enough to deal with this, or you must be flexible enough in you financial planning to reconsider things, and change your plans.

Photo courtesy of Manteresting (NSFW)

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