Personal Finance: Lent Begins Today

As part of Lent, I am reflecting on my previous writings a little more, and this little chestnut was from 5 years ago, however, I have done some judicious editing  as well.

Mardi Gras was on Tuesday, so that means that Lent begins today and this is a perfect opportunity for folks to start something new with their Personal Finances (and their spiritual life, if they wish as well). Easter is a time for new beginnings or restarting something you need to resume, however, most people view Lent as a time to “find something to give up”. That is one way of viewing your Lenten journey, but another way is to look for something to Enrich your life for the 40 days of Lent (leading up to Good Friday and Easter).

Financial Lenten Journey

What areas of your personal finances could use either Enrichment or Better still a sacrifice that might help your financial well being? There are some very simple ones that I think about every year (and have done a few of them):

  • The Latte withdrawal penance. Cut out buying coffee for the 40 days of Lent and put that money aside, to either save, give to charity or pay down your debt. Keep track of this and see how much money you might be saving here, it’s worthwhile finding out where this discretionary money is going.
  • Read 4 Personal Finance books over the 40 days to enrich your understanding of your personal finances or your investing adventures. Building up your expertise over Lent is a good thing.
  • Brown bag it for 40 days, give up buying lunch at work, and bring your lunch instead. Another way to find out where your discretionary spending is going.
  • Take the bus to work for Lent. Leave the car at home, buy a bus pass and take the Bus to work. Yes gas is cheaper right now, but not driving might have other benefits for you (less stress, more exercise, etc.,).
  • Live on cash for 40 days and get rid of your credit cards. Freeze them in your freezer, lock them in your safety deposit box, or cut them up, but live on CASH only (no debit either) and see if you can do it, does it change your spending habits?

Think about these or suggest others, I am open to suggestions myself.

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Bloggers for Charity

The Blunt Bean Counter has asked some of us blogging folk to support charities by auctioning off the opportunity to write guest posts on our blogs. I have no idea how this will work out, but I’m happy to give it a shot for a good cause. The first announcement about this blogger charity effort came out yesterday.

Guest Post: Charity Competition

I won’t repeat all the information in The Blunt Bean Counter’s announcement, but suffice it to say it is not often that I will offer to let folks do Guest Posts here (I get offers every day folks, so no this is not me asking for unsolicited content, if it is NOT in this context). If you want my point of view on Guest Posts, read Guest Posts: Please Stop the Madness)

I will blatantly steal the “rules” from Michael James description:
  • Click Here to submit your “bid” via e-mail to my secret lair.
  • The auction will close on 2011 Dec. 16. I will publish periodic updates of the highest bid and will notify the winner after the auction closes.
  • The winning bidder must send me (by email) a scanned copy of a donation receipt, dated between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31 to confirm that the donation has been made. Please block out any personal information; I only want to check the amount and that it seems to be a legitimate charity receipt. You may choose your favourite charity.
  • The “blogger for a day” post will appear on 2012 Jan. 17. I must approve the post contents. I will be very liberal with a genuine attempt to contribute an interesting article and will be very harsh with an obvious marketing piece. At the bottom of the post, the guest blogger can provide their name, name of their company and a brief description of their company and its products. Alternatively, the guest blogger can remain anonymous.

This is your one chance to guest post on this site!

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Video: Sunday Thoughts Kiva and MicroLoans

A very interesting video from our friends at Ted.com by one of the co-founders of Kiva.org.

I am still not sure I buy into the Kiva concepts, and have not participated yet, but after watching this video I am starting to think that maybe I should. Remembering that Charity is a major pillar in all religions and is with most folks in general, but is giving to the 3rd world more important than giving locally? That is always a tricky question for me.

Who is my neighbour? The easy answer is everyone, however, in my mind it is not that easy, so if you watch this video, answer me this question:Who is your neighbour, and where does your charity go?

Jessica Jackley is the co-founder of Kiva.org, an online community that helps individuals loan small amounts of money, called microloans, to entrepreneurs throughout the world.

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Is Regifting Gauche?

I Gave this to YOU Last Year!

Given the tighter economic times we live in, the subject of Re-Gifting for Christmas has come up again in many conversations I have had with different folks. May as well get into the festive spirit and start this deep financial discussion up!

As a method of de-cluttering your house, regifting can be a very effective technique for clearing out junk that is in your basement. If you have 4 deluxe cheese straighteners or worse 4 calling birds and you feel you don’t need these backups, giving them to your friends might be a good thing (for your basement). If your friend is in dire need of either of these gifts, they would appreciate receiving it as well (and thus it is a Win-Win for you).

From a Personal Finance point of view, regifting is ideal, because you don’t spend any money on it (OK, you bought wrapping paper, but that better be it), which is just fantastic!

I know of one very fun Christmas party where you brought a gift, but it had to be a re-gifted gift, and then we had to pick a present, but then the next person could take your gift, or one from the pile of gifts. This ended up being a great deal of fun, and a lot of crap left folks’ basements too. The only unfortunate part was that some folks took their new found crap home (I left mine at the bar).

The best type of regifting would be to simply find useful things and donate them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army (no they don’t want your Deluxe Cheese Straightener either). This is the highest level of regifting, and if anyone asks where the present went that you gave them, say you gave it to the Goodwill, because you thought it was that good of a gift, or you could simply say it got broken and you had to throw it out (the danger then is your friend might buy you another one, with this answer).

Another Fruit Cake

Oh Joy! Fruitcake!

A Simple Rule of Regifting

I don’t really have a big problem with folks Regifting stuff I gave them, but I do have one very simple rule:

Big Caj’s Only Rule of Regifting: Don’t give me back something I gave you, or I will urinate on your front steps

I believe I did amend that rule to also include Fruitcakes (the confectionery thing, not other uses for that word), anybody who gives me a Fruitcake, please expect some yellow ice on the walkway.

I may have other helpful holiday gift ideas as the season approaches, but if you have other good gift ideas, please send them to me, I’d love to hear them.

Ho, Ho, Ho….

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Sunday: Money Can Be the Root of All Evil (Redux)

Revisiting my previous thoughts

Remember this week I posted a posting with pretty much the same title Money Can Be the Root of All Evil, where I tried to take a much less religious viewpoint, but I figure I am allowed to take a Christian point of view, given this is Sunday.

From another point of View

Remember the bible quote:

1 Timothy 6:6-21.The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

Money is not the root of all evil as most folks erroneously like to quote of this passage, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, but sometimes it is easier to shorten the passage to fit your argument I assume.

Money is a tool that can be used towards whichever ends you want that to be, and from a Christian perspective, money can be used for a great deal of good through Charitable donations, and other good works. The Love of Money is the dangerous thing, losing your perspective spiritually and in your life in the blind pursuit of riches and money is the problem.

In my younger days, I worked very long hours in search of esteem and mostly more money, but I have found as I get older, money is not all it is cracked up to be. I have found I have the innate ability to spend a little more than I make, no matter how much money I make, so making more money becomes a vicious spiral. You end up working more, to make more, and lose track of what is important in this life.

I still make a very nice salary, and I work hard for that salary, but life no longer is centered around my job, which is a nice change.

Make money work for you, make it the tool for the creation of good things in your life, but do not become it’s slave and you’ll be much happier.

Wow, two posts from one biblical quote!

Remember next Sunday is Father’s day and nothing would be nicer than Father’s Day Kindle .

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