From the monthly archives:

November 2009

BestBuy-BlackFriday
I am all for people getting a good deal on things like LCD TV’s, BlueRay players and the like but this black Friday thing is a little insane to me. Every year my wife drags her self out of bed at 3am or earlier and preps for the impending war of the shoppers. Leaving the house she has been out in line for hours to get a hot deal on a TV. Personally I don’t like the hassle of the whole ordeal and would much rather sit at home and pay the extra $100 for whatever it was that got everyone so hot and bothered on the day after Thanksgiving.

Black Friday is notorious for bringing out the crazy’s. You may remember last year there was a stampede at a New York Walmart that left one man dead and a pregnant lady injured. These types of things just further solidfy my stance against this madness that is black friday. The only reason I don’t like black friday is because of the hassle and the crowds. I hate nothing in the world more than crowds of people packed together tightly. It makes me nervous.

There are definitely some good deals out there on this the not so largest shopping day of the year. That is right folks, black friday is not the biggest shopping day of the year. It is hard to believe with the long lines and crazy anticts but the largest shopping day of the year seems to fall  much later than the day after Thanksgiving. The myth busting site Snopes.com has a great table showing the actual largest shopping days from 1993-2002. In each of those years the actual busiest shopping day was around December 20.

If you are planning to brave the masses there are plenty of sites out there now that have posted “leaked” black friday ads. Most notably I tend to check out bfads.net, my wife recently informed me of tgiblackfriday.com which also lists the upcoming deals. Don’t count solely on these ads as things can change before they make it to print. The only way you can be certain of what is on sale is to go out and pick up that 200 lb newspaper on Thursday and browse through the ads.

Are you planning on hitting the sales on Friday? If you are what is the one thing you are hoping to grab at the best deal? I am going to be hanging christmas lights all day so pray I don’t fall off the ladder.

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Blow Money that is, seriously I am not that kind of guy and I don’t know why you would even think that. A buddy of mine had been using the phrase blow money in refence to individual discretionary spending money and the term just stuck. Essentially your blow money is the money you and your spouse have allocated to each other as independent spending money with no restrictions.

I am all for open relationships, joint checking accounts, and discussion. –I just realized that is two comments now in this post that could be taken completely wrong.– Either way there is something to be said for sharing the financial burden. Along those same lines there is something to be said for having the freedom to do what you want. That freedom to do what you want is where your blow money comes in. This isn’t money for you to go out and pick up an eight ball, at least I hope it isn’t. blow money is the money you have allocated to each spouse to do with as they please. If you have a crazy Starbucks habit you should be feeding it with your blow money.

My wife and I each have our own checking accounts which we use for our spending money. We take it a little further than just true blow money since we include our gas purchases in with our recreational spending. What we have done is allowed separation between personal discretionary spending and our joint finances. There are multiple ways you can go about setting this money aside, our’s uses physical accounts but yours doesn’t have to.

If you utilize the envelope or all cash system set aside a set amount of money into Husband and Wife envelopes. The money you place in those envelopes is for the discretionary spending of the identified spouse. This way if you want to pay $50 for a video game you just do it no worries, no fights, no discussions. The real trick to making it work is to have a firm grasp on delayed gratification. The amount of money you are setting aside for discretionary spending probably isn’t some exorbitant amount of cash so you will have to save for a while to make those big purchases.

The best way to look at these types of discretionary spending accounts is as allowances for adults. You have set specific saving/spending goals and in order to achieve them you need to limit the amount willy nilly spending. By agreeing to keep all discretionary spending within the blow money allowances then you are effectively curbing the unnecessary spending. Just like with children the allowance give you much more specific ownership of the funds. This sense of ownership will generally lead to you thinking more about your purchases before you make them as the expense will directly effect your personal account. In my case it helps me to cut back on things like eating out, especially when there is something specific I want to save up and purchase.

Do you have some blow money or do you just lump your discretionary spending in your budget?

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Perkstreet Financial is offering a $50 bonus when you open one of their new online “perks” based checking accounts. Using the Perkstreet account and your debit card you can earn 1% cash back bonus on all of your non pin purchases with your card. If you choose to participate in their perks system you can earn an additional 25% on purchases made from retailers such as Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, iTunes, and Amazon.com.

PerkStreet is a member of the STARsf® ATM network so you won’t be charged ATM fees when you use one of their ATM’s.

You can choose what perks you want to earn and switch anytime between:

  • 1% cash back: Choose from a PerkStreet Financial Visa® Gift Card or gift cards from Target®, Best Buy®, Amazon.com®, GAP and Ticketmaster®
  • Music: Choose to receive credit for songs at iTunes®, Rhapsody® or Amazon.com® Gift Cards for MP3s or millions of other items at Amazon.com
  • Coffee: Choose reloadable gift cards from Starbucks®, Dunkin Donuts®, Peet’s Coffee and Tea® and Bruegger’s Bagels®

The big downer is I don’t see you earning any interest on your stagnant balance but if you drink a lot of coffee or buy a lot of music the extra 25% bonus perks could be pretty decent. Oh yeah, did I mention you get $50 in free cash for opening an account with at least $25 and using the account for three months. Free Money is free money right?

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Don’t Can Your Computer

November 23, 2009

With all the Windows 7 hype lately a lot of people have been looking to buy a new computer to get in on the action. Windows 7, the successor to the failure that was Windows Vista, is considerably less resource intensive allowing you to upgrade your OS with out replacing your PC. The system requirements […]

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Friday Finance Followers – Fall Edition

November 20, 2009

Fall is officially here. Last weekend we enjoyed 75 degree weather and sun, this week fall made sure we knew it was around by dropping the temperature and making the sun disappear. The trees are almost all bare and turkey’s are being purchased. The scariest thing for most of us is the impending onslaught of […]

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