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money

A while back I wrote about just what a swagbuck is. At the time I hadn’t earned enough bucks to get any Swag out of the deal and to be perfectly honest with you I wasn’t entirely convinced of the usefulness of the site. It turns out you can really turn those bucks into cash. Figuratively anyway. I recently converted my earned bucks into $15 in Amazon gift cards which I used to by a car mount for my iPhone. It was something I wanted but wouldn’t normally fork the cash over for. Here is how I earned the bucks:

1.) Straight Searching

Straight searching is the easiest way to earn SwagBucks. I have configured swagbucks.com as my default search engine in Chrome and installed the toolbar in FireFox. This way I am always using their engine to perform my searches.

2.) Referrals

Right now I have a total of 5 referrals  but only one of them is really cranking out the bucks. Referrals have netted me a total of 627 swagbucks. That is five bucks for not even doing anything at all.

3.) Other Stuff

Every now and then I get a few SwagBucks for having the toolbar installed, or on a rare occasion I will pick up some using a SwagCode I found. Most of the “other” stuff takes a lot of effort that I just haven’t found myself willing to exert. I am sure i could get SwagBucks quicker if I looked for the SwagCodes everyday but I prefer to just keep on keeping on.

The fact is you can easily earn enough of these SwagBucks to convert the pretend money into tangible objects you actually want. So what is stopping you? Get out there and start earning some swag today.

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PBS is poised to run a NOVA special tonight at 8PM ET/PT titled Mind Over Money. The show seeks to explore the differences between conventional economics and behavioral economics. They try to understand how emotions play a role in economics and show various experiments that were conducted to “prove” emotions influence your decisions. This emotional influence contrasts to conventional economics which says that people will always perform rationally when dealing with money. The theory is that you will work out exactly what something is worth to you and don’t allow your emotions to influence your decision.

Now I am not an actual economist so I can’t refute any of these theories on economics, it makes sense to me though that people will be influenced by their emotions. The show uses bubbles as an example of people acting irrationally. We convince ourselves that the value of something is considerably higher than it really is and start jumping on the bandwagon, right up until it pops like an overinflated balloon.

One of the “experiments” they used as an example of people acting irrationally was the auctioning of a $20 bill to a group of students. One student ended up paying$28 for a $20 bill. This is supposedly an irrational measure. What they don’t explain well enough is that the second place bidder also has to pay their bid and gets nothing. The bidding goes up above $20 in an effort to win and cut your losses, the person who lost the bidding war still had to pay $27 while the winner was only out $8. Of course had they stopped at the $20 mark the second place bidder would have been out $19 which is more than the $8 extra he paid for the $20. They artificially forced the price above $20 by instituting a penalty for the second place bidder. To me it would have been rational to continue to bid if I was sitting in second place.

Experiments aside I think you would be hard pressed to say people are always going to act rationally when it comes to money. The rational method of reducing debt would be to pay off your highest interest debt first to cut down the amount of money your debt is costing you. Dave Ramsey has made his career by encouraging you to act emotionally not rationally when it comes to debt reduction. This process makes sense and it works. You get the little wins up front which encourage you to continue to reduce debt by building on your snowball. This isn’t rational but it makes sense. Looking back at the housing boom can we think that the epic rise in house prices was the result of rational thinking or irrational actions.

NOVA quotes Robert Schiller, author of Irrational Exuberance as an example of someone who believed the markets were overvalued and didn’t support the prices being seen at the time. Other economists were shown discounting his claims. Shiller’s theory was that while the booming markets were initially based on solid reasoning it converted to emotional excitement and envy which further fed the building bubble until it burst. Emotions are a big part of how we handle money, whether or not that proves conventional economics is wrong is up to you.

If you are interested in learning more check out the NOVA special tonight on PBS at 8pm ET/PT and/or visit their site at http://www.pbs.org/nova/money for more information.

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I know I have probably written about this before but the way people interact with money is amazing. Even people who say money won’t make them act a certain way allow money to influence their interactions with people. I am most reminded of these kinds of interactions around the start of every month when people are posting their net worth’s and I am compiling the wealthy blogger list. I am not an anonymous blogger, my family, friends, and neighbors all know about my blog. Some of them even take the time to read some of what I write. Every now and then a few of them even post comments.

It actually makes me anxious when I hear about one of the people I know reading my blog. There is no good reason, I just don’t want them to think something I wrote was stupid. If random people I don’t know have a problem with it then I am all good. This brings me to net worth’s. I regularly post my net worth on my blog. Once a month, every month, like clock work. Until this month no one has ever made a comment about it. This month a comment was made, nothing bad or judgmental. It was just a comment that made me realize these people really are reading and now they know approximately how much money I have stashed around in different places. It makes me happy to know they are reading and enjoy it and I was glad for the comment, it made me snicker.

I have been thinking about it for a while and I realized that my money and how much or little of it I posses doesn’t define me. I am not defined by money and I try not define anyone else by theirs. I see no problems in displaying my net worth because if you want to judge me by the number of zeros on my bank account I don’t need you around. WE ARE NOT DEFINED BY OUR MONEY. I like to have money, cash and investments, as a security blanket of sorts. If I didn’t have that money I would be much more on edge and worried than I am now but the person I am wouldn’t change.

I write on this blog to talk about how I interact with money and hopefully to help a few people learn a couple of tricks to better their financial situation. If me posting my net worth every month can inspire one person to start saving, or open a 401k, or take their debt column to zero then it is worth it. So what if you know how much money I make or cash savings I have. Does it really matter?

I have had several people mention to me that they don’t share that kind of information publicly because they don’t want their family to find out about their money situation. I can kind of understand this but I also don’t think it should be necessary to hide this information from family. I would like to think that my family doesn’t look at my balance sheet and judge my success or failure. I also hope they don’t expect that I will bail them out when they are in financial trouble just because I have more money than them.

I want you the readers, in the comments, to tell me WHY does it matter if people know how much money you have? What are you afraid of? Are you ashamed or just trying to avoid being boastful?

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A letter to the future me

March 23, 2010
Thumbnail image for A letter to the future me

I can’t tell a ninja no, seriously ninja’s are scary and I just can’t say no to a guy with ninja stars and swords. The ninja who runs Punch Debt in the Face put out a challenge to write a letter to yourself ten years from now. The idea is to make you truly think […]

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Phishing for Your Money

October 8, 2009

When I was twelve the word phishing didn’t exist. Back when AOL was charging by the hour for internet access, hacked AOL accounts were a dime a dozen. You could go into just about any chat room on AOL and the odds were good that you would later get an IM or an email purporting […]

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