Payday Loans

Archived Posts from Stop Buying Crap!

This probably isn’t the most novel observation in the world, but it would certainly seem that a great many people get “tricked” into spending more than they normally would by the lure of coupons and discounts (cue Captain Obvious). These “fake-ish” coupons and deals come from everywhere: newspaper clippings, TV and radio offers, Internet promotions, fliers, smartphone apps. We are inundated in the idea of saving money—from piggy bank iconography in our childhood to the very real need to save for retirement as we grow older. If there’s the word “save” and the dotted line around a box, it feels and looks like savings.

But are you really saving money if you’re spending it? That seems to be a paradox. The money you just spent is not actually still in your pocket, contrary to what many advertisers would have you believe (you might remember common advertisements slogans such as “spend more, save more!”). But beyond just a general distaste from deceptive advertising, what can we learn from those pesky “coupons and discounts” that actually burn holes in our pockets?

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I hate to admit it, but I can be a real judgmental prick sometimes.

Since starting this blog eons ago, my general personal finance philosophy has been this:

If you can really afford it, spend it.

But there are those moments where I’ll just cringe and think to myself: “God, what an ass.”

My first encounter with status symbol was many years ago, back in elementary school. For a period of time, my sister and I had reduced price on lunch due to family income eligibility. (Thinking about it now, it might have been free lunch for a month or so, then it changed to reduced price and eventually the benefit went away as our family household income increased). I remember standing in line, giving the coupon/vouchers to the lunch lady, and I was none-the-wiser that my family was any different than my classmates.

Ah, to be a naive kid again.

I eventually got around to asking my mom about why we were getting free/reduced price lunch and found out that while my family was not exactly dirt poor, we were certainly not rolling in money either.

What really opened my eyes though was what happened a few days later. While after school, I noticed a fellow classmate that’s also using the reduced lunch voucher getting picked up by his parent — in their brand new Mercedes. Needless to say, I was really confused.

Soon, I learned that the family in question was not necessarily cheating the welfare system, but was using what little money they had just to buy/lease (or however they got) the Mercedes.

Growing up in Southern California, this type of status symbol display quickly became the norm in life. You’ll quickly hear how so and so just bought a brand new car. Or a luxury watch. Or a luxury bag. Or high-end kicks. All this before I even graduated from high school (and I graduated from a lower-middle class high school).

So although there was a time when I was really car crazy (SoCal culture after all) — these days I really despise the car as a status symbol. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with buying a nice car. Who wouldn’t want a sweet bimmer that can do 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds? But when you can’t afford it and you straddle yourself with a tens of thousands of dollars in debt just to look good in other people’s eyes… you’re kind of a tool in my book.

Till this day, I still get the occasionally online inquiry from a random high school classmate: “Hey man, are you still driving that Honda Civic?”

What an ass.

What type of status symbols annoys you the most? Feel free to share in the comments below. And yes, I still drive my “old” 2001 Honda Civic :)

Maybe I just don’t get it.

Maybe I just couldn’t understand why a pair of jeans made in Thailand may be better than another pair of jeans made in Thailand.  (To be fair, Diesel jeans are made only in Italy, Tunisia, or Morocco — with the most being produced in Italy).

The thing is, although I may think of it as a waste of money, it really is a sense of perspective and value.

There are MANY denim fans out there.  They value a well made pair of denim, that’s well-designed, fashionable, long lasting; and well, many other factors that I probably wouldn’t be able to list.

I took a shot of this pair of jeans earlier this spring while in Rome (during the whole volcano-making-Europeans-life-miserable moment), and I was slightly giddy with excitement as I envision the post I’ll write up, trashing the ridiculously priced jeans and the satisfaction I’ll get when my readers confirm my perspective, and we all pat ourselves on the back and think about how wise we are with our spending.

The thing is, how we spend our money is a very personal and subjective thing.  Though I’m a fairly frugal guy, I’ll often do incredibly unpractical things (such as impromptu travel with airfare that makes me spit blood).  And in these moments where the spending makes absolutely no sense to another person, it’ll make perfect sense to me.

Although I’ll probably never understand the concept of a pair of jeans that cost more than $20 (and I still hope someone can explain it to me), what I do understand is that I’m still a firm believer in spending whatever the hell you want — as long as you’re not bankrupting yourself or your future.

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A trip from San Diego to Indianapolis.

As you’re about to book your flight, you stare at the computer screen, wondering what’s the best choice.

You quickly searched Southwest, but the time table and seats available just didn’t match up to the meeting’s schedule.

You could fly American, as you actually managed to store up some mileage through the years.  Despite the fact that you prefer other airlines, you’ve stuck with American, because loyalty’s gotta mean something, right?

With a quick check, those mileage are currently meaningless as there are no reward seats available to claim.

The problem is that you’re now running on a much tighter budget.  Ever since the recession, business hasn’t been going so well, and you can barely afford this trip out to the mid-west.  But you have to get to Indianapolis, as sealing this deal ensures your business’ survival, and the 6 life-long employees that your business employs.

So despite your better judgement, you booked the American Airline flight.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve written a fun post (or any post for that matter). So let’s take a look at some of the weird stuff you can buy on Amazon.com. Quick note: if you click through, many of these have fairly funny corresponding “customer images,” and ridiculously funny “reviews” by users.

Uranium Ore – $29.95

Always handy to have around, just in case you’re all out of juice in your Delorean-based time machine.  Of course, in actuality this radioactive sample of uranium ore is meant to be used in science labs, for testing Geiger counters and uh, other sciency-thingies (it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a lab-based course).

Amazon review of note:

3 out of 5 star.  Great product, poor packaging.

I purchased this product 4.47 billion years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty.

UFO-01 Detector – $149.95

When the tinfoil hats just aren’t enough to deter and preempt UFO invasions, you’ll need, the 01 detector!  Made of overpriced hardware found at Radio Shack, this cutting-edge detector will not only emit a flashing LED but will also beep when electromagnetic and magnetic disturbances are detected.  With a low price of $149.95, what more can you ask for?  (Tinfoil hats and probing prevention plugs not included).

Amazon review of note:

1 out of 5 stars. Been abducted twice!!

After my first abduction I sought out to arm myself with something that would prevent this from happening to me again. Alas, the UFO Detector.

Since then my microwave, TV, radio, and cellphone have been causing the device to alarm several times, sending me in a state of panic where I’d hide under my bed for days. Next time it went off it was no false alarm. And I was, again, on board an alien vessle with probes hanging from every opening of my body.

I’d guess that for this “Detector” to work you’d need to be in an environment free from all electrical interferences. Above all, I DO NOT recommend this product.

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Plastic Packaging That is Hard to Open

Or in this case, a butcher knife.

I swear to Xenu, lord and dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, that if I ever encounter another packaging that requires stabbing motion to open, I’m going to send Tom Cruise and his Scientology pals after the person responsible.

In all seriousness, from today forward, I’m genuinely going to make a conscious effort to avoid purchasing poorly-designed packaging that’s hard to open.

And don’t even get me started about the cost of printer ink.

This is a guest post from Peyton Farving, who is a deal hunter and contributing writer with the shopping community led by a little robot — Dealzon.com.  If you like staying on top of all the latest can’t-miss deals, consider checking Dealzon out.

 
As I’m scouring the web for great deals on computers, HDTVs, video games, etc. (I’m usually looking for stuff at least $20 less than the next best price on comparison sites like PriceGrabber but I sometimes find up to $100 off or more) I also run across some pretty ridiculous products and “deals” that I wouldn’t encourage Dealzon’s friends to buy. But they’re good for a few laughs and an always welcome reminder to “stop buying crap.” Here are five funny deals I saw last week.

Boxing Gloves for Nintendo Wii

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CA State Lottery as Christmas Gift

Just came back from the grocery store and saw this silly thing at the checkout counter.

Nicely done, California State Lottery, nicely done.

Why buy gift cards for Christmas when you can buy a lottery ticket!?

Urgh.

Other Stop Buying Crap:

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