Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Transform Your Relationship with Money

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st CenturyI was cleaning today and ran across some old files from a decade or so ago. In the mix was a bunch of worksheets detailing my finances at the time - to the penny - for over a year. I also found graphs and other cool stuff I’d forgotten that I’d done. Fortunately I found a reference to creating a new road map and did a quick Internet search, which revealed that I had undertaken a very cool process presented in “Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

My Life HAS Changed
Although it was a time commitment, reading the book and actually completing the exercises did transform my relationship with money. At the time, I was working in an office and in debt - nothing too serious - mortgage, car payment, some low credit card balances, and maybe some student loan payments. Now I owe no money and can work at home when and if I choose. Life has certainly improved since I took the advice in the book to heart and started valuing my life energy.

Looking back on the facts and figures, I am blown away by how different things are now. And also by how easy it is to forget previous details. But my handwritten income and expense sheets don’t lie. I think I’ll see if I still have a copy of that book around here somewhere. And if not, maybe I’ll check one of my book swap sites. I don’t think I really need it much now but it might be fun to read again anyway. And if I decide to do the exercises with the detailed accounts and graphs, it will be so much easier this time!

Get the Book!
Anyway, get a copy of this book. And I suggest you actually buy one (fyi - book image is an Amazon affiliate link). Anyone who has read this blog at all knows that I usually recommend borrowing from the library or a friend to save money, but this book is an exception. You just can’t digest it in one or two readings.

Now get busy and change the way you look at, think about, and act toward money!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Would You Rather Look Rich or Be Rich?

Life or Debt 2010: A New Path to Financial FreedomI just ordered a book by Stacy Johnson titled “Life or Debt 2010: A New Path to Financial Freedom,” which I discovered in My 10 Dumbest Money Moves - And How You Can Avoid Them.” I raced to Amazon and ordered the book due to a quote under mistake number 3: Attempting to derive self-esteem from possessions, “You can either look rich or be rich, but you probably won’t live long enough to accomplish both.”

Think about that for just a minute. How much money have you squandered on appearance? What could you have done with that money instead? Are you sacrificing your future security to buy trendy clothes, a fancy car or more house than you can afford? Owning nice things is wonderful - IF you can afford them. But if owning nice things means payments over time, then you don’t really own them - they own you.

Now, I’m not saying that all debt is bad. I know that a mortgage is the only way most people will ever own a home; I’ve had a few mortgages myself. An education is also an investment in the future that may be worth financing. Just be realistic about what you can afford and err on the side of caution. Buying a modest house or attending a local college will usually accomplish the same goal at a much lower cost.

Back to the book. No, I don't really need it as we've been completely debt free for nearly a decade - but I love reading and passing along this kind of book. Yes, I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link for your convenience. However, when you get to Amazon, check out the available used copies. I just ordered mine for $5.76 including shipping, which is well below the price of a new copy. Better yet, although it wasn’t an option for me, check your local library and borrow the book for free. Happy reading!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Readbud IS a Scam

Update 12/9/10: Red Alert! Readbud IS a SCAM! It’s official - see PTC Investigations for full report.

Ok - I’m finally tired of Readbud. Even if I eventually am paid, I’m not recommending anyone waste their time on the site. Is Readbud a scam? If you define scam as a site that never pays, I don’t know yet. If you define scam as a site that doesn’t deliver as promised? Then yes, Readbud IS a scam.

One Reason Readbud IS a Scam

The site states “readbud offers hundreds of articles daily across all our Interest Topics. On average, a readbud member will receive just over 50 relevant articles daily assuming they've chosen the maximum 50 interest topics from over 340 interest topics we provide for selection.”

I’ve chosen 50 topics and have followed all other Readbud guidelines. I’ve never received 50 articles in a day so I guess I’m not average? But 2/day for weeks on end as I approach payout? It’s obvious that Readbud would like me to give up. I’ve sent them messages and received no reply so there’s another indicator of a scam, right? In addition, my husband, mom and sister-in-law have never received 50 articles either – 15-20 has been the max. I guess none of us is average.

Dismal Readbud Earnings

Once I reached about $30 in my Readbud account, the articles for me to read dried up. Over the past several weeks, I’ve received just two articles per day and have earned $.03-.$.21/day, with an average of just over $.08/day. I am at $47.26 right now and figure at the rate I’m going, I won’t hit the $50 payout for another 25 days. Will I persevere? YES! Why? To see if they actually pay, of course. Either way, I will be posting here.

In a previous post, I had my husband and sister-in-law on board with a Readbud experiment. Due to site glitches and low earnings, we’ve abandoned the idea. At this point, if I can just hang in there to payout and see what happens, I’ll be happy.

Bottom Line – Avoid Readbud

The bottom line from my perspective is that Readbud does not live up to their end of the bargain and should be avoided if you ever want to actually be paid for your efforts as promised by the site. I did a web search and found a real person who reached payout in May and was never paid, and another real person who finally gave up in July when her articles slowed to a trickle. I’ve yet to find a real person who has actually been paid although that individual could certainly exist out there somewhere.

If you enjoy reading and don’t mind a lot of substandard writing with a few well-written articles thrown in occasionally, then Readbud may be for you. I’ve enjoyed many of the articles and have even given a few the highest rating. For the most part, however, the articles contain numerous grammar, punctuation and even spelling errors. Those receive a lower rating but who cares? Does the author ever get feedback? I don’t know. And if so, do they have a clue why they received a particular rating? No, there’s no mechanism to explain your rating.

I’ve removed all links to Readbud from my blog. If I’ve missed any, please let me know. I will continue to read articles in my most-likely futile attempt to reach payout but still recommend against Readbud – even if I'm eventually paidas the site does not deliver as promised.