Garden of Dollars
Many people would do well enough investing solely in index funds, but most wonder whether extra returns can be had from hedge funds and other alternative investments. I’ve invested in one before, and the experience was like hanging out with the cool kids for the first time in high school. There was a certain level of excitement at the beginning, and I won’t lie – it gave me a sense of “finally making it in life”. But I ultimately pulled my money out of the fund, because that particular fund just wasn’t for me. Here’s what I learned from the experience:

I have no idea what I’ll be investing in. Some hedge funds don’t even tell you what they invest in, but I actually knew exactly where my money was in real time, all the time. The problem, though, is that the go anywhere and do anything mandate meant that the manager could sell everything on hand and just buy whatever he wanted whenever the markets were open. One minute I owned shares of an individual company, the next I was short the S&P 500 and 30 year treasuries. All asset allocation strategies I’ve deployed to control risk went out the door, because I couldn’t pinpoint my exposure when someone else changes which investments the overall portfolio holds on any given day. In fact, there were times I was invested in the S&P 500 in one part of my portfolio while the hedge fund simultaneously shorted the S&P 500!
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There are many ways to enjoy a movie these days that don’t cost a lot of money. From renting via Redox or Blockbuster, joining a movie membership club like Netflix, or streaming shows and movies on Hulu or Amazon, there are lots of ways to save on entertainment costs.

While these options sometimes allow for cheaper date nights and family time, there’s nothing quite the same as actually visiting the theater on occasion, especially for those new releases you want to see on the big screen.

In the interest of supporting local theaters (although it’s perfectly fine to frequent chain theaters), you may view your ticket and concession prices as investment in your community and even history.

You don’t have to deprive yourself of these experiences once in a while, even if you’re on an entertainment budget. The key is making the most of your money and your time.

Here are a few ways to save money on movies while enjoying the big screen.

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My son had a huge smile on his face as he drove us to our insurance office. He just passed his driver’s license road test, and we were headed to talk to our insurance agent to add him to our policy.

We were prepared, handing them a copy of his license paperwork, as well as a copy of his most recent report card to score us a 15% good student discount. As the agent was entering the information into the system, she lowered her glasses and said, “I should probably mention, there’s something we suggest for all newly licensed drivers.”

And that’s when she proceeded to explain additional coverage that we needed to purchase.

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In just two short months, I’ll be headed to Spain to go see one of my best friends who is teaching there. It’s a dream come true for me, as aside from paying off debt, traveling is my true passion.

But how is someone who is so focused on paying off debt, able to travel abroad? Through travel hacking! I was able to book my flight to Spain for a mere $63 in taxes, and 40,000 miles.

But, what is travel hacking? And how can you use it to travel while working towards other financial goals?

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I have an interesting relationship with technology as it relates to money. I love what technology can do, in terms of helping us better manage our money, but I’m also somewhat reluctant to turn too much of my financial management over to technology.

There comes a time when too much of a hands-off approach leads to poor money management and can get you in trouble financially. Sometimes technology is more of a crutch than a help, especially when it doesn’t work. You have to know how to manage your finances manually, without the help of a computer or software.

However, I can see how technology can be a great help to spending money wisely and saving money. Here are some cool technology advances associated with money.

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If you have a pet, you definitely know how much love and joy they can bring into a household. They truly are a man’s best friend. But these furry friends can also be very expensive.

According to the ASPCA, the average cost of a small dog in it’s first year is $1,314. A cat is slightly less expensive at $1,035 but that’s still a considerable amount.

We recently added a little kitten to our family and spent $200 on our first vet visit! There were many more visits after that, as well as vaccinations and spaying.

Costs can add up quickly, especially if your pets have medical emergencies, but with a little careful planning you can still enjoy having them, while spending a little less. Here are 5 ways to save money on your pets.

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