I’m very proud of myself today because I just made decisions that will save me $100 per month. I called the cable and cell phone company and told them to:

  1. Discontinue my cable TV bill (learn how to negotiate here if you want to lower your bill instead)
  2. Reduce our family plan cell phone minutes

Before you leave this page thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because you make enough money to easily cover these expenses, let me tell you that my wife and I are not trying to save because we cannot afford the luxuries anymore. In fact, our living expenses are so low that we can live comfortably with just one income. We are cutting the fat out because we feel that it’s just not necessary to spend $100 on something we can do without.

Oh and by the way, doesn’t this contradict what I said a few days ago about how I spent my time? That’s because this post was originally from 12 years ago.

Time flies…

Time flies doesn’t it? While I’ve changed to Ting to pay even less for cellphone service since then, I’ve been cable TV free for 12 years now. That $100 a month sounded a lot then, but 12 years’ worth adds up to $14,400. If I invested the entire sum every month, that’d be worth double or even triple that amount. By eliminating $100 off my budget a month for 12 years, I have enough already to pay for it three times over.
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Spilled coins

I’ve been busy lately. Instead of sitting in front of my computer waiting for the same email (more likely spam) to come through, I’ve been calling, asking and searching. During the last couple of weeks, I:

  • Asked my car insurance agent to price match an insurance policy that I found online.
  • Call my Internet service provider to extend my new customer discount.
  • Went to get a free piece of chicken from KFC.

Frugal Living is Easy, Not

Most of these types of posts usually have people bragging about how much money they saved and how you can too if you follow the steps they outlined. They make it sound so simple but it’s almost always misleading. It took a while to search and compare all the insurance policies available, to wait on the phone to find a customer service rep for the Internet service provider, and to be in a room full of people at KFC (actually, it was quite fun seeing so many people but anyway…). Instead, I could be spending time golfing, being with my family, or reading a book.

Let’s be clear. Saving money, or more broadly, taking action, isn’t easy and takes quite a bit of work. If you feel like you can always save later when you need to because it’ll be a quick phone call away, then you are mistaken and will get discouraged when you actually need to do it.

I still remember talking to people a few months ago when they just lost their job and needed to reduce expenses in a hurry. A few of them could easily knock $50 a month off their Internet service costs, but the lines were so jammed they just couldn’t get through.

How you think of money can have a huge impact on your financial future. And there are many myths out there that don’t do us any favors. Here are 11 that could be keeping you from the promised land.
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Network marketing, otherwise known as multi-level marketing (MLM), is a business structure in which “hiring” consists of recruiting others into the company, and “payroll” consists of personal sales and commission from downline sales.

At the end of the day, everybody becomes salespeople who sell products and get other recruits to sell products. You earn for each product you sell and for each product your recruits sell. It can be thought of as a networking matrix, where the more recruits you get on board, the more income you make.

Pros of the System

It is possible to make money in a MLM system. The key is to get in at the right time and do well selling the product. Studies show that the majority do not make enough money to live off in such an environment, but the average does make between $2,000 and $3,000 a year. Getting in at the right time is important. In the early stages, the system has more possible people to recruit, while in the later stages it can be difficult to recruit and sell products.

Cons of the System

The system is widely criticized for a number of reasons. It widely resembles a pyramid scheme where the bottom pays the top. It is only different in that there is a product involved. Once the system reaches a certain level, there will be a shortage of recruits in the market, which may lead to it failing. A 5×5 matrix (each recruit getting 5 more recruits) will fail around level 10. At this point, the recruits towards the bottom will begin dropping out because they are losing money, which leads to a domino effect all the way up to the top.

That’s why MLM companies are often stigmatized as get-rich-quick or pyramid schemes. Still, some network marketing companies are nonetheless establishing solid reputations and pulling more and more interest from people disillusioned with the job market, failing pensions, and their lack of financial independence.

While the myth that all network marketing companies are scams is steadily being dispelled, some still question whether these businesses are actually worth getting involved in — can ordinary people be successful at them?

My answer is yes, especially if you consider the following tips.
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You’ve noticed lately that Mom and Dad are starting to show signs of aging. Cobwebs and dust may be appearing in the previously spotless living room, or they’ve been forgetting things like appointments and medication. But your parents adamantly refuse to even consider moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home.

According to AARP, nearly 42 million Americans are caring for their elderly parents, and many of them are facing a similar dilemma. Keeping your parents living safely at home isn’t going to be cheap, but it’ll likely be less expensive than an assisted living facility, which costs around $36,000 per year, or a nursing home, which costs around $77,000 per year for a private room.

Here’s what you can expect financially from helping your parents stay in their home:
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entrepreneurship advice

Things are pretty rough for many folks where I live. Jobs are scarce, scattered, and most pay minimum wage or barely above that. A friend with two college degrees and 12 years of service in the military was recently unemployed for a few months already because he didn’t want to settle for minimum wage or factory work. It’s rough out there. If you’re in the same boat, why not try your hand at starting your own business?

Don’t let the economy being down scare you. In fact, there are many reasons why the national economic situation should encourage you to start a new business now. FedEx, Microsoft, Burger King, and even GE were started during the recessions the U.S. has experienced over the last century and a half. Here are three reasons why you could succeed in a recession.
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