ING Rocks

INGDirect Sale

INGDirect Sale

I just got an email from INGDirect.   To celebrate Independence Day, they are having a sweet, sweet sale.

You can:

  • Open a checking account and get between $50 and $126 for doing so.
  • Open a Sharebuilder account and get $76 to start buying stocks.
  • Get $1776 knocked off the closing costs of a mortgage.
  • Get $76 in a new IRA, to give you a little boost for retirement.

Take advantage of all of that and you’ll get $2054 in cash or discounts.

Seriously, this deal rocks.  If you don’t have an INGDirect account, get one.  There are no overdraft fees and no monthly fees.

The sale ends tomorrow at midnight, so hurry.

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Saturday Roundup – No More Car

Free Money (film)
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…err, no more car loan.  I paid off my car this week, a year early!   Now I’m down to 2 debts: a credit card with an embarrassingly high balance and my mortgage.  We’re rocking the debt snowball!

Free Money Tip

INGDirect is having a sweet promotion.  Open a checking account, use it three times in 45 days, and get $50 free.  Free money is the best kind.  I love my ING account and keep all of my savings there.  If you don’t have an account there, yet, now is a great time to open one.

30 Day Project Update

This month, I am trying to establish the Slow Carb Diet as a habit.   At the end of the month, I’ll see what the results were and decide if it’s worth continuing.   For those who don’t know, the Slow Carb Diet involves cutting out potatoes, rice, flour, sugar, and dairy in all their forms.   My meals consist of 40% proteins, 30% vegetables, and 30% legumes(beans or lentils).    There is no calorie counting, just some specific rules, accompanied by a timed supplement regimen and some timed exercises to manipulate my metabolism.   The supplements are NOT effedrin-based diet pills, or, in fact, uppers of any kind.  There is also a weekly cheat day, to cut the impulse to cheat and to avoid letting my body go into famine mode.

I’m measuring two metrics, my weight and the total inches of my waist , hips, biceps, and thighs.   Between the two, I should have an accurate assessment of my progress.

Weight: I have lost 17 pounds since January 2nd.   That’s 6 pounds since last week.  I cheated this week and had a slice of toast and 6 croutons with my grilled chicken-but-no-cheese salad.

Total Inches: I have lost 9 inches in the same time frame, down 3.5 since last week.

Naturally, the first week is the most dramatic.  That’s when my body was flushing most of the garbage I’d been eating, including holiday feasts.  I’ll have a hard time complaining about 6 pounds in a week.  My guess is that I drop another 10-15 pounds by the end of the month, bringing the average to about 1 pound per day.   Over time, that will drop as my base caloric burn drops to match my new weight.

Best Posts

Realized Returns is giving away a Kindle.  I would greatly appreciate it if you didn’t enter, because I’d love to get a Kindle.

Maximizing Money has put together a stellar list of financial blogs.  If I’m not enough to keep you going, take a look at that list.

Mystery shopping sounds like it could be such a sweet deal for some people. Always try to make money doing what you love.

Here is another list of sites that can make you some money.  I love side hustles.

And finally, here is Lifehacker, showing you how to make better cocoa.

LRN Timewarp

This is where I review the posts I wrote one year ago.

I wrote a post on saving money while cooking.  This post has easily withstood the test of time.  We keep getting better at stretching our budget.   Over the last year, we’ve actually reduced our food budget by an additional $50 per month, while the quality of our meals has gone up.

This was the first week I posted a 30 Day Project update.   My first goal was to start waking up at 5AM.   That worked well for almost the entire year, but I’ve let that slack off over the last few months.  On the weekends, I don’t set an alarm or try to get up early, but I’m still up by 7:30, usually.  During the week, my alarm goes off at 5:10, but I let myself snooze it.   I’ve discovered that I do better at attending to my personal projects(like blogging) late at night instead of early in the morning.  So, I’m going with what works, instead of trying to force what doesn’t.

I also reviewed the bills I pay that aren’t paid monthly in my third budget lesson.

Carnivals I’ve Rocked and Guest Posts I’ve Rolled

First 3 Things to Do in the New Year was included in Crystal’s rockin’ new Total Money Carnival.

4 Ways We Keep Wasting Money was included in the Festival of Frugality.

Living the XBox Life on an Atari Income was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.

Swamp Finance was hosted by Squirrelers.

I ran the guest post, The Best Financial Advice I Ever Received for Saving Money Today.

Thank you! If I missed anyone, please let me know.

Get More Out of Live Real, Now

There are so many ways you can read and interact with this site.

You can subscribe by RSS and get the posts in your favorite news reader.  I prefer Google Reader.

You can subscribe by email and get, not only the posts delivered to your inbox, but occasional giveaways and tidbits not available elsewhere.

You can ‘Like’ LRN on Facebook.   Facebook gets more use than Google.  It can’t hurt to see what you want where you want.

You can follow LRN on Twitter.   This comes with some nearly-instant interaction.

You can send me an email, telling me what you liked, what you didn’t like, or what you’d like to see more(or less) of.   I promise to reply to any email that isn’t purely spam.

That’s all for today.   Have a great weekend!

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5 Things to Do in the New Year

Creditcard
Image via Wikipedia

CNN Money has an article up on 5 things to do this year.   After posting a similar article a couple of weeks ago, I thought it’d be interesting to post about someone else’s perspective.

1.  Shop for a no-fee checking account.

If you are paying fees for a checking account, go somewhere else.  There are so many alternatives available that you shouldn’t be throwing money away.   Ally Bank has a great no-fee checking account, as does INGDirect, though ING won’t let you write paper checks against the account.  The same principle applies to credit cards.  If you have a card with an annual fee and you aren’t getting some monster services or rewards to go with it, run away.

2.  Save your raise.

I don’t necessarily agree with this one.  If you are in debt, it’s better to use the raise to pay off that garbage, first.   When I got my last raise, I immediately boosted the automatic payment for my car to use every new penny.   I’ve never had the money available, so I haven’t missed it.  Whatever you do, fight lifestyle inflation.   Just because you have some more money doesn’t mean you need to spend it.   At my last job, I got a substantial raise, so I bought a new car, only to get laid off a few months later.

3.  Go for a checkup

Wealth doesn’t matter if you squander your health.  Go get a physical.   Every disease is easier to treat if you catch it earlier as opposed to later.   Don’t make the mistake of running your body into the ground.  You will regret it later.   Effective this year, most health plans will cover a physical with no copay, co-insurance, or deductible allowed.

4.  Score a better rewards card.

B***-****.   If you’ve still got debt, don’t concentrate on using more of it.  Get that crap paid off.    If you’re out of debt, look into getting a rewards card that aligns with your goals.   If you like to travel, get a card that gives you frequent flier miles.   Otherwise, I’d go with a cash-back rewards card.

5.  Use your vacation days.

37% of Americans don’t take all of the vacation to which they are entitled.  That’s insane!  We work harder and better when we have time to recuperate and relax.   Unfortunately, I usually fall into that unfortunate 37%.    My vacation resets on February 1st, and this will be the first year in a lot of years that I haven’t had to roll it over or even lose some.

What is your financial plan for the new year?

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