Reader Story: I’m Retiring from Get Rich Slowly

Reader Story: I’m Retiring from Get Rich Slowly.

I just wanted to say thank you JD Roth! You are a great inspiration and I’m an avid follower of the Get Rich Slowly blog (which is on my blogroll).

I noticed that before you started that blog, you were taking out loan after loans and using plastic to pay. You had read many personal finance books and learned from them.

Though I’m sad to see you not write for Get Rich Slowly, I hope you are an inspiration to us all!

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Aubrey Lee and Jill Johnson’s Frugal Oxygen Therapy Alternative

I just read something on one of my favorite blogs – the official one from Oxycise!

I’ve been doing it faithfully and it saved a lot of gas in our car that could have been used to taxi me to the health club! Along with other exercise equipment around the house (like weights and my own body, core included), there wasn’t any need to go there!

Back to that interesting post by Aubrey Lee. She was discussing about oxygen therapy for weight loss. It involves you lying on a table with a mask on you or getting injected. That’s scary. And it costs hundreds to even thousands of dollars. That’s DOUBLE scary.

Well, to quote Lee here, “Oxycise! is a healthy, simple, 15-minute a day alternative to oxygen therapy with the same results of boosting your health.” I like how frugal this is. In fact, I have lost 12 inches (5 from waist) so far since starting it in June. Not to mention that I lost 7 pounds either.

Well, just walking and using household items as weights (and you, for core exercises) can help you burn fat without burning holes in your wallet. Adding Oxycise! amps it up even more, even if you are a naysayer of the product.

All-Natural Health and Weight Loss

Are you looking into ways to lose weight?

Have you heard of Oxygen Therapy? If you don’t know what oxygen therapy is… here is a quick explanation…

According to Fitday: There are two basic ways for you to receive oxygen therapy. The first is for you to have a mask strapped over your face that delivers clean oxygen to you. The second way to get oxygen therapy is for you to get an intravenous needle that delivers more oxygen to your body through your bloodstream. The thought process behind why oxygen therapy may help speed up the weight loss process is simple. Fat inside of your body is comprised of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. So by adding more oxygen to your body, the oxygen should force the fat to get more oxygen and turn into either water or carbon dioxide. Both of these can be safely removed from the…

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Here’s A Really Cute Story on Saving!

Here’s proof that it’s never too early to learn about gradually getting wealthy!

A boy did chores to earn cash to buy what he wanted: an iPad. He was brought up in a family that was frugal. He started earning money at age 7 by doing chores. I love what his mommy said in the video: “In terms of teaching him how to spend his money, we make him pay for anything that isn’t food, clothing or a roof over his head.” (What she meant by that is that he had to earn money for his wants as opposed to his needs!)

Oh, and the keyboard rendition of Super Mario 2 Overworld Theme in the background? The son loves Mario, and he has a piggy bank with him on it!

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How Student Loan Debt is Like Being on Life’s Indebtedness List

Let’s face it – being burdened by student loan debt is like being on the indebtedness list for a long time.

You probably saw a list of who has to pay their fines and late dues back in high school. Should you not have done something about it, if you were on that list and taken care of the fees to get yourself off, you would have missed out. You would have not danced (appropriately) at prom. You would not have marched with your band as a danceline member. You would not even have graduated with a diploma!

College debt is like being on the list, but many struggle to get it off. Just like credit card debt, it’s one of the worst financial predicaments you have to face in life.

We were taught how to succeed in life – go to school, graduate school, go to college, and graduate college. Well, that’s just a pipe dream for many teens and even children who have dreams of being successful just like Mom and Dad. It’s not just the fact that tuition costs are, well, costly. It’s the borrowing of loans, especially private, that gets them quick after graduating.

Most of the victims of debt are art, engineering, and business majors. But majors that are economically hardy, like nursing, are increasingly burdened by it. They would struggle to pay off their debts by working in jobs that don’t require degrees, like waiting or busing tables, stocking shelves at retail stores, or washing laundry. Those occupations are low-paying, and they have to decide between food and debt payments to survive.

Some even would turn to prostitution to pay their indebtedness off! (Yikes!)

That kind of debt sticks with a lot of people for years. Most people in mid-to-late adulthood have to go back to square one (take more classes or switch majors back in college), just to rack up even more debt.

Numerous economic experts have a ton of strategies that can mitigate, even avoid debt. One good way is to save for it. Some people in low-income households would set aside a dollar for each day their kids live. It’s a good idea, but there’s more to that in preparing for the worst.

Scholarships are other things to lessen the debt load. But, they take luck and patience. Even if you have a 4.0 GPA and you write mind-blowing essays, there’s someone somewhere waiting to make you lose that chance. It’s rivalry in education. Plus, some of them may be scams.

Another thing that works for some people in reducing debt is borrowing federally first. They are flexible in interest rates, payment plans, and forgiveness. Sure, it’s a bit pricy, but it can help you.

Although those things can help you financially, few naysayers denounce it as a scam.

So, if you are bound for a college (or have somebody bound for it), there are a ton of good alternatives. You can ask to be an apprentice for jobs that you like, such as auto repairs or instrument making.

Of course, you can always be an entrepreneur, especially in network marketing. But it takes some risk, and good luck. Why? Some of the businesses can be dodgy in product, fees, and compensation plans. But there are a growing number of people who made great success with it.

One of my friends, a Filipino-descent college graduate from California, did this by encouragement from her mother, also a network marketer in the same company she worked. She was 18 at the time and did this even when a lot of “no’s” set her back. When she reached top paying position, she paid her tuition in full without getting into debt because she didn’t take out any loans! And the best part is that she retired her parents! Isn’t that amazing?

But, if you really, really want to go to college, start off saving for a community college. Even better – spend a gap year or two finding a job (if you can find one) to ease the burden of the debt you would face (or would have faced if you are a very frugal student). Oh, and apply for scholarships and grants, but choose the ones that are reputable and not worthy of scams or ripoffs.

If you are brave, spend a gap year or two finding a good network marketing business. And don’t forget to think about gradually getting wealthy – save money, spend wisely, and you’ll be set to tackle those loan payments!

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Rich People, too, Take Staycations (It’s Flutin’ True, I Tell You!)

You may be thinking that rich people possibly can’t take staycations. They are only for those on an especially tight budget and those escaping living paycheck to paycheck. They’d visit local places that really don’t sound fancy, like regular parks instead of theme parks. They’d head to the local aquatic centers instead of water parks with tornado slides and family raft chutes.

Well, not all those who are rich and famous travel to faraway places. Not all of them own a private island in a tropical nation with a big resort. Not all of them rent out the finest suites in a hotel nearby a world-class theme park.

We all know why we’d ditch the wanted trip to Orlando, Florida and instead look for local attractions.

Not everyone can afford to go to Walt Disney World, you know. (This was taken on my winter staycation in 2005 and it was GREAT!)

First of all, there are times when air travel isn’t feasible, and it’s not just the airfares. (They can be either bearable or financially out of reach.) A lot of us hate standing in lines – the security lines, the lines to the ticket booths, or even lines to the bathrooms in peak travel seasons. If you’re not really prepared – as in if one 3oz bottle of liquid is astray from the quart-size baggie – you’d face long delays.

And let’s not mention that one person in your family being acrophobic, if you know what I mean.

Gas prices change at least every week. Does that mean that if they are low everybody can have free rein to drive with reckless abandon? Of course not! Even if they are tolerable we still need to conserve gas.

Some of us or at least one member each of our families has a medical condition that keeps us, him, or her from traveling far. Autism, for instance, has a lot of factors that set families back. Most places offer sensory overload, such a trip so far can be hard to adjust, and locations are unfamiliar. Unusual sights and sounds can be a perfect storm for a meltdown that induces stares and rude comments.

Get the picture? That’s another reason why people take vacations near home whether the economy is good or bad.

Even those with at least 6-figure incomes take those types of vacations, especially in tourism-intensive states.

Florida is one example of a good state to take a staycation. Not only we have big-name attractions like the Walt Disney World Resort (which believe it or not offers free things even when not staying there or going to the parks), Universal Orlando Resort, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and the famous beaches. We also have our lesser-known attractions too. When the big waterparks are expensive for Tampa Bay residents amid resident discounts, they’d consider Highland Family Aquatic Center as a low-cost alternative.

Believe me, even high-income Floridians within a 75-mile radius of Walt Disney World call staying at Gaylord Palms a staycation. (Photo by Bob B. Brown)

Another place where staycationing is likely is New Jersey. People from the northern counties flock to the eastern central part of the state to get golden tans, build sandcastles, and go fishing. (Locals call this “going down the shore.”) Also, residents enjoy the mountainous areas to camp out or take hikes, despite having to muscle through the state’s infamous toll roads like its stomach-turning Turnpike or the parking lot-like Parkway. (They’d probably know ways around them, even if road conditions and increased distance set them back.)

Not all people with huge gobs of money go to exotic places out of state, province, or country on vacation. They don’t often forget to see what’s in their hometown. Here are some ways to stretch your dollars (or other currencies) on your next near-home travel if you want to build wealth or already are doing so.

Relax and Make Home Relaxing

That’s right – switch the computer, the phones, and most everything else off. Hire a maid if possible or clean your house beforehand. Make your home relaxing if you are staying there instead of a hotel.

Look for Municipal Parks

City or county-owned recreation areas are not just the ones with nature trails, exercise paths, and playgrounds. They also include municipal water parks. Those parks have just about the same thrilling water slides you can slide by yourself or with a tube and the same play area with mushroom fountains for a low price. If your kids are begging you to go to top ones and they are either far or too expensive even for resident discounts, feel free to consider ones owned by your city or county as alternatives.

Have a Block Party

Sure, a neighborhood party requires planning, but in the long run it can save you money. Don’t just cook all the food and decorate the neighborhood – tell your neighbors to pitch in.

Have a Picnic

Where have all the picnics gone when most families shell out lots of dough for their vacations? Bring them back by having your own at the local park (see above).

See Local

First Look in your phone books or Internet to see what’s interesting around town. They range from small museums to amusement parks that aren’t well-known. Look for the aforementioned local discounts to save even more.

Even if you have a huge income, it’s perfectly OK to have a staycation. It saves you money in the long run and makes you even wealthier even if you’re already wealthy.

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How to Save Money Shopping Online (With Some Unconventional Ways)

There are many reasons why people save money when shopping online. They don’t have to worry about gas mileage in their cars being thrown to the wind like that part of financial caution. They can find just about anything their store (boutique, specialty, or even big-box) doesn’t offer, like a durable clay or a toy that must be ordered on the Web.

But there’s a low-side to it. Besides the online costs and taxes, you have to pay handling and shipping costs. That really holds true if you live from a store several states from you. If you want to defray them, you have to buy a lot of stuff you don’t need in the first place. (See my post on differentiating wants and needs.)

So how can you keep your wallet fat (which is vital to build wealth) while fulfilling your Internet buying needs – er, wants?

Use A Payment Merchant Service to Pay for your Items

I know, I know – you may be bashing a few sites in the category, but by following terms of service, you’ll end up saving money. This is the best time to sign up for paid survey-taking sites and online writing gigs.

Words of caution: if you received payments from the site that amount to at least 75% of the items you’re purchasing for the first time, get your account verified, even if you have to use your debit card. Wait for at least 60 days before spending it. (You may need to wait for a particular coupon for the desired items.) Otherwise, your account will be limited and you can’t spend it until you get it lifted off (that happened to me before, I can tell you).

Oh, and there may be a limit in how much you can spend money on your account on the site, so set a spending limit below the actual limit. You’ll save even more and still follow the terms of service.

Look for Said Items in Discount Websites

They sound like online versions of big-box stores, but if a site is selling your wanted items, the discount shopping website does so too. Usually, the latter sells them for low prices. You may want to find a site that doesn’t require you to use a credit card to pay for them, but I wish you good luck if you do.

Use Codes to Save More

Ahhh… coupon codes. They work like normal coupons, but use less paper. So use them to your advantage. Just type in the codes before buying what you want.

Shop on Local Online Stores

If shipping and handling fees are your big worries when online shopping, consider shopping at a website of a store close to home. But there’s more to that than just paying the usually low shipping costs. You’ll also help your local economy just as you would shop locally in person.

Look for Free or Discounted Shipping Which Stores Don’t Require You to Buy More

Many sites offer free or discounted shipping, but you have to buy more stuff or pay a higher-price item or two. Search for sites that guarantee low or free shipping and handling. The aforementioned local shops’ websites usually fall under the category.

Look for Discounts

This is the really obvious one, and you should be really aware of that. So don’t forget to seize this opportunity when something is some percent off the original price. Sign up for newsletters and sign in as a community member. Subscribers to your favorite shopping sites usually get more discounts, meaning more savings.

Online shopping doesn’t have to be financial bears, and you don’t usually need to spend a lot on not just the price of an item, but also the shipping. By following those tips, it can be both a pleasure and a stepping stone in gradually getting wealthy.

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What Price (What Is) Financial Freedom?

Knowing what is financial freedom is pretty challenging to grasp. Most people think of it as merely being rich. They think of not having to work one’s buns off, having as much as a 7 or 8-figure income, going on holiday a lot, and having closets full of, ahem, “designer clothes.”

Unfortunately, this is not what financial freedom means.

And no, it doesn’t define being able to buy all the luxury yachts you want. (Photo by Nick)

Perhaps you have read and heard about people struggling to make ends meet. They are on the news telling reporters how drowning in any debt makes their lives hard. They submit their sob-worthy tales on the papers or websites about being in foreclosure and living off foods bought from food stamps. Many of them tell the chronicles of struggling to find work.

One story from a blog features a photo of a short story written on a manila folder next to a wooden urn. That’s right – a wooden urn. Why? The author photographed it because his or her mother committed suicide because she had no health insurance, no home, and no job.

Another one features a young adult who drove so far away from home to work. Despite her petitions for a raise, she faced competition from somebody who worked half of her time and got paid more than her. Besides facing foreclosure, she wrote on a bridal magazine that even getting married was a mere financial fantasy.

Another story isn’t a story per se, but it clearly (or rather stereotypically, if that’s how you view it) differentiates what rich people eat and what the working poor eat. The latter is represented by a boxed meal that requires just that and ground meat and a package of ready-made ramen noodles. The rich, on the other hand, is represented by a plate of lobster costing a fortune and a similarly-priced beef or lamb dish.

Those are sad but true stories, overall. The authors or interviewees of them who backed them up with rotting teeth and sad faces have one thing in common they lack: financial freedom.

There are a slew of questions that span all stories and interviews: what if they could do something financially that can make them break poverty?

Wouldn’t it be nice if the people who face their dire financial situations choose both food and electricity instead of choosing either because of bills? What if they can still keep their homes while they still save or make a lot of money? What if they can find a way to make and save a lot of money to deal with all the debt and then not let it faze them anymore?

Those questions truly define financial freedom.

Pretend that you’re a person who misses North Jersey and is thinking about moving back. It’s a really expensive region with all the high taxes, tolls, and other hurdles to face.

But let’s say that you have more than enough money, be it a very high 6-figure income or a 7-figure one. You work efficiently enough (not just hard enough) to have obtained that income. It can be from a network marketing business or from royalties paid from music sales.

Well, you would buy a normal home (or even cheaper – a large enough apartment) and pay the mortgages and not worry about it. You would commute to work using either the Parkway, Turnpike, or both and not worry about having to decide between tolls and food. You would still pay those pesky high taxes and still have plenty left over.

With all the leftover money, you can still save it (a good thing). But if you have so much left over, you can save a portion of it and still do frugal things like staycations and thrift store shopping. (If you are shopping at a thrift store whose revenue is set aside to help people like some church mart somewhere, chances are that you’re shopping and giving to charity simultaneously.)

Here’s one story of how one person sought the meaning of financial freedom – living in a sustainable house while leaving his student loan debt behind.

Financial freedom is simply paying what needs to be paid while still having enough or more than enough money to live comfortably. It also means not having to work too much, giving you ample time to spend with your friends, family, and/or religious organization. (And it’s best achieved by gradually getting wealthy.)

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