Saturday, July 27, 2013

If money doesn't make you happy, then you probably aren't spending it right

A friend linked me to this article that appeared in the Journal of Consumer Psychology in April 2011.  It’s an old write-up but since it was new to me, I thought it was worth sharing.  The long title of the article was catchy enough for me to give the whole paper a read:

If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right

The authors of this research study propose that the relationship between money and happiness is surprisingly weak due to the way people spend money. They state that “it should not be surprising when wealthy people who know nothing about happiness end up with lives that aren’t that much happier than anyone else’s.”

Here are the authors’ suggestions:

Monday, July 22, 2013

A goathead was the cause of my morning disappointment

This morning I woke up 30 minutes earlier than normal because I planned on riding my bike to work today.  I’ve been getting really good at biking these last few months, and I can feel myself getting more fit and strong.  

I no longer have to get off my bike to push it on steep uphill climbs like a wimp.  I’ve upped my bike commute to 2 days a week now.  It’s been a great way for me to squeeze in ~140 minutes of cardio exercise in 2 days (my ride time is now 30 minutes to work, 40 minutes home). 

I was fully geared to go: dry-fit long sleeve shirt, sweat pants, workout gloves, UV Buff, sunglasses, and broad spectrum SPF 70+ sun block.

As I was pushing the bike out the door I noticed there was something very wrong: my front tire was completely flat… WTF?!  
My hopes of getting my exercise on this morning were literally deflated. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

e-Rewards: surveys for airline miles

I have mentioned e-Rewards in the past but I have never written an article dedicated exclusively to the program.  While many people may already be very familiar with the program, I hope that this post helps others who have never heard of e-Rewards.  Founded in 1999, e-Rewards is an online market research company that rewards users for taking surveys.  These surveys help influence marketing decisions of leading companies. 
I’ve been using e-Rewards for the last year to earn free Southwest and American Airlines miles.  There are other rewards you can earn such as gift certificates, magazines, hotel points, and even charity donations.  It’s free and easy to sign up for e-Rewards once a sponsor company invites you to join.    

Friday, July 19, 2013

American Express Blue Cash credit cards

I’ve shared in the past about how exciting credit card points and miles can be.  This being said, sometimes it’s nice to have straight cash back, especially on your everyday purchases.

Free airline and hotel travel may not be on everyone’s mind.  For those individuals that are looking for the best cash back credit cards, it’s hard to beat the American Express Blue Cash credit cards.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
comes in two flavors: the Everyday card, and the Preferred Card.  Both cards offer excellent rewards for making your most normal purchases at: groceries, gas and department stores.  

Everyone needs to buy groceries, get gas for their vehicle(s), shop at department stores.  No other credit cards can top the cash back percentages that these two AMEX cards offer.  

Let me break down the difference between the two credit cards.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A one-way flight from Southern California to Las Vegas for $2.50 on Southwest

I have a business conference to attend in Las Vegas, Nevada in a few months.  I know the date that I am flying out but I’m not sure which date I will be flying back.  Whenever possible, I like to book my flights as soon as I am sure which dates I will be flying.  Award travel is usually cheaper when booked further in advance. 
As you know, we have a ton of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and like to use them for free travel whenever possible.  Today, I will share just how easy it is to transfer Ultimate Rewards points into Southwest Rapid Rewards points and use them to book amazing travel deals.  

I just booked my one-way flight from SNA (Orange County) to LAS (Las Vegas) on Southwest Airlines for 4,380 points and $2.50.    

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Declutter, stop buying crap, and get rich

We live in a middle class suburban neighborhood in Southern California. 
One peculiar thing that I have noticed amongst our neighbors is that most of them park their cars on their driveways or on the street.  By my personal and very informal observation, I would estimate that 75-80% of my neighbors park at least one car on the driveway.  I would estimate that 30-40% of my neighbors don’t park any vehicle in the garage. 

At first I thought that this was due to most families here having more cars than garage space.  Then I found out that wasn’t the case.  Often times when we ride our bikes or walk or drive through our neighborhood, I see garage doors left open.  We have lived in our home for almost 3 years and have gotten a chance to see into the garages of almost all of our neighbors.  When we pass by we get a chance to peak at what’s inside.  Most of the time what I see looks like this:
Oops, did I just post a picture of your garage?
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