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12/05/14 General # ,

When a Splurge is Worthwhile

When a Splurge is Worthwhile

This goes against the grain of the goal of this website — to use your money wisely — but sometimes you’ve got to live it up a little and reward yourself. That’s what I did recently by splurging on some NHL tickets.

I was initially shocked when I spent $300 on two corner seats in the second row at a San Jose Sharks game. But after the thrilling game (look for me wearing a white Sioux hockey jersey with green lettering in the front row behind a red sign in this video) I was sure it was money well spent.

How is a $150 splurge for a hockey game ticket worthwhile? Because I was buying an experience, which psychology research has shown to bring people more happiness than possessions. Continue reading

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12/03/14 Work # ,

Getting Laid Off Changed My Whole Attitude on Work

Getting Laid Off Changed My Whole Attitude on Work

When it comes to work, I’m not lazy. I should clarify that by saying that when it comes to working as a writer or editor, I don’t consider myself lazy. I’m happy working 40 hours a week when I’m doing work I enjoy.

But being laid off in August 2008 as an assistant metro editor at a newspaper in the Bay Area during another round of layoffs changed my outlook on working.

At first I was panicked, as anyone might be, after having steady employment my entire adult life and all of a sudden not having a job at all. I collected unemployment insurance, looked for full-time jobs for months, and took on some freelance work while telling myself that eventually I’d find a full-time job that I loved again. Being laid off wasn’t so bad. Continue reading

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12/02/14 General #

Tricks to Cutting Cable TV and Enjoying It

Tricks to Cutting Cable TV  and Enjoying It

Cutting cable TV has become so common that since I first did it in the summer of 2012, it took me more than a year to realize the easiest way to watch TV on the cheap: Reconnect the cable cord.

I was too focused on finding other ways to watch TV — Hulu, Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, Apple, MLB.TV, hooking up an antenna, and visiting friends with TV cable during major live events — that I didn’t think to check if the cord that the cable repair guys left attached to the wall still worked after cutting cable.

It turns out that the cable company workers didn’t go to the curb and turn off the cable connection to my house. They basically unplugged it, removed the equipment except for the cable in case I later decided to return as a customer, and drove off. It was only when I was trying to decide if $20 a month for local broadcast cable from my cable company was worthwhile so we could watch the Oscar telecast live about a year ago when I decided to plug the dusty cable back into the TV and run the channel scan to see if it still worked.

It did, and we’ve been watching free basic cable ever since. Continue reading

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11/21/14 Personal Finance # ,

Another Personal Finance Blog?

Another Personal Finance Blog?

As someone who is interested in how to best utilize my time and money, I’ve come across numerous personal finance blogs telling me how to save money, make money and how to stay out of debt.  I’ve written lists for websites on the best ways to save at the grocery store and if an extended warranty is worthwhile (it usually isn’t).

But what I haven’t seen much of online is a discussion of how your money and time are tied together. How being smarter with your money will free up the valuable time you have. There are only so many hours in a day, and you can’t buy more when the 24 hours are up. It’s not a news flash that the more time you spend working so you can earn money, the less time you have to spend it.

That’s the discussion I want to get to here. By being smarter with your money — by how you use it and earn it — you can free up more time to do what you really want. No one wishes they had worked more in life, do they?

Fewer bills, for example, are one way of not having to work as much. Without a cable TV bill, I pay less money for my TV service, and therefore don’t have to work as much to pay those bills. Lifestyle changes are just some of the ways to cut back spending so you can free up more time for other things.

In a way I’m promoting minimalism, which I’ll get into in a few posts. But mostly, I want this personal finance blog to focus on how finding better ways to make more money, and having fewer things to spend money on while being smart with the purchases you do make, is a lifestyle worth talking about. Those goals shouldn’t cancel each other out. Making more money while spending less doesn’t mean you have to work more hours in a day. It just means there are better ways to do things so that you can spend however much you need to meet your daily and long-term goals while having plenty of time left over to enjoy. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.