Cord cutting is becoming more and more mainstream as consumers get fed up with the high cost of cable tv and incessant, interruptive advertising.
If you have been looking to cut the cable cord, or if you already have and are looking for some more sources of media, then your local library may have you covered!
Our library began advertising their partnership with Hoopla.Hoopla is an add-on service that your library may offer to you for free. Here is a bit more about Hoopla from their About page:
hoopla digital builds on that passion by providing public libraries of all sizes the ability to offer patrons an enormous selection of digital video (movies and TV shows), music, audiobooks, ebooks and comics to their patrons. For these libraries, we’ve pioneered a unique model that allows patrons to borrow content immediately, removing artificial availability constraints and maximizing the power of digital content and Internet distribution. Technologically, we focus on the latest browser, phone, tablet, and TV products to deliver the best possible experience to our user – our passion – the public library patron.
There are currently over 1,200 libraries in the USA and Canada that have partnered with them.The signup process took less than 2 minutes.
Each library sets its own Hoopla borrowing limit. For me, that means that I can borrow a total of five (5) items per month. I had to dig around the help quite a bit to find out that returning an item early does not increment your borrow quota for the month. So if I borrow five digital items today, I have to wait until the start of the next month before I can borrow anything else. Obviously this kind of stinks, but for the price (FREE) how picky can you be?
There does seem to be wide support for devices. It looks like both TV and chrome cast are both supported via mirroring from a phone or tablet.
Ok, what about the actual content available? It looks like they have Audiobooks, Movies, Music, Comics, Ebooks, and Television.While there are some bigger well known titles in the catalogue, there is also quite a bit of B and C roll material. You might get lucky and find just what you are looking for however to scratch that ear worm.
A thorough review is available here if you want to read more.
The book penned by Steve & Annette ‘Economides’ (oh please) details their overly complex allowance system that they have developed to help raise productive members of society. The book starts off well, talking about the 5/50/500 concept whereby a small child will make a $5 request, a tween will make a $50 request/mistake, a teenager will make a $500 request, a college student will make a $5,000 request, and an adult child will scale up to $50,000 mistakes/requests. The sooner that you teach money handling to children, the less costly the requests and mistakes they make later on in life will be. In their words, kids will take everything that you give them, so it pays to control the purse strings early on in life and not bail them out of smaller goof ups.
The book takes a decided turn for the worse when the authors proudly state that allowances are bad and parents shouldn’t use them, then launches into a multi chapter discussion of their family’s allowance (er point) system.
Each child earns 0-5 points a day for completing expected tasks, like getting out of bed, and at the end of the week, the parents have to tally up the points and use some weird sliding age weighted scale to turn the points into an allowance (oops, they call it a paycheck).
If you have hours of idle time as a parent and are looking to add some complexity to your life, then by all means read up on the MoneySmart Family System.
Tells parents not to bail out kids mistakes
Includes discussion of all age groups from 2-24+
Chapters and chapters of overly complex allowance systems
The really corny made up stage name
The better than thou attitude (they do personal finance consulting for their church and talk about the silly mistakes that people come to them with concerning their children)
The book by Tim Leffel looks at how to get more out of your (international) vacations while spending less. Who wouldn’t want that?
I have read through the first two of three sections in the book. In section one, Tim talks about the big expenses associated with travel and how two hypothetical families, the Smiths and the Johnsons, waste and save money on airfare and lodging. The second section talks about dining, ground transportation, and souvenir shopping.
The essence of Tim’s travel philosophy is that the best trips and cheapest trips happen when we avoid the American pretense of travel. If I asked you to name a good beach destination, you would probably respond with Florida, Hawaii, or the Bahamas. The reason why those places come to mind is that they are heavily marketed. Those big budget ad campaigns come out of the pockets of tourists. In one example given in the book, a resort in the Bahamas got caught red handed publishing pamphlets of their resort with images of beaches found in Florida. Their response, “beaches all look the same anyway”. So if beaches all look the same, why spend big bucks to go to a well marketed one?
The theme of getting off the beaten track, avoiding the herd, and walking/talking/eating like a local is repeated frequently in the book. In many ways it reminded me of our recent trip to Mexico where we stayed in local apartments, ate at a food truck and other hole-in-the-walls, and swam in the local swimming hole.
I would recommend that you pick this book up and give it a read if you have ever only stayed at resorts or chain hotels, use tour buses, and never stray far from the touristy areas. If that doesn’t describe you, then you could probably skip this book.
It’s mid July and it is HOT. The obvious answer to escape the heat is to head on down to your public library, find a good book, and cross off some check boxes on your summer reading program.
I just finished, and Shae had finished before me, reading Jeff Yeager’s book, The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches, A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less.
The author, Mr Yeager, is a retired CEO of a nonprofit hostel organization. After spending a lifetime of working in the nonprofit space, Yeager understands a thing or two about squeezing every dollar. It follows that his take on personal finance ignores the income side of the equation and focuses purely on expenses.
The book centralizes around the concept of “money steps”. The example given early on is that of the typical teenager who works a job to afford the car that gets them to the job. Yeager argues that the teenager could just stay home sans car and skip earning money (and trading time in the process). If time is money, then surely money is time. We know that we have a finite amount of time on this earth, so why waste it trading it for money?
If you are familiar with Suze Orman then you will understand when I describe Yeager’s philosophies as the anti-Orman. If you are unfamiliar with her, then here is the quick rundown. Ms Orman has penned a number of successful personal finance books that encourage readers to give up small daily expenses, like the morning Starbucks coffee. By doing so, Orman hypothesizes that the savings will snowball and secure an easy retirement. Yeager pokes at this style of personal finance. He pokes hard at it (yes he also uses a lot of old man sexual innuendos in the book). Yeager’s argument in his book, where he calls her out by name several times, is that any small daily savings will simply be spent elsewhere in the day. Even if someone has enough control not to spend that money and put it in a savings account, it’ll likely be raided at the first sign of trouble. Instead, Yeager advocates pinching dollars, not pennies. Each chapter in the Cheapskate book focuses on a major line item in our lives.
Chapter 4, Warning: Money May Be Hazardous to Your Health, examines how many money steps the typical American goes through that end up destroying their health.
Work at job, earn money -> Eat out -> Get fat -> Work at job, earn money -> Get gym membership -> etc. etc.
I had never heard of it before, and maybe it is a Jeff Yeager original, but he details his way of grocery shopping. His one and very simple rule is to not spend more than a $1/pound on anything at the store. While it isn’t an unbreakable rule, the reasoning behind it is simple. The food pyramid and cost pyramid are inversely related. The grains, rice, and other bulk portions of your diet are easy to pick up for less than a dollar a pound. Fruit and veggies are similarly cheap. Red meat is a once in a while food.
As for staying fit, he writes that everybody should do as much as possible for themselves. The yard needs mowed, that’s a great workout. Home improvement list to knock out, that should burn off a few calories. Walking and biking instead of having other people shuttle you around is also beneficial to your health.
Buy a Home, Not a Castle, hits on two major points. GPS homes, a home that requires satellite positioning to navigate, are excessive and ‘starter’ homes are bunk.
Our grandparents didn’t buy a starter home, they bought one house and lived there all their lives. Today, many people climb the home ladder. Buy a starter home > live there for 5 years > buy a bigger home > repeat repeat repeat. Not only is there the financial loss (the first few years of a 30 year mortgage are primarily interest and you don’t build much equity) but there is also the societal problem of people not putting down roots and truly belonging to a community. Why invest the time to get to know your neighbors, volunteer at an organization, or participate in democracy, when you are going to pick up and leave for a bigger and ‘better’ home in a matter of months.
Transportation, Gadgets, Entertainment, and More
These are all topics that have their own chapters. I’d encourage you to pick the book up at your local library and read it yourself. The 230 page book is a quick read (and humorous if you are into old man sex jokes). Most of the points in the book, we had already been applying in our daily lives. I guess it was more of a reaffirmation of our own lifestyle. Yes, cheapskate can be cool and was once the norm!
If I had to recommend just one book about investing, I would recommend The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing. It presents information in a very easy to digest format and the authors cover many different subjects that are relevant to all stages of life, from what to do with that first paycheck, all the way to how to plan an estate.
I was able to skim through the book in a single night, mostly because I am already familiar with the Boglehead approach to investing. Hint, it is the same one advocated by Vanguard.
So if you haven’t jumped into the investment pool yet because of fears or apprehension, then this is the book for you. If you are already swimming in the waters and want a refresher, this is also the book for you.