Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quick Pics for FREE

So my friend was a bit confused about how to download her pics from her phone to her computer. She was worried about not finding her USB cord, and having to install the software. She didn't have the internet on her phone, so there was no way to directly upload images to facebook, myspace, etc. She's been worrying about this for months, and asking people to take pics and upload them for her.

I offered a quick tip for her today, which was my way of getting around the USB cord, the software, or the INSANE cell phone internet charges that apply. (I don't know why anyone would have the internet on there phone with what they charge for it, unless it was a business thing or you're never around your computer.)

This is what you do: text message/picture message the photos to your email account. Do this by sending a message, but in the recipient number, type in your email address. The pics will be text messaged as an attachment in your email immediately. Then just download, save, and upload to your facebook page. It's free if you already have text/picture messaging, and it's an easy way of avoiding all those steps or cell phone internet charges. I don't know if this is old news, but I was excited to discover this worked a few months ago. No more software/downloads/or phone internet charges :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My fancy machine, cost me what?!?!?!?

I'm in my first year of graduate school, which is pretty surprising to me because it took me a long time to finish my bachelor's degree. I wasn't sure about grad school right away, but I graduated with the worst possible timing, which was during our "Great Recession." After spending the entire summer looking for that well deserved opportunity that would pay off after all the effort of a college degree, I started to freak out. I wasn't getting any leads for new jobs. Not surprising, considering that there were so many people with more experience who were in the same non-existent job market. So after a 3 month break from college, I dove deep into graduate school. Yes, the school loan total jumped considerably, but there were some new costs that appeared that I did not expect. One of these included a new computer. I had a laptop (is it labtop or laptop?) that worked okay, until I heard that ear-piercing sound of my virus scanner picking up a Trojan Virus. How the hell did this happen?

Anyway, there was no getting that Trojan out, and the computer was pushing its 7th Birthday. There wasn't even enough memory to run the "Sneezing Panda" video on youtube.

So, time for a new computer. I was excited about getting a new machine, but also developing a belly ache from the anticipated $1000 dollars that I would have to drop to get a computer that lived up to my expectations.

I'll cut to the end and then fill in the details.... I am the proud owner of the greatest laptop now, and I spent $300 dollars on her. She's an hp pavillion I think with 6 gig of RAM, along with other bells and whistles, including the full microsoft office suite, i-tunes, included music files, new comodo internet security, new drivers, and other things I have no idea about yet.

The greatest part, I have PERSONAL IT support. No calling overseas or being on hold for hours. My guy is a text message away.

How did I do it? I started asking people, not salespeople, about my anticipated purchase, and I found my computer guy. Everyone knows someone who is that techy/computer savvy type, and they will tell you where and how to get a good cheap computer. In fact, they probably own a few machines themselves. In this case, Jack had one he "wasn't really using." And mentioned he could sell his if I was interested. I was a little skeptical buying someone's used laptop, but he agree to loan it to me and let me try it out for awhile.

Wow was I surprised! This laptop was clean inside and out, and looked like it was brand new. I was stunned to find out that it was a couple of years old because of the excellent condition that it was in. I agreed to buy it because it was more than I could have ever asked for. I didn't even want to give it back, but he insisted on reloading all the drivers, updating it, and even installing some programs that he thought I would personally need. We have some similar music tastes so he even left a taste of his music files on the hard drive for me. Here's the personal note he left me on the desktop:

"i installed microsoft office 2003 pro, DO NOT UPDATE IT. You may need to do a couple more
MS OFFICE updates, there shouldn't be too many left. otherwise enjoy the laptop.
If you have any problems please don't hesitate to contact me."

How great was this. He even download a clean i-tunes for me because of how addicted to my i-pod I am.

All in all, a great buy, and I saved $700. So if you're in the market for a new computer, ask that guy you know that is the computer savvy type. He might have a few "lying around." I've included some pics of the new machine, and yes, there are some xbox stickers on the top. I think the stickers give it character, plus they remind me of my friend. He's my favorite. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All About the Benjamin's...

So why a blog about saving money? I started to notice that one of the habits that I consciously developed over the past year was my attempt to pinch my valuable pennies. I am aware that this is not a new idea, and in fact, everyone around me is religiously practicing frugalness. We are all aware that the economy is a cold dirty river, and we are just a bunch of awkwardly swimming rats, trying to keep from drowning in the turmoil. We don’t want to swim, and we don’t want to struggle, but we all have to keep our heads above the water.

However, I’ve come to realize that out of the certain types of families in our society who are swimming through the economy with me; I’m probably one of the luckiest of us rodents. I’m not married, I have no kids, and I’m in grad school. I have a stable, part-time job in heathcare that is under no threat of layoffs, and is very flexible with my class schedule. I probably won’t lose my job unless it’s through some fault of my own. (By writing that down I just realized that I should learn not to be late for work so much.)

What’s the point with the personal details? I hope to illustrate that I am part of the group who has the most room to choose where my dollars go. I’m not saying that I have loads of “disposable income,” but do live comfortably, for the most part. I have a decent place to live, vehicles to drive, food in my pantry, and enough clothes that allows avoid laundry for a month. It all seems peaceful and comfortable, and so I thought….

About a year and a half ago, the outside influence of our beaten economy, started to bruise my peaceful existence. Jay lives with me, and he started losing some of his income. He works at Applebee’s, and when people don’t have money, they don’t eat out at restaurants; therefore, there was little need for Jay to cook at the restaurant. Jay’s hours at work were cut, and in turn, so was our sustainable income. Then, I got in over my head during my senior year of college, and I had to voluntarily give up some of the hours that I worked. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to meet the demands of senior projects, tests, and papers. Therefore, through both of our lost hours at work, we ended up with a 40% decrease in income, and everything was threatened.

So, we followed the bandwagon and started to think of ways to cuts costs in our lives. Jay and I began to think of creative ways to buy, save, make, and create both the things we needed, and the things we wanted. The results are not fantastic or life changing, but more realistic than anything. There’s this sort of phenomenon that I’ve noticed, and now the movement is that it’s cool to be cheap. Everyone is swapping stories and ideas about how to save money in their daily lives. It’s not about “keeping up with the Jones’s” or Kardashian’s anymore, its hosting potlucks with the Smith’s or shopping at the Johnson’s garage sale.

My entire attempt at cutting costs in the past 18 months or so has been challenging and rewarding, but also a lot of fun. In this blog, I hope to share not only my golden ideas, but the ideas of others because no one can think of every good idea themselves. I will give credit where credit is due though. I will not focus on just my single, 20-something demographic, and I will provide ideas for everyone. I may have kids, but like everyone, I know people with kids. I may have a job, but I know people who don’t have a job. I may not have a mortgage or a car payment, but I know people with them. Therefore, this blog is for everyone, unless you’re a Hilton. But then again, even Paris might like to make her own dog toys.