Archive | December, 2009

Recovering From My Christmas Sugar Coma…

30 Dec

Hello lovelies!  So sorry to leave you stranded for almost a week, I seem to just now be coming out of my Christmas-food-induced-coma.  Oh my gosh!  I ate WAY too much to be detailed on my blog. 😉

Instead of a personal finance post, I’d like to leave you with a visual diary of some of my Christmas presents…I must have been good this year. 😉

I finally got that computer that I’ve been wanting

Pretty, huh?  The case is sort of a midnight blue color.  I love it!

(P.S. It has Windows Live Writer on it!  OMG, I wish I would have picked up on Live Writer a loooong time ago!)

A locket from Lloyd…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA          Perfume from Lloyd…

149I have been wanting this perfume for SO long!  It is DKNY and I love it!

Plus, clothes, gift cards, smelly-good-girl stuff, computer accessories, and lots of other random things!

I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas!  What did you get?

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas with your families!

See you next week with some new posts!


Guest Post: Fight Breast Cancer With Pink Prepaid Debit Card From ACE Cash Express

22 Dec

*Guest Post*

Some people have difficulty controlling their spending. Paychecks are spent down to the penny, often on the same day as they are received. And the countless opportunities to spend, spend, spend brings out the worst in those who can’t control themselves. 

Paying for items in cash is wonderful, but cash is easily lost, mishandled, or forgotten. Likewise, it is so easy to use one’s debit card or pull cash out of an ATM, using more money than should be used in the first place. Overdraft fees and ATM fees seem to pop up out of nowhere, causing unnecessary financial burdens. Paying with a credit card is worse, thanks to skyrocketing interest rates. 

If paying for items with cash, debit, or credit cards come with unwanted consequences, is there another logical solution? Instead of using these items, consumers should consider carrying a prepaid debit card. These cards help consumers to take control of their spending. It is impossible to spend more money than you have, while interest charges and overdraft fees are a fear of the past. It provides a sense of security, since deposits are insured by the FDIC. Likewise, government checks, wages from work, or any other financial transaction can be direct deposited to the card. In short, a prepaid debit card is essentially a miniature bank, without traditional banking headaches. 

Prepaid debit cards seem to grace the aisles of every retail establishment from coast to coast. Anyone could read the fine print of every single debt card and hosting financial institution, take careful notes, then spend hours comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of each. But who actually has that much time or patience?

Pink Prepaid Debit Card 

Individuals who would like to take advantage of prepaid debit cards should consider the Pink Prepaid Debit Card, which is offered through ACE Cash Express. This card is designed to give consumers all of the traditional debit card benefits while also helping a worthy cause. Over the last four years, a portion of all transaction and sales fees have been donated to cancer research, and specifically, for breast cancer research. Last year alone, the Pink Prepaid Debit Card donated more than $350,000 to the worthy cause. 

Customers who use the card love the fact that there are no commitments or incurred debt. They know that every time they use their cards, breast cancer research facilities receive financial support. The well-respected Visa logo is easily recognized and accepted worldwide. Each deposit is FDIC insured, protected from unauthorized activity, and available 24/7. Finally, Pink Prepaid customers can have their checks directly deposited to the card, without ever stepping foot into a bank or other financial institution. Add to these benefits the freedom from unexpected charges, overdrafts, or credit card debt, and the result is an amazing debit card which provides all of the financial services one could ever need, not to mention allowing the consumer to do their part in the fight against cancer!

*Guest Post*

The Plutus Awards: The Best In Personal Finance

21 Dec

Nominations for The Plutus Awards are now being accepted!

Head on over to the website to nominate your favorite personal finance software, bank, or discount brokerage company.  Even more importantly: you can nominate your favorite personal finance blogs (like your favorite NEW personal finance blog, wink wink 😉 ).

I already put my nominations in for my FAVORITE blogs (so many to choose from!).  Nominations are being taken through January.

You don’t have to vote in every category – in fact, you can vote for one blog/finance item in any number of categories you like!

Have fun!  Merry Christmas!

Making Retirement Decisions Over Pizza & Beer

20 Dec


Tonight, Lloyd and I enjoyed a low-key date of pizza and beer (with a coupon, of course – who do you think I am?).  Pizza and beer is one of my favorite dates – I’m a low-maintenance kinda gal and there’s something so refreshing about an ice cold brew and a steaming slice of pie on a Saturday night.  It really gets you to thinking about…retirement?

Over slices of pepperoni, Lloyd and I got on the subject of our retirement accounts and saving for the future.  Truth be told, we’ve been talking about this subject quite a lot lately.  I’ve been toying with the idea of…not maxing out my retirement account next year. *shocked gasps from readers*

Yes, that’s right, I might stray from the biggest personal finance rule of them all:  Thou shall max out thy retirement accounts each and every year.

The fact of the matter is that we have a lot to save for right now.  We want to pay off a good chunk of our future house before we have kids, we want to build our home gym, we want to buy a dog when we have a house, we want to get married.  On top of that, while my car is close to brand-new, Lloyd’s car is almost 10 years old and we’d be naive to think it won’t need maintenance or even need to be traded in in the near future.

What’s more important:  not getting into debt again or maxing out my retirement account?

The obvious answer is avoiding going back in debt.  I made a one-time stop in Debtsville and I don’t intend to ever go back.  I don’t mind working for even 5 more years if it means that I never have to be in debt ever again.

I’m happy I maxed out my 401k this year.  If I was going to do it any year, this was the year to do it.  I now have a huge amount of shares under my belt that I bought for a really cheap price.  Who knows when the market will provide that opportunity again?

So, next year, I won’t be maxing out my retirement accounts.  Instead of saving almost 24% for retirement, I’ll be backing my contributions down to the Dave Ramsey recommended percentage of 15%.  Next year, I will contribute $5,000 to a Roth IRA and $5-6,000 to my 401k (plus about $3,000 in matching from my employer).

Our ultimate goal is to reach max-out again and stay there, but for now, we’re content with contributing just 15%.

I’m happy with my decision.  My taxable income will go up and I’ll pay a couple thousand dollars more in federal taxes, but I think it’s worth it in the end.

We had some great personal finance discussion flowing over our dinner tonight.  It makes me think: is it possible that the best financial decisions are made over pizza and beer?

(photo source)

Add Me On Facebook!

19 Dec

First it was twitter, now I’m joining the facebook cult.

So…add me as a friend!  Write messages on my wall!  I can’t wait to “meet” all my lovely readers!

Carrie Oncheap

Earn Free Cash Using SWAGBUCKS (Plus A Referral Code!)

17 Dec

If you guys aren’t using swagbucks, now is the time to start! is a search engine powered by Google that allows you to search the web the way you normally would, but you earn “swagbucks” that get you free prizes (including cash and gift cards!) in the process.

I’m also very excited to offer ALL Carrie…On The Cheap readers a temporary Swagbucks referral code worth 5 swagbucks!

To get started, use the following link to sign up at Swagbucks.  Normally, you would get 3 swagbucks credited to your account to start, but with my referral code, your account will be credited with FIVE swagbucks.

Sign up for HERE!

When you sign up, be sure to enter referral code “carriecheap” in the Swag Code box to earn your 5 bonus swagbucks!  (The referral code is case-sensitive and good only through December 24, 2009.)

I’ve been using Swagbucks for only a couple months to search the interwebs, and I’ve already earned about $50 in cash or gift cards.  It’s super easy and really fun!  They also offer fun “swag codes” from time to time as freebies that you enter on their homepage for extra swagbucks.

Be sure and send your referral link (something you’ll get when you sign up) to all your friends – you’ll get the same swagbucks they receive when they search, too!

Sign up for HERE!

So, what are you waiting for?!  Head over to swagbucks and start earning some free prizes!

Search & Win

If You Can’t Get Enough Of Me Here…

16 Dec

…go check out my post on “Tough Love Debt Reduction” at Money Under 30!

Surprise!  I’m a new contributing blogger at Money Under 30!

I am so excited that David has given me such a great opportunity to write for his website!

I’ll be writing one post per week for now, so make sure to add Money Under 30 your feeder reader or list of blogs that you read!

Hope you enjoy my post!

(Can you tell I’m excited?!  I ended every sentence in this post with an exclamation point! Ha ha)

Use These Tips When Your Motivation For Working Out Dwindles

16 Dec


  • You’ll sleep like a rock instead of tossing and turning all night. (Bonus point for looking refreshed in the morning!)
  • You’re less likely to get sick.  Before I started working out, I was sick ALL the time.  Now I get about 1 cold per year – sometimes zero!
  • Your heart and blood pressure will thank you!  Last time I checked, you kinda need your heart to stick around for a while!
  • I always feel better after I sweat out a gallon of toxins!  It’s so cleansing for your body.
  • Everything, and I mean everything, works & feels better: your hips, your posture, your walk, your skin, your glow!


  • Muffin tops, back fat – be gone!
  • Pants won’t cut into your hips/belly anymore.  Trust me, I’m not a rail, but I used to HATE that uncomfortable feeling of too tight pants in the waist-region.  This feeling alone greatly increases the quality of my days – all day, every day.
  • The above bullet applies to your entire body, too.  Clothes will actually fit you and skim your body instead of suffocating it.
  • 2 words: BIKINI SEASON
  • Looking better in front of cameras.


  • I plan to have fun in retirement, not sit in a rocker all day long.  Working out will give me the stamina I need live a good, quality life well into my senior years!
  • Building and maintaining a workout plan in your youth can help prevent or lessen the ailments of old age.  Keep your hips healthy with strong leg and ab muscles, keep your back sturdy by stretching and lifting weights, etc.


  • So I’ve heard (and this makes sense), being in shape makes pregnancy & delivery easier!
  • It’s more fun to play with the kiddos than watch from the sidelines.
  • Who doesn’t want to be the MILF everyone talks about in the neighborhood! (What, that’s not everyone’s dream?)


  • If you’re getting sick less, you’re taking less time off work, going to the doctor less, and spending less on medicines.  Cha-ching!
  • The more you work out, the less likely you are to sabotage your hard work with fast food or other bad food choices.  Those things can add up!


  • There is something to be said about knowing that you can throw down if you need to, if say, some girl tries to flirt with your boyfriend.
  • You can make friends at the gym or use it as bonding time and bring one of your girlfriends along!
  • Lloyd and I worked out together a lot when we first started dating.  It was almost like an exciting date every time we went.  Drag your new girl/boyfriend to the gym with you and pretty soon you’ll be going daily!


  • There’s nothing like that calm, relaxed feeling that you get post-workout.
  • Hate that afternoon slump?  Feel tired every morning?  Feel like you never get enough sleep?  Your energy will skyrocket and those feelings with disappear with a regular and consistent workout program.
  • You can actually have the occasional ice cream or other treat and not complain about how guilty you feel for eating it – you deserve it!


  • I’d love Lloyd if he were 500 pounds.  Love may start with looks, but after a while it’s just about what’s inside.  However, I want to be there to grow old with Lloyd.  What’s the fun in retirement if you can’t enjoy it with the one you love?  Respect yourself and your S.O. with some regular TLC for your bod.
Disclaimer:  I don’t condone violence or truly “throwing down” with someone.  Please don’t go out and beat someone up just because I said it can help motivate you to work out.  Thanks! 🙂

My 2010 Goals (Not To Be Confused With Resolutions…)

14 Dec

…because resolutions always get broken.  Goals are meant to be attained!

On to my 2010 GOALS:

  • Pass the flippin’ CPA Exam: I have TWO sections left – halfway there! I feel like I spent the majority of 2009 applying, thinking about, worrying about, or studying for the exam.  I’m really aiming to take (and hopefully pass) my last exam in mid-April.  That would mean I would know if I completely passed the exam in mid-May to mid-June (they just love to drag it out).  Fingers crossed!
  • Learn/Use/Implement Quicken Software: This past fall, I bought Quicken 2009 for a really great price.  I’ve wanted to use Quicken for a long time, but I don’t have my own computer to get it all set up on.  I’ve since asked my parents for a laptop for Christmas (if all else fails, ask the ‘rents 😉 ).  When I get my laptop (assuming they take my request seriously), I really want to get Quicken set up and running like a well-oiled machine.  I’ve just grown bored sick of regular old spreadsheets.  I figure if I spend so much time talking/thinking/writing about finance, I might as well have a cool software program to track them!  Plus,that means you guys get to see more of my spending activity. 😉
  • Max out Roth IRA: Self-explanatory.  Take $5,000, put it into a Roth IRA.
  • Reveal myself on my blog: After I pass the exam, I’d like to put more effort into my blogging.  I don’t think I can hide from everyone behind the pen name of Carrie forever.  This also means that I’ll have to get a new domain name…any ideas? 🙂  Look for this advancement no earlier then next late fall or winter, which brings me to…
  • Move blog to self-hosting: I know nothing about self-hosting.  I’m green with envy when it comes to Well-Heeled’s recent jump over to self-hosting.  I’ve assigned Lloyd as Commander-in-Chief of the blog migration, but for some reason he doesn’t seem too pumped about that.  He’ll come around, I’m sure.  Look for this development to start sometime in late summer or early fall.
  • Bathroom Makeover:  Random?  Yes.  However, I’m still stuck in a debt-payoff-spending rut.  I haven’t spent a dime on freshening up my apartment in years.  It’s…depressing.  My current bathroom showcases an interesting color palette (do green, blue, red, maroon, and tan match?), boring wall hangings, and out-of-date towels.  Obviously since I rent, I can’t paint the walls, but I want to change out the decorations and color scheme.  As it is, I already spend way too much time primping in there and think I should at least have a pretty bathroom to show for it!  The transformation will be detailed on my blog…yay for you!  How does this relate to finance?  My goal is to complete the project on the cheap (numbers are still in discussions).
  • Become a Fashionista: Yeah, I’m lame.  I’m obsessed with fashion.  Some of my favorite blogs are fashion blogs (shout out to What I Wore).  I subscribe to People Style & Lucky Mag, yet I know nothing when it comes to putting together an outfit.  My work ensembles are derived from the easiest of formulas:  cute top/sweater, black/gray/tan pants or skirt, brown/black pumps.  Ta-da!  Just today I work a high-neck tank top under a cardigan and was super proud of myself (I failed Layering 101).  How will I achieve this goal?  Not sure yet, but a new blog is a possibility. Achievement in this goal is not exactly something you can measure…like an IRA max-out for instance.  If I don’t branch out into a new blog, would you guys like to see this new venture in my life detailed on this blog?  Let me know!
  • Make a To-Do List every morning: I love lists.  I love to-dos (when they don’t involve studying).  I know I accomplish so much everyday, but sometimes I feel like I have no idea what I did all day.  I also feel unorganized sometimes and think this might help me prioritize my life.
  • Stretch every day: I preach the joys of lifting and running, but when it comes to stretching, that’s a big fat epic fail for me.  Which is just silly because I LOoooove stretching.  I used to be on the dance team in high school and could easily do all 3 splits (yes, there are 3).  I just always seem to forget or  just run out of time at the gym.  I don’t even need to stretch for very long – a couple minutes minimum.

I truly believe I can accomplish all of these goals next year!  Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2010!