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Sunday Reads: My Favorites From The Week

6 Dec

Awesome and/or HI-larious articles from the week:

Book Review: L.A. Candy Should Have Been Titled Free Candy

29 Nov

A couple weeks ago, I picked up Lauren Conrad’s (from The Hills) new – and first – book, L.A. Candy, from my local library.  After reading about individual taxation and capital gains & losses all day, I occasionally like to lose myself in a mind-numbing chick-lit book, and I knew L.A. Candy would be perfect for the job.

If you’re a fan of The Hills, you’ll probably like this book.  However, if you are also a personal finance nerd and/or blogger, then this book will be like fingernails on a chalk board for you.  More on that later…

In case you haven’t heard, the book is based on a new “reality show star” who “recently moved to L.A.” with one of her “gal pals” to “live the Hollywood dream”.  What that really means is that the story is about Lauren Conrad’s road to reality stardom, just with a different name attached to the character.

So, did it satisfy my chick-lit craving?  Yes.  Did it drive me so crazy that I wanted to reach into the book and smack the leading lady?  Double yes.

But, here’s where it ties to personal finance: these girls do not pay for anything.  Well…in the book, they didn’t pay for anything, and I’m assuming the same holds true for the actual reality-show stars.

Here’s a few scrumptious tidbits about their freebies (spoiler alert!):

  • When Jane (the main character) and her friend move to L.A., they’re originally holed up in a crappy apartment with a bad view.  However, when they sign on to film for the reality show, the network they are working for has them move to a swanky new apartment in a nicer area that they don’t have to pay for…at all.  No rent, no utilities, no anything.  Score!
  • Since the network needs good footage for the show, they often set them up with the royal treatment at the hippest nightclubs in L.A.  They get the best table, complimentary bottle service, free entry, etc.  Remind you of all those times that Lauren & Heidi ruled the roost at places like Area and Le Deux on The Hills?
  • Jane goes on a couple dates and she never pays.  I didn’t notice if it said her date or the show paid for the dates…but, I’m assuming the show did.
  • Once Jane and her friends become “stars”, they start getting all sorts of free clothes in the mail so that designers can get free advertising and the girls can look fabulous on-screen.  Ever wondered how Lauren always looked so polished on The Hills (aside from the fact that her parents are loaded)?  She was probably get tons of free clothes from designers.

If you like chick-lit and want an easy, fun read to curl up to this winter, this book will do the trick (although the writing is first-grade level, so it will only take you a couple days to get through).

I’m glad I read this book, though.  Sometimes it’s easy to be envious of girls that seem to get everything handed to them on a silver platter like those reality show starlets – especially when you’re working so hard to financially support yourself.  But, their fame is short-lived, and once they have to fin for themselves, they’re going to regret ever being on a reality show.  They won’t know anything about real-life and how to handle their money and they’ll still be waiting for someone to pay their rent every month.

I’ll take my simple, budgeted life over their “reality” life any day, thankyouverymuch.


Sunday Reads: Awesome Money Articles

22 Nov

There are so many fabulous and wise personal finance articles written every week, that I’d like to start sharing my favorites with you!  I’ll do my best to try to make this a weekly post, but I can’t guarantee anything. 😉

Book Review: Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel

20 Oct

Author, blogger, and “stingy scoundrel” Phil Villarreal recently sent me a copy of his new book.  To say I was surprised by the book’s content would be huge understatement.


If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I enjoy the more “personal” side of personal finance more than long drawn out blog posts about housing rates and the stock market (yawn).  If you are like me, then this book will be right up your alley.

Everyone in America has recently hopped on the frugal train to financial freedom – but let me ask you this: Have you considered buying a ticket from the nearest scalper for the “Stingy Scoundrel” train?

Phil’s book is chock full of “dirty little money-grubbing secrets” – 100 to be exact.

Readers, you’ve heard of being frugal and you’ll probably bored with it.  I dare you to try stingy on for size and have a little fun with these hard times.

Here are a few tidbits from Phil’s book:

“Who says soup kitchens are only for the homeless?  Every night, especially in the dead of winter, there’s a bounty of free, delicious food available without a catch.”

“When it’s time to propose to that special lady with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life, do so with a cheap cubic zirconium ring you picked up at a department store…”

My personal favorite (which I’ve actually been guilty of doing back when I was younger…):

“Whenever [my friend Tim] goes out to the clubs, he always keeps a tin flask filled with vodka inside his coat pocket.”

Phil’s book is a hilarious read; it’s perfect for those cold winter nights at home since it’s too damn expensive to go out these days (unless you bring a flask).  Although you may not be able to use most of his tips with a good moral conscience, I think if you get a little creative, you can use some form of his stingy secrets to save you a couple bucks.  If anything you’ll have fun doing it!

Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel: 100 Dirty Little Money Grubbing Secrets is a great book for a good laugh if our country’s economic situation has got you down – especially if your sick of reading article after article on how to save money clipping coupons or taking ice-cold showers.  This book is just the refresher our country needs right now.  Get to a bookstore and check out Phil’s book today – and then try to sell it to your friend for more than you spent on it!

Phil Villarreal is a freelance writer for the Consumerist website, Arizona Daily Star, and OK! magazine.  He also write a blog and posts pictures of his book protestors regularly on twitter.

Confession: I’m Not Debt-Free

8 Jul

It’s true.  I’m in debt…at the library.

I’ve been $2.80 in debt with them for about 6 months.  I somehow find it impossible to return a book within the 3 week timeframe allotted to me.

I’ve tried to pay off my debt, too!

The first time, I scrounged around in my huge black satchel (it’s ridiculous, I’ve literally lost Lloyd in there before) and came up with a $0.56 down payment.  They rejected it!  They said to wait “until I had the entire amount of the debt all at once”.  Talk about debt forgiveness.

The next time I was there, I got frustrated with those cute little librarians staring over the rims of their glasses at me and asking if I “knew that I had a balance?”

Of course I know!  Here’s my credit card!

They wouldn’t take that either!  Something about how they can’t charge anything less than ten dollars or some crazy talk like that (pleeeease, I’ve charged 95 cents at Quik Trip before).

So, yep, it’s true.  I’m not technically debt-free.  I would really like to be though!  If only they would put me on a Generation-Y payment plan – they know we hardly ever have cash on us!

Considering Kiplinger’s

4 Jun

I’m considering subscribing to Kiplinger’s MagazineDoes anyone else subscribe?  If so, how do you like it?

I’ve read Kiplinger’s a couple time at random places and I really liked it.  I love their website, but I have a magazine addiction and just like to have those glossy pages in my hot little hands.

Besides, doesn’t having a subscription to a financial magazine officially make you PF nerd? 😀