Categories
Business Finances

How to Annoy Your Credit Card Company

It is becoming more difficult to live without a credit card in this world. You need credit cards to make online payments since more and more companies are moving exclusively online. Brick and mortar stores are beginning to refuse cash transactions now. I suspect that this trend will continue.

While you can use the debit card provided at most banks in lieu of a credit card, this carries risks. If your card is cloned by a skimmer or in any way compromised, you can lose access to your entire bank balance while you get the situation sorted. I learned this the hard way when it happened to me several years ago.

Credit cards can provide a layer of protection from this but the protection comes at a cost for the unwary. Accept the wrong credit card offer and you will find yourself paying outrageous annual fees for the privilege. If you decide to go with a prepaid “credit card,” as in the ones you find at the corner gas station, their transaction fees can be prohibitive.

That said, if you would like to annoy the finance industry while you’re protecting your bank account, a credit card is a wonderful way to do that. All you need to do is pay your balance off in full each and every month before the due date.

You see, credit card companies make their money through annual fees and interest fees. The credit card companies who don’t charge an annual fee rely upon interest fees and late payment fees to make their money. If they can tempt you into carrying a balance every month, these people are very happy campers. In 2016 alone, credit card companies took $63.4 BILLION dollars out of our collective pockets, and they enjoyed hoarding every penny of it.

Just imagine the good that $63.4 BILLION could have done for the poor in our nation alone. That much money could have benefited the poor worldwide, if properly distributed. Yet Richard Fairbank, the CEO of Capital One, a popular credit card company, took home $17,328,902 in 2019. You can look that up. It’s listed in the SEC filing right here.

That one man, Richard Fairbank, is a prime example of how the rich are getting richer off the backs of the rest of us. We slave and we sweat and we struggle while him and people like him sit in cozy air-conditioned offices and laugh.

But there’s a way to strike back at him and the others in the credit card industry. We can use their money for free, and there’s not a thing they can do about it.

Credit card companies hate when people use their money for free. They even have a term for it. People who use the money from credit card companies for free are called “freeloaders” and “deadbeats” by the credit card industry.

It’s easy to do. In fact, I’ve been doing it to get back at them for about a year now.

All you have to do is take out a credit card at one of the no-annual-fee credit companies and pay off your balance in full each and every month. Do not make the minimum payment. They will do their level best to persuade you to make the minimum payment. Pay off the entire balance in full.

It kills the credit card companies when you do this. If you’re smart, you’ll take the money you intend to pay the credit card company off with and stick that money into an interest-bearing account so that you can make a bit of money off of their money each month.

The funny part of this is the fact that the credit card companies cannot penalize you if you do this. When you pay off your credit card balance in full each month, they are actually forced to reward you with a good report on your credit rating.

Please note that if you have trouble paying your bills and with credit in general, you may want to avoid this bit of revenge against the credit card companies. If you cannot resist the temptation to spend more than you can pay off, I urge you to avoid this act of rebellion like the plague. Credit card companies work extremely hard to persuade you to carry a balance for a reason, and they are so good at it that the CEO of Capital One made over $17 million due to their talent.

That said, I enjoy using their money immensely each month. When I work up my budget, I transfer the amount I intend to spend on my credit card into an interest-bearing savings account. By using their money instead of mine, I am able to earn a bit of interest at their expense. It’s not much, but it makes me laugh every time I do it.

This act of revenge allows me to take a bit of money out of the pockets of at least one monster every month. Even better, it allows me to make money at the expense of that very same monster. If you have an issue with the usurious rates and the hidden fees that credit card companies charge, you might want to stage your own little revenge.

How do you fight the monsters? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I could use some ideas :).


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Business Economy Finances Investments Security

The Man Behind the Curtain

I generally take my dogs outside around the same time in the mornings. And each weekday morning, for a number of years, my dogs have decided to bark towards a neighbor’s yard across the field.

I’ve looked each morning, scolding them, because I saw nothing of importance. I thought they were just barking at the wind so I told them to hush and be still.

Today as I sat on my stoop I happened to be examining the clouds in the distance when the dogs started their routine cacophony. Out of habit, I turned my eyes toward the yard…

…but this time I noticed something different.

Just beyond and to the right of that particular yard happens to be the entrance of one of our local water treatment plants. Moving around that entrance was a worker, opening the gates for the day.

Had my eyes followed their normal routine I would have never spotted him. He was far enough out of my normal focus that he would have remained unseen. Yet by changing my routine, changing the focus of where my eyes habitually go that man came into view.

I’ve spent this past decade scolding my pets for barking at that hour and in that direction. I spent this past decade scolding my pets for barking at nothing.

But they weren’t barking at nothing. They just saw something that I didn’t.

The same thing happened to me after Katie became an adult a few years ago. To settle the lost feeling I felt, I began to change my routine. I took a job, I read new books, I researched articles that I’d never thought to research in the past. I even started college.

I changed the focus of my mind as a result of those actions. And when I changed my focus I began to see things about our society that had previously passed unnoticed. During my research, I stumbled upon something that has shattered me.

Remember when I launched my grand goal to demonstrate that even the poorest among the poor could become wealthy? Remember even earlier, when I preached that we all just needed to live within our means? Remember when I announced that anyone could change their circumstances if they only worked hard enough?

I was convinced, completely convinced, that each and every one of those statements were true. I devoted my entire past life to proving the veracity of my beliefs. I spent this last decade, even longer, preaching those beliefs to you.

But when I shifted my focus I realized that I was wrong. There were things happening in the distance that I had not seen from my viewpoint because I had failed to shift the direction of my focus.

When my eyes finally traveled the right path they revealed to me a truth I found horrifying. A truth that I didn’t want to admit. I tried to turn away, tried to do the “business as usual” routine but I couldn’t. Once I spotted the truth, I was so disgusted that I could not look away.

My daughters must believe that I suffered some sort of mental breakdown over these past few months. I know some of my friends do. Because I went from chasing it “all” to where I stand today.

I quit my job and I lied to you when I did it. I lied to everyone. I told you I had enough coming in from my book royalties to surivive but the reality is a bit different. I was so horrified, so frightened that I couldn’t even process what was happening. So instead of revealing that I’d quit my job to supplement my income with my savings, I lied to everyone and inflated my income. I desperately needed to think, and in order to think I needed to remove the pressure that would have been placed upon me if I had revealed the truth. I needed to not only process what I had uncovered, but to make a decision about what to do with my discovery.

That lie is the reason I have not completed the book I promised to complete. That lie stuck in my throat and the words refused to come. I do not regret that lie but it is time to come clean. While it was a matter of mental survival at that point, I find the burden of that lie to be unbearable. It is time to explain my actions and accept the consequences of my misdeed.

When I began to change my focus to study the wealthy, the nature of business, and the stock market, I realized that the game has been rigged. Despite my father’s assertion that I could be anything I wanted to be, despite the fact that I have heard time and again that I can change my circumstances if I try hard enough and do enough work, the fact is that these statements are false.

I have been lied to my whole entire life. I am horrified and heartbroken and more than a bit embarrassed at the fact that I’ve preached those lies to the entire world my whole entire life. And I am not the only one who has been lied to. I suspect you’ve been lied to as well.

That is why the tone of my posts have changed. That’s also why I have been more than a bit erratic, because the pain I feel is so raw right now that I’ve yet to calm down. I am so upset, so furious at the truth I’ve discovered that I want to destroy it all. I have become the cat who has noticed the vase and I want so desperately to knock it down and see it shatter.

We are not poor because we choose to be. We do not struggle because we choose to struggle. If we pare our expenses to the bone, as I have, there is only so far down they can go. While frugality does help, it is not the solution to the problem.

The reason that we are poor and scared and broke is not because we’ve not done enough to improve our circumstances. The reason we are poor and scared and broke is because we have been brainwashed into believing that we are somehow wrong.

Want to score a date with the right person? Get the cosmetic surgery, have the hair colored, get the right cut and style and you will be good enough for them to notice you.

Want to score the right job, the job that will allow you to pay all of your bills with money to spare? Get the degree, buy the wardrobe, speak and act in a certain way and your path will be golden. You’ll never have to worry about money again. Don’t worry about the debt you’ll incur as you do this; you’ll be able to pay it all off with ease once you earn your fortune.

Want to live like “normal” people live? Buy the six-figure house and the $50,000 car. Go out to eat at the fancy places. Wear the little boutique clothing. Watch your labels! Work the job, get the promotions, raise the kids, clean the house. Buy the tablets and the gadgets and the stuff. The person with the most toys wins. Anyone else is a failure.

Do you know why we’ve been taught to believe these things? We have been taught to believe these things because they keep us quiet. It is hard to protest against something when it’s our own damn fault we’re in our mess, isn’t it?

But it isn’t our fault. You see, when we spend our lives pursuing these things and believing those beliefs, our focus is so great that we miss the man operating just outside our line of vision. Just as I missed seeing that man open those gates each morning, we miss seeing the truth of what is happening.

We have been led to believe the things we believe not because they benefit us or are even true. We’ve been led to believe these things because they inspire us to take actions that keep that man behind the curtain in power. With each and every one of these actions, we work to make him richer and give him more control. From behind that curtain, he is using us in a plan that I can barely comprehend.

Let me explain.

Check into the names of the stuff you buy every day and you will discover that those brands are owned by corporations. Those corporations are owned by other corporations, which in turn are frequently owned by even another corporation and so forth. Like tiny little nesting dolls, this chain of corporate confusion is being used to funnel the money you give them to a very dark purpose.

It’s hard to track. I barely scratched the surface during my research but if you look closely you will start to see it. Companies take over other companies by buying up their stock; if one corporation buys below a certain number of shares they don’t even have to report the specifics. So if the person in charge of one corporation buys several other corporations, then uses those corporations to buy some more corporations, he can ultimately use all of the corporations in that chain to buy stock below the limit of what they have to report, in a method that is not only completely legal, but obfuscated to a degree that we don’t have a clue about what is happening.

It is by that method that a unknown number of people are trying to take over the world.

All of the money from all of those corporations is being funneled up the chain to one or more people who are so rich that they aren’t just after the money now. Their primary goal is to corner the markets to consolidate their power. They are currently using the funds to influence our politicians through lobbyists, campaign donations, back-scratching, and other methods of control.

~

I know that I sound like a conspiracy fanatic. This is why I went off the deep end for a time. I didn’t want to believe what I had uncovered during my research. I certainly didn’t want to be labeled a nutcase, so I tried to keep the knowledge to myself and just go on with my life but I can’t.

I can’t. I tried and I’m sorry but I can’t.

Because in this case to keep silent would be wrong. To keep silent would be to allow them to continue to grow their power until they manage to conquer the entire world. I don’t know what their plans are once they accomplish this but what little I discovered has left me terrified.

I don’t know how to fix this. It’s so far beyond my comprehension that I don’t have a clue. All I know is this. Every single dollar we use, every single purchase we make to the corporations in question is being used to fund their actions. And they have hidden their tracks very well.

This is why the rich have become so much richer these past few years. They are draining us, sucking us dry as they move to shift the pieces into place. This is why I began to beg of you to become more thoughtful with your purchases. This is why I have been acting erratic and have altered the course of my life.

I feel as if I’ve stumbled off a cliff and gone into freefall.

I hope you understand my actions a bit more now. And if you have any idea about how to handle this, I would appreciate it if you would let me know because, to be blunt, I am scared completely shitless.

Have I gone completely insane?


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Business Finances Frugality Simplicity

A Private Revolution

Sometimes the most horrible revelations can teach us. Yesterday I was presented with the reality of our world. The image of a man who was somebody’s dad, who reminded me of my dad burned its way into my soul as I read about the treatment he received from the nation I called home.

There is absolutely nothing I can do to change the past. I can’t change what happened to that man and many others any more than I can change what has happened to others who have suffered similarly over the course of history.

There is not even very much I can do to change the future. I am just one tiny old woman in a great large world. Aside from trying to encourage change, I have no right to even push because it would violate the moral code that I hold dear.

I can do something, however. I can reach down deep inside of me and use the knowledge of this current reality to change myself. Hopefully, by sharing the things I have seen and the changes I personally make my personal revolution will go a bit farther.

As someone once instructed me, if you want to understand the purpose behind a thing, all you have to do is follow the money. I thought they were being silly at the time but the older I get the more I realize that they are right. Money is the primary reason so many do the things that they do; the pursuit of money infects all of us if only because we all need it to survive now.

The poor make the money with the sweat off their brow. The rich take that money by enticing the poor to part with it in any way that they can. While the poor just want enough to lead a comfortable life, however, the rich have gotten to the point where they want to collect money just because.

My personal issue is in the fact that our society has gotten so unbalanced that the rich are removing the ability of the poor to just survive. They use their money to promote agendas that on the face seem to be aimed at protecting us but when you examine them on a deeper level, you realize that the only ones they want to protect are themselves.

It has gotten to the point in our society that even the placid farmer has began to rebel. When John Deere decided to force farmers to pay outrageous fees by citing “intellectual property rights” and so forth to eliminate their ability to repair their own tractors, these farmers began to fight back. Some of them have went so far as to hack the computers in their equipment rather than bow down to their draconian rules. Others have decided to eliminate modern farming equipment entirely by purchasing and rebuilding older, non-computerized equipment.

Rebels within the trucking industry are doing the same. Rather than comply with new rules and regulations that are destroying their livelihoods, they are now opting to purchase rebuilt older rigs instead of buying new vehicles. A friend of mine drives for a company who rebels in this way. The owner of the company he works for believes that once self-driving vehicles advance a bit more that they will force him to shut down his business. His plan is to conserve his funds as much as possible so that he can retire once his livelihood is gone. My trucker friend is planning the same thing.

The beauty within the rebellions of the farmers and the truckers lies in the fact that they’re not really trying to save the world. They saw a problem that affected them and started voting with their money to make a difference.

We can all learn from that. If we see a problem with the word in general or our lives in specific, we can stage our own personal rebellions by changing the way that we spend our money. We can choose not to support the things we do not believe in by voting with the money we spend.

With this in mind, my dilemma at the moment is pet food. I order their food online but I have yet to locate a smaller company that can supply what I need at a price I can afford. Do I continue to switch between Amazon and WalMart when my supplies run low, choosing the one that offers the brands they like when I don’t want to give my money to either of them, or do I locate another path?

I would like to find another path. I haven’t found it yet, so I will order as little as I can at the lowest price in the meantime. The animals prefer Purina and 9 Lives respectively but I am willing to switch if I can find a viable alternative that they will eat.

Do you have any ideas?


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Business

How to Change the World

Big Business cares nothing about you. If it doesn’t benefit their bottom line, it doesn’t matter to them. The lip service they give you is meaningless. Some corporations even acknowledge this with backhanded ways of “helping” their employees.

We aren’t supposed to believe that, however. We’re supposed to believe in “by the people, for the people” despite the growing evidence that our beloved nation is no longer a democracy. Big businesses owned by the extremely wealthy are the ones who control us but what do we do?

We spend our entire lives making them even more powerful.

There is something we can do to change that, however.

Sam Walton made a prescient quote about the subject in his book Made in America, My Story. He stated:

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

Every time we agree to work their jobs we make them more powerful because we help them become even wealthier.

Every time we buy their goods and services we make them more powerful.

We are giving them the money that they are using to buy our government, to use our government to fulfill their desires. We are literally giving them the power when we choose to work for them and give them our money. We bring them joy when we take the money they “give” us in our paychecks and hand it back to them.

If you are content with this knowledge than there is nothing for you to do. Just keep doing what you’re doing so that you can continue to help them.

But if you’re tired of being a legal slave, if you are tired of businesses running your nation, then there are a few things you can do to begin changing the world.

Stop working for major corporations. They use your work to make the money that they use to control your nation. The less workers they have, the less money they will make and the less power they will attain.

Stop buying from major corporations. This one is really hard because we’ve given so much of our power away that we no longer know how to do without the things that they provide. There is a workaround to this for many things:

Buy used. Buy used items from local dealers, people who live with you, have kids that go to school with your kids, and don’t use their money for power. The damage was already done during the initial sale but doing this prevents the damage from getting worse.

Fix your stuff. Don’t replace something just because a new model came out or it gets a few scratches. Wear it out completely and keep it in service for as long as possible. This keeps your money out of the system and away from their hands.

Cut your expenses. You have to pay for certain services like housing and utilities but you don’t have to give them as much as you do. Be conservative. Spend less. Get the smaller home. Live in the slums. Buy the used mobile home. Isn’t freedom worth more than a fancy house on the hill?

Watch your charities. Here is an article that will help you identify the worst offenders. Many large charities spend most of their donations fattening the pockets of those in charge and fueling the donation system by paying other companies to advertise. Helping others is a wonderful thing but don’t fall for the wolves that lurk among them.

Consider the motives. When a college tells you that you will benefit if you attend their institution or a business tells you that it is to your benefit that you buy their stuff to be healthier or prettier or to have greater opportunities, consider their motives. Do they make money if you believe them? If so, they don’t have your best interests at heart.

Educate yourselves. You can find books at your local library for free or support independent authors to increase your knowledge. You can watch movies and videos. You can find a mentor and learn from them. Experience itself is a powerful teacher. Money does not prevent you from becoming educated, not in this modern age. The only one who prevents that is you.

Spread the word. Encourage others to live on less. Explain why you make the decisions that you do. Show the world that you are taking a stand by the choices you make.

Do no harm. It is not for us to judge how others choose to live their lives. When we support a local business as opposed to a major corporation we are helping our communities. Others may not agree. They may accuse you of being lazy, of “dropping out” or being insane. Accept their criticism calmly and move on. They are entitled to their opinions. We tend to sway more people by our actions over time than any loud protest ever does. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself what happened to the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It faded into nothingness and is barely a blip in the history books now.

How you decide to do this is up to you. You may decide to pursue full minimalism. You may decide to hit the road. You may decide to stay right where you are and make small changes in your daily life over time. There is no wrong way, only progress.

But the time has come where we are fast approaching a tipping point in our world. If we hit that point it will be too late. The blinders will come off and we will see the truth of the world for what it is.

“If you want to change the things in your life, the things in your life must change”(Kevin Trudeau). If we want our world to become better, then we have to remove the power from those who wield it.

The only way to do that is to take away the money that gives them power.

Good Luck.

Categories
Business

Slavery Days are Over. It’s Time to Take Our Lives Back.

I quit my job the other day. I had been asked to do more and more over the passing months, up to and including things that I normally charge $40/hour for in my computer repair business but at a pay scale that is less than the entry-level pay at McDonald’s and other local businesses. While I had already been considering the thought of leaving, it took a single moment of disrespect to make me realize that I had tolerated enough. The owner has a god-like reputation; tales of how he has mistreated senior management (and even low-level workers) are legend. If I had not stood up for myself, I knew from experience that it would only get worse.

The messages of support I received from family and friends since then have astounded me. Many of them expressed the desire to have the ability to quit their jobs as well, sharing horror stories that make my previous position look like a cakewalk in comparison.

The single most common question they asked concerned my finances: “How are you going to pay your bills?”

Between my investment income and my royalties, I’ve got that covered, so instead of accepting a job immediately, I decided to take some time off from working a public job to think.

Because I’ve realized something.

I’ve realized that despite the hope for better work conditions, that workers are still treated like slaves. We are used until we fall apart and then discarded like so much trash. God forbid that we grow old or get hurt because they just don’t care.

We are nothing in the eyes of our employers.

We work their jobs and buy their stuff; without us, they wouldn’t even have their businesses. Despite that, they tell us how grateful we should be to even have a job with their companies. We should accept whatever they decide to dish out because they believe that we would starve otherwise.

But you know what?

They’re wrong.

We don’t have to take their abuse.

We don’t have to work their crappy jobs.

We don’t have to tolerate their disrespect.

We can walk away.

Stop working their jobs. Stop buying from their businesses. We can hit them in the one place where they will feel it the most: their pocketbooks.

I realize that not everyone has developed a passive income that can support them.

I realize that not everyone knows how to manage their finances quite the way I do.

I realize that, due to the above two reasons, many people feel that they can’t escape their current circumstances. They are literally trapped in the chains of wage slavery and they don’t know the way out.

I want to help with that.

If you feel the same then I have a mission for you: I want you to find just one person who has achieved financial freedom and ask them for help.

I want to make this website a place where people can learn from all sorts of experts about not only ways to lower their living expenses but how to build passive income sources as well.

I want to teach the world how to break the chains of wage slavery.

But I can’t do it without your help.

If you are reading this and you’ve already achieved financial freedom, email me.

Together we can change the world.

Categories
Business Productivity

Headless Chicken

Life has kept me super-busy these past few weeks. I’ve been slowly spring-cleaning my house by doing little things on top of helping Katie adjust to her current situation.

At work, my official management training is underway so I stay busier than ever. In order to keep labor costs low, the end of the night has me paired with my trainer. She generally runs the register while I race through the store like a headless chicken to get things done.

I’m having a blast!

My daily duties have been extended to include both the Produce and the Meat departments, so I’ve got to keep the store looking pretty, stock the meats when they get low (keeping them tidy in the meantime), check the dates to put items on clearance when needed, plus keep Produce and Action Alley stocked.

That’s in addition to helping out on the registers when needed and doing the paperwork side of things.

I stay so busy that my evenings fly by as a result. One moment I’m clocking in, the next it’s time for break, then BOOM! It’s time to close the store and do the last of the paperwork.

Even with my beginner’s mistakes, I’m finishing up at a decent time.

I’m quite proud of myself for that achievement.

The only challenge I face is doing some of the managerial register work. We’ve not had hardly any voids or other things for me to fix yet. Once they become confident that I’ve had my trial by fire, they will turn me loose to close the store on my own.

I’m both excited and nervous about that. It’s been at least 15 years since I’ve been a closing manager so I’m more than a bit rusty. My experience was with a restaurant so the specific duties are a bit different as well. The paperwork side has been fairly easy to learn but being on my own, being the one in charge of not only the store, but the employees as well?

That makes me a bit nervous. I want to do right by them.

My neighbor, who happens to be one of the main managers at the store next door, advised me not to stress so much over the responsibility. He says I will do just fine based on what he’s seen so far.

While I probably will, I will probably be more than a bit worried until I prove it to myself. That is just how I am.

Have a nice night!

Categories
Business Investments Personal

Three Jobs?

Since yesterday was a maudlin day (as you could tell from my post), I called up my beloved Auntie early this morning for some much-needed encouragement.

“Well, it’s no wonder you’re exhausted and feeling emotional!” Auntie declared once I’d shared, “You’re working three jobs, taking care of your house, and studying like you were in an actual college class besides! I don’t know where you get your energy, but if you ever figure it out you need to bottle it cause I want some!”

“Three jobs?” Huh? How on earth did she figure I was working three jobs? I wondered.

“Three jobs, Missy. You’re working at that grocery store, you’re running your writing business, and you’re busting your butt to get your investment business going. Then on top of that, you study every night before you go to bed. You’re doing a lot!”

Hokay….

A bit flabbergasted, I concluded the call so I could sit and think. Was I really doing the equivalent of working three jobs?

I am. I really am.

I didn’t realize it, but the majority of my time is spent working. When I’m not writing, I’m researching companies, reading gigantic SEC filings as I brainstorm ways to come up with more money to invest and work out the best ways to invest given my limited funding.

When I’m not doing that I’m either working at my public job, studying nonfiction books related to business, investments, or my writing.

And somehow in the midst of all of that I manage to clean my house, take care of other personal business, and sleep.

How on Earth did I stumble into this?

More importantly…wow.

I hadn’t shared it with you, but I’ve got plans to incorporate my investments at some point. I’m not there yet but Annienygma Investments is a thing. It’s what I call it in my head, and it will eventually encompass not only stock market investments but real estate as well when I can manage it.

OMG. I’ve got a writing business that’s around a decade old (bit older, if I recall correctly). I’ve got my public job. And I’m in the very early stages of forming an investment company.

I had no idea.

It’s no damn wonder I’m so tired and moody.

What surprises have you encountered lately? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Business Finances

Surprise Promotion

While puttering around at work the other day I received a page to the office.

“What’s up?” I asked as I stuck my head in.

“Have a seat,” the main managers gestured to a chair positioned between them.

When I got up from that chair, I had been promoted to management. I started my training the next day.

I must confess that I was a bit surprised to be offered the position. Based on what I’d observed, I thought they had the management situation well in hand. I’m honored and delighted that I was wrong.

This new pay raise will make it that much easier to survive on my own. Not only that, I may actually end up with a bit of money left over each month to invest along with my book royalties, especially now that I’m taking additional steps to save money.

Even better, the extra money in my paycheck will put me one step closer to achieving my goals.

Life is truly good.

What good news do you have to share? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Business Happiness

Employee Motivation

Once upon a time I worked in a restaurant. On this particular day, the owner was leaning against the wall as the store crew navigated the lunch rush.

I was manning the front counter that day, taking orders as fast as I could for the crowd when one of my regulars stepped forward.

“Hey, Mrs. R!” I called out happily. “You want your usual? How’s work?”

The woman smiled, nodding as she shared a slice of her day while I punched in her order.

“Annie, come here,” the owner called out when I finished. Expecting trouble, the manager motioned for one of the other workers to replace me while I obeyed the request.

“Was that lady a friend of yours?” the owner asked.

“No, sir,” I replied cautiously.

“But you not only knew her name, you entered her order without her even telling you what she wanted,” he persisted.

I brightened. “Yes, sir! Mrs. R comes in every weekday for lunch. She always orders the exact same thing so I’ve got it memorized.”

The owner of the store frowned. “But how do you know her name?” he persisted.

I blinked. “She wears a nametag. I always call people by name when I can work out what it is. Nametags make it easy,” I replied.

He asked a few more questions about the practice. I explained the tips and tricks about using names to cultivate rapport in response.

Then I stood there for several long moments as he gave me a long look. Did I do something wrong? I wondered at the unusual examination.

The man motioned for the general manager to approach.

“GM, give Annie here a five-cent raise on her next paycheck,” he informed the woman. “Annie, let me know if it’s not there. I want to show you that I appreciate the effort you go to in order to make the customers happy. Thank you.”

Five cents isn’t much for a part-time employee. It translated to a mere dollar a week, less than that after taxes. That wasn’t the important part, however. The important part was that he’d noticed me and had rewarded my efforts in some small way.

I worked even harder after that.

Employers, Take Note

It doesn’t take much effort to say that you appreciate the efforts of an employee. It doesn’t take but a moment to pat someone on the back and say “well done.” It barely affects the bottom line when you toss someone an incremental raise.

Yet those tiny things mean so much to us workers.

It encourages us. It shows us that we are noticed. It demonstrates that we are appreciated.

And it benefits your bottom line because it motivates us to work even harder.

You think about that. Happy workers translates into loyal workers. Loyal workers are the ones that will bust their ass for you when you need it. They are the ones that will come in when you call on their day off. They are the ones who will look out for you and prevent shrinkage when they catch it. They are the ones who will show up, each and every shift, determined to do the best they can to make your business grow.

Remember that the next time you catch one of your workers doing something awesome.

***

Readers, share this post with your friends. Share this post in a place where your boss can see it because I suspect that many small employers don’t realize just how important the little things are to us, and how tiny little efforts can motivate us to work even harder and increase employee retention.

It will benefit all of us to increase awareness.

Categories
Business Happiness Success

Paid Vacation

Yesterday I received a treat that I’ve not had for many years:

My vacation slip.

In my years of focusing upon my children, I would stay at home during summer vacations, taking so much time off from jobs that I rarely ever saw one of these.

In fact, I do believe I worked through the last paid vacation I earned. I needed the extra income in order to survive.

I squeed when I held that paper in my hands. It’s such a little thing to many but it represents something I’ve not experienced for far too long:

Freedom.

I am free from the burdens of child care, of worrying about anyone else but me. I am free from financial struggles and fears for the first time in longer than I care to remember. I may not be rich, but I’m doing rather well on my tiny little income.

This might be the very first paid vacation in my entire life where I’ve not had to worry about money.

I am going to enjoy every single minute of it.

I requested off the week of my 49th birthday. I didn’t even ask for specific dates; just asked for any time during that week, a small stretch of time in a row. That week I intend to totally, completely, take some time off from my life.

I am going to rest. I am going to read. I will hang out in the local coffee shop, visit the library, and explore the new businesses popping up in my little town.

I am going to spend that entire week giving thanks for the incredible life I’ve been given. While I’m sure I’ll end up piddling around the house and writing a bit, my primary goal is going to be the simple act of appreciation.I intend to give myself one physical birthday present to mark this year, to show that I’ve survived and triumphed. To celebrate the fact that it will be the first anniversary of becoming an investor I intend to acquire another small piece of precious metal for my collection. It may be a piece of jewelry. It may be some bullion. It may simply be a jewel. I don’t know what it will be yet; something will call to me around that time and I will buy it. I want something else to hold in my hand, wear on my person, or carry in my pocket for continued inspiration as I move forward.

What do you have to look forward to with the coming year? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Categories
Business

The Prom Pickle

Earlier this year my beloved Katie excitedly prepared for the prom. She shopped and shopped for the perfect dress. One evening she emerged from her bedroom with a troubled look.

“Mom, my prom dress is going to be way too long,” Katie announced.

“Can you get someone to hem it?” I asked.

She frowned. “If I get the seller to hem it, the dress won’t arrive in time and the price goes up significantly,” she replied. “Do you know of anyone in the area that does alterations?”

I didn’t. The last person I knew who did alterations passed away several years ago. In this age of off-the-rack clothing, it is a dying art.

That said, I used to be pretty decent with a needle back in the day. I taught myself how to sew after my mother died as a way to remain close to her. I used to sew clothes, quilts, costumes, curtains, and could even craft custom-fitted furniture covers. Here are a few pictures I have on my computer that were taken during that time.

My oldest daughter as “Queen Cabbage” in a school play.

 

Middle Daughter’s school play outfit. I made the legs a bit long since she was in the midst of a growth spurt. She wore those overalls for years.

 

I sewed the baby quilt the kids are stretched out upon using gifted and clearance fabric.

 

A baby quilt I made on a whim once.

 

A quilt I made after being inspired by the fabric.

 

The Lone Star quilt I made in memory of my mother.

 

“Mom, do you think you could hem it if I got you the thread and stuff?” Katie asked when our search for a seamstress came up empty.

“I’m not sure. I’m a bit out of practice,” I replied, hesitant. I’d not sewn on so much as a button in years; between that and the fact that my daughter and grandson have liberally raided the few sewing supplies I kept left me wondering if I had so much as a single sewing needle to my name.

“Would you try?” Katie persisted.

I nervously agreed. Katie set about replacing my missing straight pins and sewing needles while she located the right color and quality of thread. Before I knew what was happening she was up in a chair, patiently still as I pinned the skirt to a proper length.

I had one week to hem this voluminous monster and fancy fabrics have never been my forte. Even worse, once I began the project I discovered that the method the manufacturer had used to assemble it…

…Let’s just say that my inner pirate came out. In order to hem the dress properly, I would have had to partially disassemble the skirt to hand-sew both the skirt and lining as different sections. The manufacturer had hemmed the lining and skirt first then assembled the section by sewing them both together along the side seams.

I didn’t have time for that. I had less than a week by this point and would have to work on it between my shifts at work.

I examined the beast, madly brainstorming a solution. If I adjusted things just a bit, I’d be able to treat the lining and skirt as a single item. It wouldn’t be my best work but it was do-able with the time limit and the fact that the two pieces had been hemmed before the dress had been assembled. I explained my dilemma to Katie and demonstrated my solution.

She agreed so fast my head spun. She didn’t need perfect; she just wanted it to look nice.

I spent four days tethered to that dress. When I wasn’t at work I sat in the kitchen, stitching madly to hem the dress. Katie kept me company when she was home and a friend kept me company via speakerphone otherwise.

I completed the task with one day to spare.

 

The story of that adventure is making the rounds in our little town. Since prom I’ve been approached to alter wedding dresses and today a friend is dropping off a jacket that needs a zipper replaced.

Katie is now convinced that I need to start hanging out a shingle. She’s even volunteered to leave her sewing machine behind when she moves so I would have another tool in my arsenal.

I’m considering it. I will have space to create a work area once the kid moves out and I will definitely need something to keep my mind occupied. I already have the skills and there is a shortage of seamstresses in the area. The extra income would make things easier as I adjust to life alone.

Do you think I should try this?


Have you ever helped someone out of a situation only to discover that you had a marketable skill? Please share your stories in the comments below.