Category Archives: Money Stories

How Did You Get Over The Hump In Your First Job?

When I started my first full-time job after college, I was really tired. I wasn’t used to waking up at 6:30am, I wasn’t used to sitting in hour-long meetings about sales reports that didn’t affect me, and I wasn’t used to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day just staring at a computer screen.

Physically and mentally, it look a lot of getting used to.

A college friend of mine started at the same company a few months after, and we had a running joke. Every day, he’d come in and I’d count down the days until retirement. We were 22 years old, so we assumed 40 years of working 250 days a year. That comes out to 10,000 days of work. I think I got to about 9,990 before it got too depressing to think about each day. We were going to be working for 10,000 days and it wasn’t getting any easier.

10,000 days of work is a LOT of time. It’s hard to think about going into an office that many times in a row, and when you think that the every day will be the same, it does not seem worth it. Some of us have jobs that present new challenges with each day, and I think that’s a really important part of a good job, possibly more important than some other perks, including salary.

On the other hand, I wasn’t so excited about working when I first started, which actually let me to create this site in my spare time. I was bored and not given much to do for the first 6 months, but I wanted something to do that would stimulate me.

I wanted something I created myself and I think I had some daydreams about this becoming something real and viable, so much so that I’d be able to be my own boss full time. I had no idea what I was talking about back then, but dreaming is always fun.

You can do a lot with 6 months. And I did, I start writing, I wrote posts during meetings that I had to attend but wasn’t actively participating in, and by the time I was given real work that took up a larger portion of my day, my site was set to run with much less active monitoring.

Physically, it took me about 3 months to get used to waking up and sitting in meetings regularly. I tried taking short walks every few hours to get my blood moving and I modified my diet to give me more energy through out the day.

Mentally, I got my mind away from thinking about how miserable working for 40 years would be by starting a passion project on the side. If you’ve ever had an idea that you couldn’t wait to get started on, you know what I’m talking about.

As it turns out, I’m much happier at my current position because of the responsibilities I have and the type of work I do. Combine that with my side projects that I’m passionate about, and the next 37 years don’t look so daunting anymore.

Amazon’s One-Click Shopping Tool – Helpful or Dangerous?

I’m not a huge shopper, but whenever I shop online, I always check Amazon to see if they have cheaper prices, or at the very least, faster and free shipping using my Amazon Prime membership. Even with Amazon now collecting sales tax in some states You can get just about anything from there. I even got a big 42 inch TV on Amazon!

There is one feature that I’m a little leery of, and that’s the site’s one-click shopping feature. Some say it’s a convenient way to shop; others think it’s a dangerous ploy to bust your budget.

How It Works

You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime account holder or a frequent online shopper to take advantage (or disadvantage) of one-click shopping. Amazon automatically signs you up for it the very first time you place an order on the site. Amazon saves your payment and shipping information, so that you can click the “Buy now with 1-click” button on subsequent purchases; if you use that option – you can easily bypass it – you’ll skip the whole shopping cart portion of the checkout. Instead, your order will automatically be billed to the default address and credit card Amazon has on file.

You don’t have to enable one-click shopping permanently, however. Turn it off by selecting the “1-click settings” option from the settings menu inside the “Your Account” tab. You’ll see a yellow button on the right side of the screen that lets you turn one-click shopping off (or, allow you to enable it if you choose).

Why I Like It

If you’re someone who does a lot of shopping online, or if you have a Kindle, then you already know how great the one-click option is. It saves time by letting customers skip that shopping cart portion of the checkout process.

When you’re in a rush, there’s nothing better than saving time. With one-click shopping, there’s no need to add an item to your cart, then go to the cart and follow the checkout process. Just click and you’re done. This is great for some of the subscribe and save staples that Amazon sells.

Why I Think It’s Dangerous

Let’s ignore the fact that Amazon tried to screw the rest of the online shopping world by attempting to patent the one-click shopping technology. Let’s also ignore the fact that while the European Patent Office rejected Amazon’s repeated efforts to monopolize the computer script that makes one-click shopping possible, for some inexplicable reason, the U.S. Patent Office granted Amazon the patent. That, in itself, is a crock.

But I also think this is merely a marketing and technology ploy – albeit a very effective ploy – to eliminate a buyer’s chance to think twice about a purchase. By decreasing the amount of time it takes for a shopper to make a purchase, I worry you’re going to increase the frequency of buyer’s remorse. This means more last-minute order cancellations or returns. But not everyone is willing to accept that they’ve made an impulse buy, and won’t necessarily take the steps to stop the transaction. This is what Amazon is hoping for when it comes to one-click shopping – that remorseful shoppers won’t be remorseful enough to cancel the purchase.

Reader, do you think Amazon (and other sites that offer similar express checkout options) are taking advantage of consumers and their impulse to buy? Why or why not?

IKEA’s As-Is Department: How We Saved 40% on a China Cabinet

Even though we moved into our new apartment over 2 months ago, we’re still putting the pieces together. We have no bed frame and no dressers in the bedroom, but the downstairs (living room, dining room, and kitchen) is coming together nicely.

We got an IKEA tv stand and a living room set (2 couches, coffee table, 2 side tables and a rug), so the only thing we were missing downstairs at that point was a china cabinet. We found one we liked at IKEA, so we headed over to the nearest one (not that close), found the nearest employee, and asked them to held us find it in the warehouse.

The employee looked it up, and it was out of stock. No! But…they said that if we could find it on the floor, we could take that one. So we went through the entire winding store looking for that one glass door cabinet. We got all the way through the living room and bedroom furniture without finding what we were looking for, but right when we were about to give up hope, there it was in all it’s shining glory.

We asked the nearest sales associate how we could take that home, so she took our information and told us they’d call us in a few days when it was available.

We anxiously awaited the call, and finally it came. It was ready for us. We went back to the store to the “as-is department” and my eyes were opened to a new world of IKEA. The entire room was full of slightly damaged or worn products. Couches, tv stands, etc. We went over to the cabinet waiting for us. There were slight signs of wear and tear from people opening the doors, but nothing that can’t be covered up.

We knew they’d give us a discount, but we weren’t sure how much it was going to be. The guy looked at the cabinet and decided on 30%. I’m not sure how, maybe based on the slight wear and tear, but it seemed like 30% was standard for them. We joked with him that they originally told us that we’d only have to pay 30% of the price, not just a 30% discount, but he laughed it off. Lauren, being the persistent girl she is, followed him to the computer where he was printing his price tag. She asked one more time for 40%, and he agreed! Sweet, another $35 saved just by asking!

Even better, we loaded it in the car, drove home, and carried it into the apartment. And there was no need for any tools! Imagine a fully built china cabinet with no work!

We were very happy with our purchase, we saved over $150!

Readers, have you ever seen IKEA’s as-is department? Would you take the floor model for a 40% discount?