Monday, May 30, 2005

Auctions at the USPS

Ever wonder what the post office does with items that can't be delivered or are returned to the sender? No? Me either! Apparently, the post office auctions off all of this loot to the public on a regular basis. It really does me no good because they only auction it off in Atlanta, GA. Sooo not fair! I mean, I'm sure this crap comes from all over the country so shouldn't we all be able to partake in the smorgasbord?

If you'd like to visit the USPS auctions (and you live anywhere near Georgia) here is the skinny:


Jun. 01, 2005
All Merchandise

Jun. 15, 2005
Books only

Where: Mail Recovery Center5345 Fulton Industrial Boulevard SWAtlanta, GA 30378-2400

Directions: From Interstate 20 East or West, exit at Fulton Industrial Boulevard and continue South for approximately 3 miles. After 3 miles, exit right onto Bucknell Drive, then right at the next street which is Bucknell Court. Follow this drive around to the stop sign and the Mail Recovery Center will be on the right.

Inspection of Merchandise: 8:30 am - 10:00 am

Auction Time: 10:00 am - Completion

Terms of Payment: Cash, Cashier's Check, Certified Check, Travelers Check, Postal Money Order, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card and Bank Debit Card. All checks require a valid state driver's license or identification card with photo, along with one of the above major credit cards. No personal checks or company checks will be accepted.

More info:

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Someone wants to see me fail!

I swear there is a conspiracy against me. And my laptop is involved. I always knew there was somethig fishy about my HP...

You see, all of a sudden the AC adapter for my laptop is not working. The darn thing won't stay plugged in and the battery won't hold a charge. "No huge problem," I thought, "I'll just buy a new AC adapter". Pffffff! You know how much those buggers cost? The power cord alone costs $70 plus the S&H because you can't buy them at the store. Plus if I needed a new battery because the old one won't hold a charge it's another $100. Thats $170+ for a laptop that I probably couldn't sell on ebay for that much.

I tried to make the thing work. I really did. I spent hours trying to hold the thing in while I backed up my hard drive. I was like a mad woman trying to hold it in the same exact position, not breathing for fear of moving just one slight millimeter. I gave my boyfriend wild eyes if he so much as dared to come near me. I really didn't want to buy a new AC adapter but I have no choice.

Why does it cost so much for an AC adapter? I hate when companies try to gouge the consumer. I know that the AC adapter does not cost them 1/10 the cost of a new laptop. It probably cost them $2 to make the thing. They just try to force you to want to buy a new laptop even though the old one is working just fine except for one minor problem.

Man, that really gets on my nerves. I'm not going to let them keep me down. Just for that I'm going to pay another $500 towards my balance bringing me to a new total of......

(after new finance charges are added)

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Saturday, May 28, 2005

O.k. so I could sell my eggs.....

I guess I failed to mention that in my last post. I just didn't really consider it an option. The $5,000 bucks would be nice but would it be worth it??

It's funny how Google's Ad Sense works. Since that post I've been getting ads for sperm banks and egg donor sites. HA! I thought it would be intersting to see what exactly those websites were like...and was partly interested in how much they were offering for people to donate their eggs. I clicked on the ad for an egg donor bank and was amazed at how many young women are actually donating their eggs. There were a ton of women with their pics, personal info, medical history and EVERYTHING on this site. Geez, who are these people? I really don't want to disrespect but com''s not worth it ladies!

I had a friend in college who decided to sell her eggs. She went to one of those donor agencies and was hooked up with a couple who was unable to conceive. She didn't like to talk about it a lot so I didn't really ask her a lot of questions. She wouldn't tell me exactly how much she was getting for it but she told me it was more than $10,000. She did tell me about all the psychological testing they made her do and all the hormone treatment she would have to go through and the actual procedure. It was going to take months out of her life. It sounded terrible and the fact that she couldn't talk about it made me realize how hard it was for her. After we graduated we lost touch...I hope she is doing o.k.

Being an egg donor is a scary thing. The hormone therapy in itself has been shown to cause cancer. But then you also have to consider what happens when the kid gets older and finds out that his/her biological mother was an egg donor. Wouldn't they want to meet you? That's a lot of responsibility for not a lot of money. As much as I hate my debt, I would prefer debt over that.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Your Fluids are Worth Their Weight in Gold

I kind of wish that I was British. Not because I wish I had an accent or because I'm particularly fond of tea but because you can make dough off of selling your blood. In the States they just expect you to give it away for free! pffff..... And I kind of wish I was a guy too. Not because I wish I had a penis but because I could make a lot of money selling my spermies.

So I guess if you are a woman and you don't possess a Y chromosome, a lot of these tips won't really work out for you. But I still think they are pretty funny.

Give Blood

The term blood money has never been so apt. Laboratories will pay about £60 for 600ml of your blood and throw in another £5 for transport costs.
The blood will be used in scientific testing and to make blood free plasma. Of course, if you feel like doing a good deed you can still donate your blood to a blood bank in exchange for a biscuit and a cup of tea.
Easy Money Rating: 8/10 (Just as long as needles don’t make you squeamish)

A cup and a dirty magazine
Sperm donation may not be your first choice for a future career but it is an easy way to make some quick money.
You have to be fit, under the age of 40, able to perform when you walk into the clinic and have healthy sperm. But if none of those present a hurdle then you can pick up about £25 for each deposit.
Easy Money rating: 9/10 (Most guys do it for free anyway)
How to get involved:
If you are a uni-student check out the medical faculty notice board, sperm banks often advertise there. Alternatively check out the yellow pages or the internet for a sperm bank or fertility clinic in your area.

Human Guinea Pigs

Before a drug can be sold it needs to be tested and that means finding people brave enough to take it. This is where you come in. Human guinea pigs are paid £80 to £100 a day to pop a pill (or take a jab), then sit around and occasionally tell a lab technician how they feel.
If that sounds risky, well it is, but only a little. Most clinics claim that their test dummies are not exposed to any danger. Then again these are tests so nothing is definitive and some labs pay a ‘discomfort bonus’ giving you some idea that not all tests are as easy as each other.
A test can take anything from an afternoon to a couple of weeks and can be either in house, meaning you stay at the lab and get more money, or involve daily check ups.
Easy Money rating: 7/10
How to get involved: The easiest way to find a testing centre near you is to go on the web and take a look at the UK section of

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I Heart Quicken

Everyday when I get home I spend about 30 minutes updating my accounts, staring at the computer screen going over the numbers time and time again. Obsessive? Yes, of course. My obsessive compulsive tendencies got myself into this mess and now it's going to get me out of it.

I use Quicken to manage my accounts and I absolutely adore it. It lets me make cool graphs, track every penny that I spend, schedule all of my payments on a calendar and view all of my accounts in one place. I try to use my check card for absolutely every purchase that I make for two reasons:

1) I can track and categorize exactly where my money is going
2) I earn points for every dollar I spend through the Wells Fargo Rewards program
(more info

The graphs and pie charts are really motivational for me. Being able to visualize the fact that I spent 15% of my income on clothing is a shocker (especially since I still feel like I have nothing to wear). This is the first month that I have spent absolutely nothing on new clothes so I have that much more money to put towards my debt. To celebrate I am going to pay another $150 towards my debt so that I am not tempted to blow it somewhere else.

Here's a little visualization of my current and past situation. It's a bit overwhelming to look at the huge spike from when I added my car loan to my credit card debt but it's reassuring that it is gradually getting closer and closer to zero.

Image hosted by

Current Debt: $19,625.22

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

10 Ways to Save $50 Per Month

I'm not above snagging some tips from others:

1. Save up to 50% per month on convenience cleaner cloths by cutting them into half, i.e. dryer softener cloths, face cleanser cloths, etc.

Savings: $5 per month

2. Find more thoughtful gifts and buy when the item is on sale, shop for birthdays and holidays throughout the year not at the time of the events.

Savings: $10 per month

3. Bring your lunch to work once a week instead of eating out.

Savings: $7 x 4 weeks = $28 per month

4. Don't go to the coffee shop on the weekends.

Savings: 2 visits @ $2 = $4 per week x 4 weeks = $16 per month

5. If you carry a balance on your credit card, and you're only ableto afford paying the minimum monthly amount, pay weekly installments instead of one monthly payment. For example, if you owe $100 per month, pay $25 per week. Because credit card companies accrue interest daily on your balance, paying only once a month is a huge detriment to your fiscal health.

Savings: $10 - $100 per month (or more!)

6. Instead of a family night out, consider having an old fashionpicnic together or a bike ride. Curbing entertainment costs doesn'tmean curbing the fun.

Savings: $25+ per month

7. Spend a day cooking meals that can be frozen for later use foryour family. Once a Month Cooking, a book by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson, features grocery lists and recipes to prepare and freeze a month's worth of food for you and your family. Not only are you able to purchase the food in bulk, this method prevents having to throw away any spoiled food.

Savings: $50+ per month

8. If you are a regular monthly book buyer, stop the habit and visit your library instead! If you insist on buying books, buy it used at your local store or online at merchants such as or Even a better idea, how about selling the books you have that you don't need!

Savings: $5 - 15 per month

9. Use less expensive gasoline. If you live in North America and have Internet access, you are able to search for the cheapest gas price in your neighborhood with Gas Buddy,

Savings: $5 - 15 per month

10. Use two-for-one coupons when dining out; search for these inlocal newspapers, flyers, and in your "junk mail." If you are a group of four or more people, consider buying dining certificates at, After choosing your city and state on the Website, you will be presented with a listing ofrestaurants vying for your dining dollar!

Savings: $5- $50 per month.

One Paycheck at a Time Inc. is the leading source for sensible debt reduction solutions. Its products include the One Paycheck at a Time, as well as an ebook format, and the eTools program. The author of the book and president of the company, Kimberly A. Griffiths, has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself and has made it her personal goal to share her experience to help others. More information can be found about the company and its products at

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Generation Broke

An amazing thing happened to me today. I was flipping through the channels and stopped on Fox News which is always good for a few laughs. I like to watch in amazement at the crap they try to pass off as news; it frightens me and amuses me at the same time.

Well, I was about to change the channel when they segued into a segment on recent college grads and debt. I kept waiting for Fox News to turn this into something patriotic or an opportunity to praise Bush's policies but they didn't. Interesting! Well anyways, it turns out that I'm not the only one in this debt situation. My whole generation is now being referred to as Generation Broke. Can't we be something cool like "The Generation of Geniuses" or "The Generation that Put an End to World Hunger". Nope! We are united by our insane amounts of debt. We are briz-oke and proud.

Read more:,0,4552719.story?coll=ny-business-leadheadlines

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Let the prostitution begin....

No! Not like grandmother reads this site for pete's sake.

If there is one thing I hate more than my credit card debt it is begging. I cringe when I see people who have their Paypal buttons on their site asking for donations. Donations for what? If it's not going towards AIDs research or hungry children or something like that then why are you asking for a "donation"? Go get a job and suck it up like everyone else.

Now that that is out of my system I am going to admit that I am not above putting ads on my site with the hopes that some of you kind people will click on them because want to see me get out of debt. Because you want to see good prevail over evil. Because you root for the underdog. Now, I'm not saying that you have to click on the links but wouldn't it be nice if you did? You can close your eyes while you do it. I won't mind.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Free Food Won't Make You Fat...will it?

Let me make one thing clear...I LOVE FREE FOOD. Free food somehow tastes 10 times better than the food that you have to lay down cash for. Why is this? Because I hate eating my money when that money could be going towards my debt. If I wasn't physically obligated to eat food I would totally give it up so I could save the extra dough and put it all towards my credit card.

Part of the great thing about working in an office (and there aren't many of them) is that there always seems to be food around. I have been in free food heaven this week because we are having a manager's meeting in our office. Whenever the big dawgs come to town we have catering every day, breakfast and lunch and us little dawgs get to go in and clean up the scraps. Sometimes I feel we have no shame because we eye their food with huge greedy eyes and pounce on the food as soon as they leave....but com'on....IT'S FREE!

The thing I'm wondering though is, if it's free, does that mean you can still gain weight from it? Because sometimes even if I have already eaten breakfast...I will eat breakfast again just because it's there. Or is the rule that because you're at work it doesn't technically count? Because my boss has this candy jar and it's just too easy to eat 5 fun size snickers as the day goes by.

Well, I guess you are waiting for your tip of the day and it shouldn't be a surprise what it is. Eat lots and lots of free food. Go to Costco and eat samples...go out on dates just for the free food, make friends with people who like to cook...and go here to get some free Quizno's stuff:

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A Drop in the Bucket

I just wanted to post really quickly because I have to go to bed in ohhhh, approximately 10 min. I have an old lady's bed time because I am up sitting in traffic before the sun comes up.

It's frustrating posting everyday and having no progress to report back. So, I sold a couple iPod tattoos and decided to put that money towards my debt. :) All $20 of it (it's not all profit but I'll do it anyways because I'm a sucker of nice even numbers). I felt kind of silly making a $20 payment on an almost $20,000 debt. Anyways, here's my new total....brace yourself....


ahhh, that feels nice. BTW, I had a dream about my blog last night. I came to the site and one of the posts had more than 200 comments. :') If only it were true.

Good night and sweet dreams of blogs to everyone.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My Devious Interest Rate Schemes

Everyday I live with a little niggle of fear that my credit card company is going to find me out. I fear that they are going to find out how I've been cheating them out of their exhorbitant fees and they are going to back charge me for all of the interest that I should have been paying them. Each time I get a piece of mail with the words "Important Account Information Enclosed" I cringe and think "the jig is up, they've found me out." But each time it turns out to be more blank checks with a low 2.99% or 3.99% interest rate that they claim I can use to "purchase new furniture or a computer....take a vacation or even write the check to yourself and deposit it into your checking account to use however you like." And that is exactly what I did.

I wrote the check to myself, deposited it into my checking account and immediately made a payment for that same amount to my credit card. Technically, they are supposed to pay off the payments that have the lowest APR first but I knew from previous experience that they took FOREVER to actually post the check to the account after it had already cleared the bank. They charge a $50 finance fee so if it didn't work, I would be out $50. It was a risk I was willing to take because if it worked, I would be saving almost $50 a month in interest payments and the interest rate wouldn't change for the entire life of the loan.

I checked my credit card statement and checking statement literally every hour to watch when they posted the payments. Like I had hoped, it took them more than a week to post the check to my credit card after it had already been available for withdrawal in my checking account for a couple of days. When I got my next statement in the mail my entire balance was locked in at 3.99%! It worked!

I was so elated and giddy that when I received another set of checks in the mail with an interest rate of 2.99% I contemplated doing the whole thing over again. Instead, I opted to transfer my 3.99% vehicle loan onto my credit card. So now, I have it all consolidated into once payment at an average interest rate of 3.5%. So, the tip of the day: dare to be devious. Beat them at their own game.

The thing that really bothers me about the whole thing was that once my balance got to be more than 80% of my credit limit they raised my interest rate from 8% to 23%! Thank god it doesn't really matter because the whole thing is locked in at a low rate. But come on, why do they still send me checks encouraging me to spend more money on my credit card if they are going to penalize me for it? Geez, some people.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Make More or Spend Less - Part 2

Well I covered my bases on the "make more" side I should explore my options on the "spend less" side. This is way more up my alley as I learned to live practically like a monk while living as a full time student. I lived off of just about $19,000 a year including $6,000 of tuition, text books, a credit card payment and nearly $700 for rent every month. I brown bagged my lunch every day, walked everywhere, never bought any new clothes and rarely went out. I may have saved a lot of money but my social life was non-existant and I now have a permanent gag reflex to PB&J.

Thank god I am not doing that anymore. I am trying to find a nice balance between the two extremes (crazy, shop-addicted credit monger vs. the starving college student who wears the same sweatshirt everyday). Once I graduated and started having real life money I had to indulge myself for the years of suffering I subjected myself to. I bought a digital camera, an iPod and lots of clothes. I got it all out of my system...I'm ready.

The thing that sucks about living in southern california is that you have to drive everywhere. Insurance and gas are two huge expenses that I didn't have to deal with when living in northern california and now have to come to terms with. Breathe....just accept it. When I first bought my car I signed up with Mercury Insurance. I had shopped around and they gave me the lowest rate. OR SO I THOUGHT. Those mofos were ripping me off. I was paying nearly $2,000 a year for insurance...and that was the lowest after I called 5 of the major insurance companies. You may be thinking that I have had accidents, tickets, whatever. Well you are wrong. I have a clean spotless driving record. Here it tip of the day. I wish someone would have told me this before I signed up with Mercury so you can thank me later. Check for quotes. I was able to save nearly $700 a year just by switching insurance providers. $700! mmmmmm

And because I am feeling generous and on the subject of cars, I must mention It amazes me that gas prices can vary so much just between gas stations within a block of each other. I check the prices of gas in all the areas I might be in and can find gas that is $.10 cheaper per gallon just by planning ahead. Granted I'm still pay nearly $2.40 for gas on a good day. :/

Current debt: $19,794.23 (Still)

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Sunday, May 15, 2005

Make More or Spend Less

Some words of advice from a friend: "If you want to get out of debt you have to make more money or spend less." Right-o! Even better, why not do both? I'll tell you why. It is just not that easy.

Let start with making more money. I figure I have 3 options to increase my cash flow:

1) Get a raise

I have been in my current position for almost a year now. I have been itching to march into my bosses office and demand a raise...but I never do. Since this is my first job out of college, I have never had to ask for a raise before and I am not sure how people go about doing it. Do they just say "Hi Boss, I would like a raise"? And if I did ask for a raise, how much more money should I ask for? I'm afraid of being too pushy and since my annual review is coming up soon (I hope in about a month) I am just going to wait it out. So since this option has not been very fruitful I can always,

2) Get a better paying job someplace else

Ya, right! There isn't exactly a demand for college graduates with a degree in anthropology. Here is my tip for the day: If you are still in college, do NOT major in anthropology or any of the other social sciences/humanities unless you want to spend the next 10 years of your life in school. Major in something practical like engineering or computer science that you can actually get a job in after you gradutate. Don't believe me? Do a search on for entry level jobs in the anthropology field and you will see what I mean.

3) Find a supplemental income

Everyone knows that Ebay is a great place to make a little extra dough. Why not me? I decided to make iPod tattoos and sell them on Ebay and put all the profit directly towards my credit card debt. Almost everyone has an iPod nowadays and it is in our human nature to want to put our own personal touch on everything. Look at how many people buy special ring tones for their cellies! I designed a few of my own and put them on Ebay for $3.99. I have probably made $100 selling them so far which is not a lot in comparison to my debt. But hey, it's a start. You can check them out here:

Buy one, it will go towards a good cause.

Current debt: $19,794.23 as of May 15, 2005, 1:12 p.m PST

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Let me start from the beginning

The average American has $8,562 of credit card debt. Well average American, I put you to shame! This is one of those rare occasions where I dare to be above-average, not that I did it on purpose of course. I currently weigh in with $19,794.23 of credit card be exact. How did this happen? Not by sure chance I assure you. Let me start from the beginning...

It all started when I was 18 years old. Fresh eyed and bushy tailed I got my first credit card with a limit of about $500. I used it only for the occasional shopping trip and never carried a balance. By the time I was the ripe old age of 19 my credit had gotten to be so good that I was sent a Platinum Visa card with a whoppin' $5,000 credit limit. Those credit card companies sure knew what they were doing. I definitely deserved such a high credit limit and platinum status considering I was a full time student with a part-time seasonal job working at Borders Books (is my sarcasm obvious enough?). I had made it to the big time.

So far, so good...right? The trouble began when I left for a study abroad in Paris. I was 19 and it was my first time away from home without bank statements coming in the mail and without reliable access to the internet to check balances online. Even the ATM receipts didn't tell me what my balance was when I took out money. Money was unreal to me. It was play money. Every American knows that real money is green and small enough to fit nicely in your wallet. This money came in all different colors and was so big that it hung out the edges of my wallet just begging to be spent at all the cool stores and bars with yummy expensive drinks.

The money didn't have to beg too hard. I could go to the ATM and take out about 200 francs (approx 30 US dollars, pre-Euro days) and it would be gone by the end of the day. Where? How? What? Who knows! I graduated to withdraws of 500 francs ($70) because it was just too time consuming to have to go the ATM that often. That lasted a little bit longer but somehow it managed to slip away too fast.

Whenever I talked to my grandma back home she would tell me I had to "slow down". She was right and I knew it. I felt so guilty about all the money I was spending. I resolved several times to "sloooow down" but I didn't have the will. I mean, who can slow down when you are only in Italy for the weekend once, right? You only have the chance to buy those super cool Chanel sun glasses once, right? And how many times can you go hang out at those posh euro clubs with all your friends? You can't exactly show up there wearing yesterday's trends. So instead of depriving myself of all these things, I charged them to my Platinum card.

By the time I had gotten back to the States I had racked up $2,500 worth of debt. And I had no job. After looking for a while I was offered a good student job. The only problem was that they didn't need me to start working for another 2 months. Bad news: I had no money to pay off my credit card. Good news: They increased my credit limit to $7,500 AND sent me really cool checks that I can write to myself for a low APR.

You can see where this is all going. My spending habits didn't get better. My philosophy changed from "You only live in France once" to "You only LIVE once." I spent and spent and spent and the credit card companies kept raising my limit. I always thought I would be able to pay it off with no problem. I was living in a fantasy world.

When I finally transferred to a UC school and had to live on my own, pay rent and utilties and a fat credit card bill on top of it all, I struggled to get by. I vowed to pay it off as soon as I could and finally changed my expensive spending habits. I couldn't make much progress though because I was living off of student financial aid which didn't take into account that you might have a credit card bill, need dental work, or buy furniture. I guess I could have slept on the floor but I splurged on those little necessities like a bed and cavity fillings that wouldn't leave my teeth looking all silver that weren't covered by insurance. I did contemplate eating only rice and beans for a year but I didn't have the backbone. Some months I couldn't pay the rent and had to use my credit card. Dang, it brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. :P

I graduated from college about a year ago and have been working at a crappy office job since then. I'm 23 years old and have a $23,700 credit limit. I had to buy a car which is included in my total debt. I've paid off about $8,000 of my debt so far. I would have been able to pay off more but my appendix decided to rupture and I ended up having to pay over $1,000 in medical bills even though I had insurance. Here's my piece of advice for the day....don't sign up for a PPO! If anything goes wrong you will be responsible for a percentage of it (in my case 20%). Imagine getting billed 20% for not only the surgery but the hospital stay, 5-6 x-rays I didn't even realize they took, anasthesia, analysis of the x-rays, analysis of my poor little appendix, and lord knows what else. Why did they need to analyze my appendix?? They took it out! It's been 6 months and I'm still getting bills. Next time, I will take my chances with the bad appendix.

If you have gotten this far, you are a trooper. Thanks! My goal is to pay off my debt in 2 years or less. I lay awake at night thinking about crazy ideas about how to get myself out of this mess and quite frankly I think my friends and loved ones are sick of hearing about it. I'll share some of my ideas as time goes on. After all, I have probably overwhelmed you with information already. So stay tuned...theres more ramblings to come. Feel free to post your ideas and stories.

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