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Jennifer E. Thomas
...... .:::.:.:

It's almost like there are these periods where our relationship is smooth and steady, and then there are times when it's like standing on the edge of this gorgeous, wonderful waterfall and just letting yourself drop, knowing that there's a safe pool of water ready to catch you at bottom. You take the plunge and you're in wayyyy over your head, but oh man, it's exhilarating, it's breathtaking, it's just incredible and you feel better than you ever have before and the water is cool and refreshing and exactly what you needed.

Sam is my waterfall.

- LJ entry from 8/2005


Every Human Has Rights

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Jennifer E. Thomas [userpic]
Very interesting article

Small Investments With Major Returns
by Brett Arends
Wednesday, January 7, 2009provided byWSJ

There's no such thing as a hot stock tip right now, but these small investments could add thousands to your bottom line.

Everybody wants a hot tip. At this time of year the media's filled with forecasts and recommendations. Hope springs eternal.


History says few people ever beat the market consistently. And even those who do don't beat the market by much.

So what's the best you can expect? Wall Street's best year, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, was 1915. The index rocketed 82%. The second best year was 1933. It jumped 66%.

Any tip that comes close to that would have to be remarkable. Here are seven that will do better. Yes, they will produce a greater return on investment than Wall Street's greatest boom year.

And, unlike your typical investment tip, these returns are pretty much guaranteed. What's more, you won't have to call your broker to make any of these moves:

* Buy a bread maker. You can buy one for $55. If it saves you just $4 a week on store-bought bread, that's $208 a year. A 280% return.
* Get a credit card with a great sign-up bonus. Like the AirTran Visa card. Cost: The $40 annual fee. After your first purchase you get enough reward miles for a free flight, saving maybe $250. Then cancel the card. Return: 525%.
* Take out a local library card. Cost: Nothing. If it saves you $10 a month on books, that's $120 a year. Return: Infinite. Note: Some libraries now let you borrow electronic books over the Internet as well.

* Replace your premium cable package with a Netflix subscription and a $100 set-top box. You can download movies and TV programs as well getting DVDs through the mail. Cost: $100 for the cheapest set-top box, plus $17 a month for a three-movie subscription. If it replaces a $50-a-month cable package, that's a 98% return on investment.
* Order a packet of seeds and plant them in a window box or garden. Growing your own herbs, spices, and even vegetables – depending on the amount of space you have – is a great investment. If you spent just $10 on seeds and saved a mere $50 in the year, that's a 400% ROI.
* Switch to a prepaid cellphone. Cost: $20 for the phone, and maybe $100 a year for minutes. Move the rest of your talk-time to free Internet calls, and stop hemorrhaging $60 a month on a cellular plan. ROI: 500%
* Start making your own coffee to take to work each morning. Cost: $20 for a Thermos, $10 for a filter and papers, and $60 a year for ground coffee. Then skip the $4 a day drive-thru. If that saves you $1,000 a year, the return is more than 1,000 %.

Borderline symptom of the day: contemplativecontemplative

Neat stuff. I know a few of my own that produce a great return - have a movie night with friends - at home. Get some foreign or Indie films free from your library. Potluck.

Eat before you go to the movies - you'll be less likely to order that disgustingly big popcorn and drink.

Before you leave home take a bottled water in your car - you won't need to get drive through snack or meal and drink if you get thirsty. And for the bottled water, I bottle it myself using a Brita filter and reuse the (safe) bottles almost endlessly, leaving them in the fridge to stay cold.

Switch to a prepaid cellphone. Cost: $20 for the phone, and maybe $100 a year for minutes.

Bwahahahahaha! Wow. This so isn't on par with Canadian prices. LMAO! We get so screwed on phones, it's ridiculous.

Not bad ideas, for the most part, I must say. Though, if you spend a bit more on that breadmaker and get a decent one, it'll last a lot longer, and be an even better investment. And if you buy a good stand mixer instead, it'll make the good bread AND be useful for any number of other things.

The only one remotely feasible for us is the breadmaker, and that would take at least a year, if not two, to see a full ROI.

The credit card trick is pointless, because taking a trip means one of us misses work. Ours is to accept the cards with 0% intro rates on balance transfers, and throw as much money as we can to pay down the balance while leaving the card in a drawer to languish until it is paid off (transferred to the next card), then canceled.

A library card might save me $50 a year, but not until next year when all the books I might buy finally get released to regular circulation. My local library *rents* the brand new books, acquires them about 6 months after release, and leaves them on the rental shelf for at least 3 months. Also, there are shows on cable that never get released to DVD -- Wookiee's wrestling, for instance. WWE only releases certain shows to DVD, and TNA might offer "best matches." If the shows one enjoys are all on DVD, then making that switch to Netflix is quite feasible. If not, then it's a bigger sacrifice.

Growing and canning my own veggies is so time-consuming that I am better off buying them from professionals.

the bit about making your own coffee at home left out the $20 minimum for the coffee*maker*, and the $20 per month for all the flavorings that go into a $4 coffee. Again, it would take over a year to see the ROI. It's also assuming that one would actually want to drink a plain-ass cup of joe when one is used to $4 caramel mocha lattes.

It is good advice, though, and can spur one into thinking of acceptable ways to cut costs.

Buy a breadmaker only if you have a physical or environmental problem (no bench space, time constraints) that mean you can't make bread by hand. Save another $55.

I switched from a pre-pay cellphone to a contract, and saved myself about $20 per month.

Like all advice, it's good, but not universal.