Archive for the ‘Saving Money’ Category

Great article from Mike Rowe (host of the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs):

Student loans have eclipsed one trillion dollars.

One. Trillion. Dollars.

Personally, I think it’s insane to start a career thirty grand in the hole, especially when there are no jobs in your chosen field. The fact is, the vast majority of jobs today do NOT require a four-year degree. They require training, and a truly useful skill. I think we’ve confused the cost of an education with the price of a diploma. That’s why I started The mikeroweWORKS Scholarship Fund. I want to challenge the idea that an expensive four-year degree is the best path for the most people, and call attention to thousands of real opportunities in the real world that real companies are struggling to fill.

The mrW Scholarship Fund began with a $250,000 allotment, and I’m pleased to report that the money is now completely gone. But wait…there’s more! Over the next few months, mikeroweWORKS will partner directly with some of the very best Trade and Technical Schools in the country, beginning with Midwest Technical Institute.

And today, I’m happy to announce $800,000 of new funds, specifically designated as “mrW-MTI Scholarships.”

Whereas other grants and scholarships focus just on academic achievement, athletic ability, or artistic talent, mrW/MTI scholarships are intended to encourage something else – the desire to learn a useful skill, and the willingness to work your butt off. That’s it.

To qualify for a mrW/MTI Scholarship, you have to be a high-school senior who is willing to learn a skill at MTI. You’ll need to write an essay. You’ll need to provide attendance records and references. You’ll also need to submit a short video and post it on Facebook. In short, you’ll need to make a case for yourself, because the public is going to vote on who gets the money. And the money at stake is significant – on average, $15,000 per scholarship. And something else – you’ll need to sign The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. (Skills and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo).

Please take a moment to read the SWEAT Pledge before you go any further. Yeah, I know…some people might find the notion of signing a Pledge to be silly. Others might philosophically disagree with it’s content. Well, if that’s the case, this particular pile of free money is not for you. Remember – mikeroweWORKS is not just a Scholarship Fund – it’s a PR Campaign for hard work and skilled labor. Taking The SWEAT Pledge is a simple but important part of that campaign. If you can’t bring yourself to take the SWEAT Pledge, you will not qualify for a mrW/MTI Scholarship. It’s non-negotiable.

mikeroweWORKS is committed to helping close our countries skills gap by challenging the misconceptions that surround “alternative education.” MTI shares that goal. They have seven campuses in four states. I realize that many who read this will not be geographically suitable for this opportunity, but don’t despair. Other schools are coming soon, and mikeroweWORKS Scholarships are just getting started.

Stay tuned-
Mike Rowe, “Dirty Jobs”

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We are living in a difficult period, where a lot of people live in fear for their jobs and future. The optimistic view is that it won’t get better for quite some time. The more realistic one is that it will probably get worse. So, in this troubled times it is important to save every dollar or euro you can. This is of course a general suggestion, you should always have enough money to survive at least half a year without income. The most important part in saving money is to choose a correct lifestyle – this means to avoid wasteful stupidities to which ordinary people succumb (you should avoid those people as well).

If you follow my advices you will not only have enough money to invest, you will also learn to live like me and earn the right to a better lifestyle. Every penny you save should be invested and converted into real wealth. So here are my suggestions and of course there is always room for improvement.

1. Avoid luxurious and excess stuff. This must be a general rule and it is one of the foundations for saving money. Take cloths for example. Most of my cloths are bought at an army shop where it is cheap, looks good and it lasts for years. I also don’t own any rings or other jewellery and I live in a cheap one room apartment with minimal furniture. I also don’t own a television which saves me money and also gives me more time to be active.

2. Drive as little as possible. I calculated that just by riding a bike to work I save more than 20 Euros a month (almost an ounce of silver). When you do drive, drive slowly. Because of the drag, the engine power and consequently the fuel consumption is increasing by the third power of the velocity. This means that the fuel consumption per unit distance is increasing as a square of velocity. It is better yet if you don’t own a car. You will avoid paying for a car and the consequential maintenance.

3. Don’t waste your money on electronic widgets. Are you so desperate for status approval that you must be one of the first idiots to posses the latest iPod or iPhone? If it is possible, don’t throw away your old devices as soon as some new one are available.

4. Avoid clubs, bars, coffee shops and restaurants as a mean of socializing or keeping social contacts. Just the fact that the average American spend 1000$ a year for coffee and 2000$ on lunch tells you something about the wastefulness of their fiscal habits.

5. Use free software. Why use Matlab if you can get Octave for free? Why use Windows when you can use Ubuntu and all the free software you need? Your computer will run better and you will be able to use it for years without the need for a hardware upgrade.

6. If you decide to take a vacation, avoid popular tourist destinations. Since we are in holiday season, it is always a surprise to me how many people I know spend their savings (or take loans) just to go to some crowded and overpriced location, where they spend the day by a hotel swimming pool and the night at some night club. If you need a vacation, choose a creative and active way to spend your time. I just need my bike, tent and backpack and I will come back completely recharged. Needles to say that it is also more convenient for my budget.

7. Most importantly – avoid people. Keep a small but close circle of friends and acquaintances that are worthy of your time.