Well, it’s official: I’m sick. I probably shouldn’t be too surprised; Sondra was sick most of the week after Christmas (with me serving as designated caretaker/tea maker) and when she was feeling better, I went out to see my mother and sisters, who were just getting over their own illness from visiting Germany. The fact that I’ve managed to go this long without feeling very ill myself is a testament to either my strong constitution or my refusal to admit when I’m ill (I am a guy after all, and can be quite stubborn at times).
Unfortunately, coming as it does, it’s going to be a serious problem. Not only am I trying to make a highly productive new start on this very blog, but I’m also resuming my research at grad school. Hopefully, my illness doesn’t spread to any of the bacteria. (Side note: I’m attempting to get some E. coli bacteria to produce a mutated protein, incidentally giving them immunity to a particular antibiotic. Sondra thinks this is somehow ‘weird’; crazy, I know, but what are you going to do?)
With any luck, I should be able to shake the last vestiges of this illness by the weekend (when I will venture out of my lab room, visit my fiancée, and be *Gasp* social). Until then, I’m trying my best to keep up with everyone’s great posts and what have you, and hope that you can all bear with me. Here’s hoping the rest of 2011 turns out to be better for me (and that I stop writing ’2010′ when dating my petri dishes, but that’s another story).
Contests and Giveaways
Penny Saver over at The Saved Quarter is giving away quite a collection of books, gift cards, and money to celebrate the first anniversary of The Saved Quarter (and quite a good year it had, at that). It looks like quite a few people from the Yakezie network contributed swag, so you better get while the getting is good before the contest expires on the eighth.
Kevin of Invest It Wisely reviews the book Early Retirement Extreme (by Jacob Lund Fisker of, yes, Early Retirement Extreme) and offers a copy of the book to readers who share their early retirement dreams by the end of next week.
On the subject of Kevin and Invest It Wisely, I won a copy of “How to Profit in Gold” via his review and giveaway shortly before Christmas. Just a note of thanks to Kevin for his generosity, and to remind everyone that yes, there are people who win these contests and get all kinds of free swag.
The BlogHer family of blogs is working together with the Kroger family of stores to give away TWENTY FIVE $25 gift cards. Alas, I don’t have any Kroger stores near me, but hopefully some of readers are more conveniently located. (Thanks to Mrs. Accountability for cluing me in.)
Melissa of Mom’s Plan is still giving away a $25 Chili’s Gift card until the tenth, so if you want to enter, you definitely need to hurry. (And be very lucky; as of this writing, there are nearly 500 entries, and I still need to enter, myself, so you’ll definitely need some luck.)
Because we all like money, Len Penzo is offering $100 of it to a randomly selected reader; you can bump up your chances to win by subscribing to his feed, following him on Twitter, and ‘Liking’ him on Facebook. (Is it just me, is the ‘Like’ Function on Facebook now more about sucking up to people in hopes that they give you stuff than about, crazy thought, actually enjoying them and what they have to say?)
Then there’s this crazy guy, trying to get people to help him improve his blog, and offering (of all odd things) personal finance magazine subscriptions to the winners. If you want to take five, ten minutes to drop him a few suggestions, I’m sure he’d appreciate it. (Hint: the ‘he’ is me. )
As always, if I’ve missed any other contests or giveaways that people are currently holding, drop a line and let me know
Good Yakezie Posts
Top Four Things to Buy After Christmas and New Year’s – Now that the holiday rush is over and the new year has started, there are some goods that stores want off their shelves, and are pricing them to move. Over on Young and Thrifty, you can see a few possibilities; personally, I want to load up on Christmas cards and wrapping paper while the getting is good.
2011 Goals and Plans – Being the week that started the New Year, it’s not surprising that many of the blog posts last week dealt with resolutions (Hey, I did so myself.) Kay Lynn of the Bucksome Boomer has an especially impressive set of resolutions, and here’s hoping she accomplishes them!
Financial Samurai Goals and Resolutions for 2011 – Another good example, here the Financial Samurai has set out some truly impressive goals for this coming year. ($100,000 a month for Yakezie members? If I get 1% of that, I’ll have met my goal.) Good luck meeting your goals, Sam, and I’ll do my best to keep up with you for the ride!
Foolproof System for New Year’s Resolutions – Sounds too perfect to be true, right? Well, it kind of is; as Barbara Friedberg shares, she doesn’t make resolutions, but sets goals throughout the year. Not a bad plan for keeping yourself motivated.
What is a W-4? Updating My W-4 – Evan of My Journey to Millions provides some advice on filling out one of the (seemingly endless) forms required by the IRS. If anything major has changed in your life in the past year, it’s probably time to see if you need to update this form to keep the government from keeping too much of your money until you get next year’s tax refund.
Rethinking Our Family Gift Exchange – Joe Plemon (Personal Finance By The Book) raises some interesting thoughts about eliminating gift exchanges between adults in his family for Christmas, and ways to show appreciation for each other throughout the year. Given that my family’s gift giving has been reduced to a Secret Santa based gift card exchange, I might have to mention something like this at the next family picnic.
We May Have a New Tradition: Opening Gifts After Christmas – I’ll admit, when I first read the title, I assumed that the plan was to buy gifts during the after-Christmas sales and give them out at a later time (say, on New Year’s Eve, before the kids go to bed and Mom and Dad stay up to midnight). But Melissa of Mom’s Plan actually ended up stretching the Christmas gift giving over several days, and she and her husband seem to like the idea of stretching gift giving for a week afterwards. Not a bad plan.
How A Tape Measure Saved Us $1000 – A very interesting story from Mysti of Digging Out From Our Mess. A little restraint can be a wonderful boost to your money situation. Kudos for resisting the siren call of a remade kitchen!
How I Will Earn $1000 By Losing Weight – I’ll admit, I honestly don’t know what to make of this, but if there is a website that will quintuple your money for losing weight, I’d be very tempted. I’m not quite ready to make the leap with Jesse of PF Firewall, but if I can keep up my own resolution to make it to the gym twice a week, it raises some interesting possibilities…
Personal Finance Things to Do Before Age 50 – While I’ve got a ways to go before I hit the big five-oh, many of the suggestions made on Consumer Boomer aren’t bad to take a look at, even for us whippersnappers. With the start of a new year, you’re likely in a ‘seeing where I stand’ mind frame anyway, so you may as well double-check your finances to make sure you’re on your way to meet your goals.
Where The Amateur Financier Was Mentioned
Here’s hoping everyone’s had a better start to the New Year than me, and that if you have taken ill, that you recover soon!