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How Jaci Rae Learned the Value of a Dollar - The Early Years III

Aug 17, 2007
I had botched surgery after botched surgery. I was in jobs that back in my Mom's day would be high paying, but in my day, at $12 an hour, was barely enough to pay basic living needs and I barely made rent. Of course, the list went on, as it does with most of us.

Because I felt the need to buy presents for birthdays and Christmas even though I didn't have the money and couldn't afford such luxuries, I quickly learned how to be thrifty, save money and get the most bang for my buck.

Back in the day, I was often asked how I accomplished buying the things I did when I was barely able to afford to eat. I was always happy to share my tips and strategies. I have been there, done that and figured a way out of my financial crises on more than one occasion.

I understand that many people go through the same things with their money. We all suffer from unforeseen circumstances. As a young woman, I had to file bankruptcy after a failed required surgery. The procedure went bad, my insurance ran out, and by that time, no insurance would cover it. I had to pay for all the subsequent surgeries by myself.

I remained in debt, paying large monthly credit card bills from a relentless stream of "fix it" surgeries and when there was still no end in sight I gave up with $179 thousand more to pay (the rest I had already paid for). I just couldn't do it anymore and I cried all the way to the bankruptcy table.

With the desperation of today's economy, many people are struggling just to meet basic needs. Unfortunately, for the first time in American history, we are living off accumulated debt. Most people aren't worth even close to what they owe.

As an added pressure to our economic insecurity, we are importing our goods from other countries and even though most won't admit it and it's not showing the worst signs yet, I believe we are losing the economic battle to stay afloat in this country.

With wages not commiserative with the cost of living and jobs being taken away right and left after they are shipped overseas, the crunch is on to just survive. The 'American Dream' is fading fast with families working two or three jobs a day to get ahead and barely survive.

The widening gap between upper and middle classes makes those in poverty-stricken areas even more desperate to survive. We are all in trouble.

While back in the day it may have been possible to have the 'American Dream' if you worked hard, it doesn't seem possible anymore. So how can we support our families and get back to the 'American Dream?' By saving money and learning to be frugal consumers.

You can get out of the darkness and you can begin to see the light at the end of the financial doomsday tunnel. It's all about taking the time to use what little you don't have and make it work. It's time to make your money work for you instead of only working for your money!

Example. I have fed seven adults on less than $10. How? I used an entertainment book I had purchased through an elementary school and hit up all of the free or buy one-get one free items. We had leftovers and it was a lot of main courses as well as several side dishes!

With that same entertainment book, that originally cost $10, I have received free oil changes, dry cleaning, roses, eye exams, chiropractic, food, car wash and a lot more. One year I counted my savings and by using the book diligently, I had saved over $2,839.89!
I have filled an entire truck with top-name brand gifts and goods, thousands and thousands of dollars worth for under $400.

How? By buying everything when it was 75% - 95% off and then applying for the card each store offered and using it. That added another 15 - 25% off at the various stores. In many cases, all I had to pay was sales tax! I had incredible gifts for two years for every event including Christmas! The trick to that one is to pay off the credit card as soon as the bill comes so there are no interest penalties then cancel it.

Because the bill was less than $400 total and I had been saving $27.00 two times a month all year, I had the money, plus the interest I earned off the money in my savings account and an additional $300 leftover once the bills were paid!

There is hope.

Here are a few more ideas to help you get on your way and begin living life and saving money.

1. How can you eat, drink and shop for free at restaurants and stores in your neighborhood? Sign up as a mystery shopper. I still keep my hand in the field, even though I tour all over the world. Its fun and I get paid! Tip: Never pay any company money to do their work. They are supposed to pay you!
2. Never put off tomorrow what you can pay today. While you don't want to pay bills too early, did you know that companies rely on people forgetting just past the date a bill is due and then you pay a high penalty? They can make thousands of dollars a year just from that little mistake on one person. That's money you can put in the bank!
3. Ping your vegetables and smell them to make sure you are getting what you paid for and do look in the vegetable and fruit portion of the market as they do have coupons available from time to time, that will discount your price!

Very Unusual College Scholarships for Those Who Haven't Had Huge Academic or Sports Success

College is very expensive, even if you are attending a junior college for the first two years. There are so many weird and whacky scholarships available and not just to those who are academically or athletically inclined. Do a Google search to find more information on them. (I have hundreds of scholarships, their websites, requirements and deadlines listed in Shop for a Day with Jaci Rae - How to Get Almost Anything for Free or Next to It and due to space I cannot list everything I would like to here.)

Here are a few examples of fun and whacky college scholarships available to anyone:

1. David Letterman Scholarship
2. Stuck at the Prom Scholarship
3. Jennifer L. Duke Memorial Scholarship Fund
3. The Horatio Alger Scholarship Program for Overcoming Adversity
4. Great Clips Scholarship
5. The Brick Awards

In conclusion, saving money doesn't mean you're cheap, it means you are smart. The rich didn't get rich by spending every last dime to impress their friends. Trust me! Please join me in May and June at the Learning Annex (you can attend live or online) for a three hour intensive course on how you can save money.

Remember, Life is Expensive, But Living Doesn't Have to Be! You have this one moment in time, live it to the fullest!
About the Author
aJaci Rae is a No. 1 best-selling author. For more information: http://www.jacirae.com or Shop For a Day With Jaci Rae - How to Get Almost Anything for Fre-e is Jaci's latest book.
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