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Archive for April, 2011

In Defense of Smart Phones

April 28th, 2011 at 02:08 pm

A conversation in the forum got me feeling somewhat defensive of my iPhone. I used to think they were a huge extravagance, and I suppose when they first came out and the price was sky high, they were. I think has time has passed, though, the price has dropped dramatically but many people still have the image of them being hundreds of dollars. So when you see someone who may not have a lot of money sporting a smart phone, you might think they are blowing money that could be going to better things.

Assuming you already have a cell phone plan with AT&T, you can get an iPhone for $49 and the cheapest data plan for $15/month. That's hardly a wild purchase for most people, even folks with relatively modest incomes. $180/year for the service isn't likely to make or break anyone's budget.

So why get a smart phone anyway? Here's the list I posted on the discussion thread:

My phone is:
A telephone with free long distance
A computer with full Internet access
A camera for still photos
A video camera
A video game player
A tv and movie viewer
A radio
An mp3 player
A calculator (regular or scientific)
An educational device
A GPS unit

I think that used intelligently, a smart phone could actually eliminate the need for various other devices, thus saving money overall. We don't need GPS in the car - we have our phones. We don't need a video camera - we've got our phones. We don't need iPods - they are built into our phones. You get the idea.

Certainly, if someone is truly struggling, a smart phone remains a luxury item, but if someone is doing basically okay, having or not having a smart phone isn't going to be the deciding factor in whether or not they are making it financially.

DD's first paycheck!

April 24th, 2011 at 02:35 pm

My daughter is 15. She has talked about getting a job but has found that virtually nobody will hire her until she turns 16. She has talked about babysitting but hasn't really made any major effort to find jobs.

Last week, the religious school director at our synagogue asked her if she could fill in on Sunday for the aide who would be out that day. She did that and the other night, I picked up her first real paycheck. It was for $28 ($7/hr. x 4 hours). Not a lot of money but pretty significant to a 15 year old who gets $10/week allowance.

Even better, they asked if there is an opening in September, if she would like that job regularly. She definitely would, so there is a good chance that from September until May, she will have a regular position there for 4 hours each Sunday.

She's excited, as are we. I hope it works out and they are able to offer it to her. If she gets it, I guess it will be time to open her Roth and I'll help her fund it to match her earnings.

March 2011 Survey Income

April 1st, 2011 at 02:18 pm

For the newbies, I am a family practice physician and get to do a lot of professional surveys and market research programs. These are not available to the general public. They pay quite well though can sometimes be mind-numbingly tedious or boring. Most of the time, they aren't too bad.

For the month of March, I earned $687. Not bad at all.

I've been very busy the past couple of weeks and have not had much time to do surveys so I've missed out on a lot. That probably means April will be on the lower side but time will tell. I never know what will come along.