Must, Should, and Financial Freedom

mustIf you struggle with your inner compass at times like I do, definitely read this thought-provoking and inspiring article The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna:

Should is how others want us to show up in the world — how we’re supposed to think, what we ought to say, what we should or shouldn’t do. It’s the vast array of expectations that others layer upon us. When we choose Should the journey is smooth, the risk is small.

Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s our instincts, our cravings and longings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that swells up from somewhere deep inside of us.

When reading biographies and interviews of notable people, those who made seemingly bold decisions often remark that it really wasn’t. They just did it. It was a Must. I always wonder if it was also scary for them.

Looking back, I wonder if my own moves were by choice or not. Did I choose to quit my stable job with the bi-weekly paycheck and instead go back to school while supporting myself with online projects? Was I scared? Probably. Did I have any other choice? I only remember that I couldn’t do the job anymore.

Whenever I start feeling like others are controlling my destiny instead of me, I start to panic and plan my escape. I believe this fear of losing control is why I like to hoard money. Money gives you time to work towards a Must:

Money can be a bridge to the freedom of exploring Musts. And it often doesn’t require much. But it does require determination. Money can be used to buy you a day, a week, month of time to work on a Must, which may amount to nothing. Or it can be used to buy a sweater, a suit, a car — the value of which is obvious and low risk.

The article speaks of aligning your everyday actions to your dreams. Your job should be your calling. An artist. A tech start-up. A food truck.

That is a worthwhile goal and while it is important for me to like what I do each day (which I do), I feel differently. Not needing money from a job at all and having absolute freedom to do whatever I want (paid or not), that is what I crave. That is what I think about in the shower. Achieving financial freedom is my Must.

Healthcare FSA $500 Rollover and Open Enrollment

rxbottleIn October of last year, the government announced that administrators of Healthcare Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) could allow employees to roll over up to $500 of unspent FSA money into the following year’s balance . This change was designed up help address the (stupid in my opinion) use-it-or-lose-it nature of these accounts. Per this Reuters article, given the short notice only 8% of U.S. companies adopted this rollover policy in 2014.

As Open Enrollment season for benefits starts for 2015, keep your eyes out for mention of this rollover option. Adoption rates could jump up to 50% now that they’ve had a year to prepare, according to benefits administrator Alegeus Technologies.

If your company does offer a $500 carryover (and your job is stable), then it would be much more appealing to contribute at last $500 even if you are unsure of your future expenses. If you don’t spend all (or any) of it, you can simply roll it over year after year.

Despite the potential tax savings, we stopped contributing to our FSA last year because the company switched to a new (likely cheaper) FSA administrator that made you do everything online while also repeatedly rejecting half our claims without clear explanations as to why. So painful! Thankfully it sounds like everyone else hated them too, as they are back to processing FSA claims in-house.

Obihai Free Monthly Home Phone Service; VoIP Adapter Deal for $30

obi200

If you still have landline phone service and are looking for a cheaper alternative, Obihai is officially supported by Google again (it ended back in May 2014): Obihai is excited to announce official support for Google Voice. With a Google Voice … [Read the rest]

Google Hangouts App Update: Free Voice Calls Over Data for Android and iPhone

hangouts

Google has just announced better integration between Google Voice and their Google Hangouts smartphone app. Both iOS and Android apps can now make domestic and international calls through a Wi-Fi or data connection (like 4G). You can also receive … [Read the rest]

College Tuition Hasn’t Risen As Much As You Think

gradcap

The new fall semester is underway, which means more college articles! Morgan Housel of Fool.com recently talked about how the increasing cost of college is exaggerated (emphasis mine): According to the College Board, the annual sticker price of … [Read the rest]

1 Year Free Identity Protection and Credit Monitoring from Home Depot

hdallclearid

Home Depot has admitted they were recently hacked and customer information was compromised and stolen. If you have shopped at any Home Depot store after April 1, 2014, you are eligible for one free year of identity protection and credit monitoring … [Read the rest]

Get Rid of Second Car and Use Uber Instead?

uberiphone5

Forget borrowing money to buy a car, the concept of owning a car itself is changing. Owning a car requires committing to a long list of expenses: car payment and value depreciation ($1,000+ a year) car insurance premium ($500+ a … [Read the rest]

Early Retirement Lesson #4: How Much Car Can I Afford?

jagf200

Here’s another installment of what I would tell my kids about pursuing financial freedom. Read all of my early retirement lessons here. I've already covered housing, so the next big expense that comes to mind is cars. This is a revised version o … [Read the rest]

Dinner Boot Camp: Free Family Meal Planning for a Week

dinnerplaybook

The New York Times Motherlode blog is running Dinner: The Boot Camp next week with Jenny Rosenstrach, author of the new book Dinner: The Playbook "A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal". Here is the free shopping list and … [Read the rest]

Fandango Movie Ticket for $7 (Up to $14 Value)

Amazon Local has a Fandango Movie Ticket code for $7. Voucher is valid for 1 movie ticket up to $14. Service fee still applies (varies). Limited quantities. Promotional value expires 11/30/14, paid value never expires. … [Read the rest]

Free Rideshare Promo Codes: Uber, Lyft, Flywheel, Gett, Sidecar, Silvercar

uberscreen

Added Gett $10 flat fare within Manhattan promo info. Added Sidecar "Trip token" promo info. Summoning a car with your smartphone is all the rage. Most of these startups are offering some form of bonus credit for first-time users. If you live in … [Read the rest]

Expedia $100 off $400 Coupon Code – Today 9/4 Only

Expedia has a promotion for their new table app where you can get $100 off a $400 hotel booking. That's up to 25% off. Pretty simple... go to link, enter mobile phone number, receive unique coupon code. Says for today only 9/4... sorry if you … [Read the rest]