Can One Bad Decision Cost You $450,000?

Note: The post below contains spoilers for the recent season of Big Brother (USA version), which ended on September 21, 2016.  You have been warned.

Reality TV is not at all my thing, with one notable guilty pleasure, and that is watching Big Brother.  My wife got me into it over 10 years ago, and it’s something we enjoy.

Some might be familiar with the show, but for those who aren’t, here’s a very quick run-down: 16 ‘houseguests’ start off living together, and one houseguest per week is voted out by the other contestants.  There are a few mental and physical competitions each week, with the winners having the opportunity to pick who is up for vote, and everybody else getting to decide.  After roughly thirteen weeks, there are only 3 people left going into the finale.  The winner gets $500,000, second place gets $50,000 and third place gets nothing.

The whole show is pretty trashy, but it’s a whole lot of fun.

We watched the show all summer and when it got down to the finale, the three people remaining were:

  • Paul – A pretty strong player who won a lot of competitions but who had a hand in voting a lot of people out
  • Nicole – Another strong player who laid low for most of the summer and then kicked it into gear at the end
  • James – A weak player who is a lot of fun, but who won pretty much nothing all summer long.

Now, the way the finale works is that, first, the three get whittled down to two.  This is done by:

  • Competition 1: All three players compete and there is one winner
  • Competition 2: The two ‘losers’ of competition 1 square off
  • Competition 3: The winners of the first two competitions compete.
Image via Morguefiles courtesy of Alvimann
Image via Morguefiles courtesy of Alvimann

The winner of Competition 3 is assured at least $50,000 and they also get to determine, of the remaining two players, which one stays and which one goes.

Now the way it worked this year is that Paul won Competition 1 and Nicole won Competition 2.  Neither of these surprised me as everybody pretty much knew that James was a weak player and probably wasn’t going to win.   And he didn’t.

Now, the dynamic above has played out before in seasons past, where you have two strong players and one weak player.  See, it’s not an accident that a weaker player makes it.  Why?  Simple.  The strong players want a weaker player sitting next to them as that increases their odds of winning.

So, when Competition 3 started, I assumed that when Paul or Nicole won, that either of them would take James along.  This means that a strong player ends up with nothing, but it’s one of the quirks of Big Brother.

Competition 3 is done live during the finale, and I think that just about everybody was as shocked as I was when he picked James to leave, meaning that he would be facing off against Nicole.  Another strong player.

Well, since you read this far and you saw the title, you probably already guessed what happened.  He lost.  The way that it works is that the 9 most recent houseguests that are evicted (including James) get to cast the final vote.  Nicole got 5 votes and Paul got 4.

I’m convinced that had Paul done the smart thing and brought James along that he would have won $500,000.  Paul said and did some mean things in the house, and that tipped the scales against him when he was against another strong player who wasn’t as mean, but I think against a weaker player, his better play would have trumped that.

Now he won $50,000.  That’s not too bad for 3 months or so worth of work.  But, after he has time to reflect, I’m sure that knowing that he potentially left $450,000 on the table by making one poor decision is going to eat at him.

It just goes to show that, while a bad decision isn’t going to cost most people $450,000, that any decision has the potential to be a ‘game changer’, so to speak.

Readers, what do you think about Paul’s decision?  What would you have done in his shoes?  

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Homemade Raisin Bran: Easy, Healthy, and Frugal

Cereal is one of my favorite breakfast foods, and I’ve always loved Raisin Bran.  Even as a kid, Raisin Bran was definitely in the rotation on the cereals I would look for in the cupboard, and my taste for it has stuck with me all throughout the years.

One thing that has changed, though, is my enjoyment of sugar.  Back when I was a kid, Golden Grahams was my allmb-2016-09-cereal time favorite and so I’d have that occasionally, until recently when I was eating it and realized that it was, well, absolutely disgusting to me now.  I love sugary treats, but for breakfast, it just doesn’t work for me anymore.

Even Raisin Bran, in it’s original form as packaged by cereal makers like Kellogg or Post, is too sweet for the simple reason that they put sugar on their raisins.  I guess they figure that people aren’t going to eat those pesky healthy raisins if they aren’t sweetened somehow.

But not for me.

So, I’ve started making my own raisin bran and I have to tell you, I LOVE IT.

Here’s the ingredients list:

  • Bran Flakes Cereal (Purchased from Aldi)
  • Raisins (Purchased from Costco)
  • Skim Milk

That’s it.

Now I don’t measure.  I just pour some bran flakes into the bowl, throw in a small handful of raisins, stir it around, then pour in some milk, and voila, homemade Raisin Bran!

It’s delicious.  It’s not too sweet.  And it’s cheap!  A 17.3 ounce box of cereal is around $1.99 (maybe less) and lasts a couple of weeks.  A two pack box of raisins is around $9 and one bag lasts for weeks.  A few ounce of skim milk costs pennies.  So, while I’m not sure the exact price per bowl, I know that it’s a heck of lot cheaper than buying the pre-packaged Raisin Bran that is loaded with sugar that I no longer enjoy.

All in all, it’s a pretty ‘sweet’ way to start off the day, wouldn’t you say?

Readers, what do you enjoy for breakfast?  Have you done anything to make your breakfast healthier, cheaper, or both?  Please let me know in the comments below.


Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Now I Can Love Over 100 Libraries!

I’ve written in the past about how much I love our library and even though the post is a few years old, the love continues.  In fact, with two kids, our oldest who loves to read and our youngest who is getting interested in reading, we use it more and more!

So, imagine my delight when I spent a little time and investigated a link in my account to something called MeLCat.  I’ve seen it before and I knew a little about it, in that it was a tool that tied our library in with other libraries around the state.   Pretty cool concept, but I never really explored it further until recently.

All I can say is WOW!

Turns out that the list of participating libraries across the state is well over 100.  And the amount of stuff that you can share is practically endless.  It’s essentially have access to 100 libraries all while walking through the doors of our own.

Here are some of the things it has to offer:

  • Book sharing – Our library is one of the bigger ones in the area and has lots and lots of books.  Quite honestly, I’ve never run of books to read.  Between keeping up with favorite authors and just looking around, I can always find something to read.  Still, they can’t stock everything, and there have been times where I have wanted to read a different book by an author I like, only to find out that our library doesn’t have it.  I haven’t done a scientific search, but so far in searching through a half dozen or so books that I’d wanted to read, they’re available to borrow.  All you have to do is put in a request, and the other library will send it over to ours.  It might take a couple of days or a few weeks to arrive, but what a cool feature!
  • Online materials – Lots of libraries, including ours, are purchasing online materials such as eBooks, audio
    Photo by EthanN77 courtesy of MorgueFile.
    Photo by EthanN77 courtesy of MorgueFile.

    books, or downloadable music.  You can share this, as well!

  • Databases – When I was in school, if you wanted to do research you had to go to the library as we didn’t have the Internet at our disposal.  While the Internet has information on just about everything, the problem is that it’s often incorrect.  After all, anybody can put anything out there whether it’s true or not.  The participating libraries in MeLCat have provided access to all sorts of different databases and research material.  As our kids progress in their education, I think that this will be a huge wealth of knowledge for them, and I can even see it providing information on things that interest me.  For example, they have a huge combined database of materials on our wonderful state of Michigan.  Sometimes, I get in a mood to find out more about the history of things, so I can see myself losing an afternoon.  Better this than wasting hours on Buzzfeed!
  • I’m sure there’s more – I just got the gist of all the information above by spending a little bit of time on the site.  Looking around, I have to believe I’m going to uncover even more, and that more cool stuff will be added.

So far, I’ve used it to get a couple of eBooks, CDs, and to get one book by an author that I’d liked and wanted to read more of.  But I know that there is access to so much more.

The way I picture it is that there’s a room in our library with 100+ doors, and each one that opens takes you to an entirely different library.

How is that not one of the coolest things ever?

Readers, do you use your library and those in surrounding communities?  Does it even make sense to buy books anymore with such easy access?  Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Tips to Make Money This Fall

If you want to change your life for the better and have a profitable fall season, you need to alter your attitude to life and the way you do certain things. The following tips will help you improve your financial situation in the coming season.

Quick Money Options

Sometimes you may find yourself in a tight corner with no obvious way out. However, don’t lose heart as you can get out of any difficult situation, including financial one. For instance, getting an easy loan is a great opportunity if you need fast money. You don’t have to experience any hassle or suffer from insecure service. You are welcome to try this option and fill your life with financial soundness.

Where Money Goes

If you want to fix your current situation, you need to have full control of your finances and be aware of where your money goes. When you realize your weak points, it will be much easier to find solutions. You are the best financial adviser to yourself and only you can direct your financial situation to the desired future.

Stop Wasting Time

The average person spends a few hours watching TV, playing video games or having another guilty pleasure every day. Think how much precious time is wasted on such activities. Instead of this, try using this time and money on more beneficial things and you will notice a difference. A very simple way is to try a 30-day “diet” and exclude one expense that doesn’t help you achieve your financial goals.

Get Your Credit Report

Most of the people’s biggest expenses are bought on credit. So it’s necessary to take care of your credit score and get free credit reports every year to learn more about possible items that are hurting your score. You can get it at Credit Sesame or Credit Karma for free.

Use Automation of Your Finances

mb-2016-09-calcWhen you automate your money you make it easier to control. This way you can see how much extra money is left and think where to spend it intelligently. You can set it up so that part of the money will be automatically taken to a retirement investment account or for paying certain fixed bills.

Find New Income Stream

Wealthy people usually have more than one source of income and this protects them from an economic crisis or other changes. It’s always better to rely on several income streams if you want to have a lucrative season and year in general.

Try Passive Income

If you trade your time for money, it will take ages for you to build wealth. Smart people use another technique. They build such income sources where they regularly get paid for their work by making their business work for them. For instance, you can invest money, run an online business, or write a book. Working harder as well as smarter will lead you to your desired financial freedom in future.

Start Reading

This fall try to invest in yourself and your education. Thus, reading is exactly what you need! Usually, the wealthiest people are all avid for reading. The most inspiring and brilliant people of the past are at your service for little or no money at all. Both audio and printed books can make a huge difference in your life in general and bank account in particular.

Cutting 10% Rule

When you cut out 10% of your expenses and invest it in your training, new business or paying off the debts, you will save hundreds and learn to have a frugal lifestyle at the same time. It’s not that difficult. You just need to start.

Copyright 2015 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.