Managing Money

Financial Sorcery: Magical Strategies to Create Real and Lasting - Jason Miller 2012

Managing Money

If you are in debt, the strategies in the previous chapter will help you get your life together. In the meantime (and even if you are not in debt), you need to think about how to optimize your financial life. If you are doing the minimum that most people do, chances are you have a checking account, a savings account, and a credit card. Your first step in exceptional financial sorcery should be to optimize these resources and set up permanent magical systems that will help keep wealth flowing smoothly in your dir ^n thabt.

Money Maintenance Magic

A staggering amount of magic throughout the world is aimed at maintaining a positive flow of wealth. Taking advantage of just a few of these, linking them to cunning use of accounts and credit, will give you a solid foundation upon which to build your future wealth.

Perhaps of all countries in the world, the one with the most prevalent and varied wealth magic is China. When you visit a Feng Shui supply store or even just a typical Chinese gift shop, you are presented with dozens of different good fortune charms and wealth-building fetishes. Whereas many religions ask you to look past worldly concerns and focus on the afterlife, Taoism very much values the life we lead right now and considers wealth and longevity signs of spiritual growth rather than detriments to the spirit.

My favorite piece of money magic from China is the Chan Chu, or Three-Legged Money Frog. The frog is seen sitting atop a bed of coins, and has a coin in its mouth. Very often it has stars on its back in the shape of the Big Dipper, an important constellation in Taoist magic: It is said to fill with chi from the void and pour down good fortune from the overflowing dipper. There is also usually a protective Pa Kua, an octagonal symbol containing the Yin Yang and eight Chinese trigrams (series of combinations of three lines) on the frog to protect the flow of money it brings in. You can purchase these almost anywhere that sells Chinese gifts, but they must be placed in the proper spot if they are to work correctly.

The best place is inside the front door of your home or the door to your office, facing inward. It should neither be on the ground nor too high; waist-level is perfect, as this is where most wallets are kept. Money frogs should not be kept in the kitchen or bathroom. Some people remove the coin from the frog’s mouth at night and face him outward, but I do not. Instead, I leave the coin in, and if it falls out, I treat it like an early warning of things going wrong financially. This system has proven eerily accurate throughout the years.

Moving from China to Japan, another popular wealth talisman is the Maneki Neko, or Becoming Cat. This cat statue, usually ceramic, has one or both hands raised with palm outwards, which looks like a wave to most Americans, but in Japan is considered a gesture of beckoning. It is commonly thought that cats with the right paw raised are used to attract customers to a business and cats with the left palm raised are used to attract good fortune to a home. The cats are also popular among the Chinese and are sometimes mistaken as being Chinese in origin.

If you get the Feng Shui bug you will discover many practices that are said to help increase the flow of wealth, from very strategic positioning of items such as fountains and Pa Kua mirrors, to simple acts such as making sure all toilet bowl lids are closed when not in use, lest money escape down the plumbing.

Moving back to the West, an extremely popular method of enchantment is to use floor wash to occasionally cleanse one’s house of negativity and invite wealth in. You can make this a two-day affair by cleansing your home on a Sunday or Tuesday (the days of the sun and Mars, which are good planets for cleansing and routing out negativity) with a spiritual-cleansing floor wash. There are many recipes for this, including lemongrass, pine, and ammonia, but you can also use a store-bought product like “Chinese Wash,” which is designed for the same thing. You begin at the top floor and wash down to the bottom floor and out the door. The idea is that you are pushing out all negativity along with the wash. If you have carpets, you can use a spray bottle rather than a wash.

After you have cleansed the house, you can follow up on a Thursday or Wednesday (the days of Jupiter an cof apad Mercury, which are the best planets for drawing money and doing business) with a money-drawing wash—one that has cinnamon, sugar, and chamomile. You do this in reverse, starting outside the house and working your way inward and upward to draw in that positive influence. This is also an opportune time to beef up your protection spells (for example, your nine pieces of devil’s shoe string in the walk, or the seals at the gates of your property). Protection and money-drawing go hand in hand if you want to protect your holdings.

One of my rituals with which a lot of people have had success is the cashbox. Find a cheap wooden box that is big enough to hold a good amount of papers and items. (It doesn’t need to be huge; mine is 6 inches by 3 inches by 3 inches.) Carve, engrave, or paint the symbols of the planet, intelligence, and spirit of Jupiter on the front of the box. Put four Jupiterian astrological symbols on the lid along with one of the pentacles of Jupiter from the magical grimoire The Key of Solomon—the choice is yours. On the inside of the lid, place the Kamea (or “magic square”) of Jupiter. Paint or stain the box an appropriate color, such as blue for Jupiter or gold for wealth. Rub the outside of the box with money-drawing oil and the inside of the box with money-keeping oil. Pay special attention to rubbing the oil into the symbols you carved or painted onto the box.

After you have constructed the box, go to the place where you do your banking and take a little dirt from the land just outside the bank. If you live in a city and there is no natural ground outside the bank, then you can take some dust from the bank or even some dirt from a potted plant. Line the bottom of the cashbox with the dirt. You can place other symbolic items in the box as well. In mine I have:

Image A gator’s hand for “grabbing” money and opportunity

Image Sassafras leaves for holding on to the money I get

Image A lodestone for attracting money

Image Irish moss, allspice, cinnamon, and other money-drawing herbs and spices

Take some cash and place it in the box. Leave it there for a week. Then take it out, and “dress” each bill with Mercurial symbols: four on each side, making eight in total, the number of mercury. Spend the cash as you see fit. The idea here is that the cash is now a talisman and will attract more cash to you, which you then place in the box. If you do this correctly, you should soon be able to afford to put more cash into the box, thus increasing the amount that returns, just like any good investment.

Yet another popular spell (one that is at the center of my own financial altar) is the petition and lodestone spell. I actually like to do this petition on New Year’s Day, but any day will do. To perform this spell, write out your financial wishes in a letter to the gods. Be specific about things that you would like to work on throughout the next year, and opportunities that you would like to open up. Write it all down and then fold it up and place it on a metal plate—preferably tin, the metal of Jupiter. If you want to decorate the petition with sigils and oils, feel free to do so.

Then take a lodestone, the largest you can find, and cleanse it with some whiskey to remove any psychic patterns from it. Place it on the petition and repeat the following prayer:

O thee powers of Earth.

Arise and take up residence within this stone.

As I fulfill you with offerings of iron

May you fulfill me with offerings of wealth./em>

Act according to the will and words that support you.

As I fulfill you, So you fulfill me.

So it is written, So it shall be.

Every week (or even every day, if you can keep up with it), you should sprinkle some iron grit on the stone. As the grits are attracted to the stone, the powers in the stone will attract the events and wishes expressed in the petition. As you make your offerings, utter a little prayer to keep it going.

At the end of the year, and every year after that, change the petition to accommodate changing circumstances. Bury your old petitions on your property to symbolize that their blessings are now part of your life. If the wishes in the petition change drastically—for instance, you decide you do not want something that you asked for in the petition, or you change your career direction—simply perform a small offering of thanks to the powers you have summoned into the stone. Clean it with whiskey and start again with a new petition.

There is really no end to the amount of spells you can set up to draw, hold, and protect money on an ongoing basis—everything from physical-based magic, as I’ve been describing, to very complex astral constructs that I don’t have the room to explain in a book like this, but which can also be very effective. The effectiveness of simple prayer on a daily basis must also not be overlooked. The idea is that you should pick just a few of these rituals and keep up with them. Do not try to do everything under the sun or you will drive yourself crazy keeping up with magic that ultimately is not doing anything because other spells are already doing it.

If you really want to help make that magic more powerful, you need to apply your cunning to the places where you keep your money and to the systems you have in place for managing it.

Checking Accounts

Your checking account is your mercurial extension of financial magic—it’s where the action happens. Whether or not you literally invoke Mercury or another power to help oversee the account is up to you. For the record, I don’t invoke to oversee my accounts. Too much magic is overkill.

Whether officially empowered or not, you owe it to yourself and the spirit of Mercury to make sure the account is optimized. To start with, make sure you have no fees and no minimums associated with your checking account. If you do, ask them to be waived. If the bank won’t do it, find a new bank. Make sure that you have good access to your money at all times: Some online checking accounts and credit unions may have excellent terms but can be a hassle when you need access to cash. Remember, this is Mercury—movement is key!

Also make sure that you do not have overdraft protection. Like many scams, this is a program that sounds as though it’s there to protect you, but it’s really there to take advantage of you. The idea of overdraft protection is that if you accidentally overdrew your account through using your debit card, then the bank would do you the favor of covering the charge in exchange for a small overdraft fee of $35 to $50. This happened to me once because of a simple mistake, and I got charged $40 for a cup of coffee, and then another $40 for a sandwich. That’s an $80 lunch that should have cost $7!

Many banks enrolled people in this type of program automatically, but had to take their customers out of it in April of 2010 because of the new fairness laws passed by Congress. So now they are trying to get people to sign up for it on their own by presenting it as a service. They send you an e-mail after your debt card gets declined, offering this wonderful service. It is, however, still a scam. There are too many care owe it togood banks out there to tolerate a bad one that is trying to scam the customer. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not a scam.

Savings Accounts

Some people think of their savings account as the main place to keep long-term savings, but it shouldn’t be; they belong in IRAs and other types of investments that have better interest rates. We will talk more about these later.

Your savings account is first and foremost where you need to park about three months of living expenses in case of emergency. It is also where you want to put money you are saving for special purposes such as vacations, down payments, and large-ticket items that you are going to purchase within a few months to a few years from now.

Although I like using a brick-and-mortar bank for checking accounts, online savings accounts have consistently better interest rates than traditional banks. If you are going to put $10,000 somewhere, why not put it somewhere that it is going to earn 3 percent ($300 a year) rather than 0.5 percent interest ($50 a year)?

Whereas your checking account is Mercurial, your savings account is Jupiterian, and can be enchanted as such. Remember, this is not a single spell. It is a long-term working. This means you should not make any deals for extensive offerings on a daily or weekly basis unless you plan on following through. It is simple enough to just place your account balance sheets on your financial altar under a seal or statue of Jupiter and perform the invocation of Jupiter. I do mine the first Thursday of every month.

Credit Cards

I know I told you in the previous chapter that credit card companies are evil and out to get you. I still hold that is basically true, but unfortunately they are a necessary evil. Want to rent a car, take a cruise, or stay in a hotel? Unless you are willing to pay wads of cash as a security up front, or have money frozen in your checking account because you used a debit card, you need a credit card. Not a debit card that works as a Visa (for instance), but one that draws on your checking account. You need a real credit card. Just make sure that you optimize it.

Negotiate a low annual percentage rate (APR) on the card you have, or find a new card with a low APR. As I mentioned in the last lesson, when making minimum payments, the bulk of your payment goes toward interest, with very little going to principal. Even if you are not now in debt, you never know when financial situations may arise that will put you in a position such that you can only make minimum payments, and possibly even need to use your credit card for food and other essentials. Bad times happen to everyone, and when they do, the low APR will make a huge difference when you are recovering.

If you choose a card with rewards, make sure that they are rewards that you will use. For example, sometimes cards will extend the warrantee of electronics and other appliances beyond the factory warrantee, and travel cards often offer great rewards on flights and hotels as well as excellent terms. In fact, there are a lot of people financing free flights around the world by purchasing thousands of dollars a month in $1 coins from the government, and then using that same money to pay the credit-card bill at the end of the month! This tricky but legal maneuver gains people enough travel miles to fly just about anywhere for free.1

Another great thing about a quality credit card is concierge service, which provides people you can call to do just about anything that a concierge at a hotel would do: look up information, make reservations, find flights, book tickets, provide reviews, and so on. John Hargrave, author of Prank the Monkey, wrote an art c wrpercenticle about how far he could push his concierge service. He used it to find hard-to-get cheese, solve crossword puzzles, hook him up with a motivational e-mail service, research the waitlist and cost of private space travel, and all kinds of other things.2

Having a credit card is a necessity, but the only way to avoid the pitfalls is to pay your complete balance on time every month. Apart from that, there are two more rules I want you to remember.

1. Avoid the credit-card offers that come in the mail; they rarely have the best terms. Instead, do a little research and find a card on your own.

2. Do not open more credit cards than you need, especially retail cards. Never take advantage of the “extra 10% off” they offer you at the register for opening a store card. These cards have terrible terms and awful rates. You will pay more in the long run, trust me.

Building Your Credit Score

Your credit score and report affect many aspects of your life. For example, if you want a loan for a vehicle, a house, or a new business, it will be the single most important factor in determining your rate. Even employers are looking at credit scores as a condition of employment. If you are or have been in debt, you probably have a bad credit score.

In the last chapter I spoke about how to obtain your credit report and how to fix any errors on it or find unpaid debts that you did not know about. Now that you have paid off your debt—and not before,—it is time to work on raising that number. The first step is knowing how the score is calculated, and how to affect each aspect of it. Here’s a breakdown:

Image 35% of your score: Payment history—Pay your bills on time.

Image 30% of your score: Balance owed vs. available credit—Get your credit limit raised and keep your balances low. Once out of debt you should never carry a balance month to month on a card.

Image 15% of your score: Length of credit history—If you don’t have any bills to pay, get some. If you have a bad history, start making a good history. There’s no fix for this but time.

Image 10% of your score: Length of Credit accounts—Value your older accounts, as they show reliability.

Image 10% of your score: Types of Credit—Having a credit card is good. Having a car payment is good. Having a house is good. Provided, of course, that you are actually keeping up with everything. Variety is key.

Work on it. It takes time. It’s hard work but the rewards are many. With a good credit score you will get better mortgage rates, better credit card rates, better insurance premiums, and even possibly a better job. You actually save money by paying your bills on time and having a good score.

I have met people who have summoned spirits in an attempt to raise their credit score or get loans despite their credit score, but other than the occasional oversight from a banker, there is not a lot the spirits can do. Instead you should do magic that increases your discipline.


Because this chapter deals with bank accounts, credit cards, credit scores, and other money management that just about everyone has to deal with, I thought I would end it with everyone’s favorite topic: taxes.

In the previous chapter I cus has to spoke about the IRS being relatively easy to deal with if you just suck it up and work with them. That is true, but it is not a pleasant experience. My first and primary advice is this: Just pay your taxes.

The only reason that I am even mentioning taxes at all is that when people start getting clever at managing money, they can start to get too clever for their own good. One example of this is a piece of advice that I hear over and over again year after year, often from famous advisors. I hear it on NPR. I see it on CNBC. I read it on financial blogs. Worse yet, I even know two people who acted on this advice. It ended up costing them a lot of money.

The advice in question is about whether you should have the government withhold to ensure that you get a refund at the end of the year or have the government withhold the minimum possible—or even claim exempt—and pay them at the end of the year. The bad advice I always hear is this: Do not let the government hold on to your money all year and let them earn interest on it. If you hold on to it, you will earn the interest on it and end up paying the same amount of tax in the end.

The math is technically correct; if you just put the money in your savings account, you will earn interest on it all year, and then pay the government what you owe at tax time. So why do I think this is bad advice? Simple: You won’t follow it.

You will have the government withhold the minimum, but during the year, 99.999999999 percent of you will not put that money into a savings account. You will spend it.

Think about it. You know I am right. Do you really want to keep track of your tax withholding yourself? How about the overall feeling at the end of the fiscal year: Do you want to get a nice fat direct deposit in your account, or do you want to write out a check to the IRS?

Now let’s say that you do manage to execute this perfectly and have all the money set aside in April to pay the government. How much interest did you gain for your effort?

The average tax refund is $3,000. The interest from a typical savings account with $3000 in it at .75 percent is about $22.50 a month. My coffee costs more than that every morning.

So, you can spend a lot of time managing your withholding throughout the year, risk not having enough come tax time, and experience the downer that is writing a huge check to the government, all so that you bank a big $22.50 a month. Or you can have someone else take care of it and get a nice check at the end of the year. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

Sometimes being a financial sorcerer means not taking the clever road and just doing what everyone else does.

References and Resources

Mint: Online money management made simple and free. Coordinates accounts, investments, mortgages, and more. Makes budgeting easy by creating visual displays of your income and spending, and offers mobile apps. Excellent security.

Savings Accounts: Survey of what different accounts offer in terms of APY, fees, minimums, and so on.

How to Speak Money: The Language and Knowledge You Need Now, by Ali Veshi and Christine Romans (Wiley; November 8, 2011). Excellent tutorial on how money works in the modern day. Written for those new to the subject, this book will get you up and running on money management.