Friday, June 30, 2006

Birthday On A budget

I have a birthday coming up (in 13 days -- ie July 13). How does a financially strapped single celebrate their birthday. Funds are so tight that a person has nothing extra for blow money. Infact, after my June budget was blown, I am extremely tight.

As such, I thought I would put it to all my readers, and ask for your suggestions. Everything I can think of, costs money, which is unavailable at this point. I could go bowling, before I head to work that night, however, that simply is not in the budget. Since I work that night, throwing a party is out of the question, as well as out of the budget. Since most of the readers are in the same boat and working their way out of debt to, what do you do? What are your suggestions? Keep those suggestions coming, I look forward to reading all your suggestions and comments.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

TDIW Software An Excellent Tool

Back in March, shortley before I started this blog, I had bought John Cummuta's audio series of "Transforming Debt Into Wealth." The series basically says that you can be rich if you were saving instead of paying your money to your debts. It is not a get rich scheme, instead, like Dave Ramsey, it is over the long haul and maybe 20 years down the road or by retirement.
Anyway, along with the series came a software CD that helps you easily see how to accelerate your debt retirement and just how long it will take to call the Dave Ramsey show and yell; "I am DEBT-FREE!!!"
I found the software very invaluable. It is absolutely wonderful. Even though Cummuta teaches paying off the highest interest rate first, the software lets you prioritize the debts the way you wish. The prioritization methods allowed are as follows:

  • As taught in the Basic Course
  • Fully Optimized
  • Smallest Balance First
  • Smallest Payment First
  • User Ordered (Manual)
  • Hyper Eliminated [TM] - Fastest
  • ad a similar program, because it an excellent tool, if you are serious about becoming Debt-Free. The user though, still has to stick to their budget and "live like no one else, so that you can live like no one else."
    (quote attributed to Dave Ramsey.)

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    Back to Work

    Well tonight I head back to work. My week of vacation time was to short. Unable to go anywhere, I stayed around the house. As I have discussed, earlier this week, I re-financed my car loan and put myself a month behind where I had been on the payments, however the new loan agreement will have the loan paid 2 years ahead of time. I also took some time to do some landscaping that I had been planning. I also finally got my finance computer back up and running, thanks to a free monitor, I picked up through As a result I started playing around with some debt elemination software that had been in the John Cummuta package (look for my report in the next couple of days).
    Finally on Saturday, 8 guys from my church came over and helped with some of the projects that I have been needing to get done for awhile. They didn't get done with everything, but I knew they wouldn't be able to. They did get my yard light installed (7 year old project), go my dinning room painted (another 7 yer old project), started the bathroom tile (3 year old project) and started, but didn't have the tools needed to get the bathroom sink and vanity replaced (been w/o bathroom sink 6-9 months).

    It is nice to finally see the accoplishments and look forward to when everything is done. I still need to get the dinning room floors sanded and revarnished, as well as few other projects. AS finances come available, I need to get them done. That is one reason, I so need to get out from all this debt. If I could go one year with no utilities, food or car maintance, then I could be debt-free in a years time, since my debt is about equal to my annual salary.

    Anyway, I am just rambeling, but that is the update on the past week.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    NEWS ITEM: Buffett To Give Away Billions

    Warren Buffett, the world's second-richest man, said he will soon start giving away almost all of his fortune to charity, most of it going to a foundation controlled by the world's richest man, Bill Gates, Fortune magazine reported Sunday.

    Buffett, who amassed his $44 billion fortune over the last three decades through his control of Berkshire Hathaway, will start transferring his stock in the company over to five foundations this year. The largest portion -- five-sixths -- will go to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fortune said.

    Dang, and I didn't get my foundation set up yet. Seriously though, I had read that he did not plan to give his money to his children, as he believed that spoiled them, so it came as no suprise when I heard on the radio today that he would be give to some of the liberal causes that he has supported throughout his life.

    The death of Buffett's wife, Susan, in 2004 spurred him to step up plans to start the giveaway, since he had expected she would oversee his foundation after his death, Buffett told the magazine.

    "I know what I want to do and it makes sense to get going," he said.

    At 75, he said he is in good health.

    Buffett said he chose the Gates Foundation because "I came to realize that there was a terrific foundation that was already scaled-up -- that wouldn't have to go through the real grind of getting to a megasize like the Buffett Foundation would -- and that could productively use my money now."

    He said he has become good friends with the Gates and has "grown to admire what they were doing with their foundation."
    "I don't think I'm as well cut out to be a philanthropist as Bill and Melinda are," he said.

    The Gates Foundation focuses mostly on international health programs -- fighting malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis -- and on improving U.S. libraries and high schools, Fortune said. Buffett will join the Gates Foundation board.

    In regards to the other charities and his children Buffett had the following quote in the article.

    Buffett said his children control the other foundations to get the stock, but he will not leave them "huge amounts" for their personal use. He said his philosophy is "that a very rich person should leave his kids enough to do anything but not enough to do nothing."

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Frank & Ernest Cartoon - 1990-03-24

    It took me awhile to find this, knowing it was out there somewhere. I spent 15-30 minutes to finally locate it. How true this thing is. It appeared in papers on March 24, 1990. Hope you enjoy:

    Bruce Berman Scam

    Bruce Berman advertises on the radio his program to develop wealth. He claims he is not going to try to sell you his book, he will give you the information free. Gives you a website to go to. At the page, you are encouraged to enter your name and address in the field to receive his book, an audio CD and his entire package (a claimed value of over $100) for free, then on the next page they want you to pay $3.95 shipping. I refuse to do this. So I open another window and begin searching. He also has and (same page as I have in the other window) when I tried to move away and back to my yahoo search, a chat window opens and an "agent" named "Rachel" tries to encourage me to pay the 3.95 as I talk with her...I decide she is a bot. I say so and that I REFUSE to pay shipping for something advertised as FREE. What's her response? "I am a real person." My reply "oh really??? what did I say?" She responds by hyping the product and all I pay is 3.95 for shipping. So I close out the windw and go back to the other window and when I try to close that window, again the chat window opens, this time I started messing with the STUPID bot. Everything she said I replied with this It was funny to watch all the her previous replies again come on the chat window in response to my web url. Proof she is a bot. I had fun messing with the stupid thing. I hope someone at their website, actually reads the transcript and sees that their bot did more to piss off a potential seeker, then to intice them to "buy."

    Please, take my advice and ignore this guy's ads, you won't want to mess with his so called free website. HIs other website, is where he has the packages that he actually sells and even offers you a loan...anotherwards encourages you to go into debt.

    Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

    Well I took a step backwards today yesterday. In so doing, I found out how upside down I was on my car. I knew I was paying a certain percentage point, and i was begining to suspect (big time really) that the model of the car was not the actual model. I was told it was a malibu, but after purchasing it and having it a few days I noticed the back said Classic rather then Malibu. Infact, I do own a Chevy Classic rather then a Chevy Malibu...the differnce makes a difference on the value. No matter which kind of car it was I found, while talking with my credit union that I owe more then the car is worth. However, they agreed to refinance my car for 3% less then what I had been paying since January. The downside, my monthly payments went up, because it is now a 4-year loan rather then 6-years. I will have to payless on my other 2 debts, but I have been paying more then the minimum anyway, and can make it work. According to my figures, I still should have them paid off late this year or early next year. After which, I should have the car paid off in less then 2-years by applying the debt snowball method to it. So where I had made a payment on the car this week, bringing the loan below $15,000, by refinancing it went back up to $15,100. Basicly, as if I did not make this months loan. However, it will be cheaper over the full life of the loan as I will be paying less interest.
    Another good thing is, if I decide to sell the car and get something more in my budget, it will now be easier, (as the loan officer and I was discussing, while discussing Dave Ramsey) to do so, as now the title is held locally rather then some loan company in Tennessee (while I live in Kansas). Ever try to sell a vehicle, but have to tell the buyer, that they will have to wait 2-3 weeks, while you wait on the lein release? Not an easy thing to do. Now, should a sell happen, the two of us can go to the Credit Union, and make the transaction, my loan is paid off and the buyer knows that they will be getting the title as the lien is released while we are both with the loan officer.

    Review: John Cummuta

    I have noticed a lot of people visiting this blog using search terms in one of the search engines, of John Cummuta scam. John's course is NOT a scam. To call it a scam is to call Dave Ramsey a scam. They are both basically the same course. Some have mentioned John's radio, ads, mentioning paying off mortgages in 2 and a half years. Listen carefully, he does not say that. He says under 7 years. One the students in his ad says he did it in 2 1/2 years. Below is my review of the program

    As I have said in several posts before, I really like John Cummuta's way of approaching the average consumer debt problem. He sells an information product and a computer software program called 'Transforming Debt into Wealth'.

    However. I don't think the price he is asking for his seminar is reasonable at all. I would not charge a customer 300 dollars to tell them to cut up there credit cards. The problem is that most people will not really learn about their deeper financial failure in this manner. If you decide to spend 300 dollars, I would recommend that you buy and study Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.

    John Cummuta's seminar is really very good, especially the audio series. It is an excellent series for the family that is learning to become more frugal and more waste conscious. He goes over the basic ways to cut corners and make ends meet. His primary 'system' which includes his software is called the 'Accelerator Margin' principle (Note: It is very Similar to Dave Ramsey's Debt Snowball -- only the priortization differs). It goes something like this:

    When you have debt, you should take 10% of your monthly income and pay the debt determined by his software program. You put all of that amount on the debt in question, every month, until it is paid off. When you have paid that off, you add the monthly payment of that debt to the your accelerator margin and start paying the next credit card (or debt) off. And so on. Your accelerator margin keeps going up as you add the monthly payments of credit cards (or debt) you have paid off. When you are done with that, you start paying off your home mortgage. (If you plan to stay in the house).

    Its not a bad system at all! It's also not really his. I've seen it around in a few other places, in various other forms. He simply lays it out really well. Would I pay 300 bucks to learn it? Nope. Even so, I really really like Mr. Cummuta. He is a friendly person and an excellent speaker, I will give his program 4 stars.

    John's Bio:

  • Entrepreneur - starting more than a half dozen successful businesses, one growing from his kitchen table top to $23 million in annual sales and 130 employees.

  • 3-time Inc. 500 CEO. (Inc Magazine’s list of 500 fastest growing private companies in America)

  • Manager of several radio stations, including VP/GM of WCFL in Chicago

  • Operations Manager for National Religious Broadcasters association.

  • National Marketing Director for several nationwide direct marketing companies.

  • Membership Marketing Director for half million member national association.

  • Author of Customer-Focused Direct Marketing book.

  • Author of Sales Machine Marketing System book.

  • Author of Wealth Machine audio learning program

  • Author of The Power of Perpetual Income audio learning program

  • Author of People Skills For Pros video training program.

  • Author of Debt-FREE & Prosperous Living® Basic Course.

  • Author of Transforming Debt Into Wealth® multimedia learning program.

  • Co-creator Sales Machine™ sales and marketing PC software program.

  • Co-creator DebtFree™ for Windows® debt-elimination PC software

  • Marketing and Management columnist for Radio World magazine - 12 years.

  • Echo and Caples international direct marketing awards.

  • "Who’s Who in Sales and Marketing" since 1987.

  • On-air radio host for more than a decade.

  • Debt-elimination and wealth-building seminar instructor for more than a decade.

  • Certified Seminar Leader - American Seminar Leaders Association.

  • Certified Internet Webmaster - CIW Certification Board.
  • Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Springtime in Kansas

    While the following is not related to personal finance, I thought it would be some great entertainment, after reading it in today's "letter's to the editor section of the local paper."

    Springtime in Kansas

    When I was child, my grandfather told me a story about an old Mexican man who died and went to Heaven. There, the old man played cards with God, St. Michael and St. Joseph. They played old man card games, smoked stubby, non-filtered, Turkish blend cigarettes, and drank sweet wine from grapes that they harvested and fermented.

    One day God asked the old man, "Don Pedro, what do you miss?" The old man replied without hesitation, " I miss my beautiful wife, wonderful family and Kansas in the evening during springtime.

    "The Kansas evening springtime begins as the dot, dot, dash, dash, dot of the firefiles flash the darkness like Broadway lights. As you enter a theater, a one-eyed, red-eyed giant usher blinks Beware ... beware of obstructions in the night.

    "A curtain of darkness is drawn, and the frog, cricket, cicada and June bug perform a concert where no reservation, tuxedo or ticket is required and the smell of a freshly cut lawn and tilled loam fills the senses like buttered popcorn from a concession stand.

    "For an overture, there are the stars. Oh, God, the stars! They can't be described. But they can be wished upon, cried upon and prayed upon.

    "For the finale there's silence, silence that's humbling and reminds one of his destiny."

    With that said and in the middle of the card game God, St. Michael and St. Joseph asked to be excused. Don Pedro asked, "donde vas?" and in unison and with a smile on their face they respond, "It's springtime, and we're going to Kansas."


    Sunday, June 18, 2006 to be Sold

    D. Kevin Surbaugh, owner of annouced today that he was merging KevinsView with another blog that he also opperates. Surbaugh said increased demands on his time and lack luster readership were factors in his decision. According to Surbaugh, is only a couple months old and already has 4 times the readers that has.

    In addition, Surbaugh said he was committed to his new debt free philosphy and as such has to go. He said that has hired Sedo to act as his broker in the domain transfer.
    For more information you can visit

    (the site was just listed this morning, it will take up to 48 hours for them to verify the site)

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Buyer Beware

    While, I have not seen what Dave Ramsey's vision looks like, this is somewhat how I perceive a "Wolf in Sheeps Clothing."

    Like a wolf in sheeps clothing ready to pounce on unsuspecting sheep, so the marketplace is ready to pounce on the unsuspecting consumer. Eager, to relieve you of your hard earned money.

    From advertising to the salesman to product placement are all designed get you to spend more money.

    Advertising: Repetitive advertising affects what we buy. Don't think so? Let's see...Where's the ______? (adverisement was in 1985---the lady died in 1987). I could go though a list of several more, but I think you get the idea, repetitive advertising affects all of us. If it didn't we couldn't finish these slogans and phrases. No matter how much we want to deny it, we still remember these slogans and phrases. It has a big affect on our shopping decisions.

    For example, how many of you think generics (or store brands), are lesser qualty then the name brand? Why? Because, when the store brands first came out, Hunts and Heinz ran commercials showing how "rich and thick," they were while these store brands were "runny," What they failed to say is that, the generic ketchup was made at the same place, by them. I personally buy the store brand on most everything. I have a few things where, I admit, I insist on a particular name brand. However, recently one of those the store brand tasted more like my particular name brand.
    For those of you that coupon, you might find it is cheaper to buy the store brands, then what ever you are planning to buy, even with your coupons.

    Product Placement: Much research, has gone into the placement of display's or the barrel's of iced down Coca-Cola. They know where these things are just in the customers way and thus an annoyance, and where the most customers are going to be inticed to purchase the product.

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Eating Out With No Money

    Eating out on a budget can be difficult. Especially when you are applying Dave Ramsey's debt snowball to your finances. Well a few weeks ago, I won a couple of gift certificates for free buffet's at CI-Ci's. This isn't the 1st time I have won free food by being the 1st to have the right answer to a question asked on the radio.

    So Wed., after going to my Financial Peace University class, I stoped by Ci-ci's for a free buffet. I did have to spring for the Coca-Cola as that was not included, but I could have gotten water. But, you know what? After I have waited the 30 days, I will again call to win again.

    In the past i have also won free concert tickets, free sport event tickets and other free items. No, I am not extremely smart at trivia. My secerate isn't any big secreate. I just use the internet to search for the answer as I am dialing, that is if I don't know the answer right off. The last time I won, I had never heard of the person and really hadn't heard of the song that he wrote.

    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    Recycle or No-Recycle

    LA Money Guy recently wrote about recycling. He pointed out the money he made from it as a kid and how now California and a few other states require a deposit on each can you buy at the store.
    I recycled both aluminum and tin cans because both paid money, though tin, like scrap steel only pays about 1 cent per pound. The place I usually go in North Topeka, takes both. The aluminum cans go to one building, where they give me a piece of paper to take to the cash office, then I take the tin cans and drive onto the scales and drop them off in the scrap yard, come back reweigh and then in to collect my money on both tickets.
    I must admit that is the only reason that I have recycled over the years. However, now I can get my paint (at least in Shawnee County, KS) free, just by going to the countes hazardous waste center.

    Here are the top ten reasons that you should recycle cans, according to

    10. Because you "can."
    9. You can earn cash for cans.
    8. Recycling aluminum uses 95% less energy than making new aluminum. The energy saved can power a TV for three hours!
    7. You can help the environment one can at a time.
    6. Aluminum is the most recycled beverage container.
    5. Once an aluminum can is recycled, it can be part of a new can within 60 days.
    4. There is no limit to the amount of times aluminum can be recycled.
    3. We use over 80,000,000,000 aluminum soda cans every year.
    2. The recycling industry employs tens of thousands of people.
    1. ... and the #1 reason to recycle aluminum ...Money from aluminum can recycling goes toward building more Habitat for Humanity homes!

    Let's not forget,
    that recycling saves energy, creates income and helps our economy.

    Saving Energy: For each pound of metal recycled, the aluminum industry saves the energy resources needed to generate about 7.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity. That's enough energy to meet the electric needs of a city like Pittsburgh, Pa. for six years!

    Creating Income: Can recycling has created about 30,000 new jobs at recycling centers, aluminum companies and in the transportation support industries. A used aluminum can returned to a recycling center is worth over a penny to a consumer. Sure, a penny may not seem like a lot, but when you take into consideration the amount of canned drinks Americans consume each day, the totals really add up!

    Helping the Economy: A used aluminum can returned to a recycling center is worth over a penny to a consumer. Sure, a penny may not seem like a lot, but when you take into consideration the amount of canned drinks Americans consume each day, the totals really add up!

    So let me ask you, Do you recycle? Let's all do our part. In true Howie Mandell fashion, "Deal (Recycle) or No Deal (no-recycle)?"

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    Budget Living & Good Housekeeping

    I woke up this evening and opened my mail, I had a copy of "Good housekeeping," with what looked like a bill inside. Now I have never subscribed to this magazine, and never had any interest in doing so.

    I opened the envelope, and turns out that "Budget Living," which I did have a subscription to ceased publication and made arrangements for Hearst Publications to cover any remaining subscribtions. So they are sending me "Good Housekeeping." Now, what interest would I have in housekeeping, whether good, bad or otherwise? I was intrested in budgeting. At the end of the letter they said I could write and get a full refund for the remaining subscription. I intend to do that, but it's been 6 months since my last "Budget Living", so how much longer will it be to get my check? The check will be applied to my debt retirement once I do get it. Or maybe I should throw it into my emergency fund so that I can get that up to baby step 1 level.

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    Suze Orman Endorses John Cummuta's TDIW

    Using John Cummuta's Transforming Debt Into Wealth Course, you'll discover (as I did) "saved money" while you are in debt is really an illusion perpetuated by the very institutions you owe money to. Here's a clue: Who does it profit more to keep your money in a bank at less than 1%? You? Or your bank?

    Rapid Debt Payoff is catching on in some enlightened financial circles:


    and on CNN & fortune Magazine:

    "Everyone should be aggressively paying off MORTGAGE debt as fast as possible."
    - Suze Orman, financial planning self-help guru and author of six best-selling financial self-help books

    Suze has always advocated paying off credit cards. Now she includes your mortgage, highlighting the devastating impact of debt on ordinary families.

    Pay off all of your debt in 5-7 years using the money you already make. Find out why financial guru and best-selling author, Suze Orman, is advising her millions of followers to "Pay Everything Off as Fast As Possible!"
    Free Lesson - Debt Freedom Course

    As those who have been following my blog since I began a couple months ago (March 25, 2006), know that I started off hard touting John Cummuta. Since then I have brought in Dave Ramsey, and have tried to merge the teachings of two of the greatest financial teachers I have ever heard. Cummuta makes since when he talks about eleminating debt before building your savings. However, Ramsey also makes since in having that $1000 emergency fund in place first, so that you don't use the credit card at all anymore.

    "Today we live in a world with more unknowns than I have ever seen in my life," she says, sitting in the lobby of the CNBC building in Fort Lee, N.J. Orman tends to infuse even one-on-one conversations with oratorical intensity. "Having talked to literally tens of thousands of people, I can say that what is good for America--and not just what is good theoretically, or for some financial wizards, but what is good literally--is not having credit card debt, not leasing a car, and not having mortgage debt. This is not good for a human being. It's just not. All these financial shows spending all their time telling people what to do with their money ..." She waves her arms toward the rest of the CNBC studio. "Well, get out there and talk to people like I do. The truth is, they haven't got any money. Who has money to invest anymore? Invest what?" - Suze Orman

    I am glad to see Suze come on board and recomend paying off all your debts including the mortgage. I think it's time that I look up her program again on CNBC and give it a watch to see what she has to say. It's been to long since I have watched her.

    "It may be fabulous for you to get a tax write-off. But if something happens to you, ladies and gentlemen...I promise you one thing: Uncle Sam is not going to let you move in with him." - Suze Orman


    Please Click Here To Vote for Becoming & Staying Debt Free in Blog Madness -

    Friday, June 9, 2006

    Emergency Fund is Growing

    As we all know Dave Ramsey, teaches starting a $1000 Emegency Fund. Then after your debts are paid off, to have 3-6 months of income in this savings account. I have decided that I will have this same fund pay for my insurance. So right now to cover full coverage on the car, home and life insurance, I will need a good $1200 additional. In my mind to help cover inflation, my minimum emergency/Insurance fund should be $3000. With $100/month going in to replace insurance payments. After my debts are paid off, this fund should then be raised to about $10,000 to cover the 3-6 months. What i am thinking is, when I get to that point is put $5,000 in the savings account and the other $5,000 in a higher interest bearing CD at the same institution. $5,000 would cover me for 3 months and the other 3 months would be inside that 6 month CD. Of course, if I am debt free, $5,000 should get me further then three months. According to my figures the utilities for 1-year would be $3560, which I could easily pay upfront for say 6-months of at the outset of an unforseen job loss. Allowing me to not worry about the regular bills, while looking for another job. Then all I would have to worry about is food and gas for the car.

    Currently though, this fund only has $209.90 after the $75, I put in early this week, and the unexpected $20 refund from the dentist that I received last week. Still though, those two items nearly doubled what i had in that savings account.

    Beware of the Jury Scam

    Most of us take those summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty, that a new and ominous kind of SCAM has surfaced. Fall for it and your identity could be stolen, reports CBS.

    In this SCAM someone calls pretending to be a court official who threateningly says a warrant has been issued for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty. The caller claims to be a jury coordinator.

    If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Sometimes they even ask for credit card numbers. Give out any of this information and bingo - your identity just got stolen. Do not give out any personal information.

    The SCAM has been reported so far in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, and Colorado.

    This SCAM is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try and bully people into giving information by pretending they're with the court system.

    The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their websites, warning consumers about the fraud. Contact your police department if it happens to you and if your phone has Caller ID and shows a phone number give this to the authorities.

    snopes link:

    Scam: Identity thieves trick the unwary into revealing their personal details by telling them they've failed to report for jury duty and warrants for their arrest are being issued.

    Status: Real fraud, potential for financial harm unknown.

    Thursday, June 8, 2006

    Recycle Almost Anything & Save Money

    I found a great article in E magazine (an Enviormental magazine), that shows how you can be Enviromentally friendly and save money at the same time. One of their suggestions was to recycle your old paint, in an article titled How To Recycle Practically Anything.

    Your community’s household hazardous waste program will take paint cans and possibly recycle leftover paint into newly formulated paints available for resale, as happens in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Portland, Oregon. Some nonprofit organizations welcome usable paint; to check locally, go to Empty dried-out paint cans without lids are accepted as part of the regular curbside recycling pickup program in such places as New York City and Kane County, Illinois. Check your program.

    In my community, the county hazardous waste program gives away the recycled paint, rather then sell it like the communities they mention. So I was able to get 5-gallons of paint to paint my shed after rebuilding it, due to an arson fire that had been set inside it a few months back. The remodeling work was completed in late April, and I just got myself around to paint it. My choices of colors were limited, as they mix all the paints they receive together. They did have the colors of each bucket on the lid, so you could view the color, however as I said it was limited. I chose a greyish color as blue was not an option. It still looks decent and you can't beat the price.

    Other options they list include, what do with:
    Aseptic Packages (those paper-and-foil juice packages)
    Autos, Trucks, Trailers, Boats, Jet-Skis, Motorcycles, RVs Several non profits will be glad to take even your non-working vehicles.
    Car Batteries
    Carpet and Padding
    Cell Phones, Pagers, PDAs
    Fluorescent Lights
    Fruit Rinds, Veggie Scraps, Coffee Grounds, Tea Bags
    You can compost with these. I remember my grandma cutting up bananna peels and throwing them around her roses.
    Magazines, Catalogs, Phone Books
    Crayons, Art Supplies, Wine Corks, Fabric
    Newspapers, Aluminum Cans, Metel Cans
    Packing Peanuts
    Paper, Cardboard boxes
    Pots, Pans, Aerosol Cans, Aluminum Foil
    Plastic Bags
    Priority Mail (Tyvek) Envelopes
    Smoke Detectors
    Videotapes, Floppy Disks, Zip disks, DVDs, CDs, Jewel Cases
    Wire Hangers

    Just to name a few. The article is quite lengthy and I had to register to read it online, but I will be getting a years subscription in the mail also.

    In addition, you might consider buying 1 or 2 of these tote bags, to use when you go grocery shopping. With the high cost of oils, using the plastic bags, only helps put an increased demand on oil. Using reusable cloth bags not only helps save the enviroment, but also helps decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

    What do you think?

    Has everyone noticed the banner? I would like to thank Gary (GDJ) a reader of a couple of my blogs over at LiveJournal for creating both my logo and the image that appears on my items over at cafepress.

    Below is the banner, that is also at the top of all of DebtFree4ever's pages:

    Wednesday, June 7, 2006

    PF Blogs Burning the Type About Dave Ramsey

    This past week several pf blogs have taken up the subject of Dave Ramsey and his "The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness." Most of you, if you have read my blog much know that I follow Dave Ramsey's teaching along with John Cummuta's, "Transforming debt into Wealth." Supposidly John Cummuta was around before Dave Ramsey and both of their teachings are very simaler.

    Young and Broke wrote (I added the link to the article she quoted),
    Dave Ramsey
    I read a really great article in last Sunday's Chicago Tribune (May 28, 2006) that focused on Dave Ramsey, author of "The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness", who's expertise is getting people out of debt (the big, bad kind). One of the things that Dave abhors, it seems, is borrowing money in the case of an emergency. He believes that money - lots of money - can be found fast without taking out loans.

    Here are his suggestions, and my thoughts:

    She then discussed each of these Dave Ramsey points (my comments on each of these, instead of hers, are below):
    - "Live on 'Beans and Rice'" - Have been basicly doing this for many years, even before hearing of Dave Ramsey.
    - "Sell Your Car" - I have written another article earlier tonight (and an email to Dave Ramsey) regarding my transforming thoughts on this from an earlier post. In tonights article I ask Dave and you my readers for thoughts about putting this into action.
    - "Sell Your Stuff" - All my stuff is second hand particle board specials. None of my furniture is made of real wood, and thus has no real value.
    - "Stop Your (retirement) Saving" - Although Ramsey admits many people feel this is counterintuitive (and I am one of them), it's not. The interest you're paying on your debt is likely much higher than the return your getting on your savings.
    - "Work Extra" - Get a side job. I have considered this, but at this point I have not done so.

    On May 30th, Free Money Finance weighs in and says,

    I recommend paying off the debt first because: 1. it's costing you money (a lot) that's digging you deeper into debt and 2. if you pay it off, it's not like that money's gone. You can charge again if you HAVE to (if you get into trouble financially) This has the same effect as saving money for future expenses. However, if you save first, you're paying interest on the debt the entire time you're saving. Doesn't seem like a smart move to me.

    To add a few more specifics to this, here's what I'd recommend as the order:

    1. Pay off high-interest, credit card debt.

    2. Establish an emergency fund.

    3. Pay off other debt.

    In adition he adds a few more tips,
    The rest of the article hems and haws and really doesn't make a complete recommendation, so I'll make one:

    1. Spend less than you earn. This alone is THE key to getting rich. Said another way, save a portion of all you make.

    To spend less than you earn, you may need to earn more or spend less.

    2. Contribute to your 401k to get the full employer match.

    3. Pay off your credit card debt.

    4. Establish an emergency fund.

    5. Pay off all other debt.

    6. Invest your savings regularly in good, solid investments. I like index funds.

    7. Do this for a long time, letting the power of time and compounding work for you.

    Other articles, were both supportive and disparaging torwards the financial guru.

    Revisiting Consolidation Loan Scams

    An Anonymous reader argues a common counter arguement,

    But Kevin, if you can get a better rate, borrow to pay. You're saying everyone who refinanced their mortgages over the past few years were wrong? Nonsense. If a person has debt, they may have already changed their habits. Now they have to pay off the debt. And they should always, let me say that again, ALWAYS work to get the lowest rate possible.

    My reply of course was to use John Cummuta's and Dave Ramsey's response.

    1) Actually you are using faulty logic. But don't feel bad, most people do and that's why they don't get out of debt. (94% of American retirees can not afford to retire without social security.) Refinanceing your mortgage is stupid because you have to pay for charges again, such points and loan origination fees.
    However, my post was not about refinancing a mortgage, but avioding loan consolidations, so that brings me to my 2nd point.
    2) As anyone who listens to Dave Ramsey or John Cummuta knows, the reason you don't get a consolidation loan is 2 fold. One you may get lower intrest rates, but people tend to roll all their debts into it, including those with even lower interest rates. Two, consolidation loans usually take unsecured debt and secure it with your house. It is just plain stupid to gamble your house that way.

    Tuesday, June 6, 2006

    Email to Dave Ramsey

    I emailed Dave Ramsey tonight. No idea if the email will make it on the air tomorrow, but here is what I said.

    In January, I bought a car, replacing my $400/month mortgage payment with a $325/mth car payment. The car a 2004 Malibu with 25,000 miles (now 27,000) is the nicest thing that I have ever owned. Since January I realize I should sell this, even though it is the nicest thing I own. (I became an FPU member last month). Problem is Kansas no longer sends the title w/ lein to the owner. They instead have the lender (in my case a lender in some Tennessee). How do I sell my car in this case? Selling this $15,000 car will pay off most of my $19,000 debt. Though I will need to find another cheaper car. Doing this also would pay my debt off by the end of the year.

    As I say on my personal finance blog,, I currently only have a little over $100 in my emergency savings. I only make $19-20 k/year (not counting an additional income). My utilities, end up being 32% of my income. I believe, if I really push it, I could, if I kept my car, pay extra payments to the car people, I could pay it off in 24 months instead of 72 months. Looking to get your advice on this specific situation. I will be listening tonight (Wed) after my FPU class, which gets out at 8:30 PM CT.

    What do you the readers think?

    Thursday, June 1, 2006

    Sallie Mae Buying College Savings Program Upromise

    I have readers through out the world, and this story that I found in the Boston Globe afects people through out the USA. However, I only know of participating stores in my area (Kansas), like Homeland Stores, Price Chopper (Kansas & Missouri Stores are NOT affiliated with any of the stores in the Northeast), and Dillon's. At any rate progeram that they along with many others has been sold according to the Boston Globe, Upromise is sold to student loan provider Sallie Mae.

    Upromise will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sallie Mae and will keep its name and base of operations in Needham (Massachusetts). The company said the deal will help extend its reach through Sallie Mae's relationships with more than 6,000 colleges, universities and scholarship organizations. In turn, Sallie Mae will expand savings and investment options for its 10 million borrowing customers.

    Take A Financial Physical

    Ron Blue in his book, Storm Shelter suggests that we take a financial physical.

  • 1. Take a financial physical. The begining point of responsible, proactive money management is to determine the actual state of your finances. Most people are simply not realistic about where they are financially-and yet, if a person's physical health were at stake, (s)he would certainly be entirely candid with a physician. Just as a doctor needs the proper facts to make a correct diagnosis, a financial physical must also be completely accurate and honest.

  • 2. Establish a finish line. Decide where you want to go, and then develop sound financial goals. Whether you want to provide for a college education, debt reduction, retirement, must establish the objectives, discuss them openly with your spouse, write them down, and keep them in prayr.

  • 3. Plan how to get from here to there. An effective plan for getting from point one to point two is actually a five-step process:
    a. Learn to live within your income.
    b. Get out of debt
    c. Increase your giving.
    d. Become your own bank (increase your liquidity).
    e. Invest to preserve wealth.

  • Here are the critical questions, that Ron Blue says you must ask yourself, when conducting your financial physical:
  • What do I owe?
  • What do I own?
  • How much am I spending?
  • How strong are my safety nets?