Thursday, August 31, 2006

Digital Camera Reviews Website


I was asked today, to take a look at digital camera reviews. The website offers a number of great services. If you are in the market for a new (or even a used one from Ebay), it might be advantageous to give, digital camera reviews a look over. The site gives you the opportunity, to read reviews of various digital cameras. Not to mention, listing the most popular cameras on the market. They even have a forum, where you can discuss with other readers tips for buying a digital or even for taking pictures.
I found the site very interesting, and while a digital camera is not in my current budget, it remains a dream of mine. So go ahead and head over to digital camera reviews and have a look see for yourself.

September Budget


I thought, I would do something a little different for the month of September. Budgeting is a big part of what Dave Ramsey teaches. As is finding a second job. Well I haven't had much luck in finding another job. Although I came close to receiving my first check from revenue via the Google Adsense on this blog. However, I fell $33 short of reaching the $100 mark. While it would be cool to get an extra $100/mth or even $1000 as some PF bloggers claim to be bringing in. I would be happy with an extra $100/quarter. Something that I believe will be abtainable by the end of Sept. However, still have to live on my income from my main job, which is generally less then the bills that I generate. As such, I thought this month I would share my budget and maybe together we can figure out a way to pare it down. As I have to get the budget to fit within my icome and not rely on any other source (such as my roommate), which could dry up at any time.


Income (Take Home):
work - $940 (estimate - some weeks may be more)
2nd Job - $000
Renting spare bedroom - $240
Total Income - $1180
-------------------
Giving - $000
Savings - $100 (emergency Fund/Insurance Premimums)
2nd Mortgage - $75
Repairs/Mn - $000
Food - $100
Utilities:
Water - $50
Electr - $80
Gas - $90
Cable/Intern - $95
Trash - $46.50 (quarterly)
Phone - $75

Car Loan - $390
Fuel & Oil - $50
Clothing - $000
Life Ins. - $27 (quarterly)(from savings)
Emergency Room Dr. - $20 (from Dec 25, 2005)
Emergency Room Visit - $20 (from Dec 25, 2005)
Credit Card - $50
Other Debt - $50

Total Expenses (as of now): $1318.50




Difference of $-138.5 (to be applied to debts) or $341.5 over my primary income

obviously getting rid of all my debts will help immensly, but until then.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Manual Lawn Mower


I finally got my manual lawn mower. Found one at a flea market for $40. Big savings over the $100+ they run new ($80 on sale). It seems to run pretty smooth, biggest problem I have, is that, the grass is to tall to mow with a manual. Since, I haven't had a mower all year, the grass hasn't been mowed much. Twice I paid a neighbor $10 to mow it and once i borrowed a friends mower. I may have to do the same again, so that I can get the grass back down to a manageable level so that I can mow with my manual.
Why use a manual?
There are several reasons, first is the high cost of gas prices. Since a manual doesn't use any type of fuel, I am doing my part to decrease our nations dependency on oil. Not to mention the emissions, a gas mower puts into the air.
Second, is the maintenance factor, since there isn't anything to break down, there is less I have to do maintain the mower. The only thing I have to do, is keep the mower clean and occasionally lubricate the blades. Not much to it.
Finally a third reason, is that I work nights, as such everyone else's 1 am is my 1 pm, so I can be outside at 1 am on my day off, like tonight, and mow my yard without disturbing the neighbors.
So as you can see their are great benefits to the environment as well as my pocketbook. If everyone in America would do the same thing, we could really cut our dependence on oil immensely, by that simple act alone. It won't happen, but for me, I am doing my part.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Coupon Stash

Mary Hunt, with deptproofliving.com, offered an interesting "tip of the Day," today.

Many banks are opening convenience branch offices in major grocery stores. If this is true for the supermarket you frequent, open a savings account. Now when you buy groceries write your check for the total before coupons are subtracted. Ask for your coupon savings back in cash (the equivalent of writing a check for more than the purchase amount) and make a deposit to my savings account on my way out with that cash. Also, make it a point of writing your check for more than the purchase by $5 to $10 if you can manage. Stash that cash into the bank as you leave, as well. It's a painless and convenient way to save.

What an interesting idea, if you still use your checkbook, rather then cash, like Dave ramsey teaches. However, it would be more time consuming, as you now have to run over to the bank and make your deposit.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

An Honer

What an honer thank you guys. Both Mighty Bargin Hunter and No Credit Needed made reference to the article some practical ways to become debt free forever , that I posted this past week.

Starting To Get Really Annoyed


One month, 2 monitors crash. That's the 3rd one this year. A month ago, I moved the monitor (that I got from freecycle after the 1st monitor died) from my budget computer in the dinning room, to the bedroom where my internet computer after the monitor crashes. I finally get a replacement (from freecycle), for the other computer, so I can finally do my budgeting and bank statements/register. Today, I come home from a long night at work, and what do you think happened when I turned my computer on? That's right, a big blank black screen. I rebooted the computer, before deciding after much effort, that yet another monitor had died, while serving my blogging needs. I am so frustrated at this point, that I am beginning to think that there is something wrong with this computer, that is constantly short on "virtal memory," rather then the three dead monitors.
What am I saying? I thinking my computer is MURDERING, my monitors. I am trying to get debt free, yet murphy is trying to keep me from living on my frugal budget.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Oprah Talks Money

Yesterday, I happened to turn on Oprah. Yeah, I actually woke up early enough to view it. The show was supprisingly interesting, and discussed a topic, I am passionate about; M-O-N-E-Y.
In one segment, Oprah talked to the granddaughter of the 2nd richest man in the world.

Nicole Buffett is the granddaughter of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the second-richest man in the world. Warren is particularly known for a lifestyle that is far less flamboyant than his wealth could allow. Although he paid for her education, Nicole says she isn't counting on receiving any more money from her grandfather. "He would never want any of his children or grandchildren to be [born too wealthy]," Nicole says. "He thinks it would kind of rob of us our experience."


Nicole who works as an artist and also earns money organizing the house of a wealthy family in San Francisco told Oprah,
"It's a very weird thing to be working for a very wealthy family considering I do come from one of the wealthiest families in America," Nicole says. "And I feel that the family I work for feels a bit of humor around the fact that I am from one of the wealthiest families, a wealthier family than I believe they are."


"I'm at peace with [not having inherited wealth]," she said, "but I do feel that it would be nice to be involved with creating things for others with that money and to be involved in it. I feel completely excluded from it."

On the other hand, a man who admits that he has a trust fund from his family has created controversy with his two documenteries discussing the taboo topic of the ultra rich.

Through his documentary films, Jamie Johnson brings viewers inside the culture of megarich families and exposes how they think, act and spend. As an heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, Jamie has access to this exclusive world that 99 percent of America would never see.

His first film, Born Rich, exposed how 10 children from wealthy families spent their time and their money. For his new film, The One Percent, Jamie turns the camera on his own family, breaking what he calls an "unspoken rule" of families with old money—he confronted them about their class, wealth and inheritance.


According to Jamie's; The One Percent, since 1979...

  • The top one percent of Americans own roughly 40 percent of the country's wealth.
  • The top one percent possesses more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.
  • An average member of the top one percent earns roughly $862,000 a year while a majority of Americans earn only $34,736. That's what the average CEO earns in less than one day of work!


  • In other segments Oprah, discussed lower classes and their struggles, including the remodeling of former public housing, Gabrini Green, into condo's, forcing the low income residents out of the neighborhood.

    Get Started Saving $$$


    Getting motivated to start saving money is sometimes harder then the actual saving itself. After all, it's hard to change lifelong personal habits (like not saving money). Getting that train rolling down the tracks in the first place may be the hardest part. But ask yourself: Can saving money be as hard as quitting smoking? Or as hard as going through a divorce - or even a serious illness?

    Here is a practical examople used to teach economics students about discretionary spending - what you and I do each day. It puts saving money into a daily context that most people can relate to. We'll use an item almost everyone consumes everyday - coffee.
    Call this the Latte Lesson.
    These days, when there is a coffeehouse (most a namebrand I won't mention) on seemingly every other corner, many people think nothing of spending $2.50 every workday on an afternoon latte. OK, granted, so maybe $2.50 isn't that much money.
    Well, it's not - when you spend it only once in a great while. But if you were to add $2.50 each day, that's $12.50 each work week.
    Now, multiply that $12.50 by 4 weeks per month and we're up to at least $50 each month. That's $650 each year ($12.50 x 52 weeks/year).
    Even if you made your own coffee at home and brought it to work in a thermos, you'd save around $500 a year. That's real money isn't it?

    OK, so it's not easy to make yourself save - to get psyched, so to speak. At least at first.
    But there's a second way to save money besides opening a bank account. And you can do this in your everyday life simply by adopting wise spending habits.
    "It's not what you make, it's what you spend."
    - J. Paul Getty
    (Once the world's richest man and an advocate of thrift.)

    ***A brief note that Getty was a cheapskate who had a payphone in his mansion.***
    It's not easy to save in our society; Everywhere you look, we're being urged to spend, not save, by slick and sophisticated advertising. How many times have you seen something in a commercial - maybe a fast food or one for a yummy-looking dessert - that just looked so good you had to have it? You probably wouldn't have bought it before seeing that ad.
    Partly because of the constant call of our high-powered consumer culture, the U. S. has a dismal savings rate compared to other industialized countries - we save a -2% of our disposable income. (That's right -2%, a year or 2 ago it was only -1%, but we continue to spend more then we make and the overall average savings is -2%.)

    Ask yourself What kind of spender am I? are you an overspender? Do you buy things regardless of need? Do you spend when life gets stressed? Do you buy things you can't afford? Do you spend when you're bored, depressed or lonely to cheer yourself up? Are credit card bills playing havoc with your finances? One big key is to cut back on spending, and also to spend money more wisely. Behavioral economists say that understanding the psycholigical forces that prevent us to overcome these common problems. Here are some solutions to common problems:
    Problem: Money burns a whole in your pocket.
    Simple solution: Don't carry as much cash. Sounds simple, and it is. It's an old trick, but it works. You can't spend what you don't have.
    Also, leave the ATM card at home. We don't have to spend money constantly. While you are at it, cut up all your credit cards.
    Another way to save and not spend everything in your checking account: Have a certain amount automatically deducted directly into a mutual fund (or savings account) each week or each month. In other words, "Pay yourself first."
    Problem: You feel deprived, if you aren't spending money.
    Simple solution: Try visualizing something concrete your savings will buy. That $50 you don't spend today can go a long way towards buying that new set of dishes or car.
    Problem: You're a "shopaholic"
    Simple solution: Compulsive shopping is like bing drinking. You feel awful the next day after either. Psycologists often say compulsive shopping comes from pent-up emotions, especially anger. So they suggest, try to think of the reasons why you're spending monry as you're doing it. Teach yourself to moniter and control your shopping habits, advise experts. Think about what you're doing each time you reach for your wallet. Put a small reminder card where you keep the cash in you're wallet that says: "Do I really want to buy this?" It's easy to do. Don't wait until buyer's remorse sets in; that's just beating yourself up. It's better to praise yourself for saving money, even if it's just $5.
    Problem: You unexpectedly get a chunk of "windfall" money - and you inevitably spend it.
    Simple solution: Treat all your money the same. It could be a tax refund, a bonus from work or an inheritance. Money experts say we tend to create different mental catagories for different kinds of money. Bad idea. Don't blow the money on something you wouldn't normally buy otherwise. Quickly stash any "found money" in your savings account for 2-3 weeks - "until the desire to spend it passes", advises Gary Belsky, author of Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes - And How To Correct Them. By that time, he says, the money will feel more like savings then a windfall, and you'll be less likely to spend it on a shopping spree.

    Dave Ramsey Reality TV Show

    A few months ago, all over the news and on the his radio show, I heard that Dave Ramsey had signed an agreement with CBS to work on a Reality TV show. I believe to be called the Dave Ramsey project. Has anyone heard when that will start? or even when the pilot show will air? I also emailed Dave, but his show doesn't air here untill 7pm CT and then I won't hear parts of it because I will be going to work towards the end of the 3 hours.
    ***UPDATE: I found a video that appeared this past week on Hot Air that talks briefly about the upcoming show, but does not give any dates, as of yet.

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Carnival Round-up

    This week the Prince made it into 2 3 carnivals. On Monday, we made it into the 49th Carnival of Debt Reduction

    Money Blog Network made this week's
    Carnival of Personal Finance an interesting one, with Dr. Zeuss.
    In addition Festival of Frugality made mention of us at Mom Advice,
    festival-of-frugality.

    In addition, there is a possibility that another blog carnival or 2 might mention us toorrow. We will see, if i missed anyone, please let me know. I did not intentionally leave out any carnival.

    As far as non-carnivals, D over at 2 Nickels asked about "Tip Jars" and Paypal referencing our blog here. Feel free to look over her article at: 2 Nickels Making A Dollar.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    How Intense Am I?? Your Thoughts???

    I am so intense to get debt free, that I am willing to do something, that some may say is unwise. But, I could have my credit card finally paid off in september, once and for all. However, to do it, I would have to not pay any of my bills in September at all, or very few of them. Then pay my bills for 2-3 months and then take a month to do the same to my home improvement loan. Leaving only my $15,000 car loan and my $20,000 incomee. What is everyone's thoughts on this concept?

    update: Your comments are really appreciated. This wild thought has floted it's head before, but never gave it much serious consideration. Still though, positive or negative, I want to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks to those who have already shared their wise thoughts and to those who are still to share.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Practical Way to Become Debt Free Forever!

    1. If you have Credit Cards with Outstanding Balances.
    A. Cut up ALL Your Credit Cards, and do NOT open new lines of credit.

    B. Call those cards and ask them to reduce the interest rates.

    2. Save or Earn an Extra $150 - $200 Per Month.
    3. Pay this Extra Money off ONE Credit Card each Month until it is Paid Off.
    4. Continue to Pay the Minimum of ALL your other Credit Cards each Month.
    5. Once One Card is paid Off Apply the TOTAL amount to a Second Card.
    6. Continue until All Your Credit Cards are Paid Off.
    7. Apply the Same Method to your Car and House Loans.
    8. Do Not Borrow Money for Consumer Goods Ever Again.
    9. Use this Monthly Amount to Build Your Assets.

    Using this Simple Method, as John Cummuta says, most People can become Debt Free in 5 to 7 Years and Wealthy in 10 to 15 Years.

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    Thoughts from Promise Keepers...

    This past weekend, I received an $89 ticket to the Promise Keepers event in Kansas City. It had been several years, since I had been and it was an absolute great time of fellowship. We slept at a local church in the Kansas City area, so we didn't have the expense of a hotel, which was even more of a blessing while I was there.
    While I was listening to the confrence, I felt that I had to make a one time post about a different kind of debt free...the result was the previous post. Hope everyone enjoyed it, and if anyone made any kind of decisions from reading it, I would like to know. Just leave a comment and tell me what kind of decision you made. Again Thank you and God Bless.
    I will be returning to talking about Personal Finance with my next post.

    Another Kind of Debt Free

    I normally docuss personal finances on this blog. However, I am going to use this post, to talk about something more personal. A different kind of debt. A debt, that none of us can handle on our own. It is a debt, that can only be handled by one person. Someone, that we all must admit our dependance on, if we are to become debt free.
    If you haven't guessed already. The person, I am speaking of is Jesus Christ and the debt is sin.
    "For the wages of sin is death"
    - Romans 6:23

    When we sin the wage rendered to us is death.
    all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
    - Romans 3:23

    However, Jesus Christ has paid our debt, with His death on the cross, some 2000 years ago.
    ..while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    - Romans 5:8

    God has purchased our freedom with his blood and has forgiven all our sins.
    - Colossians 1:14

    and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the commander of all the rulers of the world.All praise to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.
    - Revelation 1:5

    All we have to do is believe and accept it, asking Him to take control of our lives.
    Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
    - 1 John 2:6

    Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
    - Matthew 16:24
    This doesn't mean there is a big list of do's and don'ts. Living for Christ is not doing good works or things. Instead it is accepting His grace and love, and having a personal relationship with Him. Consider this, would you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you were trying to please all the time? Of course not. Yet that is what many people, that claim to be Christians attempt to do all the time. However, as I say that, we must also remember that as in earthly relationships, our Love brings about works and a strong dsire to do good things for those we love and care for. Doing good things can Never bring about love.
    So, are you ready to be debt free? Free of your sin debt? Why don't you cry out to God, right now and ask him to forgive you. Then find a good church in your area (I recomend a Baptist, Assembly of God, "Christian Church," or Evangilical Covenant Church) and talk with the pastor, who can help guide you and get you grounded in the Word of God. If you don't have a Bible, they can give you a Bible.
    If you made a decision, Congratulations! and God bless you.

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    Nitrogen In Tires Increases Fuel Efficiency


    Personal Finance Advice discussed the growing concept of using Nitrogen, instead of air, in your car tires. Unlike him, I have first hand knowledge about this, and thought I would share my thoughts, as well as some information from the net.
    Q: Is this something new?
    A: Yes, and no. Inflating tires with nitrogen has been done for years in race cars, planes and big rigs. Now the idea is spreading to your car. The idea is that using nitrogen leads to better gas mileage, maybe a couple of miles a gallon, since its larger molecules prevent it from seeping out of a tire as quickly as air. It can cost as much as $10 to fill one tire with nitrogen, but nitrogen-filled tires stay inflated about three times longer than air-filled tires. And underinflated tires are a leading cause of bad mileage.

    Q: What is Nitrogen?
    A: Nitrogen is a dry, inert gas used to inflate airplane tires, off-road truck tires, military vehicle tires, and race car tires for improved performance, more tire mileage and better fuel economy.
    Q: Why use Nitrogen?
    A:

  • Less inflation pressure loss
  • Reduced wheel corrosion
  • Prevents inner-liner rubber deterioration by oxidation
  • Tires run cooler
  • Increases tread life
  • Increases fuel mileage
  • Helps prevent uneven wear


  • Oxygen in compressed air permeates through the wall of the tire, thus reducing the tire's inflation pressure. During it's journey through the tire wall, oxygen oxidizes the rubber compounds in the tire, causing under-inflation and deterioration of the rubber . Dry nitrogen will maintain proper inflation pressure and will prevent auto-ignition, will not corrode rims, extends valve core life, and will help the tire to run cooler.
    And Most Importantly, Experts in the tire industry indicate that oxidative aging is one of the primary causes of decreased tire life. Oxidative aging is caused by the diffusion of oxygen from the pressurized air cavity of the tire to the outside atmosphere. Tests have shown that if tires are inflated with nitrogen, there is a significant reduction in tire failure.
    Q: Are there any other savings, I should consider?
    A: Air is about 1/5 Oxygen, and oxygen, especially at high pressures and temperatures, is a very reactive element.
    When oxygen reacts with things, the process is called oxidation. When oxidation is extremely rapid, it's called "burning.
    That's one reason nitrogen is used in off-highway and aircraft tires. These tires run so hot they can actually catch on fire. Nitrogen doesn't support combustion, so nitrogen-filled tires don't add fuel to the flames. And nitrogen helps prevent slower forms of oxidation also.
    Oxygen and moisture corrodes aluminum and steel wheels. Oxygen also reacts with rubber, another type of "corrosion". When this corrosion starts, the small particles break off and form rust and dust, which can clog vavle cores, causing them to leak. The rough surfaces created from the corrosive action on the wheels leads to tire beads that don't seal properly, causing additional leaks .
    Oxygen also ages the inner liner, the thin layer of rubber inside the tire whose function is to keep air away from the carcass. As the inner liner ages, more and more air molecules can pass through it, causing more pressure losses. These pressure losses in a truck tire can average 2 psi a month as a result of the air passing through the sidewalls. As it passes through the rubber, the oxygen can also corrode the steel cords, causing them to rust too.
    Q: How does Nitrogen help?
    A: While both nitrogen and oxygen can permeate rubber, nitrogen does it much more slowly. It might take 6 months to lose 2 psi with nitrogen, compared to just a month with air. And nitrogen is far less reactive. It doesn't cause rust or corrosion on steel or aluminum, and it doesn't degrade rubber. Wheel surfaces stay smooth and clean, rubber remains supple and resilient.
    Nitrogen also will not degrade the rubber seal in the valve core which extends valve core life and helps prevents core leaks.

    Small bits of dust and debris as a byproduct of oxidative corrosion to the wheels and alloy rims can lodge in the valve core seat, causing air leaks.
    Q:> Any other reasons for using Nitrogen?
    A: Water!! The air around us is full of water vapor. Compressing air concentrates the water in it.
    Draining the water from your compressor tank daily helps, but unless you have a really efficient air dryer system, chances are that there's a lot of water in your compressed air.

    When you compress air, it takes up much less volume, but the percentage of water by
    volume is greatly increased.
    Q: So what, what harm does this moisture cause?
    A: Water vapor in compressed air acts as a catalyst, accelerating rust and corrosion. Water vapor also absorbs and holds heat. And when it changes from liquid to vapor, water expands tremendously in volume.
    As a result, tires inflated with wet air tend to run hotter and fluctuate in pressure more. That's one of the reasons why racing tires, where fractions of a psi can radically change the handling characteristics, are inflated with dry nitrogen.


    The information above comes from copyrighted material by Innovative Balancing

    Q: How much will it cost me to use Nitrogen?
    A: It will cost you about $10 per tire (many places thats one time, as long as you refill at the same place). But if your tires are properly inflated, it could save you some gasoline and tire wear.
    I suppose there is a question about whether or how you could, over time, save $40 worth of gasoline by using nitrogen to even out the cost.
    As a rough rule of thumb, if your tires are 20 percent below the optimum, you'll reduce your tire life by up to 50 percent, and the additional rolling resistance can add 10 percent or more to your fuel consumption. Across the life of a tire, that's a massive financial penalty on the driver, and it's no wonder that the U.S. Department of Energy reports that the national U.S. fleet burns 4 million gallons of gasoline unnecessarily every day due to low tire pressure.

    I might add, that even when I need new tires, if I buy them from the tire store that filled my tires with Nitro, in the first place, will be filled for free. With all this in mind, I feel it is the perfect answer for me, seeing as I am one who doesn't check my tires regularly like I should.

    So now it's your turn, What do you think??

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Yippee What A Find!!!

    Ever since my late 20's, I have worn polo/golf style shirts rather then t-shirts. In addition, ever since I have returned to Topeka, living within blocks of my ala-mater, Washburn University, I have wanted a Washburn shirt. Today, as I was browsing a local thrift shop, I hit pay dirt. There in the mens polo style shirts, was a Washburn shirt in great condition. Not only that, it was my size. You can bet I pulled $2 out of pocket to buy the shirt that sells for $25+ new.
    Thnk You, Jesus!


    Now if I can find some cheap shoes, to replace mine that have holes.

    P. S. If you are a praying person, please pray for a friend of mine that has some legal problems. The kind of trouble does not matter. Just pray for God's will and justice, along with God's love to bring him back into the fold.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    You Are Already A Millionaire

    It seems that almost everyone wants to be a millionaire. You find them expecting to hit it big on the lottery or for Ed Mchman to show up at their door. However, as Dave Ramsey and countless others say, neither of that's going to happen. To be a millionaire takes saving your money. Stop throwing it away at games of chance or as John Cummuta teaches, "you are already a millionaire".

    What people don't realize is that they are most likely already rich. They just don't see their wealth. You may be thinking that I am crazy, but hear me out. Most people in the United States will make more than a million dollars over their working lifetime. So they are millionaires in the making. Unfortunately, they'll end up giving most of it away to creditors and merchants because they don't recognize it for the wealth it really is.


    The median household income in America is about $44,000. Multiply this by the average 40-year working life and you'll see that the average household will make $1,640,000 (1.64 million) in a lifetime. You don't have to be a doctor or a lawyer to be a millionaire. One trucking firm advertises that their average driver earns $56,700 per year. That truck driver will make $2,268,000 over the course of his or her career, and if they manage it wisely, they could end up with a net worth greater than much higher income earners who don't manage their spending.


    So, the question is, will you keep it or give it away? The most common way people give away their wealth is by using credit. Using debt to finance your lifestyle is a perscription for poverty. You might as well burn your money. If however, you eleminate your debt, you'll have cash flow to rapidly build wealth. That's the heart of what I have posted many times: if you just stop giving your wealth away, it can accumulate to give you freedom and even wealth a little later in life. You cannot have everything you want right now and have an affluent life later too.

    Free Solar Calculator


    So I was reading the Frugal Duchess tonight, and she wrote about Visa giving away solar calculators, while supplies last.

    Visa USA announced that it is giving away 50,000 free solar calculators through its at Practical Money Skills for Life financial education Web site

    "To help students and their parents create a budget and stick to it, Visa is offering a free calculator and budgeting tips to anyone who comes to our financial education web site," said Jason Alderman, director, Visa USA.

    Parents, students, teachers, or anyone who would benefit from a new calculator, can go to the home page of the Practical Money Skills for Life Web site to submit a mailing address so Visa can send the free calculator. Calculators will be sent as quickly as possible on a first-come, first-serve basis.


    I visited the site, and yes the calculator was 100% free. Not even a shipping charge. Looking forward to getting mine in the mail. In addition they had a number of other resources available, also for free.

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Thrifty Fun

    Thanks to Frugal For Life, I learned of a very interesting website. ThriftyFun.com, which has a column called, "My Frugal Life." This section, has some great posts from various readers on how to be frugal. One of the most interesting posts, came from a lady in Kansas City, Kansas. She describes getting free produce, from her local produce manager. However, working in a supermarket, I know not many places, especially the chains, will allow what she describes. They won't even allow food going to the trash be taken home by employees (from there standpoint, there is the possibility food will become "trash," if an employee wanted to get it for free). Nor will they donate it, for fear, if someone gets sick, they could be sued.

    Another section, includes tips from posters. The tips accepted by the site, for this section, are paid $25. I am going to have think of a tip and try to get me an extra $25, for my emergency fund build up.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Murphy Visits

    Murphy has attempted to visit me at least twice this month. While they are not as big of expenses as in June, when I had to hire a plumber and electrician, that was not in the budget (no money to actually pay for). This month, he has shown up as holes in my shoes, which my clothing budget is $0. It will remain that way, until I can get more resources and or I can get my debts paid off. The other entrance into my home this month, was when my computer moniter died this past weekend. It was the 2nd time in a year that I have had a mniter die on me. Last time, I went six months with out a moniter on the computer, where I keep my finances. Two months ago, I found a moniter on freecycle.org, to finally replace it. Now, I have again, taken the moniter off the computer, where I write my budget, so I again could get online and file my regular articles.

    Thankfully, both of these are small, and not pressing, so I will remain committed to not making a purchase of anything that is not in my budget. This month the car and insurance payments are the most pressing items financially.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    NEW! Credit Card Scam

    Just a note of warning on your credit card(s). The latest Visa/Mastercard scam that is going around involve phone calls to you from people who already know your credit card number, and your address, but do not have the 3 digit security verification number on the signature line.
    They pose as Visa or Mastercard "Fraud Dept.", telling you there has beenunusual activity on your card, offering to help you and are quite adept at making you believe it.
    Just remember, as with any other potential scammer, HANG UP and call the 1 (800) number on the back of the credit card in question, to see if there are any real alerts on your card.

    Wednesday, August 9, 2006

    2 Refund Checks in 2 Days


    I received in the mail today, my refund check in the amount of $15.47. I will be depositing this into my insurance savings, so I can get closer to the $280 Insurance payment due later this month.
    Yesterday, I found an unopened letter from my insurance company, dated in June. When I opened it, I found a refund check for $12.63. Apparently, when I raised my deductable on my home, they issued a refund check for the savings. This check was also deposited into my Emergency & Insurance Fund.

    Someone might ask why I have these 2 funds combined when Ramsey says to keep emergency fund seperate from everything else. The answer is simple, if you think about it insurance covers emergencies. Therefore any deductables, I am self-Insured and would be part of the Emergency fund anyway. All I am doing is adding the extra $2000/yr I pay in premiums to this savings, making my base fund $3000 instaed of $1000. Eventyally though, the savings will be $10,000.

    What's wrong?

    Seems Like I have not been getting the comments to moderate the past 2-3 days. While some of the approved comments have made it to my email box, most of those have not either. Hopefully, after some template editing for "Backlinks" that google wanted done, this problem will be corrected.

    FTC says, Opt Out Site is Legit


    Besides cutting up my credit card, I wanted to be sure to opt out from any future mailings. After reading about Optoutprescreen.com on another blog, I was excited. But, then I thought, what if the site is a scam? So I started looking it up on Yahoo. First I found a message board that was no help, just people going back and worth about the relibility of the site. Then I found http://www.fraudguides.com/consumer_optoutprescreen.asp which pretty much convinced me. However, what TOTALY convinced me was, FTC.gov. The FTC even had a link to the opt out website.
    I encourage everyone to use it, although while the site says they will notify the credit bureuas for me. I printed out the form to sign (so I could be permenatly removed) 4 times so that I could mail to the big 3 credit bureaus as well as the website. I want to be sure that they each have my opt out request.

    My Quest To Learn


    As the picture above says, I am on a quest to learn invesment stratagies from Warren. But that's not all, like his license plate (also pictured) I want to learn to be more thrifty in every aspect of my financial life. I even want that plate.

    Tuesday, August 8, 2006

    Would You Like to win?


    Blueprint for Financial Prosperity is giving away a copy of the book pictured here. But hurry the contest ends tomorrow (Aug 9th) at Midnight, no clue what time zone though, but since he is in Baltimore, I would hazzard to guess eastern.

    Monday, August 7, 2006

    Final Results of Voting

    The final results of the Blogs of Summer - Random Blogs Cluster #5, are in.
    The winner is
    Thanks for the Memories.


    Below are the final results:
    Thanks for the Memories 29.4% 25

    Play Library 22.4% 19

    Bruggie Tales 20% 17

    Mommy off the Record 8.2% 7

    Sting My Heart 4.7% 4

    Callapidder Days 3.5% 3

    Rocks In My Dryer 3.5% 3

    Ponders Space 2.4% 2

    That's Life 2.4% 2

    The Shallow End 2.4% 2

    My Weigh of Thinking 1.2% 1

    ~ Click & Vote ~ 0% 0

    De do do do, De da da da 0% 0

    Outside In 0% 0

    That's Life Too 0% 0

    Saturday, August 5, 2006

    Quote of the Week

    I really like this quote, so i making it my quote of the week. If only everyone would aplly it to their lives.

    Before the advent of easy credit, people had no choice but to anticipate. They had to save up for everything because there was no alternative. Anticipating expenses and being prepared for those rainy days was the only way to deal with the reality of running out of money. Whether you had a lot or only a little, you never spent all of it. Anticipation meant survival.
    — Mary Hunt, Debt-Proof Living

    An Interesting article

    Mary Hunt at Cheapskate Living had an interesting post recently on Great Tips For Cutting Energy Costs.

    Nix the Stand-by. Get a power strip with a surge protector and an "on-off switch." Plug televisions, VCR and DVD player into it. Now use its toggle to turn things on and off instead of the ones you have been using. This eliminates the "stand-by power" most appliances draw these days. By doing this, I consistently reduce my power bill by $5 to $10 a month. Kenneth H., Pennsylvania
    Very interesting. Take a look at the fuul article.

    Friday, August 4, 2006

    August Update

    July found me hemoraging financially. I spent $240 in overdraft fees, something that I hate bigtime. Still I paid on my debts and decreased to new total of $17,377 owed.

    I am currently trying to stop the hemorging as well as find a part time job to earn an extra $100/week or more. If I can find that source for the extra $100/week I can have the credit card paid off and eleminated in about 2 months. Then in another 3 months I could have the home improvement loan paid off and eleminated. After that within a year I would have the car loan in line to eith sale or to get paid off within 2 years.

    Well there you have the hard facts of my financial struggle yet still decreasing debt. However, I am going to have to decrease some of that overpayment to the credit card, just to get back within my budget. Once the hemoraging has been patched and overdrafts finally obsorbed by the budget, I will be able again raise those credit card payments.

    - Kevin S.

    As Much As I Hate The Thought...

    As much as I hate the tought of working fast food, I took the plunge and applied at Hardees (owned by Carl Jr's) today. If I get the job, I will hopefully make enough to finish paying off the credit card in 2 months. Within another 3 months, I hope to have the home improvement loan paid off. After that I can begin focusing on the car payments and either get that loan where I can sell the car or pay off the car in 2 years or less, instead of the 4 years that the loan was written for.

    Some may ask why fast food and not pizza or newspaper delivery. The answer is since I work nights, I am still managing the store when the papers are delivered. For pizza delivery, to make money at that you need to be available till like 11 pm or so on weekends, and since my workday begins at 9/10 pm and includes weekends that is kind of out.

    I will find a 2nd job (or source of income) and I will get these debts paid. I just hope and pray that it comes quickly. I have to get out from these 2 smaller debts asap, so that I can breathe.

    Wednesday, August 2, 2006

    Blogs of Summer Reminder

    A reminder that the Blogs of Summer voting will soon come to an end. If you are one of the nominees, remember to encourage your readers to come here and vote. Another wards campaign, campaign campaign. The winner will be annouced at the conclusion on Bloggin out louds blog. The voting booth is located in the left side bar towards the bottom of the page.

    What Do You Do When...

    So what do you do when you are owed better then $3,100? Last year my vehicle at the time was totaled for the 2nd time. Unlike the first time, a suspect was quickly found. Finally months later, in December, to be exact, a court date was set for him to pay me restitution. He failed to show, I won by default, although I would have won anyway, as he had already plead quilty to the 7 crimes he committed in connection to the hit and run (of my parked truck). In January he paid $25, and hasn't paid anything since. Keep in mind he owes me (through the city) better then $3100 and owes the city several hundred dolars in tickets. He has been sent to a collection agency, but how long will it take before I see my money. I could receive the first $25 (again paid back in January) sometime this month. The reason I could be getting the $25 is because payments are to be applied to restitution first and then tickets last, but somehow was applied the opposite way. So, today they are reaplying that payment and will then cut me a check. It won't go very far to paying down the replacement vehicle I got in January, however it will be nice to see even that little bit.
    However, in this stubbling mess of words, I wonder, what can I do to get my $3,167.47?

    Tuesday, August 1, 2006