Friday, August 31, 2007

How Much of a Cheapskate Am I (Are You)



So I was reading over at "The Digerati Life," her post "I'm Frugal, so Why Can't I save," about a cheapskate quiz she took.

So, I had to try out the quiz and see how much of cheapskate, I really am. Now I always thought of myself as being pretty frugal, but not cheapskate, so would the test prove out that way. Below, is the answer they gave me for the 21 points I received on the quiz.



You've got your wily ways, but you're not wackily withholding. You're practical, and interested in saving a few pennies -- but not to the point, say, where you'd risk a trip to the pokey (far as we know, grooming your hair in-store with said store's unpaid-for products is petty pilfering -- though we doubt Death Row would be the end result).

You also wisely weigh all factors in making monetary decisions -- i.e., if it saves you a sou or two, is it worth the time, trouble or perhaps loss of your good standing with others? Your final decision may not always be 100 percent on the money -- but 100 percent is neither a necessary or obtainable goal.

You embody an admirable balance between living large and living lean -- living la vida in-between.



Why not take the test and tell me what kind of results you got? Do you feel the answer was pretty much correct or totally wrong? I would love to hear your thoughts on this test.

Is it stealing?



Over the years I have heard of people that grabbed extra packets of ketchup, salt or what not, when they stop at the fast food restaurant. In fact there was a time that the twenty somethings and younger probably won't remember, when every fast food place had packets out where the public could grab them. No ketchup dispensers in that time. Then came story after story on various news programs of some very frugal people who never bought ketchup. Instead they just used the extra ketchup packets they had picked up from those fast food places.

This as you can guess cost the companies thousands of dollars. So one by one, they implemented those dispensers to prevent dine in customers from loading up on those packets.

In fact one McDonald's, according to Truth. Quantified, had a sign for their employees that said:
"If we can keep from giving out just 100 ketchup packets a day, McDonald's can save $1,464 a year!"


Do they really cost 4 cents per packet? Is the packaging worth more then the 8 grams of ketchup in those little things?

Anyway, back to the topic. I usually pick up a couple of extra packets on the rare occasion when I eat out. The thing is I don't go overboard like the people above did. But the question is if that act would be considered stealing. What do you think?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My Dream


Despite my debts, I continue to dream of owning my own business. I wrote about a trip I took to small town near the Kansas-Nebraska border last weekend. Perhaps some of you missed it. Perhaps, the post didn't interest you that day.

This is something that will not die. Most all of us fantasize about owning our own business, but then the thoughts go away and thats the end of. For me, there is no question, that I have the heart of an entrepreneur, as I can not stop thinking about owning my own business.

So heavy is this on my thoughts, I even went to the Credit Union, where my Emergency Fund/Insurance Savings is to see about getting a loan to pay off all my small debts and the IRS and allow them to automatically deduct like $30/week from the savings to repay the loan. Since I have $50 direct deposited into this account every week I would have the funds for this, plus enough to pay my insurance premiums every quarter.

They however as soon as they pulled my credit didn't want to talk to me or to see my plan. The reason? Because my FICO is now at an all time low. According to Experian it was 535 and for them to do any type of loan, it must be at 550.

Oh, well. I still believe I can get the small debts paid off by the end of the year, Then next year, I can wake up the IRS and work on getting them paid off by the end of the year.

As for my dream, it is my hope that I can accomplish the dream with venture capital rather then loans anyway.

My dream is to own a chain of grocery stores, convenience stores and maybe even liquor stores.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Answers to Some Questions!

Fight with SMC


I received an email last night asking if I had received my money back from the company that yanked it all out of my bank account at once, instead of the monthly payments. The answer is no. In fact they stopped replying to my emails and the only calls I get are calls trying to get me to set an appointment with their business coach. Despite not having had the money put back, I am almost caught caught up with the debts I got behind on. Though there are some stragglers.

Curb Painting


The same e-mailer wanted to know what happened with the curb painting. WI planned to paint address numbers on curbs, while I was on vacation a few weeks back. However, the week I went on vacation was the start of the heatwave in the Midwest. As such, I did not get myself motivated to actually paint any numbers, except my own. I still plan to use this method as a way to make some extra cash.


Yard Sale


I made $54 from my Yard Sale, while I was on vacation.

Auction

I received the check from the auction house yesterday, when I drove to my P.O. box. I received $25.

Google Adsense

Yesterday, I also received $102.02 from Google AdSense.


CashCrate

The check from CashCrate was to be cut and mailed on the 20th, as of yet I have not received that check.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Time To Regulate The Loan Sharks

I received an email last night, asking me to meet a group of people at the (Kansas) State Banking Commissioners Office later today. Why? Because of my perceived knowledge about predatory lending.

So I burned the midnight oil, to come up with a few points to bring up, when I attend this meeting before I go to work. Below is what I came up with.

It is no secret, to those who know me, that I have problems with various companies involved in predatory lending. No matter if you call them payday loans, title loans, refund anticipation loans or holiday loans they are scum. They charge anywhere from $15 to $30 per $100 borrowed, which translates into 390% to 780% and in some cases better then 1000%.

They specifically target low income individuals by setting up just outside of military bases or in low income neighborhoods.


What needs to be done?


  1. The biggest thing is to follow Congress' model to address such loans to military personnel. Pass state regulations to cap interest interest rates for all consumers at 36%. We have to protect ALL consumers, not just our military personnel. These loan places exacerbate not only soldiers' financial challenges but also that of the low to lower-middle class.

    These places do not help anyone, instead they make matters worse, because not only do they still have their regular expenses that they struggle to pay, but they also have to repay the loan in 7-14 days. Because of this most these consumers end up, renewing the loan making their debt to these places larger.

    It is a cycle that never ends and is hard to break. Capping the interest rates won't end this entirely, but will help protect the consumer, so that it will be easier to dig out.
  2. In addition consumers should be prohibited from having more then 2 1 total loans at any one time. This would require all of these places to communicate via a computer network to prevent consumers getting a loan at one loan facility and then going to another to get an additional loan.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sponsored Post: Shop Stools

I had the day off from work and I was looking around the internet for interesting websites, when one caught my eye. The site is CarGuyGarage.com and they have everything imaginable for your garage or shop. However, it is the shop stools that I liked the most. No matter how fascinated I was with the car lifts, knowing I don't have a garage to store my car made them a mute point to me. I do, however, have a work shop, which could use a shop stool.
The problem is there a so many to choose from (over 100). Do I want one with a back or no back. One with advertising or without. Swivel or static. Oh the choices are so confusing. But, I have to dream, what would my dream shop look like.
Finally, I decided, my dream shop stool would be the Chevy logo one that swivels.

Yeah, that's it. A stool with chrome plated steel double foot ring, vinyl padded seat, and 360 degree swivel stool base. That would be the perfect stool to sit on as I try to restore an old piece of furniture to new use. Like the old chest of drawers in my shop now, that I plan to turn into an entertainment center.

Bankruptcy - Why Not?


Today, I thought I would take a look at Bankruptcy. While each state differs slightly, there are some common ground laid down by Federal law, that all states must follow.

Some think it is so easy to file bankruptcy, but as Dave Ramsey points out many times on the air and his website, it is not.

Bankruptcy is a gut-wrenching, life-changing event that causes lifelong damage.


Bankruptcy is not something to take lightly. Very few people who have been through bankruptcy would tell you that it is a painless action, wiping the slate clean, after which you just go off into your new future to start fresh, without a care.

No, that is not what happens. I have been through bankruptcy (in 1991), and it is not something you want to do, or think about.

There are 3 types of Bankruptcy, which fall in to two categories. Only 2 types apply to personal bankruptcy:
Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is when the court appoints a Trustee who may liquidate or sell some things that you own to pay your creditors. Most of your debt will be canceled, but you may choose to pay some creditors, usually to keep a car or home in which the creditor has a lien.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is when your debt is reorganized into a single monthly payment. The payment will continue for 36 to 60 months. In no case may a plan provide for payments over a period longer than five years. You do not have to repay all of your debt. You pay only as much as you can afford, but the minimum payment may be affected by property you want to keep. When you complete the payments, debt not paid is discharged.


Chapter 11

Rehabilitation or reorganization, used primarily by business debtors, but sometimes by individuals with substantial debts and assets.

Of course there are others like chapter 9 for municipalities. Chapter 12 for farmers and fishermen and chapter 15 for international cases.

The thing is with proper help most bankruptcy cases can be avoided. Think I am crazy? If you are contemplating bankruptcy, instead of contacting an attorney, why not contact Consumer Credit Counseling, Lutheran Social Services or a quality financial counselor in your area. Better yet, get financial counseling and take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University as a supplement to the counseling for your Total Money Makeover (as Dave Ramsey would call it). It may involve painful amputation of stuff you own, but it will be less painful then bankruptcy. If you thoughtfully take the two steps back so you can get on solid ground again instead of looking for quick fix (like bankruptcy), you will win more quickly and easily. Besides, there is no quick fix. You must learn to change your spending habits. I know personally the pain of bankruptcy. I do not want to do it again, I've been there, done that, got the t-shirt, and it is not worth it.


Bankruptcy and Tithing

By the way, there is one more thing to consider and that is one of the big down sides to bankruptcy is that the law forbids tithing and charitable donations. Of course, scripture, which encourages believers to tithe, also discourages such things as bankruptcy anyway.

"This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law."
- Romans 13:6-8


In another words, if someone was going 100% with the Bible in their finances, they would both pay off all their debts and tithe. They would would not file bankruptcy. Now, with that said, I have heard Christians who filed bankruptcy, and then paid off the debts that were discharged later on. They did this because they very strongly believed that God wanted us to pay off our debts in full.

START a WAR

START a WAR and get re-elected

Saturday, August 25, 2007

SPONSOR: Cheaper Then Hotels

Have you ever dreamed of traveling to the United Kingdom? If you are like most people you have. The next thing to do is to book your flight, then it is time to find a hotel. I being pretty frugal, like to find the cheapest place I can, without giving up to much style. Another words, I don't want something like a Days Inn. No, I want something more like an Embassy Suites or a Bed and Breakfast. So where do I turn, when looking for hotels in the Great Britain? Well CheaperThanHotels.com of course.

The online place to book hotels in the British Isles. Whether it be my favorite British destination of Guernsey and Sark. If you have never heard of these two islands in the English Channel, you need to see the photos and articles on my travel blog, from the two trips I took there in 1997 and 2001. Very beautiful country and the area that the author Victor Hugo spent his days in exile from France.

In addition, you can find hotels in more popular destinations as well. Like the city I still want to see. The city of London. Where I would like to see so many places like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Or maybe, you want to visit Manchester. No mater, where it is in the British Isles (even if it is the Isle of Man, they have hotels for you, myself and anyone else traveling on a budget. So if you are looking to travel to the U. K. (or maybe you already live there and are looking to travel on holiday or business to another city), take a look at this great website.

Good or Bad..I Looked At Buying A Store

I drove to the little tiny town of Wetmore, Kansas on Saturday. The goal? To look at reopening the towns only grocery store. I did have some problems with some of the information. However, for the right person it might work. It would take someone with the cash, or the ability to raise $100,000 in venture capital to get the store reopened.

The previous owner, who is in the middle of a divorce, walked away because of the marriage problems. He was the only employee and was retired military, so therefore he considered it to be a service to the town rather then a money making venture.

For me, it would have to be a money maker and I am just not sure I can do it. The other thing is if I bring in partners via venture capital, it would be even more difficult for me to make it work.


Since this store would basically have to be rebuilt, you would be talking $30,000 to buy a local building (a bargain compared to bigger towns), $10,000-$20,000 for fixtures (Shelving, coolers, etc) and then another $30,000 to get the initial stock. That's $80,000 and you haven't even opened the doors yet.

I have longed dream of owning my own business, and still would like to. However, is this the right one?

SPONSOR: Mark & Spencer

As I was looking around the net this evening, I found a website that goes against everything I stand for on this blog. I know, not hard really, when everyone and their dog seems to be in favor of credit, except Dave Ramsey and myself.

The thing about this website is this website claims to have the best credit card. Of course they claim 0% interest until March of next year. Then they will charge you an interest rate of 17.9%. Oh aren't they doing me such a favor, by stealing money from me? Jeez, where do I sign away my life at? Oh, did I say that? I mean credit card application.

Oh and guess what. They encourage you to "treat yourself at Mark & Spencer," and earn &More points. Oh boy, I can't wait. Let me join the mindless mob and get one of those Mark & Spencer credit cards, so I can stay in debt for the rest of my life.

If only I live in Great Britain, so I could put myself in so much more debt with this huge department store companies MasterCard.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Washburn University

Well I have to say I am amazed. Not a single person wanted the Washburn tickets. The first game of the season is tomorrow at noon, and I have a pair of tickets to give away to the game.


***Update the tickets were given away on a friends talk show. Washburn lost today's game 34-24.****

Slow Down

Death is Nature's way of saying 'slow down'.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Free College Football Tickets Giveaway

Do you like College Football? Are you near Topeka? or maybe Chadron, NE? Then I have a deal for you. Leave a comment in the comment field of this post (or email me your email address and phone) and Thursday evening, I will use Randomizer.org to give one lucky winner a pair of free tickets to this Saturdays game at Washburn University. Special thanks to American Family Insurance for the tickets.

  • Whichever way you enter, make sure I can contact you, to let you know you won.
  • Please post this contest on your own blog or website.
  • Check back on Thursday to see, who the winner is.
  • I will need to get the tickets to the winner by Friday afternoon.

Washburn vs. Chadron State College
8/25/2007
12 p.m.
Yager Stadium
Topeka, KS

Struggling With IRS Debt? Talk To The IRS Yourself!


I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. We have all heard that little ditty before and for most of us it is true. For me, as many of you who have read my this blog often, know, I owe the IRS a small chunk of change. Small in the IRS' eyes that is. In my eyes it is a huge amount. So today, I thought, I would look to some of the experts and see what legal ways there are to handle IRS debt.

The first expert I looked to was the folks at Bills.com, where the first paragraph asks:

Do you owe the IRS? Are you struggling with IRS debts and cannot figure out what to do? Don’t despair, you are not alone. Many Americans owe back taxes, or cannot afford to pay their IRS debts. If you want to get IRS debt help, it’s important to understand the different IRS tax debt strategies.


I really like this website, at least on this issue, because their information is the most thorough. In fact they are the only website (I found) that even mentions the arrangement that I have with IRS. An arrangement, I tried to explain to one of my readers several months ago, but not where she understood. After my poor explanation, she told me that the IRS didn't make those arrangements, even though it was the IRS themselves who offered it to me.

In this post, we will take a look at all 5 payment arrangement methods, so if you are in the situation of owing the KGB, I mean the IRS, you will know what your options are. Which means, you will be ahead of me, when I got myself in this situation.

Compromise


  1. The first and best option, is to offer a compromise. The IRS actually have a program where you can settle your tax debts for less than what you owe. Of course it's best to pay what you owe, but if you can't afford to, this is the next best alternative and will save you money over many of the others also. The concept requires the tax payer make a lump sum or short term payment plan to pay off the IRS at a reduced dollar amount.

    Installment

  2. That brings me to installment agreements where the tax payer enters into an agreement to pay off the IRS with monthly payment plan. Keep in mind, the IRS will still charge you interest, during this time.
    Partial Payment

  3. A somewhat new (according to Bills.com) debt management program is one where the taxpayer has a long term payment plan to pay off the IRS at a reduced dollar amount. To me this sounds a lot like number one.
    Not Currently Collectible

  4. OK, this is the one the plan I am currently under, Not currently collectible is a program where the IRS voluntarily agrees not to collect on the tax debt for a year or so. With this plan, the taxpayer is still charged interest and late fees, but the IRS recognize that the taxpayers income is not one they can collect the debt.

    If a taxpayer does not qualify for an offer in compromise and cannot afford to pay an Installment Agreement, Currently not Collectible (CNC) status may be an option. If a client is placed in CNC status, the statute of limitations continues to run and the IRS will not pursue collection actions. However, if a taxpayer’s financial status improves, the IRS can remove the file from CNC status and return to active collection status.

    A. Taxpayer has income below allowable expenses and there is no indication that the financial situation will improve in the future;
    B. Due to high equity, the taxpayer does not qualify for an OIC and has more allowable expenses than income so an Installment Agreement is not an option; and,
    C. Taxpayer has more allowable expenses than income and the statute of limitations is getting close to expiring.


    Bankruptcy

  5. Finally you can discharge your tax debts under the strict rules of a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy petition. I really don't suggest this option.

    Statute of Limitations expiration, or bankruptcy relief but still seek resolution for their IRS liability. In these cases, it may be possible to negotiate long term IRS payment arrangements. The IRS allows “structuring” five primary types of payment plans, or Installment Agreements: Guaranteed Installment Agreements, Streamlined Installment Agreements, In-Business Trust Fund Agreements, Long-Term Installment Agreements, and Installment Agreements on Specified Balance Due Accounts. Currently Not Collectible




It is important to know, as I first learned on the radio program Handle on the Law, and since found on the quoted website above, that there is actually a Statute of Limitation for IRS Tax Debt. This means that the IRS has 10-years to collect any outstanding tax liabilities.

This is measured from the day a tax liability has been finalized. A tax liability can be finalized in a number of ways. It could be a balance due on a tax return, an assessment from an audit, or a proposed assessment that has become final. From that day, the IRS has ten years to collect the full amount, plus any penalties and interest. If the IRS doesn't collect the full amount in the 10-year period, then the remaining balance on the account disappears forever.


There you have it, I hope this information helps and lets all get our tax debts paid and taken care of. Remember, forget wasting your money to hire a tax lawyer, if you are proactive and don't procrastinate and try to hid from the IRS, you don't need one, as the IRS will be more then willing to work with you. You do however, have to be completely honest about everything with them.

Stay tuned on my article on Bankruptcy, to be posted in the next few days.

works better

It works better if you plug it in.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

CFL Audit


I recently went around my house and performed an audit. An audit of how many compact fluorescent bulbs I had installed and how many more were still the regular incandescent bulbs. So without, further ado here are the results.




Existing CFL's


Yard Light 1
Living Room Ceiling Fan 2
front Bedroom 2
back bedroom 1
Dining Room Ceiling fan 1
Bathroom 4
back Porch Light 1
Basement 1
-------
Totals 13


Incandescents that still need to be replaced


Front Porch Light 1 - (Wanting a bug light here)
Living Room Ceiling Fan 1
back Bedroom 1
Dining Room ceiling Fan 3
Kitchen ceiling fan 1
Stove Hood light 2
Pantry 1
Back Porch Light 1
Basement 3
--------
Totals 14

Friday, August 17, 2007

Getting Caught Up

I think I am finally caught up, sort of, with all my utilities. The only two utilities, I was still behind on, were brought current today. I went downtown and paid $80 to the folks at the city, to bring my water bill current and then I went to a local pay site and paid $20 on my electric bill.

According to Westar Energy, I needed to pay $15.06 to make payment arrangements so I paid $20. Now, for the next 11 months I will have to pay $14 something in addition to my monthly bill, to completely get them paid.

That now means that the only bill, that I am really behind on is my car loan. The Credit Union continues to work with me, but I did get a letter from them, informing me that I would no longer have overdraft privileges. Meaning, they will automatically return all payments as NSF, if the money is not in the account. They will continue to do this until my loan is brought current and everything has remained current (including no overdrafts) for 90-days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Top 24 Ways To Destroy Your Credit Cards

I recently came across a post, I think I actually seen it before but, that listed 27 Fun Ways to Destroy Your Old Credit Card. Well, after recently destroying my 1 credit card and 3 others of a friend, I found the post to be incomplete. As I found more you tube videos, I will add them to the collection below.


Now for my list:


24. Contact your local bomb squad - see if they will toss it in the machine the next time they have a suspicious package.

23. Toss it in a burning building - Not that bright of an idea, but would melt them pretty good.

22. Flatten it at the Indy 500 - Toss your old credit card in the path of 33 blazing automobiles and rejoice as it’s flattened into the raceway.

21. Multiple ways - If you want to make sure it's destroyed and unavailable to anyone else, then put several of these ideas together. For example, you might cut it up, then flush half of it and burn the other half.

20. Make a Collage - after I ran those cards under the lawn mower, I made a collage of sorts out of the remaining pieces.

19. Throw it in the river - Place it (or them) in a bag with a rock and then chuck it into the river. It will then be forever more at the bottom of the river.

18. Toss it in with the Cat Litter — Can’t say enough nasty things about your old credit card company? Let your cat do the talking for you. Toss the card in their litter box and giggle manically while it’s covered in, well, you get the picture. (thanks Frugalist)

17. Chain saw/Saw zaw - pin the card to a piece of wood. then attack it with a chainsaw or Saw Zaw, that would be dramatic and loud.

16. Target Practice - How about going to a firing range and attaching the card to a target and then blast it with a few bullets?

15. Thermite - combine powdered rust with ground aluminum and make thermite. It burns hot enough to melt through an engine block. (But you have to light it with a strip of magnesium, available on the Internet for a buck or two)

14. Dartboard - Put your card on the dart board and start tossing those darts.

13. Make your card famous — Post your cards demise on You Tube

12. Dryer - See just how many times it can make it through the dryer

11.“Throwing Stars” — Bring out your inner ninja and get some target practice by tying your old card to a tree and seeing how many times you can hit it with your throwing stars.

10.See how many pieces you can cut it into — Grab a pair of scissors, and see how many teeny tiny pieces you can get out of your credit card before your hand freezes up or you reach the end.

9.Piranha - If you live in or are visiting South America, you might want to feed it to the closest piranha.

8. Hot sun and the dash board - If you can cook cookies or eggs on your dashboard in the current triple digit heat, why not melt you credit card(s) on the dashboard?

7. Cook - Place your credit card(s) in the oven (on a cookie sheet) or place it in a skillet and cook it to it's death.

6. Give your fish a new toy — Want a constant reminder of your credit problems? Toss your old credit card in the fish tank and let your fish gape at it constantly.

5. Chipper - Throw you card(s) into a tree branch chipper and watch it become little tiny pieces.

4. Break into a locked room - you have seen the movies where someone breaks into a locked room or office with a credit card and it always seems to work, but chances are it will be broken into two pieces.

3. Cremate it and spread the ashes - Kind of self explanatory.

2. Shred Them - Run your credit card(s) through a shredder.

- and the number one way -

1. Mow them - my personal favorite, run a lawn mower over those credit cards like I did in the you tube video posted above.


In all cases make sure the credit card(s) are canceled before the destruction, just in case anything should be found by some unscrupulous person.
Do you have any others ideas? Let's make this list more complete. Do you know of any other youtube videos of credit card destruction, let me know so I can add them to the video reel above.

Funny Tax Protest Pisses of Taxpayers, Costs County Money


Have you ever thought that you were paying to much in property taxes? Wanted to do something about it?

Well Cary Malchow of Muncie, IN answered yes to both of those questions. After receiving a tax bill that he thought was unusually high, he took action.

Saying,

he wanted people to see the pain of his property tax bill when he hauled $12,656.07 in coins and $1 bills to the county treasurer's office.


Malchow is not new to tax protests

"I did it so people can physically see what $12,000 is," said Malchow, who has staged other recent protests to draw attention to Indiana's property tax increases.


Delaware County Treasurer Warren Beebe said, It took 75 minutes to count out the cash. Which also pissed off customers who had to wait in line behind him, according to Beebe.

Not only that, but the protest cost the county some income.

Malchow's protest prevented the office from making its daily bank deposit, costing the county an estimated $1,135.90 in interest that would have otherwise accrued overnight, Beebe said.




http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/bizarre/5054960.html

curiosity survives

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's NOT in your Wallet?

The other day, I asked for suggestions on unique ways to mutilate my credit card. Well, the idea, I liked best came from a friend of mine who suggested that I might have my credit card chopped up by a lawn mower. I liked that idea so much that I chose it as the way to mutilate my card.
I wish I could of had sound with it, but I think the point is made by what you view here.

See the video below:




It was interesting to see the Best Buy and Bank of America cards were the hardest to get chopped up. With B.o.A.'s card requiring the most swipes of the mower before it was mutilated enough to be called "cut up."

So what you think? Did you like the way these cards were mutilated?
Feel free to help promote this video. Feel free to post it in your own blog or email it to your friends. I just with the camera I was using had sound, so Dave ramsey could play it on the air, but maybe there is a way I can still add in the sound of a mower to it.

History does not repeat itself

History does not repeat itself, historians merely repeat each other.

"Christian Money Management" Verses Secular Money Management


Anyone who has been reading my blog for any length of time, knows that I hate credit and am a follower of Christian or somewhat Christian money management systems. Especially since, I am a churchgoer.


What Is Christian Money Management?



Christian money management consists of training people to manage their money better, using Christian principles. This is an effective way to reduce misery, save marriages, and even prevent spousal abuse.

It is also of great spiritual importance because how you use your money is how you express your choices in all areas of life, not just church activities.

For example, if you can train yourself to wait to buy something you want, you are also more likely to wait for sex. IE: you are less likely to participate in premarital or extramarital sex.

There are two people or organizations that are considered leaders in Christian money management. A third person is much more about the money and doesn't offer any free information on his website. Of course all three sell their books and tapes as well as seminars, but the two big ones offer "free" advice via their radio programs and websites.

The original idea of financial training at church was vigorously promoted by the late Larry Burkett, whose Crown Financial Ministries is still the leader in the field. Dave Ramsey also has a loyal following; he is a bit more of a financier, and less of a spiritual adviser, than Burkett.

The third, Ron Blue is the founder of the largest Christian CPA firm in the world, who retired in 2003 and started what is now known as Kingdom Advisers.

How is "Christian money management" different from anybodyelse's money management? To a large extent, it's not. What works, works. However, four Christian doctrines loom very large:

  • God owns everything and we are just His stewards - Put simply, all of our property isn't really our own.

  • Higher standard of Honesty - We are held to a higher standard of honesty because God is always watching. Ethics isn't just whatever you can get away with.

  • Marriage is a permanent commitment - I know this doesn't sound like a financial issue, but it is. Secular counselors such as Suze Orman often advise couples to break up when they disagree strongly about money. For the Christian, that is not an option. Nor can marriage be viewed as temporary in the first place

  • Money does not buy happiness - There is much to be said for the old-fashioned virtue of contentment, the art of realizing that if you aren't happy now, you still won't be happy if you simply acquire more money or possessions.


    Who Are the Secular Money Management People



    There are a large number of advisers that would fall into this category. However, there are some leaders. Two of which have radio or TV shows (Suze Orman and Clark Howard). One which sells his tapes via radio commercials (John Cummuta). Another, that might be considered a leader, has appeared numerous times on Oprah. His name is David Bach.

    All of these people teach reducing your debt load. In addition, they also all teach saving for retirement. However, there are some big differences.

    The ones that tend to be Christian all tend teach paying cash for everything. Even business debt is to be avoided by the Christians. One of the secular teachers, John Cummuta, teaches this for personal debt but not business debt.

    I personally like Cummuta and his teachings because they so closely resemble Dave Ramsey's. However, as I said there are some differences. Cummuta for example teaches debt reduction mathematically. IE: largest interest rate first.

    Whereas, Dave Ramsey teaches that if we were thinking mathematically, we would never have gotten into debt in the first place. It is this reason, that he teaches a psychological method of paying the smallest debt first, regardless of the interest rate. The reason is paying off a debt relatively quickly will motivate you to move on towards your next debt. Both teach paying as much as you can on the first debt, then adding that payment to the payment of your next debt until you are completely debt free.

    Wow, maybe I should place John with the Christian Advisers. However, even though, he tends to quote scripture like Dave Ramsey, he isn't considered in most Christian circles as a Christian Adviser.

    What's wrong With Suze, Howard and Bach?

    To start with Suze Orman worships at the alter of the FICO score. While she does encourage people to get debt free, she is concerned with what your FICO score is. The reason, she believes in, like most of the secular money people, "good debt." She believes in car and home loans, if you can afford it. To her credit, most of the people calling into her show tend to be told they can't afford a loan, at least for something as big as they are wanting.

    For Clark Howard, I am not very familiar with him. I don't get his radio program in my area, so I can't say to much about him. However, I have seen his website and one big issue I have with him is he has an article teaching you to use credit cards rather then debit.
    The good thing, he seems to be great at alerting his listeners and readers about scams. That is one area that no one can be to careful in. For financial advice, I would suggest, with this limited knowledge of him, avoid Howard. However, listen to his advice when it comes to his scam warnings.

    As for Bach, I have so many problems with him. I have never heard him say anything about getting debt free. He teaches reducing your credit card debt, moving everything to lower interest cards, but never close those low interest cards. Additionally, he thinks there is actually something called "good debt." Avoid this guy, he will not seriously help the vast majority of people of have trouble handling debt. He might be ok, for the very small percentage of people who can manage to pay their credit cards in full every month. However this is not most people, and is not most of the readers of this blog.

    I hope this post explains why I tend to follow Dave Ramsey, John Cummuta and to a certain extent Crown Financial. I know it only scrached the surface and didn't get into as depth as I would have liked. But then the post would have been extremely long, and very few people would have even finished reading it.

    So what did you think? Did this post help you? Do you have anything to add? I want to hear from you.
  • Monday, August 13, 2007

    Why are Milk Prices So #%&# High?


    According to reports that I have been reading and listening to, there are a number of factors.

    1. Demand - Chinese consumption of milk is up. Which means more people are demanding milk. Even in my house, as I try to drink less pop, I have been consuming more milk. Of course I don't live in China.

    In China, milk consumption has soared along with rising incomes, a massive expansion of the dairy industry and the increasing familiarity with -- and taste for -- non-native foods among young urbanites. Chains such as McDonald's, Starbucks and Pizza Hut are introducing cheeseburgers, cheese pizza and lattes to a new audience.

    - Chicago Sun-Times



    2. Supply - With the increased demand, the producers are increasingly having difficulty making the supply meet demand.

    The National Milk Producers Federation cited the expectation that supply will not keep up with demand as the main cause of the increased dairy prices. This is due to constraints on production as well as continued strong demand for dairy products domestically and internationally. The milk federation reported that U.S. dairy exports have risen 75 percent between 2003 and 2006.
    - Billings Gazette


    3. Corn/Feed Prices - Finally a third reason is the cost of corn, the main feed for cattle. Part of the reason corn prices is going up, is again supply as corn is also a key ingredient in Ethanol.

    Another factor behind slowing U.S. milk production is the high price of corn, the primary feed for dairy cattle, said Galen of the national federation. Prices are up primarily because of the growth of the ethanol industry. The increase in gas and diesel prices is also affecting dairy farmers, which in turn affects the price of dairy products.
    - The Prairie Star

    After hitting an average high of $3.80, in July, the National Milk Federation said,

    dairy prices are expected to peak in mid-August and then start to slide.
    - Billings Gazette

    The Week in Pictures


    Katrina looking up, wondering what the heck was going on.



    Chick-fil-a was busier then ever with their free Chicken sandwich on August 8th. Although mall security came up out of no where and said that pictures were not allowed inside the mall. Interesting since the media take pictures (video and still) all the time. Anyway, even though it's a bit dark in the picture, there was a huge line at 4:45 in the afternoon. By time I was finished eating, that line was even bigger.



    This is a close up of the sign on my booth at the flea market. My profits were $55, with $20 of that refilling my gas tank for the next week.



    This is a picture of my booth as I finished getting it set up and ready for the "big traffic," that was expected.


    ***Update ... the answer to how the cards were mutilated to be posted Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning, complete with video***






    Vacation Recap

    Well, I had the goal of making an extra $1000 during my 1 week vacation. So how well did I do. I can say, I did make a little extra cash, but it was no where near the $1000. Most of the income, I was expecting to get from curb painting, but with the heat wave (triple digits) here in the Midwest, I didn't get myself motivated to actually paint any addresses, besides my own.
    So, that takes us to the yard sale, which I spent a lot of time preparing for and deciding to get rid of stuff around the house, that I really didn't need. Goodbye candles, extra clothing, old computers, etc etc.
    Saturday was the big day, I went to the little neighborhood park and set up my table and stuff, and paid my $10. The crowd, perhaps because of the heat was at a trickle, then as it got closer to noon, it picked up, for a couple hours before dramatically dieing off again. All in all, though, after my expenses and subtracting what I brought in change, I made $54.

    Several of the business books sold, while the more general interest (like Mary Higgins Clark) weren't even looked at. The old computer, which I reformatted before the sale, sold for $35 instead of the $50 it was marked. Then again it didn't have the monitor, keyboard or mouse. It was, in fact, just the CPU unit and it was 7-years old, using a Windows ME operating system.

    I also received $240 from my roommate, border or whatever you want to call him. Of course I was expecting that, so that really be counted into the extra money. That $240 will about pay for my insurance that is again due this month. Instead of to the card card debt that I was planning to pay it own. It is with these funds, that I expect to get these small debts cleared up by the end of the year, as long as I remain focused. However, when I made those plans, I forgot about the insurance bill that those funds also help cover. Still though, it is possible, I believe, as long as I said, remain focused on the task and its ultimate goal.

    In addition, the items that were taken to the auction house, will be sold on August 18. The auction, which will be in Scranton, will be held at 4 pm.

    Herblock's Law

    Herblock's Law: If it's good, they will stop making it.

    Friday, August 10, 2007

    SPONSORED POST: Card Processing

    Today I was looking around the net, at Retail Store Card Processing, because I was asked to consider to move to a small town, near the Nebraska border, to take over a small convenience store. The towns only grocery store. I of course, have some trepidations, but love the idea of being able to get my own store.

    Now, I know that most of you know I hate credit, but that doesn't mean I can't set it up like Aldi's and only accept debit cards. Besides, I have to be able to accepts cards in some form, so that the food stamp customers can buy their needs also. So, credit card accepting would be a real need for the reopening of this particular business.

    One particular merchant accounts company, that I looked at was MS. Merchant Account. A company that offers these services to those who need them, however, I think I would talk to the towns only bank about offering these services before seriously checking out this or any other company.

    Payday, Bills & Various Thoughts

    Yesterday was pay day. In addition I received my water bill. I was shocked at how high it was. Apparently, I still need to get it caught up, after the problems from the other a while back. It makes me wonder about my electric bill, but I think everything is caught up, except the car loan, which I am slowly getting caught up. Paying on it each week, I have gotten it to the point, where I'm not paying a lot of interest. Which is cool, as I am seeing more and more going to principle.

    Further, my yard sell is tomorrow and I have been trying all week to find everything I can part with to try to turn into cash. Which reminds me, I need to bring stuff in from my last sell 2-years ago, and get it all cleaned up. I posted a number of the items the other day, if you want to see a partial list. I did leave off, that list, by accident, the towel racks, but hey I can't possibly mention everything. If you live in or around Topeka, I encourage each and everyone of you to stop by. My booth will be set up in the park that is at the corner of 18th and Clay. You will be able to recognize it, because the sign that will be taped to the booth will have the pieces of the 4 credit cards that could be found after a friend and I mutilated the other day.

    Health

    Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2007

    My Google PageRank

    I hadn't checked my site’s PageRank in a while, so I went to the instant PageRank checker. My PageRank continues to hold at 4. Hopefully this will open up some more wallets when it comes to the sale of text advertising on this website.




    Check Page Rank of any web site pages instantly:




    This free page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

    Time To Sell

    Here is a more complete list of the items, I will be selling this Saturday August 11, 2007 at the flea market. I hope to see a number of you at the my booth.

  • New Cassette - Michael Campbell - Trust
  • New CD - Sontrek - Alpha
  • New CD - Keith Urban - Be Here
  • New CD - Big & Rich - Comin' To Your City
  • New CD - Pussycat Dolls - PCD

  • Various other used Cd's, cassettes, VHS movies and books
  • business related tapes, Cd's videos and books

  • Computer - Windows ME
  • various cables and cords
  • Cups and misc items
  • Computer speakers
  • Pinbacks
  • Flashlight/Radio Combo
  • Globe
  • TV tray's
  • Picnic Caddy
  • NEW - Gardening Knee Pads
  • Clothes

    and more, I will continue digging out more items to sell

    Flea Market


    Aug. 11, 2007

    18th & Clay

    8 am - 2 pm



    I will get debt free $1 at a time!





    --------------





    job descriptions
    Learn about Finance
    & Economics
    degrees
    from Walden
    University
    , Capella
    University
    , and Baker
    College
  • Free Chicken Sandwich


    This year Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta based fast food chicken place that invented the chicken sandwich and the nugget to, is celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year. Part of that celebration has been throughout this summer their restaurants, mostly in the south, have been giving away free sandwiches.
    Today, the Topeka restaurant is getting in on the celebration. If you live in or around Topeka, KS go to the Chick-fil-a located in the Westridge mall and pick up your free sandwich.
    One sandwich per person, no purchase requirements to participate in the deal. If you aren't in Topeka, you call your local Chick-fil-a to see when their 40th anniversary day will be.

    Fairy tales

    Fairy tales: horror stories for children to get them used to reality.

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    First Guaranty Bank (FGYH.PK) Expands Outside of Louisiana

    Everyday, I get an email from the Kansas City Star's Business Journal with some the day's breaking news. Today, there was an article about a bank that I have never heard of in my life. The Bank Douglass National Bank is one of a handful of black owned banks in the nation and the only one in Kansas City.
    However, that is not why it is in the news. No, it appears, that they have agreed to be acquired by another small banking company, whose other 15 branches are in Louisiana.


    Louisiana-based bank owner First Guaranty Bancshares Inc.(FGYH.PK) has agreed to buy troubled Douglass National Bank of Kansas City.


    Douglass, according to financial reports had a negative book value of $87,000 on Dec. 31, 2006. The banks assets, reportedly, shrank by a third for the year that ended March 31st of this year, to $66 million.

    On the other hand the purchasing bank,

    First Guaranty holds $729 million in assets, runs 15 branches and earned $2.5 million in the first quarter of this year.


    One thing I would like to know about this is does this end the black ownership of the bank? Or is 1st Guaranty also black owned?

    Douglass Bancorp Inc. owns 91 percent of Douglas National, while the remaining 9 percent is owned by Fannie Mae.

    Frugality With Gas & Water

    As I continue to catch up on my reading and posting this week, I see Tight-Fisted Miser is trying to save $45/month. He purposely and with malous had his gas turned off. He then began taking cold showers for the summer all because he refuses to pay the greedy gas company $45/month during the months when he doesn't have to heat his place.

    I like the idea, however, I have a boarder, who would be pretty upset, if I told him he would have to take cold showers. With that in mind, I can perhaps cut my gas bill, by taking cold showers, while still having the gas on. Besides I occasionally use the stove, when the microwave isn't practical.

    In addition, with no air conditioning in the house all those cold showers might just feel refreshing. Not to mention, the shorter showers that Tight-fisted Miser made mention of would save on the water bill as well.

    Another way to got your shower shorter, that I read a few years back is to turn the water on long enough to get wet. Turn off the water. Lather up, then turn the water back on to wash off.

    Might be worth a try putting both of these ideas together to see how much cheaper I can get these bills.

    Well, I guess now is a good time to go get take my first cold shower in years.

    Make Money

    Earn cash in your spare time...blackmail friends.

    Monday, August 6, 2007

    Don't force it

    Don't force it, get a larger hammer

    Thoughts on Sicko the Movie


    I haven't seen Sicko yet, but I am looking forward to seeing it as soon as possible. However, from what I can tell he doesn't talk about the problems in locations where they offer subsidized medical care here in the U. S. Problems, which, I would like to point out here.

    When I lived in Chicago, they had a clinic at the county run hospital (Cook County Hospital), where there was long lines and huge waits to see a Doctor, and then if they felt it was warranted, an appointment to come back another day to see a Doctor in that specialty.

    One thing I quickly learned, even though it was my day off from work, was don't ever go on a Monday. That's when all the people looking for excuse to get a three day weekend show up, for the imaginary illness' so they could have the Doctors note for their employer.

    That is where the problem lies in subsidized health care. There is a small number of people that abuse the system and go for every small ailment, thus clogging up the system for more important problems.

    Sell So Much Stuff that...


    This next Saturday, is the day that I will be having my yard sale. In addition, I decided to send a few of the bigger items to an auction, so that I can get rid of them also.








    For the auctions, I have:

  • 2 window air conditioners
  • 2 coffee tables
  • 1 set of TV trays
  • 1 Bathroom sink
    - and -
  • several windows

  • The auction house, will not have an auction this Saturday, so they won't be sold until Saturday Aug 18th.

    My yard sale (flea market) items are:

  • several Cd's and cassettes, including 4 brand new/unopened Cd's, which include the Pussycat Dolls, Big N Rich, Keith Urban and a local Christian band.
  • a number of Books
  • Clothing
  • Several VHS movies and informational videos
  • several new/unopened items
  • a picnic caddy
  • globe
  • portable radio/flashlight combo
  • Towel rack
  • Cups
    and much more....


    oh and I can't forget the cold pop and water that I will be selling also.

  • I hope to see everyone in and around Topeka to stop by and say hi.

    The flea Market will be at the corner of 18th and Clay. Nicely sandwhiched between the Expocenter and Washburn University.

    In addition, I plan to attempt to sell my services of painting peoples addresses on their curbs.

    Saving Enough?


    It's a Sunday evening, the first day of my vacation and I sit here in front of the computer working on some of my posts for the next week. this a great opportunity to catch up on some things that I have wanted to write about, but just didn't have time to do. One such thing is discussing an article that I read in a local magazine called TK Magazine. TK stands for Topeka, Kansas. The article in the current July/August 2007 issue was about saving.

    Entitled "Are Topekans Saving Enough," and written by Katelyn Hasler, was an interesting read. Certainly, a topic, that I as a personal finance blogger, and the only one in Topeka, am interested in. Not only that, but a topic, related not just to Topekans but all Americans, that has been in the news since I started writing this blog.

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis has reported that savings of disposable income has dropped below zero, while household debt has risen, during the same years.

    There are those of course who argue that the alleged savings crisis that these statistics might suggest is simply a mathmetical error or an exaggeration.

    However Hasler, writes that

    Officials at local banks, however, said that based on what they have seen the trend toward saving less and spending more is startlingly real.


    I am not surprised. That is one of the reasons, that I started this blog and started trying to get out of debt. I don't want to have the negative savings rate in my life any more. I want to stop making the banker rich. Instead, I want to be able to retire someday, and not be one of these seniors working at Wal-Mart or McDonald's in my "golden years."

    Dave Ramsey has been discussing this issue for years. It goes hand in hand with the "me" attitude. The attitude that says, "I want it and I want it now." A desire by young people, fresh out of school to "have it all." A desire to have everything their parents have, not taking into account that it took their parents 20-years to accumulate all that stuff.

    This attitude is the attitude that we all, not just those of us under 40, need to change. We need to take a look at our great-grandparents and have the attitude of not buying anything unless we have cash in hand. This in past generations included saving up for that house.

    Even the Bible warned against debt, when it said in Proverbs 22:7:

    The borrower is slave to the lender.


    Of course, even Benjamin Franklin has been quoted on debt:

    The borrower is slave to the lender and the debtor to the creditor.

    and Shakespeare in Hamlet (1603):

    Neither a borrower nor lender be.


    So with all the advice against debt, from the very people we all trust; God, Shakespeare and Ben Franklin, why is it that we enslave ourselves. Do we really think we will beat the odds and not be snared in the bankers trap? Wake up, let's all bankrupt the banks and make ourselves rich instead of the banker.

    Sunday, August 5, 2007

    Humerous Prayer





    Dear Lord,
    So far today I have done
    all right. I haven't lost
    my temper, haven't been
    greedy, grumpy, nasty,
    selfish or overindulgent.
    I am really glad about
    all that.
    But, Lord,
    in a few minutes I'm
    going to get out of bed,
    and from then on I am
    really going to need
    Your help.



    Saturday, August 4, 2007

    More Foreign Companies Hiring Americans

    Are you one of the millions of people who hates it, when call a companies customer service number, and get someone overseas with such a thick accent that you can barely understand them?

    Well not all is lost. There is good news. Oversea call centers are opening call centers in the U. S. Much as the foreign car makers have done, so to are the call centers doing.

    For example, and Indian call center (Tata) has opened a call center in Reno. No not that Reno, but Reno, Ohio. A small town of 537 people, whose largest employer is this Indian call center, which employs 250 people.

    Their client at this particular call center is the online travel site, Expedia.


    The phenomenon has a name: "insourcing," the term experts are starting to use when foreign multinationals open offices on U.S. soil and hire Americans, at a higher price, to do the very jobs they once lured overseas. In this case the center in Reno is targeted toward companies willing to pay a premium - its workers there cost up to 40 percent more than their counterparts in India - to give their U.S. customers a more culturally fluent, less frustrating 1-800 experience. (No more hearing someone read from a script ten time zones away.)


    According to CNN Money, Tata, which has a history in India of caring about social causes, has encouraged workers in Reno to get more involved in the community. They even had a float in the communities Thanksgiving Day parade last year. More recently, employees gathered at a local playground that had fallen into disrepair to clean it up.
    And when an employee was injured in a car accident, Tata donated $500 to the family. Christy Rice, senior team leader, says those efforts demonstrate the biggest difference under the new owners. "It's less about numbers and more about people," she says.


    The reason for this effort to hire Americans, on the part of the foreign companies, is that Americans offer distinct advantages. For example in Expedia's case, its call-center workers need a firm grasp on U.S. geography. While other companies believe Americans bring a more entrepreneurial attitude to their work and still others believe callers feel more comfortable hearing fellow Americans.

    Friday, August 3, 2007

    Free CFL's


    This afternoon I was surprised when my mail person knocked on the door and handed me a package. I hadn't ordered anything, yet the package was clearly addressed to me. What was inside? A compact fluorescent light. I had filled out a form at yahoo, in a contest trying to get my city named as a green city. In return, Yahoo was mailing everyone a compact fluorescent light. Well today I received it. In addition, when it was announced a while back, that Topeka was one of the top 5, the city received a whole bunch to hand out, which according to the newspaper were to be distributed to the various community centers. In addition, some of them would be put to use in the cities own buildings.

    However, a week from tomorrow (sat. Aug 11) I will be receiving another one free. As part of National Night Out, Westar (WR), the local electric company will be handing out free CFL's with one condition. That condition, is that those receiving a free bulb, sign an agreement to buy at least one more CFL within the next year.

    Arguing With Washington Mutual

    Well last night I called Washington Mutual and informed them that I was using Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University to get debt-free. As a result I would like them, now that I have closed my credit card, to give me the same interest rate that they would, if Consumer Credit Counseling was calling on my behalf.

    After much talk and the representative giving me the number for their "Debt Management Program," I was connected to a person who claimed to be a manager. This guy informed me that it was against company policy to cut APR's directly with the consumer. The only reason, he said, that they cut the APR with consumer credit Counseling is because they were a bigger organization then any individual consumer.

    At that point, is when I lost my cool, and said something that I didn't intend to say. I said, "and that's why CreditCard.org gave you the lemon award for being the worst credit card company on the planet and why Dave Ramsey calls the scum of the earth."

    These people absolutely will not work with me whatsoever. I have never been late on a payment with these people, until last month when my checking account was cleaned out, by SMC and Bank of America. Yet they raised my raised my APR anyway from what I signed up for.

    Oh, and before talking to the "manager," I did press the lady what the Debt Management program was exactly. She tried to repeat the same line, and I pressed and asked exactly what that meant. She finally said, that it was Consumer Credit Counseling. The number she gave me (800) 388-2227. Personally, I have nothing against CCC, but I believe that these people should work with me. They are already aware that I have undergone counseling, but they just want to be jerks.

    I hate debt, and I hate Credit Cards, but I really suggest that everyone avoid Washington Mutual and all of the various credit card companies that they have bought out. They are the worst of the worst. It is my intention to get this paid off ASAP. While I am on vacation next week I want to make at least $1,000 from various sources so that I can get them out of my life forever. I must get my technique down so that I can feel comfortable charging customers to paint address numbers on their curbs. In addition, August 11th I will be selling yard sell items in my communities annual flea market. I know making $1000 in one week is ambitious, but that is my goal, so I can pay off this item by the end of the month. Then I can focus on the rest of my debts. My goal is still to get all my smaller debts paid by the end of the year.

    In addition, I really suggest, in the strongest terms to follow the following advice:




    1. Establish an emergency fund
    2. Commit to avoiding ALL new debt

    3. Call your creditors and negotiate lower interest rates (That is if they will negotiate).

    4. Start a Spending Diary. Keep track of receipts and monitor cash in-flow and out-go to make sure you stick to your budget (Personally this is the hardest thing for me).

    5. Get in the groove of spending within your means by cutting back expenses.

    6. Payoff everything and celebrate!




    OK, there you have it. That is my plan and the advice I follow and recommend to everyone. Providian (now Washington Mutual) got the lemon award for raising customers APR to the maximum (31.99%) forever. I will not miss them, nor any credit card. They are the perfect example of greed in their industry.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2007

    Giving To God VIA an ATM?


    I seen this today on CNN, but when I went searching, all I found was older articles that I have heard of previously.

    Easier giving is now a reality for church congregations across the country with the placement of an ATM in the church lobby. The giving kiosk is nicknamed the ATM for Jesus.

    The inventor reasons, that no one carries cash or checkbooks any more, so this machine is the logical evolution, he explained in the report I heard on CNN.

    "Years ago, people would bring animals and grain to the house of the lord as a tithe," Baker says. "Can you imagine the stir when they started bringing money?"

    You can't get any cash from the machine. Instead it is set up so that you can only swipe your debit or credit card to make a donation. Although, you can also request a receipt and even chose whether or not you donation will be anonymous. In addition you can choose where to donate, IE: tithe, building fund, general fund, etc.

    Personally, I don't know about this. It sounds to much like the mark of the beast to me. I mean the Bible teaches about a mark on our hand or forehead to pay for everything. While I don't believe an ATM is the mark, the pastor and businessman's comment about everyone using debit cards instead of cash, sounds like a comment pointing that way. I don't know, but it just makes me a little leery. What do you think?


    ***update: CNN video found***

    sources:
    ABC News (Oct. 2006)
    Kooz News (July 5, 2007)
    CNN Headline News (Aug 1, 2007)

    Earnings From Last Month w/o Sponsored Posts

    This past month has been rewarding. As I try to fully rebound from the horrible month of late June (and early July), when my bank account at Bank of America was completely wiped out (see posts from that time period).

    Thankfully, Google AdSense will be sending me a payment for the months of May, June and July. Over the three month period, I have earned, thanks to your clicks on their ads, a total of $102.10.

    In addition, I signed up for CashCrate, a website that pays participants for answering surveys and filling out online forms. CashCrate, reportedly pays every month, by paper check, if the participant earns at least $10.

    Well my first month with CashCrate, which actually was only a partial month, I earned a total of $33.68. Of which, $15.85 came from offers that I participated in, $1.60 from daily surveys, $13.23 from referrals and $3 from bonuses.

    Yes, you read that right, referrals, everyone who signs up, not only makes money from what they do, but also a percentage of what their referrals do. For example, according to the figures I have, 15 people have signed up through my CashCrate links, 7 of those are actually active participating. In addition, 3 people have signed up under those 7, so I am getting 10% of what those 3 "second-tier" referrals do as well.

    Now, my referral goal, is to get at least 50 active referrals. My goal for August is to make at least $50. Considering that my 1st partial month, I made $30, I think that this goal of $50 is doable. Eventually, I would like to see monthly checks of at least $500. If Amy Bass can get checks, which she has posted on her website, of $1,000, I surely can make half that amount.

    Other payments, I expect to receive by the end of August, includes $27.50 from BlogVerTise and $12 from PayPerPost, though my PayPerPost article has yet to be approved.

    All in all, that means I am to get $175.28 by the end of August from these various sources. If can get that much for each of the remaining months of the year, I would be almost guaranteed, as long as I stay focused, to have everything except the car paid off by the end of the year.

    Of course, I am not a big fan of the sponsored posts, and i know many of you aren't either, but if you want to make money, then I would suggest trying CashCrate, not only will you make money, but you will also help me out as well. So go ahead, and click that CashCrate link and sign up. The nice thing, you don't have to even have a blog or website to do this money maker. Although, it would be easier for the referral side of the program.

    Fund Education

    Fund Education, NOT War!