Sunday, September 30, 2007

Now I Have Heard It All...!?!


When it comes to personal finance, I thought I had seen everything. That was until today. Today as I was getting ready to go to work (yeah, I had to miss church today) an infomercial came on. I usually turn these off, but I had to hear what Academy Cars was giving away as their "free gift," for just a "test drive." I just couldn't believe my ears, when I heard it the first time. They set it up some like peoples court or something, with people going before the "Automotive Credit Judge." A loan office, was the prosecutor, telling the judge why the "defendants" should be denied. Of course in every case the judge ruled in the "defendants" favor.

So what was the "free gift?" They were giving away the New York best seller, "Financial Peace," by Dave Ramsey. Yes, in an infomercial so full of credit, credit, credit, they were giving away a book that tells you to avoid credit at all costs. Perhaps the folks at Academy Cars (of Lawrence, KS) needs to read the book themselves. The program even discussed having credit cards to help "build" one persons credit. The entire program they never talked about the need for these people to save and buy their next car with cash.
Again, I think they need to read Dave Ramsey's book, before they give it away.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hu$tler's Graduating Class - Personal Finance

Yesterday, Hustler Money Blog, wrote a post naming what he called "Personal Finance’s Graduating Class of 2007." The list included:
  • Summa Cum Laude
    These bloggers have thousands of readers with a very active commenting community. They are the cream of crop and are well respected for their knowledge in personal finance. To be considered for Summa Cum Laude, they must have a minimum of 2K RSS readers, over 2K incoming links, and at least 200K pageviews every month.


  • Magna Cum Laude

    Their content are unique and easy to read. They update their sites daily with a minimum requirement of 1K RSS Readers, 1K incoming links, and 100K pageviews every month.


  • Cum Laude

    Cum Laude graduates are the up and coming PF bloggers. They have at least 300 RSS Readers, with 300 incoming links, and over 30K pageviews a month.

    The author himself, places himself as Cum Laude.

  • The B Students
    They manage to graduate with a B average with over 100 RSS Readers, 100 incoming links, and over 10K pageviews a month.

    This is the class that your truly was placed in. Over all I think the list seems pretty accurate and if you haven't had a chance to look it over yet, I encourage you to do so.


    http://www.hustlermoneyblog.com/personal-finances-graduating-class-of-2007/
  • Fox Business Network & Dish


    I just got off the phone with Dish Network. The reason for my call is to ask if they would be carrying the new FOX Business Network, when it launches Oct 15. According to the lady I talked on the phone with, the new channel currently is not in the line-up. As a fan of Dave Ramsey, I want to make sure he will I will be able to see him, when I am not working.

    As such I am requesting that all my readers take a minute or so to fill out the contact form and let Dish know that people want to see this new channel by clicking Here. Preferably in America's top 100 or 200.

    Thank you for your help, and if you don't have Dish Network, don't forget to contact your own satellite or cable provider as well. Let's work together to make sure every major satellite and cable provider carries the new channel beginning on day 1.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Taxes, Tickets and Big Payments



    Today, I went and cleaned out my savings again. Got my car tags and some debts paid, including the last of the ticket that I received earlier in the month (or was it late last month). It had been 3 or 4 years since I got a ticket and still hate receiving them.

  • Car Tags (Taxes) $218.27
  • Ticket $66

  • While I have $50 moved over to checking, it will be tomorrow (when I get my paycheck) before I apply it to a debt.

    These payments, along with the regular weekly payments on my car is really going to help my Oct. 1st update over at the No Credit Needed Network.


    Here are the Debts, I still hope to be 100% paid off by the end of the year.:

  • Providian (Washington Mutual) Credit Card $840
  • Black Gold Insulation $275
  • Amerifirst Home Improvement Loans $1,200.
  • Fingerhut $1,000


  • I would love to see these debts 100% abolished. But as i get closer to the end of the year and realize I have property taxes coming due in a little over a month, I wonder if it will be another financial goal not met. According to my original goal they should have already been paid off, but I still have everyone of them. Thankfully, I have shut off Providian and Fingerhut, so I can't charge anything more with them. Now I must stick to my goal and get them paid. Once they are paid, I can realize my dream of having savings to pay for medical emergencies and deductibles. I can have a savings for real vacations again. Once the car is paid off I can have a savings to buy my next car and the one after that. heck, I can even have a savings to replace the roof or even buy a whole new house (a bigger house would be nice). However, those are dreams at this point, and they need to help motivate me. That along with my dream, that I would like to find a wife and be able to support her and raise a family.

    Amateur Rocket Scientist

    Amateur Rocket Scientist My other vehicle is in orbit

    Flies spread disease

    Flies spread disease Keep yours zipped

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Money Quotes

    I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the various quotes out there about money. Hope you enjoy them.


    The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.
    - Mark Twain, Pudd'n'head Wilson, 1894

    The borrower is slave to the lender and the debtor to the creditor.
    - Thoughts by Benjamin Franklin from Poor Richard's Almanac, or from his letters, on life and prosperity.

    The safe way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.
    - Frank Hubbard

    There is a very easy way to return from a casino with a small fortune: go there with a large one.
    - Jack Yelton

    We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.
    - Gloria Steinem

    My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.
    - Errol Flynn

    The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender.
    - Proverbs 22:7

    Car sickness is the feeling you get when the monthly payment is due.
    - Author Unknown

    Inflation hasn't ruined everything. A dime can still be used as a screwdriver.
    - Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position. - Mark Twain

    There's no money in poetry, but then there's no poetry in money, either.
    - Robert Graves

    I cannot afford to waste my time making money.
    - Louis Agassiz

    They who are of the opinion that Money will do everything, may very well be suspected to do everything for Money.
    - George Savile, Complete Works, 1912

    When I have money, I get rid of it quickly, lest it find a way into my heart.
    - John Wesley

    It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.
    - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    The real measure of your wealth is how much you'd be worth if you lost all your money.
    - Author Unknown

    Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
    - Cree Indian Proverb


    The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.
    - Mad Magazine


    I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.
    - Pablo Picasso

    No matter how hard you hug your money, it never hugs back.
    - Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    There are people who have money and people who are rich.
    - Coco Chanel

    "Your money, or your life." We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does.
    - Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966



    It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy.
    - George Horace Lorimer

    A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it. - Bob Hope

    Always borrow money from a pessimist, he doesn't expect to be paid back.
    - Author Unknown


    If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it. - Author Unknown

    Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work.
    - Robert Orben

    If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
    - Earl Wilson


    Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.
    - Woody Allen

    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy you the kind of misery you prefer.
    - Author Unknown


    Money often costs too much.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    The waste of money cures itself, for soon there is no more to waste.
    - M.W. Harrison

    I'm so poor I can't even pay attention.
    - Ron Kittle, 1987


    If you make money your god, it will plague you like the devil.
    - Henry Fielding

    When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.
    - Oscar Wilde


    The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters.
    - Jean-Paul Kauffmann


    Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings.
    - Carl Sandburg

    If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.
    - Aristotle Onassis


    Money is much more exciting than anything it buys.
    - Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


    Money is human happiness in the abstract; and so the man who is no longer capable of enjoying such happiness in the concrete, sets his whole heart on money.
    - Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena, 1851


    Money is the last enemy that shall never be subdued. While there is flesh there is money - or the want of money; but money is always on the brain so long as there is a brain in reasonable order.
    - Samuel Butler, Notebooks, 1912


    Money will buy you a pretty good dog, but it won't buy the wag of his tail.
    - Henry Wheeler Shaw

    We ought to change the legend on our money from "In God We Trust" to "In Money We Trust." Because, as a nation, we've got far more faith in money these days than we do in God.
    - Arthur Hoppe, 1963

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    A Unique Name For Unique Cub Fans

    A few years ago, a couple of friends of mine moved away from Topeka and went to Arizona. A few months later, I moved to Chicago. While we had left Topeka, they had a small son. They liked Kansas so much they named their first born son Kansas. Being Christians and with the path to God being the "narrow path" they gave this son the middle name of Lane. Eventually we all returned to Topeka, and I was introduced to Kansas Lane Barker by his parents.
    Do you think that is a unique name. Well so did I, until today.


    Two Chicago Cubs fans in Indiana whose last name is Fields have named their son Wrigley Fields.

    Wrigley Alexander Fields was born Sept. 12 to Paul and Teri Fields of Michigan City.

    "He can go by his middle name if he wants to," Paul Fields said. "We'll go with Wrigley for now."
    - United Press International

    This kid better be a Cubs fan forever?


    Cubs officials have no record of other children named Wrigley, though they have come across babies named Zambrano and Ryne after Cubs stars Carlos Zambrano and Ryne Sandberg, the Post-Tribune reported.

    Ohhh The Pain!! Could Cost Me. How Much?


    Over the past few months, I have had increasing foot pain. After I mentioned it to co-worker and how it came and goes. In fact the morning, I mentioned it, I could barely walk when I first woke up. She suggested it might be heel spurs.

    So I came home and looked it up. While, the Doctor writing on about.com, says heel spurs aren't painful, and the painful is Plantar fasciitis. I will still call it heel spurs, because that is what most non-medical people, like myself, calls it, rather then the medical term.


    Plantar fasciitis is a common, painful foot condition. Patients, and sometimes doctors often confuse the terms plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. Plantar fasciitis refers to the syndrome of inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot; a heel spur is a hook of bone that can form on the heel bone (calcaneus). About 70% of patients with plantar fasciitis have been noted to have a heel spur that can be seen on X-Ray.

    Who gets plantar fasciitis?


    Plantar fasciitis is most often seen in middle-aged men and women, but can be found in all age groups. Plantar fasciitis is diagnosed with the classic symptoms of pain well localized over the heel area of the bottom of the foot.
    Often the pain from plantar fasciitis is most severe when you first stand on your feet in the morning. Pain often subsides quite quickly, but then returns after prolonged standing or walking.

    Plantar fasciitis is sometimes, but not always, associated with a rapid gain of weight. Plantar fasciitis is also sometimes seen in recreational athletes, especially runners. In these athletes, it is thought that the repetitive nature of the sports causes the damage to the fibrous tissue that forms the arch of the foot.




    Since, it costs money to go to the Doctor, I have not been to a Doctor. I have insurance, once I have paid out the $500 deductible. However, then I would have to pay 20% for a while. So I have been reading up to try to get ideas how to cure the pain without such huge expenditures.



    Treatment of plantar fasciitis is with short-term rest and controlling the inflammation. Here are the steps patients should take in order to cure their plantar fasciitis:

    Rest

    Avoiding the precipitating activity; for example, take a few day off jogging or prolonged standing/walking. Just resting usually helps to eliminate the most severe pain, and will allow the inflammation to begin to cool down.

    Since, my job requires me on my feet all day, this one is not an option for me. In fact another site, suggested staying off your feet for like 20 days. Something, they admitted wasn't an option for most people. So I will look at other treatments. However, as much as possible I will stay off my feet.

    Apply Ice Packs

    Icing will help to diminish some of the symptoms and control the heel pain. Icing is especially helpful after an acute exacerbation of symptoms.
  • A great way to ice plantar fasciitis

    Exercises and Stretches

    Exercises and stretches are designed to relax the tissues that surround the heel bone.
    Some simple exercises, performed in the morning and evening, often help patients feel better quickly.

    Anti-Inflammatory Medications

    Anti-inflammatory medications help to both control pain and decrease inflammation. Over-the-counter medications are usually sufficient, but prescription options are also available.

    Shoe Inserts

    Shoe inserts are often the key to successful treatment of plantar fasciitis. The shoe inserts often permit patients to continue their routine activities without pain.

    Night Splint

    Night splints are worn to keep the heel stretched out when you sleep. By doing so, the arch of the foot does not become contracted at night, and is hopefully not as painful in the morning.

    These modalities alone will cure the plantar fasciitis pain in most patients. Be forewarned that the symptoms will not resolve quickly. Most patients find relief within about three months, and over 90% within one year.

    If the pain does not resolve, an injection of cortisone can decrease the inflammation of plantar fasciitis. However, many physicians do not like to inject cortisone because there are potentially serious problems with cortisone injections in the heel area. The two problems that cause concern are fat pad atrophy and plantar fascial rupture. Both of these problems occur in a very small percentage of patients, but they can cause a worsening of heel pain symptoms.

    A new treatment for chronic plantar fasciitis is being investigated. This treatment, called extracorporeal shock wave therapy, or ESWT, uses energy pulses to induce microtrauma to the tissue of the plantar fascia. This microtrauma is thought to induce a tissue repair process by the body. ESWT is recommended in patients who have failed the previously mentioned treatments, and are considering surgical options. For more information on shock wave therapy treatment:

    After successful treatment, how can I prevent plantar fasciitis from coming back?

    To prevent the recurrence of plantar fasciitis after treatment, proper fitting footwear is essential. Many people use shoe inserts to relieve pressure over the tender area. Custom orthotics can also be made if there appears to be a problem with the mechanical structure of the foot. It is also important to continue the stretching and exercises. These simple exercises will help maintain the flexibility of the foot and prevent the plantar fasciitis pain from returning.


  • One thing I did is went by a business called, Foot Pain Solutions. This business makes custom orthopedic inserts. They in fact do the inserts for all the athletes at KU (Kansas University) in Lawrence and Washburn University, here in Topeka.

    He connected me to a device, he inserted into my shoe and strapped around my leg, then had me walk around for a couple of minutes. When I came back, he connected the device to the computer and we could see images of where the pressure was.

    It seems I have no support whatsoever, on my right arch. For my left foot, I have absolutely no support anywhere on the middle part of my foot. All the pressure is on the heel and toes.

    He suggested two things:
  • Proper foot wear
  • He said I need to wear quality foot wear. Shoes that are better quality then the $25 Payless Shoes that I currently wear. He suggested a shoe company in town that actually takes time to measure your foot (both width and length) to find a proper fitting shoe. They also will look at your feet and if are like me, and you kind of walk on the side of your foot, they have shoes that force you to walk on your entire foot. They even have a treadmill, and they might even have you walk on it, to make sure you get the correct shoes. The cost of these good shoes are in the neighborhood of $100.

    I have known for sometime, I needed to get better quality of shoes. However, with my budget, I always went to budget route. Now, as I am developing (and the images seem to indicate, it's the early stages of my condition) foot problems, it has come to be more mandatory.

  • Custom Made Inserts
  • Of course the Free Evaluation, was to try to sell me the custom made orthopedics. Inserts specifically designed for my feet, to correct the problems that I am faced with. The cost of these things are $195. Certainly outside of my price range. However, they do come with a lifetime guarantee that they will work or they will refund my money. They are about 1 weeks take home pay.



    However, coming up with the funds for these two things will greatly help correct and prevent future occurrences of my foot problems. So I need to find the funds. In the mean time, I have bought some "cheap" $8 gel inserts to help pad my feet some. While I can still feel the pain, I notice a big difference in the pain, when I walk.

    I probably should visit the doc also. Seeing as they can take care of the Anti-Inflammatory Medications, if that should be needed. Of course do I visit my family doctor? Or do I find a podiatrist?

    Whatever, this pain will cost me. Not only in the treatment, but also in my enjoyment of walking to nearby places. I love walking to church (4 blocks away), to events, I might go to at the arena (2 blocks away) and even things at Washburn University (5 blocks away). However, now because of the pain, I will have to drive to these nearby locations.

    Hopefully, I can get this problem fixed quickly.

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Osama & the Genie

    While trying to escape through Pakistan , Osama Bin-Laden found a bottle in the sand and picked it up.

    Suddenly, a female genie rose from the bottle and with a smile said, "Master, may I grant you one wish?"

    "You ignorant, unworthy daughter-of-a-dog! Don't you know who I am? I

    don't need any common woman giving me anything!" barked Bin-Laden.

    The shocked genie said, "Please, I must grant you a wish or I will be returned to that bottle forever."

    Osama thought a moment, then grumbled about the impertinence of the woman and said, "Very well, I want to awaken with three American women in my bed in the morning. So just do it and be off with you!"

    The annoyed genie said, "So be it !" and disappeared.

    The next morning Bin Laden woke up in bed with...

    Lorena Bobbitt, Tonya Harding, and Hillary Clinton.

    His penis was gone, his knees were broken and he had no health insurance.

    Do They Make Up Their Stats?

    I have been tracking stats with yet another service I just learned of (Quantcast). As such, I have been checking both addresses my blog uses. Funny thing is they have widely different stats for the same page.
    Check it our here:
    http://www.quantcast.com/debtfree4ever.blogspot.com (rank 782,776)
    -and-
    http://www.quantcast.com/debtfree4ever.net (rank 362,901)
    So my question is, do they make these stats up? I mean my domain name, gets twice as many visitors as the blogspot address? For the same exact page?

    I do believe, where the blogspot address dies off a week ago, is where I switched the CNAME settings, so that my DebtFree4ever.net address shows up in the browser window instead of the blogspot address. However, since it is the exact same page it should have similar numbers. Apparently though, the blogspot numbers are made up. Even the rank they say is a puesdo-rank.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Dave Ramsey Hits Prime Time!!


    So I had the night off from work. Getting to work the early shift, then running to a board meeting for a not-for-profit. I finally get home, fix some pancakes and turn on the local broadcast of the Dave Ramsey Show, which comes on at 7 pm in my area. At any rate as I am tuning him in, he makes a major announcement.

    It seems he has signed a contract with FOX. When FOX lunches their brand new TV channel, FOX Business Network (FBN), on Oct. 15, 2007, he will be one of the channels nightly prime time programs.


    Nationally syndicated radio talk-show personality and personal finance expert Dave Ramsey has joined FOX Business Network (FBN) as the host of a primetime program, announced Kevin Magee, Executive Vice President, FOX News. The show’s title and time slot will be announced at a later date.

    In making the announcement, Magee said, “Dave Ramsey is a welcome addition to FBN’s programming. Our primetime format will offer a new opportunity for Americans to benefit from Ramsey’s practical financial advice.”

    Ramsey added, “We’re honored to be part of the FOX Business Network from its launch. Television is a logical step for The Dave Ramsey Show and I’m glad we have the opportunity to take that step with our friends at FOX.”
    - Business Wire


    Since the reality program on CBS never became a reality, I am enthused about this. However, on the nights that I am home from work, I will have to decide which do I want to listen to, to the TV show or the rebroadcast of the radio program.

    My Dave Ramsey fix will be in overdrive.

    If You're A Saver,You'll Earn Less


    When I seen the headline in this morning's online version of the news paper, I was worried. By the time I read the first paragraph, I was relieved.

    Savers will earn lower returns on their money market and certificates of deposit as a result of the Federal Reserves decision Tuesday to cut the federal funds rate, a local banker said Wednesday.

    The Fed's decision likely will weaken the U.S. dollar against world currencies, but on the other hand, certain borrowers may find a bit of relief in their interest rates.
    - Topeka Capital Journal


    Not very good news if you use these sources to save. However, that is exactly why Dave Ramsey advises avoiding Certificates of depression deposits. Instead, it would be better to save your (and mine) hard earned money in a good mutual fund with higher returns. Sure there will be down years. However, as Dave explains, if you do your homework and invest in a GOOD mutual fund, then even the down years will bring in more then these low interest payments.

    There is some good news in the article though. If you have a wealth draining loan, specifically one that is tied to the prime rate, then you will see your interest rates go down.


    Borrowers whose loans are tied to prime rate will see their interest rates decline following Tuesday's decision to cut the federal funds rate to 4.75 percent from 5.25 percent.

    Bank of America and several other of the nation's largest banks cut their prime rates to 7.75 percent from 8.25 percent.

    The prime rate is the rate that banks charge their most credit worthy borrowers and is a benchmark for pricing car loans and adjustable rate mortgage loans.
    - Topeka Capital Journal


    That is good news. However, again Dave Ramsey says to avoid Adjustable Rate Mortgage's (ARM's), for the very reason we have seen in the news in recent months. When the prime went up, many of the owners of these type of loans (those tied to the prime) found that they couldn't afford the loan payments any longer.

    All in all, loans are bad anyway. They serve no purpose, other then to drain the wealth of those, with the attitude, "I want it and I want it now." They also make the banker rich, while draining your wealth. The better way, is to be patient, yet aggressive, with your savings, so that you can buy the item with cash.

    If you borrow to buy a car, over the course of the 5-year loan you WILL pay twice as much, then you would have, if you had just paid cash. The same goes for a home (30-year) mortgage. In fact Dave believes a mortgage is the only type of loan anyone should get as long as it's for no more then 15-years. However, the more you save for that home the better, because it will keep more of your money in your pocket, when it comes to those interest payments.


    The Fed's action will translate into a lower value of the U.S. dollar, experts said. The U.S. dollar has been falling the past six years from 90 cents for a euro to $1.38 for a euro Wednesday. The dollar isn't only weaker against the euro and the British pound, but it also is weaker at home as consumers are paying more for food, gasoline and other goods.

    About the only thing that hasn't gone up in price this year is computing power, said Todd Reeves, portfolio manager with Capital Portfolio Management, Topeka.

    "Milk is way more expensive, college is more expensive, computing power is cheaper, but everything else went up," Reeves said.

    Reeves said the half-percent cut by the Fed was good for the stock markets because it will pump more liquidity into the markets.

    The interest rate cut gives such banks as Citi, Washington Mutual and Bank of America more liquidity to deal with the subprime mortgage crisis, Reeves said.

    "But it decreases the value of the dollar," Reeves said. "This may compound the inflation problem down the road. I don't think cheap money is necessarily the answer. There needs to be some reckoning. The mortgage industry got way too loose, way too easy, people were getting mortgages who five years ago wouldn't have qualified. These were people who had no business buying a house."

    Financial experts said they didn't expect the rate cut to turn around the sluggish housing market.


    Nor do I.


    "We've got a long ways to go in the housing sector," Greg Fankhauser, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Bank in Topeka, said.

    While in Lawrence (Kansas) on Monday, Sheila Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said the subprime mortgage crisis was far from over. Another 2 million adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled to reset by the end of 2008, meaning homeowners' monthly payments will rise from low introductory rates.

    Reeves said he likes gold, which is up 15 percent so far this year, now around $715 per ounce.

    He expects big financial stocks to also do well this year.



    While I am intrigued by a desire to own a bar of gold, I often wonder, if I did ever buy one, where would I sell it, when it came time to say retire.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Personal Finance According to Jed Clampett


    As a personal finance blogger, I often talk about my own personal finances. My success and my failures are an open book to everyone who reads this blog. In between the more personal posts I post various tips and occasionally an interview or two.
    Today, I set down with Jed Clampett to ask how he lives frugally, even with all his millions.

  • The first thing Jed told me was that last year he switched all of the light bulbs in his Beverly Hills house to compact fluorescents (CFL's). According to Jed, "you will be amazed with over 100 light bulbs in the house, how much this alone saves on our electric bill." He also said, that buying fewer light bulbs over time saves money as well.

  • While we were on electric use, I asked him about his electric use. Seems he not only turns off the lights when he leaves a room, but unless he is reading, he rarely even turns a light on. However, he admits, that as a elementary school dropout, he rarely reads. He even prefers cooking outside rather then using the electric stove.

  • While I keep my furnace set around 64 in the winter, Jed tells me that he keeps it around 50. Seems a little chilly for me, but with the nice sunny California weather. Even the chilly nights, probably isn't cold enough to warrant the use of heat for him and his clan anyway.

  • The thing that surprised me the most, is they have gone hi-tech. With cousin Jethro finally getting into high school, Jethro has become a big fan of the computer and helps his uncle and Granny pay the bills with their banks online bill pay. Not only that they email just about everyone. Saving the family a heap of money on stamps.

  • Around the house, Jed says he reuses the grocery bags they bring home from the store. Instead of buying trash bags, he said they put the plastic grocery bags in the smaller cans, like in the bathrooms and bedrooms. The paper grocery bags, according to Jed, are reused in the bigger trash cans, like in the kitchen.

  • of course, that is difficult sometimes, when they don't buy much food. Since they have a nice garden out by the cement pond, and go hutting for possum for meat. He even offered me some possum and greens, which I politely turned down.

  • Despite all their money, Granny refuses to use a washing machine and dryer. Instead, she still uses a washboard. Hanging the clothes out on the clothes line to dry.

  • Jed also told me that they don't buy soda pop or buy any water. The water that comes from the faucet is better then any thing they drank before they "moved away from there."

  • Finally, he said the one thing he learned before striking it rich and moving away from there, is he compared insurance rates and changed his insurance company to a company that offered cheaper premiums. Something, he still does every year, to make sure he still is getting the best rate.
  • 25 MPG v 28 MPG

    My SUV gets 25 MPG 28 in a Rainforest

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Iraq V Hollywood

    First Liberate Iraq Then Take Back Hollywood

    Nebraska Senator Sues God

    Yes folks, the title is correct. A State Senator in Nebraska has actually filled suit against God. According to Fox News:

    Nebraska Democratic State Senator Ernie Chambers has decided to go straight to the top in an effort to stop natural disasters from befalling the world.

    Apparently on Friday September 14, 2007 Chambers filed a lawsuit against God in Douglas County Court. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against God to get Him to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.


    Chambers says he isn't suing God because he has any kind of beef with the deity. He says the suit is to fight possible laws restricting the filing of frivolous lawsuits. Chambers tells KPTM FOX 42 News that his lawsuit is in response to bills brought forth by other state senators to try and stop lawsuits from being filed.


    Oh really? Wouldn't this be a reason to support restrictions on frivolous lawsuits? In my opinion, it is long overdue in putting a stop against these kind of frivolous lawsuits.


    Monday, September 17, 2007

    For Sale

    FOR SALE: French Army Rifle Never Fired. Dropped Once.

    101 Ways to Save Revisited

    Last September, I posted 101 ways to save. This year I think it deserves to be revisited. Did my thoughts change? Well yes, on at least one of the points. Have I implemented all these money saving tips. Well that's why we are revisiting it.


    1. Set your thermostat to 64 and turn it down to 60 at night.
    This is something that I try to do every winter. It's easy to put sleeves on and once you are acclimated to the temperature, it will feel quite comfortable.
    2. Use the phone book instead of directory assistance.
    This is something I usually do. However, I do need to do better, because sometimes I just get plain lazy.
    3. Use coupons at the grocery store.
    I need to do better at this. At the same time I find that most times buying store brand or generics are better deals then buying name brands with coupons.
    4. Carpool.
    A great idea, if a number of people go to work at the same time. For me, since I work retail and am the only one on my side of town, it isn't practical, but for a huge segment of Americans working in an office, this is a great idea.
    5. Ask for generic prescriptions instead of brand name.
    I make a point of doing this every time. In fact, if I use the pharmacy at my company, then they will automatically prepare the generic and submit it to the company insurance. For employees, they were doing the $4 deal years before Wally World started offering it to everyone. As a result they now offer the deal to everyone, not just employees.
    6. Do your own nails.
    OK, I am not female so this doesn't apply to me, but it makes perfect since. If you are female, why pay $30 to trim and polish your own nails when you can do it yourself for less then $1.
    7. Rent out a room or garage.
    This is something I have been doing for several years. I rent out the spare bedroom to get some additional income coming in. Sometimes, he is a little late getting the check to me, but so far he has never failed to get me the rent within a week of its due date.
    8. Replace incandescents with CFL's.
    Originally this was changing light bulbs to lower watts. Now all of my 60 and 40 watt bulbs are slowly being replaced by CFL's (Compact Fluorescents). The CFL's not only last longer, but because they are fluorescents they cost less to operate each day as well.
    9. Make long distance calls at night and on weekends, instead of mid-day, mid-week.
    This is great advice, however, I am 100% cellular and have no long distance, no roaming.
    10. Throw pocket change in a jar and take it to the bank when it’s full.

    11. Always grocery shop with a list.
    Shopping with a list will save you money on your grocery shopping, as long as you stick to what's on the list. Another way to say it, "Don't buy on impulse. This is something I need to do better at. Since I work at grocery store, I tend to pick stuff up as I am leaving. Which means, I tend to pay more then I would if I planned, made a list and went to the store once a week.
    12. Buy spare parts for your car at a junkyard.
    I haven't had to make these kind of repairs with my current car, but I have done this with several of my other cars.
    13. Go to museums on free days.
    Sounds like a great idea. Now when is the free day?
    14. Quit smoking.
    I don't smoke, but if you do...this would save quite bit of change. For example, cigarettes in my area run about $3.99 a pack. If you smoke a pack a day, and you were to quit, you would save $1,456.35/year.
    15. Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.
    16. Switch to water when dining out.
    Restaurants make a killing on drinks. Getting water instead, is not only healthier, but at free, much cheaper.
    17. Brew your own Coffee, rather than buying it on the run.
    If you have two cups a day at $1.50 each workday, that’s $60 over a month. You can buy a decent coffee maker, really good bean or ground coffee, and a Stanley stainless steel insulated thermos for about $45 and come out $15 ahead just the first month!

    18. Take a shorter shower.
    Over the last year, I have started cutting back my shower time and in turn my watter bill.
    19. Write letters instead of calling.
    20. Brown bag your lunch.
    I try to do this, but sometimes my lazy butt still doesn't get this done.
    21. Make your own baby food, when I was a teenager and my parents had an another kid, I remember mom doing this. It was a simple as putting the peas (or whatever vegetable) in the blender.
    22. Use public transportation.
    I love this idea. I have been fighting my city to offer better public transportation. Not everyone works 9-5, so why do they only offer service from 6 to 6? Of course my latest job assignment as me working about 2 miles north of the most northern bus stop, so even if they went later, I wouldn't be able to ride very well. Still, people who work in the day, would like to go to the mall to, and currently, local transportation doesn't allow that.
    23. Drop duplicate medical insurance. What a great idea. I am not sure why anyone would have duplicate insurance, but it happens and should be eliminated TODAY.
    24. Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself. I am not very handy with power tools, but I have a couple of projects in the workshop, that I am working on. Like the old chest of drawers that I plan to turn into a TV stand. I mean hey, the drawers are missing and someone threw out the main frame, even though it is in perfectly good shape.
    25. Apply for scholarships and financial aid. If you are a student or are planning to go to college, then this is perfect advice. Look, it's not good to be saddled with debt at any time, especially when we are first graduating college, so make sure you don't have to.
    26. Exercise for free walk, jog, bike, or get exercise videos from the library.
    27. Form a baby-sitting cooperative with friends and neighbors. If you
    28. Buy your clothes off season.
    29. Go to a matinee instead of an evening show.
    30. Share housing with a friend or family member.
    31. Hang clothes out to dry. Instead of using that dryer and wasting electricity (or gas), air drying is much cheaper.
    32. Do not use your calling card. calling cards are expensive. If you have call, do so from home.
    33. Volunteer two hours a month for reduced cost food through the Share Program. This is something that I have done and is available in many parts of the country regardless of income. The program uses different names in different parts of the country, but it is similar everywhere. (Note: Heartland Share in Kansas has been merged into Share Colorado.)
    34. Change the oil in your car yourself regularly. This right here will save you tons, and I need to do better in this area.
    35. Get pre-approval from your medical insurance company before undergoing any procedures or tests. In these days of more and more HMO based insurance, this is fantastic advice.
    36. Buy "no frills" vitamins. I never buy brand names. The store brands are just as good and much cheaper.
    37. Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods. If you are dating (or spending time with a spouse) this is a perfect idea instead of spending money on an expensive dinner or movie.
    38. Make cards and gifts for friends.

    39. Shop thrift stores.

    People give away some really nice things! Last year, I picked up a Washburn University (polo style) shirt, that I have really been wanting for $2, that at the University Bookstore sells for about $30.
    40. Have your water company do an audit so you are not charged sewage fees for water used in your garden.
    41. Refinance your mortgage.
    42. Grocery shop on double coupon days. Or at stores that double coupons everyday.
    43. Trade down your car for a less expensive, lower maintenance one.
    44. Convert your cash value life insurance to term. Term insurance is a better deal. Look, unless you are going to cash out before you die, then you will never see any of the "extra" money in the cash value and neither will your descendants. Not only that, you can get a better return from a good mutual fund.
    45. Shop around for eyeglasses. Never, just buy your eyeglasses from the eye doctor. If you live a larger city, then shop around and see what other glasses makers are offering.
    46. Do not be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.
    With a little refurbishing, it could be as good as new for a few more years.
    47. Recycle. As I have said a time or two in this blog, I am not much of environmentalist, unless it is saving me money. As such I save aluminum (pop & beer) cans as well as tin (vegetable & soup) cans.
    48. Move to a less expensive place to live.
    49. Use low flush toilets or water saving devices in the tank.
    50. Drop unneeded telephone services like call forwarding or caller ID.
    51. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.

    52. Avoid using your ATM card at machines that charge a fee.
    Paying fees 0f $1,$1.50 or more at ATM machines can add up quickly. Remember, when you use another banks ATM, the charge isn't just from that ban, but yours as well so the charge can be double what you agree to at the ATM.

    53. Bicycle to work.
    Using leg power, instead of gasoline, can save hundreds of dollars each year.
    54. Shop around for auto insurance discounts for multiple drivers, seniors, good driving records, etc.
    55. Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions. If your doctor prescribe something to you, they often will have samples they can give you to save you some money.
    56. Borrow a dress for a big night out. or go to a consignment shop. Obviously, I am not a person who wears a dress, but a certain number of my readers are female and can use this tip.
    57. When you buy a home negotiate the sales price and closing costs.
    58. Turn the hot water heater down and wrap it with insulation. I need to find insulation for my water heater.
    59. Never grocery shop hungry. What do you do if you work in a grocery store?
    60. If you qualify, file for Earned Income Credit.
    61. Shop around for prescriptions including mail order companies (Medi-Mail 800-331-1458, Action Mail Order Drugs 800-452-1976, and AARP 800-456-2277).
    62. If you pay for childcare, make use of the dependent care tax credit or your employer’s dependent care flexible spending account.
    63. Buy, sell, and trade clothes at consignment shops.
    64. Shop around for the lowest banking fees.
    65. Caulk windows and doors. This is something I am working on now. This reminds me that I need to finish this job today.
    66. Iron your own shirts.
    67. Plan your weekly food menu before shopping. (or monthly)
    68. Buy a good used car instead of a new model car.
    69. Purchase all of your insurance from the same company to get a discount.
    70. Cut your cable television down to basic.
    71. Go to an optometrist for routine vision tests or to change an eyeglass prescription.
    72. Buy pre-owned toys and children’s books at garage sales.
    73. Have potluck dinners with friends and family instead of going out. I think I like this one best. What a great way to have a "dinner party" and save money as well. The only problem might be, where to have it.
    74. Use the library for books, video tapes, and music.
    75. Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing it.
    76. Don’t use your dishwasher dry cycle; open the door and let them air dry all night.
    77. At the grocery store, comparison shop by looking at the unit price.
    78. Make your own coffee.
    79. Use old newspapers for cat litter.
    80. Shop at discount clothing stores.
    81. Skip annual full mouth x-rays unless there is a problem; the ADA recommends x-rays every 3 years.
    82. Water your garden at night or early in the morning.
    83. Shop around for long distance rates.
    84. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.
    85. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.

    86. Buy generics, when grocery shopping.

    If you can get past the preconceived notion, that generic is a lesser quality, you will find many of these items are just as good. In addition, if you don't think so, many stores guarantee their quality. Granted there are about 5 items I wont buy generic, but most things I will.
    87. Donate time instead of money to religious organizations and charities.
    88. If you are leaving a room for more than five minutes, turn off the light.
    89. Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry and antiques.
    90. Keep your car properly tuned.
    91. Request lower interest rates from your creditors.
    92. Trade in old books, records, and CDs at book and record exchanges.
    93. Pay bills the day they arrive; many credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance.
    94. Buy software at computer fairs.
    95. Search the Internet for freebies. but not for free software - free software is loaded with adware and spyware, that's why it is free.
    96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.
    97.If your car has very little value, you probably only need liability insurance.
    98. Cut the kids hair yourself. I don't have kids, but this year, I started cutting my own hair and have already saved in cuts what I paid for the clippers. It's all money in the bank from here on out.
    99. Increase your insurance deductible. This is great advice, but be sure you have enough in savings to cover your deductible.
    100. Buy in bulk food warehouses.
    101. If your income is low, contact utility companies about reduced rates.

    Will I meet Short Term Goal?



    My goal is still to get all of my small debts paid off by the end of the year. Though as the year draws closer to the end, and I realize I didn't plan for insurance premiums, car tags or taxes, I wonder if it really will happen.

    Here is what I am saving:
    $50/week (currently have $413 saved)
    $240/month (from border)
    Total: $1,883

    Tags will cost me about $280

    My Small debts:
    $900 - credit card
    $1,103 - Mortgage


    $275 - Black Gold Insulation
    $1,000 - Fingerhut

    Total: $3,278


    I know it is ambitious, But I am still hopeful that I will meet this goal. In my mind it isn't an option, I must meet it. Somehow, I intend to do it. I must get really aggressive and accomplish this. At this point, I am not sure i will meet the original goal of being debt free by June 2008, because I am like a year behind where I originally planed for the small debts.

    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    We MUST Cut Electric Use


    About 500 people at an energy-efficiency forum in Kansas City were told Friday (Sept. 14, 2007) morning, that we must curb electric consumption in the U.S. Not doing so was no longer acceptable and must change.


    But the U.S. is currently ranked last among industrialized countries in making investments for more efficient use of energy, and the Midwest, with its relatively cheap power, is even lower than the U.S. average in making such investments.

    That has to change, said several speakers, especially with growing concerns about global warming, which is widely seen as being contributed to by coal-fired power plants.

    “We have no choice but to act on the agenda of energy efficiency,” said David Warm, executive director of the Mid-America Regional Council.
    - The Kansas City Star reported.


    Some progress on energy efficiency had been made nationally. The recent energy bill approved by the Senate and House included measures to reduce energy consumption in government buildings, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskil (D-MO) said, and to increase efficiency standards for appliances.


    Robbie Cox, president of the Sierra Club, said in the last 24 months he had seen a dramatic change in addressing energy efficiency, with about 40 states pursuing such proposals. If the momentum continues, he said, it should eliminate the need for new coal-fired power plants and eventually allow some of the current plants to be shuttered. By 2050, carbon dioxide emissions could be reduced by 80 percent, he said.

    One obstacle to such progress is how utilities could be affected financially, especially since they would need to be key players in pushing and even financing energy efficiency projects, including promoting more efficient lighting and air conditioning. Giving utilities incentives to reduce demand is seen as crucial, although some are concerned about the possibility that energy bills could increase even as consumption declines.

    Some businesses have already concluded that energy efficiency makes sense. Ken Baker, a senior manager for Wal-Mart, said the company’s stores had been able to reduce power consumption at its stores by 15 to 20 percent, with such improvements as skylights that reduce the need for electrical lighting. It has a pilot program in Hawaii and California that is equipping several stores with solar panels. Companywide, it has been able to heat enough water using waste energy from refrigeration equipment that it could have supplied 30,000 homes.

    Energy efficiency, Baker said, is “good to the customer and good for business.”


    I certainly directly quoted more of this article then I intended, and I certainly see a need to reduce energy consumption. Not just for the environment as the environmentalists push, but because of the amount of oil used to produce it (figuring into the cost of our gasoline) and also the cost of consuming it.

    The down side, as was mentioned by Mr. Cox, in the article is that if consumption goes down, the utilities will feel it in the pocket book, and thus could result in higher rates so that they can maintain profits.

    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Avoid Money Merge Accounts

    One of the things that almost every American dreams of is to own their own home. Unfortunately, some banks are out there now with the latest early mortgage payoff gimmick Money Merge Account (MMA).



    Above is a video of a news report of the how this loan product works. It basically works like this. Someone offers to show you a special mortgage calculator to help you pay off your loan quicker. The catch you have to pay them something like $3500. You then put your paycheck into a home equity line of credit instead of a checking account.


    According to some banks, this "Money Merge Account" will pay off your mortgage in 1/3 of the time.

    How it works



    For example, The Money Merge Account program uses an advanced equity line of credit as a vehicle or a tool to drive the program. The equity line of credit must have the capacity to operate similarly to a primary checking account and be set up with an open-end interest calculation (rather than a closed-end interest calculation). Combined with the Money Merge Account's web-based system, this creates a formula in which the money in your line of credit account generates an interest cancellation on your primary mortgage.

    The online Money Merge Account system makes a connection between your bank account, the advanced line of credit, and your primary mortgage. Each time you deposit income into your account, it registers as a decrease to your mortgage balance. By decreasing your mortgage balance, you now lower the balance on which interest accrues. By decreasing the balance on which interest accrues, you increase the portion of your monthly payment which is credited toward your principal pay down. The algorithms in the proprietary Money Merge Account system are systematically programmed to create the highest interest savings possible in the least amount of time.

    Deposit your paycheck into your current checking and/or savings account. As soon as the funds clear, the amount you designate is transferred from your checking and/or savings account into your Money Merge Account managed line of credit. Because the line of credit is connected to your home, the money transferred from your checking and/or savings accounts decreases your mortgage balance, thus reducing the balance in which interest builds.
    - as quoted from a banks website that doesn't want to be named


    OK, I have so many problems with this.

    First and foremost as momma pointed out, forget the calculator and just pay the $3500 to your mortgage and get rid of the interest.

    Second (according to some bloggers), it calls for a second loan (home equity line of credit) moving one debt to another. A loan which, like a checking account you can draw against to. Sure a person could only put all extra cash into the account and not draw against it, however how many will.


    Third (according to one banks website), The MMA is an online account system that incorporates your checking and savings accounts with an advanced line of credit (ALOC). Through this program, homeowners have the ability to pay off their 30-year mortgage in as little as one-third of the time, without refinancing their existing mortgage loan or increasing minimum monthly payments. If you believe this crap that the MMA people want you to, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you.

    Thanks to Momma and the Boys on a Budget for the heads up on this one.


    ****UPDATE****

    Dave Ramsey says MMA's are a good idea, but it's not $3,000 to $5,000 good. He said that it forces you to live below your means and pay the extra to your mortgage. But a budget does the same thing, and it's free. While he applauds the fact that it helps people get out of debt, he said you would be better served to just learn to budget your money and do it yourself for free.

    The simple fact is, if you get control of your spending and spend less then you make, you can do this without spending the cash for the "special calculator." Which means you will save even more on your mortgage (or any other loan you apply this concept to).

    To do this for free simply pay all your discretionary cash towards your mortgage. Pay these funds and your regular mortgage payment every payday. With all the extra funds going towards the loan, along with the more frequent payments you will have the mortgage (or whatever loan) paid off much quicker.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Insurance Thoughts


    About three weeks ago, I received a packet from the insurance company letting me know that insurance rates were going up. This packet was the declarations page for my records. Then a couple of weeks ago, I got letter thanking me for renewing my insurance. However, I never received the actual renewal notice. I knew from the declarations page, approximately how much my new quarterly payments were, but no bill. So today, I called my agents office and found out it was due on the 5th and the new premium was $337.10. Approximately $4 more then the estimated amount I had come up with. $4 being the fee for paying quarterly instead of semi-annually or annually.

    So today on my way to work, I will drive by the agents office, and get it paid. Thankfully both my home and car insurance are tied together into one policy, so I have a few days to get my premium renewed. Although, I am sure I will get charged in a couple weeks an additional $10, because the post office again failed to deliver something to me.

    Speaking of the problems with the post office, this is the first time that I have found an important piece of mail has not been delivered. In the past it's been magazines and newspapers and other non essential mailings.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    My Hands

    There was a job opening in the country's most prestigious law firm and it finally came down to Robert and Paul. Both graduated magna cum laude from law school. Both came from good families. Both were equally attractive and well spoken. It was up to the senior partner to choose one, so he took each aside and asked, "Why did you become a lawyer?"

    In seconds, he chose Paul. Baffled, Robert took Paul aside.

    "I don't understand why I was rejected. When Mr. Armstrong asked me why I became a lawyer, I said that I had the greatest respect for the law, that I'd lay down my life for the Constitution and that all I wanted was to do right by my clients. What in the world did you tell him?"

    "I said I became a lawyer because of my hands," Robert replies.

    "Your hands? What do you mean?"

    "Well, I took a look one day and there wasn't any money in either of them!"

    New Email Address

    Well, as I feared, I have lost control of the email settings. With the change in domain settings, I can no longer set up email forwarding. So, I have been forced to change my email address. My new email is:
    DebtFree -AT- Surbaugh.com

    My Gun

    Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my gun

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    This Got Me Thinking: How Do You Save?

    Everyday, I get the Kansas City Star's Midday Business Report in my email box. Today, there was a story that caught my eye (Readers offer ideas for saving).
    With great interest I read the article. Some ideas were new, most however have been discussed in various posts on this blog.

    For example:


    Thomas A. Haunty, a certified financial planner in Madison, Wis., advises avoiding big house and car payments.

    “I have found that two major causes of lower savings rates are too large of a house and too-big auto payments,” he said.

    In particularly, buying a smaller house than the bank or mortgage company says you can afford “ripples through your finances so that you have much more cash flow,” Haunty said.

    “Smaller houses have smaller repair costs, smaller remodeling costs, smaller property taxes, less space to furnish, etc., etc.,” he said (among the etceteras, utility and insurance bills immediately come to mind).


    I have advocated the last 2-years to buy smaller homes and cars and then move up as you need to. Of course, this guy still advocates getting a loan, whereas I recommend saving for these expenses. In fact, Haunty, even makes that recomendation, for cars latter on in the article.

    As for cars, they are depreciating items that lose rather than gain value over time, Haunty said. “If we can buy used, we can save a lot of money up front and even begin to save enough to buy our cars for cash each time. Imagine a lifetime of interest saved by paying cash versus borrowing for cars?”


    Almost sounds like Dave Ramsey doesn't it?

    My favorite suggestion in the story, which actually was the only other suggestion was one that came from a banker in Schaumburg, IL

    “My client had saved a tidy sum, and when I asked how, she told me the story,” Harcourt said.

    By regularly depositing in her savings account the money saved with coupons and discounts, and having the interest compound for more than 10 years, her balance had grown to $30,000-plus.

    “I decided to give it a try and found to my surprise that it does work,” Harcourt said of this savings strategy. “In three months, I have saved more than $300.”

    Saving this way “is not an easy habit to get into since, we are so used to spending,” Harcourt said. “But once the habit is mastered, it is very easy to save and is fun. I am very thankful my client was so kind to share this savings tip.”


    Now that's an idea. I love that idea, I just need to get myself to clip and use more coupons. I think I actually have heard of it before, but not sure.

    So this got me thinking, what if I asked you, my readers for your suggestions. So how about it? How do you save? I would love to hear those thoughts and ideas. Do you have any ways to save additional money?

    End of URL Forwarding

    Ever since, I started this blog, I have had the domain name of DebtFree4ever.NET. The problem is I was using url forwarding, so most of my readers didn't even know that I had my own domain. As of a few minutes ago, I set up the CNAME record (a technical term) and now, you will see my domain (DebtFree4ever.net) in the browser window instead of the blogspot name.
    However, you will still be able to get to the blog even when you use the blogspot address.


    Update: This has apparently caused problems with my email address, as none of the emails are getting through.

    Politically Correct

    I'd Rather Be Right Than Politically Correct!

    Sunday, September 9, 2007

    8 Simple Ways to Live Without Credit or Debt


    Last month Zen Habits had an article 10 Ideas for Living a Life Without Credit or Debt. Ever since reading that post, I knew I needed to make my own post on this subject, but I never seemed to be able make the time to do it. Finally, this weekend, I bit the bullet and made time. In between doing errands and attending the Sertoma Clubs annual "Great Topeka Duck Race."

    1. Save an emergency fund.
    2. This is Dave Ramsey's #1 item and it is an important part of becoming debt-free. If you don't save that $1000 emergency fund, then Murphy will visit and you will be tempted to go back/deeper into debt to hand something you should of planned for.
      Look we all know things happen, all we are doing here is preparing for the unexpected. Unexpected expenses really aren't unexpected, because you know it will happen eventually.
    3. Save for goals.
    4. Dave Ramsey says this is important to, but this savings should come after you are debt-free. You want to take that dream vacation. Or, buy that jet ski, or whatever dream item is. So save for it, so you NEVER have to borrow again.
    5. Get a debit card.
    6. OK, so you have cut up your credit cards, but the airline wants a credit card to reserve those plane tickets. What do you do? Well you could have them put the ticket on hold and mail them a payment or drive down to the airport to pay cash, but why? When you can get a debit/ATM card from your bank with a credit card logo on it. The debit card works just like a credit card, as long as you have the money in the bank.
    7. Earn interest instead of paying it.
    8. Hey, now that you have dumped the debt and saving to pay cash for everything, you can collect the interest. Doesn't it feel good to see your money collect interest, instead of paying the banker?
    9. Buy a car on cash.
    10. This one ties in with number 2. This may seem impossible, if you have been buying vehicles with auto loans all your life, it may seem impossible to buy a car on cash. But it’s very possible, and a lot of people do it.
      Instead of making loan payments, and paying double the price of the car or more over the term of the loan, the idea is to make savings deposits, and end up with the amount it costs to buy two (maybe 3) cars in the bank over the course of 5 or 10 years.
      In fact, after you have saved this much money, if you will keep your car until you drive it into the ground (or at least 10 years) then you probably can sit back and not pay into the account again. Watch as the interest compounds and builds up the account even bigger, even as you take the money out to buy that first car with cash.
    11. Invest for retirement.
    12. Here, is another item that is just plain to important to ignore. You must save for your retirement, unless you want to spend your "golden years," working at the "golden arches." I don't know about you, but that is not something I want to do. I want to enjoy my life when I retire. Like Dave Ramsey says, live like no one else (now) so you can live like no one else (in the future). The idea is simple. Instead of spending all your money now, save it, so in the future you can have money to anything you want.
    13. Travel without credit.
    14. Since you have cut up your credit cards, you may think you can't rent a hotel room or a car. This can't be farther from the truth. Hotels will take cash deposits. Some that don't require deposits, will hold you a room until 6 pm (varies - but in most cases is the time). If you fail to arrive by that time, you can lose the room. As for car rentals, I have only found one company that would not accept cash or debit cards, and they are the most expensive rental company anyway.
    15. Buy a home without credit.
    16. Again, this may seem harder to grasp for some people, but it is possible. Buying a home is smarter then renting financially, but not if have to borrow and pay 2 to 3 times more then the cost of the house. Yes, the interest over 30 years will actually tack on that much extra.
      Something else to consider is buy smaller to begin with and sell and along with additional money saved move into a bigger home. Fact is many people just buy to much house to quickly.

    Unclogging Drains

    1/4 Cup baking soda
    ½ Cup vinegar

    Pour baking soda down drain then follow it with the vinegar. After fizzing stops flush the drain with boiling water.


    more money saving tips at www.debtfree4ever.net


    tips courtousy of FrugalTimes.com

    JIFFY CORN PUDDING



    1 can whole kernel corn, drained
    1 can cream corn
    1 stick butter
    1 (8 oz.) pkg. sour cream
    1 box Jiffy corn bread mix

    Melt butter in dish. Put in corn and cream. Mix together well. Sprinkle corn bread mix over corn and stir all together. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

    Frog Eyes Salad


    This old time favorite is delicious as a salad or dessert. The recipe uses a tiny round pasta called Acine di' Pepe (like orzo, but round) which gives it an interesting texture similar to tapioca.



    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
    1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in its own juice, undrained
    2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin orange segments, drained
    1 egg, beaten
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 1/3 cups (8 ounces)Acine di Pepe Pasta, uncooked
    3 1/2 cups (8 ounces) frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed and divided
    3 cups miniature marshmallows
    1/2 cup flaked coconut
    Maraschino cherries (optional)



    1. In medium saucepan, stir together sugar, flour and salt.
    2. Drain pineapple, reserving juice to equal 1 cup. With whisk, gradually stir juice and egg into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in lemon juice. Cool mixture to room temperature.
    3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well.
    4. In large bowl, stir together pineapple juice mixture and pasta. Cover; refrigerate several hours or overnight.
    5. Add crushed pineapple and chunks, oranges, 2 cups whipped topping, marshmallows and coconut; mix gently and thoroughly. Cover; refrigerate until cold.
    6. Top with remaining whipped topping; garnish with cherries, if desired.

    Bourbon Balls



    3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers (about 75)
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (about 4 ounces)
    1/4 cup cocoa
    1/2 cup bourbon (Substitute the bourbon with rum and call these Rum Balls.)
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
    Powdered or granulated sugar

    Mix crushed wafers, powdered sugar, pecans and cocoa. Stir in bourbon and corn syrup. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Refrigerate in tightly covered container several days before serving.

    Furniture Water Spot Remover

    Gently apply toothpaste with a soft damp cloth.

    Saturday, September 8, 2007

    Butterscotch Peanut clusters

    1 - 3 Oz. box butterscotch cook and serve pudding.
    1 - Cup brown sugar
    1 - Tbsp butter or margarine
    1 - Cup evaporated milk
    1 - Cup salted peanuts
    1 - vanilla

    Combine all the ingredients except the peanuts
    Stir over med heat till boiling. Then time for 3 minutes.
    Stir continuously. Add peanuts and stir till it loses its gloss. spoon onto waxed paper and let dry. EAT!!!!


    Thanks pceflwrgrl

    New Hangers Could be Cheaper & Eco-Friendly



    The other day I was watching a news program, when I seen this new item. The concept is simple. Replacing those metal hangers that you get from the dry cleaner. You know the hangers that tend to accumulate until you decide to throw them away and fill the land fill with more non-biodegradable material. These new hangers are made from recycled paper. And since they are paper, cardboard to be exact, they can be reused or recycled. Something I did with the metal hangers anyway (recycle that is).


    The idea for the company--which makes a dry cleaner hanger made entirely from recycled paper--came after founder and Chief Operating Officer J.D. Schulman's mother asked him to throw away a bunch of old wire hangers. He put them in the garbage, the hangers poked a hole in the bag, and gravy dripped on her white carpet when Schulman took the garbage out, says HangerNetwork CEO Bob Kantor.

    The result was the EcoHanger, a sturdy replacement for wire hangers that can be folded and tossed into the ordinary household recycling bin. Because they biodegrade relatively quickly, the hanger conceivably could displace significant amounts of difficult-to-dispose-of garbage every year.


    - CNET


    Hanger Network does have a seasoned exec in charge. CEO Rob Kantor says he was President of two global billion dollar advertising agencies as well as Founder and Chairman of his agency, Rotter Kantor. He was President of Publicis for five years. Why he wants to focus on hangers in his golden years is beyond me. The company was founded in 2004 as a partnership between Cleaner's Supply , Paradigm Packaging (a subsidiary of The Standard Group) and Texas Pacific Group's Altivity Packaging.
    Some Facts


  • It takes 40 inches of wire to make one hanger .
  • That equals 2.2 million miles a year .

  • Imported wire hangers could wrap around the earth 88 times

  • 3.5 billion wire hangers go into U.S. landfills every year where they just sit


  • According to the Hanger Network website, the EcoHanger is made from 34-point paperboard (a relatively thick paper) that is folded onto itself. The hanger is then glued and laminated for extra strength. In the end, the hanger is strong enough to hold clothes, but remains flexible.

    National advertisers pay HangerNetwork (www.hangernetwork.com) to put ads on the hangers, which then stare consumers in the face when they get dressed in the morning.

    Hanger Network distributes EcoHangers free to tens of thousands of dry cleaners in the U.S. They are paid for by companies who have advertisements printed on the hangers. The product is said to be good for the environment and good for advertisers, as they get uninterrupted access to consumers during their morning routine, which can last for up to several weeks.

    Friday, September 7, 2007

    Unfortunate Incident Causes Debt Reduction

    Two weeks ago today, I was involved in a minor fender-bender. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident. Today, I received a check from the insurance for $1,006.88.


    I then took the check to the Credit Union and applied $606.57 of it to my car loan. Now I am no longer $500+ behind on the loan. Instead, I am now slightly ahead once again. The other $400 will be divided among some of my other bills. For example $275 will be mailed to Black Gold to pay for part of the insulation. Then I will send $50 to the credit card company and the final $50 to the phone company. The other $25 will remain in my savings at the time.

    Folgers

    Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Folgers

    Thursday, September 6, 2007

    Baptist Cowboy

    A cowboy, who is visiting Wyoming from Texas , walks into a bar and
    orders three mugs of Bud. He sits in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finishes them, he comes back to the bar and orders three more.





    The bartender approaches and tells the cowboy, 'You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time.'




    The cowboy replies, 'Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in
    Arizona, the other is in Colorado. When we all left our home in Texas we
    promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank
    together. So I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself.'





    The bartender admits that this is a nice custom, and leaves it
    there.The cowboy becomes a regular in the bar, and always drinks the same way. He
    orders three mugs and drinks them in turn.





    One day, he comes in and only orders two mugs. All the regulars take
    notice and fall silent. When he comes back to the bar for the second
    round, the bartender says, 'I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss.'





    The cowboy looks quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawns in
    his eyes and he laughs. 'Oh, no, everybody's just fine,' he explains, 'It's
    just that my wife and I joined the Baptist Church and I had to quit
    drinking. 'Hasn't affected my brothers though.'

    Gas Prices and the Disparity

    Image from Jagular




    In the last couple of weeks I have heard how gas prices were going down. The latest was this last Friday (8/31/07) when the news reported despite the Labor Day Weekend, gas prices were on the way down again. They even reported a station at $2.50 a gallon.
    Since I was north bound on the Kansas Avenue bridge here in Topeka and the cheapest places in Topeka being on North Topeka blvd. I decided to swing by and check out the prices. What were they selling gs for? Well they had raised the prices that very day, and now gas was $2.93, still a bargain compared to the $2.99 at the BP next door to where I work further north on Topeka Blvd, but certainly not a decrease, as the news was reporting.

    At this point, I decided that it was time that maybe I write about this and try to find out why the difference. However, it was put on the back burner, until today, when I seen another blogger post a picture of gas prices in his area, being $2.59 for unleaded and $2.79 for the high grade. Another person commented that gas was $2.48 in Dallas. Since Kansas is typically among the cheapest gas prices in Kansas, I knew I had to write the post.

    So without further hesitation, I mad the phone call to the principle oil distributer in the area and was given to the owners voice mail. I left a message for him and am now awaiting his reply.

    In the meantime I began reading news articles online, reporting that the September surprise is that gas prices are rising post holiday. Still though, there are places reporting, gas prices going down. For example, Boston is reporting gas prices down for the 7th straight week. According to that article gas last week was down 1 cent from the previous week.

    Eventually, Marvin Spees, returned my call as I was going out the door to work. Still, I wanted to know, why gas prices here were going up at the very times the national news on the radio and TV were reporting that they were going down. He said that there were a number of factors in the Midwest. One of those factors that he blamed the flooding a number of weeks back weeks back in Coffeyville that forced a refinery there to temporarily close. Problem, I have with that argument, is that it has been reopened again for two or three weeks. In addition, he said that another refinery (in Oklahoma) was struck by lightening. Again this event happened even further back, but he was blaming it as a factor in rising gas prices.

    Finally, Mr. Spees concluded our conversation, by saying that it was likely to get "worse, before it gets better." So there you have it, according the owner of Capital City Oil, here in Topeka, KS.
    I don't know about you, but I can't afford for gas prices to get worse. I am barely scrapping by now, and for gas prices to go higher, only makes my finances worse.

    Wednesday, September 5, 2007

    Free Chick-Fil-A Coupon



    Just heard you can get a free Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich and a free Medium Coca-Cola can be yours by visiting FreeChickenAndCoke.com. It's only being offered to the first one million participants. So you will have to hurry!

    Tuesday, September 4, 2007

    Roommates

    When Little Johnny's family moved into a new double wide trailer one of their former neighbors dropped by. Seeing Johnny out front, he asked, "So, how do you like your new place?"

    "It's terrific," Little Johnny answered. "I have my own room, my brother has his own room, and my sister has her own room. But poor mom is still in with dad."

    Starbucks

    Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks