Monday, June 30, 2008

Links Galore - From Carnivals and Congrats

I would like to thank a couple of blogs that have chosen to link to recent articles on this blog.

  • The Carnival of Financial Learning, linked to my post about Retirement and Financial Independence. I would like to thank Faron for the link love.

  • The other was from Tricia over at Blogging Away Debt, where she congratulated me on my mortgage retirement. Thank you Tricia for the link love.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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  • Wal-Mart To Introduce New Logo

    It is being reported this morning, that Wal-Mart plans to change their logo. The design, which is already appearing in advertising will show up on signage later this fall.

    The old signage, appeared as Wal-Mart, with a star in the place of the hyphen. The new logo, will seemingly copy the Kmart logo, by pushing the wal and mart together. It will then place an orange star burst at the end. Take a look at the two logos on the right, to compare the differences.
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    What Lifestyle Changes Should I Make to Adjust to Rising Gas Prices

    Wow! I am sure, everyone reading this article, has already heard in the news that economist Benjamin Tal, is predicting $7 a gallon gas within 2-years.
    A new forecast calls for gasoline prices to hit $7 (U.S.) a gallon in the next two years and oil to soar to $200 a barrel by 2010.

    The report by CIBC World Markets also predicts there will be 10 million fewer cars on the road in the United States by 2012.
    I for one, with increasing frequency, have been thinking about how I can reduce my time behind the steering wheel. Perhaps, I could use my bicycle more. It certainly would be the cheapest option, but I have been thinking more along the lines, of purchasing a scooter (moped). With a moped, I could get everywhere in Topeka, as quickly as I could in my car, without using the amount of gas, that my car uses.
    Economist Benjamin Tal, who co-authored the report with Mr. Rubin, said Canadians can expect to pay about $1.85 to $2.00 per litre of gas at the pumps by 2010.

    Mr. Tal also expects the numbers of Canadian vehicles on the road to drop by 700,000 by 2012 – much less than the 10 million predicted in the U.S.

    “We don't have the same story in the sense that most low income Canadians have better access to public transportation,” he said, referring to the report's U.S. calculations that estimates that about half the cars coming off the road will be from Americans who make less than $25,000.


    While, I currently make less then $25,000, I don't plan on getting rid of my car completely. Perhaps, as I mentioned previously, I would find other means of transportation. I would love to use the Topeka Transit, however, the cities bus service, is severely lacking. Unless you are one the state (our largest employer in the the city), city or county government employee, the bus service really doesn't offer service for you. The bus service here operates from 6am-6pm. If you are a high school kid working at the mall until 9pm, or a shift worker, or otherwise working later then 5pm, then there is no realistic public transportation for you.

    With that in mind, I again turn my thoughts back to the idea of a moped. I haven't been on a moped since my days in college, but it seems it is the most economical option, for local transportation. I then would have my car, for longer trips or travel in poorer weather conditions. Like cold weather. Though, I remember, driving that old moped, back in the early 90's, in cold weather and even on ice, trying to get to work.

    So, what about you? What are your thoughts? How, have you been thinking of getting around? How do you plan on cutting your gas consumption?
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Thursday, June 26, 2008

    Promoting Entrepreneurship

    Growing up in eastern Kansas, I have been familiar with the Kauffman family for years. Former owners of the Kansas City Royals, until Ewing Kauffman passed away. Ewing Kauffman's money comes from the company he founded. Marion Laboratories Inc., which he sold to Merrell Dow in 1989.

    Ewing Kauffman’s most enduring legacy to his community and the world is the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He established the Foundation with the same sense of opportunity he brought to his business endeavors, and, with the same convictions. Kauffman wanted his foundation to be innovative, to dig deep and get at the roots of issues to fundamentally change outcomes in people’s lives. With nearly $2 billion in assets, the foundation is extremely prepared to meet those goals. One of those goals is to better understand the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. Not only that, but to help further advance entrepreneurship education and training efforts.

    College entrepreneurship, is one of those methods. Helping universities become more entrepreneurial, not only in what they teach but also in what they do. The foundation is also strong in encouraging and educating minority entrepreneurship.

    The Kauffman Foundation, is a very worthwhile organization that I think I will be much more involved with now. Perhaps, I should even look to them for my own entrepreneurial spirit.

    brought to you by your friends at The Ewing Kauffman Foundation
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    "And That Mortgage is Gone!"; Kevin is Mortgage Free!

    I had previously reported that I had paid $99.02, last Thursday. Well, I am happy to now be able to report, that AmeriFirst has posted that payment. As such, I am now 100% inequitably mortgage free. I am so thrilled, to finally, have that mortgage company off my back. No more home improvement debt to hold my finances down.

    I can now turn my focus onto my Fingerhut debt. As I reported, earlier this week, that Fingerhut is being rolled over to a 0% transfer credit card. Interestingly, it is the same company that had bought out my previous credit card and refused to lower my interest or increase the credit limit. Now, I will be able to payoff the Fingerhut debt without incurring additional interest on the debt. I am hopeful to have that debt eliminated by November, but we shall see what happens.

    All, I need to do is get this card and the car paid off, and I will be debt free. Well, except for the IRS, which has my debt deffered. As much as i would like to have the car paid off by the end of the year, I think it would be more realistic, to have it paid off by July 13, 2009. That means I am making the goal to be paid off before my 41st birthday.

    My goal is to not only be debt free by that day, but also to celebrate my birthday with my first trip to New York.

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    Wednesday, June 25, 2008

    George Carlin Dies

    In case you missed it. Comedian George Carlin passed away the other day. I will never again have the chance to see his act in person. When he was in Topeka a few years back, I blew the chance to see him for the first time. So, with that, I am posting a You Tube Video of the George Carlin skit, that is his most notable.

    And that's my view, what's yours?

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    Tuesday, June 24, 2008

    spending: June 24

    Yesterday, I went to the Home Depot and finally got the final 14 door handles for my kitchen cabinets. In addition, I got the replacement door bell, that I have been needing to replace the broken one. The replacement one, is a wireless one, instead of the electric one (like the old one was). Over all, I spent $114 at the company that doesn't care about high gas prices (or the environment), as they only offer plastic bags to their customers. Paper bags for some reason are out. Even though, 12 million barrels of oil is used every year to make the plastic bags we Americans use. Like cutting back on the use of gas, if we cut back on the use of plastic bags, we would reduce the demand on oil and thus lower oil and gas prices.

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    Retirement and Financial Independence

    In the May 2008 issue of Money Magazine, 3 blogs were listed as the "best money blogs." JD over was listed as the "Most Inspiring." While was named by the magazine as the most voyeuristic. The other, was named most sensible. While, I enjoy reading the third blog, this article is more about the recent articles published by the other other two. Both of them had recent articles, regarding retirement.

    This may seem strange coming from a fellow who’s not yet forty, but I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately. Now that I’ve repaid my debt, now that I’ve begun to save money, I’m curious how much a person actually needs in order to retire. How do you know when you have enough?
    - JD Roth,
    Since, I am someone who will be 40 in about 3-weeks, this paragraph caught my eye. I have been concerned for some time, especially the past 2-years about my retirement savings. My 401-K is very small, and wouldn't even get me through 1-year. Yet I am to retire in about 25-years? How am I going to do that?

    Now, due to the sell of my place of employment, I will be moving from my 401-k to a simple IRA (with a 3% matching contribution). As a result, I will need to find a place to roll my 401-k into. Not sure, at this time, where I will place this retirement investment. I do know, though, that there is no way in hell, that I will leave the funds invested in my soon to be previous employers account, even though that will be an option for me.

    I have considered rolling it over with and I have also considered working with one of my Credit Unions to roll it over with one of them. Still, I am not sure. I guess, when I get the paperwork, I will talk to each of these groups and make a decision at that time.

    In fact, that ties into what was discussing in his post "How Do I Start Investing For Retirement." He has some great advice, for those just starting out, with retirement investing, but the article really doesn't focus (or even mention) rolling a current plan over. Not that it would matter much anyway, as my problem isn't the how, but where.

    Like JD, I don't just want to be able to retire, rather, I want to be financial independent. What is financially independent, is what JD asked. Well, I have the same question. Originally, I thought $1 million dollars would be enough, but with rise gas and oil prizes maybe I should raise that goal to $2 million (and then some).
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    Transfering Debt

    Well, I have done it. As, I eluded to in a previous post, I have moved the Fingerhut debt. Sort of anyway. It won't actually be transfered until June 27. Here is what i did. I got myself a new credit card, specifically to transfer this debt to.

    In return I get:
    • 1-year of 0% interest (through my July statement date)
    • a one time 3% transfer fee (translates into less then $33)
    • If I should default, or make at least the minimum by the the due dates, or a payment bounces, etc etc, the crooks will increase their APR to a maximum of the Prime rate plus 23.99% (example: with the current, June 2008, prime rate that would be 28.99%)
    • Current APR on charges would be 19.74%

    Of course, I am not going to use the card. In fact, I am dropping it today, into my safety deposit box. I also plan, as I did before, to get the debt paid off by the end of the year. The difference, is now, I won't have the interest on the debt, nor will I have any late penalties, etc. I anticipate having this debt paid off by November at the latest.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Spending: June 19 -- New Debt Balance

    I mailed off $99.02 to Amerifirst yesterday. In a week, they should have received and posted that latest payment. I also spent about $2 for cereal yesterday.

    The one thing, I shouldn't have bought, was lunch. I tried McDonald's new knock off of the Chick-fil-A sandwich. While, it looked horrible compared to the original, I must admit it tasted reasonably comparable to the Chick-fil-a brand. Still though, if I am going to spend $3 for a sandwich, I think I would prefer the original. Even, though the Chick-fil-a location, is further away.

    Finally, if you missed it. My chart with No Credit Needed has been updated, as my debt has been reduced again. Yeah! Tonight, I will be using the tickets, I got last week to attend the Washburn Alumni night at the Kansas City T-Bones ball game.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Thursday, June 19, 2008

    Stimulus Check = Reduction of Debt

    The other day, I was asked about my stimulus check. I hadn't heard at that point. All though a couple days later, I got a letter saying my check was on the way. Although, in earlier posts I had thought and stated as much, that it would be applied to my IRS debt.

    Well, come this past Monday, I received the new letter. Stating that $600 had been applied to by IRS debt, and that my debt had been reduced again for the 2nd time this year. My new balance, as can be seen in the sidebar, is $2,823.08.

    I am actually, hoping to see this debt eliminated this year as well. This next five months is going to be interesting, as my new income works for me, and reduces my debt load.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    Spending: June 17, 2008

    I am on the run today. However, I did want to quickly report, that the only money I spent yesterday was 72 cents for a banquet pot pie that i ate for my (7 pm) lunch at work.

    I have a report on the stimulus situation, but I will have to that when I have a little more time.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Tuesday, June 17, 2008

    Information From Work About The Sale

    There was a series of meetings yesterday at work. Two of the meetings was with the new owner. The other, was called with only an hours notice, when the current owners from Oklahoma arrived in town and called to say they would be at our store at such and such time.

    It basically was the meeting, where the company was officially telling us what we already knew. It also answered a few questions about final pay, vacation pay and our 401-k.
    Last paycheck
    My last day of employment (as we already knew) will be July 12. On July 13, 2008 (my 40th birthday) I will be with the new employer. That last check, will be mailed to me on the following Thursday. Fortunately, I get direct deposit, so this will be no big deal for me.

    Vacation Pay

    I have taken 1 week of my 3 weeks of vacation. According to HAC, Inc, all unused vacation hours earned in 2007 for use in 2008 will be mailed to my address on file approximately 3 weeks after my last day of employment. Basically, that check could pay off about half of Fingerhut debt (a debt that is about to moved on June 27).

    If July 12, 2008 is my official last day of work, my coverage will be effective through July 31, 2008.

    I will have the option, of cashing out, rolling it over or keeping it (for growth only) with the HAC, Inc account at JP Morgan. If the balance is below $1,000, I would be automatically be paid this balance, if a distribution request is not returned by the end of the quarter, following termination.

    Overall, it is basic information, that anyone versed in finances at all, should know.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Monday, June 16, 2008

    Readers Question: Paying Off $20,000 @$400/month

    If I put $400 a month towards my credit cards how long will it take me to pay off $20,000? Interest ranging from 4% to 24%, not kidding!
    Wow Brandy, you know how to challenge a guy don't you. Since, I am not a professional financial adviser I turned to some of the debt calculators that are online, to find your answer.

    One thing, I must say is that with such a broad range of of interest rates, one would have to know how much is owed at each interest rate to get more specific, but you can use the sites that I will mention, to help get more specific answers.

    For now I will take the worse case scenario and assume that all of the $20,000 is charging you 24%. In that assumption, I visited Money Magazine's debt calculator and got the following message, when I inputed $20,000 of debt with 24% interest and $400 a month payment.

  • If you pay $400.00 a month, it will take you 16 years and 7 months to pay off your credit cards.
  • Based on your current combined balance of $20,000.00, you will pay a total of $59,421.26 in interest

  • 16 years? Wow, I sure hope those numbers aren't the exact numbers for your situation, because you will never get out of debt that way. I strongly suggest paying off more then the minimum wage on the debt that is at 24%, while you pay the minimum on those that are lower interest rates. You must get rid of the higher interest rates ASAP. I know, I know Dave Ramsey says pay the smallest debt is right, and I hope that the smallest debt is the highest interest rate. However, you need to get that debt paid down and then you will have more money to pay towards the next credit card, by adding the 2 payments together. Then once the 2nd card is gone, you can snowball that payment towards the third card. Meaning when you reach the 3rd debt, you will be paying not only the minimum debt there but also what had been the minimum on the 2nd debt as well as the elevated payment to the 1st debt, all on that 3rd debt. After that debt is paid, you take that payment and snowball it into the next debt, so on and so, until all the debts are paid off.

    Let's look back at that previous example, and if you up the payments to $500/month then the payments time will decrease to just 6 years and 6 months. Isn't that amazing? Just an extra $100/month and you save 10 years and 1 month of the time you would be in debt. As Dave Ramsey says, you must get gazelle intense and throw everything you can at getting out of debt. That means, no vacations, no eating out, until you are debt free.

    Now, lets look at the best case scenario where all $20,000 is at 4%. The same calculator came back with the following results:

  • If you pay $400.00 a month, it will take you 4 years and 7 months to pay off your credit cards.
  • Based on your current combined balance of $20,000.00, you will pay a total of $1,835.35 in interest.

  • ---
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    Saturday, June 14, 2008

    Congratulations Brandy, Winner #2

    I still have to send out the 1st book, but today is Flag Day, and time to announce the 2nd winner. The 2nd giveaway only had 2 people enter. Brandy is the winner of this particular giveaway. Her question:

    if I put $400 a month towards my credit cards how long will it take me to pay of $20,000? Interest ranging from 4% to 24%?
    will be answered on Monday morning. Congratulations Brandy. The last drawing in this series will also start Monday and will be for a copy of "Learning to invest (2nd edition)," by Beatson Wallace.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Spending: Friday June 13, 2008

    Yesterday, I didn't spend anything at work. It was only my half day, so being there helped me resist buying anything.

    Minor League Baseball Game

    After, I left work though, I spent $45 to buy 3 tickets to next Friday nights T-Bones game in Kansas City (price includes the tailgate party, before the game). It will be Washburn night at the T-bones, and several Washburn U. alumni will be attending the game. I then received $30 from two of my friends for the other two tickets.

    Bath Towels
    The only other area of spending was, I went to Target and spent $9.48 to buy 2 bath towels. I had 5 bath towels, but 3 of them ripped and were nothing but rags. The remaining 2 are starting to get to the same situation, so I am beginning to replace my bath towels. The plan is to in a few weeks buy a couple more towels.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    Spending: June 11, 2008

    Yesterday, the only spending was at the store (work), where I spent a total of $4.76.

  • Ibuprofen $1.25
  • Margarine $0.72
  • 1/2 gallon of chocolate Milk $1.99

    The dairy department was out of the quarts of milk and the half gallons were on sale (for an additional 60 cents. So, I bought the bigger on because it was over-all cheaper.

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  • Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    I Have been Sold

    Today, as I was reading the local morning paper, I seen a story about the place I work. Of course, I already knew about it, and everyone had been talking about it with our customers. However, now it is in the paper and everyone knows.

    So, what is it? Well! My store has been sold, and will be split off from the rest of my current company.

    The owners of Auburn Apple Market have agreed to purchase Falley's Market at 1945 S.W. Gage and convert it to an Apple Market.

    CBC Inc., owned by Fred Biesemeyer and Kent Conwell, will take over Falley's Market from Homeland Stores on July 13 and rename it Seabrook Apple Market, Conwell said.

    CBC Inc. owns Auburn Apple Market and Beany's Gas Depot in Auburn, Holton Country Mart in Holton and Oskaloosa Thriftway in Oskaloosa.

    Conwell said his father used to own C&W Market at 4310 S.W. 21st in the Seabrook neighborhood. The purchase of Falley's will allow Conwell to get back into the neighborhood.

    "This is an opportunity for us to get back in Topeka," he said. "Our current three stores are outside of Topeka, but our company is based in Topeka."
    - Topeka Capital Journal

    The new owners say they expect to retain an estimated 25-35 employees. Since there are only 29 employees, that would fit right in line with the other owner saying that as long as they are doing their job, he doesn't plan to get rid of anyone.

    "This is an opportunity for us to get back in Topeka," he said. "Our current three stores are outside of Topeka, but our company is based in Topeka."

    Conwell said inventory will be conducted July 13 by an outside contractor. Once that is finished, the sale of the store will be completed.

    Conwell estimated Seabrook Apple Market would keep about 25 to 35 employees.

    "It's a niche market," he said. "The Seabrook community is like its own neighborhood."
    - Topeka Capital Journal

    So beginning on my birthday (July 13) I will be working for a new employer. Some things that I know, is that the payday will be changing from the current Thursday to Tuesday. I am not sure which Tuesday, the first payday will fall on, but that will come with time.

    I know, that currently they don't have direct deposit, but that they are working on adding that possibility to continue when they take us over. If they don't have direct deposit, I will just take my paycheck to the credit union by hand.

    One thing, I have heard is that he matches up to 3% on the 401-K. Whether, that is fact or not I am not sure.

    Perhaps, these and other questions will be answered Monday June 16, when the new owners stop in to meet with all the employees.At any rate, I am looking forward to the new changes at work.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Spending: June 9, 2008

    Yesterday was my day off from work, but it was one of my more expensive days. The main reason was, I finally was able to pick up my lawn mower.
  • $36.80

  • Labor $27.50, Pull Rope $4, Handle $2.75 (not sure why they didn't reuse the old one) and tax $2.55.

    Then I went to the store and bought some cat food for my Kat
  • $5.86

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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  • Joel Osteen Answers His Critics

    Very interesting story done by CBS' 60 minutes.

    And that's my view, what's yours?

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    Neighborhood Getting Skate Park

    While not part of the mural project, the city is installing a skate park in Chesney Park for area skate boarders. This park will benefit skateboarders not only in Chesney Park, but also Central Park, College Hill, Quentin-Heights and other central Topeka neighborhoods.

    Below is the text from the June 9, 2008 TV 49 news story.

    The park at 21st and Washburn is one of two parks in Topeka that is specially designed for those looking to for a place to grind and wipe out.

    Crews are busily working to change the old tennis court in Chesney Park into a brand new skate park. Topeka Parks and Recreation planner Bill Riphahn says he got lots of help designing new skate park from neighborhood kids.

    "I think it's more successful if the kids have some buy-in and I think they take better care of it if they had a say in how it was laid out," says Riphahn.

    Graffiti is an ongoing issue here at what is affectionately known as "Riphahn Park", named by the kids who use it. But graffiti has become an issue all over the Capital City.

    Riphahn says, "We get graffiti in all of our parks and we just paint over as quick as we see it."

    "We don't have bad kids in this neighborhood, we just have bored kids," says neighbor Scott Killingsworth.

    Some of the neighbors worry the skate park will bring more criminal activity that happens after dark, such as drugs, graffiti and even drinking.

    "It's possible," says Killingsworth, "but it could also relieve some of our problems. Might also get us a lot more police patrol, too."

    The Chesney Park Neighborhood Improvement Association is in the Weed and Seed area. It has been targeted for money for things like patrols and after-school and summer programs for the kids. Killingsworth from the NIA hopes the park is just of the many ways Chesney Park will become a safer neighborhood.

    Killingsworth says, "We have a lot of people involved. We're also building our neighborhood watch up and we have our Citizens Patrol. And these things take a little time to get started."

    Half of the area will be a skate park, the other half will be a soccer field. You can check out the skate park on Saturday at Weed and Seed's Community Safety Fair. The fair will be going from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chesney Park.

    Needed ASAP!

    The organizers of the Great Mural Wall of Topeka project is seeking to borrow 60 foot of scaffolding between June 1, 2008 - September 30, 2008.

    If you have scaffolding that you would like to donate/loan this fantastic art project, please contact Tom @ (785) 221-6400 ASAP.

    Topeka history project preparing to expand

    Topeka history project preparing to expand

    Panels will cover 900-foot area, involve community

    By Peg Williams
    Published Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    As temperatures increase, so does the activity at the Great Mural Wall of Topeka.

    The walls for the mural, located at S.W. 20th and Western, were prepared Monday, and brush strokes will follow in early June. A dedication took place in June 2007 for the first 60 feet that were painted. The mural now has two large panels that focus on history and revitalization of the area, as well as longtime Topeka philanthropist Grant Cushinberry. Smaller relief panels below the main panels contribute to the mural.

    The mural, when finished, will cover a 900-foot space, which was donated by the city of Topeka Water Division, according to earlier Topeka Capital-Journal articles.

    Lawrence artist David Loewenstein has been working on the project for about a year and a half. It was initiated by the Chesney Park Neighborhood Improvement Association and is sponsored by the Weed and Seed program. Rachel Pantos is the coordinator of the program.

    "The point is to weed out crime in a particular neighborhood and seed in positive attitudes, positive activities and neighborhood restoration, in an attempt to improve the community," Pantos said.

    Loewenstein currently is preparing 150 feet of the wall, which he plans to paint this summer. While he is the artist that has been hired to paint the mural, he plans to involve the community.

    "It's about the cultural history and people's history of Topeka," he said. "It's not just the most famous well-known folks, or the biggest events that have happened. But more things people are interested in and hoping for in their own neighborhoods."

    In an effort to include as many people as possible, Loewenstein has hired apprentices, and he encourages the entire community to be an active part of the work.

    He spent the winter months collaborating with community members and neighborhood groups to find ideas for the mural.

    There will be certain days this summer where members of the community will be able to come out and help paint the mural, too.

    Pantos said it is a great way for families to become involved in the community.

    "I think it's going to be a great project," she said. "It's a great opportunity for kids and families to get involved in a project that improves their neighborhood. And it is exciting because they will be able to see immediate results."

    Monday, June 9, 2008

    A Better Resume

    Have you ever set down to write your resume and wondered, How long should it be? Or maybe, what should be included and/or highlighted? Then again maybe, you wonder, how can it all fit onto on page?

    Well recently published an article: Tips for Creating a Concise Resume. According to the article you are not alone, if you have had those or similar thoughts.

    As millions of workers update their resumes, one of the top concerns is length.
    Not long ago, job seekers followed the resume golden rule: No resume should exceed one page. However, today's job seekers are finding that rule no longer applies.

    In this time of confusion, the solution is simple: Common sense. If you are just graduating, have fewer than five years of work experience or are contemplating a complete career change, a one-page resume will probably suffice.

    Some technical and executive candidates require multiple-page resumes. If you have more than five years of experience and a track record of accomplishments, you will need at least two pages to tell your story.

    Not an Autobiography
    The first thing to remember, according to the article, is that your resume is not autobiography.
    Don't confuse telling your story with creating your autobiography. Employers are inundated with resume submissions and are faced with weeding out the good from the bad. The first step involves quickly skimming through resumes and eliminating candidates who clearly are not qualified. Therefore, your resume needs to pass the skim test. Look at your resume and ask yourself:
  • Can a hiring manager see my main credentials within 10 to 15 seconds?
  • Does critical information jump off the page?
  • Do I effectively sell myself on the top quarter of the first page?
  • According to another article at Daily Writing Tips,

    The ideal length for a resume is a polemic subject. Most employers and recruiting specialists, however, say that it should contain one or two pages at maximum. Just keep in mind that, provided all the necessary information is there, the shorter your resume, the better.
    - 44 Resume Writing Tips

    The Sales Pitch

    Because resumes are quickly skimmed during the first pass, it is crucial your resume gets right to work selling your credentials. Your key selling points need to be prominently displayed at the top of the first page. If an MBA degree is important in your career field, it shouldn't be buried at the end of a four-page resume.

    An effective way to showcase your key qualifications is to include a Career Summary statement at the top of the first page. On your Monster resume, use the Objective section to relay your top qualifications. The remainder of the resume should back up the statements made in your summary.
    - Tips for Creating a Concise Resume

    And that other article (44 Resume Writing Tips) says,
    A very common advice to job seekers is to use action verbs. But what are they? Action verbs are basically verbs that will get noticed more easily, and that will clearly communicate what your experience or achievement were. Examples include managed, coached, enforced and planned. Here you can find a complete list of action verbs divided by skill category.
    That article also says to update your resume regularly and to avoid listing your hobbies.
    Unless you are 100% sure that some of your hobbies will support you candidacy, avoid mentioning them. I know you are proud of your swimming team, but share it with your friends and not with potential employers.
    Editor's Eye

    The next tip that the article mentions is:

    Many workers are proud of their careers and feel the information on a resume should reflect everything they've accomplished. However, the resume shouldn't contain every detail. It should only include the information that will help you land an interview.

    So be judicious. If your college days are far behind you, does it really matter that you pledged a fraternity or delivered pizza? The editing step will be difficult if you are holding on to your past for emotional reasons. In these cases, show your resume to a colleague or professional resume writer for an objective opinion.

    One thing, that I found really interesting, is that the 44 Resume Writing Tips article mentioned to list all of your positions.

    If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.
    Finally the article mentioned these 8 tips.

    Eight Tips to Keep Your Resume Concise

    1. Avoid Repeating Information: Did you perform the same or similar job tasks for more than one employer? Instead of repeating job duties, focus on your accomplishments in each position.
    2. Eliminate Old Experience: Employers are most interested in what you did recently. If you have a long career history, focus on the last 10 to 15 years. If your early career is important to your current goal, briefly mention the experience without including details. For example: Early Career: ABC Company -- City, State -- Assistant Store Manager and Clerk, 1980-1985.
    3. Don't Include Irrelevant Information: Avoid listing hobbies and personal information such as date of birth or marital status. Also, eliminate outdated technical or business skills.
    4. Cut Down on Job Duties: Many job seekers can trim the fat off their resumes simply by removing long descriptions of job duties or responsibilities. Instead, create a paragraph that briefly highlights the scope of your responsibility and then provide a list of your most impressive accomplishments.
    5. Remove "References Available Upon Request": Many job seekers waste the valuable last line of the resume on an obvious statement. Remove it.
    6. Use a Telegraphic Writing Style: Eliminate personal pronouns and minimize the use of articles (a, an, the) when preparing your resume.
    7. Edit Unnecessary Words: Review your resume for unnecessary phrases such as "responsible for" or "duties include." The reader understands you were responsible for the tasks listed on your resume.
    8. Customize Your Resume for Your Job Target: Only include information relevant to your goal. This is particularly important for career changers who need to focus on transferable skills and deemphasize unrelated career accomplishments.
    One more tip, that I would like to note is:

    If you have been working for 20 years or more, there is no need to have 2 pages of your resume listing all your work experiences, starting with the job at the local coffee shop at the age of 17! Most experts agree that the last 15 years of your career are enough.
    - 44 Resume Writing Tips

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    Sunday, June 8, 2008

    Free Credit Report and Score Monitoring?

    Did you know beginning later this month(June 16, 2008), you will be able to get free unlimited access to your credit report and score? It's true! After confirming it with multiple sources, I am bringing you the information, so that you can take part in this limited time offer.

    I first heard about it on Saturday mornings Today Show. After which, I began looking on the news sites. Where, I found several more articles on the deal.

    It seems that there was a class action lawsuit against TransUnion. TransUnion denied any wrongdoing, but agreed to settle the case to avoid lengthy litigation expenses, according to the settlement.

    Millions of consumers will soon be able to get their credit score and up to nine months of credit-monitoring service for free from TransUnion, which reached a preliminary settlement of a class-action lawsuit this week.

    Giving millions of Americans a great opportunity, to check their 3-digit credit score, which determines the interest rate you'll get on mortgages, car loans and other credit accounts. However, the expert interviewed on the Today Show warned that the credit score that TransUnion gives you will be only a TransUnion score and will not be the FICO score that banks, financial institutions and other lenders use. Still though, it does give you a good idea of that number that Dave Ramsey calls "the I love debt score."

    I strongly recommend taking advantage of this offer, if you qualify. So how do you qualify?

    If you had a credit card, loan or credit account between January 1987 and May 28, 2008 (this will include millions of consumers), you'll be able to elect one of two options:

    Finally, if you do qualify, there are two options that you have.

    (1) Basic relief. Free credit monitoring for six months, which gives you daily access to your credit report and credit score and 24-hour credit-monitoring service. This normally costs $59.75. Those who elect this option may get a cash payment if there's money left from the $75 million settlement fund.

    (2) Enhanced relief. An alternative enhanced set of services" in exchange for a full release of claims. This options includes nine months credit monitoring, a suite of insurance scores and TransUnion's mortgage simulator service. This option normally would cost $115.50. You won't be entitled to any cash payment under this option.

    If it were up to me, I would take the 6 month option, in hopes to getting that check also. However, if you don't want the cash payment, then go ahead and take the 9 months option. No matter, which option you choose, remember to cancel at the end of that period of time.

    So how do you get benefits? Starting June 16, you'll be able to register online at or call 1-866-416-3470.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Spending: June 7, 2008

    OK, real quickly, as I have to get out the door, like now. Yesterday, I kind of went on what seems like a mini spending spree.
    I bought breakfast (the best biscuits and gravy) from the coffee shop at Harley Davidson (only make them on Saturday's). Getting the full order, I spent $4.30 on breakfast. I know I should have only did the half order, if I was going to do this, but oh well, they were so good and kept me full all the way through to dinner last night.

    I also bought a bottle of coke, first time in a few days, for $1.39. On the way out the door (from work) as I was heading to the house, I bought some sweet potatoes for dinner at 99 cents a pound, I got just over two pounds. Along with the peanut butter (store brand) I spent $5.72 on groceries.

    As, I was driving home, I stopped and put $20 of gas in the gas tank. Next week, I hope to completely fill the tank as I expect at least 1 if not 2 checks from other sources. It will be so nice, to have a full tank of gas again. OK, I better go, today, I am making every effort to not spend a single dime.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Friday, June 6, 2008

    Answering Anonymous

    Yesterday, I made mention that I was catching up the cox bill, and then paying next months bill to. Well some anonymous reader, asked why is cox so high? Leaving me to scratch my head, since I had already said. But, I know sometimes I read something, and totally miss a sentence, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

    So I will state again, that the bill was behind and I was catching it up. To with, I also paid the current bill. That is why it was so high. ($61 behind and $39 current). Of that $39, I have basic cable ($13) and Internet ($26) for the slowest/cheapest high speed Internet they have.

    that person then asked why I was getting my car washed instead of doing it myself. well, I am doing it myself. I have never had a detailer wash this car. With that said, I am reminded as of this post that I need to get myself over to the car wash, so that I can finally clean the car and get the month old grass clippings stuck to the sides washed off. I must take care of this car, so that will stay nice for the 10-15 years I plan to own it.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Spending: More Monthly Bills and Root Beer Floats

    This morning I left for work, bright and early. After a late at work. Thankfully the storms were not nearly as bad as they were forecasting. On the way into work, I stopped by McDonald's and bought a sausage biscuit, for $1.07 (with tax).

    As I mentioned yesterday, I had some bills scheduled, through my online bill pay, to be paid this morning. Those bills were as follows:

  • Amerifirst Home Improvement $101
  • T MOBILE $50
  • Water Bill $20

    Then as I was leaving the store at noon, today, I bought a bottle of Root Beer for 68 cents (on sale) and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for 50 cents (also on sale). Tonight, I am making root beer floats. MMM-MMMM good.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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  • Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Spending: Bills Today

    I logged into my Credit Union's website, and seen that my paycheck had been deposited. As with every paycheck, I also seen a withdrawal of $200. That $200 goes to that same credit union to pay for my auto loan. They automatically withdraw the money as soon as my direct deposit hits. Saving me time and effort to stay on top of this debt. On top of that it saves me interest charges as well.

    In addition, I used my online bill pay service at the Credit Union to send Cox Communications $100 to bring that bill current (and pay the next bill as well). I am also driving to North Topeka this morning and paying that insurance premium of $342.10.

    Then tomorrow, several more of my bills will be paid via my online bill pay. More on that tomorrow.

    I really need to get my car washed, but with the rain and potential severe weather (possible tornado's) forecasted, I think I will wait until tomorrow (at least) on that as well.

    It feels good, as I start to finally get the bills under control and still have a little breathing room. However, I must remember to save that extra money for a rainy day (and for vacations, wants, etc). As I get caught up, likewise I get caught up with the debts as well. Thank you, Jesus, for that.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Tuesday, June 3, 2008

    Clinton Expected To Conceede To Obama Today

    Sen. Barack Obama stood within 40 delegates of claiming the Democratic Party's presidential nomination this morning - counting down a clock that will start ticking more quickly with the close of the party's primary elections today.
    - The Swamp

    It is being reported today, that tonights speech by Clinton, could in fact, call Barack Obama the presumptive nominee. While she won't end her campaign, she could fall in line and stop the contentious campaigning that has tore the Democratic party apart over the past few months.

    Terry McAuliffe, chairman of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign, said today that once Obama claims the majority of convention delegates neded for the 2008 nomination: "I think Hillary Clinton will congratulate him and call him the nominee."

    This could happen by the end of this day, depending on the dance of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates. The party's insiders were lining up behind the junior senator from Illinois at a pace that could seal the nomination once results from the primaries in Montana and South Dakota arrive - if not sooner.
    - The Swamp

    Clinton's campaign chairman, Terry McAuliffe, says once Obama gets the majority of convention delegates, he thinks Clinton will congratulate him and call him the nominee.
    - WREX-TV
    Earlier Tuesday, Clinton's campaign manager said once her rival secures the necessary number of convention delegates, she would likely "call him the nominee."
    - USA Today

    And that's my view, what's yours?

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    Readers Question: 5 best personal finance books

    Anonymous wanted to know,

    What are your 5 best personal finance book?

    Since, anonymous didn't leave a name, website or anyway to contact them, they couldn't win the workbook, but I thought the question was worth discussing.
    In fact, the question was perhaps a result of a post that Saving Advice, recently did:
    Books For Every Level of Financial Acumen. Jennifer Derrick listed 21 books for every level of financial knowledge.

    With that in mind, I’ve put together my list of the best books for every level of financial knowledge. None of these are too obscure or old, so your local or college library is likely to have them or be able to get them through interlibrary loan. Failing that, you can probably find some of them at used bookstores. They’re also all available through, and some used copies are available from other sellers.

    Some of her books, without question, would be in my top 5. However, are all of them? Well, lets take a look at the books I would list as my Top 5.

  • 5. Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy by Jonni McCoy.

  • One of the earliest personal-finance books that I read. This is a book that didn't make it on Jennifer's list. However, it is a book well worth the reading. Especially, if you want to learn to more frugal, so that you can learn to make do on less.

  • 4. Good Debt, Bad debt: Knowing the Difference Can Save Your Financial Life by Jon Hanson.

  • Another book, not Jennifer's list, but a book that I reviewed last year on this blog.
    I am a loyal Dave Ramsey fan, who says that there is no such thing as "good debt." Still though, I have heard Dave say that if you do get a mortgage it is to be for 15-years or less. So with that in my mind I wanted to find out what Mr. Hanson called "good debt." As he sees it, "good debt" is debt that eventually increases your net worth.

  • 3. The World's Easiest Guide to Finances by Larry Burkett.

  • Another book, that was one of the earliest books that I read. Although much more recently. I got this book, when I was on a spree of buying business/finance books on Ebay. It is obvious that it would be a book for the financial novice. I simply talks about Debt Reduction, Budgets, Insurance, Retirement, Investment and virtually all aspects of personal finance.

  • 2. You’re Broke Because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead, by Larry Winget.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Understandably, Jennifer lists this book as one for the financial novice. It is simple to understand, and is straight talking.

    . Larry is very no nonsense and a master of tough love. This book is a basic introduction to getting out of debt, but it will tear down every excuse you can think of and show you that it’s your choices that are making you broke. Warning: He is harsh (but funny), so if you get upset about that, maybe you should pass on this one.

  • 1. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness, by Dave Ramsey.

  • This is a book that Jennifer listed as a book for the financial novice.

    I don’t always agree 100% with what Dave teaches, but there’s no denying that he is a great motivator and this book will get you fired up about getting out of debt and establishing a financial plan.

    Not only will his books get you fired up, but so will his Live Events as well as his CD's and DVD's. There is no question, that This book is the number 1 personal finance book in my financial library.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Spending: Getting Started to Make Corn Dogs

    Sunday, before I left work I spent 17.24, plus $20 cash back. Most of the items were stuff to make my homemade corn dogs. I ended up making 24 corn dogs for $3.69 (.26 for the skewers), not including the oil. The oil is a little harder to figure. Because it can be used over and cook a lot more then the 24, that I cooked. The oil cost would be about $2.33, however that goes even lower, as I cook more corn dogs.

  • Eggs 1.35 (.22)
  • Milk 2.89 (.16)
  • Vegetable Oil 6.99 ($2.33)
  • Tongs .71
  • Paper Baking Cups .95
  • 2 pkgs Always Save Wieners @.78 (1.87)
  • Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix .59 (1.18)
    Tax 1.20
    Total 17.24
    Prices in () are prices to make up the jiffy corn muffin mix and corn dogs.

    Monday (yesterday), I went by the store and bought 2 pkgs of paper towels. Total cost after tax was $2.15 cash. Before, making the corn dogs (and after leaving the store), I went to Perry, KS to visit an old friend. A friend that I haven't seen for several years.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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  • The Risky Side of Investing- Is it Worth it to You?

    The following article is a guest post. The opinions of guest writers are their own and not necessarily those of the owner of this blog.
    The Risky Side of Investing- Is it Worth it to You?

    No matter how you look at it, there is a lot of risk involved with investing of any kind. On the other hand, investing also brings with it the opportunity for reward. To decide if the risk is worth it to you or not you need to understand the unique relationship that exists between the two elements.

    What is the Risk All About?

    When it comes to the risk inherent in investing, there is a rule of thumb that states, “The higher the risk, the higher the potential return.” That is all fine and good but an additional point needs to be added to make this statement even more accurate. Instead the statement should read, “The higher the risk, the higher the potential return, and the less likely it will achieve the higher return.”

    Deciding what you can comfortably live with in the world of investing is paramount. You need to be able to balance out the risk you are taking with the possible reward that could result.

    Loss of Money

    Many people look at investing in terms of the likelihood that they will lose money. When contemplating an investment, you need to decide if keeping the principal of your money is more important than the possibility of higher returns. You also need to ask yourself if you will be able to achieve your investment goals. If you lose instead of gain you do not want to shortchange yourself on your retirement fund. You also need to ask yourself if the added risk is worth it in order to achieve higher returns? Some people are more comfortable with risk exposure than others. There are investments that carry a minimum of risk; however the opportunity for return is often minimal as well.

    Financial Goals

    In order to understand whether you stand a chance of achieving your financial goals or not you need to consider the amount of money you have invested; the length of time invested; the rate of growth or return; and the fees, inflation and taxes that will cut into your return. If you are not willing to take on much risk then you must bear in mind that the return you earn will be less. In order to compensate for the lower anticipated return you should increase the money that you invest as well as the duration of time you invest it for.

    The opinions of guest writers are their own and not necessarily those of the owner of this blog.

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    Another Giveaway - Ask Me Anything 2

    Like the last giveaway, that we just completed. I am giving away another workbook. This one, I also was given, specifically for passing on to my readers. The Financial Planning Workbook, by (the late) Larry Burkett.

    There are some simple rules.
  • Like last time the entry will be made by comment to this post.
  • The comment MUST contain a question relating to personal finance.
  • The comment must have some way I can contact you. Or some way, that you will know that you are the winner. Whether, it be your blog or email.
  • Only one entry per giveaway.

  • There you have it. So what are you waiting for? The drawing will be on Flag Day, June 14th. All questions asked, as last time will be answered. However, the winner will have their question asked first.

    I would like to have the "Readers Question" become a regular feature of this blog. There will be one more (planned) giveaway after this one. That drawing will be for the book Learning to Invest (2nd Edition) by Beatson Wallace.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now. What do you want to know?

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    Readers Question: What are your Plans...?

    mzmuny asked,

    What are your plans once you are out of debt?

    Thanks for the question, MzMuny. So glad your asked.

    Once I am able to successfully pay off all my debts, my plans are to begin building my savings. I wish to have at least $5,000 in every savings account (budget envelope).

    Currently, I only have $5-$100ish in each of those savings accounts.
  • Food (Groceries) $5
  • Emergency (Insurance) Fund $100
  • Travel (Vacation) $15
  • Household $5 (after insurance payment is made)
  • Auto $5
  • Taxes $5
  • Something Special Fund $0
  • Gift Fund (Christmas, Birthday, Weddings, etc) $5

  • Travel
    One of my biggest dreams is to make it to New York City and see the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State building. I wish to make it back to D. C. so I can see Monticello, Williamsburg, and the hometown of my Great, Great Grandfather, who came to this country as a mercenary. Was captured by Americans and was a POW often times under George Washington, and then as many of the "Hessian Soldiers," served a time as a slave to earn his freedom and stay in America. That hometown, after his death became part of WV. There he became a cabinet maker as well as made Whiskey. His furniture, worth thousands of dollars are on display in the Lewisberg, WV museum and his name is mentioned as part of the towns walking tour.

    However, my dream doesn't stop there. I also want to go back to Europe and see a number of spots I haven't yet been able to go to. Like Germany, France, England, Ireland and Northern Ireland. Finally, and probably one of the biggest travel dreams is to visit every single Presidential Library/Museum. I have been to the Carter near Atlanta and Eisenhower in Abilene, KS. Amazing as it sounds, I have yet to visit the Truman in Independence, MO (a suburb of Kansas City, MO) , especially considering how close I live to it.

    However, I don't just want to travel, I also want to do mission work. I would like to travel to help people also. To take God's good news to others, while also offering humanitarian relief in places that need it.

    Over all, I don't want to be rich so people can see "how rich I am," rather I want to help others with their struggles. I am reminded of a recent verse I read, Proverbs 13:7
    One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
    How true that is. If a person looks rich, they are probably just someone trying to impress you. The real rich person, usually doesn't want to flash it around. There is a reason, King Solomon is regarded as the wisest man to ever live.

    Of course, I have mentioned before, I want to be a businessman. I want to owner a conglomerate of business' or be an investor in several business'. Thus earning more money. In fact, perhaps investing would be better, so that while I am earning the money, I can be off volunteering for humanitarian efforts.

    So there, in a nut shell you have it. What I want to do when I become DebtFree4ever!
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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    Sunday, June 1, 2008

    Spending: Stupidity and Pre-Planed Cooking Collide

    Yesterday, I spent about $10. Way more then I planned, but I have to be honest with my readers about it to.
    I bought a package of orange slices. The candy not real oranges. I know they are unhealthy, but I had a real taste for them, yesterday. I also bought for breakfast one of McDonald's chicken biskits. I wanted to see if they were as good as Chick-fil-a's. They weren't! I am going to assume, the other Chick-fil-a knock off, is also better at Chick-fil-a then at McDonald's.

    In addition, since I left my water bottle at home (I know stupid) I spent 75 cents to buy a quart of water. Nice thing is that it has a sports bottle top, so that I can easily reuse it, when I start using more tap water. So not all bad there.

    Then, when I left work I bought 2 boxes of Au Gratin Potatoes that were on sale for $1 each and a package of 100 mini skewers. Since I don't know where to get pop cycle sticks (w/o buying a bag of caramels), I bought these to use to make homemade corn dogs (1.09).

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

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