Friday, August 29, 2008

Women Have 2nd Chance to Have Female VP

After a severe computer crash last night, and several hours of setting up a new computer this morning, I am finally able to brink you the news, that by now is huge news. That being, that John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

I think this is a great move, never since Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro, to be the Democratic VP nominee back in 1984, has a women been on the ticket of either major political party. No mater what happens, this will be an historic year. Either we will have our first African-American President or we will have our first Female Vice-President.
So Who Is Palin?
Sarah Palin a Republican, is the first female Governor of Alaska, and the youngest (42) to hold that office.
  • Runner-up for Miss Alaska (1984)
  • Wasilla, Alaska, City Council (1992-1996)
  • Wasilla Mayor (1996-2002)
  • Served as the ethics Commissioner (2003-2004) on the Oil & Gas Commissioner (resigned, in protest over what she perceived to be the “lack of ethics” of fellow Alaskan Republican leaders).
  • strongly pro-life and member of "Feminists For Life"
  • unsuccessfully ran for Lieutenant Governor (2002)
  • Governor of Alaska (2007-present) - defeating incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski in the Republican primary and former Democratic Alaskan Governor Tony Knowles in the general election.

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

    Is your name Kevin? Do you like to write? Do you have a passion for politics? Would you like a place to share your thoughts? If the answer is yes, please email me, and let me know of your interest. I would like to make this a group blog and am seeking volunteers to blog with me.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!
  • Free College Game Was Awesome

    This week, I received free tickets to home opener of the Washburn University football game. I am not a big football fan, but as an Alum of Washburn, I thought it would be great to go. Unfortunately my female friend was unable to go to the unusual Thursday night game, and all my guy friends already had other activities for the evening.

    I would like to thank American Family Insurance and WIBW 580 for the tickets. The game was an awesome game. I left at half time after watching a terrific 1st quarter and OK 2nd quarter. The score, when I left was 27-3, with 21 of the points being scored in the first quarter.

    I left at half, not because of thunderstorm that was rolling, but rather because of my political fascination, and desire to see Obama's speech. Next week, I will also be focused on McCain, but tonight I wanted to see what the Democratic nominee had to say.

    Getting free tickets is a great way to enjoy some great events and still stay within the budget. Oh and by the way, the game was called because of lightening late in the forth quarter, still with a score 0f 27-3, so I didn't miss anything after I left.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Rumor Mill: McCains First choice For #2 Says No!

    It has come to my attention that Senator McCain wants former Pennsylvania Governor and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to be his running mate. However, according to sources close to Ridge, he is not interested in the number 2 spot. According to those sources (and the Moderate Voice Blog), Ridge wants to spend more time with his family. He is not interested in the riggers of a campaign.

    So, we here at will continue to keep an ear to the ground and will post bout the nominee, as soon as we hear something.
    - Kevin Surbaugh

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

    Is your name Kevin? Do you like to write? Do you have a passion for politics? Would you like a place to share your thoughts? If the answer is yes, please email me, and let me know of your interest. I would like to make this a group blog and am seeking volunteers to blog with me.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Reader Survey: Sneaking Food Into the Movies

    As I was going through through the various other personal finance blogs, I came across an interesting post, Is it Ethical to Sneak Food/Drink into a Movie Theater?, by Free Money Finance. With 50% of Americans admitting they sneak food (an/or drinks) into a movie theater, I though it would be an interesting topic to address here. It is a topic, I would love to hear your opinion on to.

    As Free money stated, it can cost you a fortune to go the movies. First you have the cost of the ticket(s) then you have the cost of those snacks. Four dollars, for a small popcorn, that would cost $1.50 over at the deli inside Target. Boxes of candy are sold for $4, even though you could buy the same boxes in your local grocery store for $1-$1.25.

    I have to admit there has been times that I have taken food into a movie theater or other venue, that tries to keep you from bringing in outside food. With the high cost of food and drinks at these events, why would pay more then a reasonable cost? While I have never sneaked drinks into a movie theater, since they serve their beverages in cups, I have sneaked cokes into local sporting events, that sell 20 oz bottles for about twice what they are on the outside. Sure, they have signs, saying outside food/drinks are prohibited, but once inside, how are they going to know if I paid $1.25 or $2.50 for that coke? as you can see, it is very economical, even frugal to sneak food in into these venues; but, is it ethical? Moral?

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Obama V McCain: How Will They Affect Our Personal Finances?

    Now that we know who Barack Obama has chosen to be his Vice-President (Joe Biden) attention now turns to John McCain. Will it be Mitt Romney? Collen Powell? Mike Huckabee? Sam Brownback? Elizabeth Dole? Or one of many other names that has been mentioned over the past few months. I certainly am not sure, who he will pick, although I am keeping my ears close and hope to be one of the first to bring the news to you via Who knows, maybe it will be me (LOL, yeah, like that would ever happen).

    However, I think it is important to look at the candidates to see how their plans would effect us.
    The rich would pay more under Barack Obama's tax plan, and the poor and middle-class would pay less, a nonpartisan analysis finds. Under John McCain's plan, the rich would pay much less than they do now, the poor and middle-class would pay a bit less, and the federal deficit would grow, the study found.
    - Chicago Sun-Times
    So what are the plans? Let's take a look, shall we?
    Senator Obama
    1. Raise taxes on people making $250,000 or more
    a. Obama's campaign says they aren't "raising taxes," but instead reinstating taxes. This means the current top bracket of 35% would back to 39%.
    2. Obama's plan calls for no Social Security tax on income between $102,000 and $250,000 (all incomes above $250,000 would be taxed for this purpose).

    The 95 percent-plus of the American population that earns less than $250,000 would see the following tax breaks:
    1. A $500-per-worker tax credit for people who earn less than $150,000 and do not itemize
    2. A $4,000 credit per child in college
    3. No taxes for Senior Citizens who earn less then $50,000
    4. leave the corporate tax rate at 35%
    5. Set the estate tax (death tax) to 45% for estates above $3.5 million

    McCain would make permanent most of the tax cuts President Bush has already enacted, including those that benefit the middle class, such as elimination of the marriage penalty and the increase in child credits. He would also keep cuts that benefit the wealthy, such as the elimination of the highest tax brackets. Obama would keep the breaks for the middle class but not the ones for the wealthy.
    - Chicago Sun-Times

    1. double the dependent exemption from $3,500 to $7,000 (for all tax brackets)
    2. cut the corporate tax rate to 25%
    3. set the estate tax (death tax) to 15% for estates above $5 million

    Largely because his tax proposals would leave tax breaks for the wealthy in place, McCain's plan would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Obama's, the Tax Policy Center found.

    The precise cost depends on whether you assume the current tax breaks would be renewed or would expire.

    Assuming they would have been renewed anyway, Obama's plan would bring in an additional $700 billion in taxes over the next 10 years, while McCain's would cost the Treasury $600 billion. Assuming legislators would have let the tax breaks expire, Obama's plan would cost the U.S. Treasury $2.7 trillion and McCain's $3.7 trillion.
    - Chicago Sun-Times
    Now, do I agree with this? Not necessarily, but I believe the study and article was well balanced and is something worth considering. However, as the article also stated, the above estimates do not figure the costs of a continued war. Since, this blog does not get into my political views, I won't share them. Instead, I only wish to offer how each candidates plans will effect us financially.

    Note: This post has been submitted to the most recent ProBlogger Group Writing Project
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Another Bank Failure - 5th since July

    On Friday the ninth bank this year (5th since July) was ordered closed. State regulators here in Kansas, ordered Columbian Bank and Trust, of Topeka, to close it's doors at 5 pm last night. At that time the bank was considered seized.
    Kansas Bank Commissioner J. Thomas Thull on Friday closed Topeka-based Columbian Bank & Trust Co., which had been struggling with more than $92 million in bad loans.
    - Topeka Capital Journal

    According to the same article the nine (5 in Topeka and 4 in the Kansas City area) branches will reopen Monday as branches of Citizens Bank and Trust of Chillicothe, Missouri.

    The nine branches of Columbian Bank & Trust will reopen Monday as branches of Citizens Bank and Trust. Depositors of the failed bank will automatically become depositors of Citizens Bank and Trust. Deposits will continue to be insured by the FDIC.
    - Topeka Capital Journal

    According to the Wall Street Journal, regulators have warned of several more bank failures this year after a number of years of historically low levels.

    On Tuesday, the FDIC is scheduled to provide an updated number of the banks that were on its "problem" list as of June 30.
    Wall Street Journal
    According to the Topeka capital Journal, the new signs were scheduled to go up today (Saturday), but as I type this, the rain, lightening and thunder has moved in, making me wonder if it would even be possible to place those signs before Monday. The article also said that "this one" happened so quickly. Yet, I wonder, if it had so quickly, how did they find another bank (from another state) to come in and take over the assets and for them to get the nine signs made, without weeks (or months) of planning.

    As I peruse the major networks, this morning, I see that none of them seem to be caring this story (Although, the websites of ABC, NBC, and Fox mentioned it, CBS and CNN's website made no mention of it). Of course, it's not Southern California or the Northeast, so why would they care about this little bank in Kansas?
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Secret Service on Way To Protect the Democratic VP Nominee

    While millions of Americans await Obama's text message regarding who will be the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Alan Colmes quotes ABC News, which claims to have an anonymous source that has revealed who the Senator's pick is.
    The United States Secret Service has dispatched a protective detail to assume the immediate protection of Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., a source tells ABC News, indicating in all likelihood that Biden has been officially notified that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has selected him to be his running mate.
    - ABC News

    The article also states that the source has also reported that both Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and Virginia Gov Tim Kaine, have been told that they have not been chosen for the vice presidential slot. If that is correct that would only leave Biden or Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. There is also the possibility, that it is all a ruse and Hilary Clinton, will be the pick.

    However, if I were a betting man, I would go with Senator Biden. The Secret Service, just do not go and protect someone without reason. It is my firm belief that the text message will be sent out tomorrow morning (Saturday). Probably, just moments before the Springfield rally, in which Obama will publicly introduce his running mate.

    We shall see, as the morning comes. For now I must get to bed. Four AM, will be here quickly.

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

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Carnival Round-Up

    DebtFree4ever.NET made it into two carnivals this week. The two carnivals are The Carnival of Money Hacks, which was by Our Four Pence Worth, and the Finance Fiesta, which was hosted by Living Almost Large.

    Other posts that I found of interest in those carnivals were:
    Karen presents Spending money can save your money.
    She presents a very interesting argument of why cutting expenses, isn't always a good idea.

    Another post, was one I can easily and completely agree with, and that was Grey's presentation Making the CFL Switch.

    Others of interest included:

    Sometimes you have to just grow a pair, and ask. posted at Budgets are Sexy.

    Tip Diva | Top Ten Tips - If Your Wallet Is Stolen posted at Tip Diva.

    Re-balance Your Life-Work Balance. posted at The Wealth Hunter.

    Why There Is No Crossover Point posted at Funny about Money.

    Why Most Investors Don’t Make Money In The Stock Market posted at The Digerati Life.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Making 401(k)'s Part of Your Job Hunt

    Recently ABC had an article, Why 401(k)s Matter to Your Job Hunt. The article made the following opening statement.

    No match, no deal.

    If you're out hunting for a job, that's what I would tell prospective employers when it comes to a 401(k) plan.

    Now, I don't know about you, but in this time, when jobs are hard to find, I am not sure that, not accepting a job, because they didn't give you a matching 401(k) is wise. In fact, I have always heard that money isn't a good thing to bring up in the interview.

    Perhaps, if the job you were applying for was a job in which you were in contract negotiations with, it might be OK, to make it part of the contract. However, most of us are not privileged to have such contract laying out such things.

    The article continued by explaining,

    An employer contribution that matches a portion of what you save in a 401(k) or other workplace retirement savings plan, should be a minimum requirement when you're out looking for work.

    The overall quality of a 401(k) plan is a critical factor for workers as the traditional pension plan disappears from the private sector workplace. A lousy retirement savings plan can leave you with hundreds of thousands less in retirement.

    So, if you're out looking for a job now, or expect to be looking soon, here's what to look for in an employer contribution to a 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA or other retirement savings plan.

    - ABC News

    I agree, that if you work for a company that contributes even a partial match, you could be many thousands of dollars ahead of someone who received no match. Then again, an employer that doesn't match, might just pay a higher wage. A higher wage could mean that your contributions are as high (or more) as the person with the match. So, it's not as cut and dry as the article try's to make it out to be.

    My current employer (the one that bought out my previous employer) makes a 3% match to my retirement plan (in this case Simple IRA), which is what the article states is what should be the minimum match amount. They even, give a 3% contribution to those that wish to have a retirement plan, but doesn't fund it their selves. That means, like one of my 17-year old employees, they are getting 3% of their income put into a retirement plan by their employer for free. If they are smart and leave that money on a retirement plan and eventually start adding to it, they will set really well, when they retire in 50 or so years.

    There are a variety of ways the 3 percent figure can be calculated. Some employers may offer a dollar-for-dollar match of what you contribute. Others will kick in 3 percent, even if you contribute nothing.

    The most common formula is one in which the employer kicks in 50 cents for every dollar you contribute, up to 6 percent of your pay.

    - ABC News

    The article also warned the reader to be careful of companies that offered company stock instead of cash as part of the retirement package. It did say that would be different, if the company stock was on top of the retirement package.

    I should note that my warnings about company stock apply to 401(k) plans. If a prospective employer offers stock options or an employee stock purchase plan on top of a sound 401(k), that's an offer worth considering. Again, just be careful to avoid placing too much faith in a single company.
    - ABC News

    The author, David McPherson concluded by giving an example of why you should refuse a job, based upon the company's retirement package.

    Consider the potential difference in retirement savings for two 30-year-olds, each making $50,000 annually in similar jobs at different employers within the same industry.

    One person receives a 3 percent match; the other receives no match.

    Assume each contributes the same 6 percent of his salary to the company 401(k), receives 2 percent annual pay raises and earns a 7.5 percent average annual rate of return.

    In 35 years, the person receiving the 3 percent match would accumulate $864,735 by age 65. The person receiving no match would accumulate $576,490.

    Are job satisfaction and other factors going to be enough to make up for the $288,245 difference?

    - ABC News

    While his numbers are sound, I still can't help wondering if the one without a company match might not get a bigger wage and larger pay raises over their work career. Of course their is no way of knowing, and I found the article interesting, but I just had those couple questions/rebuttals to the article.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Cleaning Is Hard

    Even though, I don't consider myself to be one, some might consider me to be a pack rat. I get something in the mail, and often times fail to get them put where they belong. Or maybe, I get something and I think I could use it. Only to never look at it again. Then, when I am do some massive cleaning, I wonder why I ever kept it.

    MapGirl recently discussed the same problem. Well sorta, she seems to keep everything in its place, but feels she save things needlessly.
    I’m learning how to be more ruthless throwing stuff away. I’ve watched my boyfriend clean up his house. He’s extremely tidy. He doesn’t keep paper around. He shreds it or throws it away immediately. He does not sweat the small stuff. I think the only receipts he saves are for taxes. If it’s not tax deductible, returnable or otherwise important, out it goes. It makes me wonder why I keep every single damned receipt I ever got.

    After reading her comments, I got to thinking about my own house. I often complain, that it is messy and i need to clean up. John Cummuta and Dave Ramsey have been great encouragement to get my financial life cleaned up. Will MapGirl's comments be the wake up call I need to move to other areas of my life and get them cleaned up to?

    Is it true that people with cluttered lives have a cluttered financial life to? I don't know. It certainly has been for me. However, now that I am getting my financial life in order, it is time to work on my cluttered house. Work on getting those bank statements into their proper location to be kept, as soon as I get it. Instead of putting it off, by saying, "I'll take care of it later," because as we all know, later never comes.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Changes to be made

    I have increasingly been very busy. As many of you know, I started working more hours in May. In July, I went from salaried back to hourly. Working the same number of hours, but getting paid for every one of them.

    The problem, with working more hours, is that I have less time for blogging. As the author of several blogs, it has become increasingly difficult to keep up with all those blogs. As a result, I will be eliminating or stepping back from most of them to focus more times on this particular blog.

    It is my hope, to be able to return to a mix of thoughts on methods to get debt free (and other personal finance issues) while also discussing my own personal struggles that some of my readers like to read.

    I need to be able to make that daily post, and finding a way to do that, and still keep up my 55 hour work week (that I love) is important to me. So, stay tuned as I work to rebuild what I have built with this blog.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    Deepest Sympathies

    The chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas was shot and killed on Wednesday by a gunman who opened fire at the party's state headquarters, according to ex-president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton.

    "We are deeply saddened by the news that Bill Gwatney has passed away," the Clintons, who lived for years in the Arkansas capital of Little Rock, said in a joint statement.

    - Sydney Morning Herald

    Here at we often times have been harsh critics of the Democratic Party. While, being here in Kansas, Bill Gawtney wasn't even on our radars. We deeply saddened and shocked by what happened in Arkansas today.

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A man barged into the Arkansas Democratic headquarters and opened fire Wednesday, fatally shooting the state party chairman before speeding off in his pickup. Police later shot and killed the suspect after a 30-mile chase.

    Police said they don't know the motive for the 51-year-old suspect, whose name has not been released.

    They said Chairman Bill Gwatney, 49, died four hours later at University Hospital in Little Rock after the midday shooting near the state Capitol.

    - The Associated Press

    No matter, what our personal politics is, we wish no ill towards those that we disagree with. We at our family of blogs, would like to wish the Gawtney family our deepest sympathies. May God grant your family peace and comfort.

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

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Busy Day Financially

    Good morning, one and all. Today marks a busy day financially for me. First and foremost, yesterday was payday at work. This allowed me to bring to pay my quarterly insurance premiums ($335). After some thought, and looking over my savings, I decided it would be better to continue saving and growing my savings, and perhaps in November I will be able to pay it (the premium) semi-annually, or better yet annually.

    In the meantime, I also paid my newest payment on my car loan, which brought my current debt to $9,020.85. As you can see, by the chart above, that means I have paid off 53.95% of the original debt.

    A couple of days ago, I received my rollover check (you may have noticed a balance in the rollover column in the right sidebar). So today, I will be going back to the retirement adviser and signing the papers to get into the TransAmerica Funds(see previous post) and handing over the check to fund that retirement account. I am eager to watch this $4,761.93 grow, and hopefully into 1 million dollars (within 20 years).

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!


    "Strange things happen when you're in debt. Two weeks ago my car broke down and my phone got disconnected. I was one electric bill away from being Amish."
    - Comedian Tom Ryan

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Insurance Payment Changes

    Now, that I am beginning to get my savings built up once again, I am looking at changing my insurance payments. Currently I pay my premiums quarterly. That means I pay an installment fee of $4 four times a year. However, now that I am beginning to get a savings built, I think I can now afford to start paying semi-annually. Thus saving me $4 ($8 annually) over the quarterly rate.

    I will be going by the credit union today, and will make a final decision at that time.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Central Park Panels Completed

    Here are a couple Photos. I took on July 30 on my way to the Pickens town hall meeting. If you haven't gone by the wall recently, you will see that the Central Park panels are completed and work has begun on preparing the background for the new Chesney Park section. Stay tuned for the unveiling of this great new panel. Last year, Chesney Park honored long time resident (and Chesney Park NIA founder) Grant Cushinberry, who passed away earlier this year. This years panel will focus on the Kansas State Free Fair, which used to be held across the street from the panel location.

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Personal Income Growth was Up in 2007

    With talk of a recession, a new report shows signs of a slowing economy, but doesn't really indicate a recession.

    On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released personal income numbers for the nation’s 363 metro areas, with signs of a slowing U.S. economy: Growth slowed, but was still positive, in 208 metros; it accelerated in 144 others; and stayed the same in 11.

    Only Palm Coast, Fla., north of Daytona Beach lost ground — with per capita personal income down 0.5 percent.
    - Channel 2 The Advocate

    Where I live, here in Topeka, KS we were up.

    The capital city's personal income rose 6.8 percent in 2007. Nationally, the rate of growth was 6.2 percent.
    - Topeka Capital Journal

    According to the Capital Journal, Topeka ranked 173rd in the Thursday's report, with an average salary of $33,670, out of 363 metropolitan areas. This number is down from the 162nd in 2006 and 165th in 2005.

    Nationally, the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn. area had the highest per capita income at $80,192.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Is a scooter the answer?

    A while back, I mused about getting a moped to get around Topeka with.

    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.

    Figuring that with higher gas mileage, the little vehicle on 2-wheels would be a cheaper way to get around locally. But is it. Well, thanks to one of my readers, I found a site, that would actually help me (and you) to determine, if a scooter really is the answer.

    With mileage of 80 mpg or more, a scooter can obviously save you money at the gas pump. But there are other factors to think about, including: When would you break even? Try the calculator below.
    - MSN Money Central
    Here are some numbers I used
    Your current car's gas mileage: 25
    Gas mileage for the scooter you want: 94 (estimated)
    Price per Gallon: $4
    Miles you currently drive per week: 90
    Miles per week you can use scooter: 80
    Amount you could save per week$9.40
    Over a year, you could save$488.58

    Years to break even 9.88

    Your current car's gas mileage: 25
    Gas mileage for the scooter you want: 94 (estimated)
    Price per Gallon: $3.59
    Miles you currently drive per week: 90
    Miles per week you can use scooter: 80
    Amount you could save per week$8.43
    Over a year, you could save$438.50

    Years to break even 11.83

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    My Financial History

    Recently, I came across some PF Bloggers that were writing about their personal financial history. I thought the idea was good one, and that I would duplicate the effort here. Sure, I have talked about my past, but I can't remember a full detail of my financial history. So here, I will briefly write my history from child hood to present, all in one post.

    My first job, was selling Grit Magazine. I was the first person selling Grit in my hometown and I quickly built my business to selling 30 to 40 papers (Grit's) each and every week. I was so successful, with the selling, that others who tried to start up their own routes, couldn't build a business beyond 10 papers. I literally owned the town of 1000 people (as far as the Grit route is concerned). The problem, I had no concept of saving and spent my money as fast as it came in. Mostly on video games in a local arcade. My mom took over the finances, never taught me the concept of saving and in fact actually spent much of the cash herself. Being a good saver was something I never caught on to until well into my adult life. Although there was a time, that I was huge penny pincher. That brings me to the next aspect of my financial history.

    When I was a Senior in high school, I like most of the seniors went on my senior trip. At our school, the trip was paid by the funds we raised throughout our four years (9-12) in high school. After the trip was paid for, the left over balance was divided among those seniors who went on the trip, to spend as we wished. Most of my money I squirreled away and didn't spend it. At least not on the trip. Instead, I brought it home, and later needlessly wasted it over the summer.

    Since, I didn't immediately attend college, I needed a job. Since, I couldn't find one, I borrowed $3,000 from my grandmother and opened a 2nd hand (thrift) store (I was 19). A store I kept open for about six months. Near the end, I had landed a writing job, that paid me $100/month to write for a brand new paper, called the Linn County Connection. That was easily more then I was earning in my store. However, eventually, the new paper went belly up. I received my money for the stories I wrote, but never received payment for the ads that I sold. It was then, I took the $100 and loaded up my parents pickup and moved to Topeka in Nov 1988. Just days after the November elections and 5 days before the ever famous (locally anyway) November Tornado.

    That day I was at a McDonald's inside Hypermart applying for a job, when the sirens went off. Because of the sirens, I was not allowed to leave. I was ordered by Wal-Mart employees to go back to the center of the store. At any rate, that McDonald's later called me, and I was hired for my next job.

    Not to bore you with a succession of 3 or 4 more meaningless jobs, we will move forward to 1990, when I was hired by a grocery store. In April of 1990, I was hired, with no intentions of staying there. Come August, I started going to Washburn University. I ended up staying at that grocery store until Dec. 31, 1994, when I moved to Chicago. Still, not knowing how to really balance a budget or save money in a savings account. When I moved to Chi town, I cashed in my $700 401(k) to pay down my debt. (Oh I forgot to mention that I filled a chapter 13 bankruptcy in 1991.)

    In Chicago, I didn't earn a paycheck. I was for all intense purposes a full time volunteer, with the ministry I was working for. They housed and feed me, and if I wanted to go to the movies, they provided me with some cash for said movies. Once again, I wasn't learning to handle my own money, but this 2 year period of my life was the most rewarding. I would do it all over again, if the chance arose.

    Back in Kansas, I moved in with my parents for a few months, until I received my inheritance check. At which point, I bought my first piece of property (for cash) on a half acre. I also purchased a car, again for cash. Within a year, I was making my first of 2 trips to Europe. I also made a trip to Canada before my money ran out and I started living off the credit cards.

    Eventually in 1999, I left the one grocery store I started at when coming back to Kansas, and came back to Topeka and the same store I left in 1994. After a four year absence, I was back. Five plus years later, I am still with the same store. Although it has been sold and the name above the door has changed, I am still here. On paper, it's a different place entirely, but as far as most people are concerned it's the same place.

    Finally, I decided, I was tired of the debt, and started studying John Cummuta and Dave Ramsey. Both of those teachers taught me and encouraged me way more then Crown Financial had. Even though Crown Financial teaches much of the same thing, it was with these other teachers that things finally clicked for me.

    That brings me up to know. Because of these 2 teachers, I am blogging about my finances and getting my debts paid off. Not to mention my savings is building up and I am finally, actually rolling over a 401(k), instead of cashing it out.With any luck, I will actually be able to live "tomorrow like no one else", because I really am living today, "like no one else."

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    It's HOT in Topeka

    Yep, that title and the above video pretty much summarizes the past few days temperatures. Saturday, Sunday and yesterday (Monday) it was around 100, with the heat index even hotter. Days, like these makes me dream even more for the day I can afford to purchase that central air unit and have it installed. Hopefully, within the next year. Still though, I want to get rid of my debts. The car needs to be paid off. As well as the IRS, and the Fingerhut debt that is now on the 0% interest balance transfer card.

    I am planning to have all these debts, except the car, paid off by the end of the year. Then again, I am hopeful, that I might even have the car paid off to. Only time will see, but I believe it is quite possible to get the other $4,000 paid off in the next 4 or 5 months. I encourage all readers to stay tuned and keep reading and see if I make my goals. I also encourage each and every reader to provide your encouragement and suggestions.

    On another note, I have noticed in the last 2-3 months as my income increased (as well as the number of hours) that I have been purchasing more fast food. Something that isn't really that Thrifty. Something, I need to keep in balance. Yesterday, I bought a peanut buster parfait. Saturday, I had a sandwich from Schlotzsky's, Sunday, it was a dinner from the frozen food case at work.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!

    Friday, August 1, 2008

    Pickens Plan - My Thoughts

    In a packed room the first "town hall" meeting of T. Boone Pickens convened. The building was so packed, that they were literally turning people away at the door. One friend of mine, who only got in, because of her press pass, told me that there was a guy next to her, from Kansas City, that was turned away at the door, as she was let in.

    It wasn't all bad though, they hastily set up speakers on the patio in the back of the building, to allow people to hear the meeting while gathered around the gazebo.

    When the meeting got started the ranking Democrat on the state's energy Committee introduce Queen Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who in turn introduced T. Boone Pickens. In her monologue she mentioned that we didn't have enough transmission lines (in Kansas) to carry the energy produced by wind.
    Sebelius said the most compelling element of Pickens' strategy was rapid development of wind power in Kansas and elsewhere. She said 10 percent of Kansas' energy needs would be met by wind at the end of the year by eight wind farms and a goal of 20 percent by 2020 would be attained with the addition of more transmission lines.

    What she did not mention was that she stood in the way of getting those transmission lines built (via the Holcomb plant).

    Pickens made the point that we were importing $700 billion of oil into this country every year. Paying countries that are not friendly to us, who in turn financially support terrorists (pay ransoms) to not hurt them, their families or their oil productions.

    Pickens is forming a national coalition of activists dedicated to advancing his plan for unprecedented investment in wind farming and redirection of natural gas from electric power plants for use as a fuel in diesel- and gasoline-gulping vehicles. His goal is a 38 percent reduction in oil imports and a concurrent $230 billion reduction in the $700 billion annual tab for crude bought from abroad.

    "Stick with me," Pickens said. "We are all going to find ourselves in this issue as if it's a war."

    His eye is on wind and natural gas but supports development of "anything American" — nuclear, biofuel, solar, hydrogen or oil and gas drilling in coastal areas and federally protected lands — that takes pressure off demand for oil imports.

    An idea that I think is very worthy of exploring. As Pickens pointed out, we have oil in this country that we could tap and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He said that Homeland Security has concerns with such a large dependence on foreign oil. That is because it makes us vulnerable. It wouldn't take much to cripple our country, if something were to happen to even 20% of that.

    One person in the audience questioned him about water wheels on our nations rivers, like the Missouri, as part of the plan for alternative energy. Boone admitted that he didn't know much about it, but if it worked, it would be given a chance.

    Another person who stood to ask a question, was a candidate for the U. S. senate, who asked Boone about Electric hybrid cars. In short, Pickens response that he likes anything American.
    go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

    Get Paid to Sign Up, Refer Others, Read E-Mail, Complete Offers, and More!