Saturday, January 31, 2009

Great Weekend and Free Food

I had to close the store last night. That has become somewhat of a Friday night fact. So, I was unable to attend in full force my annual weekend called "Kansas Day". Somewhat a political convention, the weekend is a get together of all the political hacks and politicians (of my particular party) in the state. They always meet the Friday and Saturday closest to Kansas Day (Jan 29), which is the day (148 years ago) the Kansas became a state. The opposing party has theirs in February around Presidents Day.

Anyway, I did make an effort to run by during my lunch hour. I had to get by the Abate of Kansas hospitality suite. They always have the finest food of any of the receptions. Sure, some of the other receptions have great cookies, but the Abates have the finest turkey and ham. So, I ran in, said hi to a few friends, like the newly elected congresswoman, and a couple of friends who have announced their intentions to run for Governor. Then quickly made my way to the Abate reception. They were still sitting up, but I grabbed a Coke, and a plate and got myself some of that excellent turkey and yes even some of the have along with some chips and headed for the door, after saying some quick Hello's to a few other friends and acquaintances.

As always a great place for free food. It was here, that two years ago I pigged out during my eating for $1 a day experiment. Today, I will be walking the few blocks over to the hotel and enjoying the day of receptions and meetings. There is even speculation, that one of the members of Congress will officially announce that he is running for the U.S. Senate during the district meetings. After all the meetings, they will go back into receptions and end with a banquet (that sadly I won't attend this year). Officially though it won't be over until what in years past has been the coffee and cordials reception (9-Midnight), but this year is Java and Jazz.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Saving Your Money

Readers Digest recently published an article, 29 tips to save money. So, I thought it would be good to take a look at it. However, there was one tip that they left out. More on that later. For now, we will summarize their 29 tips in 10 basic tips.

1. Itemize your Taxes - Forget the short form. Most taxpayers-65 percent of us, to be specific-just take the standard deduction. But you may save money by itemizing your deductible expenses.
2. Free Checking - Don't fall for advertised "free checking" gimmicks. Make sure your checking is really free. That means no minimum balance to maintain the "free" status. (And don't waste $2 on ATM withdrawals at another bank's machines.)

Bank online. You'll be surprised how easy it is to pay bills, transfer funds, save automatically, and keep track of it all. In fact, gathering records at tax time will be a cinch. And by setting up the automatic bill-payment option, you'll help protect your credit score. Banking online is actually safer than banking at a brick-and-mortar institution. Banks have spent a fortune to make sure their sites are among the most secure on the Internet. Besides, most cases of identity theft happen the old-fashioned way—by crooks who raid your mailbox.

Keep your money in supersafe places. Aim to amass at least six months of emergency expenses, in case you lose your job or become disabled.

3. Cut up your extra credit cards.
4. Shop around for car insurance. -
An online search and a few phone calls can turn up vastly different rates in the same area. You'll also want to ask about lesser-known breaks. For example, even if your kids are grown and out of the house, they might be able to get a substantial discount if they insure their cars through the company you use. One place to start is Once you've found the best rate, ask your insurance agent if he or she can match it.

5. Contribute to your company's retirement plan (be it a 401k, 403b or simple IRA).

Put retirement savings ahead of college savings. This sounds crazy to parents who need to come up with tuition money well before it's time to retire. But because of the tax breaks and the flexibility of retirement accounts, you're much better off contributing to a 401(k) or an IRA and taking out loans for college. Many people don't realize that the contributions you put in Roth IRAs can be withdrawn free of penalties at any time. That's very different from the college savings plans, called 529s, that smack you with a significant penalty if the money is not used for college. Another plus: Most schools don't count money in your retirement accounts when assessing how much financial aid they'll offer you. (For more detailed advice, check out Kalman Chany's book, Paying for College Without Going Broke.) Once you've saved the maximum amount that the government allows in your retirement accounts, then research 529 plans at

6. Pay your bills on time.
7. Pay extra on your mortgage. - I have said this repeatedly....the sooner you get your mortgage paid off the better of financially.
8. Think twice about life insurance. - If you are single and don't have any dependants, then you really don't need life insurance.
If you don't have dependents, you may not need it. If you do have kids or other dependents, you're probably better off with term life insurance until, say, your children are grown and can take care of themselves. It's generally less expensive than whole-life or other types of policies that build up value until you die or cash them in. Agents will tell you that whole-life insurance is a good investment because your money builds up tax-free, but these policies often have very high fees. You're better off putting that money toward your 401(k) and IRA instead.

9. Write your will. - Even if you are single, write a will. I cannot stress that enough.

Although no one likes to think about dying, you need to. A will doesn't have to be a fancy contract that teams of lawyers slave over. It's just a written record of whom you want to entrust your kids and assets to when you die. You can write one using a simple boilerplate form and then sign it in the presence of witnesses (usually two people who aren't named in the will). The legal publishing company Nolo has a good template and instructions you can download for less than $25. (These templates are valid in all states except Louisiana. Of course, if your situation is complicated or you'd like a professional to look it over, consult an attorney. You can search for lawyers by state at You'll also want to make sure all the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies and bank and retirement accounts are up-to-date.

10. Bank online. - This is something I do religiously every month. I rarely use stamps anymore. All, because I use my Credit Union's online bill pay system.

You'll be surprised how easy it is to pay bills, transfer funds, save automatically, and keep track of it all. In fact, gathering records at tax time will be a cinch. And by setting up the automatic bill-payment option, you'll help protect your credit score. Banking online is actually safer than banking at a brick-and-mortar institution. Banks have spent a fortune to make sure their sites are among the most secure on the Internet. Besides, most cases of identity theft happen the old-fashioned way—by crooks who raid your mailbox.

So what was the tip they left out? The tip that would have made it 30 tips? Simple! Don't buy this magazine.
go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things You May Not Have known About The Prince of Thrift

On Facebook I was tagged and asked to share 25 things about myself. I thought, I would share those 25 things here. Don't worry though, I won't tag any here, but 25 people were tagged over on Facebook.

1. my 1st name is pronounced Dee-Wayne NOT do-Wayne or da-Wayne.
2. I hate debt
3. I will be debt free this year.
4. I own, where I talk about my personal struggles with debt.
5. I have one pet, a cat named Kat
6. I love politics for some reason.
7. I have a dream of visiting every Presidential Library/Museum in the country (ALL 13 of them).
8. Even though it is only 75 miles away and the closest, I have never been to the Truman Library/Museum in Independence, MO (a suburb of Kansas City).
9. So far, I have only been to two Presidential Libraries --Carter (Atlanta) and Eisenhower (Abilene, KS)
10. I would love to visit New York for the first time.
11. I have never been married
12. I am working on a website to download financial forms from (
13. I love Lori S.
14. I own my home...not mortgage left on it.
15. I just received my first pair of bifocals a couple of weeks ago.
16. I am considering a pair reading glasses to make reading this computer screen easier.
17. I am currently an Assistant Manager at a locally owned grocery store.
18. I like all kinds of music...partial to light rock, country, folk, or easy listening
19. as a kid and young adult, I wanted to be a professional writer and politician
20. I want to visit Washington, D. C. again.
21. I want to visit Atlanta again (love World of Coca-Cola).
22. Coca-Cola is by far my favorite drink.
23. I have a quiz to see how well you know me...
24. I have a total of 7 website names...several of which actually go to another site I own.
25. I hate trying to come up with a list like this, but now I have 25 things about myself.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”
- Pericles
go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mattress on Layaway

As I posted a few weeks ago, I looked at the Sleep Number bed. However, I find that particular bed to expensive for my budget. So with that in mind, I went to Hometown Mattress Company here in Topeka (also located in 2 other Kansas towns --- Clay Center and Paola).

The store had just opened up in the same shopping center that I work in and I thought, I would see what they have. Upon entering the store, I looked at the memory foam mattress. It, like the sleep number bed, was about $900. Again to expensive for my budget. So I moved towards the nearly $400 foam encased mattress and then looked at the cheapest hotel/motel style mattress. The cheapest one, while fitting best in my budget was also the most uncomfortable.

I left, to go to work and think about the possible purchase. Later, during my lunch hour, I returned and put $100 down, to place the foam encased mattress on layaway. It is my hope to have a real bed by the end of February, so that I will no longer have to sleep on a futon and in my sleeping bag.
Though, I am not "America's Cheapest Family," perhaps I might be considered America's Cheapest Dude.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Will We Lose A Day?

According to reports, they lost 3 billion dollars last year. The same reports expect that loss to double this year, if something drastic doesn't occur. That is why the Postmaster General went before Congress today, to address that issue, and to offer his proposal. A proposal that he says, "I don't take lightly."

Saying the U.S. Postal Service "is in a severe financial crisis," Postmaster General John E. Potter is asking Congress to allow him to cut mail delivery from six days to five days a week.

In testimony prepared for a Senate hearing this afternoon, Potter said he needs "flexibility in the number of days we deliver mail."

"The ability to suspend delivery on the lightest delivery days, for example, could save dollars in both our delivery and our processing and distribution networks, he said. "I do not make this request lightly, but I am forced to consider every option given the severity of our challenge."

He said the cut in mail delivery would be at least one day a week. Currently, the postal system delivers mail Mondays through Saturdays.
- Washington Post

Besides hearing that Tuesday's is the lightest mail day, I don't understand why Tuesday is the day they would chose. In professions outside of mine, and that has a (so called) normal work week of Mon-Fri, it would seem the best day to cut service would be on Saturday. Of course that is my opinion. What do you all think?

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tonight (Sunday) is the Night

Today is the day. The day that Kansas will be in the spotlight. ABC will be airing a 2-hour special edition of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. This particular edition will be the one where they had come to tornado ravaged Chapman, KS to rebuild the home of a military soldier whose home was one of the many destroyed. In addition, the show built a community center and was involved in several other projects around town. I encourage everyone to turn in at 7pm Central/8 pm eastern and watch this edition.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Great Bargin

In 1996, after I returned from Chicago, I bought a leather coat. The coat cost me around $300. After 12 years, that coat was beginning to get pretty raged. So, I returned to the same store yesterday, after seeing an advertised coat sale. I found a coat that normally sales around $255. It was on sale for $60. After taxes and everything, I spent $64.42.

Now I have a coat that actually zips and will keep me warm, when the forecast turns cold again tomorrow.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inaugural Thoughts

Many of you that read this blog, know that I have an interest in politics. An interest that had me watching this past election with anticipation. An interest that had me campaigning hard in the primary for a presidential candidate that won my states caucuses. Unfortunately, that candidate, who I think had the best economic plan, did not win the nomination.

Today, we inaugurate our new President. No matter what our political beliefs are, we look to him with hope and anticipation to guide us to a better future. We all wish him success, because it will mean success for our country as well.

As a personal finance blog, we look forward to see how he will guide us out of this economic mess. How will he end the credit crisis? Will help teach us that we cannot continue a lifestyle of spending more then we make? Or will he try to encourage us to borrow again, so that we can falsely increase the economy? Only to set us up for a bigger economic collapse.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bifocals Time

After, I was found ineligible for lasik surgery, I made an appointment with a regular eye doctor. It had been 4 or 5 years since, I had been to the eye doc. So it was high time. The visit, which I took care of during an early lunch, cost me $78. The visit resulted in my first prescription for bifocals. At least it wasn't trifocals.

Today, I went to Success Vision Express, to get new glasses 2 pairs for $99. Then the scratch resistant coating was $29 for the first pair and $16 for the second. All in all, I paid $184 for 2 frames. Only one of which has the bifocals in them. The other is a pair of prescription sunglasses.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bank Shopping Just Got Easier

I got an email complementing me on this blog and then later that same day, I was watching the FOX Business website and they were talking about the same site the email was promoting.

The site mentioned in both and that wanted me to consider discussing on this blog is a new site called,
According to the email that Louise Goldstein sent me,
Here’s how it works….

It’s Free, Fast and Easy. allows consumers to compare 100’s of CD’s or high yield savings accounts for free in a couple of minutes. This exclusive patented technology allows banks to bid for consumers business. Users see the auction live with the winning rate from the auction being sent back to all the banks to see if anyone will beat it. The bidding continues pushing the offered rate higher, until the best rate for the consumer has been achieved. Once the auction has completed if the user wants to take advantage of the great rate being offered they enter their details and hit accept.

So what is this site exactly? gives consumers the best interest rates on their saving’s and CD's. When you arrive at the website, you click on the appropriate button and you are taken to a live auction to find a small or medium sized bank in your area with the best interest rates. If you are shopping for a new bank, this is a valuable tool to hasten your search without all the running from one bank to another. The best part, it can all be done on one website to.
go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hoping 2009 Will Be Better For Retirement Accounts

This morning, I was looking at my employers retirement account. Over the last three months, I lost 10.25% while in the last month I gained 5.82%. Those numbers translate into a loss of $168.70.
Along with the employers match my total contributions, since July, has been $1742.44 with another $82.48 coming from dividends, for a total cost of $1824.92. Overall, my current holdings is $1,656.22.

As for the money that I rolled over from my old 401(k). That fund took a huge hit. I had deposited $4,761.93 back in July, which at the end of September was only $4,013.22. Now, as of close yesterday (Mon. 1/5/09) it is only worth $3,184.13.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Better Than I Deserve

It is amazing how many people feel entitled to everything. Recently, I started following Dave Ramsey's example and replying to, "how are you," with "better than I deserve." I get a number of laughs and a few people that say how true that is for all of us. I even had one lady disagree and say that I deserve a lot better.

Later that same day, one of the employees was trying to tell me that their job didn't include certain things and that could do more if they were paid more. In both these case the people feel that something is owed to them and that they are entitled to everything. Neither one seems to believe in hard work and earning what they get.

The thing is we aren't entitled to anything other then the air we breath. After that we have to earn it. Do I wish I would earn more? Hell I would be a fool, if I said I didn't, but that doesn't mean I deserve it.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now.