Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Night

Today is Halloween, which means tonight is, of course, Halloween Night. That means that little trick or treaters will be out tonight. Now I know that it is the high holiday of many of the pagan religions. However, to all the trick or treaters, doning those masks and uttering those inevitable words, "Trick or Treat." It is just a chance to get some sugary treats.

Even though, I live in an apartment, my wife and I bought some candy to hand out tonight (snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Smarties. We may not have very many kids stop by, but we wanted to be prepared. We know the kid immediately next door, will be wearing an Iron Man costume. With over 100 apartments in the complex, surely the kids here will be stopping by. Whether any others stop by, is yet to be seen. For now, I am going to do some quality testing on the candy and finish getting ready for church.


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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jessica Holcomb Scam

The past couple days, both my wife and I have received a half dozen emails from "News 1 Reports." The emails are titled, "State-wide job scam?" When we opened the emails, they contained just a few brief words,
State wide-job scam?

We investigated work at home_job opportunities
and what we found-may shock-you...
along with a link. That link took to us to a page for "Profit System Online." A site that proclaims
The “lazy” way to setup an automated business that prints 24/7 profits for you around the clock. .

Wow! Make money and be lazy? Yeah right. There is no lazy way to make money. Even the Bible says this boldly.
“Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor”
- Proverbs 12:24
There is simply no "lazy way" to wealth. If someone is going to become successful, they have to work hard. However, that is another topic, so let me get back to the topic at hand.

The link provided in the email tells the story of Jessica Holcomb, who just happens to live in the same city as I do. They even have the city in bold letters, as they give their fake news story. However, she doesn't live here in Austin. Instead they insert the city automatically based on your IP address. So everyone who opens up the page, thinks she is in their town. Which would be blatantly obvious, if someplace like, say New Lancaster, Kansas, a town of about 20 people, had their own IP server and the blamed story claimed she lived there in New Lancaster. Instead, this small town gets most (land line) phone and DSL service from La Cygne, KS (a small town of 1,200), so it's not as easy.

OK, so getting back on track, you can tell, I believe this thing to be a scam. More obvious, her name and supposed facebook page (which is linked on the website as well) also promotes another system, this one being "My Cash Printer." Wow, if you looked at the claims on these two sites and the results she has garnered from both of these websites, she would be one of the wealthiest people in the world.

These programs don't work and they generate thousands of complaints every year. Stay away from them. As for Profit System Online," they change their name (and spokesperson) every so often, as to avoid the negative press/comments circulating the internet. Previous incarnations of their program are "Automatic Wealth Solution" and "Automatic Profit System."

I can't prove that "News 1 Report", "Automatic Wealth Solution", "Automatic Profit System", "Profit System Online", and "My Cash Printer" are all the same company. However, in my research, which included looking in the Network Solutions, Who-Is data base, I have found the owner(s) of each of these sites went through, a company called "Domains By Proxy" (which helps their clients remain anonymous in said Who-Is database), which registered all the domains through GoDaddy, which they claim is an affiliate of theirs. As I said, it's not proof that the other two websites are connected and owned by the same people, but it sure looks like it. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say they are.
I mean, look at the facts, a fake news site advertises all of them, at least two of them have the same "housewife" and her so called rags to riches story. It seems pretty obvious. My suggestion, stay away from all of them, including the fake news site, which has had several incarnations in of itself (News 1 Reports and News 10 Reports for example).



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Is Gold A Part of Your Retirement Vehicle?

Unless you have been sleeping under a rock you have probably heard about gold. It seems, that everywhere you turn, there are ads telling you to how great investing in gold is. Well did you know, you can also add it to your retirement investments?
Yeah, seriously, it is possible. No matter if you are looking at a gold IRA or a gold 401k, gold is something you might want to consider. Especially, if you are looking for an investment that is less risky than many of the mutual funds.

How safe is gold? Well according to the gold experts, if you had bough $25,000 worth of gold in the early 70's and held onto it, that same $25,000 in gold would now be worth $524,999. Think about it. After 40-years the value of the gold would have increased 21 times. That is some real value, for a so called safe investment. Of course past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Still, with a record like that why wouldn't you at least consider IRA gold or 401k gold?

Whatever you do, get your facts. Once you have your facts, if gold is something you want to consider, then you should look into a gold IRA transfer.



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Credit Cards and Your Child

As a parent, you've already tried to prep your college-aged child with some common financial sense. You remind them constantly to keep an eye on their spending and limit: credit card debit can haunt them forever. While training your child to have good money management skills is a challenge most parents struggle with on a daily basis, the process might get a little easier thanks to new federal regulations designed to keep young Americans out of debt.
These new federal regulations, which commenced in the fall, mandate that parents co-sign for their child's first credit card if they are under 21 or cannot demonstrate financial independence, such as proof of paying bills.
This leaves the decision of issuing the potentially toxic piece of plastic to you, the parent. The word potentially toxic is stressed because as a co-signer, if your child does not make payments, it can ruin both parties' credit scores.
So, is your child ready for a credit card? Do you feel that your child is responsible enough to deal with large sums of money? According to most parents, the answer is no. About 61 percent of parents surveyed in a July online poll administered by the National Endowment for Financial Education said they would not co-signing for their child's credit card, stating they didn't believe their child was financially responsible. About 16 percent said they were uncertain.
About 53,164 credit card accounts linked to agreements with colleges were opened in 2009, according to a recent statistics from the Federal Reserve. And the previous year, the average undergraduate owned about 4 credit cards and was $3,173 in credit card debt, according to the most recent statistics from student lender Sallie Mae.
These regulations were added to the CARD ACT, which Congress passed in February after the alarm of an increasing number of ruined credit scores and debt loans surfaced.
So what are your options?
Co-sign. Keep in mind if you do decide to do this, try making the card limit low, usually no more than $1,000. Limits cannot be changed without a co-signer’s approval.
Debit card. This route only allows your child to withdraw from available funds in their checking account. This option, however, will not aid in establishing a credit history.
Prepaid accounts. With this route, parents or students put only a certain amount of money on the card each week or month. This option is similar to a debit card as it only allows transactions if your child has sufficient remaining funds. Like a debit card, pre-paid accounts will not aid in establishing a credit history.
By-line:
This guest post is contributed by Olivia Coleman, who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com.







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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Debt Free 4ever Wins Award

Last night, as I set down to try to catch up on my email. I had a wonderful surprise. There was an email, telling me that I had received an award (seen below). That being the "2010 Top Credit Blog Award."
Congratulations!... your blog, Debt Free 4 Ever, is a
recipient of our 2010 Top Credit Blog Award!

In today's economy, it is always in your best interest to be prepared for
any financial occurrence. Whether it's managing your money to repairing
your credit, having the knowledge goes a long way. Your blog provides that
essential knowledge, and is recognized as a Top Debt Management resource!
via the Email





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Thank You Wall Street Journal Subscriptions

I would like to give a big Thank you to the folks in the Wall Street Journal Subscription Department for becoming a sponsor of this blog. I really appreciate it.

They are one of the best financial publications in the world, and for them to become a sponsor means a lot to me. Thanks again.


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Volunteer Time

Since moving to Austin, my wife and I have become very involved in our church. On Monday evenings, our church has a food and clothing distribution. We have become very involved in this awesome ministry. I have been asked, to be an usher at church on Sunday's. In addition, I have been asked to speak (preach) once a month to a mens ministry at the church. While this is something I have long had the desire for, it is also something that make me nervous.

When I am in front of a group of people, my stuttering gets worse. But, maybe this is exactly what I need to finally overcome that stuttering. Finally, on the 3rd Friday of each month, the church has a fresh produce distribution. Again, this is a ministry that my wife and I make an effort to attend and assist with.


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Monday, October 25, 2010

The House Is Now Officially Sold

Yesterday, the house officially sold (finally). Now that the house has closed, I now know the dollar amount that I expect to get back.The good news is that that dollar amount is bigger then what we had originally expected. This being for a variety of reasons.
First, the 20% of the original grant money from the city, that I had to pay back was only $4958.00, instead of the estimated $6,000.
Second, I entered into a settlement agreement with the holder of the siding loan.

That settlement lowered my payment there to $9,365.06. So in the end, I will get $2,897 sometime this week. Which means I am officially 100% debt free.




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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Job Search Progress

Some of you have asked how the job search is going. Some have seen a posts and assume, that I was writing them at the time that they appear on the blog. Fact is I have spent maybe 10-15 minutes per day on this blog this week. Posts are often times writen the day before or extremely early the morning they appear and "scheduled" to post at a later time. This post for example, I am writing at 10:30 am on Saturday morning and plan to have it post on Sunday morning, while I am at church.

As for the job search, I am stilling looking. I have continued using Monster.com and SnagAjob.com to look for work. This week, I also went to the local unemployment office, and am scheduled to attend a "re-employment orientation" at the job center site that I drove to.

As for interviews, I have not had a job interview for about two weeks, when a grocery store interviewed me and decided to go with another candidate. In addition, I have several applications that I am about to go through and fill out, so that I can get them submitted on Monday as well. I will keep you posted, and perhaps, I should update my readers at least once a week on the progress. It's just, I sometimes feel if there is no change in the situation, then there is no new news to report.

As for applications, I have placed a number of applications and continue to do so. What gets me though, is you always hear that it is suggested to follow up with an employer that you have applied with and check on the status of your application. Doing so, shows that you are interested in the job and willing/ready to work. However, I have had some prospective employers refuse to talk to me. When I call to check on the status of my application, they tell me that they don't take calls from job applicants and that if they are interested in me, they will call me.

It is all pretty frustrating, because when I was in my 20's and really didn't have any experience I would find a job within a week of starting to look. Now it seems to be taking a lot longer, and I am only getting maybe 1 interview for every 20-30 applications that I put in. The interviews I do I get, I am not told why they didn't hire me. The grocery store I interviewed with, did tell me that they would keep my application on file for anything else that they felt I might be interested in.

Quite frankly, I am interested in almost anything, full-time or part-time. I just want to work. While I was writing this, I stepped away from the post, and then came pack to it, after filling out some applications. One of which is a part-time job with the State, but it includes insurance. Which is a big plus. The pay is an obvious drop in pay, but that's OK. As long as it helps pays the monthly bills.

There is another possibility, that I am also pursuing and that is taking a seasonal job, that is beginning to open up for the Christmas holidays.


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Greatest Video Project Yet

The video is done. After two weeks of working on it in my free time, I have finished the newest video project. If I do say so, myself, it is the best I have done thus far. This one I am sure will be passed around to all your friends and their friends (and their friends friends and so on). Take a look for yourself. Have a laugh, and then share it on facebook and everywhere.

Special thanks to those who submitted photos for the project and to Diva_Christina for the audio work.






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Friday, October 22, 2010

Pet Insurance

We all know the importance of having insurance. Or at least I hope we do. However, we often forget about our pets. They are the loves of our lives, yet we forget about this very basic cost, until they are sick or injured and have to fork out hundreds of dollars to provide them with the medical care they need.

Face it, whether we like it or not, our pets are just like any other member of our family. Bad things happen to them. Shouldn't we insure against these unfortunate occurrences, just like we would ourselves, children and spouse? That is the thought behind pet insurance Australia.

Insurance is costly, but not as costly as having to come up with hundreds or thousands of dollars at the time of service. Veterinarian bills are a fact of life for pet owners and in the end cost more then insurance would have. Isn't it time to consider pet insurance for your pet(s)?



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The Video Project Is Almost Complete


The video project that I have been working on this week is almost complete. To make it better I really need at least 2 perhaps 5 more pictures of readers holding up signs that read "DebtFree4ever.net" like the guy in this picture.

I really would like to have the video done by noon central time, so please send me those pics by then. Thanks so much in advance.


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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Readers Images Wanted


We at DebtFree4ever.net are looking for your images. Make and hold up a sign promoting DebtFree4ever.net and take a picture of it. Like the people in these pictures. If possible, visit a local famous attraction (or close enough it's visible in the background) and take the picture in front of it (examples: Statue of Liberty, San Fransisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Trump Towers, ORU's Praying hands, Big Ben in London, University of Texas Tower, etc). Please send in the pictures by Friday (Oct. 22, 2010).
Thanks


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Closing Delayed Yet Again

This is getting freaking ridiculous. The buyers bank, Fidelity Bank of Topeka (not affiliated with the national bank by the same name) has once again delayed the closing of the house. They say, that it WILL close, but they are not ready with the paperwork.
They aren't saying what the hold-up is, just that it will close. However, now it is official, they have cost me $2,500. Because of deals in place, the closing had to be no later then today and debts from the sale of the house had to be paid by tomorrow or it will cost me another $2,500.

No word, when the Fidelity will be ready, they have had all that they needed for two weeks. Which should have been plenty of time to have been ready. Especially after the first delay on Thursday.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Thank You - 8/18/10

Today, I thought I would reintroduce something that I used to do. That being the Thank you post. A few years ago, I had a separate blog in which I would thank each person, who sponsored me (or individual that gave me a few pennies). Over time though I got away from that for whatever reason, and eventually I deleted the separate blog. The idea from another personal finance blogger (who also asked for gifts on her blog) named Leigh Ann. She has received a lot more press then I have, but that's OK. I was reading her blog before she started getting the press. Even if they only sent a card or letter of encouragement, a thank you was posted on the the Thank You blog. This time though, I will make the thank you posts here on this blog. Perhaps, that is a better idea anyway.

Today, I would like to thank Experian ScoreDirect. They have signed on as a sponsor of the blog. This particular sponsor does not pay until there is a click and lead acquired. So, while I have not seen any earnings from this sponsor. I believe this sponsor will be of interest to my readers.

Other sponsors that have helped with the necessary funds to operate this blog and it's sister website (PrinceOfThrift.com) are as follows.

FreeCreditScore.com (received payment 10/15/10) $9
FirstTrade.com (received payment 10/17/10) $10
UnitedDebtCounseling.com (received payment 10/17/10) $10

Each of the three sponsors listed above were sponsored posts through a third party website (Blogvertise). I would like to thank all four sponsors thus far this month. There will be three more to thank later this month, that I know of thus far.

In addition, I would like to thank GeoString, for the FREE $10, I received for signing up with them. You can get $10 free also. Just click here and sign up. Whats better, you can earn more free money, for each person you refer, and each person they refer!
This trend takes place through 10 full levels of referrals with unlimited width.
Your FREE income potential with GeoString is unlimited and with no costs to you!
You might be like me right now and asking yourself, so what's the catch. Okay,
okay, you caught us...
We'll send you one email every Tuesday. This email will include your affiliate stats, as well as messages from our sponsors. You must click the link provided in the email to confirm you've received and opened the email. That's it!.
GeoString
So, go ahead. Check it out today. What do you have to lose? Isn't free money a great thing?
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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Money Crashers New PF Blogs Ranker is Awesome

Friday, I began cleaning up my email box. I had nearly 2,500 unread emails and Lord only knows how many undeleted emails cluttering the in-box. At this point I am down to 68 unread emails. Woohoo. Still have a ways to go. Anyway, while I was in the process of cleaning up that email box, I received an email from the folks over at Money Crashers the new Personal Finance Blog Ranker, that they developed. It’s the most comprehensive list I’ve seen yet that factors in several different success factors like FeedBurner subscribers, Twitter followers, Alexa rank, Compete rank, Technorati authority, Google PageRank, number of inbound links according to Yahoo, SEOmoz rank, and SEMRush organic search value and then calculates a weighted score based on all of the data.

According to their algorithm, we now know where this blog stands in the over-all rankings. The first couple of years this blog was in existence, it was among the top 100 personal finance blogs. Today, according to this interesting tool, we can see that the blog is ranked 211 of all finance related blogs. Which is pretty good considering I'm just an amateur writing about personal finance.

It's no Columbus marathon, or November election victory. Still though, if you were to look at my average page hits, at sites like SiteMeter, then my numbers would look better. Especially this past week. The sites average visitors had been between 80-100/day, but this week that number has increased to 200-250/day.

Which means, on FireFiance's list I should be back in the top 100 when he does his next update.

Well, back to cleaning the email box and trying to respond to emails that should of been answered back in April. Once the email is cleaned up, perhaps I will be able to stay on top of it, by handling new emails and then deleting the read emails the day they arrive.


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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Living Like No One Else - Dave Ramsey’s Home




Recently I seen an interesting post at FiveCentNickel on that talked about Dave Ramsey's house err, mansion. I must say the post somewhat surprised me. No, there is no record of a mortgage on it, so that isn't what surprised me.

What surprised me, was the sheer size of the house. It is more than 13,307 square feet, not including the 1,454 square foot garage and has a total assessed value of $4,909,200.

For some reason, I figured that he would live in a more modest home like Billionaire Warren Buffett. But, hey if he can afford it, and he paid cash for it, who am I to judge. It sure looks (and sounds) like a nice home. Something that each of his listeners can aspire towards.























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Friday, October 15, 2010

What Does Your Home Insurance Cover?

Recently insure.com posted on their blog an article titled, Does your home insurance policy cover that?. After reading the article, I thought it was very worth sharing with all my readers. As it is a very important question to ask.

That is because your insurance may not cover the pipes in your outdoor sprinkler, even though pipes inside your home is covered. You also may not be covered for flooding or earthquake. Likewise, if a war (declared, undeclared or civil) is often times an exclusion from most policies. A coverage that you may want to consider including.

These are just some of the things that Insure suggests that you look at and consider adding to your home insurance policy. Very good advice considering, just recently an area of the country (central Oklahoma and southern Kansas), not known for earthquakes suffered one this week.
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Franklin Debt Relief

I have discussed debt relief many times. In many different ways. Some have been sponsored posts and some have been things I have learned and researched on the topic. Sometimes, I am asked to discuss the topic again (for whatever reason) and I struggle with coming with a new way to say the same thing.

Today, is one of those days that I again tackle the topic. People may need to seek debt relief services for many different reasons. For example they may not have any savings. While this alone, may not be enough to seek such services, it is an important reason to consider it. If you have this problem, and you also are taking out cash advance loans to pay your credit cards (borrowing to pay another loan) and/or you are losing sleep worrying about your debts. Then you are certainly in trouble. Face it, simple mathematics should tell you that you are not going to out of debt, if you continue to borrow.

If you are struggling with debt, then the time is now to seek credit card debt relief. Especially if your consumer debt is at or near 20% of your income. Furthermore, if you are paying your necessities (utilities, groceries, taxes, etc) with credit cards, then you are overspending. the fact is, you cant continue living that type of lifestyle. You need help from a professional debt relief counselor help you understand how to budget wisely. Someone to help you to spend and save the right amounts of money out of each paycheck. Someone, to help you enter into credit card negotiation with the banks that you are in debt with and help you to cancel each of those credit cards. In my opinion, that means a cash only budget. No more consumer debt.









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Delay in the Closing of the sale of my House

I just received a phone call from my real estate agent. Seems that there is a delay on the closing. The buyers bank is ready for today's closing date. So the closing has been pushed back until next week. Meaning, that the closing could ed up costing me more. The final payment has to be made to the siding loan by the 20th or I will have to pay more on that loan. That is not good. Even if the closing is on the 19th, there will be more of a rush at title company to get the payment overnight-ed to ViewTech to pay off the siding.


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Would You Do For $5?

Have you heard of fiverr.com or gigme5.com. They are both websites, where people list the things that they will do for $5. Some will make a short video, post a link on their website (or blog) for you, sing happy birthday to the person of your choice, wear a t-shirt with your name/business/url on it for a day. The choices are endless and can be very interesting reading through the various ideas people have for earning a $5 bill.

It's really kind of cool. If you haven't already, you should check it. Maybe just for fun. Or maybe, you will find someone that you might want to "hire" for a little project.

***UPDATE: it appears there is a third site that allows to also do things for $10 as well as $5. However, I can't get the first page to open. I did find thier policy page in the search engines and it opened up fine. They seem to charge the seller a 20% commission. ie $1 on a $5 gig or $2 on a $10 gig. *****

What do you think about these sites??




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Isn't It Time to Get Debt Relief

For over four years, I have been blogging about debt. My personal struggles with debt and the things that I learn from various personal finance gurus. It has been a struggle. I have fallen many times. Spending way more then I had at times. There was many times that I needed a more structured Debt Management, then I was willing to admit. Once I stared this blog, I knew that I couldn't do it overnight. Still though their was time I wanted debt relief, faster then what was realistic. Debt Management, is something that has to be learned. No one just knows how to manage their finances. Sure, some people learn at an earlier age. Some were taught as a child by their parents, and so it seems that comes more naturally. In reality though, it is because of the lessons learned from their parents, as they grew up.
Did you know that the average household credit card debt in America is over $9,000? That is a staggering amount. It is the worst of all debts (not counting loan sharks), yet it is the most common consumer debt we as Americans have. That is why, getting professional Debt Management may be the most important thing you do for your finances.
With professional Debt Management, they can help negotiate a debt settlement on your behalf. Helping you get out of debt faster. Still though, it won't happen overnight. In the process they can help you prepare a budget and get your overall finances on track.

It is important that we get rid of our debt and avoid all future debt like the plague. If we don't we could end up spending our golden years working at the golden arches and/or eating a diet of dog food. Neither of which is acceptable to me. I decided in March 2006, that I was going to get real about my debt and build my savings. After four (4) hard years, I finally got debt free. Now, I must get my savings built.


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Welcome New Visitors

There has been a noticeable surge in traffic to this site today. It is amazing, because normally we only have 80-100 visitors a day. With no more then 4-12 visits per hour. Today, we had 24 visitors during the 2pm central time. It didn't stop there, every hour since then has had 13 to 18 new visitors per hour.

I am excited to see the new visitors and want to welcome each and every one of them. It is my hope that each of them will look around and comment on the blog posts and contribute to this blogging community. Again welcome to each and every one of the new visitors. Join our regular readers in making this n interesting blogging site.
Thanks


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TutorVista

When I was in school I hated math. I refused to take any advanced math courses when I was in high school. I thought, I was lucky because I was the last grade that could squeak through with nothing more then general math. Even though they highly recommended more advanced classes, before going to college. I now wish I had taken more classes. Perhaps, I would have found that I might of liked math better, once I understood it better. In fact, I wish my parents would have pushed me harder in school. Perhaps, even having me tutored.
Today, there is even more tutoring options available to parents and their kids, then ever before. If I had learned Algebra 2 better, I might have done better in college. I might have stayed in college and finished. Instead, what math I learned, I ended up teaching myself, as I was thrown into the real work world. I had the drive to succeed at my job, and I couldn't continue counting on my fingers. I had to learn to figure things in my head, so I taught myself some tricks to make it happen. Tricks, that would make most math teachers cringe. Still though, they have helped me the last 20-years in the retail world.

I could have been better prepared, if in 5th grade math, I had understood adding fractions. If I had understood at a younger age, I could have done better in high school as well. Which in turn would have made me better prepared for college, and eventually the real world.

Math is so important. You can't do anything without it. It along with reading are two of the most important subjects that you need to get through this life after school. When I was in school, I didn't believe it. However, it's true. If only I had someone in my life, when I was a kid, that would have pushed me harder in these areas. Please, if you are a parent, take an interest in your kids education and get them a tutor. Help them to be prepared for college and the work world. Don't let them just slide by.


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Multiple Sclerosis

I must admit, before being approached to write this post, I didn't know much about Multiple Sclerosis. I mean it is something I should know something about. Especially since, an aunt has M. S. But, in reality, the only thing I knew was the telethon that I see every year on television during Labor Day weekend (and the paper shamrocks that various retailers sell every March to raise money for MS treatment. So, I thought it would be a great idea to write this post, and perhaps learn a little more.

The first thing that surprised me was that white (Caucasian) people are more likely then African-Americans, Native-Americans, and Hispanics to get the disease. Likewise, the further you live from the equator, the more likely you will be stricken with the disease. Apparently, this is because your skin produces more Vitamin D, as it gets more sun. I don't understand why this is, but that is what I learned as I read through the website. The site suggests that a "healthy" daily dose of Vitamin D supplements could help lower your risk in colder climates.

As for the Multiple Sclerosis Diet, the site indicated that there was no direct link between diet and whether or not your symptoms improve or not. However, the site does indicate that if you have a healthy sensible diet is beneficial to your overall health. As is the case, with everyone. If you would like to know about M.S., I highly suggest checking this site out, and get all of your M. S. questions answered.


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Check Has Been Received


I received my check from the one day as an extra today. It of course was slightly smaller then the pay I had previously quoted. That being for the Federal Withholding ($4.37), Social Security ($3.60) and Medicare (84 cents). Which brought the already small check down to $49.19. It isn't much, but hey every penny, every dollar is a blessing. Not to mention that I earned it.

I also went up the street and went through two shopping centers applying at every retail location. I want to get back to work, and I believe I will find something this week and certainly this month.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

More Budget Forms

As many of you know, I struggle with spending. Still though, I am the nerd. I am the one who loves playing around and creating new budgeting forms. I even created my own website to distribute those forms (free of charge), at PrinceOfThrift.com. Today, I am announcing two new such forms has been added, to aid you in your budgeting process. These two, make he 4th and 5th forms to be designed by me. I can't claim credit for the original ideas, as all the forms have been designed by many different persons over the years.

Today's new forms are linked below, and all 5 forms (along with a couple others can be found at the link above).

Non-Monthly Expenses
This is the form to track your irregular expenses and help you figure what to set aside each month for those expenses.



Who Owes What
This is the form for singles, who are preparing to get married to sit down and start the discussion of what each others debts are. In so doing, they can begin the eventual merging of their finances.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

10-10-10

Today is October 10, 2010 or 10/10/10. As many of the regular readers know. I had planned to do something big today. Unfortunately, that was one of the budget cuts that had to make, due to my unemployment. So the big promotional thing won't happen. Perhaps next year on 11/11/11.
That will give me more time also, to come up with an idea (preferably low cost) to do on this day. There is also the possibility of 1-1-1-1. January 1st, of the year 2011. Now there's a thought. hmmmmmmmmm.
Anyway, the blog will continue. I am debt-free now. So my next goal (besides finding a job) is building my savings and getting me a new home (probably a condo). I would love to be able to move into said home, when my current lease expires. But, I digress. Hope everyone has a great Oct 10th.


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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Credit Union Myths Get Debunked

I have discussed Credit Unions on a number of occasions. Today, however, I would like to take a look at the number of myths that are out there, and try to set them straight.
  1. Myth: Credit unions pay no taxes.
  2. Fact: Credit unions do pay taxes, including property, local and employer taxes. However, because credit unions are not-for-profit they’re exempt from federal income tax.(how are they not-for-profit? They return all profits to members (customers) in great rates and low fees)
  3. Myth: Credit unions are really just like banks.
  4. Fact: Credit unions do provide many services that banks offer. But the core values are so different—regardless of the credit union’s size or offerings. As a credit union member, you’re not just a customer; you’re an owner, with a vote in determining the direction of the credit union. And because credit unions are not-for-profit, all earnings go back to the members in the form of great rates and low fees. It’s about putting people before money. Banks, on the other hand, exist to make a profit for shareholders. While that is fine, it means they’re not motivated by the same values as credit unions.
  5. Myth: You can’t belong to a credit union unless you work for the right employer (or you belong to a union).
  6. Fact: This used to be true, but it’s not anymore. Here’s how it works: a credit union’s charter defines its field of membership—the “common bond” that all people must share to be eligible to join. Today, you may be eligible within a credit union’s field of membership, based on where you live, work, worship or attend school. That’s good news, because with hundreds of credit unions across New York State, almost anyone can find a credit union to join. Our CU Locator can help you find credit unions for which you might be eligible.
  7. Myth: Credit unions’ tax-exempt status gives them an unfair advantage over banks.
  8. Fact: Actually, there’s no evidence to support this claim. Quite the contrary: Even as credit unions grow, banks have enjoyed record profits.
    A. Ten years ago, credit unions held 2.0% of America’s financial assets. Today they hold 2.1%.
    B. The typical credit union has $4 million in assets. The average bank holds $250 million.
  9. Myth: Credit unions should be as strictly regulated as banks.
  10. Fact: They are. Credit unions must comply with most of the same regulations that banks do. In fact, to ensure safety and financial soundness, credit unions face more restrictions than banks in the investments and loans they can make.
  11. Myth: You have to pay a membership fee to join a credit union.
  12. Fact: There’s no membership fee involved. While credit unions do ask you to keep a minimum amount on deposit in savings, that amount is very small—usually $5 to $25—and you will receive it back if you close your credit union account.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Breaking News: Bank of America Halts Sales of Foreclosed Homes

Just received an email from ABC of some breaking news in the American financial world. It seems that Bank of America, has ceased the sale of foreclosed homes. Why? What's going on? Let's turn to ABC News and see if we can get an answer.

The nation's largest bank, Bank of America, stopped sales of foreclosed homes in all 50 states today, a sign that the growing crisis in the real estate industry over flawed foreclosures is worsening.

Bank of America executives said that the decision will allow them to review the documents that it uses to process foreclosures. Just a week earlier, they halted sales of foreclosed homes in 23 states.

"We will stop foreclosure sales until our assessment has been satisfactorily completed," Bank of America spokesman Dan Frahm said in a statement. "Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for our past foreclosure decisions is accurate."

Bank of America is not alone. Today, PNC Financial Services Inc, said that it will halt most foreclosures and evictions in 23 states for a month to review their documents.
- ABC News
But wait, I thought the recession ended in June of 2009. How can this be that foreclosure crisis is worsening?

The answer, it seems may not be directly related to the recession, but rather forged documents to obtain many of the mortgages, that are now being forclosed upon.
In recent days major lenders--including JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage unit and Bank of America--have conceded that paperwork supporting an unknown number of foreclosures contain errors ranging from wrong dates to forged or inconsistent signatures. In many cases, mortgage company employees signed foreclosure documents without first verifying the information in them.
- ABC News

It seems, the executives signed thousands of foreclosure documents without reading them first. Folks, it's not just Congress, it's these banking executives also. No wonder banks don't want someone like me. They don't want the good honest people, that would read the documents first. But, I digress.

A document obtained last week by the Associated Press showed that one Bank of America official acknowledged in a legal proceeding that she had signed thousands of foreclosure documents a month. The official, Renee Hertzler, said that she signed 7000 to 8000 foreclosure documents a month and typically didn't read them.

Whether sloppiness or deceit is the greater culprit remains to be determined.

Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said that he will hold a hearing on the issue next month.

- ABC News
Senator Dodd has vowed to make a Congressional inquiry into this matter. Really? How is a governmental body, known for it's sloppiness in not reading bills before they are passed, going to investigate the banking industry for doing the same thing?

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Texas Endorsements

Greetings. The time has come for my endorsements in the Texas General Elections. Well actually, only one race. That is because since moving here and getting registered to vote, the only TV commercials and news coverage I have seen has been for one statewide race. Heck, I haven't even seen a single flier in my mailbox for any of the candidates. Something, that is very discouraging to a political junkie like me. I want to be informed. I want to know about the candidates before I enter the voters booth. However, I can't say I know anything about any of the candidates. Sure, with some research, I know who the incumbents are, but that is all I know. So, since, I am not informed on any of the other races, I will only discuss the Governors race, and even then I don't know of any of the so called third party candidates.

In the race for Governor, Republican Rick Perry is running for re-election against Democratic challenger Bill White. Perry, first became Governor when former Governor George Bush resigned to take the office of the Presidency. During his tenure in the Governors chair, he has seen the Texas economy become one of the best in the nation. So much so that several publications, has recognized Texas cities in their top 10 lists. Last year Austin was the number large city in America to find work in. Then Kiplingers named Austin as the number one (1) city for the next decade. CNN Money also commented on the robust economy in Texas.
It was because of all this press that helped formulate my decision to make the move and relocate to Austin. When I hear Bill Whites comments in the news or in his commercials, I get scared at the thought of what might happen to the best economy in all of America, if he got what he wanted.
Face it, Texas must be doing something right, if they have the best economy. It is for this reason, that I will wholeheartedly cast my vote for Rick Perry in the (Nov. 2) election, for Governor of the Great State of Texas.




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Democrat Introduces Legislation to End Right-to-Work States

This is ridiculous. The Democrats claim to be the party of the poor. The party of the working man. The party of the people. What hogwash! Look at what a Democratic Congressman has done now.

Back in June, we reported that California Congressman Brad Sherman (D) was circulating a letter to his fellow Democrats to introduce legislation to repeal “Right-to-Work” laws in 22 states. Now, with less than a month before the mid-term elections and five weeks before a lame-duck session in Congress, Sherman has introduced legislation to eliminate state Right to Work laws all across America.
- Red State
So now we have the truth. They really are only the party of the Unions. If you aren't a member of the union and paying the union dues, then they don't want you to be working. They don't care anything about you.
I know, some of you think that is a stretch, but think about it.
In the 28 Non-Right-to-Work states (also called forced-dues states), it is legal for a union to negotiate a “union (income) security clause” that requires all workers covered by the union to pay the union dues or ‘agency fees’ as a condition of employment. If the workers refuse to pay the union, under a “union (income) security clause,” the union can have them fired from their jobs.
- Red State
So you tell me, how much of a stretch it is, to come to that conclusion. Not much. The Democrats have been pulling the wool over our eyes for way to long. It is time to be honest, and call a spade a spade. I am glad to live in a state where I can't be fired for refusing to pay membership dues to an organization, that I don't agree with.

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My name is Kevin, and that's my opinion. What do you think?

Monthly Budget

Today, I thought I would spell out my monthly budget. It is clear I need to do some more work on trimming those expenses. Electricity and phone needs to be trimmed a lot. Although with the electricity, they are billing me for items that should be on the water bill. For example, they are billing me on the water storm drainage run off. Which every place I have been in the past is part of the water bill. So I am not sure, how that will work out. I will be talking to the city and comparing both the water and electric bills, to make sure I am not billed twice for the same thing.
Overall, I actually thought we were coming under budget, until I put the "pencil" to the numbers. I need to do something. I have to get these numbers down. At least until I find a job.
Still though, it would be better if I keep those numbers down, even after I find a new job. That way, I can bank that money into savings.


Interest Charged for previous month - Chase
Income $$$$
His (Acting) $58
His (???) $
Hers (Disability) $1,053
Total Income $1,111
Monthly Budget $$$$
Rent $639
Pet Deposit (monthly Installment -1/6) $50
Water $30
Electricity $100
T-Mobile $100
Time Warner Cable $50
Food - Groceries $100
Interest Charged for previous month - Chase $35
Automobile Gas $ ??
Household Total $1,104
Blog Related Expenses $$$$
A T & T Internet $20
Total Blogging Expenses $20
Over All Totals $1,124





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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Credit Cards - Good or Bad?

From the moment this blog started in March of 2006, I have railed against credit cards. The thing is most people in serious debt, have credit cards that they won't stop using. They are in some ways like crack to a drug user.
However, to the person who is serious about getting out of debt, they can also be a useful tool.
I know, I know, I can hear some of you screaming now. Thinking that I have fallen off my rocker. just hear me out here. When I was in debt, I had some credit debt that had very high interest. By doing some research and credit card reviews, I was able to find a much lower interest. Once, I found one (that would give me a chance to). I was able to roll my higher interest debts over to the lower interest cards.
In my case that card was issued by Washington Mutual, which in the end was bought out by Chase. While I still have that Chase Credit Card, looked away in the safe, it is completely paid off, except for the interest, that was tacked on for having not paid the card off fast enough.
Now that I am debt free, I don't need another credit card. No matter, who it's from. However, if I was still in debt and need to roll my unsecured debts over again, to a lower interest credit card, I might just consider Citi Credit Cards. Thankfully, I no longer have the need to play with such snakes.

However, if you are trying to get out of debt and like me, it seemed as though your payments weren't making a difference. Then consider shopping around and finding a lower interest card and roll those higher interest debts into it.

One word of advice though. Be sure that you cancel all the credit cards/debts that are paid off. You cannot truly be debt free, if you still have those things around, tempting you to use them again for that so called "emergency."


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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Recession Over? Really?

The Huffington Post recently had an article proclaiming that the Recession was over.
The longest recession the country has endured since World War II ended in June 2009, according to a group that dates the beginning and end of recessions.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, a panel of academic economists based in Cambridge, Mass., says the recession lasted 18 months. It started in December 2007 and ended in June 2009. That was the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar downturns were those in 1973-1975 and in 1981-1982. Both of those lasted 16 months.
- Huffington Post
Really? Since President Obama has become President the unemployment numbers has risen, not dropped (In fact it was around 8.1% when he took office (6.7% when he was elected in Nov 2008) and is now 9.6%). So how in God's name does this group even begin to think the the recession is over?

But the news is little comfort to the millions of Americans still out of work, underwater on their mortgages or uncertain about the future.
- CNN Money (9/20/10)

You're dang right with that analysis CNN. In fact most Americans agree with me.
Seventy-four percent of Americans believe the economy is still in a recession, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll. Only 25 percent think the downturn is over.

One-third of Americans say the recession is serious, while another 29 percent characterize it as moderate.
- CNN Money (9/26/10)

CNN continued, by quoting officials from the White House Administration,
"Obviously, for the millions of people who are still out of work, people who have seen their home values decline, people who are struggling to pay the bills day to day, [the recession is] still very real for them," President Barack Obama said last week.

The public appears split over the effectiveness of Obama's economic policies. Forty-seven percent of Americans believe the president's policies either have helped boost the economy or will make it better in the future. Forty-eight percent believe Obama's policies will never help improve the economy.
- CNN Money (9/26/10)
Sadly, I can't find anyone who can answer why this group thinks the recession ended in June of last year.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TV Appearance Canceled

Well, the ABC show that I worked on as an extra, has been canceled. According to the Global Financial News-wires RTT News:
ABC has decided to pull the plug on its new show "My Generation" after only the second airing.

"My Generation" was a fictional documentary focused on a group of young people 10 years out of the high school. The show only averaged a lowly 1.6 rating for its premiere and then dropped to 1.1 in its second week in the Thursday 8 PM slot, finishing sixth overall.
- RTT News

So much for my big break, this time (LOL). I feel confident though, that there will be more shows and movies. I just have to give it time. Those appearances though will have to work around whatever job I find.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

VIDEO: Endorsement For Texas Governor

Today, I am going to do a rare thing and delve into politics and make an endorsement for Texas Governor. Based on the economy, and the it's relation to the basic topic of this blog, I feel it is fitting to make such an endorsement. Below is my video post of that endorsement.



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Another Job Interview

I have another job interview tomorrow. I am hopeful that I will actually get this job. However, I am not getting my hopes up. I am not even going to mention, who the company is until, I land the job. I will say though, that it is a publicly traded company, with locations all over the United States. It is retail and they offer medical, dental and vision insurance. Wow, vision. I have never worked for a company that offered vision. They also offer a 401k plus and ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan). That is great news.
However, once I start rebuilding my retirement, how much do I put where? I was thinking maybe 10% in the 401k and 5% in the ESPP. Maybe that is to risky? What do you all think?
OK, OK, I know, I need to wait till I actually get hired. But, I am so confident that I will, that I am thinking out the options in the back of my mind.




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