Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Getting In and Out of College Without Debt

Below is the first of  a series of guest posts relating to going to school, without incurring debt.  I hope you enjoy the different perspectives, on how this be accomplished.
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Getting In and Out of College Without Debt
By Stephanie Mojica

Many students borrow money for their college education and then financially struggle to repay all those loans once they’ve graduated. They probably think that it’s perfectly normal or that “Everyone else is doing it so it shouldn’t be a problem.” Or they tell themselves even “After I finish school, it would be easy to pay that.”

Well, the reality is that it just isn’t that easy to pay back a lot of money. Yes, everyone’s doing it but it WILL be a problem later on. Tens of thousands of dollars just isn’t easy to pay off, even when you’re working. Getting in and out of college without debt may be the most mature and independent thing a student can do for himself.

Now you’re probably asking if it’s possible to get in and out of college without debt? It is. Quite a few people have saved themselves a lot of time and trouble by paying for their own education. It saves money and greatly lessens future financial worries and stress. Just because others use student loans, doesn’t mean you have to join the crowd. The paying for college without loans option is not limited to the privileged either. Anyone can do it.

Then how do I do it?

There are many ways of getting in and out of college without debt. Some of them include:

1. Letting Your Parents Pay for It
Letting your parents pay for your college education might make you feel somewhat immature and dependent. But nevertheless, it is a way. And if they’re willing, then you shouldn’t worry.

2. Working for It
This may be one of the most decent ways to grow up, be independent, and get in and out of college without hefty loans. Skipping a year or two to work and save money isn’t unheard of, especially in this economy. As long as you’re hardworking, determined, and very willing to make use of those few years to earn and save, then there shouldn’t be a problem. Some people also work and go to school, but keep a careful eye on your grades.

3. Scholarships
Scholarships are one of the most common ways to go into college without a loan. If you study hard in high school and earn high grades, it might be much easier for you to find college scholarships and sponsors willing to pay for you to just study and graduate college.

So, while this process might at first feel uncomfortable just try to secure your prosperous financial future by trying some or all of these ways to pay for college. You and your future spouse and children will be eternally grateful that you took this path to pay for your higher education.

Stephanie Mojica is a writer for Quizzle.com, where she specializes in helping consumers with debt management and financial planning. She’s also a business success and prosperity coach and author of “How One Writer Shifted from Settling for $12 an Hour to Prospering at Over $90 an Hour.”




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Monday, November 29, 2010

Buying Local Is Better For Local Economy

We have often heard that buying locally is better for the local economy. However, is it really true? I have heard people question that. Saying if they shop at big box x locally, the money is sill spent locally. So what is the truth?

According to a recent study, $45 of every $100 spent at a locally owned business stays in the community, while only $14 stays locally when spent at a big box chain.

I am not saying in this post, that big box stores are evil. Heck, I have shopped at some of them, in the past, and probably will in the future. However, the fact is the majority of the money will go back to the corporate headquarters and not the local economy, when you shop the big box stores.

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Monetization Draws Ire

Recently a comment was made on one of my blog posts. Specifically, a "Sponsored post." The poster was very harsh, but I think they had some valid points. Please, take time to read their comment (below) and chime in on the discussion.


This blog is becoming saturated with useless spam. Do you even investigate these companies or are you willing to do anything for a buck? Stop with all the spam crap.

What is wrong with you?
This blog seems to swing from one extreme to another. Re-read your posts from the last six months. A trip to the doctor could be in order, as I suspect you are an untreated bi-polar. Anyone else see this behavior as odd?
- TJD

I wouldn't go so far as saying it is filled with spam. There are to many sponsored posts for my taste that are for companies that I detest. I just deleted 2, that were rejected by the advertiser, because, I had put to much of my opinion in there. I mean, what good is it, if I can't be honest. I need the cash, but I really need to be honest. Ugh, I hat this. This post itself, was approved, but I even hate this one.

Another problem, I have found is that it seems Blogsvertise, here lately has been giving me 2 or 3 tasks all at once. It would be much better, if they were say like one a day, so that they aren't all bunched up together. As was the case, when TJD responded with their comments.



Perhaps, I can find a better way of monetization that would allow me to be true to my beliefs, while at the same time, produce a greater income. I am open to any ideas. I would like to thank TJD for their comment, and for keeping me focused. I will from this point on do a better job, of being more selective of the tasks that blogsvertise give me. It is my desire to see this blog become even better in every aspect.

We (at the blog) have had a great four (4) years and I look forward to our fifth (5th) anniversary in March. In the meantime, we are fast moving into the holiday season. Both Hanukkah and Christmas will be here before you know it. Let's focus on the the holiday spirit and the reason for the season.

Love, Peace and Goodwill to all.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why You Should NEVER borrow To Invest

When I first started this blog in 2006, I published a number of articles on the topic of borrowing, and why to avoid it. One of the articles was published in May of that year. I had a number of people taking me to task for my thoughts there. Today, I would like to republish that article. The only changes from the original is that I corrected some misspellings I found.

Over the past few weeks, I have had people actually tell me that they can borrow at 0% (for say 11 months) and then use the money to invest. I am finally going to address what one financial experts say about that faulty idea.
Crown Financial Ministries says,

Debt presumes on the future. When people commit themselves to payments over a period of time, they are presuming that there will be no pay reductions, no loss of job, and no unexpected expenses. That is an improbable assumption (see Proverbs 27:1)Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.


Suppose you borrow for that awesome investment, that is earning higher interest, and next week your company files bankruptcy and there is no payroll checks? How are you going to make the payments? The same could be said if you were laid off or had to take a cut in pay.

I personally know about pay cuts. I took a $2 pay cut, after just over a year, I received a promotion to a higher position then I had before, but my pay still not equal to what I was making before the pay cut. It's called life, things happen. Never, presume you can just continue on....pay off your debt and pay cash for everything.

According to CFM, some other reasons include:

  • Debt could delay God’s plan. God said that He would provide for His people’s needs. Debt allows needs to be met now, from a means other than through God’s provision. Debt provides instant gratification, at the expense of financial freedom, rather than waiting on God’s perfect plan and His perfect timing.

  • Debt clouds the line that separates wants, desires, and needs. Needs are necessary purchases such as food, clothing, shelter, medical coverage, transportation, and others. Wants involve choices about quality of goods. Discount shopping versus specialty shopping, lobster versus chicken, or a new car versus a good used car, and so on. Desires are those things that can be purchased only after all other obligations are met and only if there are surplus funds available to purchase them. Debt allows desires to become wants and wants to become needs.

  • Debt eliminates family financial planning. Rather than planning for the future and allowing for a margin of errors, overruns, and changes to dictate future financial development, debt eliminates the necessity for future planning because the course for the financial future of the family will have already been set: pay the debt that has been accumulated.

  • Debt teaches children that the world’s method of managing money is normal. Debt causes children to have a casual regard for using credit cards, obtaining loans and mortgages, and keeping vows to pay the bills. For this reason, we have children who have graduated from college by borrowing for education expenses and living to the limit of their credit cards. They have never considered paying cash for transportation or anything else and have begun adult life with so much debt that they have to work for years just to pay for the debt accumulated during their college years.


  • Finally one final note from the CFM article,

    Christians today are generally polarized into two opposite groups. One feels that the Word of God forbids any and all kinds of debt at all times (see Romans 13:8). Some of these even feel that debt is a sin. The other group assumes that debt is an acceptable and normal way of life that God often uses to meet the needs of His people. Neither of these viewpoints is totally accurate. Although debt is not a sin, it also is not a normal way of life, according to Scripture. Rather, debt is a dangerous tool that must be used, if at all, with extreme caution and much prayer due to its potential for enslaving people in financial bondage (see Proverbs 22:7).

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    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Sponsored Post: JustReMortgages.com

    Are you paying to much on your existing mortgage? Perhaps it may be time to consider a refinance or as they say in the UK where this sponsor is located, Remortgage Deals.
    Whether, you hate them or love them, mortgages are a part of the lives of most people in this world. So, if you are paying to much interest on your current mortgage, it may be time to find the Best Remortgage Deals available.
    Look, here's the deal. If you have a 30-year adjustable rate mortgage, you should definitely seek out a new mortgage. In fact all the big name personal finance gurus suggest refinancing with a 15-year fixed mortgage. You want lower interest, but you also want to pay that mortgage off as quickly as possible. Further, you want to get rid of that adjustable rate, because that could really come back to bite you, if the interest rates change for the worse.

    So, if you check out this website, I believe you will find that they have the best Remortgage Rates, in all of the United Kingdom.

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    Freebies Saturday 11/27/10

    It's time once again for our freebies Saturday. This marks the third such event on the blog. Something that has become a weekly tradition. Today, we have found a number of freebies (10+) to report to you. So lets get started. Shall we?
    1. Get Free Christmas Wrapping Paper. Yes, I said FREE Christmas Wrapping Paper. This company is promoting their catalog through this free sample offer. Requesting a free sample from this company will also allow them to send a free company catalog to review Request your completely free sample today!
    2. Get a Free Recipe Book from Karo Syrup
    3. .
    4. Get up to 5 lbs of document shredding for free at Office Depot. Just print out this coupon and take it to the store nearest you.
    5. Get a free pack of Extra Dessert Delights gum when you 'Like' their Facebook page.
    6. Get a Free sample of the all new Gas-X Prevention
    7. Get a Free Samples Pack of NEW U by Kotex - specifically designed for young women (just look for the green "Free Samples" button on the top right of page)
    8. Get a Free Sample of Your Life Multi Gummies
      These delicious gummies from Natures Bounty are the perfect multivitamin for those who are young at heart. Each serving provides you with key vitamins and minerals – plus fiber – for heart, immune, eye, bone and nervous system health. Register to request a free sample of Your Life Multi Gummies.
    9. Get a FREE Matrix Volumatherapie Shampoo and Conditioner
    10. The report I had was Wendy's was giving Free Fries away for joining their email list, but when I visited, they were giving away $1 Wendy's coupons. Whichever, it's a pretty good deal.
    11. Get a Free Sample of Gillette Venus Razor and Skintimate Shave Cream
    12. HealthyWomen.org asks, "Curious about using a menstrual cup? Order your free sample today."
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    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Thank You, so very much

    I would like to thank a very special sponsor today. This sponsor is giving away FREE of the Think and Grow Rich book. Just pay shipping and Handling. What a great price! Take advantage of this great offer today.

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    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    Job Search Takes No Holiday

    Today, I thought I would bring you up to speed on my job search. The day before Thanksgiving, I applied to 4 or 5 openings at a retailer, who I applied to before moving here. Who hadn't called me regarding any of my previous applications. I figure I can't dwell on those past failures, I must look forward. This time all the positions are part-time rather then full-time. Still, I figure, it is better to get back to work and earn some cash rather none.

    Then their is a retailer across the street from the primary location that applied to that I also applied to on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, even thought was Thanksgiving, I was setting in front of my computer applying to even more potential employers. As one of the pastors (the Spanish Church Pastor) at church said recently, "enjoy your time off, because you are about to go back to back work." I am believing that on faith and ready for it.



    While, I am looking for a job, I also want to spend some time, refocusing some of my effort to freelance writing. To that end, I need to look at getting the 2011 Writer's Market So that I can find the correct addresses and contacts for the publications, I want to submit work to. It is an invaluable tool to the freelancer, but isn't really in the budget of this freelancer either.

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    A Day of Thanksgiving - What Are You Thankful For

    The other day, a friend sent me a message through Facebook, asking what am I most thankful for. I responded that I was thankful for my wife of 3 months and our overall health.
    I could have been all down about being unemployed, but instead I focused (and want to continue) to focus on the positive. There is no doubt that last three months has been rough, but I expect that to turn around very soon.
    After, I answered her question, I got to thinking and wondering what others are thankful for. So I posted the question as my status on Facebook and twitter. What I found was that overwhelmingly most people were thankful for their families.

    Some of the comments on FaceBook were:
    My happy healthy family
    - Michaelle
    Unbeknown to me, my wife even chimed in and said,
    my family, my salvation life and of course my handsome husband
    - Pat (aka Princess of Thrift) Surbaugh

    i am thankful for every breath i take that leads me to many more with my family friends and all my loved ones
    - Melodee
    Life, my family, my friends, salvation, my church.
    - Misty
    A great family and wonderful support system!
    - Tiana
    My children & my jobs.....
    - Anje
    Sobriety at a point before I was able to destroy myself and my family. Many don't achieve this ever or far too late
    -Schaan
    My husband and kids, my Church family, good friends, and my Needs cared for. Very Blessed!!
    - DeAna
    Jesus.
    - Joyce
    I am thankful for good health, loving people I am honored to call family and friends, a thriving business...and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Without Him, none of the rest would be possible!
    - Jennifer H.
    Salvation, Family & Friends, Health, Job, GOD's Grace & Mercy.
    - David
    I want o take time to thank those who contributed to this post. I was surprised by the results, but I must say if the results depict most of society in general, then perhaps there is still hope after all.

    So what are you most thankful for?

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    Article first published as A Day of Thanksgiving.... on Blogcritics.

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    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Thank You

    I would like to thank goal setting software who has graciously become a sponsor on this site. We here at the blog would like to welcome them aboard.




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    Earning Some Side Income

    I requested my first check from SendEarnings.com. I will receive this first check in about a month, which is good. Need that income coming in from every source I can. It's easy to do, SendEarnings sends you emails and you click a link confirming that you read the email. Plus, when you refer someone new, you get 10% of their revenue. Which is great because you both are earning money. If this sounds appealing to you sign-up today. In addition, the same folks has inboxDollars.com, which is the same thing, but they also have a toolbar that you can download and keep updated with your basic earning information and even earn by using the search bar to search the internet.

    Sure, this side income isn't enough to live on, but it does help to have a little extra cash to come in.


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    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Veterans Refinancing Now Could Get You Debt Free Faster

    If you own you own home and are paying high interest on the mortgage, it may be time to consider refinancing. We here this blog, of course agree with Dave Ramsey, that is important to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. That is why I would like to talk about VA mortgage loans. If you are active duty military or have served in this nations armed forces, then I am addressing you. You served our country and we want to thank you with a high quality refinance program. The folks at StreamlineRefinance.net are offering VA loan rates for refinancing at record low rates.

    Of course you will have to qualify, but if you do you will find the process simple. The best part if you already have a FHA or VA home loan then you are already approved. Take a look at the VA funding fee charts. With rates between 1.25% and 3.3% what more could you want. When I had my mortgage, I couldn't find a rate that low. Then again I wasn't a veteran. This is a really good deal, that could help help you get debt free faster.


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    The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money!

    Article first published as Book Review: The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money! by Jane Honeck on Blogcritics.

    Recently, I had the chance to review the book,
    The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money! by Jane Honeck

    The first question we need to ask ourselves is
    Are You in Charge of Your Money, Or Is Your Money in Charge of You?
    That is what this book attempts to do. The author, Jane Honeck, CPA, specializes in tax and financial planning for professionals, small businesses and individuals. She is also a Certified Empowerment Trainer and has developed "Cent$ible Living" financial workshops and money coaching sessions to help her clients make meaningful and lasting change in their financial lives.

    There are literally hundreds of books, Cd's, and DVD's telling us how to manage money. Meaning that many people how to gain control of their finances. Yet very few actually do it. The problem is they don't now the why they are in their particular situation. Which means it is hard to fix the what until they figure out the why.

    In her book Honeck talks about how she found she had unexamined beliefs, and those beliefs were influencing the choices that she made. If we are to get really serious about our financial house, we most remove that blindfold and discover those uncovered beliefs in our own personal and financial lives.

    In fact, she point blanks says, in here book,
    That's what this book is all about. The Problem with Money? is about removing those blindfolds and committing to leading a financially conscious lives with fully examined beliefs so when we make our money choices we're making them with our eyes open.

    She writes in a lighthearted way about a serious topic, saying, "We're going to laugh at our foibles and our feeble attempts to change (our money habits)." To help us unearth our money beliefs, she suggests to have a journal or notebook beside you as you read her book (The Problem With Money? It's Not About the Money!). Her reason for the notes, "being conscious with your money isn't automatic - the notes will remind you of where you've been and where you're going." (Perhaps that's part of my reason to start this blog in March 2006 - although somewhat unconsciously.)


    As Honeck so clearly states in her book, when we become conscious of our underlying beliefs, we turn those beliefs around to reflect our real values. So what are some of those unconscious beliefs? Such things we may have learned from our parents and those around us, as we grew up, as -
    Money is everything, those that don't have are lazy; they aren't even trying.
    -or-
    Money is tough; there is never enough.
    -or-
    Having to much money is bad (evil).


    Her book attempts to help you discover your beliefs, without telling you what they should be. There is no right or wrong answers. Only you and you alone can decide what is best for you. She even includes worksheets in the back of the book to help you work through this process.


    If you don't learn the why, you can't fix it. Basically, think of the movie Ground Hogs Day, and apply it to your financial life. It is important that we get control and keep control. Even those of us that have studied under personal finance lecturer, author and radio personality Dave Ramsey and got debt free, could end up repeating our mistakes, if we don't learn the why's and change those habits and thoughts. I truly believe this book is an important read and would fit nicely into any personal finance study. Please do yourself a favor, and get a copy of this book and read it. Do her worksheets, and then get the budget forms from PrinceOfThrift.com and fill them out on a regular basis. Because, when it comes to personal finance, it's not a one time thing, it's a lifetime thing. 





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    First Time Teaching

    Last Tuesday evening, I taught my first class at church to a group of men in a discipleship program that the church runs. It was an interesting experience and I was nervous as all get out. I clearly stuttered some, but it was rewarding. The associate pastor in charge of the program, has told me to be prepared to do more of that beginning after Christmas.

    He and I have talked, and I believe the topic I will start off with will be the Bible and Money. It is also my desire to writ my own lessons on this topic, and that is what he wants me to do. Because of this, I must really get busy and finish writing each of my lessons. I believe I have all the scriptures I want to use and the working titles for each lesson, now I must just formulate them into sermons (aka lessons). Please pray for me on this project, as I also have two book ideas in the works also, that I must get done, as well.

    Finally, most of you don't know that I used to be a writer with blogcritics.org. Well this week, I have, after several years, written my first review/post for the award winning site. I look forward to making blogcritics a part of this site. Although, many of the posts I write there will be published on my opinion blog. Occasionally though, like this week, I will review a financial related book/product and it will make more since to co-publish it on this blog.



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    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Frugal Gifts: Give Less Stuff and More Heart This Christmas

    Today's post is a guest post and is just in time for the upcoming Christmas season. I hope you enjoy it, and get some great ideas that don't break the bank this holiday season.

    So you’re careful with your money – that doesn’t mean you forgo holidays. You can still have a great time giving this Christmas without spending your entire emergency fund (or even your paltry summer vacation change jar) on stuff your friends and family won’t be using anymore by Valentine’s Day. If you stop to think about it, none of us really needs anything that’s made of plastic, operates on batteries, sucks up electricity, or comes in a giant box that’s impossible to open without a chainsaw. Since when does Christmas mean meeting the demands of spoiled kids, stocking up on batteries and ibuprofen, and making sure you spend the same amount on people who will see each others’ gifts? That one’s pretty obvious – since commercialism’s reign of terror – but you don’t have to pay through the nose to enjoy Christmas and bring happiness to the important people in your life. It might take some time and effort, but you can use the following ideas to help you come up with inexpensive gifts that are perfect for each person on your Christmas list.

    For the Kids

    Craft Kit: Go to the Dollar Store first, then hit up your local craft store for anything you might have missed. Include fun items like glitter, colored pencils, crayons, markers, construction paper, scissors with different edging options, and paint (but only if you know you won’t have to clean up after the colorful apocalypse). Pack everything into a tin or plastic carrying case, including a sheet of stickers so the kids can decorate the container.
    Rainy Day Kit: Pick up an inexpensive basket, filling it with one or two puzzles, some snacks, and drink mixes. You can also include a used DVD from your collection (kid-appropriate, of course), a deck of cards, or a gently used board game you no longer play.


    For the Parents & Siblings

    Framed Art: Have your kids draw or paint pictures for family members, have them framed (or just pick up a simple frame at an office supply store), and give them with a smile. As simple as this might seem, it’s a great way to add joy to someone’s bare walls.
    Vouchers: Write up some gift certificates (or print them on your computer) that entitle your family members to some valuable service hours from you. You might offer babysitting for a few nights, free yard work, a tutorial on using the computer (great for parents), or any other way to share your expertise.

    For the In-Laws

    Calendar: It can be tough trying to get used to all the dates and traditions of a new family, so give your in-law a break with a special calendar. Mark birthdays, anniversaries, and other important family events so your new brother or sister will be in the know. You can even make your own calendar with fun family photos and nametags to help the newbie remember everyone’s names.
    Recipe Basket: If you know a favorite family recipe, pack up the ingredients in a pretty basket and include the recipe so your in-law can make it “just like Grandma used to.”




    For the Friends & Coworkers

    Music: If you know a music lover, make a mix CD of songs he or she might enjoy and include an inexpensive iTunes gift card. You can even decorate the CD case to make it more special.
    Spa Basket: For the ladies, put together a basket filled with some of the following items: bath salts, a manicure kit, nail polish, soaps, shower gel, a sleep mask, mud mask packets, lip balm, sugar scrub, or a loofah.
    Car Care Kit: Gentlemen usually like to keep their cars looking spiffy (even if they don’t care about anything else’s appearance), so give them a plastic bucket filled with a chamois cloth, car wax, black tire gel, leather cleaner, detailing clay, car wash, polish, and anything else manly and car-related.



  • Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs and blogging about student life. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


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    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Bank Failures for Friday Nov 19, 2010

    A while back I started reporting the news of each weeks bank failures. Over time, I got away from that. You usually don't hear about the bank failures still going on, unless you happen to live in an area where the FDIC shutters a bank. However, it is still happen every Friday, except most Holiday weekends. For example, I fully anticipate that this weekends closures will be the last for November. Because of Thanksgiving next week, the next round of seizures will be December 3, 2010.

  • First Banking Center, Burlington, WI was closed by the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed.

    All deposit accounts, excluding the Cede & Co. deposits, have been transferred to First Michigan Bank, Troy, MI ("assuming institution") and will be available immediately. The former First Banking Center locations will reopen as branches of First Michigan Bank during regular business hours.


  • Allegiance Bank of North America, Bala Cynwyd, PA was closed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed.

    All deposit accounts, excluding certain brokered deposits, have been transferred to VIST Bank, Wyomissing, PA ("assuming institution") and will be available immediately. The former Allegiance Bank of North America locations will reopen as branches of VIST Bank during regular business hours.


  • Gulf State Community Bank, Carrabelle, FL' target="new
    was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed.

    All deposit accounts, excluding the Cede & Co. deposits, have been transferred to Centennial Bank, Conway, AR ("assuming institution") and will be available immediately. The former Gulf State Community Bank locations will reopen as branches of Centennial Bank during regular business hours.


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    Saturday, November 20, 2010

    Freebie Saturday - 11/20/10

    It has been a week now, since we here at the blog launched our Freebie Saturday segment. That means it is time for our second group of freebies. Which means you could get some nice things for free. Free! The best price of all. Now that's what I'm talking about.

    The first one you have to act fast, because it is today only.
    1. Stop into any Yankee Candle store TODAY only, November 20, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon, and you'll get a free votive candle. No purchase necessary!

      This was announced on the Yankee Candle Facebook page and it says that it's limited to one free votive per customer. Find a Yankee Candle store near you to get your free candle.

      My wife and I are candle addicts so we will totally be at Yankee Candle today, just for that free candle. How about you?
    2. CVS is offering 5 Free Hand Sanitizer Wipes offering at any local MinuteClinic location.
    3. Free Small Slurpee on Purple (Black) Friday - Just like the Unity Slurpee campaign on Facebook and sign back in on 11/26 to download and print a coupon for a free small Slurpee on Black Friday.
    4. Get your free sample of Burt's Bees lotion by liking their Facebook page and clicking on the What Skin Says tab. Scroll down and click on the white box to the left of the Publish button. You'll then need to allow them to access your Facebook account.

      Type in the white box an answer to what your skin has to say and click publish this to your Facebook page.

      Fill out the freebie form and click Submit to get your free sample of the Burt's Bees lotion. You'll receive it in the mail in about 6-8 weeks.
    5. Sign up for the Mr. Food Recipe eNewsletter and receive "Mr. Food Thanksgiving Feasts" eCookbook free featuring 47 pages of favorite Thanksgiving recipes. As Mr. Food says everyday on TV, Ooh It’s So Good!
    6. A limited number of Shout Color Catcher Samples are available on a first-come, first-served basis, by liking the Shout Facebook page. Limit one per household.

      Sample will arrive in the mail within 6 weeks. Offer redeemable only within the U.S.


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    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Another Job Interview Today

    I have another job interview today. I am very hopeful that I will soon be back to work. Unfortunately, this job is only a seasonal job, and I will be out of work again at the end of the year. Still though, I would be able to get back to work and start building up some savings again. Then perhaps, I will be able to land the seasonal job that starts in January to, so I would be able to go from this job to the next and I wouldn't have to worry about being unemployed again until about May. Who knows, we will have to see.
    Back to today's interview, it is expected to be about two hours, which means I will be late getting to the church to help out, but that's o.k., this interview (and landing a job) is more important then help out with a food pantry type deal. Keeping my fingers crossed that I get this job.


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    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Brand Identity

    If you have a business you must advertise. It is a simple fact, in the cutthroat world of business. Through advertising you help create your image. Of course most of the image will be created by the quality of service you provide. Still though, without advertising, it becomes harder to get new customers through your doors. Once we understand that, the first thing we must do is establish an advertising budget. Once we establish a budget, we need an Advertising Agency to help us develop a plan to establish an identity. Unfortunately some agencies lack the ability to do that effectively. If you get the wrong agency, then you could be wasting money and worse destroying the identity you want to build. That is why it is important that you choose the right Advertising Agency.

    With the right Advertising Agency, your brand will grow. The right agency will get to know you and your brand and help you choose the right advertising campaign to achieve your goals. The right advertising campaign be creative advertising powered by data, so the you can reach the consumers you need to be successful. Think about it, why would you advertise in a print media, if most people that you would be reaching don't even pick up a newspaper? If most of your customers are on the internet, then wouldn't it make more since to reach them in that media? Same goes for each of the forms of media. Face it, if you have a business the time is now to build brand awareness, not brand obscurity. Don't let your identity waste away, develop it today.



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    Wednesday, November 17, 2010

    Scrub Uniforms

    We have all seen those nurses in the hospital and doctors office wearing those nice comfortable scrubs. Why aren't more clothing made to feel and look so comfortable. Don't you wish you could have a pair or two? Well you can. My mom has bought some to wear around the house and in her effort to take care of my dad and his many medical problems. My wife has some, from her days of working in nursing homes, in medical records. Of course neither has the whole outfit. No surgery hats or lab coats. However, they have those comfortable tops and where them quite often. So, yes you can to. It is possible. They are comfortable and that's all you want to be. You don't want to pretend to be a nurse or anything like that. You just want to be comfortable and these are the most comfortable piece of clothing you know. You just need to know where to purchase one for yourself.

    Of course, if you are a nurse, you will be able to find a complete line of scrub uniforms. Whatever colors you want. Whatever pieces you need to complete your uniform. Perhaps, you are just starting and need 5-7 outfits for the entire work week. The website, is the place to start, and the best news, you get FREE shipping on any orders of $155 or more. What is better then that?


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    Considering Burial Insurance

    There is a time in our lives, that we all must die. Even the Bible says, "it is appointed unto men once to die," in Hebrews 9:27. It may not be something that we like to think about, but it is a fact of life. It is important that we all have life insurance, like that provided by MetLife. However, there is another insurance that we might strongly consider also. That being burial insurance. What better way to provide for our loved ones after we are gone, but to know that the expenses of the funeral will be taken care of.

    Lets face it, burial and funeral expenses are very expensive and could wipe out any life insurance policy. That is why it is so critical that we consider such insurance. In fact, burial insurance is much easier and less complicated insurance to obtain, than term life (or even those horrible whole life policies). The good news is you will be covered by such insurance until you reach the age of 100. The best news is that most burial insurance can be personalized to suit the funeral wishes of the individual that is buying the policy. Look, burial insurance for seniors is an essential part of preparing for the inevitable. However, I wonder if I shouldn't even be considering such a policy, while I am still in my 40's and my wife in her 50's. Seems, like it would be a wise investment, as we do not know when the end will come. Won't you at least consider it?



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    Thank You - 11/17/10

    I would like to thank another sponsor. Today's sponsor refinance car loan. This sponsor is sponsoring me though my gig at fiverr. So please welcome them as a sponsor.





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    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Today's Job Fair Was A Disappointment

    After being promised that a number of career options would be at today's job fair, I found it to be a huge disappointment. In the end there was only about 7 booths actually staffed with employers. Of those 4 was in the insurance industry, looking for people to sale insurance. One was the Army, one was a job training school (8-week course) that is a non-profit and will train you at no cost to you. Finally, the other booth was a temporary agency seeking people for customer service jobs in Austin, and clerical jobs in Dallas and San Antonio.

    JOBS AVAILABLE AT THIS EVENT INCLUDE:
    Accounting
    Administrative Assistant
    Customer Service
    Data Entry
    Financial Advisor
    Financial Services
    Financial Services Representative
    General Warehouse Labor
    Insurance
    Logistics
    Managing Partner
    Marketing
    Medical - Back Office
    Medical - Front Office
    Medical - Phlebotomist
    Medical - Billing
    Medical - Cert. Medical Assistant
    Medical - LVN
    Medical - RN
    Merchandiser
    Office/Administrative
    Order Selector
    Receptionist
    Sales
    Sales Agent
    Sales Associate
    Sales Manager
    Sales Manager in Training
    Skilled Labor
    Stocker
    I will trudge on. I will look into the job training, but I need a job now, not in 8-weeks. I have an application that I picked up today, while I was on my way home from the "job fair."


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    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Job Search Continues - Gets Frustrating

    I continue to search for a job. While, I have had some interviews, I haven't had as many as I would have expected. A number of the jobs, I have applied for I have more then enough experience. Yet, I don't get called for even an interview. It has become very frustrating. Why? Because, I want a job. Anything (even part-time or temporary)! Yet, when they don't call, when I am clearly qualified, I wonder if they even looked at my application. I even wonder, if I was passed over, because of my older age and/or they are afraid, I I will quit as soon as I find something "better." I mean what else can it be, other then those three (3) reasons? I have 18+ years of retail experience. Only need 10 years of experience on the resume. If I were to go back further, I have served in the ministry, worked fast food, and even as a file clerk/office assistant. Yet, it seems so many employers are not even giving me that opportunity, with even an interview.

    Tomorrow, there is another job fair here in Austin. I have preregistered with this one, which is suppose to give me quicker access to the event. Before I go, I need to make more copies of my resume, which I recently redesigned (Placing the company name ahead of the job titles). Someone suggested a while back not focusing on the cleaning and cardboard bailing, that hasn't been a part of the resume I have been passing around, but was/is on the public version, which has a lot of the contact information redacted, for security reasons. Still, perhaps I should update that version to.

    In addition, I have been searching for jobs through snagAjob.com and the Texas Workforce Commission. In fact as soon, as I finish this mornings post, I need to turn my attention to those websites. Snag A Job, has sent me several emails this week of possible opportunities to check out, and I need to get those applications made.

    One of the pastors at church and I are very hopefully (and believing in faith) that I will find a job this week.


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    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Freebies Saturday 11/13/10

    It's time for a new feature here, that I hope to start doing every Saturday. I call it freebies Saturday. Today, I would like to share with you some free samples I have found, and how to get your free sample to.




    1. If you are like my wife, and suffer from frequent heartburn, then you will love this sample. It is a free sample, of Prilosec, from WalMart. This is the very same product, my wife already buys, so this sample will be a great help on the budget for this medicine, if only for a day or two.


    2. The next sample also comes from walmart's website, and is a free sample Purina One pet food. If you have a dog or cat, you will find this sample very useful, as we all know how expensive pet food can be.


    3. This next sample, I can't get because I don't have a membership with Sam's Club. But if you do, then this sample of Dove lotion is available to you. Click here to request your free sample, while supplies last. (Thanks Shellie, for the tip on the lotion).


    4. Finally, it is about time to start thinking 2011. So, we have found a free calendar, that you can request. The 2011 wall calendar looks very beautiful and picturesque, that can be requested by simply filling in and submitting the form. Within a few weeks, you should have your calendar to hang on your wall (of course they would like a donation, but it isn't required).




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    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Gold Coins

    There has been a lot of talk lately about gold. Depending on who you talk to, it is either the best investment ever or it's all hype. There are four types of gold you can invest in. The 1st type is gold bullion. The 2nd type is rare gold coins. The 3rd type of gold you have to choose from is proof gold which was designed specifically for retirement accounts. Finally, the 4th kind of gold, you have is Gold Stocks, which really isn't gold, but rather paper stocks in companies who mine for gold. Since they are stocks, there are much more volatile then traditional gold.

    Let's be clear, we are only looking at Gold Coins and Gold Bullion (aka Bullion Coins). Prices have been on steady incline for the past few years, as you can see in the chart below.

    Gold Price



    In addition, the gold experts at Regal Gold has also put together a video presentation about the benefits of gold, which you can see at the bottom of this post. I encourage you to take a look at it, and make up your own mind.






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    Credit Cards

    This post is a tough one for me to write. Especially since, I have sworn off credit cards. However, there if you are trying to get rid of all your credit cards, but need to shop for the lowest rates, so you can get the last of your credit card(s) paid off more quickly, then this article may be of interest to you. If you have a 15% interest rate on your current card and you are committed to paying it off and seriously becoming debt free, it may be worth looking at a zero percent interest credit card, to roll that debt into. Doing so, would help you reach your goal faster.


    Of course you may not be of the same opinion as I am, you think you have to have a credit card, but your credit stinks. So you may want to look at a capital one secured card. Personally though, if it was me, I would probably open a bank account (maybe even at Crapital One Bank), and get their debit card, and use that account specifically for my secured credit card. I mean the debit card has the card logo and the money is backed by the funds that I myself put there, just like it would be, if I had a secured card.

    Whichever option fits you, it is important that you compare credit cards before making a decision.
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    Looking at HDMI Cables

    Recently my step son and I was looking at HDMI cables for his flat screen TV. We went to a local electronics store and was amazed at the options and range in prices. They went from $6 all the way up to $100. Seriously! Can you believe that. Why on earth is there such a wide range in pricing? Of course the salesman, tried to tell us that, he need the most expensive brand. Why? Because, it would give a better quality picture of course.

    They are all HDMI cables, is one brand name really any better then the other? My bet is that the salesman, just wanted the commission off the higher ring. But I (nor my step son) really know that much about electronics.

    So we left with the $6 cheap version, and decided to visit the experts at HDMIcable.org. Since they aren't paid on commission, we figured we could get the straight scoop from them. We found that there is better quality, and this site sells only Optimized HDMI cables at great prices. In fact the most expensive cable, was 50 feet long for $69.99. Definitely cheaper then that local place (which is a national chain). My step-son ended up buying a 6-foot cable (for $12.99) from the website and returning the other one to the local store.

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    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Injured Each Year with Unintentional Injuries

    **
    Press Release
    * *
    NORTHBROOK, Ill. Nov. 10, 2010
    -- Every minute, 17 children visit emergency
    rooms due to unintentional injuries, a startling number that equates to an
    estimated 9.2 million a year. In response to these alarming statistics,
    Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a leader in product safety testing and
    certification services for more than 116 years, is spearheading a national
    campaign this holiday season and partnering with actress Debra Messing to
    encourage families to Commit a Minute to Safety.

    The Commit A Minute to Safety campaign raises consumer awareness on simple
    steps to make their homes safer, such as watering trees daily, turning the
    handles of pots on stoves, always blowing out unattended candles and looking
    for the UL Mark on lights and decorations.

    "I'm proud to partner with UL to encourage consumers to *Commit a Minute to
    Safety* throughout the holidays and year-round," said Debra Messing. "It's
    really amazing how just a few simple actions can make a big difference in
    helping to protect your home and family, especially at such a magical time
    of year when you want the holidays to be joyful."

    Giving consumers easy access to valuable safety information is a central
    component of the *Commit a Minute to Safety* campaign, and to ensure safety
    is available when they want it, UL has revamped their Web site -
    www.SafetyAtHome.com . On the site, consumers
    can commit a minute via an interactive counter and enter a sweepstakes to
    win Home Depot gift cards, learn about UL from a variety of engaging safety
    videos and get home safety* *tips to share with their family and friends.
    Visitors can also download a *Safety Time *holiday* *learning and activity
    book for children, take an interactive safety quiz,* *become a Facebook fan,
    follow UL on Twitter and The *Commit a Minute to Safety* campaign will also
    include national print advertising in parenting and entertainment magazines,
    premiere sponsorships of holiday tree lightings in Chicago and Washington,
    D.C., and dedicated content for Nickelodeon's NickJr and Nickelodeon.com.

    "During the holidays, UL reminds consumers to look for the UL Mark on
    decorations, lights and electronics," said John Drengenberg, Director of
    Consumer Safety at Underwriters Laboratories. "When you see the UL Mark, you
    can rest assured that the highest safety standards have been met."

    To learn more about UL's *Commit a Minute to Safety* holiday campaign and
    for valuable safety information for keeping your home safe and bright this
    holiday season, please visit SafetyAtHome.com.

    About Underwriters Laboratories

    UL is an independent product safety certification organization that has been
    testing products and writing Standards for Safety for more than a century.
    UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and
    systems for more than 66,000 manufacturers annually. In total, there are
    more than 20 billion UL Marks appearing on products worldwide each year.
    UL's global family of companies and network of service providers includes 68
    laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 102
    countries. For more information, visit: www.ul.com/newsroom





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    Benefits Of Spending Less

    I found an interesting calculator the other day, that I thought I would share with you. What makes this calculator so special is it shows you the Benefits of Spending Less
    . For example, if I were to input no savings other than eliminating $50/month from cable, then I would have saved $6,641 in 10-years. After an assumed 25% federal tax rate and 0% state tax rate (since I live in Texas) the net result would be $6,472. Now if I were to live in a state that has a state income tax, we could enter an estimated 10% in that category and the savings would be reduced to $6,407.

    Think of that, just by eliminating the cable bill, you could have enough saved for that dream vacation to Hawaii. How awesome would that be?

    Let's take it a little further. Lets subtract 6407 from 6472. A net result of $65. This is the savings that I save by living in Texas instead of a state that taxes. Divide that $65 by the 10 years and then again by 12 months. We get a result f 54 cents. Now, what I am going to do, is get everything back to zero, except one category that will have this 54 cents in it. Reset the state tax to zero and I am going to see what the calculator figures is my savings, if that was the only place I were to cut. The result is that the calculator, won't let me figure anything less then $1, so for this estimate we will figure saving $1 a month. Assuming the same 2% rate of return and 25% federal tax rate, with no state taxes, the savings would be $133 (before taxes) in 10 years and $129 after taxes.

    How neat is that? Sure $129 in 10 years isn't much, but that's 129 more then I would of had if I remained in Kansas and gave it to the state. Which means $129 more that can go into my retirement fund or future vehicle fund, where it can grow even bigger.

    Listen, it has been suggested many times on this blog, by a number of readers especially. Eliminating the cable bill is something well worth considering, as is reducing your spending in any number of ways. Face it, once you spend that money, you can't get it back.

    Benefits of Spending Less Calculator

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    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Mint.com Vs. EEBA (Easy Envelope Budget Aid)

    There are a number of budgeting websites out there. Today, I would like to take a look at two (2) of them. Mint.com (a free online service) and EEBA (prices range from Free to $8/month). Below is my review of both.


    See what you’re already spending and budget for monthly, irregular or one-time expenses. New: Create a plan to reach your goals and track your progress.
    I just signed up with Mint this week.  What is Mint? Mint is an online money management tool.  If you’ve not heard of it, Mint is a free online money management tool. Once you sign up, Mint allows you to link your checking, investment, and savings as well as your credit card and loan accounts to your Mint account. Once linked, all of your transactions are automatically pulled into your Mint account.
    To do this, you do have to provide Mint with the username and password you use to access your various accounts. This has been a cause of concern for some. However, it is relatively safe as Mint uses Yodlee to manage the security of this information, which is the same company used by Fidelity and Bank of America. For more information on the security of your information, click here.
    I love it, because it is free. Hey what can I say, free is the best price in my book. Since everything is automated, it takes a lot of the guessing out of it. It will alert you, when you overspend, and when it sees that your bank account(s) are getting to low.
    I also like the goal settings though. They help figure out a realistic monthly budget and time frame for each of those goals. I have set up one for my Christmas club account, traveling/vacation, new car, new home, emergency fund and even retirement.
    Over-all I can see that the suggested amounts are way over my budget, but I now have the flexibility to go in and adjust those amounts, once I have a job.

    EEBA is  online budgeting software based on the envelope budget method. Better than software that you have to download and install, it’s available on the web, the mobile Web and your Android device.

    Unlike Mint above, I'd never heard of EEBA, until a reader brought it to my attention. I really like the envelopes that I can put cash into. Unlike Mint though, everything is done manually. The thing with EEBA, is all you can do in the free version is input your budget envelopes and the amount of income each month. When you input your income source, they do allow you to break that income up between the envelopes, which is pretty cool.

    Once, you have a premium membership, you can't import data from your bank account (like you can with Mint) but you can import OFX (Microsoft Office) and QFX (Quicken) format files and then drag-and-drop matching them to transactions that you have already entered. Since, you have to enter everything manually or import them from the software that you have on your desktop, I am not sure I see the added benefit.  Specifically, when it comes to paying for something, I can already do in my quicken software.  The only benefit I can see is that it can be accessed from another computer or certain smart phones. I will back track a little here though, I guess it could be somewhat automated, if your Quicken software, imports your data from your bank.  Still, though, it is not as fluid and easy as Mint.'s which automatically imports upon signing in. 

    Synopsis

    Overall, I would have to give Mint an A because it is fantastic, is automated and is the perfect price. On the other hand, I would have to give EEBA a B because it has a lot of room to improve and the fact that they are charging for half the service is not good (considering you get more service for Free with Mint). Especially, when the people that needs to use the service most does not have that spendable cash in their budget. What's more appalling is that it is all manual and not automated like mint. I guess, no security issues, in that regard, but if I am going to everything manually, why not just use real envelopes? However, the one thing that kept them from getting a C grade was, that unlike Mint, they have an app for the like Android. Perhaps, they could also improve their smart phone apps, to reach out to all the various kinds of smart phones, maybe then I could overlook the pricing. After all, if a person is cutting expenses out of their budgets, why would they need a more expensive smart phone anyway?

    In conclusion I think, I prefer the budget setup platform in EEBA better, then I do in Mint.com. So if a site with Mint's security and automation could be combined with EEBA's simplicity, it would be one perfect website. Overall, Mint.com walks all over EEBA, perhaps that is why Money Magazine named Mint as one of it's "Top Picks."

    So what do you think? Have you used (or tried) either of these programs?

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    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Thank You To This Weeks Sponsors

    I would like to offer this weeks thanks to some great sponsors Modern Man ($5).
    Also, I would like to thank Blogsvertise for the $17 for the sponsorship posts from 48HourTeeTimes.com and New Horizon Credit Counseling Services.
    Finally, I would like to give special thanks to Affluent Ads that placed 2 text link sponsorships on the blog (and the prince of thrift website). The $200 helped buy some serious needed groceries, that we have been under budgeted for.


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    Monday, November 8, 2010

    Jobs Data - Keys To Land A Job

    Remember a few Presidential Elections back, when Bill Clinton used the phrase, "It's the economy, stupid," during his successful campaign against the President George H. W. Bush. Today, as I was writing this post I considered using that as my headline. Ultimately, I decided not to, even though I wish someone would tell President Obama that.

    A news report was issued this weekend, regarding a Labor Department report which showed that the United States economy added 151,000 jobs in October.
    The gain was certainly a welcome change after four months of job losses, and was better than what economists had expected. Still, it was not nearly strong enough to make a dent in unemployment. Nearly 15 million people are still out of work, and the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 9.6 percent.
    - New York Times

    So there are jobs out there. The bad news is that those of us who are unemployed can't find them. So how do we find those jobs and land one that will provide for our families? Especially, when 80% Of the openings aren't even advertised?

    According to CNN's Your Money, which I like to watch every Saturday, "You have to know somebody who knows somebody to get you a job." According to those they had on the program, most jobs now days are landed by networking. No, not networking with the President, CEO or Human Resources Director, instead networking with an employee on the floor. Someone, that we would actually be working with. They then make a recommendation, "I worked with this guy in the last company, he's fabulous." So the idea, is to figure out how to network with those people and get the recommendation, that each of us need, to land that job.

    For me personally, being new here, I am starting without knowing anyone, making it harder for me. That's why it is important for me to attend these job fairs, to talk to folks at church and to interact as much as possible. Then I have to follow up on each of the leads I am given. You never know, which lead may be the exact lead that lands me a job.

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    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Community Support

    This guest post from Daryl Glass

    Going to the county fair is really all about supporting your community. A lot of times the rides are way inferior to the ones you see at Six Flags, the same way that cheap store brand cereal doesn't match the flavor of your delicious, brand name ones. So why do you buy the cheaper version? Well, it's to pump money into the local economy and start the circle of financial life. See, when you go to the lollipop vendor at the county fair, that's putting money directly in your neighbor's pocket, and not directly into a big corporation's pocket who pays your neighbor minimum wage to do all the work. Then your neighbor, who is now wealthy can patron your store or your employer's business and make you more money. So the county fair is good because it creates jobs.

    This is why I encourage the kids to try every food booth, game, and ride in the fair. That money will come back to us, I tell them, when the people responsible for your fun spend that money in the local economy. Well, not every booth, because there is one where you shoot basketballs into a hoop that is manned by a compulsive gambler and all the money will just go to Las Vegas, but the children don't have to know that. When I get home from the fair, I have all my shows recorded on satellite TV from www.BestChoiceTV.com/.




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    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Job Fair This Morning

    This morning, my job search is taking me to a job fair. This particular fair could land me a job with the city of Austin. Even though it is primarily a city job fair, there are other employers that will be there also. I intend to talk to each of them. If it is a new career path, then I will find out what I need to get myself hired.

    I obviously have retail and customer service experience. My current resume is full of that. I have file clerk experience also, although that was so long ago, it's no longer on my resume. Obviously, I could also do data entry. Something that by the mere fact I use the internet and have worked with various word and excel documents in my previous job would prove.

    Well, I suspect that I better get going. I need to get ready. I will be doing the suit, tie and the whole nine yards to put my best foot forward.


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