Saturday, April 30, 2011

Freebies Saturday - April 30, 2010

It is time once again for this weeks Freebie Saturday. This makes the 22nd edition of this feature. I make every effort to make sure that the freebies I list are real free offers. If you have to answer a survey and then go through 50 pages of ads to get the so called free item, I consider that spam. That is why I make every effort to make sure that those websites are never included in my list.





  • Mark this one on your calendar, Tuesday May 10 92011), will be Free Cone Day at Haagen-Dazs.

    Just head in to your nearest store on the day, between 4pm - 8pm, and you can choose a scoop of your favorite flavor Free!

    Visit the Haagen-Dazs facebook page to see a list of all the participating stores. If you have a location near you, you should definitely check it out. Wish there was one here in Austin.








  • Now here is a deal if you have this company in your town. Students Bowl Free at Brunswick Bowl where they are having its own “kids bowl free” summer program. If you register online, students age 18 & under can bowl free. With the Summer Ball Pass 2011, each student can bowl one free game per day every day in June, July & August. What a deal for your children!




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  • Financial Shutdown for Friday April 29, 2010

    On Friday April 29, 2011 the FDIC seized and closed five (5) banks. Despite the recession getting better; bank closures are still an almost weekly happening. Here is the list of closures for this week.
    1. On Friday, April 29, 2011, First National Bank of Central Florida, Winter Park, FL was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency 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 Florida Community Bank, a division of Premier American Bank, National Association (N.A.), Miami, FL and will be available immediately. The former First National Bank of Central Florida locations will reopen as branches of Florida Community Bank during regular business hours.

    2. On Friday, April 29, 2011, Cortez Community Bank, Brooksville, FL 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 certain brokered deposits, have been transferred to Premier American Bank, National Association (N.A.), Miami, FL and will be available immediately. The former Cortez Community Bank locations will reopen as branches of Florida Community Bank during regular business hours.
    3. On Friday, April 29, 2011, First Choice Community Bank, Dallas, GA was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, 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 and Co. deposits, have been transferred to Bank of the Ozarks, Little Rock, AR and will be available immediately. The former First Choice Community Bank locations will reopen as branches of Bank of the Ozarks during regular business hours.
    4. On Friday, April 29, 2011, The Park Avenue Bank, Valdosta, GA was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, 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 Bank of the Ozarks, Little Rock, AR and will be available immediately. The former The Park Avenue Bank locations will reopen as branches of Bank of the Ozarks during regular business hours.


    5. On Friday, April 29, 2011, Community Central Bank, Mount Clemens, MI was closed by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance 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 Cede & Co. deposits, have been transferred to Talmer Bank & Trust, Troy, MI and will be available immediately. The former Community Central Bank locations will reopen as branches of Talmer Bank & Trust during regular business hours.



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    Friday, April 29, 2011

    Statue of Liberty Replica


    Location: State Capital grounds

    The Boy Scouts of Texas commissioned this Statue of Liberty replica which is now located on the grounds of the State capital.

    Texas State Capital Building




















    The Texas State Capital in Austin, Texas was completed in 1888. It is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant contribution to American history."

    State Capital Fountains







    Okay so these monuments of sorts aren't really statues but they are attractions that visitors clamor to see while they are in Austin and visiting the Capital complex.
    Location: State Capital grounds

    Volunteer Firefighters Memorial



    This statue memorializes volunteer firefighters who were killed while doing their job. The Volunteer Fireman memorial on the Texas State Capitol grounds is a tourist attraction that was erected in 1896.


    Location: On the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Spanish American War Memorial



    The Spanish American War Memorial on the grounds of the State Capital building.

    Royal Wedding Thoughts

    Good morning. Well today is the day that Prince William and Kate Middleton get married. Actually here in the United States the vows were to be given two hours ago. Even though, if you go far enough back you could find my ancestors tied to the Royal blood line I didn't get an invitation to the Royal wedding. No matter how disappointed I may be in that; I was not getting up at 5 am here to watch the vows and I certainly wasn't getting up at 3 am to watch the entire wedding. Although I did wonder why the couple was getting married on a Friday rather then a Saturday. I mean there is only 6 hours difference, meaning at 5 am here it is 11 am there. Which is the perfect time to start a big wedding. Still though a Friday? What's up with that?
    ABC News sent me an email (as if this it was some important breaking news) that Prince William and Catherine Middleton will now be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. That email was followed by another that announced what dress she was wearing. I mean really is the maker of Kate's errr I mean the Duchess' wedding dress really a breaking news story? In case you were wondering it was by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. They were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    (photo from the Globe-Mail)
    from left to right, Father of bride Michael Middleton,
    the bride Kate Middleton,
    the groom Price William
    and the best man Prince Harry
    I am sure we will see clips of this wedding all weekend and probably for weeks to come. In the end I wish the couple many happy years together. Hopefully they bring back the families good name that Prince Charles so unwittingly tarnished with his affairs and divorce.
    As for the Royal Honeymoon. well that seems to be a bit of a secret, as to give te couple their privacy. However, here is what we do know. They will be honeymooning at Balmoral Estate, the royal residence in the Scottish Highlands, first and then off to the secret destination. Last week, Kate Middleton was seen shopping and her buys included sundresses, prompting speculation that the Royal Honeymoon in a hot spot. Of course that is pure speculation and we all know what assume means.





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    Help Yourself to a Better Credit Score

    It doesn’t take long for someone with a bad credit score to find out just how crippling a low credit score really is. Even businesses that don’t give you credit or loans find a reason to use your credit score to charge you more money. Take auto insurance companies, for example, they use your credit score (among a few other factors) to decide your insurance rate as if your credit score really has a lot to do with your driving ability.

    Check your credit report for inaccurate information. Your credit report is the basis of your credit score. It holds all the details that make you have a good or bad credit. Since your credit score has such a big impact on how much you pay for certain services and whether certain applications are approved (like an employment application, it’s up to you to make sure your credit report is accurate. If you find errors on your credit report, you can dispute them with the credit bureau. And if the credit bureau doesn’t respond, you can dispute with the company that reported the account to the credit bureau.

    Pay off your debt. There are so many reasons to pay off your debt and an excellent reason is to improve your credit score. Thirty percent of your FICO score is based on how much debt you have. The more debt you have, the worse your scores will be.

    Get caught up. Your payment history has even more impact on your credit score than your level of debt – 35% to be exact. If you have accounts that are past due, they’re dragging down your credit score. Make the required minimum payment to bring the account back into current status. Unfortunately, the payments you missed will stay on your credit report, but they’ll hurt your credit score less as they get older. After seven years, late payments will fall off your credit report completely.

    Be careful closing out accounts. Closing out an account, especially a credit card, can make it look like you have more debt than you actually have. Credit scoring calculations don’t just look at the amount of debt you have, they compare your current balance to your credit limit or the original loan amount.

    If you close a credit card, your lender may report your credit limit as $0 which makes it look like you’ve maxed out your credit card. Even closing a credit card with a $0 balance can hurt your credit score when all your other credit cards still have a balance.

    Pay your bills on time. The same way a late payment can hurt your credit score, timely payments raise your credit score. The more positive information that gets added to your credit report, the more it will help your credit score. The goal is to have your positive payment history overshadow any negative information on your credit report.

    Rebuilding a bad credit score takes time, but if you make all the right decisions, your credit score will improve.

    Ed O’Brien is an expert writer in personal finance, specializing in credit repair. You can find more of his articles located at CreditRepair.org.





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    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Kids Cost a Fortune: 4 Tips for Saving on Yours

    As much as raising a child counts as the most rewarding experience any person can have, the hard facts of life demonstrate that bringing up a kid in this day and age is no walk in the park. For one, both parents need the emotional maturity and commitment to raising children using a consistent belief system or set of values. If that wasn't hard enough, having a child comes with a mind-boggling number of expenses. If you are expecting or have young children, here are a few general rules to keep in mind so that little Johnny stays your loving son and doesn't become a hole that sinks your financial ship.

    1. Don't buy expensive clothing that your kid will outgrow very quickly.
    From birth till about 15-18, kids grow rapidly. Especially during the earlier years of their lives, between 0 to 4 or 5, children are outgrowing clothes faster than you can say Google.

    2. Tech gadgets are age-appropriate and should be purchased only if the value is primarily logistical and/or educational.
    This seems to be one of the biggest consumer purchases for children in the 21st century. Of course, I am far from being a Luddite by any stretch of the imagination, but I do believe that younger kids do not need fancy i-Products. Well, most adults don't necessarily need them either, but it's always been my belief that tech products for children should be purchased with an eye to their value to your child's future, or to make communication between you and your child easier. So, in my book, yes to cell phone when they are in middle school, but only the most basic model. Kids don't need individual laptops until college, maybe high school.

    3. Research universities meticulously to find the best fit for your college-bound kid that's also the best deal after taking into account financial aid or scholarship money that doesn't need to be repaid.
    As someone who attended an inordinately expensive university and is now saddled with student debt, I am a firm believer in doing your research before sending your child off to school. Although private, high-quality universities certainly can be great investments, this is true only if the sticker cost is reduced by government grants and private/school-based scholarships. Don't burden your child's future with debt either.

    4. Remember that love and family closeness is the most important aspect of raising a healthy child, and that's completely free!
    So many parents across the nation have anxieties about their parenting and the future of their children, and of course it's natural. However, don't be that parent who equates good childrearing with spending money. The most important thing is that you develop a healthy and close family bond. All else is just the icing on the cake.

    By-line:
    Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.



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    Obama Birth Certificate Flap is Tiresome

    The Obama birth certificate thing is in the news again. I find this whole thing to be a little annoying. I mean come-on. Trying to say the President wasn't born a U.S. citizen. That is absolutely ridiculous. we have more pressing matters to attend to and all we can focus on whether or not the President was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth? Really?
    Let's face it, whether we like it or not Obama's mom was a U.S. citizen which automatically makes Obama a U.S. citizen the moment he was born no matter where in the world he is. We may not agree with his politics, but we are wasting our time on this birth certificate thing. Let's move on. Let's focus on real and pertinent issues that we face in American politics.
    If you still want to focus on this birth certificate bunk then take a look at the pdf file of his certificate and move on. I for one was never caught up with all this debate, but I did look at the pdf file out of curiosity (and to make this post.



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    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    The Prince Answers Emails

    I am sending you an email because your blog does not accept comment (I don't have a live ID or anything like that so I am basically left out of the commenting).
    Hello. Thank you so much for your email. I would like to try to address each of your concerns and comments. First you say you couldn't comment on the blog because you don't have an ID. I used to allow anonymous comments, but some troll like comments forced my hand. It doesn't take make to create a blogger (gmail) ID for just commenting. However I see your email is a Windows Live ID which supports the openID technology. So therefore you can log-in and comment with the email that you just emailed me from. Making the comments more secure really doesn't leave anyone out of commenting if they wish to. Although it may take a little more effort.

    The post about Dreams... Trusting god to provide had me cringe.

    To purchase a home you need at least 20% down. You also need to have an emergency fund that will provide for 6 months of living expenses (including mortgage, insurrance etc...). You are very new at your job, if something happen (in this economy you never know) you will be the first one to go. It took you months before finding this job what if you suddenly get unemployed with a mortgage to pay.

    According to your own admission you are nowhere near to have the kind of cash needed to buy a house on hand:
    Savings Goals
    Emergency Fund: $75.00
    Goal: $25,000
    Car Fund: $0.00
    Goal: $50,000
    House/Condo Fund: $0.00
    Goal: $100,000
    Now on to your next point. You said you cringed. I suppose I would to if I were to only go buy what I seen and not know everything. Or were to read to much into the post. It was a post about my hopes and dreams and not a statement of this is what going to be done. As you mentioned their are some financial hurdles to overcome. Lets focus on the numbers that you copied from my site. I freely admit they haven't been updated in months. I also freely admit that I don't have the 20% or even 10% of the down payment. I further admit I am still working on 6-12 months in an emergency fund. The post you are referring to was nothing more then a post about my dreams and my frustration regarding the current situation.


    You also have to distinguish between a want and a need. A swimming pool is definately a want. A house is a want. If you appartment is less than desired find another one!

    Now in regards to the pool. You are right that is a want and when we get a home of our own their is a good chance we won't have a pool. In fact the only way we might (and that's a big might) is if the new home ends up being a condo. Which given my wife's and I's ages a condo is something we are considering so that we have something as we get more into our retirement years as well. We really don't want to move until we find our own place. That is a lot of cost to move from one apartment to another, which would slow up our home purchase dreams.

    Your wife is not working, at this point she simply doesn't need a car. She might want one but she definitely doesn't need one.

    Yes you are right the 2nd car would be a want. We know that, but think about it this way to. I am at work. She needs to go the doctor and can't go because she doesn't have a car. Or perhaps to the pharmacy to get her medicine. They are simply things to work out.
    If I were in you shoe I would look for a small appartment on the first floor that is at a walking distance (less than 2 miles or so) from my work, save like crazy and when I have the money, and only then, look for a house.
    As for moving within 2 miles of the place I work. That would really be nice. However, I can't afford rent out there. Rent for a one bedroom alone in that neighborhood is more then my take home pay. Condo's and houses that don't need serious repairs tend to even be over $200,000. Which would mean the mortgage would be more then my take home as well. Yet that is where I really would like to live considering where I was called to work. So once again, I have to trust God and let him guide me. I don't know if you believe or not, but I do and placing my trust in Him is a big part of my faith. It doesn't mean I am running out and getting myself into financial trouble just because I want something. Rather trusting Him simply means waiting on his timing. Perhaps in the next few months this blog and my other web properties will take off and I will be self-sufficient from them. Only God knows, and I am willing to wait on him.
    Thanks again for your email.



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    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Buying a New Home, be Sure to Inspect It

    When you are purchasing a new home (whether it's brand new or previously owned) it is important to have a checklist with you so you can inspect it yourself and see if you want to make an offer on the place. That is why a home inspection form is the newest form to be included on PrinceOfThrift.com along with the other budgeting forms already there. This form is also perfect if you wish purchase rental homes.


    Once you make an offer, be sure to hire an inspector to look over everything. There may be things you missed or things that only a professional may notice and it is important that those things are found before you actually make that purchase.

    PrinceOfThrift.com has a growing list of budget and financial related forms that you can download for free. I encourage you; if you haven't already; to visit the site and see what they have. Then return each month as you do your monthly budgets.

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    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Heroes of the Alamo


    Location: on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Frugal Tip #39 Greeting Cards

    Earlier this year, I started posting a more in depth look at each of the frugal tips. Over the next few weeks I will publish the frugal tips that I have collected. Please note that not every tip will work for everyone. Chose as many of the tips that will work with you and your family and start implementing them. Today we will proceed with Tip #39 If you have to send a card (Christmas, birthday) send electronic ones or perhaps make your own. Let's face it greeting cards are pretty pricing. However, electronic cards are not always practical because there are still people who don't use the internet. So perhaps using a combination of the two ideas is the best way to save money and still get out greeting cards to those that you love. Making your own is a good idea and can be more meaningful because they are more personal.
    So what do you think? Do you still send cards? Do you make your own? Do you send electronic Cards (e-cards)? How do you save your hard earned money in this area?



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    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Fork Statue


    This giant fork has stood outside Hyde Park Bar & Grill since 1982. It is regularly "updated" with different art pieces on top to commemorate different holiday, seasonal and current events.

    Location: 4206 Duval St Austin, TX 78751




    Thank you to Our Newest Sponsor

    Thank you to a new sponsor
    Dallas Carpet Repair & Cleaning. Thanks Ed Doss for your support through our fiverr gig.






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    Easter Sunday! How Do You Celebrate?

    Morning! Today is Easter Sunday. The day (if we are Christians) we remember when the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead (aka the Resurrection) . It is an important day in our Christian faith. As such we will be honoring the Lord and this day both on this blog and our actions today (of course actions should be seen everyday).


    This morning I am getting up and cooking a hot breakfast for my wife of fried ham, scrambled eggs, hash browns and coffeecake to top it all off. It will be one delicious Easter morning breakfast.
    Then we will be off to church for our Easter Sunday service. I know the pastor will have a great message because he always does. After which will be the weekly church potluck with the Spanish service. My wife and I made deviled eggs yesterday for something different at this weeks meal. To finish off we will have our Sunday School class that we have while the Spanish service is going. To say the least it is expected to one fantastic Easter Sunday.
    How about you? What are you doing this Easter? Do you go to church? For those that don't how do you celebrate the day?





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    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Freebies Saturday Easter Weekend Edition (2011)

    It is time once again for this weeks Freebie Saturday. This makes the 21st edition of this feature. I make every effort to make sure that the freebies I list are real free offers. If you have to answer a survey and then go through 50 pages of ads to get the so called free item, I consider that spam. That is why I make every effort to make sure that those websites are never included in my list. This weekend is Easter Sunday so many of the offers will be Easter related. Hope you enjoy them.


    1. 35 fantastic Easter Recipes - from Mr. Food. Includes Easter Brunch Punch, Crown Roast of Lamb, Baked Ham in Cheese Crust, Bacon cheddar Deviled Eggs, Cranberry Hot Cross Buns and more. Enter your email address to access the free ebook.
    2. Free 4x6 Photo with the Easter Bunny - Offer from Bass Pro Shops. Free photo and other activities until 4/24. Call your local shop to see if they are participating.

    3. Free printable letters from the Easter Bunny - Offer from Free Easter Printables, download and print. You can choose from a generic letter from the Easter Bunny, bunny to girl, bunny to boy, bunny funny checkbox letter for adults, for child with siblings, older child who may not believe, funny letter to adult, religious and a "Thanks for the carrots" letter from the Easter Bunny.

    4. Another 17 fantastic Easter Recipes - this time from Recipe Lion. Includes Brunch Egg and Cheese,  Easter Ham with Peach Glaze, Spring Vegetables, Blue Peep Pie and more. Enter your email address to access the ebook.

    5. My Very First Easter - Free Kindle Download, offer from Amazon. From the Beginners Bible.

    6. Get a Free Sample of Maximum Strength Zantac 150.
      Happy Easter and lets not forget the true meaning of Easter.

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    Friday, April 22, 2011

    Busy Weekend Should Help Us Remember to be Thankful

    Today is Good Friday which means Sunday will be Easter Sunday. A time to reflect on our lives and be thankful for all the blessings God above has bestowed upon us. Tomorrow I will be posting my regular weekly Freebies Saturday. Tonight I don't expect there to be any bank closures as the FDIC tends to avoid closing banks on Holiday weekends. In addition I will probably have an Easter post for Sunday.

    In the meantime I need to go to work. So hope you all have a great day and I will see you on the flipside.


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    Hunting in Nambia

     Guest post by namhost


    When hunters look for their next great expedition, they generally have a list of what would make a good hunting trip. Affordability, location, the animals that can be hunted, ease of transportation and lodging are all key aspects that make a hunting trip worthwhile. The travel experts of Ekuja Hunting Safari keep all of these aspects in mind with their hunting safaris to Namibia. Located in the Kalahari Desert region, the area of Namibia offers hunters amazing opportunities unavailable in other hunting locations worldwide.  
    The Animals of Namibia 
    Americans can find hunting adventures in their own backyards but exotic hunting means traveling to areas unlike anything you find on a normal hunting trip. The area of Namibia offers that and more. One of the most exotic animals that a hunter can find during an Ekuja Hunting Safari is the Antelope. With over 20 different breeds of antelope available, an avid hunter is sure to bag the big game vacation they have been looking for. Another animal that is available in the Namibia area is African Elephant. Though there are certain laws protecting various breeds of Elephant throughout the world there are some that are available for open game hunting within the region. For this reason it is suggested that a hunter not only make the travel arrangements and be aware of the laws for hunting in the area but to also hire a guide. The guides available through Ekuja Hunting Safari are knowledgeable of all the laws and regulations in place for hunting, which game can be hunted and they have the skills to help you bag the big game trophy you have been anticipating and dreaming about.
     Affordability, Lodging and other Accommodations 
    Affordability, accommodations and lodging are all key concerns for hunters who travel on safari or on international hunting vacations. These concerns are all taken care of when you arrange a hunting safari with the staff of Ekuja. With an extensive main camp designed for luxury each hunter will find a bit of paradise while on safari. There is no concept of roughing it for weary travellers. In fact, after a day of hunting you can enjoy the pleasure of fine cuisine, luxury accommodations, warm showers and inviting beds. Since affordability can be a concern for many hunters, there are all-inclusive rates available. These rates are available for nearly every budget and offer the same professional quality accommodations regardless of the rate package a hunter chooses. Therefore, whether you are hunting elephant, antelope, lions or other big game trophy animal the staff of Ekuja Hunting Safari is available to offer you the safari of your dreams and to wipe away the concerns you may have about international hunting in Namibia.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Thank You to Unique Gifts

    Morning. Do feel like pounding the crap out of someone or something. How about cooking up a nice juicy cut of meat and using a pair of the brass "knuckle pounder" to tenderize your meat. That is one of the many gag items you can get from our latest sponsor Unique Gifts. Please take a moment to welcome our latest sponsor.



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    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Dreams...Trusting God to Provide

    Of late my wife and I have been interested in purchasing our own home. Of course that has always been a goal, we are pushing it a little faster then we planned because our apartment complex is less then to be desired. Cold water from the boiler system and they tell you to let the water run. It could run for 30 minutes (at our expense of course) and it still won't heat up. It may start out hot, but within 1-2 minutes be ice cold. There is no over all consistency. Couple that with their lackadaisical attitude toward being ADA compliant. They make a wooden ramp for my wife rather then a permanent cement. Of course the bike riders and skateboarders are tarring that temporary ramp up. Not to mention their excuses for not getting a railing on the pool steps. That's right there is no rail whatsoever on those steps. So we have looked at a few houses. Some need way to much work, to far from my job or are way more house then we can truly afford.

    Then there is the need for a vehicle that is reliable for my wife to drive. One that we can modify for hand controls so that she can drive it. Both of these things are major purchases that we need to make. Both are items we are trusting God above to help us with. Even as we continue building our savings for these items as well as our other needs.


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    Making my green March Madness party memorable

    Guest post written by Joan Douger

    Most years my husband and I throw a March Madness themed party and this year we're going to throw one. Except it's going to be a little different, in a good way. We're going to try and make it green. So many years we've thrown away a whole bunch of trash after the party and I'm trying to cut down on waste anyway.

    But I'm no expert at being green, so I went online to do some research about what exactly I could do in regards to that. While I was online looking up some stuff about that I found the site Shopelectricityratestexas. I read through it some and decided to sign up for a new electricity service at a better rate than our existing! one.

    I'm pulling together my resources to get a whole bunch of basketball mremorabilia to hang up around our home for the party. We have a lot on our own, but I might borrow a few things just to use as decorations for our party. I think that's an easy way to decorate instead of just buying a bunch of disposable decorations.


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    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Disabled American Veterans Memorial




    Memorial to the Disabled American Veterans on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Hood's Texas Brigade Statue




    Hood's Texas Brigade statue on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    How to Escape the Debt Trap

    Everyone wants to become debt-free. The thought of finally getting out of debt could be truly overwhelming. You may not have to owe $10,000 to get that thrill on the idea. Whether your current loans are worth just a few hundreds overall or thousands, you need to make sure you would soon pay off all your outstanding loans. Debts usually incur interests and other charges.

    The longer you keep them, the more you would have to pay on top of the principal amounts.
    Another common source of debt these days are credit cards. For sure, you may have more than one credit card. If you do not pay your credit card bill in full each month, you would slowly accumulate such debt until it gets out of control. Before things get worse, you should start putting up an action plan so you could slash down your debt immediately.

    Stop spending

    So how could you possibly escape the looming debt trap? The first major action would be to totally stop spending. Fight the urge and temptation to keep on spending or to overspend. Just imagine how much you could save in a month if you would successfully win that fight on a daily basis. As a basic tip, it would be wise to spend only on necessities. You may try to cut down on discretionary or optional expenses. If you do not need an item that you still do not own, why would you buy it? Prioritise your needs instead of your wants.

    Analyse your debt

    Work out how bad the situation is. Try to make a comprehensive list of your current debts. This would get pretty interesting if you use more than one credit card. On the list, jot down all your credit cards, your spending, and your outstanding home/car/personal loans. Write down your outstanding balance, interest rates, and minimum monthly payments. Sum up all the items to determine how much you currently owe to your creditors.

    Set a budget

    It is high time to set a personal budget, especially after knowing the total of your current or outstanding debts. The best way to work on one is to list down all your income and expenses. If your debt has spiraled uncontrollably, you surely have been spending beyond your means. The next logical thing to do is to reassess your personal finances.

    Boost your Income

    Find and implement ways to boost your personal income. It would also be ideal to cut back on your spending to be able to save money. Intend to use that amount to make extra repayments so you could significantly lower your debt. Doing so could also help you repay your loans faster.

    As you go on and try to escape the debt trap, it would be best if you would stick to your resolve not to get significantly indebted again. Getting a loan is not bad but be sure you get and use that debt only for practical purposes. Try your best to avoid having to apply for and obtain a loan again in the future.

    This guest post is from Andrew Black. Andrew has been working in the debt consolidation industry for several years and like share his knowledge on how to avoid debt.


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    Korean War Memorial



    The Korean War Veterans memorial on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    World War 2 Memorial




    World War 2 veterans memorial on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    World War 1 Memorial


    World War 1 veterans memorial on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Texas Pioneer Women Statue




    Statue of Texas Pioneer Women on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Governor Miriam Ferguson

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh




    bust of Miriam "Ma" Ferguson (June 13, 1875 – June 25, 1961) who was the first female Governor of Texas in 1925. She held office until 1927, later winning another term in 1932-1935. The bust can be found in the first floor rotunda.

    Sam Houston Statue (in State Capital)



    Sam Houston Statue inside the State Capitol building in Austin

    Stephen F. Austin Statue (inside State Capital)





    Stephen F. Austin Statue inside the State Capitol building in Austin

    Texas Peace Officers Memorial


    Texas Peace Officers Memorial On the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Tribute to Texas School Children


    Tribute to Texas School Children Sculpture on the grounds of the Texas State Capital






    Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Memorial






    Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Memorial on the grounds of the Texas State Capital

    Texas Cowboy Statue





    Texas Cowboy by Constance Whitney Warren (1925)

    Terry's Texas Rangers








    Terry's Texas Rangers Monument on the State Capital Grounds

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Frugal Tip #38 Do Not Buy Gifts

    Earlier this year, I started posting a more in depth look at each of the frugal tips. Over the next few weeks I will publish the frugal tips that I have collected. Please note that not every tip will work for everyone. Chose as many of the tips that will work with you and your family and start implementing them. Today we will proceed with Tip #38 Do not buy gift and ask not to get them either.

    This may sound extreme, but if you are in debt and seriously want to get out of debt then you cannot afford to be buying gifts. There are so many things you can be doing to make gifts that come from the heart instead of buying gifts because you feel obligated. You will sometimes hear Dave Ramsey tell a caller to his show this and it is true.

    With the recession, job losses, home foreclosures and bankruptcies many people just cannot afford to buy gifts couple that with the strain such spending puts on your relationships and gift giving is the perfect area to cut. Perhaps not permanently, but while finances are so tight. Let's think about it this way? Do we really have to buy (or spend) to give? Of course not! Simple fact we can make homemade gifts or offer to do things instead of buying that Birthday, Valentine or Christmas gift. For example: bake cookies, wash someone’s car, babysit so they can go on a date night, create a photo album, be there when they need help moving.

    Whatever you do making something or doing something to help the recipient comes from the heart more then the amount you spend so why not be creative and give from the heart? Wouldn't the world be a better place anyway if we all did that?



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    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Freebies Saturday - 4/16/11 (Tax Weekend Edition)

    It is time once again for this weeks Freebie Saturday. This makes the 21st edition of this feature. I make every effort to make sure that the freebies I list are real free offers. If you have to answer a survey and then go through 50 pages of ads to get the so called free item, I consider that spam. That is why I make every effort to make sure that those websites are never included in my list.

  • How about a free sample of body wash today? This is another offer from WalMart and we know how quickly they seem to disappear. So get yours before they are gone.

  • Free Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo. My wife loves Garnier so I am sure she will be wanting to get her free sample. As in the previous one, this is another freebie from Walmart's website, so hurry before they are gone.

  • HydroMassage locations nationwide will provide free massages between April 14 and April 18 to help eliminate the stress of tax filing. Get a coupon for a free message at www.hydromassage.com/taxday.htm and call ahead to schedule a session. Don't forget to leave the gratuity even though it is free.

  • MaggieMoo's Ice Cream and Treatery will offer a free mini ice cream sundae from 3 pm to 6 pm April 18. The "Sundae Stimulus" will feature the new Crumb Cake Fundae, which includes cinnamon Hostess Streusel Cake, cinnamon "Cinamoo" ice cream, caramel sauce, mixed nuts and whipped cream. Don't miss out. Just head to your local MaggieMoo's at 3 pm your time and request your "free mini ice cream sundae."

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  • Friday, April 15, 2011

    Financial Shutdown For 4-15-2011

    On Friday April 15, 2011 the FDIC seized and closed six (6) banks. It has been awhile since this many banks were closed at once. Last week it was only two (2). Before that we have to go back to March 25 to have seen one (1) closure. Since the beginning of the year the largest group of closures had been 4 banks. Anyway here is the list of closures for this week.
    1. Bartow County Bank, Cartersville, GA was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, 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, including brokered deposits, have been transferred to Hamilton State Bank, Hoschton, GA and will be available immediately. The former Bartow County Bank locations will reopen as branches of Hamilton State Bank during regular business hours.
    2. New Horizons Bank, East Ellijay, GA was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, 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 Citizens South Bank, Gastonia, NC  and will be available immediately. The former New Horizons Bank location will reopen as a branch of Citizens South Bank during regular business hours.
    3. Nexity Bank, Birmingham, AL was closed by the State of Alabama Banking Department, 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 AloStar Bank of Commerce, Birmingham, AL  and will be available immediately. The former Nexity Bank location will reopen as a branch of AloStar Bank of Commerce during regular business hours.
    4. Superior Bank, Birmingham, AL was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision, 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 Superior Bank, National Association (N.A.), Birmingham, AL , a newly created wholly-owned subsidiary of Community Bankorp, LLC, Houston, TX and will be available immediately. The former Superior Bank locations will reopen as branches of Superior Bank, N.A. during regular business hours.

    5. Rosemount National Bank, Rosemount, MN was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 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, including brokered deposits, have been transferred to Central Bank, Stillwater, MN and will be available immediately. The former Rosemount National Bank locations will reopen as branches of Central Bank during regular business hours.
    6. Heritage Banking Group, Carthage, MS was closed by the Mississippi Department of Banking and Consumer Finance, 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, including brokered deposits, have been transferred to Trustmark National Bank, Jackson, MS and will be available immediately. The former Heritage Banking Group locations will reopen as branches of Trustmark National Bank during regular business hours.
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    Getting Caught Up I Think...

    This has been one hectic week. I think I have done more running all over Austin then I have at any other time since moving here. And it's not over yet. I have two barbecues to attend this weekend. Not to mention my regular work and church. However, despite all that I think I am about caught up with everything. Except for the office cleaning that I need to do.
    The Blog and the Future
    I want to get where I have more regular features. One that I keep on planning to add, even have made posts in that category is the weekly (or nearly) bank closures which would be labeled something like "Financial Shutdown". If it actually happens and becomes a regular feature each Friday evening (or Saturday morning) it would join "Frugal Mondays" and "Freebie Saturdays" as regular weekly features on this blog. What do you think? Can you think of a better name for this feature?


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    Ten Commandments Statue



    Location: Capital Bldg Grounds




    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Cutting Costs and Saving Space: For Those Forced to Spend Less

    A lot of people lost their homes during the economic downturn. With so many foreclosures that hit Americans all over the country, many had to give up their homes and return to rental properties. Sometimes when you have to return to rental properties because you had to file for bankruptcy or foreclosure you’re forced to get rid of a lot of your possessions. Not many banks or lenders will look at you as a viable lending candidate for many years so you won’t be able to own a home for a while, at least not without staggering interest rates. Just know that you don’t have to get rid of all of your precious belongings as well. In order to not add insult to injury, here are a few space saving tips for those finding themselves back on the market for a house or apartment to rent.
    Consider pairing down what you own. I little thrift cutbacks can help you decide what’s really important in your life. You could even make a little extra cash on the side. Since you’ll probably be forced to deal with a decreased living space think about hosting a garage sale in your area. One better idea is to use free sites, like Craigslist or pay sites, like eBay.com. Here you can maximize your sales on your own time. You’ll probably make more money too since you won’t have as many bargain shoppers. You’ll be able to set the prices and you’ll have a larger pool of people that will be interested in buying your wares.
    Self-storage is a great way to keep all of the things that matter to you even if you don’t necessarily have the space to keep it. StorageMart and other facilities offer safe, dry, and secure locations for people to keep their precious belongings. Many offer very reasonable rates to meet any size need or requirement. This is a great way to hold onto things that you want until you have the space for them later.
    A lot of these things can be done to maximize space in your new living quarters. You can do a ton of other things too, like increasing the number of shelves in your home, using more cabinets, or have your children share a room. There’s many space saving ways that you can make most any living arrangement feasible. Follow some of these tips and research others while you’re on the market for a smaller home.



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    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Austin Blogger Announces Soft Launch of Tourism Site

    Austin, Texas, April 11, 2011 - In August 2010 Kevin Surbaugh and his wife moved to Austin. “We love visiting statuary. Both from an art perspective and historical. In March of 2011, I called the Austin Convention and Visitors board who was the contact people for the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn. I asked them about other statues in Austin that I could visit also. To my surprise they said there wasn't any. Then they backpedaled and said there was one one other in the 600 block of south Congress. That one depicting Angelina Eberly who managed to keep Austin as the capital instead of it being moved to Houston. However, according to the visitors bureau they were the only 2 statues in all of Austin. Nothing was mentioned about the bicentennial monument/sculpture near Stevie Ray Vaughn in the same park, nor Philosopher's Rock near the Barton creek Pool,” Surbaugh said.
    Surbaugh feels that it is disappointing that the very organization assigned the task of promoting tourism in this great and beautiful city doesn't know anything about these attractions so that they can inform inquiring visitors. It was at this point Surbaugh said he decided to set out and find all the statues/sculptures around the city and gather the information into one place so other travelers would know about the cities rich art and historical history depicted in statuary. To date he has discovered over 40 statues or other forms of sculptures. For example “the Fork” at 4206 Duval, the bat near Congress and Barton Springs Rd. Not to mention two different Stephen Austin statues (1 in Texas State Cemetery and the other in the State Capital), the Robert E Lee statue and the many others.
    That is why today he is announcing the launch of a new website http://statues.2tourAustin.net that will find photograph and report on each of these statues/sculptures. In addition Surbaugh said once he is finished with that task he will then begin seeking out other forms of public art to include within the site not to mention the museums and other historical landmarks and buildings of interest to those visiting the city. The entire site can be seen by pointing your browser to http://www.2tourAustin.net.
    If you have any other statues and sculptures for him to include in this first phase of the site building process, questions or would like to sponsor the project please call Kevin Surbaugh (512) 905-9602.

    Kevin Surbaugh has been a personal finance blogger for the last five years and also has a website (http://www.princeofthrift.com) where he offers free budgeting forms. Surbaugh admits that this tourism project is the biggest project he has undertaken but is one he sees a real need for.



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    Frank Denius Memorial Plaza

    (UT Campus) 2100 San Jacinto Boulevard, (512) 471-4602 ‎ Northwest corner of the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on San Jacinto Boulevard.

    unveiled Veterans Day 2009


    The plaque below it reads: In glory with eternal gratitude to all veterans whose legacy is our freedom. - Frank Denius

    Other statues and monuments in the plaza include these below

    Albert Sidney Johnston Statue


    (UT Campus) 196-398 22nd St W


    Full-length standing portrait of General Albert Sidney Johnston, turning slightly to his proper right. The Civil War hero wears a long uniform double-breasted coat with belt, boots and gauntlet gloves. He holds a hat in his proper right hand; and his proper left hand rests on a sword which hangs from his belt. He has a moustache and beard. He stands atop a stepped granite base.¹

    The inscription on the granite base: ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON /1803-1862/SECRETARY OF WAR/OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS/BRIGADIER GENERAL/IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY/GENERAL IN THE/CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY/COMMANDER OF THE ARMY/OF THE MISSISSIPPI.

    Robert E Lee Statue






    (UT Campus)200-298 W 21st St

    Tex Moncrief Statue








    (UT Campus)

    Red McCombs Statue





    (UT Campus)

    John H. Reagan Statue





    John H. Reagan

    Location:(UT Campus) 100-198 W 21st St



    a group of University of Texas students form a band to play under the statue of John H. Reagan during our stop on campus to take these photos.

    Moss Kerr Fetzer Statue



    (UT Campus)

    Mother and Child Statue







    (UT Campus) 405 E 23rd St