Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Revisiting the Resolutions 2011

Just over 6-months ago, in fact almost 7-months ago) I posted my resolutions for 2011. Today I thought I would take a look at them and see how I am progressing with them.
  1. Books
  2. - I plan to get at least (one book hopefully more) finished by the end of the year. Even more I hope to find a publisher for the (those) book(s).
    So far I am still working on the book(s) but they have been placed on the back burner. One publisher that I talked to wants to charge me $1,000-$3,000. Money I really don't have at this time.
  3. Rebuild my savings
  4. - there is no question that I must rebuild my savings ASAP.
    I really expected to be further along on this one, but so far I can't say that I really have rebuilt much of anything in this fund. The only savings that has $1,000+ is the house fund. I really need to become more focused on this.
  5. Either become my own boss or get a full-time job with insurance
  6. I would say health insurance is one thing I need more then income. While earning enough to pay the rent and utilities would be nice; I really need insurance for my wife and I.

This is still a goal. Although I am working at a job that has insurance I am wasting way to much gas to that job. At the same time I do like the job so I am not sure what to do. If I could get a break into full time ministry and blogging that would be absolutely the best scenario. However, for this to happen all my blogs/websites would need to see an increase in traffic in order to earn enough to make this happen.

Finally some things that weren't in the New Years resolutions that I posted in January, but are goals of my wife and I.
  1. Anniversary
  2. - After the horrible honeymoon trip we are hoping that this August we can have a honeymoon on our 1st anniversary to do things right. The dream is 2 nights (the weekend) in an Embassy Suites and on the day of the anniversary itself have a limo take us to dinner at diner.
  3. Family
  4. - In addition I have never met my wife's family (who lives in North Carolina) our desire is to save enough money to go visit them latter this year as well as visiting my family back in Kansas. We are estimating such a trip that we would coordinate with her son as well would cost us about $2,000. Hopefully we can earn/save enough money and hopefully the gas prices will drop so that it won't cost as much. Well there you have it. That is where we are at on our goals and dreams. Please continue to pray for us in these matters as well as all our prayer requests listed on our prayer page. Thanks.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: Homes of The Billionaires

The following article was originally published May 31, 2006 when this blog was relatively new.

Now lets look at the homes of the billionaires. More examples of paying cash and only buying what you need in a home. See Warren Buffets home in the picture below, he bought it in 1958 for $31,500. The home is now valued at $500,000.

How does the other half live? Well, it depends. Try more like how the other .00001% lives.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median American house size is slightly more than 2,000 square feet. Compare that to the domicile of the world's richest man: as might be expected from one with that sobriquet, Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) founder Bill Gates' house is more than 30 times that size. The NAHB says that most houses have three bedrooms, one fireplace and are sided in vinyl or aluminum. Some billionaires' homes have more than a dozen bedrooms; the only vinyl is in the rare-record collection housed in the custom-built listening room.

Yet as extravagant as some of their mansions may seem, the homes of the superrich are not out of proportion to their wealth. In fact, they can seem comparatively downright modest.

Warren Buffet
Omaha, Nebr.

Net Worth: $42 billion
Rank: 2

The Oracle of Omaha lives in mighty modest digs, given the size of his fortune. He still resides in the gray stucco home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Totaling about 6,000 square feet, in 2003, the Happy Hollow house was assessed at just $700,000 (though the value investor thought it was really worth about $500,000). Buffett sold one of his two Laguna Beach, Calif., properties, but still has one valued at about $4 million. That's still less than one hundredth of a percent of his estimated net worth.

A report released by the National Association of Realtors last year pointed out that in the U.S., about a fifth of a household's wealth is composed of home equity. Let's say that held true for Warren Buffett. The mastermind behind holding company Berkshire Hathaway (nyse: BRK.A - news - people ) is second on our list of the World's Richest People, with an estimated net worth of $42 billion. If he sank the average 20% into his home, the property would have to be worth...oh, approximately $8.4 billion. In other words, the gross domestic product of Libya.

Instead, Buffett lives more like a millionaire than a billionaire. For nearly 50 years, he's bedded down in the same Omaha house he bought for $31,500. Although far from elaborate, it is still more than adequate. In 2003, the local assessor pegged its value at nearly $700,000. Buffett disagreed--he thought it was worth more like $500,000.

Buffett's not the only penny-wise homeowner on the list. Ingvar Kamprad, founder and former chief executive of home furnishings giant IKEA, is a notorious tightwad who drives a second-hand Volvo despite his estimated $28 billion fortune. His house in Lausanne, Switzerland, though hidden behind a high hedge, is said to be surprisingly unremarkable. He does indulge in wine making, at his small vineyard in Provence, but has been known to complain that it's an expensive hobby.

you can read more by clicking here

The link includes a picture slide show of the homes, for those interested in viewing he homes.

go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Essential Credit Repair Handbook

When I was first asked to review this book I took one look at the title and thought no way would that be a book that I would agree with. However, I decided to give it a fair shake and so I agreed to review the book. After having read the book I can say some things the author Deborah McNaughton said in her book was not what I expected from the title. In the introduction she states that the purpose of writing the book as to empower and encourage the reader to get back on tack after a loss of income or wage cut. Section 1 (chapters 1-6) of the book is what surprised me most. As in part she talks about getting out of debt. In fact in someways she sounded like Dave Ramsey. So much so that she even talked about the snowball effect. However, please don't misunderstand she also has ideas would run smack in the face of what Ramsey would say. Still as a person to read different ideas with an open mind I don't shut others ideas out completely until I have completely read what they have to say. I do this because I want to compare all of these ideas to what I know to be true according to the Word of God.

Like many other authors on this topic she suggests set goals. For example ideas for short range goals include:
  1. A solid budget
  2. Getting out of debt
  3. Paying your bills on time
  4. Saving money
  5. Having a good credit report
  6. High FICO scores
Examples she uses for long range goals are:
  1. Buying a home
  2. Buying an automobile, boat or motor vehicle
  3. Own your own businees
  4. Pay off student loans
  5. Retirement
  6. Investing

Obviously some of these ideas Dave Ramsey blatantly says to avoid. However, McNaughton is not Dave Ramsey. She has her thoughts in these areas.
Personally I would like to avoid and student loans ever again. Even if I do decide to go back to college. However, that means I would have to find other ways to fund that expense as well as support my wife and I.
Overall I found the book to be a very interesting read and would recommend everyone to read it. Even those Dave Ramsey fans can find some kernels of wisdom in this book if they will open their minds to what she has to say.

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Freebies Satuday - June 25, 2011

It is time once again for this weeks Freebie Saturday. 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.
  • Try a Free Splenda Essentials Sample today. It's the same Splenda Sweetener you love only now with either B vitamins or with Antioxidants.
  • Get a Free SoyJoy Fruit Bar, but hurry they will go fast.
  • Join (or login if already a member) and get free Glad ForceFlex OdorShield with Febreeze trash bags. However, Vocalpoint tends to be a club exclusive to women.

  • Next To Nature Laxative - Find out for yourself how fantastic this natural laxative is in relieving constipation. Try it free with no obligation! Click link above then click on "Free Sample" once at the site.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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  • Friday, June 24, 2011

    Financial Shutdown Report for Friday 6/24/11

    One bank was seized today and two Credit Unions were place in Conservatorship. While another conserved Credit Union was purchased.
    Mountain Heritage Bank becomes First American Bank and Trust Company
    On Friday, June 24, 2011, Mountain Heritage Bank, Clayton, GA was closed by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.
    All deposit accounts, excluding certain brokered deposits, have been transferred to First American Bank and Trust Company, Athens, GA ("assuming institution") and will be available immediately. The former Mountain Heritage Bank locations will reopen as branches of First American Bank and Trust Company during regular business hours.
    - FDIC

    O.U.R. Federal Credit Union Placed into Conservatorship

    The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) today assumed control of service and operations at O.U.R. Federal Credit Union of Eugene, Ore.
    While continuing normal member services, NCUA will work to resolve issues affecting the institution’s safety and soundness.
    Deposits at O.U.R. Federal Credit Union remain protected. Administered by NCUA, the
    National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) continues to insure individual accounts at O.U.R. Federal Credit Union up to $250,000. The NCUSIF, like the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, has the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.
    O.U.R. Federal Credit Union is a full service financial institution that includes the residents of Lane County, Ore., participating within the past 12 months in programs of the Lane County Department of Community Health and Social Service. With assets reported at $4.3 million in its last Call Report, service to O.U.R. Federal Credit Union’s 2,184 members will continue uninterrupted. Members can continue to conduct normal financial transactions—deposit and access funds, make loan payments, and use shares
    - NCUA

    Borinquen Federal Credit Union Placed into Conservatorship

    The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) today assumed control of service and operations at Borinquen Federal Credit Union of
    Philadelphia. While continuing normal member services, NCUA will work to resolve issues affecting the institution’s safety and soundness.
    Deposits at Borinquen Federal Credit Union remain protected. Administered by NCUA, the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF) continues to insure individual accounts at Borinquen Federal Credit Union up to $250,000. The NCUSIF, like the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, has the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.
    With $7 million in assets according to its most recent Call Report, Borinquen Federal Credit Union is a full-service financial institution that has served a low-income community in Philadelphia for 37 years. Service to Borinquen Federal Credit Union’s 8,600 members will continue uninterrupted. Members can continue to conduct normal financial transactions—deposit and access funds, make loan payments, and use shares.
    The decision to conserve a credit union enables the institution to continue regular operations with expert management in place, correcting previous service and operational weaknesses. During conservatorship, members may therefore continue to conduct business at the credit union.
    The Federal Credit Union Act authorizes the NCUA Board to appoint itself conservator when necessary to conserve the assets of a federally insured credit union, protect members’ interests, or protect the NCUSIF. Borinquen Federal Credit Union is the seventh federally insured credit union placed into conservatorship during 2011.
    - NCUA

    St. James A.M.E. Federal Credit Union Purchased by North Jersey FCU

    The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) liquidated St. James A.M.E. Federal Credit Union of Newark, N.J., today. North Jersey Federal Credit Union of Totowa, N.J., immediately assumed St. James A.M.E. Federal Credit Union’s members.
    The accounts of the new North Jersey Federal Credit Union members remain federally insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund up to $250,000. The new North Jersey Federal Credit Union members will also experience no interruption in services. North Jersey Federal Credit Union is a large, full-service institution with $194 million in assets and more than 29,700 members.
    NCUA made the decision to liquidate St. James A.M.E. Federal Credit Union and discontinue its operations as they were after determining the credit union was insolvent and has no prospect for restoring viable operations on its own. At the time of liquidation and subsequent purchase by North Jersey FCU, the credit union served 831 members and had deposits of approximately $1 million.
    Chartered in 1946, St. James A.M.E. Federal Credit Union obtained federal insurance on Jan. 4, 1971. The field of membership was originally limited to members of the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark. Their membership expanded to include members of the Greater Mt. Teman A.M.E. Church in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1994.
    St. James A.M.E. Federal Credit Union is the tenth federally insured credit union liquidation in 2011.
    NCUA is the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, NCUA operates and manages the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund, insuring the deposits of more than 90 million account holders in all federal credit unions and the overwhelming majority of state-chartered credit unions.
    - NCUA

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    Family and Money

    Today we are going to take a more in-depth look at a topic that we covered briefly in lesson two. This topic , family and money, is so important that the brevity of it in that lesson was not and is not enough to give it justice. I say this because, Genesis 2:24 says,
    So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body. (NCV)
    I. In previous lessons I mentioned establishing a budget, a written plan. As Luke 14:28-30 says, If you want to build a tower, you first sit down and decide how much it will cost, to see if you have enough money to finish the job. If you don't, you might lay the foundation, but you would not be able to finish. Then all all who would see it would make fun of you, saying, “This person began to build but was not able to finish.
    The written plan allocates a certain amount to each category. The idea is a simple one. One that is very similar to the old “envelope system.” The envelope system came about in a time when many employers paid earnings in cash. To control spending, families established an effective system by dividing the available money into the various budget categories. Keeping those funds in individual envelopes. As a need came about, money was withdrawn from the appropriate envelope. The system when used properly controlled spending. When an envelope was empty, that was the end of spending in that category. Unless you and your spouse made an immediate conscious decision to short another budget to cover overspending in the prior category. I like the envelope system. I like the concept so much, that I went one step further. I set aside separate savings accounts for some of these categories. Like the envelope system it is a simple idea that is a great way to build your emergency fund in each of these categories.
    A budget does require some self-discipline. Separate personal cash into categories identical to each of your spending categories. Using envelopes, but avoid spending gas money for entertainment, grocery money for eating out, or any other combination there of. As I eluded to before, when all the money has been spent from a category, you can't spend anymore in that category. Period! No two ways about it. When the money is gone, your spending is done. Also, do not get cash back at the cash register. Only write checks or use debit cards for the exact amount of purchase only. If you need to get cash, use your financial institutions ATM or write a separate check and note it as “personal cash.”
    A word of caution, don't make record-keeping more complicated then it needs to be. This system requires no more then about 30-minutes a week to maintain. Only the first time should it take more time then that and that is only because you haven't been doing a budget beforehand. Once you have an idea of how much you are going to budget it will get much simpler. If you happen to be one of those families (or individuals) paid every two weeks, you will have two extra paychecks every year. If this is you, then you have the best savings plan without knowing it. I highly recommend putting these “extra” paychecks into your savings. The same would be true of any tax refunds, bonuses and gifts. This fund would be perfect for covering your non-monthly expenses such as vacations, clothing, car repairs, etc not to mention your emergency fund.
    If your income fluctuates it can be difficult to find a way to allocate your spending. If this is you, what do you do? You need to estimate what your lowest average income for one year will be and figure your monthly budget based on that “average” income per month.
    Some might question if building such a big savings is really Biblical. These people might even refer to 1 Timothy 6:10 which says,
    The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain. (NIV)
    In of itself money is not evil since money is amoral. The late Christian Financial author and expert Larry Burkett said, “The only difference in saving and hoarding is attitude.” That is the key to understanding this verse. The people in the verse loved money so much they left the faith to gain it. Why are you wanting to build wealth? Are you doing so because you want to become a giver and help spread God's message? Or are you doing so out of greed? If you are building wealth because of greed, perhaps you should reevaluate your relationship with God.
    Building wealth is wise if you are doing so according to scripture. You should expect the unexpected. The furnace will break. The roof will need to be replaced. There is no such thing as unexpected expenses, only unplanned expenses. So plan for the unexpected.
    Genesis 41:35-36 says,
    Give them the power to collect the grain during those good years and to store it in your cities. It can be stored until it is needed during the seven years when there won't be enough grain in Egypt. This will keep the country from being destroyed because of the lack of food. (CEV)
    This is why you should have an emergency fund equal to not less then 3-6 months of your income. This means if you have an income of $30,000 then you should save $7,500-$15,000. I however, suggest that you save 6-12 months of your income. Given the same $30,000 example my recommendation would be to establish an emergency fund of not less then $15,000-$30,000. I know this won't be easy but it will help you during any times of lengthy unemployment not to mention when those so called “unexpected” expenses arise. Do NOT (under any circumstance) touch this fund for purchases. It is only for emergencies. So that you are prepared for those times.
    II. In the last lesson we discussed mortgages and the fact that the mortgage should be no more then 25% of your income. Some may have thought that “there is no way on my income.” They in a sense are correct. As you can see by the chart, if you earn $50,000 or more the 25% rule applies. However, if you only earn $15,000 then that percentage increases to 35%. That is because some of those expenses that fall into this category are going to be the same whether you earn $15,000, $50,000 or $100,000. Such expenses as utilities assuming all other factors are the same. For example a $40 water bill is a bigger expense for the family earning $15,000 then it is for the family earning $50,000. In this example the water bill would be 2.666% of the budget for the family earning $15,000. Compared to 0.95% for the family earning $50,000. My suggested guidelines for each category can be seen on the chart. If you have school and/or childcare expenses then the recommended percentages must be deducted from other categories. One category remains the same no matter how much you earn (or what the circumstances). That is the tithe. The 10% that is in this category is the minimum. If you feel led in your heart to give more then that is perfectly acceptable. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 says,
    Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don't feel sorry that you must give and don't feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give. (CEV)
    III. If you are being hassled by creditors then here is what you must do. First, the most important thing to remember is that your needs and that of your family comes before the creditors.
    1 Timothy 5:8 says, People who don't take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn't have faith in the Lord. (CEV)
    Let us be clear here. That is needs not wants. You need to get rid of the mindset of any wants being needs. This doesn't mean you ignore the creditors either. Doing so is not Biblical. Psalms 37:21 says,
    The wicked borrow and don't pay back, but those who do right give freely to others. (NCV)
    Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 says,
    If you make a promise to God, don't be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised. It is better not to promise anything than to promise something and not do it. (NCV)
    You promised to pay back what you borrowed, so you need to pay it back. If your financial situation changed since you signed the loan papers then communicate that to your creditors. You must always communicate with them. Creditors are much more receptive to people are communicating with them. If they feel like you are trying to avoid them they will be much meaner when they contact you. Finally, stop bouncing checks. The money spent on those fees need to be going to payoff debt and ultimately to building your savings.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Teaching Update

    Yesterday I spoke again to the men in Straightway. I truly believe many of these men will become great men of God, but first they must overcome their demons that they have been dealing with. Anyway after 5 lessons on debt according to what the Bible has to say, I showed them Dave Ramsey's "Dumping Debt" DVD. It was an old one. Some of the things has changed like the new law enacted (since that version was filmed) in regards to kids and credit cards (especially College kids) and Dave's references to GMAC credit. Still I find the video to be very useful information and I hope that the men found it useful to. Next week we will be getting back to our Biblical studies. Hopefully, a brand new never before seen sermon on finances. Which means I need to get busy studying and putting it together.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Advanced Parking Meters Gaining Use Along With Credit Cards

    By: Jason Collazo

    “The world changes. Just as the token went, now the manual meter has gone,” said New York City’s transportation commissioner, Iris Weinshall. As credit card usage is becoming more widespread throughout the economy, more and more companies are using advanced technology that allows for credit card payments. Modern parking meters, referred to as multispace meters, can now be found in many U.S. cities that have an influx of commuters.

    Multispace meters have become increasing popular the past year because they provide user-friendly features, such as touch-screen capabilities and credit card payments. In the past, consumers have been bothered by having to carry coins on their person. Because these multispace meters accept credit card payments, drivers will no longer need to worry about coins.

    Technology experts have also noted that these newly improved meters will have greater performance capabilities. Though these meters are still susceptible to coin jams, they have been programmed with software that will contact maintenance staff immediately after the problem is detected. This is a great improvement for drivers because dysfunctional meters without this software were often left inoperative.

    How does it work? Every parking space is labeled with a specific number. After the driver parks his motor vehicle in that spot, he will need to go to the electronic meter, enter the space number and the parking duration. The driver will then be asked to pay with coins or credit. After this transaction is complete, the meter stores all of this information and prints out a receipt for the dashboard. Enforcement personnel will be able to check for any parking violations directly on the multispace meter or by reading the printed receipts on each vehicle.

    The city of Chico, Calif., is currently undergoing a transition into modern parking technology. At a recent meeting at the Economic Development Committee of the City Council of Chico, city planner Shawn Tillman stated that multispace meters cost more than regular meters but will provide more information. The meters can detect usage patterns for individual spots and areas within the parking lot. This could lead to increases in those parking spots that are most desirable. ”If demand is over 85 percent (at a space),” Tillman said, “the price should be raised.” With this increase in price, he hopes that the investment into modern parking technology will pay off as it will cost $200 more per space for the new meters.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    University of Texas Turns off the Fountains

    Because of the extreme drought in the south and southwest the University of Texas is turning off the fountains which according to UT officials, will save 300,000 gallons per month during the current drought conditions.

    As much as I hate the thought of those beautiful fountains being turned off and drained. It is something that I understand. We must conserve our water supply for drinking water and necessary uses. I am praying though that we get some much needed rain and that the drought ends soon. However, it will take a lot of rain to get the lake levels back up to normal.

    My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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    Flashback Tue: Buyer Beware

    The following article was originally published June 17, 2006 when this blog was relatively new.
    While, I have not seen what Dave Ramsey's vision looks like, this is somewhat how I perceive a "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing."

    Like a wolf in sheep's clothing ready to pounce on unsuspecting sheep, so the marketplace is ready to pounce on the unsuspecting consumer. Eager, to relieve you of your hard earned money.

    From advertising to the salesman to product placement are all designed get you to spend more money.

    Advertising: Repetitive advertising affects what we buy. Don't think so? Let's see...Where's the ______? (advertisement was in 1985---the lady died in 1987). I could go though a list of several more, but I think you get the idea, repetitive advertising affects all of us. If it didn't we couldn't finish these slogans and phrases. No matter how much we want to deny it, we still remember these slogans and phrases. It has a big affect on our shopping decisions.

    For example, how many of you think generics (or store brands), are lesser qualty then the name brand? Why? Because, when the store brands first came out, Hunts and Heinz ran commercials showing how "rich and thick," they were while these store brands were "runny," What they failed to say is that, the generic ketchup was made at the same place, by them. I personally buy the store brand on most everything. I have a few things where, I admit, I insist on a particular name brand. However, recently one of those the store brand tasted more like my particular name brand.
    For those of you that coupon, you might find it is cheaper to buy the store brands, then what ever you are planning to buy, even with your coupons.

    Product Placement: Much research, has gone into the placement of display's or the barrel's of iced down Coca-Cola. They know where these things are just in the customers way and thus an annoyance, and where the most customers are going to be enticed to purchase the product.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Woman's house hijacked by strangers

    What would you do if you came home from work and found someone else had taken up residence in your home? That is what happened to one Texas woman recently.

    Mayrean McDonough, 65, came home from work and finds a family of five eating her food and playing with her now grown kids toys in her Marble Falls, Texas home earlier this month.

    McDonough, who works as a secretary at an area church, said when she stopped at home to grab something and walked into her home off 12th Street, she found the family in her living room.

    "It was like a circus," said McDonough. "There were pop cans everywhere."

    She said she screamed at the couple whose children were playing with toys on the floor. McDonough said the toys belonged to her now-grown children and had been packed away in a box in her bedroom closet.

    The family fled in their car that they had hidden in the shed on the property, leaving behind finger prints (which were sent to the state laboratory), money, a lighter, a photo of the children, fast food receipts and a pair of shoes. The case is still under investigation.

    I am not sure what I would have done if I found myself in a similar situation. I am sure I would have been terrified though. I do think if I found the music that loud, I wouldn't have gotten their attention. I think I would have backed out and called the police so as to try to catch then while they were still in my home. How about you?

    My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Eat Like a Pioneer

    Food is one of the biggest expenses in your budget or can be. I recently came across a post by "Ideas for Frugal Living" that I found interesting. Especially since it was centered around one of my favorite book series (and TV) as a kid...Little House on the Prairie. As she points out in her post the Ingalls didn't have a lot of money and they ate simply so she came up with the "Eat Like a Pioneer Diet."
    So how did they do it? First of all, they hardly ate meat or sweets. Pa would go out and hunt when he could, but that was chancy. The girls usually got a stick of candy (ONE STICK) in their Christmas stocking, and Ma would make a pie or some other baked goodie as a VERY occasional treat.

    Every day meals, though, were usually pretty monotonous. They were biscuits, bread, or cornbread, some sort of bean main dish, maybe bacon or sausage, tea, coffee, milk (if it hadn’t blown out of the pail), homemade butter (from the milk, when possible), and maybe molassess to flavor the bread. That was pretty much it.

    The Ingalls were wheat farmers mainly, but they usually had a kitchen garden, too. So they might have potatoes, carrots, onions, etc. But many times it seems as if things didn’t work out too well for them weather-wise, so they didn’t get much from any of their crops. Then it was mostly beans, beans, beans. And some sort of bread.

    - Ideas for Frugal Living

    She does admit in her post that she doesn't know if it is the healthiest of diets or not, but she can tell us by quoting a book she had with that information how long each of them lived.

    Pa 1836-1902, 66 years old

    Ma 1839-1924, 85 years old

    Mary 1865-1928, 63 years old

    Laura 1867-1957, 90 years old

    Carrie 1870-1946, 76 years old

    Grace 1877-1941, 64 years old

    So there you have it. Laura lived to see the advent of the home television set. No idea if she herself ever had one though, but that would be another story anyway. I have often lived on a similar diet as the one above. The author of the quoted post is right it can be monotonus but it gives us the nourishment that we need.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Freebies Saturday - Fathers Day Edition

    It is time once again for this weeks Freebie Saturday. 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.

    Father's Day Freebies
    1. Treat your Dad to a free TCBY Yogurt on Father’s Day June 19.
    2. Does your dad use the internet? Save time, money, and save a tree by sending dad a free Father's Day animated e-card this weekend. (Thanks

    3. Free Lasagne or Spaghetti for Father's at Spaghetti Warehouse.

    4. Free Father's Day Breakfast at IKEA Stores.

    5. Dad's get a free meal at Wahoos (California, Colorado and Texas)
    Other Freebies
    1. Get a FREE Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor. Be sure that you are logged into Facebook, then click “Take The Challenge” tab and follow the steps. Please Note: If you have done in the past you may not be able to do this again.

    2. Get a free sample of John Frieda Frizz-Ease Smooth Start.

    3. If you are lucky enough to have a location near you there's a FREE tall hot or iced coffee waiting for you at Così with this weekend's password, "REFRESH". Simply come by and tell us the password on Saturday and Sunday (June 18-19) to receive your free tall coffee. We'll have another password and offer next Friday, and the Friday after, and the Friday after that, aaand... well, you know. Have a great weekend! (according to Kara @ Cosi)

    4. This one has to be my favorite of the week. Get a free Nestle Drumstick Cone on June 21st (2011) starting at Noon Eastern. And all you have to do to get one is be a fan on their facebook page and tell them where to send it by filling out the form when it goes live. Only 100,000 will be available.

    5. This free Head & Shoulders 2-in-1 Hair Endurance for men is totally different than the women version. Because this one says “for men” at the end instead of “for women.” It’s a Facebook freebie and only available to the first 25,000 people who request it.

    6. Get a free subscription to Forbes magazine.

    7. Request a sample of Tidy Tots disposable potty chair liners today.
      Hurry quantities of Tidy Tots Samples are limited. (Thanks Shop4Freebies)

    --- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think. follow me on Twitter and facebook

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Financial Shutdown Friday 6/17/11

    Tonight two banks were seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
    On Friday, June 17, 2011, McIntosh State Bank, Jackson, 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 McIntosh State Bank locations will reopen as branches of Hamilton State Bank during regular business hours.

    - FDIC

    The other bank closed today was:

    First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay, Tampa, 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 Stonegate Bank, Fort Lauderdale, FL ("assuming institution") and will be available immediately. The former First Commercial Bank of Tampa Bay locations will reopen as branches of Stonegate Bank during regular business hours.

    - FDIC

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Love Of Money

    "You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them for what they should do for themselves."


    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Travel dreams

    One of my dreams is to visit every Presidential library/museum run by the Nationall Archives. Below is a list of all the current museums and the ones I have made it to so far.
    1. ✓Jimmy Carter (Atlanta, GA)
    2. ✓ Dwight D. Eisenhower (Abilene, KS)
    3. ✓ Lyndon B. Johnson (Austin, TX)
    4. Ronald Reagan (Simi Valley, CA)
    5. Richard Nixon (Yorba Linda, CA)
    6. John F. Kennedy (Boston, MA)
    7. Gerald Ford (Ann Arbor, MI)
    8. Franklin D. Roosevelt (Hyde Park, NY)
    9. Harry S. Truman (Independence, MO)
    10. Herbert Hoover (West Branch, IA)
    11. George H. W. Bush (College Station, TX)
    12. William (Bill) Clinton (Little Rock, AR)
    13. George W. Bush (Dallas, TX) (Under Construction)
    Not sure when I will be able to visit the rest of them. Especially considering the budget. However, I will trust the Lord my God and in his timing and if it is His will, I will make it. --- go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think. follow me on Twitter and facebook

    Attention College Students: Start Saving Now

    By: Jason Collazo

    Tamara Langham, a senior account executive with the Defined Contribution Customer Experience Group at Lincoln Financial Group’s Atlanta office, stated, “ Sometimes we run across an older employee who says that he should have started saving earlier. We tell participants that the best time to start saving is 10 or 20 years ago, but the second best time to start is now.”
    College students have a lot on their plates. With exams, research papers, internships and social events, it is easy to understand why most college students disregard their retirement savings plans. While their academics and social activities are important, retirement savings need more serious attention.
    According to the tax information service CCH, only 4% of young workers are maxing out their retirement plans. Unfortunately, that means 96% are potentially losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in opportunity costs.
    By saving a mere $100 a month from college to retirement, consumers can yield an economic profit of $500,000 dollars. For only investing a total of $25,000 dollars, you might wonder how that is possible. That, college students, is the beauty of compound interest.
    College-level students need to take advantage of compound interest. For example, take a bank account that has $1000 and earns interest at a rate of 5% interest per year. By the end of the first year that account balance would increase to $1050 and then to $1,102.50 by the end of the second year. Putting your money in banks that offer high compound interest rates is essential for those who want to make huge returns come retirement.
    Be smart. Reports indicate that the average American worker starts saving for retirement at the age of 40. If these workers had started saving during college, they would have gained an additional $400,000 in savings. Not only should consumers start saving as early as possible, but they should also find the bank that will maximize their savings.
    When looking for the best banks, students should keep an eye out for the bank’s annual percentage yield. Try to find a bank with a good balance between a high APY and minimal fees, and you will be on the right track to securing your future.

    Jason Collazo is a Columbia University student whose interests include economics, personal finance, and marketing.This combination of studies helps the writer shine a unique perspective on the U.S. economy, consumer trends, and business competitiveness. Jason is also a member of Columbia’s NCAA Varsity Diving Team.

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Time to Eliminate Your Debt

    Last time we discussed budgeting. Today it is time to focus on eliminating your debts. It won't be easy and it won't happen overnight. However, it can be done. Like the previous two lessons we will be looking at what the Bible says while using some commonsense advice to try to understand this topic.
    Since the 1960's, when Bank of America introduced what is now known as Visa, we have been bombarded by an aggressive marketing campaign. Because of this it is hard for most of us to even fathom living life without any kind of debt. However, I'm here to tell you it is possible and it is even Biblical. As we go through today's lesson we are going to see some fundamental facts that may shock and surprise you.

    I. Borrowing and Co-signing
    You cannot get out of debt as long as you are still borrowing and/or using credit cards (including any store/fuel cars). It simply is not possible. Likewise, you cannot borrow your way out of debt. Trying to do so is like trying to dig yourself out of a hole. You end finding that the hole only gets deeper. You are not going to get out of the hole until you start filling it in. Stop borrowing! Start living on less then you earn and pay off your debts. I will reiterate here, You will never be debt free as long as you hold onto your credit cards. It is important that you cut up and cancel all your credit cards. Removing them from you life forever.
    Romans 13:18 says, Let NO debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.
    Did you get that? Owe no one anything! God doesn't want us to be in debt. Does that mean it is a sin? No, but it is not God's desire for our lives.
    In addition avoid the pawn shops, rent-to-own, cash advance, title loans and tote-the-note car lots. These places are greedy rip offs that benefit no one except the owners of these terrible places of business. Ezekiel even warned us about these places. Ezekiel 18:13a says, He lends at usury and takes excessive interest. Will such a man live? He will not! (NIV)
    When it comes to co-signing you should avoid doing so for others. For one thing we are getting out of debt. So why would we encourage others to go into debt by co-signing for them? Which is exactly what co-signing would be doing. Further when you co-sign for friends or family or likewise lend to them that relationship will be strained until that debt is paid back. Besides if the bank, financial institution or car lot is requiring a co-signer there must be a reason. Their repayment history must be horrible or they wouldn’t be seeking a co-signer. The fact is if you co-sign for someone, you MUST be prepared to pay for the loan yourself and have your credit ruined. Even the writer of proverbs warned us against it. Proverbs 17:18 says, A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor. (NIV) The Contemporary English Version says it this way, It's stupid to guarantee someone else's loan. The New Century Version puts it this way, It is not wise to promise to pay what your neighbor owes.
    Is there any question that it is unwise to co-sign?
    II. Automobile Debt
    One of the things I often hear is that car payments are a way of life. The simple fact is that isn't true. In fact only broke people think that way. Here are the facts. A new car loses about 20% of its value when you drive it off the lot. Further more, that new car can lose as much as 60% of its value within the first four years. That means if you buy an $18,000 vehicle it will lose $10,800 of its value within those first four years. Which translates into that car only being worth about $7,200. Meaning if you got a car loan you are throwing away $225 a month.
    Another argument is from people who think leasing their vehicle is a good idea. They are wrong. Fact is that leasing is the most expensive way to finance a vehicle, If you own a business you can write-off your paid for vehicle without making payments for that privilege.
    It boils down to avoiding any form of car payments by driving a reliable used car. That is what the average millionaire does. Spending less then they make and not making payments for everything is how they became millionaires.
    A. Once you purchase a vehicle keep the car until it becomes to expensive to replace.
    B. You might say, but I can't afford to pay cash. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you're right.”
    If you can afford payments on a car, then you can afford to make those payments to yourself after the car is paid off. Placing those payments in an interest bearing account. If you do this you will have the cash to buy your next car without taking on debt.
    III. Mortgage
    When it comes to mortgages you must remember that the best mortgage is no more mortgage. Paying 100% in cash is the best way to go. However, if you must get a mortgage your payments should be no more then 25% of your take home pay. Make sure the loan is a 15-year fixed rate with at least 10% down. Never do a 30-year mortgage. Yes the payment will be slightly higher with a 15 verses a 30, but the extra 15 years could cost you an extra $100,000 in interest. So this one simple step could save you big money.
    Be sure to always purchase a home that has street appeal or can easily be fixed up to meet this requirement. Street appeal is the first thing that will sell a house when you go to resell. Second, when you are purchasing look for bargains. Overlook ugly carpet and/or wallpaper. These things can easily be replaced for very little money. However, they can greatly reduce your investment at time of purchase.
    I am sure you have heard this before, but it is true. Homes appreciate in better neighborhoods and are priced based on three things; Location, Location, Location. However, you should purchase at the bottom of the price range in the neighborhood.
    Fact is you don't need the biggest most expensive house. The house needs to fit your budget. As I said earlier no more then 25% of your income. However, it is more then just that. You don't need to purchase more house then you need (or can afford). In today’s world that may sound radical, but it is easier to move up in house then getting to much house and having to downsize.
    Now lets take a look at Adjustable Rate Mortgages, often referred to as ARMS. These so called ARMS were brought to us with the advent of the high interest rates of the early 1980's. ARMS are a bad idea. They are usually tied to the Treasury Bill index. As the index increases so does your interest rate. There is a possibility of rates dropping, but more often people find their rates going up. Sometimes to the point where they can't afford the mortgage anymore. This is why you should avoid ARMS at all costs. Fixed rate mortgages are the only way to go, if you must take out a mortgage at all.
    You don't go into debt for emergencies and you don't borrow to pay off other debt. Smaller payments only mean more time in debt and more interest paid to the financial institution. There is no reason to borrow for anything other then perhaps a mortgage. Proverbs 22:7 says, The rich rule over the poor, and borrowers are servants to lenders. (NCV)
    Why would any one want to be a slave to someone else? You don't need credit cards to build credit and you do not need a credit card to rent a car. Rental car companies, with few exceptions, will accept debit cards.
    Further a Dunn and Bradstreet study a few years back, found that when people pay cash they tend to spend 12 to 18% less then those using credit cards. Spending cash hurts. No wonder fast food places started accepting credit cards. Finally how much could you save, invest and give if you had no payments?

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Comparing Warehouse Clubs

    Much talk has been made over how much cheaper a Warehouse Club is. However, how much cheaper are they really. Also of the two (2) big national clubs, which one of them is cheaper. It is no secret on this blog that I'm not a big fan of Wal-Mart. However, I am fair and open minded. So let's take a look.

    I went into Sam's on a Friday afternoon and Costco on a Saturday morning.

    Before we get started a brief history on the two companies.

    The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Oklahoma on April 7, 1983. Today, Sam’s Club operates 609 locations nationwide. Typical clubs are about 132,000 square feet and employ about 175 associates. Sam's Club has more than 100 international Sam’s Clubs in Brazil, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

    Costco opened its first warehouse in Seattle, Washington, on September 15, 1983. In 1993, Costco merged with Price Club (called Club Price in the Canadian province of Quebec). Prior to the 1993 Price merger, Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton wanted to merge Sam's Club with Price Club Costco's business model and size were similar to those of Price Club, which was founded by Sol and Robert Price in 1976 in San Diego, California. In 1997, the company changed its name to Costco Wholesale and all Price Club locations were re-branded Costco. In the United States, the main competitors operating membership warehouses are Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale Club.[12] Although Sam's Club has more warehouses than Costco, Costco has higher total sales volume. Costco employs about 142,000 full and part-time employees, including seasonal workers. As of September 2009 Costco had 55 million members

    I should also note here that I own 1.7065 shares of WalMart stock and none of Costco.

    The first thing I did was visit both companies websites to find out how much membership at each club was. Sam's Club has what they call an Advantage member ($40) for those who don't own a business while Costco calls this the Gold Star Membership ($50). While Sam's offers business memberships for $35 Costco is again $50. Costco also has an "Executive" membership for $100 in which you get back 2% of your purchases as a rebate check at the end of the year. According to them most members get back enough to basically make their membership free. However, if you only get say $20 back take the check to the club and cash it there and they will make it $50. So that you really aren't paying that extra $50 over the regular membership.

    Sam's Club
    National Grocery Chain
    Sam's Club advantage $10.00

    So as for membership so that you can get your foot in the door, Sam's wins by $10.

    As I began this research I also looked at Consumer Reports.
    Despite the clout of Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club’s parent, as the largest retailer on the planet, readers gave higher overall scores to Costco for groceries (better perishables), electronics and small appliances (lower prices), and eyeglasses (better service).
    - Consumer Reports

    Consumer Reports also reported that Consumers who shop warehouse clubs and also visited their website reported spending more then they intended. Since this is a problem for most shoppers no matter where they shop my suggestion would be to make a list and stick to it. Do not let the idea of saving money convince you that can buy more. Instead shop smart and save the savings for the future.

    Costco tends to be located in more affluent neighborhoods and offers more higher end good then does Sam's Club. So it boils down to the same complaint that many has against Walmart selling cheap lower quality goods. Both companies offers store brands - Costco offers 330 Kirkland Signature items while Sam’s Club’s Members Mark line offers 400 items.

    So now what about those prices? Lets take a look at some select items from each store. I printed a one-day pass for Sam's Club that I found on their website. Costco which doesn't offer such a thing but allowed me to enter and look around to decide if I wanted to join. One thing in my comparison I looked at original prices and not sale prices. The idea is I wanted to know what I would pay from week to week for these items. Not just while it was on sale. I wanted the most accurate comparison I could get. One last note before we begin. I also compared the warehouse prices to a national grocery store chain's everyday (non-sale) prices to see if it was really worth paying the annual membership fee.

    Food Processor

    When I entered the grocery store they only had one brand of food processor; which surprised me. I really didn't expect the grocery store to have that but was glad they did. That brand was a Cuisinart.
    Sam's had a didn't have a Cuisinart food processor instead they had some brand called Ninja. The Ninja Food Processor was $49.98. While Costco carried the same brand that the national grocery chain carried; Cuisinart. They weren't exactly the same model but they were much more comparable to each oth then was the Ninja at Sam's.

    Food Processor
    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Sam's Club's advantage $19.01

    Based on price alone Sam's wins this one, but if you were to factor quality and features Costco would win.


    The grocery store one 12 pack is $5.99 everyday. However, you almost never pay that price as it is almost always has some kind of sale price. Sam's didn't have any 12-packs. Instead they had 24-pack cases ($5.98) and 32-packs ($9.74). Costco on the other hand only carried 32-packs in the cans and then some multi-packs in 20 oz bottles and 2 litter botles (4-pk). Since we use cans that is what we are comparing across the board.

    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Costco's advantage $3.09

    Costco was the clear winner when it comes to Coca-Cola products.

    Paper Towels

    When it came to paper towels Sam's Members Mark brand was 12 double rolls for $15.98. When it comes to Costco though they had a similar size store brand paper towel which they sold for $14.99.

    Paper Towels
    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Costco's advantage $0.99

    Toilet Paper

    When it came to toilet paper Sam's didn't carry my wife's favorite brand (Cottenelle) so we looked at the Charmin which was $18.98 for 36-count triple size rolls. Costco had a similar package but was only a 30-pack.

    Toilet Paper
    Sam's Club
    $18.98 (36-pack)(.53/each)
    A National Grocery Chain
    $19.45 (30-pack)(.65/each)
    Sam's Club advantage $0.12


    When it came to bananas I was surprised to find Sam's was the same price as the national grocery store chain. Sam's was $1.47 for 3 pounds while the grocery store was 49 cents per pound (aka .49 x 3 = $1.47). When I went to Costco they also were $1.47 for a 3 lb bundle. Making all three stores in this comparison the same price. However, a local Texas only chain of stores does sell bananas at 44 cents/lb. Therefore I will give this one to the grocery store.

    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Grocery Stores advantage $0.00


    I did my best to compare 93% lean across the board but Sam's didn't have anything better then 90% lean. Like Sam's Club; Costco didn't hav3 the 93/7. However, I was able to find a bag in the freezer of 5 1-LB chubs (the same size as a roll of sausage) that was 91/9. Which is good, the less fat the better for my wife's low cholesterol diet.

    Sam's Club
    $2.98/LB (90/10)
    A National Grocery Chain
    $5.19/LB (93/7)
    Sam's Club advantage $0.22

    No mater which warehouse club you go to you have to buy approximately 5-lbs (or better) of hamburger.

    Canned Vegetables

    When it came to veggies Sam's had different pack sizes for corn (8-pack) and green beans (12-pack). Then the peas was a different brand (Luesuer aka the most expensive brand) while the corn and green beans were Del Monte. They had no cream corn or carrots at Sams's. So for green beans Sam's figured out to be 67 cents per can while corn figured out to be 70 cents per can. Since peas were about 99 cents/can I didn't include them in my survey. For the purpose of my chart below I figured the 70 cents/can price. Costco to had different prices and pack sizes. However, they were more consistent. For example, Green Beans and Corn were both store brands and both came in 12-packs for the same retail. However Peas came in an 8-pack and was the S & W brand which was 5.39. Figuring it out per can the corn and beans were $0.58 each while the peas were $0.67 each. Like we did for Sam's we will take the more expensive price as the price for all three. We do this because something ringing up less then you expected is better then more. We all like getting more for our money.

    Canned Vegetables
    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Costco's advantage $0.03

    Milk is a little tricky. At Sam's Club you can buy a single gallon however, at Costco you have to buy a box with 2 gallon jugs in them.

    2% Milk (gallon)
    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Costco and Sam's Club tie $0.00
    Costco and Sam's Club tie $0.00

    Jelly Beans
    One of the treats I absolutely love is jelly beans. Not the black licorice ones mind you, but all the other flavors. At the grocery store I went in they only had one size of a bag of jelly beans (the peg-hook size). Which was disappointing. Their everyday price is $1.79 but can usually be bought on an unadvertised special of 2/$3.00. At Sam's they had a 4-lb jug of gourmet jelly beans for $10.84. Which figures to be $2.71/lb. However, I don't need gourmet jelly beans so they really aren't comparable. Still they were both store brands so I am including them. When I got to Costco all they carried was the Jelly Belly. Like Sam's club they were in a 4-lb plastic jar.

    Jelly Beans
    Sam's Club
    $10.84/4-LBs ($2.71/lb)
    A National Grocery Chain
    $1.79 (15 oz bag)X4=$7.16
    Grocery Stores advantage #3.65

    I know it's comparing apples to oranges when it comes to these Jelly beans, but I really don't need the gourmet candy that the two warehouse clubs were selling.


    Potatoes (10 LB bag)
    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    $8.99/15-Lbs ($3/5/lb=$5.99 for 10-LBs)
    Sam's Club advantage $1.31

    Laundry Soap - Gain (170 oz)

    Laundry Soap
    Sam's Club
    National Grocery Chain
    Sam's Club and Cosco tie $0.00
    Sam's Club and Cosco tie $0.00

    In the end Sam's proved to be have the better prices. The totals listed below does not include the membership fee which would only be paid once a year and not on the routine trip to the store. There were 3 items that I didn't compare to a grocery store, because the grocery store doesn't carry that size. Still even without those 3 higher dollar items the warehouse clubs beat the grocery store over-all. However, it seems that non food items is where the real savings are in these clubs.
    As for comparing them to the grocery store it is possible to save money but it is imperative that you save at least $1 a week in order to get your money back that you shelled out in the membership fees (no mater which club you choose).

    Sam's Club
    A National Grocery Chain
    Sam's Club  advantage $21.95

    go ahead share your thoughts with me now, my ears are open. I'm always eager to hear what you think.

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