Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

A few things I am thankful for...

An all-loving, all-powerful Creator, God

A beautiful wife who inspires me to reach further than I could do on my own

My friends near and far who I wish I could see more often

This country which was founded on solid, biblical principles

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy your time with family and friends.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Need cash now?

I was reading the latest issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine today and came across an article that discusses "A Dozen Timely Ideas on How to Pay Unexpected Bills and Weather Tough Times". I must say, I was actually excited (in an extremely nerdy way) to read the article and was hoping to read about something I never thought of. After all, it is my slower time of year and extra cash is always a good thing.

To my extreme disappointment, the article was full of unwise and impractical solutions. Six of the twelve "ideas" involved borrowing money in some way. What a novel idea--If you need some extra cash to pay your bills, ask your friends and family. Or better yet, idea #10--Borrow From Strangers. They then went on to describe a kid who mass emailed 10,000 people (illegal) and asked them to each donate $2.50 for his college tuition.

Other ideas involved taking money out of your retirement funds (which you can do, but for a penalty) and selling your investments (horrible time for that). And the worst idea of them all--Cash Convenience Checks. You are setting yourself up for disaster by using one of those blank checks that come with your credit card statement. The interest rate is usually very high and there is typically a fee you need to pay just for the convenience (around 3%-4%). And in some cases, when you pay credit card company back, your payment will be applied to your normal credit card purchases first, then toward the convenience check.

Number 12 on the list was "Sell Your Stuff". Finally, something that makes sense. I'm pretty sure I would donate plasma before doing anything else on the list. This article got me thinking and I will be working on my own list of things you can do to make some extra cash for the holidays or just to help make ends meet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

You're going to charge me to pay you?!

Have you every tried to pay for something with a credit card only to find out that you were going to be charged a "small" fee to do so? Or maybe there was a minimum purchase requirement and you were forced to purchase something else only to "qualify" to use plastic? Well, I'm sorry to say you have been taken advantage of.

Terrica, of Fabuluxe Events in Georgia, has a great post today that goes into detail about the terms that merchants agree to when they allow credit card purchases. Be sure to read this information so that if you are ever confronted with this situation you can make a knowledgeable and sound argument.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Smart Couples Finish Rich

I would like to recommend a great book for those couples who are ready to do what it takes to get out of debt and do what it takes to have a bright financial future. Smart Couples Finish Rich, by David Bach, helps couples learn how to work together with common goals. Bach shares practical ways to save today and how to build those savings into future wealth. You'll love the simplicity of "The Latte Factor" and you'll be intrigued by the chapter entitled "Increase Your Income by 10 Percent in Nine Weeks".

This isn't just for people who own their own businesses. In fact, if you receive a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck, it should be even easier for you to budget your dollars and start putting away savings today.

Go on and take the challenge. Your patience and determination will be well worth it. If not for yourself, do it for your kids and future generations.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Black Friday Already?

This infamous day will be upon us shortly. In fact, some stores have already begun their deep-discounted holiday sales. Of course, one way to find out about all of the sales is to wait until Thanksgiving for the six-inch paper with all of the ads. Or, you can check this site out and get a heads up on your holiday "deals and steals". (I use that term jokingly because I think it is so corny. Add to that "tips and tricks".)

The argument is out there that it is wise to start your Christmas shopping early because it spreads the expenses out over a longer amount of time. This is more psychological than anything, but whatever works.

For me, I try to get all my shopping done early so I can actually enjoy the season without the stress of overrun malls and picked over merchandise. Maybe you feel it is too early for Christmas shopping and you can't get in the mood. If that is the case, turn on one of your local radio stations that is already playing Christmas music and get a peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks and you'll be ready to go.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


No one can deny that history was indeed made yesterday. Whether you woke up today with a fresh bounce in your step or a new fear in your heart, it is clear that our country will face significant change over the next years. As new issues come up and proposals are made, I will do my best to explain them to you, my readers, and how they will effect your lives.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Perks

Well, tomorrow is Election Day. If you are still undecided about who you will vote for, contact me, and I would be happy to talk things through with you.

In case you haven't heard, there are a few establishments celebrating Election Day tomorrow and they would like to reward you for performing your civic duty.

Stop by Starbucks anytime tomorrow and get a free tall cup of brew just for saying you voted.

Ben & Jerry's is giving away a free scoop of ice cream.

Pick up a free star-shaped doughnut at Krispy Kreme...but don't forget your "I Voted" sticker.

There are also a lot of local restaurants taking on the same idea. Take advantage of one or all.

Happy Voting!