Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Emergency Fund

I have mentioned previously the importance of having an emergency fund. In the past week that has been reinforced. In the last week our area has survived two blizzards and a record flood. We are still fighting the flood and are still in the 2nd blizzard. Having an emergency fund in a case like this allows you to pay for unexpected expenses without having to go into extra credit card debt. Also, in our case many of the banks have been closed for several days. Some people I know got paid during this time but couldn't deposit paychecks right away. Then they were stuck. Also, to try to have some cash on hand for instances like this also.

With the weather we have been going through many businesses have not been open much for the last week, including the shopping malls. Some companies are paying employees for the time the businesses were closed but many are not. It is hitting retail employees especially hard. And if they were living paycheck to paycheck before, they will be struggling even more now. I saw on the news this morning if you struggling with this, to contact Job Service. There are funds available that you can apply to for assistance.

Also, if you have expenses you incurred to protect your home from the flood, keep documentation of your expenses and their will be programs from FEMA for reimbursement.

I know the most important thing in cases like this is saving lives but its also important to try to save money too so you don't have to go into further debt.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dave Ramsey Townhall meeting

Town Hall For Hope - via internet by Dave Ramsey

Connect with families across the nation for a truly radical message: HOPE.
Tired of hearing the fear, doom and gloom that’s filling the airwaves? Join Dave Ramsey for a nationwide town hall meeting and discover what’s happening with the economy, how we got here, and where we’re going. Plus, Dave will answer your questions live throughout the event!
Join us for this free event April 23 at 8:00 p.m. EDT in one of the thousands of venues across the country as we stand together to reignite the fire of hope! Learn more.

Go to http://daveramsey.com for more information and locations in your area.

In the Fargo area it will be Metropolitan Baptist Church at 2612 25th St S, Fargo at 7:00.

Posts from me may be sporadic for the next few days, our area is getting prepared for record flooding this weekend.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Swag Bucks

SwagBucks is a free search engine that offers you the opportunity to earn swag bucks just for doing what you already do - search online. I generally win at least one Swag Buck about every other time I search online. Some days I have won five Swag Bucks for a search.

You can use the following link to register http://swagbucks.com/?cmd=sb-register&rb=266121

And, I earn SwagBucks every time some one joined with me wins, too.
That is the greatest part: when you share your link with others, they can earn swag bucks and when they do, so do you - up to the first 100 swag bucks each person earns.
You can also earn Amazen and Starbucks gift card and other gift cards, airline miles, things for kids, trading cards and more!

It doesn't take alot of points to earn gifts. Other sites like this to read emails, etc you need alot more points to get any kind of reward.

I haven't been doing it too long yet. But is a simple way to get gift cards, etc.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Stocking Up to Save

Another tip to saving money is stocking up on items you use regularly when they are on sale. Not that you have to buy a bunch but just one or two extra. Sales usually run in 12 week cycles so if you have enough to last until the next time it comes on sale. If you have an extra of items on hand then when you run out you don't have to go pay regular price for it.

If you look through the weekly store ads and notice things that are on sale that you use regularly. Alot of times if you have a coupon for an item and it is on sale you can get it for free or almost free. Another tip is matching coupons to items on sale. Lately, there haven't been many coupons in our local newspaper so this one doesn't work very well now.

Some people say they don't have time to look for sales. It doesn't take very long to look through the fliers. If you get in the habit of doing it, it will get easier.

I have been picking up items when they are on sale and it has cut down on my trips to the store lately. I usually just need to buy milk, produce, etc. It is different since I am single, but even with a family you will cut down on your trips to the store. With cutting down the number of trips to the store, you will also cut down on impulse buys.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Menards Rebates

Menards offers rebates on certain products each week/month. Some are featured in the weekly fliers. In the store there are signs by the products with rebates. Some rebates are for the full price of the product and some are part of the price. The rebate forms are located in front of the customer service counter at the front of the store. If you buy a product that there is a rebate for, a separte receipt (s) will print out below your receipt. You just have to fill out the rebate form and send the rebate receipt. The rebate comes in the form of a merchandise credit that you can use on future purchases. It may not seem like a big deal, a few dollars here and there but they add up. I was buying some items to do some painting last week and noticed some of the paint brushes had a rebate. $5 times 2 items adds up to getting $10 back. The items have limits to the number of rebates per item. Usually its 2 items but the rebate form will state how many items are allowed. Some of the items that end up being free require a purchase of at least $10 along with it. But if you were going to purchase items anyways you can also send in for the free items.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

To Spend or Not To Spend

I have been hearing alot on the news lately that part of the reason the economy is in the trouble it is because people have quit spending. They say the only way we are going to get out of this situation is for people to start spending money again. I agree with that partly but I feel we are also in this trouble because people were spending too much before, buying stuff they couldn't afford. I am one of the people that was careful about what I spent and didn't get in over my head. I feel the way I handle my finances that I am able to spend on some things, like the cruise I was just on. I don't know what the solution is but I am going to continue to save money on things I can and then I can spend on other things that are important to me.

I have heard people say that they have been careful with their money and they are going to sit out this recession. You can do that but the way things are going most industries are being affected. Even if you try to sit it out, eventually I feel everyone is going to feel it one way or another.

So, again I don't know what the solution is, but I think if you watch how you spend and save your money and hopefully this will be over in the near future.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cash vs Credit

It has been found it is better to use cash than credit. One way people think is using credit cards you get the free use of someone else's money. This works if you pay it off every month but CardTrak says 60 percent don't pay off their credit cards every month. Some people use credit cards for the airline miles or other incentives. Consumer Reports says 75 percent of the airline miles are never redeemed. A study by Dunn and Bradstreet showed that the credit card user spends 12 to 18 percent more when using credit instead of cash. You think about it and feel it more when you hand over cash than using your credit card. An American Bankruptcy Institute study of bankruptcy filers reveals that 69 percent of filers say credit-card debt caused the bankruptcy.

Now some credit card companies are cutting credit limits and raising interest rates. If you are starting to rely on your credit card for basic expenses be warned your limit may be cut in the future and then what will you do.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Once A Month Cooking

Another way to save time and money cooking is Once A Month Cooking (OAMC) or freezer cooking. The idea behind this is to buy enough ingredients and set aside one day to cook enough meals for a month. There are many cookbooks and websites with recipe plans and tips on this. The meals are prepared the divided into serving sizes for your family and then frozen until you need them. I have not done this but I do a different version of it. When I make lasagna, a hotdish or something similar, since I am single, I put the leftovers in single serve containers and freeze for future uses. This way you can use it later and don't feel like you are eating the same thing all week trying to use up the leftovers.

If you have a family, another idea is if you are making something to make a second batch at the same time and put one in the freezer so in the future you just have to thaw it and heat it up.

Many towns have businesses behind this idea. They have menus you can pick from the they will have the ingredients you need and you just set up a time to go in the put the meals together, then they do the clean up. Some places will also put the meals together for you, so all you do is pick them up.

Having items like this in the freezer is also a good thing that saves you from going out to eat or takeout when you don't feel like cooking everynight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Crockpot Cooking

Using the crockpot is both a money saving and time saving way to cook. It is nice to come home after a busy day and smell supper ready. Its money saving because it saves you from the possibility of going out to eat or bringing home take out if you don't have time or don't feel like cooking. Also, some cuts of meat, you can use a cheaper cut of meat and it gets tender from cooking all day. Some of the newer crockpots have timers that you can set if you don't want it to be cooking all day. Although most recipes take most of the day to cook. Many times you can mix all or most of the ingredients together the night before in the crockpot and just put it on in the morning before you leave. There are many cookbooks and websites that have recipes and tips for using your crockpot. Another advantage is that it does not heat up the house so it is also good to use in the warmer months without heating up the house by using the stove.

Also, if you are single you can still cook a normal batch this way and freeze the extras for later meals.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

17 Money Saving E books for $17

This is from another site that I follow.

For the next six days, you have the opportunity to snag an incredible bargain from LivingOnADime.com and MoneySavingMom.com. Since both of our websites are dedicated to helping you get the best bang for your buck, we've teamed up together to offer just about the sweetest deal you've ever seen on our best-selling ebooks and ecourses.Through March 23, 2009, you can get a package of 17 ebooks and ecourses for only $17! This package includes my very popular Supermarket Savings 101 ecourse as well as a huge assortment of other ebooks on topics related to saving money, stretching your dollars farther, and making every penny count.From menu-planning helps, to crock pot recipes, to using up leftovers, to how to cut your grocery budget with or without using coupons, saving on cleaning supplies, and much much more, no matter where you are in your financial journey, there is a wealth of helpful, inspirational, and motivational material contained in this package.Go here today to purchase your package today:http://cpaine.livingonad.hop.clickbank.net/

Happy Savings!Crystal Paine, aka Money Saving Momhttp://www.MoneySavingMom.com

Coupon Mom

Stephanie Nelson (The Coupon Mom) will be a guest on the Dave Ramsy show tonight.

Stephanie Nelson (also known as The Coupon Mom™) is the owner/operator of CouponMom.com, a site devoted to teaching people how to save in many areas of life from groceries to restaurants to online shopping and more. She’s been featured on The Dave Ramsey Show, Oprah, The Today Show, and other major media outlets.
Stephanie will be conducting a chat with our members on March 17th at 8:00 PM EDT to teach them how to save using all sorts of coupons. She’ll discuss everything from coupon strategies to travel savings. Don’t miss out! Get there early to participate in the chat with The Coupon Mom. Space is limited!

Strong Money Beliefts Will See You Through

The following is from Mary Hunt of Debt Proof Living

I was thinking of writing about this topic and then found this post I thought I would share with you.

Strong Money Beliefs Will See You Through

What are your money beliefs? The way you behave with money proves what you believe about it. Behaviors are symptoms of values and when it comes to personal finances and money management, a wishy-washy belief system results in a messed up financial life.People without strong financial belief systems end up being controlled by their money. Because they cannot trust their own ability to make sound decisions, they let anyone who comes along with a slick pitch make decisions for them.In the same way you need a set of strong spiritual beliefs and values upon which you base your life, you need a set of money beliefs and values on which to base your finances. Spiritual values give your life meaning and purpose. Financial values produce confidence to make the right choices with money.Learn effective money management. Personal finance and money management is very easy to learn. The difficult task is following through. The first step is to start counting your money. Count and record what comes in and then count and record where it goes. Every cent. Do this for thirty days and you'll be ready to take the next steps of developing a spending plan, getting out of debt and preparing for emergencies.Trust your system. Once you've established your money belief system and have your management tools in place, you have to trust them. Let's say that you believe you should pay yourself first before you pay your bills. But you're an emotional creature. There are going to be paydays when you don't feel like saving. You might be more interested in a shopping spree. You might struggle, but you won't be thrown off course because you make decisions based on your beliefs.Establish a routine. Your financial "religion" must become a priority in your life. In the same way that you schedule time for the people in your life who really matter, you should set aside time to handle your financial matters. It needs to become a routine so you will be in control of where money is going. You should know within $5 where you are at all times. You won't have a clue how the game is going if you don't know the score.Identify the enemies. When it comes to money management and personal finances you need to be on guard for your two worst enemies: emotions and consumer debt. Those two characters will hound you at every turn until they realize you're not going to give in. If you develop a strong belief system that addresses how you're going to deal with these enemies you will be far less likely to be derailed by your emotions or the temptations of consumer debt.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MSN Article about Economic Meltdown

Following is a link to an article that was on MSN.com today about good news about the economic situation if you are under 35. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/MoneyInYour20s/under-35-hurray-for-the-meltdown.aspx

Guest on Dave Ramsey Show Tonight

There will be a guest, Rabbi Lapin on the Dave Ramsey Show tonight. It is on the Fox Business Network at 7:00 CT.

When Dave has a guest on his show, they usually have a special on the guest's books also.

For two days only, Rabbi Lapin's book is $18.99! That's lower than Amazon's price, and you get free Media Mail shipping!
Dave's Thoughts
“This is one of my all-time favorite money books. I would call it a must read for any Dave Ramsey listener. The insights as to why Jewish people have prospered are an endless source of wisdom with great application to your life. I love the healthy view Rabbi Lapin brings to the subjects of money and business. This book is required reading for my entire leadership team. Read it."

What It’s About
Outlining 10 fundamental “commandments” relating to business and money, Thou Shall Prosper explores the economic and philosophic vision of business that has been part of the Jewish culture for centuries. Rabbi Lapin explains the essence of each “commandment” and shows you how to use this knowledge to financially prosper. Topics include:
Believe in the dignity and morality of business
Extend the network of your connectedness
Get to know yourself
Don’t pursue perfection
Lead consistently and constantly
Change the changeable while clinging to the unchangeable
Learn to foretell the future
Know your money
Give money away
Never retire

Other Resources from Rabbi LapinGet 10% off all other Rabbi Lapin resources at rabbidaniellapin.com by entering promo code "dave" at checkout.
Reviews"Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s wisdom has helped untold numbers of people, including me, grow in our business, family, and spiritual lives. In Thou Shall Prosper, Rabbi Lapin has done it again. This book tells it like it is in a helpful, honest, hopeful, informative way. He offers valid, useful information based on ancient wisdom and modern experience." —Zig Ziglar, author and motivational teacher"This unique approach provides an organized, supremely useful view of the world, combining common sense and unexpected, even startling insight. No matter how successful or sophisticated you may be, this remarkable work will enrich your understanding of the important, exciting process of building wealth."—Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio host and author of Hollywood vs. America "Rabbi Lapin is an unorthodox Orthodox rabbi. He understands the biblical nature of economic freedom as well as he understands the Bible: uniquely well. Prosperity must have a purpose and Rabbi Lapin explores the wellsprings of the Judeo-Christian heritage to elucidate those purposes. In so doing, he also illuminates the road to greater prosperity for all. I really enjoyed this book and I heartily recommend it to people of all faiths." —The Honorable Jack Kemp

About the Author
Rabbi Daniel Lapin is a nationally known speaker, advisor to President George W. Bush, and a syndicated radio talk-show host. He is the President of the Cascadia Business Institute consulting firm, which helps organizations apply the ancient wisdom used over centuries by Jews to excel in business and translates it into modern day management tools. Rabbi Lapin gives more than 50 speeches annually to leaders of corporations including Amway, Nordstrom, and Boeing. He founded Toward Tradition, an organization of Christians and Jews devoted to educating America about moral issues and the spiritual value of economic freedom.- Wiley Publishers.

For more info on the book go to http://daveramsey.com/

Winter Sale at Heirlooms

I had an email from Heirlooms (proceeds go to the Red River Valley Hospice). They have a sale on women's winter clothing which ends Wed. 3/18. All items are $1.00 each.

Heirlooms is located at 1617 32nd Ave S, Fargo

Starter Special on Dave Ramsey books

If you are starting on the Total Money Makeover or have interest in it, there is a 50% sale on the started set now at https://beta.daveramsey.com/shop/prod459.html?ictid=rbs&store=ep. It is $49.99 instead of $101.

Websites to check out

I have added some websites with additional information if you are interested in looking at them. They are located at the bottom of the page. I will be adding more in the future.

Who Moved My Cheese?

Below is a summary of "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, M.D. It is a short book (can be read in an hour or two) but the story is good. About how you have to deal with change and not continue doing the same things all the time.

Who Moved My Cheese? is the story of four characters living in a "Maze" who face unexpected change when they discover their "Cheese" has disappeared. Sniff and Scurry, who are mice, and Hem and Haw, little people the size of mice, each adapt to change in their "Maze" differently. In fact, one doesn't adapt at all...
This timeless allegory reveals profound truths to individuals and organizations dealing with change. We each live in a "Maze", a metaphor for the companies or organizations we work with, the communities we live in, the families we love places where we look for the things we want in life, "Cheese". It may be an enjoyable career, loving relationships, wealth, or spiritual peace of mind. With time and experience, one character eventually succeeds and even prospers from the change in his "Maze".In an effort to share what he has learned along the way, he records his personal discoveries on the maze walls, the "Handwriting on the Wall". Likewise, when we begin to see the "writing on the wall", we discover the simplicity and necessity of adapting to change.
Full of modern day insight, the story of Who Moved My Cheese? invites individuals and organizations to enjoy less stress and more success by learning to deal with the inevitable change.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Value of The Library

If you're looking to save money on entertainment, look no further than your local library. When you think about libraries, most people think about books. I check out all kinds of books from my library - how-to, personal finance, fiction, cooking, children's books - you name it. Any time I hear about a book that sounds interesting, I always check my library first. Most libraries in the country have inter-library loan systems, so if they don't have the book you want, they can get it. Not only am I saving money by not buying books, but sometimes I learn things from them that allow me to save more money. It is also great for books you will only read once or you can read the book and decide if it is worth purchasing. The library also has videos, DVD's, CD's, and magazines. There are book clubs, interesting speakers, and stimulating children's programs. It's also a great place to access the internet if you don't have access at home.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Truth About Unemployment

The Truth About Unemployment

The economy really isn't as bad as you may think

By Dave Ramsey

I’m tired of hearing all the gloom and doom coming from the media about the economy and unemployment—I bet you are, too! Let’s take a minute to look at the true reality of the situation and what we can do about it.
Yes, many people have lost their jobs and houses. You may be one of them. But guess what? People have lost their jobs and houses even in a bull market. About 93% of people are still employed. That is pretty good! I was alive in the 1970s when unemployment hit double digits, and we’re nowhere near that right now! I’m not making light of the fact that some people are struggling; I’m just putting the situation in the proper perspective.
Even though you may be currently unemployed, that doesn’t mean you have to participate in the recession. People like me who have chosen to not participate acknowledge the reality of a slow economy and suffering people. However, we have decided that we’re not going to form our lives around the negativity coming out of the media and government. We’re intensifying our efforts and going to have the best year of our lives in spite of things slowing down.
Some people who find themselves unemployed will go into new careers or start their own businesses where they have the best year of their lives—professionally, financially and emotionally. Their current job losses are actually blessings in disguise. They believe this and are formulating game plans based on it. I guarantee there are men in their garages right now starting their own mechanic shops. The next Mary Kay Ash is writing up a business plan for new products she’s just created. College students are developing “the next best thing” in their dorm rooms as you are reading this. This is reality!
So think about your skills and interests. How can you leverage those passions into something you enjoy doing every day while earning money for it? If you haven’t lost your job but dread going to work, maybe it’s time to fire your employer and go in a new direction. When you have a game plan for your money and career, you will have a sense of empowerment because you aren’t a slave to the lender (or employer).
When employers start hiring because they believe their businesses will grow, recessions end. Many who have stopped hiring a healthy amount have been paralyzed by fear. They’ve lost hope. People who continue going about their lives in normal ways (without being irresponsible and buying stuff they can't afford) believe in the future. It’s called hope.
You can have fear or hope. It's your choice.
I choose hope.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Importance of Saving Money

Following is a link to an article that was in today's Fargo Forum on the importance of emergency savings http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/233947/group/home/

Walking Program - Fargo

Below is information on a walking program in Fargo. It is a way to see different neighborhoods in the area. Some of the walks are at noon and some are in the evening.

Come join us again! This year is the 6th annual Walk This Way program and it starts March 24th and goes through May 21st 2009. Come explore the trails and discover the areas of growth in the FM area, such as Trollwood and the 45th Street trails!

The kickoff walk is Tuesday March 24th at 12 noon and will be led by Mayor Walaker of Fargo. The walk will start in the City Hall Fargo City Commission Room at 207 4th St. N. Fargo and go through the downtown skyway. At the end of the walk a variety of fresh salsa samples will be available to “taste test”.

For more information, event schedules and to register for the 2009 program go to http://www.fmwalkthisway.com. .

Have any questions about WTW? Email klipetzky@cityoffargo.com or call Kim at 241-8195 or email Cheryl at cstetz@cityoffargo.com

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Money is Not for Spending

The following is from Debt-Proof Living by Mary Hunt

Money is Not for Spending
It took me a long time to fully understand that money is for managing first and then for spending. It takes courage to believe that, but when you do it will profoundly change the way you think about and manager your money.

Imagine this, it's Friday, a day you have come to know and love as cake day. You want cake, you love cake and doggone it, you deserve to eat cake. You stop at the store and pick up the ingredients necessary to bake a cake. But even before you can get home, you begin eating the ingredients because you are so hungry for cake you simply cannot help yourself. You gulp a couple of eggs; chew up some butter and sugar; and down a load of flour and cocoa.

You pull into the driveway completely disgusted with yourself. You try to hide the evidence but it's all over your face. The worst part: Eating the cake was not nearly as satisfying as you'd dreamed. It was anything but enjoyable. The ingredients for your chocolate cake are gone and now you feel ashamed and embarrassed.

An absurd analogy for sure, illustrating the foolishness of eating food that has not yet been prepared. The very same ingredients that made you sick could have become a culinary masterpiece had you exposed them to a recipe. Those ingredients were not for eating; they were for preparing first and then for eating.

It is equally foolish and unsatisfying to spend money that has not first been managed. To manage money means to take full possession of it, to subject it to a specific plan and direct it accordingly. It is a matter of creating a season of ownership between receiving and dispersing.

Managing money is a learned discipline, a gratifying process. When money flows into your life, you are responsible for where it goes and how it performs. You are the boss. You can watch it drift out of you control or you can manage it according to a formula that you have developed.

It doesn't matter if you are a single parent struggling to survive with no outside help or the CEO of a prospective business. You need to know ahead of time exactly how you will manage your money.

There are certain mandatory elements that must be part of your management system, lice giving and saving. When you bring reason to the management of your income, feelings of dissatisfaction, worry and hopelessness will quiet down. You will be driven to plug the money leaks in your life. A commitment to spending no more than you earn will become so important, you'll find yourself keeping track of where the money goes.

No matter your situation-single, married, old, young, whether you're deeply in debt, unemployed or at the top of your career-you need a system through which to process every dime that enters your life. Only then will you fully understand why money is not for spending. It is for managing first, and then for spending.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dave Ramsey Show

I have mentioned Dave Ramsey, auther of the Total Money Makeover before. His radio show is now on WDAY AM 970 in Fargo from 9 AM to noon on weekdays. He also has a television show on the Fox Business Network from 7-8 PM central time. For more information on listings for your area go to http://daveramsey.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beating the Recession

The Dave Ramsey show is having a special "Beating the Recession" on Wednesday evening. It is on the Fox Business Network at 7:00 CT. It is on channel 359 on Direct TV. For more information go to http://daveramsey.com He takes calls and emails from viewers and answers their questions on financial issues.

Investing in a Down Market

Following is a link from Dave Ramsey's website for a report on investing in a downmarket http://a1611.g.akamai.net/f/1611/26338/9h/dramsey.download.akamai.com/23572/html/dspWiseInvestors.html?ictid=sptlt. I know it is difficult to continue to invest when investments keep going down but they more than likely will be coming up again. Its just a matter of waiting.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Free Preparedness Fair

I saw a notice in the Sunday Forum about a free Preparedness Fair on Sat. 3/14 from noon to 4. It will be at the Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints., 2502 17th Ave S, Fargo. It is open to the public.

Participants can sample food made from basic items, attend mini-classes and visit booths demonstrating how to plan for tough times. Each booth at the fair will offer readiness tips and handouts, including how to choose or make a generator, compare food dehydrators and a demonstration on how to store and purify water.

Representatives from Fargo Cass Public Health, the Community Emergency Response Team and the Red Cross will focus on emergency preparedness training and communit services available during disasters.

Food displays will include dehydrated foods, cooking with whole wheat and how to use dried beans.

Class topics will include emergency kits, designing an emergency plan, home remedies, how to be environmentally frugal, tips for saving money and improving employment opportunities and emergency communications.

For mor information call (701) 237-9505.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Pros of Cruising

I just got back last night from a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise. We had a great time and it was nice to get out of the winter weather for awhile. I heard a number of people comment on the value of cruising compared to other vacations. When you consider what you get when you cruise it is a great value. There is basically food available 24 hours a day. Our cruise, for a $30 fee you got a sticker on your cruise card for free refills of Coke products for all week. Other beverages, water, tea, ice tea and coffee were free. The only beverages you had to pay for were alcoholic beverages and specialty coffees. There was a buffet that was pretty much open 24 hours a day, which was changed with different items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There were also two counters open during the day. One had a few different types of pizza and the other had burgers, hot dogs, brats, chicken burgers, etc. There were two dining rooms for the assigned seating dining and three dining rooms for anytime dining for dinner. You can pick as many items off of the menu as you want for each meal. It is a great chance to try things you haven't tried before. In case you don't care for it, you don't have to worry that you paid alot of money for it. We tried new things and it turned out that we did like them. There were also 2 restaurants that had a minimal fee that was extra. One was an Italian restaurant, which they said so much was served it took 3 hours for it and the fee was $20. We ate one night at the Sterling Steak restaurant, where the fee was $15. There were about 5-6 different entrees to choose from. We had the filet mignon with a few sides and dessert for $15.

Along with the value of the meals there were also a number of activities available. During the day there were different activities, some days there were movies showing. In the evening there were musical productions, music guests, comedians, etc.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Money Flows to Value

Wherever you decide to put your energies, the key is to become more valuable to your current employer, customers, or clients. You do that by getting better at solving their problems, delivering products, and adding services that they want and need.
You may need to get more training, develop new skills, create more relationships, or put in extra time. But the responsibility for getting better at what you do and how you do it is totally yours. Always seek out opportunities for more training and self-development. If you need an advanced degree or some kind of certification to move up in your chosen trade or profession, quit talking about it and go get it.

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Importance of Investing

Following is an excerpt from The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman.

The Importance of Investing
There are only three honest ways in this life to get money. The first is to work for it. The amount of time most of us are able to work will be limited - by age, health, elimination of our jobs-and there will be many years, for most of us, when we're spending money but not earning it. Do you know that most of us will spend more time in retirement than we ever did working?
The second way to make money is to inherit it. Are you among those who are hoping that an inheritance will be your saving grace? With the life expectancy inching up to the eighties and beyond, you might well hit your own retirement years before you ever see a penny. What is mroe, for the majority of us, inheritance is rarly a sure bet. One nursing home stay, a few investments gone bad, a large probate or estate tax bill-anything can happen.
The third way to make money is the most powerful and respectful way ther is. This is to invest the money you save during your working years wisely, so that when you no longer want to or are able to work, your money will work for you. The earning years of your retirement money can go on forever-money is a living entity. If invested with respect, if invested in time to let it grow, these earnings will take care of you well and go on to take care of those you leave behind.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Getting out of Debt and Staying out of Debt

Yesterday I posted about borrowing from your 401 (K) to get out of debt or purchase a home. Another thing some people do when interest rates are lower is to refinance their home and take some of the equity as cash to pay off bills. This is fine if you change your spending habits. But many people do this and then rack up big bills again. Then where are they, a higher mortgage and high bills again.

Also, as stated in the last post. If you borrow from you 401 (K), that has to be paid back within 5 years or if you leave that job. If you use it to pay down debt but keep spending like you were, you will be hard pressed to pay the loan back in the time you are suppose to.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Borrowing From Your 401 (K)

The following is taken from The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom, by Suze Orman.

Borrowing from your 401 (K)
You may be able to borrow from yourself to pay off your credit cards through your 401 (K) plan at work. Many employers will let you borrow up to 50 percent of the money you have in your plan, up to $50,000, to buy a house or pay off bills or for other situations that qualify. This could be one of the best sources of funds by far if you really are stuck. When you borrow money from a 401 (K), you have five years to pay back the money (rather than the forty years it could take you by paying the minimum on some credit cards). In addition, the interest you pay goes right back to yourself. It's your money, you've borrowed it from yourself, and you're paying it back directly into your account; all the payments plus interest go to you. Usually you will pay yourself about 2 percent above the prime rate, which is the basic interest rate set by the government.
A lot of people will say that if you borrow money from your 401 (K), you are losing out on the growth potential of the money. This is true, and it's a decision to be made cautiously and wisely. Nevertheless, if you are paying 18.5 or 21 percent on your credit cards, and can't transfer to a lower-cost card because of a bad credit report, it might well be better to borrow from yourself at 8 or 9 percent, miss out for a time on that potential groth, and start over again clean.
The prospective downside is that if you happen to leave the job or get fired, the money you borrowed is due in one lump sum at that time. If you can't pay it back, you'll pay taxes on the money as if it were ordinary income, if you're under the age of 59 1/2, you may also have to pay a 10 percent penalty on the amount you haven't paid back. If you are thinking of taking out a loan, and there is a possibility you may leave your current employer, you might want to reconsider your situation before you take out the loan; make sure you understand what you would have to do if you were to leave your job.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More of Volunteering

Along with the great feeling you get by volunteering I also believe the more you give of yourself the more you get in other ways. It seems like after I became involved in the community service and leadership organization other things were happening in my life. I got more responsibilities at work which met an increase in salary. This allowed me to also achieve higher things in my personal life like buying my first home and being able to save up and pay cash for a car, which had been a couple of my goals.

The world responds to givers more positively than to takers. We naturally want to support the givers. Simply stated, givers get.

Monday, March 2, 2009

You'll Get More Than you Give

When you volunteer, you will get back a lot more than you give. Research on volunteerism shows that people who volunteer live longer, have stronger immune systems, have fewer heart attacks, recover from heart attacks faster, have higher self-esteem, and have a deeper sense of meaning and purpose than those who don't volunteer. The research also shows that people who volunteer in their younger years are more likely to end up in more prestigious and higher-paying jobs than their nonvolunteering counterparts. Volunteering is a powerful way of networking and often leads to business and career opportunities.
Also, one of the keys to success is building a huge network of relationships, and volunteering lets you meet all kinds of people you would never had met otherwise.
I joined a volunteer and community service group about 8 years ago and also got active in leadership roles. I have made friends all over the country that I would not have met otherwise.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Norwex Products

I started using Norwex http://norwex.ca products a couple months ago and they are great. It is a line of cleaning products that are chemical free. Some of the main items are the microfiber cloths. They remove 99.9% of the bacteria from surfaces, resulting in a cleaner, healthier environment. They can reduce the consumption of cleaning chemicals in your home up to 90% while at the same time cutting down your exposure to toxic fumes.
The initial cost may seem high, but when you consider not having to purchase most of the cleaning products you are currently buying and to be free of using chemicals.
Dirt and dust are removed instead of being spread around. You have a cleaner indoor climate, which reduces allergies.
You can check the website above to locate a representative in your area.