Poor Americans Give more

A study put out by the [tag]Christian Science Monitor [/tag]states [tag]Americans[/tag] who make less than $20,000 give more. To qualify this stat, this group gives more in relationship to their [tag]income[/tag]. I find this amazing, but at the same time its great to see everyone open their pocketbooks to those who have less.

Interesting fact: This year Americans will give away 260 [tag]Billion[/tag] to charity. Yes that is “B” as in Billions.

Great Thanksgiving Weekend

This weekend we finished our [tag]Christmas[/tag] shopping and yes we took part in [tag]Black Friday[/tag]. We saved a lot but instead of going to the stores at the break of dawn we waited until mid day. Our theory was the hard core shoppers would be done by then. Sure enough it worked. Hardly any lines great prices and we got a [tag]TMX Elmo[/tag] doll.

We also stayed with in budget, another added bonus in planning ahead. Hope everyone had a great [tag]Thanksgiving[/tag] week/weekend.


Dealing With Debt Collectors

About.com is a great resource for information of all kind. Today I found “Top 9 Tips for [tag]Dealing With Debt Collectors[/tag] and [tag]Collection Agencies[/tag]”

  1. Number one, knowing your rights!
  2. Ask questions about the debt and the collection agency
  3. Detailing your steps and interactions

Read the other 6 tips here.

The most important take away I from this list was don’t ignore the problem. It will not go away. [tag]Dealing with debt[/tag] collectors is hard. No doubt about that! Take it one step at a time and know your rights.

Black Friday

The [tag]Friday after thanksgiving[/tag] is the day retailers open stores early and offer deep discounts on their products. Will you be there? Some people make it a tradition to venture out to the malls to do combat with other deal seekers. My opinion is its fine to take part in this [tag]American tradition[/tag] as long as you stay with in your [tag]budget[/tag]!

Ooops did I say the “B” word. Sorry to rain on your parade but just cause they have everything on sale does not mean you have to buy everything! I personally don’t think my family will take part in [tag]Black Friday[/tag]. Unless we hear of a good deal.

We started our [tag]Christmas shopping[/tag] about 3 weeks ago. For two reasons, one to avoid the rush and two, to try and keep cost down, so far so good…

So if you will be one of the brave souls heading to the mall on Friday may the force be with you. You will need it.

Get Thin And Get Wealthy

ScaleA new report published by the British Medical Journal finds the healthier you are the richer you will be. They conclude there is a link between health and wealth. They also point out the tall people are more likely to make more money than shorter people.

I have often said Debt reduction is similar to weight loss. So to take my analogy further as you work on debt reduction, working out could help you make more money which means you can reduce your debt faster and start to make that money work for you.

Don’t Lend Money to Friends

I have a friend who I have personally lent $12,000 to in the last 5 years. He is my best friend as you can tell… Of the $12,000 dollars I have lent him, he has paid back about $5000. Not bad but not great. Before you guys jump all over me I stopped lending him [tag]money[/tag] about two years ago and have him on a monthly repayment plan. So far so good.

I really didn’t want to share this with every one but the fact is friends will ask for money and it can in many cases lead to the end of a friendship. I would highly recommend people learn from my mistakes.

Because my friend is on a monthly re-payment plan we are able to stay friends. If he just “shined” me there is no way we would still be friends today. Bottom line, think twice, three times and then thing again before lending substantial amounts of moneys to a friend. More likely than not [tag]lending money[/tag] to a friend who is not capable of paying back the loan will be the end of the friendship.

More Money Play Video Games

xbox 360

The world economies have definitely changed. How about making $450,000 in two years [tag]playing video games[/tag]? [tag]Tom Taylor[/tag] did it and he is a teenager. He is listed in Stuff Magazine and is part of an upcoming 11 week reality show on the [tag]USA network[/tag]. This weekend he is competing in an online gaming torment in [tag]Los Vegas[/tag] where the grand prize is $100,000!

Why does this teenager make so much money playing games? He found something he loves and has passion for and went out and made money at it. I guess this story was important to me because a lot of people are experts in a number of different “things” and could make extra income sharing their expertise. We have to realize our special knowledge and find ways to monetize them. With the internet this becomes easier and easier to do.

Many of the [tag]debt reduction experts[/tag] suggest raising income by cutting cost, selling stuff or getting a second or third job.

Let’s say you were a very knowledge able about dogs and [tag]yellow labs[/tag] in particular. You could open a blog for free and start sharing your knowledge. There are a variety of things you could do to turn the blog into a revenue generating venture.

Find our passion and start small with little to know cost and take daily action to grow your revenue. The world has definitely changed but in terms of earning extra income with little to no down side, I think it has changed for the better.

Free Debt Tools

[tag]Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007[/tag] is a [tag]free accounting tool[/tag]! I was amazed to see no charge for this product. I personally bought [tag]Money 2004[/tag] and still use it today. I have said this many times but having a budget is really the only way you will [tag]get out of debt[/tag].

Budget let’s you see the numbers and numbers don’t lie. A [tag]budget[/tag] also allows you to make an accurate game plan for debt pay off. A budget allows you to measure your progress and gives you motivation as you work your way out of debt.

If you are not a fan of [tag]Microsoft[/tag] you can use budgetmaster. It’s a [tag]free open source personal budgeting program[/tag]. I also did a search on [tag]Google[/tag] for free budgeting tools and the result are here. So pick your tool and take action. Start your journey out of debt. Make the plan and mange to your goals.

You will be crushing your debt in no time!

I Helped Buy a Bank in China Today

How may you ask? Today [tag]Citigroup[/tag] has lead a consortium of investors in purchasing one of China’s largest regional banks. So I am glad to see the late fees and interest I have paid to Citigroup over the years have allowed them to purchase a bank.

Seriously I am not bitter at all. I made the choice in the past that allowed my self to get into [tag]debt[/tag]and owe money to the Citigroup. But it’s a perfect example of how interest works in your favor when you are on the other side of the [tag]debt equation[/tag]. We should all make sure we are debt free so we too can make our money work for us. Not that we will be able to purchase a bank any time soon but we as Americans should set the goal of securing a financial secure [tag]nest egg[/tag] for retirement.

Oh and if you want to know how much a [tag]bank in China[/tag] cost? $3.06 [tag]Billion dollars[/tag].

Credit Cards are Not The Problem

I heard [tag]Dave Ramsey[/tag] say this on his radio show today. He then followed the comment with “credit cards are the symptom of someone not being able to say no…” This remark was in regards to a caller, so don’t take this as blanket statement about credit card usage.

What he is saying is some people believe they deserve what they want when they want it even if they can not afford it. With these types of people credit cards enable them to get things they want and pay later. The cost over time is a [tag]huge debt[/tag].

My generation has grown up in an incredible time of convenience, prosperity and wealth. This environment has helped to bread our “want it now” at what ever cost attitude. I think about my grandfather who passed away 15 years ago and if he saw how my generation treats money he would roll over in his grave. He would be ashamed of some of the financial choice I have made in my past.

It’s about responsibility and self control. So before anyone jumps on me as someone who is preaching a [tag]frugal life style[/tag], this is not the case! If you want a new truck/car save for it or at least a big down payment. Do you want a tropical beach vacation every year? Well give up your daily Starbucks coffee and save the money for your vacation.

It’s about choice and I choice to live [tag]debt free[/tag].