Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year's Eve and Day

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year's. Hope you all have a great and safe night and day. We plan on spending the holiday with family and shooting off some fireworks, so that should be pretty interesting. Anyway have a great holiday.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Year's Day is Around The Corner

Well New Year's Day is just around the corner and since I already have my New Year's resolutions listed, I figured I'd start working on some short term goals to keep up with what we have planned and list the order that we are gonna attack things. I know that the first thing that I want to get get working on is what is to be the new babies room, which was/is my computer room. So that means a lot of moving things around and trying to find room to store things. We are in the process of deciding whether or not to get a storage unit or not. Chances are that we will, even though I don't want any extra expenses. Oh well, that's what happens when you live in a tiny house. The good thing about living in a tiny house is that our mortgage payment is cheaper that the last one room apartment I had, so I can't complain too much. Once we get some of credit card debt under control, we can start looking at moving into something bigger, so for now our little house will have to do. Well once we work out a list of things we need to do to meet our goals, I will post it so that I can keep track of them.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Well Christmas is Over

Well Christmas is over and we made it through without going totally broke. This is the first year that we did not use our credit cards for any gifts and we even made a budget of what we would spend on gifts. It actually feels pretty good and we have enough left over to get us to next payday, without having to bust in to into our emergency fund. So not only did we have a happy holiday, we kept our spending under control, which means less credit card debt to pay off. Yeah! I hope everyone else had a happy holiday. I am looking forward to the new year, not just for the food and parties, but also for the chance to get working on the wife's and my new year resolutions and the more we plug away at our debt the sooner we will have it all payed off. Which means we will be on our way to financial freedom.

Happy Holidays everyone and I hope your Christmas was as enjoyable as mine.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas and hope that all of your holiday wishes and dreams come true. I plan on stuffing my face so that I have a reason to work out hard next year. See got my New Year's resolutions already worked out. Anyway, hope your holidays are full of fun and family.




Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Year's Resolution

Well it's getting close to that time of year again. I figured this year I would start a little early so that I am not rushing for ideas at the last minute. For 2007 there are a lot of things that I want to do or do better, especially now that we will be bringing a daughter into the world. My first resolution for the new year is to make sure to have everything prepared for her arrival. This is my most important resolution so I plan on keeping it. Here is a list of my other resolutions.

2) Get out of debt. I plan to continue plugging away at our debt and hope to knock out as much as possible.

3) Continue to grow my emergency fund. This way if anything ever comes up, I will not have to use the credit cards again (They are evil).

4) Continue investing a little at a time. Like our emergency fund both continue to grow, so we plan on keeping them up.

5) Get back in Shape. I've already been working out for the past couple of months and I plan to continue so that I can keep up with our child. It sucks being out of shape.

6) Continue reading and learning as much as I can about money, personal finance, debt reduction & management, investing, forex, and anything else that catches my attention.

7) Continue blogging. Not only does it keep me interested and focused on where I am going, but every once in a while I get one or two good articles in.

8) Budget better and give more to charity.

So this is my tentative New Year's Resolution. What are some of yours?

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Courage to Be Rich

Now that finals are over and I have a little more time on my hands, I've started to read "The Courage to Be Rich" by Suze Orman. I can't exactly say that I am a fan of hers. I saw her show once and can't say that I was too impressed. Maybe her personality just turned me off, but I may have to re-think my opinion because her book seems to be pretty good so far. Just from reading the first couple of pages I find it interesting that she says that the three things that hold us back from getting rich or getting out of debt are shame, fear, and anger. So I decided to pose the question to myself on how I felt about being in debt. I am mad at myself for letting myself get into so much debt. I wish I would have known more about being responsible with my money and credit cards before I got married and I also worry that it will take forever to get out of debt. I don't feel ashamed about my debt, but if I had the chance to do it over again, I would do things differently and stay out of debt. So I guess two out of three isn't bad. I know that from now on I will be alot smarter about using my credit cards and that when my child is old enough, I will teach her the value of money and how to make it work for you, instead of being a slave to debt. So far as the book goes, it seems pretty good. I will probably add some more insight on it as I get further along, and will do a review once I have finished reading it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Carnival in Town

Carnival of Thoughtful Consideration #1 is up. I would like to thank Andy for including my article on Some Tips for Holiday Shopping. Andy has done a great job on his first carnival and I love the mixture of personal finance and other assorted articles. Keep up the good work. I will be posting a couple of my favorite articles from the carnival and Congrats again to Andy for a great carnival.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Favorite Articles of the Week

Here are some of my favorite articles for this week. Impact of the Dollar Decline by Mike D. of The Time and Money Group has a very interesting article on why the dollar is declining and what some of the fall out could be. Another good article this week is from Personal Finance Advice "Investment Risk Tolerance: What's Yours". Check it out and take the quizzes to find out what your risk tolerance is. Another great article is by Life Training - Online, "Automate Your Way to Wealth". This is a great article on automating your emergency fund. These are only a couple of the articles I liked from the Carnival of Personal Finance and from the Carnival of Investing. Check them out to see a lot more.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Carnivals for This Week

Carnival of Investing #52 is up at Investor Trip, TJP has done an excellent job this week, definitely check it out. Thanks go out to TJP for including my article on Forex 101. The Carnival of Personal Finance #78 is also up at Thanks go out to Kirk Walsh for including my article on Giving to Charity the Right Way and for doing a great job with the carnival. As always I will include some links to my favorite articles for this week.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Giving to Charity the Right Way

So if you are planning on giving to charity or are just interested in philanthropy the first step to take is to figure out what charities you would be interested in giving to. Then you want to research these charities like investment companies, and find out where the money is going. You want your money going to a company that is going to make a large impact by using most of your money for the charity it supports, not just for itself. Next would be to decide how much to give and how often. You need to plan out a strategy for how much you can afford to give, and how often, monthly, annually. Whatever you feel comfortable with, most charities are going to be happy with whatever help they can get. Make sure whatever charity you choose is accountable for your money. Like any company, nonprofit charities should be accountable for what they spend on expenses and what amount actually goes to helping your cause. has a good article on Four Steps to Smart Giving and has an article on Do The Right Thing, The Right Way. Both of these articles have a lot of good advice on giving to charities. Also check watchdog groups like and to find out the standings of your charities. Remember giving is a good thing, but do your homework first.

New Car or Keep the Old?

Lately I've been thinking about getting rid of my wife's older car and getting something newer with better gas mileage and well just something new. I have a company vehicle that she drives and I drive her old 98 Mustang GT. The problem is that I drive a lot further to get to work, so I've been thinking about getting something a little better on gas and a little more comfortable. The cons to this idea is that the vehicle is still in great shape, has low mileage, and has not caused us a lot of problems. It needs some minor maintenance work, but it will still come out a lot cheaper than buying a new car. I guess as I write this I have made up my mind to keep on with not having a car payment. Why get into more debt, when I can use the extra money to pay off some of our credit card debt. I guess seeing it in writing showed me what a dumb idea it would be to trade in a running, paid off vehicle. Oh well, goodbye new vehicle.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some Tips For Holiday Shopping

Here are some holiday tips for Christmas shopping. First make a list of all of the people that you are shopping for. Next come up with a budget that you are willing to spend on each person. This will keep you from splurging and going crazy shopping. Some other tips would be to shop online. It is easy to compare prices without having to go too far and you don't have to deal with all of the crazy people in the malls and stores, fighting over the new tickle me Elmo dolls, or get shot trying to get a PS3. I guess the best tip would be to start early, so it is less stressful and you can get everything on your list. Too bad that I can't follow my own advice. I always like to wait until the last minute so that I get totally stressed and then swear that I will never do this again, until next year that is. Anyway I guess the secret is planning, and for once in my life I am going to try it out or maybe I can talk my wife into doing all the shopping.


So I've been slacking in my carnival duties lately. I'll blame it on finals and work, not that I have just been lazy. The funny thing is that I have been getting invitations to join other carnivals, which I thought was pretty funny since I thought that I was the only one reading my blog. J/K, I know there are one or two of you out there. Anyway some of them seemed a little fishy, but one seems like it is on the up and up. The Carnival of Thoughtful Consideration, just sounds nice. I have also looked over the site some and it seems pretty cool. It will host both personal finance and non personal finance topics. So anyone interested check out his site.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Financial Edge Part 2

So I got a ton of information at this seminar. I learned about stocks, options, foreign exchange, mortgages, and more Forex. Which is what I wanted to learn about to begin with. OK, so here is some new stuff I picked up that I did not know. In Forex the pip is the smallest unit of currency. A one cent move = 100 pips. A lot usually has 100 - 1 leverage. A standard lot is worth 1,000 dollars or $10 a pip. A mini lot is worth $100 or $1 a pip. There are also mini/mini lots, but I won't get into those. The dollar is the benchmark in the foreign exchange market and currencies are traded in pairs. Pretty basic stuff, but I didn't know about it. I've been practice trading on, but still don't have a clue to what I am doing, well maybe a little. Anyway The Financial Edge gave us a ton of info in a short period of time, but the classes were well worth it. The idea behind the short seminars is to pound you full of information, leaving you wanting to learn more and getting you to go to more seminars which cost an arm and a leg. I personally can't afford them, so I will stick to trying to learn forex on my own or from reading some books. All in all I enjoyed the seminar and can't say anything bad about it.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Financial Edge

Well I am currently going to another seminar. This one is for 3 days and is run by John Hyland of The Financial Edge. Today was mostly an overview of what we will be learning: Real Estate, Stocks, Forex, Options, and more Real Estate. I got invited by a friend and they are also giving away Metastock software and some Real Estate software for free. So I figured why not, learn something and get something for free. Win, Win situation. Turns out I am actually picking up a lot. John Hyland is a very good speaker and motivator. He says the keys to success are:

1) Own and operate your own business
2) Residual Income
3) Multiple sources of Income
4) Asset Protection

He also told us that 82% of people who try something new will succeed at what ever they do. So far I am enjoying the class, but really want to work with the software. Tomorrow we will talk about stocks and options, so that should be very interesting. I will post some of the things that I learn tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Skip A Payment For Christmas

We have a loan that we are paying for some work we did on our house. We got a letter in the mail the other day saying that we could skip a payment for Christmas. Yeah right, that's all I need to make my debt longer. I thought this was pretty weird, but I have been seeing that other bloggers have been getting the same letters, some from auto loans. The Consumerist has an article about VW, and I will teach you to be rich has the original post for VW and it is very interesting. So skip a payment now and get the shaft later. Nice, I think I will pass. I have enough debt to pay off.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So Maybe I Missed A Few Steps

Okay so as I was setting new goals or revisiting old ones, I may have missed a couple of steps according to Money 101 has a list of Top Things to Know [about] Setting Priorities.

1) Narrow your objectives. My objectives are two spread out and not really focused, which was the idea to begin with.
2) Focus first on the goals that matter. Getting out of debt should be my number one goal, and I need to focus on that.
3) Be prepared for conflicts. I have conflicting goals, one I want to get out of debt and two I want to invest. I need to work more on getting out of debt.
4) Put time on your side. I know I have time to get out of debt and to invest, but I feel like I am rushed to do both, especially the getting out of debt part.

These are just the first couple of ideas that they have. Check out the whole article if you are interested in more. Personally I need to work on getting out of debt and setting goals with my wife, so that she is more involved. I also need to work on my spending and budget. I've been using Money 2006, but it looks like I might have to go to something a little more simple for budgeting.
I may have to check out Mvelopes or some simple form of budgeting. We aren't behind on any of our bills, but I would like to get them paid off faster. If anyone has any budgeting ideas, I could use all the help that I can get.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Time to Get Serious: Goal Setting Time Again

I figured now would be a good time before the Holiday's hit and things get out of hand to refocus on my goals for the year. If I do it now and not at the end of the year as a new year's resolution, I will probably have a better chance of not only reaching these goals, but also not giving up on them like I usually do with my new year's resolution. So here are some short term goals.

1) Finish the website I am having built for work to bring in more leads. Maybe increase some income.

2) Get focused on bringing in some more income to pay debt and invest.

3) Start bird-dogging, not just talking about it.

4) Get our house organized and give up my office space for the babies room. By the way it's a girl, so it looks like I will be painting again.

5) I need to really get going on this REI if I am serious about it.

6) Get in shape, so not only can I keep up with the baby, but they say staying healthy can save you money in medical bills and make you more money. (Less calling in sick).

So this is the short list, but I will come up with some more. What goals do you have and what resolutions are you planning on making?


Rule #1 Update

Well I've been using Phil Town's Rule #1 method and in five months I've made 10% on my investment. Not bad in my book, I still have 7 months to go. I probably would have done better, but I make a couple of stupid amateur mistakes second guessing myself and the technical signs. So I hear ten percent is kind of the market average, so everything else from here is gravy. As long as Phil Town's method keeps working I will continue to use it, anyway I said that I would give it a year. We will see what happens and I will keep you posted on my Amateur investment progress.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Turkey Day!!!!

I know it's a little early, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving Day. No posts tomorrow, so Happy Thanksgiving's Today.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Carnival #75 Is Up

Thanks to Everybody Loves Your Money for hosting Carnival of Personal Finance #75. Also Thanks for including my article on Rules to Get Rich By. Definitely check out the carnival the set up is very interesting. Don't you love used car dealers? I will pick out some of my favorites from the front and back lots and post their links here later. So don't miss out on the Carnival, you may get some good deals. Okay here is one of my favorites from the Front Lot - Rule #15 all or nothing by My Open Wallet. A lot of times we forget to look around and smell the roses. Here is another good one by called See Money Differently to Attract More. Only a couple for now will add more later.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Forex 101

So since I am starting to get interested in Forex, I figured I would write about some of the basics that I've picked up. First of all Forex or Foreign Exchange Market deals with trading currencies with other countries or other countries currencies. The Forex market is also highly liquid, you can get in and out fairly quickly because there are always willing buyers. The Forex market is opened 24 hrs a day from Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon. So you can pretty much trade anytime day or night you get the urge. "There are two reasons to buy and sell currencies. About 5% of daily turnover is from companies and governments that buy or sell products and services in a foreign country or must convert profits made in foreign currencies into their domestic currency. The other 95% is trading for profit, or speculation"( In the Forex market you can also buy on margin or leverage. On for a $250 account you have leverage of 200:1. That means basically that you could trade for up to $50,000 with a $250 account. This is the part that sounds like trouble to me. I think buying on margin could be a little risky. Anyway here is my disclaimer. I know absolutely nothing about trading on Forex, so I am not giving out any advice, I am just commenting on some stuff that I have learned because I would like to get into Forex trading. Please leave any comments if you can give me some advice on Forex Trading or if you know of a book that I could buy. Thanks.

Discipline and Determination

From reading other blogs and personal finance articles I've found that to be successful you have to be disciplined and determined. First you need to have discipline, stay away from buying stuff that you don't actually need. Also try to get the best price for the things that you do need. Discipline and Determination will also get you plugging away towards what ever goals you have set for yourself. This works for Personal Finance, Debt Reduction, and Investing. From just reading other peoples blogs I've found out that there are a lot of determined people out there, which is good because it helps me stay determined to reach my goals. So to all of you personal finance bloggers, keep up the good work and Thank You.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rules to Get Rich By

This month's issue of Money Magazine has 25 Rules to Grow Rich By. I am not going to list them all, but am going to list a couple that caught my eye. One of the rule's is to save 10% of your salary. I am actually hitting that mark this year and plan to continue each following year. It also says to keep three months worth of living expenses in a savings account (Emergency Fund). I am currently working on this one but am no where close to where I need to be yet. You need life insurance to cover at least 5 to 10 years of your salary in case you pass away. Some other interesting points are don't spend more than 2.5 times your salary on a home purchase. We are OK on this point, in fact we are under. If you don't understand how an investment works don't buy it. This is me with Forex investing. I want to get into it, but just don't know anything about it. Resist the urge to buy new electronic gadgets. This is the hard one for me I always want to keep up with the Jones' on this one, but I will have to give it up. There are a lot of other great points. Check out November's Money Magazine. Also Free Money Finance has written some interesting things about the same article, I will post the link here.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pay Off Your Debts Fast

So I was reading an article by Liz Pulliam Weston on Huge debts, paid off fast, which I realized didn't tell me much more than all of the other articles or books that I have read. It basically says to pay yourself first, spend less than you earn, be frugal, etc.... One thing that was different is she says that it helps to have a dream, mine is Financial Freedom. The article also says to do what ever it takes, cut out luxuries, pick up a part time job. I myself am going to start bird-dogging during my spare time (Hunting out potential investment homes for investors). I am also going to try to pick up some extra cash by cooking or bbqing. A couple of other good ideas are taking your lunch to work, cut out the stuff you can live without, about the best thing I got out of the article was to check out Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover", which I plan on checking out. If anyone has any info on this book, any comments would be appreciated.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Out of Town

I will be out of town for the next couple of days, so you won't be seeing any posting for a couple of days and I haven't gotten big enough yet to have guest writers, so sorry. Will be back Sunday, and will be posting to make up for lost days.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cutting My Dish Network Bill

In an effort to cut our costs and to pay more on our credit card bills we have cut our Dish Network bill and package in half. We were paying $125 per month for every channel imaginable, and now we are paying around $49 for half. With the money we are saving we can invest more or pay more on our credit cards. Forget the latte factor, cut your cable/satellite factor. Anyway I know you are thinking that $125 is pretty crazy, but it was something I thought I could not live without. Now with work, school, and blogging. I don't spend a lot of time watching TV, except sports. So maybe when my contract is up I will drop it all of the way.

This Weeks Carnivals

The Road 2 Riches is in two carnivals this week. Thanks to City Girl's Financial Blog for posting my article on "Do you want to be rich" for The Carnival of Personal Finance. Also thanks to AllFinancialMatters for posting my article on "Real Estate Riches Part 2" for the Carnival of Investing. I haven't had a chance to read any of the articles yet, but I will post some of my favorites later. Great job to both hosts for great carnival set ups. I will also be giving away a David Bach CD to a random post on the Do you want to be rich article.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

My First Contest

I will be giving away a CD from David Bach on the Finish Rich Series to someone who posts a comment on my Do you want to be rich post, all you need to do is answer the question on why you want to be rich and I will randomly pick one of the comments to win the CD. Forgive me if this is lame, but this is my first contest. So leave a comment, what do you have to lose.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Do You Want to Be Rich?

Who doesn't, David Bach the author of The Automatic Millionaire says that he can tell if you are going to be rich by asking five questions. I am only going to talk about the first one because it caught my interest. It was do you want to be rich and what are your reasons. If you say to have a humongous house or to buy an expensive sports car, chances are you may not make it. He goes on to say that your values are what will make you rich. If your motivation to get rich is for retirement, a child's college fund, financial freedom, and such, chances are that you will meet your goal. So why do I want to be rich? Well for starters, we will need a bigger house eventually once the baby gets here, then we need to start thinking about college funds, and retirement. My main reason is financial freedom, I want to be out of debt and not have to worry about it any more. I don't want to miss out on family, friends, and life. These are the real things that make you rich.

Why do you want to be rich? I will give the Dave Bach CD to someone randomly who leaves a comment on this post and answers this question. So this will be my first contest give away.

Real Estate Riches Part 2

In the book Real Estate Riches by Dolf De Roos, Dolf states that there are eight golden rules to property investment.

1) You Make your money when you buy. So you want to buy a property that's worth more at a much lower price.

2) Always buy from a motivated seller. Or a desperate seller, divorced people, homes on the market too long, someone looking to get out fast, etc....

3) Fall in love with the deal, not the property. Don't get attached to a property, it's an investment to bring in capital.

4) Never be the first to name a figure - that person always loses. You want to have the leverage when bidding.

5) Be counter cyclical. Like with stocks buy when the market is selling low, sell when the market is high.

6) Always try to buy with zero or little down. Put less down so you can get more properties.

7) Seldom Sell. Hold on to your properties, let their value increase.

8) The deal of the decade comes along about once a week. Put in the work, look for houses, find your deal.

Though I know absolutely nothing about REI, but am trying to learn, I found this book very educational for the beginner. Check out part One if you get a chance, Real Estate Riches.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Real Estate Riches

I just finished reading Real Estate Riches by Dolf De Roos, Ph.D. One of the Rich Dad's Advisor series books. I had a lot of doubts and thought that it would be very vague, but it turned out to be an excellent book for a beginner or someone interested in getting into Real Estate Investing. The book was very easy to read and motivational. It shows that REI is not rocket science, but it does take some work. I will be talking more about the book in other articles, but I wanted to include some of the thoughts he has on REI rentals. Whether to choose Commercial or Residential properties to rent out. Here are his pros and cons.

1. Residential Rentals are quoted monthly or weekly, while Commercial Rentals are quoted annually. Here he is talking about rental payments.

2. In rental property tenants don't have an interest in fixing up your property, while commercial tenants do have an interest in not only fixing the property, but also improving the property.

3. Leases are short for rental property, leases are long for commercial.

4. Capital required for rental property can be minimal, while commercial can require a large amount of capital.

These are just of the few pros and cons. I still think I would be interested in Residential Rentals, just to get started.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some of my favorite articles this week

Here are some of my favorite articles this week from the carnivals of personal finance and investing. The first one was a little mushy, but makes a lot of sense and made me feel all warm and happy inside. It's by Christine Kane on "Don't Get Rich Quick, Be Rich Quick." Sometimes we get so involved in personal finance that we may miss out what's going on around us. The next blog I liked was one by Stock Market Beat on "One Reason Starbucks Continues To Do So Well." I found it interesting not only because I invest in Starbucks, but because I learned that Starbucks pretty much owns all of it's locations. Here's another one I like To Become Wealthy: Starting in Real Estate. I found this one interesting because I too am interested in getting into REI, probably more on the rental side. These are just a couple, but I am sure I will find plenty more.


Got everything working again, including breadcrumbs. So the blog will be staying like this for a long time. Thanks again to Ramani and Hoctro for their awesome hacks. Look a previous post for links.

Monday, October 30, 2006

New Design Again!

Ok I promise this is the last time I mess with my template, but I really wanted the 3 columns. Anyway I got most of everything up, except breadcrumbs, which is one of my favorites. Hopefully I can get it figured out with some begging to the designer. Anyway this will definately be the last time for a long, long time. I know you are saying that you have heard all of this before, but this time it's for real (I hope). Let me know what you think of the new blog set up. Have to give props to Ramani for the design of the 3 column minima template. Check out his website he has lots of great hacks, Hackosphere. I also need to give props out to Hoctro for the breadcrumb page set up, especially if I can get it working again. Check out his blog, lots of great hacks: Hoctro's Place.

This Weeks Carnivals

This week The Road 2 Riches is in two carnivals, the carnival of personal finance and the carnival of investing. I want to thank It's Just Money for including my article on Credit Score Hell. I also want to thank My 1st Million at 33 for including my article on Investing in Stocks and Personal Morals. Both blogs are great and have a lot of useful information. Check them out and check out the carnivals. I will post some of my favorites later.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Credit Score Hell

If you are wondering about the past couple of titles, it's October and close to Halloween. Money Central has an excellent article called "Weird stuff that hurts your credit", as if I did not have enough to worry about rebuilding my credit and paying off our credit card debt. One of the things that I didn't know about is that Capital One and American Express do not share you credit limit with the credit agencies and this can hurt your score. I have a couple of Capital One cards, but I have maxed them out a couple times so my credit report shows my highest limits on each card. Another thing that I didn't know is that the credit agencies have different scoring groups or score cards. Depending on where you fall, you credit activities can move you up or down to a better or worse scoring group. As if I didn't have enough worries about jacking up my credit. Transfering all of your credit debt onto one low interest card can also hurt your credit score. It seems that they would rather you have lots of cards with lower amounts owed on each. Settling debts with companies you owe is also bad for your credit score. It seem's that waiting for it to go into collections is better for you (this makes no sense to me). Here is my favorite one, unpaid traffic or parking fines, and old library fines will be reported and effect your credit score. Nice huh? So return all those old library books and pay your fines. Be happy that they aren't reporting late video fees yet or I would be in some serious trouble.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Credit Card Horror Story

Even though we are trying to get out of credit card debt, I still find myself wanting to charge more stuff. It's like being a credit card junkie. The worst part is that it is me, not my wife who finds it so easy to bust out the credit cards from their hiding place. Well reading some different blogs, I can't remember which, but when I find it again, I will give credit to the author's idea. To keep herself from using her credit cards she actually froze them in the freezer. I thought what an awesome idea. If it's a real emergency you can bust them out and thaw out the ice, otherwise it would be too much hassle to mess with. If this doesn't work my next option will be to shred them all. Which I might end up doing anyway. Anyone have any other ideas that might work better?

Get Motivated Seminar Coming Back

Well not exactly to town, but it is coming to El Paso, TX and seeing that I have never been to El Paso, I figured why not go again. This time I am getting my mentor to go with me and a couple of friends and family. They have some pretty good speakers this time, all but three are different from the last time I saw them; Phil Town, Zig Ziglar, and Tom Hopkins. Some of the new speakers are Amy Jones, Bill Bartman, and Ruben Gonzalez. The main reason I am going is to see Phil Town, since I am following his investing advice, but I really also like Zig Ziglar, and am very interested in seeing what the other speakers have to say. So even if I only pick up a couple of new tips or ideas, I thing the 8 hr trip will be worth it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Carnival of Personal Finance # 71

The Carnival of Personal Finance #71 is up at Fat Pitch Financials. Just wanted to thank him for the great job and for including my article on Planning on the Cost of Our Baby. There are a lot of good articles this week. Some of my favorites are a Review of The Money Coach's Guide to Your First Million by Mighty Bargain Hunter. Thanks to his review I plan on reading this book. Even if I only get one new piece of information out of it, it will definitely be worth the read. Another one is Paying off Old Past Due Bills Without Hurting your credit by Searchlight Crusade. I just actually did this and it works, but I took a different route. I first disputed the claim and had it removed from all of the credit companies, then I disputed the claim with the collections office, they didn't drop the claim, but they did remove it, and I only had to pay less than 1/3 of the original debt. Anyway I get away from myself, check out the Carnival of Personal Finance, as you can tell I am.

Investing In Stocks and Personal Morals

I was watching Jim Cramer on Mad Money over the weekend. Not that I follow his investing style, but I do think he's great and knows how to put on a show. Boo-ya. Any way he was talking about investing in DEO. Diagio PLC (DEO) distributes branded alcohol Ala Johnny Walker, Jose Cuervo, Bailey's, Captain Morgan, etc.... I didn't run the numbers, but he seemed to like it, 10% per year consistently. What came to my mind though was the morality of investing in these companies, such as Phillip Morris. I don't know if I would invest in either of these companies even though Diagio is the less of the two evils. What are your morals when it comes to investing in stocks. Does it matter if they hurt anyone or just that they make you money? Personally I think I will stay away from these companies and others. I like environmentally and people friendly companies. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Giving to charities

As always Free Money Finance has a great topic for Sunday, "Giving to a Few Charities, or Several -- Which is Best?". I personally believe that giving to a few charities is better. I guess because we don't have a lot to give at this time, but the money we do give I believe has a bigger impact because we focus on one charity at this time. Our main charity is our church. We do not go to one of the richer parishes in town so I believe we help by contributing what we can to our church. Once our incomes pick up, or when we get out of credit card debt I would like to give to a cancer foundation. My father died of cancer at a young age, and I think that not only would this honor his memory, but it would help everyone else out there who has cancer. So I believe that giving to a few charities is best, but maybe this is because we don't have a lot to give at this moment. If you have a lot maybe you can spread it out and make a difference. What do you think? Thanks to FMF for having a great topic for Sunday. If you haven't check out his website, I suggest you do. It is one of my favorites.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Account Passwords

Since I am the one who takes care of all of our bills, investments, banking, and savings online, I have about 50 million passwords that I have a hard time remembering sometimes. Well actually a lot of times. Well I've been thinking about opening up a safety deposit box at our bank so that we can keep important papers and a list of our accounts and passwords. Well it turns out that this may be a really good idea. Check out Liz Weston's article on Don't take your passwords to the grave. So I will call around a check out the prices. It's not like we will need a very large box. Will keep you updated on my progress and the prices.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Articles for this week

Okay here are some of my favorite articles for The Carnival of Personal Finance #70. The first is Investing 101 - Getting Started by My Wealth Builder. It's always good to pick up new ideas since I am an Amateur Investor. The next article I liked was from Be Reasonable called Kiyosaki and Trump Perfect Together. I had been tempted to buy the book because I liked Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but I had read another negative review from FMF check out his view here. Another good one is from Taking Control Over Money, Do Sweat the Small Stuff. I still have a lot more to go over, but these are the ones that caught my eye.


Well I finished my online defensive driving course and it was pure hell. Not that the company was bad, but it was just so boring. I kept getting kicked out because I would fall asleep or turn my attention else where. Even though it was boring it was still probably a hundred times better than sitting in a class for 8 hrs and at least with the online class you can log on and off as much as you want so not to bore yourself to death. Anyway it's done and I just wanted to get it off my chest. If you ever have to take defensive driving, online is the way to go.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Planning on the Cost of Our Baby

So since this is our first baby, I guess I have been worrying about the cost, what things we need to get, and all kinds of other stuff. Well Kiplinger's Success With Your Money magazine has a great article on the costs of a new born and what to expect. The article is called "When Baby Makes Three (or more)"; I like to call it a bun in the oven. The article states that even though having your first child can be a financial shock, there are tax advantages and you do save money by spending more time at home with your child and with family. Your baby's first years can cost between $4000 and $6000. I guess it's time to cut out some of our luxuries and spending money going out. We've tightened our budget to get out of debt, but now it looks like we will have to do more. This doesn't include the price of having to move into a new house. I think we are okay for a little while. We have a small starter house, but an extra bedroom. Goodbye computer room :( . At least this will give us more than a couple years before we need a bigger house. The article says to make sure you have life insurance, health insurance, and some type of disability insurance. The news isn't all bad, there are some good tax breaks that I will get into in my next post along with some of the insurance info. If anyone has any advice or can give me some ideas of extra costs or ways to save money, I would be very greatful.


The other day I got to my class a little early so I decided to hit the library and see if I could find anything interesting on personal finance, real estate investing, or personal growth. I found a 13 CD lesson on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey, so I checked it out. At first I thought it was pretty boring and didn't think I was going to be able to make it through the first CD, things have gotten very interesting and I am finding that it can be applied to personal finance, debt management, and improving your life and values. One of the things that caught my attention was on one of his lessons on Happiness. He says "happiness is the desire and ability to sacrifice now for what we what eventually". This caught my attention because this is what we are all trying to do. We give up things we want to get out of debt and to invest in the future. Even though it may not feel like it sometimes, these sacrifices bring us happiness. Maybe not at the time that we are giving up some impulse buy that we want, but later when we find our selves financially free.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Trackback Finally

I finally was able to get trackback working. Not that I did anything myself, but I sure can copy and paste pretty good. Anyway thanks to Logical Philosopher for not only getting my Haloscan comments working, but I now also have trackback. Thanks also go out to Peter at Utter Muttering for getting this working. Good job guys!

No Carnivals this week

Well things have been a little crazy this week and I wasn't able to get anything going for the Carnival of Personal finance, but I am looking forward to checking out what everyone else has to say. There are always a lot of great articles and I will post some of my favorites. I will try to get back into the groove next week.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Snag on the Road 2 Financial Freedom

I have hit a snag down the road, literally. Well I actually hit this snag a couple months ago. While on the way to work and flying down the highway I got a speeding ticket. So I had to shell out $100+ to be able to take defensive driving. As usual I forgot all about it and now have to shell out another 40 some dollars to take the class online and get my driving record shipped to me before my deadline. I may see if I can get an extension so that I am not rushing it and can find a cheaper class and buy me some time by ordering my driving record myself (it's $25 for a rush). The moral of the story is don't break the laws, follow the norms. For me since I am trying to get out of debt and watching all of my personal finances I am finding this a big waste of money. That's almost $200 that I could have spent paying off credit debt or investing. Like the commercial says that is going to cost me 200 Jr cheeseburgers. Oh well live and learn.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Credit Report Update

So my saga to get my credit report clean continues. Luckily with some happy news. When I received my free credit report this year I noticed a couple of unpaid debts that weren't mine. So I disputed them with the credit agencies. I had all of them removed except one from American Airlines that said that I owed them money on an employee voucher that was used in 2000. Well the funny thing is that I have never worked for American Airlines. So yesterday I called and talked to the collecting agency that is in charge of this account. I got myself all pumped up and ready to fight. I make the call and end up with a very nice, helpful collection agent. We discussed what the problem was, he talked to his supervisor, and resolved the problem. I just need to send in some paperwork describing my grievance and I am done. I definately was not expecting this. So thanks to the friendly collection agent I am one step closer to having my credit report fixed.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Carnival of Personal Finance #69 Is Up

The Carnival of Personal Finance #69 by Flexo is up. Thanks to Flexo for including my article on Property Taxes Are on the Rise. There are a lot of great articles this week. Some of my favorites are Mighty Bargain Hunter's post on Are money saving tips unhelpful to people who really need them? Sometimes we forget that saving and getting out of debt can be really difficult when you are struggling for money. Another post I like is from The Buck Stops Here, Extra Income. This is one area that I have been trying to come up with different ideas, check out some of his. I haven't read all the articles yet, but I am sure that there will be a lot more that I will like.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Property Taxes Are On The Rise

Because I'm starting to get interested in property investing, I've been checking out a lot of real estate articles. I came across this article on yahoo "The Hottest Part of the Housing Market:Taxes" and feel like this is something I understand. Though the housing market is still good here in Texas, a lot of homeowner's are finding out year to year that their property taxes continue to increase. Especially in the middle class and upper class neighborhoods. Though the upper class may not feel the bite, the middle class sure does. Working in insurance we get a lot of calls from our customers complaining each year about the property value and tax increases. Though we have nothing to do with this we do give them some options of fighting the increases. Here are some things you can do to get your property value lowered if you think it's too high.

1) First contact your county tax appraisal district to see what their rationale was on the increase and see if you can get them to change it.
2) Research the values of the houses around you and make sure your home is not the only home overvalued.
3) If worse comes to worse you may need to get an independant inspector to value your home. Usually the price for this is between $200-$400. So if it's something minor you don't want to waste your time, but if it's going to save you $1000 or more, it would definately be worth going through the hassle.

States are trying to get as much as they can out of taxing you and your property tax is a pretty eazy place to do it. Remember you don't have to stick with the value that they put on your home, you can always dispute the property tax and save yourself some money.

Spend Less Than You Earn

It seems that I am seeing and hearing this everywhere now. I guess it's like when you get a new car and all of a sudden you start seeing them everywhere. In my accounting class we were talking about different aspects of business and all of a sudden my professor busts out with the most important thing in business is to make more than you spend. That is the secret. Wow, not only is that the secret for business, but it's the main mantra for personal finance. Spend less than you earn! It's funny how when you start focusing on something it turns up all around you. The best part is that it reinforces my goals. A higher education is really worth something.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

No More Junk Mail

Since the time that I opted out for telephone telemarketers, we have been receiving a ton of junk mail, credit card offers, preapproved loans etc.... Anyway when I ordered my annual credit report at I was given the option to opt out of pre-approved credit offers. You can either opt out for 5 years or you can opt out forever. Of course I chose forever. Well it's been a couple of months and my flow of junk mail has slowed down quite a bit. Which means less time shredding. has a great article on "How to Opt Out of Everything", not just pre-approved credit cards, but also junk mail, telemarketing calls (if you haven't already) and they even tell you how to get your financial institutions to stop sharing your information with others. Check it out. Lots of good information, and I will be sending a letter to opt out of the rest of the junk mail we have been getting.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Well That's One Goal

Well I got my HSBCdirect savings account set up. Now I just need to wait three days to start funding it. I also need to set up a goal for the amount of money that we are going to need in our emergency fund, plus some extra for investing. I have been reading alot on real estate investments and think I might be interested in rental properties, but I want to get out of credit card debt first. Anyway I figure I can save a little extra for either and emergency or investing and grow some interest on it also.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Carnival of Personal Finance Hits the Trail

The carnival of personal finance is being hosted at Punny Money this week. Definitely take a look at this unique and comedic website. As always there are tons of great articles and lots of information. I want to thank Nick of Punny Money for including my article Time to Buckle Down on Debt. As soon as I get a chance to read some of the articles I will post some of my favorites here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My Online Savings Choice

Well it looks like we will be going with HSBC direct as our emergency savings fund. The clincher was last night on the way to a birthday party when I saw that we had a local branch, so between that and the ATM card I think I have finally made up my mind. I know you are thinking it is about time, but being new to all this I had to check out all of my options. Anyway I will be taking the plunge today and setting up our online savings account so that I can incorporate our pay ourselves first mentality in to our emergency fund.

Time to Buckle Down on Debt

Now that the spending holidays are upon us (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's) it is time to refocus and buckle down on debt. This is the time of year when it becomes real easy to lose your focus and start to spend and charge costumes, gifts, decorations, and all kinds of other holiday cheer. Though you don't have to be a holiday Grinch, be sure to keep the reins on your shopping and spending habits. Remember we are trying to get out of debt here. So instead of going all out on holiday shopping remember to be frugal and don't try keeping up with the Joneses. I know that my frugality and money thriftiness usually go out the door this time of year. So what am I going to do? Well I am glad you asked. It is time to bring myself down to reality and focus on our credit card debt again. Not that we have forgotten or fallen back into our old evil ways, but a friendly reminder of where we are and where we don't want to go will put the holidays into perspective. So here are some steps I plan on taking before the holidays.

1) Make a list of what we owe. In an effort to refocus, I want to make sure we have an idea of exactly what we owe and make sure that we are on track to repay and get out of debt hell.

2) Time to re-prioritize our repayments. We have been paying more that the minimum balance on all of our credit card debt, but I think I am going to start working on a reverse snowballing effect. I think paying off some of our smaller balances first, which happen to have the higher interest rates, will not only makes us feel like we have accomplished something, but will help us knock out our debt faster.

3) Update our budget. Now is the time to update our budget to include what we are going to spend over the holidays, we also need to adjust our budget for our impending arrival.

We usually go crazy during the holidays, so this year the wife and I are going to try and be more focused on our spending habits. This year we will need to be more frugal on our holiday spending and our gift giving. So what kind of plans do you have over the holidays? What are you going to do to save money and what are you going to limit yourself to? The most important thing to remember over the holidays is friends and family. These are the richest gifts you could ever have.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

I just recently finished reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. It is a very motivational book and teaches you how to think outside of the box. I enjoyed how he contrasts his Rich Dad's business values (making money work for you) and his Poor Dad's ideas of working for your money. This book is not a blueprint for how to get rich, but it does give you the motivation, and the background to create your own blueprint for financial freedom. Robert Kiyosaki shares a lot of great information, but one area that I found especially interesting is what he has to say about job specialization. He pretty much says that if you specialize in a field, no matter what occupation you have, you are pretty much painting yourself into a corner. You limit yourself to that one job, and if anything happens to where that job is not needed anymore, you are out of luck because you haven't learned any other skills. I was surprised that he stated that you should learn as much as you can in your job or business and then move on to learn more ( new job, new dept, etc...). Before I was an Amateur Investor I was a chef. When I started out I would go from place to place to learn as much as I could in a certain area, and then I would move on to the next area to learn more. Whether I had to change jobs or just move to another area to learn something new I was constantly moving. In the hospitality field this is something normal, but in regular business, I thought this was something that wasn't done. I guess what he is trying to say is that you can't limit yourself, continue to learn, continue to strive to be better. Anyway this is a great book. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Looks Like A Winner

I would like to thank whoever posted the information on HSBC direct having ATM cards for their online savings account. In case of an emergency I would like to be able to get to my money without too much hassle. I know what you are thinking, having easy access will tempt me to spend it, but I am not too worried about that, I am pretty disciplined. At least I think I am. I've heard a lot of good things about both Emigrant Direct and HSBC Direct, but I am leaning towards HSBC right now because of the ATM card. So in the next day or two I will have made my decision and opened and account. Any other comments on either of these two banks would be appreciated.

Ok, I was wrong

Okay so I didn't lose all of my comments. If you go to the articles page all of the blogger beta comments will show. If you go to comments from one of the main pages, you will see the comments or be able to comment with Haloscan.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Just wanted to apologize to anyone who has left a comment. I switched to Haloscan comments because I am trying to get trackback to work and I lost all of my blogger comments. So if you have left a comment it's not that I didn't want them posted, but that I have changed my commenting system. Sorry.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Online Savings Account

Seeing that I need to get moving on setting up an Emergency Savings Account, I've started researching some of the online savings banks. It seems like there are a lot to choose from and they all offer pretty much the same options. The only difference is the interest rates they are currently paying. Here are some of the interest rates they are currently offering.

Ing Direct 4.40%
Emigrant Direct 5.15%
HSBC Direct 5.05%
Citibank 5.00%
CapitalOne 4.80
Wamu 5.00%

You can pretty much open any of these accounts by funding them with at least $1. There are no membership fees, no minimum balances, and you can transfer back and forth between your checking account. I think a couple of these even pay you for referrals. I am leaning towards Emigrant Direct, but haven't made up my mind yet. Anyone have any suggestions on which has the best customer service, online experience, etc...? I would appreciate any suggestions.

Carnival of Personal Finance

This weeks Carnival of Personal Finance is being held at Canadian Capitalist. I want to thank the Canadian Capitalist for including my article on the Twelve Myths About Credit Reports. Be sure to check out the Carnival. As always there are a lot of great articles on everything you need to know about personal finance. A couple of my favorites articles are Good Debt, Bad Debt by The Buck Stops Here, and The Courage to Live Debt Free- The Principals of Economic Security by Life Training Blog.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Investing Progress

So being an Amateur Investor, I really haven't said much about my experiences since I started this blog. I read Rule #1 by Phil Town and have been trying to follow his system. I got in with a good margin of safety and with a company that I feel I know and understand. The stock was on an uptrend and doing pretty well, but with all the craziness in the market it dropped like a stone. Well I can't buck the system because the signals were there to get out, and I second guessed them. So anyway I was looking at the stock bottom out and was thinking, what have I got myself into. Though I was very tempted to get out, I decided to stick. Like Buffet's value investing, I knew that I had a good company, at a good price and that it would eventually rebound. Well the stock reversed and is on an uptrend again and I am about to break even. So I guess the moral is don't second guess, don't be emotional, and don't jump in and out at the wrong times. Even though I haven't made my mind up about the Rule #1 system. I figure I will give it a year to see how I do. I like Phil Town because he is pretty straight forward, he is very active in his blog, and will answer any questions that you have. Being new to investing I plan on continuing to learn all that I can. So one of these days I can graduate from amateur investor to mediocre investor.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Twelve Myths About Credit Reports

Seeing that I have been trying to clean up my credit report, I found this pretty interesting. Julie Sturgeon has an article on yahoo called, you guessed it, 12 myths about credit reports.

The myths are:

1) Paying my debts will make make my credit instantly pristine. Not true. Your poor payment history will still show on your credit report until it drops.
2) I must give permission for a for a company to see my credit report. Wrong. Pretty much any company can see your credit report with out your permission, only if ordering your report has to do with employment does the company need a signature for your permission.
3) Credit Counseling always destroys my credit score. Credit counseling doesn't count against your credit score, and most creditors don't even look at your credit report manually anyway so chances are that they will never see it.
4) Cancelling credit cards boosts my score. False. "Creditors want to see at least two or three pieces of active credit to prove you can manage debt responsibly" and the credit cards that you aren't using are not affecting your credit score.
5) To many inquiries hurt my score. Believe it or not this is not true anymore. If you are shopping around for mortgages or car loans, the credit agencies understand that you are trying to get the best rates, so this does not affect your credit score. Now if you are going to every department store in sight and applying for credit it will affect your score because these are considered hard pulls. Even checking your credit score at fico is not considered a hard pull.
6) Checking my own credit report harms my standing. As I said above checking your credit doesn't harm your credit score, but beware of companies giving free credit reports for purchasing their products. These companies are merchants the hits do count.
7) FICO Scores are locked in for six months. Not true, fico scores are dynamic so they constantly change as the information on your report changes.
8) I don't need to check my credit report if I pay my bills on time. In this day and age of Identity Theft you can't trust that you have perfect credit, or that the credit agencies have all of your information right. I knew that I didn't have perfect credit but when I pulled all of my reports it was full of wrong information. So check your reports yearly.
9) All credit reports are the same. Most creditors do report to the major credit agencies- TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, but some don't. So your credit score accross the boards will never be the same because something showing up on one report may not show up on the other two. So if you are gonna check one report, you may as well check all of them.
10) A divorce decree automatically severs joint accounts. Actually it doesn't so if you want your ex off of your credit you better contact your creditors, and either close your current accounts or have your ex sign off of them.
11) Bad news comes off in 7 years. Some of it does, but some bankruptcies can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years and if you pay off a previous outstanding debt, it may stay on your report longer than 7 years.
12) I can always pay someone to fix or repair my credit. You can, this is done by the company flooding the creditors with letters of dispute. If the creditors can not verify the listing it must come off, but if the creditor is able to prove later that the listing was correct it gets put back into your file after 30 days.

I hope that this helps some of you out there. I know it cleared up alot of the myths I had about credit scores and how companies report your information.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I am liking Google More and More

I have always used the google search engine, and have just recently started to use foxfire, which I think is an excellent browser. I guess what I am trying to say is that I think Google is a good company. Well it turns out that they may just be a great company. In Motley Fool's article on yahoo, Google Does More Do-Gooding, it turns out that Google will be funding a for-profit charity that will fund companies targeting global warming, disease, and poverty. I think it's great when large companies give back to the community and world. Good job Google! You are number one in my book.

Monday, September 18, 2006

This weeks Carnival of Personal Finance

I just wanted to thank Free Money Finance for including my article Teaching Kids About Money in the Carnival of Personal Finance this week. His site is definately worth checking out, FMF is one of my favorite blogs and has a ton of information updated daily. Just taking a glance at the topics of this weeks Carnival, I see a lot of good material, and a couple of other articles about kids and money. After I read them I may link to them through this article. Not related to the Carnival but of great importance, check out FMF on October 2nd. He plans on publishing a post every hour for 24 hrs, will be giving away gifts, and donating $1 for each unique visit to a charity of his choice. So If you see all 24 posts he will donate $24 dollars for your visits. Very cool, check out his site.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Teaching Kids About Money

Now that my wife and I are getting ready to have a child, I have been thinking alot about how we plan to educate him/her, especially about money, saving, and investing. I know that when I was growing up I just always knew it was there, we never talked about money or saving so I pretty much never did. I also didn't know about investing, but I sure knew about maxing out my credit cards. It wasn't until recently that I have gotten into investing and saving for retirement. Dan Caplinger's article Make Finances a Family Affair, on Motley Fool states that "Teaching your children about money is an extremely important part of your parental responsibilities. Because most schools lack any significant education about finances, it's up to [the parents] to create a strong foundation of knowledge that your children can use to guide their financial decisions. I know that I would be better off if I would have learned to save and invest at a younger age. One thing that many of the articles that I read left out is philanthropy. I believe that no matter how much you make, it is always good to give some money back to your community, church, people in need, etc.... I believe that this is a lesson that is very important to teach our children. One thing my parents did teach me was to give back, even if it didn't seem like much, helping someone else is always a good thing.

How do you teach your child about money?

1) Start at an early age with change and a piggy bank.
2) Give a weekly allowance for chores and split up the money into savings, spending, and giving(philanthropy).
3) As they get older get them started with a savings account(maybe a high interest savings account).
4) When they are old enough teach them how to invest and make their money work for them.

Hopefully I will be able to give our child a better understanding of personal finance than I had. What do you think? and what are some other things that would we could teach our child about money and finances?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Credit Report Update

Well I have finally received some updates on my credit report disputes. It looks as if they have removed all of them except for one, which is for the smallest amount-$92. I am tempted just to pay it to be done with it, but maybe I will try calling the company and seeing if I can resolve it on my own. I am pretty excited because with cleaning up the charges that were not mine, my credit should be a lot better now. Well I will continue working on that one last dispute and see if I can get rid of all of them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Saving Money For A Rainy Day

I guess one of the goals I have neglected to set for my family is an emergency savings accout. I have recently read an article on Making Your Emergency Savings Automatic by David Bach the author of The Automatic Millionaire. For those of you who aren't sure of what this is, it is an account that you save money in for unforeseeable expenses- car repairs, home repairs, Dr's bills, etc.... The types of expenses that you would usually have to max out your credit cards for.
The article pretty much shows how to set up a cushion of money for these types of emergencies.
There are four basic steps to do this.

1) Make your rainy day fund Automatic. Bach says that if you don't make this process automatic chances are that you won't save. So each payday transfer a certain amount into a money market, savings account, etc....

2) Get your money out of your checking account. Put your money where you don't have easy access to it. Such as high interest savings account, money market, etc....

3) Put it in the right place. Make sure you are earning interest on your money. Don't let the banks make all the money.

4) Decide how big of a cushion you need. I have read all kinds of different amounts. I think the amount to shoot for is one that you are comfortable with and one that keeps you from having to use your credit cards.

I guess there is no time like the present to get started, so I guess my next step will be checking out some of the high interest online savings banks. If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate any comments.


Okay I got switched over to blogger beta without to much drama. I even got my banner back up with out to much of a hassle, but the ads and links were a pain in the butt as usual. Hopefully this will be the last time I make a change in my template for a long while.

Here I Go Again

In the unending cycle of trying to improve my blog and blogging skills, I have decided to switch from blogger to the new blogger in beta. In order to take advantage of all that they have to offer in beta, I need to switch my template again. The good thing is that they save the old template. The bad thing is that I may be starting all over again with my blog, banner, ads, etc.... So here I go again. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 11, 2006

My First Carnival

Well I am pretty excited, I made it in to my first carnival. I submitted an article to The Carnival of Personal Finance #65 which is being hosted by No Credit Needed Blog. I would like to welcome anyone who comes over from NCN or actually anyone who reads this blog. Even though I am pretty new at this I hope I can share some of the information that I am learning. I haven't had a chance to read any of the other blogger's articles yet, but I am sure that there is a lot of great information out there. If you haven't checked out this carnival, do so. There is always a ton of great information.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Can Money Buy Happiness?

According to Money Magazine it can as long as you change the way you shop and the way you think. Instead of buying fancy luxury cars, new boats, expensive wines and foods, and racking up charges on your credit cards; Money suggests that you invest in things that will make you happy. Mainly family, friends, and experiences. Have family and friends over for a BBQ, learn something new that will be a challenge to you, such as a musical instrument or golf, trips or vacations can create lasting memories and happiness, pets -though destructive and expensive- can not only bring you happiness, but can ease stress and lower your blood pressure. On the other hand impulse buys, expensive toys, new tech gadgets, only give you a short amount of pleasure, and then you are on to the next best thing.

I believe that frugality also can bring you happiness. No matter how much money you make if you live within your means and are frugal, I believe you are happier. Though I am just starting to get out of credit card debt and investing in my family's future, I feel a sense of relief that I am working towards a goal of financial freedom. This makes me very happy. Do I believe that money can make you happy? I believe that being finacially free can. What do you think?

So I've Been Told I've Been Procrastinating

Well I have been told that I have not been keeping up with my blogging duties. I could blame work, the college courses, or the news of our impending arrival, but in truth I changed my template and lost my ads, my banner, and all of my links. So I have dreaded putting it all back together. Well I'm back and think I have everything pretty much back in order. I will start blogging more on Personal Finance and Debt Reduction. I am also thinking about maybe joining some of the PF carnivals.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Knocked Out One of Our Goals

So my wife and I have literally knocked out one of our goals, or you could say knocked up. Turns out she is pregnant and though everything is exciting, I start to have all of the thoughts that new fathers must have. Will I be a good father, can I protect him/her. Can I teach them to be financial free so that they don't make the same mistakes that I have made. Well I guess we will have to see. For right now the prospect of being a father is a little overwhelming and extremely very exciting.


Checking out some of my favorite blogs on I ran across the question of the day on
Money and Value . It mainly had to deal with whether or not you involved your personal values in your money decisions. I believe this is an excellent question. Because of my values I do not invest in anything that I believe either hurts the environment or does not give something back to the people. Though I know all businesses are out to make money, I do look for the ones that give back to their communities. Anyway I thought this was an excellent question and thought that I would like to share. Any comments would be appreciated.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Millionaire Next Door

So I have finally finished reading The Millionaire Next Door. I am also going to try and link to what the author of FMF has to say about TMND. He has some excellent articles and thoughts. Definately a good idea to check out. So here it is FMF article on TMND .

As I stated in my previous post TMND is an excellent book and gets down to the basics of what you must do to become a millionaire.

1) Spend less than you earn. You can't expect to save, invest, or get out of debt if you are living beyond your means.
2) Be frugal. Most of the millionaires in the book do not buy expensive foreign cars, they don't have thousand dollar suits, they don't buy rolex's. In other words save your money. Don't buy overly expensive things when you can buy something of quality for a lot less.
3) Invest. Make your money work for you.

These are only a couple of steps to becoming a millionaire. Read the book. It is definately worth it.

Monday, August 21, 2006


So even though I have been slacking from my posting duties. I have still been keeping up with trying to learn all that I can about personal finance and investing. I knocked out reading a couple of books.

The first is Buffett:The Making of an American Capitalist. Since I am new to this game of investing, Warren Buffet to me has seemed to be a great, out of reach investing hero. The book tells the story of his life showing his human qualities, his patience, loyalty, and integrity. It shows his remarkable success and his views and ideals on money. This book is an excellent read, though if you are looking for investment secrets this is not the book, but it does impart his philosophy, buy undervalued stocks and hold on to them til the stock market reflects their value.

The second book that I am about to finish reading is The Millionaire Next Door. This is another truely excellent book which I was turned on to by the author of Free Money Finance (One of my favorite blogs). The book talks about how most of the millionaires in the country are people who could pretty much be your neighbors. They spend less than they make. They invest their money in some way. They don't buy flashy cars or cloths. They live well under there financial status, thus they have very high net worths.

Both books are truely excellent and worth a look at. Once I figure out how to link articles, I will try to link to the Free Money Finance article.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Missing In Action-

So I have been missing in action for a while. Not that I have given up on my goal of finacial freedom or that I have decided not to document my progress, but I ran into some problems trying to customize my banner. The main problem is that I pretty much didn't know what I was doing and made a big mess of my template. Thanks to some other web blogs I was able to find some sites that pretty much walk you thru creating your own website banner. So with a little trial and error I was able to make my own banner. Yeah! Though not the greatest, it is mine and I am proud of it. Hopefully my photoshop and blogging skills will continue to improve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Credit Report...

So in an effort to continue reaching for our financial freedom, I ordered my credit report to see how bad things were. If anyone is interested you can get a free credit report each year from Transunion, Equifax, and Experian from They charge extra if you want to receive your credit scores, but it's a good way to check out your credit history.

After getting over my fear of knowing I have horrible credit, I pulled up all my reports and it turns out my credit is not so bad after all. I have a couple of things to take care of, but all in all it didn't look as bad as I thought it would. I have some discrepencies that I need to take care of, but nothing that will keep me from reaching our five year goal. My wife by the way does not have to worry about these problems. Anyway I am feeling much better about getting our finances in order and meeting our goals.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Net Worth?

Today I've decided to start keeping track of our net worth. I think it will be a great way to keep us focused on were we are going and motivate us in our journey to financial freedom. I've been checking out a couple of other bloggers who use NetWorth IQ, so I may look into it. It's free anyway so it can't be too bad. Hopefully our net worth is not too depressing.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Our 5 year plan

Hope everyone had a safe and happy July 4th. The wife and I worked on our five year plan over the past couple of days.

Here are some of the goals we came up with:

1) Get out of Debt! Especially credit card debt
2) Have Children
3) Invest for Retirement
4) Remodel Kitchen
5) Landscape our yard
6) Get in Shape/ Lose weight
7) Learn a craft or hobby that will bring in more income
8) Continue my education, College and Investments

We have already started working on paying off our debt and have worked on a 5 yr budget that will allow us to not only pay off our substantial credit card debt, but will allow us to be finacial free, so that we can get into a bigger house and rent our current cozy little house out for some passive income. The other goal we have already started working on is investing for our retirement. I have gone back to college to work on a business degree and am trying to read everything I can on finances and investing. I will continue to post our progress as we meet our goals.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Millionaire Mind

I have been reading Secrets of the Millionare Mind by T. Harv Eker. It's turned out to be pretty interesting. Eker states that it's our money blueprint that enables us to either succeed or fail. In order to succeed we must have our money blueprint in order. Part of this is actually wanting to be rich. Eker says that there are three levels of so-called wanting.

The First Level is "I want to be rich." That's another way of saying, "I'll take it if it falls in my
The Second Level is "I choose to be rich." This entails deciding to become rich.
The Third Level of wanting is "I commit to being rich." The definition of the word commit is
"to devote oneself unreservedly." This means holding absolutely nothing back; giving 100
percent of everthing you've got to achieving wealth. It means being willing to do whatever it
takes for as long as it takes. This is the warrior's way. No excuses, no ifs, no buts, no maybes
-and failure is not an option. The warrior's way is simple: "I will be rich or I will die trying."
(Eker, pg. 69)
The third level of wanting is so empowering. How awesome is that? The warrior's way - "I will be rich or I will die trying." Now that is commitment. As my commitment to being rich, I plan on working on a five year plan and setting some goals with my wife. I also commit myself to making a budget and paying off our credit cards. I plan to continue investing and following the Rule #1 method. Taking small steps makes things manageable, and will keep me on track.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Well it seems that I have changed my mind about Amazon. While ordering
Buffet: The Making Of An American Capitalist, I had my credit card number jacked while paying for the book. Luckily it was my company card and they caught on right away. The thief tried to buy $300 in costumes, and around $800 in who knows what from Japan. This makes this the most expensive book that I have ever bought. Needless to say I will no longer be buying from Amazon if they can't keep their orders secure. I was talking to the credit card company and they said that this problem happens all the time with Amazon. Anyway, hope this book turns out to be pretty good for all the hassle I went through.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How I Got Started...

I usually hate seminars and try to get out of going to them as a rule, but I was unable to get out of going to a Get Motivated seminar for my work which turned out to be lucky for me. There were a lot of great speakers, but the person who really made an impact on me was Phil Town. The ex-river guide gone investor, was able to spark an interest in investing for me because he makes it understandable to the layman. I was still aprehensive, so I googled Phil Town and he seemed to be on the up and up. I ordered his book off of Amazon, my new favorite shopping place, and decided that I could take control of my financial future. Rule #1 is an excellent book for the amatuer investor. It got me into paper investing and then opening up an online brokerage account. I also decide that I wanted to learn more, so I started to read The Intelligent Investor. Value investing seems the way to go for me and Phil Town's approach seems to be a modification on that style.

I've also been checking out a lot of financial blogs and have found that there is a ton of excellent information out there. I decided to start my own blog to track my progress as an investor, so that I can learn from others, and maybe every once in a while contribute some information that may help someone else.