Connie’s Home Biz

GreenBackStreet

GREENBACKSTREET

GreenBackStreet is a premier shopping portal developed by Pinnacle Communications International, Inc. Taking its cues from the most powerful and profitable marketing program of the 20th century; frequent flyer rewards, GreenBackStreet revolutionized reward programs for the 21st century by negating the need for points and miles and instead offering immediate cash rebates for shopping (up to 30%) and enrolling others to shop online (50% of the cash back rebates your referrals earn). Cash Back shopping is the primary of the many benefits of a FREE GreenBackStreet membership!

Our Mission
To be the world’s best rewards program; providing anyone and everyone with access to more than 1,100 popular national and local stores, social networking, games and giveaways and, most importantly, the lowest prices online with Cash Back rebates for shopping – and for enrolling others to shop at GreenBackStreet.

Free Membership for GreenBackStreet

GreenBackStreet Member Benefits

Membership to GreenBackStreet is free and joining GreenBackStreet takes less than 30 seconds. As a member of GreenBackStreet you will:

* Earn up to 30% Cash Back at more than 1,100 popular stores
* Earn 50% matching Referral Cash when your direct referrals shop
* Gain access to:
o Deals, coupons and free shipping offers from Internet and local merchants
o Reviews of products and stores
o A community of online shoppers for shopping advice
* Be able to play free games that pay Cash and Prizes
* Feel secure that the stores that you are shopping at have been pre-screened and hand selected for safety and security

August 9, 2009 Posted by | Fundraising | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Passive and Active Earning Money Online

The programs I am in fit two modes of earning money online.
The “passive” or “active” approach.

Take a program like Ad Ventures 4U, which currently offers
the highest referral commission of my “surfs”.

You have to admit…15% is high compared to the average
paid out by Admins today.

Back to “passive” and “active”…I can be totally passive and
make money with Ad Ventures 4U by purchasing “Ventures”
and wait to get paid from the 75% profit sharing pool every
Monday. Or…I can be active and build a downline by
promoting the programs’ referral link URL and get paid
referral commissions every Thursday.

Best of both worlds as far as I am concerned…I am showing
people a method of making money and getting rewarded
for it.

Let’s compare this to a nutritional company where you are
required to buy a product on autoship and then need to
recruit or you won’t make any commission and you need
to bring in a few people just to cover the cost of your monthly
purchase. It’s a whole different ball game with profit sharing
programs because you earn back what you purchase plus
interest.

Look at PremiumAdsClub..just by showing people the way
to make money online with this program I made over $50
referral commission in three weeks and I only joined it
a month or so ago. My referrals are happy because they
see their account funds building as well.

January 3, 2009 Posted by | Making Money Online | , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Rules of Success”

“The Rules Of Success” For Every Online Program Or Opportunity:

1. Using Disposable Income, Only Invest What You Can Afford To Lose.
2. Understand There Are No Guarantees.
3. Respect Your Profits.
4. Pay Yourself At Least 10-20% Of Your Profits Gained.
5. Get Your “Seed Money” Back As Soon As Possible.

Hello everyone,
I am all for making money as well as saving it. In case you haven’t heard, Ad View Global is now accepting sign-ups. Here is my referral link: http://advglobal.com/join/?a=736
This program is another variable percentage ROI per day program. The people I have spoken to on this have very high expectations that this program will be VERY BIG! Right now there are 3 programs that I have very high hopes and expectations for, and this is one of them! There are HUGE incentives for getting in early and getting your place in the program NOW. Even if you aren’t ready to invest, I would recommend that you join free NOW and should you decide it is not for you, you have lost nothing. I will be posting more info as it becomes available. Again, here is my sign-up link:

http://advglobal.com/join/?a=736

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Tips to Make Sure Your Financial Budget Will Succeed

You’ve analyzed your past expenses, put them into spreadsheets, loaded Quicken with all of your data and come up with a budget. Now what? The tough part! You actually have to stick to your budget and put your plans into action. This is easier said than done. In many cases you will have forgotten about your budget and your financial goals 6 months or a year down the road. How do you keep this from happening to you?

Here’s how. Make sure you follow some of these tips below so this doesn’t happen to you.

1. Create a budget with realistic targets – Let’s say one of your budget goals is to not eat out for lunch or dinner on a regular basis. If you are honest with yourself you may find this to be an unrealistic goal. Sometimes it’s a nice break to eat out and have a relaxing rewarding evening. In other words, don’t set the bar too high. Drastic and unrealistic goals are one of the surefire ways your budget will not succeed.

2. Budget for expenses that don’t occur on a routine basis – Make sure you give consideration to expenses that occur once a year, such as holiday presents, birthdays, vacations, weddings, car maintenance costs, etc. These expenses don’t occur every month and they will bust your budget plans wide open. Make a list of these events on a calendar and put a dollar figure to them. Place them in the month they are expected to occur so you can plan in advance how you will pay for them. The regular routine expenses are not the reason your budget will fail. It is these “gotchas” that will wreck havoc on your budget if you don’t plan for them.

3. Put your budget in writing – Take the time to write down your budget plans. Making a mental note of your budget goals is a recipe for failure. Don’t assume that your financial future will take care of itself by making a simple mental note to yourself. If you have your budget goals detailed in writing you can review and remind yourself weekly and monthly of your financial goals.

4. If you have a bad month or week, don’t give up! – Let’s say you have been reaching your budget goals for three months. In the fourth month, for whatever reason, you didn’t reach your budget goals. Maybe you even stopped trying to stick to your budget! If this happens, don’t just throw your hands up in the air and admit to failure. Everyone falls off the wagon sometimes. Your budget is a journey. There will be bumps in the road, so the key is to realize that everyone makes mistakes. This relates to a story I like about a great old time golfer named Walter Hagen. Before each round of golf, he told himself that he would have 4 or 5 bad shots. During the golf round, if he hit his ball into a bunker, he would tell himself, “There is one of my bad shots that I was expecting”, hit the ball out of the bunker and move on. It didn’t phase him one bit because he had knew there would be some bad shots in his round.

5. Adjust your budget over time – This one is a biggie! It can take months or even years to fine tune a personal budget. When you initially made your budget plans, you probably had to guess at some of your figures. They might not have been in touch with the realities of every day life. For example, you may have underestimated your monthly grocery or utility bills. If this happens, analyze all of the underlying money that was spend in this category to see if your initial estimate was unrealistic. If it was, try to come up with a more accurate number and then to stick to that new figure. It is this type of adjustment that is one of the keys to making sure you can stick to your budget.

6. Review your budget every month – This is where you will make any adjustments that are needed. Set aside the first day of each new month to review your income and expenditures and match them to your budget goals. By actively reviewing your finances and comparing it to your budget, you can adjust your spending habits. This gives you a chance to analyze areas that exceeded your budget expectations and make the adjustments in your spending habits or your budget. The goal here is to not forget about your budget. One tip that has worked for me is to put a printout of my basic budget goals on the refrigerator. That way every day, several times a day, I would notice my budget goals sheet. I may not read it every time, but I notice it and it reminds me that I need to stick to my budget. That is why tip number 3 is so important.

7. Set specific short-term goals – Let’s say one of your budget goals is to have all of your credit card bills paid off in two years. If your credit card balances total $20,000 that would be $10,000 a year. Divide that number further into quarterly reductions in your credit card bills, in this case $2,500 every 3 months. Now, this is a more tangible budget goal to shoot for isn’t it? I find that when I divide intermediate and long term goals into short-term tangible stepping stones, I am able to feel a greater sense of accomplishment and am more likely to succeed. This brings us to number eight…

8. Reward yourself – That’s right! Treat yourself when you reach your some of your short-term goals. Since your financial budget is really a journey, take some time to smell the roses on your way. Sticking to your budget should not be a restrictive, unpleasant experience. Not only should you take the time to enjoy your financial accomplishments along the way, but use part of your budget for fun things that you enjoy. Just make sure your rewards don’t end up breaking your budget!

9. Pay yourself first – I’m sure that one of your budget goals is to save and invest a portion of your income. One of the keys to make sure you succeed at this is to do what the IRS does with your paycheck, take it out of your discretionary income immediately. This way, the money is saved away right off the bat. Move the money immediately into a savings or mutual fund account. Many mutual fund companies can setup automatic deductions from your paycheck. Despite your best intentions to save, the hectic, daily demands of life can reduce the amount you are able to save.

10. Attitude is everything – When most people think of a budget, they picture restrictions and pain. Almost like a diet. You know what happens with most diets? They don’t seem work for long! First, if your budget is too strict, too restrictive on your spending, it won’t work either. However, you will need to limit your spending in some areas and this will take some adjustment in your attitude. I found that when I am feeling limited and sorry for myself when I can’t purchase something that I want, I remember my financial goals I set with my budget. I think about the satisfaction I feel when I reach those goals. Over time, you find that you don’t want to disappoint yourself by breaking your spending goals on a spur of the moment purchase. Now, I actually get more pleasure knowing that I am reaching my budget goals when the thought of an impulse purchase crosses my mind.

If you follow these tips, your budget plans are more likely to be a great success. By taking some simple steps you will find that living within a budget is not as tough as you imagined. It can actually be fun and rewarding!

About the Author

Greg Quincy is the publisher of the website http://www.financialtipsforyou.com offering his insights and tips that he has gained from working in the financial industry and the economic challenges of raising a family.

written by: Greg Quincy

November 29, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Go Green at Home and Save

Go Green at Home and Save!

You can enjoy the countless benefits of going green without emptying your wallet!

In fact, green (the eco kind) and green (the cash kind), can live happily together, side by side. I’m here to show you how.

Energy Isn’t Endless

In the United States alone, buildings are responsible for 25-35% of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to Al Gore’s We campaign, a nonprofit project aiming to halt global warming.

Wasted energy equals wasted money: up to 50% of what you pay every month is due to inefficient energy use at home.

Lessen pollution-causing CO2 and save money on your bills by following these steps.

1. Get a programmable thermostat
According to Energy Star, Americans could save about $180 a year by installing a programmable
thermostat; it also makes monitoring energy automated and easy.

2. Watch in winter
Set your programmable thermostat to 68? or lower. About 3%–5% more energy is used for
each degree the furnace is set above 68?.

3. Survey in Summer
Set your programmable thermostat to 78? or higher in the summer. About 3%–5% more energy
is used for each degree below 78?.

4. Use CFLs or LEDs
Replace at least two-thirds of your light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs
and save up to 4% on your electricity bill.

5. Update the over 10 set
Replace appliances over 10 years old with Energy Star appliances. If money is tight, look for
floor models that are dinged or scratched, but new.

6. Stop Phantom Power
Install ‘Smart Strips’ so you can shut down power to appliances not in use without havin
to unplug each; great for TiVos, blenders, stereo, etc.

7. Tune up
Have your air conditioning and heater unit inspected at least once by the unit’s manufacturer
to ensure maximum efficiency.

8. Seal major air leaks
Weather-strip doors and windows; call a chimney sweep to check that your chimney isn’t
leaking hot or cold air.

9. Air Dry Clothes
Give your dryer (and electricity bill) a break and hand your wet clothing on either an
outdoor clothesline or on in indoor drying rack. Added bonus: your clothes’ colors will last longer!

Water Water Everywhere?

Whether you get your water for free or pay for it, water is a precious resource that should always be at the top of your conservation list.

1. Install a water-efficient shower head
These wonder appliances reduce water use while actually increasing water pressure! Don’t be fooled by the term “low flow” on labels – it references less water, not less pressure.

2. Insulate your water heater
When insulating, be sure the temperature is no higher than 120?. Better yet, replace your water heater with efficient, tankless water heater.

3. Always wash clothes in cold
Cold water is actually better for the longevity of your clothing and works just as well as hot water to get the job done.

Organic Food : Not Necessarily More Expensive

If you’ve crossed organic food off your shopping list because of price, think again.

There are many ways you can stock your pantry with organic goodies devoid of preservatives and chemicals – while keeping an eye on your spending. Follow these tips to get started:

1. Prioritize your shopping list – and know where ‘organic’ counts. Meats, dairy and sweet fruits are the most important products to ‘choose organic.’ When making your shopping list, keep this in mind. Read Top Tips for Shopping for Organic Foods on a Budget.

2. Commit to buying your favorites, organically. Choose one of your favorite food items – something you buy on a regular basis – and commit to buying the organic version of it from now on. This one simple step will greatly reduce you and your family’s exposure to pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics.

3. Use a grocery list! Studies show that people who use grocery lists and stick to them save money on their grocery bill. Plus, buying less junky fast foods creates room in your budget for tasty, whole organic foods!

4. Look for organic generic or private labels from your supermarket chain. Does your grocery store have its own organic generic label or natural brand? They are typically cheaper than big-name counterparts and still certified organic. I’ve also found that these generic organic brands can even be cheaper then the conventional or non-organic counterpart!

5. Shop at your local farmers’ market Buying at farmers’ markets is actually one of the best kept secrets to buying affordable, organic food. A USDA study in 2002 found that about 40 percent of farmers’ market farmers don’t charge a premium. Cities now list their local farmers’ markets online, so simply search for the one closest to you. Local Harvest makes it easy.

6. Grow your own, organically! Organic gardening is a great way to save cash: I grow organic tomatoes, lemons, limes, bell peppers, lettuce, herbs and other produce that would otherwise be adding up at check out! Choose the most expensive organic produce – and the ones you like to eat the most – to plant and grow. Live in a small space? Try container gardening!

7. Invest in your future This is one of my favorite tips because it really makes people think…
Spending a little more now on organic will mean saving more on healthcare later. Don’t forget the deep impact living green has on your long-term health. It’s preventive medicine – that just happens to taste great!

Written by Laura Klein, Publisher

November 16, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of Pinching A Penny Until It Screams

10 Ways to save $50 per month: The art of pinching a penny
until it screams
by Kimberly A. Griffiths

1. Save up to 50% per month on convenience cleaner
cloths by cutting them into half, i.e. dryer softener
cloths, face cleanser cloths, etc. Savings: $5 per month

2. Find more thoughtful gifts and buy when the item is
on sale, shop for birthdays and holidays throughout the year
not at the time of the events. Savings: $10 per month

3. Bring your lunch to work once a week instead of
eating out. Savings: $7 x 4 weeks = $28 per month

4. Don’t go to the coffee shop on the weekends.
Savings: 2 visits @ $2 = $4 per week x 4 weeks = $16 per
month

5. If you carry a balance on your credit card, and
you’re only able to afford paying the minimum monthly
amount, pay weekly installments instead of one monthly
payment. For example, if you owe $100 per month, pay $25
per week. Because credit card companies accrue interest
daily on your balance, paying only once a month is a huge
detriment to your fiscal health. Savings: $10 – $100 per
month (or more!)

6. Instead of a family night out, consider having an
old fashion picnic together or a bike ride. Curbing
entertainment costs doesn’t mean curbing the fun. Savings:
$25+ per month

7. Spend a day cooking meals that can be frozen for
later use for your family. Once a Month Cooking, a book by
Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson, features grocery lists
and recipes to prepare and freeze a month’s worth of
food for you and your family. Not only are you able to
purchase the food in bulk, this method prevents having to
throw away any spoiled food. Savings: $50+ per month

8. If you are a regular monthly book buyer, stop the
habit and visit your library instead! If you insist on
buying books, buy it used at your local store or online at
merchants such as http://www.half.com or http://www.amazon.com. Even a
better
idea, how about selling the books you have that you don’t
need! Savings: $5 – 15 per month

9. Use less expensive gasoline. If you live in North
America and have Internet access, you are able to search for
the cheapest gas price in your neighborhood with Gas Buddy,
http://www.gasbuddy.com. Savings: $5 – 15 per month

10. Use two-for-one coupons when dining out; search for
these in local newspapers, flyers, and in your “junk mail.”
If you are a group of four or more people, consider buying
dining certificates at Restaurant.com, http://www.restaurant.com.
After choosing your city and state on the Website, you will
be presented with a listing of restaurants vying for your
dining dollar! Savings: $5- $50 per month.


—————————————-
This is an excerpt from ONE PAYCHECK AT A TIME,
www.onepaycheckatatime.com
, by Kimberly A. Griffiths,
ISBN: 1591133327. ONE PAYCHECK AT A TIME, a 200 page
workbook, contains budget management exercises for an
entire year of paychecks. The author, Kimberly A. Griffiths,
has been through the vicious cycle of debt herself, and
provides a no-nonsense system to managing your money
paycheck to paycheck. You customize the journal based on
your pay schedule and learn the necessary tools for making
ends meet

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles | , , | Leave a comment

Saving Money On Your Housing

Whether you rent or own the place that you live, chances are pretty good that a large portion of income goes to pay for it. You may find yourself wondering how you can save any more money on your housing. What follow are some ideas to help you save money on renting, buying, or improving your home, as well as purchasing major appliances.

Renting a Place to Live

Rental properties (and rates) can vary widely, even in the same area. Do not limit your rental housing search to classified ads or referrals from friends and acquaintances. Select buildings where you would like to live and contact their building manager or owner to see if anything is available. Remember that signing a lease probably obligates you to make all monthly payments for the term of the agreement. As with most other things, weigh the cost of the rent against other factors, like the area, convenience, access, length of contract, etc.

Home Purchase

When purchasing a home you basically have three options-you can use a real estate agent, you can buy a home for sale by the owner, or you can build a new home. Each has its pluses and minuses. A real estate agent can help guide you through the process, and point out good and bad things about the home you are looking to purchase. He/she can help you arrange financing and handle most of the paperwork, as well as arrange for the closing and turning over of the keys, etc. However, you generally (but not always) will pay a higher price because the agent’s (usually) 6% commission is figured into the price of the house.

If you choose to use a real estate agent, do not choose the agent who represents the home you are interested in buying. If you do, that agent then has a conflict of interest, representing both buyer and seller, and you generally will pay a higher price. Instead, select a buyer’s agent or broker who will represent only you. He/she will be in a better position to negotiate a lower sale price.

Choosing to buy a home for sale by owner may save you money, but will require a lot more time and legwork on your part. You will need to do some research to determine whether or not the home is worth the asking price (information that real estate agents generally have easy access to). You will have to arrange for an appraisal and inspection.

Be sure you fully understand the terms of the seller’s agreement before you sign it because you will be legally bound to it. If you are selling your existing home and buying another, make sure the seller’s agreement on your new home stipulates that your purchase of that home depends on the sale of your other home. Otherwise you could find yourself making two mortgage payments.

Building a home allows you to get exactly what you want, but beware that not all builders and contractors are the same. Do your homework and get referrals. Check up on them. Building is usually a very lengthy process-be aware that promises to build a home quickly often equate to lesser quality. Finally, also consider that when your house is done, you’ll still have all the landscaping to do!

Do not purchase any house until it has been examined by a home inspector that you have selected, preferably one accredited by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Make it a part of your seller’s agreement that your purchase of the home is dependent upon the outcome of the inspection. That way you’ll be able to legally back out if something is wrong, such as termites, mold, structural issues, etc.

When shopping for a mortgage, look for a lender that carries the smallest difference between the interest rate and the Annual Percentage Rate (APR-what you actually pay when you figure in the effects of all the fees). Close on your home during the last two weeks of the month (if you have to finance it). That way you’ll have less interest to prepay, also lowering your closing costs.

Home Improvement

Think of maintaining your home as protecting your investment. Home repairs often cost thousands of dollars and are the subject of frequent complaints. Select from among several well-established, licensed contractors who have submitted written, fixed-price bids for the work. Ask for referrals and check on them. Do not sign any contract that requires full payment before satisfactory completion of the work.

If you choose to do the repairs yourself, be sure you know what you’re doing. People often meet with injury and even death when trying to do their own repairs. Get appropriate licenses and permits as necessary. Take a look at how doing it yourself might affect the resale value of your home. More than one home’s value has been severely decreased by do-it-yourselfers’ projects that didn’t quite turn out right! Decide if the money you may save is really worth the time and the risk involved.

Major Appliances

One of the best ways to find out about major appliances is to consult a consumer information magazine, like Consumer Reports, that is available in most public libraries. It contains information about specific brands and how to evaluate them, including energy use. There are often great price and quality differences among brands. A more expensive, yet more energy-efficient model may pay for the difference in price rather quickly.

Once you’ve selected a brand, check the phone book to learn what stores carry this brand, then call at least four of these stores for the prices of specific models. After each store has given you a quote, ask if that’s the lowest price they can offer you. This comparison shopping can save you as much as $100 or more.

From renting to owning (and everything related) we hope you’ve been able to glean a few ideas on how to save money on your housing. And, as always, remember that an investment of time on your part can generate more money in your pocketbook.

Article by Chemain Evans
***************************************************************
© Simple Joe, Inc.
Chemain Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe, Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe’s Expense Tracker PC software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense Tracker is ideal for tracking personal, business, home and club expenses.. This article may be freely distributed as long as the copyright, author’s information and an active link (where possible) are included.

September 15, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Powering Down-Saving Money on Utilities

Health care costs are at an all-time high and there seems to
be no end in sight. Unhealthy practices lead to unhealthy
people seeking more (and more expensive) medical care. And
as the general population ages, the costs of health care
will continue to spiral upwards. This article will discuss
four areas in which you can trim down your health-related
expenses: prescription drugs, habits, eating, and exercise.

Prescription Drugs

Since name-brand drugs are usually much more expensive than
their generic equivalents, ask your physician and pharmacist
for generic drugs whenever appropriate. Generic drugs are
federally regulated and must maintain the same standards as
the name-brand ones, so there is no need to worry about a
difference in quality.

Since pharmacies may charge widely different prices for the
same medicine, call several. When taking a drug for an
extended period of time (such as blood pressure or diabetic
medications), consider utilizing mail-order pharmacies,
which often charge lower prices and can ship several months’
supplies at one time, so you’re less likely to run out of a
medication.

Don’t ask your doctor for medications you don’t need (such
as widely overused antibiotics). Remember that you are not
the one who went through medical training. However, if your
doctor refuses a prescription that you feel you really need,
seek out a second opinion.

Habits

Quit smoking. Do you have a pack-a-day habit? In some
states, that’s a daily expense of about $5 – or about $1,800
a year. Add that to your savings! Also, by quitting smoking
you can apply for lower insurance rates on health, life and
disability insurance. Plus you’ll be saving yourself
smoking-related health expenses down the road.

Quit or cut back on alcohol consumption. Even that
occasional drink costs a pretty penny these days. Order a
less expensive alternative when eating out or on the town
with friends.

Eat Healthy

Cut out or drastically reduce fast food. Most fast food is
high in calories and fat and can be expensive when consumed
on a regular basis. When eating out, choose healthy
alternatives; many restaurants now specially note their
healthier items on their menus.

Brown bag your lunch and include plenty of healthy snacks.
Often you can eat twice as much if you choose healthier
alternatives. No need to go hungry, just pick the right
types of low fat foods. Get educated about eating right.

Become a part-time vegetarian. Try to have two or three
meatless days a week (avoid even fish, if it’s expensive in
your area). Or go vegetarian for several meals each day. You
will save money and be eating healthier.

Exercise

Exercise is the inseparable companion to all of the areas
discussed above. Exercise does more than just occupy a few
minutes of your time. Exercise is linked to lower rates of
depression, heart disease, diabetes, and other “plagues” of
our modern age. Make sure you clear your exercise program
with your doctor before beginning.

Make exercise a regular part of your routine. Exercise for
entertainment. A walk in the park or around the block with
friends or even by yourself can be an entertaining diversion
(and it’s free!). Exercise as a family for an extra dose of
fun.

You don’t need a gym membership to exercise. Find ways to
perform the same exercises at home or in the park. A set of
dumbbells is much cheaper than a yearly gym fee. The #1
exercise activity of choice is walking. It’s cheap and
enjoyable.

Remember, you’ve only got one body! Taking care of it should
be a priority for all of us. Take those prescriptions that
you do need and not those you don’t (under your doctor’s
advisement, of course). Eliminate unhealthy habits and
replace them with new ones. Put good, healthy food into your
body; it’s cheaper than the low-grade fuel you may have been
feeding it! Exercise for your mind and body. A healthy body
is a lot less expensive to maintain!

Author: Chemain Evans
************************************************************
© Simple Joe, Inc.
Chemain Evans is a quality control specialist for Simple Joe,
Inc., makers of the popular Simple Joe’s Expense Tracker PC
software. Expense Tracker is a quick and simple way to keep
track of your expenses and stay within your budget. Expense
Tracker (http://www.simplejoe.com/expensetracker/index2.htm)
is ideal for tracking personal, business, home and club
expenses.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comparison Shopping

Comparisons. It used to be that comparison shopping was a long and drawn out process. Driving from one store to another or making numerous phone calls could be a real time waster. Even if you were able to make an adequate comparison, sometimes it wasn’t worth the hours you needed to invest to get the comparison. The Internet has changed much of that. Now you can make quick comparisons on most items, usually within a matter of minutes. What would once have taken hours to accomplish now happens at the click of a mouse, a real time and money saver. Don’t forget online resources. For example, a site such as Ebay could save a lot of money for a couple of reasons: First, you can make comparisons among a number of sellers and second, you may be able to find second-hand merchandise which can save you a bundle.

August 31, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shop Like the Millionaire Next Door

Shop Like the Millionaire Next Door

She looked like the ideal person to answer my question. She was well dressed and looked like a lady of taste and class. She was standing next to me in the home decoratives department of an upscale closeout store.

I was buying a vase as a gift for a friend who was working in a flower shop at the time. He brought flowers home for his family weekly and they put them in Gatorade jars. I thought a crystal vase would make a nice family gift, but I didn’t know anything about vases.

When the woman started advising me, I could tell she knew her merchandise very well. She sounded like someone who probably had a beautifully accessorized home. She had some nice pieces in her hand.

After I bought my vase, I thought more about the fact that this woman of means who was shopping in a closeout store. Her dress and manner showed unpretentious class. I wondered if she was the millionaire next door.

The Millionaire Next Door is a book by Drs. Thomas Stanley and William Danko that strives to draw a portrait of millionaires, especially self-made ones. While many of us don’t have as a priority becoming millionaires, I thought it would be interesting to look at some of their habits as we strive to improve our own financial status. You will see that the millionaire next door practices what is taught here at betterbudgeting.com.

Essentially, the millionaire next door is usually a down-to-earth person who is relatively unpretentious and lives a relatively unglamorous, but abundant lifestyle. More millionaires have Sears cards than have Neiman-Marcus cards. Drs. Stanley and Danko have identified seven traits of self-made millionaires. These are people who have gained financial freedom. Here they are…

They live well below their means.

People who become millionaires put more emphasis on building a strong financial base than on having all the showy toys. They might forgo a luxury car and buy a more ordinary one so they can put that extra $5000 into an investment that builds their net worth. They are more interested in being solid than stylish.

They allocate their time, energy, and money efficiently in ways conducive to building wealth.

This is another way of saying that they are very intentional about building wealth–they have a plan. While some millionaires are more obsessed with building wealth than I would recommend, one lesson we can learn from them is that it does take planning to work toward financial independence.

For most of us, that plan includes getting out of debt, having a reserve fund, owning a home, and becoming an investor. The millionaire next door started with a plan and did without some of the fancy toys to continue to work on it.

Following through on these plans often involve choices–some big some small–between consuming now or building a base. These choices can be as small as doing without a few dinners out a month to pay a little extra on the mortgage to delaying becoming a two-car family to stay out of debt.

They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.

Actually, the millionaire next door is secure enough about who (s)he is that (s)he doesn’t have to flaunt it. (S)he considers conspicuous display of wealth a true waste of money.

Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.

Last month I wrote about a personal trainer who is in financial adolescence because he was constantly bailed out. He is now suffering the consequences of a number of bad decisions, including the purchase of a $35,000 car on payments when his grandparents had just bought him a perfectly good truck. Now he has a 23% personal loan to show for his extravegance, and that loan is lower than most of his credit card rates.

Indiscriminate bailing out doesn’t often lead to financial success. Better to help a person learn to be self-sufficient than to bail a friend or relative out when (s)he is suffering the consequences of financial mistakes.

Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.

This is the mirror image of the above point. Receiving too much bailing out for financial mistakes keeps a person in financial adolescence. Neither the giver nor the receiver benefits.

They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.

They know the times. They study the environment. They figure out how to make the market work for them.

While some millionaire obsess on this to a level that many of us don’t want to, I think we can all learn something from them about stepping back, taking a look at opportunities, and using them to our benefit.

They chose the right occupation.

It is so difficult when you are a twenty something to choose a line of work that will serve you well for the rest of your life. Fortunately, we don’t have as much as we used to.

Remember the organization man of the 1950’s? He stayed with his corporation with absolute lifetime loyalty. He depended on that corporation to outlive him and take care of him with pension and lifetime medical benefits.

Those days are gone. The world of work is much more change-friendly. If work isn’t working, you can look for something else.

I’m in the middle of that very process. My day job, an elementary teacher, doesn’t really work for me. I’m taking time off to assess the situation and hopefully to move on. This is not easy, but I know it is necessary.

As a shopping columnist, I was interested in how the millionaire next door shopped and spent. Here are some points I gleaned from the book:

· The millionaire next door has a budget, or spending strategy. They set limits on how much they will spend and employ the “pay yourself first” strategy.

· The millionaire next door is more likely to shop at solid, but unpretentious stores than at boutiques or high-end chains (like the woman I met at the upscale closeout chain).

· The millionaire next door researches major purchases.

· The millionaire next door strives to buy what (s)he buys at the lowest possible price. Tools to get those low prices include use of coupons and sales and driving a hard bargain when they can.

Throughout the book the millionaire next door is contrasted with the Under Accumulator of Wealth (UAW)–an individual who often makes a lot, but spends all (s)he makes and often then some and pays little attention to building wealth. Many high-income UAW’s are broke, but you would never know it to look at their houses and cars.

Obviously, most Americans will not become millionaires and many of us don’t have that as an important goal.

Still, there is a lot that all of us can learn from those self-made millionaires. We can learn to choose unpretentious substance over showiness built on debt. We can be intentional about building a financial base first by getting out of debt and then by becoming a saver and an investor. We can be aware of the opportunities around us. We can develop shopping skills to save mightily both on everyday needs and on major purchases.

Copyright © 2004 by Larry Wiener


August 22, 2008 Posted by | Saving Money Articles | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment