- A Book You Really Need to Read
- Cool Word Press Trick
- Raising Money for your School with Schoolpop
- Learn How to Write a Busiess Plan
- Cool new real estate investment forum and website
February 12th, 2008
I really love kids and even though I only choose to have one of my own I do what I can to help all kids especially when it comes to education. So when I was asked to look at a site called Schoolpop that offers simple elementary school fundraisers I was more then happy to do so. Now I have purchased things form kids that knock on my door or have parents bringing it to the office that range from candy to candles to popcorn and chocolate. They all have one thing in common, they are about 300% more expensive then buying the same thing from a store. Still we do it just to help out, right?
Schoolpop is totally different here is how it works strait from the Schoolpop website,
“Simply register with Schoolpop and start shopping. You don’t need to purchase anything you wouldn’t normally buy. Just shop with hundreds of Schoolpop merchants online, in stores, or through catalogs, and you’ll automatically earn contributions for your favorite school or nonprofit. All of our merchants are committed to helping your community by contributing a percentage of your purchases to the school or nonprofit of your choice.“
The beauty is you just buy things you would buy anyway and a percentage goes to your school of choice. To make this successful PTAs and Student Groups will need to be sure to advise the students and parents of the options but it is clear a decent sized school could do very well if each parent made even two-three purchases a year. All that and we don’t need to send our kids door to door giving people an excuse to overspend and break their diets. These guys definitely make my list of recommended sites.Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (0)
February 11th, 2008
OK Valentines day is a few days away and this is one in my opinion where men have it easy. Flowers, candy, jewelry and you are set as a guy. If you’re smart have them sent to your lady’s work place and you will have a very good Valentines day.
What about buying for men though? Most of us are not that worried about getting something for Valentines day but hey if we are going to be getting something give us something cool. So with Valentines bearing down and that thought on my mind when I was asked to take a look at a cool gift site called Vat 19 I was more then willing to do it.
One item that really caught my eye is this electronics charging valet station. The electronics Charging Station neatly hides cords while charging up to three devices at a time. The 5-plug surge protector is concealed and the small shelf and drawer store other items such as your keys and wallet. Overall a cool and functional gift that I know most men and probably many women would really like. Though guys if you get one for your lady, don’t skip the flowers, trust me.Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (0)
February 5th, 2008
Look I am not for driving like a maniac or speeding in school zones but I also really feel that most traffic tickets are nothing but another revenue source for our bloated government. As my blog is about keeping money in your pockets rather then putting it into bad investments (is their a worse investment right now then our Government?) when I was asked to look at a new website called, Ticket Bust , that shows you how to fight a speeding ticket I was happy to do it.
Unfortunately these guys seem to only be available in California but if you live there I would have a look at their website. They are so confident that they can help you they offer a money back guarantee and that is one of the reasons they make my list of recommend sites. The reality is traffic tickets are one of the legal issues most of us have to deal with sooner or later (I have had to), so I am glad their are companies out there like this to help consumers.
So please comment below, have you ever used a service like this to handle a ticket? How did it work? Have you ever beaten or gotten a ticket reduced on your own? If so how?Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (1)
January 28th, 2008
If you have read this blog for any length of time then you know I am big on teaching children to save, invest and understand money from an early age. What I have observed in talking with people from many generations is that there is a direct correlation between how a person views both money and debt and what generation they come from.
My Grandfather’s generation saw debt as a prison and felt that you should scrape and save every penny you could. My father was a lot like his grandfather and passed much of that wisdom to me but yet his generation was more open to some debt and some more free spending. In my generation people live in debt (I am a Gen X’r) and the Y generation is graduating college with enough debt to fund most first home mortgages. With each succeeding generation comes more spending, less savings and more debt.
I really feel it was my firm connection to immigrant grandparents that went through hell to get here, then dealt with the great depression and then served in World War 2 that cemented my firm conviction in the principles of saving, keeping debt low and always planning for a “rainy day” that I discuss on this blog.
One thing I think parents can do with children to ground them in these sound principles is to make sure they are connected to their roots. So when I was asked to look at a website where you could build a family tree for free I was happy to do it. The site is called Tribal Pages and it is very cool and at a cost of free it is a great low cost activity for you to do with your kids and involve the rest of the family.
As you build out your tree you have you are able to do it on your own free web page, other family members can view it online and help you fill in missing spots. (Don’t worry if you are not technical it is a very easy system to use.) I firmly believe that a child that knows their past and how hard their ancestors worked to ensure they could have the opportunities we do today will be more likely to value money and opportunity. When I interview and hire people from Gen X and Gen Y, I see a ton of “entitlement attitude” and it really bothers me. Most people today seem very disconnected from the reality of just 50 years ago.
So if you want your kids to value what they have and in fact if you want to value it more yourself I encourage you to research your past, build a family tree and understand why we have so much opportunity today. Research the values of your family a generation or three ago and build that connection. Tribal Pages definitely makes my list of recommended sites for providing a great service at no cost that helps families understand and preserve their identities.Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (0)
January 21st, 2008
I was just asked to review a web site called Finance Genius. I have to tell you I like what I saw. Basically the site is an information portal that helps consumers with a combination of advice and what amounts to a brokerage approach in connecting consumer to different options for things like insurance, mortgages, student loans and Auto Warranty services. With automotive warranties in particular I always advise people to shop outside sources, the extended warranties offered by dealerships tend to be over priced and then simply lumped into your loan so you get to pay interest on it. My additional advice is wait until your included warranty is almost up before paying for an extended on. Why pay for a warranty you may not use?
Like any site that is recommending various financial products my advice is to shop what they have and compare it to other options. Always make sure you find the best deal you can but Financial Genius certainly looks like one of the good guys so if you are in the market for any of their services have a look around their site and see what they have to offer. Remember my view is debt is bad but when it is necessary get the best deal, with the best terms you can find. Sites like this one are good tools for finding those types of deals.Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (0)
January 13th, 2008
I know a lot of adults that are doing what they can to teach kids about investing and saving money. The most common way is the good old fashioned piggy bank. There is something to be said especially with younger children to putting some change in a piggy bank. It is a good start but it is also quite limited. With the good old pig you always can open him up and raid the savings and the savings lack any type of leverage. You earn no interest and little Johnny’s or little Dorothy’s pennies end up worth less ever day, unless they are solid copper that is.
My view is it is important to have kids open their first bank account as soon as they are old enough to grasp the concept. A Roth IRA with some monthly contributions should be set up by age 12 and money should be discussed from a positive outlook. Don’t teach your children things like, “money is the root of all evil” as that is not the proverb anyway.
People that do well with money come from homes that discuss and value money. Now of course you must teach ethics, family values and over all life lessons as well. Your kids shouldn’t worry about money or believe it is the end all be all. Yet they should understand it and its power, both good and bad and you should teach them the Building Wealth Philosophy as early as possible.
One of my favorite books for parents helping kids learn to invest is Rich Dad Poor Dad for Teens The Secrets About Money–That You Don’t Learn in School! To me this book is an absolute must read.
One way or another make sure you are making things like money, avoiding toxic debt, savings and investing positive topics of discussion with your kids. I am not saying your kiddos first words should be leverage and interest over mamma and dada but you get the point.Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (0)
January 12th, 2008
Ok well this is a website I was asked to take a look at that I now can truly endorse as a very cool resource for “cutting costs” which of course is 50% of our wealth building formula here at CutThatBill.com. So what is this Great Discovery: www.ZenniOptical.com? It is a website called ZenniOptical and they offer a full single vision pair of eyeglasses as low as 8 dollars.
Now I have been to stores advertising lost cost glasses in the past and found that they low priced ones were what we called BCGs or “birth control glasses” back in the army. In other words they made you look so bad that no one would be interested in you. This is not the case with ZenniOptical. They have a huge selection and I even found memory titanium frame for between 10-30 dollars with lenses. If you wear glasses then you realize how good these prices really are.
I have decided to get a pair of these just to have as a back up for if something happens to my glasses or if I just briefly misplace them, I have been known misplace things a time or two.
Filed under Personal & Home | Comment (0)
December 19th, 2007
Ok, hold on, don’t get to excited. Indeed I am going to tell you exactly how to get an almost immediate 2 fold return on your money. I am also going to show you how to do it with out spending any money, hiring a broker or even with out doing any paperwork. However, I have to tell you right up front you are not going to get rich with this technique.
In fact this technique is first and foremost fun to do, second it is designed again to program you mind in how you think about words like “money” and “value” and finally last it is about actually making/investing money.
Now that big lump to the left is a chunk of raw copper. Copper has skyrocketed in both price and demand over the last ten years. Copper is used in countless industrial activities and as countries like China, Indonesia and India continue to modernize the demand will continue to grow and often to out pace production capacity. This issue will be compounded by the boom in coal, gold and silver. Consider that you are a mining company and you are choosing where to go and what to do next. You can either mine coal which is far easier then any metal or you can mine silver or gold which is worth far more then copper. Or last you can mine copper which is profitable but if you had the option what would you mine?
Great! So how does this help you double your money with out spending it? The answer is in the humble penny. Currently and since mid 1982 all U.S. pennies are made from mostly zinc with a copper cladding, basically a zinc coin with a very thin layer of copper on the outside. Such pennies are worth damn near nothing from a metal stand point. However, any penny that is older then 1982 is 95% copper and 5% zinc alloy. What does this mean? Let’s do some math.
Step one - When you look at pennies that are made from 1981 back they are heavier then today’s. In fact there are 146 pennies to a pound. Yet we must consider that such pennies are only 95% copper so 1.05 x 146 = 154 pennies make one pound of pure copper.
Step Two - 154 pennies even those from 1981 back are “worth” in currency a whopping $1.54
Step Three - Copper is currently trading at the time of this writing for $2.84 per pound. Hence 154 pennies are “worth” $2.84 in raw copper and copper is a commodity you can actually sell it for very close to the current spot price.
Step Four - Calculation of our return by simply dropping an 1981 or earlier penny into a “special” jar or container is as follows. $2.84 - $1.54 = $1.30 of “profit”. Now take you profit of $1.30 and devide it by your “initial investment” of $1.54 and you have a “instant return of investment” of 84%. Not quite double but as soon as copper goes back over 3 dollars a pound (which analysts believe will be quite soon) and you are at a full 100% return.
We should also consider that copper was trading for about 60-70 cents just 20 years ago and you start to realize just how high your “return” can be if you just start tossing all you pre 82 pennies into a jar for the next twenty years.
This is a great project for adults and kids alike. The bad news is again you are never going to get rich with this and in fact copper will have to go up to say 6 bucks a pound before you will really be able to “cash in” pennies in any real volume. The good news though is there is no doubt that over the years that will happen and because we are talking pennies not many people are making an effort to store away copper pennies.
In 1959 the U.S. stopped making the “wheat cent” and while most of those have been horded away by collectors from 1959 to 1981 100% of pennies produced in the US are 95% copper and virtually no one have really collectively valued them at anything more then one cent. That is 22 years worth of pennies still traveling around in circulation which means their are hundreds of millions of these pennies out there being spent every day. I always drop my pre 82 pennies in a jar and about 1 out of 5 tend to be pre 81’s. Over the years that is a lot of pennies.
So why do this? I mean save 4 dollars a month this way and you make about 4 in return and you have another 400 fricken pennies to deal with right? Short sighted my friend, the key is you don’t do very much to earn that return and most people are making less on their interest bearing savings accounts a month in America. All you do is follow my advice and “spend cash” and each day go through your pennies and drop any 81 or earlier examples into some special container. How much easier can “investing” be?
Just consider if in 10 years you had 15,400 pennies or $154 bucks. Those pennies if copper is at 6 bucks by then will be worth about get this, 600 dollars. Retirement money? Heck no! Just another little store house of money. Additionally while I never get to concerned with numismatic value because of how highly subjective it is there is another opportunity here.
See first let me warn you if you are currently thinking of buying 200,000 or so pennies from a bank, sorting them out and melting the older ones don’t do it! The U.S. Government will frown on that and possibly make you wear some silver bracelets and break a few rocks for a few years. Such activity is illegal for now anyway. Yet as copper keeps going up (and it will) sooner or later the mint will begin to “retire” the old copper. That is a nice way to say they will take the pennies out of circulation and harvest the copper for use. Of course the government is free to do that. This will make a lot of these 60s ad 70s pennies harder to come buy and add some numasmatic value to them as well.
That is many years into the future but let me ask you this. How cool would it have been if say your grandfather started collecting 1964 and earlier silver dimes for you when we stopped making them in 65? For about 10 good years it was easy to pluck silver quarters, dimes and half dollars from circulation. Today it is very rare to find one. I happen to own a huge pile of such coins put away for me by a very smart grandparent. This led to my love of silver in the first place. Today we have the opportunity to start doing something like that for our children, their children and possibly their children’s children. What would 100,000 Indian head pennies be worth today?
There is more at work here though tied to the production of pennies and the metal price. Do you know why 1982 was the year that the penny changed to a zinc core? In the early 80s all metal prices spiked for a while and even then a penny was worth more as copper then as a penny! So zinc was a cheap alternative and coating it in copper kept the penny looking like well, “a penny”.
Today though even zinc is rising in price and it costs about 8/10ths of a cent in raw metal to make a penny. That is before production costs, etc. This means the US Mint is Loosing Money to make pennies. Additionaly so long as people spend cash we can’t get rid of the penny we have to have something in order to make change of a dollar with. I predict therefore that the days of the humble Lincoln cent are numbered! The easy solution is to come up with coin made of something perhaps even cheaper then zinc and make it smaller too.
Since no vending machines take pennies there is no problem with changing the size of the penny. Don’t think it can’t happen either, they did it with the dollar coin. When sooner or later this change occurs it will be another numismatic bump in the value of all pennies and even more so to the all copper variety. So I encourage you to take the phrase, “save your pennies” with a new vision. Start plucking the little copper disks from circulation today and just put them away.Filed under Personal & Home | Comments (3)