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February 12th, 2008
If you use Word Press for blogging you know that it comes with a stock visual editor that is basiclly a limited WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor and you can switch over to a HTML code view. One thing that annoyed me was the lack of some very basic editing buttons in the visual editor. Things like underlining and redo and undo for instance along with a formating options for things like headings and paragraphs as well.
I mean come on! These are very basic word processing functions. Then I learned they were there you just needed to know how to access them.
The command to do so is, hold down alt and shift and then hit the “v” key. This adds the features mentioned above along with some others like a code cleaner and the ability to insert special characters (like Î or €, etc). Now do not ask me why these functions are hidden. That makes no sense but now you know how to access them. Give it a try I think most bloggers will enjoy the added editing power with out having to switch to code view and doing it manually.Filed under Blogging | Comment (0)
February 11th, 2008
One of my people who knows me as the true author of this blog absoultely hates the “Mandigo Theme” I have on this blog as of right now.
[If you don’t see a blue swirl like mark in the header that means I changed it since this post.]
I honestly have been using it for one main reason and that is a feature it has that I have yet to find another theme that had it built in. That feature is the ability to not display some of the pages in the navigation of the blog.
What I mean is like this, say I want a nice page that says “Thank You for Subscribing to my Blog” after an email opt in. Right now if I use the “Pages Feature” in Word Press and publish it then it shows up in my page navigation. Now I really don’t want a link that says “Thank You for Subscribing to my Blog” across the top of my blog do I? It wouldn’t make sense to a visitor if they clicked on it.
Also perhaps in a given post I want to promote a product and have a sales page for it. May be I just want to create that page in Word Press rather then with software and then upload it. May be it is a “landing page” to be used with PPC or for any one of many reasons I just want a page that is not displayed in the navigation of my site for every visitor. With Word Press I just can’t do it.
So when I found Mandigo despite not really liking the look of it (compared to some other themes) I compromised and used it because it has a tab called “Theme Options” where you can hide or show pages.
Now I have found a much better solution! It is called Page Links Manager, and it is a simple to install plug in that ads a tab to the “Manage” Tab in word press. This plugin takes blogging with word press to a new level creating what ammounts to a real website content management system. With it all you do is deselect the pages you don’t want to display and they don’t show up in the navigation. I put a simple sample page on this blog to show you what I mean, you can see that page here, Page Link Manager Example.
Here is a screen shot of the control panel as you can see it is very easy to use. There are also some folders in the download zip that are for MACOS, just ignore those and upload only the simple .php file and activate and after that it could not be any easier. Great plug in and very big Kudos to the author.
Filed under Blogging | Comment (1)
February 11th, 2008
I picked this up from a blog I read about making money online called, MindValley Labs. The technique is pretty strait forward and should be really effective. All you do is create a “thank you” message so that anyone that comments on your blog is then immediately asked to join your email list. That is a nice passive add on form of email marketing isn’t it?
Now to me this is sort of the type of thing we should have all been doing a long time now. I mean when you get a comment that person is engaged with you there is no better time to ask them to take action then while they are in action.
When I figure out how to do this in Word Press I will post instructions but it may be next week. If you can figure this out and you blog about it I will post about your blog rather then just telling my readers how to do it. If you come up with a way to modify Word Press just comment about it below and link to your post on it. I will then do a full post linking to your post and telling my readers where they can learn how.
Otherwise it will be next week before I have time to get to it.Filed under Business & Marketing | Comment (0)
January 23rd, 2008
Today I installed the contact form plugin for the WordPress blog platform. This is a great plugin that I recommend for anyone using WordPress; any way in just a few moments after adding my contact page, I got my first question. Here it is along with my answer,
“CostCutter, I have seen you do two posts recently stating how great low interest rates are and how anyone looking to refinance or buy is really lucky that rates are so low. I have also seen a lot of people on the T.V. saying that these rate cuts are actually bad. So which is it and why do these guys say low rates are so bad and you say they are so good.”
That is a great question but it assumes that I disagree with the folks saying these rate cuts are bad, actually I agree with them. My posts about low interest rates from today and the coming interest rate cut yesterday do seem to be positive on the rate cuts and they are but only on one dimension. What I am saying is if you need to refinance are are looking to buy a home then the low rates are very good for you as an individual. Therefore you should take advantage of them.
On the other side I actually think that long term these artificial rate cuts are just bad news for the economy. The reality is we have real problems in this nation that sooner or later have to come out. Things like rate cuts and tax cuts with no corresponding spending cuts only delay the eventual recession and every time we delay it we are just making the eventual market correction worse. No one in the government believes they can stop the recession, they just want to soften the landing but my belief and the belief of most economists is they are actually going to make it a much harder landing.
What you have to understand is why cutting interest rates “works” in the first place. The US economy is driven by spending, when spending slows then everything goes down. There are less jobs, less money in the system, less everything. When interest rates are low spending increases because it costs less money to borrow money so you can buy a bigger house, a bigger car, get a better rate on your credit card etc. These cuts cuts in “the prime rate” or how much the government charges your bank to borrow money. The bank of course is not in business for fun they add to the rate and loan money to you so lower prime rate equals lower rates for everyone and in theory more spending.
The problem is this theory only works long term if people are responsible with debt and it won’t help people who are already in the hole. If you are four payments behind on your home you can’t get a refinance loan no matter how low rates go. If you are paying 29% on your credit card your credit sucks and no one is going to give you a low interest one. Our country is in trouble because to many people spent money they can’t pay back and our government has done the same. When we artificially cut rates we simply put more people into more debt. In other words the country goes deeper into the hole and when at some point we are required to crawl out it will be more not less painful.
If this explanation seems oversimplified it isn’t. In fact I will make it more simple. If your family is in debt and about to go broke and you take your debt of say 200,000 dollars and refinance it to a lower interest rate to reduce your payments it makes the situation better at first. If however, you then grow your debt back to the original payments you could not make then you are in more not less trouble. When our government puts out these low rates and increases personal and business debt in an economy where people are already in the hole it is the same exact thing.
In short I am glad for the responsible consumer that rates are low, I certainly did not want rates risen to higher levels but the reason behind this cut is nothing but a delay that is going to make what is bad already, worse.Filed under Politics | Comment (0)
January 18th, 2008
In an effort to stimulate the economy the congress and the president are working to provide an economic stimulus package. One big part will be sending most tax payers some of their tax money back, to the tune of from 300-800 dollars per taxpayer may be even as high as 1600 per household. You can read an article by newsday.com to get more specifics about it.
In any event I have mixed emotions about this. As a Libertarian I believe that all income tax is theft in the first place and I really can’t argue with the government giving back money they should have never taken in the first place. However, in this instance while not totally opposed (I just can’t oppose less tax no matter how it comes) I have sever very big concerns/issues with this plan.
- Right now everyone is worried about the 2008 election. So even Mr. and Mrs. raise taxes (Barak and Hillary) are behind this massive retroactive tax rebate. Make no mistake this is buying votes by both sides of the isle.
- True conservatives are always saying lower taxes are good for the economy and liberals always say that is wrong. Yet now that we are in deep shit everyone agrees cutting taxes makes the economy better? All this means is they all know all the time that low taxes are good and simply keep up the graduated income tax as a way to distract us all with “class warfare”.
- In most instances I don’t see cutting taxes as “spending” yet in this case it is pure reckless spending. Why? How? Simple, no one in congress is talking about cutting any expenditures to fund this rebate. In other words they are still going to spend all the money they were going to spend and GET THIS our country is OUT OF MONEY. So where will we get the billions to fund this rebate? Well the fed will fire up the presses and just print more money at least symbolically. Honestly though our government will borrow it from foreign governments and increase out debt. In other words you kids get to pay back you debt on your 800 bucks with interest and will have to do so with a dollar that is weaker in the world market every day.
- This package is a very short term fix. The whole theory is most people will “blow” their money and dump it in the economy and that will beef up spending for a bit and put more money into the economy and the rising tide will then float all boats. The theory is sound most people will blow it (instead of saving or paying on debt) and it will make it “better” but our “boat” has big holes in it. Make sense? This move won’t reduce US debt, reduce toxic consumer debt, fix the housing market or reduce our massive spending deficit.
So how could this plan actually work? You only have to change the spending equation on the side of the government to make it work very well. Check this way out,
- Require the government to give back at least the money they plan to right now.
- Require that they also cut 2 dollars in spending for every dollar returned to tax payers
That’s it! That would “stimulate the economy”! Our nation is not in trouble because our people spend to little, it is in trouble because the government takes too much of our money and then spends far more then even what they steal from us. Fix that problem, yes cut taxes but cut spending by 2 dollars for every dollar you refund to us.Filed under Business & Marketing | Comments (4)
January 8th, 2008
Don’t worry this isn’t one of my “get your financial butt in line” posts, well mostly not. I am just wondering what everyone is up to in general, like what you are watching on TV, etc. Personally I have been enjoying Celebrity Apprentice quite a bit. Check out this video showing what a snake that Omarosa is. Got to be one of the biggest sleezes known to man in my book. To me this is why so many people are looking to build a business of their own, to buy a business or just to find some way to be independently employed. I mean who really wants to deal with a corporate environment that has far more then its’ fare share of Omarosas.
I have also started out on a diet. Last year I elected to not go Elk hunting because honestly I was afraid I might die somewhere alone on the mountain. The last time I went I had a great but tough time. I came home with blistered and even bloody feet and was sore for a week. Back then old CostCutter was in much better shape. This year going out into the unforgiving wilderness alone seemed like a big risk. Since I am way to young to give up that type of life I am getting back in shape. Who knows, perhaps when I loose my weight I will come clean and say who I am.
Additionally I am breathing some new life into a few of my businesses with some creative ideas and looking to hire a few new creative and talented people. The search for talent is really tough right now, I just listened to this podcast on the shortage of talent in the market today and I have to really agree with the guest speaker. While real estate investing today seems to be a buyers market there is no question that in the talented and skilled employee market it is a sellers market. If you are good, have a proven track record and can deliver then today you call the shots. If you are in the market for a new position and are not finding a lot of opportunities I recommend you get in touch with a good executive recruiting firm.
On another note all together I really think the 2008 presidential race is off to an interesting spin. Ron Paul still seems to be shunned by the media despite basicly finishing in a three way tie with 10% of the vote while Rudy was at only 4%. Typical!
Today we focus on New Hampshire, I predict the following for the republicans.
1. Rudy does aweful and everyone says it doesn’t matter.
2. John McCain wins and his national numbers rock because people are lemmings.
3. Mitt Romney does OK and comes in second and they say it is over for him.
4. Ron Paul does far better then the 8% the polls say he can expect. Comes in third and gets ignored again.
Such is the stupidity of our media and the political process.
Moving on the the Democrats - Hillary has had a break down practically coming to tears because she was asked how her day was mostly because Barock Obama is now surging in New Hampshire and she is on track to loose again. Of course the news is making a huge deal of Barock’s massive support. His followers indeed love him, they laud his speeches and vision yet the news people can’t seem to find a single supporter that actually knows his position on any of the big issues. America, please wake up, support who you want but for the love of God know why you support them.
My personal view I think Hillary is a disaster for this country as our President, her health care plan, tax hikes and some other policies will only serve to make worse a recession that is flat out coming to hit us hard over the next few years. That said Barock is worse, he want to tax more, spend more and make government even bigger and more intrusive then Hillary. However he can speak very well, avoids the issues and is very likable. This is why Hillary is in trouble, even her supporters realize Barock is going to be harder for any Republican to beat and are picking the best candidate to win in November.
I personally think Hillary is unelectable and if she looses the primary (which I predict) Barock is probably a 2 to 1 favorite just in odds to win the presidency. In other words a Hillary loss in the primaries is bad for the republicans while her victory would be very good indeed for them.
My predictions for the Democrats in New Hampshire are as follows.
1. Barock wins by at least 10% of the vote and we hear all the liberal papers cheer how it is finally time, “for an African American president”. When the country has been “ready” for a long time and we are all really tired of being called racists in subversive ways by the communists running our press.
2. Hillary gets slammed, perhaps even damn near ties with Edwards. This is spun as the “end of Hillary by the right” and some how a “right wing conspiracy” or “anti women” thing by the left. The left leaning media will hold out all hope for Hillary and talk about how New Hampshire and Iowa “don’t really matter”. Of course they really don’t it is just that the media just spent the last 30 days convincing us how much they do indeed matter.
3. Edwards does ok in 3rd but the media talks about how that is “hope for his campaign” even though there are only four Democrats in the race. Idiots.
4. Bill Richards gets a clue and drops out.
So what are you up to in 2008? What do you think of our coming elections?Filed under Politics | Comment (0)
November 30th, 2007
This post is an extension of my post on, not resenting people doing better then you from a few days ago because that is also part of a “poverty consciousness” but today I am going to go deeper into this concept that I call financial cancer. So what is a poverty consciousness? In short it is the belief that money and wealth are scarce. That you have to be lucky or crooked to become rich and that cheaper is always better.
Now given my blog URL is CutThatBill.com you would think I would be all over the “cheaper is better” philosophy but I am not. There is a place for it,
- When it comes to a mortgage get the lowest rate
- When it comes to phone service pay the least
- When you buy a car negotiate the lowest sales price you can
In essence when you buy a specific item of a given quality there is no reason not to pay less if you can. Unfortunately this is not how most of the psychologically broke thinks.
I remember the first time I went back to the little coal town I grew up in after having built a successful career and life. I was going to go off on my own and do some fishing and stopped by a local donut shop for a coffee and a couple of old fashioned donuts. I was going to grab them and go but decided to sit down and enjoy my breakfast because I was on vacation and had all day.
Being alone and just browsing at a paper I heard quite clearly all the conversations around me. One word was used over and over by the mostly elderly crowd in their chit chat. That word was “cheaper”, this was “cheaper” here, that was “cheaper” there, Joe was a crook because his gas was two cents higher a gallon that at Tony’s where it was “cheaper”.
I got up and left, I just couldn’t listen any longer. Cheaper, cheaper, cheaper it was like being subjected meat grinder. While I fished that morning for small mouth bass with the sun on my back enjoying life though I realized that I used to be exactly the same way. When I lived in this town I remembered driving to Tony’s Gas Station to save the 2 cents, (5 mile drive in a car that got 10 miles to the gallon). I remembered all of it and I realized it wasn’t success that shed this constant “cheaper” search from me it was getting away from a culture married to it.
I can’t blame the people of that town, specifically the elderly on “fixed incomes” it is a poor place that never really recovered from the depression back in the 1930s. In fact my Grandfather used to say, “the Great Depression came, then it went, we never noticed.” Yet what I realized is this mentality of poverty is a big reason why my town is still poor to this day. The people all think they are poor, they expect to be poor and so they are.
After that day I realized much of this mentality was still in my head. I had shaken some of it off but not enough. I was still limiting my vision of success, of retirement of what I could expect to gain in life. I was still driving exta miles for pennies off a gallon of gas. Today I use the gas station on the side of the road that is best for when I need to pull out back into traffic.
I was still standing in supermarkets evaluating which package would have me pay less per ounce, today I buy the size that best fits my needs. Indeed even though I had money, even though I had started to build a second business and even though I was saving for retirement and paying off debt I was still on some level the poor kid from that coal town.
I believe most Americans today are still carrying their own “coal town” poverty mentality with them. It is what makes you limit your dreams one day then the very next day be stupid about how much you spend the next. Believe it or not this poverty consciousness is why people buy 50K dollar cars when one half the price is much better suited to their needs and budget. The expensive do dad makes them feel rich even though they are cash poor it helps them run from the fear or poverty.
On the other side they do things just to be cheap! They buy a 9 dollar garden hose that is kinked and useless in a year. They buy the cheapest refrigerator and it wastes electricity. They think a guy that makes 20K more a year is “rich” until they get there too and then they think the next guy 20K further up the food chain is rich.
This all stems from “poverty consciousness” if you see yourself as poor you will figure out a way to keep yourself poor. If you always look for cheaper, cheaper, cheaper then you will always have the poorest and cheapest things in your life. You will cheapen joy, you will cheapen your personal value and you will cheapen your dreams. Try not to use the word “cheap” as a positive thing.
Save cheap to describe junk. Save cheap to describe bad service. Save cheap to describe a stingy miser. Save cheap for negatives and use terms like “good value” and “excellent price” when you find a lower cost on a good item. This is just one step to removing the poverty demons from your subconscious but it is a good start.Filed under Wealth & Investing | Comment (1)