Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Free Piano Lessons

Learn piano in just 10 minutes a day!

To attain a new skill such as playing the piano, it is important that you make time for daily practice. It doesn't have to be very long, just a few minutes! If you can set aside at least 10 minutes of practice every day, you can learn to play the piano!

The beauty of teaching yourself is that when your busy schedule gets in the way and you accidentally let a few day slip by without practicing, you can repeat as many lessons as you need to, as many times as you need to! If you were taking lessons with a teacher, you would have to pay for these repeat lessons. (But try not to let that happen! It can be discouraging if you keep repeating lessons!)

These lessons are designed to accelerate your normal speed of learning. Unique sequencing and immediate application enables you to learn how to the play piano faster than other methods. However, you still need to practice. You will not be successful without practicing! Your success is in your hands.

Find out more .. it really is free!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Conventional Wisdom vs. Reality

by Greg Moore

I was cruising past Bankrate.com when this headline caught my eye...

"Bigger Investing Returns Require Bigger Risks"

I've become sensitized to financial advice like this over the years. It smacks of "conventional wisdom," which generally serves the interests of the advisor, not the advised.

Noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined the term, "Conventional Wisdom," to describe statements which are simple, convenient, and comfortable -- but not necessarily true.

I'm not saying conventional wisdom is "never" true, only that when it comes to growing and preserving your wealth, don't make it the foundation of your decision making.

This Bankrate.com article discussed risk and higher investment returns. In particular, the relationship between "risk free" investments, like CDs paying 5%, and higher risk investments, like stocks with average historical 12% returns. In one, you're assured of earning 5%. In the other, you're assured of a chance at 12%, but no guarantees.

If you want 12%, you gotta risk losing money.

But, as Galbraith might have said, "this isn't necessarily true," if you understand wealth building, where your objective is to invest cash today to have more wealth tomorrow.

Wealth is Assets minus Liabilities.

Want more Wealth? Grow your Assets, the 5% or 12% argument, or decrease your Liabilities, i.e., your Debt. In the case of credit card debt, interest rates are easily 12% and beyond.

In either case, 12% stock market or 12% credit card payoff, your Wealth increase is identical. Your risks, however, are not.

First, paying off your 12% or greater debt is a risk-free 12% or greater investment return. This easily dispels the "higher return, higher risk" conventional wisdom.

Second, you pay no taxes on debt payoff, which makes it an even better return than stocks, and more wealth for you.

And, last but not least, you never pay a broker's commission, another real wealth enhancer.

In fact, the only person who benefits from this wealth building tactic is... you!

Greg Moore is the Architect of the Debt Freedom System,
"DebtIntoWealth -- Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom" Pay off all of your debt in 5-7 years using the money you already make. Find out why financial guru and best-selling author, Suze Orman, is advising her millions of followers to "Pay Everything Off as Fast As Possible!"

Monday, November 6, 2006

Don't Waste What You Own

Our current culture seems to think of buying before thinking about other options. It's so easy to waste resources when so much is being made into disposable products. It gives this generation a disposable mindset.

Here's an article that gives you some thoughts on how to save money. Before you buy anything, you may want to consider if there are other, less material-intensive ways to meet your needs. While some of these ideas in this article are obvious, they're all worth a mention. Read the entire article.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Free Video Rentals

Coupons are great to get discounted rentals, but what about totally free?

Have you checked into your local library's collection? Some areas are so well stocked you will never run out of options. We live in a rural county and the library is very small but they have one entire wall dedicated to videos and DVD's. Totally free entertainment and between the two of us we can take out 6 at a time for an entire week. If we're not done, we just phone in and renew them for another week. If you don't know where your library is located, check out this site to find out.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Americans Admit to Re-gifting

Wrapping up that unwanted picture frame from last Christmas and giving it to someone else as a gift might not be as taboo as it once was. A survey found that over half of the respondents admitted to "re-gifting" with passing on gifts becoming a far more common and acceptable phenomenon.

78 percent of consumers who were polled felt that it was acceptable to re-gift some or most of the time. According to the survey, the mostly commonly re-gifted items were decorative household items, such as vases, paintings, picture frames and other trinkets.

77 percent of respondents said they re-gifted because the item was perfectly suited to the new recipient. The study showed that 9 percent of people admitted they re-gifted out of laziness to purchase a new gift and 4 percent confessed that they re- gifted out of dislike for the recipient.

Source: Reuters News

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Be Glamorous Without Big Bucks

From WikiHow.com

You look at other women and wonder how do they put it all together? They must spend a fortune to look that way. . . the beautiful clothes, shoes, and make-up. Well the secret to looking gorgeous without breaking the bank is quite simple. It might take a little time, but it is worth it.

How-to Steps

1. Piece your outfits together correctly. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest trends that are going to be out of style in a couple of months anyway. There are three staples in a women's wardrobe: black pants, crisp white shirt, and the little black dress. They can carry you for years. Black pants can be topped off with beautiful dress shirts for a more glamourous look, or with a simple v-neck for a more casual look. Buy classic pieces.

2. Use your imagination. For example, right now embellishment is the big thing for summer. Instead of going into a boutique and paying $50.00, $70.00, or who knows how much more, instead go into your local fabric store. Check for lace, sequins, or anything you can think of. Take a tank top and glitz it up for the fraction of the price, top it off with a pair of jeans and you're good to go. Look through your current wardrobe and try to make it look different. Take a regular solid colored skirt and add a ribbon bow. Imagination is the key.

3. Go thrift shopping. No, it's not a bad word. You would be really surprised what you can find. Purses, dresses, skirts. It may take a little time, but look through the racks, you never know the gem that's waiting for you. If you really don't feel it's for you, buy specials. Clearance sales are good, and buy at the end of every season, the price is marked down quite considerably. But don't just buy something because it's on sale. Try it on and see if you like the way the garment fits.

4. Pluck or wax your eyebrows. This looks clean and gives you an instant new look.

5. Remember that costume jewelry is a frugal girl's best friend. This can change the whole look of an outfit. Remember that simple black dress. Well the right jewelry can take it from office day to fun evening.

6. Know that a little make-up goes a long way. Glamorous women often do not appear to have make-up on, but they do. Being glamourous is looking like you rolled out of the bed looking fabulous. Avoid too much make-up and overly done hair.

7. Get some soft waves or curls for a natural look. If your hair is very straight go with it and have some interesting layers cut so you really can roll out of bed with it.

Tips

* Fashion does not have to break the bank. Swap clothes with friends.
* Learn to sew you will save a lot of money.
* Fashion is what suits you, not the model in the magazine. While it is okay to get ideas from a magazine, only fashion victims follow it to the letter. Be an individual.
* Get fit and healthy.
* Be confident, not arrogant.

Warnings

* Try not to be too trendy. Remember, fashion should be fun. Don't be a slave to it.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Saving Money, Saving Energy

Here are five easy things you can do suggested by Consumer Reports:

1. Turn down the heat during winter. Lower the thermostat 5 to 10 degrees when you're sleeping or out of the house; a 10 degree decrease can cut your heating bill by as much as 20 percent.

2. Let the dishwasher do the work. Don't bother pre-rinsing dishes. Consumer Reports has found that this added step can waste 20 gallons of heated water each day.

3. Put your PC to sleep. Keeping your computer and monitor in sleep mode can cut your energy use by as much as 80 percent. To find out how to put a PC with Windows XP to sleep, click here (for other versions of Windows, click on the link and search the site for that version); to put an Apple computer to sleep, click here.

4. Set your water heater to 120 degrees. It can save up to 10 percent in water-heating costs compared to a 140 degree setting.

5. Don't overdry your laundry. Clothes will need less ironing and hold up better if you remove them when they're just a bit damp. Or better yet, consider using a clothesline or drying rack. Hanging even some of your clothing items can help you save energy.

Source: Consumer Reports Greener Choices - Great website and free newsletter.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Great Way To Store Grocery Bags

From a Subscriber:

I use left over kleenex or puff boxes and stuff full of bags. They can then be stored anywhere. Throw one in the trunk of your vehicle and you will always have a bag when you need one. I go to sams club and can grab the bags easily to get groceries into the house. I need a bag there it is. Never know when you need to put a dirty pair of shoes in a bag or dirty clothes or what ever you need one for it is there. Another great container is a plastic potato chip container like pringles or lays stax. Keeps the bags organized and easy to find when you need one.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Growing an Indoor Herb Garden

It's that time of year when you are winding down in the garden and looking forward to winter. You can still garden indoors and an herb garden is a lot of fun and really greens up winter in the home, besides providing fresh herbs for those delicious warm winter soups.

Here's how to do it.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

New Life for Old Clothes and Shoes

Have you seen the piles of clothing when you drop off bags at the Salvation Army or Goodwill ... the larger organizations that take donated household items? It's very discouraging to realize that much of our "stuff" goes into warehouses. It gives me a feeling of not having done anything by donating.

Why not try something different?

Dress for Success takes women's suits, shoes and briefcases, which are passed on to economically disadvantaged women entering the professional world.

Have you seen the piles of clothing when you drop off bags at the Salvation Army or Goodwill ... the larger organizations that take donated household items? It's very discouraging to realize that much of our "stuff" goes into warehouses. It gives me a feeling of not having done anything by donating.

Why not try something different?

Jobs for Youth, a Chicago-based organization helps young women and men from low-income backgrounds integrate into the business world. They take donations of men's and women's business clothing.

Fairy Godmothers (NY, VA and PA) takes gowns, shoes and accessories to provide girls, who are unable to afford outfits for their proms, a chance to go. After all isn't that what fairy godmothers are for? (Enchanted Closet in Atlanta or Princess Project in San Francisco are similar organizations.)

One World Running provides running shoes and gear, soccer cleats, and baseball equipment to athletes in Africa, Central America and Haiti. If your shoes are still wearable, this is a great place to recycle them.

If your shoes aren't wearable, send them to Nike (no matter what the brand) to be ground up and recycled as playground mats, basketball courts and running tracks. Better use than the landfill, eh!? Recycle Shoes at Nike.

Check around your area and ask others for local organizations that really need goods. You don't want them to end up on the trash pile for the dump.

Don't forget to write each item down and claim it for a tax deduction. Saving pennies with the IRS adds up to a lot of dollars come April 15.

Monday, August 7, 2006

State Security Freeze Laws

A security freeze lets consumers stop thieves from getting credit in their names. A security freeze locks, or freezes, access to the consumer credit report and credit score. Without this information, a business will not issue new credit to a thief. When the consumer wants to get new credit, he or she uses a PIN to unlock access to the credit file.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing financial crimes. Nearly 10 million Americans fall victim each year. The Identity Theft Resource Center reported in 2005, on average, an ID theft victim of new account and other fraud spent 60 hours resolving problems brought on by ID theft, those victims of existing accounts spent an average of 15 hours resolving problems. A 2003 Federal Trade Commission study found that identity theft also costs U.S. businesses nearly $48 billion annually, and consumers an additional $5 billion per year.

Find out if your state allows this.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Biodiesel Fuel

Biodiesel fuels have been in the news and are becoming more popular as gas stations are beginning to provide these more environment-friendly fuels. If you go with the straight vegetable oils, you can run your car for free other than collecting the used oils from a nearby restaurant. There's lots of options for saving money on fuels. Here's some links to help you research this topic.

Benefits of Biodiesel and Finding Suppliers
www.biodiesel.org

Recipes to Make Your Own Biodiesel Fuels
www.biodieselcommunity.org

Conversion kits allow you to use straight vegetable oil. Here's a few links to places you can buy these kits from:
www.frybrid.com
www.greasel.com
www.plantdrive.com
www.greasecar.com

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Get Rebates For Shopping

Our son, Ben, told us about eBates.com where you can shop and earn rebate checks. They send you a cash check. You can shop at over 800 stores and besides the rebates, some stores have exclusive coupons, free shipping offers, and limited-time sales!

We don't do a lot of shopping but we are doing more of it online to simplify, so it's nice to get money back and save the gas. The rebates are up to 25% off.

You get $5 just for joining and if your friends sign up and use it, you will get $5 for every referred user. Nice way to earn extra shopping dollars. If you choose to sign up and use eBates, we'll be using the bucks on our ISP service to continue to provide you with this newsletter. Pretty cool!

Here's the eBates link.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Green Choices For The Planet

The website produced by Consumer Reports has lots of information on making green choices in Autos and Fuels, Appliances, Home & Garden, Electronics and Food. Get the scoop on the best brands and ideas on being green.

There's even allergy-free gardening tips. Just because you have asthma or allergies doesn't mean you can't enjoy the pleasures of gardening. In fact, there is a wide range of big, showy flowers, shrubs, and trees that won't make you wheeze, cry or sniffle. Learning what these are, along with some overall tips, will get you on your way to an allergy-free gardening experience.

Visit now and soak up the alternatives: Greener Choices at Consumer Reports

Monday, July 10, 2006

Do Homemade Cleaning Products Work?


The results are in! Homemade cleaners equal and even out perform commercial household cleaning products!

Here's a mother and daughter who spent two weeks on a science project for school to find out which household cleaners work best. We did three tests: one with window cleaners, one with carpet cleaners, and one with laundry stain removers. Read about the results.

We make our own cleaning supplies from Sunshine Concentrate and essential oils. My wife has used this product for laundry, soap pumps at the sink, in the shower, cleaning kitchen countertops, soaking fruit and veggies to remove pesticides, doing dishes, and more. I use it for washing cars and gardening since it keeps soil wetter longer and holds the nutrients for the plants.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Smaller House Back In Style

In a nation where homes have been getting steadily larger for decades, Jay Shafer thinks "cozy" may be ready for a comeback. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, Shafer builds and designs tiny houses - and lives in one himself.

"The small space is a symbol of something else," Shafer says. "I think it's a symbol of a desire for a more simple life."

The founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Shafer has become a sort of guru to a small house movement. For those who have little need for elbow room, he has a whole catalog of tiny houses. At $20,000 to $40,000 apiece, he'll build and deliver them almost anywhere.

Meet Jay Shafer, Builder And Guru Of The Small House Movement - Read more about smaller houses.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

How Much For Your Stuff?

by Greg Moore

Craig's List is an Internet marvel.

Mass quantities of stuff advertised mostly private party to private party, neighbor to neighbor or border to border, at garage sale prices, for free.

Mint condition brand name furnishings... Thomasville Traditional Couch. New $1200. CL: $350 Vintage electronics... JBL L100 Loudspeakers (30 years old): New $300 CL: $25 Automobiles of all stripes... Lexus 1993 LS400 96K miles: New $50,000. CL: $7800

It's a distressing reflection of the sum total of the monetary value of our acquired stuff... It ain't much.

Eventually, all of our stuff winds up on Craig's list ... or picked up by the Salvation Army... or delivered to Goodwill... or pawed over at garage/yard sales... or passed on to family and friends... who eventually dispose of it in similar ways. We move, we die, or we acquire more stuff resigning our meticulously maintained, climate control stored, expensively insured, mint condition stuff to the depreciated status of "previously owned."

What does this suggest with respect to wealth building...?

1. Don't put too much monetary value on your accumulated stuff. Stuff gives you a false sense of wealth. If your strategy is to sell it all and move to a tropical island, best to give that another thought. If you want an unemotional assessment of what selling-it-all would bring, price comparable stuff on Craig's list or eBay; though I caution you to sit down first...

2. Buy other people's mint condition stuff. They'll be relieved someone bought it, you'll pay less for it, and you won't be quite as depressed when it's your turn to get rid of it...

3. Don't buy any stuff with debt... new or previously owned. This is compounding in reverse. You're paying more money for decreasing value. About the only thing more depressing than disposing of your stuff at dramatically deflated prices is continuing to make payments on it after it's sitting in someone else's living room...

4. Give cash, not stuff. A lot of your stuff was given to you by family and friends. In hindsight, if they had given you cash, you could have purchased the stuff on Craig's list and invested the difference. If your recipient needs neither cash nor stuff, as is the case with my wife's 86 year-old parents, give an ear to hear their stories for the umpteenth time... and act surprised at the punch line.

If you think giving cash reflects poorly on you, and simply must spend the time and energy to get just the right gift for this special person, this is fine by me. Just don't be shocked when you see it on Craig's List.

Greg Moore is the Architect of the Debt Freedom System,
"DebtIntoWealth -- Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom" Pay off all of your debt in 5-7 years using the money you already make. Find out why financial guru and best-selling author, Suze Orman, is advising her millions of followers to "Pay Everything Off as Fast As Possible!"

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Walking Is Cheap Exercise

Donna and I have begun a fun walking program sponsored by AARP. It uses a step counter and you walk a virtual path on famous trails. We chose the Appalachian Trail beginning in Maine. We're about a week into it and it's a 10-week program. They also have another program for those who want to track number of hours exercised. If you work out or play tennis, bike, swim, sports, etc., this one would fit better. Here's the links to both of them. We'd love to have you join us! Step Up to Better Health - Walking a Famous Trail

Here's another option:
Get Fit on Route 66 - Exercise Your Way From Chicago to Santa Monica

I play tennis so my step counter logs away a lot of numbers which makes me grin and Donna frown. Let me know if any of you take the challenge. We purchased the step counters from AARP for only $9 each and it came with a booklet that has a lot of good health information.
"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28