Saturday, February 10, 2007

Never Throw Away Books or Magazines

The disposable mentality sometimes doesn't cause us to look beyond our own use of something, but when it comes to printed matter, there are many out there who can benefit from what you are ready to discard.

Besides the typical options of public libraries and church libraries, books and magazines and inspirational pamphlets are a great aid to rehabilitation for those who've been sent to prison or juvenile detention centers. Please search out a correctional facility in your area to donate published materials of any kind.

You can also contact some neighbors to form a magazine swap. Make a list of what each neighbor has and when it's compiled let each participating neighbor check off what they'd like to swap around. Then give that list to each person with magazines to share. They can attach a sheet of paper to each issue with the names of those interested so that it can continue to be passed on till they are all checked off. If the person wants the magazine back, their name can be put on the list also.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Cheap-Check Fees!

by Greg Moore

In Lesson 19 of my course, "DebtIntoWealth -- Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom", I recommend using discount check printers like, Checks Unlimited (www.checksunlimited.com), Checks Connect (www.checksconnect.com), or Checks In The Mail (secure.checksinthemail.com) instead of your bank's checks for your personal checks.

If your bank charges for checks, you'll save money by using a discount printer.

A Bankrate.com article. (www.bankrate.com/brm/news/chk/20060825a1.asp) warns your bank might charge a fee of up to $5 per check if your discount check tears during processing. Banks are claiming these checks aren't up to their quality standards, which seems dubious given the parent companies of many discount check printers also print the checks banks sell.

Bank checks also tear during processing. If you've ever received a canceled bank check with a piece of paper containing account and routing information taped to the bottom, this check tore during processing.

Did your bank charge a fee?

Nope. Torn-check fees are only for alien checks... and generally, the smaller institutions are the ones charging these fees. Larger banks just fix and process the checks.

It's possible a printer is printing poor quality checks that gum-up check sorting machines. These beasts can process 1,800 checks per minute. But, instead of fining the customer, wouldn't it be better to alert the printer? After all, a few torn-check fees will quickly eliminate any discount advantage and send the customer fleeing into the arms of the bank's checks... and maybe that's the objective.

If your bank charges a torn-check fee, your choices are: (1) switch to a larger bank, (2) confirm your printer is a member of the Check Payment Systems Association which governs the specifications for printing checks (www.cpsa-checks.org/memlisting.htm), (3) contest the fee, especially if your printer is a member of CPSA.

Buy the least expensive quality checks you can find. The extra money you create by reducing this expense can be added to other money saving practies to help pay off debt. And stay vigilant for attempts to pursuade you to spend more than necessary on something as generic as a blank check.

Greg Moore is the Architect of the Debt Freedom System, "DebtIntoWealth -- Lessons from My Journey to Debt Freedom" - Free Lesson #1.
"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