Tag Archives: credit

What Ways are You Saving Money Today?


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We all like saving money, right? In today’s World, with the economy floundering, it’s not so easy to do. Commodore256 sent the following top five list to me, full of money-saving tips and tricks.

  • Reward yourself for being healthy. – Do you smoke? If your answerer is “no”, then you’re in luck. You can save the money that you would have spent on cigarettes (roughly $5.50 per pack) and in one year, you would have saved $2,000. ($5.50 x 365 days = $2,007.50) You could save that for a rainy day, or just buy a excellent computer or go on a vacation. If you saved this money over ten years, that could pay for a brand new car.
  • Avoid shady business dealings. – Stay away from Get-Rich-Quick Schemes, Pyramid Schemes, Multi-Level Marketing and Ponzi Schemes. If you ever get caught up in one of these scams, get some legal help.
  • Set up an “Unplanned Emergency Fund”. – You’ll never know when a negative financial event will happen. When that time comes, you’ll need money fast. Examples of a negative financial event would include losing your job, childbirth, sudden illness or even an injury. I believe everyone should have an Emergency Fund.
  • Use Credit Cards wisely. – When you get a Credit Card, only charge stuff on your Card if you can afford to pay it all off in one single payment. This will give you great credit, and you won’t have to pay any interest. If you’re already in debt, there are some non-profit organizations that can assist.
  • Enjoy Cheap and Free stuff. – There are plenty of cheap and free alternatives to have fun. Examples: You could buy used instead of new, you could go to the Library instead of buying Books or Magazine subscriptions, or rent movies instead of going to a theater. You could also save $150 dollars by not buying Microsoft Office. Download and install the free (open source) Open Office instead.

What tips do you have to share with everyone that you use to help save you money?

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The Truth about Wikipedia Credit

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Imagine my surprise when a few friends of mine from the Netherlands emailed to let me know that I was featured in a video about Wikipedia! There was a link in the beginning of their video to a video I had done about Wikipedia, discussing how we can use them as a source to find out truth and information. I’ve often talked about Wikipedia in the past, listing it as a resource that should always be fact-checked. However, it’s the future of information distribution. I feel it falls short in some areas, yes. However, it’s strength far outweighs their weaknesses.

So I went on a search, and came across the video in question on YouTube. The first thing you hear and see after their logo flashes through is the video that we recorded! What the producers decided to do is clip about the bottom half, which eliminates chat and my sponsor logos. Most concerning to me, is they also eliminated credit. We produced this video… and did not get credit. The Truth According to Wikipedia is an amazingly well-produced video.

While I think it’s great that they used and edited my work, I’m very upset that they did not give me credit. It’s quite well done, so on the one hand I’m proud to have been a part of what they’ve come up with. But of course… the other hand is my disappointment in not being asked to use my content, or even so much as giving me credit for my original work. As traditional journalists, they should have given credit where credit is due.

I’m not asking that they take the video down, since it was so well done. But I do think I should get proper credit. If you’re going to use something that another person has produced… give them credit for the work. Ask them if it’s ok to use! Most of the time, I will give you permission, and ask for a copy of what you put together. Is it really the truth, and the right way of doing things by leaving out where you got the information you used?

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Do You Protect Yourself from Identity Theft?

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Identity theft is rampant these days. Your information can be taken faster than you can blink. However, there are several very easy ways to protect yourself. Are you careful enough? Do you know how to protect your identity? I received the following tips in an email, specifically related to tax return theft.

  • When storing a copy of your tax return on your computer, try to protect it with a complex password.
  • If you do decide to delete the file, either use the free Eraser for Windows, or Secure Delete in Mac OS X. Make sure you securely and properly delete the files. Don’t just put them in the Recycle bin. Make sure they are completely gone.
  • Ignore all refund or rebate emails that claim to come from the IRS. Never click the links in emails if they claim to be coming from an official source, unless you know for a fact it comes from who it says. My suggestion is to verify any warning on the IRS website. This will allow you to make sure if something is legit or not.
  • If someone calls you claiming to need to verify your information… hang up on them. DONT give them information. You aren’t verifying anything. Don’t give out any information or at your door, no matter how legit it seems. Check it out first.
  • Check your credit report through all the agencies periodically. Keep on top of it. If you notice a discrepancy… challenge it immediately. You never really know when your credit report can turn around and bite you. Innocent mistakes can and do happen, and affect your credit adversely. So I recommend checking it at least once a year, if not a couple of times.

These are some things in relation to tax season, but apply to every day of the year. Only deal with people, companies and websites that you know and trust. Don’t count on anyone but yourself to keep you safe.

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How Do You Save Money?

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Recently, I did a video with tips on saving money for gadgets… especially when you’re a teenager who can’t get a ‘regular’ job. This time, I’m going to give you some tips sent in by a community member for saving money in general.

  • First, and most important, put your money in that bank. Lets say its Christmas, and you receive $400.00 from your family. The next day, you have all that money in your wallet and go to Wal-Mart… only to see a really nice Xbox 360 on sale for $450.00. You buy it, and hardly play it. You’re out the Christmas money, and you are also negative another $50.00. Putting your money in the bank is one of the most important things to do when it comes to trying to save. Making an account where you are only allowed to take out $25.00 at a time will sound like a bad idea, but really be positive one in the long run. This is also a good idea because not a lot of stores will take Debit cards or will have a Debit machine.
  • Buying clothes is something that everyone has to do at some point in the year. But do you really need that $70.00 American Eagle shirt and those $100.00 pants? The answer is no. When buying clothes, especially when you are growing, it is best to go to a say, Wal-Mart. The American Eagle logo is on the belt area of their pants where no one can even see it. I have seen pants at Wal-Mart that look very similar and feel the same for $19.00.
  • Do you need whatever it is you’re buying? Sometimes you may be at an electronics store, and might have just received some money from work in cash. You see something that you “think” you want. When you buy it, you love it for the first month or two… but what happens to it after that? It’s going to be sitting on the shelf or in a drawer collecting dust, and if it’s anything but a Mac it’s not going to have a high resale value on eBay. Ways to prevent yourself from the temptation of buying it is to leave the money in the car or at home. Bring only as much as you would like to spend. If you know that you are going to be tempted to buy an electronic device then stay out of that store or aisle.
  • Buying food is another necessity of life. If you are like me, then you love food. Food can be costly when you have to buy everything once or twice a week. Ways to save money when you are buying food are easy. Look for coupons for like .50$ off of an item, or buy one get one free. Another thing that is really good to do is to buy in bulk. This is something that I will do often when I got to Costco. Buy your food from no-frills or other non-profit food-markets. You will still get your FrootLoops, but for almost 2$ cheaper.
  • Wait until Boxing Day. Waiting until after Christmas is one of the best things you can do. Boxing day is a really busy day, but you will save lots of Green. When I was looking for a Computer to buy, I noticed this HP computer for about 900$. I looked at the boxing day sale from BestBuy, and noticed that the price on the computer lowered by around $200, and came with a free printer. Waiting is the key to getting what you want. Also, wait for new things to come out like Chris did with his Mac Pro (Big Mac). Chris did the smart thing an waited. He could of gotten the older model for around the same price, but instead got a better one for the same amount.

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Identity Theft

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Arcane writes: “Hello Chris, I have come up with a guide to help prevent identity theft. With the never ending technological advances, there are so many more ways people can take over your personal information… or find ways to obtain it.”

  • Shred your papers. There is nothing like receiving a bill, taking a look at it and saying to yourself, “I will pay this bill online because its easier, and faster” Many times people receive snail mail bills and don’t think anything of it and just toss it in the trash. The same goes for receiving credit card statements as well.
  • Get an Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware program. Referring back to tip one, many people pay their bills online now. There are tons phishing websites you could come across just browsing the internet. If you are unprotected anything you type could be compromised! Be extra careful especially if you do online banking ,or purchase products on the internet often.
  • Don’t sign the back of your credit cards. This may be strange at first but there is a point to it! If you sign the back of your credit card, most places don’t check for ID’s anymore. They DO however look at the back of the card. If your card was to ever get stolen or lost they will be asked to see an ID instead of a simple signature.
  • Keep your Social Security number secure. Believe it or not many people walk around every day with their social security cards in a wallet or a purse. The only time you should ever need to have this with you is when getting hired for a new job, or signing up for some type of account. Keep it in a fireproof box in your home until needed.
  • Digital shredding. Getting rid of a computer, or selling it? There is very important data on your hard drive! Never give anyone a hard drive from a previous computer unless using before using a digital shredder. Even then it may be easy to recover personal information. It is best to keep the drive yourself or destroy it. If you need a free program to wipe your hard drive clean or more information on the topic visit http://www.howtowipeyourdrive.com/ it gives links to free, and purchasable programs as well as some great information on the topic.

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How to Invest Money

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MrBogosity wrote: “I liked your top 5 tips on saving money. One of them dealt with investments, which is really important. He made investment sound like gambling, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Invested properly, it’s the best thing you can do with your savings. So here are my top 5 investment tips.”

  • Keep permanent money separate from mad money. Permanent money is money you want for your retirement, your kids’ college tuition, for medical emergencies, or whatever. This is the money with which you want long-term stability. Mad money is money that you could blow and not worry about, whether it’s risky nvestments, gambling, going on a tropical vacation, or buying lots of shoes. Don’t touch your permanent money.
  • Learn the difference between “investing” and “speculating.” Investing is when you put money into a market in order to get the market return. Speculating is when you think you can beat that and get a better return, with better timing, inside information, or some kind of scheme. DO NOT speculate with your permanent money; only mad money. Consider speculating to be the equivalent of gambling. This also means don’t fall for the schemes that investment advisers try to convince you to follow. Really, they’re about as accurate as psychics–that is, not at all. A disturbing number of them base their schemes on pseudoscience such as numerology, and none of them have been shown to work long-term.
  • Diversify investments. I recommend that your Permanent Portfolio be equal parts stocks, bonds, gold, and cash. Yes, markets are volatile, and are prone to slumps, but not all at the same time. Each market responds differently to different economic indicators. For example, right now stocks, bonds, and cash are all hurting as inflation rises and interest rates fall, but gold is doing VERY well. They usually offset each other, and with a robust portfolio, losing years are rare. I do NOT recommend that you invest in real estate. I have real estate stocks as part of my stock portfolio, but as far as buying a house and considering it an investment, I think it’s foolhardy. After all, if you want to liquidate part of your investment, you can hardly cut off your back porch and sell it. Buying a home should be considered consumption, not investment. Buying a property to rent should be considered a business venture. Buying property figuring the value will go up is speculation. Don’t do this with your Permanent Portfolio.
  • Invest in market-wide funds. For stocks, get an S&P500 fund or some other market fund instead of trading individual stocks. (I have 5 funds in my stock portfolio: S&P large cap, small cap, growth, value, and a real estate fund, all invested equally.) Get a negotiable bonds account instead of buying in individual companies. Get gold bullion instead of collectible coins, so your value will be the market spot price. For cash, a good money market account will be fine, but you can also get accounts in other currencies (such as euros) for additional protection. If you have an IRA or a 401(k), you should have many funds to select from that’ll get you most of these. Unfortunately, very few have gold accounts (gold stocks are NOT the same thing), so you may have to go somewhere else for that. I use GoldMoney.com.
  • Think long-term. Once you have your Permanent Portfolio, LEAVE IT ALONE. When you put in new money, put it in evenly in all four areas (if you’re putting money in monthly, you can alternate months–stocks one month, bonds, the second, etc. to reduce transaction costs). Check it every six months or a year and balance it out; for example, if your money in stocks has increased while bonds haven’t done so well, move money from stocks to bonds so that they all stay around 20-30% of your portfolio. Above all, DO NOT panic and take money out of stocks when the stock market starts doing bad (same with the other areas). Remember, you’re not speculating, you’re investing, and you want the market’s long-term strength, not the fickle instabilities of the short-term. This isn’t advice for the rich, the business executives, or anything like that (although they could benefit from this advice, too). If you do like the other video says and just take $20 out of each paycheck, before long you’ll have a nice amount to play around with. Figure out how much of that you want for your retirement and put it in a Permanent Portfolio. You–and your kids–will be very glad that you did.

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How to Save Money

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I love saving money. Don’t we all? I’d rather save it than spend it. My wife, on the other hand, likes to save… spend… make… and even invest money. Of course, most of her investments are in shoes. GTPeach sent in her top five tips for saving money.

  • In investing, never spend more than you can afford to lose. The markets are volatile, and you could be in trouble.
  • Discern what you really need from what you think you need. It could save a lot per month. Do you really need that meal out? Can you honestly say you need that $4.00 cup of “coffee” from Starbucks?
  • Set up a budget. Designate columns for expenses, savings and needs. Then… stick to the budget!
  • Plan your shopping list before you go. Decide what you need, and how much you’re really willing to spend on those items. Keep in mind that often the brand names aren’t always better… but they are more expensive. Always eat before grocery shopping… you know as well as I do how much more junk you’ll buy if you are hungry.
  • Set money aside for savings from each paycheck. Even $20.00 per week adds up to a good chunk over time.

Anyone else that has legitimate financial advice, or credit advice… I’d LOVE to have them, and share them with everyone.

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Vacation Credit Card Tips

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Ponzi and I just returned from a vacation in Hawaii. Credit cards can be a blessing… or a curse. Here are some tips we came up with when going on vacation, and using your credit card.

  • Check with your Credit Card company for any discounts for travel and accomodations during your planning stages. Many CC companies offer discounts and help with the planning.
  • Bring as few cards as possible. Only bring what you need and know you’ll have to use. We usually bring both MasterCard and American Express… in case one or the other isn’t taken somewhere.
  • Designate a single place for all paperwork and receipts you might have. Everything that you sign or buy, put in that place. At the end of the trip, you have all the paperwork in one place, and it’s easier to reconcile.
  • If you’re traveling out of the country, it’s best to notify your card company ahead of time. They may automatically assume your card is stolen or lost.
  • Write down important numbers, or make copies of the front and back of your credit card… along with your ID and passport. It will have numbers and important information on the copies, in case you lose your credit card.

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