Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fear Of Inflation Spikes Long-Term Interest Rates

In the past week, interest rates shot up on home mortgages and 10-year Treasury notes as investors looked for signs of inflation on the horizon. But is it too early to worry?

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Revealing the Hidden Cost Of Credit Cards

Credit card users who crow that they’re seldom charged interest on purchases because they pay their bills on time may not be able to crow much longer. President Obama is about to sign into law new restrictions on the credit card industry that lenders say may lead to the return of widespread annua…

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Right Steps to Take Before Disputing a Credit Error

If you believe an error has been made on your credit report, you can dispute it.
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Amazing 16-Year-Old Finds Bernoulli Numbers Relationship

The universal language

Mathematics holds a vital place in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences and finance. Number calculations have proved the viability of countless scientific phenomenon. Money lenders generally need statistical data to evaluate a consumer’s financial situation before granting them a loan (although installment loans are easier to come by). Whatever the field, math leads to results.

According to David Landes of the Swedish news publication The Local, a 16-year-old student named Mohamed Altoumaimi from Falu Frigymnasium high school has achieved a significant accomplishment in the field of mathematics. He has derived a formula with Bernoulli numbers that is normally the territory for only seasoned professional mathematicians. Professors at prestigious Uppsala University have recognized the young man’s accomplishment, and hope to see more from him.

What are Bernoulli numbers?

Bernoulli numbers are “a sequence of rational numbers with deep connections to number theory,” according to Wikipedia. They’re named for the 17th century Swiss mathematician Jacob Bernoulli. There a number of practical applications to number theory, which is sometimes referred to as “pure” math. Such applications include cryptography, cryptanalysis, computer science and numerous uses in physics, such as (reference here): ... click here to read the rest of the article titled "Amazing 16-Year-Old Finds Bernoulli Numbers Relationship"

Father's Day 2009 Date Coming Up, Get Ready!

Father’s Day 2009 Date Approaches

Do you really think Dad wants another ugly tie this year?

Do you really think Dad wants another ugly tie this year?

It’s that time of year again, when you know the Father’s Day 2009 date is coming  up, but you’re not quite sure how soon. The Father’s Day 2009 date is June 21, which gives you about three weeks to prepare. You don’t want to have to rush out on June 19, get a cash til payday loan and buy him something at the last minute.

Sometimes the best gifts take a little planning time. Fortunately, the most thoughtful gifts usually are also the least expensive. I scoured the web to find some great Father’s Day gifts using these criteria: thoughtful, useful and inexpensive.

Spirit of service

This first gift idea has a great price tag attached: free. Plus, it’s something that every father will appreciate and enjoy: doing yard work. Mowing the lawn, weeding, keeping the yard free of debris and many other little tasks are taken for granted while Dear Old Dad maintains the yard. Show your appreciation and give Dad a much-needed break by dedicating an afternoon or three to doing yard work.

Maybe you have a father who likes doing yardwork. If that’s the case, then help him! You’ll get to spend time together, the tasks will be finished more quickly and you’ll learn about the hard work your dad does to keep your family’s yard nice. June is a fantastic month for working outside, so hop to it!

A fatherly path

“Missy” made a suggestion on Living A Better Life, which describes itself as  “the free money-saving tips ezine.” Missy’s idea is inexpensive, thoughtful and touching. She says: ... click here to read the rest of the article titled "Father's Day 2009 Date Coming Up, Get Ready!"

Regulate the Realtors - Government Improvement Series

If I had my way, the realtors will all be regulated. The financial advisers are regulated, and the accountants are part of the association that governs how they are supposed to conduct business. Why not the realtors as well?

Never mind our 401k and taxable investment accounts. The house is the biggest asset in most American households. Furthermore, not over-leveraging on our home is one of the most beneficial decisions we can make for our finances.

While Emma and I were looking at houses, we have met agents who yelled at us, lied to us, looked down on us and this was during one of the toughest time in California housing history! Can you imagine how it was like during the bubble years?

These people claim to help us find our home, but most of them have no idea how most of the financing options worked nor do they seriously have our interest in mind. Buy buy buy is what they really care about. When they shake our hand, I bet all they see are dollar signs.

True, there is the National Association of Realtors (NAR) but instead of valuing ethics and integrity, this organizing routinely works like a giant advertising agency. We know the benefits of home ownership already. We don’t need more people telling us that “Now is the perfect time to buy” every day of the month and every month of the year, every single year.

Even the compensation structure of realtors are setup so that home buyers are screwed. While a buying agent is supposed to represent the buyer’s interest, the agent makes more money by keeping the transaction price high, not to mention that the number one priority is to create a transaction. What if the buyer wants a better deal? What if the house isn’t a right fit? The realtors are the experts, and should offer advice and be compensated that way.

In order to improve the experience of the American dream, the realtor association should be:

  • emphasizing on ethics and integrity, and realtors should be punished heavily when he/she violates the code
  • increasing the standards of obtaining a realtor license and controlling the number of new a licenses issued each year. This way, there are less realtors out there and the ones that are out there are more knowledgeable and qualified.
  • working on changing the compensation structure to be based on effort put in and not based on transactions. We need representation, not salespeople when we buy a home.

Please do something about all these realtors. We don’t need the stupid advice of “House prices will never go down so stretch to buy the most expensive house you want” ever again.

This is part of the Government Improvement Series, where we discuss on ways that the government can help the U.S. become a better nation every Friday. If you like this article, you may be interested in finding others at the link above.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

This week was the county fair

If you were from my town, you would realize that the county fair is a really big deal around here. Everything closes down for it. Even schools shut down so that the children can participate in it. We had a family move in a couple months ago. I mentioned something about the fair to them, and they just didn't seem to get it. I explained to them that the fair around here is the biggest thing ever. Everyone participates in it. They still didn't get it. Luckily, they came to the fair to see what a big deal it was. I think they really enjoyed themselves.

Don’t Be a Loser and Wait Too Long

No matter how careful and diligent you are with your finances, something important will eventually be forgotten. It could be a bill payment, or it could simply be overpaying for an impulse purchase. For me, it was investing for my retirement.

You heard it correctly. I failed to invest in a retirement account this year.

As you know, I quit my job several months ago. While I did transfer my 401k to an IRA and continued to manage my finances through my taxable accounts, I did not setup a retirement account now that 401k isn’t an option anymore.

At first, I thought about the different options (simple IRA, SEP IRA etc), and the complications delayed the decision. Then, it was the market downturn in February that pushed it back a few more weeks. After, the market upturn got me busy managing my much bigger taxable investment portfolio. Oh I needed to make sure I find the right stock broker, and that I pick the right type of account. I also need to make sure I put in the right amount every month, because too much money means I can’t use it as a down payment, while too little means I’m not taking advantage. Then..

Wait a minute… You know what these are? Excuses! Why does anything I said above change the fact that I needed to invest in a retirement account. Perhaps it’s beneficial to find the perfect amount to contribute every month, and it’s probably good to find the best stock broker to maximize the benefits. However, if investing immediately is better than waiting regardless of the choices that I make, isn’t it better to “just do it” already?

A Little Lesson Over Here

Regular readers know that I’m a huge believer in taking action. In fact, it’s more beneficial even if you end up making mistakes. Here’s an example. Let’s say you need to get from point A to B and the earlier you get to your destination, the better. If you start right away but end up taking one year to get to your destination, isn’t it better than spending one year to plan the route that takes one month?

Back to My Investment Procrastination

There’s really no point in beating myself about what’s already happened since the future is much more important. The good news is that even though I missed a few months of contributions, I can catch up by putting in a bigger lump sum. Sure, I already missed a good chunk of gains that my contributions would’ve had but in the big picture where I will be contributing for the next 30+ years, it’s not that bad.

What I Will Do:

  • Open an SEP IRA account (TradeKing is a good choice and may not be the absolute cheapest like others. However, I feel better with them because of the lack of bad publicity.)
  • Contribute $500 a month to the account and invest regularly
  • Monitor the Pros and Cons of using this broker and see if I need to change brokers

I may end up not liking TradeKing, or find a better stock broker for this type of retirement account. I may find that the contribution is too high (or too low) for my needs. I might even find out that SEP IRA isn’t the best choice for my circumstances. However, what I won’t (and shouldn’t) do is wait around because investing in an account is always better than waiting.

You can always wait for the boat with the perfect route, but don’t wait so long that the entire trip ends up being meaningless.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Swine Flu Symptoms:

One can clearly notice the pandemonium among the public in many countries that have been kept on high alert. Lakhs of people are flocking the Internet to be aware of the symptoms of Swine Flu. It's really difficult to distinguish between the symptoms of normal flu and swine flu. In both cases, the patient may suffer from respiratory disorders, high fever, sore throat, headache and body aches. The only difference though is that, a swine flu patient may also suffer from complications such as diarrhea and vomiting. So don’t forget to gather information about the Swine Flu and undertake precautionary measures. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

I cannot wait until winter and spring are over!

I want the sun to come out and start shining brightly and for the weather to start getting warm. I really don’t like being cold. When I’m really cold I can feel it in my bones and it seems like nothing warms me up. I can put on several layers of clothing or even turn on my heater and I just get cold again as soon as I move. I would much rather live somewhere with warm weather than somewhere that’s cold all the time. It’s really kind of funny though, my roommate loves the cold and hates being hot and I am the opposite. Too bad I have yet to find somewhere where I can be happy.

Jet America Takes Flight, Offers $9 Fares | Yes, There's A Catch’s lure

RyanAir, based in the U.K., also offers low airfare.

RyanAir, based in the U.K., also offers low airfare.

Reading about Jet America’s $9 plane tickets, which you can purchase through, reminds me of the time a telemarketer offered me a product that was “completely free.” After reassuring me about a dozen times of its complete freeness, she asked for my credit card number to pay for the shipping and handling charge. Click.

See, the actual ticket from Jet America Airlines is $9, but your trip will cost a lot more than that. However, for the time being it seems that these $9 price tags are doing exactly what Jet America set out to do: get attention.

Limited service

Jet America Airlines opens for business today, and  its promotional kickoff special is $9 airfare. This brings us to catch No. 1: The $9 tickets can only get you between Newark, N.J.’s Liberty Airport and one of these four cities: Toledo, Ohio; South Bend, Ind.; Lansing, Mich.; and Melbourne-Vero Beach, Fla.

Catch No. 2 is that there are a limited number of these tickets available. Only nine seats on each flight will go for $9, and there’s no telling how long this offer will last.

The real cost

Catch No. 3 is that you may be left scrambling for instant cash loans to pay for all of the extra fees that Jet America will tack on to your $9 ticket. For instance, ordering the ticket will cost more than the ticket itself, no matter how you do it. ... click here to read the rest of the article titled "Jet America Takes Flight, Offers $9 Fares | Yes, There's A Catch"

Tax Increase Ups the Ante for Smoking

Quick cash goes up in smoke

smokerLast night I was listening to my neighbor complain about having just paid $7 for a pack of cigarettes. Weary as I am of picking her cigarette butts out of my yard, I am nothing if not a helpful neighbor. So I suggested she could either get a quick payday loan or slap on one of those nicotine patches. She’s considering a loan.

Tax increases cause many smokers to quit

According to a recent article in The Washington Post, all across the country, smokers are burning up telephone "quit" lines and enrolling in stop-smoking programs. Despite the ready availability of low cost loans to finance smoking habits, the latest boost in federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes — from 39 cents to $1.01 — is driving people to wean themselves from their potentially deadly habits. Whenever the federal or state governments boost cigarette taxes, droves of smokers quit, or try to.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke caused 438,000 premature deaths in the United States each year from 1997 through 2001. Tobacco smoking cost the United States over $193 billion in 2004, including $97 billion in lost productivity and $96 billion in direct health care expenditures, or an average of $4,260 per adult smoker.

So what could be wrong with even greater tax hikes?

Given these social costs, it would seem that few tax increases could have higher upsides. So why not tack on another $5? According to an article by Michael Daly in the New York Daily News, a pack of cigarettes now costs about $10 in New York City, and the smoking rate among teens is 13.8 percent. In Kentucky where a pack sells for $4.80, the teen smoking rate is 28 percent. ... click here to read the rest of the article titled "Tax Increase Ups the Ante for Smoking"

Buffett on Charlie Munger: Work For Yourself An Hour Each Day

I’ve gotten to the part in The Snowball that involves Charlie Munger. A very interesting person, although probably not someone I’d like to have a beer with (I’d feel stupid), he is probably best known as Buffett’s long-time friend, business partner, and vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

Even before meeting Warren Buffett, Munger was wealthy according to most standards from real estate investing. Here is a quote from a Buffett interview in the book:

Charlie, as a very young lawyer, was probably getting $20 an hour. He thought to himself, ‘Who’s my most valuable client?’ And he decided it was himself. So he decided to sell himself an hour each day. He did it early in the morning, working on these construction projects and real estate deals. Everybody should do this, be the client, and then work for other people, too, and sell yourself an hour a day.

Now, I’m sure just being a successful lawyer would be plenty for many people. But if you aren’t satisfied with your current situation, why not work for yourself an hour each day? Instead of just idle dreaming, set aside specific time for action. Perhaps the key is small chunks of time, but at regular intervals.

Finally, another quote from Charlie Munger about the desire for independence:

I had a considerable passion to get rich. Not because I wanted Ferraris - I wanted the independence. I desperately wanted it. I thought it was undignified to have to send invoices to other people. I don’t where I got that notion from, but I had it.

I think I’ll be buying a copy of Poor Charlie’s Almanack the next time I run low on things to read, even though it costs fifty bucks.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Milk Bath Lotion- Provides Safeguards to the Skin

Skin is the vital part of the body. To be much more glamorous and elegant, one should take care of the skin texture. Especially during summer season, the skin surface of a person can be severely burnt and dried up by the scorching heat of the sun. The ultra violet ray is definitely harmful and detrimental to the skin texture. Therefore one should use sun screen lotion and ointment. However in this connection, milk bath lotion is very effective to bring lost luster and glow to the skin. Everyday before bathing, a person can mix milk bath lotion to the water to get the proper effect. The skin will become soft and shinning. Egyptian princess named Cleopatra preferred the milk bath to protect her skin from dryness and other skin related diseases. She was the most beautiful princess in her reign.

Roller coasters scare me so much

My worst fear is that I will be on a wooden roller coaster when it decides to catch on fire. I developed this fear when I was at a theme park one time. I was riding on one of those old car rides where you drive the old car around the park. I saw the legs of one of the wooden roller coasters and it had a fire extinguisher. This of course made no sense to me. I'm pretty sure that if the wooden roller coaster caught on fire, a fire extinguisher that was pretty far away wouldn't be much help. Now I will forever be afraid of wooden roller coasters.

Could an entire town go bust?

Don't put all your eggs into one basket

One BasketPomigliano d’Arco is a town of about 40,000 inhabitants in Italy. It lies northeast of Naples and quite near to Mount Vesuvius, once the scene of some real fall-out. The town basically has one industry – automobiles. And it also has only one kind of car – Fiat. The entire town relies on Fiat for its very life.

Disaster country

Mimmo Vacchiano stands outside the locked gates of the Fiat car plant and says there is going to be a disaster unless its gates reopen. And the people in this part of Italy know all about disasters. "If this plant closes, there’s nothing else here, only unemployment." But there is something else in the town and that is organized crime on a massive scale. "We can choose which way to go - unemployment, crime or a volcanic eruption," says the 48-year-old father of two.

We live in panic

"We're living in panic. Every morning I promise myself that today is the day I will take a Personal Loan and buy railway tickets for my family so we can move to Northern Italy where there is still hope. Here in the south job opportunities are zero. This place is going to be like Pompeii after Vesuvius blew her top."


Unemployment in Pomigliano already runs at nearly 20 percent and Fiat’s temporary closure of the plant - in a bid to slash costs, same as other major automakers - has brought the town to its knees. Fiat employs 5,000 people directly and the plant provides jobs for 20,000 if suppliers are taken into account. ... click here to read the rest of the article titled "Could an entire town go bust?"

Outer space would be amazing

I wish I could be an astronaut and go to outer space. It would be amazing! I would get to wear one of those awesome helmets that keep the oxygen in so I wouldn't suffocate. I would also get to float in air instead of having gravity on me all the time. It would be the coolest thing ever. I would get to walk on other planets. That would be amazing to be able to experience that. I think that maybe I am going to have to find a way into NASA so that I can become a part of this amazing space program. I will have to put that on my bucket list so that I can do it before I die.

Avoid the Financial Headache in Retirement

Especially during the first morning after a long weekend, the alarm clock ranks first in the most hated invention of all time. That irritating buzz signals that yes, the sweet days off the 9-5 are over. There’s no more sleeping in, no more watching TV all day and no more time to look for the latest and greatest movie to enjoy this afternoon. There’s work, work and more work.

Most of us look for remedies to feel better in the morning. Perhaps it’s a cup of extra strong coffee to awaken our senses or a healthy dose of Tylenol to cure our hangover. Yet, these are all bandits and not cures to the problem. Listen carefully folks. Our wakeupphobia has nothing to do with today but everything to do with yesterday.

  • We don’t want to wake up because we slept too late.
  • We don’t want to go to work because we are still tired.
  • And we are tired because we never gave our bodies a chance to recover.

If we prepared ourselves to fail, how can we blame the alarm clock for doing its job?

From the Morning of a Long Weekend to 7am of the First Day of Retirement

Now imagine that it’s 7am of the first day of retirement:

Are you looking forward to the rest of your years without work or are you going to be sweating from your financial hangover?
Are you going to hate the alarm clock because it’s yelling at you for not having enough money to retire comfortably?

Those trying to find a Tylenol for their finances are not going to be very happy to hear that there’s no such pill. The yester-years was fun. In fact, all parties are amazing during the moment, but most of them leave a nasty headache in the morning after.

  • If you want to begin the day with energy, then start thinking about how you spend the weekend.
  • If you want to start your retirement feeling positive, then start thinking about how you spend the working years.

The choice is yours.  Enjoy the coffee this morning, because your company is still paying for it.

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Be More Involved in Your Financial Planning

This is a guest post from Tough Money Love, the personal-finance blog that doesn’t pull any punches.

You don't have to look far in our economy to find someone willing and able to assist with your financial planning. Bankers, insurance agents, stock brokers, wealth managers, and professional financial planners are everywhere. Advice passed along by personal finance bloggers and other amateurs is easy to come by as well.

Many of those wanting to give you advice or manage your money are competent and focused on your best interests. Unfortunately, some are not. Separating the good advice from the bad advice can be a daunting task for anyone.

That's why I am suggesting that many of us can (and should) be more actively involved in our own financial planning. Although a complete do-it-yourself financial plan may not be best for you, applying DIY energy to the overall planning process keeps you in front and in charge of your financial destiny.

Here are some advantages to increasing your level of personal involvement in your financial future:

Save Money
Professional services are not free and financial planning is no exception. Whether you are paying commissions, fees based on assets under management, or fee-for-services charges, you are going to pay something. Fees that represent even a small percentage of your assets can be substantial. The impact of the fees is magnified over time and is particularly harmful in an economy where investment returns are depressed. That's where we are now and where we may remain for an extended period.

If you do for yourself that which is within your realm of competence — and let a pro do only what you cannot — you will save money and come out ahead overall.

Reduce Conflicts of Interest
Some financial advice you receive from others may be burdened by inherent conflicts of interest. For example, a stock broker or insurance agent makes a living by selling financial products to you. The advice may be "free" but you could end up buying something that is not best for your situation. If an advisor's income is based on what you buy or how much you invest, the temptation to give advice in that direction is hard to resist. Complete objectivity may be missing. That's where the DIY planner — you — steps in to recognize what is really happening.

Maintain Focus
When you are advising yourself, all of the focus is on your money and on your money issues. A third-party advisor may be distracted by other clients and by personal needs. If most of those other clients have more money than you, they will likely garner most of the attention. The wealthy receive custom solutions. The not so wealthy often receive standard recipe solutions. If you are more involved, you can determine if a proposed plan or solution for your money problems is really designed for your unique circumstances.

J.D.’s note: Remember — Nobody cares more about your money than you do.

Appreciate the Risk
Perhaps the biggest variable in providing appropriate financial advice is adapting to the client's tolerance for risk. I have seen dozens of different questionnaires designed to ascertain a person's financial risk profile. The problem is that this is a highly subjective metric, heavily influenced by emotion. The best person for understanding how risk tolerance will affect your sense of money well-being is you. That's worth a lot.

Adapt to Changing Conditions
Most financial planning decisions are made for the long haul. Others are made in response to internal and external conditions. Some of those conditions can change rapidly, as we have seen in recent months. A third-party advisor with hundreds of clients may find it difficult to keep up with all of the changes that affect you or promptly react to them. You won't have that problem.

Be a Better Consumer
If you are crafting and following your own financial plans, you will have a more intimate knowledge of how your behavior as a consumer affects those plans. This makes you a better consumer thereby improving the prospects for a successful plan outcome.

Be a Better Citizen and Voter
Politicians have a lot of control over your financial destiny. Many voters lack real knowledge of how government spending, taxes, and budget deficits will affect them personally. If you are deeply involved in your own financial planning, you will better understand how monetary and fiscal policies impact your plan. That will make you a better voter. We need better voters.

Take More Responsibility
If recent economic events have taught us anything, it is that we must be personally responsible for our financial future. Depending on government or Wall Street has not worked. Turning everything over to a third party can be just another way of passing the buck — literally and figuratively. Having someone to blame for money misery doesn't get your money back. So keep the ultimate responsibility at home.

Final Words of Caution
I am not suggesting that DIY financial planning is for everyone.

  • If you are a high net-worth individual there can be complex estate and tax planning tax issues that require professional guidance.
  • If you are already in financial trouble, that may signal a need for third-party intervention.
  • If you are unwilling to read, study, and read some more — constantly — then don't bother with your own financial planning.
  • If you cannot prepare your own tax return, track your spending, or monitor your portfolio performance, you are probably a poor candidate for self-directed money management and investing.

That's okay. But at least give the idea of being more involved in your own financial planning some serious consideration. You may be the best candidate for the job or at least to play on the planning team. To get you started, here are some ideas on how to be your own financial planner.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Save Money on Your Wedding

I still remember the first time I realized the true power of my wife’s money saving skills. On our wedding, my wife probably saved us an amount in the five digits. As a result, we had an spectacular wedding that cost pennies on the dollar. Do you want to know how to save money on your wedding as well? This article is for you.

Picking the Venue for Your Wedding

wedding venue
One of the most important decisions you will make for the big day is the location of your banquet. Are you looking for a venue that has great views, or are you more of an indoor person? Before you look at go to each location to ask for pricing, figure out your preference so you can rate it against the prices you are quoted.

One of the tricks that people seem to use is to give you an ultra low price to grab your attention. As you inquire further, everything will seem to cost extra. Forks? Add X to the total. Want fish instead of beef? $$$. That’s why it makes sense to go to the venues several different times. On the first visit, let them give you the sales talk so you get a feel for what’s available and to get a quote. Then gather all the information and figure out what you’d like in your wedding. Once you have a general idea, make a list with everything you’d like for the wedding and go back and ask for a price. Otherwise, you will never be able to compare apples to apples.

Wedding Planners vs Wedding Coordinators

There are wedding planners and there are wedding coordinators. The planners help you plan the wedding before the wedding, while the coordinator will help you organize what happens on the day of the wedding. Most wedding planners will do both, so make sure you know what exactly you are paying for. For those who have budget concerns, do not use a wedding planner because everything can be done yourself. However, coordinators are money well spent because he/she will help make sure all details are executed on the day of the wedding. Do you really want to be worrying about whether the flowers arrived or the tables are setup? Furthermore, paying for a wedding coordinator means you can bounce ideas off of the person, which means more help on the planning side.

Saving on Wedding Dresses

wedding dressVera Wang dresses are amazing but not everyone can afford owning one. For those that don’t mind, renting wedding dresses may be for you. Before you commit, make sure to ask around to find a reputable company to rent from to avoid hassle. Also, rentals should be available to be picked up a few days before and they should also be adjusted (to a limited degree) to fit you. Also, make sure you understand the terms (if it gets damaged for example) and see what your liabilities are. If at any point you aren’t comfortable with the company you are dealing with, go somewhere else.

Photographers and Videographers

There are people who will take photographs for free and there are ones who you can spend the rest of your life working for because they charge an arm and a leg. Look, good photography is worth every penny as you will be looking at your wedding pictures for years so find a person who can take those types of pictures. Anything more than that is probably too much for you if budget is a concern.

Video is another story and it all depends on how many times you are going to actually watch the show. Once? Twice? Maybe even ten times in your life. Balance your budget accordingly.

How to be Cheap on Flowers without Getting Caught

wedding flowersFlowers make everything look better and vendors know this. That’s why they will charge you extra if you tell them it’s for a wedding. Instead, talk to your wedding coordinator and your married friends to see if they know of wholesale flower markets where the vendors themselves go. If there are ones around your area, you can just go there and buy them yourself. They usually look like the Costco for flowers, and everything is so much cheaper.

Makeup Specialist

Some brides like to change clothes during the wedding, which means different makeups. On our wedding, we actually flew someone from Taiwan over here to help us and it still turned out cheaper than hiring one in the states. Why? The artist in Taiwan charged for the entire trip while everyone here wanted to be paid every time he/she picks up the brush. On the big day, we didn’t have to worry about being nickle and dimed, not to mention that she followed my wife the entire day was fixing my wife’s “look”.

Obviously, not everyone have access to people in a different country but do you have a friend who is in the industry? Try asking around (like your hair stylist for example) to see if there are anyone who can help.

Chairs, Ribbons and Others

Where do you get deals? Forget wedding places. Look for party shops for ribbons, furniture rental places for chairs and everything that has nothing to do with getting married. Be creative. Any vendor that tailors their business to that big day will overcharge, guaranteed.

Save Money on Wedding Favors

The most creative and cheapest wedding favors are actually ones that you make yourself. Rev up your creativity and don’t be lazy. If you really don’t want to make them though, here are two great wedding favors stores that you want to check out.

Anything Else

Off the top of my head, these are some of the ways you can save money on your wedding. Are there anything else you are wondering about? Comment below and I will add to the article.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Hold? More To Do Than Eye Rolling, Toe Tapping

A recent survey reveals the interesting ways people spend their time while on hold, waiting for customer service rep to answer their call. Host Liane Hansen talks to Steve Herlocher, a senior vice president for Jacada, a company that sells customer service software and commissioned the survey.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Laughing at everything she did

Today I was watching my one year old niece and just laughing at everything she did. We have a shoe basket by the front door and when people come over they take off their shoes and put them by the basket. We don’t ask or demand that they do, I guess they just figure that they should be polite or whatever. Anyway, my one year old walks over and tried to put on her aunt’s flip flops. It was hilarious to watch. It took her close to five minutes to first figure out how to put them on and then close to ten to figure out how to walk with them on. She was falling and tripping all over the place. Good thing she was laughing too. Everyone in the room was in hysteric

This one Christmas

There are a lot of memories I have of growing up with all of my siblings at home but there’s one Christmas in particular that stands out more than others do. I was probably five or six and my parents were having a really hard time that year and we were really poor. I think that was the year my father was diagnosed with cancer. My parents were hinting that we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree or more than one present that year. One night, just a few days before Christmas, my dad came home and was acting irritated that someone left huge boxes in our driveway. My mom went out to see what was in our driveway and it happened to be a huge Christmas tree, a box of food for a nice Christmas dinner, and a bunch of boxes of presents. To this day we still don’t know who gave us that stuff.

Feeling Flush

I’m not sure why, but I’ve built up quite a cushion in my Chase savings account– just over $12,000 as I’m writing this. This is despite having made an extra mortgage payment of $2,000 just recently, and some transfers to other accounts. I use this Chase account to receive my direct deposit pay, and transfer money into my checking account to pay bills. I wondered if I’d made a mistake and forgotten to pay a bill, but apparently I’m all caught up!
The problem is that this cash is barely earning any interest. I think it’s time to start shopping for some mutual funds again, and also transfer some money to my other savings account at FNBO, which earns more interest. I suppose I could also make another additional principal payment on my mortgage. In any case, not being able to decide what to do with over $10,000 is a nice problem to have!

Read more about Feeling Flush…