Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Survivalists Update

We are now 40 sites strong and growing everyday. THANKS to everyone who has joined the ring and ensured our continued success!!!

...that is all.

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Quote Of The Day

"I know who I am! I'm a dude playing a dude disgused as another dude!"

-Kirk Lazarus - Tropic Thunder



If you haven't seen this movie it is some funny stuff...

...that is all.

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Save Yourself Some Cash

I have always been a big proponent of financial freedom. The only way to be financially free is to owe as little money as possible. This way you can poke "the man" in the eye with your thumb when he tries to play games with you. If you are beholden to a bunch of debt, you can NEVER be truly free.

Everyone likes stuff, we all like stuff and we all like the stuff other people have. The first way to become financially free is to stop needing stuff. There is a huge difference betweeen needing and wanting. Many times we confuse the two. You need things to stay alive, you want things...well...just because you do. It is as simple as that. You need someplace to live, you need food & water, you need clothes, you need transportation. Everything else is optional if you think about it.

Let's face it we are a nation of consumers and it has been that way for quite some time. We are like druggies we can't just stop we have to be weened off off our drug otherwise we are doomed to fail.

How do we do this?

To start reevaluate everything you spend money on and start with the really simple stuff...like that magazine subscription you never actually READ - cancel that. Actually subscriptions are the best place in general to start paring down. Get rid of magazines, memberships and subscriptions. I used to a be member of a bunch of stuff and had a ton of magazine subscriptions.

I have a total of three subscriptions now:
NRA Member - Gets me American Rifleman magazine
Subscription to Popular Mechanics
Netflix 2 at a time unlimited subscription.

That is it....

Get rid of ALL your credit cards except one. The wife and I each have a debit card and an American Express, that is it. We pay the entire balance of the American Express off EVERY month without fail.

If you own a home pay the equivalent of 1 extra payment a year by paying a little extra each month. For example if your payment is $1200 bucks send $1300. That extra $100 dollars adds up to one extra payment a year. That will shave 7 YEARS off your mortgage and could potentially save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest.

Start an emergency fund and have the money come out of your check automatically. This is not the cash on hand type of emergency fund but the 3-6 months livings expense because I lost my job type emergency fund. Start with as much as you can and have it go into a separate bank account from the rest of your money and DON'T TOUCH IT. Let it continue to build until it is the equivalent of 3-6 months worth of bills. This will be your insurance policy against job lost and could prevent you from entering the downward spiral many people experience when they have a sustained period of unemployment.

Once that is fully funded start your, the car needs a new transmission and I am screwed emergency fund. I typically keep this in the same account as my other emergency fund but seperate the two logically. If I need $20,000 to have 3-6 months living expenses everything over that is the everyday emergency fund. In other words don't let that account drop below your set amount, but certainly tap it if you have the need. If you don't have to touch it all the better, you will be in a good position when a true emergency arises.

This all could take time and in the cases of emergency funds years to reach...the key is you'll never reach the goal if you don't START!

...that is all.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'mmmm BAAAACK!

I am back from Bonn Germany....flew in last night, got home about 12am.

Food was great! I love German food it is very hearty and they make some of the best bread I have ever had. Very crusty, very tasty.

I was actually in Bonn for the beginning of their Carnival holiday (kind of like Mardi Gras). Quite interesting to say the least.

Just wanted to let everyone know I was alive and will do my best to get posting again.

Tschüss

...that is all.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

I Am Off To See The Wizard...

Well boys and girls I am off to Germany for another business trip....this sucks! I hate to travel...not to mention a weekend wasted getting there and weekend wasted coming back (I have to be there 5 FULL business days).

Well the silver lining will be I like German food, so I am looking forward to pigging out on the companies dime...and then there is the German beer of course.

I will be posting but they will be erratic...six hours ahead for me there. I can wait to get rid of the jet lag!

Then the capper is I have not 1 BUT 2 connecting flights to get home....that is a headache waiting to happen.

If you travel a lot refer to my post on How To Survive A Trip To The Airport for some good reading.

Auf wiedersehen

...that is all.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stimulus Watch

Great site...not sure of accuracy...interesting to see the number of projects in California in the bill...

Stimulus Watch...

...that is all.

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OwnerIQ

I found and interesting website. I have not used it before but it seems to be a good resource.

The website is OwnerIQ which is a central location for "owner's manuals" of all types.

You need to sign up for a free account to get access to the manuals but I must say I am intrigued. I plan on signing up for an account tonight when I finish up with work and I will let you know how it is...

If anyone has any comments on this site or posssibly an alternate site which provides the same type of service feel free to let everyone know by leaving a comment.

...that is all.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

2nd Quote of the Day

I am feeling very philosophical today for some reason....so here is another quote I found quite fitting...

"The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money" --Margaret Thatcher

...that is all.

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Quote Of The Day

"We have met the enemy... and he is us" - Pogo

...that is all.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Movie Review: Death Race

It has been a while since I have done a book or movie review mostly because I have been so busy with work and school. I did get a chance to check out Death Race (Unrated Edition) this past weekend and was plesantly surprised!

The movie stars Jason Statham who is one the typical tough guys out there and is probably best know for "The Transporter". Long story short the US economy collapses in 2012 (funny eh) and private industry takes over the penal system because crime is so out of control government cannot handle it any longer. Out of this, gladiator type games are broadcast over the Internet to people who "pay per view". When that gets boring the Death Race is born.

The main character (Statham) is setup for his wife's murder and sent to prison...where surprise, surprise we learn he was formerly a professional car racer. Needless to say he is recruited for Death Race.

The movie is action packed. When I told my wife what we were going to watch she said "oh boy...sounds like a stinker", well by the end of the movie even she thought it was a great action movie.

No Oscars here just action packed gratuitous violence. The way the Race is run and the ways some of the drivers die is interesting to say the least...

Here is the description from Yahoo movies:
"Terminal Island, New York: 2020. Overcrowding in the U.S. penal system has reached a breaking point. Prisons have been turned over to a monolithic Weyland Corporation, which sees jails full of thugs as an opportunity for televised sport. Adrenalized inmates, a global audience hungry for violence and a spectacular, enclosed arena come together to form the 'Death Race', the world's biggest, most brutal sporting event. Five-time NASCAR champion Jensen Ames is a man who has become an expert at survival. After eight years of hard time, he has only six weeks before reuniting with his family. But when Weyland demands a driver to headline the big game, Ames is forced to submit. Donning the costume of mythical rider Frankenstein, the racer becomes an instant crowd favorite, an unequaled sporting superstar. His face hidden by a metallic black mask, one convict will be put through a brutal three day challenge, with the trophy being the ultimate prize: freedom. The only catch is that he must survive a gauntlet of the most vicious criminals in this post-industrial wasteland to claim it. Driving a monster car outfitted with machine guns, flamethrowers and grenade launchers, Ames must now kill or be killed to win the most treacherous spectator sport on Earth: 'Death Race'."

I have to say both the wife and I really enjoyed this movie. The concept is not novel but the story was interesting (a little predictable) and as I said this movie is ACTION PACKED.

Give this one a watch and I am sure you'll enjoy it...

I give this movie 3.9 Death Skulls out of 5.

...that is all.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

SAVE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS: The Price Book...

Ok I have your attention. I honestly can't take credit for this, I have read about the concept in several books and any financial person worth their salt should recommend this to folks.

Saving money on food is usually painful, involves coupons, or driving to several stores to find the best deal. Realistically do you even know what the best deal is? There is a sure fire way to have that information at your fingertips anytime you want if for items you commonly purchase...

Enter the PRICEBOOK...

My wife and I started a pricebook several years ago and can in a matter of seconds tell you what the best price we ever paid on any given item was. The pricebook involves a little work in the beginning and ongoing maintanance everytime you go shopping but it is SOOOO worth the effort.

My wife and I created a spreadsheet but you could also do it in a notebook if you wanted. The most important things to include are the item name, where you bought it, the size, and the price (you can add more columns if you like...sky is the limit). If you have those four columns at a minimum that is a good start. List things in a way that is comfortable for you whether that is strictly alphabetical or by categories.

Alphabetical:
Chicken
Milk
Potato
Rolls
Zuchini

Categories:
Bread: Rolls
Vegetables: Zuchini, Potato
Dairy: Milk
Poultry: Chicken

Ours looks like this and is alphabetical:
ITEM                        STORE               SIZE              PRICE
Beef, Ground              Walmart             Per Pound      $1.99
Chicken, Split Breast    Food Lion           Per Pound      79 cents


Your pricebook will take shape after about six weeks of shopping. Every week, take your receipts and update or add items as required, keeping only the lowest price you paid for that item. So if I was able to get split breasts for 69 cents I would overwrite 79 cents in my pricebook.

Keep in mind the prices are reference, if you got a great deal for split breasts at 49 cents per pound, that may only come around once in a blue moon...so don't kill yourself trying to get the lowest price you EVER paid for an item. The purpose of a price book is to keep you informed and tell you if you are getting: a great deal, paying the going rate, or getting ripped off. We actually have a column called "lowest price" and another called "typical price" to help us keep things in perspective.

My wife and I don't go shopping without price book in hand and I can safely say we are FAR more educated than we were before we started using it with regard to what we pay for food. We have also saved a lot of money as well realizing when stores are offering loss leaders on certain items and gouging you on others to make up for it.

Start a pricebook today and save TONS of money.

...that is all.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

There Is Still Hope...

It seems the publics opinion of President Obama's stimulus package drops by the day...Thank GOD...this is the worst piece of PORK spending in the history of the country! You want to stimulate...LOWER TAXES for Christ's sake!

Here is the link and the story is below.

Stimulus is Too Heavy on Spending, Says Growing Number of Senators
Some Senate Democrats are joining the Republican chorus in opposition to the $900 billion economic stimulus package.

FOXNews.com

Sunday, February 01, 2009

President Obama is stressing bipartisanship when it comes to the $900 billion economic stimulus plan being considered in the Senate, and he may get it -- in unity of opposition.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he "can't believe that the president isn't embarrassed about" the stimulus packages that have passed the House and the Senate appropriations and finance committees.

The Senate is set to take up debate on the plan Monday afternoon. Republicans insist it won't go through in its current form.

"It'll need to change if it'll do any good. I mean, things like $150 million honey bee insurance and $650 million to buy government employees cars is not what the American public had in mind," McConnell said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Republicans appear to have the support of some Democrats, including North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad, head of the Budget Committee, and Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson.

"As it stands it would be very hard for me to vote for this package, because I don't think it is fully targeted, timely and temporary," Conrad said. "I think there is widespread dissatisfaction with the package that came over from the House."

Senate Republicans are offering an alternative bill as early as Monday. It shifts the balance more toward tax cuts and less on spending, and targets the housing market as key to the economic turnaround.

"I think you have to start from scratch and reconstruct this to start with the problem that created the entire cascade of events that have occurred here, the housing collapse," said Sen. Jon Kyl, the Republican whip.

Conrad agreed.

"Too little is being done about housing, which is central to the crisis," he said.

But Democratic leaders say the time for delay has passed. The nearly trillion dollar plan represents about 6.5 percent of the gross domestic product of America, said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Senate Democratic whip.

He said that size package is needed to dig the economy out of a deep hole. "We have to put enough water on this fire to put it out. Throwing a tea cup of water at it means it will return tomorrow, to face it again," he said during a discussion with Kyl and moderator Chris Wallace on "FOX News Sunday."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., agreed that more could be done in the area of housing, but said tapping the remaining $350 billion from the financial bailout fund would be a more likely way to pay for mortgage relief.

Democrats add that tax cuts alone won't keep firefighters, teachers and construction workers on the job. They say their bill gives states the money to fill some budget holes and start building roads and bridges. They also point to tax cuts for individuals and businesses, and insist a package must be passed.

"This is not another bill, this is not another political debate, this isn't something that we can just dismiss at the end of the week and move on and do something else if this doesn't work. We're facing one of the most serious economic crises in our nation's history," Durbin said.

While Obama has stressed bipartisanship in the process, all House Republicans were joined by 11 Democrats in opposing the House package

If it's going to get bipartisan support in the Senate, "you have to change some of the provisions that are in there," said Nelson, who noted he has spoken with colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are concerned with several of the spending provisions. He said many of the spending programs are valuable, "they just don't belong in the stimulus package."

The stimulus package may also run into problems being implemented. A Congressional Budget Office analysis says some agencies may not be equipped to handle that flood of money and will have to put off spending it for a year or two.

That's a problem because the key to a stimulus package is to pump it into the system as quickly as possible.

FOX News' Caroline Shively contributed to this report.

...that is all.

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