Showing posts with label Saving Money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saving Money. Show all posts

3/14/09

Download Jean Chatzky's The Difference FREE!

There's a great free download available over at Oprah.com. Today until 10:59 PM EST, the website is offering a free PDF download of Jean Chatzky's 2009 book, The Difference: How Anyone Can Prosper in Even The Toughest Times. The book is a great look at the traits and habits that wealthy people have that we can all acquire as well as how to find the right career for you, how to take risks, working hard and working smart and making money work for you.

Here's Amazon.com's product description of The Difference:

Can you really start from nothing and become truly secure financially?

What’s the difference between you and Warren Buffett? Between you and your boss? Or between you and your successful neighbor? What do the financially comfortable have that you don’t?

It’s not that those people were born into money, caught a lucky break, or have an Ivy League education. It’s not even that they are smarter than you or make more money than you do each year. So what do they have that you don’t . . . at least not yet? What’s The Difference?

Trusted financial coach Jean Chatzky shares the secrets her groundbreaking research of the self-made wealthy has uncovered so that anyone can break through the barriers that stand between them and true financial freedom. Find out why it’s important to:

• Get happy, but not too happy
• Do what you love, but don’t quit your day job
• Read every day
• Remember that failure is not an option–it’s a necessity
• Harness your intuition to take risks that make sense
• Practice the Kevin Bacon Principle–make connections
• Say thank you–and mean it
• Make your money work as hard as you do

Through candid interviews and a study of more than five thousand people, Jean reveals the traits and habits of those who have moved from the lowest economic strata to the highest. The Difference helps you take a look at where you are now and offers simple strategies for going where you want to go. The Difference, you’ll see, is within you: You have the power to determine your financial future and achieve the next level of wealth.


From what I've read so far, The Difference is an interesting and entertaining book. One habit mentioned early on is the habit that many wealthy people have of constantly reading and learning. Definitely worth a free download, but it's a limited time offer. Download yours by heading to Oprah.com and registering for a user account.

3/9/09

Free Software Downloads to Save Money!

Don't let the blog post title fool you, because I'm not condoning pirated software downloads at all. Using various money saving deal websites, in the past week The Monetizer was able to find several FREE and legitimate software programs you can download and install onto your PC. These will help clean up, optimize and back up your valuable personal computer data, and also save you money in the process!

Consider Paragon's Drive Backup 9 Special Edition. It retails for $39.99 but was featured on the deal site yesterday for FREE! That's right, free. Now the download itself seemed to be tough to get to work, mainly because so many people were flooding the site. Luckily, someone uploaded the legitimate download file on their own server for others who wanted the deal. I've installed the program yesterday and so far it looks good. A very helpful program to have so you can back up your entire laptop, PC or specific folders/files to another safe spot in case of a crash.

Paragon seems to be offering yet another free software program, Total Defrag 2009. This helps in optimizing your computer by defragging the hard drives, freeing up cluttered drive cluster space. To see more info on how to download it, use this link for DealsPlus.

PS: Find some "helpful discussions" about this deal at Slickdeals.net forums.

Also extremely helpful is this Free WinUtilities 6.2. It's a very inclusive program which has features such as registry cleaner, uninstaller, dish cleaner and much more. Use the program to clean up and make sure your computer is optimized to the fullest!

Another deal for those of us running our own business(es) is MyCorporations SmallBiz Pack, also for FREE. MyCorporations is an Intuit company, so again this appears legitimate. The Deal websites these program downloads come from are reliable sources, but please download at your own risk and follow all instructions/indications along with them.

MyCorporation's SmallBiz Pack for free

Hopefully the above programs can help some readers to establish reliable data backups, optimized PC's and help in getting their businesses on track!

2/14/09

Happy Valentine's Day 2009 - Love & Money

heart be mine in 2009
Hello lovestruck readers and Happy Valentine's Day 2009! Today's the day when people profess their love for each other or in some cases their love for money. Whichever your situation may be, The Monetizer wants to spread some love on this sweet, sweet holiday...

You may have already noticed that the big G has a red-inspired Google logo theme today, and clicking that theme will take you to Valentine's Day search results. There you can read about the history of Valentine's Day, which many know is based on Saint Valentine and is mainly a holiday for lovers to express their love for one another...

There's also an interesting article within those search results from San Francisco Chronicle regarding Valentine's day and lovers spending less on each other. One individual in the articles notes that he's changed his 2 day Valentine's day holiday into a 1 day celebration. Basically he can't justify buying $100 worth of roses when his neighbor recently lost his job. According to the article V-day spending will drop about 4.8% this year, going down to $28.6 billion. Some of those who will be feeling the tightening budgets will be hotels, restaurants and flower services. Read the full article here at SFGate.com

But you can still share the love this Valentine's day and weekend. The Monetizer has found some cool deals online you may want to utilize. One is the Free Breakfast that IKEA is serving customers from February 13-16th each morning until 10:30AM. It may be too late to take your sweety to a V-Day breakfast, but Sunday and Monday could be your Valentine's day breakfast celebration. There's also several compelling restaurant deals so you can still take your sweetheart to a great meal. One example is TGI Friday's Buy One Get One Free Entree deal, just print the coupon out here. If you have Texas Roadhouse in your vicinity, they are offering a Valentine's Day deal of 2 entrees for $29.99 complete with 2 made-from-scratch sides! The choices include Baby Blossom, BBQ Chicken & Ribs, 12oz. Ribeye Steak and 12oz. Prime Rib. John Chow eat your heart out! (not literally) But nothing says I love you like a good plate of ribs or a nice hunk of steak. Texas Roadhouse's deal extends through Sunday February 15th with details and pictures here.

Now how about some mood music for today's lovefest? Amazon.com is offering Dean Martin Love Songs MP3 Album for just $2.99 today only! Even better, Let's Get It On by Marvin Gaye is FREE!. So you could technically just loop that track all day long if you really want to save money, however The Monetizer doesn't recommend it! You may want to purchase your lover a sweet iPod Nano to go with the music as well...

No matter how you choose to spend Valentine's day whether it be wining and dining your sweetie, watching romantic movies, or counting your money made online, The Monetizer wishes you nothing but love for Valentine's Day 2009!

1/14/09

Free Copy of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan!

Last week Oprah Winfrey had a week full of shows to help everyone get in gear for 2009. Included were important topics ranging from your health to spirituality to our favorite topic here, MONEY. Appearing on the show about personal finances was none other than financial guru and author, Suze Orman. As a gift to all Oprah viewers (and even non-viewers), Oprah & Suze currently have a free download of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan for free until midnight this coming January 15th (Thursday).

The book is chock full of great financial advice especially now that we're facing some tough economic times. While Suze Orman does tend to stay on the conservative side with her money advice, I noticed some gems of advice regarding credit card debt, saving and investing while browsing the free PDF download of her book. Suze tells the younger population specifically that if they won't need their investment money for 10+ years, that they should be 80-100% invested in stocks. Suze believes that younger people can buy many stocks on the cheap right now (after doing homework) and profit greatly several years forward. After all the stock market won't be down forever, just as it wasn't down forever in the Great Depression. I couldn't agree more. If you're not investing during these times, you're doing yourself a disservice and will be kicking yourself 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan is a 227 page PDF download offered for free right now via Oprah.com. It's ten chapters deep, featuring specific Q&A style paragraphs covering the essentials such as getting out of debt, saving, investing, paying for college and more. Suze's book offers solid advice to help people get on the right track for a healthier financial picture in 2009 and beyond.

Download Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan (PDF) here.

12/22/08

Websites for Online Shopping Deals & Saving Money

With the current state of the United States economy, retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to sell their wares. These days many big name items are selling for rock bottom prices. In some instances companies are using deals just to get customers onto their website or into the actual stores. According to a recent MarketWatch.com article, Cyber Monday saw increases in traffic and clicks for many online retailers with Walmart.com, Target.com and Circuitcity.com seeing the biggest jumps. It's no secret that shopping from home can save you good money these days, but finding the best deals online is essential.

With Christmas in a few days, The Monetizer's gift to you is this collection of great websites for hunting down the best deals the web has to offer. You can use these sites to snatch up some great merchandise online all year long. Many times you'll find free samples you can get as well!

Google Products/shopping - A good start for your online shopping is to look up the exact item you want (Make/Model etc) in Google's product search. You'll get a listing of online price results so you can then do some comparison shopping to gauge what the price range is you can expect to pay. Also if you've supplied your zip code, you can get an idea for shipping and tax charges. This is one of the best ways to find the deal you want or at least get an idea of what you might be paying. Many items won't be discounted too much like the always popular Apple iPod. From Google's product search you can head over to the #1 auction site online...

eBay.com - No secret here. The biggest online buying and selling auctionplace around. Type your item into eBay and watch the search results spit out. The usual words of caution apply though. There's scammers and dishonest sellers lurking. Always investigate the feedback levels of the person you're buying from. The deal might look great, but the seller may have recent strings of negative feedback about shipping, or even worse no feedback at all. Another thing to keep in mind is shipping. Recently there's many ebay sellers offering free shipping, but in these instances the items were bid up much higher. Know your auction bid limits and stick to them. Don't let desire for an item cause you to go on a bidding rampage!

Dealnews.com - A very comprehensive site full of the very best deals in several important categories such as video games, computers, media entertainment, clothing and more. Narrow it down to the type of product you're looking for and you'll find plenty of online deal news. Dealnews.com is one of those sites you could spend hours surfing to see what sorts of deals are going on!

Dealspl.us - This is a deals site crafted in the form of social media sites like Digg or any other bookmarking site. The way it works is a site member spots a deal online and other members can click to give that deal a thumbs up. The most popular deals of the day will be found on the front page, with full details. Members can also comment on the deals as well.

Slickdeals.net - The Monetizer would probably give this the #1 rating ahead of the rest, but there seems to be a time lag between it displaying deals some days. Slickdeals features a list of deals of each day that are in collapsed form. Click on a deal of interest and it expands to show you the details complete with a link to the deal and any coupon info you might need.

Spoofee.com - This one is alot like Slickdeals as their deals seem to overlap many times. In several rare instances, Spoofee or Slickdeals had a deal the other site didn't display immediately. Keeping an eye on both sites can be helpful. Each of these sites offers RSS feeds to help track deals better.

Fatwallet.com - This site is crafted in the forum tradition, with users posting forum threads for "Hot Deals". There's even been a section where members gave each other spare Coke or Pepsi codes for their rewards programs. This site may take a bit more time to sift through as compared to the rest, but nonetheless it can offer some gems for online shopping. One other aspect of Fatwallet involves its "Cash back" program which is free to be a part of. Check out the various deals Fatwallet has from all sorts of retailers online. They change constantly but it's another way to help save money when making purchases online.

Woot.com - The Woot site provides a daily "Woot" which is their "deal of the day". It could be anything from airfare to a high-powered vacuum cleaner to computer accessories. Just recently they had a gyroscope air mouse that worked from up to 100 feet away from the computer. Most of their deals sell out fast so this is a site you may want to load up early in the AM and take advantage of a great deal they showcase. There's also wine Woot and shirt Woot which are linked to from their site, categories self-explanatory.

Now a few things to consider. Sometimes you'll see a deal on one of these sites, but always read the fine print whether it's on the website or the deal site. Other members may have commented on a deal to give people a heads up of any extra things needed for the deal. The deal may require an additional purchase, mail-in rebate or picking up an item in-store. Even so, I've seen plenty of deals on flat screen TV's, computer hardware and software for the internet surfer who stays attuned to these sites. You can also call most websites to get additional info. One thing I'd recommend is finding out if the product you're getting a deal on is available or back-ordered. I've run into an interesting situation with one deal I thought I was snatching up, which I'll explain in a future post.

Also, keep in mind these 4 sites will usually identify the very same deals. Despite this overlap, there's occasionally a deal missed by the other sites that you'll find on just one of them. For example, Spoofee identified a deal for 50 condoms shipped for $3.50, while the other sites didn't display this. This could be due to Spoofee having a different sort of audience than the other sites, but at least they stay protected while promiscuous... :)

I'd strongly recommend for anyone who doesn't have Paypal to sign up for an account. It makes for another great way to buy items online and recently I've seen several sites offering deals such as $10 of $50 or $20 cash back when you use Paypal. Also, Paypal offers their debit/credit card which can be attached to a 1% cash back on all credit purchases made. Yet another way to save a bit on those online purchases. 1% may not look like much, but it's $10 more or so if you're buying a $1,000 flat screen TV.

Keep an eye on these sites after Christmas day passes. There's a strong possibility there will be some great deals coming up due to retailers wanting to unload merchandise from the season!

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to all, from the Monetizer!

10/27/08

MagicJack Review: Make Phone Bills Disappear!

magicjack pic The Monetizer will be the first to admit a love for new technology. While some hate it, I embrace it. I also love making money, and saving it. So today, I wanted to let you all know of an interesting and impressive piece of technology today called the MagicJack. MagicJack seems to be a worthy rival to the well-known Vonage VOIP phone service. You know the company which allows you to make calls using your home computer and claims to cut down on bills? Well MagicJack is just a small device with a USB jack on it that you plug into your computer. Plug a regular phone cord into Magic Jack from any phone you'd like to use with it. Turn your PC on and presto! Within 3 minutes, MagicJack has installed itself and downloaded the latest upgraded software to allow you to make FREE phone calls through your hi-speed connection. (Windows XP, Vista or Intel based Macs)

I set Magicjack up today, but have to admit I was slightly skeptical before I tried it. I've heard people complain about delays, echos and poor sound quality with Vonage. Hasn't been the case yet with MagicJack. Once the software installed, it allowed the Monetizer to choose any area code for my MagicJack phone number. What's great about this, you could essentially set up a virtual business office somewhere else in the US (New York, LA, etc) and make it seem as if you're an established business. Also, you could choose an area code from a state perhaps where many friends and relatives are located, making the calls cheaper for them. Quite a cool concept. MagicJack allows you to change your area code for free one-time, and then you can change it for a charge of $10 each additional time.

magicjack interface display for pc
(A look at the cool display/interface for MagicJack on the PC)

MagicJack offers some great additional, no extra cost features as well. First off, you can see in the screenshot above, there's a cool interface that you get on your computer screen. It displays a phone keypad, menu options, contacts, website favorites, link to Google, Redial, 411 and more. You can dial your phone/check Voice mail from the computer, or the phone itself. When a call comes in, it pops up a message on your screen to "ACCEPT" or "IGNORE" the call. If ignored, the call heads straight to your no extra-cost voice mail. The same happens when your computer is shut off, or if you lose hi-speed service, calls go straight to the voice mail, which you can also set up with various messages.

So far I like what I've seen and heard with MagicJack. It's definitely a viable option to eliminate long distance phone bills or cell phone bills which can really add up. MagicJack's phone service is free for a year from the date of install on your PC. Then it costs $20 or so annually to keep the service going. Calls are free, and you can even bring MagicJack with you on road trips/travel and use your current phone number to make free calls.

With Vonage I've heard the complaints: hard to hear the people on the other end of the phone, monthly bills, and the fact you need a special extra device hooked up to make it work. Not the case with MagicJack..Until it starts bringing in tons of telemarketer calls, calls from The Ring villain, or acting possessed, I'd fully recommend this little device which can be picked up for about $35-40 if you shop around! Check out some of the latest MagicJack auction listings on eBay to find yourself a deal, and start saving money!

Find out more info about this product at MagicJack.com's official website.

10/16/08

Best Online Banking Deals Right Now!

They say money doesn't grow on trees, but it can grow online! A few days ago, The Monetizer gave you some suggested ways to get Cash fast during these trying economic times. Today I'd like to provide you with some of the best deals for online banks to stash that cash! These particular banks offer the highest interest rates going today for Savings accounts & CD's! Make sure to do your homework and see what other fees or rules may apply, but generally these are some great places to grow money.

Listed below you'll find savings accounts, certificates of deposit and Foreign currency CD's. If you currently make money online, you definitely want to consider allocating some of it to these spots!

If you have money just sitting in your Checking account, let it grow here.

If you are afraid interest rates may fall, it might be a good time to lock down with a CD.

Don't forget FDIC insures up to $250,000 until December 2009. We still recommend holding a max of $100,000 / bank.



Savings Accounts ( Can Pull Out Money Anytime )

- OneUnited - 3.75% APY ( min of $1000 )

- FNBO Direct - 3.50% ( no minimum )


- WT Direct - 3.31% ( min of $10000 )

- HSBC - 3.25% APY ( no minimum )

- Savings Square - 3.05% ( no minimum )

- Emigrant Direct - 3.00% APY ( no minimum )


- Citibank e-Savings - 3.00% APY ( no minimum )

- E-Loan - 2.76%+ APY ( no minimum )

- Bank of America - 0.20% ( don't consider )



Certificate of Deposit CD - ( Cannot Pull Out Anytime )


If you don't mind keeping your money in the bank for a certain time, CD (Certificate of Deposit) would give you a slightly better rate and rates will not change for that time period.

- 3 Months - Virtual Bank 3.51% APY ( min of $10000 )

- 3 Months - Eloan 3.41% APY ( min of $10000 )

- 6 Months - Imperial Bank 4.35% APY ( min of $1000 )


- 6 Months - Corus 4.25% APY ( min of $10000 )

- 9 Months - AmTrust 4.35% ( min of $1000 )

- 9 Months - Imperial 4.15% APY ( min of $2000 )

- 1.0 Year - Patelco 7.00% ( max of $1000 )


- 1.0 Year - Corus 4.65% APY ( min of $10000 )

- 1.0 Year - Flagstar 4.50% APY

- 1.5 Year - Advanta 4.50% APY ( min of $10000 )

- 1.5 Years - Capital One 4.46% APY ( min of $5000 )


- 2.0 Years - National City 4.75% APY ( min of $10000 )

- 2.0 Years - Discover 4.5% APY ( min of $2500 )

- 3.0 Years - Pentagon 5.0% APY ( min $1000 )

- 4.0 Years - National 5.25% APY ( min of $10000 )


- 5.0 Years - Advanta 5.25% APY ( min $2500 )

- 5.0 Years - Discover 5.21% APY ( min of $2500 )



Foreign Currency CDs

With the government printing a lot of money lately, fear of inflation is roaming around. You can put money in foreign currency CDs to protect yourself

- EverBank.com Foreign CDs ( min $10000, protected by FDIC )

(Source: Spoofee.com)

10/12/08

Ways to Get Cash in Rough Financial Times

"Tough Times don't last, tough people do" is a very fitting statement right about now. The stock market has dipped to its lowest levels in about 5 years time. Gas prices have soared up over $4.00 a gallon, and luckily come back down a bit lately. Airfare travel has become even more expensive as the airlines are forced to add more and more charges so they can continue to operate. Grocery store and roadside stand prices have even been on the rise. With the way the economy has become a major issue in our lives as well as the upcoming 08' presidential election, it's time we adopted more of a deal-finding, opportunistic and saver's mentality!

The Roanoke Times has a recent article titled "How to Get Cash Fast" as part of its Good Housekeeping Reports. The article gives several tips on how to get money right now. Some may be obvious, others might be something new to consider.

1) Sell your unwanted gold jewelry - Gold is valued at over $900 per ounce right now so why not cash in? You've seen the ads all over TV. The article says to stay away from those places, but instead consult your yellow pages for jewelers who buy gold. Then begin the process of calling or going to each and finding out their commissions and offers. Draw up a list and find the best deal for your gold. Also, don't worry about workmanship of your gold pieces as the buyers will just be melting it down. Turnaround for this is about a day to sell your gold.

2) Borrow from peers - This doesn't mean your friends, because we all know if we're hurting financially, then so are they. Instead try out peer-to-peer lending at sites like prosper.com and lendingclub.com. You can usually borrow $1000 or more with an interest rate around 8% or so depending on credit. Good credit is vital to getting a loan this way. Turnaround for this is 1-2 weeks.

3) Tap home equity - As the article describes it, a home equity credit line is like a big credit card account with your home as the collateral. You can write checks against the credit line and interest is often tax-deductible. Use this in extreme desperation, because you'll be paying it back. Ask your bank or mortgage lender for their terms, as you may get a break as their customer. Turnaround for this method is about 2 weeks or so.

The Monetizer suggests IDEA #4, start your own home-based or internet-based business. Things like eBay sales, monetized blogging, paid article writing, affiliate marketing, survey sites and more can get you money without you even having to leave the house. You can consult the Monetizer's Moneymakers for a great list of sites to sign up for today!

And #5 is of course to play the lottery every week, but we all know about the chances associated with that!

5/10/08

Saving and Earning Money with WaMu!

During the last Monetizer entry, the topic of "paying yourself" first was discussed. This included investing as well as putting money into interest-earning bank accounts. Today I want to discuss Savings Accounts and CD's which are available at WaMu. A savings account is a great idea for things like putting aside money for a rainy day, or to save for a fixed amount you need, say for a car or house downpayment. A Certificate of Deposit or CD is an even better way to save that money, with a few caveats.

The Monetizer browsed WaMu's banking site, which helps you decide on the proper account to open. It costs just $1 to start a Savings account at WaMu. Applications can be done online and your account can be managed via the internet as well. There's plenty of choices for ATM's you can use, should you need to pull out money in the "real world". The Monetizer tends to enjoy online banking as you can actually make sure your bills get payed the way you want them to. Sending a check in the mail isn't always the best way to pay a bill on time, so the extra control is nice. WaMu offers online electronic statements as well to help reduce paper and save some trees. The great part of these accounts is also that they pay you interest to save your money there. Depending on where you live, a savings account may offer 3.25% interest earned on your account. This rate will go up and down as the economy improves or declines. So in essence, it pays to save your money at WaMu.

At WaMu they not only offer savings accounts, but also higher-interest earning Certificates of Deposit. Among the choices are Traditional, Online and Liquid CD's. These can be a great place to sock your extra money and let it continually to earn interest for you. With CD's you usually can't get at your money as quickly as with a savings or checking account. A CD typically has a life of several months or years (12 to 60 months), after which you can take all your money out, or roll it over into another CD to keep earning money until you need it. The advantage is that the longer the length of your CD, the more interest it tends to earn for you. For example the 12 month CD earns you about 3% interest, while a 60 month (5 year) earns you 4% interest. WaMu offers a "Liquid CD" as well, which allows you to get your money out for certain transactions, but you'll need $5,000 to start one and the interest you can earn is considerably lower (1.25 to 2.15%). Many people use CD's to gradually save up the money to put down as a deposit on a home.

Keep in mind you will need at least $1,000 to start a CD, while you'll only need $1 to start a savings account at the site. But both options will earn interest on your money, giving you legitimate ways to make your money work for you at WaMu.

5/8/08

Pay Yourself First!

Something that a lot of us tend to overlook is the concept of "pay yourself first", which is a big recommendation many financial experts make. We all spend hard-earned money on ourselves but that money isn't really ours. It's being payed to a hair stylist, babysitters, the movie theater, a restaraunt, etc etc. Paying yourself first means making sure you have money put aside which is all yours, and turning into even more money. I want to cover two things I've done in the past that are great ideas for "stockpiling" your hard earned money and making it work for you!

1) High interest Money Market or Savings Account - There's a lot of these accounts online that you can check out. In the past I've used two different ones. Netbank and now ING Direct. The interest rate right now is down due to the economy. It's close to about 3% or less, when in the past it's been 5%. It should recover as the economy does. This MMA can become your "emergency fund" or savings fund for that home or whatever project you are planning. With ING you can actually refer friends and you'll earn $10 for each who opens an account (with $250 or more), while your friend gets $25 after their account is active for a month. Who doesn't love free money???

Bankrate.com - to compare different savings, checkings and money market accounts.

ING Direct Website - great savings or money market account, run online, connects to your bank account.

Netbank.com - similar to ING direct, they may have a higher or lower interest rate.

2) Investing in Stocks - I don't purport to be a big investor anywhere near the level of people like Mr. Warren Buffet or Wall Street mutual fund managers. But in the past I've used two cheap stock buying sites and done reasonably well, after research. The first is Sharebuilder and the 2nd is Buyandhold.com. They allow you to purchase small amounts of stock ($20 and up at a time) for a fee of about $3.99 or more per transaction. If you want to dabble in stocks, or start to build up your stocks slow, these are a great place to start. Of course if you have more money to invest, go for the places like e-Trade, Schwab and the other big boys who take $1000 or more to start up. I currently recommend BuyandHold.com. You could start up both a "play" stock account (if you want to try short term trading, etc) and an IRA there. I recommed the Roth variety as it won't be taxed when you retire.

BuyandHold.com

Sharebuilder.com

(Note: always make sure to do your research on stocks so you don't lose that money! I tend to like higher dividend blue chip stocks that continously pump $$$ back into your account every few months.)

By paying yourself first, you become disciplined to take 10% or more of all the money you make and devote it to your own welfare. Make the money you make work for you. There's no reason to pay everyone else and neglect yourself!

(PS: You may have credit card debt like many do, but that's still no reason not to pay yourself. Be mindful of the bills, but work on acquiring wealth at the same time, at whatever level possible!)

4/24/08

Going Beyond Bedding

This may seem off topic for the Monetizer, but I wanted to take some time out to review this website Beyond Bedding which offers comfortable prices for your Kids Bedding. After all, saving money is a big deal these days with the way our economy is in the US. This also may give others some food for thought for how they proceed with their own web projects.

First off, Beyond Bedding is an exclusive manufacturer of JoJo Designs Bedding products. For your children, Beyond Bedding offers a great variety of products. They have items such as Bed Skirts, Changing Pad Covers, Children's Lampshades, Children's Hampers, Musical Crib Mobiles, Wall Decor, Window Valances/Coverings and even Children's Clothing. Although I'm no interior decorator, the bedding styles appeared innovative and stylish enough to match most decors in homes. They offer popular colors like pinks, blues, stripes and various other patterns.

If you browse through the site you'll definitely get the feeling of sleep comfort with Beyond's color scheme and laid back layout. Light grays and purples on white backdrop convey a very cozy feeling. I have no contention with the site layout or color scheme and feel it has a professional edge to it, similar to the websites by Kohl's or Macys. The last thing you want for a site about bedding products is to be in your face and too flashy.

The Beyond website does appear to be hosted through Yahoo web hosting. This is fine, but The Monetizer would suggest that Beyond Bedding add a favicon of some sort. The favicon is the small little logo/picture you see up next to many web addresses in your browser (Monetizer's is a fat green dollar sign). For Beyond, it would need to be something related to sleep or bedding such as a pillow, bed, cloud, etc. While some debate whether favicons are even necessary, this would give their site that extra professional touch that most online companies have these days. Having the well known Y! for Yahoo up next to their URL could make people wonder about who's really running the company. Having a clever favicon would make the site memorable should people add it to their web bookmarks. As many marketing experts note, branding is very important. On the positive side, Beyond Bedding offers their own blog, RSS feeds, a newsletter which visitors can opt in for, and a gift registry. These features make smart additions for their site to get lists of potential customers.

If you have children, happen to be expecting now, or just want to buy a gift for family or friends, you may want to consider Beyond's Children's Bedding section. Beyond Bedding offers an 800 number, live online help, they accept major credit cards and PayPal, and they offer a 14 day return policy. On a final note, while the site is far from boring, make sure you are fully awake for the browsing. Otherwise the cozy look and products from the bedding site may lull you to sleep.

4/23/08

Can You Become a Millionaire by Age 30?

WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO BECOME FILTHY RICH. - Product disclaimer from Amazon.com

If you're over 30, don't despair because this just might apply to you as well. There's a new book out by Alan Corey which was profiled in the latest US News magazine. It has the lengthy title of A Million Bucks by 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionaire Before (or After) Turning Thirty. I like it.

Alan's claim to fame is that he gave himself a goal of being a millionaire by the young age 30. After finishing college he put the plan in motion, but not by creating a fancy business or viral dotcom idea. He didn't go around networking with bigwigs to secure startup funds, or finding lots of iPods to sell on eBay. He simply started to cut costs by being the ultimate cheapskate. That's right, Alan would reuse old popcorn bags for refills at the movies (ethical?), find thrown out or used umbrellas, never bought new bottled water and went on "cheap dates". He and his friends even made up a fake story to get themselves on the Jerry Springer show and win a free spring break trip. Now of course all those things won't make you a million alone, and Alan also realized he needed to produce some assets to get himself rich.

Basically, Alan worked a 9-5 job for 6 years, but was fed up with "working for the man" for peanuts, just like many of us are. He used to live in his mom's basement in Atlanta, but then decided to move to NYC to work on his goal of becoming rich. New York is far from a cheap place to live and Alan was making just 40 grand at his job. He realized his college degree was useless in terms of him making money, which may or may not be true. So he started cutting costs, saving, and then ultimately investing in real estate and other financial vehicles. There was luck involved, as he got into the right real estate deals at the right time (not to say there's no deals now). But now at age 28, Alan's happy to say he's retired (and still being a cheapskate)! (and by the way he claims that one of his cheap dates is now moving in with him)

The moral of the story here is that if you scrimp and save and make some wise investments with the money you do have, you have a good chance at using that extra money to build wealth. It's more of a mindset than anything to become rich. Alan even states in the magazine's interview excerpt that he just believed his goal was going to happen, and it has, 2 years early. Hmmm...so maybe that book The Secret really works?

Not that he needs the extra money, but Alan's now in search of his next million, and this sounds like one interesting moneymaking journey to read about...Alan's Book A Million Bucks by 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents, and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionaire Before (or After) Turning Thirty is currently available at Amazon.com.

4/22/08

Celebrate Earth Day Today!

Thankfully Google has their logo tricked out on almost every important day in the calendar year. Today's Google logo image looks like this:



That's right, April 22nd is Earth Day! The best way to celebrate is to be good to the Earth by conserving resources better, planting trees and trying to recycle appropriately. The Monetizer participated in the Earth's Dark hour last month, where lights were shut off for just 1 hour in an energy conservation effort. That's yet another way to celebrate, you could try reducing your electricity consumption today for an hour, or two, or as much as the entire day...It will go a long way to helping the place we all love to reside on and Make Money off of!

Here's some suggestions for how to celebrate Earth Day:


    Plant some trees or flowers outside (on your own property).

    Wash your clothes in cold water.

    Hang your clothes out to dry on a line instead of using the dryer.

    Turn off lights or unnecessary appliances. Or try to go without them today!

    Adjust your thermostat up or down 1 degree based on the temp outside.

    Considering a new car? Go for an eco friendly model!

    Walk, bike, or commute somewhere instead of driving the car.

    Return recyclable soda or beer bottles. - This may make you some money, depending where you live at!


No matter where you live or how you celebrate, keep it real green today and appreciate the home planet!

4/14/08

The Tax Man Cometh

I enjoy most of the monthly holidays like Christmas, Easter, my birthday, V-day, the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. However, there's one holiday in particular most of us dread and don't really celebrate often: April 15th or "Tax Due Date".

This year I did something I've never done before with regards to filing my taxes, I filed an extension. The reasons are due to my recent move, some tax documents I needed were misplaced. So now with the due date 2 days away, I am extending so I can get those documents in and do my taxes soon after. The drawbacks are there could be a late fee, and month to month interest is charged until you file your Federal return.

To file an extension, you'll need to know your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from 2006, your estimated tax owed this year, and your federal tax payments made. You may also need to file an extension for your state taxes. Make sure to refer to your state's gov site for more info, as each state differs in its rules. For my state, there was no need to file the state extension if you don't expect to owe state taxes AND you filed the federal extension.

Once you've filled out the e-file extension form you'll most likely be asked to pay some money towards your federal tax owed (payment must be over $1). You also may be charged a fee, which in my case was $3.95, payable by bank account or CC. And now I wait to make sure the extension goes through!

If you need to file an extension of your own, check out www.irs.gov where they list out several free e-file sites which include Form 4868, the form for a federal extension. I'll keep you updated on any progress or issues that arise with this...

Hopefully you all are done filing b now and getting some moolah back...Good luck with the process!

4/10/08

The Big Give: Making Money & Giving Back

oprah winfrey abc the big give

"I can't help the poor if I'm one of them, so I got rich and gave back to em, that's the win-win" - Moment of Clarity, Jay-Z

Big Give or Go home. That's the motto of Oprah Winfrey's interesting new reality game show that airs Sunday nights at 9PM on ABC. It's been running several weeks now, but covers an important aspect of moneymaking that many overlook; the concept of giving back.

Many of the books which discuss wealth acquisition also delve into the topic of giving in order to receive. Roberty Kiyosaki, author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad", says that most often you'll find that once you've given a donation to your church or other charity, you'll find the gift somehow returns to you with interest. That doesn't mean if you donate $1 to a church, expect to find a bag full of 100 dollar bills, but that you may have some act of gratitude come back to you for your charitable expression.

On Oprah's "The Big Give" contestants are given a unique challenge each week. They are usually given the names of specific people or locations with a set amount of funds, and told to give as big as they can. The goal is to see who can give the biggest by improving life for the community, family or individual. On this past week's episode the four remaining contestants helped give big to two individuals suffering with cancer. One woman got her wish to play piano on stage in the famous Carnegie Hall theater in NYC. The audience included her family and friends, and Natalie King Cole surprised her on stage.

There was a second man who the team also gave big to, also suffering with cancer. He was worried about his piling up medical bills and his mortgage with a wife and kids. The contestants used the help of Jada Pinkett-Smith and Donald Trump. The man and his family were treated to a fun-filled day in New York which included shopping sprees and a ride in Mr. Trump's very own helicopter around NYC. The day ended with the man's entire extended family arriving to see him via horse-drawn buggies. The team then let him know that his mortgage was payed off (thanks to celebrity donations), and that he would have money for his kids' college funds. In addition, he was given a brand new Ford truck.

It's now down to 3 contestants on the show, one of whom is Cameron Johnson, a dot com millionaire and entrepreneur. After reading his book months ago, I was familiar with Cameron and realize that entrepreneurs do have the powers to give big. That's not to say everyone doesn't have this charitable power, but the entrepreneur can usually network with many connections and is good at project management. They also tend to be good at raising up capital to start up ventures, and most companies have trouble saying no when asked to contribute to a charitable function. I'm expecting to see Cameron as the winner, however he really doesn't need the 1 million dollars that Oprah will surprise the final contestant with. So maybe he'll turn around and give big.

The Big Give is down to just 3 contestants and resumes Sunday at 9PM EST on ABC. The Monetizer also encourages you to take a look at the extra earnings they make online and consider earmarking $5 to send to a charity you truly believe in. Or if you'd prefer donating time and help, Oprah's Big Give site also offers printable Good Deed Coupons" here. Remember it's not just about making money, but what you do with that money you make.

3/30/08

The Hour the Earth Went Dark

light bulb dark
Not quite the entire Earth, but millions of people around the globe observed March 29th's "Earth Hour", a global effort to show how we can have an impact on the climate. The premise was to turn off your lights between 8 and 9 PM during your local time, which in turn would conserve energy in a big, unified way. Many cities participated with hosted events to observe the hour. Not only homes, but restaurants, local businesses and even landmarks turned their lights out as part of the event. According to news reports, even the Queen of Denmark shut lights out to be part of the effort.

Earth Hour was started over 10 years ago by the WWF (not the pro wrestling league, but World Wildlife Fund). According to their site's info page on the effort:

Created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, Earth Hour has grown from a single event into a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 35 US cities will participate, including the US flagships--Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco.


More at WWF's Earth Hour page

Something like this should really be done on a weekly basis in homes just to cut down their energy bills and save money. WWF encouraged people to replace their standard light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs during the blackout hour. It's amazing just how much power and electricity we use on a daily basis, but a little bit of conservation can go a long way. Hopefully this becomes an annual tradition with more and more homes and people participating.

2/15/08

Money Considerations when Moving

Hey friends, fans and faithful blog readers...The Monetizer was recently involved in a big out of state move. As you know there's a lot involved when you make a move to a new residence. If it's an apartment setting you may have a lot of loose ends to tie up back home. Here's some tips on things to think about when moving..

1) Bank - This has been the biggest challenge so far. My bank located back home doesn't have branches in the new state. The challenge comes because I used to be able to move funds from PayPal or other sources on a day's notice. Now there's a new stumbling block in automatic withdrawals, etc. So the bank is one thing to consider first and foremost when moving.

2) Utility/Bill companies - The beauty of most companies these days is that you can do things online, such as pay the monthly bill and if you need to, cancel service. I've been successful in cancelling Eletric so far, but the Cable and Phone/DSL will require phone calls. A lot of these services require a certain amount of notice to cancel, or you will get billed for another month. The gym I belong to either wants you to cancel in person, or send a certified letter of cancellation. So there's a bit of a process involved in quitting a health club, although it may differ for different gyms.

3) Apartment lease - Apartments are very different in lease policies. Some will allow month to month renting, others do it by the yearly lease. There can be fees involved for breaking the lease and then any problems that the apartment may have. It's something to consider before leaving that you do your best to leave the place how you first moved into it. This isn't always cost effective at the time, but it can save you money for damage fees. Often the security deposit can aid with this.

4) Change of address - This one actually costs you a whole dollar by credit card should you choose to do it online. It's smart to do this as quickly as possible to make sure you get that mail, bills and of course checks from various companies! You can use USPS.com to make the change, and it works pretty well. Beware though, they put you through a ton of extra as you go along such as "would you like to subscribe to any of these magazines?"

5) Internet work/Blogging - Until I get hi-speed here, I am forced to work with the old school dialup. That can be tricky with just one phone line and roommates, but I will manage to get my work in when I can. It's probably the biggest stumbling block so far, but these things can be overcome.

There's a ton to think about and do when you move, and the above things can be financial difficulties, only if you let them. It's always good to plan in advance, otherwise you will be throwing away that hard earned money you're making online!

2/9/08

The Mortage Debate: Pay Off or Keep It?

I was recently checking out an article at the UK's Money Magic site about a Commercial Mortgage situation. One article on the site discusses how borrowers can and should pay off their mortgage by keeping their montly payments up.

The article states:

"A lender who is paying £629 per month on a £100,000 mortgage at 5.75 per cent could now pay £30 less at 5.25 per cent "

Many of us here in the US don't deal in Euros, but the concept is the same for the US homeowners. According to Kate Tucker of Charcoal.co.uk, she says a mortgage really dictates when people can retire. Paying off that big financial obligation may seem like sound advice as the article adds that paying off the mortgage frees up money for other things. However, The Monetizer has heard from more than one source that the last thing you want to do is pay your mortgage off.

In my opinion, owning a home is the best investment you can make financially, besides an education. The home mortgage can be refinanced to free up extra money for bills should you hit a real crunch. It provides a nice cushion. Also, with tough economic times right now and home foreclosures hitting people so hard, keeping the mortgage seems to work for the long term. As the economy and real estate selling market improves, the value of your home could shoot up, giving you extra money if you sell. It's a great investment either way. So many will say get rid of that huge bill, but other financial pundits argue it's a good idea to keep it going for investment's sake.

What is your take on having a mortage? Good or bad to keep one?


11/30/07

Save on Tech with TechBargains.com

The Monetizer is always searching for good deals on tech gadgets and computer gear. A website called techbargain.com seems to make that search much easier. Techbargain.com provides you with ways to find "the best deals in tech" including bargain news and exclusive deals . The site is easy to navigate and provides a nice search box which lets you query either eBay or the TechBargains site or just search "for lowest price". Scanning through the main site listings today revealed a nice list of current deals including memory cards, cell phones, hard drives, ipods, Nintendo Wii's and other assorted computer goodies. There were even deals displaying for Reebok shoes and plane tickets, so it's not limited to tech deals alone. You can check out their cheap ipods listings or search for a cheap digital camera for an example of the deals they offer.

Techbargain.com also offers you coupons/rebates, a comprehensive database of products, and product reviews. There's also RSS feeds, so you can keep a close watch in your reader on the latest tech deals. You can even set up customized alerts and access their deals from your wireless device. According to the site they update their content 24/7, even on the weekends and holidays, making it an invaluable resource for tech shopping.

With the holidays approaching you may be looking to get a deal on a gift for someone on your list, or a little something for yourself. If you're looking to score a great deal on any computers, accessories or other tech gadgets, give Techbargain.com a visit today.

11/22/07

A Money Saving Thanksgiving

No, no I'm far from a John Chow hater. In fact I'm a fan of Chow who loves to show pictures of the food he eats on his blog. I think that gives it a nice deviation from the norm. However while he likes $70 hamburgers, sometimes you have to live below your means in the interest of building your wealth. So here's a picture of a Thanksgiving meal that can be had for just $1 on sale! Complete with Turkey, gravy, stuffing, peas and mashed potatoes. For a Google Adsense check you could give out 100 Turkey dinners at your place and turn it into a soup kitchen!

Banquet Turkey Dinner

Now the point of this post is not to mock the less fortunate or John Chow. It's not a PayPerPost for Banquet microwave meals either :) Just to keep with the theme that you can always save money if needed. The Monetizer wishes a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and we'll all resume the moneymaking soon after we have recovered from the Triptofan nap attack!

(Note: These dinners weren't part of the recent recall. Con Agra is back to making the Banquet pot pies that were part of a Salmonella outbreak. The recall cost an estimated $30 million.)

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