Sunday, July 5, 2015

Thank You for the Birthday Wishes

What a joy it was yesterday to hear from friends and family.  My mother sang happy birthday over the phone, our two boys sent messages from places far off and my Facebook page was inundated with birthday wishes.  Our daughter joined my wife and me for a pancake breakfast and presented a home-made birthday cake covered in sparkles.  It was an amazing day from start to finish.  Thank you for thinking of me.  Have a great day. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Staying Alive at 55

It's official.  I'm 55 today.  I remember thinking as a kid how old 55 seemed.  Now I'm thinking, wow, look at all those great deals they offer people my age and I'm so young.  I'm the old geezer of coupon savings.  Frugal is my mantra and I'm going to keep striving for financial independence until I finally get it right no matter how long it takes.  They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks but I'm going to disprove this theory.

For those of you looking for my next book, "Break the Chains of Debt Bondage," originally scheduled for release today, you'll need to be patient.   I haven't slayed the debt dragon yet.  He has seven heads and nine lives but I'm getting the upper hand.  His days are numbered.  Have a Happy 4th of July.  If you see a dead dragon on the side of the interstate, you can blame it on the old man who fled the scene in his Fred Flintstone mobile.  I'm staying alive at 55.  Have a great day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Ingredients of a Smile

The other day I sent my wife this text message:  I feel good, I feel fine, I feel this way all the time.  The quote once hung in our shower and I read it every morning.  This helped me get through some tough times.  It works, especially when you put on a smile.  It's the best weapon I know to defeat all the negativity in the world.  If you're struggling to put on a happy face, here are some ideas to consider:
  1. Eat more protein.  This is necessary to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in your brain which positively influence your mood.
  2. Exercise.  I'm talking about pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion.  Seek out the "runner's high." This also triggers increased serotonin in your brain.
  3. Take a walk in the sunshine.  It's another mood enhancer.  
  4. Think happy thoughts.  It works.  I don't really know why but when I think about happy memories I really do feel good, I really do feel fine and I pretty much feel that way all the time.
Have a great day.  Smile.  You have all the ingredients you need to be happy.  I hope you feel this way all the time.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

How One New Habit Can Give You $5,000

If you don't have at least $5,000 in your bank account, this post is for you.  It's so simple it's ridiculous.  Before I give away my secret, I need to share why I needed to change my ways.  It was my middle of the night wake up call.  I thought I was having a heart attack.  My wife drove me to the emergency room.  I thought about my young children.  My head was spinning and my heart felt like it was going to explode.  I thought it was all over.  They hooked me up with all sorts of probes.  The doctor walked in, looked at my chart and asked me, "do you drink soda?"  It wasn't the question I was expecting.  "Yes, I answered."

The doctor told me I was having a reaction to an overdose of caffeine.  It took thirty days for my heart rate to return to normal.  I was hooked on Mountain Dew.  Take a look at the picture to see what I was putting in my body at least twice a day every day until my emergency room visit.  Besides all that sugar, a twelve ounce can of Mountain Dew contains 54 mg of caffeine, enough to cause an irregular heartbeat and make your eyes twitch out of control.  This is the part of the story where I share how one new habit can give you $5,000.

My local grocery store sells one gallon water refills for .69/gallon.  I refill my water jugs and take two bottles of water to work every day.  This breaks down to just under ten cents per bottle of water.  My net savings is $3/day vs. buying bottles of water in a vending machine or at a convenience store.  I do the same thing when I'm not working at my day job.  That's $3/day x 365 days a year ($1095/yr).  This new habit gives me an extra $5,000 every five years – enough savings to make my heart skip a beat.  I kicked my Mountain Dew habit by replacing it with a new habit that makes cents.  The cents turn into dollars and the dollars turn into thousands of dollars.  Please share this with a friend.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Debt Reduction Tip of the Day – Cell Phone Savings

The smartest cell phone plans aren't the ones your provider promotes.  I discovered a great money saving idea while on a chat session with my customer service rep.  She was pushing the next latest and greatest phone.  I was looking to go in the opposite direction.  Mary Lou surprised me with a $25/month reduction.  It doesn't happen automatically – you must ask for it.  Here's how it works:
  1. Get in touch with your provider and find out when your contract is up for renewal.  Put that date on your calendar.  Do not renew your contract.  You must resist all temptations to upgrade.  When your contract expires, call your cell phone company and ask to go on a month-to-month plan.
  2. Remind your provider that your phone is paid in full.  A portion of your monthly agreement is applied to the cost of your phone.  It takes two years for your provider to recoup the full cost of your phone.  They will keep charging you the same fee upon expiration unless you ask for the discount.
  3. Notify your provider that you're going shopping with the competition if you can't get your bill reduced.  Insist on a month-to-month arrangement.  They will find a way to help you.
Debt reduction is serious business.  I'm disappointed my "Financial Independence Day" has been postponed but I'm feeling good about crossing the finish line soon and I'll keep sharing my debt reduction tips on the road to financial independence.  Please share this money-saving idea with a friend.  Have a great day.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beware of the Can'ts, They're Contagious

Can'ts are like flu viruses.  They're highly contagious.  If you're not careful, you may end up sick.  Use caution when you encounter someone suffering from "can'ts" disease.  They're usually stuck living in the past and have trouble moving forward.  Here are some familiar symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Slumped shoulders
  • Tardiness
  • Poor work performance
  • Negative attitude
You can spot these victims by listening to their words which are highly toxic and can spread rapidly throughout organizations if they're not quarantined.   If you listen to what these victims say, you will hear the word can't spew from their mouth.  It sounds like this:

"I can't do that because I'm blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."  The blahs are the excuses they spit out about their can'ts disease.  They say they're too young, too old, too poor, too busy, too tired or too weak to handle the task at hand.

Immunize yourself.  Stay away from the can'ts sufferers.  If you must be around them, show them by your own example how easy it is to be cured.  It's simple – remove the 't from can't.  Can't becomes can.  The symptoms disappear.  Victims are suddenly able to become unstuck.  Companies thrive.  Maybe we should offer tee shirts for those who overcome can'ts disease.  How about something like, "I'm a can'ts survivor."  What a way to spread the cure to others.  Have a great day.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Are You Smarter than a Debt Collector?

One of the most important lessons I've learned about dealing with third party debt collectors is the rules of engagement.  Most people in the business rely on your lack of understanding.  They harass you by calling at inappropriate times or too frequently.  They say inappropriate things to scare you into submission.  Hiding from them is not the best solution.  You must become smarter than a debt collector.

Bad things happen to good people.  So do good things.  A zombie debt buyer recently hired a zombie third party debt collector to shake me down.  I sent a certified letter to the zombie and let him know I know the rules.  It's like opening a window and letting the light shine on a vampire.  They flee back into the darkness as long as you know how to respond.  The best place to start is by reading the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  I quoted the FDCPA in my letter.  The zombie responded within twenty-four hours that the account is closed.  I'll share more in my next book.  Have a great day.