Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wedding ebook gets a makeover

My very first book, 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget, has just recieved a cover makeover.

I had this one professionally done--instead of the disaster I produced before.  I still sold quite a number of that copy, and hopefully this will sell a lot more.

Here's a link to the Amazon Kindle site.  Also, if you could review it, that would be most appreciated.  Right now there is a disappointing 2-star review, and although I agree some of the information is common sense, there are still enough unique tips to make it worthwhile.  Besides, if it was common sense, then why wouldn't everyone who is trying to save money on a wedding do these?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Avoid overdrafts at all costs.

A recent Forbes article cited that in 2012, consumers in the United States paid $32 billion in overdraft fees.

If you didn't grasp that number, it's this: $32,000,000,000.00

A hell of a lot of zeros.

Avoid overdraft fees at all cost.  Trust me, I've been there got the T-shirt.  At one time, years ago, we were so overdrawn in our checking account that when it came time for payday, we ended up being less than thirty bucks in the black.  Luckily, I had a part-time job that was going to be paid the next day, but it was still very unsettling.

Overdrafts are like quicksand.  It's like a hole you can't quite seem to get out of without doing something drastic.

What did we do?  My wife and I sat down at wrote out a detailed budget.  We even quit paying on some of our bills so we could at least stay afloat.  Our three kids needed to eat and we needed gas in the car.  We cut what we could.  We've always been an advocate for eating at home, so we just bought more on sale and only what we needed.

We also quit using the checkbook for a time.  We literally put it in the freezer, and only took it out what we got it under control.

Then, we worked hard not to get back in that situation again.

What tricks have you done to keep yourself out of overdrafts?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Being harassed by a debt collector? Try

Are you being harassed non-stop by a debt collector?

Are they calling you multiple times at work, even when you've asked them to stop?

Have collection agencies threatened you with jail time?

If you feel like a debt collector has violated the law by harassment, then you need to get in touch with Collection

The link is right here:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Anniversary Time!

Sixteen years ago on this date, I married my best friend Melissa.

Sixteen years later, we still attend this church--and by the same pastor who married us.

This is also the reason why I write everyday, and our simple wedding is the inspiration behind my ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget.  Please give it a review.  It's only $.99

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The hidden job description of a debt collector: to evoke and control your emotions

A debt collector called our house the other day, regarding one of my wife's credit cards that has been in default for a number of years.

(I must note here that my wife battled with leukemia two years ago, and was not feeling well in the years prior to this--not that we're proud of not paying a debt; we're not, and want to take care of it.  But only when we're able to do so; also, she is still in a long recovery from the after effects of her illness).

I was at work when this call came in and my wife contacted me afterwards, saying they could take away the house and all of our possessions.  I spent a great deal of energy calming her down, which only increased my heart rate.

I was pissed off!

The next day, when I was home, the butt-head collector calls again.  This time . . . he got me!  He gave me the same speech (I wish I had recorded it) and I told him he was a liar.  I even told him that our financial counsellor said that all collectors are trained liars--he asked who my financial counsellor was and I said it was Dave Ramsey (you know, the guy from Nashville who has helped millions of people get out of debt).  He had the nerve to ask who Dave Ramsey was!

Then, the guy went on a tirade again.  I ended up telling him off and gave him a true blue %&@# send-off.

A thought occurred to me afterwards.  He got a hold of my emotions.  Big time.  Not good.

If a collector calls and you honestly can't pay at that time, and are truly working on a plan, tell them you're working on it and hang up.

Don't let their tactics get the best of you.  Which is to control your emotions.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My harsh reaction to a dangerous Motley Fool article regarding Dave Ramsey

Today I discovered a disturbing article regarding financial guru Dave Ramsey.  I discovered this as I was perusing his website and came across a half-hour radio interview with the article writer from the Motley Fool.

I give the guy kudos for at least agreeing to go on the show and debate his views, and I equally give Dave kudos for not ripping the guy a new one--something he sorely needed.

The article in reference on the Motley Fool site is listed here, and the basic gist of his argument is regarding the 12% average rate of return the stock market has done since the mid 1920's.  This supposedly causes people anxiety as they harp on with "Oh, you can't get 12% on your mutual funds!"

I have one word for this: bull.

The company I work for offers a 401(K) program, and in its mutual fund offerings I have four I am invested in.  The average in the last 3 years (the furthest back the data provides unless I view the prospectus), one did a little less than 10%, two were are 13%, and one did 16%.  I don't know about you, but that's a lot more than 12%.  Besides, I looked at the information Wells Fargo gave us and ALL of the information they state advised that the average rate of return was 12%!

And here's my greatest contention in response to the "foolish" article: WHO CARES!  You're splitting hairs and analyzing data to death, depending on how you want to look at it.  This is why I hate following politics any longer, because when the government spews out data for something, you can analyze it fourteen different ways to Sunday and come up with a different analysis--this depends on which political party is in power and which news program you're watching.

Take Ramsey's teachings of never having a car payment.  If you were to save for decades what you'd pay for in car payments, investing in mutual funds which have averaged 12% rate of return, it comes to 5-7 million dollars--and to top it off, Dave ALWAYS ends this statement with "And if I'm half right, you're still okay!"

I tried to comment on the Fool's article, but I could not without registering on their website--something I am not about to do.  Because of this, I will not EVER visit their site nor purchase any of their products.

(Oh, by the way, the guy who wrote the article had NEVER attended his 9-week Financial Peace University course, had NEVER read any of his books--except for a few choice article in the Total Money Makeover--and was not a regular listener to Ramsey's show.  I don't know about you, but if I was going to write an article trashing someone's views, I'd want to do a lot of research and read a lot on what that person said.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Goodbye, Chase Auto!

Chase Auto is out of my life . . . FOREVER!

After far too long, we've been working through our major debt load and have, as of yesterday morning, paid off out van with Chase Auto.

The guy I talked to on the phone, to get our final payout total, was very nice.  I will not fault him for at least having a job.  But, as a whole, I hate Chase Auto!  I am glad they are out of our lives forever!

Okay, let me be clear on this: I signed for the debt, nobody put a gun to my head, and even in January 2011 when the repo man came to take it away because we were three months behind--we got it back two weeks later, and this blog post on vehicle reposession spells out our experiences with it--in a way we were thankful because it grounded us in the fact that we didn't want to play around with debt any longer.

Adios, Chase Auto!

Next time, I'll saving up and paying cash.  No more car loans for this family!

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Wedding Season Begins!

The typical wedding season starts in April, five months from today.

Is your wedding being planned for the summer of 2013? If so, then you're probably already planning for it.

If you wedding is in 2014 or later, there are many resources available on planning your wedding--many are listed by clicking the wedding tab along the side of this blog to sort through them all.

As always, one such is the ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget which is available through the Amazon Kindle site.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

$28,400 - average cost of wedding in 2012, according to CNN

Last week, CNN Money announced that the average wedding in 2012 cost around $28,400.  Here the link to the March 10th article.  This total, however, depends on the locale of the wedding, and they make comparisons to those in Manhattan with those in Alaska.

Almost half of this amount is spent on the reception, with the other top five expenses being: engagement ring, reception band, photographer, and flowers/decor.

The article breaks down the changes in expenses when compared with those prior to the economic downturn in 2008, and they have some interesting results.

If this number seems extremely high for you--as it did for us almost 16 years ago--then check out several books on the subject of having a wedding on a budget.  One such is my own publication, titled 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget.  It may seem like common sense, but then answer me this: why do so many couple never budget for their wedding and go deeply in debt for it?  My book helps find ways of slashing the budget AND/OR finding ways of adding funds to do it debt free.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Have a library card? Use OverDrive App for free ebooks and audiobooks

Have a library card?


Want free ebooks and/or audiobooks?

Of course you do.

Then try out OverDriveOverDrive is a service that allows libraries from across the country to download ebooks and audiobooks.  Lending periods are typically either 7 or 14 days.  I, personally, have just started using this service in the past few months, and I highly recommend it.  I have the app for both my Kindle as well as my Droid (found on the Google Play store).

If you're like most people who love to read but cannot afford to buy as many books as you want, then try out OverDrive.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Got a late start on your monthly budget?

Today is the 5th of March and I must ask you: did you start a monthly budget yet?  You didn't.  Instead of telling yourself, "I'll just wait until next month," start it now.

Having a plan for your money is the best way to get a handle on your expenses.

It doesn't have to be complicated.  Take a piece of paper and write down all of your expenses, from debt to food to gas to miscellaneous.

Prioritize that list, from food, housing, and transportation costs at the top.  At the bottom is your total debt and expenses.  Minus your income from that total.  If you're in the negative, you will have to go back and tweak something.  If you have money left over, that's good.

But what to do with that left-over money?

Save.  Give.  Spend wisely.  Get out of debt.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Final Countdown . . . To The Wedding Season!

I can almost hear the iconic sounds of the 80's rock band Europe and their famous song:

Yes, it is the final countdown before the start of the wedding season, one month from today.  If you're planning a wedding, there are several resources listed on the WEDDING tab on this blog.

Another great resource is my ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget which is available through the Amazon Kindle site.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Debt limits what you are able to do

Having debt (in any amount) steals away from your income.  In return, it also steals away what you are able to do.

You are not able to give more.

You are not able to buy more.

You are not able to save more.

Even if circumstances arise and you find yourself in need of cash (a recent funeral you need to fly or drive to, for example) you may not be able to do this if you have debt.

Years ago, a friend's father passed away.  Even though I was much closer to where the funeral was, I was still not able to make the one and a half hour trek to go to it.  Why?  Because I had to work and we had debt.  The work was a second job, which I needed in order to keep up with our expenses (which debt was a large part of).  I felt bad for not being there.  His father was a great man.  I only bring this up now because the same friend had to travel the 6+ hours this past week to attend a funeral and I thought of how I wanted to be there at his father's funeral.

Having a sizeable amount of debt has affected our life dramatically.  It has hindered what we've been able to do and even save for.

If you're in debt, create a plan to get out of it.

If you're not in debt, create a plan to stay out of it.

And stick to it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Have you done your taxes? What are you waiting for?

I'll keep this one short:

Have you done your taxes yet?

If you have, great!

If you have not, what are you waiting for?  Don't let this be another one of those late-night cram sessions we all did in college.  Do it now.

Need help?  Go to the IRS website.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetheart!

This was taken roughly 16 years ago, on our wedding day.  Can you guess who I am?  (Hint: I'm the taller one).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Need wedding ideas? Check out

These days, coming up with new or unique ideas for your wedding can be daunting.

Never fear, has come up with a list of ideas for your upcoming special day.

By clicking on the link above, the ideas range from:











There are thousands of ideas to choose from, so be sure to check out's wedding idea site for ideas on planning your upcoming wedding.

Also, be sure to check out my ebook as well, and a link to it can be found here: 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget

Friday, February 1, 2013

Wedding Season Countdown - Two Months and Counting

The typical wedding season starts in April, five months from today.

Is your wedding being planned for the summer of 2013? If so, then you're probably already planning for it.  If it's planned for 2014, chances are you're just starting the planning process.

There are many resources available on planning your wedding--many are listed by clicking the wedding tab along the side of this blog to sort through them all--and one such is the ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget which is available through the Amazon Kindle site.

Everything from starting a wedding budget and setting up a wedding fund, this short ebook is jam-packed with tips to get you started on your way to having a debt-free wedding.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wedding Season Countdown - Three Months!

Happy New Year!

And what a happy year it will be too, for those of you planning your wedding.  The typical wedding season starts in April, three months from today.  If you're already deep in the planning phase, then let me share a few resources for you.

Many of the resources are listed by clicking the wedding tab along the side of this blog to sort through them all--and another such resource is the ebook 99 Ways To Have A Memorable Wedding On A Shoestring Budget which is available through the Amazon Kindle site.  So please click on the link above and start saving on your wedding today!