Billions in Bailout — No Money Left to Buy Socks for U.S. Troops

It’s a sad day for The United States of America when the government bails out Wall Street, and they use the money to pay corporate executives bonuses!

It was very generous of the folks from “Main Street.” After all, it is the holiday season, and it’s better to give than receive.

According to an article posted on Yahoo! news:

“Crisscrossing the country in corporate jets may no longer fly in Detroit after car executives got a dressing down from Congress. But on Wall Street, the coveted executive perk has hardly been grounded.

Six financial firms that received billions in bailout dollars still own and operate fleets of jets to carry executives to company events and sometimes personal trips, according to an Associated Press review.”

It’s reassuring to read that the billions in bailout have not disrupted the flight patterns of these corporate executives. Thank goodness oil and gas prices have declined. More importantly, they received their Christmas bonuses before the BIG holiday. Whew, they dodged a bullet. Imagine the look on their wives, girlfriends, or life partners face if they only received a 1-carat diamond ring!

Yet, our troops who are serving this country around the world must buy their own socks. You read that correctly; our men and women must purchase their own socks. This is no joke people. You would think that a government that is able to give Wall Street billions in dollars would be able to provide socks for its own military personnel.

This information was brought to light thanks to the Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts. They have a program called Heart and Sole which is collecting socks for our men and women in the military. The goal is to collect 10,000 pairs of socks.

My family has a strong military background. In fact, I found out I have a cousin in the Pentagon. No one knew this. Of course, this is my dad’s side of the family so that makes sense. In our family it was “keep things to yourself and do not speak to anyone outside of the family about family business.” It sounds more Godfatherish than military.

My dad and his brothers served in the Army and their uncles served in World War II. Like so many women, my grandmother did her part and went to work while our boys were overseas. She also saved tin foil and lard in addition to recycling plastic and glass.

It’s a shame that our government cannot provide something as basic as socks to our men and women in the military. As my father would say, “where are your priorities?”

I know I can sleep better at night knowing that all of the executives on Wall Street and two of the BIG 3 automakers were bailed out with billions of taxpayers’ dollars. At least I will not have to worry about this going into the New Year.

We in America have our values in perfect order: Wall Street and executives first, military second, and Main Street last. It’s good to know that all of the corporate executives will have a “banner” holiday season. I myself feel fabulous knowing that my tax dollars were able to provide Wall Street executives with bonuses and holidays in the Hamptons. Have a great 2008 holiday season!

5 Ways to Make EXTRA Cash

Who would like to make extra cash? Not only does extra cash come in handy for the holidays, it’s just good to have all-year-round. Please note that earning extra cash is the key. You will be working. If you are prone to whining and complaining, you may want to close this blog and find something else to read!

Many people think that because some jobs are fun (being an extra in a movie), they do not have to abide by the rules and regulations that are established. This is the furthest thing from the truth. A job is a job. You must adhere to the dress code, hours, and code of conduct established by the organization.

5 Ways to Make Extra Cash

  1. Be an extra in a movie. This can be fun and exciting. You may be cast as a “principal extra” and make more money than the “average” extra. Follow the rules such as no taking pictures or speaking to the actors.
  2. Work seasonal jobs. Many retailers look for seasonal employers. Hours are usually at night and on the weekends. If you can give up some nights and weekends, you can be rolling in the money!
  3. Freelance blogger or writer. Become a freelance blogger or writer. Some writing jobs pay as much as $20 per blog or $100 per article.
  4. Sell health and wellness products. The health and wellness industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. You could become part of a network-marketing group of an organization that sells health and wellness products. You could make hundreds and thousands of dollar each month.
  5. Affiliate marketing. If you have a blog, this is a great way to make extra cash. The drawback to affiliate marketing is that it can take some time to build up the income before it’s released to you.

You would be surprised how many people complain about being an “extra” in a movie. When you are cast as an extra, expect to wait around for the day. Filming a movie is not a speedy process! Instead of complaining about sitting and waiting, be grateful for being cast in the film. You never know what may come of it. And — you could be in the presence of “A-list” actors. How cool would it be to see these actors do what they do best? Think of the story you will have to tell family and friends!

Finally, these are some ways you can make extra cash. No matter what you do, remember that you will be working. Drop your problems at the door and pick them up when you leave. Your employer does not want to hear you complain and whine. Be grateful you found a job and that you will earn extra cash.

Saving Money with Coupons is No Joke

Many people do not use coupons; they think it’s a waste of time. Yet, their savings account and 401(K) are becoming lighter by the hour. The time is now to use coupons. Did you know that Fry’s grocery store is giving consumers double and triple coupons? Like most grocery stores, they have a V.I.P. card that will save consumers money. The bonus is that they are accepting competitor’s coupons.

True, many people will not give up such items such as health and beauty items no matter their financial circumstance. If you’re a woman who uses Oil of Olay products, visit their website for money saving coupons. That’s right, you can get coupons for Oil of Olay’s Definity and Regenerist product lines. The coupons take 6-8 weeks to arrive by mail, but it will be worth it in the end. Visit Oil of Olay for more information.

How many people are familiar with General Mills? If you visit their website, check out all of their brands. Furthermore, if you click on Coupons and Promotions, it will take you to pages upon pages of money saving coupons. All you have to do is sign up and become a member of the Pillsbury Community. It’s that simple and easy. Sign up today and start saving tomorrow!

For those that receive the Sunday paper, it’s usually jammed pack with coupons. Instead of throwing the coupons out or using them to the line bird cage, grab the scissors and start saving at the grocery store.

Another way to save is via direct mail. The ValPak and direct mail magazines you throw away each week, is like opening a window and tossing out money! You never know what’s in that direct mail magazine — are you overlooking a “Buy One Gelato, Get One Free” coupon? Now, that’s a sin!

Quit throwing away money saving coupons. The money that you save on coupons can be put into a savings accounts. Before you know it, you’ll have enough money in the bank and rest easy at night.

Money Mistakes That You Can Avoid

Many people are their own worst enemies. When it comes to money, they continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. People fall victim to their own money mistakes. For those who desire financial independence, recognize and eliminate money mistakes today. This way you can start to live a more peaceful life tomorrow!

The majority of people are impulse buyers. They spend more than what is in the bank because of the need to keep up with their neighbors. Some people buy things because they hold a belief that they will feel better. If you’re an impulsive buyer, make a list of the necessities you need to purchase and then go shopping.

Another money mistake people make is not having a savings account. Putting $10 or $20 a week into a savings account will eventually add up!

Many employees do not take advantage of the 401(K) that their employer offers. Most companies will match their employees contributions. Put the maximum amount into a 401(K) account and watch the dollar amount grow over time. Those who save now will benefit in the long run.

Some people rely on family and friends to bail them out. This is a big mistake! It’s one thing to accept help when the situation is dire, but avoid making a habit of it. Family and friends have their own lives and must take care of themselves as well.

A budget is a great tool that will help many people avoid making money mistakes. Budgeting is not that difficult to do. List monthly expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, car, cell or mobile, clothing, eating out, and other expenses that appear each month. Start by curbing or cutting out expenses such as clothing, food, and entertainment. Cook at home because it’s cheaper and will keep you trimmer!

Finally, do not let your emotions or past experiences get in the way of making money mistakes. Remember, most people make purchases based on their emotions. Logic seems to go out the window, although not entirely. Take a step back, deep breathe, and put the IPod back on the shelf. Besides, Apple will probably come out will a new and improved IPod next year. The one you buy will be obsolete!

8 Ways to Save Money Now That Will Pay Off Later

The U.S.’s economic situation is being felt around the world. Last week was the worst week for the stock market. People are bailing out left and right. Is that a wise thing to do? No, it’s not. Fear is like a disease that infests one person and then spreads like wildfire to others. That’s exactly what is happening right now. Americans are scared to death and are salvaging what they can. On the flip side, those with money will find great bargains on wall street and will be able to turn a profit when the stocks go up.

Perhaps the “economic crisis” in America will teach people a valuable lesson or two. First, do not live beyond your means. People who knew they could not afford the $400,000 house are learning that lesson right now. Second, cut back on expenses. Is it necessary to eat out 3 to 4 times week? Why not prepare a home cooked meal with the family gathered around the table? This is a great way for parents to interact with their children and find out what they are doing or not doing.

People who “tighten their money belt” now will save later. How do you save when you have a family of four or are a single person living on your own? Here are some money saving tips.

Tips to Save Money

  1. Cut back on going out to eat.
  2. Skip the Starbucks, donut shop, or bakery.
  3. Carpool if you can.
  4. Use coupons. Some grocery stores offer double and triple coupons and will accept competitors coupon.
  5. Sell items on Craigslist and eBay. Go through the house and see what can be sold. If something has not been used in a year, it will not be used at all. Sell it!
  6. Cut back on entertainment. Wait until movies come out on video and rent them from the video store or library. As far as concerts go, choose one that you will really enjoy. Before you agree to see Motley Crue (that’s another article), remember, it’s Motley Crue. Speaking from experience, go with the Metallica tickets. It will be a better show. Remember, your time is just as valuable as your money.
  7. Go to FREE events within your community.
  8. Take your lunch to work instead of buying it every day.

Money that you save can be put into a savings account (FDIC insured), Treasury Bills, or Treasury Money Market funds. Be smart with your money and it will take you far. Remember, you are the master of your money; it’s not the master of you.

Saving money is a mindset. You will either save money or not. Most people would like to own their own home, but it may not be feasible at this time. As mom used to say “patience is a virtue.” For now be happy with the things in your life such as good health, family, and friends. You may live in a one bedroom apartment, but at least you are in perfect health!


  1. Do not grocery shop on an empty stomach! People who shop when they’re hungry usually spend more. Make sure you eat breakfast before going to the grocery store.
  2. If products come with a rebate, redeem them, and save the money!

How are you saving money? Do you have any suggestions you would like to share?

Save for a Rainy Day Today Because Tomorrow it May Storm

Are you caught in the “eye” of a financial storm? If you watched Suze Orman on Oprah’s September 23rd show then you know she is fired up. She gave no sympathy to a couple who is $90,000 in credit card debt. The wife did not want to hear that the right move to make was to sell the house. God forbid the couple move into an apartment. They must enjoy yard work, routine and not so routine maintenance, and the typical house work. Then again, maybe they hire people to do this for them which is why they are $90,000 in debt. For “5 priceless money saving tips by Suze Orman, please visit

Clipping coupons is a great way to save money on groceries and personal items. The dollars you save will add up over time. Take the extra cash and put it into a savings account. When you are ready, take some of the money and put it into Treasury Bills and Bonds and Treasury Money Market accounts.

Give up the Starbucks Coffee for awhile. It may seem cruel and unusual, but it will be worth it in the long run. Think of all of the extra money to be deposited into the savings account. Not only will you save money, but reduce time and gas consumption. Plus, cutting down on your drive time will decrease the amount of emissions being released into the air.

Money Saving Links

  1. The Dollar Stretcher. Find out how to live better for less.
  2. Bank Rate. “Original and objective personal finance stories to help consumers make informed financial decisions.”
  3. Money.CNN. Gerri Willis gives you personal finance and savings tips.
  4. Woman’s Day. Has money savings tips from finding a cheap flight to how to do-it-yourself household cleaners.

Most Americans are in credit card debt beyond what their eyes can see. Too much indulgence and not enough self-discipline equals a financial disaster. Unfortunately, this can all be avoided with a little frugality.

Now is the time to face the truth of the situation. It will not be easy at first, but once you stop lying to yourself and others it will get better. Do what you have to do for a brighter future. If you have children then you better sit down and face the facts. Is it fair to make your children suffer for your mistakes? This is something to think about now and going forward on your financial quest. A little honesty goes a long way. Get real, get out of debt, and start saving for those rainy days and not so rainy days.

Does Renting Makes More Financial Sense Than Buying a House?

Many renters think about buying a house, a place to call their own. They save a “nest egg” hoping to buy the home of their dreams. But, does buying a home make sense from a financial perspective? Is it a sound financial investment? Can renting help you to acquire wealth? These are some questions that “weigh” on peoples minds when it comes to considering purchasing a home.

According to an article by Jack Hough from “Rent is the cost of owning shares with money you would otherwise spend on a house. Houses have ownership costs, too: taxes, insurance and maintenance. Rent costs about 5% of house prices each year if we apply the price/rent ratio of 19. House incidentals often cost around 2%. If you have $300,000 and a choice between spending it on a house or shares, you’ll pay $6,000 a year in incidentals if you buy the house or about $15,000 a year ($1,250 a month) in rent if you buy the shares. But the shares will return $21,000 a year after inflation while the house will return zero. (My numbers work out even better than these. I pay a smidgen less than $1,250 a month for rent, while house prices in my neighborhood are far higher than $300,000.”)

Renting does not have as much responsibility as buying a home does. When you rent, it’s the property management’s job to fix repairs and maintain the property’s landscape. Renting gives you lease flexibility and a opportunity to check out different areas of the city. Once you a buy a home and decide you do not like the area, then you must put the home up for sale and pray to God that it sells straight-away!

Buying vs. Renting Links

  1. New “Learn the tradeoffs, potential money savings and which option makes sense.”
  2. Ms. Money. A great site for financial planning.
  3. ABC News. Find out the pros and cons of renting and buying.

The bottom line is only you can decide if renting or buying is the best option. Do you want the flexibility of a lease or the commitment of a home? What is your financial situation? Ask yourself these questions before signing your name on the bottom line of either a lease or mortgage loan.

If you desire to make more money or spend a little more, renting may make sense for you. Many financial calculators are available online and can help you decide if renting or buying is the right move. Start crunching the numbers and plan for your future today!

What’s in Your Wallet? Pay Cash and Leave Credit Cards at Home

Since key members of Congress are working to reach an agreement to bail out Wall Street, it looks like Americans could be headed back to their roots by becoming a cash society.

Many, many years ago, Americans paid cash for their purchases. Has anyone heard of lay-away? Whatever happened to that concept? It must have vanished along with the values and scruples of the American people.

Americans got themselves into trouble by purchasing homes, cars, jewelry, electronics, clothes, and other items they could not afford. Remember when mom used to say “if you cannot afford it, do not buy it!” Apparently, those words of wisdom went into one ear and out the other.

America is known for being a nation of consumers. People are not happy with a car that is 5 to 10 years old. They want a brand new one that is loaded with the latest technologies. That’s great if you can afford to pay cash for it. But, most people take out loans and fall deeper into debt.

The SEC, Wall Street, and the housing industry are not innocent. The people who made loans to home owners knowing that these people would not be able to pay the loans back ought to be held accountable for their actions. Chances are they will receive a “slap on the wrist.” Unfortunately, they will have to deal with “instant karma.” You get back what you give out. Ouch!

Perhaps this bailout is a good thing for the United States of America. It will force people to take a step back and reevaluate their lives. Maybe now people will realize what is really important such as family, friendships, community, and the health of planet Earth. Americans, it’s time to look inside of yourselves and discover why your “outside” is such a mess!

You Rented an Apartment, Now What?

Whether you are renting your first apartment or moving for the fifth time, know what you are getting into before you sign a lease. Breaking a leasing agreement can be expensive. If the apartment complex is unbearable it may be worth it to break the lease. If you can “stick it out” to the end, be prepared before you start searching for a new home.

Most complexes will show you a model apartment. Ask if there is an apartment available that you can see versus the model. The models are usually nicer than the actual apartment you will be renting. If an apartment is not available, thank the leasing manager and keep searching. If you really like the apartment complex, make sure to take a “sales package,” and ask for the leasing manager’s business card.

Find out when the property was built. If it is an older apartment complex, ask if renovations will be done in the near future. They may not do total renovations. But, if you are lucky you can get a new stove or refrigerator or both.

After an extensive search, you decided on an apartment complex and are ready to sign on the bottom line. Wait a minute before you do. Did you ask all of the appropriate questions? If not, you may want to read these 10 tips before renting an apartment.

Inspection Checklist

  1. Look at the apartment carefully, this includes every “nook and cranny.” Ensure that molding is complete and not coming off of the wall. If there is caulking, make sure it is neat and clean.
  2. Check out the kitchen. Does the garbage disposal and dishwasher work? Are the cabinets straight and level? How old is the stove and refrigerator? Make sure the cabinetry is finished underneath. Some contractors will cut corners where possible. If you have children or pets, it’s important to make sure there are no gaps or opening because they could get stuck!
  3. Make sure the electrical outlets work. As a test, plug in a radio to make sure each outlet works.
  4. Check out the bathrooms. Are the toilets in good shape? Does the shower drip? How is the floor?
  5. Look at the hot water tank. How old is it?
  6. If there are vertical blinds, make sure they work. Are the patio and screen door secure?
  7. Open and close the windows. Do they open and close with ease? Do the locks work?
  8. If you are lucky enough to have a washer/dryer in the apartment, test them.

Additional Advice

  1. Essortment. Renting advice on what to look for in an apartment.
  2. eHow. How to rent an apartment.
  3. Met Life. Offers great advice on renting an apartment.

When you rent an apartment, make sure it’s the right one for you! Look at the area, visit during the day and night, and ask questions!

Practical Money Skills. Renting an apartment is the choice for many people for different reasons. Learn more about the financial and legal aspects of renting an apartment.

Read These 10 Tips Before You Rent an Apartment

Today, most people are renting. When it’s time to renew the lease you may or may not stay at your apartment. Why are you moving? Is the complex noisy? Do the maintenance people ignore your “fix it” list? Are the leasing people clueless?

Before you move to a new place, make sure you know what to look for and what questions to ask the leasing manager and assistant manger.

For those who are in the market for a new place, make sure you do research. Visit a property during the day and night. Just because the property is nice and quiet during the day does not mean it will be at night. What types of people live in the complex? Are they young professionals? Are they mostly college students, let’s say from ASU who like to party and blare the radio 7 days a week? Are there young children? If there are children, do the parents discipline them? Do the parents allow their children to “scream” their heads off at 8 am on a Saturday morning?

If you have a pet, make sure the complex will allow your pet. Find out if there is a weight limit and what types and breeds of pets are allowed. Ask if there is a monthly pet fee and deposit.

10 Tips for Renting

  1. Visit the property during the day and night.
  2. Ask if the property allows pets, what kind, and if there is a weight limit.
  3. Is the complex non-smoking?
  4. Walk around the complex and observe the people.
  5. Make sure the grounds are well kept.
  6. Is parking ample? Will your friends and family be able to find a parking space?
  7. Ensure that the trash is not overflowing from the dumpster.
  8. Is the property well lit and secure?
  9. How old is the property? Are appliances and apartments updated?
  10. Stop residents and ask how long they have been at the complex? Are they renewing their lease year after year? Are the residents mostly transients?

Whether you are moving to your first or third apartment, now you know what to look for and what questions to ask. This will be your home for the next 12 or 14 months. Make sure the complex is the right fit for you. You do not want to be in a situation where you are paying a fee to break your lease. The fee can range from $800 – $1,600 depending on the property. Be prepared before signing your name on the dotted line!


  1. Ask if there are smoke detectors and a sprinkler system in the apartment.
  2. Inquire about dead bolt locks!