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Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

5 Best Productivity Apps for the iPhone

By Erik Folgate

productivity barsMy wife loves to make fun of my love for technology. I try to limit it to a minimum, but with the emergence of the iPhone, Internet television, social networking, tablet computers like the iPad, and so many other new technologies, I just can’t help myself.

I’ve had an iPhone for about two years, and I especially enjoy experimenting with the many new useful apps that developers churn out every day. My friends and family members know that I have a deep interest and enthusiasm for technology. In fact, they love taking advantage of my expertise by asking me various IT questions. I don’t mind answering their questions because I always enjoy a good troubleshooting challenge. They also frequently ask me my opinion on new apps, and more specifically, my favorite apps to increase productivity.

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4 Free Social Media Marketing Sites for Local Small Businesses

By Erik Folgate

google maps business signAs a small business owner, you probably have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, but that doesn’t mean you’re effectively using social media for marketing. If you’re still skeptical about how social media can positively affect your bottom line, or if you just don’t know which mix of social media services to participate in to draw people to your business, read on.

Using social media to promote your business is all about rewarding people with something small to give them a positive first or repeat experience with your business.

Here are three free ways to attract and reward customers with little effort.

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How to Effectively Use a Facebook Page for Business Marketing

By Erik Folgate

facebook clickIt seems like everyone from the age of 21 to 35 is a social media marketing expert these days. I swear that every other person’s Twitter bio says they’re some sort of Internet marketing or social media marketing guru/expert/enthusiast, or whatever.

Just as young entrepreneurs have been attracted to this trend, small business owners have been drawn to social media as a new way to market their business and get people in the door. Unfortunately, very few small businesses have actually had success with it, causing many to abandon their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and location-based social media deals.

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5 Ways to Save Money After Your Baby Is Born

By Erik Folgate

baby grantJanuary 26th, 2011 was a day that my wife and I will never forget. It took a little more than 24 hours to deliver our 10-pound, 13-ounce baby boy! We knew he was going to be big, but we didn’t know he’d be that big. Needless to say, it was a somewhat traumatic delivery. Fortunately, mom and baby Grant were fine, and our lives changed forever.

I never dreamed that parenthood would be this challenging, or this rewarding. My wife and I thought that we were so established and “ready” to have kids, and that it would come easily with everything falling into place.

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CarMD Review – Automotive Vehicle Diagnostic Scan Tool to Avoid Scams

By Erik Folgate

carmd logoYou take your car in for routine maintenance and the mechanic comes back saying that the car has about five different issues you weren’t expecting. You want to believe that they are telling you the truth, but mechanics in general don’t have good reputations so it’s hard to take them at their word. Does this sound familiar?

If you’re like me and don’t know much about cars, chances are that you’ve run into this situation more than once. By now you probably dread taking your car to the mechanic.

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Mint.com Review – Online Personal Finance Budgeting Software

By Erik Folgate

mint logoI’m lazy, and I’m cheap. There, I said it. This means that I don’t have paid money management software like Quicken or You Need a Budget to track my finances. Instead, I learned how to make a budget on spreadsheets and in notebooks, and used them for years.

So when I first stumbled upon Mint.com, the free online personal finance budgeting application, I knew that I found something that would be very beneficial for me and my family.

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Apple iPad 2 Review – Is It Time to Buy the Tablet?

By Erik Folgate

apple ipad 2If you’re like me and you use an iMac, tote a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air, and carry an iPhone, then you probably pay close attention to all of the new product launch announcements from Apple, whether you need a new gadget or not.

You also know that there was something revolutionary about the iPhone, and that the iPad has that same quality. They both brought a lot of new users into the Apple world. I like to call them the “gateway drugs” to becoming an all-Apple user. But when the first iPad came out, I warned that you should wait for the next version. Apple recently announced that the second generation of the iPad is on its way, and it’ll be packed with a lot of features that the first one should have had.

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Debit & Credit Card Skimming Fraud – How to Avoid Card Skimming Devices

By Erik Folgate

credit card scam skimmingI can vividly remember the day last summer when my wife and I were walking into a movie at the theater when I received a phone call from an unknown number.

I decided to listen to the voice message before we went in for the show. As I heard the words “your bank account has suspicious activity on it,” I got a little worried but figured Bank of America simply didn’t like one of the transactions we had made earlier.  So, I quickly took a look at our checking account transactions on the Bank of America iPhone app. That’s when my stomach shot up into my throat and my heart started racing. I saw two $1,000 deductions from our account for a shady sounding website that we definitely didn’t buy anything from. Our bank account had been compromised, and we were devastated.

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SquareTrade Warranty Review – Extended Warranties and Insurance For Gadgets & Electronics

By Erik Folgate

squaretrade logoI’m not the typical iPhone user. My phone isn’t wrapped in plastic with six inches of rubber encasing it. In fact, it was going completely “naked” until just recently, when I gave in and put a minimalist bumper around it. I’ve had butter fingers lately, and I don’t want to take any chances since it costs a fortune to replace an iPhone.

With all of the new gadgets out there, and the prices only getting steeper, it’s easier than ever to end up with a pricey accident on your hands.

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Mac App Store Review – Will You Spend More or Less Money on Software?

By Erik Folgate

mac app store computerApple has revolutionized the way we think about technology and how we interact with personal computers. If you’re a Mac user, gone are the days when you had to physically buy software at the store, pull out the CD, and install the software from your disc drive. Last week, Apple unveiled their new Mac App Store, which takes Apple one step closer to phasing out disc drives altogether and solidifying their claim that the MacBook Air is the future of laptops (at less than an inch thick , the Air doesn’t have a CD-ROM drive at all). Of course you’ll still want to consider other laptop specs and features.

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5 Financial Moves To Make Before The End Of The Tax Year

By Erik Folgate

champagne toastI know that we’re all still in the holiday spirit, but by the time the week goes by, we’ll be making New Year’s Eve plans and forgetting about our finances. Winning with money is all about being prepared and being one step ahead of the financial game. Again, I don’t want to ruin the holidays by bringing up taxes, but there are a few things you can do from the couch, in pajamas, while sipping on some eggnog that will help lower your tax bill in the 2011 tax season.  Here are 5 financial moves you can easily make that will save you money this year.

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4 Creative Ways to Give Back to the Community This Holiday Season

By Erik Folgate

girl giving gift during holidaysThe reason why Christmas is a national holiday, whether you celebrate it or not, is because it symbolically represents the season of giving. Many of the other religious holidays in December including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are the same way.

Personally, I’m a giver. It’s more fun for me to figure out unique ways to bless someone with a gift than it is to think about what I’m going to receive from other people. Don’t get me wrong. I still act like a little kid on Christmas morning when my wife gets me the gadget I’ve been salivating over the entire year. But, I really enjoy giving to others. It’s a huge motivator and it helps puts life into perspective for me.

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The Best Homemade Chili Recipe – Easy, Healthy & Cheap – Under $15 For the Whole Family

By Erik Folgate

chili bowlA lot of people underestimate the number of guys who can cook and do it well.  Popular reality TV shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef have helped change that image a bit for the better, but I think the general consensus is still that guys can’t cook. I admit that I’m not the best myself, but I do have a small portfolio of fantastic dishes that I’ve managed to create on my own. My wife and I usually split the cooking duties throughout the week.  If one person cooks, the other cleans up.  We sometimes fight to cook, because both of us would rather cook than clean! I’ve got in quite a bit of practice as a result.

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7 Unique & Cheap Christmas Gift Ideas for Men That They’ll Love

By Erik Folgate

christmas gift ideas for menGuys get a bad rap when it comes to gifts. Many women think that they have to overspend on expensive holiday gifts for men like gadgets and power tools, but that’s not necessarily true. We’re simple people. We don’t always need the latest home theater system, iPad, or a table saw to be happy on Christmas Day.

Granted, my Amazon wish list has a bunch of expensive stuff on it; but that’s why they call it a “wish list.” It also has a bunch of cool inexpensive items on it that a lot of other guys would probably like, too.

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6 Pitfalls to Avoid for Black Friday Deals Shopping

By Erik Folgate

black friday tipsI know that some of you think that shopping on the day and weekend after Thanksgiving is pure lunacy, and it is to some extent. But, I have to admit that I given into the temptation of making it a small tradition to go out every year, because there’s something exciting about getting up super early and waiting in line for a great deal. I can’t stand when I see or hear about people fighting over an LCD TV or a Barbie Doll, but for the most part, getting out and shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year gets me pumped up for the holiday season.

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