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How To Save Money On Shipping Christmas Gifts

By Erik Folgate

This is the busiest time of the year for the post office and other package shipping companies. One of the hidden costs of Christmas is shipping costs, and we often overlook the extra expense. I know you have all experienced the shock of going to the post office to ship a few packages and you walk out having spent a $100 just to ship a few gifts! Here are a few tips for helping you save some money this week as you rush to ship out the rest of your gifts.

Use Bubble Wrap Instead of Newspaper

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The $50 Billion Dollar Reason To Manage Your Own Money

By Erik Folgate

Over the weekend, Bernard Madoff of Madoff Funds, was arrested for securities fraud, and he has admitted to swindling hundreds to thousands of investors out of $50 billion dollars over an undisclosed period of time. Madoff has been in business managing investments since 1960, but he also ran a hedge fund that was basically a Ponzi scheme. A ponzi scheme is a scam where early investors are paid investment returns from later investor’s money. Eventually, all of the money is gone and everyone loses out. There is never enough money to support the money paid back to earlier investors. Madoff’s hedge fund was boasting huge returns on investment, and this is how he attracted so many investors, including big names like Steven Spielberg.

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Need To Make Some Extra Holiday Cash?

By Erik Folgate

My wife and I just realized that we did not plan adequately for Christmas gifts this year. The reason is that we bought a house in October, and we’ve been putting a lot of time, thought, and money into some home projects that we wanted to get done before we started entertaining during the holidays. So, we looked at our budget the other day, and we realized that we needed to come up with some extra cash to pay for more holiday gifts.

US News has 7 ideas for making extra holiday cash if your holiday gift fund is depleting quickly.

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The Top 10 Gift Cards To Buy For The Holidays

By Erik Folgate

Many holiday shoppers strive not to buy gift cards for their friends and families as gifts, because the notion is that you took the easy way out of buying someone a gift. Personally, I think gift cards can be just as personal as a traditional gift, as long as you buy the right gift card for that person on your list. For instance, buying a Best Buy gift card for your mom who has no interest in electronics would be a waste. But, buying a Best Buy gift card for someone like me, who loves new gadgets, would be a great gift for me. So, here are my top 10 gift cards to consider for the people on your list.

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Information About A Possible 2009 Economic Stimulus Plan

By Erik Folgate

During the presidential election, Barack Obama spoke about proposing an economic stimulus plan for 2009. Originally, Obama and Congress wanted to get a stimulus plan passed during his lame duck period, but Congress is no longer in session until the beginning of the new year, so it looks like that isn’t happening. The Democrats wanted to get two stimulus packages passed, one by the end of this year, and then another one in the beginning of 2009. Now, it looks like they will push for one comprehensive stimulus plan in January or February of 2009.

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How To Protect You and Your Family From Financial Ruin In A Recession

By Erik Folgate

The media is saying we’re in a recession, because they love to strike fears in the hearts of Americans. We tune into news programs more when bad news has struck. Think about how many news programs, newspapers, and magazines you consumed during the 9/11 attacks. We love bad news. This is why the media was calling the economic downturn a recession from the beginning. Recession sounds so much darker and desolate than a “down economy” sounds. Call it what you want, but you still need to wake up every day, put your clothes on the same way, and make a living. There are three phases that all families should go through with their finances, and they are:

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Should You Negotiate In Poor Countries?

By Erik Folgate

Last week, we vacationed to Jamaica over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was the first time that wife and I had spent a Thanksgiving out of the country. Jamaica has beautiful beaches and beautiful resorts, but much of the country lives in very poor conditions. It was sad to see some of the living accommodations that the locals live in, and it definitely put my abundant life into perspective this holiday season.

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Important Holiday Shopping Dates To Remember

By Erik Folgate

November 27th: Black Friday. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year, and the deals can be great, but you have to search for them. Make sure you read my 7 steps to saving money on Black Friday.

December 1st: Cyber Monday. This is the online retailers version of Black Friday. They’ll have some great deals, and you might be able to get better deals on sites like Buy.com and Amazon.com, because their overhead is less. I would suggest waiting for Cyber Monday if you are looking for mid-priced electronics like computer accessories, digital cameras, and video games.

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Choosing Your Credit Spending Wisely

By Erik Folgate

Here’s an appropriate article for you to read before the biggest shopping day of the year. Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

With the holiday seasons approaching, it is a time of year many people contemplate their financial status to determine their Christmas spending limit. This year, due to the struggles of much of the nation, many department stores have made the decision to start holiday shopping weeks earlier than normal. This decision was made in an effort to help those living on strict budget be more able to afford presents and the other holiday necessities. With more weeks of shopping deals before Christmas, consumers have more opportunity to spread spending out over a longer period of time.

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Charles Schwab’s 8 Step Savings Fundamentals Plan

By Erik Folgate

I ran across this eight step plan rolled out by Charles Schwab to help others prioritize what to do with their money. Here is the list:

1. Contribute to your company’s retirement plan at least up to the amount of any match offered.

2. Pay off non-deductible, high-interest debt, such as credit cards.

3. Create an emergency fund with three months’ worth of living expenses (keep in a savings account).

4. Max out the rest of your 401(k) contributions.

5. Save for a child’s education (in a 529 savings plan or Coverdell account).

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Bailouts, Bailouts, and more Bailouts

By Erik Folgate

I could talk for days about these bailouts, but I don’t think you’re interested. We shoud be interested, but I’m just sick of it. Here’s the bottom line: We’re rewarding failure and punishing success. So many Americans want to tax the hell out of rich people and successful corporations, and they want to bail out companies that sowed their failures years ago. The auto industry has been failing for years. It’s not just because the economy is down for a year. They produced CRAP in the eighties and nineties. Toyota and Honda saw an opportunity, produced a quality, reliable product, and they took market share. The auto unions have gotten out of control, and they are sucking the life out of the industry. They have made it impossible for the “Big Three” to compete.

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6 Ways to Save Money On Your Holiday Party

By Erik Folgate

Christmas House 2

The holiday party season is coming up, and your friends and family might be pressuring you to throw the Christmas party this year. Are you strapped for cash? You can still throw a pretty nice party on a strict budget. They key is spending less money on the small details. Don’t spend money in areas that most people don’t give a crap about. Here are 6 ways to save money on your party this year:

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Choosing The Right Video Game System This Holiday Season

By Erik Folgate

Whether you are buying for yourself, loved one, family member, or your kids, video game systems are one of the most exciting gifts to receive. But with the three major choices out there, it can be confusing for those that don’t read the latest gaming magazines. I don’t read the latest gaming magazines, but I’ve played all three systems quite a bit, and I own an Xbox 360. So, here is a little guide for helping you decide which system to buy this holiday season.

The Xbox 360

Citi Announces Plan For Homeowner Assistance to Avoid Foreclosure

By Erik Folgate

For those of you who own a house with a Citi mortgage, you might be interested in this announcement made by Citi Group to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Citi Group will reach out to a group of 500,000 homeowners to help them stay current on their mortgages, and it could result in a $20 billion dollar workout on existing mortgage balances. They will also extend their foreclosure moratorium to those homeowners with sufficient income to pay a restructured payment plan and work in good faith with Citi to stay in their home.

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Take Advantage Of Values In the Stock Market

By Erik Folgate

Last night I had trouble sleeping, and for some reason, I started thinking about industries that are tanking and will be a value for investors in the future. So many of us are scared by the media when they throw out words like recession and depression. We automatically think we’re going to lose our jobs and all of our life savings. It’s simply not true. Yes, there are industries that are lagging, but the bulk of the economy is doing just fine. Circuit City filed for bankruptcy, but in my opinion, it has nothing to do with the economy. They were always the bastard child to Best Buy. They’re prices couldn’t compete, and their customer service was horrible. Sometimes, companies fail because they suck, not because the economy sucks. Getting back to my theme for this post, let’s take a look at the industries to keep an eye on and start buying at a value in the market.

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