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I did not partake in the PS3 Chaos

By Erik Folgate

Contrary to my post from a few days ago, I opted not to wait outside for a PS3.  There were already plenty of crazy people outside, so I knew that my chances were few and far between.  I tried to score one on Costco.com today, but my attempts were futile.  The website was locked up the entire time that they were supposedly on sale.  The next thing that I knew, they were sold out. What gets me about these scarce products that pop up every year around the holidays is all of the horrible stories that arise around the country.  One person waiting outside of Best Buy was actually mugged and shot.  Another group of people shot a BB gun outside of a car to scare people out of line.  Another story came out about a store manager having the great idea of putting ten chairs next to each other and making 50 people run to sit down in one of the chairs.  Whoever ended up in the chairs, received a PS3.  What a bonehead move on his part.  I hate frivilous lawsuits, but I really hope someone sues him if they got hurt.  I am almost positive that Sony and other manufacturers do this on purpose.  They want the frenzy generated by not having enough supply to meet the demand.  You cannot convince me that a multi-billion electronic juggernaut like Sony Corporation is unable to produce a video game system with the same components as an average personal computer (minus the graphics capabilities). 

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The Playstation 3 Is Selling for more than $1,500 on Ebay

By Erik Folgate

Most of you have heard about this, and it is true.  People with pre-ordered PS3′s are selling them on Ebay, and people are actually buying them for $1,500, $1,700, even $2,200!  Once I saw this, I said to myself, “Why didn’t I buy a pre-ordered PS3!”  Now, I am thinking about sitting outside overnight to buy one.  Target only has 8 people in line right now, and if they get 10 systems, then I would have a good chance at getting one.  Let’s say I sold it for $1,600, then I would make $1,000 in profit!  That is crazy.  What some people will pay for convenience is beyond reason. 

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How to Strike a Deal on an Engagement Ring This Holiday Season

By Erik Folgate

Men, Listen up.  Many men ask their significant other to marry them during the holiday season.  This means that numerous clueless men are looking for engagement rings as we speak.  I was like you about 3 years ago.  I was on a budget, but I wanted to get my girl a ring that she would be proud to show off to her friends.  I did a ton of research, and now I am going to pass off my wisdom to my fellow gender. 

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Five 401(k) Mistakes to Avoid

By Erik Folgate

Mistake 1:  Not Contributing to a 401(k) that matches your contribution

If your employer offers a company match for your 401(k) contributions, then you NEED to start putting money into that fund.  It is the closest thing to free money that you will ever come across.  If you already have an IRA, stop putting money into it and throw that money into the company-matched 401(k), or if you have enough money to invest in both, then do that.  The point is that it is ridiculous not to take advantage of a company match. 

Mistake 2:  Not Being Aggressive Enough with your Investments

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The Democrats Win The House. What Implications Does This Have On Your Finances?

By Erik Folgate

This is not a political blog, but politics affect every aspect of our lives whether we like it or not.  a shift of power occurred yesterday with the Democrates winning the majority of the House of Representatives.  It’s still possible that they could win the Senate majority as well.  

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52 Days Until Christmas: Are You Ready?

By Erik Folgate

There are less than two months left until Christmas, and it is less than one month until Black Friday.  Many of you are familiar with Black Friday.  It is the friday following Thanksgiving, and It is the busiest shopping day of the year.  Retailers call it Black Friday, because some retailers begin to move out of the negative and into the positive for yearly profits.

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Credit Card Companies Educating The Youth About Personal Finance

By Erik Folgate

That title makes me want to puke.  I know that most readers do not want to hear me get on my soap box about why I think using credit cards are a huge financially poor choice, but you have to agree with me that it is a huge conflict of interest for a CREDIT CARD company to be teaching financial education.  Gee, I wonder if they are going to teach kids to use credit carsds and use them frequently?  My guess is that they will pitch them the same garbage that most adults buy into.  Basically, they will teach these kids to worship the credit score.  They will have them so worried about their credit score, that kids will start to worry if their school grades affect their credit score.  Here are some excerpts from the Capital One website about their financial education plans. 

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Check Out This Article About The Entrepreneurial Spirit

By Erik Folgate

The article from Business Week titled, “Is There a Gene For Business?” explores the debate between whether or not entrepreneurs are born that way or you can teach someone to be an entrepreneur.  As you will read my blog post below, I believe that everyone born in America has the ability to be an entrepreneur.  I believe we all possess the qualities of an entrepreneur somewhere inside of us.  The key is finding those qualities and using them.  You will see in this article that some prominent executives in the business world agree with me and others do not agree.  Anyway, I think it is an interesting discussion, so check it out.

My Entrepreneurial Spirit At A Young Age

By Erik Folgate

I was going through some old junk a few days ago, and I stumbled across a necklace that I made when I was in elementary school.  When I was young, I would buy materials to make beaded necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.  I don’t think I charged enough money for them, but when you are working with kids whom only have enough money for lunch, you’ll get what you can take.  In middle school, my friends and I used to take cans from neighborhood recycling bins, crush them, and take them to the recycling center.  We would get $5.00 for every so many pounds.  It ended up being enough money for some baseball cards and Checker’s burgers. 

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Marriage Drops Below 50% In Family Households

By Erik Folgate

Recently, you saw the statistic in the media about married couples comprising less than 50% of the family households in America.  This is the first time since they started keeping track of the statistic that it dipped below 50 percent.  Many households contain single-parent families, gay/lesbian partners, and unmarried couples co-habitating with mutual children.  However, the main reason for the decline in marriages is not due to the rise in alternative lifestyle relationship, rather it is due to an increase in divorce over the past three decades. 

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No Extra Cash After The Bills Are Paid: What Do You Do?

By Erik Folgate

For many of us, the problem with our finances boils down to a lack of extra cash.  By the time the bills are paid, there is no money to save, pay down debt, or have fun.  In my opinion, this is the point where many people begin the painful cycle of using debt to substitute a lack of cash flow.  Society has taught all ages to use debt as a “tool” in order to maintain the life we live or upgrade the life we live.  It is this simple concept that I believe is the reason why Americans are in debut up to their eyeballs. 

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The Difference Between YTD Return and Yield

By Erik Folgate

I’m new to fairly serious investing mostly because this is the first time in my life that I have had any money to invest.  I took a couple of finance classes in college, but let’s be honest, some stuff just does not stick.  I started looking at my 401k more seriously the past few weeks and I started wondering why my year-to-date return was decent, yet my yield was like 0.3% or something ridiculous like that. So started educating myself on why this was so. 

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Would You Rather have a Down Payment On a House or a Nice Wedding?

By Erik Folgate

Before I begin, do not take me as being cynical when it comes to weddings or getting married.  I am married and I had a fairly large wedding in terms of guest size and cost. 

I was in Ohio this past weekend for my best friend’s wedding.  The wedding was smaller, low-key, and quaint.  It was actually a breath of fresh air to go to a wedding where the bride was not freaking out about the wedding favors that no one remembers after the wedding.  I am sure the wedding still cost a decent chunk of change even without all of the extra frills, large number of guests, and huge reception. 

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Should You Save For Retirement At a Young Age?

By Erik Folgate

This is a question that usually bugs younger people when they start their first “real” job.  Most larger companies offer some kind of 401k plan, and other smaller companies will help you open an IRA.  The attraction to contributing to a 401k is that some companies will match your contribution up to a certain amount.  It truly is one of the only times in your life where a company will give you FREE money.  The only catch is that sometimes they make you stay with that company for certain amount of time before the money is fully vested.  This means that you will have to work at the company for so many years before you can keep all of the matched money.  The other side to this question is that most young people could use as much of their paycheck as they can get.  We do not have a lot of room to be thinking about 40 years down the road.  I do not have a great answer to this question, because I believe it depends on your situation.

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Question: If you lost your job today, what three things would you cut out of your life to help save money?

By Erik Folgate

I’ve been trying to spur some reader participation lately, but have not had much luck!  I enjoy reading comments from you all out there!  Anyway, I heard this question posed on the radio today, and I thought it would be an interesting one to think about.  Here are my three: 

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  1. Eating out (even the little $6 meals that you don’t think about as much).
  2. Home improvements (I’ve spent way too much money at Lowe’s and Home Depot lately).
  3. iTunes downloads  (have not done it lately, but when I do, it’s not pretty!) 
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