Wednesday, December 3, 2008


I have moved my blog to Wordpress. You can find me at, I look forward to seeing you there. Please comment on the blog and ways to make it better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Green gift guide for the holidays

With the holidays approaching quickly I thought I would take time to post on a subject that has become more popular over the past couple of years. The color green has always been my favorite, but now days it takes on a new meaning. We use “Green” to define eco-friendly or for the environment. Below is a list green gifts for the holidays.

1. Carbon Offsets
“Carbon offset is a financial instrument representing a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” says Wikipedia. Why a carbon offset you might ask? It is a creative gift that can help out the environment. Large corporations are buying these in huge quantities to help offset their carbon emissions. The Environmental Defense Fund has setup a website that highlights a few companies that sell Carbon offsets. I know it’s an odd gift to give, but in the long run it will help the environment out and this is a gift we all can benefit from.

2. Thompson Organic Chocolate
I can hear the cheers now, mmmmmmm chocolate. But not just any chocolate, this is organic. Not only does this taste great, but it’s good for you too. Thompson Candies have been making chocolates for over 126 years. These guys know what they are doing, they have a wide assortment of chocolates and candies too choose from. All their organic chocolates are grown on farms in Central America using organic agricultural methods. So take a look at their website and buy your loved one some organic chocolate for the holidays. You can never go wrong with chocolate!

3. Bambu Natural Kitchenware Products
I know what your thinking, what has he come up with this time? Well I am trying to give you a wide assortment of gift ideas to choose from. This product is also very environmentally friendly; it’s made from bamboo which is a fast growing sustainable product.
Bambu makes a wide range of kitchenware products that are all made from 100% organically grown bamboo. They make everything from cutting and serving boards to kitchen accessories. The website sells the Bambu product. Not only can you buy eco friendly gifts, but you can learn more about them in the process.

I have tried to highlight a few green gifts for the holidays. There are plenty more websites that sell green gifts, you just have to research and find out what the best gift for your loved ones might be. I hope this list and the ones to come help make your holiday gift choosing a little easier.

Comments, criticism, useful knowledge?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Black Friday

With Black Friday coming up this week, I thought I write a short post on it today. This gives you time to get prepared for the big event. Most retailers are banking on you the shopper coming in and spending as much as possible on gifts. Sadly, I am willing to bet there will be more than a few retailers going out of business this year because of the economic meltdown. But, hopefully this year the malls and all retail outlets will be packed just as full. With all the deals floating around I am sure the retailers hope this happens as well.

As for this frugal guy, I will be a fixture right in front of the television watching my favorite college football team, hopefully WIN. Now back to the subject, Black Friday. A friend of mine showed me a website to help you prepare for this special day, you can go here and plan out which stores you want to hit and who has the best deals, oh the website is Another great website, lists hundreds of pages of deals. Each retailer is fighting for your money and they have the offers to prove it.

There are deals to be made, money to be saved. You just have to search around and find out where they specials are. I know most families are going to spend less this year on gifts. But, with websites such as and others shoppers can still spend less and come away with just as much gifts. A Reuters article reports that “Retailers ring up roughly 10 percent of total holiday sales during the three-day weekend, best known for the deals offered on Black Friday -- named for the days when store chains used to turn a profit for the year.”

Depending on what you are looking for this year, I am sure there is a discount or coupon available for it. This year more than some in recent memory retailers are starting the discounts early. Some started offering lower priced goods a week or 2 in advance of Black Friday. Some are offering discounts as much as 40-50% off right now, and even more on Black Friday and the weeks leading up to Christmas.

If you live by the frugal code and pinch your pennies, then this is the best time for even you to spend a little money. With all the discounts offered this year, those of us with a little extra spending money can come away with some really good bargains. I for one will be doing most of my shopping online, most retailers are offering just as good a deal online as in their brick and mortar stores. And I don’t have to get up before the rooster crows to find such great deals.

I hope this article sheds a little light on the Black Friday Phenomenon. And how special a day this is for the US Retailer some will come out in the black and others will shut their doors forever.,2817,2335163,00.asp

Friday, November 21, 2008

My new series 6 ways to save money Part 1

Ok all your frugal fans, I know you have been waiting on pins and needles for the latest installment of the witty and masterfully written frugal blog. Today I would like to focus on ways to save money. During these tough economic times we all need to save money and pray that the end of this mess is near. So without further ado here are 3 suggestions in no certain order on ways to save money.

1. Home Energy Savings

There are so many ways you can save money around your house. Here is a list of some of the things I have had done around my home. For starters my Dad went around to every electrical sockets in my house and installed a foam insulation gasket. They are cheap pieces of foam that fit around your electrical sockets and they block air from getting into your house. You can find them at your local neighborhood hardware store or Lowes, Home Depot, etc. Another great idea is to install an insulation blanket around your water heater. This not only saves you energy, but also gives you more hot water, something we all crave especially in the cold winter months ahead. The US Dept of Energy’s, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy division says: “Unless your water heater's storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs.” So you can see that just a few upgrades around the house can save you much needed money during these tough economic times.

2. Your Car

Paying off your car and keeping it for an additional 3-5 years is the next big savings tip. I have read that most of the self made millionaires in the world live by this example. Most of them never buy a new car; they buy something used and drive it till the wheels fall off as the saying goes. Yours truly, believes this, and will do this with his SUV.

Take me for example; I am no where near a millionaire, YET. But I am working on it; I bought my vehicle in 2000 and still have it today. I keep the oil changed and try and do regular maintenance on it. As a result I will keep it for another couple of years and save thousands of dollars that would have gone to another car purchase. I know that I use Dave Ramsey examples a lot in my posts but he has a bunch of useful information on these topics. He said in his book “The Total Money Makeover” that the average American will have a $378/month car payment for their entire lives. The average American only keeps their vehicle for 5 years. But, if you kept the car for an additional 3 years, you could save roughly $13,608! Just think what you could do with that extra money.

3. Digital Cable and Satellite TV

I can hear the grumbles now, why drop cable, what’s next my internet? NO I would never advise you to lose the internet, I mean how else could you read my awesome Blog if you dropped your internet. Ok back to the expensive cable. Who really needs the expensive cable or satellite package anyways? You have hundreds of channels of nothing with a few good channels sprinkled in between. The top tier cable and satellite packages cost well over $120 a month. Just think of the savings you can get from going down to a cheaper package. There are some cable packages that start around $45 a month and satellite packages that are even cheaper they start around $30. Of course with these cheaper lineups you don’t get 1000 channels like you would with the top tier packages. But, who really needs 50 Home Shopping channels anyways! I guess I’m really just saying shop around and look for the best package for your needs.

For me the cheaper cable TV package is great, I also have a TiVo DVR, so I can record all my favorite shows, and it’s also on a home network which means I can download movies from Amazon on Demand and coming soon even Netflix will team up with TiVo to offer even more movie rentals. Now I am not suggesting you buy the lower tier cable TV package and then rent $100 worth of movies a month. That is not frugal at all, what I mean, is you can buy the lower tier cable or satellite TV package and rent a movie or 2 a month, nothing drastic. That would only set you back about $10.

As you can see there are many ways to save money around your house. All it takes is a little time and creativity, we all have this, well… most of us do. And there are plenty more ways you can save around the house, just get on the internet and research them. Another great option is HGTV; they always have great tips on how to save.

At first this was going to be one post on 5 ways to save you money. But, as you can see I tend to write a lot. If I wrote on all 5 ideas, it would take me hours and I might lose a few of my precious readers. So I am going to break this down into a 2 part series with 6 ways to save money. I can hear your cheers now! Part 2 of this riveting series will come out next Friday. Till then keep on reading my posts and all comments are welcome!

Comments, criticism, useful knowledge?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Giving!

Today I decided to write about Holiday giving. I believe Albert Einstein said it best "The value of man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving." With the economy getting worse and worse this year, giving to the less fortunate or our heroes needs to be increased. Otherwise, some will go without this year. There are many charities that need money this holiday season, from your traditional Salvation Army to my favorite the Fisher House a charity for wounded Veterans. There are plenty of ways to give, from your hard earned money to giving time. Everyone has something to give, we just have to try. Below I have 4 charities listed and a little background on each. They are all deserving of your monetary donations.

First off is the Fisher House, as I said before this is one of my favorite charities. They provide housing to injured veterans at VA medical centers around the country. Just think of the Ronald McDonald house, well the Fisher House is similar to this, except it’s for Veterans. Annually they serve over 10,000 Veterans and their families, and there is no charge for family members who stay in a Fisher house operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Next another military organization, this is not really a charity as much as it’s a way to say thanks to the Veterans of World War II, personally they are some of my heroes. They saved the world! Honor Flight is an organization that provides World War II veterans a flight free of charge too and from the National World War II memorial in Washington DC. They also, provide a charted bus and hotel accommodations free of charge to these heroes. This is another organization that is very important to me. These men and women deserve the best treatment they can possibly get, without their sacrifice none of us would be here or live in this great country. For me personally I lost both of my hero grandfathers before they could see their memorial. Please if you have a grandfather or grandmother or someone who served in WWII please let them see this memorial, it will change yours and their lives alike.

A story last night on ABC Nightly News caught my eye. This next “charity” if you will, is a real special place. Bennett Chapel Baptist Church in Possum Trot, TX, yes the name is odd but what they have done over the years is more than I could even try to put into words. If you missed the story last night, here is a little taste of what you missed. The pastor of this church and his wife, wanted to do something about the foster care system in America. They preached to their congregation about adopting mistreated and abused children. Well, since the program began in 1997, this tiny working class church in rural Possum Trot, TX, has adopted 72 children. These children, some of which would have never gotten this chance are now graduating high school and going off to college. Things they never would have had a chance at without the help and support from this amazing church.

Last we have the ASPCA better known as The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This is another great charity; they do amazing work as do all the organizations I have highlighted today. I’m sure you have seen the commercials that run every so often during the day. If you actually pay attention to them, they can bring a tear to your eye, they are very good at what they do and the message they put out. There are many ways to give, just check out their website sometime. If you have a pet of your own, you can even create a web page dedicated to saving another pets life. “What if your pet could volunteer to save the lives of homeless animals?” a quote from the ASPCA website says it all. Even our furry little friends can get involved. Injured and abandoned pets need our love too this holiday season; please donate to help save a pets life.

I have tried to highlight some lesser known, but still very deserving charities. Some are near and dear to my heart, all are worthy of donation. Please give what you can, whether its money or time. Each and every one of these great organizations deserves the very best support they can get. Just think of it this way, you are saving someone’s life and putting a smile on another’s face!

Comments, criticism, useful knowledge?