Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Contact Budget for Budget Cheap Travel Insurance in the UK

That's a beautiful thing. It's my last credit card account as it looks now.

No, I'm not gloating.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New Monitor

The fund drive at my other site was a success. $1500 brought in. That paid off my residual credit card debt, (I had a couple hundred on one of the cards from my vacation last month.) Now my only debt is my car payment. I don't have a cell phone bill, I get unlimited calls from Vonage for $25, I'm paying for my gasoline through the PayPal account, and the only other monthly bills I have are car insurance, electric and cable. (and Rent, of course) The next step is getting my food budget under control.

I got a new 19" flat panel monitor from Dell that I had been looking at...$300...normally it was at $480 or more. I justify this purchase with the fact that my old 15" monitor is now 4 years and I can use it for other things. I plan on doing more and more web stuff and need a good monitor to do it all on. The fact that I got a good deal on it was a bonus. The rest of my money is targeted to boost my checking account and some for savings.

I need to spend some time brainstorming ideas for my other webpages. The goal is still to simplify my life to the point that I can work from home, doing the things I have a passion for.

Save at!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Why the fuss over PayPal?

Some of you might have wondered why I made such a fuss over PayPal last week. Sure it's nice, but can't I live without it?

Not this week, I couldn't.

See I used it this week to make money. I have another website - several actually - but one that gets quite a lot of traffic. I've had it up and running for three years now. It's not really something I can sell, so I was stumped as to how I could make money from it. I decided in the end, one of the best ways to make money from the page was to do it the old fashioned way.

I asked for it.

The site provides a niche service that many people take advantage of. I'm hesitant to name the site here as I don't really wish for the two to be connected at this time. I want to keep them separate. There's a lot of research involved in keeping up the other site and people are appreciative of it. In the beginning I would get random donations here and there from people, but I decided to make it a concentrated effort. I used to work at a PBS TV station, so I know a little about running a fund raiser. I decided to use similar principles and run two fund raisers a year for my site. A major one in the fall, and a smaller one in the spring. Two years ago, I had my first fall drive, set a goal of $3500 and made it. Last May I set a goal of $1500 and made it. Last November, the goal was $5000, again it was made, and this week I'm again going for $1500. As of this moment, I'm at about $1100 with a day to go.

My point during the drive is to talk about the time and effort I put into the site. (2-3 hours each day) There are also considerable expenses involved in maintaining it. I recently had to double my bandwidth capacity with my hosting company. People are appreciative, and many drop in $10, $25, $50, some even $100. I have them send it via PayPal. Sure, PP skims a little off the top, but for ease of use it can't be topped. I've got the Debit Card from them, and it's easy to move money into my banking account.

There are other ways I make a little money from the site. Google Adsense, Affiliation and some banner ads, but it's nothing compared to the Fund drives I put together. These are the main source of revenue from the web for me. I use the money to pre-pay hosting and design, upgrade equipment and to justify the time I spend working on the site. I've been able to pay some debt down with it as well.

So there you...if you wondered why I was making the fuss over PayPal...there's your answer.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Degunking your Personal Finances

I recently received a review copy of Degunking your Personal Finances by Shannon Plate, and after a brief perusal, I am enthusiastically looking forward to reading the whole book. When I do that, I will provide a full review here, but here are a few tidbits to whet your interest. It seems to be laid out similar to the "Dummies" and "Complete Idiot" book series which have proved so popular...however at first glance it appears there is more here than just the basics. This is a pretty big book...334 pages in all.

The book revolves around a 12 Step process that you should follow in order to fully degunk your personal finances. The steps are:

  1. Get your financial life organized and set aside a place in your home to work on your finances.
  2. Create a clear picture of your current financial situation.
  3. Clean up your credit and debit cards.
  4. Get your consumer debt under control by paying it down.
  5. Fine-tune your home mortgage, and put measures in place to lower your household and other living expenses.
  6. Put a program together to boost your savings and investments.
  7. Clean up your credit report and improve your FICO credit score.
  8. Fine-tune and optimize your budget and improve your spending habits for transportation, groceries and other activities.
  9. Get your taxes, employee benefits, and insurance in better shape.
  10. Find hidden money you didn't know you had.
  11. Put your computer to work to help you automate managing and tracking your finances.
  12. Improve your financial security, avoid identity theft, and put a good back-up recordkeeping system in place.
In the book, there are one or two chapters devoted to each of these 12 steps. If you don't have a lot of time, there are also several quick ways in which you can degunk in 15 minute, 30 minute, one hour, three hour and half day segments.

As mentioned, I'm enthusiastic about this book and look forward to reading and bringing you more about it in the weeks to come.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Simplifying your life in 2005

As seen on Lifehacker this morning.

Lifestyle tips: How to simplify your life in 2005

  • Tip 1: Direct debit everything.
  • Tip 2: Cancel call-waiting on your home phone.
  • Tip 3: Make sure you're not always-on.
  • Tip 4: Read more books and long magazine articles, less on the Internet.
  • Tip 5: Cancel your subscription to cable TV, and subscribe to a movie-rental service instead.
Go to the link above for details on each one of these tips.

Or, on the other hand here are Five Habits of Millionaires so you can act like one.

Oh, and by the way, after a phone call from me, my PayPal account is now fully restored. Now I can plan out my fund drive for one of my other sites that will be for next week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

No PayPal Resolution

I'm still annoyed with PayPal. I was away for a week, (Thus the lack of posts) and when I got back Saturday night, I had finally received my letter from PayPal with my important 6 digit code that I need to enter on the website so that I can get my account out of "limited access".

I go to PayPal, log in, enter my code, figuring I'll finally have access to my funds, and also send out some invoices. Instead I get the message thanking me for confirming my information, and that now a representative will have to personally review my account and that I should have an answer within 3 business days.

This is borderline rediculous. To clarify, I've had this account for 3 plus years, have always done the verifications and have never had a single issue. I just hope to be back on it in the next couple days...

The vacation was a success, and pretty cheap, too. Other than 15+ hours of driving, the week was relaxing, got plenty of sleep, ate good food and got some sun and beach. Total cost for the week was probably under $500. Sometimes you just need to get away.