Thursday, July 29, 2010

Childhood Jobs

We didn't get any allowance when I was growing up.  If we wanted money we worked for it.  Sometimes Mom would have a job we could do or sometimes I would go door to door asking "Do you have anything I can do to earn money?"  I also placed cards at the grocery store.

Here's some of the jobs I did:
  • Babysitting - 50 cents an hour for up to five children and I cleaned the house.  Sometimes I even got a bonus!
  • Ironing - 10 cents a piece for little girls dresses.  I ironed by the basket load.
  • Weeding - 25 cents per hour for weed pulling and rhododendron dead heading.
  • Pet sitting - A dollar a day for watching pets, watering plants, and feeding the fish.

Welcome ERE Readers.

Since the guest post was published by Jacob on Early Retirement Extreme I have been amazed at the number of readers that have stopped by to check out In The Trenches.

Welcome! Thank you for stopping in.

Just wanted to let you know that I normally post between 3 and 5 times a week.  I attempt to find a balance between the day to day living thoughts and ideas and the broader picture of what is going on in the American Economy.  The media is doing an excellent job of trying to tell us what to think and I often feel the need to challenge those ideas that can get into our heads almost subliminally.  I have a section called Soapbox that I use when I am especially agitated by something I have heard.  Some readers may want to avoid that one. :) As I find useful articles or posts from other blogs I try to bring them to our readers attention.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An American Opportunity - Community Gardens

If you have never tasted a home grown tomato or fresh picked corn now is your chance for an amazing treat.  Community gardens are in full swing and the more volunteers they have the more they are able to produce.  You don't need experience, just a willingness to get your hands dirty. If you don't want to do that garden gloves are very affordable.  Wear your sunscreen and you can get a nice tan in the process.

Monday, July 26, 2010

3 Free copies of In The Trenches

Note:  the books have been spoken for but if you are interested and missed out this time I will be offering three more sometime in August.  Watch for upcoming posts and thank you again.  If you are interested on behalf of a group I would be happy to work with you for discounts for multiple copies.  Carol

If you think that you or someone you know would benefit from having a copy of In The Trenches and feel you cannot afford one now is your chance.  This could be for yourself, a friend or family member, or a group or church. 

I will be giving away copies to the first three people that email me their name and address and let me know whether you heard about this offer through the blog or facebook.  No strings attached.   

Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Each of us as bloggers has our unique perspective that we attempt to convey to our readers. The current buzz phrase for this is niche. It is no different in the personal finance blog world and is why I am always encouraging readers to check out multiple blogs, books, and resources before coming to conclusions. This is the best way to reach your own personalized solutions.

It’s like walking through the whole buffet line before filling your plate. When you know what’s available it is easier to pick and choose the best. Contrary to this is the person who starts filling their plate with salad not knowing that there is prime rib down the line. (Excuse me vegetarians out there.) In terms of blogs one might focus on coupon clipping, another on expense reduction ideas, and another on retirement planning and investment. All are good and worthwhile.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reading the signs - Detour

Detour signs are so annoying! Don’t you agree? When you have traveled a road many times and all of a sudden a detour sign pops up it is very disconcerting. A detour sign can even make a person late for work which is a double insult to those of us who time everything to the last minute and are already lucky just to make it to work on time. It doesn’t seem to bother the early birds as much because they take the alternate route and are still early! What’s that about? Seems kind of like showing off. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a detour only to find that the alternate route is not marked clearly and I either end up getting lost or taking a detour from the detour. Annoying.

Despite whatever emotional response and inconvenience we may have to a detour sign they are usually there for our protection. Even if we can’t see it there is work being done and if we do not heed the detour sign we can get ourselves or others in trouble. Some reasons I have known for detours are:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Secrets of Extreme Savers

Link to story:  Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

Sometimes looking at how others live can be quite surprising. We hear so much about unemployment, debt, and difficulty that we begin to think that is all there is.

Sometimes the sunshine comes through the clouds and we become aware that there are different choices that can be made.

For millions of people the financial crisis has been a time where they need to start over. Though it can be difficult it can be the cloud with the silver lining!

In this article the featured families have been able to save between 20% to 60% of their income. The story tells how they were able to do it and how it affected their lives.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Money Management

Have you ever wondered why a new financial plan you have tried might not have had the results you expected?

I had a manager years ago who taught me some principles that I have found to be helpful in many areas of life for all the years since. New terminology may have renamed or updated them but the concepts remain solid.

The four fundamental principles of management:

Another key element critical to management success is the following truth:

You can’t manage what you can’t control.

We’ll take each of these individually and then pull them together. Understanding and mastering the concepts will improve your effectiveness and maybe give you some “ah ha” insights into where your current strategies may be a little weak.

Monday, July 19, 2010

10 Tips To Create Wealth

10 Tips To Create Wealth

Jay Peroni has written an inspiring and encouraging article for Christian PF. Inspiring because it raises our sights to higher levels and encouraging because the steps he lists are things that we can all do, right now, whatever our current situation.

I hope you will check it out and if you appreciate his work leave him a comment to let him know.

It just makes me feel like it's going to be a great week! How about you?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In The Trenches - Networking

When the regular checks were coming in and I wanted to buy something I did. It was that easy. Sometimes cash and sometimes credit but either way it was a process almost like a wishing on a genie. Point and get. Of course there were some limitations but generally most things could be purchased on minimum monthly payments.

In The Trenches is different. Much different. Instead of point and get it’s more like search and rescue. It was wonderfully fun because I had many friends who were doing the same thing.

As we visited over morning coffee we would discuss everything from the seeds we wanted to plant, to the painting we planned to do, and the books we wanted to read. We each had our wish lists and we would act as scouts for one another looking for the perfect light fixture, back door, or anything better than we had. We shopped at garage sales, thrift stores, and always let one another know if we were getting rid of something.

The value of perserverance

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan 'Press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

                                                                                                                 -Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Are you ready? A call to action.

I've done a few serious posts lately.  This is in response to the current changes in the economy and the impact of benefits running out for many unemployed Americans.  After this post I'll try to keep it light for a while. 

You would almost have to have the TV off and ignore the newspaper to miss headlines like these:

All Bets Are Off If 'Jobless Recovery' Becomes True 'Double Dip', Catalano Says

Posted Jul 13, 2010 07:45am EDT by Keegan Bales in Recession^GPSC,EEM,^DJI,TBT,TLT,GLD,FXE

Though apparently the experts couldn’t see this second dip coming they are now pummeling us with the news. I have mentioned this before and would like to add some additional thoughts:

Are you ready? What can be done to prepare to the best of our ability? Here’s my opinion of a bare bones checklist. I have listed them in the order that I think is most important but a review of your own situation is needed to decide how you would establish the priorities or if you even need to make any adjustments at all.

1. Minimum Basic Budget. Have you completed one yet? Have you found the lowest amount you could live on if needed? Have you identified what your change strategy would be if your income were further reduced? If you are not sure of the answers you might want to pick up a copy of In The Trenches and review the purpose and the process. If money is tight right now you can print the worksheets by clicking the coins on the right sidebar. Later in the month I will be giving away a couple copies of the book to those who need but cannot afford them. Watch for the information in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Taco Tuesday - Yeah!!

Del Taco has a Tuesday special of 3 tacos for $1.09!  They are available  in soft or hard shell. 

A family of six can be fed for less than what it costs to cook most meals.  Add a can of re fried beans and maybe some seasoned tater tots and it's a family night treat.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Unemployment figures still high.

I have been pondering the challenges of the unemployed daily. I too am looking for a position.  The news regarding unemployment seems to be gathering intensity as the depression/recession/economic crisis continues.  People are getting angry, frustrated, and tired as the unemployment benefits are running out and there seems to be no job in site.  People had hoped for a quick recovery and are disappointed and disillusioned that improvement is taking longer than expected.  Politicians and the media are fanning the frenzy because it makes news and gets votes.  The stimulus plan funds did not go as far as many had hoped and there is much debate as to the reasons.  All in all the flames are being fanned and the fire is getting hotter.  But, is that really doing any good? 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Unemployed? An American Opportunity

Got too much time on your hands?

Our students need help in all areas of the country. For years the call has gone out that more adult participation is needed to keep our kids at the top level and help them from falling behind.

If even some of our unemployed could offer their time to our kids the future would be changed for generations to come.

Tutoring is one on one involvement. Don't feel qualified? You know more than you think you do. Can you spare some time to listen to a child read or help with their multiplication tables?  If academics are not your thing there is music, drama, after school sports, paper grader, and official cupcake maker.

Contact your local schools and see if they can use your help.  If kids make you nervous there are many other volunteer opportunities available in every community.  Being active in the community can increase your chances of meeting more people, boost your morale, show your skills and talents to others, gain references, and possibly even find a job.  Just goes to show that helping others is often the biggest blessing to those who do it.

And, it would sure look good on your resume.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Chicken Little Syndrome

Let me be blunt here. I hate articles like this one: 7.9 million jobs lost, maybe forever.

Please allow me tell you why.

Yes, we are in an Economic Crisis, yes, the unemployment rate is astronomical, and yes, I believe and have written that it will probably get worse before it gets better. That being said there are a number of important factors that the author of the article has not put into context.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rich Dad Poor Dad - Free Seminar Review

This week I had the opportunity to attend a two-hour free seminar sponsored by Rich Dad Poor Dad. I love financial seminars. It’s probably crazy but seminars have always been my #1 choice for learning something new. Books can get long and even the best books can be set aside in a busy schedule, classes require a big commitment, and infomercials seem contrived. Seminars can provide information, interaction with others with similar interests, and are usually just long enough to fill your brain without shifting it to autopilot or sleep mode. This two-hour seminar was no exception. The speakers gave just enough taste to spark the thoughts and the free gifts had people jumping out of their seats to get them.