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Enter Evernote

EvernoteI don’t know about you, but I find myself writing things down on a scratch sheet of paper, the palm of my hand or digitally online. A few weeks ago Evernote was installed on my HTC Hero. The application has been quietly lurking in the list. I tried another program, but I found it lacking in the area of usability. So I went online and actually signed up for an account with Evernote. So far, I am very impressed. They have browser extensions for you to choose from that will prove to be a time saver. Having the ability to grab things from the web with Web Clipper for your computer is an essential feature. You can check out the video below for ideas on how it could help you.

I know several people that could use this tool for show prep. Everybody has their method that works for them and as they say, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I would be interested to hear from people that actually use Evernote or something similar. Typing in search criteria would be much better than flipping through that stack of paper.

The real world example for me will be to use Evernote to gather resources and ideas for a project I am working on. What method or tools do you use for notes that are accessible anywhere and on multiple devices? Feel free to share those as well as how you use Evernote.

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Net is Gross

Net is Gross

Have you ever looked at your check and compared the Net vs Gross? It seems gross is the winner with every paycheck. Now I am not here to say that we shouldn’t be thankful for what we have. That is not the intent. Certain parts of the deductions are much more pleasing than others. Insurance and retirement savings are not as gross as some of the other things you can see listed. Does it frustrate you when you see gross winning over net?

There is nothing wrong with you desiring to make more money, if your motives are pure. You could want more so you can give more. Make no mistake about it you should not wait until you make more to give. In fact if you want more you should give more. There is a law of sowing and reaping. Money is simply a tool. Yes it is more complex than a hammer, but it can do many of the same things. If you want to build an orphanage chances are you might use a hammer. On the other hand if you want to destroy something, you could use?…ding, ding ding, A hammer! I encourage you to find a portion of that net amount you see and give it away. That is the only way for net to win out over gross.

What ideas do you have to increase your bottom line? They don’t have to be “Big Ideas”. Recently I have had this idea of starting vegetables, and fruit (tomatoes) from seeds to sell. I am still hashing this out. The farmer in me wants to plant and grow. My reason for this is yes to potentially make a bit of net on the side, but there is more to it than just that. This is a great way to help families eat healthy, and hedge against inflation. Planting your own garden is a way to hedge against the rising cost of food. What pure pleasure it is to raise your own food. If you want to be hip you can raise it all organically. We will see if this one pans out or not. Feel free to share your ideas to increase the size of your net.

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21 Things You Should Never Buy New

I recently found myself surfing on craigslist.org looking for a deal. I still would like to add a  piece or two of furniture to my downtown apartment. After looking around I decided to do a search for “Subaru parts”. What I found thrilled me! Right there, less than 100 miles from home, was a perfectly good set of used WRX rims! The price couldn’t be beat. Iused rimslooked on Ebay.com and saw the same set for $350 before shipping. After looking through a few forums I found out that they would fit my car, and I immediately contacted the owner. After making arrangements, I went and picked up the used set of shoes for the Subie. Oh you want to know the price? $100! I know, it cost me a bit more at the end of the day to drive and pick them up. None the less I saved money on a great set of rims.

Much to my regret my attempt to contact a local business that has factory pull-off used tires only gets 17 inch and above used tires now. I had hoped that I would find a great deal on a set of used tires. I like to do business locally when I can, so I opted for a great deal on a set of new ones from www.woodstire.com. If you live in or near New Albany, MS you should give Woods ok Tire a shot at serving you.

I did buy tires new, but this article will help you with 21 things you should never buy new. Now I do not suggest you even touch number 20, but it is the better way if you must. What other ways have you found to purchase perfectly good used items that saved you money? Feel free to post them in the comments area.

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I like this article because it brings common sense to our outlook on the markets. So many people focus on what the market does on a minute by minute basis as if it matters to their long term goals.
The Motley Fool is a great source of information. This article is a fine example of the work they do.  This one is by Selena Maranjian.  You can read more about Selena here.

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Are you as smart as an ant?

Getting out of debt is an important goal. Hopefully, you can see yourself beyond being in debt. While on the road to getting out of debt, saving should be a priority in your budget. If you don’t like the word budget, we will call it a Spending Plan.

Everyday we are attacked with million dollar marketing techniques. It is in your e-mail inbox, text messages, and pop-ups. They all entice you to hop on the treadmill of consumption. If you catch yourself on that thing jump off! We must free ourselves from giving in to the temptation of spending more than we earn.

We used to be a nation of savers. In Fact, thrift was a foundational element of American society. The architect Louis Sullivan even carved the word thrift over the door of his bank. This concept seems to be a thing of the past.

Calvin Coolidge said, “Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character.”  The discipline of giving to your savings account AKA Freedom Account will cause you to delay buying that expensive name brand purse in the window or the latest tech gadget.

Today Americans save less than ever. Personal savings as a percentage of disposable income were around 10 percent in the 1980’s. They hovered around 5 percent during much of the 1990’s. By 2000 they neared zero percent and have sometimes dropped below zero.

You may be saying to yourself, but why save? Here are a few possibilities. Set aside money in your Freedom Account and label it Emergency Fund. This is essential and should be your first goal in saving. The Freedom Account is to cover unexpected and necessary purchases.

By contrast, other saving and investing may be more long-term. This includes setting aside money for your children’s college fund or providing for your retirement. In this case, liquidity is less important and long-term performance should be your goal.

Are you smarter than an ant? The Bible encourages us to save. In Proverbs it encourages those who don’t save to consider how a lowly creature like the ant prepares for the future: Proverbs 6:6-8 (KJV) says ” Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,  provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. The writer of Proverbs also talks about how wise people save, in contrast to foolish people who don’t. Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)”in the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has”.

You need a Spending Plan. John Maxwell says, “A budget is people telling their money what to do instead of wondering where it went.” A budget is a plan for saving and spending. The book of Proverbs admonishes us to plan. Prov 16:3 says, “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” But as we develop these plans for the future, we also need to be sensitive to the Lord’s leading. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” Prov 16:9.

If you want to be successful you should consider Prov 21:5, it says “good planning and hard work lead to prosperity”. By contrast, the Bible also teaches that our plans will fail if these plans aren’t within the will of God. Isaiah 30:1 says, “You make plans that are contrary to mine”.

Start saving now! In Proverbs 22:5 we read, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” Everyone needs a cash reserve for major emergencies, and even for small emergencies and inconveniences.

If the life of a loved one depended on you saving $1,000, how quick could you save it? Would you eat out as much? Think about the things you might do without. Put things in perspective. Decide now that you will begin to put labels on what is a true need and what is well.. just a selfish desire.

Dream with me, you are debt free except for your mortgage. You decide to check your inbox on Friday afternoon just before taking your wife on a date. You see an e-mail from your boss that says, the company no longer needs your services. Suddenly you enter a “transition period”, better known as unemployment. How would you react? Take a deep breath remember we are just dreaming here. Now imagine if you had three to six months of expenses in your.. you guessed it Freedom Account. Would you still have that old fashion hissy fit? Probably not. If you didn’t already plan the date with your bride you would probably go and enjoy a round of golf or maybe go fishing. It goes without saying, but there would be very little stress if you had a fully funded Freedom Account.

Recently we experienced record rainfalls in our area. No you don’t understand, it was more like a 1,000 year flood. Being born in the Delta of Mississippi I have seen that flat land covered with water on several occasions. All I could think was, we live in the hills, the foothills of the Appalachians, water is not supposed to be downtown. I took a walk down to the Talahatchie river bridge where the water was only inches from the bottom of the bridge. What did I see below me? Ants. You may be saying ants? What? Yes there in the water you could plainly see hundreds of ants gathered together. They found one place where the water was still and they gathered together to save their future offspring. I

The QBQ! Ants

QBQ! Ants

will never forget it as long as I live, on top of the ants were tiny eggs. No amount of planning could have prepared them for this. I highly doubt there was a single complaint. They probably even lost their copy of QBQ! You know they had to read it or else they would have been washed down the river while they all asked IQ’s like, why didn’t you see this coming? Why didn’t we listen to Al Gore?

Think about the future of your family tree. What would it look like if you would start cleaning up your mess?

Your Freedom Account may be drenched by the proverbial “rainy day” right now. Don’t be discouraged. If you have to start over or if you have a mess, just start with the simple and basic. Stay consistent and win! You are smarter than the ant, so give it your best and surround yourself with others that will encourage you along this journey.

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Nothing like a BIG BANK right?

Well not according to the majority of the customers of the BIG BANKS. For some reason these customers don’t believe that their financial institution does what is best for them, but rather are more concerned about the bottom line.

Have you ever had your bank change the fee structure without your full knowledge? I have heard complaints about credit card divisions changing the due dates in order to increase late payments. The bottom line is they have not been providing satisfactory customer service.

I recently heard a from a lady who sang the praises of her dentist’s office simply because they called to be sure she was feeling well after the procedure. It goes without saying she will be a loyal customer and will tell everybody she knows about her experience.

Do you provide the best customer service possible to your clients? If not maybe it is time to go above and beyond their expectations.

Read more on this article here to find out about how credit unions, insurance and investment firms rated.

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Welcome to Money Resolutions

Welcome, I trust that you are having a wonderful year so far.  Keep coming back to see the changes that will be coming.

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