My Resolutions for 2009

My Financial Resolutions for 2009

I want to increase my TXDOTCU and ATFCU Accounts by at least $250 each, I want to add another $100 into my prosper lending account. At least $1500 into my 401K, $1000 into my investing account, and pay off 3 different credit cards.

I have written these resolutions onto a white board that is on my bedroom door. At the end of every month I have to update the board so that I always know where I am, and what I need to do to reach my goals.

I also want to turn my "jack of all trades" business into a budding online advertising agency.

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READ, read, READ

I think that one of the main things that a person does to be successful is READ. I personally have 7 magazine subscriptions, 2 newspaper subscriptions, read at least one book per month, read stock information every weeknight and purchase the occasional magazine/newspaper when out in public. And soon will be reading headlines on my new iPhone that I am getting for Christmas.

Reading keeps your brain active! NUFF SAID.

But really, it can give you insights about a particular subject, of course the news, and sometimes it is just a good way to relax. I am not saying that you need to read nothing but business magazines, I personally have a subscription to a gamers magazine, I hardly play my game, but it is nice to know what is going on in that world. I also like to read a classic book every now and then. The last book I re-read was Journey to the Center of the Earth....great book. Then rented the brenden frasier movie.

You can get steep discounts on magazine subscriptions, if you have one magazine that you like, do some research and see what other magazines that particular publisher also owns. If you find one you like, just call them and say, hey, I really enjoy magazine "X" and would also like to sample these other magazines you have, if I like them I will pay $5 for each subscription. I tried this and IT WORKED!

Cheat....I think that a podcast is like reading, I use my ZUNE to get about 5 Video Podcasts per week, I usually watch them when waiting in line for something (store, fastfood, doctor, etc...) I get up to date news, stuff from national geographic and a few others. They are really cool and make me look techie when in a public place. Plus the Zune screen is large enough to really see the podcast.

Point being....read SOMETHING

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If I was Microsoft and Wanted to Win.

I think that now is the best time for companies with a lot of cash on hand to invest in acquisitions while company valuations are so low. One company I am going to focus on is Microsoft. I am going to pretend that I have $6.3 Billion of their money to buy other companies. ($6.3 Billion because that is what they used to purchase AQuantive.com) Microsoft has $20-$25 Billion in Cash. Listed below is the companies I would buy or invest in, how much I would invest, and why. Some of the companies are privately held and some are public, some are large, some are small. All of my recommendations offer strategic moves for Microsoft to make them more effecient or position them for growth. Microsoft could already have business plans similiar to these businesses, but adding these companies could help them leapfrog other competitors. My choices center around advertising and media, while a few have other agendas. The last item is a division that I want Microsoft to expand in, not buy into.
In no particular order or importance, each acquisition would add its own mark on Microsoft. The price next to the company is what I would pay/offer if I were making the terms, I do not know the valuations of private companies, I can only guess. This is a pretty long list so get ready.
ATTN Microsoft, I would love to work in your strategic acquisitions division. I will take a salary and so many shares of stock every quarter and a nice office and house. Just email me ThomasJowers@Aol.com
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Freewebs.com $1.6 million, This is a company that lets users create Free Websites, the site in turn gets to put advertisements on those websites unless the members choose to upgrade. If I remember right this site uses Google ads. Purchasing this property would give another outlet for MSN AdCenter, and serve a small blow to Google ads. For a small investment this should create a wealth of ad space for Microsoft.

ZoomShare.com $500,000, This company is almost exactly like Freewebs.com but smaller, again more viewers for Adcenter ads and a small hit to Google ads.

Digg.com, $75 Million, Believe it or not, Digg is still a hot web property. Microsoft could intergrate Digg into its own news site and it could also fit into Facebook (Microsoft is a minority owner of Facebook) Just think of all the eyeballs that visit Digg.com everyday, lots of ad space. It also plays on the social news genre! Digg is the best of best when it comes to social news sites.

Twitter.com, $55 Million, An amazing social site that everyone from politicians to students are using. Right now it has a few monetization problems but Microsoft could fix that with ad support on the website, enroll in a profit sharing contract with text message providers, and even intergrate this into the Zune. The Zune now has wifi capabilities at McDonalds around the country, now people can "Tweet" from their Zunes when at McDonalds. How much would McDonalds pay to send a Tweet to every Zune in wifi range letting Zune owners know about special McDonalds Deals. I own a Zune and would love this! Everytime a Zune is sold it could come loaded with the Twitter Application!

Interactive Corp. (IACI) $2.4 Billion, A search engine with built in advertisers and cash flow. It is a hip and cool search engine that has lots of other web properties including: Evite.com, Match.com, CitySearch.com, and Ask.com among others. This could be merged into the Adcenter platform. I would like the websites to still look the same but the advances in search technology would help Microsoft. With interactive Corp, Microsoft would gain more search share, more advertisers, and more web presence. I am also sure that with this company Microsoft could restructure part of the company to account for some cost savings and ineffeciencies within its own platform.

AdBrite.com, $68 Million, Currently Adbrite already has 85,000+ websites in its network serving over 375 Million ad inpressions daily.....daily. What a boost that would be for Microsoft Adcenter. I us Adbrite for a few of my websites and have been very pleased! It is already the 3rd largest ad network on the net, larger than Microsoft!!!!!

NetFlix, $128 Million, 11% stake in the company. I think that this would help Microsoft get its hands on a cash cow. Monthly memberships, plus a blossoming movie streaming service. Would make a great addition to the partnership they already have in XBox Live, and they could also extend the service to the Zune. Another reason to pick the Zune over the ipod, and another reason to pick the xbox over the wii or PS3.

Mint.com $45 Million, A great way for Microsoft to expand it Software as a Service idea and a way to bundle its profitable Microsoft Money software to consumers that are uneasy putting personal financial information on the web. Also a great platform for financial related ads!

TheStreet.com TSCM $115 Million, I personally think one thing that other portals have on MSN is their financial website, I personally use AOL's, but I like Google's and Yahoo!'s Financial pages. If Microsoft owned TheStreet.com it would hve one of the best Financial website out there. It would also have prime web realestate for Finance Ads. This could also help sell Microsoft money software. If Microsoft purchased TheStreet.com it would also get Mainstreet.com, Stockpickr.com, BankingMyWay.com, Geezeo.com, Realmoney.com, and Dividend.com. Let's not forget the talents of Jim Cramer!

Skype.com $1.2 Billion Currently owned by eBay (they overpaid for skype but wont admit to it) This would be a great addition to Microsoft because it could be a great ad on to Microsoft business partners. Plus it is growing at an impressive rate and generates CASH!

ClickSpeed.com $7.5 Million This is a quirky company that handles a lot of marketing for clients and really could help expand Microsoft's Adcenter program.

Achieveinternet.com $3.25 Million This company creates small social networks for midsize companies. Think of the monthly fees Microsoft could make and the non-competitive ads they could serve in these social networks! Sony and BestBuy already use this company, why shouldnt Microsoft own it for a mere 3.5 million?

StatBrain.com $250,000, StatBrain would be to Microsoft like Alexa is to Amazon. This site would be a stand alone site but would also be integrated into Adcenter.

Sirius XM Radio $95 Million, Microsoft would get 210 Million share of the combined satellite company, 10 commercial radio stations that all sirius xm subscribers would get for free. Microsoft would be interested in this partnership because they would control the commercials on those 10 stations. Again, making google jealous. Also, Sirius would be integrated into Xbox Live and the Zune with a 50/50 profit sharing split for Microsoft! FREE MONEY! Plus Microsoft would have access to satellites in orbit!

MetalFloss $4.2 Million, This would be cool factor for Microsoft. With MentalFloss, Microsoft would gain control of a great website, blog, Magazine, and a quirky shirt company. Microsoft could sell ad space on the site and blog, gain access to print ad sales, and have people all over the country wearing their funny t-shirts!

Superior Internet Solutions, Superiorroi.com, $4 Million, This company does online marketing for small and midsize companies, it also helps outsource projects for the same companies. A great little tack on for Microsoft.

MindFireInc.com, $5 Million, A great ad on for Adcenter, helps marketers make sense of and track traffic coming to their site.

LookSmart.com $33 Million, A publically traded search portal. It already has built in advertisers and users. Another way for Microsoft to take a jab at Google. Looksmart gets its search results from ask.com which gets its results from Google. Looksmart has $30 million in cash already. If Microsoft were to buy Looksmart, they would also get their own social bookmarking site, Furl.net, yep, you know what I am thinking, more ad space to sell!

Miva.com $18 Million, Another add on for Adcenter. It already has a pretty extensive list of users and advertisers. Why not fold those into Adcenter and create a wider base of users?

iRobot $300 Million, This would be a great growth area for Microsoft. I think that robotics could have a huge market in a few years, especially when consumers really embrace robots as anything other than toys. The zoomba is awesome! Plus, lots of government contracts. Think of all of the businesses that would buy a robotic janitor that you turn on at night and let run till morning, no 401K, benefits, sick days, etc....

BuyItSellIt.com $200,000 An online store format that would let users create a free online store. As of now, it is totally free, I would like to see Microsoft charge a small commission for sold items. I think this would fit in great with the cashback search program.

Build a Computer. $10 Million, This is the section where I would like to see Microsoft build from within. I want Microsoft to build high end PC and Laptops for affluent consumers and businesses. I mean the starting PC would start at about $2,200 and laptops at about $2,500 or higher. These should be the BEST personal computers on the market, best everything! This would help create Microsoft as a status symbol. Like the Mac is now. Create a Cool name for the division and focus on quality not quantity. Microsoft already sells Microsoft branded mice, keyboards, webscams, headsets, etc.... They would come pre-installed with Microsoft software and OS. Maybe curbing some of the market share Safari has taken lately. This would not be a high growth area for Microsoft but a great niche area that could lead to other Microsoft purchases. These computers would only be available shoppers at Saks or other highend retailers as well as online. As other computer makers are slashing prices and margins, Microsoft could court the top 3% of the market where the profit margins are higher! These computers should be built one at a time and everything should be done in one location! Put a Made in the USA stamp on it and really make it something to tout and be proud off. Like the Surface computers Microsoft is already selling.

Who says that Microsoft needs Yahoo.com to be a factor in Online Advertising. If Microsoft were to get these properties, I think Microsoft would become one of the premier Marketing/Advertising firms in the world! And guess what, the total for all these business is $4,568,500,000, or $1,764,500,000 less than the AQuantive Deal. They could use that money to make sure they are the defacto authority in Mobile Search by paying a nice payment to Verizon and AT&T to be the default mobile search company! My recommendations would make Microsoft and Online Powerhouse, make the Zune way more attractive than the iPod, make the XBox the best media center out there, and maje a new outlet for the extremely profitable software sector. It was also give new advertising outlets for Print ads and Radio ads, as well as beefing up hardware sales and profit margins. Another use for the $1.7 Billion would be to create a trust that pays out every 6 months a special dividend to stock holders that has held the stock for at least a year. That would make the stock price go up and stay up. *To create a great buzz, Microsoft should negotiate all of these deals in private and release them all on the same day. What a bonanza that would be.!!!
Again, my prices do NOT represent the value of a company and again, just my guess!
I have an XBox, Zune, use Vista, have Microsoft Money, Microsoft Office, I have used Cashback search, and a few pc games sold by Microsoft.
Disclaimer, I own stock in Microsoft, TheStreet.com, SiriusXM, and McDonalds

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I didn't get to Vote!!!!! :-(

Let me tell you why I didn't vote today.

A few months ago I registered to vote, because my last voter registration card had expired. I was going to vote early this year at the local Hastings but completely had a brain lapse and drove right past it on the way home.

So I was going to vote today 11/4/08 at the K-Mart because I was going to be in town today anyway because I had to take a Spanish Test and I had a small meeting at work. Work is about 8 miles from school and K-Mart is smack dab in the middle. So I pulled into the K-Mart parking lot and made sure that I had my new orange voter registration. I walked around inside K-Mart for at least 20 minutes looking for the voting area, which is usually in the mens clothing section, I know because I have voted there before. Well after 20 minutes I actually asked where the voting area was. The Associate had no idea what I was talking about, a manager finally was paged to let me know that K-Mart only did early voting now and that I had missed the opportunity to vote at K-Mart by a day. So, I felt left down, hung my head and walked out of the store and drove my 23 miles to get home.

I was too disgusted to leave the house to look for another place to vote.

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PS The Dow was up 300+ today and I already have a stock that I bought last week that doubled!!!!! More about those stocks to be posted in the morning!

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Invest in Yourself!

I had an awesome teacher that taught me that I should pay myself first. The saying was 10% is mine to keep.

If you don't invest in you, no one else will. If I am able to accomplish anything with this blog, it will be to hammer this point in. Try to put 10% (or more if you can) up for you.

I currently put 5% into my 401K (because that is the maximum that my employer will match) and I try to put more into one of my other accounts.
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If you have a small business, now is a time to build your business by hitting the pavement and getting the word out about your business. That is exactly what I am about to get ready to do. I own a small business that encompasses online auctions, classifieds, PPC, custom websites, online advertising and a few other small sections. Over the next few months I will be redesigning a few of my sites, buying a few more, and getting the word out about my custom website business, (my best division!). More updates and links to come about my businesses. I wanted to keep this blog seperate from my businesses, but they tie in so well. I promise to not turn this blog into one big ad for my company.
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UPDATE on investing

I forget to turn on my investing account for this last week to buy stocks. It actually worked out because the market fell tuesday and wednesday. I was able to purchase some stock today during a sell off but will be buying more later next week, so that is when I will disclose everything I did.

I also put a deposit of $150 into my Spain Fund!

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What a wild Ride!

These last few weeks have been a wild and crazy wild ending with a lot of pain for many people. I couldn't be happier!

I am only 24 years old and have many years to build a winning portfolio. I had a pretty good portfolio already with great stocks like GE, MSFT, MCD, AXP, KO, T, and BP. I had a few laggers like FNM (that I bought on the way down) and SIRI. I even made a small profit earlier last week, I had a small position in NAPS and BestBuy decided to buy them. I sold my shares for a nice little profit. If you notice most of my stocks have a nice dividend. Its like these stocks pay you to own them, I Love it!

I am in the process of selling some stocks that I think are unhealthy and I am purchasing more Great Stocks at a Huge bargain. I suggest that if you have a few hundred bucks somewhere to do some research and buy a great company in the bargain bin. Again, I really like dividend paying stocks here. I should be done buying next week and I can share with you what I did, and you can decide if I am a genius or a loser.

My 401K looks like crap but don't forget, I still have a lot of work left in me and everytime I get a check in this crummy market, I am getting shares at a discount thanks to my 401K. I had previously (6 months ago) moved most of my 401k distributions into safer areas like bonds. I actually got lucky there, but I'll take it. So I have lost considerably less then my co-workers. I now have 4 savings accounts. One in my 401k, at 2 credit unions, and on Paypal.

I think that we have seen the last of the major pain, the Stock market will still have some down days but not has severe as the last few sessions. One exception, if there is a huge rally I think that there will be a sell off the next day because people will use that time to get out of the market and take some profits. That is perfectly fine but it will make the stock market look volitile.

*Disclaimer I am not a trained professional. Please discuss all financial movements and stock purchases with your financial advisor.

Stock Term Defined:
ETF
A security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold.

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New Sponsor and Cool Site to Check Out

If anyone is planning a trip or vacation we all know that it is a huge ordeal. You have to pack, get tickets, hold your mail......etc...
One thing just got a little easier, getting tickets. Everyone has heard of Expedia or Priceline but has anyone ever heard of Westbay Travel. They are another place to compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deal. Also, they are another way for you to make money.

Everyone knows what I am all about making money and trying new ways to make money. WestbayTravel.com has a way for people to make money buy giving them their own website to promote. From what I hear a bunch of college students are making money from this site also.
www.WestbayTravel.com

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How our Congressmen Voted on the Bailout

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE The BILL PASSED TODAY, SOME CONGRESSMEN (WOMEN) WOKE UP!!!! YEAH, THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS COMING INTO VIEW, MIND YOU IT IS STILL A WAYS OFF. 10/4/08
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My congressman voted AGAINST the bailout losing retirment savings for me and other tax payers (and voters). He will NOT get my vote for RE-Election.

I usually dont get political but I have had it when you wipe out 7% of the nations wealth by being stupid.

It is expected that this bill will be voted upon again later this week, be looking for my update. I watched President Bush talk about this today, and he too was very disappointed.

How did your Congressman Vote, This is just snippit from a longer story, here is the link.

ALABAMA
Democrats — Cramer, Y; Davis, Y.
Republicans — Aderholt, N; Bachus, Y; Bonner, Y; Everett, Y; Rogers, Y.
ALASKA
Republicans — Young, N.
ARIZONA
Democrats — Giffords, N; Grijalva, N; Mitchell, N; Pastor, N.
Republicans — Flake, N; Franks, N; Renzi, N; Shadegg, N.
ARKANSAS
Democrats — Berry, Y; Ross, Y; Snyder, Y.
Republicans — Boozman, Y.
CALIFORNIA
Democrats — Baca, N; Becerra, N; Berman, Y; Capps, Y; Cardoza, Y; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, Y; Farr, Y; Filner, N; Harman, Y; Honda, Y; Lee, N; Lofgren, Zoe, Y; Matsui, Y; McNerney, Y; Miller, George, Y; Napolitano, N; Pelosi, Y; Richardson, Y; Roybal-Allard, N; Sanchez, Linda T., N; Sanchez, Loretta, N; Schiff, N; Sherman, N; Solis, N; Speier, Y; Stark, N; Tauscher, Y; Thompson, N; Waters, Y; Watson, N; Waxman, Y; Woolsey, N.
Republicans — Bilbray, N; Bono Mack, Y; Calvert, Y; Campbell, Y; Doolittle, N; Dreier, Y; Gallegly, N; Herger, Y; Hunter, N; Issa, N; Lewis, Y; Lungren, Daniel E., Y; McCarthy, N; McKeon, Y; Miller, Gary, Y; Nunes, N; Radanovich, Y; Rohrabacher, N; Royce, N.
COLORADO
Democrats — DeGette, Y; Perlmutter, Y; Salazar, N; Udall, N.
Republicans — Lamborn, N; Musgrave, N; Tancredo, Y.
CONNECTICUT
Democrats — Courtney, N; DeLauro, Y; Larson, Y; Murphy, Y.
Republicans — Shays, Y.
DELAWARE
Republicans — Castle, Y.
FLORIDA
Democrats — Boyd, Y; Brown, Corrine, Y; Castor, N; Hastings, Y; Klein, Y; Mahoney, Y; Meek, Y; Wasserman Schultz, Y; Wexler, Y.
Republicans — Bilirakis, N; Brown-Waite, Ginny, N; Buchanan, N; Crenshaw, Y; Diaz-Balart, L., N; Diaz-Balart, M., N; Feeney, N; Keller, N; Mack, N; Mica, N; Miller, N; Putnam, Y; Ros-Lehtinen, N; Stearns, N; Weldon, Y; Young, N.
GEORGIA
Democrats — Barrow, N; Bishop, Y; Johnson, N; Lewis, N; Marshall, Y; Scott, N.
Republicans — Broun, N; Deal, N; Gingrey, N; Kingston, N; Linder, N; Price, N; Westmoreland, N.
HAWAII
Democrats — Abercrombie, N; Hirono, N.
IDAHO
Republicans — Sali, N; Simpson, Y.
ILLINOIS
Democrats — Bean, Y; Costello, N; Davis, Y; Emanuel, Y; Foster, Y; Gutierrez, Y; Hare, Y; Jackson, N; Lipinski, N; Rush, N; Schakowsky, Y.
Republicans — Biggert, N; Johnson, N; Kirk, Y; LaHood, Y; Manzullo, N; Roskam, N; Shimkus, N; Weller, X.
INDIANA
Democrats — Carson, N; Donnelly, Y; Ellsworth, Y; Hill, N; Visclosky, N.
Republicans — Burton, N; Buyer, N; Pence, N; Souder, Y.
IOWA
Democrats — Boswell, Y; Braley, N; Loebsack, Y.
Republicans — King, N; Latham, N.
KANSAS
Democrats — Boyda, N; Moore, Y.
Republicans — Moran, N; Tiahrt, N.
KENTUCKY
Democrats — Chandler, N; Yarmuth, N.
Republicans — Davis, N; Lewis, Y; Rogers, Y; Whitfield, N.
LOUISIANA
Democrats — Cazayoux, N; Jefferson, N; Melancon, Y.
Republicans — Alexander, N; Boustany, N; McCrery, Y; Scalise, N.
MAINE
Democrats — Allen, Y; Michaud, N.
MARYLAND
Democrats — Cummings, N; Edwards, N; Hoyer, Y; Ruppersberger, Y; Sarbanes, Y; Van Hollen, Y.
Republicans — Bartlett, N; Gilchrest, Y.
MASSACHUSETTS
Democrats — Capuano, Y; Delahunt, N; Frank, Y; Lynch, N; Markey, Y; McGovern, Y; Neal, Y; Olver, Y; Tierney, N; Tsongas, Y.
MICHIGAN
Democrats — Conyers, N; Dingell, Y; Kildee, Y; Kilpatrick, N; Levin, Y; Stupak, N.
Republicans — Camp, Y; Ehlers, Y; Hoekstra, N; Knollenberg, N; McCotter, N; Miller, N; Rogers, N; Upton, Y; Walberg, N.
MINNESOTA
Democrats — Ellison, Y; McCollum, Y; Oberstar, Y; Peterson, N; Walz, N.
Republicans — Bachmann, N; Kline, Y; Ramstad, N.
MISSISSIPPI
Democrats — Childers, N; Taylor, N; Thompson, N.
Republicans — Pickering, Y.
MISSOURI
Democrats — Carnahan, Y; Clay, N; Cleaver, N; Skelton, Y.
Republicans — Akin, N; Blunt, Y; Emerson, Y; Graves, N; Hulshof, N.
MONTANA
Republicans — Rehberg, N.
NEBRASKA
Republicans — Fortenberry, N; Smith, N; Terry, N.
NEVADA
Democrats — Berkley, N.
Republicans — Heller, N; Porter, Y.
NEW HAMPSHIRE
Democrats — Hodes, N; Shea-Porter, N.
NEW JERSEY
Democrats — Andrews, Y; Holt, Y; Pallone, Y; Pascrell, N; Payne, N; Rothman, N; Sires, Y.
Republicans — Ferguson, Y; Frelinghuysen, N; Garrett, N; LoBiondo, N; Saxton, Y; Smith, N.
NEW MEXICO
Democrats — Udall, N.
Republicans — Pearce, N; Wilson, Y.
NEW YORK
Democrats — Ackerman, Y; Arcuri, Y; Bishop, Y; Clarke, Y; Crowley, Y; Engel, Y; Gillibrand, N; Hall, Y; Higgins, Y; Hinchey, N; Israel, Y; Lowey, Y; Maloney, Y; McCarthy, Y; McNulty, Y; Meeks, Y; Nadler, Y; Rangel, Y; Serrano, N; Slaughter, Y; Towns, Y; Velazquez, Y; Weiner, Y.
Republicans — Fossella, Y; King, Y; Kuhl, N; McHugh, Y; Reynolds, Y; Walsh, Y.
NORTH CAROLINA
Democrats — Butterfield, N; Etheridge, Y; McIntyre, N; Miller, Y; Price, Y; Shuler, N; Watt, Y.
Republicans — Coble, N; Foxx, N; Hayes, N; Jones, N; McHenry, N; Myrick, N.
NORTH DAKOTA
Democrats — Pomeroy, Y.
OHIO
Democrats — Kaptur, N; Kucinich, N; Ryan, Y; Space, Y; Sutton, N; Wilson, Y.
Republicans — Boehner, Y; Chabot, N; Hobson, Y; Jordan, N; LaTourette, N; Latta, N; Pryce, Y; Regula, Y; Schmidt, N; Tiberi, N; Turner, N.
OKLAHOMA
Democrats — Boren, Y.
Republicans — Cole, Y; Fallin, N; Lucas, N; Sullivan, N.
OREGON
Democrats — Blumenauer, N; DeFazio, N; Hooley, Y; Wu, N.
Republicans — Walden, Y.
PENNSYLVANIA
Democrats — Altmire, N; Brady, Y; Carney, N; Doyle, Y; Fattah, Y; Holden, N; Kanjorski, Y; Murphy, Patrick, Y; Murtha, Y; Schwartz, Y; Sestak, Y.
Republicans — Dent, N; English, N; Gerlach, N; Murphy, Tim, N; Peterson, Y; Pitts, N; Platts, N; Shuster, N.
RHODE ISLAND
Democrats — Kennedy, Y; Langevin, Y.
SOUTH CAROLINA
Democrats — Clyburn, Y; Spratt, Y.
Republicans — Barrett, N; Brown, Y; Inglis, Y; Wilson, Y.
SOUTH DAKOTA
Democrats — Herseth Sandlin, N.
TENNESSEE
Democrats — Cohen, Y; Cooper, Y; Davis, Lincoln, N; Gordon, Y; Tanner, Y.
Republicans — Blackburn, N; Davis, David, N; Duncan, N; Wamp, N.
TEXAS
Democrats — Cuellar, N; Doggett, N; Edwards, Y; Gonzalez, Y; Green, Al, N; Green, Gene, N; Hinojosa, Y; Jackson-Lee, N; Johnson, E. B., Y; Lampson, N; Ortiz, N; Reyes, Y; Rodriguez, N.
Republicans — Barton, N; Brady, Y; Burgess, N; Carter, N; Conaway, N; Culberson, N; Gohmert, N; Granger, Y; Hall, N; Hensarling, N; Johnson, Sam, N; Marchant, N; McCaul, N; Neugebauer, N; Paul, N; Poe, N; Sessions, Y; Smith, Y; Thornberry, N.
UTAH
Democrats — Matheson, N.
Republicans — Bishop, N; Cannon, Y.
VERMONT
Democrats — Welch, N.
VIRGINIA
Democrats — Boucher, Y; Moran, Y; Scott, N.
Republicans — Cantor, Y; Davis, Tom, Y; Drake, N; Forbes, N; Goode, N; Goodlatte, N; Wittman, N; Wolf, Y.
WASHINGTON
Democrats — Baird, Y; Dicks, Y; Inslee, N; Larsen, Y; McDermott, Y; Smith, Y.
Republicans — Hastings, N; McMorris Rodgers, N; Reichert, N.
WEST VIRGINIA
Democrats — Mollohan, Y; Rahall, Y.
Republicans — Capito, N.
WISCONSIN
Democrats — Baldwin, Y; Kagen, N; Kind, Y; Moore, Y; Obey, Y.
Republicans — Petri, N; Ryan, Y; Sensenbrenner, N.
WYOMING
Republicans — Cubin, Y.

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What Happened????

Today the Dow fell 777 points or 7% because the House rejected a bill to provide a $700 Billion boost to our ailing economy. Why, Because people in office can't read. I am a staunch Republican and even I support this bill.

The bill does NOT just give $700 Billion to these companies, leaving the tax payer (you and I) to pay for it.

It actually is a HUGE investment for the government that would actually make us money. For the $$$ we would be getting ASSETS!!! When the economy is stronger in a few YEARS the ASSETS would be worth MORE than the $700 Billion spent. WE WOULD WIN. The U.S. Government is one of the only organizations large enough to hold a $700 Billion Investment for years, but stupid enough to let it slip through their fingers, this could have been a way to staive off paying for medicare and social security for a few more years, until a better alternative arose. I am disgusted and will be checking to see which way my congressman voted to see if he deserves my vote!

I do believe that the market should correct part of itself as Goldman Sachs has and Wachovia being seized and sold.

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My portfolio has fallen over 28% so far this year, yes my portfolio has some risky investments like Sirius and Fannie Mae, but I also have corner stone companies like Microsoft, GE, Wells Fargo, Coca Cola, and McDonalds. I am extremely lucky that I didnt put my Spain money into Stocks, I was thinking about it though.

All of my Spain money will stay in a money market account. I do believe that this is a buying opportunity for some stocks that were down that do not have a huge connection with the credit markets.

At least my loans in Prosper are doing well..... Want to make a quick $25, let me invite you to join prosper. (I make $25 too!)

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New Idea

I was given the idea that if I created a place for people to upload logos or a Sponsor's Section, I would get more companies to Donate to my Trip. SO....... I will now have a sponsored section and everytime someone donates $25, They will make it to the sponsored section! I received that idea from Linkedin.com connections!

I also purchased www.SpainorBust.com and that is set to my new online store!

I am also going to try and get a good name for selling books online! I will post it here when and if I can get one1

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First Deposit for Spain Trip

I made my first deposit into a money market account that will go toward my college trip to Spain. I deposited $750, I used a money market account because I can earn extra monthly interest. So, I am now 10% to my goal and need to raise the rest. I plan on having an online garage sale, online store, and by getting donations and selling things door to door. I am also getting things ready to put an ad in the paper where I will take left over items and put them in a local auction to raise money. I am also trying to do online surveys to get that little bit of extra money too! Let me know if you have an idea, I will try it and blog about it too!

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What did I get into This Time??!!??!!??!!

I am completely changing the direction of this blog... I usually talk about my finances for investing on a college students budget. Well, not till June of 2009 will that continue. I signed up to go to Spain for spanish credits in May 2009. I need to raise $7,000.00 for this trip. I will only putting in $700 of my own money. So I will need to turn that little bit into the big amount. More as it comes available, I am still thinking about how I am going to do this!

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Back to School

It is about 8 hours till classes start at my college, I am finishing my summer project and thought it would be nice if I wrote a little tip page!

1. DON'T BUY BOOKS at the bookstore, use eBay, Half, or Amazon. I do this every semester and save about 60% on my books, and when it comes to selling them back, I just resell them on the internet, sometimes I even make a profit! Actually, never set foot into your bookstore, you can everything you need online or at a supermarket for a much lower price.

2. NETWORK, It is very important that you create good solid relationships with fellow students and teachers. They can help you get jobs, scholarships, internships, etc.... LinkedIn is a great way to network professionally with teachers or acquaitences or facebook for good friends.

Look me up on Facebook or LinkedIn , My name is Thomas Jowers or my email is Cokkadudledue@aolSPAM.com remove SPAM from email

3. Buy a cheap notebook calendar and write EVERYTHING down. On the first day the teachers usually go over the syllabus, right down important dates!

4. Take a Fun Class...You have electives..use them..take a course you can't see yourself taking.. you will meet interesting people and make awesome contacts, and maybe learn something.

5. Tutor people! You can get paid $10 an hour or more to help people. Find a subject you are good in and post a flyer at the lunch room. Who knows that tutoring job could help pay down your student loans. You can even sell Notes! <---- I wanted to do this but never did it!

6. Get a Job, it has been proven that students that have a job, will better handle time contraints. Shows prospective employers after college that you were not a slouch. Also, make and invest some money!

7. Create Study sheets. Have a test coming up, set down and type yourself up a study guide that you can take with you and read when convenient, Lunch at work, waiting in a line, right before bed is good too! Always look at your notes RIGHT before you walk into the room for the test!

8. Have fun and do your work! Thats it, it is your college years, now I dont mean be stupid, but have fun. I am in my last stretch and am already missing it. I was fortunate enough to have take classes at 4 colleges, some online. I received a broad spectrum of education and dont regret any of it!

Dont forget you can look at items to decorate your dorm room at my new online store. www.BuyGreatOnline.com

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New Venture

I have decided to start an online store to go along with this site. I was going to use Microsoft Office's online store because they partner with Ebay and it was $2 cheaper per month. Then I saw the fine print, I was only going to get the discounted price for a year, then it doubles, plus I still had to pay Ebay fees. So why not and go to the source? I opened an online store on ebay. I connected it to a domain that I already have. So now if you type in www.BuyGreatOnline.com you are taken to my online store, at the moment I don't have all of the items in it, but I am working on it.
My items are being dropshipped so I don't have to worry inventory, but to keep things interesting, I am going to sell some things that I find at garage sales!

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July 2008 Results

Starting Tally from June:

My Savings Account: $258.07

My Investing Account: $600.47

My Money Market Account: $39.73
Don't forget this amount is actually in my Day Trading Experiement* $.11 is actually in the account.

My Personal Lending Account: $248.85
Currently loaned: $232.90
Waiting to be Loaned: $15.95


Ending Totals for July were:

My Savings Account: $258.72 <+.65>

My Investing Account: $706.69 <+106.22> $95 was new stock added

My Money Market Account: $226.61 <+186.88> $150 new deposits

My Personal Lending Account: $250.35 <+1.50>
Currently loaned: $228.79
Waiting to be Loaned: $21.56

My portfolio gained $295.25 for this month, but $245 were deposits for the month, so they dont count. So I really made $50.25 for the month or $1.675 per day! Mostly due to stock market rebounding!

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June 2007 Results

Starting Totals for June 2007

My Savings Account: $258.07

My Investing Account: $668.82

My Money Market Account: $60.87
* Don't forget this amount is actually in my Day Trading Experiement* It increased .02 cents because it was in the money market account for a few days before it was transfered to the investing account!

My Personal Lending Account: $245.39
Currently loaned: $241.51
Waiting to be Loaned: $3.87


Ending Totals for June 2007

My Savings Account: $258.07 <0>

My Investing Account: $600.47 <-$68.35>

My Money Market Account: $39.73 <-$21.14>
* Don't forget this amount is actually in my Day Trading Experiement* $.11 is actually in the account.

My Personal Lending Account: $248.85 <+3.46>
Currently loaned: $232.90
Waiting to be Loaned: $15.95

The Not-So-Grand Total for June is $1147.62 or a loss of $2.76 per day. That Sucks!

Since July 1st I have already bought stock in a new company, which will be released in the July Reports. It is an energy play and pays a nice dividend. Also I was planning on going to a casino yesterday and blowing some serious cash, but that didn't happen, so...I will be depositing some of that ear-marked money into my accounts. I am planning adding to some of my positions concerning some of stocks I already own.

This bear market is a blessing in disquise.....Everytime my dividends are paid to me they are automatically reinvested into more stock. With my stocks being down, my dividends are buying more shares and when the market eventually rebounds, I will have a nice little position in these stocks that didn't cost me much. AWESOME!

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Waste of Money

Want to know about a huge waste of money??? Fireworks... Don't get me wrong I buy fireworks every year and will continue to do so.. I have 2 little brothers that were just adopted, one is 2 and the other is 3. They love to watch them.

If you are going to purchase fireworks, look for deals. If you are going to stop at the road side stands, ask for deals, if you spend so much they should throw stuff in for free. I usually spend $300 per year on fireworks becuase I am usually trying to out do my family members with the best display. This year..I only spent about $50 so that I could impress the little ones because they get scared of the big ones!

Most Important. If you are going to do Fireworks, Please Be Safe!

The only thing about fireworks is, I just think through the years, how much money I have wasted that I could have invested!

Hope everyone has a Great Fourth of July!

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June Results

The results are on the way, my new deposits, new stocks, and EVERYTHING, just waiting for a few more other ventures!

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What a Day.

Today was horrible for the stock market and share holders in general. ALL of my stocks went down today. I am SO glad that I put that amount (see last post) into my money market account instead of stocks just yet. I will eventually put this money into stocks, but I don't think we have reached the bottom yet.

So is June going to make $1 a day for me, Not a Chance. My stocks may be down, but my 3 other accounts are all up.

I think the safest play for investing right now is CASH and MONEY MARKET Accounts! (I am not a pro, take my advice with a grain of salt and make your own decisions, or call and ask an investment banker!)

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What a Crappy Deal!

The stock that I was trying my day trading experiment on did a split. now most people think that is Awesome but.... this stock did a reverse split, which means for every 530 shares I owned, I know only have 1 share. So my 1.5 Million shares are now just under 3000 shares of the company. So, I now have a new plan...(well new for this blog) I am going to try and buy a majority stake in the company. I already own about 3% of all outstanding shares. Since the reverse split, the share will fall in value and I will be able to buy them at a discount (I hope) plus there are fewer shares for me to buy!

Also I deposited $50 more into my money market account. I did this so that I can have more money earning more interest. I am looking at 2 stocks right now that are becoming Very attractive with the market falling as of lately! If I buy something, I will be sure to post it here!

Sorry I have not been able to update this blog as much as I should, I am working about 80-90 hours per week and I really just want to sleep when I get home! Plus I am still working on a may-term for my University!

The Results for June are almost here!

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May 2008 Results

Starting Totals for May were:

My Savings Account: $258.07

My Investing Account: $670.11

My Money Market Account: $60.85
$35 came from Cash infusion and will not be counted as profit.

My Personal Lending Account $242.98
Currently Loaned: $194.22
Waiting to be Loaned: $48.76

Ending Totals for May

My Savings Account: $258.07 <0>

My Investing Account: $668.82 <-1.29>

My Money Market Account: $60.87 <+.02>
* Don't forget this amount is actually in my Day Trading Experiement* It increased .02 cents because it was in the money market account for a few days before it was transfered to the investing account!

My Personal Lending Account: $245.39 <+2.41>
Currently loaned: $241.51
Waiting to be Loaned: $3.87
* I made another loan using the cash flow from the previous loans.

The Grand Total for May is........ +$1.14 or + $.036 per day!

Today is Friday the 13th, and my day fit accordingly. As you know I am working 2 jobs at the moment and still trying to find time to work on my other ventures. I have postponed my custom website business until mid August, Which is okay because it gives me time to build a platform for all of the new sites I am expecting. I am currently working about 90 hours a week at the jobs, whewww, am I ever tired!

I plan on depositing some money into the stock fund because I really want to double down on one of the stocks I currently already own!

I didn't reach my goal this month but I still have next month!

Don't forget, if you have something you want to ask me or something for me to comment on, just let me know!

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may results

may results are on their way, i am just waiting for my statement from prosper.

I was also able to add the hit counter to see how many hits this blog gets to try and start making a few bucks off of it!

Also, This blog has made it onto Blogged.com I need some reviews on it to hopefully move it up the rankings, be honest! I also have to add this link so that they know that I own this blog.



I am in phase 2 of my day trading experiment. I have bought up all of the shares that I am going to do (about 1% of the company, I actually own more, but that is for an investment, not for day trading) so know I just have to put all shares up for sale and see if I can double my money this week!

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Bored

We'll I'm here in Austin, Tx. lying on my bed in the Awesome suite at the Holiday Inn Express. The rooms are actually very nice and I am using the free wireless internet to type this.

I was able to sell some of the items on ebay and will post the results sometimes when I get back and actually ship everything out. One item is going to Australia.

Monetizing this Site.
On June 1st I plan on putting a hit counter on this site to moniter the amount of traffic this blog is receiving. After one month I will start selling text links that are financial related. All proceeds will be posted here, for everyone to see.

My company. I can't remember if I mentioned it already or not, but I own a company. I am about to shake things up a bit, by closing a whole division! I will have a whole post about this soon!

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Want to buy Stocks?

I get this question a lot. "What Stocks should I buy?"
Not an easy question, do you want growth, steady income, inflation hedge, when do you retire? All of these questions have to be answered before you need to make any decisions on stock.

Also, you need to do research, does the company make money, have good management, facing any new competition? You want a great company that will last and will be able to ride any rough tides. (This applies to investing, not trading)

I always suggest that you get yourself a practice account, just to test any strategy. Currently CNBC.com is running a stockpicker challenge with weekly prizes. At one time I was in the top .03% of accounts. I have fallen a bit but I have faith that I will be back up there.



Update
Last time I posted about how we were going to try the envelope stuffing thing, well, after reading the materials that were sent to us, we decided that we were being scammed, 2 of the ones said we would make 50% commission from selling roses and alarm systems, We would have to stuff the envelopes with the catalogues and hope we got an order, but it did not describe how the company would keep track of the orders we generated. The other one wanted us to send a deposit, but it would only accept cash, but it had a great tagline, $9 per envelope. So, needless to say, we will not be sending any money to any of these companies, Also we tried calling the BBB from where these envelopes originated, but it was the weekend so we got no answer.

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Items on ebay


Here are the items that I am putting on ebay, I paid about $25 for the lot of 5 items. You can see how they are doing by visiting ebay and doing a search for items for sale from Greenbadger75 (thats me)



there are 3 other items including wedgewood and 2 other pieces of art glass, take a look!

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stimulus check

Well, everyone is getting free money from the goverment. I got $600! yay!
What am I going to do with it? invest in something of course!

What people should do with their stimulus check. The government wants you to spend it. I want you to save it, at least part of it. Here is what you should do, (given that you get $600 also)
$150 needs to go to a savings
$150 to investing (different than savings)
$100 to pay on credit card bills
$100 to put toward an extra payment on car or house or etc...
$100 to give to yourself to do whatever you want, (movie and dinner, mini vacation etc...)

What I am going to do...
I am going to use $100 of it to try a new experiment. A small town about 20 miles away is having a flea market this weekend. Well before work on saturday, I am going to visit them with my $100 and see what I can buy and resale on ebay! I will then deduct all fees and what I paid for the items and deposit the remaining into my money market account and count it as made money! (I hope to have pics and links to ebay by sunday!)
Some of the money is also going to go toward a credit card payment. Some into a savings. I am going to add another $40 toward my day trading venture. And I would like to take a 2-day mini vacation on my next 2 days off before my intership starts. I also have another friend that is wanting to invest in something with me, so some will go toward that!

The prosper loan thing...
I was outbid on the first loan that I blogged about the other day, but I submitted a second bid on another loan, I ended up winning and I paid $51.99 to get a 14% return on it.

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What am I doing for May?

Well, since I am now done with classes for a few weeks, I will now have more time to work on making money!!!!! (I still have a may-term that I am working on)

My plans:

I am going to try day trading, well, kind of, I am going to place limit orders everyday and see if I can at least quadruple my money market account balance. I am putting my money market balance with some other money that I have to see how I do for the month.

I also now have enough funds in my personal loan account to start bidding on another loan. I am currently bidding on one with about a 15% return on it! Like I said, if you want to join Prosper.com let me recommend you and we will both get $25!

I am also trying a little experiment with two other friends. We plan on "stuffing envelopes" to see if someone can actually make money at it. I am going to front all start-up costs. I just mailed off for the information today, so I will keep you posted.

Those are my plans for May and don't forget I start my internship at the end of this month, so I will be very busy. I also plan on trying to sell some items on ebay this month, probably tuesday! I will post when they are listed!

Also, I might have a possible post about a friend getting a second summer job to help make ends meet!

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Gas Prices Soar

Oil is going to $150 to $200 per barrel by the end of this year and regular unleaded is going to go 20-30% higher per gallon. For me in Abilene, tx, that equates to about $4.20-$4.80 per gallon! i drive a 2004 Dodge Ram V8 1500 pickup truck. When I first got this truck in 2006 it got 13.7 mpg, I have gotten it to 14.5 mpg. I am already spending $300 or more per month on gas expenditures, making it harder for me to save $. So, here is what I plan to do...

Drive Less and try Gas tips to try and increase my mpg. I was looking for a new vehicle that got around 20 mpg, but gave up looking because no one wanted to give me a fair value for my current truck. I may try looking again after my income tax comes in.

I normally get 2 days off from work a week and now that classes are over, I plan to not drive for an entire day every week! That alone should cut gas intake by about 14%.

I also found these gas tricks from wikihow.com

Don't drive. Don't drive a car when you don't have to. Ridesearch or Carpool, walk, take the bike, or take a bus. These will not only save gas, but also will help save our environment and may be better for your health. Do you really need to drive to the store that is only a couple of blocks down the street?

Get a better air filter. More efficient brands of air filters cost a little more but will pay for themselves in most vehicles in fuel savings. (I am going to check mine)

Get Low Resistance Tires. Some tires, such as Michelin Energy MX 4 Plus are supposed to increase gas mileage. (yeah, but they cost over $100 per tire, how long to recoup those cost?)

Get a membership card. Some gas stations offer membership benefits. There are also department and grocery stores that give discounts at the fuel pump when you use their store membership cards. Make sure you understand the benefits; getting a 5-cent discount on gas that consistently costs 10 cents more than the next guy isn't much of a deal. (I have a card to the Flying J, I save a penny per gallon, pay with my credit card that saves another 5%, and they have the cheapest gas in town!)

Give your car a tune up. While properly maintaining your car won't actually save you money at the pump, it will save you gas. Using less gas saves you money. Have the oil changed, and have a certified mechanic give your engine a look over.

Check the web for deals. Web sites let you find the best deals in your area. Check out the external links below to start.

Buy a Diesel. Diesel cars can often get better mileage than comparable hybrids. Getting a Diesel car also allows for use of Biodiesel or even Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO/SVO) fuel.
Buy a hybrid car. Not only do hybrid cars give you immediate savings at the pump, the U.S. government and your local state offer tax breaks for people who use gas-saving cars. Federal deductions for using gas-saving cars can be as high as $2,000.00, but check before buying to see if they're still in effect. If you can't afford the growing number of hybrid cars out there, consider getting a regular car with good MPG (miles per gallon). In general, the smaller the car, the better the mileage. (my next vehicle will be a hybrid, not only because of the gas, but for the environment as well.)

Reduce your commute. Move closer to work, work closer to home, or take public transportation to your job. While you're considering spending all that money on a new hybrid or diesel vehicle to 'save money', you could move closer to your job, or get a job closer to your home. Then you will be able to walk or ride a bike on nice days, and spend a lot less time in the car when the weather isn't so nice. You may even be able to get rid of one family car. If you walk or ride almost all the time, it doesn't matter what sort of mileage your current car gets while it collects dust in the driveway. (Yeah, im not moving closer to work, i dont want to be there in the first place!)

Use the lowest recommended octane for your car. The lower octane gas is cheaper. Most modern cars are engineered to run most efficiently on lower octane fuel, and often recommend not using higher octane fuel. Check your owner's manual to be sure, as not all car engines should use lowest octane gas. (use what is reccomended in your owners manual)
Mix octanes. In some areas, the lower octane may be too low for your car and the mid-grade or higher octane may be more than what you need. To avoid overpaying and still get the correct octane for your car you can mix the gas. For example, if your car takes 87 octane and the pumps have 85 octane and 89 octane, then when filling your car, fill half the tank with 85 octane and the other half with 89 octane and this will give you an equivalent of 87 octane plus it will save you money because the lower octane gas costs less.

Avoid idling. While idling, your car gets exactly 0 miles per gallon. Although starting the car used to use a lot of gas, it's now the same as idling for about 30 seconds. Idling to warm up is particularly bad, as the engine needs extra fuel to warm up. After start up, allow your car to idle 15-30 seconds, then drive conservatively until it reaches normal operating temperature. Park your car and go into the restaurant rather than idling in the drive-through. Idling with the air conditioning on also uses extra fuel.
Stopping and starting the engine frequently will cause extra wear. Don't stop the engine if you are going to idle for less than a minute.
In very cold environments, it is recommended to allow the vehicle to idle and warm up, rather than just start it and take off. You might save gas, but your engine oil won't do its job until it's fully liquid, so you'll spend more money on overhauls.

Combine trips. If you can do several short trips in one longer trip, you will save fuel and time. Make lists to avoid having to go back. Call ahead to avoid wasted trips.

Walk between stops. Once you get into town, some of your stops may be near each other. Park between some or all of them and walk.

Plan your trips in advance. This can prevent wasting fuel and wasting time. Plan to use alternative routes. Often back roads can prevent you from stopping at traffic lights and more importantly sitting in traffic jams.

Buy a GPS system. Global Positioning Systems help you navigate to find the fastest and shortest distance to your destination. A good GPS can save you time and fuel. Also the cost of GPS systems has really come down and you can get a good GPS system for around $350. Also, there are some creative ways you can use GPS systems to save money on gas. For example, you could use a GPS to calculate how far away you are from the next state and if you know fuel tax is less in the next state, just put enough fuel in to get you to the next state and fill up with gas where it is cheaper. (I bought a TomTom, because i needed a GPS and I liked the name!)

Check the tire air pressures weekly. Buy an inexpensive air pump and an accurate tire gauge (not a pencil gauge as they are not accurate). Keep all tires inflated to the pressure as recommended for your car. Go by the tire wall; the sticker on the door frame, fuel filler flap, or manual is for comfort, not fuel efficiency. Generally speaking, a slightly higher pressure will improve fuel mileage and handling, but too high will degrade traction and wear the tires rapidly. (I will check this today!)

Drive at a consistent speed. Avoid high acceleration and hard braking. Use cruise control when you can.

Maintain a safe following distance. Don't stick to the bumper of the car directly in front of you. You will brake more and accelerate more to keep that unnecessary and dangerous narrow gap. This also gives you a lot more room to play with when you are timing traffic signals. Likewise, ignore tailgaters. They will tailgate you whether you go the speed limit, or 100MPH over the speed limit. Allow them pass when it's convenient.

Slow down. Air resistance goes up as the square of velocity. The power consumed to overcome that air resistance goes up as the cube of the velocity. Rolling resistance is the dominant force below about 40 mph. Above that, every mph costs you mileage. Go as slow as traffic and your schedule will allow. Drive under 60-65 since air grows exponentially denser, in the aerodynamic sense, the faster we drive. To be precise, the most efficient speed is your car's minimum speed in it's highest gear, since this provides the best "speed per RPM" ratio.

Clean out any unnecessary items in your car. If you have heavy objects in your car that you don't need, remove them. If your car is lighter, it will use less fuel to get where you're going.
Remove unneeded racks. If you have a bicycle or ski rack, remove it when you're not using it. It causes drag and lowers mileage. (Great idea, I just cleaned the junk out of the bed of my truck)

Don't fill until the last quarter tank. If you do this, it can extend your gas because you are hauling a lighter load as the tank nears empty. This also allows you to buy gas on low-cost days. However, in cold weather, you run an increased risk of condensation in the fuel tank. And you never know when you might be in an emergency and need some gasoline in your car!
Fill the tank full. If you need to fill up, fill up all the way. The more money you try to save by adding $10 today and then $20 tomorrow will be wasted since each time you will have to travel to the station and wait for a pump. Instead, do it all at once to save time and money.
Determine whether gas with ethanol is right for your vehicle
If there is a high proportion of ethanol, the lower energy content of the fuel will almost always lower mileage. However, 10% or less ethanol actually helps gasoline burn more completely, resulting in better economy.
Fuel with ethanol may be more expensive than standard gas, but the minimal price difference is often offset by lower fuel taxes or subsidies.
Ethanol is much better for the environment, however, fuels with ethanol additives can corrode fuel lines in vehicles not designed with ethanol fuels in mind.
Turbocharged cars often get better mileage with ethanol blends. This is because the higher (over 100!) octane of ethanol permits more boost, which means more efficient fuel usage.

Avoid having to stop. If approaching a red light, see if you can slow down enough to avoid having to actually stop (because you reach the light after it is green). Speeding up from 5 or 10 miles per hour will be easier on the gas than starting from full stop. (but dont run red lights)

Anticipate the stop signs and lights. Look far ahead; get to know your usual routes. You can let up on the gas earlier. Coasting to a stop will save the gasoline you would otherwise use maintaining your speed longer. If it just gets you to the end of a line of cars at a red light or a stop sign a few seconds later, it won't add any time to your trip. Ditto for coasting to lose speed before a highway off-ramp: if it means you catch up with that truck halfway around the curve instead of at the beginning, you haven't lost any time. (Do not coast to slow down until you're in the exit deceleration lane, unless you have checked your mirror to make sure you won't interfere with non-exiting traffic in the right-hand travel lane.)
Take off slowly from a full stop. This is one adjustment that will have dramatic effects on your gas mileage; don't tear off from a stoplight or stop sign! If you move out slowly, it will help save you money at the pump. Also, if you are driving a stick shift, note that 50% throttle at 1200 rpm's uses less gas than 10% throttle at 2500 rpm's. As long as the engine is not lugging or pinging, shift as soon as possible and use plenty of throttle. The engine is more efficient when it does not have to pump air past a closed throttle plate. Warning: The last part of this advice is only true for fuel-injected cars or those with constant velocity carburetors.

Park in the first spot you find. If you wander all over the parking lot looking for that really close parking space, you'll use more gas. Don't be afraid to walk a ways if it comes to that - the walk will do you good! (i need to walk anyway)
Stay well away from store fronts Even if there is a space open there, avoid it. If possible, avoid parking lot lanes that bring you near the stores. You will spend significantly less time getting in, and less time blocked in because of pedestrians and other vehicles. More spaces to choose from, and fewer keys and loose carts further away from the doors, too.

Use A/C only while slowing. This is sometimes enough to keep your vehicle at a reasonable temperature without using fuel and going easier on the brakes. You can also use the A/C to cool the car and then switch to the fan only. (Turning on the A/C at low rpm's may save the compressor from a "jolt" and additional wear.) (we do this in Texas anyway)

Shift into neutral if you are not comfortable with downshifting. Standard transmission vehicles may save gas by shifting into neutral when going down hills steep enough to maintain speed (although engine braking is safer on steeper declines). Do not do this in a Hybrid car, they use this "regenerative engine braking" to generate electricity and charge the batteries. NOTE: This strategy will result in more wear and tear on your brakes. Neither of these strategies is recommended for normal automatic cars. Also, if you own a car with fuel injection, it is more efficient to keep the car in a high gear while going down hills. Simply take your foot off the gas. ( i really dont like this tip, it sounds dangerous to me)

Park in the shade. Gasoline actually evaporates right out of your tank, and it does so faster when you park directly in the sun - winter or summer. Parking in the shade also keeps it cooler inside, and you will need less A/C to cool off when you get back in. If there is no shade available, park so that your gas tank (the actual tank under the car, not the valve to fill it) is facing away from the direct sun.

Drive a small motorcycle or scooter instead of a car. They are cheaper and often get 70 MPG or better. Riding gear is available for most weather conditions. A good example is the Kawasaki EX250, which costs about $3,000, gets 60-70 MPG at highway speeds, and can go 0-60 MPH in under 6 seconds! (i am thinking about a golf cart to go to the post office and back in my small town)
Use a synthetic oil instead of mineral oil. This will cause your engine to run better and give you better mileage. (Synthetic oil is more expensive than mineral oil, per gallon.)

Get a credit card. Some right credit cards offer gas savings when you use the card for purchases. This works in much the same way that some credit card companies allow you to earn frequent flyer miles when you use their card for purchases. But watch for interest rate charges. However, some stations still charge a higher rate for using a credit card. (got one!, thanks American Express)

[edit] Tips
Gas prices are statistically the cheapest on Wednesdays, but this is only statistically true over a large number of days. It won't be true every week.

Getting a fill-up three days before a holiday will help you save on the price bump.

At every oil change, check your air filter. Clogged air filters cause engines to work overtime which requires more fuel. Reusable air filters are not recommended, as they can destroy expensive Mass Airflow Sensors if they are over-oiled. A quality paper filter does a better job of filtering.

Use a fuel injector cleaner or complete fuel system treatment occasionally. Not only will you see a boost in gas mileage, but in your car's overall performance. Fouled injectors vaporize fuel poorly, affecting how completely the fuel is burned. (i try to do this once every 2 months)

Most car modifications do not improve mileage. Extra wings add drag. Power improvements often hurt mileage. However, if your car is turbocharged, chiptuning may result in a mileage boost. The mileage boost will be canceled out if you drive more aggressively due to power improvements.

Many of these tips change slightly if your engine is turbocharged or diesel. For instance, diesel engines use almost no fuel while idling. Diesel trucks will often be left idling all night to provide heat or power for the trucker inside the cab, at the cost of relatively little fuel.

Wholesale unleaded is now a traded commodity. Watch the futures price as it will forecast price at the pump, which will be about equal to the wholesale price plus taxes plus about a nickel per gallon for the station.

Keep meticulous records of what you spend and how many miles you drive so you can quickly spot changes in vehicle performance. It will also help focus you on the goal of saving.

Every MPH faster yields you less advantage than the last one. Going 10MPH is a big difference over 5MPH, but there is very little difference between 55MPH and 60MPH, unless you are on a very long trip. Many people mindlessly speed wherever they go, and gain absolutely nothing but a heftier fuel bill. Assuming everything goes perfectly (and when does it?) going 5MPH, even 15MPH faster on a highway for a short trip will yield nothing but aggravation as you keep catching up to slower traffic.

Slow down a little below the speed limit, and the highway can seem like it is wide open.
Often the right-most lanes keep moving more than the left-most in areas prone to traffic-jams. Vehicles continue to exit, which keeps leaving 'gaps' to fill in.

If you weren't already about to buy a car, don't buy a brand new car to 'save money' on fuel, especially if you own your current car outright and there's nothing especially wrong with it. It's hard to burn a new car payment (and additional registration taxes and insurance) worth of fuel savings. A new car loses thousands of dollars of its value as soon as you drive it past the dealer's curb, so consider how many miles you'll need to save in order to save that value in fuel.
Think especially hard about the 'savings' if you're exchanging a vehicle that has other kinds of utility that you often use (more passenger positions, more cargo, towing, hauling yard debris, etc.) for a small car that offers economy, but only 'basic transportation' and little cargo space. You might find yourself trading in the little car and buying something similar to what you already have now.

If you frequently need a truck, do you need a shiny, new one for your every day commute? Could you live with a 'junker' truck that you use infrequently for those messy jobs and errands (and maintain yourself through a policy of 'retarded decay'), while you drive a smaller, more efficient car for daily use?

A manual transmission saves an average $1000 on the cost of a new vehicle, and eliminates routine transmission maintenance that an automatic transmission requires (and most people never do this maintenance once the warranty is up - so a used car with an automatic is a risky purchase). In most cases, an automatic transmission gets significantly worse mileage overall than a manual transmission. (uh-oh)

Neutral is also a 'gear' on a manual transmission, which you use constantly anyway. Learn how to coast between traffic lights, applying power only as needed to keep the car rolling (more or less) with traffic. Learn to judge terrain and use neutral to its full potential to keep the car moving 'for free', and save more gas over time.

'Regenerative braking' recovers far less energy than acceleration requires to replace the momentum it loses. To 'coast' further without regenerative braking excessively slowing your automatic transmission equipped hybrid, putting just the right pressure on the accelerator can prevent the 'regen' drag without adding engine power (i.e. if done right the engine won't start AND the regenerative braking won't kick in). With manual transmission hybrids, just leave it in neutral to defeat 'regen' and coast further.

Try to schedule your trips and errands when traffic is lighter.

If you are always stuck in rush hour traffic after work anyway, try to find something to do near your work until the traffic dies down, rather than try to fight through it.

Some cars have a 'zig-zag' shift pattern for their automatic transmission (like certain 'Lexus' models). Many people shift the car past 'D' and into '4' because it 'feels right', then drive down the freeway complaining about bad gas mileage.

If you want more information about the mileage NOW, and your car doesn't have a real-time fuel economy distraction, there are various OBDII reader devices (like the 'ScanGauge' or 'Equus 3130') that can be plugged into cars with an OBDII port, and provide 'live' real-time information about fuel consumption rate (gallons per hour), engine RPM, speed, whatever you want that's tracked by the engine computer. Some of them also allow the data to be recorded and downloaded to a computer with a serial or USB cable. Some are little more than a serial/USB cable that plugs into a portable computer with software to give you all manner of 'instruments'.

The more convenient it is to check your tire pressure, the more often you'll do it. If you are dedicated enough to do it with a manual hand/foot pump, fine.
You can spend a little extra on a pretty good self-contained electric one with a jump start and flashlight on it, too, and then consider it a 'safety' purchase.

If you have a garage, an air compressor has many uses besides tires.

If you have a larger vehicle (with higher pressure truck tires), you will need a 'real' air compressor; the little electric ones made for cars will fail right away, and you'll wear yourself out trying to pump it yourself.

DON'T TOP OFF. It is wasted money, bad for the environment (releasing extra fumes) and evaporates in 10 minutes of driving.

Instead of running your AC, lower your windows; AC can waste up 15% of your gas, while having your windows and catching a nice breeze wont waste any of your gas. Plus you get fresh air into your car and yourself which is healthier for you. However, at faster speeds, studies have shown that the significant drag caused by sunroofs/windows being open nullifies the difference. The point at which AC is more efficient is at 35-40 mph.
Go to RideSearch.com and find a carpool.


These tips come from howtoadvice.com:

1. Avoid prolonged warming up of engine, even on cold mornings - 30 to 45 seconds is plenty of time.
2. Be sure the automatic choke is disengaged after engine warm up... chokes often get stuck, resulting in bad gas/air mixture.
3. Don't start and stop engine needlessly. Idling your engine for one minute consumes the gas amount equivalent to when you start the engine.
4. Avoid "reving" the engine, especially just before you switch the engine off; this wastes fuel needlessly and washes oil down from the inside cylinder walls, owing to loss of oil pressure.
5. Eliminate jack-rabbit starts. Accelerate slowly when starting from dead stop. Don't push pedal down more than 1/4 of the total foot travel. This allows carburetor to function at peak efficiency.
HOW TO BUY GASOLINE
6. Buy gasoline during coolest time of day - early morning or late evening is best. During these times gasoline is densest. Keep in mind - gas pumps measure volumes of gasoline, not densities of fuel concentration. You are charged according to "volume of measurement".
7. Choose type and brand of gasoline carefully. Certain brands provide you with greater economy because of better quality. Use the brands which "seem" most beneficial.
8. Avoid filling gas tank to top. Overfilling results in sloshing over and out of tank. Never fill gas tank past the first "click" of fuel nozzle, if nozzle is automatic.
HOW TO DRIVE ECONOMICALLY
9. Exceeding 40 mph forces your auto to overcome tremendous wind resistance.
10. Never exceed legal speed limit. Primarily they are set for your traveling safety, however better gas efficiency also occurs. Traveling at 55 mph give you up to 21% better mileage when compared to former legal speed limits of 65 mph and 70 mph.
Buy Now
11. Traveling at fast rates in low gears can consume up to 45% more fuel than is needed.
12. Manual shift driven cars allow you to change to highest gear as soon as possible, thereby letting you save gas if you "nurse it along". However, if you cause the engine to "bog down", premature wearing of engine parts occurs.
13. Keep windows closed when traveling at highway speeds. Open windows cause air drag, reducing your mileage by 10%.
14. Drive steadily. Slowing down or speeding up wastes fuel. Also avoid tailgating - the driver in front of you is unpredictable. Not only is it unsafe, but if affects your economy, if he slows down unexpectedly.
15.Think ahead when approaching hills. If you accelerate, do it before you reach the hill, not while you're on it.
GENERAL ADVICE
16. Do not rest left foot on floor board pedals while driving. The slightest pressure puts "mechanical drag" on components, wearing them down prematurely. This "dragging" also demands additional fuel usage.
17. Avoid rough roads whenever possible, because dirt or gravel rob you of up to 30% of your gas mileage.
18. Use alternate roads when safer, shorter, straighter. Compare traveling distance differences - remember that corners, curves and lane jumping requires extra gas. The shortest distance between two points is always straight.
19. Stoplights are usually timed for your motoring advantage. By traveling steadily at the legal speed limit you boost your chances of having the "green light" all the way.
20. Automatic transmissions should be allowed to cool down when your car is idling at a standstill, e.g. railroad crossings, long traffic lights, etc. Place gear into neutral position. This reduces transmission strain and allows transmission to cool.
21. Park car so that you can later begin to travel in forward gear; avoid reverse gear maneuvers to save gas.
22. Regular tune-ups ensure best economy; check owner's manual for recommended maintenance intervals. Special attention should be given to maintaining clean air filters... diminished air flow increases gas waste.
23. Inspect suspension and chassis parts for occasional misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, bad shocks, broken springs, etc. create engine drag and are unsafe at high traveling speeds.
24. Remove snow tires during good weather seasons; traveling on deep tire tread really robs fuel!
25. Inflate all tires to maximum limit. Each tire should be periodically spun, balanced and checked for out-of-round. When shopping for new tires, get large diameter tires for rear wheels. Radial designs are the recognized fuel-savers; check manufacturer's specifications for maximum tire pressures.
26. Remove vinyl tops - they cause air drag. Rough surfaces disturb otherwise smooth air flow around a car's body. Bear in mind when buying new cars that a fancy sun roof helps disturb smooth air flow (and mileage).
27. Auto air conditioners can reduce fuel economy by 10% to 20%. Heater fan, power windows and seats increase engine load; the more load on your engine, the less miles per gallon.
28. Remove excess weight from trunk or inside of car - extra tires, back seats, unnecessary heavy parts. Extra weight reduces mileage, especially when driving up inclines.
29. Car pools reduce travel monotony and gas expense - all riders chip in to help you buy. Conversation helps to keep the driver alert. Pooling also reduces traffic congestion, gives the driver easier maneuverability and greater "steady speed" economy. For best results, distribute passenger weight evenly throughout car.
30. During cold weather watch for icicles frozen to car frame. Up to 100 lbs. can be quickly accumulated! Unremoved snow and ice cause tremendous wind resistance. Warm water thrown on (or hosed on) will eliminate it fast.
EXTRA TIPS
Install pressure regulator valve (sold in auto parts stores)... Use graphite motor oil... Beware of oil additives, regardless of advertising claims... Add Marvel Mystery Oil into gas fill-ups... Investigate fuel/water injection methods and products... combine short errands into one trip... Use special gas additives to prevent winter freezing of gas lines... convert your V8 engine over to a V4 - no special kits needed!!!

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April 2008 Results

April was not kind to me, I gave back nearly everything I had made in March, hopefully May will be better to me.

The Starting Balances for April were:

My Savings Account: $256.24

My Investing Account: $704.82

My Money Market Account: $25.83

My Personal Lending Account: $240.95
Currently Loaned: $199.29
Waiting to be Loaned: $41.66


The Ending Amounts for April:


My Savings Account: $258.07 <+1.83>

My Investing Account: $670.11 <-34.71>

My Money Market Account: $60.85 <+35.02> $35 came from Cash infusion and will not be counted as profit.

My Personal Lending Account $242.98 <+2.03>
Currently Loaned: $194.22
Waiting to be Loaned: $48.76

The Grand Total Earnings for April are.........-$30.83 or -$1.028 per day.
The Running Total for this Blog: +$3.76

What really got me this month was my investing account and my money market account only returned half as much as last month. 3 of my 4 accounts went up but the one with the majority of money in it went down.
I had originally planned to write a piece on Prosper.com and how the person to person loans were working. I was also going to bid on another loan, but one of my loan payments that I was supposed to get was/is late. So I will be doing that for the month of May! Oh yeah, if I would have gotten my other payment, my total would have been fractionally higher for the personal loan account.

I want to thank the "Tye News" for putting an article about this blog in their paper.

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Credit Card Debt vs College Loans

I was recently asked my opinion on what to do with credit card debt vs college debt.

I believe that the 2 types of debt should be looked at completely different.

Credit Cards
With credit cards, you should try and pay them down as much as possible while in school. If your monthly payment is $45, try and send at least $75, get your balance down to where the monthly payment is only about $15, do NOT completely pay off of your card, that can actually hurt your credit. Try to keep something charged on your card but always pay it on time if not early. The average credit card rate is 14% or more!

College debt is a double edged sword, some is good and some is an evil necessity.

Subsidized Loans
Government backed loans are the best ones, do not even try to pay them off while still in school, but try to budget for the payment by saving some money every month and putting it into some kind of SAFE investment, then when you do graduate and it is time to start paying off these loans. Start putting what you were saving (while in college) as your monthly payment and also try to put 1/2 of the interest from what money you were able to save toward your loan. It may only be $1 or $2 per month. But since you are only using 1/2 of your accrued interest you are still getting some compound interest that will eventually let you pay more per month toward your loan. In reality this technique will help boost your credit score and pay off your loan sooner, rather than later.

Private Loans
The other type of college loans is private loans. These can be some of the worst loans you can get. They will have higher interest rates. Try to start putting SOMETHING toward these loans everytime you can, even while in college.

I personally think that a college student should try to save as much as possible during college so that they do not have it so hard when they graduate.

My Loans
I personally have government loans and credit card debt (3 cards)
2 of my credit cards have under $200 on them combined just to keep the credit line open and to establish credit. My other card I use for gas every month because I get 5% off gas. My monthly payment for that card is about $95, but I pay at least $200 every month, just to get it down and help boost my credit rating.
My government loans are subsidized, which means as long as I am in college, Uncle Sam pays the interest on these loans for me. I am paying the rest of my tuition with cash that I make from doing little things here and there. I still have a social life, I still take friends out to dinner, go play pool with them, go on vacations at least every 2 months, and go to the bar every now and then to socialize. I am a typical college student in some aspects, but I am also looking toward the future.


Update.
ps. I just received my dividends from my savings account, that amount will be reflected in April's Results. Which aren't looking to good due to low stock prices and a deliquent personal loan through Prosper.

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New Money

March is now over and I was paid for my Credit Card Applications that I received for my employer. I deposited $35 into my money market account for the purposes of this blog. I am looking for ideas on what to do with it?

Oh yeah, Thanks to the reporters at "The Brand" because they did a story about this blog in this last issue!

"The Brand" is the monthly newspaper for Hardin Simmons University.

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Credit Applications update

If you remember on March 7th I told everyone that I was in a contest where my employer was going to give me $2-$4 for each person I got to sign up for a credit card. I had to get at least 5 to get paid, well...as of Right now I have 9 or 10, so next friday I will post on how much money was made, I also said that I was going to put it all into one of these accounts. Those totals will show up in the April Update, or I might just start a new account with something else. Also I will be depositing my change too. so we will see how that did!

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March 2008 Results

Well, It has now been a month since we started this experiment. It is now time to see if we lived up to our plan and made on average $1 per day for the month of March.

The Starting Totals for March:

My Savings Account: $256.24
My savings account is though a credit union that you must be a relative of to get in, I got in through my Great-Grandfather a few years before he died.

My Investing Account: $672.40
I hold positions in General Electric, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, AT&T, Napster, & Sirius Radio. All of my dividends are automatically re-invested into these companies.

My Money Market Account: $25.79
This is handled by the same company that handles my investment account and at any time I can move this amount into my investment account to purchase stock.

My Personal Loan Account: $238.82
Currently Loaned: $206.02
Waiting to be Loaned: $32.80 * does not make any of interest while waiting.
Thanks to Prosper.com I am able to make loans to individuals and make a lending fee off of each loan. If you want to join Prosper let me know and I will send you a link and we will both get an extra $25.

The ending Totals for March 2008 are:

My Savings Account: $256.24 <0>
A net change of <0> becuase interest/dividends are paid out quarterly and even though March is the end of the quarter, I have yet to receive a statement telling me how much interest was incurred. I will receive it in a few weeks and they will be reflected in April's results.

My Investing Account: $704.82 <+32.42>
Most of my stock positions did well for the month, only 2 were lower: Napster and Sirius. I am surprised Sirius is lower because the DOJ gave them the greenlight for a merger. They just need one more approval. My other stocks: GE, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, AT&T, and McDonald's all were up. We also added in the dividend from GE stock.

My Money Market Account: $25.83 <+0.04>
That doesn't seem like much now, but that is the beauty of a money market account. You get monthly compound interest and relatively safe place to harbor your hard earned money!

My Personal Lending Account: $240.95 <+2.13>
Currently Loaned: $199.29
Waiting to be Loaned: $41.66
Some time during mid-April, enough payments will have been made to offer another $50 Loan to some individual. When this happens I will post about the process.

The Grand Total Earnings for March are.........+$34.59 or $1.1158 per day! Our first month out of the gate and we did what we wanted to do.

I will think of and try some new ideas this month.

For the last 2 months I have been going through the interview process to try and get an intership for the summer. I was successful! (yay me!) I will try to keep my current job at the retailer so that when the internship is finished, I will still have a job. But, I will have less days off and will be needing to think of some real creative ideas that won't take up much time. I have a few ideas in my head right now (drop off recycling, lemonaide stand, selling water, and a few more) but am looking for more! I am also looking for imput on how to reuse magazines so that we can make some money, I have 5 subscriptions netting me 9 magazines per month.

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