Thursday, September 22, 2005

Rain Checks...getting your hands on a good thing.

Never underestimate the value of rain checks at the grocery store.

When you favorite store runs out of a sale priced product, a rain check lets you cash in latter on at the sale price.

While there may be limits, rain checks can be collected by multiple shoppers and redemed over a period of time, giving you the opportunity to save a substantial sum with very little effort.

Think of 4 lbs of meat at half price cooking on the bbq and the savings in your pocket.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Relax when you drive and save to the Max

Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 5-33%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.15-$1.01/gallon

Source: EPA

Speed limit Savings Drives Maximum Returns

While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

As a rule of thumb, you can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.21 per gallon for gas.

Fuel Economy Benefit: 7-23%
Equivalent Gasoline Savings: $0.21-$0.71/gallon

Friday, September 16, 2005 Save Time When You Waste Time...

This one is just for fun waste time more efficiently with automated random searches.

More blogs about rambleweb.

Save Taxes with a long term investment focus

While the popularity of Day Trading has fallen dramatically,people will always be on the hunt for stock tips that will provide a quick return. Recent ads on TV for stock picking strategies that follow a repetitive buy-sell channel strategy raises a couple of issues for the uninitiated stock picker looking for a get rich quick buy.

A couple of things to consider are:
Capital Gains tend to be taxed at a higher rate than dividends.

There is a minimum cooling off period that limits your ability to claim a capital loss on stocks that you may have owned within the previous 30 days.

You are taxed when you sell a stock and taxes eat away at the compounding power of your money.

When setting up an investment strategy, be sure to factor in the repetitive capital gains liability you create and the risk of not being able to write off capital losses.

Sit down with your financial advisor and see if a longer term investment focus will provide you with greater returns by lowering your tax liability.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Brown Bag School Lunches...Better for the pocketbook and waistline!

Very interesting study by the Canadian Institute for Health Information looking at Obesity rates amongst students found that those who bought their lunches at school are 39% more likely to have weight problems than those who brown bag it.

Taking the time to prepare a wholesome lunch does more than help keep the weight off, it is also an opportunity to save a significant amount of money.

Making a meal plan and making lunches can significantly trim your food budget and will set you on your way to better financial and physical fitness.



Tuesday, September 13, 2005 Updated at 12:47 PM EDT

Globe and Mail Update

Children who buy lunch at school are significantly more likely to become overweight or obese than their counterparts who brownbag it, a new study suggests.

The study, funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, said youngsters who buy lunch at school were 39 per cent more likely to develop weight problems than others.

"The answer in that is the quality of the lunches," Dr. Paul Veugelers, a researcher at the University of Alberta and one of the study's two authors, said.

"They [school lunches] covered the whole spectrum from very healthy to very unhealthy. But, what this finding represents is the average, so an average school lunch doesn't meet any standards."

In addition, the study found that children who attended schools with infrequent physical-education programs — offered less than twice a week — were also at risk.

The findings were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and were based on a 2003 survey of Grade 5 students, their parents and principals in Nova Scotia. That province was picked because of its "particular weight and health concerns among both children and adults," the survey said.

Surprisingly, the study also found that children who attended schools where soft drinks were sold had only a slightly higher refined sugar intake than those who went to schools where the drinks were not available.

On average, youngsters who could buy soft drinks at school consumed about four cans of pop a week, compared with 3.6 cans drunk by children attending schools with no such sales.

Children who bought soft drinks at school consumed on average 33.5 grams of sucrose — the most refined type of sugar — each week. Others consumed an average of 32.5 grams.

"We observed that children attending schools that sell soft drinks consumed somewhat more soft drinks and sugar, but the amounts were likely insufficient to bring about differences in body weight," the study said.

Researchers also noted, however, that previous studies have also found that schools that combined more physical education, healthy lunches and nutrition education along with halting the sale of soft drinks were successful in improving children's diets and reducing the overweight and obesity rates by 59 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.

"Just taking one food item out of a school is not going to make that much difference," Dr. Veugelers said, adding it is also important to educate children about why they shouldn't be drinking it. "It's because of lifestyle issues and drinking pop is just a single one."

The findings of the Nova Scotia study also suggested that children who ate supper with their families — at least three or more times a week — were less likely to be overweight or obese.

As well, youngsters whose parents had higher levels of education were less likely to have weight problems. Similarly, children living in "disadvantaged neighbourhoods" were twice as likely to be obese as their peers, the findings indicate.

Dr. Veugelers said that finding that there was a difference wasn't new, but the size of the disparity was striking.

"Somebody asked me if I was surprised," he said. "I said, I'm not surprised. I'm shocked...That is something that you don't expect to see in Canada, especially in such a magnitude."

Unless action is taken, he added, health problems associated with obesity and other weight issues will emerge.

"I think the important message for policy makers here is to intervene and prioritize schools and children in disadvantaged neighbourhoods."

Overall, the study found that 32.9 per cent of Grade 5 students in Nova Scotia were overweight, with 9.9 per cent of those considered obese. The rates of those overweight were about the same for boys and girls, but obesity rates were slightly lower among girls.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Protecting your funds in the event of a real emergency

Many of us are fortunate enough that we will never have to endure a natural disaster on the scale of Katrina, making it difficult to contemplate a financial strategy in the event the unthinkable occurs.

As I read about the Department of Homeland Security providing victims with debit cards worth $2,000.00 I'm think it is worth pointing out a couple of strategies that may help you in the event of an emergency.

While "rainy day" funds are great, they do not do much good sitting in the bank in the event of a real emergency.

Thinking back to the great eastern blackout and a couple of system meltdowns at my bank, and I was grateful that I had a few days cash on hand.

In the wake of Katrina, I think more than a few people are considering keeping a stash of cash around the house but, that presents a problem too.

Several years ago a friend of mine experienced a break-in where a large sum of cash was taken (including the safe). Since there is no way to track the money, Insurance won't cover it and he was essentially out of pocket a very significant amount of money.

In his case, hind sight is 20-20 and the best way to keep emergency funds on hand and protect yourself from theft is, travelers Cheques.

When banks and credit card processing does not work, the often overlooked American Express travelers cheque can still be cashed by many merchants without any kind of electronic verification and, the best part is, as the ad says they will replace it if lost or stolen.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Personal Finance Relief For Katrina Victims

For anyone with family in the area, here a few options available for some short term relief of financial woes.

Ford Offers Payment Deferrals
Ford Motor Credit Company is offering customers affected by Hurricane Katrina the opportunity to defer up to two vehicle payments.

Under the Disaster Relief Program, customers have the opportunity to defer these monthly payments without paying extension fees. The program is open to customers living in counties that FEMA has declared federal disaster areas as a result of the storm.

Ford Motor Credit customers who are eligible for the Disaster Relief Program should receive letters next week with instructions on how to register. Customers must register within 60 days to qualify. Deferred payments are due at the end of the contract term. Customers who have not received a letter, but believe they qualify, may call the toll-free number listed for their brand to register: Ford Credit: 1-800-723-4016; Jaguar Credit: 1-800-945-7000; Land Rover Capital Group: 1-877-507-2264; Mazda American Credit: 1-800-945-4000; PRIMUS Financial Services: 1-800-945-4000; Volvo Car Finance: 1-800-770-8234

Mortgage Loan Relief Available
Fannie Mae has mortgage relief provisions in place for borrowers in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and other states facing hardships as a result of widespread damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

With Fannie Mae's disaster relief provisions, lenders help borrowers in several ways, including suspending mortgage payments for up to three months, reducing the payments for up to 18 months, or in more severe cases, creating longer loan payback plans. Such assistance is provided on a case-by-case basis, and is designed to meet the individual needs of borrowers.

For information on mortgage relief, homeowners who have experienced hardships should contact the lender to whom they send their monthly mortgage payment.
Temporary Locations for Social Security Check Distribution
The U.S. Postal Service and the Social Security Administration have established temporary locations for the distribution of benefit checks to Louisiana and Mississippi residents unable to receive mail.

These Louisiana distribution sites will operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday Sept. 2, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Sept. 5:

Des Allemands Post Office, 17242 Highway 90, for residents of Venice (70091), Boothville (70038), Buras (70041), Port Sulphur (70083), Lafitte (70067), Barataria (70036), Belle Chase (70037), Gretna (70053/56), Harvey (70058), Marrero (70072), Westwego (70094) and Algiers (70114/70131).

The La Place Post Office, 190 Belle Terre Blvd. for residents of Point-a-La Hache (70082), St. Bernard (70085), Violet (70092), Meraux (70075), Chalmette (70043), Arabi (70032), Kenner (70062/65), Metairie (70001-70006) and Braithwaite (70040).

The Hamond Post Office, 105 North Railorad Ave., for residents of Mandeville (70471), Madisonville (70447) and Slidell (70458).

In the City of New Orleans:

The La Place Post Office, 190 Belle Terre Blvd. (70068), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept, 2 and Saturday Sept. 3

The Gonzalez Post Office, 1706 S. Burnside Ave. (70737), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4 and Monday, Sept. 5

The Baton Rouge Downtown Station, 750 Florida Blvd. (70802), 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 and Wednesday, Sept.7.

Beginning Sept. 8, unclaimed checks will be forwarded, if a forwarding address is on file. Those that cannot be forwarded will be returned to the Social Security Administration.

In Mississippi, check distribution sites will operate from 9 to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 4.

The Escatawpa Post Office, 4100 Rabby St., for residents of Hurley (39555), Gautier (39553), Pascagoula (39563 and 39567) and Ocean Springs (39564).

The Biloxi Northbay Post Office, 356 Ginger Drive, for residents of Biloxi (39530, 39531, 39532, 39540), McHenry (39561) and Perkinston (39573).

The Gulfport Larkin Smith Mail Facility, 11110 Highway 49, for residents of Gulfport (39501/03/07), Kiln (39556), Pearlington (39573), Lakeshore (39558), Waveland (39576), Pass Christian (39571), Long Beach (39560) and Bay St. Louis (39520/25).

At all locations, postal employees will be requesting identification.

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