Archive for June, 2008

The Friday gathering – Misc updates edition

Orange Clouds at sunset
Photo by Hamed Saber

I was thinking this week that I owe you updates on a couple of things: How things turned out when by debit card was stolen and what happened to the house we were contemplating buying.

Stolen Debit Card

Late last year, I wrote about a terrible experience we had when my debit card was stolen and used by some low down thief. I’ve followed up with my bank a few times, and while they did recover some of their money from the merchants involved, the remaining amount was written off. What did surprise me is that the bank made very little effort to track down the thief. I was told they generally leave that to the merchant or customer. Customer? Wait, was I supposed to do something?

Budget for the recession now

Photo by: mugley

While the economists debate whether we are in a recession or not, I don’t think anyone can argue that we’re in a down economy. I also think that things are probably going to get worse before they get better. With the rising cost of goods, record high gas prices, a down stock market, a historic housing slump, and increased unemployment the down economy is going to impact all of our budgets.

Ask me anything: More questions, more answers

Photo by: brunkfordbraun

Questions have continued to come in from you since I gave you the chance to ask me anything. Here are two more questions I’ve recently been asked:

The first question comes from Shiri who asks

I am very young, in fact, I just recently turned twenty-one (hooray!).

In March, I signed the lease on my first apartment, and then lost my job. As you can guess it was a struggle from March until May (I have a job currently).

Gas prices – Do people really care?

Photo by:

Over the weekend I headed to the NC Mountains to spend the weekend with my wife and kids who were already there. While driving up, I really focused on practicing some of the hypermiler techniques I wrote about last week. The main one being going the speed limit. While it did seem to make a big difference on my gas mileage, I literally felt like I was the slowest person on the road. – Get paid to take surveys!

I’m always on the look out for ways to make some extra income. Paidtwice wrote a while back about how she uses survey sites to generate a little extra snowflaking cash, so I thought I would try it as well. I chose MySurvey for my first trial just to see how it went and insure I actually have enough time to fill them out.

Joining MySurvey

Joining the MySurvey community is relatively quick and very easy. Be aware though, they do ask for a bit of personal information. This of course is so they can better target surveys for you. Once complete, you select your user name and password and you’re registered.

The Friday Gathering – Father's Day Edition

Photo by: Hamed Saber

Earlier this week I wrote about some various low cost Father’s gifts in anticipation of Father’s day which is this Sunday. Until this week, I was expecting to get a video game for the Wii¬† and hopefully some great “kid made” gifts from my children. Turns out, I received a very different gift instead.

How to be a hypermiler

Gas Prices
Photo by: iChaz

Gas prices are on the rise, and people are getting extremely creative in coming up with ways to get the maximum amount of miles out of each gallon of gas. A rare group called hypermilers modify their driving habits significantly to improve mileage and reduce vehicle emissions. Hypermiling also generally involves driving a hybrid vehicles like the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius. Two years ago I would have laughed at the whole hypermiling concept, but with gas prices the way they are now, I thought I’d better do a little research and learn more about hypermiling. Here’s some information about how to be a hypermiler:

Great low cost Father's day gift ideas

Father\'s Day
Photo by: Olaf

Father’s day is this weekend. Us Dad’s are pretty easy to please and finding great gifts at a low price is pretty easy too. Remember, Father’s day isn’t about how much you spend, but about how much thought and effort you put into it. Here are just a few ideas for low-cost father’s day gifts Dad will love:

Fix his favorite meal

They say the quickest way to a man’s stomach is through his stomach, and as a man I’d completely agree! Fix a really nice dinner featuring his favorite dish. All he’ll have to do is eat and relax. To make it extra special, let the kids help so they can tell Dad they cooked too. Personally I love country style steak and homemade mashed potatoes (hint, hint dear).

Ask me anything – The Answers

The Answer
Photo by: goldberg

About 2 weeks ago, I gave my readers a chance to ask me any question they wanted. I ended up receiving more than nine different questions. I would really like to make this an ongoing series, so if you have a question you would like to ask, just leave a comment or contact me directly.

Here are the questions and my answers:

From Rose:

Save money using Ebates

Ebates Logo

I hate shopping. I hate dealing with the traffic, fighting the crowds, and driving store to store trying to find the best deal. The only exception to this rule is shopping at the bookstore. I could spend days in a bookstore…

Since I can’t stand shopping, I prefer to buy things online. I first heard about Ebates from my fellow M-Network buddy Patrick from Cash Money Life. EBates is a site that partners with various online merchants and gives you cash back when you purchase items through them. What this really means is that EBates pays you to buy the items you would normally buy anyway.