Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No More Funky Towels!

WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAYS really works for me! However, that is not my entry for this week. I just want you all to know that I'm doing my happy dance because I tried out a tip I found on here last week and it worked! Since this solved a real problem that our family encountered, I definitely think it is worth mentioning again.
Last week, I learned a tip from The Diaper Diaries on how to take the funky smell out of towels. We had this problem for a long time and nothing was working. The towels just had a musty smell that became much more obvious when wet and it never seemed to go away. I tried bleach, air drying, different detergents and everything I could think of (except fabric softener--don't ever use fabric softener on your towels). However, I learned at The Diaper Diaries to put vinegar in our laundry. So over the weekend, I got a reminder of just how many towels we own (really, I had no idea) and washed ALL of them--even the ones that I was not certain would smell once they got wet. It increased my laundry this weekend by 4 loads--and that's using a high capacity washer! Why do 2 adults and a toddler need that many towels?! Anyway, so I bleached and vinegared (that's a new word...I'm submitting it to the dictionary people) my white towels and used vinegar and detergent with my colored towels. Guess what? They all came out fresh! They don't even smell like vinegar!

And to put it to a true test, I put out two towels for hubby and me to use that I knew once carried that dreaded funk. They have been used several times this week and no smell has returned! Hooray!

The Diaper Diaries suggested using a cup of vinegar. Frankly, I have no idea how much I added because I didn't measure it. I don't think it was nearly a cup though, but it still worked. I am so excited.

And to boot, I straightened up my linen storage areas in the two baths as a result!

Thanks What Works for Me and The Diaper Diaries! Go visit Rocks in My Dryer and find a few things that work for you too!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Savannah Family Fun - Part 2 - Some Spending

See the intro for this series here.

Since we started with the big ticket items, we will continue now will the moderately priced fare. Although none of these are big expenses, they certainly can add up to be if you aren’t careful.

Ghost Tours:
As America’s Most Haunted City (according to the American Institute of Parapsychology), there is no shortage of ghost tours to be had at night. There are walking tours, trolley tours, a tour that you take while riding in a hearse (I’m not kidding) and pub crawls that are only for those over 21. These are the cheaper of the tours (although mostly likely, not drastically less in quality):

*Ghost Talk Ghost Walk: Priding themselves as the original ghost tour, this one is highly recommended by travel sites. Adults-$10; Children (12 & under)-$5
*Candlelight Walking Tour: Adults-$10; Seniors (55+) -$8; Children (6-12)-$5; Under 6-Free; prices with coupon at website
*Pub Crawl: Adults-$10; Seniors (55+)-$8; under 21-$500.00 and a visit from Children’s Services (I swear that is what their website says); prices with coupon at website
*Hauntings Tour: Adults-$13.00; Seniors & Student-$11.00; children under 5-Free

Other Tours:
*Oglethorpe Tours: A trolley tour for half the price of the others. I finally tried this one out and this will be the one I recommend from now on. More history and less fluff/romanticism, no stops, so entire 90 minutes is actual tour and not stopping. On/off all day included in price of ticket--and they personally come get you with a trolley with enough room for pickups, so no waiting on a trolley with available space (super important when it is raining). Tickets-$10.00
* Juliette Gordon Low's Birthplace: Tour the birthplace and childhood home of the founder of the Girl Scouts. Adult-$8; Child-$7; Child (5 & under)-Free; I would think there would also be a discount for Girl Scouts, but I can’t find that info anywhere.
* Andrew Low House: House of the founder of the Girl Scouts after she married William Mackay "Willy" Low and an architectural treasure, as I have been told. Adult-$8; Child (6-12)-$4.50; Child (5 & under)-Free; Girl Scouts-$4.50; students-$4.50
*Mighty 8th Air Force Museum: We still really want to check this out, as I see it daily on my way to and from work! Adult-$10.00; Seniors-$9.00; Child (6-12)-$6.00; Child (5 & under)-Free
*Davenport House Museum: Adult-$8.00; Child (6-18)-$5.00; Child (5 & under)-Free
*Ships of the Sea Museum: Adult-$7.00; Child (8-12)-$5.00; Child (7 & under)-Free
* Telfair Museum/Jepson Center/ Owens-Thomas house: For each attraction: Adult-$10.00; Child (5-12)-$4.00; Child (4 & under)-Free; College Students-$5.00; Seniors-$8.00; AAA-$8.00; Combo Ticket--$10 individual or $30 family

Yes, everyone wants to know where to eat. Frankly, it is hard to pick just one, as there are so many wonderful places to choose from—many of which I have yet to sample. I will give you the lowdown on places that are known for being wonderful as well of personal recommendations I have been given. I will comment on the fare that I have personally have been.

*The Lady & Sons: Gasp! Here it is…the holy grail of those coming to Savannah and have ever seen the Food Network. Paula Deen’s very own. I have not eaten there (did I hear an even bigger gasp at that comment?). Please visit the site and get the rules for how to get in, as you don’t just walk up and go in to eat—unless it is February and 30 degrees outside (yeah…it doesn’t get much colder than that here). I have been to the adjoining store and bought a cookbook from my mom. I did see Jamie (one of the sons) in there. Yes…they are there from time to time, but they are NOT in the kitchen cooking.
*Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room: From what I’ve heard, every bit as good as The Lady & Sons and not nearly as hard to get into, although there is a line. Round table eating with strangers at its finest. The menu is different daily. They DO NOT take credit cards.
*Garibaldi’s: I have never been there, but a good friend loves it.
*Toucan Café: Highly recommend by a friend who eats out a lot. Caribbean food and atmosphere.
*Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House: Brother of Paula Deen. My aunt loved it in case you have the same tastes as my aunt.
*Huey’s: A taste of New Orleans on the east coast.
*Il Pasticcio: It receives rave reviews and was called one of the country’s top ten Italian restaurants by USA Today.
*Johnny Harris: I’ve seen it, I’ve heard it is good, but we’ve just never gotten around to eating there!
*Tubby’s Tank House: On River Street and super yummy seafood. They have a balcony overlooking the street and live music most all of the time. We ate there for lunch while it was shady and not swelteringly hot to the tunes of a middle age acoustic guy. It was very relaxing, the prices are decent, the portions are huge and the food is wonderful and fresh. Their menu states that What you eat today was caught yesterday. (not a direct quote).
*Boar’s Head: A big hang out that supposedly has a lot of good food.
*Churchill’s: Doesn’t every pub have good food?
*Cobblestone Conch House: Really…there are just too many good eats on River Street!
*Kevin Barry’s Pub: Not so much a family environment, but supposed to be really good.
*Wild Wing Café: One of my hubby’s favorites. When we used to visit Charleston (where he’s from), he always insisted we eat at Wild Wings because we had the chance. Now we have one locally and he loves it! You can choose from any temperature of wings as well as other standard fare. Chip’s favorites are Habenero Hots and Chernobyl (if that’s any indication as to the heat). Live music is always fun and right in the middle of City Market.
*Firefly Café: I’ve heard good things…
*Moon River Brewing Company: I’ve heard good things about the food, but a friend of mine was not impressed. If nothing else, visit because it is haunted and was featured on Sci-Fi’s Ghost Hunters for a Halloween Special (they caught some interesting video footage there). They are, in fact, a brewery, so the suds are fresh. *Bonus: UPromise earnings of 4%
*Soho South Café: It’s supposed to be good. I cannot comment personally.
*Vic’s on the River: We went there after being told it was good for the family. We second-guessed that when we went in with friends (total of three kids) and saw a live piano bar, beautiful hardwood floors, linen tablecloths, and tuxed waiters. However, we were pleasantly surprised when they were incredibly great with the kids, had a very reasonably priced menu, and great food. Now Chip did go back later to order what he had the first time and was not impressed the second, but I was impressed enough on the first trip, I would definitely recommend with the thought that his second visit was only a fluke.
*Lulu’s Chocolate Bar: I have not been, but it’s my own fault. I have heard that this place is heavenly as an after-dinner stop. I have GOT to go sometime.

Other Activities to Do:
*Savannah Sandgnats Baseball: A single-A division of the NY Mets, this is some cheap family fun. All of the fun of minor league baseball in a historic stadium that is slowly being renovated. Strange mascot, you say? I thought so too until I encountered sand gnats while at the beach. They aren’t those swarming little black ones that hop around in the sand at the beaches I used to know. They are swarming and BITING creatures that I believe now to be the spawn of satan. Great mascot. Tickets are $10 for box seats, $8 for reserved, $7 general admission, $5 for ages 4-12, 3 and under are free, $5 seniors and $5 military discount.
*Golf—There is a lot here. Check various courses and fees.
*Skidaway Camping—Campground surrounded by trails and nature. Prices vary depending on type of accommodations reserved.
*Candy—On River Street there are two candy companies. They are both delicious. They will both lure you in with the offer of samples of pralines and treats. Although it would be easy to get carried away in there (both financially and calorically), the prices per item are great and the treats are delicious and super fresh. Fudge is to die for!

I hope you enjoyed and can take a few of these and put them into your schedule of things to do while you are next visiting Savannah.

Come back tomorrow to fill you itinerary up with inexpensive fun for you and the whole family. I’ll sum it all up on Tuesday (the 24th).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Savannah Family Fun - Part 1 - Fat Wallet

See the intro for this series here.

Savannah offers so many wonderful things, it is hard to leave and feel that you have done everything that you wanted to while here. I know that practically everyone I talk to who visits notes that they just did not have the time to do it all.

I have to agree that after living here an entire year now, I hardly feel like we have scratched the surface of those things that we want to do. With all of the variety, it makes the decision of what to do a difficult one. My intent in writing this series is to offer a range of family friendly activities for a range of budgets. Feel free to mix and match as you feel the need, as the lists are compiled based on (my opinion of) the cost of each activity. Hopefully this series of posts will help you out for your next trip here to the Hostess City of the South.

We begin with the big ticket items. These are suggestions for those of you who are rolling in money and just looking for somewhere to spend it or for those special occasions—you know, that one nice dinner out without the kids or that one big-spender item that you do on vacation.

Ghost Tours:
As America’s Most Haunted City (according to the American Institute of Parapsychology), there is no shortage of ghost tours to be had at night. There are walking tours, trolley tours, a tour that you take while riding in a hearse (I’m not kidding) and pub crawls that are only for those over 21. These are the more costly of those tours:

*Ghosts and Gravestones Tour: Adult-$22.50; Child (4-12)-$9.00; Child (3 and under) Free (prices good from this link only)
*Tara Haunted Walking Tour: Adult-$20.00; Child (3-10)-$10.00; Child (2 and under) Free; Active Military (with ID)-Free
*Tara Haunted Pub Crawl: Adult-$20.00; Under 21 not allowed; Active Military (with ID)-Free

Other Tours:
*Old Town Trolley Historical Tour: Prices range from $9.00 (child) to $25.00 depending on your tour. See site for pricing. I’ve been on this one twice and enjoyed it both times. You learn something new every trip! On par with Old Savannah Tours in my opinion.
*Old Town’s Paula Deen Tour: begins June 21, 2008 includes buffet at Uncle Bubba’s (her brother’s) Oyster House; and a voucher for preferred seating, when available, at The Lady and Sons; $49.00
*Old Savannah Historical Tour: Adult-$20.00; Child-$9.00 (12 and under); Voted Savannah’s Best tour for multiple years running; I’ve been on this tour twice and loved it both times. On equal footing with Old Town in my opinion.
*Pirate's House Dinner Ghost Tour: Includes a ghost tour and dinner at the Pirate’s House. Adult-$44.00; Child (12 and under)-$29.00 Tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance due to limited availability.
*Savannah Experience Tour: A much more in-depth look at the historical district; Adult-$25.00; Child (12 and under)-$14.00
*Original Paula Deen Tour: Must visit this site or call to grab tickets fast. Includes lunch at Uncle Bubba’s (her brother) Oyster House and a bag of goodies. Adult $56.00; Child (12 and under)-$34.00
*Legends and Lunch Cruise: Cruise the Savannah River for 2 hours while learning history and biology. Lunch aboard ship is catered by The Lady and Sons. Adults-$36.00; Child (12 and under)-$28.00
*Savannah River Boat Tours: A variety of selections to choose from. Prices vary dependent on cruise. Dinner cruises, sightseeing cruises, and entertainment cruises available.
*Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Book Tour: Adult: $39.95 (through link); Child (birth-11)-$29.95 (must provide your own car seat, as this is in a van). Includes pick up and drop off from any Savannah hotel. 3 hour tour (sorry, but I have to note that I now have the Gilligan’s Island theme in my head. Ha ha—so do you now).
*Foody Tour: Visit 7 location of fine cuisine in the city (yes…it includes The Lady and Sons) to sample the goods. Features Southern Goodness, Lowcountry Cuisine, and plenty of seafood. Goody bag included. Adult-$51.95 (through link); Child (6-12)-$39.95; Child under 6 (in lap)-Free
*African American History Tour: Adults-$20.95; Child (9 and under)-Free with paid adult. Did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a dream…” speech from the pulpit in a Savannah church before going to Washington?
*Personalized Walking Tours: Range from 2 hours to all day. Prices vary from $35.95 each up to around $90.00
*Architectural Tours: $20.00 per person; reservations required.
*Savannah Movie Tour: Do you have any idea how many movies have been made in Savannah? Me neither…but it is a LOT. It’s stunning beauty and distinct architecture as well as it’s historical feel make it a favorite for movie producers. Find out all of the details on this tour. Adult-$24.95 (internet rate); Child (6-12)-$14.95; Child under 6 is free in a lap.

Yes, everyone wants to know where to eat. Frankly, it is hard to pick just one, as there are so many wonderful places to choose from—many of which I have yet to sample. I will give you the lowdown on places that are known for being wonderful as well as personal recommendations I have been given. I will comment on the fare that I have personally tasted.

*700 Drayton: Part of the Mansion on Forsythe inn.
*Elizabeth on 37th: A friend of mine highly recommends as he gets to eat there free for drug rep dinners!
*The Pirates’ House: I still have yet to eat at this fascinatingly historical locale. In the fall they have a murder mystery dinner theater, so I’m waiting for that to roll back around!
*17Hundred90: This was my Mother’s Day dinner this year and the food was great. The atmosphere is awesome in the lowest-most level of a haunted inn (everything in Savannah is haunted—you know that, right?). You can’t help but feel a bit creepy in this eerily romantic atmosphere. The desserts were so-so, but everything else was wonderful. Also a bar for the nightlife.
*The Chart House: Father’s Day dinner was here. Wonderful view of the river. Steak was fabulous. The offer a huge range of seafood. Hubby didn’t love his sea bass, but it was something new and he noted that it had nothing to do with the preparation. Fabulous dessert that takes 30 minutes preparation—well worth the effort! Located in old cotton warehouse, it has an ambiance that is cozy, formal, and romantic amidst the stone walls and exposed beam ceilings.
*The Olde Pink House: I’ve heard rave reviews on this one that features low-country cuisine (that food that is popular here in coastal Georgia and Carolinas). Also haunted. Also with a bar for nightlife.
*Sapphire Grill: Another one with rave reviews and a hopping atmosphere.
*Belford’s: I heard this place was great too; haven’t tasted for myself.
*Jazz’d: We’ve talked about going to this awesome restaurant and jazz club, but have no found the occasion to spend the money yet (check the name of my site). And I’m weary of taking hubby there. As a jazz trumpeter, he would either love it or sulk all night because he’s just as good as the musicians featured. Is it worth the gamble?
*Avida: I have heard nothing about this one, but it is featured is various restaurant guides.
*Alligator Soul: Once again, I know nothing about this, but it is popular with the critics.
*Casbah: I haven’t been due to lack of interest in the fare, but talk about atmosphere!

Other Activities to Do:
*Parasailing, Jet Skis, Kayaking, Air Chairs and Dolphin Tours: All on Tybee Island. See site for pricing of various activities.
*Savannah Theatre: There’s always something going on!

So there is the skinny for the fat wallet (okay, that was bad—I admit it). Although these items are pricey, some of them are so very worth the cost for a special occasion. And I’ll admit quickly that there is no better way to tour the city and learn a huge collection of historical information than one of the historical trolley tours.

Saturday will be my usual Round Up, but come back Sunday for the mid-range priced activities and food. Monday will be for us Fru-GALS. I’ll sum it all up on Tuesday (the 24th).

Photo credit: CasaDeQueso and us

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Money Hacks Carnival #17 - Music of the '80s

Ahhh...the '80s. It was a time of the death of disco and the emergence of hair bands and bubblegum pop music. It was marked by wild long hair as well as the birth of the yuppie. It was a time of (eventual) financial abundance. Many people began truly indulging--in material wealth, themselves, substances, and even make up ( and women).

It is a time that will live in entertainment as very distinct. One identifying mark of the '80s is the music. That's where we will spend today's Money Hacks the music of the '80s, which, interestingly enough, talked an awful lot about money.

I wanted to note that there are some people that have more than one entry this week. Last week's carnival was posted a few days early and these people had some great posts that did not get included due to this error.

Before we really dive in, I just to make sure that we're all still focusing on the carnival here, I want to post my Editor's Picks:

*Retirehappy presents Naming Beneficiaries on Retirement Plans posted at My Retirement Blog. Okay, so we don't want to have to think about it, but this is information we all need to be on top of!

*Mike Leonard presents Passive income? Look at your passive expenses first posted at Until Debt Do Us Part. Great recommendation--look at your spending rather before trying to find out how to make more.

*J. Savings presents I'm back, and ready to spill the beans baby! posted at Budgets are Sexy. Great post. I love seeing testimonials on how resorts and vacation packages work. They can be very smart money-wise, but it helps to see the traps that others encountered! Congratulations, by the way!

*Silicon Valley Blogger presents Save and Invest Enough For Your Retirement: Are You On Track? posted at The Digerati Life. Although it seems like a long way off for me, I know that I have to stay focused on my retirement in order to survive when it comes!

*Brian Chin presents Why Gas Price Increases Aren't Really Affecting Your Finances posted at beechin financial consultant. Great perspective!

*Lisa Spinelli presents New Website Outs Companies With Poor Corporate Responsibility Records Greener Pastures: Personal Finance posted at Greener Pastures. I loved this post! It is wonderful that all of this information is gathered in one place, and I was so excited that Lisa pointed me to it! Thanks!

Now...on with the fun:

CAREER: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton (1980)

It was a movie and a song. It was a great example of '80s media--silly and without real purpose.

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
Its all takin'
And no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
Its enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

*Dorian Wales presents The Personal Financier: Actively Manage Your Career to Stay On Top of Your Game posted at The Personal Financier.

*FFB presents By What Cover Is Your Book Judged? posted at Free From Broke.

*Ellesse presents Free Career, Business & Trade Magazines for Your Career & Economic Goals posted at Goal Setting College.

DEBT/CREDIT: Material Girl by Madonna (1985)

Seriously, this song pretty much described the attitude that many people had at the time... and some people are still suffering from the fallout.

Living in a material world
And I am a material girl
You know that we are living in a material world
And I am a material girl

*Shana presents Are You Ready to Budget? A Quiz posted at Smart Easy Money.

*Olen presents Pay Off Your Mortgage - Fast! posted at Get Out Of Debt.

*FMF presents The Ins and Outs of Reward Credit Cards posted at Free Money Finance.

*Mr Credit Card presents Cash Back Credit Card Video Guide posted at Ask Mr Credit Card.

*Ray presents The Best Credit Cards For College Students posted at Money Blue Book: Personal Finance Blog.

*Ryan Taylor presents Stop Bill Collector Harassment posted at Millionaire Money Habits.

*Mike presents Is it worth it to sign up for a Student Advantage card? posted at Living the Cheap Life.

*Joe Manausa presents Loan Limits - Contact Your Senator Today! posted at Tallahassee Real Estate Blog.

*Jose De Jesus MD presents Check Your Credit Score posted at Physician Entrepreneur.

*Erica Douglass presents When Should You Buy Real Estate — And When Is It Better to Rent? posted at - Erica Douglass challenges you to change your life!.

ECONOMY: Livin' On A Prayer by Bon Jovi (1986)

You can't talk about '80s music without reviewing a hair band...and Bon Jovi was one of the most talented and most successful of the bunch. They have proven their success by altering their music enough to stay popular even until today.

She says we've got to hold on to what we've got
cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - well give it a shot
Whooah, were half way there
Whooah, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand and well make it - I swear
Whooah, livin' on a prayer

*hank presents Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge Aren't Saving You Any Money On Their New $2.99 Incentive My Investing Blog posted at My Investing Blog.

INCOME: Money for Nothing by Dire Straits (1985)

Gotta' love a song about a working man begrudgingly observing the celebrity lifestyle. And this was a mind-altering video at the time.

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these colour TVs

*Webmaster_1 presents Avoiding Make Money From Home Scams posted at The Entrepreneurs Online Magazine.

*Dave presents Can You Make Money Using the Internet? posted at Cheapo Groovo.

*The Shark Investor presents The Five Essential Elements Of Automated Income Generators posted at The Shark Investor.

*Patrick Schwerdtfeger presents 7 Steps to High-Conversion Sales Copy posted at Tactical Execution.

TAX: She Works Hard for Her Money by Donna Summer (1983)

She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right
She works hard for the money
So hard for it honey
She works hard for the money
So you better treat her right

*RC presents How to Put Next Year’s Tax Refund to Work for You Right Now Think Your Way to Wealth posted at Think Your Way to Wealth.

SAVING: Working for the Weekend by Loverboy (1981)

So this song was not about saving money, so I am stretching here. Still a cool song that screams "80s!"

Everybody's working for the weekend
Everybody wants a little romance
Everybody's goin' off the deep end
Everybody needs a second chance,
oh...You want a piece of my heart
You better start from start
You wanna be in the show
Come on baby let's go

*Joe Caterisano presents how to save money using grocery coupons posted at Penny Pinching.

*Garret presents 7 Ways To Save Money On Your Fuel Bill posted at Personal Finance Basics.

*Body For Life Results presents 5 Money Saving Tips To Help You Survive The Credit Crunch posted at Tame Your Debt.

*Katie Gregg presents Powering Down posted at Frugal Fabulous.

*Rhiana Jones presents Book Review: Make-A-Mix posted at A Frugal Life - Just the two of us.

*Northern Cheapskate presents Northern Cheapskate: Tips for a Tight Traveling Budget posted at Northern Cheapskate.

*Card Blogger presents The Best Gas Rebate Credit Cards posted at Credit Card Blog.

*Aryn presents Save Money with Travel Rewards posted at Sound Money Matters.

*dmh presents Unwritten Rules of Bringing Your Own Wine posted at Daily Money Hack.

*Bryce presents Haircuts posted at Save and Conquer.

*Jamy presents The art of creative home budgeting. posted at Wealth=Wise(Investments+Strategies).

*Faron Benoit presents 15 Cheap Romantic Date Ideas posted at Financial Learn.

*Broke Grad Student presents 6 Ways A Boyfriend/Girlfriend Saves You Money posted at Broke Grad Student.

*Madison presents Free Blockbuster Movies posted at My Dollar Plan.

*Christopher Johnson presents Legacy Fund - Perpetuity posted at

*TooSmart presents Dress for Less: The sub $5 shirt. posted at Too Smart to Live Like This.

*Brian Chin presents 4 Ways to Find Cheap Airfare on Flights posted at beechin financial consultant.

*Amy @ The Q Family presents Catch a Reading Bug this Summer posted at The Q Family Adventure.

INVESTING: I Wanna' Be Rich by Calloway (1989)

This one just gets stuck in your head.

I want money lots and lots of money
I want the pie in the sky
I want money lots and lots of money
So don't be asking me why
I wanna be rich oh ;
I wanna be rich
I wanna be rich oh;
I wanna be rich
For a little love peace and happiness

*KCLau presents Picking the right Structured Fund posted at KCLau's Money Tips.

*Aussie presents Australian Stock Market Investing posted at Australian Stock Market Investing.

*jim presents TradeKing Review posted at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity.

*MoneyKing presents Real Estate Profits And Losses: Your Tenant’s Kids. Scenario 38. posted at The Money Kings - RULE your money at home, at work, and at play!.

*KCLau presents Ride on the Oil Palm Industry Boom posted at KCLau's Money Tips.

*Raag Vamdatt presents Want to retire early? Here's what you need :: :: Financial Planning demystified posted at

*thewild1 presents To Buy or Sell? posted at The Wild Investor.

OTHER: For the Love of Money by The O'Jays

Okay, I cheated. This song is not from the 1980s, but how can you talk about money songs and not cover the song that is now most popular as the theme song for The Apprentice? Donald Trump has practically adopted it as his own.

Money money money money, money (x6)
Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y'all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things, do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money- dollar bills, y'all

*Ted presents Best Place to Sell Textbooks posted at CampusGrotto College Advice.

*John Crickett presents Is Now The Time To Buy A House? posted at Find Financial Freedom.

*The Financial Blogger presents Financial Super Powers Series: Telepathy and Mind Control posted at The Financial Blogger.

*Heather Allen presents Giving Can Breed Dependency. posted at The DebtFree Playbook Blog.

*Financial Goal presents 12 New Essentials We Think We Need posted at Goal of Financial Freedom.

*Chief Family Officer presents Review: posted at Chief Family Officer.

*Ryan Suenaga presents The Readers Ask: Where’s Best for Chicken Money? posted at Uncommon Cents.

*Heather Johnson presents Four Fabulous Ways to Be Happier posted at Miguel Trujillo.

*chica with issues presents Looking for a discount pays off, but so does waiting posted at One Snarky Chica with Issues.

*GBlogger presents Success Stories: From Newly Divorced With A Negative Net Worth to $150,000 — In Two Years posted at CAN I GET RICH ON A SALARY.

Thanks for visiting! I hope you enjoyed reminiscing as much as I did. Submit your posts for next week's carnival, which will be held at My Investing Blog. Have a great week!

Flag Etiquette

Photo credit: edgar0587
With summer fast approaching already beating down upon us, many people fly the American flag outside of their homes more regularly. It begins with Memorial Day and flies for Flag Day and Independence Day as well as throughout the rest of the summer (yes, many people fly more frequently, but they seem to be more abundant during the summer).

One of my pet peeves is to see someone "trying" to be patriotic by flying their flag, but not concerned enough with their patriotism to fly it properly. It pains me to see a tattered flag flying outside of a home or business (exception being, of course, immediately after a major storm or catastrophe). Therefore, I am posting the US Flag Code (compliments of so everyone can properly fly their flags out of respect for those who fought for the right for them to fly. Yes, it is lengthy, but definitely worth the read!


*The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.
*The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.
*The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard
*The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.
*The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.
*The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
*When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.
*The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.
*When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.
Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.


*When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
*When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
*When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
*When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right...The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger...No other flag ever should be placed above it...The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.
*When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.


The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.


*When on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.
*The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.
*When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.
*When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag's union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag's own right, and to the observer's left.


*When carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

To salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.


*To place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.
*The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.
*When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Frugality is Not Always Worth the Money

There are times that it pays to be frugal--cereal, clothing, cleaning supplies, etc. And then there are some times that the money is NOT worth it. There are several items that I will NOT buy generic--saltine crackers (I love my brand), peanut butter, chocolate milk, and others. I buy quality that I will not sacrifice on classic pieces of clothing and buy cheaper accessories or little tops that are trendy.

There are times, though, that being frugal can compromise your well-being. That's think you're being smart by not paying big bucks until you realize that those big bucks were worth the cost. One of those items? Sunglasses.
I thought that this would be an appropriate topic since summer is here (it's in the mid-nineties here in the lovely city of Savannah, GA). Please do NOT buy the dollar store sunglasses for you or your kids. I know--kids break things. However, you really do not need to sacrifice their vision for your quest for cheapness. That's right--buying dollar store sunglasses is not frugal, it's cheap. That's because tinted glass (or plastic actually) does nothing to protect your eyes. It might make you feel better because the sun is not so bright anymore, but unless your specs are rated as UVA/UVB protection, you are not actually protecting yourself from anything, so GO BUY SOME REAL SUNGLASSES! If you take care of them, you will get your money's worth. I purchased a pair of RayBans about 10 years ago. I still wear them. That means that the quality eyewear that I paid over $120.00 for have served their purpose and I have gotten my money's worth while saving my vision.

As for kids...this is what we bought for Patrick. They are UVA/UVB rated and are incredibly (and awesomely) flexible as well as scratch-resistant. No lenses pop out. No tint peels off. No legs break off. And it is healthy.

Seriously...don't compromise on the wrong things.

Buying expensive stuff works for me...sometimes...when it's important.

Go check out Rocks in My Dryer to see what else works...


Monday, June 9, 2008

10 Awesome Father’s Day Ideas - Part 5 of 5

So, after today you are on your own to shop, but you can't say that you've gone away empty-handed after reading my series on Awesome Father's Day Ideas. Let's wrap it up...(I'm so punny!)

9.) Office Gear:
Most men define themselves by their professional or career standing, but certainly are proud of the family they are providing for. Why not let them grace their office (home or work) with signs of his family to inspire him while he works?

--Big Bucks: A Blackberry or iPhone might be to his liking. Or you can have his diploma framed or feature the school that he calls his Alma mater.

--Smaller Bucks: Frames to showcase his awards or certificates, photo frames of his family, a desk set (you can get any themed one you desire...just Google it) or organizer. If he works at home, you might invest in a paper shredder or professional stationery. You can get personalized cartoons (framed, note cards, mouse pads, etc), laser pointers, a personalized world-travel map, a unique desk clock, a talking email microphone (what?!), a business card scanner, a desk-top air conditioner (for the man who doesn't control his office thermostat!), a classic for desks--Newton's cradle, or a personalized career sign (love these). If he can have "toys" at work, try corporate flashcards, a golfers sand trap, a golf-tee paperclip holder, or a roll-top desk organizer (cool!).

--Few Bucks: If he works out of home, offer to organize his workspace for him (don't throw anything me). Buy him some business cards (or get them free). Have kids create a DAD photo frame, a personalized note cube (LOVE this idea!), a cute photo frame, a homemade paperweight (Love this one too!), a desk set, or a coffee mug. If you're buying, try out a stress ball, a personalized "Never Question" mug, a mini file cabinet for cards (like this too!), or a dartboard decision maker.

10.) The Ultimate Gift - TIME:
Whatever you do, spend time with him. Make sure he knows that he is appreciated. Write down those things you appreciate about him, have kids act out a play of their appreciation, take him to dinner at his favorite restaurant. Spend a day doing whatever he enjoys (concert, museum, sporting event, stroll in the park, grilling out with the family, time around the pool). Make sure he knows that he is the focus of the day and appreciated for being the family's provider and strength.

You can wrap your gifts in whatever you have, including frilly wrapping paper. However, if you want to make it a little more manly, you can certainly do that. Use newspaper, Kraft paper with twine tying it up or a duct tape bow, use sale papers from Home Depot or Lowe's, use flyers of his favorite places or schedules of his favorite teams. Make it themed with the present (for example, if you give him car washing supplies, put it in a bucket or wrap it in a drying cloth). Even put it in a brown paper bag with some cute note that makes him realize that it is done thoughtfully and not because you haven't taken it out of the bag you bought it in.

If he's a musician, wrap it in staff paper; if he's an engineer, wrap it in drafting paper. Just make it personal and creative. He'll love the thought you put into it.

Now, you have less than a week to finish shopping, so get out of here and go get/make him something!

Photo credit: Shanghai Daddy, Coffee Monster, mm904ut

Sunday, June 8, 2008

10 Awesome Father’s Day Ideas - Part 4 of 5

In this fourth installment of Awesome Father's Day Ideas, we will review some more typical dad-type items that are certain to get him excited.

7.) Sports:
What man doesn't like sports of some type. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, NASCAR, golf, hockey...why they even call bowling a sport (no doubt it takes skill, but "sport" might be stretching it here). Growing up, my dad watched whatever was on. His first choice was Atlanta Braves' games, but anything that was on would do.

--Ultimate Gifts: Tickets to major sporting events, golf school packages, Richard Petty Driving Experience (mentioned under hobbies as well--I warned you of some overlapping), a sporting package from your cable or satellite company, a man's-man recliner to watch his favorite events (some have coolers and remote storage built in and you can even get one in team colors!), serious collectors items, or lessons with a tennis or golf pro!

--Gifts with a Savings: There are ways of getting him up close and personal to the real thing while only having to pay for lodging, like volunteering him at Disney's Wide World of Sports--he'll still see the events and maybe get to rub elbows with celebrities! And a good cause will benefit from his work. You can even buy sports edibles and beer brewing kits affordably! Of course, there is always the fathead option if you don't mind these things on your walls or collectibles from his favorite team or college (google those specifically). Also, he might appreciate folding chairs (with cup holders, you know) and ponchos for tailgating! Look into any minor-league or local sports teams' schedules and buy tickets.

--Frugal Fan: Take dad for his own day or sports. Ride bike trails, take advantage of some golf courses being free or discounted on certain days/times (maybe you could arrange this with his boss without his knowledge?), take him to a sports' museum, spend a day at the park playing baseball, basketball, Frisbee, or whatever tickles his fancy! Take pictures and make him the all-star or the day. Have the kids make sports ball key chains, baseball frames, a golf business card holder, a billiards clock, a sports pencil holder, a baseball cap organizer, a baseball plaque, a can holder, foam crafts, or dough crafts - including magnets. Here's a homemade baseball themed card as well.

8.) ______ of the Month Club
If there is something your guy really, really loves, why not let the gift giving continue throughout the year.

--Most Out of Pocket: You can opt for any of-the-month club that would satisfy him. There is almost something for EVERYONE! You can choose from chocolates, cigars, wines, cheeses, neckties, salsas, hot sauces, BBQ sauce, coffee, pizza, beer, movies, or even a variety club where the gifts swap up. Visit any of these sites for help: Club Offers, Amazing Clubs, Awesome Clubs, or Sports Gifts or the Month helps.

--Least out of Pocket: Create your own. Wife may want to create her own (no links here...this is a family-friendly site, people!), but anyone can give a Chore Book, or you can even give him a get-out-of-chores-free cards that exempt him from a chore at the time of asking. You can make these expire within 24-hours, "when the game is off," "never" (really would not suggest this one), or "this weekend." Maybe you could give him coupons for breakfast-in-bed-of-the-month, kid-free-day-of-the-month or date-out-with-wifey-of-the-month ( both win here!). Whatever he would creative.

So tomorrow we will cover the last two gifts and some wrapping ideas. Come back to join us for the final post of this series!

Photo credit: Bisayan lady, Tim Yocum

Friday, June 6, 2008

10 Awesome Father’s Day Ideas - Part 3 of 5

As a continuation of the Father's Day Gift series, we will move forward and look at some great ideas for that manly man in your life.

5.) Electronics:
This category seems to be a hit with any man, as they are--lets face it--big boys who are often stuck with a Peter Pan syndrome. The big money ones are easy to think of, so I will try to help you with inexpensive variations!

--An Arm & A Leg: A GPS (to go with his beloved ride), a computer, a Bose home theater system, or satellite radio (including monthly subscription). An iPod or cell phone can possibly put you into this upper range easily to get all of the bells and whistles (which you know he'll want!).

--Just an Arm: Maybe a digital camera (these are getting cheaper by the week)--as I've been told that unless you're planning to print out 8 x 10 photos, you don't need any more than 6.0 MegaPixels. Look at just a memory card or stick for his camera or computer. A universal remote for all of the gadgets he already has could be a winner or possibly a cell phone or iPod charger or accessories.

--Barely a Fingertip: Take a camera walk using the camera you already have: tour some place special with a picnic lunch and a ball & glove or frisbee to entertain. Take plenty of photos. If you want to have them developed immediately, take to a 1-hour place and have a treat while you wait. Then put them together in an album to treasure that special Father's Day. Make a CD Photo Frame or a Denim MP3 Player holder. Put a Screensaver on his computer especially for him (make sure the site is safe to download from!). Create a free personal web page about why your dad is incredible and share it with him! You can use photos, quotes, poems, music, clipart or whatever you want...all for free!

6.) King of the Grill/Outdoors:
It must have something to do with being allowed to play with fire, but guys really seem to love their grills. It is a "manly" way to cook and a way to impress their friends with their ability to handle meat. And although many of them will not do flower gardens, they usually take pride in maintaining their yards and often get to ride around on big tractor-like lawn mowers to do so.

--Super Duper: There are those big name items--the megagrill, smoker, and riding mower. A hammock is a great gift, but can fall into this category if you get a top-of-the-line quality one.

--Super Still: A brander for his steaks (2 links there), BBQ sauce, tools for the grill, a grill cover, steaks, or a gift basket of stuff for his grilling abilities (combine many of the items listed here or in the next category).

--Super Saver: A gift basket of stuff from your own kitchen, a chef's apron--personalized, or your own blend of BBQ sauce. You can also find inexpensive grill gadgets if you look.

BONUS: New Dads/Dads-to-Be:
I wanted to take a moment and recognize those brand new dads or those who are soon going to join the ranks of parenthood. It's a scary time for them and they need to be recognized as well!

--Costly: A camera, camcorder and are all going to be a hit with the proud new papa. To show baby off in person, dad will like carriers and backpacks "for him." Or put together this great New Dad Kit for the hospital (can actually be in any price category depending on what you want to put in it and what he already owns!).

--Less Costly: A Dad's Tool Bag, a Daddy Belt (alternative to diaper bag), a helpful book or two (two links), this funny Diaper Master kit, engraved baseball bat to celebrate the occasion, or a Daddy's Burp Bib. Or you could contribute to the nursery in a way that will please dad with this baseball mobile (several teams available).

--Not at All Costly: A greeting and congrats from the White House (although this will not arrive by Father's Day, still a cool gift). Better than the above "Less Costly" items, put together your own Daddy belt (buy gardener's tool belt or carpenter's tool belt and add accessories).

Don't forget to join me again on Sunday (Saturday will be a weekly round-up) for Part 4 where we'll look at Sports and Clubs of the Month!

Photo credit: clix, hbeyhs, vivekchugh

Thursday, June 5, 2008

10 Awesome Father’s Day Ideas - Part 2 of 5

As we continue our series of great gifts for Dad, I wanted to touch on the "traditional" gifts for him:

3.) Clothing Accessories:
Although I have no supporting facts and figures to back this up, I firmly believe that the week before Father's Day must be the single biggest day in tie sales annually. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with a tie, but we'll try to examine how to make this often mundane type of gift a little more personal.

--Black Tie: A brand new watch, some snazzy bejeweled cuff links, and designer sunglasses are all wonderful accessories to add to that wonderful man's wardrobe. You can also buy expensive dress shirts and ties that he will love.

--Khakis & Polo: A less costly way to accessorize your guy is to give him a wallet or these slippers with headlights (what guy wouldn't think THAT was awesome?!). Have the kids make this lunchbox shoe shine kit (and you can stock it) or buy some less expensive dress attire (but only if he really likes not use this as a fallback gift)--you could opt to personalize a simple tie with his monogram if you have an embroidery sewing machine for an added touch

--Blue Jeans & Sneakers: I challenge you to show me any man who wouldn't love to have this duct-tape wallet! Make a personalized t-shirt for him. Let your kids crown him for his special day.

4.) Tools:
What man could feel masculine without owning at least a few hand tools? Most will prefer the powered variety, but all need to feel that power in their hands. Let's help them out:

--Big Bucks: Power tools can be costly as well as large mobile tool chests. You can even spend a lot of money on a shop or garage organization system to help your man feel as though he has control of his surroundings. However, this is some high-end stuff. If you'd like to spend a little less, try:

--Some Bucks: Hand tools, accessories to his existing tools (does he have a screw extractor set for his drill or a battery charger), or a workbench. Or have him signed up for a class at a local trade school for some how-to tips on a project he's been wanting to tackle. Maybe some eye protection (really...he needs to be wearing that if he's playing with power tools). What about a point-and-click tape measure?

--Almost No Bucks: Make this awesome secret safe for dad for the shop! Have a jar set aside for something that dad wants--one of the bigger items above, maybe? Label it as a Father's Day Fund. Everyone's (mom, kids, dad) change DAILY goes into this jar. It doesn't cost you much on a day-to-day basis, but will be a constant reminder to him that you are all working to get him that big purchase he greatly desires. Organize his garage or shop area for him (although please avoid this if he is a Type A personality, as he may not like you messing with his stuff!).

BONUS: Cards:
You can always support your local pay-out-the-rear-for-a-folded-piece-of-paper-with-a-pre-written-message-on-it card shop. Or you could make your own. Here are some great ones I found:

--Actually Paying: If you do want to purchase something, make it personalized. CVS, Walgreen's, Snapfish, and other photo developers are always offering deals on photo books. Make one of dad and kids and work on it a lot to give it that truly personalized, time-invested appearance of a professional publication. Create a memory book of either his childhood or his life as a dad. You might move him to tears.

--Homemade: Wow...I'll just give you links here:
*DLTK offers cards, coloring pages, crafts, printables, and jig-saw puzzles
*Kaboose has some great cards like tent card, bird and bark card, and fish card
*Family Corner has a great easy photo card
*Making Learning Fun has some cards, coloring pages, crafts, & math lessons
*These Martha Stewart paper airplane cards are great! (bonus: can be used by dad as a toy!)
*Enchanted Learning has a tie card, dog card, and a pop-up card!
*How about this shirt cuff card? ADORABLE!
*Dad Award: here, here, here, here, here, or here...or just make your own!

As long as your gift is from the heart, he'll love it! Come back tomorrow for the third installment!

Photo credit: mai05, Shenky

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

10 Awesome Father’s Day Ideas - Part 1 of 5

Welcome 16th Carnival of Money Hacks goers (hosted by Daily Money Hack)! Since you have found yourself here, I'm guessing you'd like to get some Father's Day ideas--you have lucked up because the entire series is now posted! Have fun looking around and make yourself at home! If you like what you see, feel free to subscribe (right margin) and you are welcome to comment anywhere you feel inspired! Have a great time!

Father’s Day is quickly approaching and with the success of my Mother’s Day series for gift ideas, I didn’t want to leave those hard-working dads out. Thus the birth of this Father’s Day Gift Series.

I must admit that this series was more challenging than the Mother’s Day series because many of the categories that I discovered overlapped. Is fishing a sport or a hobby? Or is it considered “Outdoor?” So, I have done my best to categorize these. Yes, some will overlap, but just ignore that and keep reading…

So, without further ado, in no particular order, I present to you, 10 Awesome Father’s Day Ideas:

1.) Automobile Stuff:
Many men really love their cars. I don’t mean appreciate their car as a mode of transportation—I mean that their car might hold their attention more than their wives (yeah…stop that, guys). For your auto enthusiasts, let me offer these ideas:

--High End: A car. Yep. Some people get a CAR for Father’s Day. Even a nice new stereo system or some great add-ons can cost more than I can personally spend on a single gift. For the man that really WANTS a car and a wife that cannot afford such a gift, try these alternatives…

--Inexpensive: Floor mats, a steering wheel cover, a bucket full of cleaning products for his love, those much needed wiper blades, a gift card to his favorite auto accessory store.

--Frugal: Book of coupons for free wash, free wax, free vacuum (via you or the kids). Put together a travel kit. Make some great gifts from the kids like this Mechanic’s Pencil Holder, this Car Nut Frame, or a personalized “license plate.”

2.) Hobby:
Dads love a number of different things (cars are just one of them) and you can easily feed his hobby. The danger here is to make the gift sincere and not one of those regular fall-back gifts (does EVERYONE give golf balls to that golfer in your family?)

--High End: A hunting or fishing trip, Cloud 9 Living experiences, and racing extravaganzas are some of the high end activities that you guy would enjoy.

--More fun for less: Gift cards to favorite stores (like Bass Pro Shops?), subscriptions to magazines or books about his hobby, or have that home-movie buff's previous videos put on DVD for him. If he is an avid movie watcher, a collection of DVDs and some popcorn accessories might make him happy (and make for a fun family night). Fill a new tackle box with lures if you know what he likes. How about hunting and/or fishing licenses (he’ll need them, you know)?

--Fun with even LESS invested: Set up a camping or fishing trip for the family or just between child and dad. Let him teach them how to build a camp fire and pack goodies for them like smores ingredients. Make a bamboo fishing pole for your fisherman or some photo bookmarks for your reader. Make this Gone Fishin’ chalkboard from the kids. Does he loves puzzles? Try out these mazes, crosswords, or word searches. You can even create your own!

Come again tomorrow for Part 2!

Photo credit: Ginae, krayker