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    • CDTV Launch! March 30, 2011
        Credit Dusters has just launched our interactive television show. The network is called CDTV and it will start out with a daily show about all things credit. You can go there now…tv.creditdusters.com.
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    • New VW and Other Purchases I Didn’t Make June 4, 2008
      It seems strange considering my profession.  I recently pulled a copy of my credit report through the credit watch service  I am a member of.  I needed to purchase a car so I wanted to see where my scores stood and shop for the best interest rate.  To my surprise I had purchased a brand new […]
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    • Loan Modification – The Best Chance for Success April 30, 2008
      This week we are discussing a painful, but important situation that a lot of American consumers are facing. It is so scary to think that you might lose your home, but we want you to know that there is hope. We want to be a resource to those folks because we have been there and […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter IV – The Final Verse April 25, 2008
      My family lives in a small, rural town in Southern Indiana. We are surrounded by a soy bean field with hundreds of sprawling acres across the street and a large lake that adjoins our property in the back. Sounds nice, right? Why am I so discontented?What is it that continues to drive me toward always […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter III – The Endless Road April 24, 2008
      I began writing about the subject as a result of my daughter and I going on a field trip to our county 4-H last week. All the modern day farmers talking about raising chickens, cows, rabbits, and living off the land made me yearn for a life like that. This is my journey…The truth is […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter II – What’s in the Box? April 23, 2008
      In his book, Halftime, author and successful businessman Bob Buford comments on the purpose of money in the following manner: Mike Kiami is a strategic planning consultant. He is brilliant. He is intuitive. He is demanding. He slices through all the pretense and posturing, and hones in on the core. He does not believe in […]
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    • Beauty In Simplicity – Chapter 1 April 22, 2008
      “Stop this train, I want to get off!” – Vanilla Ice Yesterday I touched on the fact that I am soul searching for the simple life. My wife and I used to think the Amish had the answer. I now know, as I mentioned, that I do not have to buy a farm and work […]
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    • A Rabbit Meat Shortage, The American Consumer, and Something About The Simple Life April 21, 2008
      I went on a field trip with my 3rd grade daughter this past week to our county 4-H. I learned a lot about farm animals. It was quite amazing because I saw the farmer of today and even with all the modern technology, (like a $280K combine that has a stereo, GPS system, and two seats) it […]
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    • How To Not Blow Your Tax Refund April 2, 2008
      In my previous post I wrote about the importance of filing even when you owe. Today I am going to give some helpful tips on preparing for your refund. Whether you are getting $500.00 or $5000.00 it is human nature to spend your money two or three times before it even hits the bank. I would encourage […]
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    • How To Proactively Protect Your Identity March 26, 2008
      Freecreditdusters.com has a great article on ID Theft – Check it out
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A Rabbit Meat Shortage, The American Consumer, and Something About The Simple Life

I went on a field trip with my 3rd grade daughter this past week to our county 4-H. I learned a lot about farm animals. It was quite amazing because I saw the farmer of today and even with all the modern technology, (like a $280K combine that has a stereo, GPS system, and two seats) it felt like going back in time.

Did you know that there is a shortage of rabbit meat in America? I didn’t either. According to the rabbit farmer I spoke with yesterday, he told me the demand is so high he can’t keep up. He told me of a girl in Kentucky who made 10k last year simply raising rabbits. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I am sure it was not her full time job.

We can make money doing pretty much anything. I heard a gentleman who called in to the Dave Ramsey Radio Show and said he had cleared $150k starting a dog poop clean up business for wealthy individuals. That amazed me.

How is it that we as American’s can live in the richest country in the world and yet we as consumers have achieved a negative savings ratio? I am in that lot. I often see myself as a child in the toy store, demanding that my mother buy me the latest gadget and throwing a tantrum if she dares say, “No!”

So how do we transition out of such a mindset? I have learned the hard way, it’s not about your income. The more money I make the more I spend. The restaurant name changes from McDonalds to Ruby Tuesday’s.

I have some ideas that have worked for my wife and I over the last couple years.

1. Use cash only. When McDonalds began taking credit cards I heard their average per order revenue almost doubled. My wife and I struggle with this even using our debit card. I use the card to fill up the gas tank and forget to tell her. We go out to eat and in the hurry of it all we fail to write down the receipt amount. Next thing you know we have three Overdrafts at $30 bucks a pop. Ouch! We have decided to just use cash. We take out a certain amount at the beginning of the week and use it till it’s gone.

2. Consider the cost. This is one my favorites. I used to be a compulsive shopper. I would buy something just to fill that empty void somewhere. It is a scary place because you realize you are just buying “stuff”. Now, I have gone the opposite way. I usually wait and wait before buying anything. Sometimes I never buy it at all. It is a great feeling to not be tied to an emotional chain. When you are making a purchase I would recommend waiting 24 hours before actually buying it. Try it out with the small stuff first and then when the major purchases come you will already have the “Wait” muscle flexed and ready.

3. Savings. Can we move to number 4 now? Wow! This is a tough one. My wife and I struggle with this even today. There is no excuse – there just always seems to be something that needs to be done. Is this reality or is it just our perception that we feel as if we have done without for so long. We as Americans have no real clue about what it means to be poor.

4. Write a plan. Laura and I love to make lists and notes. We are weird, but it does work. It clarifies the soul and lets you know where you stand.

As you can tell this is a continuous work in progress at our house. We don’t have all the answers, but we are working through it, and that, I believe, makes all the difference. I am not sure I have to buy a farm to experience the simple life. I think it’s a mindset. My wife already said she would not let me buy Rabbits. Something about there was no way she was going to eat Thumper. What do you think?

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How To Not Blow Your Tax Refund

In my previous post I wrote about the importance of filing even when you owe. Today I am going to give some helpful tips on preparing for your refund. Whether you are getting $500.00 or $5000.00 it is human nature to spend your money two or three times before it even hits the bank.

I would encourage you to sit down with your spouse (if you are married) and map out a game plan. My wife and I have done this every year and it has saved us a lot of headache and fights.

This year I am creating a tool that is in PDF format which allows me to do a better job mapping out where the money needs to go. The process is simple and easy to use.

It details the following:

How much are you going to give? – Giver’s Gain. Right? Tithing or charity.

How much are you going to save? – If you do not currently have an Emergency Fund, I recommend doing this before anything else. It can really create some breathing room between you and the next disaster (i.e. transmission, sickness, job loss).

How much are you going to blow? – It is important to allocate a certain percantage to splurge. You may want to go on a vacation or buy something special for yourself. 

How much to pay down on debt? – This is imperative, but don’t get so focused that you lose sight of savings.

I will have this tool available for all of my readers in the next few days. Simply shoot me an email @ matt@creditdusters.com and I will get it to you.

 Thanks,

 Matt

How To Proactively Protect Your Identity

Freecreditdusters.com has a great article on ID Theft – Check it out

Time, not money is the key to a great Spring Break

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Time, not money is the key to a great Spring Break!

Back in the day there was a big movement of child experts who claimed that your kids require, “quality and not quantity.” If this has been your philosophy I have a question for you, “How is that working for you? ”

The cold, hard reality is that your family is just like anything else worthwhile. It takes both quality and quantity to be successful. This is the case with any endeavor from your career, to your hobby, and anything else.

 If you decide this spring to plant a garden, then you cannot simply till the soil, plant the seed, and wait for the harvest. A gardener knows that he must care for the little seedlings even though he cannot even see them. He realizes that in order for that seed to shoot roots down and have enough strength to break through the ground it is going to need a fertile, well-cared area.

Your children are no different. They require you to spend time with them. Do not make the mistake of feeling as if you have to go somewhere to have a great time. Love in any family is spelled  T – I – M – E!

Check out more Spring Break Tips: http://freecreditdusters.com/

Game of Life Better Than Blockbuster’s

springbreak08.gif Well, we played the Game of Life last night and as promised I will give you the highlights. It turned out better than I could have ever hoped. We all had a blast and learned a lot.

The amazing part about the game and reality is the unpredictability. You never know when you are going to lose your job, get sick, have a child, run into some money – the ups’ and downs of life itself are displayed in the form of pink and blue pegs driving plastic SUV’s (we have the new version).

It was interesting to me the reasons behind the choices the kids made. The game begins with a lot of decisions. Do you go to college and or not go to college? All of the kids wanted to start their career. I asked Emily why and she said she liked the picture. Sean, my 4 year old, wanted to get married immediately. The kids all squealed when we gave them $10K each, but quickly realized how fast the money changed hands.

Emily, my nine year old, pulled her salary card after picking a police woman. She was elated to find out she made $60k every time she passed a “Payday”, but was angry when she realized she would have to give her money away each time she landed on a taxes space.

The interesting part on a personal level was that I decided to take the college route. I actually never went to college so it was a surreal experience seeing myself taking the long route and watching everyone else get jobs, pass several payday’s , and even get married before I graduated.

Emily’s car rolled away and she did not have insurance so she had to pay $15k. When Emily got married she tried to put her husband in the back of the SUV instead of next to her. Lord, bless her future husband!

Seth, our seven year old, did something that surprised me. When it came time to buy a house he opted for the most expensive one. His career was a computer tech so he had more money than I did as I doctor (Isn’t that how life works?) Then his mom asked him if he wanted insurance on the house. At first he said no because the insurance was $45k. Then we explained to him that if he had a fire or flood then he would have to pay big money for the repairs or even lose his house altogether. He thought for a moment and elected to buy the cheaper house so he could “afford” the insurance.

The kids agreed that we all had a good time and even spoke later about what we learned. I look forward to many more trips around the game board because Life, like the game, is way too much fun to sit out!

The Game Of Life

springbreak08.gif The Game of Life has always been my family’s favorite board game. This is where you scratch your head and mouth the words, “Board game?”  Yes, I did say it. You know the pre-pixel version where the whole family gathers around the table and interacts with fun, laughter, and a little friendly competition. It is old school, but this is what my family will be doing on our first night of spring break.

 In the real game called Life, my wife and I have had many conversations about our kids (we have three) and their lack of understanding about money. We set up our nine-year-old daughter and our seven-year-old boy with their own savings accounts. The four-year-old is still too young. We are not frivolous spenders when it comes to our kids, but they still do not have a grasp of where money comes from and that it is not an infinite commodity.

We are really trying to get creative with our family nights and turn them into masked-over learning experiences as opposed to just another movie night. The movie night is the easy and lazy way of technically having family night.

Monday night we are going to eat dinner together with every electrical device unplugged. Yes, even my laptop…does it have an off button? Our first order of business is for each family member to tell their favorite part about the day. If you start this you will find that kids are just mini adults and they have a tendency to be very negative about their day. My daughter wants to start out about the latest gossip in her 3rd grade class. We gently, yet firmly, steer the conversation to positive stuff. Because none of my kids want to actually hear about my latest exploits starting a social networking site, I usually end up making some kind of story about the king of Persia calling me on a secret mission.

After we clear the table we get out the game for the night. Just like real life the Game of Life has a lot of twists and turns. We are hoping to share with our kids the value of family over the desire for pure worldly possessions.

It should be interesting. I will let you know tomorrow how it went.

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You can also check out our other site which I will posting daily: http://freecreditdusters.com/

Dinkytown.com – the coolest little website this side of texas!

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There is nothing dinky about dinkytown.com. This is the mecca of online calculators. Do you want to know how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage? At what age you will be a millionaire? What about how much you will owe in taxes this year? If you can think it then you can dinkytown it!

Hope you enjoy!