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Jan 18, 2010 - Stuff    No Comments

Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters

Most peo­ple will say they are inter­ested in sav­ing money. Money saved from one area can be spent in another area. Or even bet­ter, the money can actu­ally grow as an invest­ment for the future like its doing for me with phys­i­cal gold ira rollover. But despite the ben­e­fits of putting some money away, most peo­ple take a pass­ing inter­est in actu­ally doing it. As young adults, they don’t think much about retire­ment; then, as adults, credit card debt becomes a way of life.

If you’d like to make reg­u­lar sav­ing a part of your life, read on to find out how to con­quer the first step: find­ing that extra money.

You can begin by pay­ing atten­tion to these top money wast­ing activities.

1. Con­ve­nience Stores

Many peo­ple don’t think about the mark-up they pay for con­ve­nience store items. Here’s a hint: it’s huge. This is because these stores don’t pur­chase food in the large quan­ti­ties that a gro­cery store does and also because they make you pay more for the con­ve­nience they pro­vide. So, unless it’s an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion, avoid shop­ping at con­ve­nience stores. The pre­mium you pay for con­ve­nience is not worth the assumed con­ve­nience you get. For exam­ple, a Coke at a con­ve­nience store might cost you a dol­lar, while you can go to the gro­cery store and buy a 12 pack for $4. If you tend to pull over for a drink, buy a 12-pack and keep it in your car. If you visit con­ve­nience stores often, the annual sav­ings of cut­ting out these vis­its can be tremendous.

2. Cell Phone Plans

Take the time to check your monthly cell phone bill — you may be pay­ing more than you need to. If you are using fewer min­utes than your monthly plan allows, switch to a lower-rate plan. If you are using more min­utes than your monthly allot­ment, then upgrade to a higher minute plan. Before mak­ing any changes to your plan, sit down with a list of your cell phone company’s offer­ings and com­pare and deter­mine which plan pro­vides the most value based on your needs. Most cell phone com­pa­nies charge 40 to 50 cents per addi­tional minute, so going over your allowed min­utes by 100 min­utes one month will cost you $40 to $50 in that month alone. With many minute plan upgrades cost­ing $10 to $20 a month, they’ll eas­ily pay for themselves.

You should also scan through your cell phone plan for added fea­tures like text mes­sag­ing and mobile inter­net. If you aren’t really using these fea­tures, get rid of them — they’re cost­ing you money each month!

3. Soft Drinks

This one is a sneaky money waster. Not only does order­ing bev­er­ages along with a restau­rant meal boost your total expenses, but soft drinks also have one of the high­est markups of any restau­rant item, and thus pro­vide lower value for your money. Con­sider a typ­i­cal fam­ily of four that eats out twice a week at fast casual restau­rants (typ­i­cal for a mid­dle class fam­ily even today). Assum­ing an aver­age price of $1.50 for a foun­tain soft drink, that totals $12 a week, $48 a month, $624 a year. Just cut­ting out this one item from your meal could mean sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings that could go into some­thing much more pro­duc­tive, such as a retire­ment sav­ings plan. If you invest $624 at the mar­ket aver­age of 9% a year every year, you would have almost $32,000 at the end of 20 years. So dine out, but opt for water!

4. Unnec­es­sary Bank Fees

Many peo­ple unknow­ingly pay a lot to their banks in the form of fees. If you don’t know what fees your accounts are sub­ject to, spend a few min­utes find­ing out. Some banks charge ATM fees for using another bank’s ATM, for exam­ple. These can be as high as $5! This amounts to a 25% one-time fee for a $20 with­drawal. The key with this type of fee is sim­ply know­ing about it. You would be bet­ter off using a credit card to make the purchase.

Go back and exam­ine the rules gov­ern­ing your check­ing and sav­ings accounts. Many peo­ple have accounts with a fixed num­ber of with­drawals and deposits per month. You would be bet­ter off with an account main­te­nance fee of $10 a month than get­ting hit with two or three dif­fer­ent fees a month.

Also con­sider con­sol­i­dat­ing bank accounts, as often one account with a larger min­i­mum can elim­i­nate numer­ous fees that might oth­er­wise exist.

5. Mag­a­zines

If you’re the type of per­son who likes to occa­sion­ally pick up your favorite mag­a­zine from the local gro­cery store or news­stand, con­sider get­ting an annual sub­scrip­tion. Even if you don’t want the mag­a­zine every month, a cou­ple of issues at the news­stand are enough to cover the entire annual sub­scrip­tion. For exam­ple, a 26-issue sub­scrip­tion to Forbes Mag­a­zine will cost you less than $25, while one issue at the news­stand costs $5.

6. Annual Credit Card Fees

Unless you have a poor credit his­tory, there is no rea­son to pay annual credit card fees. A host of Visa, Mas­ter­Card and Dis­cover cards have no annual fee, yet many peo­ple pay up to $100 a year for the priv­i­lege of hold­ing a credit card. Unless you’re an ultra-wealthy, exclu­sive hold­ers of an elite-level credit card with exclu­sive perks, most peo­ple should not be pay­ing annual credit card fees.

And speak­ing of credit cards, make sure you make a pay­ment on time every month, even if it’s the min­i­mum. Many credit cards charge $39 monthly late fee charges, charges which accrue inter­est along with your exist­ing balance.

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Dec 31, 2009 - Stuff    4 Comments

7 year old Picasso : Kieron Williamson

Although he knows who Picasso is, he doesn’t want to become the next Picasso, but replies “Monet or Edward Seago”.

Liv­ing in Holt, Nor­folk, Kieron has become quite the notice­able artis­tic phe­nom.  How many 7-year old kids do you know sell out an exhibit in less than 14 min­utes?  Or even have a wait­ing list of over 600+ peo­ple to grab an orig­i­nal Kieron mas­ter­piece?  Let alone, buy­ing it for £900 and up.  Could prob­a­bly say not many at all, but that’s where Kieron Williamson comes in and takes the spotlight.

His dad Keith, a for­mer elec­tri­cian, was vic­tim to a seri­ous acci­dent about 2 years ago which affected his abil­ity to be as mobile as he once was.  This forced him to take up new hob­bies, one being col­lect­ing art which then influ­enced his son Kieron to start tak­ing it up.

One look at his work and it’s hard to even fathom what Kieron will be cre­at­ing in the next 5 years and more, if he even decides to stick with it.  I’m sure like every other kid with an amaz­ing tal­ent, will come either over-demanding par­ents or media who will taint this kid’s pas­sion to do what he’s ever so good at.  Let’s hope that doesn’t come to be, and I could blog another piece about this kid in the next num­ber of years to high­light even more new and amaz­ing masterpieces

Some of his work

After Gli­man by Kieron Williamson

Fig­ures at Holkham by Kieron Williamson

Boat at half way house by Kieron Williamson

Orig­i­nal Arti­cle here :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/dec/29/boy-paints-like-old-master

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Dec 3, 2009 - Entertainment    No Comments

Getting Uglier

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Fric­tion builds as Rap­tors blown out by Hawks

ATLANTA – Maybe Sam Mitchell was bored: On the eve of the one-year anniver­sary of his fir­ing as Rap­tors coach, Mitchell spent his Wednes­day night watch­ing his for­mer team play his home­town Hawks.

He found out soon enough that lit­tle has changed for the bet­ter since he left. With the for­mer coach sit­ting in the sec­ond row across the court from the Toronto bench, the list­less, fight-less Rap­tors lost their fifth straight game in a blowout, 146–115.

Mean­while Mitchell’s suc­ces­sor, Jay Tri­ano, awoke Thurs­day morn­ing on the one-year anniver­sary of his pro­mo­tion to head coach fac­ing his first pub­lic cri­sis on the job. After an uncon­scionable defen­sive effort that saw the Rap­tors sur­ren­der the second-most points in fran­chise his­tory, more than one player openly crit­i­cized the coach’s schemes in the game’s solemn wake.

And more than one vet­eran voice said Tri­ano is fail­ing to call out the play­ers who are mak­ing the most egre­gious defen­sive mistakes.

Every time some­thing hap­pens it’s always, ‘It’s okay, it’s all right.’ It’s not all right,” said Jar­rett Jack, the reserve guard. “Prob­lems go by with­out attack­ing them or chal­leng­ing them or bring­ing them to the fore­front and get­ting them solved. We can’t keep keep putting them to the back of the bus and just say­ing, ‘That’s okay.’ It’s not all right. Every­body can’t walk on eggshells around here and say, ‘We’re play­ing good bas­ket­ball.’ We’re not.”

Said Antoine Wright: “You’ve got to address (the defen­sive issues) and you’ve got to show peo­ple on tape. It’s not per­sonal. If you want to win, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.”

Wright, who has crit­i­cized Triano’s schemes pre­vi­ously, was the only Rap­tor not to see the floor on Wednes­day. He said Tri­ano has failed to “call out” under-performing Rap­tors because unnamed team­mates are “too sen­si­tive” to crit­i­cism. And although he and Jack were the most explicit in their post-game assess­ments, their sen­ti­ments weren’t unique. After Tri­ano gave a post-game press brief­ing in which he said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort — “I can’t say I (saw play­ers) not try­ing out there” — other eyes remem­bered it another way.

The defen­sive effort hasn’t been there for a while. We didn’t mag­i­cally appear last on the charts defen­sively,” said all-star for­ward Chris Bosh, who, after scor­ing two points on two field-goal attempts, didn’t seem thrilled with the offence, either. “I mean, tonight was just a total embar­rass­ment. We couldn’t stop any­body. We haven’t stopped any­body all year.”

A year to the night the Rap­tors dropped a 39-point loss in Den­ver that got Mitchell fired, per­haps the only dif­fer­ence was that on Wednes­day, Mitchell had the option of retreat­ing to a lux­u­ri­ous lounge for a glass of red wine after his old employer fell behind 24 points in the first half and never made a rally.

Tri­ano, mean­while, is left to fig­ure out how to snap the Rap­tors out of an early sea­son malaise. That the locker room is filled with pub­lic sug­ges­tions can­not be a good thing. In Mitchell’s four-plus sea­sons it’s dif­fi­cult to remem­ber more than the occa­sional moment when his strate­gies were openly ques­tioned — and it was usu­ally by Bosh, an all-star with the right to vent.

If the beef is that Tri­ano isn’t being tough enough on the defen­sive weak links — and a large per­cent­age of the start­ing lineup pops to mind — it rings true. Even Triano’s allies in the orga­ni­za­tion — and he is such an agree­able man he doesn’t pos­sess a known enemy — have qui­etly won­dered about his abil­ity to impose dis­ci­pline on self-interested multi-millionaires. With no pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence as a pro head coach before this, cer­tainly he deserves time to fig­ure out the art.

But he’d best do it soon.

You can keep talk­ing about it and talk­ing about it and talk­ing about it. It’s time to act,” said Bosh.

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** taken from [ here ]

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Dec 2, 2009 - Entertainment    No Comments

Bosh: ‘We’re Just Not A Good Team’

ChrisBoshPhotoChris Bosh was vis­i­bly upset after his team was embar­rassed 146–115 in Atlanta on Wednes­day night.

Our defen­sive effort hasn’t been there for awhile,” Bosh said. “We got to be hon­est with our­selves. Tonight was just an embar­rass­ment. We couldn’t stop any­body. We haven’t stopped any­body all year.”

Bosh was held with­out a field goal in the game and told RealGM that he couldn’t remem­ber the last time that had happened.

Bosh went on to say that “the past few games, we’ve been out­worked in every aspect. We don’t get on the ground. We don’t con­sis­tently get rebounds. We give up a lot of points in the paint. No cov­er­age is good for us. We’re just not a good team.”

The loss was Toronto’s fifth in a row and dropped their record to 7–13 on the season.

** taken from RealGM.com

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Oct 9, 2009 - Stuff    No Comments

Hands-Free Law — October 26th

handsfreedriver

Ontario Hands-Free Law to Take Effect on Octo­ber 26

Ontar­i­ans who use cell phones, MP3 play­ers and other elec­tronic devices while dri­ving will have to change their habits soon. The Ontario Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion has announced that the ban on in-vehicle cell­phone use will be enforced start­ing on Octo­ber 26.

That doesn’t mean that Ontar­i­ans won’t be allowed to talk and drive at the same time. But they’ll have to do so hands-free, which they can if they’re wear­ing a hands-free head­set or have installed a hands-free speak­er­phone in their car.

It’s not just talk­ing that’s cov­ered by the hands-free law, which was passed last April. Tex­ting, e-mailing and dialling also fall under the restric­tion, as do the use of other elec­tronic devices such as MP3 Play­ers and nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems that are not securely attached to the car’s dashboard.

Fines of up to $500 will be handed to any dri­ver caught, but Min­istry Offi­cials said traf­fic offi­cers will com­ply with a three-month edu­ca­tion period with tick­ets not being writ­ten until Feb­ru­ary 1, 2010.

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