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Daniel Britt, 12/19

Money Saving Monday:

Warm innersoles - Draw around your foot on newspaper and use it as a pattern to cut insoles from old wool sweaters or blankets. Use a double thickness if your shoes or boots allow. If you don't have wool, use any thick cloth, or several thicknesses of newspaper covered top and bottom with any cloth.

Window Cleaner - Use a quarter of a cup of vinegar in a quart of plain water. Dip a rag in it and clean the windows, or use in a spray bottle.

Windshield washer fluid - Add a pint of rubbing alcohol to a gallon of water. Good for winter, as it won't freeze.


Daniel Britt, 12/12 MONEY SAVING MONDAY

Starch - You can make your own fabric starch by boiling a couple of tablespoons of rice in a quart of water for a half hour or so, then strain the rice out. Use it warm as it gels when it cools. Pour it into a glass jar to store and just warm it a little when you want to use it again. You'll need to rinse the nozzle of a spray bottle after using it. 

Tablecloth - Bedsheets (check the second hand stores) or sometimes drapes or curtains can be made to fit a table. If you use a sheet, you might have enough to make matching napkins. 

Toothpaste - Use baking soda, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and salt, or plain hand soap - it doesn't taste as bad as you think, and it will clean your teeth. 

Daniel Britt, 12/5 MONEY SAVING MONDAY: 

Rubber spatula - Trim a plastic coffee can or margarine tub lid to shape, leaving a wide 'handle' to get a good grip. 

>>Shampoo - You can use dish detergent to shampoo normal hair. It won't hurt it at all. 

>>Shampoo - Lather, rinse and don't repeat. Once is enough. Mix shampoo half and half with water in the bottle. It cleans just as well and costs half as much.

Daniel Britt, 11/28 Money Saving Monday:

Plastic wrap - Set lidless bowls and pans inside plastic bags or slit breadsacks down one side to fit over plates and platters. Make (or buy, if you can find them) reusable elastic edged plastic lids in various sizes. They look like shower caps and used to be common. Or use shower caps. Wash them with the dishes. 

Pot scrubber - Use vegetable net bags by simply folding them inside themselves, and tying in strategic places with dental floss or strong string. Or use a piece of used, crumpled aluminum foil. 

Rolling pin - A wine bottle; a tall jar; a smooth glass. 

Daniel Britt, 11/21 Money Saving Monday: 

Napkins - This may not be real uptown, but you can use rags for napkins. If you can find paper napkins very, very cheaply, use them; otherwise, make your own cloth napkins from just about any material. Old shirts, dresses, sheets, and so on, all work. Cut in squares or rectangles and hem. 

Oven Cleaner - Put a half inch or so of ammonia in a shallow container and leave it in a cold oven overnight. Fumes from ammonia is what does the job, so if you have grungy pots and pans, put them in there, too. The whole mess will clean up with soap and water and just a little elbow grease in the morning. 

Daniel Britt, 11/7 MONEY SAVING MONDAY: 

Laundry detergent - Dissolve a bar of handsoap in water (cut it up and let it set overnight, or cut it in smaller chunks and heat while stirring) and add to three gallons of hot water, mix thoroughly and add a cup of washing soda. Let it cool to a gel before using one cup to an average load of laundry. Or try using a half cup of baking soda and a half cup of borax. 

Lip gloss - Add three parts of petroleum jelly to one part paraffin and heat slowly until they will mix. Add a drop of food coloring if desired, and honey to color and flavor it. Alternatively, simply use petroleum jelly or any oil, including vegetable oil. Some lasts longer than others, so experiment. 

Moisturizer - Olive oil is the best; better than most special face moisturizers. Smooth it on over freshly washed skin. 

Daniel Britt, 10/31 MONEY SAVING MONDAY:

Ice Pack - Mix one part rubbing alcohol and two parts water in a ziplock plastic bag. The rubbing alcohol keeps it from freezing solid, so the pack will conform to any part of your body. Wrap in a cloth to use. 

Laundry baskets - Substitute a cardboard box, lined with newspaper, or better, line it with plastic bags. You can cut hand holds from the sides. For a basket you can roll to the clothesline, use a child's wagon, again lined with newspaper or plastic bags. 

Daniel Britt, 10/24 Money Saving Monday:

Hand lotion - Several substitutes - petroleum jelly rubbed into your hands at night immediately after a warm water soak, mayonnaise (rinse with cold water afterwards), or any other oil based food. Vegetable oil or shortening or lard in small amounts work fine. Just be sure to put it on immediately after your hands have been in water. Lotions are oils/greases/waxes that work by trapping natural moisture in your skin, no matter what they claim to do. 

House slippers - Measure under your foot from heel to toe, add an inch, (this is the length) then measure from the center of the bottom of your foot around the top to the ankle and double that, plus two inches (this is the width). Cut a piece of cloth to these measurements, fold lengthwise and sew the short edges together. Turn the top under and sew down, leaving the edges open, then insert a cord, string or yarn to tie at the ankle. 

Daniel Britt, 10/17 Money Saving Monday:

Face Scrub - Make a lather in your hand of inexpensive hand or face soap, then add a teaspoon or so of cornmeal and scrub lightly. Use a tissue or cloth to remove most of the cornmeal before rinsing thoroughly with warm water. 

Floor Cleaner - Ammonia is the cheapest cleaner and does a good job, but you can often use plain water in between times. 

Freezer bags - Use empty chip bags, and close with masking tape. Or use bowls with lids, such as margarine tubs. 

Furniture Polish - Mix equal parts of white vinegar and vegetable oil and rub on the furniture. Buff with soft cloth until it shines. 

Daniel Britt, 10/3 MONEY SAVING MONDAY: 

Refinance. Mortgage rates have been extremely low over the past year. This has been a great opportunity to reduce the monthly house payment significantly. (If you are planning to have your house paid off prior to retirement, then you may want to factor this in before refinancing.) 


Bundle your insurance. Many insurance companies will offer their customer lower rates if they purchase multiple insurance policies. For example, some people use the same agent for multiple cars, and others combine their cars and house.
Daniel Britt, 9/29 From Baptist Press:

During the boycott of Disney, Southern Baptists missed a whole lot of films worth passing up, but there were a few worthy efforts by Disney that are now on DVD/video.

These films are not devoid of all questionable content, but they are entertaining films that possess positive and uplifting statements. Parents should screen each one to determine if it is suitable for their family to enjoy.

ENDURANCE (1999). This inspirational documentary focuses on international track star Haile Gebrselassie, a young man who overcame obstacles to attain his goal of becoming the world’s fastest long-distance runner. Admittedly, the film has a church feel, but it is very inspiring, with beautiful cinematography, a super score and a reverence for God. (Prayer and Bible study are a part of this family's life.) Rated G, I found nothing objectionable. However, there are scenes of extreme poverty and our hero's beloved mother dies off screen. This may be upsetting to little ones, but it is a fact of life: Loved ones die. Perhaps this is a reminder to us all never to take our family for granted.

TARZAN (1999). This animated version of the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ jungle man mixes equal amounts of humor and action, with a couple of life lessons and a gentle romance thrown in for good measure. Tarzan is portrayed as kindhearted, a respecter of living things and able to defeat prejudice with patience and humility, while overcoming evil through cunning and strength. Rated G, it contains a couple of intense battle scenes that may frighten very young children. There's much action and, as in many Disney films, a family member dies. Parents should be close by to reassure little ones. 

TOY STORY 2 (1999). Buzz Lightyear and Andy’s other toys spring into action when a thieving toy collector steals Woody in order to sell him to a museum in Japan. There’s plenty of excitement and fun, as the toys get into one predicament after another in their daring race to get to their pal before he’s shipped overseas. This is Disney at its best, with lessons about friendship and making choices. Taking the art of computer animation to the next plateau, the film utilized state-of-the-art technology, while the inventive writers gave the story layers and nuance. Rated G, it contains some violent and suspenseful imagery during the opening sequence and Woody has a scary dream. The material is handled with responsibility, but a guardian should view with very little ones in order to reassure.

THE MIRACLE MAKER (2000). ABC (owned by Disney) presented a full-length feature film about the life of Jesus on Easter Sunday of that year. With the use of claymation and graphically striking two-dimensional animation, the story presented the life of Jesus through the eyes of a sick little girl who encounters the Christ through different stages of His ministry. Using this child as a composite of different people who experienced Christ’s healing powers, The Miracle Maker was able to relate the Jesus of the Bible to little ones, without sacrificing the integrity of the Gospels. Rated TV-G due to Christ’s crucifixion, but the content is handled with discretion.

FANTASIA 2000 (2000). Written by Roy Disney and others, this update of “Fantasia” contains the original segment, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from the 1940 film, with seven new sequences, each introduced by diverse celebrities such as Steve Martin, Bette Midler, Itzhak Perlman, James Earl Jones, Penn & Teller, Quincy Jones, Angela Lansbury and, of course, Mickey Mouse.

Ultimately, Fantasia 2000 is truly uplifting and it simply dazzles the senses. My favorite piece combines the sophisticated music of George Gershwin and the unmistakable linear style of Al Hirschfeld. “Rhapsody in Blue” is without question the quintessential sophisticated jazz piece of its time. Maybe of all time. And Hirschfeld’s whimsical view of people’s foibles is delightfully revealing. Together, with the narrative of diverse characters weaving in and out of each other’s lives during the course of their daily routines, these two masters of their respective fields return the word erudite to storytelling.

Another favorite is the touching segment with Donald Duck boarding animals on the Ark to the lively rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance.” It is both funny and poignant as Donald and his lady faire, Daisy, become separated before the journey begins only to be reunited by segment’s end.

Fantasia 2000 was the most joyous movie conception of that year. Walt would have been proud! Rated G -- as a child, the magician in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was a bit frightening to me. It is, however, not so much about magic as it is about a timid being who wants to do his best. In the last segment, nature is personified in the form of an earth-mother nymph in a parable about death and rebirth.

LILO & STITCH (2002). Lilo is a lonely Hawaiian girl who adopts a small ugly “dog,” whom she names Stitch. Stitch would be the perfect pet if he weren’t in reality a genetic experiment who has escaped from an alien planet and crash-landed on Earth. Through her love, faith and unwavering belief in “ohana” (the Hawaiian concept of family), Lilo helps unlock Stitch’s heart and gives him the one thing he was never designed to have -- the ability to care for someone else.

The film salutes Hawaiians and, rather than attempting to make the characters Anglo-looking, the cartoonists gave them a true ethnic look. Especially fun was the little girl’s fascination with Elvis Presley. The score incorporated several of his songs, placing them meaningfully throughout the story. (At last, Elvis got to be in a good movie!)

Rated PG, Lilo, angry with her snobbish classmates, is seen looking through a book on voodoo as if she is going to cast a spell -- this is played for a laugh, with no other reference to occult themes, and she eventually apologizes for fighting with the other girls. Due to the subject matter of the loss of family members and the sometime sadness of the little girl, parents should view the film with little ones in order to comfort if needed; a couple of the space creatures may frighten very little ones, but I think the accompanying humor will soften any potentially scary scenes. While the story does deal with alien life forms, it is really an allegory, teaching lessons about caring for others, forgiveness and the importance of family.

TREASURE PLANET (2002). Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” this animated update has 15-year-old Jim Hawkins joining the crew of an intergalactic expedition as a cabin boy aboard a glittering space galleon. Befriended by the ship’s charismatic cyborg cook John Silver, Jim blossoms under his guidance, and shows the makings of a fine crewman as he and the alien crew battle supernovas, black holes and ferocious space storms. But even greater dangers lie ahead when Jim discovers that his trusted friend Silver is actually a scheming pirate with mutiny in mind.

Disney utilized state-of-the-art animation for the film, combined with the best of hand-drawn cartooning. In keeping with all Disney greats, Treasure Planet has a visually stunning look, combining swashbuckling adventure with a warmth in its characters. Also, there are important messages concerning friendship, integrity and self-sacrifice interwoven into the action. Rated PG, I found nothing objectionable, but the film has some exciting buccaneer action scenes that may frighten little ones. And the story does include a father who abandoned his wife and child.

HOLES (2003). Dogged by bad luck stemming from an ancient family curse, Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) has little clue that he’s in for the adventure of his life when sent to Camp Green Lake. There he and fellow campmates are forced by the camp’s director, known only as “The Warden,” and her henchman, Mr. Sir, to dig holes in order to “build character.” Nobody knows the real reason they’re digging all these holes, but Stanley soon begins to question why the head of the camp is so interested in anything special the boys find. Through it all, Stanley and his new friends must stick together as they attempt to discover what’s really hidden, solve the mystery, and break the Yelnats family curse.

Partnered with Disney distribution, fledgling production company Walden Media digs up a real treasure with this concept. Both its star and script are compelling. What a pleasure it was to come across a film aimed at teens and preteens that’s both humorous and insightful. Screenwriter Louis Sachar bypassed off-color dialogue and the usual adolescent crudities, focusing on an involving and suspenseful adventure. The lead rises above trying situations, not only to survive, but to thrive as well.

Rated PG, it contains a couple of minor expletives, but I caught no other harsh or profane language; there are a few scary moments, with adventurous teens placed in peril; there are a few violent acts, most in a story retold about the old West, but not exceedingly graphic; the camp is set in the desert where there are poisonous reptiles; a couple of scenes featuring these prehistoric-looking lizards are jolting and scary, but salved with humor; in the flashback story, a black man and a white woman fall in love, an act presented as against the law during that period, which leads to a tragedy perpetrated by a bigoted mob. The violence is not exploitive but used to point out wrongdoing.

THE INCREDIBLES (2004). This hilarious, action-packed animated adventure has put-upon superheroes denying their superpowers and living under a government protection plan (themselves the victims of sue-happy citizens once protected by the super do-gooders: “Who asked you to save me?”).

Taking on grown-up themes such as the suspicion of infidelity and a barrage of violent do-or-die histrionics, Pixar Animation Studios, filmmaker Brad Bird (“The Iron Giant”) and Disney Studios incorporated cartoonish slapstick with thoughtful PG-rated wit. Along with vivid animation techniques, every other element of the production has been given special attention, including story, character development and dialogue. What’s more, a sincere respect for audience members is paid, no matter the age.

It’s a hoot. But beware, some young ones might be disturbed by the plights of our heroes. Keep in mind, this is a story about superheroes and dastardly villains. Though this film is creative, funny and addresses life issues, it is an action/adventure about superheroes, which means it contains violent acts of derring-do.

Rated PG, there are positive family values, including the portrayal of married parents with a healthy love for one another, and kids, though they bicker, who come through when their siblings are in danger. The film steers clear of crudity and off-color language, receiving its rating for thematic intensity and violent activity that includes explosions, chases, attacking robots, and our heroes placed in perilous predicaments time and again.

Daniel Britt, 9/26 MONEY SAVING MONDAY: 

Clip coupons. Although this may seem like a tedious waste of time to many, the savings can often be well worth the effort. Many stores will offer to double the amount of your coupon up to a certain amount. Using this technique can save you as much as $20 to $30 (this number will vary depending on the amount purchased) each time you shop.

Daniel Britt, 9/21 "Oh, we know that God loves us (maybe)-but how can we be sure He likes us.The real question is not whether He loves us, but whether He approves of us, whether we are pleasing to Him. One thing is certain: if we are not pleasing to God, He will never be pleasing to us. Why should we like someone who is forever condemning us? On the other hand, can we imagine what it would be like to so move and excite the heart of God that He would run to meet us, throw His arms around us and kiss us, dress us in His best robe and put rings on our fingers? Can we picture the Lord Almighty killing the fatted calf for us and throwing a big party in our honor? Can we imagine having the Creator of the Universe say to us, just as He said to Jesus, 'You are my beloved son and I like you'? 

Mike Mason, The Gospel According to Job

Daniel Britt, 9/19 MONEY SAVING MONDAY: Back to the Basics

Alter credit card behavior. Pay cash whenever possible. This will help you from making a purchase unless you actually have money available. If you decide to make a credit card purchase, be prepared to pay the balance off monthly. This will save a lot of money through avoiding interest charges. If you already have a CC balance then transfer to a card with a low interest rate. Additionally, find a card that does not charge an annual fee.
Brown bag it. Believe it or not, all of those lunch hours spent at the local restaurants begin to add up. Bringing your own lunch can save you several dollars each day. 

Call during off peak hours. It is not uncommon for "phone talkers" to spend a couple hundred dollars a month on phone charges. Much of this can be avoided by placing the majority of your calls during off peak hours. These hours may vary depending on the service, but many cell phone companies offer unlimited calls during nights and weekends.

Clip coupons. Although this may seem like a tedious waste of time to many, the savings can often be well worth the effort. Many stores will offer to double the amount of your coupon up to a certain amount. Using this technique can save you as much as $20 to $30 (this number will vary depending on the amount purchased) each time you shop.
Refinance. Mortgage rates have been extremely low over the past year. This has been a great opportunity to reduce the monthly house payment significantly. (If you are planning to have your house paid off prior to retirement, then you may want to factor this in before refinancing.) 

Bundle your insurance. Many insurance companies will offer their customer lower rates if they purchase multiple insurance policies. For example, some people use the same agent for multiple cars, and others combine their cars and house.

A key point to remember is that a dollar here and a dollar there really begins to add up. Avoid the temptation to resist changing a pattern of spending because "it wouldn. t save that much money." For example, if all those small savings add up to $100 a month (or in some cases much more), then that equates to $1200 annually, which is a significant amount of savings.

Daniel Britt, 8/29 No matter where you live and what you drive, you can maximize every gallon of fuel. Here's how:

You don't always have to avoid popular vehicles in order to save money at the gas pump. Some smaller trucks and sport-utility vehicles rank better in fuel economy than do some cars. For example, the Ford Ranger 2WD with a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and manual transmission is the "most efficient standard pickup truck," according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It gets an estimated 24 miles a gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, the EPA says, for a combined rating of 26 mpg. This is better than the combined fuel economy rating of 25 mpg for the Chrysler Sebring with automatic transmission.


Daniel Britt, 8/22 MONEY SAVING MONDAY 

No matter where you live and what you drive, you can maximize every gallon of fuel. Here's how: Other Modes of Transport-Look at alternative transportation options-even if it's just for one or two days a week. Walk, bicycle, carpool or take public transportation and leave your vehicle at home. The League of American Bicyclists, based in Washington D.C. , notes that cycling to work not only saves on gas, it is an excellent cardiovascular workout. And in some cases, the league says, commuters actually arrive at their destination quicker on a bicycle than they would via congested auto roadways.

Daniel Britt, 8/15 Money-Saving Monday

Plan Ahead

Combine your errands into one trip, rather than taking multiple trips from home. Organize your stops so they're near each other and so you don't retrace your path. You may even be able to park in one central spot and walk between some of your stops rather than driving and parking at each one. For large gatherings like family reunions and church picnics, organize a carpool. If the distance to these events is long, Budget Rent a Car Corp. suggests even renting a 15-person van to maximize fuel savings vs. driving a number of separate vehicles in these circumstances.

Plan your trips so you go out during less-congested times of day. When there's less traffic, you're more apt to be able to drive smoothly. Use navigation aids on the Internet or in your vehicle to keep from getting lost-and thus wasting fuel-when you're headed to a new, unknown location.


Daniel Britt, 8/8 Money-Saving Monday

No matter where you live and what you drive, you can maximize every gallon of fuel. Here's how:



Don't speed. A car or truck moving at 55 miles an hour can get about 15 percent better fuel economy than the same car going 65 mph. Use your vehicle's navigation system, if you have one, in your travels to new locales. This can save you from getting lost and wasting gas.


Drive Smart

Don't be idle too long. Don't waste fuel by sitting in that drive-thru lane at McDonald's or Taco Bell. Park and go inside instead. Don't let your vehicle idle as you wait outside the elementary school to pick up your children. Idling uses more fuel than turning the engine off, waiting for your youngsters and then restarting the engine.


Daniel Britt, 8/1 Money-Saving Monday

No matter where you live and what you drive, you can maximize every gallon of fuel. Here's how:



Don't forget little things like the air in your tires. Having tires inflated to the maximum recommended pressure can improve gas mileage by as much as 6 percent, while periodic wheel alignments can help improve fuel economy up to 10 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Clean out that trunk, cargo area or pickup bed. Take out unneeded items that only add weight to your vehicle. Extra weight decreases gas mileage. According to AutoZone, every 200 pounds of unnecessary weight shaves one mile per gallon off your fuel mileage.


Be a Different Driver

Change your driving style. Accelerate gradually, drive smoothly and with care and you could see as much as a 20 percent gain in fuel economy compared with what you'd get with an aggressive driving style, the EPA says. Skip those jackrabbit starts and sudden pedal-to-the-metal maneuvers if you want to save gas. Anticipate stops so you avoid sudden braking, and take a long view of the road ahead, coasting safely to an intersection in front of you where you see traffic stopped.


Daniel Britt, 7/18 MONEY SAVING MONDAY: Fuel-Saving Tips   Regular servicing keeps your vehicle operating at peak efficiency, which maximizes fuel efficiency.   A little advance planning, a less-aggressive driving style and a well-maintained car can help you get the most out of every gallon of fuel.  Having tires inflated to the maximum recommended pressure can improve gas mileage by as much as six percent. Regular Servicing Is Important Keep your vehicle well maintained with regular servicing to keep it operating at peak efficiency. An inefficient engine-with fouled spark plugs, for example-won't make optimum use of fuel. Be sure the air filter and the fuel filter are clean. Put in new ones if they're not. A new oxygen sensor alone can improve gas mileage by as much as 15 percent, according to AutoZone, a car parts store.
Daniel Britt, 7/11 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY Would you give your address to a stranger? That's almost what you're doing when you create a wedding or baby gift registry at many retailers. Although some stores have stopped including addresses on registries, there are some who still include the recipient's address on the gift printout. It doesn't take a very bright thief to figure out that there may be an empty home full of gifts come wedding day. If you're a bride- or groom-to-be, or a mother- or father-to-be, tell retailers to keep your address strictly private. As an alternative, consider registering online only-many retail Web sites will not disclose addresses of the registrant.
Daniel Britt, 6/27 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY
Now that your gardens are planted and summer flowers are blooming, consider using Epsom salts as an inexpensive all-around fertilizer. Epsom salt is magnesium sulphate. This enhances chlorophyll and the colors of flowers, leaves, and lawns, promotes blooming and fruit-bearing, and improves root systems. You can sprinkle Epsom salt at the base of plants before watering, or mix a few tablespoons per gallon of water and use as a liquid fertilizer.
Daniel Britt, 6/20 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY This past April, we mentioned that an increase in Federal student loan rates was anticipated for this summer. At the time, the best interest rate was 3.37 percent, a historical low for student loans. Currently, it may even be possible, with good credit, to get a rate as low as 2.875 percent if you consolidate before June 30. On July 1st the Federal Stafford loan rate will rise 1.93 percentage points-the highest single jump in student loan rates in history. Most lenders require that you owe a minimal amount before they will consolidate your loan. If you qualify, however, you could conceivably save thousands on your student loan debt. A possible bright spot that has developed for students currently in school is, if the lender allows, those who received Stafford loans through private lenders can consolidate their debt now to take advantage of pre-July rates. Bankrate.com offers detailed information, including a step-by-step guide to student loan consolidation at this link: <http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/college/20050523a1.asp>
Daniel Britt, 6/13 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY
Buying "used" does not necessarily mean buying someone else's problems, nor does it mean settling for junk. If you search the local classifieds, visit yard sales, check church and work bulletin boards, take your time, do your research, and examine items you want to purchase, you may be surprised. For instance, solid wood furniture may even appreciate in value. You may be able to purchase better appliances than you could have bought new. Research various models in Consumer Reports for cost and performance evaluations and use that information as a guideline for purchases. It is not as quick and simple as walking into your local furniture or appliance store-but you can save hundreds of dollars. You may be surprised how often people, when redecorating the kitchen or bedroom or bath, unload perfectly good items because they are the wrong color or style.

By year's end, the Federal Reserve wants to see credit card companies establish a 7- to 10-year payback or amortization period for paying off balances-to stop them from dragging out repayment of credit card debts for 15 to 20 years. This means, if you carry a balance on your credit cards, your monthly payment is likely to increase. Some companies have already raised their required minimums. Monthly minimum payments may go from 2% to 4% of the balance, but there really is no set, required increase. Still, this should be more incentive to pay off credit cards more quickly; for anyone struggling now to make minimum payments, the increase could be difficult for some. If it would put you behind, do everything you can now to chip away at your debt, one card at a time, and always talk to your lender if you anticipate a problem. Run toward your creditors.

Daniel Britt, 5/23 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY 

What does it mean to re-age your accounts? Consumers who have only one or two credit cards and are behind on payments, because of unemployment or a medical emergency, can explain their situation and the creditor might be willing to call it current. It does not lower the amount due or the monthly payment. Anyone can try, and sometimes creditors will cooperate. Regulators of credit agencies limit this kind of activity, but it can be done once in 12 months or twice in five years. Don't use this as an excuse to get further into debt. Make sure that you get all the details in writing. Should you do this on your own? Some consumers are successful, but if you are trying to juggle six or eight accounts, you need help. In that case, you may want to contact Financial Hope. You can use the Web site www.financialhope.com  to learn if you would be eligible for this kind of assistance. They serve consumers nationwide, on the telephone, or Internet.

Daniel Britt, 5/9 Money Saving Monday – 


Raising children can be expensive. The average Cost through to raise a child through age 17: $26 to $40,000! Food accounts for 15% to 20% of the overall expense. Here’s how you can soften the blow to your wallet: Set strict limits on the more-discretionary forms of food spending. For instance, tell your children they can spend no more than $5 a week on fast food. That alone may save a couple hundred of dollars a year. Use the Web to shop for bargains. There are -- literally -- thousands of shopping-related Web sites and many of them now allow you to compare costs among similar items. Here's a simple trick that really works: When you're searching for a specific item, go to one of the search engines and type in that item and the word "discount." You'll be amazed at what you'll find. Consider joining a warehouse club such as Costco, BJs or Sam's Club. While they're not suited to everyday shopping, they let you stock up on certain items in quantity, often at substantial savings. Find this Money Saving Monday tip – along with archives, at newlife dot fm, click I Heard it on the Radio.

If you have not already consolidated your student loans - run, don't walk, to consolidate before July 1, 2005, when Federal student loan rates are predicted to creep above 5 percent. The current rate is 3.37 percent, a historical low. If you have good credit and consolidate now, you can lock into a lower rate for the life of your loan - another disappearing benefit because fixed rates for student loans soon may be history - Congress is considering ending fixed rates on student loans.

There may be ways to lower your rate even more. Some lenders will give you a slightly reduced rate if you agree to have your student loan payment debited from your checking account. Other lenders may offer a reduction for a certain number of on-time payments. And, if you have already consolidated, there is an opportunity to reconsolidate for an .8 percent interest reduction on loans made before the year 2000. More information about this and other consolidation questions can be found at <http://www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov/borrower/borrower.shtml>.

If you find you cannot consolidate, and student debt keeps you awake at night-you may be able to have your loans forgiven in exchange for volunteering or, if you are a teacher or nurse, by teaching or serving patients in rural or low income areas. To learn more, here are some Web sites you can check: www.mapping-your-future.org/paying/loanForgiveness.htm <http://www.loanconsolidation.ed.gov/borrower/borrower.shtml>; www.ombudsman.ed.gov <http://www.ombudsman.ed.gov/>; www.finaid.com/loans/forgiveness.phtml <http://www.finaid.com/loans/forgiveness.phtml>.

For medical professionals, Indian Health Services will pay off student loans in return for service in Native American hospitals and clinics - which is a double blessing - having a way to pay off student loans while ministering to Native Americans: <http://www.ihs.gov/jobscareerdevelop/DHPS/LRP/TOC.asp>
Daniel Britt, 4/25 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY With the arrival of warm weather and the call of the outdoors, it is time for those big gardening, boat, and RV shows to come to town. Before you buy a new rototiller, bass boat, or recreational vehicle, be sure to try before you buy, something that goes a long way toward checking big impulse purchases. For example, if you think you need a new rototiller, rent one. How many days a year will you actually need it, and how many rows will you have in your garden to justify purchasing one? If you've always dreamed of having a boat, why not rent one and take it out for a day on the lake? Even if it costs $100 or $150 a day, how many days would you need to hook the thing to your truck, haul it to the lake, launch it, bring it in, clean it up, and keep it filled with gas and oil to justify the thousands it costs to buy one? As far as RVs go, renting one for a two-week vacation would probably help you decide if it's worth paying monthly payments and having one taking up half the driveway for the other 50 weeks out of the year. Remember, try it before you buy it.
Daniel Britt, 4/18 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY
By September 2005, wherever you live in the U.S., you will be able to get your credit report for free. The problem is, this has become big business for scam artists. If you try to search "free credit report" on the Internet, you will get millions of responses. Many of these sites simply have you enter your personal information and run with it. So, beware! There is only one legitimate Web site (owned by the three major credit reporting companies) that gives you your credit report for free: annualcreditreport.com <http://www.annualcreditreport.com/>. Credit bureaus want to make a profit, so it may look like you have to buy something on this site, but you do not.

If you are ready to buy a home or a car, you need your actual credit score, the number that tells you how your credit report will affect any major purchase. You can visit the "credit education" tab at the site, www.myfico.com <http://www.myfico.com/>, to understand how to read your credit report, how information on your report affects your credit score, what scores mean, and how to improve your score so that you can get the best interest rate when you prepare to make a major purchase. Getting a copy of your actual score costs money. It is a good idea to check your report at least once a year. If you find errors, get them corrected.
Daniel Britt, 4/11 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY
The U.S. Department of Energy has a consumer Website, www.fueleconomy.gov . Considering the dramatic rise in gasoline prices, you may find it handy. The site offers sources to help you find the cheapest gas in your area, and also tips about driving more efficiently, keeping your car in shape, and choosing a more fuel efficient vehicle.

If you are shopping for a car right now, good gas mileage is a consideration. However, don't use better gas mileage as an excuse to go into debt and replace your current car. You'd have to use a huge amount of gas to justify the extra thousands you can incur in car payments.


Daniel Britt, 3/21 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY
As Easter approaches, consider sharing the hope of the Resurrection by helping tsunami victims in South Asia who are facing death on every side. The need is ongoing, but some of these organizations are sponsoring special collections for the Easter season. For instance, Samaritan's Purse, which normally collects Christmas shoeboxes for needy children, will be collecting Easter shoeboxes for children affected by the tsunami. Here is the Samaritan's Purse Web site, along with other Christian organizations involved in tsunami-related disaster relief in South Asia.

Samaritans Purse: www.samaritanspurse.org <http://www.samaritanspurse.org/>
Assemblies of God Relief: http://agrelief.ag.org <http://agrelief.ag.org/>
Baptist World Aid: www.bwanet.org/bwaid <http://www.bwanet.org/bwaid>
Church World Service: www.churchworldservice.org <http://www.churchworldservice.org/>
Compassion International: www.compassion.com <http://www.compassion.com/>
Lutheran World Relief: www.lwr.org <http://www.lwr.org/>
The Salvation Army: www.salvationarmy.org <http://www.salvationarmy.org/>
World Vision: www.wvi.org/wvi/home.htm <http://www.wvi.org/wvi/home.htm>
United Methodist Committee on Relief: http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor <http://gbgm-umc.org/umcor>
Daniel Britt, 3/14 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY: To discourage identity theft, when ordering checks, it is a good idea to have only your initials at the top of the checks rather than names. When writing a check to pay your credit card bill, list the last four digits only. Use your work phone instead of your home phone. Use a PO Box instead of your home address or work address. Never have your Social Security number printed on your checks. Photocopy the contents of your wallet, front and back; if your wallet is stolen, call the credit reporting agencies: Experian: 888-Experian or www.experian.com : Transunion: 800-888-4213 or www.transunion.com: and Equifax: 800-685-1111 or www.equifax.com.
Has your credit card company dramatically increased your interest rate, in spite of an excellent payment history with them? Credit card issuers often do this if they discover a customer's has other debts. However, you may have recourse. The card holder agreement or contract that binds you, the customer, to pay as agreed also binds the issuer of the card to the original terms of the contract. Most card holder agreements have a clause called "universal default" which allows the issuer to change the rules at will unless you say no. If you refuse to accept the higher interest rate, the issuer then has the right to close the account while you retain the right to pay off your remaining balance under the terms of the original agreement. You can read the complete article about this clause, and its benefits and drawbacks, at http://www.bankrate.com/dls/news/debt/20050211a1.asp
Daniel Britt, 2/28


1.    Plan your shopping according to what's on sale.

2.    Don't shop for food on an empty stomach.

3.    Don't shop without a list and stick to the list.

4.    Compare prices per unit on what you buy. Sometimes a bigger container is the better bargain.

5.    Buy some items online,

6.    Shop at outlets.

7.    Buy high-quality items.

8.    Ask yourself if you really need whatever you're about to buy

9.    Examine restaurant and store receipts closely, as they often contain errors (sometimes intentionally!).

10. Shop at discount clubs.

11. Buy store brands when possible, not name brands.

12. Look for rebate forms at stores and send in for rebates.

13. Buy used when you can

14. If you like having fresh flowers in your home, grow them yourself.

15. When you're itching to get out of the house for a meal, consider going on a picnic rather than going to a restaurant. You'll save money, and you'll enjoy the great outdoors.


Daniel Britt, 2/21 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY: So another Valentine’s Day is behind us… but in case you blew it or simply want to make Valentine’s Day last all year ‘round, here are some creative ideas that won’t break the bank: If you are not the usual cook, you could fix a nice meal, set out the good dishes and light candles-and best of all-clean up the mess! Or, you can create coupons to be redeemed for future dates; you could make your own greeting card using magazine cutouts that bring back memories, pasted on paper and laminated; or for a fun game of hide and seek…hide encouraging notes for your spouse or for your children to find.
Daniel Britt, 2/14 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY
Convenience foods can really inflate your weekly food bill. You could save 50 to 90 percent at the grocery store by making homemade dry mixes for items such as pancakes, breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, coffees, seasonings, and dips. Here are a couple sites that offer easy recipes:




Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs)-"instant refunds" or "quick cash" infusions-offered by some tax preparation services can cost a taxpayer, on average, from $34.95 to $104.95 in fees - and do not include the additional $30 to $40 in "administrative" fees for quick cash on an income tax refund. The National Consumer Law Center has found that the effective Annual Percentage Rates for interest on RALs can range from 70 percent to rates of more than 700 percent. It goes without saying: the instant gratification does not merit the outrageous expense. You may get your money only a few days early, since by filing electronically and combining that with direct deposit, you can have a refund in less than two weeks.

Daniel Britt, 1/24 MONEY-SAVING MONDAY "Getting in shape" doesn't require expensive equipment or a gym membership to get started. Some aren't sure that walking is rigorous enough to make any difference, while others are not sure how far or how fast to walk to get results. If you want to slim down, experts typically recommend working up to a minimum total of 45 minutes' brisk walking at least five days a week. Research shows that it takes 21 days to establish a habit, so if you walk five days a week for three weeks, you'll be on your way. You can start out with a 10-minute relaxed walk and increase your time and speed over the next eight or ten weeks. Your walks will be most effective when they are sufficiently brisk to get your heart working a bit harder. To find your target heart rate, subtract your age from 220. This will be your maximum heart rate or MHR. Aim to keep your pulse rate between 60 and 80 percent of your MHR when you walk. A stop watch can be used to find your walking pulse rate. Time, a good pair of walking shoes, and a pedometer are all you need to get started on a healthy walking program. A pedometer can produce a sort of "walking journal" for you by tracking the number of steps you walk daily and the number of calories you burn; some pedometers will keep a tally of your total accumulation of steps during a given time and the average number of steps you take each day.
Daniel Britt, 1/17 Money Saving Monday:  

Those who fear that we're in a fragile real estate bubble can relax -- for now. All the economic cards but one point to another strapping year for housing prices. One good thing you can say about the pundits who keep predicting that the end is near for rising home prices: They're consistent. They've been dead wrong year after year. Despite their near-certainty that the market would cool in 2004, median U.S. home prices rose 9%, and a vast majority of cities saw a bigger increase than in 2003. In fact, the National Association of Realtors proclaimed 2004 the hottest U.S. home-sales market in history. Says Thomas Kunz, CEO of Century 21 Real Estate: "There's been no rhyme or reason to prices because of multiple offers and bidding wars." And those who fear that we're in a fragile real-estate bubble can relax -- at least for now. One expert says that the chance that median home prices will drop is "zero nationally, zero in major regions and close to zero in any state," although some individual cities may see declines. All the economic cards but one point to another strapping year for housing prices.

Daniel Britt, 1/10 MONEY SAVING MONDAY

Luxury travel perks for the infrequent flier
Luxury travel perks aren’t just for the superwealthy and super-frequent travelers. Here are some ways the average Jane or Joe can travel in style. Pick your destinations carefully Simply put, luxury costs a lot less in some cities than it does in others. Don't try to run with the big dogs fly with regional carriers, where the competition for freebies is less fierce. Say it with plastic A credit or charge card that earns travel rewards, rather than miles with a specific airline, is often a better choice for the infrequent flier or those who can't concentrate their flying with a single carrier. Shun the herds getting a few steps off the beaten path to find cheaper luxury options. When you go is crucial, as well
Daniel Britt, 1/4 Shopping Seasonal Sales

Raising teenagers can be very expensive. There are a lot of added expenses as your children grow up. Clothes are more expensive, there are added fees for extra-curricular activities, not to mention the social events that are a "must" for many teens. One of the easiest ways to save money on many everyday items is by shopping seasonal sales. You can save hundreds of dollars every year by planning your spending to take advantage of the rhythmic pattern of buying and selling. It is just as important to know when to buy as it is to know how and where. I suggest you get your teens involved in your seasonal shopping. Learning this skill will help them learn to live frugally as they move into adulthood.January - After-Christmas sales of Christmas merchandise, winter clothes, clothing, shoes, fur, handbags, toiletries, tablecloths, costume jewelry, furniture, toys, dishes, sports equipment and appliances. This is also the month that most stores feature a "White Sale," which includes most bedding such as sheets, pillowcases, blankets and quilts. February - Furniture, rugs, mattresses, curtains, bedding, china, glassware, silverware, housewares, radios and C.D. players, stereo equipment and used cars.