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Archive for November 2007

Drinking Bottled Water - Is the Extra Convenience Worth The Cost?

Published 12/1/07  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Ah water...the lifeblood of the planet, covering more than 70 percent of Earth. It falls from the sky for free and trickles out of the tap at a simple twist of the knob - yet many of us choose to pay for it in bottled form, myself included.

Bottle water isn't cheap either. It frequently costs the same if not more than other drinks. Whoever came up with the idea of packaging and marketing something that could be obtained for free is an absolute genius. It's not like the bottle water contents been fortified with nutrition or vitamins either. Many brands of water are simply that - plain old water. The source of the water is frequently the same as that available through the tap.

Quality-Wise, Bottled Water Is Not Necessarily Better Than Free Tap Water

The bottled water you buy at your grocery store usually comes from mountain aquifers or underground wells. However, unless you examine the labels carefully, many simply contain purified water, which is essentially plain old tap water that has been treated further. However, there is a misconception that bottled water is better because it's gone thorough extra filtration steps. That is not necessarily the case. There are currently no uniform standards governing the filtration of commercially sold bottled water. In fact, public municipal and city water treatment plants frequently have much more rigorous treatment procedures and quality assurance standards than that required by commercial brands.

Why Drink Bottled Water Then? For Convenience!

But there's no denying that the greatest benefit of drinking bottled water

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Don't Buy Things You Don't Really Need For The Prestige Factor - Save The Money Instead

Published 11/30/07  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

I have a friend who recently got married in an arranged marriage according to his traditional Indian culture. Because it was an arranged marriage organized by family members without the benefit of prior dating, the bride and groom are still getting to know each other. After only a few weeks of marriage, there are already a few wrinkles he is starting to learn about his new wife.

She Likes To Have Expensive Things To Show Off

My friend's wife enjoys material possessions, and not necessarily for the right reasons. She wants to buy expensive things not because she needs it, but because she sees them as status symbols and items that need to be possessed so they can better rival other couples.

Recently his wife asked him to buy her a brand new large 42 inch plasma television. Now that's a very big TV. However, since coming to this country from India only a few weeks since the marriage, she has yet to turn on or even watch any of the existing television sets in their house. Yet somehow she suddenly wants to acquire a premium, top of the line model. Her reason? Because everyone else in the neighborhood owns a nice large flat screen and so she wants one too. They currently already own three pre-existing CRT televisions sets. Neither of them have a history of watching much television to begin with and they don't even have cable television service because they don't use it. Her sudden impulse to want to own a large expensive flat

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Get Organized and More Efficient By Going Paperless

Published 11/29/07  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

We're in the new millennium people! The internet age is already in full swing and I think it's time for everyone to start embracing the advantages of new technology. For important document archiving and preservation purposes, it's time to migrate from dinosaur paper technology and move into an all digital and electronic format.

If you don't know how to access all of your bank and credit card accounts online, now is a good time to start learning how to. There are so many benefits to going fully electronic. Storing and accessing your account information online gives you instant and accurate data at your finger tips without having to wait for them to arrive through snail mail. The information you can get online is always more accurate and precise, as they are frequently updated on the spot as transactions occur.

By going paperless you can also reduce clutter. Before I went electronic, my postal mailbox was always being jammed with bills, statements, and all sorts of financial junk mail. My desk frequently had stacks of papers that just seemed to grow higher and higher. Going digital helped to cut down on the chances of losing something important in the mail or accidentally misplacing it somewhere at home or at the office. However, embracing paperless storage does require a reasonable amount of trust and faith in the reliability of technology.

I Organize My Paperless Financial Accounts Using An Online Aggregation Service

For all of my credit cards, bank statements, utility bills, and miscellaneous payment obligations, I no longer receive any

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Current Glut Of Homes Will Drive Housing Prices Lower

Published 11/28/07  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Unless you are the National Association of Realtors (with their weird predictions), you are living in the realm of reality and are aware of what is going on in the real estate market. Unless you are NAR, you're probably well aware that most reputable research groups and real estate analysts continue to report a dismal housing market.

The real estate market was so hot for many years and now it's finally tanked and appears to be poised for a lengthy bear run. I was in the market for a new house but have decided to pull out until markets have bottomed out. I know it's difficult if not impossible to accurately predict if and when the bottom has arrived, but based on current conditions, I don't think we are close to the abyss yet.

The problem with housing is that it's no longer about location, location anymore. Now it's all about supply, supply. Mortgage rates could decrease with further Federal Reserve rate cuts, but so long as sellers refuse to budge from their highly priced home listings, the supply will continue to grow, creating a seller's bubble of its own.

We Have Only Begun To See the Downturn

Latest research reports show that housing prices have steadily fallen since the summer, although there are pockets of relative tame changes in areas like the Northeast part of the United States. As grim as it may seem, I think the worst is yet to come and I doubt we will see any appreciable recovery for many years,

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Online Shopping On Cyber Monday

Published 11/27/07  (Modified 3/9/11)

By MoneyBlueBook

Even though I'm not really a big time shopper, I seem to be writing a lot of a shopping related entries recently. I've been bitten by the holiday bug and now I have presents and dollar signs floating in my mind.

What Recession? Shoppers Are Still Out In Force

Although the economy is cooling due to mortgage problems and high oil prices, it seems like this year's Black Friday kickoff has gone quite well. Retailers are reporting much higher shopper turnout than years past and all that remains to be seen now is whether this red hot pace can be sustained. After stripping stores clean of all Black Friday sales items, shoppers are now turning to the internet to smoke out the remaining bargains - and there are lots of them. Many will turn to the internet now to shop online and take part in the Cyber Monday extravaganza. I generally do the bulk of my shopping on the web so I'll definitely be joining in on the online festivities. There are so many online deals going on right now!

I've Done Well Financially So I Plan to Share Some Wealth

Last year was hard because financially I was struggling big time. Credit cards kept me afloat and my job was in major transition. Although I'm still not precisely where I want to be financially, I'm in much better shape this year. I think I echo the same Black Friday consumer optimism that many have despite the nation's current economic condition. So I probably won't be cutting back

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How To Make Free Or Cheap International Phone Calls Through VOIP

Published 11/26/07  (Modified 3/22/11)

How To Make Free Or Cheap International Phone Calls Through VOIP By MoneyBlueBook

Since my parents and a few of my friends and relatives live overseas, I'm always on the hunt for ways to make cheap international phone calls. Domestic calls are never a problem because I just use my cell phone minutes where long distance charges are already included.

I've looked at the international phone rates of traditional land line carriers but none can compare to the cheaper prices offered by online voice over internet protocol (VOIP) services like Skype.

It Was Good While It Lasted

I've tried many different programs over the years. Some have been absolutely wonderful but sadly many ultimately went out of business due to unsustainable business models. One of my past favorites was FreeCalls365, which allowed users to call landline phones using their PC's. They made money from ads that were displayed on their dialer program while you talked. They've since gone out of business.

A few other dearly departed programs include AllFreeCalls and Yak4Ever. These two companies were closely related and started out as AllFreeCalls before it shut down and later resurrected by a new operator as Yak4Ever. Both companies exploited the same Iowa state telephone law that allowed them to provide free international phone calls to users. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) kickback scheme they utilized was based on the FCC's own requirement that large telecommunication companies pay part of the fees incurred by rural telephone providers. By partnering with local phone companies in Iowa, AllFreeCalls and Yak4Ever were able to take advantage of a legal loophole that allowed them to

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