Savvy Shopping Savings

 

INTRODUCTION: OUR WEEKLY SAVVY SHOPPING SAVINGS ROUTINE

Being seniors enhances our opportunities for savvy shopping savings. As a senior, if you like travelling locally by car to go shopping, these suggestions should be appealing. The following examples are where we shop. But these days, I suspect that many suburban areas would have these or similar ways to take advantage of saving shopping savings.

savvy savings shopper
Long Island Cares, Inc. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is a major supplier of free food to those in need on Long Island
Tuesday

This is the Long Island Cares, Inc. ‘Veterans only’ food pantry day. We start our food shopping here in Freeport, LI then head over to Gala Fresh Farms where it is 10% off for seniors.

savvy shopper savings
Our local Gala Fresh Farms is in Baldwin, Long Island
Wednesday

Compare is another terrific supermarket that has a lot of Latino foods to cater to the demographics of the immediate neighborhood. The prices are good and I love the variety of foods. Seniors get 10% off today.

savvy shopping savings
Our local Compare Foods Direct is in Freeport, Long Island
Thursday

Target offers 5% off everyday with their credit or debit card. Since we are in the neighborhood on Thursdays, this is the day to go here. Staples is also right nearby so this is a good day to go here too. We get 5% off with their credit card everyday.

savvy shopping savings
Target recently opened a store in our radius of local shopping in Freeport, Long Island
Everyday

There are many other local savvy shopping savings opportunities everyday. Besides Target, here are a few of them:
CVS offers 30 to 40% off on a regular basis. This is one of the few stores that I pay attention to coupons. It really pays off. They email me and send me postcards to notify me of sales. It makes it very easy to shop and save here.
Staples offers us 5% off with every purchase made with our Staples credit card.
Wild by Nature offers 10% off to seniors. If I shop here often enough, I get another quarterly coupon.
Michaels Stores, Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing has coupons every week. We actually get notification of them by email. Even though this store is not on our regular shopping route, my husband likes to take a short trip to Michaels for his week art supply needs.

savvy shopping savings
CVS is much more than a pharmacy. It’s a quasi department store that always has sales. There are five CVS stores in our shopping route.

We will either include these everyday savings stores into our shopping routine near their location(s) or make a fun trip on another day or the weekend. In the case of CVS, there are five stores in the areas where we do our other shopping. Therefore, we have the luxury of going to any one of them no matter where else we need to shop.

savvy shopper savings
A Mapquest map of our weekly shopping route in Nassau County on Long Island. The area is traversed by two local parkways, Meadowbrook and Southern State, indicated in orange. We use them only when necessary. We can usually accomplish all our shopping on the road indicated in yellow. It is the ‘original’ Sunrise Highway
CONCLUSION: CONVENIENCE BUT CONFLICT AS WELL
I like to shop local and am a supporter of small local shops. But our financial circumstances require that we save money and shop frugally. It is very difficult to find a balance between the two systems, supporting small local businesses and shopping where we can get savvy shopping savings.

With the exception of Long Island Cares, Inc. which is a food bank that supports us, it seems that our finances dictate our choices. But they do not dictate our values. In addition, the direction that business has gone in makes it difficult to shop primarily at small local stores. So it would seem that practicing savvy shopper savings is in direct conflict with shopping small local stores. Or is it? Has anyone found their situation to be otherwise? Here’s what’s been in the media about this issue.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Savvy Savings Shopper Blog Post

Local Businesses vs. Big Business

Savvy Suburban Survivalism Facebook Group

How Small Businesses Can Compete With Big Box Stores

Savvy Saving Survivalism Facebook Group

The Impact of Chain Stores on Community

The Savvy Saving Survivalist Facebook Page

Study proves it: Walmart super-stores kill off local small businesses

Why You Need to Support Small Businesses

One, Two, Three, Four . . . We Don’t Want Your Superstore

7 WAYS A SENIOR GROCERY DELIVERY SERVICE CAN IMPROVE YOUR LIFE

A Pickup Line You’ll Love: 30 stores that let you shop online and pick up in the store

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Your Credit Card Account Has Been Closed

 

INTRODUCTION

The other day I got an email from one of the credit card related websites I subscribe to notifying me of a credit card cancellation. I was shocked and in disbelief. What account was this referring to and why, I wondered? It referred to an account with CBNA which meant nothing to me. In fact, I am not even sure how I uncovered what account it was. The next step was figuring out why it had been cancelled due to my unblemished credit report.

Uncovering the Mystery

The email I received had two links which allowed me to figure out what was going on. The first link was the highlighted words, ‘contact your creditor or file a dispute’. The second link was a button, verify the details.

credit card cancellation
The credit card cancellation email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Clue

The first link in the email led me to this post, Why Is My Account Reported As Closed?

credit card cancellation
Post about an account being closed from Credit Karma
Scanning the post, I noticed only one possible reason for an account being closed, inactivity. The next thing was to find out which account.

credit card cancellation
Why Your Account Is Reported As Closed
The Second Clue

The second link, the verify the details button revealed the issue. It showed me the accounts I had that had been closed. Only one applied, the CBNA Account closed on March 23, 2018. This still did not make sense to me. Therefore I decided I needed to speak with the bank that closed my account. Consequently, that was my next move.

credit card cancellation
Closed accounts

The Phone Call to CBNA

It was confirmed that due to my inactivity my account had been closed. I had not received any of the warnings the bank swore they had sent. As a result, I became rather annoyed. But because it was written in the original contract of terms I had with them, they were not obligated to do anything besides close the account, They refused to reopen it or contact Transunion so that my credit score would be be affected negatively.

The Lesson

From this credit card cancellation experience, I learned three crucial things, about the process, the reasons behind it and how to avoid it in the future:
• Banks have to pay to notify the credit reporting agencies of your status on open accounts whether you are using them or not.
• If you are not using your account, the credit line the bank has extended to you is wasted. The bank would rather give it to someone else who will use it.
• When I make up My Credit Card Maintenance System Spreadsheet, I need to include this detail of the usage terms contract.
 

CONCLUSION
Had I known this detail about my account, I would have simply made a small charge to keep my account open. This is especially relevant because I did not know it. An account was closed on me. But in the end, I learned a very valuable lesson. Read the terms of my credit card contracts and know how often I need to use a credit card to keep the account open.

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Teacup Microgreens

 

MICROGREENS CONTAINERS

Containers for growing and display microgreens are limited only by one’s imagination. This post will focus primarily on two types, teacup microgreens and decorative containers microgreens.

TEACUP MICROGREENS
Teacup microgreen containers remind me of teacup breeds of dogs. They are tiny and adorable. They are a great way to display and introduce microgreens as gifts.
teacup microgreens
Amaranth Teacup Microgreens by Alison D. Gilbert

DECORATIVE CONTAINERS MICROGREENS
Microgreens in a decorative container make a really nice gift and are very decorative just to grow at home. The below photos are from Maggie’s Microgreens, a company that offers this kind of product with all the items you need.
teacup microgreen
The Teacup Microgreen Kit from Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com

You can get a fair idea of how to grow microgreens from this kit. It has everything you need to start small. If you appetite for them grows, and it will, then you will want to move on to something much bigger. In the meantime, this is a good place to start.

teacup microgreens
Flower Pot for Teacup Microgreens from Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com

I love the flower pot that Maggie’s Microgreens supplies. When you go on her Etsy.com site, you will find other decorative containers in addition to the adorable purple flower pot.

teacup microgreens
Microgreens in a flower pot from Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com

Once all the steps are completed, you have an adorable, edible mini garden. After you have eaten them or given them as a gift, you will want to move on to move flavors of and bigger containers for your own use. In addition, this type of item is a great gift to introduce this teacup sized portion of microgreen to others.

LEARNING MORE ABOUT MICROGREENS

Because these edible superfoods are so easy to grow and healthy to eat, I want to guide you to additional information. Because microgreens have become so popular, there is an abundance of information online. As a result, I want to mention a few sources that have been especially helpful to me. Most noteworthy is The Micro Gardener.

teacup microgreens
The Micro Gardener Facebook Page

Another amazing gardener is the Microgreens Farmer.

teacup microgreens
The Microgreens Farmer Facebook Page

Probably the most educational route I have found is joining groups that share my interest. Especially relevant is Sprouts and Microgreens!

teacup microgreens
Sprouts and Microgreens! Growing Living Food!The Facebook Group

CONCLUSION

Consequently, there are many paths to the same goal, growing microgreens. From creating a teacup microgreen splash to start to digging into large trays as a daily consumer, it is almost a certainty that this is only this information is only the beginning. Therefore, learn as much as you can. Experiment as much as possible by getting your hands in the soil. In conclusion, have fun because this is a great hobby, healthy food and most of all, you never know where you can go with it.

SOURCES & RESOURCES

Microgreens on Etsy.com
Decorative Container Microgreens on Etsy.com
Maggies Microgreens on Etsy.com
The Micro Gardener
The Microgreens Farmer
Seed Mama Micro Farming

teacup microgreens
Seed Mama Table Top Microgreen Farming
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Green Heroes

 

green heroes
The Incredible Hulk®

INTRODUCTION

Green heroes loom large in the world of animation. First of all, middle aged people will remember The Incredible Hulk® as one of the more popular ones. Furthermore, younger folks will easily relate to the loveable, animated Shrek® as one of today’s best known characters. Consequently, both are beloved, admired and influential green heroes.

GREEN HEROES

Less well known are the real world influential green heroes. Most noteworthy are people who have started sustainable projects and created productive, profitable businesses. Some are green in familiar ways. Others follow my broader definition developed in the upcoming ebook, Mastering the Art of Green. Hence including:
• a focus for individual survival and profitabiity
• an inventive and untraditional successful enterprise
• something for community well being
• solutions to world hunger and poverty
 

As a result, with growing green consciousness, poverty and scarcity will decrease. This will be due to the tangible results from green thinking and green resources. Most of all, the global crisis of hunger can be impacted in a positive way. Here lies the area of my greatest concern.

Consequently, we want to pay close attention to such green thinking and the results of these green heroes. Ideas and people like them will mold our future and probably change our world for the better. Towards this end, I have included several green heroes from a variety of venues in this post. In addition, it is my hope that their projects, the snapshots of their work and the details about them in the Sources & Resources section at the end of the post will serve to inspire all of us.
 

FROM CLEARANCE TO CASH: RYAN GRANT

green heroes
Grant says quitting his job to start his own business was the best decision he’s ever made

 

FARMERS CUT PILOT PROGRAM: MARK KORZILIUS

green heroes
Hyper local. Farm to Fork. Delicious. Healthy.
“You can probably guess by now, that we’re not an ordinary farm. Originally a farm was a place where people celebrated nature, enjoyed pure, good food. All around the world harvesting was a special occasion where people came together as a community to enjoy their gratitude for good food.

green heroes
Farmers Cut Pilot Farm

“Now, imagine a world of not just one harvest cycle, but many. We are talking of up to 20. Imagine the many pleasant occasions we can come together and enjoy pure good food! Together, we will bring back the joy of food and our farm will be home to that feeling and a place for you – the avid food lover.” Mark Korzilius, Farmers Cut
 

 

GOTHAM GREENS: URBAN ROOFTOP GREENHOUSES

Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO
Eric Haley, Co-Founder and CFO
Jennifer Nelkin Frymark, Chief Agriculture Officer

green heroes
Gotham Greens was founded in Brooklyn.

“‘Gotham Greens’ pesticide-free produce is grown using ecologically sustainable methods in technologically-sophisticated, 100% clean energy powered, climate-controlled urban rooftop greenhouses. Gotham Greens provides its diverse retail, restaurant, and institutional customers with reliable, year-round, local supply of produce grown under the highest standards of food safety and environmental sustainability. The company has built and operates over 170,000 square feet of technologically advanced, urban rooftop greenhouses across 4 facilities in New York City and Chicago. Gotham Greens was founded in 2009 in Brooklyn, New York and is privately held.” Gotham Greens
 

green heroes
Extraordinarily fresh produce, grown in extraordinarily fresh places.

 

GROWING CITIES MOVIE: URBAN FARMING IN AMERICA

A documentary that examines the role of urban farming in America and asks how much power it has to revitalize our cities and change the way we eat. This film is based on a 13,000 mile trip around the United States researching answers to this question.

“In their search for answers, filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monbouquette take a road trip and meet the men and women who are challenging the way this country grows and distributes its food, one vacant city lot, rooftop garden, and backyard chicken coop at a time. Join them as they discover that good food isn’t the only crop these urban visionaries are harvesting. They’re producing stronger and more vibrant communities, too.” From their website

 

green heroes
Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks
JIM WANG: WALLET HACKS

First of all, Wallet Hacks is an internet encyclopedia of financially green ideas. Jim Wang writes about untraditional tools to save money, from everyday items to phenomenal travel tips.

He is constantly amazing me with his suggestions and data. As a result, I cannot applaud him enough as a green hero whose research is invaluable and needs to be studied. Almost any area of life that you want to save money on can be found in his writings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KATHY TERRILL: I LOVE SELLING ON EBAY


A master ebay seller, Kathy Terrill presents all kinds of useful and fascinating information about selling on ebay. The inspiration for this video was a presentation for members of Sarah Mueller’s Declutter My Home, Facebook group.

 

PASCAL BAUDAR: URBAN OUTDOOR SKILLS

This man is a wild foods artisan. I am in awe of the delicacies he makes from foraged as well as commercial ingredients.

green heroes
Vegan cheeses made by Pascal Baudar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TABLE TOP FARMING: INDOOR FARM TO TABLE FOOD
green heroes
The Table Top Farming icon

“Wish you had the space to grow your own food? Wish you could be in your garden even in winter? Table top farming is your solution for both. You can grow healthy greens, herbs, sprouts, vegetables and even fruit indoors, all year round.

“As a result of using growing techniques like microgreens, hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, you can do your own ‘table top farming’ indoor and out. This page shares my experience doing ‘Table Top Farming’ for fun and a source of nutritious, fresh food.” From the Facebook page

 

 

 

 

SOURCES AND RESOURCES

Ryan Grant
Mark Korzilius
Farmers Cut
Gotham Greens
Growing Cities Movie, The film
Pascal Bauder
Kathy Terrill, selling on eBay
Table Top Farming
100+ Restuarant Where Kids Eat Free
Anne Gibson – The Micro Gardener

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The Former Middle Class Trilogy

mastering green
The Former Middle Class eBook Series Available at Amazon.com

INTRODUCTION
There are three ebooks in The Former Middle Class Trilogy.The first ebook is called, The Poor Middle Class Crisis and the second ebook is, Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit. The ebooks are available on Amazon.com. Mastering the Art of Green is my third ebook in the Former Middle Class trilogy.
 

The Former Middle Class Trilogy
The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook © 2017 Alison D. Gilbert

THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS CRISIS
The Former Middle Class.The Poor Middle Class Crisis chronicles our history as people who were devastated by the 2008 stock market crash. My husband lost his job the same week as the crash. He was 62 at the time. I became very ill from all the stress.

We had become part of The Former Middle Class and did not know how we were going to survive. Our low point was when we faced the possibility of having no place to live and were, One Day From Homeless.

Our journey became one of survival. That became our priority. We had to learn to live all over again under very different financial circumstances. We explored many different avenues and began to build our financial survival tool kit.

The Former Middle Class
The Financial Survival Toolkit for Living a Consciously Frugal Life from the Viper Tool Storage Company
 
OUR FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOL KIT
Building our kit involved many lifestyle changes. We went from a two bedroom apartment to subsidized senior housing. Access to food was a big challenge. Instead of the opportunity to purchase expensive, organic foods and eat out on occasion, we had to depend on the generosity of others and the government. Food pantries and food stamps are crucial financial survival tools. But they may be hard to swallow.

We went from middle class comfort to former middle class frugal living. It was a huge adjustment. We explored many tools that didn’t work for us. Things like couponing and taking surveys. Many more thrifty tools are mentioned in the first ebook. Eventually we found one tool that not only helped us survive but also became profitable. That tool is credit cards.
 

former middle class trilogy
Using Credit Cards for Survival & Profit eBook © 2017 Alison D. Gilbert
USING CREDIT CARDS FOR SURVIVAL AND PROFIT
Let me make very clear right from the start that our use of credit cards has involved a very responsible set of guidelines. We pay all our bills on time and in full. Our credit rating fluctuates between 775 and 800 depending upon which credit reporting agency you ask.

Credit cards have given us a financial cushion between sign up promotional bonuses and monthly cash rewards. My refinement of credit cards as a financial survival tool lasted about eight months. What I have learned, and continue to learn about credit cards is fascinating and extremely informative. I have my accounts charted with spreadsheets for each month. Read My Credit Card Accounts Maintenance System for the details of my system.
 

Former Middle Class Trilogy
Part of My Credit Cards Accounts Maintenance System

In less than a year, I had become sophisticated in the financially lucrative use of the credit card benefits tools. All of a sudden, the additional hefty promotional signup bonus credit card memberships applications began receiving denial letters. My stellar tool of acquiring credit cards with promotional sign up bonuses of $100-$200 had lost its winning streak. Clearly, it was time to rest that tool, re-examine some of the other financial survival tools that I had discarded in the past and to research additional new tools. I was at a loss and needed new financial fertilizer.
 

Former Middle Class Trilogy
Mastering the Art of Green, The Third ebook in the Former Middle Class Trilogy @2018 Alison D. Gilbert
MASTERING THE ART OF GREEN
Mastering the art of green is a process. For me, it has involved taking stepping backwards to get a different, larger view on what ‘green’ means. It can refer to money. It can refer to food, lush grassy fields, innocence and inexperience.

Sure enough, once I stepped back and started to look at green in a new way, as fertility and productivity, new tools started to sprout. I started growing food indoors calling it, Table Top Farming. I am growing microgreen in soil and hydroponics in water.

This project is of major importance to us since healthy, live food sources can be scarce for seniors on fixed incomes. Food pantries tend to offer the lowest quality packaged/processed food. The SNAP (food stamp) program provides a miniscule amount of money to supplement nutritious food. So growing one’s own live, local greens can be better than money in one’s pocket.
 

RECONSIDERING COUPONS, STORE SALES AND SELLING SITES
Coupons and other money saving programs do have their value. They are not as lucrative as credit card sign up promotional bonuses. But what is? There again, when I took a step back to get a better perspective on what made sense for me to pursue, I found many options.

Former Middle Class Trilogy
A great savings of 50% at Michael’s Art & Craft Supplies in store and online

Some coupons like the specials CVS Pharmacy and Michaels Stores-Art Supplies, Crafts and Framing offer can be as high as 40-70%. A Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% coupon get help a lot on a $100 plus purchase. Target, Walmart and Amazon vie for top savings. In addition, there are programs that will automatically check to see if there is a savings special when an online purchase is made. These include Ebates, honey, and cently and piggy. Other apps exist that I have not yet had a chance to explore. Two of the most popular are ibotta and Groupon.

Decluttering, Sarah Mueller style can provide lots of potential items you no longer need and want to sell. The above video is from a workshop she did with an expert at selling stuff. Two of the most popular selling sites are Ebay and Etsy. I have not sold on Ebay. I do have an Etsy store, Tin Can Ali. It displays some of my painted items for fun. I have not really tried to sell anything. But Ebay can be a great place to sell things especially if you watch the Kathy Terrill videos from I Love To Be Selling.
 

CONCLUSION
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Prioritize your options. Find what is most beneficial and takes the least time to execute it. New savings hacks are invented all the time. Be resourceful. Do the research. Continue to read my and other blog posts for the latest information.
 

SOURCES AND RESOURCES
Wallet Hack’s article Target’s Store Shopping Hacks
Wallet Hack’s Article 10 Sites That Pay You Money for Things You’re Already Doing For Free
Ann Gibson The Micro Gardener
Sarah Mueller Decluttering Club
Kathy Terrill I Love To Be Selling – Kathy Terrill
Alison Gilbert’s Facebook pages and groups:
Table Top Farming
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survivalism

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What Can Happen When You Ask For A ‘Facebook Page LIKE’

Introduction

Have you ever gotten one of these ‘Facebook Page LIKE’ requests that goes something like, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page”? I find these requests very frustrating and a waste of time. Worst of all, the request is an illustration of a total lack of understanding of how social media works and what a great marketing tools it offers.

facebook-page-like
The Facebook “LIKE US” icon from gomdl.com. Is It A Welcome Or a Warning To Potential Customers?
Social Media Skills

Unskilled social media users think that the rules of salesmanship and engagement do not apply with social media. Because the medium of contact has changed and seems to have a veil of anonymity, they think they can be impertinent and request something that they have not earned. What they have not earned is the privilege of being ‘LIKED’ by a prospective customer or potential colleague. In addition, they do not know what to do with a Facebook Page LIKE, how to use social media to get business from it and get it in droves.

Would a salesperson walk into a store and demand that a business owner carry his product? Would a business owner demand the same from a potential customer? Of course not. In a face to face situation, a smart salesperson would never do that. But that is what it is like to say to someone on their Facebook page, “I LIKED your page. So now LIKE mine”. At the very least the protocol of salesmanship needs to apply. This includes an introduction such as, “How do you do, my name is so and so. I am interested in knowing more about your business or I’m just looking, thank you.” At this point, the real drive of what social media can accomplish have not even been put into gear.

 

facebook page LIKE
Corporate Guy With Thumbs Up and Down from Shutterstock
Salesmanship

Depending on the response of the business owner, a salesperson would take his next step. He would figure out how to warm up a potential connection. He would work on engaging the other person. Where is there any attempt to nurture a connection or to engage with the demand, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page.” There is none. In fact, this approach may have the opposite effect and put off the person or business asked to reciprocate.

There is another very important reason. In fact, it may be the most important one. Asking for and getting LIKES do not make a lasting impression with a prospect. It will unlikely improve or increase one’s business. In fact, getting a like is only the key to unlock the door of social media’s magic.
 

It’s Not Just About LIKES

In social media’s earlier days (and apparently still today), there was a limited understanding about the role of getting ‘LIKES’. Social media is about making connections, engaging and building relationships not just exchanging ‘LIKES’. It takes much more than just gathering LIKES on the road to increasing business. I would rather build ten meaningful relationships online with other business owners or potential customers than have 100 perfunctory ‘LIKES’. But you don’t have to choose between the two options if you know how to use social media.

facebook page like
Two People Shaking Hands from 123RF
Conclusion

In the long run, business will grow from growing relationships. It has always been this way. Today, savvy social media users know how to reach so many people and they don’t use the come-on line, ‘I LIKED you. Now LIKE me’. If one handles oneself social media professionally, one will never say, “I LIKED your page. Now LIKE my page.” A LIKE will be a natural part of the relationships one works to establish with the bells and whistles that social media offers and requires to do its job.

There are programs and apps specifically designed to use the LIKES and ‘click throughs’ one does get to take a prospect to the next step of engagement and sales. What does that require? Collecting the email addresses and other pertinent information about prospects. Offer something for free on you facebook page or a special promotion that requires a name and email address. That is where you really need to start to use the social media technology.

Take a look at Shortstack and Sumo.com These companies has comprehensive tools for turning LIKES into relationships and relationships into sales. You can also contact me in the comments section below to learn more about the right way and the wrong way to get Facebook Page LIKES and what to do with them when you get them. Future blog posts will elaborate on this topic and other facets of social media marketing.

Facebook page LIKES
The ShortStack icon
Sources and Resources

How To Invite People To LIKE Your Facebook Business Page

How Important Social Media Is For Small Business

Strong Customer Relationships Lead to Healthier Businesses

Getting Started with ShortStack

ShortStack Blog Posts

We Analyzed 6,868 eCommerce Content Marketing Articles: Here’s What We Learned from Sumo.com

 

 

 

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Are We Traditional Millionaires?

 

micromillionaire
‘7 streams of income of millionaires’ from Jim Wang’s ‘Wallet Hacks’
The 7 streams of income of millionaires

According to Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks, millionaires tend to have 7 streams of income. To quote him, “Have you ever heard the statistic that millionaires have an average of seven streams of income? I tried to find the survey, report, or some official repeating that statistic but was unsuccessful. That said, seven sounds good to me.” His list consists of the following sources of passive income:
• “Interest – from a variety of loans, either to individuals (peer to peer lending or private notes) or companies (bonds, notes)
• Dividends – from investments, partnerships
• Capital gains – from the sale of investments
• Royalties – from products you sell or license
• Rental income – from real estate
• Business income – which may or may not be passive but the idea is you build something that generates income without active work,
like a website or the sale of information products”

 

Our 7 Streams of Passive Income

Even though we are part of The Former Middle Class and were One Day From Homeless, we have 7 streams of passive income. Does this mean we are traditional millionaires? Let’s look at our sources of passive income:
• Social security retirement benefits
• credit card sign up promotional rewards
• credit card cash rewards
• Assistance with housing and medical expenses
• Medicare and Medicaid
• Food stamps
• OTC card for over-the-counter medically related expenses up to $100

 

Are We Traditional Millionaires?

We actually have 7 streams of passive income. By definition then, we could be millionaires. But in the real monetary world, we are far from traditional millionaires. In spite of that, let’s say there is another world and another currency. It is a frugal world where large amounts of money do not define us. Our frugal living world involves:
• living on a very tight budget
• buying what we must
• acquiring what we can without having to purchase it
• being creative in making or scavenging for what we need
• limiting frivolous purchases as much as possible
• experiencing joy and meaning in life through activities other than consumerism and spending money as an addiction

 

Another Kind of Millionaire
micro millionaires
The No Spend Chart from The No Spenders! Facebook Group

You could say that we live in a world that is a microcosm of the mainstream financial world. Our world offers much more but in comparison to the mainstream, we do qualify to be micro millionaires. The reason we do is because we have succeeded in surviving in the miniature financial version of the middle class world we used to inhabit.

Survival comes first and we have not only managed to survive. We have become members of the group, Savvy Saving Survivalism.
It allows for most of the things that our middle class necessities allowed for but in much simpler terms and smaller quantities. In order to fit in to this new life while being comfortable in this smaller financial box, we have had to downsize our world to a minimum of material wants. We focus realistically on our material needs and away from consumerism as a lifestyle.

 

Nourishing Minimalism

Nourishing Minimalism has helped a great deal. Because of these internal and external space shifts, we are finding that we now have room for many new interests and goals. Because we are not consumed by wanting lots of dollars to spend, the currency of our current lives is focusing on our dreams. We dream about the avenues we want to explore, the subjects we want to study and where serendipity might lead us going forward in our lives.

micro millionaire
Nourishing Minimalism Yearly Decluttering Challenge-Closed Facebook Group
What Will the Future Bring?

I don’t know how or where we will go. But one thing I know for sure is this. We have managed to have fruitful and peaceful lives in our frugal world as micro millionaires. We have challenges even fears, at times. But they are less than when we had lots more money. We have learned that it does not take lots of money to make dreams come true. So I am sure we will accomplish what we am meant to do. It does take some money. But more importantly, it takes faith, hope and being tenacious about our dreams.

Conclusion: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

Nowhere in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs does it indicate that one must be a traditional millionaire. It seems to me that being a micro millionaire fits very well with his philosophy. Maybe that is why we feel fulfilled without having lots of money but lots of what money can’t buy.

micro millionaire
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, Illustration by TimVandevall.com ©2013 Dutch Renaissance Press LLC
Afterword

For anyone who can’t resist having an encyclopedic amount of information about passive income ideas, either in number or details, there is a voluminous blog post from Bengu. The name is 45+ Proven Wealth-Building Passive Income Ideas. Be prepared for a very long read. It is also suggested to take on one idea at a time. Become proficient in it and then move on to another passive income stream suggestion. Otherwise, you may become totally overwhelmed. But you will never run out of options.

Sources and Resources

7 streams of income of millionaires, by Jim Wang
The Former Middle Class
One Day From Homeless, Our Story
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survivalism
Nourishing Minimalism
The No Spenders! Facebook Group
Healthy Frugal Food Resources and Recipes
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs vs. The Max Neef Model of Human Scale development Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
45+ Proven Wealth-Building Passive Income Ideas
 

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The Principles of Good Credit Card Hygiene

 

Introduction

Good Credit Card Hygiene is based upon several principles. They are the focus of and shall be reviewed in this blog post. Before any discussion can be held about extreme credit card benefits, one must have a firm grasp of the basic principles especially the components of your credit score.

Good credit card hygiene
Credit Score Chart Showing the Components of your Credit Score from TFD
The Components of Your Credit Score

To start with, it is very important to gain and maintain between a very good to excellent credit rating. Even if your credit is poor to start with, there are many resources, both nonprofit and professional that can help you to raise your credit or FICO® score. See the pie chart below for the breakdown of components.

Payment History

Payment history has top billing in the equation. It is crucial to always pay your monthly bills in full and on time. This is the first of the five components of your credit score and counts for 35% of the credit score algorhythm. You could say that it is the key player in good credit card hygiene.

Level of Debt

The next component that counts for 30% of your credit score is your level of debt. What this means is that the amount you owe or your monthly debt should not comprise more than 30% of the entire amount of credit that has been made available to you. If your total credit allocation is $100,000 then you should charge less than $30,000 each month. Actually, the most recent numbers I have heard, are that the credit reporting agencies are looking for a percentage of between 6-9%. This means that one’s monthly debt (credit card charges, loans, mortgage payments, etc.) should not exceed between $6,000 to $9,000.

Age of Credit

The first two factors make up 65% of your score so clearly they are the most important ones in obtaining and maintaining good credit card hygiene. Next is the age of your credit which makes up 15% of your score. Start applying for a credit card as early on as you can so that you will have a long credit history. In order to increase your chances of getting one, apply for a card for which you have been pre-approved. That way your credit score will not go down because of your application. Picking out a card that has not be pre approved will result in the reduction of your credit score whether you get the card or not. But it may not be a serious problem. You can still have good credit card hygiene and a decent FICO score.

Types of Debt and Credit Inquiries

Now you have 80% of your credit score accounted for. These are the three most important factors. But don’t ignore the others. It is good credit card hygiene and good for your score to have a mix of types of debt, credit card, loans, and/or mortgage. Here again, since this makes up only 10% of your score, it is not crucial. Likewise, credit inquiries also make up 10% of your score. So they are not crucial either.

good credit card hygiene
What Is A Good Credit Score? From Experian.com
More About Good Credit Card Hygiene

There are numerous types of credit score systems, each with its own algorhythm. Two of the most popular systems are shown above FICO and Vantage. FICO® was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. VantageScore is comprised of the input from these three reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. They do not have the same exact rating scales but the difference is not far off. So let’s continue with the characteristics of good credit card hygiene.

Good Credit Card Hygiene Do’s and Do Not’s

Do not apply for too many cards in a short period of time. You will know that you are applying for too many in too short a time if you start getting rejections and that is the reason the credit card company gives for it.

Be mindful to not do anything that will result in negative comments on your credit report. If you do, these will reflect poorly on your credit score. This is not considered good credit card hygiene.

Check your credit card activity often and your credit scores regularly. Now that most, if not all credit card companies have this as a free feature, it is very easy to do. If you find any errors on your credit card, contact the company immediately. If you suspect fraud, contact the police as well as the credit reporting agencies. This can be very serious. Do this in a timely matter.

It is recommended not to close credit card accounts especially old ones. But if you must, wait until you have zero debt to do so. You don’t want to negatively affect you debt to available credit ratio.

good credit card hygiene
15 Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts from Time.com
Conclusion

That’s about it for a review of what good credit card hygiene is. Once you have established a level of comfort and confidence with it, you can move on to the exciting part, Extreme Credit Card Benefits. That is the topic of the next blog post. I promise you will be WOWed by it.

Sources and Resources

What Is A Good Credit Score?

Using Credit Cards for Survival and Profit

15 Credit Card Do’s and Don’ts

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101 Ways to Prepare Canned Chicken

 

Introduction to Canned Chicken

Canned Chicken is among the staples given out at food pantries. I never heard of it before we needed help having enough food to eat. In my opinion, there was only one thing that sounded less appetizing. That was canned tuna in water. In fact, that smelled like cat food and was nauseating. But given the options of the few available sources of protein we could eat, I had to chose one of them. So I chose canned chicken.

canned chicken
Canned chicken from Kirkland foods and RecipesDaily.net
How The Former Middle Class Eats

The decision to incorporate this newly discovered canned food into our meal planning did not come quickly or easily. In fact, it was a humbling even painful experience. The only thing I ate out of a can before now was by choice. I could always afford fresh, whole food. Chicken never came in a can. But something had changed. We had become part of The Former Middle Class.

canned chicken
Two published eBooks and a third on the way in the 3 eBook series about ‘The Former Middle Class’
Being A National Nutritional Statistic

Not only had we become part of The Former Middle Class, but we also had become part of the Poor Middle Class Nutrition Crisis. Feeding the poor and making sure that people who need assistance can get it is a national crisis. As rich as our country is, we have a serious problem with enough food for some while there is food waste by many. Good supermarket food is dumped because of imperfections in appearance or expiration dates. According to Sustainable Table | Food Waste, “In the US, we throw away 40 percent of our food supply every year.”

canned chicken
Food Waste According to “Sustainable Table | Food Waste” SustainableTable.org
How Did This Happen to Us?

I could become historical, philosophical and even sociological about why there is a National Nutritional Food Crisis and how we went from being middle class to part of this crisis. But that is besides the point of this post. Our story is available on another post. This is not a theoretical treatise. This is our lives. So here I am with a substantial collection of canned chicken in my cupboard. I say it is there for emergencies. But the truth of the matter is, it is there because I need to learn 101 recipes for canned chicken if I want to eat every day, stay healthy, not go hungry and survive.

canned chicken
Canned Chicken Recipe from LiveLikeYouAreRich.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources and Resources

289 Recipes for Canned Chicken from RecipesDaily.net
Kirkland Foods Canned Chicken Facts
Swanson Canned Chicken Recipes
The Poor Middle Class Crisis: Introduction
The Former Middle Class
One Day from Homeless
The Poor Middle Class Crisis eBook
Survival Comes First
Savvy Saving Survival
A Savvy Saving Survivalist
Frugal Meal Planning
Meal Planning with Friends!
Sustainable Table | Food Waste
Canned Chicken Dishes on Pinterest

9 Delicious and Quick Canned Chicken Recipes
21 Delicious and Quick Canned Chicken Recipes
Canned Chicken Recipes from AllRecipes.com
32 Canned Chicken Recipes for Delicious Meals You’ll Use Time and Again from MorningChores.com
Start With Canned Chicken 10 Quick and Satisfying Meals from the spruce.com
Canned Chicken Recipes from Pinterest.com
Hormel Chunk Chicken
Canned Chicken Recipes from SparkPeople.com

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