My notes as I explore various business and financial topics

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

10 Unique Business Card Holders

I'm always looking for unique business card holders. Sadly, unique ones are rare and hard to find. Here are ten that I think are the most unique.

1. Atlas Holding up the Card

2. Hand Me a Card!

3. The Ark of Covenant Card Holder! I want one!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Unstick a Pen

Does your ball point pen always stick at the most inconvenient time? And, just as often, it's a fairly new pen with plenty of ink.You sit there scribbling madly on a catalog or business card trying to get the stupid thing to write, half the time, without any luck.

Try this instead - try writing on the sole of your shoes. If you're wearing shoes with rubbery soles, the friction will often be enough to unstick the pen

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Banks Offering Free Checking (and $100 bonus!)

The demise of free checking has been percolating ever since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010.  Wells Fargo was one of the first banks to announce the end of free checking for new customers.  Chase soon followed suit.  Now, Bank of America has also joined in announcing that it's eliminating it, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I lost my free checking after 19 years of loyalty

I first opened my account in 1992.  At that time, the bank was called Great Western.  They were acquired by Washington Mutual in 1997.  Wamu of course succumbed to the 2008 financial meltdown and was engulfed by Chase.   I can avoid this fee by having a direct deposit of at least $500 a month, which I did. But I had to cancel other accounts to implement this.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quote of the Day: Nothing was useful which was not honest - Benjamin Franklin

As a boy, Franklin led a group of friends in building a wharf with stones that tey gathered from a nearby construction site. When the workmen discovered the missing stones, they tracked down the culprits, who were subsequently punished by their fathers.

Franklin later wrote, "We were discovered. Several of us were corrected by our fathers, and, though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine convinced me that
nothing was useful which was not honest."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Declutter Your Life. Trade objects for Memories

Yesterday, FrugalDad posted about obsessive hoarders and clutter--the kind where piles of piles and piles of useless stuff fills up a room or displaces living spaces. A-lot of readers commented how much of a universal problem it is. Some of  our observations on why people hoard things are:
  • some disasterous event occurred - a war or hurricane - where they lost everything and are now obsessed with saving things just in case they need it one day.
  • the ingrain belief that our net worth was somehow increased with more stuff we had. Quantity over quality. We assign way too much valley to the clutter.
The consensus is that obsessive clutter adds more stress as you worry about storing and safeguarding more and more things, spend more money on their upkeep and stress out when you can't find something you need.  It acts as an obstacle course for the mind.  Getting rid of things, makes your life simpler and more enjoyable.

My take on this--try to exchange clutter for memories.  Hold a garage sale and sell your stuff.  SurvivalWoman has an excellent strategy--set a goal, such as selling, giving or donating five things a week.  Now try to maintain it for four weeks in a roll.  When you reach your goal, reward yourself with a short trip or dinner at a favor restaurant hanging out with friends.  The key is to accumalate memories, not objects.

At the end of your life, about the only thing that you can keep, perhaps the only thing that you can take with you are your memories.  In the end, that's all that matters.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pay What You Want Restaurants

I drove down a main street in my town and tried to imagine just how much food there was on this stretch of road. How many restaurants and fast food eateries lined the streets? How much food were stored in pantries and freezers of all those restaurants? We have such so much food in the U.S., it's hard to imagine that people are still going hungry.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Stock up on Free Supplies at Staples

Home Offices! Staples has a bunch of FREE items that you can stock up on, including:

  • Free pens
  • Free paperclips
  • Free envelopes
  • Free photo paper

I also like their $1 Hammermil printer paper.  Sales starts Sunday 3/6 till Wednesday 3/9.  Check out other Staples sale items.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Award Winning Coffee, Great Price, available at Target

When dining at an upscale hotel or restaurant, I order coffee every chance I get. I'm always amazed at how much better it tastes compared to what I normally drink. Now, it seems that we can brew our own fabulous blend by picking up the award winning coffee such as the Archer House or Guatemalan coffee brand.

 Look for the Cup of Excellence sticker. One caveat - Target doesn't provide an optimum shelf life and most of the coffees here do not have a roast date. So, the quicker you pick up a bag or tin, the fresher and tastier the coffe.

Collaterization of Debt Around since 1999???

I stumbled across a paper on Japan's Lost Decade banking crash that proposed utilizing securitization and sales of bad debt to remove them from a bank's balance sheets.  Sound familiar?
The paper describes Collateralized Loan Obligations (CLOs) and mezzinine tranches methods to implement the scheme.

I don't know what is more alarming: the fact that the paper refers to CLOs as a feasible scheme or the fact that these concepts were already known back in 1999!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The ECRI - Watching Your Financial Crystal Ball

Often, while trying to learn more about investing or about business strategy, I come across a technical analysis that goes completely over my head. The trend in ECRI is just one of many. Here is my summary of the ECRI.