Sunday, August 30, 2009

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

A friend of mine told me a great car buying story this week and I want to share the substance of it.

She and her husband decided a good used car (already a sensible choice) was in their future. They did their research, packed a checkbook and headed out to test drive. Once they found their ideal car, and did their negotiating it was time to close. The sales person said, "I suppose you'll be needing to arrange financing", to which they replied, "No, it's ok if we write a check, right?"


"Write a check. We're going to pay cash."

The entire dealership fell into silence. As they handed over the payment in full, they were told, "I don't believe this has ever happened here before."

I love the revolution! Talk about a stimulus plan. Pay yourself instead of the bank. Then pay in cash for what you need. Everybody wins. Except those who feed off of debt, of course. What is it we call things that feed off of other things again? Oh, that's right............ parasites!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fun Discussion Today

I had a great time this afternoon discussing financial matters with a group of people I work with. We talked about budgets, saving for college, debt and the miracle of compound interest. We had some great laughs along the way. It was a refreshing change of pace!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just Some Shameless Self Promotion

It's almost time to get ready for Church, but I thought I'd take a minute and introduce some projects I'm working on. I've mentioned some of them before, but they are worth talking about again, because I've been in the workshop with them this week.

First, as announced last week, "IOU NO MORE" is now available as an ebook. We are very excited about this development, because of the growth of popularity of ebooks and because with ebooks, readers have the ability to check out the references, materials and tools referred to in the book just by clicking on the active links in the text. With traditional books, you must lay down the book, open your computer and find the url. We plan to use both traditonal and ebooks going forward.

We have two other active websites besides IOU NO MORE. The first is, Sam Burton Presents, nicknamed, SBP. SBP will become the primary portal for all of our sub pages, books, materials, newsletters, etc. IOU NO MORE will become of of the service sites under the SBP umbrella.

The second is, Sam Burton Ministries, or SBM, for short. We felt that this was an essential step for the many services, products and information we develop especially for Churches and other Faith Based groups. SBM is very special to me and I'm looking forward to developing it.

Both those websites are just in development phase and really only have holding pages up. But go ahead and check them out, save them to your favorites and let me know what you'd like to see in them. There is contact information all over them. In fact, that's about all there is right now.

Besides websites, I'm currently adapting the "IOU NO MORE" material into a format and presentation especially geared to men. I'm calling it, "DEBT BEAT DADS: common sense financial and life principles for men (and the women who love them). There are some nice 'manly' insights added to the material along with some tweaking of the Spending Plans that will translate well to the 'male mind'. If all goes well, that will be available by Christmas.

My regular reader (yes, I think there's only one), will remember that I'm working on "LIFE LESSONS FROM A LEAD DOG: amusing anecdotes and heart warming tales from 30 years with sleddogs". The proposal is coming along nicely, as are the seminars associated with it. I want to shop this to some major publishers. People keep telling me this one has a populist appeal.

In early Spring, 2010, you should look for an ebook on vegetable gardening basics for urban and suburban dwellers. This project is being outlined, along with a seminar, and should be a lot of fun. It does not have a title as yet.

Finally, I have outlined a book and seminar (I've presented the seminar hundreds of times in the classroom) on optimizing your career as a call (contact) center agent. No point having all these years of experience if I'm not going to share what I've learned. Right now I'm calling it, "BYE, BYE, DILBERT: a quick start guide for turning the mundane life of cube world into an adventure and turning your headset into a gold mine." Can you tell I like subtitles? They help with search engine optimization, in case you were wondering.

Well, that's enough for the moment. Some of this is rerun. Some is new. Thanks for stopping by. Time for Church.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fall Garden Planted

This afternoon, Brittan and I put in our fall vegetables. We planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, snap peas and one last round of green beans. What else is a body to do on Saturday? Go golfing? Take a nap? Watch cartoons? Bah! Humbug!

I really do like vegetable gardening. It is therapeutic and productive all at the same time. I like prepping the soil, planting and harvesting. The tending to the plant in between is a chore, but there is always something to learn. Today, for example, we found squash bugs on our pepper plants. The weren't doing any damage, but since there is no squash for them, they are searching for new things to devour. Squash bugs have been a real nuisance this year. I hate them more than any other garden pest. The are prolific, destructive and they stink. I'm considering trying hydroponics for squash next year, just because there won't be any soil for the squash bugs.

Our pepper harvest just keeps piling up, as do the cucumbers. I have never been more sick of cucumbers than I am this year. Next year we're growing pickling cucumbers. Yummmm.

Watch for a Vegetable Gardening 101 ebook from Recession Proof Living and IOU NO MORE next spring. It's going to be fun to put together and a useful quick start guide for urban and suburban vegetable gardeners.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Read Em And Weep

Just read an article describing the bad and the ugly that is coming out of the new regulations for Credit Card Companies. Notice, I didn't add, 'good' to bad and ugly. There is no good. Sure, the CC companies will have to be more transparent in disclosing their fees and rates, but many of them are using the opportunity to raise those newly clarified fees. Yeesh.

There is a level on which I don't care what they do, because I haven't had a Credit Card balance in years. They could raise the rates to 300% and it doesn't change my world.

One interesting thing that came out of all this, though, is I found out I still have an open Credit Card account I didn't know about. I got a letter from a particular bank saying my cash advance limit had been reduced. Oh, darn. I thought I closed that with the rest of my Visa an Master Cards years ago. I certainly haven't used it. Oh well, it's closed now.

The first rule in the IOU NO MORE revolution, is "STOP BORROWING". That means Credit Cards, too. Don't give me the 'for emergencies' line, either. The emergency will be trying to pay the darned thing off.

Gotta get ready for work now. You can read the article HERE.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Workplace Suicide Rates on the Rise

I saw today that workplace suicides have risen 28% over the last year, while overall workplace deaths have declined. I find that quite disturbing; and more than a little disheartening.

There is little doubt in my mind, that the current economic and employment climates have played a significant role in the steep rise in on the job suicides.

After reading the article, I did some quick searches and found that suicide in general seems to be on the rise. I don't mean to sound crass, but that suggests to me that "Hope" and "Change" are not working out as planned.

I don't want to descend into politics. Government is not, and never should be, a solution to financial, career or personal difficulties. Certainly, money is no reason to take our lives over.

My first thought is to remind everyone that Jesus is our best Hope in all things. I would urge everyone to investigate Christianity before resorting to suicide.

Also, the overwhelming majority of people in financial crisis could gain perspective from a program like IOU NO MORE. There are answers. They aren't always easy. They sometimes require dramatic and drastic action, but what is more drastic than suicide?

Folks, things are not hopeless. Trust me on that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What's in the Oven

The clock on the wall tells me it's about time to get ready for work, but before I begin my ablutions, let me share some things that are coming down the road for IOU NO MORE and Sam Burton Presents.

First, we have a brand new product that will be available later today. IOU NO MORE is now an ebook as well as a traditional paperback. The electronic version has an expanded appendix which includes reproducible forms (and a larger set of forms than in the paperback version). The "New IOU NO MORE" also includes the details of our referral program. The referral program looks like, and even pays out like, a traditional Multi Level Marketing plan, with one exception, you don't have to pay to participate. Everyone who purchases a book, ebook or starter kit from our shopping cart is eligible.

Speaking of the shopping cart, it's in the process of receiveing a makeover. Soon, customers will be able to track their purchases and will be able to directly download certain products rather than wait for the mail or email.

I am currently writing a spin off book, "DEBT BEAT DADS: Common Sense Financial and Life Advice for Men (and the women who love them). It will take the principles of IOU NO MORE and add some content especially geared towards men (and their wives).

I also have outlined a project, probably an ebook, on Vegetable Gardening Basics those who don't live in the country. Brittan and I have learned so much the last few years and we want to share it with others who want to eat better and be more self sufficient, but who are stuck in suburbia. It doesn't yet have a name. How about "Vegieburbia" or "The Suburban Gardener"? I'm open to suggestions. If you come up with the title for me, I'll give you a copy of the book and mention you in the acknowledgements.

I'm also working away on my book proposal for "Life Lessons from a Lead Dog". That book and the study materials that could spin off from it, has the potential to make a big impact in the and on the world.

Ok, enough commercials for now. Must get moving.

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Magazine Coming

Brittan and I are long time subscribers to, and even longer time readers of, "Hobby Farms Magazine" . Later this month, about the 26th, the editors of that publication will be releasing the first issue of "Urban Farm", a magazine designed especially for those of us stuck in town, but committed to self sufficiency, growing our own produce and reaping the rewards and savings of taking responsibility for our lives. I am very much looking forward to the launch of this magazine. I sure hope the publishers read this post and give me a discount on my subscription!

Friday, August 14, 2009

"Cash for Clunkers", A Trojan Horse of a Different Color?

The President's Cash for Clunkers program has, by most reports, been a tremendous success. Big enough that Congress has 'gone back to the well' for more cash to back it. Where are they getting that cash? Oh, that's right, from the very tax payers who are asked to buy the cars. So in essence, we're being asked to pay taxes to support our tax credit. Anyone dizzy from this circular reasoning yet?

It is not the logic, though, that has me miffed. What has steam coming out of my ears is our Government bribing Americans to get into debt. As already mentioned, it is disguised as a tax credit. But it is a tax credit paid for by tax payer money. It is marketed as a call to 'save the environment, but is in reality an attempt to bail out the newly Government owned Automobile companies. It is billed as a way to save money at the pump, but is in reality a way to get Americans into debt. It may very well turn out to be the automobile version of the 'subprime mortgage'.

Oh, and because the 'clunkers' are all being destroyed, the inventory of cheap used cars is being dramatically reduced, forcing low end used car buyers to pay more. And, finally, the program is pushing up the prices of new cars, which were falling.

Debt is bad. But when it's debt on a depreciating item (I can't bring myself to use the words, depreciating asset, because that sounds like an oxymoron when debt is attached to it), it's doubly bad. If you have not fallen into this trap yet, I urge you to look away. Don't inhale that new car smell. Don't let the 'fever' weaken your resistance. Stay on your winning plan of recession proof living.

On the happy front, I found an article that says the 'Cash for Clunkers' program may be losing some momentum. We can only hope. Read it HERE.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Harvest is Plentiful

Each day brings a new sense of wonder at our bounty this year. We already have to buy a second freezer to handle the overflow. We're just waiting for the best deal. Tonight I brought in a plastic grocery bag brimming over with peppers of all varieties and a few tomatoes. We'll have another 20 or so pounds of tomatoes to process before long. And a new harvest of beans will begin within the week. Maybe as early as Sunday or Monday. We should have beans well into September.

I have only two real regrets this year; 1. not enough squash and zucchini, and 2. not enough cantaloupe.

We will do a whole post season assessment around October when we start designing next year's garden.

We let some of the beans from the first crop dry on the vine. Brittan brought them in and we are storing them in hopes that they sprout next year. We will start one or two in January to see if they do grow. If so, we won't have to buy bush beans next year. I love it. We are eating healthy, getting exercise and saving money all at the same time. If I ever get time, I'll probably write a book about it. Time.............. what a concept!

Time To Expand

For the past few weeks, I've been exploring a number of ways to expand the reach of IOU NO MORE and SAM BURTON PRESENTS. I feel a real sense of urgency in getting a message of real hope out to the masses. I've had a couple opportunities to speak publicly in the last two weeks and it reminded me of where my gifts and talents lie.

So I'm looking at things like, ebooks, web infomercials, ezene, podcasts, You Tube and etc.

I'm also looking at adding materials on Divorce Recovery and Life Lessons From a Lead Dog. I'm excited, I just don't have enough hours in the day. And sometimes, my head is so full of ideas, that it's hard for me to focus on just one or two items. Other times, my head is just full of nonsense. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Still Available on Amazon

Although we are now selling IOU NO MORE on our website, the book is still available on, and all other major online book sellers. We have been very fortunate with the number of places that carry the book. We are blessed by the number of emails we get each week from people who are seeking help taking charge of their finances.

As we gear up for the coming Holiday Season (it's never too early to plan), we are going to do a fresh marketing campaign and kind of a re-launch of the book. After two years we're still excited about 'the simplest money management plan on earth.'

Monday, August 3, 2009

Are my eyes bleeding?

I just got finished reading an article about a recent college grad who is suing her college because she does not yet have a job and she feels the college isn't doing enough to help her find work.

Even coming from ultra liberal New York, that's ridiculous. Colleges are for education and preparation. The fact that many of them have services to assist with job placement is a plus, a perk. While I can appreciate a sense of frustration when jobs are scarce and income is inconsistent, it is not, and has never been, anyone's responsibility other than our own to find work.

If this lawsuit somehow finds its way through the system and a decision is made in favor of the plaintiff, which I think it won't, then all bets are off for college coffers. Can you even imagine the can of worms that would open?

Read the article HERE.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Thin Edge of the Wedge

This week I have been following the tragic story of a Wisconsin man, who has been charged with murder in the death of his daughter. The short version is, the girl became ill and the family chose prayer over medical attention. In the end the girl died. Her family treated her well, comforted her and nursed her. But they would not take her to a doctor, believing that if they had faith, God would heal the girl.

Today, the man was convicted.

First, let me say that I disagree with his decision to fore go medical assistance. I believe in prayer and I believe in doctors. Medical treatment can be an answer to prayer. Sometimes God works through people and circumstances.

But I believe that cases like this will be cited as precedent in future litigation where the political and social views of the 'state' will run contrary to traditional faith. I see a time when Christians will be discriminated against and possibly jailed for things like public evangelism or publicly denouncing certain practices as sinful.

Do you know what you believe? How deep are your convictions? Are you prepared to lose your job, your home, your reputation or even your freedom over your beliefs?

Just one more nugget to chew on. I am convinced that this world is only a shadow of what is to come and not the end in itself. If I understand my Bible correctly, God did heal that little girl. If you will allow me to mix metaphors, I suspect she is healthy as a horse and happy as a clam.