Monday, November 28, 2011

New Blog Address

Until we get the blog tab redirected, here's a link to the new blog.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Guess We Are Still Relevant

Sometimes, I get discouraged and think that the whole IOU NO MORE thing is out of date and out of touch.  Perhaps our ship has sailed.  Maybe our message is just not needed in 2011. 

When these feelings come on me, I seriously consider throwing in the towel, closing down the website and just focusing on our sustainable farming project.

Two thinks happened in the last week that help me keep going.  The first was a young man who told me how important the book has been in helping his family develop a plan to get financially on the right path.  The second was something I heard on the radio.

I was in the car yesterday, driving home from work early, because I was violently sick to my stomach (I'll spare you the details).  Anyway, the radio host was referring to a recent study that said 50% of Americans said that they could not come up with $2k in a month to cover an emergency. 

From that snippet I realize that millions of people are still living hand to mouth and that they don't even know what to do about it.  Unfortunately, many don't really want to fix themselves, they want Govt. to bail them out.  Others have given up, but there are still millions who are looking for solutions.  Solutions we got.

I've got to stop trying to goad people who don't want to change and start looking for those who do.  There is a huge difference.  One will drive me to drink.  The other will motivate me to win.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Credit Card Companies Are At It Again

Not surprising, really, but the linked article says that credit card companies are creatively looking for new ways to squeeze more interest and penalties out of us.  By all means, read the article HERE.

I have found that the best way to beat them at their game is to NEVER carry a credit card balance.  Use a debit card, pay cash, write a check.  These methods avoid penalties and fees EVERY TIME. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I Don't Invest In Commodities

The temptation is great.  Some days it's almost irresistible.  But I manage.  I'm talking, of course, about investing in commodities.  Right now, things like oil, gold, silver, corn, cotton, etc. are rising like kites in a March breeze.

Commodities are in.  They are hot.  If you listen closely you can almost hear them sizzle.  People who bought gold last year are laughing right now.  Same for corn.  Commodities are interesting.  From my chair, they are always on a bubble.  It gets bigger and bigger then pops and starts over.  I don't have the stomach for that kind of roller coaster.  Besides, I'm not smart enough to know when to get in and out.

For metals and crude, the volatility alone is enough to keep me out.  Besides, I've got an investment that's way better than all of them put together.

My reasons for staying away from corn, soy beans, wheat and etc. are tied very closely to my core values.  The companies behind these soft commodities push the morality envelope too far for my liking.  Companies like Cargill and Monsanto, and their ilk, are involved in more than producing crops.  They are involved in genetic engineering of crops, which could be good or bad, but too risky for my taste.  The big gripe I have is their efforts to patent life and use of heavy handed methods to strong arm and subjugate farmers.  I can't put money into their pockets just to put money into mine.

There is a way for you to invest in commodities that will NEVER lose and could gain you a small fortune.  You won't find it on the Dow, Nasdaq or S&P.  The method I've discovered is part insurance and part investment.  I spell it out in my e-booklet, "The Joseph Principle".  You can order it from our website.

Geez, that sounded like a commercial.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hand Wringing or Heart Searching

We all feel the change.  It's not just in the air, we feel it in our wallets.  Life is getting more expensive by the hour.  Gasoline prices, food prices, air travel, education, everything.

Some of us have been shouting from the rooftops for at least a year, pleading with people to prepare.  Some did, millions did not.  So now that things are worsening rapidly, is it too late?  What can we do to stop the spiral?

First, stop the hand wringing.  I won't suggest that we stop complaining, that's an American pastime.  I love to do that as much as the next person.  Complaining, though, won't change anything.  Neither will hand wringing and fretting.  It's time to take ACTION.

First, make a written budget.....TODAY!  If you need a form to help you get started, email us at and we'll get you one.

If you have debt beyond your mortgage, pay it off as quickly as possible.  I don't mean to sound like a salesman, but go to the store page at and order the ekit and get started right away.  The kit will cost less than a combo meal and will give you the tools to start a new financial life NOW.

Begin an emergency fund with a long term goal of storing up a full year of staples and 6 months to a year of cash flow.  Yes, you can do it, it just doesn't feel like it right now.  We call it the Joseph Principle.

Grow some of your own food.  It's easier than you think and will save you a ton of cash over the coming years.  For tips, ideas and moral support, go to Our Edible Suburb.

This is not the time for panic.  It's time for action.  Our economy is in decay, we get that.  It doesn't mean your economy has to collapse.  Take charge.  Be smart.  Win. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Where Has Civility Gone?

This is going to be one of my 'wondering out loud' posts.  It has little to do with budgets, or debt reduction, or living sustainably.  But I wanted to post my thoughts somewhere, so my apologies for going off topic.

I read quite a few news and opinion websites.  I try and read a cross section of left and right leaning pages.  I never want to be guilty of falling for propaganda.  BTW, if you are someone who only reads FoxNews or MSNBC or Drudge or Huffpo, you really should get out more.  Start by reading all the above.  It's amazing how the same story can be interpreted so differently depending on your political world view or core values.

The disparity in viewpoints of columnists and reporters does not disturb me.  We all view the world through the prism of how we, or our editors, see things.  Freedom of the Press allows for debate.  It challenges us to think for ourselves.  The internet is a wonderful tool because it overcomes the potential filter of censorship.  It's much harder these days to have only one side of a story told.

I am disturbed, however, by the vitriol and disgusting behavior of many of the individuals who comment on open boards and feedback sections of articles.  Web 2.0 has allowed for open feedback and discourse.  Nearly every article and blog offers a place for readers to comment.  Be careful what you wish for.

The anonymity of the internet has opened the door for a lot of ugliness and anger to be expressed.  I've read death threats, profanity laced ad hominem tirades and some things that are so nasty they are best skipped over.  There is a great deal of anger out there.  Name calling is not an argument.  Wishing disease and death those who disagree with you does not further your cause.  It only polarizes. 

There are still some excellent examples of grace, mercy and civility in the world, but on the whole I fear we are drifting and the current is quickening.  The resolution of our decline will not come from political parties or an economic turnaround, nor will it come from tighter internet regulations or fairness doctrines.  We need a heart transplant.  Three thousand years ago, King David of Israel, wrote:  Create in me a clean heart, Oh God.  And renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51).  We could use a whole bunch of that heart cleaning about now.  We are angry and bitter.  A social storm brews just beneath the surface.  I know of someone who doesn't just predict storms, like the national weather service, He calms them.  We need His help now more than ever. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Generosity is superior to Taxation, Self Suffiency Trumps Entitlement

Despite the title, I'm not planning to wade into the deep and muddy waters of our current political dilemmas, though the subject matter would allow it.  Instead, I'm going to try and keep my comments on a personal responsibility level.  We'll see in a moment whether or not I manage to succeed.

I was reading this morning in the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament.  Leviticus is a difficult read for most people.  It's not exactly what most of us think of as a page turner; chapter after chapter of rules and regulations for the ancient Israelis.  But I've found some fascinating insights into the principles of sound financial management in it's pages.  One of them jumped out at me today.

I was reading in chapter 23.  Among the rules about the Jewish feasts, there is a harvest reminder.  God tells the people not to harvest to the very edges of their fields and not to go back and catch what they miss.  They are to leave the corners, edges and 'gleanings' for the poor and the immigrant.  Wow.  Planned, deliberate generosity.

Do you get it?  The Israelis weren't to wait for the Government to tax them or for State assistance program to take care of the poor.  There is no set amount or percentage.  Each person decides what 'corners' and 'edges' means.  I'm sure some were more generous than others.  But the point is, generosity was assumed and was proactively built into the Jewish society. 

Are we proactively generous?  I'm not talking about our tithes?  That belongs to God.  Is giving built into your budget?  Entrepreneurs, is generosity a plank in your business plan? 

This coin, BTW, has two sides.  Leviticus 23 is far from an entitlement program.  Notice that God instructs the people to leave the corners and gleanings rather than take part of the harvest to a place where the poor can come and pick it up.  There is a built in assumption that the 'poor' and the 'immigrant' are expected to do their own harvest and threshing.  This is no hand out.  The recipient is expected to work.  Handouts, or 'alms' were for the blind, the crippled and others who were not capable of working.  Later in Paul's letter to Timothy in the New Testament, the Church was to look after truly destitute widows who had no family to take care of them.

The Bible's teaching is very clear.  The principles are not hidden.  1.  Greed is bad.  We should build generosity into our lifestyles.  2. The responsibility of providing for the poor is; a. for the able bodied to do their own work in providing for themselves even when relying on the generosity of others, b. the families of the truly destitute or sick or crippled or physically challenged, c. the Church to look after those of their number who have no family.  Take note, Government programs are nowhere on the list.

Well, I came close to staying out of politics.  I tried, I really did. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

IOU NO MORE 2.0 Ready For The Publisher

Some last minute changes include a minor name change.  The new book will be called IOU NO MORE 2.0.  It is now as ready as I can make it.  We don't have a publish date yet, but watch for it, because it will be out soon.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Latest Price Increase Story

I know, I know.  Sam can't get off his inflation soap box.  I just want us all to plan ahead.  We are soon going to be spending a larger percentage of our budgets on FOOD.  If we want to eat in a more healthy manner, it's going to be a considerably larger percentage. 

The latest cause of our grocery pain is the recent deep freeze that hit the Southwest U.S. and Mexico.  You can read all about the effect on produce prices HERE.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming to a Supermarket Near You - Higher Prices

Gasoline has topped $3 a gallon here in North Georgia (10 days later than I predicted).  Gold and silver have sky rocketed.  Corn has doubled in price over the last few months.  Oil is over $100 a barrel. 

Those last two sentences are the keys to rising food costs in the store.  It takes rivers of oil to get produce and processed foods from farm to plate and corn is in virtually all of our processed foods (in one form or another). It's the core feed ingredient for commercial meat animals from beef to chickens to tilapia.  The rising costs of ingredients, processing and transportation make inflation inevitable.  Get ready. Read a recent article about foodflation from right HERE.

I realize my last several posts have been variations on this theme, but that's because food is so critical to our survival.  Rather than fume, or panic, I want you to prepare and overcome.

Some steps to minimize the pain are: 1. Stock up now, while prices are lower.  Some things are already going up, so there's not a lot of time to waste.  2. Eat more whole foods.  It's healthier and, if local and in season, is still a good value.  3. Grow some of your own food.  4. Budget for the coming changes.

As I keep saying, the cost of living is headed UP this year.  But we can still win the war by creating a plan and by working that plan.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Still Want a Credit Card?

If ever I saw a case for getting rid of Credit Cards and Credit Card Debt, it is THIS ARTICLE from CNN Money.  It is plenty scary.  All I can say is, "Back away from the application.  Turn around and RUN!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Latest Sign of the Apocalypse...

Ok, just a follow up to yesterday's inflation rant.  Even the Golden Arches are yielding to the higher cost of commodities.  Those McNuggets may soon be costing you more.  Read it HERE.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just Another Inflation Warning

Have you noticed it?  Prices are going up.  It's obvious at the gas pump.  The place I buy most of my gasoline has fought like crazy to avoid topping $3 a gallon.  I'm thinking they will lose the fight sometime this week. 

Groceries are certainly on the rise.  I've noticed the prices on some items have risen considerably.  There has never been a better time to use coupons and watch for specials than right now.

On a related note, the cost of animal feed and things like day old chicks has also started to move in the wrong direction.  Packets of seeds are increasing in price as well.  That means that the cost of food production for small producers may well impact the prices of fresh produce in farmers' markets. 

It is not time to panic.  It's time to prepare.  Budget well.  Spend wisely.  Grow some of your own food.  Buy in bulk and preserve some.  Shop judiciously at consignment shops.  Frequent yard sales.  Plan your trips out to manage your fuel consumption.  We can win!  We can prosper!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Franchising Opportunities

Most people who have some entrepreneurial inklings, at least consider franchising as a path to consider.  I know I have.  In my case, I've just never found the right fit.  I haven't had the cash flow, either. 

This morning, I found a fun little article on regarding the top 20 franchise opportunities for 'beginners'.  I thought some of you might like it, so click HERE to read it for yourself.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Discouraging Headlines

Have a look at these headlines from this morning's Drudge Report:

Census: Number of poor may be millions higher; 1 in 6...

Retailers report surprisingly weak December...

Jobless claims rise more than expected...

GALLUP: Broader underemployment worsened to 19% in December -- up sharply from 17.2% at end of Nov...

Wow!  These are not encouraging words, to say the least.  We CAN take steps to insulate ourselves against tough times.  We can't always escape them, but if we do the right things we can 'self insure' so that any economic impact we feel from downturns, recessions and depressions only affects us minimaly.  I'm serious.  IOU NO MORE 2.011 is coming. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

IOU NO MORE 2.011 Closer by the Minute

As you can see, I'm playing a bit with the title of the updated version of the book.  I started with "The All New IOU NO MORE", but yuck.  Then it became, "IOU NO MORE 2.0".  Finally, with a tip of the hat to the publication year, it is now, "IOU NO MORE 2.011".  We'll see if it sticks.

The new material is all written.  The next phase will be to edit it and to update the forms.  Then, it's off to the publisher.

Won't be long now.