Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thought for the Day

"I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress.
-- Ronald Reagan"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Cost Savings - Budget Busters

I know you want to save money, but there are those constant budget busters that steal your money and leave you constantly crying for cash.

Here are a few simple ideas to help you save money and leave behind budget busters.

Think about switching deodorants. Believe it or not, the less costly no-name brand deodorants are often just as effective as your name brand type.

I am a picky eater, but I also realize that there are some combinations of food that I will never taste the difference. If you give me a tomato sauce made with my favorite, more expensive tomato and then one with a less expensive mealy tomato, I will probably taste the difference.

However, if you are mixing yogurt in your favorite smoothies or butter that is on sale versus your less expensive brand into a cooked item, you most likely will never taste the difference.

The same goes for pasta and many other food items that you eat. If you aren't going to taste the difference, but only know the difference in your head, why not switch?

Buy stamps at Costco or Sam’s Club. Believe it or not, they can give you a better deal than the Post Office.

Why pay more for “printer” paper for school, when regular, inexpensive by comparision, white copy paper works just as well. For great bargains I suggest Realiable. Their phone number is: 800-735-4000.

One last easy tip. While it may seem very obvious because the high cost of gas has become prohibitive, it still behooves you for me to say it, ditch the high grade and get into low grade gas. Always consult with a mechanic who is not biased to your vehicles manufacturer before you do this, but I have always run my vehicles, even when they said “high octane only” gas on low grade gas. I have never had a problem and in fact, most mechanics who do my tune-ups think the car is brand new.

If you change your oil every three thousand to six thousand miles and get regular tune-ups, you will be okay. My mom agrees and she’s been driving my entire life!

There are many more strategies to use, but this will get you started!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Unadvertised Sales

August, 7 2008: Today I went into Nob Hill / Raley's and found my favorite bread on sale! It's never been on sale in all the years I have been buying it! Miltons Wheat Bread was on sale for $2.50 a loaf! Oh Yes!

Also, I found that Horizon Organic Milk was on sale for $2.85 a gallon, peaches were on sale for $0.69 lb. Organic cheese was on sale for $2.25 lbs. There were so many more sales and I didn't have time to write them down because I was going for a short stop on my way home and I wanted to check for the blog and because it was on my way home (a direct path) it was worth the stop. i stocked up on a lot of items. This is an unadvertised sale.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Take a Bite Out of the Gas Crunch and Get Paid to Drive

With gas at an all time high, many people are cutting back on everything, including their food and basic living needs. The American population has been hit hard by the gas crisis simply because in most parts of America, there are no feasible means of mass transportation.

Because of the lack of mass transportation and affordable fuel choices, many Americans have had to make some tough choices. Some have left their places of work, in many cases places they have worked for many years, simply because they cannot afford to pay the gas bill at the end of the month. Others have chosen to move closer to their jobs, uprooting their lives and changing their way of living.

All this has led to, in some cases, a lesser quality of life. There are a few solutions out there that can help you during this gas crisis, besides the obvious choices of riding a bike or walking. You can live more and spend less!

1. Check your local supermarkets and find out if they have a gas rewards program that goes with your super saver card. What is a super saver card? It’s a free card that you sign up for in order to receive extra savings at your local supermarket or grocery store. Piggley Wiggly has a program like this, as do many others grocery stores across the nation. Check for a list of stores that have this option available. It cost nothing, but gives you gas rewards at the pump. Think of it as paying yourself to purchase groceries!

2. Check to see if your local newspaper, news station or transportation commission might be sponsoring some type of rideshare program. Recently, The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in Oakland sponsored a 511 Rideshare program. What is a rideshare program? In this case, anyone who signed up for ridesharing and at least tried it, was given a certificate towards $100 of gas or groceries.

3. Use your car to receive free gas! Did your eyes deceive you? Or were you reading correctly? Yes, that’s what I said, free gas! There is a program, provided by that utilizes people’s cars for advertising. Perhaps you have seen cars that look like traveling billboards. Or buses that have a saran wrap type of billboard on them? That’s what does. Check it out! You might be just the person they are looking for in your town!

These are just a few simple ways that may help you save money on your gas, putting extra money back in your pocket. That’s money you can use to pay off your debts or put into a savings account.

Friday, June 6, 2008

3 Ways You Can Live Without Paying Rent or a Mortgage

Everywhere you look, the housing crisis is causing homelessness and heartache as the American dream of owning a home goes down the drain. Sub-prime lenders were only a catalyst in what may go down in history as the worst housing crisis on record. Buying beyond what was affordable in addition to the soaring gas prices, have caused casualties that seem to leave those left in the crunch without hope.

Nevertheless, there is hope and you can live without paying rent or owing a high mortgage payment every month. There are three different ways to help you live without paying rent or paying a monthly mortgage and still live in a beautiful home.

There are no fairytales or hokum here, just plain old-fashioned common sense and filling a need where there is a void. However, all of these methods do require flexibility on your part, but in many cases, people have stayed in homes 8 to 10 years and sometimes much longer. How? Here are three ways you can do the same.

1. Because the foreclosure rate is so great, there are many houses that have been left unoccupied and without tenants. What happens to a home that is left without anyone living in it? It quickly deteriorates.

Realtors and banks cannot sell a dilapidated house very readily, especially when the lending criteria has become so strict that even people who might be able to afford a dilapidated house, do not qualify for a loan.

In order to take advantage of a bad situation, start looking for homes that are in foreclosure and unoccupied, then find out who owns them. Offer to live in the house and provide upkeep until it is sold in exchange for free rent and utilities.

To find out who has control of the property, if it’s not listed on a sign outside, check with your local county clerk to find out who handles the foreclosed properties in that area or check the tax collector for the county the house is in. They will be able to give you the tax information. They might even be the dead holders and you might be able to cut a deal with them.

2. They say the rich get richer, and that does seem to be the case. With a reported 1% of the entire population holding most of the money in their coffers, the rich also hold numerous houses that lay empty.

They pay gatekeepers to live in their unoccupied houses in order to keep their property safe and make sure the full and part-time staffs do their jobs correctly. Most often, you will be able to live in the smaller house that is on the property and is generally the size of a small mansion, in exchange for a monthly salary.

You will need to make sure the staff that comes in does what they are supposed to do and you will be responsible for reporting any problems. In exchange for those duties, you will not only receive a salary, but in many cases, all of your expenses will be paid for including your rent, utilities, internet, phone, etc.

Additionally, sometimes a stipend for food is put in the as an added bonus, but not always. In addition, you will have full use of the grounds (not the main house) and in many cases, all of the people who come in to clean, etc., will also clean and work on your place of dwelling as well.

To find this type of job, you will need to go to the expensive neighborhoods and post a signs that you are available to be a grounds keeper. Additionally, network at parties that have swanky clientele.

Ask friends who know the wealthy and post a query on craigslist (always be cautious). The best way to procure this type of job however is by word of mouth. I had a great job like this and I know many other people who have done this as well. You will need references and there will be an interview as with any job as well as a background check.

3. Housesit. While housesitting is not as glamorous as being a property manager at a billionaire’s mansion, it’s still a great gig. My best friend and I did this for a few years and while we did have to move every nine months or so, it was free rent and utilities, plus a small paycheck at the end for nine months at a time.

You will find this type of job by word of mouth as well. You can also look at postings on bulletin boards at schools, churches and other such areas. Your job is to keep the house clean and lived in so the owners feel safe while they are on vacation. Sometimes you are also required to watch their pets. If that is the case, make sure you receive money for your time.

The long and the short of it is, if you are reliable and honest, you can live in a beautiful home free. With a little legwork, networking, posting your information and phone calls, you can live rent-free and mortgage free.

One person told me he has been doing this for the past 30 years. While that seems like a lifetime to most of us, that just a drop in the bucket for him and he is still going strong. That is a lot of money he has saved for other things in his life!

Sidebar: If you are homeless and are unable to do any of the above. Please seek out shelter through places like Mercy Housing, Street Shelters, Above the Line, United Way and other places in your county. They are there to help and can help you as well with transitional housing.

Jaci Rae is known as The Queen of More Green. For more advice and money saving tips, please go too: or where you will also find gifts from Procter and Gamble.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Graduation Day Poem by Jaci Rae

All the dreams that have come and gone;
All the memories that will live on and on.
High School days we though would last forever;
All the time we thought we'd be together.
Time seemed to slip by and then go away;
Now it's graduation day.

So many times we laughed and we shared;
So many times we said I love you and I care.
The happiness, the sadness, and the fights galore;
All these things were wrapped into one and more.
Time seemed to slip by and then go away;
Now it's graduation day.

So many times wondering if we'll remember what we've learned;
The credits, the honors, and the scholarships we've earned.
The trips, the sneak days, cutting a class;
For all these years we thought they'd never pass.
Time seemed to slip by, and then go away;
Now it's graduation day.

And so my friends, I want to dedicate this to you;
For the good times and the sad, yes there's been a few of those too.
The tears streak down my face, the memories to stay;
Because now my friends, it's graduation day.

Copyright North Shore Records, Inc. and Jaci Rae

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sometimes life is tough and in this time of economic turmoil, life can seem to reach the boiling point

Sometimes life is tough (well a lot of times)! And in this time of economic turmoil, life can seem to reach the boiling point where the temperature is so hot you are tired of being in the oven.

That's when you need a helping hand, not just a hand out. There are helpful places that can give you just such a hand.

One such website is a government website that gives you confidential information for little known grants to people who need that helping hand up.


This is just one of many places that can help you, your family or a friend get the much needed economic help they may need. In addition to this website, don't forget about the Federal Energy Assistance programs available.

That website is:

The most important thing I want to say today, is that it's about time we stop being a "Me" society and begin getting back to basics and becoming a "We" society. One that helps our neighbors, helps our family and helps our friends with a helping hand up instead of just a helping hand out. Blessings! Jaci