Monday, August 16, 2010

GOING BANANAS

Good morning everyone! How are you doing this crazy moody Monday morning? I'm good... I got to love on a tiny kitty who came to my porch this early morning for some munchies! She's sooo small! Even smaller than Mittens was when I rescued her! Except for her weight, this little one is in good health though, so she is staying OUTSIDE! LOL! My mommy is coming over this morning so I am super excited about that!

Ok, so you know me and I try to bring you lots of different various frugality tips and hints and I saw this article on Yahoo and HAD to post it. I fully admit, even I used to be guilty of some of these in the past!

Financial Products That Are a Waste of Money
provided by Consumer Reports

You can save big bucks by skipping unnecessary financial products and services.
There are many things that people buy, sometimes repeatedly, that are a waste of money or just a bad value. Often, you don't need them at all or you can opt for less-costly or free alternatives. Take a pass on these financial products and save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Skip it: Collision on older vehicles
Save: $300 a year, based on national averages in 2007

If you have an accident, collision coverage reimburses you only up to the value of your car, no matter how severe the damage. So at some point, the cost of the coverage might approach or exceed the maximum the policy would pay on a claim. You might consider dropping collision once its cost equals 10 percent of the car's book value.

Do this instead
Self-insure by putting away a fixed amount each month to cover unexpected losses. Decide whether you should keep comprehensive coverage. Typically less costly than collision, it reimburses you for theft and nonaccident damage, for example, if a rock cracks your windshield or a falling tree limb dents your hood. But like collision, it won't pay more than the vehicle's worth, so weigh the cost.

Skip it: Load mutual funds
Save: About $200 to $300 on an initial investment of $5,000

Load funds siphon off 4 to 6 percent of your investment for sales commissions. No-load funds generally perform as well or even better.

Do this instead
Skip the load and put your entire investment to work for you. Compare funds by type and rating at www.morningstar.com.

Skip it: Extended warranties
Save: $30 to a few thousand dollars

Some products, such as cars, have become more reliable, and others, including electronics, aren't likely to break down during the extended service contract period. Service plans often cost more than you'll recover, and many have fine-print terms that can limit or disqualify your claim.

Do this instead
Buy reliable brands and models, and follow the manufacturer's usage and maintenance recommendations. If possible, make purchases with a credit card that extends the warranty. And if a product fails after the warranty has expired, try negotiating with the retailer and manufacturer for compensation.

Skip it: Fee-based checking
Save: $36 to $600, plus any per-check fees each month

There are many no-fee checking accounts that don't require you to maintain a minimum monthly balance. Some even pay interest, such as FNBO Direct (www.fnbodirect.com), which pays 1.25 percent.

Do this instead
Check local and national banks and credit unions for the best deals. If you regularly use your debit card for purchases and can set up direct deposit or automatic billing, consider a high-yield checking account. To find one, go to www.checkingfinder.com or www.kasasa.com.

Skip it: Credit-card insurance
Save: 18 cents to $1.35 for every $100 of your balance each month

Also known as payment protection and credit safeguard, this coverage promises to make your minimum payments for a certain period or erase your entire credit-card debt in case of unemployment, injury, disability, or death.

Do this instead
Check for coverage you already have in other policies, such as life and disability. Or set up a fund to cover your bills if you lose your income.

Skip it: Cancer insurance
Save: $200 to $3,000

Like any disease-specific coverage (including those for strokes or heart attacks), cancer insurance might duplicate or even negate coverage you already have under your basic health insurance. Some cancer policies exclude certain types of cancer, or they might not pay at all unless you're hospitalized. And they're certainly no substitute for comprehensive medical coverage.

Do this instead
Check to see what your health policy covers. If you're on Medicare and want more coverage, consider buying a Medicare supplemental policy. Medicaid recipients don't need additional coverage.

Skip it: Identity-theft protection
Save: $120 to $240 a year

These services might do less than they claim. In May, Lifelock, a leading vendor, agreed to pay $12 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission and 35 state attorneys general that "the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it," said Jon Leibowitz, the FTC's chairman.

Do this instead
Take steps to protect your identity. For example, you can place a security freeze on your credit reports at all three major credit-reporting bureaus (Experian, Equifax (NYSE: EFX - News), and TransUnion). That will deny access to your credit report to prospective creditors and prevent a scammer from setting up an account in your name.

Skip it: Cell-phone insurance
Save: $48 to $96 a year

Between the cost of the coverage and the deductible, typically $25 to $100 or more, this insurance might not save you anything if you need to replace your phone because there might be fine-print exemptions. And if the policy does replace your phone, you might get a different or refurbished model.

Do this instead
Check your home and auto insurance policies to determine if your phone is (or can be) covered. When you get a new phone, don't chuck your old one if it still works. If the new one is lost, stolen, or breaks down, you might be able to use the old one for the duration of your contract. Another option is to buy a less-costly "unlocked" replacement.

Ok folks, I am super stoked to announce that as of today, there is one week until school starts! Ahhh precious school! Ya know, I never understood why my mother was so very happy and broke out in song on the first day of school and then was in tears, sobbing, and depressed the last day of school LMAO! Now I know! So in the spirit of peace of mind and lovely educational opportunities in only 8 days, I found it appropriate to find a couple of back-to-school crafts to share with all the moms who will be running around in our PJ's, nekkid, or whatever you feel worthy, sing and/or yelling JOY TO THE WORLD! LOL!

Craft Ideas of the Day: Cool things for School



Pencil shaped Pencil case

This crafty blogger named Lia made a cute little case for pencils and pens that LOOKS like a pencil! She posts a great link on the page to the step-by-step instructions and photos as well as printable patterns to make this cute craft! I think the kids would get a kick out of it! I am gonna make some of these, but I think making it look like a real pencil would make it that much cooler LOL! Of course, each crafter can make it out of whatever suits their fancy... you don't have to be a nerd like me LMAO!



Insulated Lunch Kit

Here is another crafty person who had a problem and found a solution through crafts. Many parents choose to send their kids to school with a premade lunch for many different reasons, be it allergies, finances, or whatnot. So instead of buying one of those cheaply made mass produced items, take time to make a strong, durable, sturdy, and long lasting kit that you can make special to the user by just a simple piece of fabric!



Ok kids, its that time again. Time for the section that is NOT for the calorie counting or the weak at heart LOL! This week I have picked a theme with an ingredient as bright as sunshine and delicious as a diner dessert. Yes folks, it's the banana! I was reading a finance article on Yahoo about the "world's most popular items" and bananas were on there. The facts staggered even my little mind!

The Popularity Issue
by Business Week

Popularity is not a state of grace. In business, it is treasure hard-won on the battlefields of product development and marketing, then leveraged or squandered or stolen back. Most of the products and ideas showcased here—the stuff we buy, sell, and otherwise consume the most—owe their status in part to aggressive sales tactics, from knocking on doors to strong-arming grocers to gain the best shelf space. In its most potent and permanent form, however, popularity transcends sales pitches, advertising, fads, and maybe even conscious choice. One rarely reads or talks or thinks about peanut butter, yet Jif has eaten Skippy's lunch for 20 years, a sustained level of popularity that the iPhone can only dream about. While Jif rolls on, the iPhone—the most buzzworthy product of the last decade—will probably take its place amid the Palm and the Walkman in the great closeout bin in the sky. In short, if we have to think about a purchase, it's in a precarious position. The things we rarely pause to consider are the ones that stay on top. Read more...


Well something in this article sparked my idea for this weeks new theme! "Item at Walmart: Banana: Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT - News), which registered $405 billion in sales last year and is the largest retailer in the world, sold more bananas than any other single item." WOW I guess I am not the only one buying bunches of these beautiful bounties of bananaliciousness! Do you realize, that at only around 49 cents a pound... that's tons of bananas! LOL! So if ya haven't already guessed LMAO, this week is BODACIOUS BANANAS week! We love bananas and they are so good for you. So let's educate and accentuate the lovely fingers of yumminess! Eat & Enjoy!

Here are some facts about one of the world's most popular fruits:

The banana "tree" is not really a tree, but a giant herb. The banana is the fruit of this herb.

The cluster of bananas sold in supermarkets is a "hand" of bananas, while the individual bananas on the hand are called fingers.

The strings that go up and down the length of bananas are called Phloem Bundles. They help distribute nutrients to every part of the growing bananas.

The yellow bananas that are most often sold in supermarkets are sometimes called "dessert bananas" because they are soft and sweet.

Plantains are a type of banana that are not as sweet and are usually cooked. While not as commonly eaten in North America, plantains are a dietary staple in many tropical regions.

It is believed by many experts that bananas were the first fruit cultivated by humans.

Alexander the Great first came across bananas in India in 327 B.C.

Bananas were introduced to the United States at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Celebration, where they were sold wrapped in foil for 10 cents each.

Worldwide, bananas are the fourth largest fruit crop.

The average American consumes 28 pounds of bananas per year.

The banana peel is edible, though perhaps not very palatable unless cooked.

About 50 percent of people who are allergic to latex are often also allergic to bananas.



Dole Chicken Coconut Columbo

Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1/2 cup chopped DOLE® Onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14 oz.) lite coconut milk
1 pound butternut or acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (2-1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 small green or red bell pepper, cut into short strips
2 medium, firm DOLE Bananas, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
Hot cooked rice

Directions

Cook and stir chicken and onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until chicken is browned. Stir in coconut milk, squash, curry and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until squash is tender.

Stir in bell pepper; cook 2 minutes or until pepper is tender-crisp. Stir in bananas and lime juice. Serve over rice.

Benefits
Rich in Potassium, Low Sodium, Rich in Vitamin A, Rich in Vitamin C

Alright folks, time to go collect some freecycles, do some chores, and sew on some projects! I hope you are as excited as I am about this creamy dreamy week ahead and will come back tomorrow for more coffee chat and creative brainstorming! Be safe, be happy, and until tomorrow... HUGS!

2 comments:

  1. Debbie "MOM"August 16, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    Good morning to one and all. I'm moving slow this morning.....very slow. Renee is waiting for me to come over and I am a snail this morning. LOL Hope everyone had a good weekend.
    I liked the article but disagree with one of the things on it. Sometimes it does pay to have extended warranties on appliances because you never know if something will break down or stop working and there have been quite a few times where I have used my extended warranties on things. The warranty pays for itself with the cost of the labor and service calls alone if you need a repairman. Not to mention a lot of the newer appliance technology has to be specially handled to be fixed. I even heard that some vehicle warranties can be cancelled if someone other than an authorized certified repairman works on them. Crazy, huh?
    I love bananas. Always have and I try to keep them on hand for a good source of potassium because of leg cramps I get sometimes. An apple a day may keep the doctor away but a banana a day keeps you feeling OK!! LOL As far as the recipe today.....no can do on this one. The DH hates the taste of coconut. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. In the mean time, I think I'll go eat a banana or two. Til next time....

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  2. Oh I love bananas. Great idea for this week. Love the crafts. MIght make them for myself since I don't have kids. Working double hours lately, so haven't been around alot sorry. Take care.

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