Friday, May 15, 2009


Almost every day we share personal information about ourselves with others. Think about when you write a check, charge game tickets, rent a car, mail your tax returns, buy a gift online, call home on your cell phone, schedule a doctor's appointment or apply for a credit card. Each transaction requires you to share personal information: your bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your Social Security number (SSN); or your name, address and phone numbers.

What happens to the personal information you provide to companies, marketers and government agencies? It’s possible that these organizations could use your information to process your order; to tell you about products, services, or promotions; or to share with others.

One step further… what about the unscrupulous individuals, like identity thieves, who want your information to commit fraud? Identity theft - the fastest-growing white-collar crime in America - occurs when someone steals your personal identifying information, like your SSN, birth date or mother's maiden name, to open new charge accounts, order merchandise or borrow money. It’s not uncommon for consumers targeted by con artists to be unaware that they've been victimized. Most people find out when they’re contacted by collection agencies pursuing the consumers to cover debts they didn't even know they had.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages you to make sure your transactions — online and off — are secure and your personal information is protected. The FTC offers these tips to help you manage your personal information wisely, and to help minimize its misuse:

Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared with others. Ask about company's privacy policy: Will you have a choice about the use of your information; can you choose to have it kept confidential?
Read the privacy policy on any website directed to children. Websites directed to children, or that knowingly collect information from kids under 13, must post a notice of their information collection practices.
Put passwords on all your accounts, including your credit card account, and your bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information — like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number — or obvious choices, like a series of consecutive numbers or your hometown football team.
Minimize the identification information and the number of cards you carry to what you'll actually need. Don't put all your identifying information in one holder in your wallet, purse, briefcase or backpack.
Keep items with personal information in a safe place. When you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, credit offers you get in the mail and mailing labels from magazines— shred them! That will help thwart any identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information.
Consider ordering a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) every year. Make sure it's accurate and includes only those activities you've authorized. CRAs can't charge you more than $9.00 for a copy and in some states, your credit report is free.
Use a secure browser when shopping online to guard the security of your transactions. When submitting your purchase information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good Quote

"We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances. We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. . . . If you have paid your debts and have a financial reserve, even though it be small, you and your family will feel more secure and enjoy greater peace in your hearts."
—The First Presidency

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saving money is easy!

How to Trim Spending
(Tips from

You can cut back on spending in times when money is tight, but spending less doesn’t mean you have to cut out the things you enjoy. Here are some ways you can trim the money tree, pain-free:

*Determine which expenses you can eliminate without affecting your quality of life. For example, can you downgrade your cable and still get the channels that matter most to you?

*Eat out less often. A family of four can easily spend $30 at a very inexpensive restaurant.You can make that same meal, or a much better one, at home for about one-third of the cost.

*Plant a small vegetable and herb garden. Not only do you save on grocery bills, but you also benefit from homegrown fun and flavor.

*Cook a giant feast on weekends and freeze the leftovers in individual containers. Now you have homemade, ready-to-heat meals for a fraction of the cost of quality processed frozen foods.

*Sell items you don’t use or need, and purchase quality secondhand items. Check out Craigslist, an online classifieds site that offers everything from housemates to horseshoes.

*Become a do-it-yourselfer. If you currently hire someone to mow, clean, or provide other domestic services, explore how much money you could save by doing these projects yourself.

*Revive the dying activity of window shopping. Gather a group of friends to simply walk through stores, browsing to see what’s new and to admire the displays.

*Shop in your own home. After years of overconsuming, many people have extra dishes, furniture, clothing, and more. When you feel a hankering to redecorate a room or set a special table for the holidays, go shopping through the items you already have.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lets Get it Together

Our ward is having finance classes every week this month. I was so happy to hear they would be using some of the ideas and philosophy of Dave Ramsey.
It is such a scary time to be fooling around with our money. I have learned to really decide what is a need and what is a want. Make a list of everything you spend money on and put it in a want or a need category. It will be surprising. And remember what really constitutes as a need. I know it will mean differently to different people, however I just try to think about what it mean to have sufficient for our needs. Good to at least think about.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Don't Be Scamed

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sent a letter to its congregations, urging members to be wary of fraud.
In the letter being read in churches, the First Presidency says “reports of fraud schemes and unwise investments prompt us to again counsel members with respect to prudence in managing one’s financial affairs.”
“We are concerned that some church members ignore the oft-repeated direction to prepare and live within a budget, avoid consumer debt, and to save against a time of need,” the statement reads.
“Consideration should also be given to investing wisely with responsible and established financial institutions. We are also concerned that there are those who use relationships of trust to promote risky or even fraudulent investment and business schemes.”
The LDS Church did not elaborate beyond the First Presidency’s statement, but Utah authorities who investigate financial crimes hope Utahns will “heed the message.”
“I hope bishops have read them. It is real critical that they are being read,” said Francine Giani, the executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce. “I hope people are listening.” Here in Utah, authorities said a majority of the fraud cases they encounter involve some level of “affinity fraud,” which is an investment scam that preys upon members of a specific group — such as a religious or ethnic community.
. . . Affinity fraud is not limited to the LDS Church, but, obviously, many of the cases in Utah are LDS-centric because it is the dominant faith. “People that are going to perpetrate a fraud on a group of people, the issue of trust is important,” Giani said. “That trust can come from a religious affinity.”
Barlow said anecdotaly, they find LDS connections do factor into a fraud scheme.
“You’ll walk into their office and they’ll have their Gospel Doctrine manual laid out there because they’re preparing their lesson for Sunday,” she said. “I don’t know that all of the people are consciously trading on their church affiliation. I’ve often thought the first person a con man cons is himself.”
. . . Barlow said the weight of the LDS Church’s statement may be lost on those perpetuating schemes, because they believe the “investment opportunity” will work this time.
“They won’t think it applies to them because they aren’t doing it,” she said. “They think, ‘Yes, you should go after these bad guys, but I’m not one of them.”‘
Giani hopes those looking to put their money in someone’s investment will listen and do their homework, making sure people are licensed and have clean records. In Utah such information can be found by visiting the state’s Web site at “As a member of the faith, it is always a tragedy to me to uncover many of the details (of a fraud scheme). Frankly, I am much less tolerant of those kinds of situations, because technically we should know better,” Giani said. In its statement, the First Presidency urged its members to know the risks of investing. “While all investments carry an element of risk, that risk can be managed by following sound and proven financial principles: first, avoid unnecessary debt, especially consumer debt; second, before investing, seek advice from a qualified and licensed financial advisor; and third, be wise.”

For the rest of the article click HERE

Friday, January 23, 2009

Envelope System

As Aaron and I have been on the Dave Ramsey Plan and part of the Budget is to start the "Envelope System" It was a great way to help keep me in check on how much I was actually spending. Having the debit card was so easy to go over my budget. But if the money is not in the envelope, I don't buy it!
 It was a little frustrating at first to fumble through my cash and change at the check-out stand. Plus I had all my coupons so I was holding up the line (I felt) and it made my heart race! But I just had to remind myself that I want to be "weird" and not fall into the ways of the world. I take a deep breath, put on a smile and let everyone just wait because I'm getting out of debt people!

This has really helped me to plan better, to stick to our budget, and GET OUT OF DEBT!
Try it and share your story with us!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stick to your budget!

The truth is, we should all have a budget to stick to! Of course, the amount will vary for each of us, but no matter how big or small, it is still a budget! Here are some basic principles from

-Keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income and expenses.
Determine how to reduce what you spend for nonessentials.

-Use this information to establish a family budget. Plan what you will give as Church donations, how much you will save, and what you will spend for food, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, insurance, and so on.

Discipline yourself to stay within your budget plan. A budget worksheet is a useful tool to help you with your plan. Print your worksheet here!