Overdue final update: Financial Peace University Review

Hi, my name is Joe and I’m a slacker. I promised regular updates to my review of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU), in which I am enrolled, but have failed to deliver.

I am ashamed.

To make it up to you, I’m offering a bonus: until the end of July, all new RSS subscriptions are free. That’s right, free, as in zilch. Sign up quick and take advantage of my remorse. Subscriptions after the bonus period will be at least triple the bonus price!

If you found us through a search engine and are looking for the full Monty on Ramsey’s FPU, you’ll want to start here. The 13-week course is almost half over and I can say with a straight face that I’m happy with the content and the price we paid. I’d do it again, and recommend it to others. In fact, I will do it again because my membership fee entitles me to attend refresher courses anywhere, anytime, at no additional charge. It will be good to go back again later and brush up on the things I’m less interested in right now, such as college and estate planning.

My interest wanes
The first few weeks of FPU courses were very good for me: the importance of saving, how men and women think about money differently, how to plan cash flow (or how to make a budget that works), the evil of debt and how to get out of it (not necessarily in that order). But now that we’re moving on to more advanced topics, such as insurance, investments, and estate planning, I am less engaged in the content. Don’t get me wrong—the information is just as good and just as well presented, but my personal investment in it (my motivation) is smaller. There are reasons for this, and I understand the reasons, and it’s not a fault in the course itself.

The members areaFPU members area
I should have mentioned in an earlier post about the Members Area that those enrolled in FPU get access to (image used with permission). It’s full of good resources to supplement your reading and course content, such as budget spreadsheets, debt reduction calculators, discussion forums, and so on. There is a downside: you only have access to it for as long as your course lasts and then you have to convert to a paid membership if you want to keep getting in. It would suck to do all of your budgeting and debt-reduction planning online, only to lose that work when your free access is cut.

I recommend it
My results have not been as dramatic as those in FPU’s marketing, but they are positive results. We are saving money now (weren’t before) and have a workable plan to get out of debt. No magic unicorns that poop $100 bills, but good information that will serve us well for a lifetime. In my opinion, you can head over to Financial Peace University and sign up with confidence that you’ll get your money’s worth.

Got Independence? 3 things you should do this July 4th

Ahh, summertime! Watermelon, cherries, peaches, apricots, diarrhea. Long days at the lake, backyard grilling. And of course, the 4th of July-the only holiday to break up summer monotony between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Here are three things I’ve tried and recommend to you to enrich your July 4th experience.

1. Read the Declaration of Independence. In it, Thomas Jefferson lays out for all the world to see the colonists’ gripes with King George III that made them want to pick up their toys and go home. The guy was always drinking the beer in the fridge, but never bought beer, apparently. He laughed at his own jokes, and was always leaving the damn toilet seat up (according to Betsy Ross). But more importantly, Jefferson crystallized the vision for a new age and a new way of looking at ourselves as humans:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

Read it. Get inspired.

Luke and Maya, prior to today’s cotton candy dose.

2. Eat some cotton candy. The stuff is vile. I mean, can you believe we liked that junk as kids? I need to take an insulin shot just thinking about it! I used to smash it into little balls and chew it. The thought of it hurts my teeth. It seemed to last longer that way, but then I had sticky hands and no way to clean them. Licking them didn’t work so well cause my tongue was sticky and my hands tasted like a subway hand rail. I was a sickly child. But eat some anyway because it will prepare you for number 3.

3. Go see fireworks with a child. If you’re like me, you figure, “I’ve seen one fireworks show, I’ve seen them all.” And that’s probably true…unless you watch it through the eyes of a child. Preferably one between 1.5 and 8 years old. You’ll have more fun watching them than you’ve had at a fireworks show for a long time (not counting that one year you took a joint along). I remember taking our first daughter, Dani, to the fireworks one 4th of July when she was 2. It was 10:00, past her bedtime, and she lay quietly in the stroller not quite asleep. The show started and we tipped her back so she wouldn’t have to hold her head up, and I watched the fireworks reflected in her eyes. No “oohs” or “ahhs” from her, just quiet absorption. I have it, the secret to immortality: it’s the capacity for wonder that keeps us young. Lose it, and we’re toast.

Happy 4th, y’all. Happy Birthday, Idealism.

CashCrate.com Review: It’s a really small crate!

I’ve Tried That reader Alfa, who recently profiled our site on her blog, Flood of Dollars, suggested that we take a look at Cash Crate, another site claiming to pay you for trying companies’ products and services. I signed up. Here’s what I found out.

Cashcrate.com functions on the same premise as Inbox Dollars and Fusion Cash: sign up for promotional memberships and offers and get paid a small fee per sign-up. It also has a referral program so that you can get paid for the offers and memberships of people who sign up “under” you.

Cash Crate shotI like cashcrate better than Fusion Cash just because it is less obnoxious in its promotional graphics and text and because the site is faster loading. You go to the members area and can choose from offers using simple text, not full-on logos like Fusion Cash uses. The screen shot shows only the first nine of many, many offers. The site also warns you which offers require a credit card to sign up for, a nice feature.

I spent an hour taking surveys and signing up for offers at Cash Crate and have earned about $3.50. At that rate, it would take me a lifetime to earn a crate full of cash unless it’s the size of a Tic-Tac box. Cash Crate pays out at $10, so I’m sure someone with more time and patience for advertising than I have could make some pizza money. Good for students, maybe? It could definitely supplement the Taco Bell fund. If you spent enough time with it, you could probably learn to work its system faster than I did and therefore make more than $3.50/hour. If you’re looking to make more than just pocket change, though, I suggest spending your time elsewhere.

How Does Cash Crate Compare?

I did a review of a program called SwagBucks a few months back and just wanted to give you guys a little update on my progress, show you how much I’ve actually made with the program, and give some tips on how to quickly start making some money with them.

A quick overview: the concept behind SwagBucks is that they’d pay you for using their search page to browse the web. They make money through Google’s sponsored results and then pass some of their earnings on to you in the form of SwagBucks. You can also make money by filling out surveys, shopping online, watching videos, and many many more ways.

All you have to do is use their search page and every so often, you’ll be awarded SwagBucks which you can redeem for cash or gift cards.

The best part is the SwagBucks search bar uses Google, so you’ll get the same results you’re used to, but now you have a chance to make some extra money. It takes no extra effort on your part either. It’s a fun way to make some extra money each month.

And you can join today and see for yourself why I rate this program so highly, absolutely for free. Plus, you get a free $5 bonus just for signing up.

There are a lot more ways to earn, but searching is by far the easiest and the quickest. You’ll see the other ways in just a minute, but first…

Proof SwagBucks Actually Pays

Here’s an inside look at most of the orders that I’ve placed with SwagBucks since I’ve joined. This is a look inside my own personal account. I’ve cashed out and received $890.00 worth of gift cards so far.

Now, there are thousands of items you can spend your SwagBucks on or you can even redeem them for cash. I chose the giftcards because they’re a little bit cheaper than the cash redemption so you get more value for your SwagBuck, so to speak. Plus, I shop at Amazon often and this really helped cut down on costs.

Here’s a look at my total earnings so far: SB earnings

1 SwagBuck roughly equals 1 penny. So I’ve made approximately $928.78 since joining!

And here’s a look at just some of my rewards so far!

SB Cashed Out

Oh, and did I mention this was all free?

The Bottom Line

SwagBucks is a scam free way to make extra money online. It’s an excellent alternative to Cash Crate and you’ll make money much faster. I’ve been a member for about six months now and I’ve been paid over $890. It’s completely free to join and will help you bring in some extra cash by doing things you already do online. What more could you want from a program?!

SwagBucks is awesome and I highly recommend you click here an create an account right now. You get a $5 bonus offer just for signing up.