Category Archives: Healthy Habits

What it takes to succeed, three great articles that contain more wisdom than many MBA courses

In today’s fast changing world, it is increasingly important to maintain one’s competitive edge.  Technological breakthroughs are either eliminating jobs or shifting work around at a breakneck pace and if one is to survive and thrive under such conditions, complacency is not an option.

The following are three great articles which are worth a read by anyone working to gain, maintain, or increase their competitive edge.

First, Keld Jensen over at Forbes lo

What is Money? By David Mint
What is Money? By David Mint

oks at what it takes to succeed, and it may not be what you think.  We were once told that a good heart would take us further than good grades.  In our experience, this has proven true.  Jensen appears to agree in this great read:

Intelligence is overrated:  What you really need to succeed

Next, Geoffrey James over at Inc.com shares the core beliefs of great bosses.  Again, great stuff that we have observed as well.  Especially the first one he lists, “Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.”  We are truly all in this together, and great managers and leaders recognize this as a basic truth:

Management secrets:  Core beliefs of great bosses

Rounding out the trio is a piece on productivity by Ilya Pozin again at Inc.com.  Timely advice in a world were the need to communicate is trumping the need to produce:

7 Things highly productive people do

Next time you are in an entrepreneurial rut or feeling stuck, refer to these articles to get your groove back on track.

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead has arrived

2/28/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Our latest E-book offering:  Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead, has shipped and will soon arrive on digital shelves across the Internet.

More than a book on personal finance and budgeting, it is a collection of our personal finance tips told through a bakery metaphor.  It is now available and can be enjoyed with a coffee and danish on Smashwords, Amazon’s Kindle, and Google Books.

As an added bonus for visiting our page here at The Mint, you can download a sample budget spreadsheet in Excel format to help you to implement some of the tips here:

SAMPLE BUDGET

Dough: An introduction

dough -/dō/- noun -1. A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry. 2. Money: “lots of dough”.

Dough.  Unless you work in a bakery or pizza parlor, you probably can’t get enough of it.  As we began to elaborate this current volume, which, at its base, is a presentation of our unconventional budget tips, we knew that it would be necessary to employ a metaphor to keep fellow bakers, who have any number of demands upon their time beyond budgeting, or seeking out metaphors, for that matter, engaged long enough to revolutionize their approach to money, which in turn will give them time to knead dough, ponder metaphors, compose run on sentences, or indulge any number of whims which may be germinating in the dark recesses of their minds at this very moment.

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Most of the human race spends the better part of their waking moments either doing something or wondering what they should be doing.  Human action is an ultimate given, and, as the band Rush reminds us in their early 80′s smash, Freewill,

“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

The choices available to most of us are limited to the amount of dough that we have available or lack at any given moment.  This goal of this volume is to equip you, fellow baker, to dominate your dough situation and bake the loaves, pastries, or crusts in the style and quantities necessary to satiate your desires.  If we are fortunate, this volume will convince you that the key to happiness is in helping others, however, this is a hypothesis that must be proved by personal experience, and is not the central theme.

The central theme is dough, more precisely, how to manage your dough.  If you have been searching for information on budgeting and personal finance for any amount of time, we don’t have to tell you that there is an exhaustive amount of material available, and finding good advice that fits your situation, is can be as rare as finding a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker together these days.

With this in mind, we present these healthy habits as morsels on a platter.  You may choose to scarf them down in one sitting, which will undoubtedly shock your organism into convulsions, or you can take them in, one at a time, savoring each one while giving your organism adequate time to digest it, maintaining the nutrients and eliminating the waste through the proper channels.

The organism we speak of is your personal or family economy, which in this volume we refer to as the bakery, for all of us are cooking up one thing or another.  We recommend that you treat your bakery with the utmost of care.  This volume is designed to give you the tools to do just that.  If properly used in just the right proportions, these tips will help to ensure that everything you cook up will come out just right.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for February 28, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.53
Oil Price per Barrel:  $91.83
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.19
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.89%
FED Target Rate:  0.14%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,580 THE GOLD RUSH IS STILL ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  14,054
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,421,800,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,412,400,000,000

Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

2/20/2013 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

The following is the introduction of our soon to be released ebook on budgeting:  Budgeting Healthy Habits:  How to get the Dough you Knead.  It will be available on Kindle later in the week.  Stay Fresh and enjoy!

Dough: An introduction

dough -/dō/- noun -1. A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry. 2. Money: “lots of dough”.

Budgeting Healthy Habits:  How to get the Dough you Knead
Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead

Dough.  Unless you work in a bakery or pizza parlor, you probably can’t get enough of it.  As we began to elaborate this current volume, which, at its base, is a presentation of our unconventional budget tips, we knew that it would be necessary to employ a metaphor to keep fellow taxpayers, who have any number of demands upon their time beyond budgeting, or seeking out metaphors, for that matter, engaged long enough to revolutionize their approach to money, which in turn will give them time to knead dough, ponder metaphors, compose run on sentences, or indulge any number of whims which may be germinating in the dark recesses of their minds at this very moment.

Most of the human race spends the better part of their waking moments either doing something or wondering what they should be doing.  Human action is an ultimate given, and, as the band Rush reminds us in their early 80’s smash Freewill, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

The choices available to most of us are limited to the amount of dough that we have available or lack at any given moment.  This goal of this volume is to equip you, fellow taxpayer, to dominate your dough situation and bake the loafs, pastries, or crusts in the style and quantities necessary to satiate your desires.  If we are fortunate, this volume will convince you that the key to happiness is in helping others, however, this is a hypothesis that must be proved by personal experience, and is not the central theme.

Back to your dough.  If you have been searching for information on budgeting and personal finance for any amount of time, we don’t have to tell you that there is an exhaustive amount of material.  Finding good advice, or good advice which fits your situation, can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.  With this in mind, we present these healthy habits as morsels on a platter.  You can choose to scarf them down in one sitting, which will undoubtedly shock your organism into convulsions, or you can take them in, one at a time, savoring each one while giving your organism adequate time to digest it, maintaining the nutrients and eliminating the waste through the proper channels.

The organism we speak of is your personal or family economy, which we recommend you treat with the utmost care.

Stay tuned to The Mint for the release later this week and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for February 20, 2013

Copper Price per Lb: $3.57
Oil Price per Barrel:  $94.46
Corn Price per Bushel:  $7.00
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.02%
FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!
Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,564 THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!
MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25%
Unemployment Rate:  7.9%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.0%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  13,928
M1 Monetary Base:  $2,496,300,000,000 LOTS OF DOUGH ON THE STREET!
M2 Monetary Base:  $10,399,700,000,000

Advice on Securing your Financial Future

The following is a guest post on a timely personal finance topic from Maria, a tech writer from the UK with a fondness for finance.  We encourage you to follow her on Twitter at @financeport for more debt reduction and personal finance tips and information.  Without further adieu:

Advice on Securing your Financial Future

Want to secure your financial future? Want to make your future goals brighter? want to save money?

The first step you need to take is to create a financial plan.  Having a financial plan will help you to save money and make decisions consciously and accurately.  It includes a list of your goals as well as a time frame, cost, anticipated rate of return, and the investment/savings method you will use to achieve the goal.

Secure your Financial Future
Secure your Financial Future

The formula that all the people should follow is “Bright Financial Future=Solid plan + Steady income.”

Create a Financial Plan:

In order to secure your future the first step is to have a financial plan where you put more interest in saving money.  In order to make decisions financially you should have some type of plan, no matter how basic.

Set Goals:

You will have a better chance of having money if you plan for the things you want to do in future. Long-term goals may require five to ten years to accomplish. For example your goal may be to start a family, save money for a child’s wedding, college tuition, or purchasing a home. Short term goals are the things you would like to do next week, today, or in a couple of years.  They may include getting marriage, changing jobs, taking a vacation, buying a car and so on.

Consider Investing:

In order to deliver regular interest payments you can count on, a savings account is a good start, but it will not generate enough interest to keep up with inflation. Investments in bonds and stocks have generally out performed inflation, but CDs and savings accounts have not. Investments in stocks and bonds contain more potential to earn profits than savings accounts do, they also have option to fall in value or generate a lower gain than you expected.

Other than government bonds, investments are never guaranteed in the sense if you loose money on investment you probably have no recourse. This is the biggest difference between insured bank accounts and investments.

Seek Advice:

Some people locate investments by searching the internet and reading magazines as a form of due diligence, others rely on the Advice of experts. A financial expert can help you select the investments that best fit your plan. Before selecting an investment expert, it is wise to conduct interviews with different licensed experts. This will help you to have knowledge on several types of services that are accessible to investors.

Start Saving Seriously:

Start by saving enough money to cover your urgent living expenses for many months. You should have easy access to your money in a savings account.  A savings account is generally insured for losses up to $250000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

In any situation, if you are short of money and need an emergency loan, you can get a loan in order to secure those funds by purchasing Payment Protection Insurance (PPI).  PPI is an insurance policy which is purchased with loans and credit cards in order to secure those loans for the lender.

About the Author:

This article has been posted by Maria, a professional blogger who is writing articles on PPI claims and shows keen interest in finance. You can reach her on Twitter: @financeport

Get Out of Debt by Enhancing Your Credit Score

The following is a guest post on a timely personal finance topic from Alicia, a tech writer from the UK with a fondness for finance.  We encourage you to follow her on Twitter at @financeport for more debt reduction and personal finance tips and information.  Without further adieu:

Get Out of Debt by Enhancing Your Credit Score

In the present competitive world many people are prone to being burdened with debts which come about for one reason or another. Irrespective of the reasons, these debts can cause real trouble by bringing down people’s credit score; this needs to be resolved immediately.  The best way to improve your credit rating is by paying back all of your debts.  Here are some helpful tips that can be followed to get out of debt and improve your credit score: Get out of debt - Credit Cards - Piggy Bank

  • Stick to your budget plan: It is vital to design a budget plan that will suit your standard of living.  It should include all the income and expense details which can be modified accordingly.  Once the plan is prepared, stick to it with complete determination and dedication. 
  • Keep reminders of overdue dates:  Most debts that you owe should be repaid in monthly payments, which are a sum of interest charges and a portion of the principle amount. Dates are specified for these payments to be made.  Be sure to keep track of them.  Assuring that all bills are paid on time that will not only avoid penalties but will also have a positive impact on your credit rating.
  • Overpayments: People tend to pay the exact repayment amount, but it is advised to avoid this strategy and try to pay more than required as that will cut down principle amount borrowed, which will in turn improve your credit score.  This can be done with the assistance of payday loans or by directly transfering money from your savings account to repay your debts.
  • Check credit history periodically:  Your credit history should be checked periodically in order to avoid surprises and unforeseen consequences.  Reviewing your credit report allows you to know the exact details of all the debts owed, and if there are any errors on the report they can be addressed before they become a problem.  It is even possible to know if there is any crossing of credit limit, if so then it can be prevented
  • Opt for a debt consolidation loan:  One of the best options many borrowers is to repay all existing debts through a debt consolidation loan instead of declaring bankruptcy. This type of loan provides a certain amount as a loan with relatively lower interest rates.  The consolidator is capable of collecting monthly payments and distributing it among all the creditors for fast repayment and subsequent improvement of your credit rating.
  • Avoid credit card use: The latest survey conducted has proved that one of the main reasons for accruing debts is due to the use of credit cards, where card holders are prone to exceeding their credit limit.  The ultimate result can be overwhelming debts.  It is manageable to use credit cards wisely to some extent, however avoiding them would be the better choice.
  • Utilise liquid assets: You can find many liquid assets that are just lying around your home that have cash value; these assets can be sold to get money that can be utilised in repaying debts.

Author Bio:

My name is Alicia. I am a tech writer from UK. I am into Finance. Catch me @financeport

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part III – Debt elimination and the Mystery of tithing

4/20/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you have missed the first two parts of this series, please take a moment to review them below:

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part I – Expenses

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part II – Income

Today, before we put budgeting to rest for a season, we would like to leave you with some additional healthy habits:

Additional Healthy Habits:

Avoid accumulating too much debt – Limit yourself to one or two credit cards with realistic credit limits to avoid the temptation to over spend.  Create a policy between you and your partner to discuss all unplanned purchases over a certain dollar amount before committing to it.  There is wisdom in counsel, and often running a purchase by someone else will help one make a rational rather than emotional decision.

Tips on Debt elimination – Check your budget to ensure that you have a surplus with which to pay back the debts (via depreciation line or an operating surplus), if not, make adjustments (belt tightening, if you will) until you do have a cash surplus.  Start with the lines where you have been most conservative and pare them back, then make cuts if necessary.

There is nothing wrong with delaying gratification.  In many ways, a purchase can be more satisfying if made with funds obtained via a multitude of tiny sacrifices.

Start paying back the smallest debts first.  Paying a debt off will help you build momentum and create habits in order to pay off bigger and bigger debts as you go along.

A great resource for this is Gary North’s “Deliverance for Debt” Debt reduction course.  It is free and you can subscribe via email.

http://deliverancefromdebt.com/

Naturally, there is an infinite number of different tips and tricks for eliminating debt and saving money.  In this space, we will endeavor to share a few of our tried and true tricks, however, it is not enough.

We must then make a shameless appeal to our altruistic fellow taxpayers to share one or more of their favorite tips on The Mint’s Budgeting Forum.  Its easy, just sign in with your Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, or other nearly other commonly used internet user IDs and help your fellow man to help him or herself on their journey to budgeting nirvana.

Stealth Saving – Pay an extra $5 to $10 on utility bills each month.  After a few months, you will have a free month of utilities.

Open a separate savings account  –   Fund this account first every month and make it difficult to access (no online banking, checks, etc.).  Open it at a separate bank from the one that you normally bank at.  This will force you to think twice before using it.

Pay cash for items – There is something about cold hard cash that makes you think twice about spending and helps solidify the limit on how much you can spend.  Cash disappears, plastic doesn’t!

Keep the change – Pay cash for items and accumulate the change throughout the day.  At the end of the day, dump it in a 5 gallon water bottle.  When it is full, take the money to the bank and go on vacation.

80 – 10 – 10 plan – This is mentioned by many and the general idea is that you live on 80% of your income, save 10% and tithe (give to your local church) 10% of your income.  I will not elaborate on it here, other than to make mention of the reasoning for the tithe.

Why tithe?  Despite the numerous Biblical references, tithing is not one of the Ten Commandments.  So why do it, especially when you are in debt?

God designed tithing not to separate us from our money, rather, to teach us how to serve and experience blessing in the process.

Tithing, apart from helping keep the lights on at your local church, has the incredible habit forming benefit of forcing one to focus on their income.  God knows that you can spend all day in a defensive position, cutting costs and desperately clinging to maintaining what you have.  This is an expense based focus on money and it can have many benefits in the material world, but it is worthless in God’s Kingdom.

God wants you to have an income focus.  “What can I do to serve others that is most highly valued by them?” should be the question on your mind.  Remember, “The greatest amongst you shall be servant of all.”

Tithing forces you to focus on your income first, which naturally will force you to focus on serving others rather than maintaining and increasing your own possessions.  It may seem strange, but serving the greatest number of people has the unique benefit of increasing one’s blessing, both on earth and in heaven.

God has made his creation perfect, and the economic laws are eternal and He can be trusted.  “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Additional  Budgeting resources:

The BibleDaily study of God’s word will give wisdom in guidence in every area of your life, finances included.

Mint.com:  A free expense tracking software which accesses your online bank account information once you give it permission

Turbotax.com:  An online income tax calculation tool.  There is a charge to file your taxes with the software.  Tip:  To avoid the charge and get the benefits of a free tax adviser, use turbotax to calculate your taxes, then copy the information to a paper form and mail it in.  This is a great way to be aware of changes in the tax code without having to do hours of research.

Dailyreckoning.com:  A great resource for alternative investments.

APMEX.com:  An online precious metals dealer which sell gold and silver coins at reasonable prices.

deliverancefromdebt.com:  Gary North’s debt elimination course mentioned above, free of charge.

A budget, like staring at oneself in the mirror each morning, can be a scary thing.  After waking up, nearly everyone could use some degree of care to make oneself presentable.  Your budget is no different.

Rest assured that there is not anyone who looks in their financial mirror, the budget, and turns away completely satisfied.  We are all imperfect human beings, and a realistic budget tends to reflect our imperfect actions.  According to Mises, the source of all Human Action is to remove “felt uneasiness.”  Creating a budget, then may be a way to measure just how ill at ease we are.

{Editor’s Note:  If you have ever wondered why people do what they do and how the economy works, we encourage you to take the time to read “Human Action” by Von Mises}

Finally, take comfort in knowing that everyone lives on the margins.  The rich are always on the brink of either acquiring another sports car or losing a mansion, while the poor are always on the brink of much graver decisions involving the use of resources.  There is no one this side of heaven who does not feel need and want to some degree.

And it is good, for it is this felt uneasiness which causes us to serve one another.  This mechanism alone, if left unchecked by coercion and compulsion, would eradicate poverty as we know it.

The time has come to stop doubting and believe.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for April 20, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.73

Oil Price per Barrel:  $103.88

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.12

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.97%

FED Target Rate:  0.13%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,642

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25% AWAY WE GO!

Unemployment Rate:  8.2%

Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,029

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,211,300,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,968,200,000,000

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part II – Income

4/18/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

Today we had the privilege of sharing these budgeting tips that you, fellow taxpayer, are currently indulging in, with our wife’s mothers group.  It was a great experience and we were pleased that nobody fell asleep during the presentation.

Let’s face it, budgeting falls closer to most people’s definition of chores than their definition of entertainment.

Mothers (and Fathers) are wise out of necessity.  They are forced to plan for not only their own needs but also those of others.  For most of them, budgeting is old hat.

As such, we found ourselves preaching to the chior, which is always a pleasant experience.  We pray that you are in the chior as well, fellow taxpayer, as today’s installment on income is vitally important.

The M2 money supply measure is on the cusp of crossing $10 TRILLION for the first time ever.  Bedford’s law states that it will take less and less time to cross $20 trillion, and so on.

What does it mean?  It means that prices are about to shoot up in a nasty way, and it will be much more important to increase you income than to attempt in vain to control your expenses, as most will choose to do.

{Editor’s note:  If you need a refresher on Expenses, please check out Part I of this series}

So how does one go about increasing their income?  In a general sense, it can be summed up in the following phrase:

Economize and value your time!

More specifically, putting this phrase into action can take many forms, such as:

Moonlighting or Self Employment – What can you do to help others when you are not at work?  Would they pay you for it?

Acquiring new skills at your present job and constantly seek advancement, which in most cases will increase your chances of getting a raise or promotion.

Generating passive income – For most, passive income is not an option until we collect social security or can draw on a 401K or other retirement plan.  This is why you save, but it will not fill your income gaps while you are younger and working.  However, the concept of passive income becomes very important when considering…

Investments – If you have some input as to how your retirement money is invested, it is best to choose investments that provide a growing stream of passive income.  That is, investment in companies which make real things which people want and are willing to pay for.  If there are no good alternatives, the next best thing to do is to purchase gold or silver coins and to take possession of them.  Store them in a hidden safe on your property.  Gold and silver will hold value against a depreciating currency and have the added advantage of incurring no maintenance costs or taxes while you hold them.

Jesus’ teaching on money via a response to a question on tax evasion:

We have recently explored the phrase “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to the Lord what is the Lord’s” in the context of eschatology, or the end times.  Now, we will briefly examine this phrase as it applies to our relationship to money and property.

With the above statement, Jesus recognizes that everything is God’s, and at the same time, that God recognizes and enforces private property rights in dealings between men.  This is often a point of confusion.

He also creates an eternal separation between a person’s soul and their money.

Below is the full text of this brief but important interaction as it is translated in the NIV.  Please read and let us know below if you arrive at a similar conclusion:

Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar

 15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?”

 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

   Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

Wait, we are talking about budgeting, right?  Why are the words of Jesus important and relevant?  Tune in tomorrow for a final dose of healty habits as well as an explanation of the practical benefit of tithing, the curious ritual in which the devout give 10% of their income to a religious institution.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

 

Key Indicators for April 18, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.66

Oil Price per Barrel:  $102.82

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.01

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.98%

FED Target Rate:  0.16%  ON AUTOPILOT, THE FED IS DEAD!

Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,642

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25% AWAY WE GO!

Unemployment Rate:  8.2%

Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,033

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,355,700,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,926,800,000,000