Yesterday while at the library I discovered a few new books on saving money. I will be reviewing them over the next few days. Two of them are quick reads that I was able to get through in a few hours yesterday.

The first one is 365 Ways to Become a Millionaire, Without Being Born One by Brian Koslow.

Brian Koslow shares the principles that put him on the road to success. The chapters and one tip from each include:

Integrity, The most powerful thing to believe in is yourself and your own ambitions.

Relationships, Remember above all else that no business, power, position, wealth, or fame is a substitute for your family.

Credibility, Make a list of at least three things that are unique about you, your services and/or your products. Communicate these more frequently, and your value will go up. So will your sales.

Reputation, The only way to keep a good reputation is to continuously earn it.

Negotiation, Most decisions in a negotiation are made emotionally and rationalized later.

Listening, You will always learn more by listening than by speaking.

Entrepreneurialism, Forget the lottery. Bet on yourself instead.

Money, The very first step to building wealth is to spend less than you make.

Productivity, To increase your personal productivity, make a list of all your strengths. Maximize your actions that use these strengths, and delegate your weaknesses to someone for whom they are strengths.

Time, Always delegate activities that require less expertise than you have. This will free up your time to notice and take action on opportunities that otherwise may pass you by.

Confrontation, Your ability to responsibly confront people is one of the key ingredients to getting ahead.

and Leadership, The common denominator of all effective leaders is self-discipline.

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Nancy Kvamme

With the upcoming events and holidays, Super Bowl, Valentines Day, Mardi Gras, and St Patricks Day one way to save on party supplies is to check out the dollar stores. Most dollar stores have plates, napkins, cups and utensils in a variety of colors and themes. They also have themed items for kids birthday parties. Dollar stores are also a great place to buy helium mylar balloons. Many have them for $1 and the ones I have received have stayed inflated for about a month.

And if you are planning ahead some other ideas are for graduation parties and other ocassions.

Many dollar stores also have items for favors and treat bags.

So if you are planning a party, consider checking out the dollar stores to save some money.

Nancy Kvamme

I recently discovered a website, You can type in the balance of your debts and annual percentage rates (APR) and it will calculate how much in interest you will pay and how long it will take you to be out of debt. It may come up with UK currency. If you look on the right hand side there is a spot to change the currency to US.

It may be discouraging to see how long it may take to be out of debt. But if you consider adding a little more to your payments each month, it can usually make a big difference in how long it will take to pay off your debts.

On the left side there is a link for snowballing. Snowballing is when you list your debts either from smallest balance due to largest or from highest APR to smallest. Either way works, whichever you are more comfortable with. The thinking behind starting with the smallest balance is that by paying off one balance you will keep your momentum going. If you pay the minimum payments on all of your debts and then any extra you can spare to the first bill. Then you take the amount you were putting towards that bill to the next one until that is paid off and so on.

There is also a calculator that shows how much you will pay in interest on your mortgage. With that too if you are able to apply additional money to your principal, you can cut down on the amount of interest you pay and will have your mortgage paid off sooner.

Nancy Kvamme

A couple free chances to learn new skills are coming up at the local libraries. The Moorhead Library is offering free felting classes. On Saturday, Feb 5, from 1-4 pm for ages 6-9 (with accompanying adult). The session is called Wild & Wooly with Lyn Cooper of the Textile Center of Minnesota.

There will be a Felted Bag session with Julie Slaby on Sat. Feb 12 from 1-4 for ages 12 and up. And on Sat, Feb. 19 from 1-4 there will be a Felted Jewelry session with Lynn Cooper for ages 12 and up.

Call 218-233-3757 to register. The library is located at 118 5th St S in Moorhead.

The Fargo Library is hosting Art in Pieces workshops for kids and families at the Dr. James Carlson Library at 2801 32nd Ave S, Fargo. The workshops will be with Mosaic artist Becky Mitchell. The sessions are free but must pre register for 30 minute sessions. The times are Feb 25, 11 am – 4 pm; March 5, 9 am – 3 pm; March 11, 11 am – 4 pm and March 19, 1-6 pm.

Call the library at 701-341-1495 to register.

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Nancy Kvamme


SaveCoin offers you deals on food, fun places to go and great things to buy in and around the Fargo-Moorhead area. If you want the deal, simpley click the “BUY” button. Your credit card is charged immediately when you click the “Purchase this deal” button. You will receive your deal voucher by email within 30 minutes of purchasing and it will be active to use the next day. You can also purchase deals to give as gifts.

There are also coupons available on the site for local businesses. There is also a Savings Book with these coupons available at local businesses. I found the Savings Book in the entry of Hornbachers.

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Nancy Kvamme

At <a>Practical Money Skills</a> educators, parents, and students can access free educational resources including personal finance articles, games, lesson plans, and more. Visa also works with state and national government to co-sponsor community-based events such as statewide Financial Football rollouts and the annual Financial Literacy in Education Summit.

Of the resources on the site to teach children about finances, two of them are Financial Football and Financial Soccer.

Visa and the National Football League have teamed up to help teach financial concepts with <a href=>Financial Footbal</a>, a fast-paced, interactive game that engages students while teaching them money management skills. Teams compete by answering financial questions to earn yardage and score touchdowns.

<a href=>Financial Soccer</a> is a fast-paced, multiple-choice question game, testing players’ knowledge of financial management skills as they advance down field, and try to score goals. Educators are encouraged to review and download the lesson modules, at right, before actual game play.

Sometimes it is easy to overlook extra expenses on statements. It is important to look through your charges each month on credit card statements and other statements. If you don’t keep an eye on them, it is easy to be billed for things you no longer want.

You may have signed up for a trial period of something and if you did not remember to cancel it, you may be being billed for it and not using it anymore.

Another one I have heard of is someone thinking they cancelled cell phone service. The company suspended service but did not disconnect service so they were billed for the monthly service on that line for a couple of years without realizing it.

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Nancy Kvamme

Some young boys and girls want to be superheroes, and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is providing students with the opportunity to contemplate being a financial superhero and express it through art.

To spread lessons in financial literacy to the nation’s youths, the NFCC again is sponsoring the Be Money Wi$e National Financial Literacy Poster Contest for 2011. The contest is designed to get students thinking about how to manage money effectively and offers them creative outlets to demonstrate their knowledge.

The theme of the NFCC’s 2011 Be Money Wise Poster Contest is “Be a $uperhero! $ave Money!”

All school-aged children in grades three to 12 are eligible to enter, with local and national winners to be chosen from each of three grade categories. Students from public or private schools may enter the contest, as well as home-schooled children or those in after-school programs.

Entries will be judged on expression of the theme, artistic style and creativity, and must be submitted to an <a href=>NFCC member agency</a> for local judging. The submission deadline for poster entries is in February, with varying deadlines set by the member agency.

Local winners become national finalists, as submitted by each NFCC member agency. National finalists will be in contention for three national awards, one per grade category, by a panel of judges representing academia, the media and government. A national winner also will be chosen from the three category winners.

All national finalists will receive commemorative T-shirts acknowledging their achievements. Each national grade-category winner will receive the T-shirt, an award plaque and a $100 savings bond.

In addition to these prizes, the national winner will be given an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with a parent or guardian, and will be given official recognition in April as part of Financial Literacy Month on Capitol Hill.

To participate, teachers, parents and/or students are encouraged to visit the website the NFCC created specifically for this contest, < href=>MoneyWise Poster Contest</a>, where they can find more detailed information.

Nancy Kvamme

I have talked previously about tracking your expenses. One result of this is to see how you spend your money and if there are expenses you can cut. I think many of us have got into the habit of unconsciously spending our money. If you take a moment to think if you really need an item, you may be able to save quite a bit.

One example of this is, I grew up on a farm and most of the times when we went to town, we got to pick out a candy bar. It was years after I left home that I finally realized most of the time that I went to the grocery store or somewhere else, I usually threw a candy bar in the cart. This was not a big expense but did add up over time and I probably did not need them as often as I was buying them. Another thing, is chips and snacks. I used to buy chips, etc most times when I went shopping. But now I rarely buy them.

As found in this <a href=>article</a> from one of the participants in the Forum Financial Fix-up, it is easy to get into unconscious spending too when you use credit cards. When you use cash you have to think more about what you are spending.

The other day at the grocery store, there was a lady that had her teenage daughter take some ice cream back to the freezer since it ended up not being on sale. Her daughter said it was $1 off but the mother said it is one of the things she doesn’t buy if it’s not on sale. Then she told the clerk they didn’t want a bag of chips either that her daughter had put in the cart.

I think it is important to explain to children what things cost and the difference between wants and needs.

If you stop buying certain things all the time, then when you do buy them on occasion it is more of a special treat and an everyday occurrence.

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Nancy Kvamme

It’s that time of year where people are starting to get their credit card bills and seeing that damage they did with holiday shopping.  If you are one of these, no need to panic.  Instead of ignoring it, take action to get rid of the debt as soon as you can and with a little planning you may be able to avoid it next year.

Instead of paying the minimum amount due, do what you can to pay off as much as you can each month.

Once you have the credit cards paid off, start putting money aside each month to put towards to holiday spending next year and birthdays, etc throughout the year.  Also, if you make a list of people you usually buy gifts for, an amount you plan to spend and any ideas you have for gifts.  Keep this with you and if you are out shopping and happen to find something throughout the year you can purchase it then, if your budget allows.

I had a note from a friend today that they had their first debt-free holiday this year after 20 years of marriage.  It is nice to see people be able to afford things they want without going into debt.

Nancy Kvamme