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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mint.com Personal Money Management Tool - After 3 Months What Do I Think?

Mint.com Personal Budget and Money Management Tool

Before I write about products I like to try them out personally first. I've used the Mint.com free, automatic, online money manager for about three months now. I have nothing but praise for the company. I signed up for the Mint.com money management/budget tool after reading Mint won TechCrunch40's top company award taking the $50,000 prize.

Sign up process

So you sign up for a free account and then enter your account(s) information. This includes savings account, checking, credit and debit cards, etc. The information is kept private and is 100% secure. Read Mint.com's extensive privacy policy here: http://www.mint.com/safe.html.

What are the benefits of Mint.com?

Easy to use: You’re up and running in less than five minutes. And Mint does virtually all the rest.

Comprehensive: Mint provides detailed visibility into virtually all your financial relationships with a single, secure login.

Visual and Analytical: Mint gives you powerful insights into your finances making–it easier to make good financial decisions.

Constantly working to find you savings: Mint typically finds users $1,000 in savings opportunities in their first session—minutes after registering. And Mint keeps looking for new ways for you to save every day—continuously comparing your needs to product, service and bank offerings most relevant to you.

Secure: Mint provides bank–level data security and industry–leading identity protection. Its security and privacy have been validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe.

Always On: You’re automatically notified of upcoming bills, low balances, and any unusual activity in any of your accounts through one (m)interface.

Anywhere/anytime access: You can get to Mint anywhere, anytime over the Web.

And it’s Free!

Conclusion

I have used Mint.com to keep track in real time my finances and recommend you do the same. Knowing how you spend your money is a crucial step to becoming wealthy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My Weekend Adventure - Scenic Hot Springs Stevens Pass WA

Scenic Hot Springs Adverture

This past weekend I had an adventure that I don't want to repeat anytime soon. I decided to hike to Scenic Hot Springs near Stevens Pass after I went skiing. I think whether you’re a blogger or affiliate marketer or whatever, you need to take breaks from your work and get outside. Taking mini vacations in the end will make you more productive at whatever you do.

After skiing all day me and a buddy decided to hike up to Scenic Hot Springs near the resort. If you don't know about Scenic Hot Springs it's located 3 miles away from Stevens Pass WA. Scenic Hot Springs is perched high on a bluff at about the 2,000 foot elevation in the Western Cascades. We weren't prepared at all for this adventure, but we decided to trek out anyway. We didn't have snow shoes, flash lights, and it was 6:00 PM. We had to move fast if we wanted to hike in daylight. We parked the car and hiked Highway 2 to the trail head. We hoped the snow bank and started the long hike to Scenic Hot Springs. The total distance of the hike is about 1 1/2 miles each way.

First Leg

The first thing we noticed was about every third step you would drop about 2 feet through the snow. This proved to make traveling very slow. The first leg of the hike was through the forest at a mild incline. As long at you walked on old snow shoes tracks of a previous hiker you didn't fall through the snow so often.

Second Leg

Then came the second leg of the hike where the forest trail opened up to a clearing. This part of the hike you follow the snapping high tension power lines up a steep incline. The snow was extremely deep and if you fell through it was about 2-3 feet up your leg. Through the forest it took about 15-30 min. this part of the hike took about 30-60 min. it was brutal, especially without snow shoes. All the while I was thinking if it's healthy to be in such close proximity to high tension power lines.

Third Leg

Now we came to the third and most difficult part of the hike through another forest trail. This hike was the steepest of all the sections of the hike. During the hike we had to cross fractured snow on the side of small cliffs and cross streams running underneath the snow.

Hot Springs

We made it! After about an hour and a half we got the pay off. We made it to the Hot Springs. The temperature of the hottest pools runs at about 110 degrees. There is another pool that runs a little cooler at 90 degrees. We stayed in the hot springs that overlooks snowy mountains, green forests, and Stevens Pass below for about an hour.

Around 9:00 PM we decided we needed to leave immediately because number 1 it was dark, number 2 it was starting to snow and number 3 it was getting colder. So we got out of the Scenic Hot Springs put on our clothes and started the long hike back.

Danger

White Out Conditions

We used our cell phones as the only source of light. The snow was coming down more heavily now as we hiked through the forest trail. Every few steps you would fall through the snow or fall down completely. Before the trail opened up to the clearing of the second leg I asked my friend, “What’s that sound?” It turns out the load roaring, crackling sound I was hearing was the high tension power being bombarded with snow. The power lines were also glowing an eerie blue electricity color. I put the danger of electric shock out of my mind because the snow was coming down even heavier and our tracks on the way up were barely visible. The snow was causing near white out conditions. If we couldn't find the trail back I didn’t even want to think what would happen to us. So by this point we were running down the mountain. Not a good idea because the added pressure of our feet caused my buddy to fall through the snow about 3 ft. He said he was stuck and as I hiked back to dig him out he somehow got loose. Then shortly after that incident my leg fell through the snow about 3 ft. causing it to get stuck. I thought I would lose my shoe for sure, but I slowly dug my leg out by hand freeing my shoe and all.

Trail Head

Even after all this hiking down was faster than hiking up. We had a 50/50 chance of finding the 'first leg' forest trail through the blinding snow, luckily we eventually did. This forest trail was easier to follow than the open second leg under the power lines. The whole time I was thinking about all the TV shows on the Discovery Channel about "respecting the mountain." That day we had no respect for the mountain... I will definitely be more prepared next time (at least bring a flashlight) I decide to go hiking in the mountains. At least I got a blog post out of it though right?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - See My Picks

Just taking a break from working for one of my favorite events of the year. I'm talking about the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. See picture below for my 2008 picks . According to BizJournals.com "'March Madness' is predicted to cost up to $1.4B in lost productivity." I would answer this fact with, there are some things more important than money. The The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is one of those things.

Monday, March 17, 2008

CNBC Jim Cramer Wrong on Bear Stearns - Video

I feel sorry for Jim Cramer it seems lately he's the most hated talking head on TV. As I've said on this blog before passive income is one of the best ways to becoming wealthy. When you decide to make an investment don't just listen to one source like CNBC's Jim Cramer, do research from multiple sources. Jim Cramer in the video clip below said "Don't sell Bear Stearns!" Oh how wrong he was!

If you haven't heard already, "The Fed agreed to pony up $30 billion in so-called nonrecourse loans - agreements that transfer the risk of Bear's bad mortgage bets to U.S. taxpayers. The Fed's decision paved the way for the Sunday evening deal that put Bear in JPMorgan's hands for $2 a share, a 93% discount to Friday's closing price (http://money.cnn.com)."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Going Down Affiliate Summit Las Vegas Memory Lane

I've been to several affiliate conferences, but the one that stands out every time I go is Affiliate Summit Las Vegas. Here are some pictures of the parties (the best part). Some people call this networking...

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