My Card or Yours?

I’ve had some instances lately where have been asked to write down my address here for others. I was thinking about having some personal cards made up with the address here, but kept putting this off because of the expense. A lot of times, it’s very handy to have preprinted cards to give to your acquaintances when you see them (in real life, that is) so that they have something with your URL on it, and it also serves as a good spot to make some small notes on the back for them like a reminder of a party, or maybe another site that you had been discussing. I found a site called ooPrint that offers 100 FREE business cards, where all you pay is the shipping. I’ve used a place similar to this in the past. One big twist is the “web 2.0” designs that they have that are geared toward bloggers. These designs are listed in their online catalog as “blogger business card”, and there are four designs with varying colors and icons. What I really like about these is that they feature a slick-looking tag cloud at the bottom. Not only that, but you customize the words that make up the tag cloud, so your cards are fully customized to what your blog is about.

The site is easily navigated, and as you fill in the information for the cards, you immediately see a mini proof of how the cards will look. Besides the specials on business cards, they have a host of other printed solutions to choose from, including custom wine labels and neat-looking invitations.

Spidering for Gadgets

With November comes the season of bundling up every place we go, and a nonstop rush for year-end and holiday gift-giving occasions. Being a tech geek, I’m always watching for deals on personal electronics and discount computers, and all things computer-related. Yes. Even if I personally am not in the market for these things at the time, because I try to help people find deals on technology. And I tend to watch the pricing fluctuate, so when I do find a need am in the market, I will have an idea.

This is especially true of buying memory upgrades for PC’s and laptops.

I’ve found that the site, TechBargains can come in very handy. The site has good navigation and a series of RSS feeds, and is updated 24/7, even on weekends and holidays. It’s not an online store, though. They keep up with the specials, coupons, deals, and pricing at all the online retailers. It “web spiders” for me, and gets all the information in a usable format.

Like I was saying, if you are in the market for RAM very often, you will know that the price fluctuates wildly, so knowing when to strike can save you a fat wad of cash. Right there on the left side of the front page, there are boxes that show the current pricing for the most common sizes and speeds of RAM, and another box for CPU’s. It’s beautiful. There are good search options to help you find a coupon code to use on a purchase you are already to make, and also to locate the best price on anything they track, which includes a ton of non-computer stuff, too (I saw a deal for Aéropostale and Wilson’s Leather just a few minutes ago that might come in handy for a couple of cold-weather outfits for the girls).

There is a page to see just the coupon codes that can be sorted, and always shows the expiration dates of the codes, with a neat “Expiring!” icon showing up in orange to help you locate those last-minute codes.

The site also offers comparisons and reviews, and it is also mobile-friendly, so if you see a deal and have internet access on your phone, you can do a quick lookup to see if it’s the best deal.

Stock trading is friendlier with two

Stock trading is friendlier with two people. Or two hundred. Most of the time, when we get into something that has a high learning curve, the best way to dig in is to find a group of friends who already know the ropes, and who will help you out without taking advantage of you. The social aspect is very important because it keeps us from giving up. If you don’t feel like you are lost and completely alone in something–like a lost puppy in the middle lane of the freeway–, you will be more focused on the important bits that can make it all worthwhile.

In the post about the Google stock, I explained that I have never done any trading in the stocks and bonds arena, but have known people who were very much into it, and I went into some detail there about the information available freely on websites, making some observations on how user-friendly they are/aren’t, and could be.

There is a site called where you can set up an account and meet other investors, both hobbyist and professional. You can learn the ropes of stock trading, create and track a portfolio (using pretend dollars, but you could also win real dollars), and get into the game with all of the members who are already there. This is one of the best ways of etching out a good strategy, and testing it before doing anything with real money, and even after you start investing.

You also get a profile page, like any other social network, and you can view weekly standings. Another cool thing is that you are able to view the picks of other members in the “Rookie Challenge”. So if someone is doing a spectacular job in the rankings, you can see what stocks they have chosen, which might help you to build your portfolio as well.

The fantasy trading on this site is based on the real markets, plus a short delay.

If you think you can pick stocks well enough to make money, you should get a profile at mywallst and meet others who do!

Virtual lines are better

I’ve been holding fast to a personal rule for many years now, that once you flip the calendar page to October, the personal spending should taper off steeply. The reason I came up with this rule many years ago was because of the whole holiday shopping mania. Every time this comes up in conversation, other people have said that they have the same rule, but only after Black Friday, The shopping addict’s complete bender of a day, in all of its retail glory…

I have always included both October and November because of extended family, and knowing that I’d rather be saving money for some nicer things for loved ones, or spending the extra shopping time making something special by hand to go with store-bought things….

Now that I have little ones, though, much of the foaming-at-the-mouth retail frenzy cannot be staved off. Every year, I do more and more of my holiday shopping online, and the return is exponential, especially when you factor in the lines, parking, and having to try to purchase “Santa” items right under their noses. Of course a sitter is an option if you have the cash, but I usually don’t.

So, what about Black Friday, you say? The day after Thanksgiving, all the stores have these amazing deals that are so awesome, people are camping out in front of the store to get in and buy them before they run out. Well , if you like to do the shopping online, and also want these deals, there is a really cool site,, that can help you tremendously in getting these deals without having to show up at the store, practice judo to get the toys, stand in line, and hit the next place, all before the rooster crows. They have several large chain stores listed, offering deals at Toys R Us, and they watch for the black Friday ads to show up, post them on the site, and also keep up with discount codes to use in the shopping carts of all the retailers, to save you even more cash.

I’m already set up with email reminders, too. I was really impressed with the list of stores where they have deals. They have at least ten of my favorite places on the planet to drop a few bucks in the list. Another cool thing about doing the holiday shopping online is that everything shows up in a plain brown wrapper, which makes it even easier to keep the innocently curious from getting into before you are able to gift wrap and camouflage the good stuff to save the name of the fat red-coated guy in the sled!