Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LaBella Gift Baskets

Although I stopped being part of the Labella "family" I have not stopped forever! I plan on being back, only my plate has been overloaded with demands of family. My personal life is not anything to write a book about but it is demanding at times. My autistic son is my primary responsibility and I take on that responsibility with both a heavy heart and without doubt I am the best person for the job.
He is a challenge at times. Today I received his seventh cell phone via UPS for him and now hope he comes to get it before we leave for South Dakota for the New Year. I am in charge of his spending habits with the little money he does receive. I know I can't just help him by giving him extra money because like his cell phone, it can easily be lost or broken or dropped somewhere it can never be retrieved from. So I go shopping with him and give him extra things for the holidays.
Then there are our other two sons whom we can't leave out just because one needs so much of our attention. One day we will be relocated and won't be able to take care of our autistic son and will need something to take up my time, even in retirement.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If Labellas proves to be succesful I just may take it into retirement!

I have been making money with Labella Gift Baskets. Here's my link. Better yet, here's my blog! You can tell I've been working, coming up with ideas, and getting responses. If it doesn't get anywhere in one year I'll probably give up. But it won't be for the lack of my trying! I know it's never going to bring me big bucks but even if it's half of what I used to make full time I will stay with it! Here's to a year of hard work!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

LaBella may be cheap to have as a business but....

As I've said many times before, I have time on my hands. I've been unemployed for three years now. I market for a exterior home contractor. I make money with that to stay with LaBellas and have money left over. I'm gaining ground all by myself and that's just fine with me. I love what I do and will have part time employment throughout the year. My Gift Basket business is growing but it is a business. It better be flying a year from now! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Retirement is only for the very young

When does retirement really start? Only in your head! Face it, you may not hold a paying job, you may be receiving money from the money you put away, but retire? How many people go into retirement with a set game plan on what they are going to do with it? Almost everyone is doing anything other than retire to their easy chair in the living room in front of the television! "80 is the new 60, 70 is the new 50, whatever. So, left with all this health, energy and creativity what are we doing with it? designing new gardens, redecorating, a lot more travel, and joining new groups and their functions. Who really retires?
What it means is you don't have to answer to anyone's bell. You are responsible for your schedule or lack of one. Many take on a new venture tailored only for them. Retirement jokes are passe'. How you spend your time and peoples view of you is not the same as your parents retirement, or is it? My parents retired to travel and visiting family. Fishing, hunting, gardening and continued support of the families church. Call that retirement? No easy chairs and television for them! I have this feeling the same will be said for me and for my husband. How do you go from 100 miles an hour to zero? You don't. You hit the ground running just like any other day you've lived. Nothing but the physical and mental capacity God gives you to the end will stop you. I don't know how long I'll live but, I will live it well!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Is La Bella Gift Baskets a scam

I joined La Bella Gift Baskets last Weds for $1.98. This gives me 7 days to get my website, read or listen to everything I can on the website and ask my initial questions. After that I have to pay $19.98 or, what I call $20 for every month thereafter. I’ve only paid to join one other online program. I will not join any program unless I’ve read a review about it by the one person I trust online. So I decided to join this one.
First I’ll cover the pros: I know it’s not a scam and I haven’t made any money yet! They have a tremendous support system. The training site is set up just for us beginners and there is a welcome conference call and they walk you through the training page step by step. Your web site is divided in half. They’ve packed in a lot of information into one easy to use site. It gives the visitor the chance to order and join as a consultant. The support is so comprehensive it can seem annoying, but it shouldn’t be. Its set up to do two things: They strive to attract even those with no knowledge of online earning. They support even those with no knowledge of online earning. Even those with a 40 hour work week and raising children as a single person you have a chance to make money and run a business. Last of all, it’s cheap to join. You are not left with a reason why the program didn’t work for you because it’s not clumsy, difficult to understand or has too many steps in it to achieve.
The cons are just like any other reputable online business with a twist. Successful online business owners are by definition willing to try and fail and try again. However with this one you can get a lot of training in the keyword and SEO writing department. Online sales takes knowledge and if you feel you have something to learn and want to do that cheaply $20 a month gets you in contact with those who already know. For instance the guy who referred me is a website designer and has offered me his services for free right from the start. I have very basic knowledge of keyword use and SEO. He should be able to help me understand it more.
What can you bring to the table: Just like any job the more you know going in the better. I do have two web sites that this will fit into quite well. So my websites will help push my website the top of the search engine heap! The people who read my websites will also be able to follow my weekly triumphs and failures with this program. How well I do will make some impact on LaBella Baskets as a whole.
Some feel the commission is too low. However, I’d like to know compared to what? There are other gift basket businesses out there but I’ve found them much more difficult to start up and only 6 to 8% commission for their affiliates tops. Feel free to correct me but I found that first you have to join their affiliate program. They need you to already have a web site that will cater to their program. Also 8% percent of we’ll say a $40 basket is $3.20.
Should you join? The jury is still out on that one. Even if this turns out to be successful for me I won’t be saying you should also join. What I can bring to the table and what you can bring to the table will be different. I can tell you it’s not a scam. If you find it’s not a possibility for you your money will not be totally wasted. You will learn about the online earning industry as a whole if nothing else.

Friday, June 10, 2011

LaBella Gift Baskets

I've been watching LaBella Gift Baskets in blogs across the internet for about a year now. I got in and set up my business for $1.95?!
In preparation for that big day of "rest" we are supposed to get on some unknown date in some unknown year you know I've been I've been looking at every aspect of who I will be and what will make me happy once that day comes. I've found the best his to find this out is by getting to know the people who've already retired. I don't ask them how they like it, I observe. Several people I've gotten to know well enough I can see what they do when at home, behind the scenes. The happiest women have the money to spend on travel and shopping. Men are content with puttering in the garden and maybe traveling sometimes. The others that are happiest, volunteer and spend a eat more time at church. The retired folks that seem to just plant the face of contentment busy themselves with baking bread or taking up a hobby. The happiest have some kind of mission in life. That usually consists with earning or playing with their investments. Guess what my goal is going to be.
I loved managing other peoples money when I was in the work world. I was always told in school to stay away from mathematical fields. Put a dollar $ign in front of the number boys and girls! I often wonder what those teachers would say if they saw me fly through a spread sheet!
So right now I am engrossed with this online busine$$ opportunity.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grandparent scam!

Recently, well maybe about two years ago I met a couple who got ripped off by this scam. Sorry that this post is so negative today but the gravity of it is so scary it is worth the space to hopefully help someone who may ever encounter this one.
These people were always the sweetest couple coming into the bank. They retired and truly enjoyed their time by flying around the country visiting their children and grandchildren. They were patient, loved people, and proud of their offspring. Five of their grandchildren were in college and doing very well. They made very little income for the time being, students usually are. This is the grandparents story:
Late one night the phone rang, a young man was on the other end, sobbing. In the background was a bunch of traffic noise and it sounded like it was raining. He said "this is your grandson John. I'm on my way back to school and I was in an accident. Mom and Dad aren't home and I need help." You could only imagine the fright this put into their minds! He said he was fine, but his car was totaled and needed to get back to school about 100 miles away. He said he was told by a cop on the scene there was a Western Union Office just down the road and the cop would bring him there. He said about $2000 would help a lot till mom and dad got home.
You guessed it, the money is gone, grandson never called and they didn't call their son first. These are intelligent people who ran a lucrative construction company until their son took it over 10 years ago. They were ashamed they were fooled. However I reassured them they weren't the only ones taken by this scam which only made them cry! They teared up, fighting back tears they said they felt really bad for all those taken advantage of!
That's the way these people are! They live very comfortably in a very nice home in a wealthy neighborhood. They have a house keeper and a handy man that comes to their home. They have a summer getaway and a winter retreat home. They travel twice a year abroad.
I asked them if it would make them feel better if I try to get the word out to the world about their story leaving all personal details out. Of course they emphatically said yes. So now that I don't work for that or any other financial institution here it is for your consideration.
 Next time I'll tell you about the scam involving my own mother. She of course had me as her guidance and I stopped it from creating a nightmare for her.
See you next time and stay safe!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Retirement Dreams are slowly coming into focus

Retirement and all it has to offer is really starting to come into clear focus
My three sons; I didn’t do it, I don’t know and Not me are out of the house. When they lived here several phenomena of the non-paranormal  kind frequently happened:
All 5 rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom ran out all at once, but only totally ran out on me!?
The paper towel dispenser only housed the empty cardboard tube holder.
The new gallon of window cleaner was used by someone in a week. All the windows were still dirty!
Spots, splashes, furniture moved, dust, dirt, oil spots in the driveway and cars disappearing for seemingly no reason, happened all the time. And no one in this house did it!
Anything in any drawer magically finds its way to another drawer, sometimes even to a cupboard.
Today my only problems that remain are;
The electrical cord for the vacuum is never long enough!
Stuff still finds its way to the wrong place.
The dogs need to go out more often.
The answering machine fills up really fast.
Power outages actually affect ALL the clocks in my house.
I miss Not Me, I Didn’t and I don’t know.

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Insurance, home, auto and recreational vehicles

I have just been reminded I should talk about insurance and what to look out for! This was also reinforced by the latest offer of providing me with a lower rate. After years in the financial field that offered everything, I've learned all that I know from the financiers point of view. For these reasons offering me a 3% lower rate than the insurance company I have doesn't make me jump ship!
Use the Better Business Bureau site as a tool to make your final decision.
While an insurance company may have excellent customer service scores, you have to take into account ambient knowledge to make sure you choose the right one.
Is it worth the 3% decrease to find out later you have been dropped for having too many claims? No one can stop nasty storm damage. But it has been known to happen. I know that both St Farm and Travelers have nasty business practices. Sure they can promise lower costs but it's how they can afford to do that that counts.

State Farm has been known to haunt people for money due to incomplete police reporting at an accident site and for poor investigation techniques landing them in trouble with Attorney General's consumers offices across the country.
I am tired of virtually every type of business luring in people with discount plans knowing the rates will be going up in three months.
What about all your insurance policies on what you own? Combine them and get a discount, that's what they all do anyway. And the safe driver check? Most insurance companies give you a safe driver discount, if you want that in the form of a check it will cost you a service fee.
These tips are brought to you by someone who's witnessed these and many other poor service techniques from the inside! Be wary, be safe!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Empty bank accounts

Three people around our neighborhood are out of work that I know of. Retirement is a dream from their past that will be hard to fulfill. Count me in the mix and that makes four. Two have very young children at home. The other was trying to set up her retirement before she lost her job last October. She is a single woman who's son is raised. But she is the sole provider of all her income. I guess we are the luckiest among the unemployed. Our children are raised and vacation property has been paid for. Our biggest problem is when and if we will be retired. The little old lady next door cannot afford to replace her windows, pay someone to shovel her walkways and since the television switchover she can't watch TV anymore. Times are just too tough to be excited about retiring. We're going to need part time jobs to survive.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Gas and food prices

I wonder how many people are suffering from what I call the perfect storm after the 2009 recession. So many people have had their retirement wiped out, lost their job, and now struggling with the recovery prices? I'm lucky in a way, My husband landed a decent job 3 years ago. Two of our three children moved out (yes we charged them room and board and yes they were still expensive). Our third child moves out in a few days. We can barely live on what hubby brings home. Gas and food prices are incurred by all. There is no deep discount for the wealthy. I never see any statistics on this scenario. I just see job offers that require the use of your own insured, well kept car to deliver stuff for $10 an hour. When they say we're gaining ground getting out of the recession I have to laugh. We aren't by much. I hope you are doing better than this.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

weight loss

One of my biggest goals over the last two years has been weight loss. It took 2 years to loose 120 lbs. I have about 30 left to go. My biggest challenge has been maintaining perseverance. I know it took a long time to pack on and that it would take a long time to make it go away. I've always known a weight loss program would never keep me involved for that long. This being the fourth time I've done this my program is what it's always been; eat right/exercise, in that order.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Marketing consultant in Minneapolis

I can't believe how fast people latched on to my idea. In my quest to find little part time jobs as a semiretired person I found out what the economic climate of the nation is and how badly companies on both seaboards need to know someone in the mid west who knows the mid west culture. As I worked for one company on the east coast and another on the west who thought they knew our culture they began to latch on to me for my "expertise". We do not have the culture they thought we did! They thought we had all kinds of small businesses run by families, therefore open to new ideas and supportive of new business moving in near them. Most of those closed down do to the recession. What is left is corporate run chains who think in only dog eat dog terms. They hire employees who get a very small piece of the pie in their paycheck. They will never see any actual income simply because the boys at the top get it.
Now that we're recovering from the recession ever so slowly these companies have lost touch with what the climate is. It's changed. I'm proving that to them. So now I'm a resource, not an employee. Weird.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The new climate of job interviews

I decided I needed to fill some time up with something productive. By productive I mean anything that shows me something new to do, of use to me personally in the future or even make a few bucks. Why would a little part time, sporadic job need to know my driver’s license number? Why do they need to know about a speeding ticket I got 10 years ago? Not that I did but. It’s an opinion poll taking job. Why do they need to know about that felony I got back in the dark ages? Not that I did, but. And why do they do a credit check? Why do they need to know my license plate number? I have no idea.
The same thing happened when I applied for a virtual assistant position. I am on my own computer, in my own house, using my own cable access to the internet! I do not know why. I am not a corporation with a panel of attorneys dictating how the company should act legally. I’m sure there is some law suit somewhere that was won because some important document wasn’t attained.
Today the application process includes enough documents an entire tree is used. There are disclosures, release of information documents, clarifications, explanations,  company descriptions, right to privacy notices, acknowledgement of receiving right to privacy statements, who can who liable and who can’t.  Soon be prepared to bring with you both of your grandmother’s maiden names, your grandfather’s first names, your library card, your grocery list, your priest’s name,  your gym membership card and anything else of new found importance.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Retirement Dreams

Retirement means many different things to many different people. It could be a time of strife. We hope for a time of comfort. Some will be content with the comfortable surroundings in their long time neighborhood. Others will want to travel. Still others will make their goal to live as grandly as possible with limited funds. It was while I was doing research on this very subject I ran into this little gem:
Family Association Campgrounds
Don’t laugh at this idea! These are great, inexpensive alternatives to paying out hotel bills and handing over money to rent a place to relax at.
The intro:
These places are built with the idea to have people purchase a small piece of property therefore being part of an association to make sure it continues to run well into the future. The small pieces of privately owned land are equipped with water, electricity and telephone land lines. Each property has space for a shed to store things in, parking for at least two cars, plus room for a fire pit, a large amount of fire wood, charcoal grill and space still to move around and plenty of seating. People will put anything from a tent, to RVs that stay year round on it with a good sized deck and some use their space to get off the road with their RV buses.
The cost is usually less than buying a new car. Many of the lot owners with RVs put in central air, large sanitary sewer holding tanks and large, free standing LP tanks so they don’t have to frequently run and get more. No reservations necessary as you are the owner of your place. You can have all the comforts of home, only away from home and most are smaller. The refrigerator and stove are usually smaller while some RVs are now built with room in the bedroom for a real queen sized bed and a full sized bathroom.
Your association fees, property tax, most services and upkeep is very low in cost. The association fees usually cover the cost of community amenities such as: pool upkeep, hot tub, electricity, water and upkeep of roads, club house and other community owned property. Local firewood suppliers, holding tank pumpers, tree trimmers, etc. charge very little for their services because so many of your neighbors in a small area have the same needs you do. That’s why you’ll never see a “truck charge” on your bill. They’re already there performing the same service for your neighbors.
Property taxes are low because:
You don’t have a very large piece of property and there are no permanent buildings or foundations you therefore aren’t taxed like you would be for a cabin. People use this little getaway for anything from tent camping to parking their big RV bus. You could be a tent camper, but if you’re located near the wealthy guy down the way with the big flat screen television mounted to the side of his RV bus, you’ve got an instant byob sports bar to visit.
The drawbacks are few and for those who don’t mind “roughing it” will have even less drawbacks. The colder the climate is, the shorter the season.  As the temperature drops toward freezing at night the water is shut off. Up here in Minnesota there are some pretty adventurous folks who can get beyond the frigid winter temperatures, like snow mobile owners, hunters and ice fishing folks. They can “get by” without a few conveniences. We’ve even had a few weekends we’ve spent at our little “get away” when we had to start the furnace.  You have to think a little “out of the box”.  The food you bring won’t need a cooler because of the outside temperature. The first time we went during winter I put the frozen food in the refrigerator. My husband wondered why I didn’t put it in the freezer. I simply stated, “Because the refrigerator IS a freezer right now”. The outdoor temperature was 10 degrees at the time and even if we started the furnace it’s insulated enough to keep that interior temperature till the next afternoon when we planned on leaving.
To sum it up the idea is to have someplace to go you can call your own. The kids can run when they want, where they want and get the kind of amenities they’d love to have in their back yard and in their neighborhood. Children over 16 can go to the pool on their own. Because it’s a gated community all the kids can run around and be safe or ride their bikes to the club house and know their bikes won’t be stolen. During summer it reminds me of the kind of neighborhood we grew up in during the 60s and 70s. Everyone is looking out for each other.
People who are ready to retire as well as retired people enjoy the environment. Many men in the community enjoy working in the out-of-doors so much their wives joke about “keeping an eye” on their husbands activities that way. Any way you look at it, it’s truly a great idea someone had long ago. If you’re interested at all go to Coast to Coast Resorts. You don’t have to own a big 40’ RV to become a member and you don’t have to be a member to discover camp grounds and RV parks across America in their system. You can also go into their forum where anything and I mean anything associated with camping is discussed among people who travel.  I found one discussion about coolers and another about cooking over the open campfire.  Just an idea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Would you like to see $1000 by this time tomorrow?

I've been sitting on my couch all morning drinking coffee in my robe and slippers. It's after 12 noon. So am I being lazy? No, consider it a well deserved rest. I spent the last three days at appointments for professional reasons and topped if off with 2 1/2 hours of shoveling snow late yesterday. I live in Minnesota. This morning I've been surfing the web and was reminded of something I saw too many times a little over a year ago:

Would you like to see $1000 by tomorrow?
I spent all of 2009 hunting (researching) online for earning opportunities. I know at first glance what will be coming up by the first ten words of one of their sales pitches. I had to experience it for myself. These days they’re only a chance to get a good snicker in.
The one in the title has to do with promising too much money for too little time spent doing it. These are usually the ones that tell you that what they have to tell you in the next 30 minutes will change your life and they will give you all the information for free! In reality what they give you for free is promises. They will end up telling you what they are going to tell you. All you have to do is buy their free how to guide for as little as $50, others would charge you much more, but we have this limited time offer for a few select customers only, no one else. And today we are cutting the price to $40.
You see where I’m going with this? Before you do anything, make a commitment, or (God forbid) send any money to anyone, look it up online. In your address or search bar type in “is a scam”? Of course you would replace the words “stupidadd” with the real website. If lots of personal experience feedback is listed great. Just make sure it’s actual feed back because some of the owners of these “opportunities will load up the search engines with propaganda from the company itself in an attempt to bury the truth on you, so that you don’t see it. There are really good sharks out there!
So anyway, you will notice that these types of adds that want you to spend $40 bucks send you a book that “tells you” all the wonderful stuff they are going to tell you in the next one you buy for only $40! Then that one tells you all the wonderful stuff they are going to tell you next time for only $40.
Don’t laugh, there are people who’ve spent $120 and more doing exactly what the website got them started in, in the first place. They bravely share their story on exactly how they got fleeced and how much they spent doing so! Proceed with caution. Even friends can accidently mislead you.
I won’t be able to get you $1000 by tomorrow but hopefully I can help you keep your hard earned money in your pocket, not theirs!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brand new furniture!

When I was a kid my friend’s parents had ancient furniture and very little decorating. That is of course until the kids grew up and out of the house. We didn’t live in a poor neighborhood. We weren’t wealthy, but we certainly could afford decent, up to date furnishings.  After all many of the families spent money on programs their children were involved in and could afford pets. I knew I would be different if I ever had kids myself, however it took a lot of persuasion on my husband’s part to do that.
So when my kids were 15, 11 and 10 I purchased my first matching sofa and love seat. Now, I had boys, very active boys and their father (my husband) ensured they stayed that way. How many times have I had to say, “No wrestling in the living room”? So when I came home from work I would notice things like curtain rods partially hanging on the windows, and tell tale signs of the dogs on the light gray carpet. Thank God I didn’t spend a lot of money on that furniture! It could have been a very expensive lesson.
When the boys moved out and we began to upgrade. Since then we’ve replaced doors, windows, telephones, and furniture. After 27 years of raising kids I feel human again. (Don’t hate me). We actually went for broke on some sculptures and antiques. Is it through some kind of miracle that we can come home and find things where we left them? There are no new mysterious chips, nicks, or scratches. The flatware isn’t bent up for any reason at all. Pancake turners aren’t melted beyond use. Even the hood over the stove can be kept clean easily! I’m thrilled. Next, what about an upgrade on the car?
I do have one tip for you that I didn’t have to learn the hard way: Knowing my kids would be driving my car I purchased one that looked like it could house great power under the hood but, it didn’t. It’s a sports car body that has a four cylinder engine. It’s great on gas, however it has no “get up and go”. It’ll get you there cheep and safe. Personally I think I saved lives. You do the math: three boys, seven years of them driving my car and only two speeding tickets.
If I ever buy furniture for my boys I won’t feel the slightest bit guilty buying it from the Salvation Army!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Staying connected when we retire

One of the best pieces of equipment this generation is going to have when we retire is satellite communications.  Most of us are not reluctant users of cell phones, the internet, and social networking. We already have researched what we need and have a good understanding of what we use. Land lines are gradually going away so as we travel we only have to find electricity to charge our equipment.
I can see this as an area to think about actually downsizing. Smart phones, etc may not be absolutely necessary to some of us especially if we often find ourselves in the unconnected wilderness. This is where I step in. My hubby and I went for the Verizon phones because of the coverage. While the others talk about the coverage they have, it is still limited due to their towers only being available where the population is the densest. We use ours for “ship to shore” communications. I know that’s very nautical of me but sometimes my husband is out on the boat while I’m back at the camp fire and talking with neighbors. ATT may be chosen by many but when it comes right down to it, you won’t be finding us in a large metropolis very often. Yes, we have a “ship to shore” radio on the boat but we don’t want the world hearing our casual conversation. Yes, we are adventurous. I hope they develop a plan for a cheaper rate for the retired. I dream a lot too!