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Monthly Archives: March 2009

A Great Quote About Risk Vs Reward

Filed under Thinking Out Loud...

I’ve got a few new links for our weekly “In Case You’re Bored This Weekend” post, but I’ll save them for next week.  It’s been a packed week between travel, moving, and blizzards (not the kind from Dairy Queen, although that sounds good). 

I read a great quote in this month’s issue of Wired Magazine.  There was a short article discussing a simple life lesson: no risk, no reward. 

The quote was from Shawn Klein, a philosopher at Rockford College in Rockford, IL.  He said this…

“If you’re not willing to risk the possibility that your loss will be known by others, then you shouldn’t compete.” 

Pure gold. 

Anytime you try something new, people will know whether you win or lose, succeed or fail.  That’s part of what you sign up for.  Think about it. 

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Filed under Family, Personal

Today, we are officially moving into our new pad!  It’s bitter sweet, because our current house is the first place Sheila and I owned together, and it’s the home that we brought both our daughters home to from the hospital. 

But when you go from it being just the two of us to having 2 more little girls and trying to work from the house, it gets a little crowded!

Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to get a great deal on a beautiful house in a neighborhood we’ve been watching for several months.  It gives us plenty of breathing room, but best of all, I get my home office back!   

Give us a few weeks to get settled in and for travel to slow down and you can all come over for a visit. 

Just call first…

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How To Get Free Stuff From Your Existing Services (A Success Story)…

Filed under Money & Finances, Personal

As you may know, we’ll be moving on Thursday to our new pad.  We got into our current house almost 6 years ago, so it’s been a while since I’ve made a move of some kind.

I’ve been reminded over the past week that one of the biggest pains about moving is getting all your existing services canceled or transferred and getting all your new services set up.  But I knew we didn’t have any contracts on any of our services we could transfer, so I knew we would have an opportunity to negotiate for some better deals.

I like negotiating for better deals.

So I called to transfer our satellite service but quickly pointed out that we were out of contract and had plenty of other options to choose from.  I talked with the girl for a few minutes and quickly asked to speak to a supervisor.  After talking with him for a few minutes, we got a couple of new freebies plus he then just started throwing stuff in! 

In the end, he cut our bill down by about a third, gave us some additional channels for free (primarily Fox Sports Midwest so I can now watch the Cardinals games!), and is going to move our current dish and receiver for free (normally $100)…without extending our contract! 

I’ve made these calls before and was pleased with the outcome of this one.  Here are some tips to help you out with this…

  • Do Your Research – The first thing I do before I call is make sure I have my facts straight.  Make sure you know exactly what services (including any bells and whistles) you’re currently getting and what you’re paying for those.  I also always review the company’s website to see what current specials are being offered.  Just by checking this out yesterday, I found I was paying $5 more than I should have for the package I had.
  • Understand Leverage – Know where you have an advantage in that type of negotiation.  I had two things in my favor: 1) I was out of contract and could switch easily to someone else and 2) Just about any business is hurting right now and they can’t afford to lose you as a customer.  The supervisor I spoke with said several times, “We’ll do this, because we don’t want to lose you as a customer.”
  • Know What You Want – Don’t just call with an open-ended demand: “Give me a better deal.”  After reviewing their website and seeing what other offers were available, I knew what I wanted to ask for.  You can ask for discount prices, additional free services, lower interest rates, etc.  Ask for some things but not everything. 
  • Move Up The Food Chain – Most of the time a supervisor is the one with the ability to toss out freebies.  I usually will talk to whoever answers the phone for a few minutes, but then ask to speak with a supervisor.  Another place in the food chain that can usually offer some deals is the cancelation office.  They are the last resort of the company before you cancel service, so they are authorized to throw in all kinds of perks.

What other tips do you have for saving money on existing services?

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My Daughter The Flower Girl…Funny Stories

Filed under Family, Funny, Personal

As you may have heard, my oldest daughter, Sydnee (who will be 3 in a few weeks), was the flower girl at my sister-in-law’s wedding.  If you know Syd or have at least heard of her, then you probably know she’s got a little bit of energy…to say the least. 

If you didn’t know any better, you would think we mix her juice with Red Bull and give her sugar packets for snacks. 

But nonetheless she was trusted with the responsibility of being a flower girl, and she created several memories.  Allow me to share…

  • As the rehearsal dinner is wrapping up, they are getting ready to show a sappy video of the bride and groom’s baby pictures and all that fun stuff.  So they turn the lights out and are waiting for the video to start when Syd yells out at the top of her lungs, “I GOTTA GO PEE!”  Silly girl…
  • At the wedding itself she was a little nervous and we weren’t sure how she was going to do.  My wife was the maid-of-honor, so it worked out that Syd would walk down the isle with my wife.  She got up there in her spot, the bride came in, and then everyone got settled back into their seats.  But Syd decided she didn’t want to stay there, so she jumps off the altar and goes sprinting down the center isle to me in the back of the room.  Kind of cute huh?  I talk to her and tell her to stay with me but when I turn my head for a second, she decides she needs to go back to Mommy who is still on the stage!  After sprinting back down the isle for a 2nd run, she tells Mommy that she wants to show Daddy some the flowers she was holding.  Of course my wife objected and told her to stay still but next thing you know she is sprinting back down the isle a 3rd time!  Needless to say, after that I took her outside for the remainder of the wedding.  We couldn’t risk another “runaway flower girl” episode! 
  • As the maid-of-honor, my wife was going to give a toast to the bride and groom.  But Syd didn’t want to be a part from Mommy, so the entire time she is giving the toast, Syd is in the back of the room crying and screaming, “Mommy, hold me…Mommy, hold me!” 

For the new bride and groom and any other young couples in attendance, I think it was a good shot of birth control for them! 


Crazy Week Of Life!

Filed under Family, Personal

Wow, it’s busy right now.  Here’s a quick run down of my world currently…

I spent a couple of days in Wisconsin last week for the DECA State Conference which was a great event!  I flew home for a few days and my wonderful sister-in-law got married on Saturday.  My wife looked really hot (as usual) and my oldest daughter, Sydnee, was the flower girl, which was adorable. 

The wedding wrapped up, and I flew out early Sunday morning to head up to North Dakota, which is where I currently find myself.  I am emceeing and speaking at the Northern Lights SADD Conference and will then fly home tomorrow night. 

Wednesday will be a full day of packing and then we move to our new house on Thursday!  We’ll probably spend all of Friday and Saturday trying to get settled in, and then I leave again on Sunday for conferences in Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa over the following few days!

I’m tired just thinking that all through!  It’s a busy season right now, but I really enjoy my life and wouldn’t trade it for anything else.   

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In Case You’re Bored This Weekend…Episode 8

Filed under Blogs, In Case You're Bored This Weekend..., Websites

Here’s your weekly dose of interesting websites, blog posts, and articles for you to check out…


Blog Posts/Articles:


Are You Saving Money Or Just Saving Money? (Or Just Confused?)

Filed under Money & Finances

Yes, I meant to say “saving money” twice.

When people say they’re saving money, they mean one of two things.  The wording may be the same, but the difference is significant.  Let me explain what I mean.  Notice the difference between these two statements…

“I had a coupon, so I saved $5 off my dinner!” 

“I found an extra $5, so I deposited it into my savings account.” 

They both saved money but did two completely different things.  One person had to spend money to save money and the other saved money by saving money. 

What’s my point? 

I would argue that you’re not really saving any money any time you have to spend money.  Sure, we all want a bargain or a deal when we’re buying something, but too often we justify our purchase by saying, “I got a deal and saved $X.”  But did you really save anything if you had to spend $X to save $X.     

So next time before you make that purchase, ask yourself: Am I really saving anything if I spend money to get the savings? 

Just a thought…

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What “We Need To Talk” Conversation Have You Been Putting Off?

Filed under Thinking Out Loud...

“We need to talk.”

We’ve probably all heard those words before, and they may have been followed by either really good news or really bad news.  But for the most part, if you’ve ever said to someone, “we need to talk,” it’s probably not going to be an easy conversation for you to have. 

The other day I had two separate situations come up that involved a conversation the person needed to have but kept putting off.  And it was a good reminder that I think a lot of us have those “conversations” bottled up inside of us that we need to have but just keep justifying putting them off. 

We put them off because we don’t know how the other person will respond.  We’re scared of the outcome of the conversation.  It’s the fear of the unknown that prevents us from taking that next step. 

But what I found was how much better both of these individuals felt after they had their respective conversations.

So who is it in your life that you need to reach out to and have that conversation with?  Who have you just lost touch with that you need to reconnect with?  Who are you holding a grudge towards that you just need to pick up the phone and say you’re sorry to?  What is the secret you’ve been keeping that you need to share with that person? 

The more you bottle it up, the tougher it gets to have that talk.  So go pick up the phone, write up an email, send them a card, or go over to their house and begin that conversation.

You’ll feel better once you do.     

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How To Create Irresponsible People

Filed under Thinking Out Loud..., Time Management/Organization

So how do you create irresponsible people?  Very simple…

Push back the deadline to accommodate their laziness. 

The reason I say that is because I’ve seen some situations lately where this principle is true. 

In school, students will find out on Day 1 that there is a major project due in 3 months, and yet they will still wait till the last minute to get it done and then complain when they don’t have enough time to complete it.  They know if they gripe enough, the teacher will probably move the deadline and give them an extension.

Recently, it was announced that the switch to digital TV would be postponed for another few months.  There have been commercials and announcements about this change for as long as I can remember and people still aren’t ready?  So what does the government do?  Push back the deadline.

On April 15 this year, your taxes will be due.  And yet a lot of people will still file for an extension.  But guess what?  Your taxes were due last year on April 15.  And they will be due next year on April 15.  The IRS doesn’t move the date, so it shouldn’t be a shock each year when April 15 arrives.  And yet people still need more time.

So how do you create responsible people?  When people have a deadline, hold them accountable to it. 

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In Case You’re Bored This Weekend…Episode 7

Filed under Blogs, In Case You're Bored This Weekend..., Websites

Here’s your weekly dose of interesting websites, blog posts, and articles for you to check out…

  • If you’re a college student on a tight budget, here are some websites for finding textbooks: Valore Books, Big Words, & Chegg.  I came across this list in this month’s issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine.
  • Where’s George – If you haven’t seen this, you need to play with it sometime.  You can basically track individual dollar bills by their serial number and see where money goes.  Very fascinating how money travels…
  • GradeFund – Basically a community-based site where you can get people to sponsor you to get good grades.  Interesting concept…

Blog Posts/Articles:

Sorry for the light load of links but with lots of travel right now, I haven’t caught up on all my blog reading…

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    Grant Baldwin is a relevant leader and an engaging communicator who is making a significant impact in the lives of students across the country.

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