Win $500 With MyKindaHoops Contest

It’s March.  And, besides making a whole lot of green food dye makers solvent for another year, it’s also the month that kicks off a certain basketball tournament.  You’ve probably heard of it.  ;)  Everyone has their favorites, and some like to create several brackets to try and catch all the early upsets and maybe win some bragging rights in an office pool or a pool of friends.  But, this year, you can also win a chance at $500 in prizes.  If you win, you’ll get to pick from an Apple iPad Mini with Retina, a Samsung Galaxy Note 8, or $500 cash.

Ok, so enough hype.  Let’s get the run down on how you can win.  Hint: you don’t even have to fill out a bracket!

Straight from the horses mouth (so to speak):

The earlier in the tournament you predict the winning team, the more entries you will get in the draw:

  • A pick made before the Thursday tip off of Round 1 (March 20th) gets you 20 entries into the drawMyKindaHoops
  • A pick made before the tip off of Round 2 (March 22) gets you 16 entries into the draw
  • A pick made before the tip off of the Sweet Sixteen (March 27th) gets you 11 entries into the draw
  • A pick made before the tip off of the Elite 8 (March 29th) gets you 4 entries into the draw
  • A pick made before the tip off of the Final 4 (April 5th) gets you 2 entries into the draw
  • A pick made before the tip off of the Championship Game (April 7th) gets you 1 entry into the draw

So, you just pick who you think is going to be the winner of the whole shebang, enter it, and see how you do.  Note: if you’re chosen winner turns out to be a loser, you get the opportunity to pick another team.  (That’s for all the NDSU fans out there. Go Bison!)  Once the tournament is over, if you’ve picked the winner, all the winning team picking entrants will get their entries thrown into a drawing and the winner will be announced on April 11th.  So, pick your winner, then go over and enter at the main MyKindaHoops Contest page.

If you want to get down to the nitty gritty details on this, you can also read the blog post with the full details over at the LowestRates blog.

With the tiered entry system they’ve got, you’ll want to get your entry in as soon as possible.  The tournament starts on March 20th, so anytime before then gets you those first 20 entries.

Time to Plan Your Garden

Spring is finally here.  The sun is shining a little brighter (and warmer too), and the ground is starting to warm up.  And with all of that, those of us who garden are beginning to get a little antsy to start putting seeds and plants in the ground and begin growing them.  In many parts of the states, it’s still much too early to start planting though.  So, what is a anticipatory gardener to do?  It’s a great time to begin planning the garden and preparing for the planting season.

Maintenance and Clean-up of your Garden

I like to start with the maintenance and clean-up of the garden area as soon as I’m able.  I get to go outside and, while I can’t plant anything, I can begin to prepare for doing so.  There’s always some leaves that fall after I rake for the last time in the fall that can be collected.  We do most of our growing in containers, so it’s a good time to make sure the dead plants from last year are removed (fall quickly became winter last year and I didn’t get a chance to remove them) from the containers.  If you’ve got any gardening structures, like lattices, nets, etc, you can give them a quick once over to make sure that they’re all still in usable condition and don’t need any repairs.

Plan Your Garden

What Will You Grow?

For several years, we’ve been playing with and experimenting in our garden.  We’ve been planting some new varieties of plants that we haven’t before (last year we had Eggplant and Brussels Sprouts) and planting some things in different locations than we have before.  This year, we might do the opposite and refine what we grow a little bit.  There are a few staples that we’ve grown every year that we’ll grow again, like Tomatoes, Potatoes, Green Beans, and Cucumbers.  We added some Snow Peas to the garden last year and they did really well, so we’ll be planting more of those this year as well.  A couple of crops that we have grown in the past, but all depend on space are Carrots and Onions.  We’ve never had a whole lot of success with them, so they might get scrapped to leave more room for more of the other plants.  We’ve also got a few smaller containers that we’ve discovered are a little small for most of the stuff we’d like to grow, so we might throw  some herbs in those and see what we end up with.

Start Your Seeds Indoors

This is one thing that I’ve really struggled with over the years.  For whatever reason, I always end up with most of my seedlings dying before I can transplant them, or with them dying shortly after transplanting.  It is much cheaper to buy seeds and then start them indoors for transplanting, than it is to go and buy plants at the nursery, though, so I keep trying.  I’ll do so again this year, and we’ll likely supplement with a few plants from the nursery just to be sure we get some strong plants.  The growing season (outdoors) here doesn’t really start until late May or early June, so I generally try and hold myself back from planting seeds indoors any sooner than mid to late April.  Even that is probably pushing it, and probably should be pushed out to early May.

I find that giving some thought to the garden before you get to the planting stage acts a little like a budget.  If you’ve got a plan for what you want to plant, and when, you have something to stick to and keep yourself from going overboard with plants you won’t have room for, or that won’t do well in your garden.  It saves you money, and work.

What do you do to begin the gardening season?

No One is Going to Save You

I have some bad news for you. If you’re waiting on someone to show up at your door ala Publisher’s Clearinghouse and hand you a big cardboard check that will solve all of your financial problems it’s not going to happen.  No one is going to save you from your financial woes.  No one is going to suddenly decide that you, and you alone, are worth pulling from the depths of your financial hole, pay all your bills and set you up for life.  No one but you.

In truth, I’m writing this post as much for me as I am for you.  I need to hear that message occasionally, just as you do.  It’s nice to daydream about winning the lottery, or some sweepstakes and having some of your problems solved.  It really is.  But, if you, like me, find yourself lingering in those daydreams a little too much, too often, you need to hear those words.

You and you alone can be the savior of your finances.

Savior of your Finances

You (and I) are the best prepared, and the most willing (without fees), to take on the ratted nest of bills and accounts that we call our finances.  You (and I) are the most able to figure out how to sort out where our money is coming from and where it has gone.  You (and I) are the only ones that can drum up the willpower to make the changes necessary to begin telling our money where to go that it will be most helpful to our finances. No one else is going to do it for you.

No one but you.

If you (and I) don’t do it, do you know what happens?  Nothing but the same.  Your paycheck comes in (maybe on time, maybe not), your paycheck goes out.  At the end of the month, maybe we ask “where did it all go?”.  And if we do nothing about it, we’ll never really know.  We’ll just continue the pattern; wondering why we aren’t paid more, and wondering why what we are paid never seems to be enough.

You can make a difference in your finances though.

Uniquely.  No one but you.

You can budget your money and tell it where it belongs.  You can know where your money is going, and control how it works for you.  If you actively manage your money, it can no longer control you.  Create a budget, track your income and spending, then take back your financial life.

Put your finances in order; be free.  Be debt free.  Be free to spend as you choose.  Be free to earn as you choose.

What are you doing today to break old financial habits and take control of your money?