Hopefully everyone had a great Thanksgiving and a good Black Friday – if you celebrated that! And hopefully you didn’t spend so much. If you did, hopefully what you bought is put up to good use.

But as to continue the last article, there is an important part of being en entrepreneur starting from almost zilch. You must also take care of yourself outside of your business. One of the most useful tools that I’ve found on the web is FatWallet!

As I mentioned before, it has a great community of specialists from all walks of life. Not only can you get good deals on consumer goods (or know what is a good deal), but you can also find recommended credit cards, learn about property investments, and about high-interest Savings Accounts.

That’s right. Some people don’t realize or know that there are Online Banks that offer high-interest Savings Accounts. Usually people stick to the most popular bank, for example: Bank of America. Not to say that this is exactly bad, because they do offer a wide variety of resources that online Banks don’t, such as widespread ATMs, personal checks, etc, etc.

And some people will go with these large widespread banks and put money into a CD (Certificate of Deposit) for high-interest rates. However, with CDs, you cannot touch your money with the designated amount of time for the money to mature, unless you want to get penalized. With online Savings Accounts you can touch it for usually a maximum of 6 transactions per month (by U.S. law), but they match up or are sometimes higher than the usual interest rates for CDs.

So, why not educate yourself with various ways to improve your finances and make your decisions efficient and as cheaply as possible?

Another thing people do is go with a credit card issued by their bank. PAY ATTENTION! There are credit cards that offer great interest rates and rewards! I’ve had personal experiences joining credit cards that offer no rewards or only one reward (at the initial time of purchase).

There are also credit cards that in fact offer an introductory rate of 0% for 3-12 months on purchases. There are credit cards that offer balance transfers or cash withdrawal with no fee and no interest rate for 3-12 months. Take advantage of these tools and don’t be trapped with a credit card that offers no rewards! You may saveĀ  lot…and sometimes, you can even double up on the CashBack.

Because of FatWallet!’s CashBack policy and credit card companies’ rewards policies, you may, for example, earn 5% from FatWallet! and an additional 5% from your credit card. Think about that! You just saved 10% on a purchase, but what makes it even better is you might’ve saved more because the users of FatWallet! deemed your purchase a good deal which is usually quite a bit off the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). So imagine, realistically, saving 20-30% overall on a product. True you’ll have to spend the extra time doing your research and reading reviews, but generally, green on FatWallet! means good. And usually, you’re going to buy with a credit card anyway!

Remember though, Credit Cards are GOOD as long as you pay them off. Even in this economic downturn, we are still a nation that runs on credit. Credit allows you to get a good Mortgage on a house or buy a car. So for those who are skeptics and only use cash or debit cards…why not earn rewards and get a good credit score for the future? Why not save 20-30% on products? As long as you pay off your credit card and remain consistent on your monthly payments, there are only rewards, and you can gain a lot.

Without further ado, here are some forums and discussions that are useful on FatWallet! Don’t forget to sign up for account if you plan on participating in the discussion or want to be eligible for CashBack!

Now for a new user on the Web it may be a bit challenging to get used to the format of “forums” and “threads” which used to be similar to how Bulletin Boards work. But read the other users’ comments and learn from what they say. Users’ that may not be as useful as others may also get voted in the “Red” for what they say. So it’s all based on popular opinion, but the general consensus is pretty good and reliable on this site. Green (votes by many users) can definitely be counted on.

As a final note, notice the rates of the CDs and then the High-Interest Savings Accounts. You can generally make more in interest in the Savings Accounts plus you have the option of touching your money.

I would have it set up so that you do have a general bank account with checks and widespread ATMs, and have the Online Savings Account linked to it. Remember, only 6 transactions max per month! So all the surplus money you have, you should definitely put it in the savings.

But how about a CD or Stock Market? Well, the Market is still going up and we were officially listed as coming out of the Recession (then again, we’ve been economically in trouble for a while when there was no official word on whether or not we were in a Recession), so the safest bet are banks, especially when they are FDIC insured. True, there is a slight chance of governmental collapse in which money and banks may mean nothing, but the true foundations are pretty strong and it would take a lot for that to happen. For CDs with higher interest rate, you can take the chance with them. But the good thing about the Banks is that as they begin to do well again, they will raise their interest rates for you. With CDs, you are stuck. Now, CDs are good when you feel that the economy is about to go downward. However, I feel, in my personal opinion, the economy is in fact on the rebound. So when the average rate of Interest was around 5.5% a couple years back, and now the average is 1.5%, that may be the lowest we’re going to see in a long while. The economy is finally becoming stable and show what it’s worth, rather than being overly exaggerated as it was for a while.

So yes, Stock may be an interesting option, but always have a portion of your money in safe (no pun intended) accounts, just in case. You may never know! And plus, doesn’t it make you feel better you are earning a better interest rate than most banks?

Feel good about yourself, do your research, save money, it’ll pay off in the end and it might amaze you how much you save and how much you learn about business and saving money in general. Live frugally and cheaply but with quality.

One of the most important things about being an entrepreneur is knowing what your own financing is capable of. You have your product, you realize what it’s worth but it’s not quite there yielding a consistent income flow.

Whether you’re in that category or have a consistent good income flow, it’s always good to have a budgeting plan, for either business reasons or personal fun.

Black Friday is one of those days that retailers try to get a boost in their profit by making you come into the store and buy, buy, buy. It is strategically put right before the end of their fiscal year so they get that last “run” of sales so to speak.

So is it worth it to wait in lines and buy these items on sale? Well, coming from personal experiences, here is the run down of technology (because I am a tech buff and that’s what my businesses run around) on stuff that you may consider getting for the holiday season, for yourself or others. Be wary though, we are still in an economic downturn so the deals of the yesteryear may in fact be better.

Note that all of below are prices compared to usual “deals” that happen throughout the year, as well as last year’s Black Friday. I’m also using my knowledge and memory so I am in way exact on everything I mention.

First up, we have the most notables from Best Buy:

One thing to know about Best Buy is their Insignia brand. It may seem like such a good deal with that brand but it usually fits into the “you-get-what-you-pay-for” aspect. The products Insignia make are usually very, very cheap without any sort of reliability. It can be sporadic at best. So I would steer clear of that brand.

  • Acer – 20″ Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD Monitor – Black – X203 – $79
    Acer’s are generally okay monitors but with the price of $79 for 20″ it’s hard to beat.
  • Dell – 20″ Widescreen Flat-Panel LCD HD Monitor – S2009W – $99
    A little more reliable, this a Dell monitor that is worth the $99 over the Acer. There was a point not too many years ago where $99 would get you a 17″. And as of yet, HD monitors are the sweet spot, but most on sale will not give you that. Especially this.
  • Western Digital – 1.5TB External USB 2.0, FireWire and eSATA Hard Drive – Black – WDH1CS15000N – $119
    Western Digital are the best drives you can get today. Seagate (who bought Maxtor) has been having a lot of problems with failures and firmware. Though the firmware issue has been fixed, the fact that such a widespread issue existed taints their recent reputation. Hitachis are also good, but for long lasting reliable hard drives (usually, there are DOA [Dead-on-Arrival] HDs every once in a while). This deal is probably a mild-to-good deal, nothing too great about it. But if you need some extra storage space, go for it!
  • HP Desktop – AMD Quad Core Processor, 20″ Widescreen LCD, 8GB RAM, 1TB HD, FREE Printer – $499
    There’s nothing like a desktop deal. There is an eMachine that costs $299. I’ve had an eMachine before and they are decent machines with alright reliability – much more than the Insignia brand. However, for $499 you get more of a popular brand name, HP. You get 4 cores, 20″ monitor (in which it is an HP who rank up there in monitors as well), 8GB of Ram, 1TB drive and a free printer. Enough said. There is no word on the graphics chip, but with the current specs, the price of $499 makes it well worth it for its abilities and today’s technology standards.
  • HP – Photosmart Wireless Multifunction Printer/ Copier/ Scanner – C4795 – $65
    The ‘rents of a wireless printer and it’s about time that products like this come down in price. That being said, HP has had problems in the past with their printers, but generally their reputation is pretty good. So, if you have the urge to centralize a printer because of the fact multiple people might use it, get this! It also has a scanner. What is missing though, is the ability to fax. However, I recall printers like this usually cost above the $80 mark.
  • LG Chocolate Touch w/ 2-Year Activation – FREE
    Yes you need a 2-year activation contract. But, if you cannot afford a cool phone like the iPhone (which you can get for $99 now) or you do not care about how good a phone is, this will be a good intro into where the phone industry is going these days. It’s the beginning of the PDA & Phone convergence. It’s not quite there for being a replacement for your laptop however, and I’m not sure if that’ll ever happen in the near future.
  • Insignia – Blu-ray Disc Player with 1080p Output – NS-BRDVD3 – $99
    Ok, so this is the one time I’ll say it’s “okay” to buy Insignia. It’s the cheapest Blu-ray player I’ve seen yet and the reviews are good. Then again, how hard is it to mess up building a DVD or Blu-ray player if you’re abiding by specs and standards? So if you’re in the mood of moving to the HD craze – make sure you have an HD 1080P set! – try this on for size to start your Blu-ray collection. If you have a 720P set, realize that there are upconverting DVD players that in fact make your old DVD collection look REAL GOOD!
  • Sprint – BlackBerry Curve 8330 Mobile Phone – SP8330RIMR - FREE
  • Sprint – Samsung Instinct S30 Mobile Phone – Purple – SPHM810PPS – FREE
  • Verizon – Motorola Rival A455 Cell Phone – Purple – A455 - FREE
  • Compaq Netbook – Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB HD, XP Home – $179
    It may be from Compaq and may be a netbook that’s a year old, but these netbooks were around $250 a year ago with a deal for $215 maybe once. This is NOT a bad deal…
  • Samsung 40″ 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV (LN40B500P3FXZA) – $598
    Samsung is one of the well-known quality brands of TVs. For $600, a 40″ HDTV with 1080p is a pretty good deal, especially from a company that’s been doing LCD monitors and TVs for a while now. They even get their panels rebranded by other high profile companies.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for the rest of the Black Friday deals as we look at technology from my personal favorite, Staples (funny enough), Walmart and Target. Until then, try to keep yourself nice and calm. So far the list with Black Friday is lukewarm at best, and you must ask yourself, is it worth the pain and effort to wake up early – around 4:00am – and wait in line with a ton of other people? If you are needing (key word for budgeting) multiple items, then why not. If you can wait on technology, then do so because there is no point in getting it unless you plan on reselling for profit. But again, the deals are lukewarm…

Until soon!