As some of you may be aware of, I was also involved in co-managing the group PinkSlipCoffee of Boston for the unemployed. It was primarily a meetup group that gained a lot traction that interested the New York Times, Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal and Marie-Claire magazine. We’ve had 330 “Life Explorers” to date and over 800 Unique Visitors to the website to date.

With my partner Stephanie L. Cooper (stephanielcooper@gmail.com), I, WaiJe Coler (waije.coler@gmail.com) am also regretfully officially announcing the closure of our quite successful group.

It was a great, fun and invigorating journey for the both of us. However, the pro-bono attitudes we had for the people unemployed had finally took its toll on us. The time we would spend on our online venture and physical meetups just took so much time and made a big dent on our finances. That doesn’t take away from the fact that we are proud of the group and have enjoyed seeing people coming and going, and also getting jobs through this rough economy. It doesn’t take away the fact that I’ve enjoyed seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and meeting multiple individuals each with their own unique life-story to tell.

We are still keeping the website up and keeping an open mind on the online portion. It can be used for its forums, posts and dynamic informative resources. However, our time spending on it is very very limited.

I hope this doesn’t come as a downer to anyone. I am very grateful to have been presented the opportunity to  meet all the different amazing people in person. I have enjoyed every talk, every activity and game, every spark of energy we were able to muster up from the meetups. And it was an honor and enjoyable experience to work beside Stephanie Cooper, especially on the late nights we would spend brainstorming on who was going to speak, what we were going to do and what venue we could use. It wasn’t an easy task at all.

Thanks for the wonderful journey you all! And keep in touch! And good luck in these rough economic times. It IS turning around. Thank you.

And now, some closing words from Stephanie:

Hi Pink Slip Coffee Members,

After much deliberation, I have decided to close down the meetup group for Pink Slip Coffee. This has been an incredibly difficult decision for me as we have grown to become a terrific group and a much needed outlet for the Boston area. I, as many of you, am faced with financial challenges at this time and will need to secure full time employment. I have researched ways to keep the costs as low as possible for the group while still trying to be paid a little for my time and covering the meetup.com expenses. I really wish there was another way that I could afford to keep everything up and running, but I have exhausted all known options. WaiJe and I will be leaving PinkSlipCoffee.com running as usual and please, please use this as a resource for any help and support for each other. If anyone wants, I can add the member connection list to this site so everyone can keep in touch.

I wish everyone the absolute best on the job hunt and in the future. I always have my personal email address if you wanna write or ask for advice or anything!

Thank you for your dedication, support, and for making my first entrepreneurial venture so great :)

- Stephanie & WaiJe
StephanieLCooper@gmail.com
WaiJe.Coler@gmail.com

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 save  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.