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User Topic: Personal Finance
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Default  Posted: 7:40 PM, October 26th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


To answer your original question, you want to pay off the credit card that has the higest interest first. We consolidated 2-3 C.C. by getting the home equity loan (signature loan) and you can itemize the interest on the schedule A.

Can you or your H get the 401K loan? Depends on the retirement plan, you can borrow up to half of your 401K balance (I mean borrowing from your 401K account). I did that when we had to put the down payment on our new house 3 years ago. It was 4.5% then. Now it is 7.5%.

Good luck.

[This message edited by beach at 6:18 PM, October 27th (Saturday)]

If you don't find peace with yourself, you cannot find anywhere else.
Appreciate and cherish what I have.

Posts: 8680 | Registered: Jul 2005 | From: midwest
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Default  Posted: 5:12 PM, October 27th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wasfooled, you also know that "Medical expense" is deductible on the schedule A, right?

If you don't find peace with yourself, you cannot find anywhere else.
Appreciate and cherish what I have.

Posts: 8680 | Registered: Jul 2005 | From: midwest
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Exclaimation  Posted: 6:04 PM, October 27th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Article on ways to help curb your spending

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Is impulse buying taking a heavy toll on your budget? Here are six ways to get a handle on your spending:

1.Identify your triggers. Many people use shopping as an emotional outlet. But letting your emotions dictate your spending is nearly always a bad idea. To break yourself of the habit, try to determine what prompts you to spend unwisely and take steps to change your behavior.

2.Avoid temptation. If you're inclined to overspend, consider a self-imposed ban on window shopping, casual browsing and unnecessary trips to the mall. Hint: If you know you're going to be in a situation where you're likely to be tempted, leave your credit card at home and only bring as much cash as you absolutely need.

3. Be a cautious consumer. You may think you're immune to advertising, but even the savviest shoppers fall prey to marketing tactics now and again. Next time you find yourself eyeing a "new and improved" product, ask yourself why you feel compelled to buy it. Will that new golf club/razor/skin cream substantially improve your life or just deplete your bank account?

4. Take a time-out. If you stumble on a "must have" item, don't get caught up in the excitement, advises MSN Money columnist Liz Pulliam Weston. Take a deep breath and walk away. Give yourself anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to figure out if this is something that you can afford and really need. After the cool-down period, if you can truthfully answer yes to both questions, go ahead and splurge.

5. Remember long-term goals. Before you buy, ask yourself if you'll get more long-term satisfaction out of owning this item, paying down your debt or putting money toward that dream vacation. You may get a temporary boost from buying that scarf, but that doesn't mean it's the best use of your money.

6. Check you balance. If you find yourself standing in the checkout line, ready to buy something you're not sure you can afford, hold off, suggests Weston. Go to your local bank or log on to your bank account online. Once you've viewed your balance, the purchase may appear far less enticing.

[This message edited by Puppyb at 6:06 PM, October 27th (Saturday)]

My current love:-

Posts: 1556 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Toronto, Canada
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Default  Posted: 6:07 PM, October 27th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thanks puppyb!! That is so true.

If you don't find peace with yourself, you cannot find anywhere else.
Appreciate and cherish what I have.

Posts: 8680 | Registered: Jul 2005 | From: midwest
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Default  Posted: 8:33 AM, November 5th (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ooohhh...I need this thread!

Our financial woes stem from the move. We took a huge pay hit moving here. FWH lost a lot of his incentive pay and I didn't find work until August.

We're in collections pugatory!

However, slowly but surely we're getting things paid off. It's still a struggle, and there's still not enough money, but we're making progress.

Here's a few things I'm working on:

Make a larger than minimum payment on the highest interest rate cc. Once that one is paid off, apply that same amount of money, plus the minimum we normally pay, on the NEXT highest APR card. And so on down the line.

Open up a savings that you do not withdraw from. Then do a direct debit to it each month. Hey, it may only be $50 a month, but it does add up. I'm prone to splurging and I consider this to be a "splurge." I imagine having anice fat security cushion and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Stop eating out except for special occasions. In this state, there is a 10% tax on dining. It's horrid! Eat at home! Make your lunches to take to work. Make your own lattes and put them in a thermos instead of dropping $4 on Starbucks. Cook in bulk and freeze the remainder. Not only will it keep you from having to cook for several nights, it's an effective use of your time and resources.

One that I will be doing once the lease is up. Move to a smaller, cheaper place. I know this won't work for lots of people but we rent and have no kids so it's not hard. We'll do the move with friends, the rental truck costs will be minimal compared to the fact that we'll go from paying $1000 for a house we don't need to a cozy $600 apartment. Utilities will be cheaper too!

Downgrade to bone basic cable.

Sell unwanted or not needed items. I will be a Craigslist fool in the upcoming months. I have a lot of things to sell.

Of course none of these tips are new. But it helped me to type them and see them written here. Maybe they'll help someone else too.

[This message edited by DownNotOut at 8:35 AM, November 5th (Monday)]

"Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option."
~ nimbyone

"Beauty is between one's ears anyway, isn't it?"
~ bkewidow

Posts: 1606 | Registered: Mar 2006 | From: Unemployed and Hating It
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Default  Posted: 11:45 AM, November 7th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

YEAH!!! I'm in so much debt that we live with my WH family. Yes, there is three families living under the same roof. Not sure why the other family is here since they can afford to have a house..but who knows.

We became in debt because my H wanted to buy things for himself and his girlfriend and now I have to pay for it.

I'm trying to save money so I can get the heck out of this place. This will be good I think.

Me: FBS 2005/ WS 2013
H: WS 2005 / poss WS 2013-14
Daughters: 13 & 5

Found out: Oct 2 2005

They say marriages are made in heaven.But so is thunder and lightning.

Posts: 279 | Registered: Mar 2006
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Default  Posted: 2:55 PM, November 7th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

BTDT. I feel for you. It's been 16 years since we lived with H's parents for 2 years (FIL, MIL, BIL and his live in GF, 4 of us... )to save money so we can put the down payment for our own house. I didn't like it, but it helped.

If you don't find peace with yourself, you cannot find anywhere else.
Appreciate and cherish what I have.

Posts: 8680 | Registered: Jul 2005 | From: midwest
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Happy  Posted: 9:57 PM, November 9th (Friday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Wanna retire rich? Don't spend like Britney

Whether you're worth $100 million like Ms. Spears or $100, the same simple strategies can help ensure a comfortable retirement.

By Janice Revell, Money Magazine senior writer
November 6 2007: 5:15 PM EST
NEW YORK (Money) -- In case you missed it, some bombshell news came out of the personal finance arena last week. No, I'm not referring to the Federal Reserve's rate cut or the record-breaking price of oil.
I'm talking about Britney Spears: She isn't saving for retirement.
Money Magazine senior writer Janice Revell
Britney Spears takes in some $737,000 a month - yet still manages to spend it all.

Though the 25-year old pop star is hauling in some $737,000 a month (yes, per month), the Associated Press reported last Thursday that according to court documents, she's not saving or investing a penny of it.
More than $100,000 each month is going to entertainment, gifts and vacations alone.
While most of us may be shocked by this excess, Ms. Spears' saving habits are actually pretty normal.
The truth is, the overwhelming majority of American 20-somethings aren't saving anything for retirement, either. Research from Vanguard shows that two-thirds of all 25-year-olds who have access to a 401(k) plan aren't contributing.
And the worst part is, they aren't taking advantage of their biggest asset: time.
Let's go back to Ms. Spears' retirement plan for a minute. Now I know that she's richer than you and I, worth in the neighborhood of $100 million from her previous sales and touring (she didn't always spend it all). But let's say she was forced to start from scratch, like any other 25-year-old. She could still maintain her lavish lifestyle in retirement.
Assuming she could scrape by on 70% to 80% of her pre-retirement income in retirement - or about $590,000 a month in today's dollars - Ms. Spears would have to accumulate a nest egg of just over $300 million by age 65.
Sound daunting? Nah. All she has to do is keep working and put away 8% or so of her monthly $737,000 income until she retires and she'll hit that goal.
So what's the point of this exercise? Well, the very same strategy can work for you too.
Being sure to set aside just a little each month can help you maintain your lifestyle in perpetuity.
A 25-yr old making $30,000 a year, for instance, and putting away the same 8% of his pay into a 401(k) plan annually for the rest of his career is virtually guaranteed a comfortable retirement by time he hits his 60s.
Assuming average historic rates of inflation and investment returns, and a typical company matching contribution in his 401(k), he would wind up with a nest egg of nearly $2 million by age 65, enough to replace more than 90% of his working income.
I realize that, unlike Ms. Spears, you may also have student loans to pay back at this point in your life. But unless it's a private loan, don't sacrifice your 401(k) contribution to make extra payments on the loan. If it's a federal loan, and you've consolidated it, you likely have a fixed after-tax rate of 5% or less. Over the longer haul, you will handily beat that return in your 401(k); if you get a company matching contribution, you'll trounce it.
And you don't need to hire a team of people to handle your investments. Just put your 8% in a so-called target-date retirement fund - every major fund company offers them, including Fidelity, Vanguard, and T. Rowe Price.
Here, you make your fund choice based on the expected year of your retirement. For instance, if you were planning to retire in 40 years' time, you might pick the T. Rowe Price Retirement 2050 fund. Right now, it has an 88% allocation to stocks, 10% to bonds and the rest in cash.
As time passes, and you get closer to retirement, the fund will automatically adjust that mix of stocks and bonds to more conservative levels. The best part with these funds is that you do nothing.
And that means you'll never have to say, 'Oops! I did it again' when it comes to your retirement.

My current love:-

Posts: 1556 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Toronto, Canada
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Default  Posted: 1:04 PM, December 9th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

My tips, learned pre-wedding :

Slippers and a good sweather save a lot of heating costs in winter. Add a warm blaket and tea when watching TV or reading books...nice.

The dishwasher doesn't need to run the full course of the drying cycle...

Stock, stock, stock when it's on special, like there is gonna be a nuclear war.

For the ones living alone : You can't loose half of your frozen vegetables... they're frozen ! A dab of butter will help the taste.

Rice is the 8th wonder of the world for the financially tight.

Beans of all kind supply protein, and are a cheap alternative for meat, once in a while. Same goes for tofu!

Invest in good herbs, spices and oils. Variety will be yours at all times (even if stucked eating tofu, rice, and beans for a whole month!) and anything will be tasty.

Gotta love spaghetti, stew, chili, burritos, carrot salad, and pea soup !

A pair of free weights and a blanket is all you need at home to build great arms and abs.

Retaurants are an option, not a necessity, more often than you think. So is wine at the reataurant... often as expensive as the food itself.

Skating, sliding, hiking and window shopping are fun and don't cost a buck.

Check out the activities at the community center of library. Some present, films, plays, exibits and confrences for free of cheap. In some big cities, the central library IS actually a fun place to hang out. You can spend the day in a sofa reading magazines there for free!

Potlucks are a great and super fun alternative to receiving friends on your own or going to restaurants. The meals every guest brings fuel the conversation and results in receipe exchanges! Bonus!

A sewing machine is a great investment. Skinny jeans are in... make your own in a stitch from these old boot-cut ! This other shirt could be repaired instead of being thrashed... etc.

There are still tuns of black pants and skirts in stores after christmas, often 50% off and more... these basics will still be in next season...

If you can't afford a varied and lenghty wardrobe, overuse black and get a variety of colorful accessries instead! No one will notice you worned that blouse twice this week, they'll be too busy looking at your funky necklace.

Do it yourself, do it yourself, do it yourself.

Some micro-brewery beers are pretty fancy and go nicely with a good meal...instead of wine...

Used furniture can be as cheap and as stylish as IKEA's, but sturdier! All you may need is time, pain remover and sandpaper...

If you must, avoid reading fashion magazines ! They excell at giving you this urge, that you MUST buy this new thing or get a piece of THIS color for the season...who needs "360 essentials" in their wardrobe just this season?

Hope this helps!

It is what it is.

Posts: 4681 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Quelque part
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Default  Posted: 3:25 PM, December 12th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Great Thread - Financial Infidelity: Is your mate cheating on you ?

[This message edited by Puppyb at 3:26 PM, December 12th (Wednesday)]

My current love:-

Posts: 1556 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Toronto, Canada
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Default  Posted: 3:31 PM, December 12th (Wednesday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

One of the reply (message #74):-

A point many of you are missing is a person's psychological relationship to money. This is an important nuance to determine when entering into a relationship. There is a huge difference between simply having bad money management skills vs using money to medicate emotional pain. A person can learn money good management skills, if they want to. If your significant other has poor money management skills and wants to learn to do better, there is hope for a satisfying long-term relationship. However, it's a completely different story if the person has money problems due to emotional issues. Many people buy "stuff" to fill a big, black emotional hole. You can't solve this type of money problem with money. That is why many of you find yourselves bailing your SO out over and over again and always ending back up in the same place. This problem is best left to to your SO and his or her therapist. Having a satisfying relationship with someone who is psychologically abusing money is infinitely more problematic and the chances of long-term success are much less. Many of your stories have proven this.

My current love:-

Posts: 1556 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: Toronto, Canada
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Default  Posted: 11:26 PM, December 16th (Sunday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Here is a website for those who are contemplating or have filed for BK. Some is pretty common sense, but there is good info for whatever situation.

Hope it can help if you need it.

Updated 2013:
BS-me 40
XH-doesn't matter
4 kids D16, D15, S12, S7
Together 15+yrs, Married 12+yrs
Separated 11/9/07
Divorcing-I filed 4/29/08

Posts: 1347 | Registered: Aug 2007 | From: PNW country
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Default  Posted: 11:06 AM, December 22nd (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

A couple of people have responded to my post earlier on this thread and asked about credit counseling - I am just going to throw this out here:

IF you choose to go this route, please make sure the service you use is part of the National Association of Credit Counselors. This association monitors its members and makes sure they are operating in your best interest. Some of the ones you see advertised on TV are just out to take your money and make your problem worse.

me- 30 FBS
him 38 FWS
MadHatter in my First M


Proud member of the purple Dyson club.

Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, pee on it and walk away.

Have you hugged your MOD today?

Posts: 1729 | Registered: Jul 2007 | From: SC
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Default  Posted: 11:21 AM, December 29th (Saturday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Cheap, easy meals from

1. White Beans and Tomatoes - You need: Crock-pot, Olive oil, onion, garlic, 3 6” stalks of fresh rosemary, large can of diced tomatoes, and 2 cans of white/northern beans. Sauté chopped onions in olive oil in the crock-pot on the high setting for about 15 minutes. Add chopped garlic and sauté for 5 more minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients and let it cook on low in the crock-pot for however long you want. Nothing in this recipe needs cooking so its just a matter of the longer it cooks together the more flavor it will have. I live in Northern California and rosemary is a ubiquitous landscaping plant here so I have an endless free supply. I think it is prolific in other parts of the country too. You might add a little cumin or Tabasco sauce too. Serve with brown bread and a little parmesan cheese.

2. Black Bean Salad – You need: 1 can black beans, 1 can corn or frozen corn, 1 lime, ~2T fresh chopped cilantro, a fresh veggie (I like green pepper or tomato or avocado if you want to splurge). Add all ingredients to a tuper-wear and juice the lime. You might also add some chili powder or tobasco. Let it marinate together for at least 30 minutes. Eat with corn chips.

3. Pasta – You need: whole wheat pasta, jar of marinara sauce (I like Classico’s selections), chopped frozen broccoli, parmesan cheese. I like to mix all these ingredients together but you could eat broccoli as a side dish.

4. Ramen Stir Fry – You need: 2 pack ramen noodles, green pepper, onion, 3 eggs, 2T roasted peanuts, stir-fry seasoning. Soak the ramen noodles in warm water while you prep other ingredients. Sauté onion and green pepper. Add 3 eggs and scramble in the same pan as onion and green pepper but keeping the egg somewhat separate. Add the noodles and seasoning. I like to season with a sauce made from soy sauce, ginger, a little sesame oil, a little brown sugar, and quite a bit of lime juice.

5. Burritos – You need: Green pepper, onion, can of black beans, tortilla’s, cheese and salsa. Sauté green pepper and onion. Add black beans and season with chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and lime juice. Serve on flour tortilla’s with cheese (I think grating is worth it) and salsa.

6. Fried Rice – You need: Rice, frozen peas, 2 eggs, onion, garlic, soy sauce, and ginger. I like to make rice ahead of time on the weekend and eat it several times. I usually cook rice in chicken bouillon for flavor. So sauté onion and add frozen peas to defrost. Scramble eggs in same pan. Add rice, ginger, and garlic. Add soy sauce and some sesame oil to taste.

7. Curry Mushroom “Chicken” - You need: Cooked chicken breast or fake chicken (I like Quorn), frozen chopped broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, lemon juice, curry powder, shredded cheddar cheese. Defrost frozen items in microwave. Add a scoop of mushroom soup, ½ T of curry powder, some lemon juice and shredded cheddar to the bowl and microwave again. You could eat with brown rice.

8. Baked potato – Baked potatoes are great because you can put so many things on top of them. Some of the thing I like to put on are Morningstar crumbles (fake hamburger meat), sautéed mushrooms (season with Worcestershire), broccoli, salsa, shredded cheese, or black beans.

9. Salmon Cakes – You need: 1 can pink salmon, 1 can white/northern beans, lemon juice, dill or thyme, minced garlic, 1 egg. Mix all ingredients together mashing beans and salmon. Make into patties and fry in olive oil. Serve on brown bread and add a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream if you like.

10. Veggie Burgers – Buy a pack of frozen veggie burgers (Morning star veggie burgers will usually go on sale for about $.75/patty.) serve on wheat toast (b/c I don’t like to buy special buns) with thinly sliced cheese and mustard.

11. Hot dogs – Depending on whether cheap or healthy is more important to me at the time, I will buy veggie hot dogs (healthy) or turkey hot dogs (cheap). We like eating them on whole wheat sandwich bread with sauerkraut and mustard. We usually have a can of baked beans on the side.

12. Heuvos Rancheros – You need: 4 eggs, flour tortillas, black beans, salsa, and shredded cheese. Scramble eggs. Warm tortillas in the microwave. Warm black beans sprinkled with lime juice, chili powder, and garlic powder in the microwave. Top tortillas with beans, egg, shredded cheese, and salsa.

Me - Befuckled
WH - Limber at limbo *sigh*

Posts: 5040 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: mountain transplant
Bluest Mood
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Default  Posted: 12:39 AM, December 31st (Monday), 2007View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

The only thing I know about credit it to avoid it. My H just got something in the mail, they said it was a special delivery that only he could sign for. He wasn't home, so I researched this company and found it is just a scammy way to serve you with a subpoena. Apparently one of his credit card companies has decided to file a lawsuit against him.

How is it that even when I go to an entirely different theme park, I still end up on the SAME damned merry-go-round?!

Posts: 193 | Registered: Nov 2007
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Default  Posted: 12:03 PM, January 25th (Friday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Has anyone ever invested $100 in

I was reading msn Money recently about it.

For DD special birthday next month, I did buy her a gift (unframed) at One just wondering if any one else has used these 2 sites at all?

~XWH told me what I wanted to hear but he always did whatever he wanted to do~

Posts: 25351 | Registered: Sep 2005
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Default  Posted: 8:13 PM, January 26th (Saturday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage


Dream, could you give a basic idea - or maybe someone could? - of the difference between sharebuilder & other like -sites?

Being honest here...I have directed my attention, and become proficient in my profession. I love it - no prob. Thing is, it's a "people profession" -
I have come to the realization that I am clueless about money & investing.
Any help would be muchly appreciated regarding stocks, investing, saving, etc.

Posts: 5997 | Registered: Dec 2007 | From: texas
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Default  Posted: 9:18 PM, January 26th (Saturday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

jj~ I'm afraid I'm not adept at this, either, & so was hoping from other more learned input here...of course, I could ask my WH -- who is an MBA-- but he would only tell me the same old "script":
'I don't know a thing about any of that, sweetie...'
(Its the *Power & Control* & SELFISHNESS of an NPD).
All I know was that after reading the msn Money article, it seemed like a good place to begin. And the one share I had purchased for DD went UP shortly after.

~XWH told me what I wanted to hear but he always did whatever he wanted to do~

Posts: 25351 | Registered: Sep 2005
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Default  Posted: 6:04 PM, April 10th (Thursday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Does anyone know anything about asking credit card companies to verify the debt you owe. I once spoke with a man who said that if they can't prove the debt is yours, you are forgiven that debt. I know this true with collection agencies, but not sure about cc companies.

I'm not sure how I really feel about that, because you should pay the debts you owe, but I was just curious.

Posts: 1093 | Registered: Sep 2007 | From: FL
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Default  Posted: 2:29 AM, April 15th (Tuesday), 2008View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have researched some companies for the best trasfer balance.
I am lookin for a good apr (I have one with a GOOD APR,LIKE 0% FOR 15 TO 18 MONTHS and opefully a good apr for the life of the loan like 3 or 4%)
no annual fee
no transfer balance fee
earns % off spending etc

Spent alot on detectives while what i needed in my casr was a good var and a vedeo surveillance system. Still need one

Posts: 606 | Registered: Jun 2006
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