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New prices at restaurants are highway robbery

August 22nd, 2008 at 08:34 pm

I went to my favorite bbq restaurant today. About every two months I purchase a discount coupon for $12.50 that is valued at $25.00, and I meet my sister for lunch. She lives over an hour away, and it's a half-way point, and it's a nice treat for her.

Our favorite bbq restaurant's food is outstanding, and the prices are very affordable. However, for the last year we have been anticipating their move to a new location. They have been renovating the building for probably a year. I'm very happy for their success. However, yesterday evening when I went to their website, they had a new website. It was beautiful, classy, and they had new menus.

Then I noticed the prices had increased significantly. I mean, the combo that was $13.00 with two sides was now $18.00 with only one side order. The grilled tilapia with two sides that was $11.00 was now $17.00 with one side order. Even the kid’s meal went from $3.00 to $6.00 and the drink was no longer included. We would have to pay $1. The new menu has appetizers now. The chips and salsa/guacamole is $10.00. Crab w/spinach and artichokes is $12.00. Geez, is my bbq joint becoming a fine dining place without my permission?

I called my sister to give her the bad news. We felt sad, because they had now priced us out of their market. Lunch was still affordable, but the drink that was included in the $8.95 price would cost an extra $1.49. Thank God, they have not moved to the new building. They are still using the old prices.

However, we are disappointed because we know the move is coming and it will be rare or never that we will go there.

Have you noticed some of your favorite eatery prices escalating to unreasonable rates? Can you share your experience?

I'm drinking more water for my health & to save

August 20th, 2008 at 06:17 pm

Okay, everyone knows we need water to live, right? I mean, water is what makes our bodies operate. Soda and juice habits can be expensive, and can do damage to your body. So I suppose water is the answer, and I'm not talking about bottled water either.

People drink bottled water because they feel it is safer. We're told and programmed to believe that bottled water is cleaner, safer, and healthier. However, a study that did a comparison of tap and bottled found that there was no difference.

Well, you know I'm all about saving money and being healthy. I do not necessarily like bottled or tap. Bottled water was costing us about $10-15 a month. Now, we use filters on our tap faucet and our water pitcher. We have double filtered water. It probably saves us around $90 a year. What is most important, we feel we have made steps to have safer, cleaner, healthier water on our terms.

Do you drink water? What do you do to save money and have healthier water?

Bad news has made me evaluate life, health & money

August 18th, 2008 at 02:53 pm

Today I received bad news. I found out my roommate from 17 years ago died after being in a diabetic coma. She was only 41 years old. I had no idea she was even sick. She lives in a different state. We kept in touch via email, but we had not had a real phone conversation for two years. She had emailed me that she was coming to town, and wanted to meet in Atlanta this August. I'm heartbroken, devastated, and re-evaluating my life, and how everything I do affects my life, health, and finances.

Like me, she worked from home. I know working from home you can get into a routine that excludes exercise. You sit and sit, and maybe you hardly take a break. Sometimes I do that. Hearing about my old roommate, I realize how precious life is. How blessed we are to have good health. And how not taking care of yourself can ruin your life, health, and money.

Yes, healthcare is expensive. However, there are some things we can do that are preventative. Cook and eat right, take the time to exercise to circulate your blood, and be in tune with your body to make sure things are functioning properly. Bottom line: if you truly care about your life, do what is necessary to stay healthy. By staying healthy hopefully it will not rob you of your life, health and wealth before your time.

If this helps one person, I will feel like I'm made a difference today.

I'm wondering if home warranties are a waste

August 15th, 2008 at 03:41 pm

I just got the bill for the home warranty for our rental property. It is $515.00. Gosh, let me see, last year the company says they saved us $253.00. But we spent $515.00 to save that. Plus, our tenants are responsible for the first $50 of repairs. We had two incidents last year, and then one wasn't even covered under the warranty.

I want a cheaper warranty, but can't seem to find one out there. I'm thinking of putting the $515.00 in an account each year for repairs or emergencies. Our rental is 15 years old, so thankfully we haven't had any major problems. I know something huge could happen and we could be out of alot of money. However, with those home warranties, what you think is covered isn't always covered. We tend to find that out at the last minute, and it's too late.

What about you, do you use a home warranty company for your primary residence or rental property? Know any good deals? If so, are you happy with the service?

I love PIZZA but Geez is it worth the price?

August 13th, 2008 at 02:24 pm

One food I love is pizza. Pizza is fun, good, and if you do it right you may be able to get at least three food groups on it. Anyway, at my favorite pizza place, the pizzas start at $20. That's a lot of money for bread and sauce. So we decided to do something about it.

Saturday is officially our pizza day. My husband shops on Saturday, so he picks up a large french bread loaf. That is our crust. Okay, so one way I make my pizza is to:

- cut the french bread in half
- put both halves on a large cookie sheet
- spread spaghetti sauce on the bread (as thick or thin as you like)
- sprinkle some cheese
- sprinkle ground turkey
- slice tomatoes (thin) and spread over pizza
- cut thin sliced onions and spread over pizza
- sprinkle more cheese on top
- bake on 350 degrees or so, and leave in for about 15 minutes (maybe 20)

We experiment with other types of pizzas with french bread too. A nice salad on the side is icing on the cake. Yummy, yum, yum!!! We figure we save at least $13-$15 making our own homemade pizza. The plus, we know our hands and kitchen is clean, and our food is fresh.

So have you come up with any creative ways to save on pizza?

Do you really need a cell phone?

August 11th, 2008 at 06:24 pm

What did we do when there were not cell phones? We lived! I realized around six months ago that I really didn't need my cell phone. I work at home, I rarely have it on, and I have NEVER used it for a "real" emergency. I now realize it is a convenience incase of a "what if." However, a "what if" hasn't happened in 10 years.

So now I have a phone plan that is only $26 a month. I get 200 minutes during the day and anytime minutes starting at 9pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. However, I still do not use it. The other reason I do not use my cell phone, is because I believe cell phones are not good for your health. When I have used it, I end up with a headache and a hot spot on my head where I had the cell phone.

Also, I do not need my cell phone for long-distance, because I have unlimited long distance on my landline, and hardly anyone has my cell phone number anyway. It's a convenience that is costing me $312.00 a year. For some people a cell phone is a necessity, but for me it is not. Unfortunately, I have a two-year agreement. However, if I continue to pay monthly for a service I never use, I will say bye-bye to the cell phone.

Do you really need your cell phone or is it more of a want and convenience?

A painless way to save on utilities

August 8th, 2008 at 02:40 pm

Many people have problems figuring out how to save on utilities. But the reality is there are many ways you can save money on utilities. One of the things that we do to save money is to only use our washer and dryer when it is completely full loads. Also, instead of using the heavy load, we use the minimum load and wash using cold water. Also, we take the lent out of the dryer after each load dries, so the dryer will dry and run more efficiently.

Next, only use the dishwasher when it is full. Every time you use it, if it isn't full you are using lots of hot water and electricity. Save by making sure the dishwasher is full. Additionally, as an alternative use more paper plates, and use the dishwashing only once or twice a week.

Finally, turn off lights when you leave a room to save on your electric cost. Unplug the television, radio, iron, and other appliances when they are not in use. If they stay plugged in electricity is still going through the current, and you are still being charged.

So, what do you do to save on utilities?

Does giving more set you free from debt?

August 6th, 2008 at 06:05 pm

The more you give the more you receive. That is what the Bible says, and I believe it is true. However, if you give will it help you get out of debt? Probably not!

You see, you can give away a lot of money and material things, and be down right foolish when it comes to managing your finances. Therefore, while you may reap a harvest, you may let the harvest slip through your hands. Paying off debt takes discipline, patience, and self-control. It also takes basic common sense and a strategic plan.

You can give, give, and give until you're blue in the face. Then you can receive, receive, and receive. However, it's what you do with what you get. Don't get mad at God when you feel like you've been duped. Maybe you did reap based on your giving, but what did you do with what you reaped? Did you pay-down debt, pay bills, save, invest or give more? Or did you buy a new car, bigger house, bigger toys, and pretend to be rich for as long as it would last?

Thing is, we should give because it's the right thing to do, not because of what we may get out of it. However, if you reap abundance be a good steward over it, manage your resources and money properly, and you may actually be set free from debt.

Simple ways to save on groceries

August 4th, 2008 at 04:29 pm

We're always thinking of ways to save money. Always! Well, my husband does all the grocery shopping and he does an excellent job. We spend around $250-$300 a month for a family of three on groceries (food). Then we spend around $100 for supplies. My husband shops every Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. at Super Wal-Mart. No traffic, hardly any people, so he gets in and out.

We always brainstorm on how to save and do things better. Well here are some ideas we implemented to cut our grocery bill.

- instead of buying a six pack of yogurt. We now purchase one large container, and put it in individual containers with lids. Instead of six, we now get around ten yogurts.

- instead of buying cold boxed cereals, we now purchase hot cereals like grits, cream of wheat, and oatmeal. We discovered it's more cheaper, more filling, healthier, and by rotating the three, it last almost a whole month.

- instead of using a pound of turkey hamburger for one dish, I use it for three dishes. The benefit, I stretched it by making it last, and I usually end up cooking once a week instead of two or three.

Do you have any tricks to save on groceries? I'd love to hear them.

I get $75 today to say what I think

August 1st, 2008 at 03:04 pm

Today I'm going to a focus group for 90 minutes. Fridays are usually my slow day, so this opportunity came up and I took it.

About 3 times a year I'll do a "focus group," which means a face-to-face survey to find out what you think. They do not sell you anything, you get refreshments, and a check or cash when you leave. I've gotten as much as $150 for 90 minutes. Focus groups can be 45 minutes to usually 2 hours. You can make as much as $200 or sometimes more.

So today, it will take a couple of hours out of my day including drive time, but it's worth it. I usually meet other nice business professionals, eat a few snacks, and walk away with quick easy cash. I even met a girl in college that makes her living only doing focus groups. I'm only signed up with one company, but she was signed up with alot. She said it's the only way she makes her living. I guess, depending on how busy they keep you, you could easily make $400-$500 a week for a few hours. Can't beat that.

Have you ever done a focus group before?

Another airline ripoff report

July 30th, 2008 at 06:23 pm

Wow...Everyone seems to try and "separate" us from our hard-earned money these days. Today while reading the online newspaper, I read that Delta airlines decided to raise the price of a second carry on bag. They had already put a price tag of $25 for the second carry on bag a few months ago, but now they have raised it to $50 per second bag each way on the trip.

That's $100 for a round trip ticket; just to carry an extra bag. Flying prices have already gone through the roof, but now you have to get a loan to carry an additional bag...Geez!

Thank God my family is vacationing closer to home these days. Will all the new fees, charges, and sur-charges affect the way you travel? What do you think?

Our daughter got a new computer today for FREE

July 29th, 2008 at 05:33 pm

We decided to home school our 10 year old daughter while on vacation in May. We were sick of the public schools using children as fundraisers, and always marketing their contradictions to us (i.e. fast food, yucky lunches, candy, etc.). Plus, we felt she wasn't being challenged academically.

A friend in Washington State told me about a home school program called K12. She said, they supply the curriculum, supplies and books, assign you a teacher, give you a computer, and the best part it's all FREE.

My daughter has wanted a computer for years, but we told her she would need to save up for one. Well her computer from K12 arrived today. Yippy!!! To our surprise it was a brand new HP with a flat screen monitor and a new HP printer. She is in heaven and so are we. That one decision probably saved us $1,200 or so.

Also, home schooling will allow us to save by not having to purchase school clothes, gas, supplies, and the endless "begging for your money" that schools do.

I DO NOT hate public schools or their teachers. We have just found an alternative for education, and a way to save more money. What do you think?

Rental car companies will make you mad

July 28th, 2008 at 04:05 pm

I recently went on a business trip that required a rental car once I arrived in the city. I didn't make the initial reservation, the company's travel agent did. I rarely use rental cars, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn "they are a major rip-off."

First the travel agency got a car that cost $78 a day. A day! Okay, then I had to get insurance. The cost $40 a day. Next, I got the GPS system to make sure I got where I needed to go. Price: $13.95 per day. Then I got the gas plan that was fixed for my 24 hour stay, which came fo $64. Finally, I was charged a 10% fee of $33.82 just because of what? Stil do not know. The final cost for having a rental car for 24 hours $391.20.

I know it wasn't my money per se, but goodness gracious. If people are actually paying these prices for rental cars, they will find themselves in bankruptcy. These were corporate rates. Obviously, corporate rates suck!

I know for a fact you can get incredible car rental rates on or We went to Oregon for eight days and rented a car on orbitz. It cost around $150 for eight days. Also, we went to Arizona, rented a car, and the cost was around $180 for 5 days.

What has been your experience with rental cars?

Cut expenses on eye wear and save

July 25th, 2008 at 04:00 pm

Last year we discovered that our daughter needed to wear reading glasses. My husband and I do not wear glasses, so we had no idea how much it cost. Upon doing research I discovered that glasses are extremely expensive. It doesn't matter if you are an adult or child, you almost need a loan to purchase a pair.

Okay, so like having a baby for the first time, I wanted the best because I don't know that anything less would do. We paid $200 for our 10 year old daughter's glasses. That price was better than what our insurance offered. We brought the wipes that cost $9.00. I didn't know you could get them at the dollar store for $1.

Then I discovered there are many alternatives to paying retail prices for glasses.

1. my piano found a guy who makes eye glasses for $30 a pair out of his garage. I saw the glasses and they looked great!

2. then I found out about a place where eye glasses start at $8 a pair. Go to

3. finally, a friend told me there are places you can purchase eye wear for $99 and you can buy one and get one free.

Do you wear glasses? How have you been able to save on eye wear expenses?

Are "extras" choking the life out of you?

July 23rd, 2008 at 04:33 pm

Everyone and anyone has regular expenses in their budget that they absolutely need. Then there are those things that are a combination of needs/wants & conveniences. Many of those things are what I call the "extras."

Extras we like, love, and want, and may be the very thing that is causing some to drown in debt.

Here are my list of things that I consider extras. They aren't "bad" or anything. Just extra!

pet care
private school

Those are just a few. What extras have "choked" the life out of you in the past? Or are you still being choked?

It's a pain, but everyone needs to do it

July 22nd, 2008 at 04:59 pm

Do you know the minimum amount it takes for you to live or survive each month? Is it $2,000, $5,000, $6,000? Getting out of debt is wishful thinking if you do not get serious about knowing exactly what money comes in and how much you spend each month.

If you do not track your receipts or spending, how do you know how much you spend on lunch, dining out or entertainment? What about that cute pet, how much does it cost you each month or year?

One thing I know for sure, you should start tracking "all" your money if you don't. Determine what it cost for your lifestyle to operate. If it cost too much, scale down. If it cost a little, pay more debt, save and invest the difference.

What about you, do you track your money? How much does it cost to operate your life?

Eat out and save, too...

July 18th, 2008 at 04:11 pm

I love food! Like you, I love to eat out when I can. Usually once a week or 1 1/2 weeks. I do not eat at fast food places. Well, only Chick-fil-a, but they're an exception to the rule. Therefore, when I go out I like nice restaurants, but I do not pay full price. Below are four ways I'm able to eat at nice restaurants for about half the price.

- Early bird specials. We go to our favor steak restaurant where an entry starts at $20, but with the early bird the same meal is $10.

- Discount coupons. I use Dining for Dollars or to go to my favoriate bbq restaurant. I purchase a coupon for $12.50, and it's worth $25.00.

- Buy one-get-one free. It always works great. Instead of paying for two meals, we're only paying for one.

- Free birthday meals. At Provino's I get a free meal and dessert for free. Go to
free_birthday_meal.html to check out other FREE meals for birthdays.

Do you like eating out? What do you do to save money?

Save money on snacks and live

July 17th, 2008 at 05:12 pm

A study came out a few years ago that microwavable popcorn causes lung cancer. Matter of fact, what brought the study on is that a high number of workers in the manufacturing plant were developing lung cancer and respitory problems from chemicals used in the popcorn.

I love popcorn, but I also love living.

My Dad came to visit my husband and I a few years ago, and showed us an awesome way to enjoy microwavable popcorn.

1. get a brown paper lunch bag
2. spread butter on the sides of bag, and about 1 teaspoon inside bag
3. put popcorn cornels in bag (test the amount)
4. fold down the top of bag to keep the popcorn in
4. pop in the microwave on the "popcorn" button or the same amount of minutes
5. when it is done put salt on it
6. Yummy!!!

Do you love snacking? What do you do to satisfy your craving, save money, and eat healthy?

Dentist the new used car salesmen

July 16th, 2008 at 03:19 pm

I went to the dentist today for a routine cleaning. That is all! In the lobby they had a new flat screen tv, promoting the horrors of oral cancer. When I sat down in the dentist chair the hygienist stated, it was their new policy I had to have an oral cancer exam or they couldn't clean my teeth. After a 1/2 hour consulting with their office manager about their lack of customer service for not telling patients ahead, I decided to go ahead. It cost $65 (I'm mad).

Okay, then the hygienist check my gums and says I need a procedure to do a deep cleaning that cost, get this, $836. Oh yes, and if I didn't get the procedure done, she couldn't even clean my teeth. So I walked away with, get this, a $100 bill. In the past checking my gums was always FREE, but today they said it cost $25 (plus my $10 co-pay), and in the pass three years, she said, “Someone dropped the ball for not charging me to check my gums.” Unbelievable!

My husband immediately cancelled his and our daughter's appointment for August. We are now looking for a new dentist. I felt like we were dealing with used car sales people. A visit that should have taken 1/2 hour, turned into 2 hours, and I'm out of $100, mad, disgusted, and almost ready to leave dentists alone.

Are "dentist" the new suckface savages stealing our wealth? What do you think?

Does your personality affect your spending?

July 15th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

The majority of people that have problems in the areas of debt and overspending would never consider that part of their problem may be their personality style. That's right, the way they were made.

Are you the type of person that loves to have "FUN" all the time, you satisfy your "wants" first and think of the consequences later? If so, in the D-I-S-C personality profiles you would be considered an "I." "I's" are inspiring, influencers, and outgoing. They love to be liked, live a certain image, and having "FUN" is their priority.

Unfortunately, if they are not careful they can find themselves deeply in debt. You see, they want to impress others, keep up their image; have fun whether they can afford it or not.

My personality is a "D-C." I'm direct, demanding, domineering, cautious, critical, and competitive. My personality lines up with the way I spend my money.

Do you know your personality style? How has your personality affected your spending?

Don't let debt ruin your relationship...

July 14th, 2008 at 01:14 pm

A few days ago I read an article that stated, "60% of couples fight about money." That number seems high, but my guess is that the percentage may be even higher. Debt or over spending really does take a toll on people emotionally and physically. And it brings to surface other underlying problems as well.

However, I don't want to dwell on the negative. I would much rather find solutions to overcome debt or money problems in relationships.

Here are a few suggestions.

- Realize in marriage you are a team, so as a team create a strategy to eliminate debt and spend wiser.

- Create a realistic plan. One that is doable and livable.

- Allow open and honest communication about your fears, strengths, weaknesses, and financial goals.

- Meet weekly to look at your progress, tweak the process, and get status reports.

Has debt or over spending caused problems in your relationship? What have you done to move pass it in order to move forward? If you've done nothing, what do you plan to do?

Embrace a New Mindset to Get Debt Free

July 11th, 2008 at 01:47 pm

One thing I know for sure, the road to debt free living means embracing a new and different mindset. The old way of thinking regarding money has to be thrown out the window. A new attitude and mindset has to embrace the lifestyle change.

So how do you to get a new mindset, so you can joyfully walk through the process to get debt free?

1. reject the way the world has programmed you to think about money.

2. make a decision to do the opposite of what the world is doing with money.

3. make a commitment to stay focused on your new lifestyle to eliminate debt and live debt free.

4. create a plan and strategy to get debt free.

5. keep motivated mentally by surrounding yourself with like-minded people.

What have you purposely done to embrace a "new" mindset while you are going throught the process to get debt free?

Nice clothes for cheap...

July 8th, 2008 at 02:30 pm

I like nice things, but I hardly ever pay full price for them. One category that can be very spendy is clothes. I have a 10 year old daughter that is constantly growing. Of course I want her to look nice all the time, but I sure don't want to go broke in the process.

Here are some ways I've gotten really nice name brand clothes for very little or even free.

- go to garage sales in affluent neighborhoods. Their junk is usually my treasure.

- go to "reasonaly priced" consignment shops.

- go to Target. They actually have really nice well made clothes.

- get clothes from my sister-in-law who gets them from her sister and cousin who spends HUGE amounts on brand name clothes for their kids who never even wear them. Really, the clothes are new. Go figure!

- Shop after Christmas sales or Holiday sales for the best bargains on clothes.

How much do you think you spend on clothes in a month or year? What do you do to save money on clothes?

Cheap and Free Entertainment...

July 5th, 2008 at 01:07 pm

I love to have FUN! But how do you do that with a family of three without going broke?

Well, if you're like me, you think of ways to have fun that are either "cheap" or better yet "free." Here are five ways we have a really great time and don't break the bank.

1. go to the park

2. go to "free" Regal Cinema movies during the summer. Every week during the summer at 10am (all over the country), they have free movies. Did I say FREE?

3. have a "potluck" party with family and friends. Everyone brings their favorite dish.

4. go to the library to read, relax, and learn.

5. free concerts at the park, lake, church, or downtown concert series.

What do you do for cheap or free entertainment?

6 Ways to Save on Utilities

July 3rd, 2008 at 12:13 pm

When I think of ways to cut cost, I look at every spending category. Every little bit saved adds up.

Utilities if not watched can take a chunk out of your monthly expenses. Never think that you have exhausted every way to find extra money to save or pay off debt.

Here are 6 ways you can save on utilities each day to lower your energy bills.

1. turn off the lights when you leave a room.
2. cook twice a week in large portions instead of daily.
3. unplug electrical things like irons, tv, lamps, radios, etc. when they are not in use.
4. use the dish washer once or twice a week or not at all.
5. wash and dry clothes only when you have a full load.
6. try to not use the gas and electric during peak hours. Check with your utility company to find out what their peak hours are.

How much are your utilities each month? Is that an area you can start saving? Can you add some suggestions to the list?

Need Cash? Here's what you do...

July 2nd, 2008 at 12:24 pm

These are hard times! Many people are struggling to make ends meet. If you are in need of "quick" cash, here are some suggestions to bring in cash immediately.

- Have an extra room? Get a roommate. The deposit and first months rent can easily bring in $500-$700 dollars. Rent month-to-month with a rental agreement.

- Look around your place and find things you do not use, like, or do not want. Sell on or

- Have a yard or garage sale, bake sale, or babysit for family or friends.

What do you do for "quick" extra cash?

You Can Save Money on Food

July 1st, 2008 at 04:05 pm

Food is a HUGE expense for most people. Whether it's going out to eat, grocery shopping, or snacking. Food can be expensive. Do you know how much you spend weekly, monthly or yearly on food?

I love to eat, but I also love to save money. So I've discovered a system that allows me to do both.

First, I cook only twice a week (there are three in my family). On Sundays, I cook three one-dish meals, three vegetables, and a dessert. Takes me only 1.5 hours. I do not usually have to cook again for another 3-4 days. Go to for cooking ideas.

We go out to eat around once a week or week-and-a-half. But we use the "early bird" specials. Meaning at a fine-dining restaurant we can get a $20 entree for $10. Or we use two-for-one coupons. Also, go to to get coupons at more than half price to eat out.

Bottom line: eating is enjoyable! Nothing wrong with that. So how much do you spend on food monthly? Are you looking for ways to cutback? What are you doing to save on food?

Living for Needs not Wants

June 30th, 2008 at 09:56 pm

In 1991 when I lived in Puerto Rico, I discovered what my REAL needs were. I need a roof over my head, water, food, and good health. I couldn't get a job because I never got a phone. So a way to communicate would be nice.

Have you discovered what your absolute needs are to survive? Or have you been programmed like the rest of the world to believe your wants are your needs?

What would you say your absolute needs are?

Choices not Sacrifices

June 30th, 2008 at 09:50 pm

People hate the word sacrifice. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth. However, in order for people to pay off debt, they do need to make some sacrifices. Nevertheless, we'll say "choices."

Are you serious about getting debt free? If so, what choices are you willing to make to change your lifestyle and spending?

Frugal Life Gets More Frugal

June 30th, 2008 at 09:47 pm

My husband and I just decided to sell our other car and go down to one car. We realized that our lifestyle allowed us to have one car. Having one car could save us around $2,500 a year in gas, insurance, tags, and maintenance. It's a small price to pay.

What about you, can you go down to one car to save money? What would you do with an extra $2,500 a year?

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