Tuesday, December 30, 2008

KIVA.ORG | loans that change lives


Click here to check out Kiva.org


What is it?

Kiva.org is essentially a community micro-lending network that allows you to lend to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world.
It allows anyone to lend to others [entrepreneurs] anywhere in the world in order to help them rise out of poverty.

"Kiva.org is a non-profit organization helping to facilitate the microfinance movement." ~Current TV

"Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty." ~Kiva.org

How it works?

There are three simple steps as indicated on the company's website; Choose an Entrepreneur, Lend, Get Repaid.

The minimum you can lend is $25.

[Source: www.kiva.org] (text and image)

1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to.
When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of their microfinance partners worldwide.

2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur.
Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success.

3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.

4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.


What's cool about it?

1. You can lend as little as $25 dollars. If you want to get in the habit of giving/lending [even though this is not a donation], it is still a great way to get in the mindset of helping others. It may be something you could share with your children as well; sharing your personal wealth with others in need around the world.  Great habit to develop.

2. Kiva.org shows you the stories of the people you are lending to. Many times when we lend, or give donations, we do not know the reason the person needs it. Kiva.org provides a profile for each entrepreneur or group describing clearly what the loan is for, what type of business the entrepreneur has and what the repayment terms are.

[Image source: my profile on Kiva]


3. Kiva.org is a non-profit organization and any donations (not loans) to Kiva is tax deductible.
Receipts can be exported from the website for your records.

4. You can start your own lending team on Kiva. This really embodies the community-lending mission.

For more on this great web site, go to www.kiva.org.

My Synopsis

Kiva - loans that change lives

I have been using this site for a couple months now and I really like it. My goal is to provide a loan to someone in a different region of the world each month. I really like the idea behind this site and it has been very well thought out. It also has a lot of corporate partners supporting it, which I think is great. This is a site I believe will take off even further once more people get exposed to it and know that they can help others in the world start their own business.

What I like about Kiva is that it has made micro-lending effortless. It keeps track of all your transactions and also automatically builds a profile of all the entrepreneurs you have lent to and the status of their repayment. Great interface and excellent product.

I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to lend to others who may have drawn the short straws in life and are living under difficult conditions, but are willing to take the necessary steps to help themselves and their families and community. I look at this more of a donation and not a loan, so I lend what I am able to lend. It is my way of giving back to communities of people who are willing to help themselves.

As always, carefully read through the company's website and get a thorough understanding of what the company does and how it operates. Web Apps 101 is not meant to be a replacement to your own research, but merely provides an environment to open up the usefulness of the web to you. The research is fundamentally objective and with the other sources and community input, will help you make an informed decision about whether a product or service is for you.

Enjoy and happy lending.

Other Reviews from the web

Articles: MyMoneyBlog | Viewpoints | Cash Money Life

Videos: The Kiva Story | Current TV

Monday, December 29, 2008

MINT.COM | the best free way to manage your money

Click here to sign up.

What is it?

Mint.com is essentially a free online money management software. It allows you to manage your finances and keeps track of your spending habits.

"Mint.com is a modern, powerful, easy and secure Web–based solution for online financial management. And it’s free." ~mint.com

What it does?


Mint.com consolidates all your online bank, credit union, retirement and investment accounts through its simple, intuitive web-based interface. You log-in anonymously using any valid email address, and then add the login information for your various online financial institutions. All your data is then displayed in Mint via a clean, intuitive interface.

[Great feature] Mint.com also provides personalized recommendations to users by searching thousands of offers to provide you with the best deals out there. It is very interesting because the recommendations are unique to each individual and are made based on the individual's spending patterns. This is where Mint.com actually makes money. If a customer takes up another offer provided by another institution to save money, Mint.com gets a commission for that.


  1. It is free.
  2. It is easy to use.
    Setup takes about 5 minutes.
  3. It automatically pulls together your bank, credit union, credit card, retirement account, investment accounts,
    PayPal account and many others.
  4. Mint provides personalized recommendations of how you can save and make money.
  5. Mint alerts you when your credit card bills are due, have a low balance, transactions are made in certain accounts and more.
  6. Mint is secure.
    Click here for Privacy and Security policy.
    Mint provides bank-level data security and industry-leading identity protection.
    Its security and privacy have been validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe.

Check Mint.com for Key Benefits.

What's cool about it?

  1. Mint.com consolidates all your accounts in one easy to manage place.
    It is a web application, so it can be accessed anywhere.
    It automatically updates your information every night as well.


2.  Mint even shows you your investment accounts and uses visual charts to indicate how
     your accounts are performing against various indexes.

3.  Mint displays your best and worst performing stocks in your portfolio over a period of time.


4. Mint provides a detailed overview of all your information upon logging in.
You are presented with an immediate breakdown of all your account balances, alerts (unusual spending),
portfolio performance and budgets.


5. Mint also provides a visual representation of your current spending habits which is great for
    anyone interested in keeping track of their spending.



6. Mint.edu blog provides personal finance educational information.


My Synopsis

I highly recommend Mint for anyone who is interested in managing their personal finances. I think more people should be keeping track of this sort of information and Mint provides an easy-to-use, intuitive application to do so. I currently use Mint and Microsoft Money and I must say that Mint is so much easier because it connects to all my accounts automatically. I almost have to do no work; not to mention the various recommendations I receive periodically to save money.

I suggest that you first check out the site and ensure that you will be comfortable using it. This is merely my opinion and I have used a lot of applications like this. This is simply the best online money management software I have seen so far.

Check it out and tell me what you think. Please feel free to tell the community what you think about the software by posting comments. I know many may be interested in using it, but may be a bit hesitant. Others may be using it and may like or dislike some things about it. I look forward to hearing your opinions on Mint. I encourage new users to read through the comments provided by the community and make a well-informed decision as to if Mint is for you. Enjoy!!

Other reviews from around the web

Articles: AppAppeal | The Far Side of Tech | About.com

Videos: TechCrunch40

Sunday, December 28, 2008


The goal of Web Apps 101 is simple.
I believe that all services and or software most people would like to use already exist online, but the problem is no one is aware of it. There is no one place someone can go to see all of the great software that are being created by the developers and entrepreneurs of today online. Web Apps 101 will help with this problem.

I truly believe that the future web applications will have the cloud (internet) as the operating system. Therefore, I think it is truly worthwhile to have a place where the hundreds of web apps be categorized and referenced so that the average web user is aware that the various functionality that they may be looking for exists via a web application.

I scour the web daily looking at and testing new applications. I must admit that I come across many cool applications all the time and usually share them with my friends. Now, I have decided to share them with the broader community so that we all can benefit from what is great out there.

I will provide simple reviews of a web application and be as unbiased as possible. I think it is important to be objective because we are all different and our experience of software should be the same as well. I also want you all to have that initial experience of the software as well, without any preconceived notions.

I hope you enjoy this and really take advantage of all the great applications that are available to us all.

If you have any you would like to recommend, please feel free to leave a comment.

Disclaimer: Web Apps 101 is not meant to be a replacement to your own research, but merely as a doorway to introduce you to many of the available apps out there. It is recommended that you follow up with the actual website to get more detailed information before participating in any of the sites. We hope to provide you with an environment to help you make a well-informed decision as to whether a product is suitable for you or if it is something you will want to try.

We hope you enjoy.