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Archive for September, 2014: Trying to keep Tabs on my finances
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Archive for September, 2014

Kids these days

September 25th, 2014 at 10:15 pm

Elsewhere, on another financially-related forum that is mostly populated with the younger crowds (20's and early 30's), they're talking about the importance of enjoying life over agonizing over a budget. After all, they say, what is the point of working so hard for your wages if you don't enjoy life a little?

Now, see, this to me is the exact definition of "Knowing just enough to be dangerous".

No one on there argues that one should not save or set aside some money for rainy days. The thing is, to them, budgeting is not fun. Budgeting is something you do as a chore. I get it. Some people don't like it, and that's fine.

However, they're taking it to the next step and saying, look, I work hard, I make money, and basically I should be allowed to spend freely to enjoy life, without having to budget if I don't want to, and without having to be constrained by said budget because, after all, I am working and I can always make more.

Bzzz. Wrong. To me, spending without knowing your budget is to drive at night with your headlights off. You just don't know where you are going and what will happen to you.

And see, here's the funny part. I am at a point now where I too am operating relatively freely in terms of spending and is not as restrictive on budget. However, the difference is that I've been operating within my budget for so long that I KNOW when I am doing something that may throw my budget off. (I also only have to track myself, so it's really not hard.)

The bottom line is, YES, YOU NEED TO BUDGET. You don't have to LIKE budgeting, but you do need to know what is going on with your money. The fact that I know what's going on without having to physically look at my budget doesn't mean I don't have a budget.

Ok, just had to get that off my chest. Honestly, these kids. They're also the type that loves to pursue stock and option trading, which I think is way over-rated, but that's a topic for another time.


September 19th, 2014 at 11:57 am

Ahoy there! Tis National Speak like a Pirate Day, mateys! Why speak like a Pirate on this very fine day? Because it's free, that's why! So don't be a land-lubber and speak away, lest ye be walking the plank. Yaaaaar!

Life in the dumps

September 11th, 2014 at 05:24 pm

So I read an

Text is interesting article and Link is
interesting article about a college professor who is currently living inside a dumpster. He did add a roof on it, but I have to really wonder: Of all the man-made objects he could have picked, why a dumpster bin?

On the upside, the rolling open air roof is pretty neat.

Let's talk!

September 7th, 2014 at 01:31 pm

Hey SA! WANT TO BE ABLE TO TALK TO FELLOW REGULARS ON HERE? Wouldn't that be fun? Don't be shy now, it's FREE! How do you sign up? It's easy! Just comment below that you want to, and I'll send you a handy dandy email on how to set it up.

Only one requirement: You have to be a regular here with forum or blog contributions for, say, the past 3 months. Something like that. I just don't want anyone to just create an account out of nowhere and take advantage of this because space is limited and this service still costs me money.

- = * = -

Alright, now for the long version of this. I think, by now, everyone knows about MagicJack. If you already have an internet connection, it's a great money saver.

However, if you don't need a service to keep your legacy phone number (say, you operate only with a cellphone phone number like me), or you make a lot of international calls, then something like Skype is even better... because it's free.

Now, if you want to take a step beyond even that, like a highly reliable service that allows simultaneous connections from 10 to 1000 people at once... then you'll want something like Mumble or TeamSpeak.

Services like these are often marketed to small businesses with conferencing needs, or for video gamers who run and coordinate large groups (which is what I do with it). However, that does not mean they can't work for everybody else. In fact, they are ridiculously over-powered for regular use.

And what's cost for this level of power? How about $1.45 a month (for 10 concurrent users)? Sounds reasonable? WAIT, THERE'S MORE! Act now, and we'll slash that down to a low, low price of only $0.00 a month just to join! Why is that? Because that $1.45 a month is only for the person renting the service. Everybody else can join it for free!

See, this beats MagicJack because that signs up everybody has to pay for it (mostly to retain a legacy phone number), and it beats Skype because Skype is designed to work mostly for one-on-one conversations (though I've seen it work for up to four people). Also, it will tax your internet as it makes you the host every time, whereas paying for Mumble makes the company host it for you. That way, it's super reliable and the call quality is always great, no matter how many people are on (and believe me, I've been in chats with 800+ people logged in, and it works amazingly well).

Oh yeah, and this will pretty much work regardless of what country you are in. I've talked to people all over the US with, along with Canada, Brazil, Europe, and Australia.

Now, if you've managed to read all that, you may be thinking to yourself, "Ok, well, this sounds all well and good and whatever, but why should I be interested in this?" Well, I am already paying for the service, but I still have space available, so I figure I'd extend the invitation to fellow SAers, in case you guys are interested in talking with each other or even me. I've moved the invitation up to the top so people will see it.

Tiny House inspirations

September 6th, 2014 at 01:46 pm

This is more of a reminder for me more than anything because, I keep forgetting about this company and their links.

Text is Wish Bone Tiny Homes and Link is
Wish Bone Tiny Homes is a small company near where I live that builds some of the best looking tiny houses in the area. In fact, I dare say living in one would be a dream come true for me.

The trouble with tiny houses like this is that they need a place to park, and there just aren't any around me that's also near where I work. So, that's a problem.

Still, I like them. I feel inspired looking at them. I sometimes even drool a little when staring too hard.

While I'm here,
Text is The Cider Box and Link is
The Cider Box looks amazing too. Like a tiny house that's built for a man or something.

Text is This one is nice too. and Link is
This one is nice too. It looks more like a vacation villa

Near and Far

September 4th, 2014 at 01:40 pm

* So a friend of mine texted me saying their bathroom was clogged up by a customer at the spa she works at. It is located upstairs, but somehow, the clogged water leaked down and ruined some pastries from a pastry shop located below them.

Anyways, her boss called a plumber who wanted to charge $150 to fix everything, but the boss tried to haggle him down to $100. Is this frugal, cheap, or perhaps a bit of both?

On top of all that, said toilet-clogging customer also didn't have money to pay for his services. A co-worker asked to keep his wallet or cellphone until he can get the money. He got very angry and started yelling at them, refusing or some such. The co-worker didn't push it and allowed him to leave, promising he would come back and pay. He never came back.

* I think it's pretty much established now that much of our manufactured goods comes from Asia, especially the likes of China and Hong Kong. However, even the sterotype of "cheap goods" is starting to fade away as, for example, the Chinese company FoxConn is contracted to make most of the iPhones that we use today. In short, places like China went from making cheap goods to both cheap and decent goods.

If you think about it, that means a lot of companies that we buy stuff from are actually more like western middlemen. So, what if you can buy direct?

Enter First, let me preface by saying that, no, I haven't bought anything from this place yet, so I have no direct experience. However, it seems that a lot of (low-key) buzz has been generated from buying goods direct from that site, as you can pretty much get very similar or even the same items you would buy domestically for a fraction of the price. Ok yes, you can buy cheap knockoffs too if you are into that.

However, I have also heard crazy, crazy things listed there like

Text is houses and Link is
Text is used commercial jets and Link is
used commercial jets,
Text is a submarine and Link is
a submarine, and... 500 million tiny screws if you really want. The point is, alibaba is a huge, online, international bazaar where it seems like anything goes. Who knows, it may be fun place to sift through and see if you can't find a few great deals. Looking for a cheap toy for your little niece or nephew? Look no further.

Caveat Emptor though, because unlike buying from Amazon, Alibaba still harbor all kinds of shady scammers. Be sure to check your seller's background before buying anything, and in the beginning, perhaps start out with something cheap first.

Let's see.. what to talk about....

September 2nd, 2014 at 12:26 pm

* I like reading SA in the mornings. I don't know why exactly. I just do. Feels refreshing. Kind of like a shot of financial caffeine to get the day going and staying focused. Uh ok, I guess that's why.

* After testing the Sprint network for a weekend, I have decided to complete my shift over to Republic Wireless. Moved my phone number over, and cancelled my older provider.

Unlimited voice, text, and high-ish speed data for $40 a month. Unlimited talk and text for $10 a month for my parents. Plus, I just loooove the Moto X.

Mmmmm what else... Not much really. To me, no news is good news though. So long as things keep rolling forward, I am content, and they are.