Running Discussions

During my run the other day I was talking to someone about some of the strangest style accessories we’ve seen. About that, I talk to people when I run. It tends to be entertaining and you can learn a lot about people from the things they tell you on a run. That being said, my

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My Friend

The guy who lives next door to me is really interested in having a garden and keeping it available. He was telling me about all the styles of plants and stuff he has in there and while I haven’t heard of most of them it’s the kind of thing where I think I will probably

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Studying Karate

Martial arts have been something I want to learn, and I think that I am going to start training. I have gotten some good information recently about Tae Kwon Do and it seems like something I would enjoy. There are a few other styles I am interested in as well, but I will probably start

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Getting A New Car Soon

I have been talking to one of my friends who said that he is thinking about getting a new car. I’m not sure why because I think his current car is just fine, but he said he is looking for something a bit bigger and with a bit more style, whatever he means by that,

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Being Cool Online

It seems like some people are really into Facebook and the whole social thing. Even companies are getting into it which I think is pretty weird. I mean, Facebook is a place for posting things on each other’s walls and planning stuff and sending people pictures and stuff. It’s pretty common I think for people

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About To Move

I just ordered some wire shelves in preparation of my move next month.  I am moving closer to my job which will be nice but I’m going to miss living in the city. That is right you heard it right; this city snob is moving to the suburbs. From my perspective right now there is only one good thing about this and that is I won’t have to sit in traffic for over an hour each way going to and from work. I just can’t do it anymore as some days like yesterday it took me over 2 hours to get home. I also know that later this year they are starting major construction on the main road I take now and that is going to cause even more headaches. I just can’t do it anymore.  Oh, I ordered them from http://www.wire-shelves.com.  Did I mention that I’m moving to the burbs yet?

I also can’t say I will miss the parking situation. Right now where I live it is pretty much park wherever you can find a spot and on some days that can be tough. I long ago quit driving places at night because trying to find a spot later on in the evening is next to impossible. I remember the last time I tried was last year and it literally took me 45 minutes to find a spot. To make matters worse I had to park almost a mile from my apartment. The place I’m moving into now I won’t have to worry about any of that because I actually have my own garage spot. It wasn’t much more to get one (still cheaper overall than what I’m paying now) so I did it. It will be especially nice in the winter months. I won’t have to spend 10 minutes scraping ice off my windows. That alone is worth the price.

Anyways like I mentioned in my first sentence I ordered some things that I can use in my new place. I have to be out of here in 3 weeks and I have a bunch of stuff that I want to put in storage. That’s another thing my new place has. I get my very own storage unit. It isn’t a big unit but it will more than hold what I plan on putting in there. I told my Dad about it and he seemed more excited about me having that than anything else. My Dad is weird though so nothing really surprises me with him.

My Own Style

Life hit me pretty hard last month. My girlfriend of three years decided it was time to call it quits. To be honest, we were growing apart. I felt it, I knew it, and I had really started to prepare for it. But, I’m a young guy…I’ll bounce back. I can handle my own affairs and to be kind of honest, there are some things I miss about the single life. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy this phase of my life.

The hardest thing to deal with is the fact that she took most of my stuff. Well, I shouldn’t say “my” stuff, I should say “our” stuff that became “her” stuff around a week ago. She moved out and took most of the furniture, half of the appliances, and basically left me with a bed, a TV, and a computer. Luckily I am a habitual saver, so money is no real issue. I can’t go out and go crazy, but I can afford to get some nice stuff.

First on the list is the living room. I’m not saying that I’m going to go full-fledged ‘man cave’ but I’m definitely getting what I want this time. Most of the furniture that Abby took, we picked out together. She loved the traditional stuff. She loved the “very” traditional stuff. In fact, other than the flat-screen, I’m pretty sure our living room could have passed for a 19th century family room. It’s time to say goodbye to anything floral, anything “Victorian,” and say hello to cool, modern styling.

Some of the old stuff is cool, don’t get me wrong. But I am a huge fan of contemporary furniture. In fact, I’ve been doing some research and I’ve found a few contemporary couches that I am in love with on this French website, as they call them, canapé contemporain.  They are priced pretty reasonably and they are super-comfortable. The other day I even saw a couch that had cup-holders. As somebody who is generally pretty nerdy, a couch with cup-holders would be awesome. There are many times I’m surfing the ‘net on my laptop while I’m watching TV and that seems like it would be an awesome feature to have.

I know remodeling should be the last thing on my mind right now, but believe it or not it seems to be a great thing for me to think about because it lets me be creative and constructive. Two things I probably wouldn’t be if I jut sat around moping. Anyways, it’s time for me to get out there and design the most radical bachelor pad I can!

Exploring My Options

As I’m getting older, I’m finding myself with a bit more money in the savings account and a willingness to take a few more risks to make that money work for me. When I was younger, living what seemed like a life destined to remain paycheck-to-paycheck forever, investing was never an option. Now that I have money lying around to play with, there are many different things I want to try in terms of investing. I’m already making max contributions to my 401K, so retirement isn’t a reason for me to play the stock market. Honestly, I just want to have a little bit of fun, learn a few things, and hopefully see a decent return of investment.

Something I’ve discovered that I really like is trading using binary options.  According to this, it’s a bit closer to making a wager than it is buying a stock or a currency, but the rewards are higher (and the risk is greater). Whereas most people buy a stock and let it sit, binary options trading is a bit different. Instead of buying a stock, you choose where you think a stock will be in a certain timeframe and, much like meeting the spread on a sports bet, you either win big or you lose your wager. For example, if I am watching stocks, and I see a stock that I believe will move up (or down) twenty points in the next eight hours, I purchase a binary option stating that “stock xxx will move up/down xxx amount by 5:00PM” or “stock xxx will close at 120 a share by noon tomorrow.” I buy that option for a set amount, and then if I’m correct I get a predetermined payout. If I’m wrong, however, then I lose the amount I used to buy the option.

It’s definitely a bit more complex than simply buying a stock and sitting on it but there is more opportunity for short term gain. That’s what interests me. I’m not worried about what happens over the course of ten years with one of my investments. That’s why I have a 401K and an IRA. I enjoy short term investments that have the potential for big payout. There’s definitely a learning curve, though. At first I didn’t grasp how to properly trade using binary options and I did horribly. Now, however, I’m doing much better. It’s definitely been an awesome experience though.

Wise Words From Mr. Franklin

Expanding on one of the topics I mentioned in my New Years post, I’ve recently been looking for more ways to save money.  Many people focus on trying to make more money (usually so they can buy more things), and while I am definitely interested in that, I am currently more focused on saving more money since the overall result ends up being about the same, anyway.  Plus, I probably spend too much money on stuff I don’t really needy, anyway  As I mentioned, I’ve already canceled my cable service which was around $80/mo.  I don’t really miss TV as much as I thought I would, although I am not going to cancel my internet service.  But here are some other things I’ve done to try and save money.

For starters, I’ve stopped eating out so much.  It is kind of hard when there are a bunch of good restaurants nearby, but they’re just so expensive.  Of course the foodies would disagree with me, but let’s look at it like this.  I can go to a restaurant and get a strip steak (which is the best cut, by the way) and it will be like $35.  Yes, it will be pretty good, but $35 is a lot of money for me.  I can go to the grocery store and get a strip steak of the same size for about $10.  But sometimes even $10 is a lot to spend on just part of a meal, because don’t forget you also need a side dish, some veggies, maybe a salad, etc.  With all those things added in, it’s probably about $15 for the same meal, so more than 50% savings from the restaurant (not including tip!).  Ok, but really, $15 is still a lot of money for one meal.  I don’t eat steak that much anymore for just that reason, and instead eat more chicken and fish (when it’s on sale).  I try to buy food in bulk, too.  Frozen chicken breasts can be had for around $8 for 3 pounds, and that makes at least 3 or 4 meals (depending on how much you eat).  I know it sounds simple and it’s not fancy like eating out at restaurants, but it helps me save a lot of money.

I also am considering cheap car insurance from Washington DC Agents options.  I think I’m paying too much right now and I’m seeing it as another monthly expense that I can cut down on.  My car is in good condition but it is old so it’s not like I have a brand new car or something, and I don’t think my insurance should really be that much.  I see ads all over the place though and it makes me wonder if I can really find a better deal somewhere else, so that is the next thing I’m going to look into.

I figure, the more I can save, the better off I will be, because like Ben Franklin said, “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Pulling It Together

I need to get my life together and it starts with my finances or lack thereof. My main problem is a couple credit cards that have high interest rates. I can make the payments on them but they are the minimum payments and barely anything goes towards the principal. I looked at one of them the other day and it said the way I’m going now it would take 17 years to pay off! That is ridiculous and depressing. I was also looking at my credit report and that isn’t much better. I have a couple late payments on there and supposedly they take 7 years to come off. That means of course I can’t get a better interest rate on a new card so I’m more or less stuck.

The one thing I can do now is try to find a better job. I am working at my brother’s shop now but he doesn’t pay me much and overtime is not an option. I have been working there for almost a year and I will admit it is laziness that has made me not pursue another job. I also really like working there but I know I need to do better. I was sort of hoping he would expand by now and open up another shop and put me in charge of it but that hasn’t happened. Knowing my luck I’ll go work somewhere else and in a month he’ll open another place up and have somebody else run it for him.

The other thing I need to focus on is getting out of my current apartment. My lease is up in three months and I definitely don’t want to renew it. It isn’t in the best part of town for starters. I’m also paying more than I should as my place has a second bedroom that I don’t use. I had grand plans of making it my office but that of course never happened. I’m just not looking forward to moving. It is such a pain boxing everything up and then unboxing it at the new place. I wish I could afford to hire movers to do everything for me but those companies cost way too much. I know because I looked into it the last time I moved and was blown away with how much it cost. I’ll just rent a van and do it the old fashioned and cheap way.

Snowboarding

I went snowboarding at Eldora today. It was the third time I’ve been, and second time this year. By the end of the day, I was pretty happy with how I was doing… Unlike the last couple times, I can actually turn decently now – without falling, even (well, most of the time). It’s a lot of fun now that I can do it with some small degree of skill. Monday, I’ll probably be going to Breckenridge for more practice. Then, Tuesday, I fly back to Japan. I might be going boarding there on the 4th, definitely on the 19th and 20th, and then again the 3rd through the 7th of February. By the end of this season, I should be pretty well addicted to boarding, and eagerly anticipating next season.

Now, it remains to be seen if I can actually get good enough to catch up to my friend Rob.

One More Try

I read this story a little bit ago and thought it was cool.  It reminded me of that British TV show (I forgot the name) where the ex-lovers meet up in the future when they’re older and build their relationship again:

 

I used to date him some 20-odd years ago. He asked me to marry him back then. I said no, partly because at the time he drank a lot and partly because I wanted my freedom and to explore the world.

20 years. Long time. He stayed true to himself, quit drinking, cleaned up his act and has 2 more years to go before he has his 35 years in as a mailman and can retire. He never got married. In those 20 years we kept in touch through letters, birthday cards and the occasional phone call.

In those 20 years I traveled abroad, continued my education, love, lost, melted down, and experienced the good, the bad and the ugly…more bad and ugly I should think.

I recently hooked up with him again last August. It was as if we had seen each other just 20 seconds ago and it was as comfortable as an old pair of slippers. We found we could trust one another, share our secrets, laugh our fool heads off and I smile and just feel so damned good when I am with him.

I went and stayed with him at his house for 2 weeks in September. He opened a drawer in his desk and every card and letter I had sent him for the past 20 years was in it. I was speechless and I also realized this man cares for me a lot. Since September he has called me every single day even though he lives over 1,800 miles away.

He came and stayed with me during the Holidays. It was wonderful.

He asked me to move in with him and I am going to throw caution to the wind, and, in April, at 52 years old,I’m going to pack up myself and my 4 cats and move 1,800 miles be with someone I adore and who adores me back.

If there is one thing I have learned in my time on this planet, nothing is certain and then I think, hey, I am 52, he’s 54, we know the score, I know he’ll take good care of me and I of him. I won’t have a caddy and a fur coat, but I will have a warm parka and reliable transportation with him. Most importantly, we both are aware of one another’s foibles and know there will be a period of adjustment. Moreover, we love one another…not the breathless love that one experiences when the world is viewed through rose-tinted glasses and life is very heady. However I think love can be quiet, strong, and companionable.

Giving up my lucrative job, my house, the ocean, and starting a new life at 52, landlocked with someone I love, scares me to death and I cannot figure out why.

The New Year

I made a New Year’s resolution this year to get my finances in order and so far I am doing ok. The first thing I did was check my credit report to make sure everything was ok there. They were as I didn’t see anything I wasn’t expecting to see. What I did see however was a boatload of credit card debt and that my friends was what I wanted to take care of this year.

I had three different cards and all of them were pretty much maxed out. I don’t have good credit to begin with so the totals weren’t extraordinary or anything. I don’t want to give a specific number but I will say that combined they were easily over 10k. Two of them had pretty high interest rates so the first order of business was to consolidate those two into one payment at a cheaper rate on a different card.

Once that was done I started to penny pinch on everything. I stopped eating out all the time which was a big money saver in itself. I also cancelled things like Netflix and my Sirius radio which I still miss to this day. I made myself a promise that once I’m debt free that is the first thing I will get back. It might be in two or three years but at least it is something to look forward to.  I canceled cable a long time ago (that was like $80 a month) but I don’t think I’ll be able to ever get rid of the internet; it’s a necessary expense.

That is pretty much all I have done and like I said so far it is working for me. I am paying way more on my cards than I ever was and slowly but surely they are starting to drop. I made out a payment schedule and if everything stays the same and I don’t have any big hiccups like my car breaking down or something I should be in the clear by early 2014.