Friday, June 30, 2006

Beat the Line Game

I got my booty spanked today in the game of "Switch checkout lines". I thought for sure the line with one person in it would be faster than the line with six.

It was not to be.

I watched a poor little guy run four credit cards and three zip codes through the credit card machine before he apologized in broken English and walked away.

I felt sorry for him but at the same time he was trying to buy a $227 digital camera and printer. I should have told him that the photo printer was not the way to go. At $0.17 to $0.24 cents each it is cheaper to have the pics printed than to buy printer supplies. You also get better quality having them done. I just don't see an advantage in having a photo printer.

Anyway, back to my spanking, I watched the six people in the other line walk out the door. Then about two others after that. By then I was just smiling on the inside. I knew I was beaten by Murph's law (thats no typo, Murphy and I are on nickname basis) of "You Will End Up in the Slowest Lines Possible When You Are In the Biggest Hurry."

Out of Debt in a Day

I've been ruminating on this concept for several weeks. Ideas are like "convertible hair".... when the wind stops flowing you have to spend some time working the kinks out....I like these elipses thingys....

Anyway, this "Out of Debt In a Day" concept is one of those lines of thoughts that really brings tears to my eyes. The thought of being out of debt in a day gives one the feeling one gets when they hear their national anthem or when they see a new born baby or go to a wedding or get an extra check in the mail or hear the "I have a dream" speech (man, I love that speech).

Think about the statement: "I can be out of debt in one day." If you are in debt what does that do to your emotions? How does that make you feel?

OK, let's get past the feelings part- unfortuneately feelings don't pay the bills.

Here is how this works................... If you wake up tomorrow and never go another dime in debt for any reason then you are out of debt.

Thats right you are out of debt. You no longer use your credit cards to get by on or (cringe) finance furniture. The plastic has no more power over you because as of today you are out of debt.

You keep using your credit cards because you feel like you are so behind anyway that you have no other choice or because your minimum payments "make you have to use your cards." No more. You are out of debt starting now.

From this day forward you are out of debt and have started your savings plan. What's great about your savings plan is that you may be earning a 30% return on your money! Whatever you are paying in interest you get to keep a little more of with every payment you make.

You are not in debt any longer. You are now a saver.

Congratulations on getting out of debt today!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Price of a Piece of Paper

It's like 2am. I just got returned from a dazzling performance of "The Lion King" musical. The costumes were fantastic, the special effects breathtaking, and the acting sensational.

It was worth the $120 that I ponied up to go see it.

The fun part is that we did not have tickets before arriving at the show. We waited outside....6:30...6:45...7:00...7:15...7:25...7:27- FINALLY! Three minutes before show time a lady bursts out of the door with two tickets for sale (she got inside and found some "upgraded" ones somehow.)

So, we took the gamble, I asked her how much for the pair and she said, "$100." I held out $120 and she said she'd take the extra $20. (As you read more about me you'll find that I am rarely cheap at some other individual person's expense.) We felt lucky because the face value of the tickets was $70 and we were prepared to pay $80 each for tickets. So we spent $40 less than we had planned.

The other half of this story is about a guy who had ONE ticket for sale. At 7:23 his mom finally pulled him inside so he gave us the ticket to try to sell for him or buy if we found an extra. Turns out that ticket did not sell- it did not fit our needs so we didn't buy it.

So this guy ends up with what essentially became a 2"x3" square piece of $70 card stock.

This open market thing can be brutal and is always risky-- from the smallest transaction (what if the piece of gum you buy is old?) to the largest (what if your new home gets flooded and it's not in a flood plain.)

Afterwards we went to a diner to eat (Italian was closed at 11 PM on a Thursday) and I tipped the waitress $5 on an $11 ticket. I hope it made her night a little nicer....... for me I had planned to spend $225 out on this Thursday so when I was going home having spent only $140 I felt like the waitress (who did a decent job) deserved a nice tip....(which brings up another point that's funny- I tipped her $5 OOOHH AAAAAHHH.. I felt like that was exceptional but had we eaten Italian the tip would have probably been $12. So maybe I cheated our poor waitress out of $7........(which brings up another point.....If you are going to wait tables why not wait tables at the Italian Place where you can make more money instead of the 24 hour diner (Where you make less?))).

Whew, I better stop... did I close out all of my parentheses?

Good night,
Alberen

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dreams and Artists

OK, four months ago I sold my business. I really could have made a ton more money at it but my heart was not in it. My heart has been in a dream I've had since college (8 years). Anyway, I haven't had a paycheck in four months which is fine because here is what I think.

Dreams are like Artists though, if they got paid well right away everyone would follow their dreams (or do their art) and it would take all of the "romance" out of them.

I like to say "Artists wouldn't be artists if it paid well." You know the whole thing-- would Vincent van Gogh had painted so extraordinarily if he hadn't been half insane? (It's a good thing he wasn't totally insane because according to wikipedia the dude painted when he was lucid.)

So, in short a dream wouldn't be a dream if you didn't have to dream it.
Once you can do it it's not a dream anymore and dreaming is much more fun than doing.

It's about the experience not the consumption.

I wasn't much in the mood to eat the other day but regardless found myself, at every turn, out to eat. What I realized is that it's not about getting alot to eat but about going out to eat. I kept going out to eat not to eat but to meet, socialize, talk, etc. The eating was just an excuse.

So if I go for ice cream and get a single dip instead of a double I am not losing out on the experience of going to get ice cream... I still get what I want... a social event with friends. In the process I save calories and cash.

12 oz steak works just as well as the 16 oz.
Medium is just as good as the large (To some people a small would be just as good as a medium).
A movie ticket and Coke is just as good as a movie ticket, large popcorn, soda, and candy.

So, it's about the social aspect, not the spending aspect. You can do all you want to do, save money doing it and save stress in the process.

Like I like to say.... don't stress yourself out by stretching yourself out....

Here is another practical example of why it's more about the experience than it is the consumption...
Here is what I have found because I love candy! If (in my area) you get a six pack of say 2 per pack Reese's cups it will cost you $2.25. OR you can get 10 individually wrapped Reese's cups for $0.75-- the difference is the individually wrapped ones are smaller...which is fine with me... because to me it's about the linear experience (buy it because you like it, crave it, then eat one, enjoy every bite) of eating a Reese's cup, not about how many ounces I am eating.

In other words I can get the same satisfaction out of eating a smaller Reese's cup that cost me $0.093 dollars as I do out of one that is $0.19. The experience is the same, the cost is different!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thinking About Money

Money Thinking runs deep.