Morning

   As I sit and hear the water bubbling in the percolator on the stove, I am considering how my financial problems have been eating away at my happiness. And as a slave to debt and payments in adult life, I’m constantly reminded of how little I’ve kept for myself while others have taken from me– all the while, I believed that it was a good thing, to pay later for something I felt I had to have post haste. The thing is that I have blamed others and really taken a look at the proverbial mirror, and I’ve seen what kind of dimwit I’ve always been. But in the same breath, those who are ignorant are not ill-intended towards that which they don’t know. Sadly, this is a reality for many millions of people. They’re not taught the ways of the dollar, and how spending less by buying none of the crap you really need is not entirely discouraged. Our whole lives have revolved around buying everything on credit, or in the form of a down payment, or some other means by which to purchase something over the course of time, since you didn’t have that money to begin with.
Thus, I’ve decided it is going to take great testicular fortitude to reverse the financial damages I’ve rendered to myself. I’ve not dug myself into SEVERE debt, luckily. I rent an apartment, and so I don’t owe for a mortgage. I do have car payments, nice smart phones (ironic) for my fiancee and myself, child support arrears (definitely blaming others for my own luck)– and here it is YEARS later, and I’m coming to the realization that I had not exercised the very common sense I told people was not very common. Spouting off quotes doth not a smart man make (to make use of random, non-verbatim, and highly altered quotes as a means to prove a point). As a newly-discovered personality trait, I’ve suctioned myself down a funnel, into a twisting spiral that is reality and karma only to discover that I, myself, have lived verily as a hypocrite. And ignorant one at that.
Denial knows no boundaries, intellectual or otherwise. As it turns out, I’m a great reader! I’m an okay writer! And I’m very much sobered by this slow-but-steady reality check. As a person who has not done much in the way of intelligence at all, I’m very much sobered by the fact that I have never taken the time to even learn much about budgeting, financial intelligence, or money in general. I have heard from countless people over my lifetime: “More money would be awesome.” “I could use more money.” “If I had a million dollars, I would be set!” The unfortunate thing about desiring more money is that it would be used as a means to highly fuel one of the greater problems that we as a society have already had to face for decades: we’ll waste it on crap if we have neither the proper financial literacy nor proper discipline. We’ll buy things on credit, buy the expensive house, the expensive car, the expensive this-or-that with high maintenance costs.
Look, I’m a custodian. I know a thing or two about cleaning, and basic maintenance is not exactly rocket science to me. I can fix a gasket in a faucet, soft reset phones, figure out the damn remote for the TV, and kick the dog if it doesn’t work— just like anyone else. I do all of these things in the run-down apartment which I live, and yet when it comes to controlling my spending habits, I’m like a kid in a candy store. “Gimme this and that and all of it! Shiny! The hardest part about learning this is that I actually have to look at myself, and I see a dunce cap on a donkey. Regret sucks!
So, I’ve made it a point to really start to try some of the savings and payment exercises as expressed by a man who goes by the name Dave Ramsey. This is a person who has written a few books, held many seminars, taught millions about controlling their money, and means by which to eliminate their debts. It seems as if he not only has good content, but he knows a thing or two about what has worked for him during his lifetime.
By this time next year, if I can change my spending habits and stick to it with great diligence, then I should be out of the debt hole. But, I understand fully that it will take a monumental degree of discipline, heartache, and tantrums by my inner gimme kid. The only thing I should be investing in at this point is my knowledge of money, but it starts with the first step. All great journeys begin with the first step.
Baby step number one is to save for an emergency fund. This is almost unheard of in my household, but I’m starting off by keeping accurate count of how much I have in my emergency fund, which I will store somewhere. I’m not sure WHERE just yet, but I will have it somewhere.
As I work through the book, I’ll be keeping a sort-of journey through my Instagram. I already have a single post regarding some related reading, with a total of five or six books that I’ve been working through over the last few weeks. They are:

How To Read A Book
The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom
Rich Dad Poor Dad
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
The Total Money Makeover
Cash Flow Quadrant
Wealth 101: Wealth Is Much More Than Money

So, that’s a lot to absorb, but when I study something, sometimes I use a laser focus for extended periods of time. A lot of this is basically common sense, but it still doesn’t hurt to read a book on the subject as written by those who have actually done something to make money far in excess of what I’ve even achieved to date. If you have any awesome tips that I could use, please feel free to share with me in the comment section below!

Sleepless On A Work Night

clock

If I didn’t know any better, I would say that the overdraft fees from my bank have caused my peace of mind to be in a bit of an uproar. Now, what’s life without a few hassles here and there?

Of course, if I had paid more mind when I paid the bills before, I wouldn’t be in this mess. You see, what I do is simple: The morning of my direct deposit, I immediately go pay my phone, cable, gas, electric and some other bills online, while my coffee is brewing. The problem here is also simple: Some places will not take the funds until the following week. Hence, this is a bad thing that gets me almost every time. It had been several months since my last overdraft fee, but this time I think I took out a bit too much to pay for food. I mean, feeding people is kind of a good thing, right?

So, what does one do about it? Well, there’s nothing you CAN do, really. The banks won’t pay all of those overdraft fees back. They’ll give you half of it back, and come up with some lame excuse as to why they can’t refund the full charge. I called once and their response was, non-verbatim: “We have an overdraft fee because we provide online services for our members.” I can’t think of a more lame excuse.

If they have the capacity to render your bank almost $200 in the negative, they have the capacity to remove one hundred percent of their charges. Their outright willingness to avoid  doing so is only minimally outrageous.

I wonder how many of their corporate people would be willing to try to live within their current means on $1,240 a month. I bet some of them wouldn’t care much for that overdraft. I bet they would flinch hard if it was going to interrupt their already-funded trip for an anniversary.

I have to rant because of how stupid I believe the overdraft fees are. They can charge multiple times per day, and the rest of the month is totally readjusted and re-budgeted until you can catch yourself up, even after paying the same amount in bills that you need to. I don’t see how banks expect this to be a good thing at all, except where lining the pockets of corporate is concerned. The way I see it– working full time just isn’t enough. I pay $300 a month in rent (that’s half, as my fiancee pays the other half), and another $600+ in child support on my own. I work for my local city. I’m among the lowest paid, as well as one of a few who are worked the hardest, and those in charge of the child support agency still see everything I make before taxes as the go-to number to base my income for such numbers.

throwing-money

Lots of things are broken in this world. Regulatory schemes are insane, and much against the will of the lowest paid and hardest workers. Some of you might be thinking that I’m just here to gripe. Maybe, but the point here is that I don’t believe overdraft is anything close to beneficial for those who use banks. It’s actually causing me a lot of stress, and that’s not what living is about. I’m doing multiple online things in an attempt to make money passively, but it turns out that writing a book takes a lot of time, much more so if you’re exhausted from working a full time job. It takes a lot of time to build up minuscule payments on Amazon Mechanical Turk. It’s taking a lot of my weekends to build and maintain a website, be an Amazon affiliate, as well as be an affiliate for Karatbars— I feel as if I’m plowing myself into the ground. All it takes is a second job, but who has time for that when they’re tired all the time?

gone

I suppose it’s my fault, but the general work environment doesn’t allow people to get out of the rat race. I recognize it for what it is– work hard, pay for electricity, rent a box to live in, pay for gas, pay your insurance, pay for car maintenance, pay for your car, pay taxes on your food, pay for clothing, pay for cable, pay for this, that, the other, everything else– all before you save that little bit of pocket change that is supposed to go towards retirement. I’m prepared to wait until some of those contracts expire, and those who wish to use certain features in the household will be responsible for paying for those luxuries. I don’t watch TV, but I use the internet heavily. I’ll take that bill. I use the gas for my stove top percolator, so I’ll pay that as well. I’ll pay for half of the electricity, I pay half the rent already, as I mentioned, so that’s not a problem.

Boy, does it suck being a military veteran to come home to this free country.

It is morning time!

You know what that means, right? No? Well, I’ll tell you! I get to go to work! Not everyone gets to say they have a secure 9-5, and those of us who do have this option typically feel better off than the next person because their fast food job never treated them with retirement benefits, health benefits, vision care, and hourly wages of that type of magnitude! I mean, who doesn’t want to make more than $10 an hour? That extra bit of money in your hand by the next paycheck is always welcomed!

But, as you grow older, you begin to realize that things change. Your perspective begins to focus its shift away from buying extravagant items, such as an expensive pair of shoes to match your fashionable jeans which were made to look used, or another CD to add to your growing collection.. You begin instead to look forward to putting some away, what little is left after your child support is removed every paycheck. You put some here for retirement, some here for gas and electric bills, some here for diapers, most here for car payment, insurance, food, replacement socks and t-shirts, internet, phones. And then, you have to prepare for dinners, your personal breakfast foods (I like eggs, but once in a while it’s nice to just eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning).

How is there ever enough time to enjoy life with all these requirements? Well, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I know there is no way that my life is intended to work for someone else while begging for a higher wage. At the same time, I’m glad I’m not working in fast food or part time anymore because those types of jobs were not exactly within the realm of “desirable” when it came to what began to matter most in my household. I needed something bigger for myself, and for my fiancee and her daughter. (And my dog. He’s a family member too, even if he does poo indoors BAD DOG!)

I’ve been searching for solutions to my particular set of financial problems and this blog is helping just a little bit. It gets my mind off of life for the little bit of time I’m able to come to write or make updates. At this time, I must begin to prepare for work, but if anything changes for financial betterment, then I should let you know here. I know I need to start a website, but that’s a first-of-the-month thing (which approaches rapidly).

If you have something you would like to suggest, I’m an open book! Speaking of which, please check out my book here.

If you just want to say you enjoyed it, that’s cool too. I like feedback, and critique. See you all later!

I Can Writing Poem?

Flat upon the rounded earth, still in the midst of partial sanity
Revealed within the spectrum of conscious thought
Lie a simple shell of a human, planted among hundreds in a cemetary
Below the surface of this cold reality, yet freedom a body has not
Doth one become free upon burial or a higher risk of
Purgatory doth he risk upon this anchor?

Do You Like Money? Me Too!

You know, being a coin collector is one thing. Hoarding nickels and pre-1982 Lincoln cents is basically the kind of coin collector I am. And by “hoarding,” I mean, I live paycheck to paycheck, and storing nickels for future use is my version of an emergency fund. Being that I am new to the “making money online through affiliate marketing” area of the internet, this seems to be coming off as a slow start. And you must know that I’m REALLY trying to make money online to the best of my ability through Twitter and linking here.

But, there are some success stories out there regarding an extravagant network of new marketers working part time for a relatively short period of time generating enough money, working simply part time, to quit their full-time day jobs. I would like to eventually reach that point.

Some of these programs require an up-front purchase of the entire program, and their promises to earn you several hundred dollars sound SO CONVINCING, but because $30 or $40 is actually a cut out of our budget, that seems like a large expense to me. We could use that for food, and whatnot.

Besides, how nice would that actually be? They give you the entire training program, plus a team of helpers who are skilled enough in this marketing to help you reach a point where you begin to fly on your own wings until you’ve made a full contribution towards sustaining your financial freedom and become that success story. That sounds FREAKING AWESOME.

And the other thing is, I’m a little bit insecure in making such a leap, but I’m toward a point now where I’m nearly too broke to live now (tax people say I owe some $1,200 from last year. What?!).

You know that times are bad in today’s world when someone who works as a lower-level employee in their local government is still struggling to get by. So I’m either working too hard and sacrificing my health for too little pay by working for someone else, or I’m too lazy and tired after working an eight-hour manual labor day to keep lifting a finger to do more for myself. I have noticed that I have some energy on the weekends, during which I take care of some household chores. If I had a few tools I could use, and a budget-friendly means of starting up a more realistic side income, and learned how to generate online sales and other affiliate-related things, I would be more on top of the world than I already am.

But then again, there’s a phrase or two that goes towards people like myself: “Easy come, easy go,” and, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” I wonder if those quotes have withstood the test of time for a reason, heh.

Well, I do have to go because the background noise in my apartment has quadrupled and I can no longer concentrate on writing at this moment.

Drink up!

Ah, Mickey’s malt liquor. How many times have you ended my day? Well, to be honest, quite a few times. There were weeks when I would have nothing but these. Due in large part to the fact that they’re budget-friendly in today’s world of margaritas and hard liquor, nearly every convenience tore near me has a good supply of these. So what makes alcohol such a wonderful part of my weekend?

I stopped binge drinking some time ago, since I’ve learned in some fashion or another that moderation in drinking is one of the best precautionary statements I can make to myself– and to spread that message is of great personal importance. As such, I have never really been much of an aficionado in alcoholic drinks, and my experience with mixed drinks is extremely limited. When enjoyed on a more occasional instance, a good drink is one that is enjoyed socially (and perhaps paired with a good cigar).  Drinking multiple times per day for weeks tends to become both monotonous and dangerous, as I experienced rapid weight gain in a matter of weeks with obvious notice from family. So, it is something that I do try as best as I can to limit to the weekends. Now, on to some of my personal favorite drinks. (These are not in any particular order, by the way. These are just placed here as I remember them.)

1. Mickey’s Malt Liquor

This has been a relatively good go-to for me since my cousin introduced it to me perhaps as long ago as 2008, or 2007 even. Budget-friendly, I find Mickey’s to be a good, ice-cold nighttime cheap booze because of its relatively smooth, albeit bitter travels across the taste buds. And boy, oh boy does it feel AWESOME on a hot night! It fills the belly with a refreshing feeling, and when bottled in their glass grenades, are freaking awesome without the aluminum bite. I rate Mickey’s highly because it really isn’t bad compared to the price point. (Your opinion may vary.)

2. Foster’s

I have to tell you, I didn’t have this beer until my first try perhaps about four or five years ago. I like that it’s kind of less watery than other Anheuser-Busch products. It’s got more of a hoppy or malty body to it, and the sheer volume of its barrels allows for a pretty good head spin by the end of just ONE on an empty stomach. After a beefy dinner, or a really seasoned chicken dinner, this beer pairs VERY well with a Blue Label cigar, a Rocky Patel Vintage 1990, or a freaking ACID Blondie. If your head decides it wants more, then instead of another Foster’s, grab yourself a Joya de Nicaragua Cabinetta cigar. That’ll put you in some serious relaxation mode before you can say, “Supercalifragilistiexpialidocious” backwards with a Russian accent (no offense to Russian speakers. I really love their accent when native Russians speak English. I just think it would be hilarious for someone to speak that word with perfect phonetic accuracy with a Russian accent, because I may end up laughing so hard that someone actually managed to do so while I lived, that I would expire on the spot).

3. Steel Reserve

I, coincidentally, “reserve” these for very long weekends. The reason? They’re high in alcohol content for being a carbonated booze, but since they’re not craft beers, they’re really budget friendly alongside Mickey’s and Foster’s. The main problem I have with Steel Reserve is that its stronger alcohol content and stronger flavor tends to wipe out that savory food you just ate. Don’t mistake this for me saying I don’t like it! I just think that, in certain situations, they’re probably best for being ingested on their own and hour after dinner. And as for a good cigar to pair it with? Maybe Alec Bradley Black Market. Personal preference. Steel Reserve is a stronger flavor profile than your average malt liquor, so approach with caution if you’ve not yet managed to get your mouth off the teat of standard beer. Speaking of which:

4. Budweiser

Grilling season is right around the corner, so you know that Budweiser (and Bud Light) will be up on the ice in the chest for the party that is going on this weekend. Smooth, but some hardcore drinkers would say something along the lines of it being too watery. I might agree, but because I actually like drinking lightly sometimes, Budweiser and Bud Light do exactly that for me. So, while I do enjoy my less pricey drinks to be on hand more so than the “typical” big brewery beers, when it comes to just randomly relaxing around the house when there’s nothing to do, it’s kind of hard to beat a lighter drink.

5. Arrogant Bastard Ale

They’ll offend you. They’ll talk crap to your face if you read their label. They’ll insult you. And because you can’t finish a whole bottle, they know you aren’t worthy. And the reason why I love this drink so much is because it challenges you to go outside of your comfort zone of typical draught and bottled beers. Craft, here meaning custom strength, has gone way outside the comfort zones of brew, and they’ll challenge your palate in ways one might think, of not already plan to take, personal. If hops isn’t your thing, I’d steer clear of this. But if you’re feeling adventurous and want to take on a personal challenge, then please be my guest and buy yourself one of these. In fact, take an adventure through all different types of craft brews! This is my personal favorite, and you don’t have to think that way. I’m just expressing my views here!

All right, well– that’s all I have time for at the moment. Next weekend, if I remember, I’ll try to expand on this list and help you see my perspective of drinks that I would take with me to the grave. Until the next time you see me, adieu!

Kinetic Psyche

Just as one may wish to maintain some form of mental silence
One may also wish the boost their mental noise
Here on this planet we see heaps of political dung
Living among the sheep, the Shepherd and the sheepdog

Call it what you will, egregious human
Defend it with all might you have, and willpower
As a house of cards can get torn to shambles with a sneeze
So too will the foundation of all that is shit crumble beneath lies

The noise I hear in my own head is chaotic, but ordered
I know what I want, and wish, and desire for the future
I know what is good and bad and disgusting for the populace
And nothing coming from the apex of the hierarchy will benefit us

You great mighty pool of sewage, walking around with a smile
Kiss your family on that TV and pretend to defend our culture
Line your ever-fattening wallet with the taxes of our hard work
Destroy your state with illegal laws of stupidity and disheveled perspective

Ill will settled in the mind of the ventriloquist
The puppet has no mind of its own– it is controlled with string
Maintaining all of the highest rates of idiocy and backed by zero logic
Using money to maintain a false sense of harmony