Playing the Lottery

Once in a while, I’ll pick up a scratch off ticket from the convenience store, and a good portion of time I’ll get the little dollar or two dollar scratchers. Maybe one out of every three times I play, I will land a ticket or a dollar. Even less frequently, I’ll play the mega Millions or Powerball. Once, I won $33 on a dollar scratcher. Not too shabby! And I, too, have won the lottery on two occasions, with a grand total of $2 in prize money, so maybe I unconsciously utilized the strategies outlined in Richard Lustig’s book.

Last night, I bought a $3 scratcher at random and it raked in a cool $25. I like the times I win because it feels nice, but it is not every run. Such is the basis of gambling. You place a bet on an unknown variable in hopes that you’ll bring in more than you slapped upon the table. Your odds of winning are terribly against you with much higher payouts, and with much larger numbers of participants. The lottery is one such form of gambling, where many will enter and few will win.

Wouldn’t it be severely unlikely that someone ought to win the lottery more than once, though? Close to impossible! With a few exceptions, one notable person in modern times has managed to develop a strategy to purchasing lottery tickets, claiming that there’s a means by which to increase your odds of winning. I mean, for someone to win multiple grand prize jackpots and actually have succeeded in consciously doing so? I believe that would far more than justify claims of his success being intentional. Of course, some critics might argue something along the lines of, “Oh, sure, he has won jackpots, but he only won just over a million dollars. Why doesn’t he win the massive jackpots and really prove himself?” To which I would respond, quite simply, “How many millions have you won thus far after reading his book?” Chances are fairly high that this critic hadn’t even made a single purchase.

Of course, when it comes to success, everyone has their particular means by which to obtain the greatest possible leverage against the given odds. And some people might have been given a single stroke of awesome luck, but it still doesn’t hurt to accept that some people just happen to have developed a sense of methodically carrying out their will in this area of the world– the gamble-sphere (I know it sounds dumb, but that’s what I say). And you know what? They have the car to prove it.

I understand that a good portion of winners out there fall into bankruptcy within a few years of a substantial windfall, so maybe it isn’t all strategic luck out there. I know I’ve figured out what I would do with my winnings– investments across the board. I would even start buying websites by the dozen and figure out marketing like crazy. Wealth building. I would even make an investment into a program that automatically trades sports like the stock market with a resounding success in favor of accuracy.

Maybe some people out there have purchased Richard Lustig’s book for themselves and made their hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you have come across this blog, let me know what it felt like for your big time win!

Advertisements

New to Affiliate Marketing?

Me too. I mean, it seems like one of those American Dream stories– two parents, one a housewife and the husband a hard worker, putting in 40+ hours per week, all for the pile of debt which won’t be paid for years because of minimum payments and the annual percentage rate keeping their principle in check. Dad gets tired of working so hard and spending so much time away from family eventually. I mean, I’m there right now. I’m frustrated with the amount of time I’m trading in for the amount of money I get paid. This isn’t about me, though. It’s about the thousands of other people who have done exactly this thing and felt as if they were wasting their lives away, paying someone else’s mortgages with their mortgage payments, or a land owner’s house being paid by the multiple tenants in the apartment complex.

Eventually, the paradigm shifts for those who are keenly aware of their own preferences in life. Instead of working for their dollar, people have figured out a way to make their dollar work for them. For these individuals and families, it is nothing to place six hours of their time over the course of a whole week and spend the rest doing a hobby they love to do, or traveling and hosting a blog or YouTube video blog to show to the world where they’ve been, experiencing different cultures the world over, while the masses who have not figured out their secrets to wealth building are left feeling hopeless because they’re working a basic job somewhere for minimum wage. The difference here is simple: those who have become successful have become aware that their time is not worth a measly $10.50 an hour. These individuals, then, have decided that their time is best spent just enjoying life.

That’s where I want to be. I know that the life I’m living right now can be described (as someone once put it) as “trans-financial,” identifying oneself as feeling as if they have tons of money but were born into a family that either budgets very poorly or doesn’t budget at all (I found that here). I know it seems like a funny thing to say, but the reality is that people don’t know their own potential, just as much as I don’t know my potential– and just as with any highly successful person, my personal paradigm is shifting into a mindset where I’m no longer working for my money; I’m no longer aware of the importance of a job, personally, because I keep telling myself if I could just develop a sense of how to market, how to become an affiliate, or how to just work my mind a different way, and actually UTILIZE the power in reserve which has endearingly become called “knowledge,” then I could also enjoy a life of luxury, boat cruises, excellent savings, or even just a nice Zippo lighter to add to my collection, I could become more relaxed about life than scraping change and recycling cans and bottles just to make some extra money here and there. I know what it’s like to struggle, and I can only imagine what financial independence feels like.

Now, I’ve been finding affiliate marketing to be a wonderful niche unto itself, and this is for good reason– it is one of the most popular ways for an individual to potentially make tons of money. There are tons of resources available online, and for the last ten years I have not been utilizing the internet correctly. If you’re familiar with Uber or Lyft, you know that ride sharing is more profitable for individuals than simply re-selling physical products from your own home on eBay. Vitamin supplements are still extremely popular. There are probably more links than I can mention in this one post, because you might be looking at more characters in that post than exist in pi.

Now, I can’t guarantee to any of you out there that my method of blogging versus owning an actual brick-and-mortar business will be of any real success. I actually have to be going to bed right now, because I have to work in the morning, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that you can earn money while you sleep, for real? I look forward to hearing some information about how you became successful in a niche!

Overtime As A Custodian

So if you’re like me, and work a full-time job, you might hear the wails and lamenting of people who have it so hard because they have to pull overtime once in a while. I, on the other hand, tend to welcome some extra overtime work. The reason for this is because my job is not very difficult. As a custodian, there are only so many difficult things to do, which, given that I have experience, are not that difficult at all. Just a minimal amount of training over the course of a year and a half has allowed me to clean houses at breakneck speeds. I have the capacity to earn over $30 an hour based on my expertise, but I choose to clean houses once a week to avoid burnout.

So, back on track– overtime. Some people have too much of it,and it is reflected in their paychecks. It is also reflected in their health as well. I once knew of one guy who works over 100 hours a week, and had done so for a few months straight. Between the time he started and the end of that hefty chain of work he had gone from a relatively happy person to looking terribly pained. When I work overtime, however, I welcome it with open arms, because it only occurs once a year. It is to strip and wax a floor. That’s it. That’s all. Anyone with half a brain can figure out how to do this type of thing.

So what about overtime has it become such a huge deal when a certain amount of work is necessary, and a company is excessively reluctant to pay overtime? If I were the head of a company which commanded a large workload, I would most certainly be happy to pay overtime or increase the work force to accommodate for job requirements. But, in my field of work, which is basic cleaning, such a thing is unnecessary, much less unavailable except in office environments.

I’m looking at it from multiple perspectives, and I’m pretty sure I can be a one-man workforce for housecleaning. This is not a difficult arena. I can Ajax any mildew and bathtub scum away, given enough elbow grease. My vacuum cleaner is perfectly capable of whisking away dirt from hard-to-reach corners and dust bunny escapees which survived the pass of my dust mop (I need a new dust mop head). I might be relatively new to this industry, but if this isn’t the most simple way to make money, I don’t really know what is (affiliate programs notwithstanding).

The most difficult part of my job is pricing. I know I mentioned earlier that I have the capacity to earn more than $30 an hour, but if I can clean a three-bedroom house in two hours, I ought to be requesting more moneys. The problem with this is that I hate asking people for money. It might just be a comfort level thing on my end, because I certainly know I like paying people who know what they’re doing to help me with something with which I have zero experience.

Who knows? This might just be a useless article on the internet, but I would really like to hear your opinions as to how you’re charging based on house size, square footage, etc. If you’re in the cleaning industry and you have been at it for a while, and you have some advice to offer me in terms of how I should be pricing against “competitors” or other cleaners, I am all ears.

They say becoming a leader requires good listening skills, but listening doesn’t do a thing unless you apply the expertise to your repertoire of actions. I’m putting this to the test. Let me hear your words of wisdom and encouragement!

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!

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.