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Archive for September, 2008

What are they spending their money on?

September 29th, 2008 at 09:04 pm

I know its always easy to criticize people and their spending, but really, how can some people not have a lot of money saved up? The local newspaper have this series where they are trying to get people out of debt. The current group are military folks, but this one couple, sheesh. They are making, according to the article, around $16,000 per month, but have terrible credit card bills, tax bills, etc... I have to give them credit for what they do for a living, and putting themselves up for scrutiny, but really!!!

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Sorry, just a little rant.

I want my DTV

September 24th, 2008 at 05:55 pm

No, not MTV (for those that remember the song), but DTV, Digital Television. If you're crazy like me, and I don't have any cable or satellite service, you need to pick up a digital signal TV converter box. And of course you need to get the $40 vouchers for buying the darn little things.

I picked up one last night, and installed it on my TV. Well I found out you need a fairly good signal (though not great) to get digital TV. Turns out only 1 of 4 local network signals were strong enough, as well a 1 of the other 7 local channels (actually I think only 4 of them even have a DTV signal yet). It was certainly interesting. The two channels I did get were either crystal clear, or on occassion were pixelated (like when you lose a satellite signal). Even with that problem, the picture upgrade was amazing. Now if I can only figure out the right setting on the antenna to get the other channels...

Anywho, if you haven't gotten them yet, you need to go online and order the DTV vouchers. My converter box cost just $10 when I used one.

You need to think outside the box & I'm in!

September 22nd, 2008 at 08:32 pm

Well, I guess thinking outside of the box can apply to anything, but in this case it applies to my yard sale-ing. I was out yesterday, and stopped at one last spot. I saw a wall display for golf balls. Very nice, cherry, felt backed, but I'm no golfer. Probably a $15 - $20 item. However I have been wondering all summer how I could display those little gumball football helmets I have.

Hey wait a second, the helmets could go in this! I had to convince the woman I wasn't interested in other golfing gear ("you don't want this stuff to clean golf clubs?"), so I told her why I was getting it, which she thought sounded good. I got it home and set up. Turns out it would hold 30 of them, so I put the final two on top. Great display for $1. (BTW, I got most of them at yard sales as well)

And finally I'm vested in the pension plan. I certainly can't retire yet, but its good for 10% of salary at this point, so thats a start!

I had an OMG moment last night

September 16th, 2008 at 08:08 pm

... and I don't have them very often. (oh, btw, it has nothing to do with the stock market insanity either).

Background: In the past two plus years I have been getting myself knowledgeable about everything financial. I read items on the internet, finance mags, newspapers, and while I am not into day trading or other esoteric things, I am trying to build a solid net for retirement in around 20 years. I really thought I knew everything (or had a decent grasp anyway) of all things dealing with personal finance. I have co-workers that ask me questions now, I know so much on the subjects.

That said, I was... well stunned... by what I read last night. I'm a numbers guy, so it takes something major to get my attention. It was in the latest edition of Money magazine (sorry, no links are avaialable yet, Page 122 - Oct. 2008 issue). It basically describes how if you are retired, have a pension or other source of income that will give you say 25K per year, for every extra dollar you "earn" (and money you withdraw from a retirement plan will be taxed as "earn"ings), your effective tax rate can very easily be 46%. And that is based on current rates, it could go higher! I spend years saving money, and then the gov't takes half! OMG! Not if I have anything to say about it.

OK, I'm calm now. Its a money mag, so what do they recommend? One word - "ROTH"! I fortunately have two old 401k's I can move into a Roth account. There is the tax hit involved, but the more I ruminate this, the more I am convinced that the next year or two I will be setting up some major Roth roll-overs.

Seriously, if you are planning on having any moderately decent retirement, you need to read this.

Just when you thought they couldn't get dumber

September 11th, 2008 at 09:12 pm

... I read article like this...'t-sell-in-us.aspx

I'm not in the market for a new car, mine does just fine at 36MPG. But jeeze, if I was looking for a new car, I would have to wonder what the people in charge at these companies use for brains.

Its not like this is some car they hope to make, they're making it ... NOW ... and yet they refuse to sell it.

I'm sorry, I know they're dumb, but some days I still get surprised by it all.

Yard sales, and ebay, and craigslist - oh my.

September 9th, 2008 at 07:57 pm

Well, this past month (or so) I have finally gotten around to selling items on ebay (ok, just 2 things - but still...), had a yard sale, and have sold things through craigslist. Not that I needed to make money, but I couldn't just throw out perfectly good items.

So how did it work out? Well the ebay items had cost me $2.50 and sold for $30, the yard sale brought in over $240 (and maybe 2/3 of that was pure profit from items I got free at CVS/Rite Aid/Walgreens!), and I sold four items (two child toys, desk, and coffee maker) using craigslist for a total of $45 (my cost was $25 for the same items in the past 5 years at yard sales). Total revenue of over $300, and mostly profit. And I am now organized to have another yard sale before winter comes. And some extra space is now free in my house! Now if I could figure out how to sell all these books my wife left with me to make some reasonable money on them.

I guess I am bad though, in that I have probably spent about the same $300 this year on my hobby. Oh well, I guess I have to take the glass is half full view - at least my hobbies cost nothing this year!