Monthly Archives: July 2011

Pimp my Ride

Read time: 2 minutes

This is my car. Seriously. No I am not involved with the Asian mafia as some people have commented. Folks, this is the result of softball-sized hail. I’m going to explain why this seemingly disaster was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

The first reason is strictly monetary. I bought my car for $3500 from my aunt. It is a 1998 Acura Integra GSR. After the storm, I was paid $5300 and I was able to keep the car for a mere $500! I literally made money on this car. Plus, nothing feels better than not having to make car payments month after month. Consumer debt makes you a wage slave to your possessions.

The second reason is it helped in my social unconditioning. We are programmed to “keep up with the Jones’s” in this day and age. Where beauty and the latest greatest thing are highly sought and where old, ugly, and outdated is looked down upon. This was, for me, a huge step in getting out of this consumer-driven world. It is very humbling to drive around a POS vehicle where people gawk, stare, and even come up to me to find out what happened. While I highly recommend traveling and helping those less fortunate to get over your ego, this event has done wonders for mine.

The final reason is that I feel it helps when I am meeting with tenants. If I were driving around a nice shiny beemer, do you think my tenants would appreciate it or feel resentment towards me? By driving this crap car around, I actually think they feel sorry for me, and at least realize that I am “one of them” when it comes to worldly possessions. Plus they don’t see me as a rich bigot and will be less likely to stiff me on rent because in their eyes I’m a nice guy just trying to get by like they are. Which is true…for now. 😉

Take action now: Are you socially conditioned to believe you must have the latest, greatest thing to show off to people? Do you live your life seeking approval from others? Well, now is the time to stop living for others and live for yourself. Stop trying to impress others and just do the things that make you happy. Think of the last time you did or bought something for the sole purpose of wanting to “show off.” Realize that this life is not a competition, and that those who die with the most toys still die. Do not seek approval from others. True happiness comes from within. I know, it’s much easier said than done for a lot of people, but if you are one of those who struggles with this, I hope eventually you can come to this realization. I’m here for you if you need any support!

4/15/12 update:

I was hit by a car a week ago and ended up getting $2585.04 from the insurance and I got to keep my car!  My mechanic fixed it for less than $200!  I will still drive my car even though it will look even worse because the engine is still good.  The car with 9 lives! :razz:

6/20/12 update:

There must have been a leak in the coolant and I must have blown a gasket.  The car overheats.  Trying to sell it for $850 on craigslist to someone looking to build a racecar.  It is finally the end of an era…;-)

Back that Thing Up

Read time: 2 minutes

The phrase: “You don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” has never been more true when it comes to computers dying. I have learned the hard way on multiple occasions on the importance of backing up the files on your computer. Don’t procrastinate on this as your hard drive could literally crash at any moment (kinda similar to appreciating life because you could literally die at any moment…).

There are a few ways you can do this. My personal favorite is to use a site called sugarsync. It stores all your files online. If you sign up through the link, you and I will both get some free storage. The best part of this site is that you can get free storage simply by referring people. I have 50 gigs of free storage simply from referrals.

Another way to keep things backed up is to use a portable backup hard drive. It’s simply a hard drive that is enclosed in a special case. Unless you have a crap-ton of music, movies, porn, etc. you probably can go with a smaller one at 250 gb or so. These will run you around $50 at the time of this writing.

Finally, you can go really cheap by just burning files to cds or even using flash drives if you don’t have that much to backup.

I can’t stress how important it is to do this. I have a lot of pictures that I would hate to lose and I’m sure you have various files, old tax returns, pics, music, that book report you wrote in high school, etc. that you would not want to lose.

Take action now: Right now, use one of the following methods to back up some of  your most important files. Even if you only have a flash drive or some blank cds lying around, pop them in, and back up just the most important stuff. You truly can’t appreciate having a backup until you lose it all. I’m sure the feeling is pretty similar to having a hardcore character die on Diablo 2 or losing your first-born child. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Ok, so there is a way to possibly recover your stuff for free that is pretty effective if you’re a lazy ass and didn’t follow my advice. It’s an open source program called test disk and can be found here. While it is pretty effective and I have used it once to restore some of my old files, I still recommend you don’t risk losing it all. It sucks! :???:

Free Grilled Chicken

Read time: 90 seconds

Do you remember a few years back when Oprah and KFC teamed up to offer free grilled chicken to whoever would print the coupon and take it to the restaurant? Perhaps you even participated in this as I did at the time. I also remember huge lines and KFC even running out of chicken.

What a total waste of time.

Take a step back and ask yourself how much your time is worth. Time is by far the most valuable resource we have. Check out this chart to see how the average American worker spends their day.

 

Are you willing to waste your precious life energy by waiting in line for a $6 bucket of chicken? How about black friday? People camping outside of Walmart just so they can waste their money on crap they don’t need. If they knew the exact day their life would end, how soon would that need to be for them to realize sleeping outside of a store is not the best use of their time? 3 months? 6 months? 5 years?

Look around at the people you know. How do they value their time? Are they glued to the tv watching America’s Got Talent? Are they waiting in line for hours just to buy some unneeded trinket? Show me someone who watches hours of tv all day and I’ll bet they are not financially free. How can you make better use of your time?

Take action now: Make a list of all the things you do in your free time in a column. On a scale from 1-10, rate how much joy these things bring to your life. Are you doing the things you truly enjoy, that bring you true happiness; or, are you vegging out in front of the tv “just because” or “because you’re bored.” Are you seeking escape from your life? Find the things that bring true joy to your life: spending time with family and friends, engaging in physical activity you enjoy, traveling, the list goes on and on. Don’t waste your precious life on things that don’t bring you true joy and happiness in this world. Carpe diem

On Congruency

Read time: 2 minutes

One of my goals on here is to be a credible source of information. Basically, if I haven’t done something personally or have direct experience in “fill in the blank topic here” I won’t act like an expert on the topic. If I’m bullshitting on here, I actually hope people will call me out on it.

One thing that I see all too often is so called “experts” in certain areas trying to give good advice, but actually taking advantage of people. Even some bloggers put up fronts and actually make their money in other ways or live their lives differently than they portray.

A big area in this realm is personal finance. There is a certain female “financial guru” who will give advice on saving and having a well diversified portfolio, but some basic research will show that she herself has less than 5% of her portfolio in the actual stock market. Do you think she made her money saving and investing in the stock market? Yeah right! She made it selling books and doing interviews and whatnot.

Think of any person in the financial arena who gives so called advice on personal finance. Did any of them get rich by snowballing their money or maxing their Roth IRA or 401k? While they may do that and it may have helped, the majority got rich through other means. Books, seminars, audio programs, interviews, ad nauseum. Congruency people!

The same goes with regular financial advisors (I used to be one). If someone has a lower net worth than you do, would you entrust your life savings with them? It’s lunacy!

Take any topic of interest. For example, health. Would you take diet and fitness advice from a personal trainer who was morbidly obese? How about relationships. Would you take advice from someone who’s been divorced more times than they can count? How about learning a new skill. Would you rather learn from an olympic champion, or some bum who didn’t even make their college team?

Look for congruency in all areas of life. If someone hasn’t walked the walk, don’t take their advice!

Take action now: Think of a “guru” or even regular joe who you take advice from. Could be a person you’ve never met or the guy you work with. Do a little research and see if they have actually accomplished what they are trying to sell you. If not, then don’t take their advice! Most wealthy people did not make their money in the stock market. (They might retain their wealth through it though…) Most healthy, fit people didn’t get that way by taking some magic pill and sitting around eating twinkies all day (although some do that and are blessed with a high metabolism). Look for areas that are lacking in congruency and take action to get them on the right track! There aren’t many true “quick and easy fixes” in this world. Buck up cowboys and girls and do the hard work needed to get where you want to be. You can do it!