Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekends and Credit Cards, Part 03

Just like nearly every weekend that I can remember since we've had kids, this weekend was a time for shopping, and charging the expense of that shopping to a credit card, (or two).

Whilst strolling through the mall yesterday, we noticed that Gap had a big 50% sale going on for most of their children's clothes.  We couldn't pass that up, could we?  And later in the afternoon there was a birthday party we had to attend, so we needed to purchase a gift or two.  And while at Sam's Club it made sense to buy four boxes of these yummy mangoes:

IMHO these are the best type of mangoes for eating.

My point, (besides showing off our yummy mangoes), is that it's not as easy to not pound the credit card, (or at least spend money), as it sounds.

Today perhaps is a great example.

Sweetie was up most of the night with a sleepless infant, and tired and cranky.  Then it rained and rained and rained all morning, well into early afternoon.  And the older kid still had a touch of the sniffles that had bothered him so badly Friday and Saturday.  So what were we to do?

We decided to go see a movie.  Tickets for three adults and one kid, (the infant was free), were $30.00.  Popcorn and two drinks cost nearly $20.00.  So -- POOF!! -- just like that, we added $50.00 of debt to our running credit card balance.

I suppose the best we can do is be aware of how much we are spending, and where.  Life costs money.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Some Advice From Warren Buffet on Investing and Success

Here is another little parable from the venerable Buffet on Investing and Success.

It's a rough paraphrase from a recent, (12/Mar/2015), talk he gave at the Buffalo, NY GEICO location.  (Warren owns GEICO; did you know that?)  While I have sliced-and-diced a few of his words, I hope I have kept the essense of what he was communicating intact.

He was answering a question about how to be a successful investor, about how to spot a good investment.

"Let's assume that a situation exists whereby you could pick one person, and have 10% of whatever that person earns for the rest of his or her life.  Who would you pick to invest in?"
"Are you going to pick the person with the highest IQ you know?  No.  Are you going to pick the person who earned the most advanced college degrees, with the highest grades?  No."
"You are going to pick the individual people like to work with the best!"
"What are the qualities of that person whom you are going to buy 10% of?"
"Personable, generous, someone who always does more than their share, and doesn't clamor for credit for the things he or she does."
"Now here is the secret to success ……. BECOME THAT PERSON!" 
"You can also reverse that.  What type people would you SELL SHORT 10%?  These are the people you do NOT want to become!  (Notice that these people aren't necessarily dumb, but rather have character defects  -  liars, lazy, etc.)"
"You can decide to become successful if you want to, because qualities of character are NOT ordained at birth, but rather are something we choose."


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Weekends and Credit Cards, Part 02

History may not exactly repeat, but future behavior certainly mimics past behavior.

Just like we did a few weeks ago, today we went on a "spending spree" with our Ameican Express credit card.  Now I admit that today was special: Lola is coming back to live with us!  But still, it would be nice if we could find a way to celebrate, to enrich our experience of being alive, without necessarily spending money.

We easily spent over $450.00, $400 of which went on the credit card.  This is bit of a bummer, because after the balance had creeped above $2,000.00, I had scrimped and saved to knock it down to under $1,400.00.  Now it's headed back to two grand, and what concerns me is that I know we are in the midst of a roof repair which will pile on another $700.00 or so.


But you have to keep these things in perspective.

1. I still have my job, which even though it has run me absolutely ragged the last few weeks, (sporadically working weekends and into the wee hours of the night), is a very nice source of income for our family.  (And I was even given a teeny-weeny raise recently!)

2. I've been able to increase my 401K contributions at work to 5%, and in six months, (God willing!), I'll be 60% vested in the employer 401K "match", which fantastically is 10% of my salary.

3. We are all in good health, and my job provides us with excellent health insurance.  A bit diminished due to Obama Care, I must confess, but still a very, very good plan, and one that I could never afford on my own.

4. Our condo is still rented out, and the tennent pays on time every month!

5. LOLA IS BACK!!  This should help our finances, (we've been eating out a lot recently  -  besides our extravagant lunch today, we ate dinner out last night), and nerves!  With the recent crazy demands of my job, poor Sweetie has been on her own with the two boys all too often.

I want to end this with some links to a few personal finances websites I think are worth reading:

1.   -  I found out about this website thru, (more on that later!), specifically this entry: .  While I enjoy reading the various "financial independence / quit work early" blogs, I have to admit that I believe this guy has a more constructive attitude towards money and work.

2.  -  I like this blog because the author is an old fart like me!  Too many of the personal finance, (particularly the "retire early"), blogs are written by young 'uns who, quite frankly, are at a difference place in life than me, and may have different wants and needs.

3.  -  how else are you going to find out about cool sites like without checking this site?  I check this site, along with another of J's sites, , at least every other day or so.  Lots and lots of good links here.