Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quick Response: Kiplinger 2010 Stock Reprt Special

I would like to say this tidbit of stock info is only $4 to get the opinion and analysis of several different pros in the stock game. It actually gave me some new concepts when it came to consider the perfect company to invest in and it crosses over into frugality nicely. There were some consistencies with the stocks I have read up on in the review, many of which discusses the principle in which you should be stock.

One of the things it advocates is search for a company that has little to no debt! The say this is calculated is assets minus liabilities for the duration of ten years. This is textbook Oracle of Omaha bidding. Buffett uses this same principal to weed out the companies with overall negative earnings. For a ten year duration is good to measure the company's debt. The best way according to Kiplingers is to "try to access the this record through publicly traded stock". The ones with privately traded stock will be harder to track their debt.

There has to be consistency in how the earnings are reported. If those numbers zig-zag and fluctuate and there is inconsistencies in the debt reports, there is too much volatility in its earnings ratio.

To buy stocks your overall personal portfolio has to be the same to be able to buy the stock. To buy more stock, you need consistant earnings. To do so it is recommended that you live a frugal life style and invest over 10% per month until you have built a small nest egg. Once you get that nest egg, then you can start investing in a more aggressive manner so as long as you do the research. Without doing research on a company's profile, you are no longer investing; you are gambling. Keep that in mind when choosing stocks for your portfolio and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from the staff at Chuckiesblurbs! I would like to say that this year has been kind to Chuckie and it seems next year will be as well. I would like to give an end of the year thanks to the following people: NightVisionPhantom on YT. Despite our differences, I feel that we still are able to have meaningful conversations about life, ethics, and what success means to you.

In Ohio, I would like to give a shout out to Laoshu505000. We met through Yahoo and he is certainly a hard core language enthusiast. If you are interested in hyperpolyglots and languages, he is the go to guy for rare languages like Hmong, Taiwanese, Urdu, and a few others. Definately the go to guy for language materials.

Navgeet, Palkin, and Praveen, we have not met up this much this year, but may each of you never stay from your path in life. JL, hope law school in Mass. is working out. David the guy I met in JLPT 3 examination hall, a special thanks for showing me around Japan Town and San Francisco. Grigory aka Nightrunner, we have gone through some serious stuff with room mates so I understand your trails and tribulations. At Job Corps I went through room mates like toilet paper. Stephen, you are a weird one at times, as your room mate I question your habits and mannerisms, but overall I would never change a thing about you. Keep it real man.

Cindy 'Shekey' Harris, thanks for keeping me entertained. It has been a pleasure. Charles Chumonga, and the other Charles Eggleston in Australia. Majitah and Brehnen, thanks for checking up on me even though I have been extremely busy. Hopefully we will meet sometime next year. Loki of YT, I have to say thanks as well. It is nice to see more open-minded people on their that also tries to practice a degree of frugality.

To all the Japanese people that have been following this blog, thanks. It honestly means a lot. I actually got a lot of my concepts toward frugality from the Japanese. So a special heart felt welcome goes out to the Japanese and Okinawan communities. Jocylen (I think I'm spelling it right), thanks for being a role model. I honestly would have have any direction as to which next step I should take my frugality. Bruce, Brian and Dean get a thank you for hanging around when things seem the gloomist and the darkest for me. You guys can succeed to if you just focus. Phoebe<---你和你的朋友都真班助了我的中文了!谢谢您!I can go on for like 3 decades as to all the people I want to thank, but there are some people who I do not know that I would also like to thank. I would like to think all those people who taught me the ways of frugality over the years and those people who contributed with comments to the website. But lastly, I would like to thank, you the reader for putting up with all the grammatical mistakes and subtle errors I did not catch until later. Thank you!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Beating the Market 2009

Overall I did pretty good. I have came out of the market 1,000 give or take than I put into it. I cashed out the WMT a little late, but just lost a little. For those of you that got the AMZN when I suggested it, (November 2008 to be precise) congrats to you guys. I do not think I mentioned it here, but this was perhaps a personal discussion with my Sushi Social crew. At that time I did not have enough to do so, but it is perhaps better to say I should of than shouldn't of. For those of you who did not have the means last year or perhaps are running to the store to buy tissue and a sit-com from not taking my advice there is always next year. Oh by the way, gold was nice to me too ;).

No, I knew e-readers were going to take off when I saw them. Especially with the increased usage of net books. I still am typing on the same Acer Aspire One I got a year ago and it still works the same! It is an amazing little device. When I saw people getting the I-pod touch for reading, it just made sense that there will be a demand for that as a stand alone device. And on the 7th day, the big box companies begatted e-readers! They decided to name their children "Kindle" and "Sony e-reader". It was a matchmade in e-marketing heaven.

People are probably wondering which stocks am I going to get next year. Of course WMT will be in the arsenal as it goes near the 40s. I understand two things: how fast technology moves and retail trends. This is what I pay close attention to. I really try not to follow the news too much unless the stock is at a highpoint and something will cause a market panic and drive it down. I want to get off the train ride because it is going downhill and I just want it to go uphill because my "house" is just past the next "valley". When I buy my ticket I want it to go "downhill" to the point at which risk is low and then "transfer" at "Selling bvld."

Three things I look for is structure of the company, aggressiveness, and image. All this information can be found for free. Buffett said it himself "the best information he has obtained about the market happens to be free". Study the companies before even think of investing a single dime into their servicies. If you do not like anything about the company then you will be wary of the company and too paranoid to even know when to buy and sell. And follow the golden rule: buy low; sell high. While I am not into shorting stocks are doing anything towards asking, I will say that in the future I will probably stick with what works. Investing in stocks work for me, but I will probably go into other ventures in the future. Currently at this moment I am trying to go to Japan to teach English, but that is not to say I will just turn a blind eye to an investment oppertunity.

Now I know that the best marketing wins; so I am not going to say that it was all based on product, but marketing think tanks. Apple was not the first one to come out with a MP3 player, but they are definitely the ones that made owning one the "in thing". Now look at the I-Pod: it is a device that has literally thousands if not million of applications for it, especially in languages. I might have to get one for the various pod casts that supports learning a foreign language since I love them so dearly. I am also impressed with the freshness that is the Flip Mino. I like some of the YouTube videos that are being made with it. Pure awesomeness in my opinion. While the amount I got was perhaps low compared to some investors the important thing is to stay in the black, not in the red.

May 2010 be profitable for all my viewers and thanks for supporting me this year. Your views and comments has kept me motivated enough to keep posting. I will continue to provide more blogs in the future.

Friday, December 11, 2009

2010 New Year's Resolution

Glad to be back in the blogosphere again with another blurb for another New Year. Last year I made two resolutions: I wanted to reach over 100 books read and I wanted to save $10,000. Well I did both of these goals. I have to say it was actually tough at first to sit down and read 8-9 books per month, but then I adjusted to it and started cut through books quickly. Especially language and e-books.

For 2010, I want to try to do something different: I will try to learn 5 different languages and obtain basic proficiency in them. Three I have decided on are Russian, Fu'shah Arabic, and Uchinachuu. For those of you that do not know what Uchinachuu is it is the language of the Okinawan people. It relates to Japanese and is part of the Japonic Language Family. I also want to hit low advance proficiency in Japanese itself. In 2010 I will attempt the N2 unless I do not feel I am ready. Since I will try to move to Japan and moving and settling in costs money I will not set a quota on money I have to save, but rather have "getting over there" as the "goal" with a "job". To be more concise, I wish to be able to give myself a detailed introduction in each of the languages.

I just want to prove that you really do not need a school to pick up a foreign language. I might enroll for intensive Japanese training, but not so much in the other languages. I will also be going at it more in Chinese. I am actually heading toward low intermediate-intermediate but I need more conversation partners.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Facebook Response: Japanese Kanji Are Difficult to Memorize

This is a response to a friend I have on Facebook. I am just going to summarize the statement. He basically said at one point he memorized 600+ Kanji and have forgotten them. There are some key points I would like to address: this guy is bilingual like me except his Japanese is better than mine. I have a deep understanding, but by far he is conversationally fluent except for some instances with economic or medical terminology. A little background on him: his schedule is intense at times with working in the IT field. It is also at graves too. Sometimes he works 12-16 hours.

I think the best thing to do with that schedule is study during the breaks. I use short books like Read Real Japanese during my 15s. We have extended holiday hours so my study time has also kind of short. Since he has a since of fluidity already, I would basically go with half a Kanji lesson to 1 a day. Since 250 Essential Kanji volumes 1-2 are heavy books to lug around, I would probably use something a little more portable, but definitely get the writing time in. You can also use the website which has the Kanji broken up into various levels for the JLPT. Probably the perfect books would be Kanji drill series. (漢字ドリル) Since I have other things for the JLPT to study for (i.e. grammar and listening) I use the 1000plus Kanji books 1 and 2.

I know how difficult it is to memorize different Kanji. In fact I try not to. What I do instead is either read them in context, memorize radicals, or try to consistently write out example sentences. I also try to real as much natural Japanese as possible so I do not come off as sounding too text bookish. If any one else has anything they wish to leave a comment providing additional information, please feel free to do so.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reflections on the JLPT (日本語能力試験)

Long time no blog. I just wanted to address some questions that was asked about the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). I understand that a lot of my viewers are interested in learning a foreign language and are interested in cuisine. I, in fact, get the most comments whenever I write about these topics. So to not disappoint anyone, I will discuss these questions in as a detailed manner as possible.

What is on the JLPT and how will it help my Japanese?

First of all the JLPT is broken up into 4 levels this year; soon to be 5 levels in 2010. The best way probably to discuss this is to perhaps talk about each of the levels I have taken.

Level 4 (四級)- I have taken it. If you are starting out in Japanese and put some effort into at least 3 months, you can pass level 4. I did my Japanese starting out through the university system at UNR. I would say unless you want to study abroad, save your money and just study hiragana (ひらがな)and (カタカナ)which can easily be studied picking up a Teach Your Self basic Japanese script or a book that specializes in either Hiragana and Katakana. The Kanji (Japanese version of Chinese characters) should also be studied. It is perhaps best to know 50 by the time you take this test. Hearing would be a key point to focus on when doing the level 4. The hearing portion of the test has specific orders in which to bubble in stuff sometimes.

Level 3- (3級) This is a test that should be taken after about 2 years of classes in the states. While that is the case, it is not impossible to take this test after learning all the grammar points in the textbook Minna no Nihongo (みんなの日本語) books 1 and 2 of the elementary level. Also you will have to be good at basic conjugation and causative passive forms and know a little bit of honorific and polite Japanese. Again the trick part is listening where there is a certain amount trickiness to the questions. I cannot go into further detail other than say the best book to nail all the grammar points is the Kanzen Master (完全マスター) series. But I will say I will try to take either the N3 or the N2 next year. This will be level N4 the next year. You will need about 300 plus Kanji to get through this one. Also reading is important too.

Level 2- (2級)This test however, I can talk about. I received a total beat down from this test. I was taken out back, slapped around, and was forced to do things no man should do. And that would be the optimistic side of the story. Okay, the nuts and bolts of this thing is pretty gruesome. I counted at least 171 grammar points out of the Kanzen Master level 2 and yes you actually need to be on a 6th grade Kanji level. While I knew 1200 Kanji when I took this test, I did not know the mandatory government issued Kanji administered for this test. Honestly, do not even take this test unless you know all the required Kanji for this test. It would be a waste of time. Key points for this is probably bringing up your reading speed and level, nailing all the grammar points, and Kanji. Again listening does count for 25% of the points but it actually was one of my higher points so I would say that listening get easier if you actively seek out material to listen too like the news or variety shows or manga with a lot of complex Japanese being used. Also pay attention to time because it is precious towards the end. Especially with grammar.

Level 1-(一級)Let me talk about the nightmare that is formally known as Level 1. Kanji level has to be at the 2000s. Now I know the official site says only 1945 Kanji is needed. It is talking about just daily use Kanji (常用漢字), you will need to know some Name Kanji as well (人名用漢字)and I actually like studying Kanji. In fact is one the most favorite parts of the language. There is however a sense of urgency that should be expressed here. That is 1945 Kanji in different word combinations, compound Kanji combinations, and special readings. I think the amount of word usage is around 10,000. I could be wrong on that but that actually sounds about right. There is also the reading. If you can read complex university papers and manuscripts then you might be on the level to take this beast on.

This is a test that usually about 27% of the people overseas pass. And a lot of the Japanese here is not even used completely by natives. But, if you are up to it, level 2 and level 1 will open doors in certain employment firms. Sometimes, they will give you money for taking on such a challenge. Also the level 2 is good for getting into universities but you can also take the university student test (留学試験). The only thing is that a lot of this test does not cover practical Japanese. The level 3 and parts of 2 go over that.

The change in levels  
It is coming up July of 2010. The levels will officially change for the JLPT. Levels 1-4 will be changed to N5 for level 4, N4 for level 3, N3 for a new bridge level to accommodate people struggling between level 3 and level 2. N2 will be the current level 2 and N1 is supposed to become slightly harder for level 1. Okay now you can break out your handkerchiefs and start weeping. Overall it is hard to gauge the new N3 but from what I am looking at so far I would probably be able to pass it. If I do not feel totally confident in my ability to pass the N2, then I will probably go for this one. This level covers 800 Kanji supposedly. I do not have any clue as to how many grammar points.

Study Method
Whether or not I can nail the N2 will all depend on how much blood sweat and tears I put into studying. I am not totally certain going through mock test will completely help. I think it is best to focus on reading more complex magazines and articles and try to find unfamiliar grammar and study it in context. I would use the Unicom and Kanzen master series in conjunction with this method. With this I would use the Intermediate and Advance Japanese Grammar Dictionary for the sake of cracking the vagueness that is from learning in another language. This is by far one of the best dictionaries I have bought. Also I am going to try the Kanji in Context work books. I looked at the textbook and was disappointed by the fact that it is basically a Kanji dictionary which I got like 3. I will also be using various listening materials for the listening portion of the test. There is however a basic way to study for each exam:

1. Study the vocabulary and Kanji first. If you do a lot of reading you will naturally pick up words and if you can write the Kanji words can be formulated naturally from the Chinese pictographs. This honestly shaves down a lot of study time doing it this way.

2. Listening- I would get a book that goes over this part because at this point it honestly because one of the easiest parts of the test except for the lining events part of taking notes. You should practice taking notes prior to the test.

3. Reading- This is the next part that should be tackled. I think this part here is not so bad if you use materials that are actually meant for the next step up. You will pick up a lot of grammar points too because it will be naturally used in the sentences. I actually recommend Read Real Japanese for all levels. On the basic level you can pick up some basic phrases but on the higher levels you can absorb the more subtle nuances of Japanese culture and all the grammar points are discussed. All you would have to do is read a grammar dictionary uses the sentences and practice grammar with a native speaker of the language. Like I said before, chat rooms like MSN and Yahoo are cheap, affordable ways to meet native speakers of the target language of study.

4. Grammar- This is the perhaps even more difficult than learning all the government issued Kanji. I will say this: if you do not know the vocabulary and Kanji then I suggest you to go back and study those harder because the N2 and N1 will bombard you with vocabulary. It will also bombard you with Kanji and more Kanji and alternative Kanji for the written Kanji. N2 might have around 190 grammar points total and N1 has everything from the previous 4 levels so contrary to popular belief you cannot really take this test without knowing a lick of grammar. It probably has around 500-600 different points of grammar just to give you a compilation.

If you get these four things down for each test, you will have it made coming test time. There is no reason why someone (including me) cannot get down all the necessities in order to take the JLPT. It is just laziness on their end. I failed because I underestimated the gravity of the test prep books. You will need detailed resources for each one. That is the best way I can put it. It is what it is.

Is the Japanese on the JLPT practical?
I would say yes and no. There are key grammar points in 4 and 3 that you cannot even have a conversation without and a little can be said for 2 as well, but there are some grammar points that even the Native Japanese speakers have trouble with. The same goes for Kanji because in the computer age many native speakers of Japanese are starting to forget the rarely used Kanji for the ones that are common to their daily vocabulary. For example the Kanji (薔薇) or rose is a Kanji that many Japanese natives cannot write. I taught myself how to write this one for a calligraphy contest and it was tough because I had to basically figure out the stroke order myself.
The IT age is certainly simplifying language in general and that also goes as well for my English. I cannot read Old or Classical English because mainly it is not a standard any more and my grammar certainly has suffered a little from learning multiple languages. So in short, I would say the practicality of the JLPT is what you make of it. If you think the test will make you sound like a native speaker, you will be let down. There is just bubbling in the answers. No speaking, no writing. If you want to do a test like that, I suggest the JETRO. Wikipedia more than likely has an article on it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday Specials for 2009

Ok I have not let you down people! As promised I deliver the goods. So what is Sam's Clubs Black Friday list? Is is worth waking up at 4am this year?

Well here's the main items

Garmin GPS system 125 model going for $60
Visio 240 HRZ going for $997
Samsung 32" TV going for $397
Acer Aspire One going for $197
Dell Laptop going for $499
Hitachi 42" going at ??? price
16GB Black Ipods going at $168
Black Berries go for free with service Agreement
Samsung Blu-Ray Theater In A Box goes for $368

There is some other stuff on the Black Friday list like a half karat diamond earrings going for $299 and there are Tommy Bahama Black Friday Watches going for $40. Also there will be trial colognes going for $10. While the deals probably were not as good as last year, I think if you need a good TV, Sam's or Wal-Mart is the way to go. Wal-Mart has a 32" LCD TV going for $297. But take it from me, there will be crowds. And if you think the Black Friday crowds are a problem, stay home. The retail industry has amped its security up this year, but that not to see that it will be completely safe. There is a lot of Black Friday merchandise to spin sell if you are into that kind of thing. I think it takes quite a bit of time so if the margin is not there for me I will not bother.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I just wanted to post something of interest to the people following this for financial reasons, I am getting questions on where I am as far as my 10 grand goal goes. Well I have almost reached it in my account. It would more than likely be 30 grand if it was a college level job or my own business, but I am not going to play what if games. In case if anyone is wondering, I just turned 26. I might not have a lot of money compared to someone who is using my same methods with a higher net income, but it really only counts when you invest properly. Well I started to invest in WMT (as some of you might know) starting at $41 now I have around 40 shares at $52 dollars. While the return on that is modest, it is well is fairly moderate 2K so contributing that I am around the 11-12K range. Meaning I exceeded my goal! Plus I invested in gold on top of that.

I did not use the paychecks as a method of getting by. I broke the chain enslaving me to my job and honestly I could change professions anytime I want so as long as I have the know how and connections. Which brings me to my next point. I do not plan on staying in Reno forever so the food reviews will disappear once I go back to Japan. That's right! I am going to try to go back to Japan. I want to take learning foreign languages to a higher level. But that does not mean I cannot become fluent in Japanese by staying in the United States. I choose not to for personal reasons. For those of you outside of Reno, this place is not really that diverse in culture. The only thing this place has going for it is factories and retail gigs. Yup, that's it! Unless you know someone, no one goes anywhere in this town on their own merit unless they own a business. Since I will be moving to another country, I will probably start talking about stuff on a more international level and maybe start getting more involved with foreign exchange trading.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Why Add Food to Finance and Frugality?

This topic for me is a little bit interesting for me to write about. When some of my friends visit the site, they are like "Why do you add food"? Well I add "food" for many reasons. Like I have mentioned before I like studying languages and one of the cheapest ways to practice speaking a language is to eat at international cuisine places. Today I ate at a Chinese food place (which I already reviewed) to practice my Chinese (which is rusty). However since this is a bit of a tangent, I will say I mainly like going to places that specialize in international cuisine for the people. At the end of the day, I will probably forget the taste I just acquired, but the service and atmosphere is something I will remember. Another thing I like doing is try to eat out for cheap.

Why spend $12 for Ma Pang Tofu when you really do not have to? Sure it will not taste high class, but it will still taste good if you read the food reviews and decide for yourself. I mainly do the food reviews so I can point out places in Reno which are cheap to eat at with good service and to mingle with people. A lot of the ideas I got from learning about frugality I learned partially from my stay in Okinawa, Japan and from my final year in college. When I lived in Japan, I woke up one day to find that I had a $700 phone bill from calling home. I was irate that I let my bills pile up. I was borrowing money from my teachers and paying them back from the money I was getting (meaning less money for the next month to live on). I had a bad habit of buying textbooks. And when I say bad, there would be days where I chose the highly detailed textbook over food. Literally. When I came back to America, I saved a little money, but that was all put towards paying tuition for my final year. Seriously, I was in financial straits.

Afterwards I started to get influenced by my room mate. He was saving all this money from doing content writing online. Sure some of his habits were out there, but he knew how to pinch a penny. I got a job with the city of Reno working for the Recreation Department and I was making terrible money due to the fact I could only work part time. But seeing my roommate living on half of what I make (which was $850/month!) I got to thinking about how I was going to save a bunch of money. When I moved I had the same job, but more bills, yet I managed to figure out a way to save $300/month. I basically split the rent of the house 4 ways and paid utilities which took most of the money. I had changed, I was not spending money like it was water. I became more cautious, less careless. To me it was not about how much I could make because I was beyond that. I was about how much I could save. When I finally moved on to Sam's club I was mainly focused with budgeting.

Now how does all this relate to food? When I was struggling there was one luxury I was determined not to live without ever again. That was food. It is food that keeps us going and trying a different country's food or native cuisine was one of the things that motivated me to save more. I wanted to be able to buy food at any given point without stress. So what did I do? I budgeted the money and cut the fat from my life. (i.e. video games, wastefulness, and textbooks) And this is when I came out with the golden frugality rule. Pick one luxury and budget accordingly. My need for language books will never be satisfied. I realize that. However, I will restrict my self to where I pick that as a luxury for that month and eat out less. So when I called my blog, Food, Finance, Frugality I meant "food" is 9 times out of 10, my luxury in life and even though I am frugal, I will not bend on eating out because it indirectly helps me in my other goals which is meeting people and communication. There are things in life that should be enjoyed, so if you enjoy food, by all means eat good food. If you enjoy video games, budget for video games. If you enjoy other things budget for it. You will be psychologically more well rounded.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Playing Video or App.Games Free

I am not going to be on my Ivory tower and say I do not like video games. I might not play them as much as I used to play them, but it is perhaps one of the things that got me interested in electronics and Japan. If it was not for video games, I would probably know less about computers and electronics than I do now.

Video games to me are like a double edged sword: if you want to save money they can help you do so, but if you want to buy the "latest and greatest" then be prepared to pay. I own a Playstation 2 with over 100 PS1 and PS2 games (which I am slowly selling off). When I was growing up, playing games for me was one of my passions which kept me off the streets and it kept me from getting into trouble. The problem is playing them too much is what keeps people from obtaining their goals in life. So you need a since of balance in order to save money. Obviously as games hit the market and stay there they will devalue over a period of time. But people tend to get impatient with waiting for a their next Final Fantasy, Metal Gear or God of War.

Kratos can wait and quite frankly so can Snake. For those of you that lived in a bunker since information fallout (not to be associated with the game), there are games out there which are free to play. At there are a bunch of online multi player games such as Gunz the Duel and Soldier Front which is a first person shooter. On Facebook, there are many new applications that get released every day which promote a healthier sporatic style of game play. On there, I play Dungeons and Dragons: Tiny Adventures and Mob Wars. There are also a few puzzle games like Bejeweled Blitz which is insanely hard to get a high score. Another site, which as a little bit of spam and adware is It has Flash made video games which are free to play.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stocks Are Down But Should You Invest?

I am noticing that compared to last year, this years stocks are down. Should you be doing a "bank run" ? If you ask the banking sector of course you will get a "no", they do not want that.

"But what does this mean for my bottom line"

Well for one the dollar is a fiat and there is no simple way to answer why the dollar is losing value other than playing the fiat card. Simply put, fiats are based upon trust. They are like units of "trust". When countries go to war with other countries. That puts a bad taste in a countries trust, so the opposing countries with either embargo or traffic goods as a result of bad trade practices. Meaning that if your dollar is being funded for "war" for example, other countries consider that "blood money" and reset their base on which they value that currency. Also the other mitigating factor is how much debt did a country assume during trade over the years.
All the U.S. government experts have varying numbers, but they all agree that the debt is a couple trillion and growing.

So to keep this on point, what does this mean for stocks? Will we totally bottom out? My answer to that is a flat no. The reason why is because stocks represent units of ownership within a company, so that company holds an intrinsic value that is put out on the international market known as a "share" this share thus has a fluctuating value depending on how well the company does. Like the 1930s stocks are falling hard, but unlike the 30s companies are more international, meaning that they still hold an intrinsic value in another currency. Simply put, there will be no "crash" of a market, per se. Rather the dollar will continue to drop in value until we a) have a government with low debt and b) we improve our image in the public relations sector.

If your one of the wise ants that invested in gold in say 2005, you definitely will be handsomely rewarded for your foresight. It is an internationally accepted currency and international resource. Silver, will become the next big thing as gold will become more and more out of reach for the average consumer.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Update On Studies Or How to Learn a Language on a Shoestring Budget

Hello everyone.

Long time no post. I have a lot of new followers coming in from Blogged and I would like to extend a warm welcome out to them. I have been really studying Japanese hard so I can pass the JLPT test. From the preparation, I will definitely pass when I go to San Francisco on December 6th. There really is not much I really wish to go over other than methods to studying a subject or booking a flight with the least amount of money possible.

How to Study a Language on a Shoestring Budget

For those of you new to this blog I go over effective ways to stretch the devalued dollar and ways to valuate you own worth. And what better way to to pick up linguistic skills than through a show string budget? There is low start up costs, you can make connections with people from other countries and more importantly, you can enrich yourself with another culture.

To be to study a language with low start up cost, I would first try sift through books with good teaching pedagogy or method. Since I am familiar with the Japanese language, I am going to use this language as a model. When I started learning the language I spent years using ineffective books for self study and only after I cam back from Okinawa did I realize this. Do not get me wrong, I can communicate just fine, but I felt I would have been that much better if I had access to the most effective materials possible. Fortunately, information technology in languages has improved drastically since I have started to study Japanese. One such method is to study for free using This site allows you to access your language skills and you can go through and find which class suits your level, or better yet, do language exchange from a native speaker for free! I recommend this method over going to a chat rooms mainly because people just tend to goof off in chat rooms and they are just their to either find dates, talk, or hook up with other chatters. Although if you are trying to find a girl/boy friend in the language you are studying that is a good way to do so (assuming you are in that country or she/he is near you).

If you are looking for a way to study a language that is at the rate your willing to pay within your budget guide lines, then you might want to try which is an online Japanese language school. You can even take classes by the lesson using lesson tickets! Using lesson tickets could aide you in maintaining your fixed allocated budget that I talked about in the Frugality 101 special. (This method of proposed learning is actually coined the "edupunk" movement. The "edupunk" movement is a self taught or online taught method where everything that involved learning is done through the Internet. It is counter culture against the traditional scholastic environment because you can avoid classes that you do not need and only study the ones you are interested in.) A more pricier way to learn a language through the computer is Rosetta Stone which I do not recommend towards an Asian language mainly because the writing is intense and a necessity towards learning Chinese and Japanese characters. For Romance and Germanic languages however, Rosetta Stone would be good because the character set in English shares the same set those language families, save a few extra intonation marks.

If classes are not for you, there is the old school auto-deictic method, which involves simply buying books and studying out of them. For Japanese, I have a list that I cycle through. Which is Japanese for Everyone, 250 Essential Kanji books 1 and 2, Basic Kanji 250 books 1-4, and Shin Nihongo no Chuukyuu (basically it is, true Japanese of Intermediate Level) just to name a few. For learners of Japanese, a good page to order materials whether it be for the JLPT or just for learning is You can also see rating from people who are really serious about learning the language instead of buying something from vote bots' opinions. Another good site is They are a little more expensive than Japanshop, but they have different materials sold there along with Mangas and DVDs. They should also have a kids mirror site as well for minors to browse. There is also the mainstream shops as well, but one that is a bit off the beaten path is, which has some rare or hard to get books. Again, I am just using the information I have gathered from studying Japanese to make this article. For other languages, I would say the best thing to do is pick the country that supports the language you are studying and find an intensive language school. Then try to find their language materials used in the classes and order some of them if they have decent reviews. Search engines are your friend in this approach. That is how I found out about the sites I frequent above. If you are in luck and now someone who has studied abroad, try asking them for their old text books' titles or maybe negotiate a price for the ones they no longer use.

How to Plan a Trip on a Shoestring

1. Plan in ADVANCE!- The more you procrastinate, the higher your itinerary will be.

2. SET a budget- Try to set a dollar amount based off of how much you have saved. If you plan on trying to go away somewhere for a couple of weeks, obviously you need to do some cut backs in your household to compensate for your idleness.

3. Do not go to a hotel based on star ratings- I have been in 3 star hotels and 5 star hotels. Honestly the more you spend on having everything in your room, the more money you will lose in the long run. Read the reviews of the hotel you are trying to reserve at. There is no need to reserve at the Taj Mahal for a week if there is no real plans going down for that reservation. (i.e. Sight seeing) If you are going to be out and about the whole trip getting a 5 star is an utter waste of money. The way I see it is while you are entitled to treat yourself, you also need to treat your money well. Your account will feel it later.

4. Take the least amount of stuff possible- Self explanatory. Do not take 5 bags on an airplane that dings you $70 per bag. That is just stupid. If you need certain things, then take them. If you have to pay for one bag, so be it. Just do not go buck wild and take the kitchen sink.

5. If you have connections use them- If you know someone who can board you up or are part of an organization that will give you an automatic discount, then use what you were given. It is called synergy. People are more productive if they work together with the same goals in mind. Just make sure the person you are going with can handle their fair share of the travel expenses.

This sums up my writing itch. Sorry folks, back to writing hiatus! I need to pass my test.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Micheal Jackson's Passing: A lesson to be learned in frugality.

Micheal Jackson has touched the hearts of many and with his passing grants us a window into his life. Here was a man who was plunged into the spotlight around the age of 5 and only ascended to higher stardom. However in his passing it calls upon the lessons of money management. Micheal might have earned a high income, but he was overall, bad at managing money. With this said, Chuckie's Blurbs is not going to say that his spending was all bad. Afterall a selfless man who gave to many a charity broke the world record for contributions. No we are going to examine the side of Micheal that lost the Neverland ranch, the side of Micheal that was childish in his manner of holding on to earned income.

Topping Thriller was a part of his obsession which drove him to succeed and while drive is important, pragmatism is perhaps even more. He wanted to surpass Thriller, but that album was a tough one to beat. Eventually he lost focus on his finances and just about lost everything that he so worked for. I am not saying if he wanted to have a Neverland Ranch he should resist. No that was a valuable investment along with the Beatles royalties.

One of the main keys to frugality is to have focus. While he did gain some part of this before his passing, he lost it too little too late. While he might have been the greatest entertainer ever, his status got to him and it caused his own downfall. Never let other people put you on a pedestal about how much money you have. They do it to me all the time and I have to take their complements with a grain of salt. The lesson one should learn from Micheal's passing is that to reach a Thriller-esque goal with your finances you have to focus or you will fail. Giving is good, but one should have money to give money.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One Year Anniversary at Sam's Club

Hello there. Chuckie here with another blog jam packed with pure awesomeness. It has been a cracy year for me down at Sam's Club and I have to say, I am glad I have stuck it out this long after all. Perhaps my earlier entries were a bit pessimistic, but rest assured, I will continue to work there until I reach my goal I set out to reach in New Year's.

So far I have read 65 books and saved up $6,ooo for my re-entry into Japan. I will also take the JPLT level 3 so I can up my own personal stock and credentials. I could take the level 2, but I need more time to study for that one. While level 3, I can take it and pass it without studying. But I will study so I can refresh some of the Japanese that I do not normally use. I am in no way trying to slack off with the test, they are expensive to take because I have to go to either Los Angelos or San Francisco in order to take the test and I do not want to go over there in vain. When I do take the level 2 next year, I will have more time in order to catch up what I know and be able to pass it with no problem. So that is my goal-- to eventually go back to Japan in 2010.

There is also the need to address the issue of having one year at Sam's Club. Since they basically changed the whole structure of the pay scale, all I will get is a marginal raise. Since there might be employees reading this blog, I cannot go into further detail about it. However, I can say that my vacation and personal time has kicked in and I will use every bit of it to better my situation. I am a graduate from UNR and for the past 2 years, I have been working jobs with little chance of vertical movement. When I return to Japan, I will proabably work for someone else for a little while and then build up a marketing list and become self employed.

I have offically started back up my business on E*bay. My ID is marketmediaplus and I will sell certian items on demand. Right now I am just trying to sell all my books and video games so I can move with little problems. For the most part I have been celebrating my raise, so I have been eating out a lot, but that will stop. The glamour is done; my year is in; time to continue amassing wealth.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sushi Boat 2 Part Review

This has probably been the most expensive review I have done. Not because the place was expensive, but because I had to make two trips to give a proper review. While I was going to upload actual pictures this time around, it turns out my phone cannot do file transfers. If I could entertain you with obscenities that borders Turret's syndrome, I would. Alas, I cannot due to contracts drawn out by the sponsors. I can say that I want to take my Motorola and toss it into a meat grinder. That is totally acceptable.

However, the show (in this case, the review) must go on.

Sushi Boat Part 1

In Sushi Boat they serve mainly Japanese and Korean food. For the first week, I reviewed Cha-shu Ramen, which costs $8. It was a mixture of beef sides, pork, Asian celery, asparagus and ramen noodles. It was a very filling dish and I was impressed at how the service was that day. The texture of the ramen is very authentic to the Japanese style and I would say that the restaurant has some potential to rise back from its esteemed status. Their Cha-shu ramen reminded me of the ramen stores in Japan in a French dining place. main due to the fact that their dininng area does not totally fit the atmosphere of the sushi bar.

At one point, they were giving discounts to UNR students, but after the roach infestation, I did not come back for three years. Since then they must have gotten complaints from customers and health inspectors and have since then raised their standards considerably. Read on if you want to know what the hand of destiny dealt me into coming to this place a second time...

Sushi Boat Part 2

Round two required for me to have a bigger stomach and while I took many pictures to post in this blog I was again stiffled by the Motorola that I now want to toss in front of a Hummer H2 just to see if it will crack. While it would be fun to do, it just is not prudent so *sigh* moving on.

In case if you are wondering what I had, it was the following:

Godzilla Rollx2
Happy Roll
Philli Roll
Spicy California Roll
Futomaki Chef Special Roll
Hotate (Oysters)
Dragon Roll
T.N.T. Roll (Spicy clam sauce with tempura and crab)
and the Rick Roll

Okay I did not have a Rick roll obviously. I did have the rest plus two other rolls. If your wonder what was the caloric intake for all of this, I would say it was around 5,000 to 7,000 calories. Fortunately the amount of sushi I had is actually ideal for body building due to the amount of Omega-3. Unfortunately, I will not be going to a gym today. I will just take my atrophy with a heightened state of pride and tom-foolery.

There is a variety of dishes at this place so if are adventuresome, you will find this place rather pleasing. After two weeks of fish and noodles, I am ready to give you the overall results of this escapade!

Presentation: Asian counter check. Japanese beer flyers, check check. French dining tables what in the world? Also some of the letters are burned out on the outside of their building. They need new signs.+.50

Service: Good the first week. Mediocre the second week and since I was the only one there, you woud think they would be a tad more attentive. Obvioucly I was dealing with the co-owner the first week and a under paid flunkie the second. And the chef was the quiet type. The second week was not all it was cracked up to be. The chef kept the rolls coming, but the assistance on the drinks was lacking. I was there about 2 hours and my drink only got refilled twice. +.75

Taste: the sushi was good and the cha-shu was great. So to average this, I am going to say the sushi was epic in variety and texture. The chef got them out quick. He only had me wait for a roll that had to be breaded, but he made other rolls until I was done. Oh and for the leaf eaters that do not want to emit CO2 into the enviroment, there are veggie rolls. For the rest you carnivores, you will find the rolls both healthy and meaty. For the people that think Al Gore is full of it and want their red meat cut lean, Sushi Boat will also find a place in your heart. +1

Price: The best thing next to the food, is the price. You can eat dinners at lunch time for only $13! That is a steal in the name of seafood buffets! Oh and they ad hoc tax too! +1

Cleanliness: It was very clean but the rugs could use a shampooing. +.5

I forgot what my other catagory was but it is all fishsticks or sushi rolls and tuna for lack of a better word. The grand total is: 3.75/5 stars. It is mainly due to customer service and presentation. If they can improve in these areas, I would be willing to re-review them sometime next year. I think the staff should perhaps be more vigilent while there is only one customer in the establishment. If they were then, there would be no need to take off points for customer service. This is perhaps the most important thing that makes or breaks reviews: the customer service. If it is good, they will come. If it is epically terrible, the customer will leave. I feel that this could have been a 4 four star experience if the improve upon what is suggested. Sorry,

I could not load pictures to make you scream for sushi. I forgive my Motorola. I will have to settle for shattering it into a googleplex of pieces using some ingenuity and a sledgehammer.

Until next time, feed food for the stomach!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Food Review: Asian Gardens

I have been a bit busy juggling other side projects, but finally I am back to entertain you with another long awaited food review. Last Wednesday, I went to Asian Gardens to enjoy some Beef Chow Fun. Let's see how they did.

Taste wise. it was really good and the portions was excellent. The meal was filling, dispelling any pre-notions that I needed to eat again afterwards. So if you think that Chinese food is not filling, you need to try their Beef Chow Fun. Oh and for the plant eaters, they do have vegetable Chow Fun as well. +1

Service was excellent. I also tipped excellent in kind. She was eager to please and was willing to bend over hand and foot. She had tea, water and sodas at the ready in a New York minute. +1

Presentation, it felt like a Chinese restaurant and that is a good thing. The food was symmetrical with the atmosphere. I felt at ease when I went there. +1

Value for the money. I have to say that the billing was somewhat steep. Do not order a soda there, it will cost you $2. If you are paying anything more than $1.50 plus tax, then you are paying too much of beverages that cost about 8 cents for the chemicals to fill up your cup. There is no need to be up charged on that. The value on the Chow Fun was generous so I have to give this a certain balance. +5

Menu Variety. Good but I think they should axe the sushi menu. I know they are the same owners as Sushi Boat, but seriously, if I wanted to eat Sushi at a Chinese restaurant, then I probably do not distinguish difference in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean culture. And that would be ignorance on my part. Sure I understand they might get requests for sushi, but it feels awkward in a non-sushi specialty shop. Especially since I can go over next door and order the exact same thing. There is nothing wrong with non Japanese people making sushi, but I just do not picture sushi in a Chinese restaurant especially when it is not a sushi bar or a Japanese style cuisine specialty shop. +5

Overall Asian Gardens get a 4/5. My recommendation is just to order the food and no drinks. They were expensive.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Two Food Reviews!! Yama Sushi and Carrows

It has been a long time since I have done a food review, but it is just because I mainly have not been in any specialized local restaurants as of late.


First up is Carrow's. I went there Memorial day as a way to get something to eat when other chains were closed. The staff seemed a bit distant but the service was still good. +.5

Food was okay. I had the spicy gumbo. It was not memorable though and that is one of the things I look for when I write these reviews. I have to say their shake was good, but I think the spicy gumbo 2 course meal was not that filling as I thought it would be. The cream of broccoli soup that came with it was excellent. Perhaps the highlight of the dining experience. +.75

The atmosphere was perfect for presentation. It felt like a diner. +1

Price wise they were a little high. If you wanted to get something similar to their cooking for the same price, I would suggest going to Denny's. +.5

Also the staff was a bit uptight with handling the bill. Usually breath mints and toothpicks are handed out at the end of a diner. At least throw me a mint chocolate. +.25

Carrow's while okay in food, needs to work on service. Usually they are balanced in presentation and it pangs me to give them a mediocre 3/5. Good if you need a quick bite to eat. Not so much on the value of your dollar. Just stick to the mainstream; Denny's blows them out of the water.

Yama Sushi
Next up to plate is Yama sushi. The fist thing I noticed is a concrete floor in a sushi
restaurant with the fact there was a eloquent bar. Even if you are going to open up a sushi place near Grove street aka Reno's ghetto, presentation is still key. I talked to the owner and said he doubles the place as a club on weekends. There is one tiny problem with that: there is no where on the outside of the club that states that he is a club and there loses half a star. +.5

The service on the other hand was top notch. While I would of bought the chef a beer (it is a custom in Japan) I instead left a generous tip. He was earnest and eager to make the next roll and yack it up with me. And the waitress never left me with an empty drink. +1

The value for the dollar was equally impressive. The roll selection was fairly generous for the lunch time and the freshness of the fish is not bad for Nevada standards. While the staff is Hispanic, it does not mean they do not need to know anything about fish and prosper. You can tell they studied earnestly the art of sushi merchandising. +1

Their logo is perhaps the most memorable mainly because they made it feel stylish by writing Yama in katakana. More than likely they learn the rules from other stores, but if one has read Sushi Economy then it will be apparent that sushi is being embraced by other cultures more and more. +1 For presentation and effort.

Bill handeling was a snap. They were done with me in seconds. They also had business cards at the ready of private catering.+1

Yama Sushi in their generousity and snappy survice gets a generous grade of 4.5 stars matching the Thailand Gardens restaurant that I reviewed earlier this year.

That's all for today. Hopefully I will find some more time to help you satisfy your palets. Until next time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Been Busy As of Late

I just wanted to say that something might actually came through for me. I am currently doing some correspondence writing for this inventor. I need to concentrate some of my efforts towards this, because he knows some very prominent figures on Capitol Hill and I need to concentrate towards that.

As far as my resolutions, I am currently at 42 books. I am currently reading Hal Leonard's Guitar Method books I, II, and III because I really like music as well as foreign languages. Oh and I just need 4K more and I will have my goal for this year. It would be nice if I exceed ten thousand dollars. The more I have for Japan, the better. I want to create my own consulting firm so the more the merrier!

I also have my other investments going for me. For the most part, I am just going to sit on them until their peak arrives. One of them will have seasonal peaks and valleys while the other one will hit a huge peak in 5 years. I will probably be back in Japan sometime by 2010 with a job.

I am just giving an update on the events in my life.

Until next time--save money now; avoid poverty later!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Social Healthcare

Today's news gave me the most eerie chill I have ever experienced. America is on the verge of getting social health care. Which means, expect long lines at the hospital and bad treatment. The overall end to achieve is less care not more.

Frugal people know how to survive without a nanny society. This one seems to want to baby us more and more. Barack Obama is inadvertently hurting the dollar even further by allowing social health care. We are a nation in debt: we do not need to burden ourselves with everyone else's debt. Think of all the hypochondriacs that will come out of the wood works. People will be demanding services from the government that will not be covered. We are on the verge of catastrophe. In Japan they have national insurance. Why not have this as an option instead? This nanny state that America is become will only beget more wage slaves.

If Barack Obama legitimately cares about the U.S. government, then he will see that this plan is a detriment to creating a welfare nation. I should not stand for this and neither should you. This system will only cause more havoc. I for one will refuse the social welfare err I mean health care card. Everyone here should refuse it too.

That is all I have to blurb about. Until next time--save money now; avoid poverty later!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Loans Are Bad

Now for those of you breaking into frugality, loans are the epitome of economic failure. If you think a loan will get you out of debt. you are sadly mistaken. It is debt. Like the saying "money begets money" debt begets debt.

The only true ways to go beyond your means from a 9-5 job is to get another job, invest, or to cut down your standard of living. The best advise is to go through the standard of living first, find the job, then invest for cash flow or revenue. While the market is in the pits and we are in the "Great Recession", it does not mean that you have to go broke with everyone else. That is a slave mentality.

Frugality mixed with investing is the turn key to your success. Continue saving money, but you will want to invest what you are not using. The rest of your money should be a windfall, but never invest more than 50% of what is in your account even if you are financially well off. One of the golden rules is never lose money. That rule has to be followed to a tee. In other words, research is three to five times more important than the money you put up because the money is just an end to gain more money. Do not go in on an investment unless you are certain you will gain money from it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fight Tax Raises With Common Sense

As you may know Nevada's ivory tower is debating on whether or not we have to raise taxes. If Nevada is in debt, there will have to be a tax hike anyways. They are just putting off their ways of generating money for the state. Tourism is doing ok, but it will only get you so far. We are not Switzerland; a self regulating autonomous nation which could practice secrecy. Like it or not. the officials we have elected now and 4 years ago, mismanaged our taxpaying money and now we have to pay more. But why should we?

So Governor Gibbons wants to do this without tax cuts huh? Well he would have to take everyone across the board and will have to cut their overinflated wages. Seriously, some county and city secretaries get around $60,000 per year before taxes. Wait let us use their official titles: administrators. Now target the overpaid managers and police officers and you are looking at a couple hundred million. But no one is willing to sacrifice their paycheck for the betterment of the state--as they should not have to. They should instead start using viral marketing instead of these elaborate ad campaigns that are omitted from every one's TiVo anyways. They already cut their checks once before along with having employees taking extra days off.

Nevada needs money. your elected officials will eventually get their heads out of the clouds and will be forced to raise tax rates. However, many of these rates you do not have to pay. Nevada state sales tax only covers luxury items, tobacco, prepared food and other small amenities. But why pay all of your taxes to people who are just going to flush your hard earned dollars down the toilet? Pay only what is mandatory and you go far. Here are some examples of non mandatory taxes that you can avoid. Using your frugal mindset, I am sure you can think of more ways to succeed with paying what is necessary.

For instance you do not have to pay alcohol and sales taxes if you decide to quit drinking and smoking. If you want to get extreme you could create your own moonshine and set up a home brewery. If you totally devote a whole room to a hobby in your house it is also considered a IRS tax break. Also smoking hookah tobacco instead of cigarette tobacco tends to have vendors that will not charge tax on hookah.

No matter what route you choose, make sure you exercise your vices with caution. CB does not condone people to go off drinking and smoking using alternative sources.

Another tax that just came out is the hotel tax. Most owners will waive this tax if you are a local resident, but if you are from out of state, try to board up with a friend instead. There is a 3.3% out of state resident hotel tax in Nevada. I would suggest doing this even if you have the money though. Just do chores to make up for crashing and do not ware out your welcome.

Now Big Brother might step in and hit us all with this one: the Carbon tax. That's right, there might be a tax soon based off of what type of carbon footprint you leave behind. To clarify you might have to pay for the air that somebody else breathes. Meaning that you will not be able to take out the tax, especially if you own a car. This is pure propaganda brought on by David de Rothschild in his "adult educated" level book called The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook and by former Vice President Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth If you want the truth about how much it would actually cost there is a Penn and Teller video episode that address this along with a brutally funny article at

For those of you that do not reside in Nevada, study your own state's tax code and try to find loopholes. Do not get me wrong, you should pay only the taxes for the items you consume along with the IRS statements. Just do not get nickeled and dimed for taxes that you absolutely have control over.

Remember save money now, avoid poverty later!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Banks Rallies Back?

The moves are in. Banks are failing, but suddenly pass "stress tests". Is your money safe? Note that July 22nd, the national minimal wage will go into $7.55/hr. Inflation will set in. Your dollar will get weaker. What does this mean for you?

Everything is set up by design: there will be a shift in economic and political power. Why is it that we need to save money then? It is simple. It is to combat inflation. What you should be doing is not worrying about the "stress tests". Instead prepare for the financial counter attack. Now it is a misnomer that banks are "passing stress tests", rather they are digitally fabricating fiat.

Stock markets are "rallying" due to socialism. How do you battle the financial stress tests? Simple. Eliminate debt. If every American got out of debt, America will have 15% of its national debt paid off. While this might not be so much of an impact, this amount would actually appreciate the overall value of the dollar. Once the "rally" is over, there will be more job loss and even more unemployment. It is like a financial enema that will happen: if you are in debt due to a bank, it is not the bank's fault. Look in the mirror and it will reveal the culprit at fault. If you are in debt, mirror your mistakes and turn debt into profit through frugality. I do not stress about debt because I am no longer in debt. I am in the black every month.

Also invest in liquid assets such as stocks and precious metals. Gold is likely to go up, but silver will gain on gold due to demand and technology. Just be prepared for it.

If banks are stressing eventually you will be stressing. Do not take a loan that you cannot pay. The best thing to do is to never borrow more than you have. This is how to stop the debt game. You ALWAYS have more assets THAN liabilities.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

MLM Scams In The Crosshairs

These are definitely bleak times if you rely on just 9-5 jobs. I know there is pressure out there for many of you to become affluent and wealthy. Just remember there is no such thing as a free ride. You pay time to receive the ride. It is basic economics. No one has any incentive to give you or me a million dollars. they earned it with their blood sweat and tears.

Today I want people out there to know that there is a variety of schemes in the wake. Ponzi schemes and MLM schemes are just designed to take your money!

With that said, it should be obvious where I am going with this. There are a variety of scams just cropping up across the United States. There are people out there that are promised the world on an oyster and get fed day old tuna. Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes, and MLM schemes are just designed to make only the people at the top rich.

Would you like to know who gets there cut of the pie? It is not the online marketers. It is not the "distributors". It is the "motivational" speakers that get the pie. they peddle their books on stage and get their cut. John C. Maxwell has replaced Robert Kiyosaki in doing this because he exposed the scheme. The rust just get crumbs. Do not quit your day job to go through with this. It is not worth it. The best thing you can do for yourself is to look up some other marketing venture.

If you have a frugal mindset, "easy money" does not exist. Period. You still have to work one way or another. You think Wal-Mart is going to give me 20K/year for just working 10-15 hours a week? Sorry, not happening.

the whole concept of an online mall is not new. It can be done. If you are willing to put in the time to learn code and study SEO, you could have the next Ebay, but that takes... effort and it also takes a committment towards saving money.

Ways to avoid a MLM scam.

1. Ask what the start up cost is. (Unless it is an investment, additional labor for working 10-15 hours should be lower than $200, the price of a World Wide Group website. This means that you can get about 3 years worth of website for that chunk of change! Totally not worth it.

2. Whenever someone promises to "take care of everything" is also a bad sign. If you are relying on someone else to build up traffic to your site that is not contracted to do SEO work, it is a major red flag.

3. When someone says they want to be your mentor without knowing you. This is another red flag. I know tons of brokers and millionaires in the United States and a few in Japan. Unless you know them first hand and on a first name basis from childhood, do not expect handouts. Do expect consultation fees.

The reason why I am writing this post is because I was approached by people from Quixtar, HerbaLife, Your Travel Business (ytb), [insert scam here] etc. etc. I am not going to fall for these schemes and I am not going to go broke over buying their products. The best thing they can do for themselves is to choose another mark.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Focusing on Frugal Hobbies

One thing that keeps me from spending huge amounts of money is different hobbies with a low start up cost. One hobby of mine that I have is playing the guitar. I have finally gotten to the point where I can riff and chord my music up a little, which I am elated by this discovery. If you shop around, i wold actually bypass Fender and go with a First Act guitar. Luckily I have received one for free for my birthday. But if you are not one of the lucky ones, try paying $90. But hey, $90 to play guitar or pay $300 video game system: the choice is up to you. There are certain packages that even include the amp. Remember that if you already are proficient in guitar and you want a better one, you will have do some shopping around and First Acts and Fender will not be the way to go (since they are essentially stock machine parts). You might want to check out, for some the better deals out there. They have some killer deals for the starving artist. While their effects pedals are a bit pricey, they have guitar deals like no other. In fact they give Craigslist a run for its money!

Another thing I do is look on the web for free e-books. No I do not mean downloading. I actually go to other peoples blogs and download their e-books and read stuff at, which by the way is a excellent site to have your own scholastic work or fictional work reviewed.

If you want exercise and for cheap, consider walking to work, especially if you only live a few miles a way. For me to walk to Sam's Club takes me about 30-40 minutes depending on how fast I walk. Walking really is the ultimate 'green' energy. It runs off of you!

Learning languages are also frugal from the start even though they get more expensive later on. When I was going to college, I started learning Japanese from UNR and yahoo chat rooms. YouTube really works wonders and i wish it was something I had when I first started to learn. Of all the languages, probably Spanish is the most easily accessible language to begin studying. You do not necessarily need Rosetta Stone (tm) in order to be able to gain fluency. If you have it already, that's great just focus on learning from that and keep your nose to the pavement. There are websites devoted to learning languages out there; you just have to look for them. One of my favorites is, which is for looking up Japanese characters and learning vocabulary words.

Going to free venues in the paper is a good form of socialization and a nifty way of getting out of the house. Just because you are frugal does not mean you have to be a recluse. I look for free events through the Reno rag. Also there are things called books: you pick them up and read them. Books are the cheapest yet most important piece of media in the world. I can find books for free or $1 if i look hard enough. If you are reading this blog, then congrats, you do not need to be coached on such a cheap hobby.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu Pandemic

Now I know there is a scare over the Swine Flu. There is a lot of people making a mad dash to the hospital. But it does not mean you should make a rush to the hospital. Quite the opposite, you need to avoid the hospital emergency rooms. They will take you to the cleaners, even with insurance.

When you sign up for the appointment hospitals mainly work with contract service. Aside from the VA, almost all of the hospitals will bill you for the emergency room visit. Then they will bill you for the medicine, then the doctor. If you want to be able to take a hold of your destiny, you need to think unconventional. Hospitals are banking on you to have some kind of insurance and aliment.

After it is all said and done, you will be billed appox. $1000 for the common cold without insurance and approx$500, with it. There are other options however. There are clinics that only bill you by how much you make per year. If you only make roughly $20,000 per year, you might be able to get a reduction in payment on top of your insurance. I went to get a physical at Reno's WARC and it only cost me about $70. The average price of that at a hospital is about $300. You do the math: what would you like to pay?

With the swine flu you need to be frugal to get affordable treatment. If you show signs of the swine flu, you might want to seek treatment at the health clinic. If not and you want to get diagnosed, try going in for a physical. Who knows, it might save your life.

Working for Food

Okay I know people wonder what I do in my off time in order to entertian myself. One of the things I do is play guitar. Another thing I do is help other people. At Sam's Club my manager had to move today and he is not the most healthy of people. He is however a earnest person who will bluntly tell people what they need to do.

I did some moving work for him so that he can move from one apartment to another. The payoff was food. now why did I work for food? Because the cost of me to eat out would have been $10. So why not help someone on my off day, get food as payment and do a good deed at the same time.

This is one of the ways I avoid spending too much money on food. I focus on trying to lessen the blow of food expenditures. Now everyone needs to eat. If I cannot eat, I cannot write this blog! If you see a situation that you are in where you can get some volunteer work in, by all means do it!

There are 2 reasons why you should do this:

a) You can get free food. (One of my themes yay!)
b) For every mile you drive in your car, you can write off an itemized deduction for driving to the event. It is 16 cents/mile.

Not bad huh?

So if you are off and want some wholesome entertainment, by all means, take the reins and volunteer. It will give you a warm feeling inside!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bike Nevada Errata

I have posted something about Bike 2 Work day. The link for Nevada's is actually Sorry about any inconvenience this might have caused. Stay fresh; stay frugal.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bike to Work Day

For those of you that are feeling diehard gutsy about saving money, I have came up with a interesting way to do so. I, personally will be joining Reno's Bike to Work day on May 15th just to prove a point that frugality works and people are stating to take notice.

I now have people that often ask me questions about ways to cut their costs on gas. If they live too far to walk, my suggestion to them is to try to bicycle it to work. All it takes is about $100 and the fee is one time. All you really need to do is maintain the bike which is not too bad--a tire here and there. Dare I say it, you also get exercise! I take great pride in the fact that I walk to and from work. I am in such good shape that I can run miles on end, let alone bicycle the trip. For every amount you bicycle, you are supposed to get sponsored and win prizes after awhile. For more details, click here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Boston Tea Party

Apparently there are numerous groups on Facebook protesting the actions of President Barack Obama and his action towards handling our money. If things continue the way they are going, we will see a collapse in the banking and financial system-- if the dollar keeps going at its current rate. There will be stagflation: inflation laced with recession. And unless you want to see $200 loafs of bread, my suggestion would be to form your own groups and start protesting President Obama's haphazard spending policy. I am Chuckie and I endorse this message.

I would like to say that if I was put into a situation where the money has been abused through frivolous spending, then I would honestly be trying to find ways to actually make money. It is painfully obvious that he is failing and failing hard. The American budget is like the average American: spends more than he/she makes and then turns around and covers debt with more debt. We are passing the buck here and we need to actually break the cycle. That is one of the reason's why I started CB. I wanted to help you, help me, help you. Ad libs aside, not everyone is going to wake up and hit a 33 million dollar jackpot so as I like to say, "Go through pain now, feel great later".

I know being frugal is hard. We all have occasional slip ups. I, for one, am not going to say I am better than anyone of you. There could be someone out there using every trick known to man to save 95% of their income, but they are probably making a) 5K per month or b) is living in a place with a low cost of living. And if you are then, buy all means post on this site and give me ways to improve CB. I will say this, being frugal is not impossible; far from it. People say that I could not save over 50% of my wealth per month on what I make and I told them, "watch me."

Frugality is work, save, invest. That is the basic formula for frugality. Everything else is irrelevant. So Barack Obama, I challenge to go one month without spending a billion of our dollars. In stead i challenge you to create jobs by using other people's resources and draw talent into the country. If a man can imagine it, it is probable. Einstein said that "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge." It is time for Obama to use his brain instead of Keynesian philosophy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Super Savings From Pay As You Go Plans!

Hope everyone likes the new layout. Looks a bit more uniform than my last layout. Thank you templates =).

Today I will talk about those "Pay As You Go Plans". The theory behind them is that you can pay for whatever you need to use then save by not using the plan until you run out. Is this what frugality advocates in definition?

I would have to say yes. Frugality is a lifestyle where you use practically any mean to save money. "Pay As You Go" has hit the radar for today's discussion.

Well what is "Pay As You Go"?

Pay is you go is a term for a type of prepayment. It basically means that you select a service for its lack of contract, you get what you want and the company offering the service gets their money--no questions asked. Pay as you go can be a good way to save money, but you need to watch out for imitators. Namely phone companies that "offer" this service.

Pay As You Go Vs. Pay By The Day

It should be common sense, but not quite. Many people are under the impression that pay by the day plans are a way of being frugal. The unlimited option would actually save you more than a pay by the day plan. One thing is that you take the use of your phone and pay $1/day regardless of use plus an additional dollar per day for other services. In other words you literally pay $60-70/day for the use of your phone. Tracphone offers a true pay as you go plan plus you can double your minutes if you talk a lot on the phone. I do not so I switched to them and I am paying way less than a monthly prepaid service. I am probably paying about $5/month of service. No fooling. there is also a plan where you can take all of your calls from the Internet. The main carrier for this is Skype: a Internet phone company. There is also a device that you can use for your phone for roughly $40 that can be about at Radioshack of all place. The service allows you to make unlimited calling for $20 per year and that includes international calls as well!

And There Is Monthly

There are plans to lease your phone or a car out there, but consider this: how long do you actually use a phone or a car in one month? If it is not a lot then you should probably switch to just a pay as you go plan.

On cars I have to make a special note about rentals brought up in David Bach's book "Fight For Your Money". If you have to rent a car do not get surcharged for 'Peace of Mind'. Rent the car OUTSIDE the airport and you will avoid a lot of headaches. Also ask for a dollar amount beforehand so the dealer cannot up sale you. If you let people cajole you into renting a luxury car, then you deserve to be broke. If you cannot get the deal you want, leave the store. Airport car rental places will generally charge you double for a service that you do not need and that is their 'convenience'.

For the Business Person

Getting a pay as you go is in your court. If you find yourself making a lot of calls then getting a plan that has restrictions on how many calls you can make probably is not for you. But this does not mean you should get ripped off and get a plan that does not fit your lifestyle. Simple analyze your phone or car uses and figure out whether or not you can benefit from a plan that is unlimited. I use to be on one of these plans while I was in college.

I was making a lot of calls and needed the added service. But once I got out, the amount of calls I would make slowly died down and I moved on with my life. I needed something cheaper so I can save more money. I was set on being frugal. Besides not eating out often, this was the next step I choose to eliminate liability from my lifestyle. Trust me, phone contracts are the pits. The more you spend to talk to someone, the more it costs you to make that money back up.

Pay As You Go Calculations

Take it from me all it takes is mental math for the plan I am on, but when I buy minute packages, I do have to make small calculations. I have a double minute plan pre-installed into the phone so what I do is take:

dollar amount/minutes= price per minute/2= real price per minute (for my double minute plan)For those of you not on a minute plan, take dollar amount then divide by minutes. Sprint is also cheap with its flat rate cards, in fact they are Tracphone's real competitor. Some of their plans mmight actually be cheaper than Tracphone, but you have to shop around.

For cars, I usually factor in the driver and gas, but I will keep this simple and just do the plans.

There are weekday and weekend plans. Weekday plans usually run about $70, but weekend days are roughly half that. Do not bother with insurance there because it does not matter. It is just a gimmick to keep you broke. Cars come pre-packaged with a fender bender insurance plan included in the warranty of the car. You do not have to pay for a plan in order to rent a car. If they tell you otherwise, leave the store--IT'S A SCAM!