Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chuckiesblurbs will be on a hiatus

I have come to the conclusion that this site is finished as far as I want to reach with it. I talked about different investments and strategies to save money. I wanted to throw food reviews into the site to make it that much more unique, but it pangs me to say that I have been met with much resistance on that. And now I am going back to Korea. Which brings me to the future of Chukiesblurbs. Unless I can figure out a new angle to go with the site, it is pretty much done (aside from the occasional update here and there).

From here on out, I will mainly be focusing on different projects:

1. I would actually like to write a book.

2. I have to study Korean now along with Japanese

3. I will have to adjust to a new culture.

4. I would like to create a new blog. One that will focus on my times in Korea.

I will reach and every one of the four goals on the list. I have others as well, but those are the main four. I would love to write something new on CB, but currently I feel like I have hit a roadblock with the site. Trust me, this is not the end; it is a only a alternate ending.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Warehouse Store Membership Cards = Free Food

Okay, I'm going to talk about one of the things I would like to take advantage of. The reason why I don't is because I actually work for Sam's Club and I cannot. Here is a food hack for all to enjoy free food: take a tour of your local CostCo or Sam's Club. No seriously; do it! You will notice there will be a smorgabord of demo people. Here is a 3 step program to get free samples for the rest of your life:

1. Sign up for a Sam's Club card and pay $40. Pay attention to the cancellation date.

2. Now walk the club and reap the rewards of the free samples.

3. When your membership is about to expire, just simply cancel it, wait a month and renew it at the same price. It's that simple.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Re: Should it be illegal to have bad credit?

This is just a response to reallybadcredit on Twitter. The tweet was actually aimed at someone else, but I felt rather compelled to respond to this statement. Bad credit should not be illegal, per se. The issuance of credit in aims to malafactor the recipient should be made illegal. A lot of people I know are actually responsible with their credit cards and have excellent scores and some people I know cannot even touch a card for seven years.

Let's analyze the two: one person is responsible and is mature with their credit. They have been educated on what comes from having bad credit and do everything in their power to advance their score. Kudos to them, but now let's talk about the other side. People who often have bad credit are often inexperienced with using a credit card. And there are companies that do not mind putting these people in debt due to a lack of education. It is not like they choose bad credit. American society is known for being the populace of debt Mainly it is due to the lack of financial  education and here's why:

 The average adult carries  around two to three credit cards and do not leave those accountss open for more than six months. This is a sure fire way to damage your FICO credit score. They also do not dispute any bills and have companies like Chase talk them to the cleaners. Often in college, there will be recruiters that say, "Sign up for XYZ credit card and you'll get a free shirt. You can even through the card away afterwards". They often take advantage of people wanting free stuff. Also most people do not use online free credit score review sites like . They are totally in the dark when suddenly  they find out that 8 credit cards have been opened in his of her name. Also people who do not pay within 28 days are hit with hefty interest rates. How hefty? An "average score" credit card can charge a person up to 28% for a payment past the grace period. Is this truely fair? No. But they did sign that contract, so they are forced to grin and bear it. Often times, credit cards are written in legalese or financialese. Meaning, you you have to understand the jargon of finance and law in order to truely read between the lines. And  there is a percentage of the population in America, that completely does not understand how to read. Illitaracy rates used to range around 70%. That's 3 in 10 Americans that do not understand either credit card or cell phone contracts.

That means that probably most people that are in the bad credit range are either a) there because of their own faults or b) do not understand their contracts whatsoever nor do they understand what methods can be used to research their credit. Credit Karma is a good site for Credit Reports and is good for researching interest rates and credit card rates as well as mortgage rates. But getting back to topic, the issuance of credit to an mal-educated populace should be made completely illegal. While I do not really advocate Socialism, I do see the need to provide increased credit card regulation in the United States. Creditors do not really consider the person's overall social stance nor literacy rate of the contractee.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Free Games For All!

Another day another post. Another game another payment...? Nope not me. People always wonder what games I play if I have the urge to play one. I often ponder this myself. I'll give you a hint: most games I actively look for cost less than $1 to play. In other words, I do not even pay for games. I just play all the freebies I can find. Now you are probably wondering about the quality, but rest assured, they are actually pretty good quality.

When I started looking for freebies, I first gravitated towards . A gem in the freebie community, NG has a lot of beta Flash made games and slideshows.

When I want  to play an RPG: there is . Honestly, I have not been to this site in a while, but it  is pretty intricate. Sure it's no WOW (World  of Warcraft), but it can stun people with how great the quests actually are. And you can customize your avatar character to do a plethora of things. Worth checking out.

For first person shooter games or third person shooter games, I go to . The games worth checking out are Gunz and Soldier Front. These games are probbably the most beautiful of the freebies next to PoxNora.

Next in tactics games, I would say PoxNora is one I definately want to check out, even though I am going through another one right now. It is at .

For those of you who like the Fall Out/Diablo/Resident Evil Games, there is one my room mate just recently introduced me to. You can actually play this one in 2D/3D with  toggle mode. It is none other than Dead Frontier! Check this one out at . Oh and if you need armor repair service, hit me up! My ID is sinigami.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Haircuts for 8 Bucks

A cheap haircutting place moved next door to me! Now I do not have to hike 2 miles to find an affordable haircutting salon. For those of you that are in Reno, the address is:

Time 2 Cut
206 Linden Street
Reno, NV 89502

Now the threshold  for haircuts for me is $10. They luckily charge $8 and offer really good customer service.

There is something secondary that I would like to address: how much do you honestly pay for a hair cut? Now this is something you can do at home if your skilled enough (I'm not). Can you really justify paying $20 for just a haircut. The amount that is charged is ridiculous these days. And no, this does not include highlights or dying. Can that amount honestly be justified? I do not think so. So why bother over paying for a basic service? True people need their hair cut and there is a demand for good stylists, but honesly unless they are trying  to dye your hair or highlight it, I do not see this amount as being thesible.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Language Programs on the Cheap

I just wanted to make this quick second post to address language programs for the PC. Learning a second language has been made a lot simplier than in my days when I first started to learn Japanese. Now with PC language programs, the price of studying a language will probably continue to fall. Yet, only 1 out of  5 Americans speak a second language. And the ones that do are usually sons or daughters from a immgrated family. However the rest of the world does not share that sentiment: Mandarian is spoken by over 890 million people, Japanese is spoken by about 170 million and Spanish is one of the most widely used languages next to English.So why not learn one of these languages to compete with the international job market? (Note: the rarer the language; the harder it is to get materials for it.)

When I think of language programs 3 come to mind: Berlitz, Rosetta Stone, and Instant Immersion. Those are the main ones that many will have access to. When looking for a foreign language program you need to actually to some personal accessments. How far are you willing to go in the language? How much time can you spend on it. What do you want out of the language? If you cannot justify a reason to study something, then the efforts behind it will be for naught.

Pricewise: Rosetta Stone will run about $230 per level. It will be about $560 for a level 1-3 compilation and $1200 for a 1-5 combination set! My advise is do not believe the hype behind Rosetta Stone. You can learn a language way cheaper by going with Instant Immersion or Berlitz. Berlitz Language Primer Series will run you about $40 and Instant Immersion will run you about $50. Depending on the language, I would actualy suggest that you pick up supplementary writinig material due to the complexity of the various language scripts. For the Japanese and Chinese Premier by Berlitz for example you should probably find either a website ( ) or writing instruction books 250 Essential Kanji.

If you want to get technical with a language, there are  plenty of online language websites that can accomodates your needs. For Japanese I know there is and for reading in various languages there is Note that the best way to become fluent in a language is to reach an intermediate level  in a language and go visit the target language's home country. And there is no subsitute for becoming great at a language other than constant pratice. When I am studying, I probably study about 8 hours a week. I would study more if I had a set schedule, but my hours change all the time. Without pratice, all the language material that you have would just be expensive coasters for your drinks--so use them!

Why Bother Renting?

Okay this is just a quick thought on this whole "recession". I wonder how many people are actually looking at today's home prices. It might hit some people (who bought their homes before the first crash in 04) at home with seemingly no end to the crash in sight. Is it a  bad thing though?

Now people can actually buy homes instead of renting. A home on a 30 year mortgage at 6% for 40,000 would actually run you $118 per month. This means that you are able to buy a home no problem. Want to buy one outright in a safe neighboorhood? Reno's neighboorhoods are not that bad. You can actually pick up a 1Br/1Bth for as little as $25,000. If people are renting because they are scared to buy a house, they are just throwing money away. If you do not believe me, you can check and see for yourself. Trust me, there is absolutely no need to throw money away needlessly when you do not have to.

By the way, whatever is bought now will turn around in the next 5 to 10 years. So you will really win if you can hold on to the property as long as possible.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

JLPT N3: To Take or Not to Take

Another year of test taking is coming up for all the JLPT test takers. And lo and behold there is a new N3 in the midst that is supposed to be harder than the level 3 I took last year. I actually had a discussion on study resources for Japanese earlier and I have to say preparing for the test was a godsend indeed! I know that I was perhaps a bit over qualified to take the Level 3, but in actuality I was a bit under qualified to take the Level 2-- so I weighed my options and went for the sure thing. After all those who "fail to prepare, prepare to fail". With languages I am all about strategy when it comes to test preparation. If I was going to take the N3, here's what I would do:

First I would gather as many study materials that I can find that focuses just on the N3. seems to be the winner in selection.

Next I would sort obstacles from easiest to hardest to study with the least amount of resistance possible. For the level 3 I just studied grammar (which was really all I needed), but that would not work for N3 because it is a merger of difficult between Level 3 and Level 2. It is the middle sibling so to speak. I would get a Kanji book, vocabulary book,  reading book, listening book grammar book, comprehension book and a mock test book! Seriously if you want to ace the JLPT it is best to know the structure right? I believe the N3 is supposed to have 800 Kanji and 2000 words so if anyone has difficulty with this test I would suggest getting some Kanzen Master level 4 and 3 books for review. I would actually like to see them put out a N3 book but I have yet to come across it.

Okay now here's the strategy: sit down and just go through all the kanji and make flash cards of the ones you do not know. For the lazy people White Rabbit does make some, but they will run about $50. Just cycle through them all and you should be able to command the Kanji. Once you have the Kanji down, you should be able to take on the next part of the preparation which is vocabulary. You will find books with reading combined with it so make the words stick better. Afterall, the words are being used naturally.

At this point you should be comfortable with the next task which is probably the easiest up to this point: reading. Reading should be done with continuity: do it over and over again for best results. While I did  not have any material for this, I found that the book Read Real Japanese actually helped for the JLPT level 3 because some of the material I was going through was in the fiction works. Also it is a fun breather from the serious aspects of studying for this test. I would actually go through it again for the N3. Next is preparing for listening. This is the most daunting task of the test mainly because listening for the JLPT is the least straight foward thing on the test. In other words, no Japanese person will ever ask you to pick the 3 incorrect responses and 1 correct response. So you can let out a sigh of relief there.

Well hopefully the next hardest part of the test just got  simplified a little with a ton of due diligence and preparation. (Remember I am here to save you time and money.) While it ranks the hardest on N2 and N1, grammar on the N3 level isn't too bad. In fact listening will probably be harder. What makes the grammaer portion hard is that it combines the vocabulary and Kanji into sentences (which is why I asked that you studied those 2 beforehand). Now you must learn about 200-300 different sentences patterns including all the stuff from the old JLPT tests! Good luck! I recommend that you study the Kanzen master level 3 before you take on any grammar book designed for JLPT N3. You want to land at least 180 points on this one because it will be a huge deciding as to whether or not you will pass. So do not underestimate the grammar. I made that mistake on the Level 2 about 3 years ago!

Next is to bring everything you have learned together with a comprehension book. It will have questions and exercises which will strengthen whatever you have learned so far. If  you have difficulties with certain aspects of the JLPT please go back and review what you are not getting. You are only hindering you ability to perform if yyou are just drudging  through the material. You will not be a nihongo no tatsujin that way!

Finally it is time to show the JLPT whose boss. While you cannot cast a "Slow" spell on the test and then prepare your Limit Break, you can take a mock test to access your mad study skills. If you get a lot of  missed questions during a certain portion of the test, stop and go back to the section where you are having difficulties and prepare for the section again and then come back to this test. At this point there should be thoughtless execution because you will not have a lot  of time to ponder which answer is right or wrong. You need to be able to pump out answers quickly and steadily. You might have some time to rest your eyes during the grammar portion (I seriously had 45 minutes) you will find that time is not much of a luxury on this test, especially when it comes to reading.That's about it! Good luck with the test!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Spam is the Death of Me

Do not bother spamming my blog with your incessive comments on breast creams, Japanese Horse Races and pyramid schemes. I actually review every comment and post the non-spam ones. Your chances of getting posted are nil, nada, ziltch. Trust me: unless I am somehow getting compensated for your forced upon ads, it will not see the light of day here. I will just let the comments keep piling up until I find a legitimate one. So do not waste your time. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The mystery of the 401K.

I just got off work and finished one of the slowest days in the store's history. (well maybe not  the slowest) When I came home, I discovered a letter from Merrill Lynch investment. At fist I thought I was being data mined by all those websites which knew I was looking at annual reports, but it turns out that I was actually vested into a 401K. I never really wanted a 401K, but I will take free money when I am given it. It looks like  it  is a  profit sharing 401K which stipulates that if I do not invest anything then by default I will be given money anyways. But, if I do contribute then the amount that I would recieve would  be a 40% contribution.

While I do not agree with the investment pricipals behind a 401K, I do understand that I would eccentially be recieving "free" money. I think at 5 years of dedicated service they actually vest a 100% of the 13% paycheck contributions, so if I put 70, they would put 70, but I highly doubt I will stay 5 years. I feel that there is some sort of hidden agenda behind the contribution, but this year might be my best year as far as earnings go.

To be continued....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 Hack A cool way to flip hot deals!

There is this little gem on the internet that will help you either a) make you some money or b) give you a good deal on items fround througout your city. I have to thank Nightrunner for introducing this one to me a few years back.

Here is how the hack works. I only call it a hack because it is basically a short cut  to a ton of due diligence! First log in to There are forums which will have postings of deals all over town. You can basically sift through these deals by going for only the "4 thumbs up" or "5 thumbs up". Look for a deal on a item that you want to buy for yourself or re-sale.

Next, log into . To sift through the item you want to buy/re-sale, you'll want to sort through it buy showing the "show cleared items" button. Type in the product and click on this button. It will show you all of the site listings that have cleared or will clear! If your item is more than the intended purchase, congrats, you'll make some money (subject to market demand and liquidity). If you are buying this for yourself, then at this point you are done. For people re-saleing their item, read onward.

The final part of the hack is to take the overall amount and find the lowest or next lowest price on ebay (you'll want a quick sale so you can move on to the next product). Afterwards log into and list your item. For quick sales, try to focus mainly on electronics. There is also a newer site which happens to link to online newspapers in the area. If you comb through the deals at, it can be a great way to suplement your day job.

For more information regarding this, you can go to either dailymotion or YT, for access to a streaming video tutorial. I will put up a Sam's Club hack later which will apply to electronics.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Opportunities in a Double-Dip Economy

Well now that Greece went down in flames there is one thing any logical value investor would try to do. Find opportunities to exploit the down economy. I would keep an eye on the stock market especially small cap investments. Those who are not in a position to invest yet, should try to get there as soon as possible. From what I gather, the biggest reward will come out of small cap investments, followed by the real estate market.

The Obama stimulus plan will end soon, but that will definately drive prices down. I would say that the best thing to do is apply for a house after the stimulus runs out (because you will not get it if you didn't apply before April 30th). The next thing you could do for yourself is if your a conservative style investor, purchase blue chip stocks which pay steady dividends. Obviously, the "riskier" investors are going to come out of this smelling  like a rose, but as they say, "No risk; no reward". I am not saying put all your money on the line in order to profit from this (you should only invest 15-20% of your net worth). For those that have a lot of capital, I would look into small cap index funds and precious metal index funds. Small cap to sell at a peak and then p.m. when the market adjust itself and depreiciates.

The Market is Down 346 Points; Exploit It!

I love how everyone is getting scared the Greece's economy has gone belly up. It has dropped the overall value of stock, but remember it is only temporary. You can actually make quite a bit if you were to find a stock with a moderate amount of volitility and ride it out of the scandal. The market will recover no problem. All things being said and done: you should probably target the small cap stocks for the biggest returns; the growth/blue chips for the steadiest returns.

Buffett said it best, "Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy". There is a ton of money that can be made during the next few days; might as well start shoveling.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Buy and Hold

A few days a go I talked about "penny stock" investing; now I am going to talk about my main strategy: Buy and Hold. First I would like to explain the difference between "Day Trading" and "Buy and Hold" is because this is really important to understand. Most people out there will invest without strategy and they will be out of the game as fast as they got in. So they have to understand these terms in order to be a saavy investor.

Day Trading is when you watch the market and try to trade daily. You will want to wake up early, turn on the computer and begin trading and exit at a certain point. The ones that make the most money are the people that have the means to buy in bulk and have a entry aand exit strategy. Take penny stock ABC at 50 cents. You decide to buy 2000 shares for $1000 want to exit at either 55 cents ($100 profit) or 60 cents ($200 profit) they way you would accomplish this is to set up the computer to buy at point A and sell at point B to maintain profit.

Buy and Hold however is geared more towards long term/value investing. You can actually use buy and hold for day trading as well, but it will usually be when a stock isn't performing as planned, but you might anticipate the stock to go back up. That is when buy and hold becomes useful. Another way is to buy at point A and sell when stock exceeds an anticipated growth point, but it will usually be over the course of years. Buy and Hold should also be the main strategy for dividend investors. If an investor is anticipating a dividend, they willl usually buy a few months a ahead of time when the stock is "soft" and hold on to it for the dividends. Blue chip stocks are great ways to make money from being able to sale it and re-buy it because most usually operate in a channel econommy and then slowly rise. When a blue chip becomes too costly to just buy and sale, you can change your strategy and just hold the stock indefinately for lifetime dividends. Also you can take your profits and turn around and get another stock and hold on to it. In the long run, you will want certain dividend stocks that will pay out to hold on to and just have them as your war machine stocks. Verizon is a good one in this instance because it is paying out good dividends and it is below half the price of the WMT (which is at $52ish). And when people stop using cell phones, it might take a it, but I highly doubt that will happen in my lifetime.

Verizon is also partnered up with the makers of Droid and Wal-Mart anyways and will continue to put the hurt on ATandT in dividend payouts. Right now ATandT is one of the highest, but VZ is definately a rising star. If they can get Apple to make the Iphone more readily available to the consumer then they might continue to hold that place in the market, but VZ is also getting into internet infrastructure as well so I see fierce competition between the two.

Another strategy to buy and hold is to buy and simply hold a stock. Andrew Yanyi and Warren Buffett were excellent value investors, but the difference between the two is that Yanyi was able to obtain the "next blue chip" through his heavy research. Buffett, buys not just on research, but on overall needs that are not going away. For example, Buffett has been known to buy tobacco stock, Coca Cola, Wal-Mart stock, and energy stocks. He mainly buys those stocks, because they usually pay good dividends and they have the ability to constantly perform well due to their intrinsic needs. (i.e. people are addicted to cigarettes and soda, people need cheap clothes and food, people have to have electricity) The overall strategy is to hold on to the stock so as long as it upholds its value. If there is publicity against a certain stock (which isn't really going anywhere) the goal is to aquire more stock. As Buffett puts it "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful". When the stock is considered "overvalued", only then, do you sell the stock. That is why Buffett is one of the masters of the trading game. He only sales a stock when he feels it is overvalued. Although there are times when he has done this while it is undervalued, it is rare and is probably a miscaluation on his part (hey no one is perfect).

Remember, Buy and Hold strategy is far superior when implied in the long run. Only patient penny traders will be able to implement a successful buy and hold, so please keep that in mind.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Investing in "Penny Stocks"

There is a lot of people making money in dismal times. I am definately making money and a lot of my friends are. Now there is something that comes to my attention when dealing with trading techniqually that will not produce as much profit with just buy and hold. But if you apply buy and hold, you will make money too, just not as much.

"Penny Stocks" are usually low on cost, but have a high amount of volitility, meaning there is also a high amount of risk that accompanies those stocks. To hedge against the risk, a little bit of reasearch is needed. The profits from successful "penny stock" trading is immense. I would not try this strategy until you have about about 15 thousand dollars in savings due to the risk involved with it. Overall I would say that amount would be safe to hedge against failure.

Okay, suppose you buy 1000 shares of Citibank at $4.37 (Friday's going rate) and decided to "play the market" so to speak. The stock happens to jump up fifty cents the next day. Congrats, you just made $500! If you do buy and hold and wait for it to go back up to $10, you would make $6,000, but it would be more profitable to play upon the fluctuations of the market by analyzing the pips and the points at which the stock could go up. Keep in mind, this is techniqually day trading, but you would be able to take that amount build upon it. Let's say the penny stock kept going up and down between $4 and $6: that could seriously be some mega cash flow! You go from 0-$2000 net profit per trade! And the beauty is when the stock is "down" you can simply revert to a buy and hold strategy and buffer the time of money loss. Penny stocks are not usually dividend stocks and should not be treated as such. For Dividend bearing stocks, you need a buy and hold strategy. For growth stocks, you need to have a hybrid strategy depending on the stock, but for "penny stocks" you have to know when to enter and exit and it takes a little bit of market watching.

Due to the multiplier effect, you can come out of this investment strategy as a raging bull in a bear economy so keep this in mind when you deal with penny trading. I know at least three stock brokers that are penny trader, but I personally like buy and holding some of my assets although penny trading is something I will probably do more heavily (for certain stocks) in the future. If you like taking a little more risk than me, then this is probably the beginning investment strategy I reccommend, but definately have money saved up to weather potential losses.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What Type of Investor Are You?

When you get your frugality down, you will have the edge on the competition. So are you a day trader who plays the market like the crap tables, going all in on a penny stock, the value investor like Buffett, a master manipulator like Soros or do you have a conservative style of the typical buy and holder? Whatever fancies your style, you need a strategy in order to invest.

If you were able to take the money you saved and make it work for you, that would be ideal. But, if you are started out doing it, the best thing to do is probably hold on to your job and invest conservatively at first, but as you make trades and investment deals, you need to be prepared to build up for the next big thing. I have been able to take this mindset and run with it. I would suggest saving up to ten grand (like me) and then get your feet wet in investing heavily. You can out forth small amounts of sweat equity or try to invest passively per paycheck. If you happen to make around 3-4K a month, I would suggest trying to build up contingency investments like a 401K or a Roth IRA in case if things go sour. I would say that most of your saving should go towards the next investment, but  conserve at least 50% of your cash for other investments.

If you are young, I would say that you should be prepared to fail first. I am not saying go out and totally lose your money, but be prepared to bounce back from losing. Losing is not a part of anyone's strategy, yet no one prepares to lose. Most people are usually wiped out of funding by their first venture or in less than three years. The way to counter loss is to have a nest egg. Who knows, you might not make a profit until the second or third year. That is usually the case for big box retailers. I am not saying stick it out if your losing because the only ones that can really do this is corporations like Wal-Mart or Costco.

Now if your in it to win it, remember one's personal investment style will not lead to success by merely mimicing the style of the gurus; you need to branch out and find your niche. While my style is value investing and buy and hold, it is still evolving. Who knows, it might switch to a growth stock, penny share strategy. I am finding my niche as well. And it will never be complacent with just stocks; I want to invest in other areas as well. So what type of investor am I? Probably 60% Buffett, 20% Vulture, 20% Dividend Investing. I will never truely know how one guru totally thinks, so why bother trying to emulate their success. I would rather become the guru by replicating success.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's the little tricks I do...

People wish to know the best way to save money. I get asked this all the time: "How do you save so much money working for Sam's Club?" I reply simply, "It's the little things I do." Trust me, every  little thing adds up. I am not kidding when I say this. I get paid in food for my computer repair work. I use warranty sales to get more food. I walk to work, "rain or snow". I invest passively. I rent a studio apartment. I work Sundays and I keep the same job due to stability.

These little things hhave made it possible to save a lot of  money. If I look back, at the year before last when I had a little to a thousand dollars in my name I can honestly say I have came a long way. My current goal is to try to reach a six-figure net worth in 5 years. I would  like to reach 7 in ten years but I have to plan every financial move carefully. I just got a raise at work with being there two years. So now I will almost make $10/hr. And I am 5K away from 20K in liquidity. I did this on a paycheck of $8.65 per hour. I have been saving up and investing and it is paying off. Soon I will buy more stock and pursue a real estate deal (but more on that later). I am sticking to the main goal which is becoming the master of my own destiny. If there was anything I want more is to be able to work my own hours when I want to, but considering that I have yet to find such a job, Sam's Club doesn't treat me too bad; so I think I'll stay until I get one of my crazy to-do's out of the way. (To get the afrementioned I would have to become self-employed)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Shopping for Success

To shop for success, one has to think about what I mean when I say this. Success to me is going to be different from success to you. I would like to get deeper into investments, so I tend to be cut throat frugal. Teacher might be the same way due to their 3 months of no work. But what about food? That necture that keeps the biological engine pumping...

My answer to that is simple: I target food as my monthly luxury. The reason why is because I want to be able to obtain the nutrition that I need as an adult male. I cannot do so on just ramen and water. However, I do eat frugal at home nonetheless.  My main two items are sandwiches and ramen. I am able to eat like a king with sandwiches.

For roughly $10 for the whole week, I get my fiber, calcium, Vitamen D, grains, protein and sugar. For work days, I eat pizza, pizza, and more pizza. I spend about $20/week on pizza combos (not extremely frugal, but there is a reason). This gets another portion of vitamins I need. And finally, I eat at restuarants for the rest of my vitamins and minerals, but not fast food. I eat mainly Asian food on my days off because it is  loaded with vitamins that I missed throughout the week and I occasionally injest multi-vitamins for the remainder. It is really important to keep a sound body; it contributes to a sound wallet later on in life. Out of all the hospital visits I had as an adult, I only had one which was $750. That is all.

In other words, I must be doing something right to be able to not make so many trips to the hospital.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The 3 Immutable Laws of Equity

For people that are in the business of making money, this term is all too familiar. For those that work the 9-5, this might be considered a highly speculative move, but rewarding one. "Sweat Equity" exists even in the workplace: you trade your body for money (sounds kind of dirty, but please bear with me), you use your body to earn money by working so many hours every two weeks. This is commonly known as collecting a paycheck. You basically work for money.

There is another type of sweat equity. One that pays nothing at first, but pays numerous times over. This is known as speculative sweat equity. In other words, you work on a commission only basis or are self-employed. People that honestly want to work for themselves take this path. Automobile salesmen also venture down this path. They eccentially network themselves and build up a marketing list for their payout. This can be very rewarding if you have the right network. The drawback to this type of equity is that it takes time and effort along with networking.

This blog is considered a form of sweat equity. I write this blog purely on a commisson basis. The only time I get paid is when people visit the site. Most of my traffic comes from directories and word of mouth. In other words, the most profitable sweat equity is the equity associated with speculative investments aka speculative sweat equity. While I will probably not quit my job over this page, if I hypothetically started earning four figures to five figures a month, there would be no need for me to work at Sam's Club anymore (but I would  probably still do so because that is an extra stream of income).

And  yet, there is another form of equity that should be addressed: speculative equity. You venture into something using your dollars and it pays off. In other words, your money works for you. This equity is the most rewarding of the three because it requires the least amount of exchanged labor. In fact, you could do either sweat equity or  sweat speculative equity so as long as you already have a sizable nest egg. The sky's the limits. Such examples include stocks, real estate, business ventures, limited partnerships.

Mastering the three forms of equity will make you rich. Even more so if you live within your means.

The Rainy Day Fund

Picture this scenario: you have been working at XYZ Corps for 15 years. You have been putting in diligent effort and have even managed to get elected for some company awards like employee of the month. The suddenly you are fired or laid off.

Did you prepare for your "rainy day"? There is a proverb that states, "you should save money for a rainy day". This simply means, when things go sour you should have a savings account to "weather the financial storm" so to speak.

So how much should one have saved up? Well last year, I stated six months is a good amount, but considering the changes in the economy, I would change that to ten months worth of pay. The economy is down and is showing no real signs of improvement yet. The total amount of job losses here in Reno is numerous. With 13.6% unemployment, everyone is literally holding on to what they have. In other words, job hopping is dead. There are only a few people  who engage in job hopping these days. There are people out there that are just greatful to have a job, which means if you have a good job, there will be people that will try to vy for your position if you so let them.

If you do get the ax, hopefully you have money saved up for a rainy day. If you do this you will have a prosperous transition. If you do not, getting a new job will be that much harder because you did not save any money. So keep that in mind should you try to move from one job to another.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tax Season is Over

Tax season is over and those of you that got their IRS refunds at the last minute probably have holes burning in their pockets from the stimulus plans out there. There definately is a lot of good refunds coming back, but should you reward yourself by spening the money quickly?

I would not condone this behavior. You paid taxes on that money and now it is being given back to you. It was your money to begin with, not the governments. Also if there were any complications in the return they have to be resolved after words so they can be accounted for audits, admendments, and anything else that falls into the tax catagory.

When the smoke truely clears, you have three options to use your tax money: a) you can wait for the smoke to clear and save your hard earned cash, b) you could spend it on something that you want, or c) you could re-invest it. I would go with a combination of either a) or c) or just do c). b) should be covered under the 1 luxury per month plan.

So everybody knows how to save a tax return, but how do you invest a tax return? Well, there are a number of options. There are stocks, bonds, index funds, real estate, and speculative ventures. The most prudent of the 5 when starting out is stocks and bonds. Here is why: stocks can be  bought in either small amounts or large amounts and the amount used can be controlled by how much you put into a company. Bonds on the other hand is like an IOU either from a company the U.S. government. You can buy bonds at fixed amounts and just hold on to them and cash them in when they mature. Note that bonds are mainly a long term investments so I would not bother trying to cash them until they totally mature or until you can sell a bond for more than what you paid for it. There are advantages to the bond in the sense that you can sell them at loss and write off the loss on next years taxes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Keeping Bills Paid On Time

Wow! Sounds like a easy thing to do right? If it was so easy I would not be writing this blog, now would I? Well maybe I still would to address some other point, but the most interesting thing happened to me two days ago. I could not pay my bill when I wanted to. I paid a little bit from last month because there was a serice charge of $1.35, but I could not pay for this month. I tried to call and pay again, but I could not. Turns out the internet providers have a ten day grace period from one bill to the next. In other words, I could not pay online or over the phone for this month even if I wanted to. I had to go in and take one to the hip. (I would rather pay the $2.00 than to damage my FICO score. Let's just put it tht way.) I went in and paid today.

Folks, not matter what fancy trick these companies use, do not let them force you to be late. It will damage your credit. All bills should be paid on time. Cell phone companies do not check credit scores when you sign up, but they will ding your score if you're late. All you need to do is just simply miss one payment and you'll see what I am talking about. But at the same time, do not try to totally automate your payments because they will take the money they need out at their convienance, not yours. This means that you will have to constantly check your account and do more accounting to make up for their ability to tap into your funds. Who knows, company XYZ might overdraw you if you are tight on funds.

The only exception to this rule usually comes from making mortgage payments. You can have those automated and can be sent to your account and then applied to your mortgage. And you can also set the date of withdrawal. This should probably be set to the middle of the month so you have the ability to pay the mortgage off with either payheck you get from your job or business.

Well why is it important to pay bills on time? This goes back to my last article about FICO scores. If you do not pay on time you will take hits left and right to your credit score card. Remember, these days a good credit score is 680-739 and excellent scores is 740 and above. If one wants to go in on real estate, they need a good to excellent standing with FICO. Again, this determines how long you have kept good credit and whether or not you are a good risk for a loan.

The Consequences of Job Hopping

I do not how many people do this, but overall job hopping damages your credit score. Your FICO scorecard is ruined if you hop from job to job. Why do I say this? I know from other people who have been denied jobs and credit cards. The credit card companies along with the mobs and FICO consider you a risk when you go from job to job. So consultants out there have to sometimes dispute their score because of the per diem jobs they might obtain.

I realized this because of the fact that the scores of people who are denied credit have commonalities that Transfax, Experion and the other one looks at. They consider good credit risk to someone who has kept the same job for years, who lived in the same place for years, who pays their bills on time and who has never filed bankruptsy. Do only time I see job hopping as permissible is if you transition into one job to another smoothly, as in giving the proper two weeks notice and finding a higher paying, more stable job.

There are some high risk candidates besides consultants and job hoppers and those people are the self-employed. While I partially fall into this catagory, my primary source of income is from Sam's Club while secondary sources comes from investments. When employers check your employment  history, some  might also check your FICO score, hence the name background check. And while employers cannot disciminate against you for gender, ethnicity, or income bracket, they can disriminate against you for job hopping and having a low FICO score. Also mortgage companies hate to deal with you if you have not held a job for more than one year. They consider you to be irresponsible and unrulely. Such might not be the case, but job hopping is a high risk manuver. Even more so than stocks. You establish yourself with one company and then hop to another because they pay "better" and burn than bridge then have to re-enter probation for 90 days yet again. So remember that when you go from one $7.75/hr job to another $7.75/hr. job. The results can decimate your credit score.

Perhaps if you choose to do so, one should check with trying to obtain a grace period where the job hours do not overlap. That is what I did when I went from City of Reno to Sam's Club. The transition was fun and rewarding, but draining at the same time. While you make a lot of money, you lose a lot of time in exchange. But the city did not hold any animosity towards my departure. So I would actually reccomend this course of action if it is option to you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Luxury Threshold: When to Spend and When to Save

People are always wondering how to become more frugal. But people think it is easy to suddenly cut back to a lifestyle of living below the margins. No, it is not easy in some cases. Especially when it comes to vices. But nonetheless, I will set up a plan for those who are trying to save up their first couple of grand and set up a plan for those who are already there but would like to sock away more cash.

Now there is a lot that can be said about wanting to take control of your finances. There is often good and bad advice about managing debt. First off, there is no magic bullet, cure-all, fix-all program. If you are leveraged up to your eyeballs in debt, it would  probably be a good idea to see a professional financial counselor who is FINRA certified or see a CPA that works on debt management. You can obtain some pertainent information, but you will seriously need someone that will legally be on "your side" and knows loop holes in the mortgage/taxation system(s).

For the rest of you, I present my luxury calculator. I should probably patent this formula, but it is probably worthless anyways. Here is how I calculate luxury ratio.

I take my cost of item/total liquid assets on hand. Just to simplify things we will use a $10 item and divide it by $15000. Here the total is .0006667... The rule of them to all luxury is one type of luxury per month. So in order to meet that luxury threshold I just set a random percentile. I will use .0075 since I have strict standards. People can set the numbers to whatever percentile they choose, but try not  to go past .05 mainly because when starting out it becomes a burden to recoup losses so you want to get into the habit of saving money. Starting out I did .10 or 10% of my overall balance until I was able to build it up and then the amount naturally becomes smaller. The smaller the number, the more freedom you have to make purchases on stuff you do not  need. Remember, you need to take into account your liabilites as well. And yes, mortgages are liabilites.

Going back to the .0006667, another thing that needs to be accounted for is that when you spend money, this number will compund itself. So it does not mean that $130 is my monthly threshold, it means that after continual consumption the amount will amortize itself and probably be around $110 or $120. In case if anyone was wondering food is my selected luxury usually. However, the exception to the rule is the amount does not amortize for an item is $1300. If something is that much already, the best way of handling it is to spread out the amount over a 10 month duration into the budget. The reason being is that it is counted as a big ticket item and can be re-earned over the course of a few months. Doing this will cut you out from luxuries for 10 months so be careful or you will lose out!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Work for Food (No Seriously)

This year's is turing out great for me. I think I have found my calling as a side job entrepreneur. If I ever decide to not buy anything for a week one day, I would totally do one thing: work for food. This past week I have not paid for a single dinner. I am totally stoked because I have been socking away the cash because of this!

I know what people are saying: why don't you just get a second job? In all honesty, I thought about it and much rather enjoy what freedom I do have. Working side jobs here and there is much more rewarding because there is the commute the hours and the food I would have to buy anyways. Why work two hours when half the money is going to go on food anyways?

Because of this question, I have thought up an idea. Work for food. I am going to pay for it anyways, so might as well save time and have food as my source of payment. It has worked out great. I seem to be able to obtain side gigs as a techie thanks to my job skills I currently have. The money I make as an associate is more than enough to try different investment ventures. It is also not enough to kill the hunger of expansion. Once you lose that hunger for success, it is all over. And when you really need to sock away money, work for food.

Friday, April 16, 2010

DRIPS and You

You know how I mentioned more on the DRIPs later? Well that "later" is today. DRIPs can be a very economic way of investing in stocks. This is for the average guy that does not have Buffett like earnings. While it will not get you much, it will at least get your feet wet. Almost all DRIPs pay cash dividends which is very important to consider and just about all of them are either blue chip stock (well established) or growth stocks (a rising star!).

The concept of a DRIP is to privately make money with no middle man or commission fees. I happen to like DRIPs because they will reinvest the dividends hence the acronym Dividend Re-Investment Plan. Just think of your portfolio being like a  bucket and the dripping is the water being caught into the bucket. The more dripping, the heavier the bucket, the more bottom line.

There are advantages and disadvantages to DRIP investing. The advantages are that you can contribute a small portion of money for stock (you usually have to buy at least one share) and you can contribute however you like without getting hit up for commission. There is usually a cap on how much you can buy at once, but it can promote cost averaging: a technique of buying stock over a duration of time in order to absorb some of the expense of purchasing it.

The disadvantages of DRIPs is that your are limited on how many stocks you can buy and also dividends will be taxed.  Another thing about DRIPs is that overall there is no real gain or volitility on stocks even though they might be cost effective. Perhaps it is a blessing or a curse, but you are limited in choice as well because some companies are unfortunately getting rid of their DRIP investment plan.

Two known companies that have DRIPs happen to be Wal-Mart and Proctor and Gamble. Wal-Mart's employee DRIP is okay and Proctor and Gamble's has some small start up fees. I heard that our competition, Costco has a DRIP as well, but I do not know if they charge for contributing or not. Normally the charges will be less than the commission for the stock broker, but some campanies will hit you up for additional fees per transaction so be careful.

At any rate, having a DRIP has done nothing, but helped my portfolio. If you do not cash out your stock, you should be able to rack in a few shares from just letting your money work for you every quarter. And word has it, the dividend contributions sometimes rivals a CDs cashflow!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

100th Post. 100 Hundred Ways of Being Frugal

1. Walk instead of drive.
2. Employ the $10/day plan for food when going out for work.
3. Select only 1 luxury a month, big ticket luxuries have to span over a couple of months.
4. Open up an emergency savings account.
5. Open up a either a 401K or Roth IRA or CD and don't touch the money.
6. Target blue chip stocks that pay out stock dividends.
7. Open up a DRIP investment plan (more on this later)
8. Shop at low cost stores like Wal-Mart
9. Shop at bulk stores like Costco and Sam's Club
10. Search for deals on
11.Use coupons.
12. Do not get a soda at a restuarant unless you absolutely want to.
13. Refrain from combo items; stick to the dollar menu when eating fast food.
14. Fill out surveys for free swag!
15. Buy stuff that is returned or on clearance.
16. Buy only one car and make it your for life car.
17. Have renters pay down your mortgage.
18. When thinking about buying an item, think about how bad you want the item at home and think of one way it can truely better your life within 24 hours. If you cannot think of anything to justify buying the item, leave it on the shelf.
19. Use #18 to resist 'impulse buys'
20. Use the 401(k) to lower your income tax bracket.
21.For long distances, carpool.
22. When renting movies, split the amount it cost to rent a movie at Redbox down the middle: you'll only pay 50 cents.
23. Use your change to pay for a purchase, that way you can not get hit up with fees for using a card to pay for something.
24. Eat at home.
25. Eat ramen; lots and lots of it! I saved a bundle doing this.
26. When you feel the need to impulse buy, think about how much the item costs, subtract that amount from your bank account and use that amount to invest in something, be it a book that gets you more knowledge, a stock, whatever. Repeat this and you'll be a impulse investor =)
27. Write your goals on a piece of paper and have that as your drive.
28. Read the Millionaire Next Door; over and over again. Emulate some of the habits in the book and you'll be on the path to success.
29. Save up to 10 grand starting out before doing any risky investing.
30. Surf Youtube; everything there is visual swag waiting to be watched!
31. Buy off brand groceries no one really cares.
32. Start your own blog. Blogger is free and it keeps me out of trouble ;)
33. Put $10 per week in an envelope and have yourself a $520 Christmas
34. Shop off of Criagslisgt for your appliances
35. Hit up used bookstores for new books to read; more than likely they have your silly Vampire romance novel there too.
36. Better yet, start  a book club at work and read each other's books.
37. Buy a used car and let that care be your "for lifer"
38. Get only one credit card that gives you cash back. You should shoot for 2-5% or a double mile card if you travel a lot.
39. Periodically eat like a college student; go for Top Ramen and Bomb Burritos (Just warn me if you have a B.B.)
40. If your going to drink, target $1 drafts or low budget tall cans and cap it off at $3.
41. Buy a PS2 and play only $5 dollar games. There are thousands of Playstation games on the market! I have about 80 games total!
42. Take your dates to free venues. Sometimes I come across bands that *gasp* actually have talent.
43. Carpool to work.
44. If your still a student, check and see if your city has year round passes. The one in my town cost $30 for a whole year! They are a good deal if you can get one.
45. If  you drink soda, try to target stores that offer $1 2liters. This will curb your craving for days.
46. Bicycle to work! Your body will thank you later.
47. Play the guitar, there are millions of free downloads on the internet.
48.  Exercise in your own home instead of the gym.
49. Unless it is urgent do not send or recieve mail via priority. Patience is a virtue that could protect your pocketbook.
50. If you want to lower your tax bracket and increase your bottom line, contribute to your 401K.
51. If you want to invest money that won't be taxed afterwards, the Roth IRA will make you an automatic millionaire if you start while your young and contribute the maximum.
52. If you absolutely need a car,  look for one with low insurance rates. Check the car for any machinical problems as well.
53. Write poetry and go to an open mike session. You'll be a star!
54. Subscribe to blog ring. You will have a smogaboard of  free reading material.
55. Better yet, subscribe to this blog! It well help put you on the path to riches.
56. Read articles off of !
57. Study a foreign language at home instead of  in class. You can also study what you want to study.
58. If you really want to buy that movie, try looking for  extra movies at the pawn shop. If it is only $2, then there is no kicking yourself when it  is terrible.
59. Go mountain hiking!
60. For those of you in San Francisco, go street hiking. The roads there are built like mountains!
61. Do not hire a contractor for small home improvement things, do it yourself.
62. Your tax dollars are paying that librarian's salary; use the library for free reading material. I am fairly sure they have at least one of your "New Moon" vampire romance novels there.
63. Instead of taking the plane every where you go, take the train.
64. Do not even use taxis. Why pay $40 to go 20 miles. They are only useful if you walk and you are going to be late to work. The GPS vanquished the cabbie. They even have pedestrian modes!
65. Walk everywhere for your cardio. Passive exercising is the way to go!
66. Get a used GPS. If you are in town why do you need all the bells and whistle to get from point a to point b?
67. Get a CPA when tax season gets complicated. They can find all sorts of loopholes in the tax code.
68. Take on doing your taxes yourself  if you have the free time. Just try not  to get yourself audited.
69. This might be a bit unethical, but if you have to take a date to the movies, sneak in your own snacks and drinks.
70. Only sign up for a monthly gym membership. Trust me; there is no need to sign up for a yearly one especially if you move around a lot.
71. Buy a pre-paid phone for out of  residence calls and use either Skype or the Magic Jack for in house/international calls.
72. Invent your own 100 frugal habit list!
73. Instead of going for 4 year college degrees, consider going for a lucrative certification program while working full time!
74. Take out fast food if it is not on your luxury list.
75. Form a 1 habit per month luxury list, big ticket items have to carry over.
76. Buy a take and bake pizza from Sam's Club and ration the pizza out for 4 days as your dinner.
77. Never pay for umbrellas. Just ask your lost and found for your "missing" black umbrella. (Taken from: A Million Bucks by 30 by Alan Corey)
78. Do surveys for free stuff.
79. Do psychological studies for money. Just avoid doing the ones with meds.
80. Borrow some of your friends games for some of yours. Then play through them and return the games.
81. Split the rent in a apartment.
82. If your more hardcore, split the rent of a studio apartment down the middle. Your bank account will thank you later!
83. Use grocery bags as your garbage bags. If you need bigger bags, look for a demo person at Sam's Club or Costco. They sometimes demo garbage bags.
84. If you have the time, attend free pre-concert tickets before the venue begins. I did this and got to meet Korn for free! I should have gotten a refund on the ticket though.
85. If you have a Pandora account, use it to listen to free music.
86. Go to Sam's Club and Costco and hit up the demo areas for free food. Why pay for free when it is being given away?
87. Panda yourself out for dares if  you do take yourself seriously. Your friends will just be paying you ffor laughing at you.
88. Become a side-job entrepenuer. All the free swag with none of the capital! This will at least keep you from paying for extra stuff.
89. If your work offers free food for prizes, abuse the system.
90. Eat the same stuff over and over if it is cheap.
91. Wear multi-purpose shoes; you'll be  dressed out for  a job interview and for a game of hoops! Why own 20 pairs when you don't have to?
92. Look for  deals in the local newspaper.
93. Read this list again.
94. Watch movies on your netbook, not at a rental store.
95. ATM $40 to use for the whole week on food and nothing else. That is how to avoide the majority of transacction keys at fast food joints.
96. At fast food joints, order from the dollar menu.
97. If you can,  do not pay for a soda and a side of fries at a fast food place. If you really  want them, then get a small and exploit the free refills!
98. Write down five people that you know of that have bad debt and list all of their bad spending habits. Afterwards do the opposite of what they do.
99.Now list 5 people that have good spending habits and seek them out for guidence.
100. Find your own financial niche and from there establish your frugality and limits on comfort.

And there you have it. 100 ways of being frugal. This actually took me some  time to compile this list and hopefully there are no repeats. If there are, then please let me know so I can adjust them. This is porbably the most challenging blog ever written to date, but hopefully it will give you ways to provide finacial harmony in such troubling times. Do not think just following this list will be your magic bullet. It will help you save and invest a little, but to truely invest, you will have to go beyond the spectrum of this blog. I would seriously start out  with the Cash Flow Quadrant and the Intelligent Investor along with the Millionaire Mind. These books will put you in the process of thinking like an investor. The rest will have to be frugality combined with repeated successes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Apologies for the Last Post

I would like to say I'm sorry for the  last post. There was one detail that did not occur to me until later at work. You would have to be a lease-to-own buyer for this to work. Or an agreement would have to be met with the owners to buy the house on a note system. If that was to occur, then I would say go for it. That is 3% per year cash flow! The taxes would easily cover the remainder of the amount unless you are of course planning to rent out part of the property.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Get rich off of real estate slowly...or quickly?

I came to the conclusion that once you save up a certain amount of money, it is foolish to continue to pay rent. I feel that if one wanted to amass a fortune, the next step has to be taken. While stocks will get you tons of  money (if you research them carefully) in the long run, but what about something in the short run? Is it me, or am I the only 26 year old that wants to own land? That would be a total bummer if I am.

More than likely, I'm not and there are probably people who own their houses free and clear. I wish to aquire a piece of real estate for the purposes of investing. That is my answer to short run gains. There has been more real estate investors that have gotten rich younger that stock investors. Also I need a more diversified portfolio anyways. So my lastest venture is to aquire a cheap property, take the mortgage and throw it into a high interest yielding CD at over 3% (cough Sallie Mae cough). I have a nest egg built up so paying down the principal while I am gaining interest off the loan along with collecting a refund off the 2010 income tax is genius! And getting the Obama credit  would  not be bad either, but I have a month to land a decent deal for that so that might be a "no-go". In case if you were wondering, at 3% interest on a loan tucked away in a CD would be:

100000 year 0
103000 year 1
106090 year 2
109270.7 year 3
112548.88 year 4
115924 year 5

Now 15K  from not doing anything except holding onto onto that money, I can live with. That would cover my Roth IRA contributions for the next 3 years! (Which it would compound more interest) The only thing I would need from that is a decent IRA plan. Or better yet, compound the money a second time while investing in a Roth from the cashflow of the property! Now let's say I rented out a house at 1K for purposes of simple math and saved that for five years. That would be 60K on top of the 15K earned from interest! Obviously no plan is totally fool proof and there will definately be bumps in the road, but I can safely access that having 120K after taxes after 5 years of doing nothing else but collecting pay checks and upkeeping a property isn't bad. And that is just from a simple game of manipulating interest in your favor. If you have a bulletproof credit score, your obviously going to become even richer from this idea, for you can get the higher loans at the lower rates. BTW this doesn't count for the amount you would make off the sale of a property as you continue to slow pay down the prinicpal!

The number one thing thoughh is being frugal  in a time where being frivolous is so tempting. The rewards are that much greater!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Why Pre-Paid Phones Are Better Than "Smart Phones"

Now when people look at my phone at work, they do not see a person with a lot of money at his disposal. What they see is the phone and its overall "cheapness". Yes, I only pay up to $30 dollars for a phone. The reason why I do this is because getting a smart phone stolen "smarts". I have to say there are a lot of cool apps. for the smartphones, but those phones do not satisfy me. I want something basic in a phone; I don't want it to make coffee for me. Because of this I got a phone that gave me double minutes.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that phone was stolen today while I was at work. It was probably just to spite me, but I cannot get by without a phone in my daily life. Low and behold, I found my same phone for $15. That was a super score. I hope everything works out and I can get my minutes transferred over. I am so glad my last phone was $30 instead of $300. I would be eating ramen for a month on that one. That, in a nutshell, is why prepaid phones make smartphones 'tap out'. Tracfone (my carrier) offers good customer service too. I reported my minutes stolen and they gave me minutes doubled for those on my new phone. So now I have 530 minutes (a little under 9 hours) of call time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free 2010 Credit Score Here

Hello! Long time not blog! Actually I was in San Francisco at a job interview. But I just got back into Reno about two days ago. While browsing the web today I happen to come across this website where you do not have to submit any credit card info nor pay $15 for a "free" credit score. I believe you can only ask one time per year, but it isn't like I need to ask more than once. Now the credit score relates to the credit report. It is your number which designates whether or not you can get a mortage, credit card, or a loan at a low interest rate. (See the rich really do get richer) The link is for the credit score.

If you want to see your credit report, go to and then pick between the three large crediting firms. Don't ask for a score on the second link unless you honestly feel comfortable giving out your credit/debit card information. If you do feel comfortable, then you have to cancel your information and then wait for the $15 to be processed and reissued to you. I honestly consider this a overall headache to get a score from those companies and prefer using CreditKarma.

On that note, I just realized I am giving away free advertising to these websites, but who cares. The information on those sites are invaluable and everyone should  keep track of their credit score. Am I condoning spam? No. So don't bother me by sending me any. I'll just reject those comments faster than a kid can reject green beens. My view towards spam is synonomus with Girl Scouts trying to sell me cookies: I don't want any.

Tangent aside, frugality will natually lead to a higher credit score.  I do not use credit and I have a good credit rating. Now why is that? Oh right--I pay for everything with cash and assume as little debt as possible. And I pay all my bills on time. Meaning, if you want to increase your score now, you have to assume some responsibility towards paying off debt and paying things on time all the time. Any late payments can damage your score. Any defaults on your mortage would  be the equivilant to kicking your credit score in the groin. While you can legally dodge creditors, you cannot run away from living in the rat race. That is where you will be if you do not pay close attention to all of your financial transactions.

What I like to do is have physical copies of  my bills and my banking as well as having online banking. I do not care if it increases my "carbon footprint", so do not send me hate mail. I consider freedom against financial servitude more important than the tree banch it took to make me my bill. I get a lot of  e-mail daily and I  might actually overlook it. If I do not know that these bills exist, how am I ever going to improve my credit score? The short answer is "I'm not." 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Facebook Response: UNR To Shut Down?

Well if anyone looked at the Reno rag today, they would have found a rather interesting article about University of Nevada, Reno shutting down their degree programs. This is why I do not totally rely on my degree to get me a job: employeers do not care if you have a Bachlor's of Whatever. Because that is basically what it is. I wanted to learn more about different civilizations and foreign policy. That is why I went to school. Other than that, I actually do need a B.A. degree for getting a visa in Japan; it's the law.

So I do not need to be able to understand foreign policy nor do I need to know anything about  foreign civilizations in Reno. Where would I use it? Where would  I be able to wow the ambassador of pick-a-country? A degree is a piece of paper that says you have certain skills that will hopefully get you a job. I say "hopefully" because it really has only gotten me hourly jobs and job interviews outside the country.

With that being said, there are only key programs that will be saved and those programs [at college] will only be allowed to exist if it makes the university money. Foreign languages will be on the shopping block. Poly sci has to go. Sadistics gone. So any specialist in those areas? Bye-bye. Need a educational counselor for your kid? Look else where. Nevada don't want any. President Glick or emperor Palpantine for lack of a better name, says these programs have to go. So what does that mean for those students? Switch majors or leave. If the major is not profitable, they do not want it. Want someone to give your spider monkey a rabies shot? Sorry can't have vets. This is the kind of mentality that the educational system has. So if you want to amass umpteenths amount of debt, go right ahead. There might not be a job waiting for you.

Since school systems are  being wiped out, here is my take on going to school. If you seriously want to be successful at saving money and learning at the same time, there are other avenues to take. If I had to do it over again, I  probably would  not have gotten two degrees. I would probably just stayed in Japan as an interpretor and amass more money, but I can never say how that would of went because it could have turned sour. I do not know how that might have turned out and I think asking to many "what-ifs" leads to doubt. Do not ask what if  this could've happed or what if that could of happened. It often leads to failure. I do not bother asking what may have happened. I move on and gather skills.

I  know life is rough and there are people out there in the cold with more  jobs, but I know that the majority will have to move on and tough it up. That is why saving  money is so  important. It shelters you in the event "you're no longer needed".

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Salvation At Second Hand Stores

Been pretty busy as of late, but I will be posting a little more once I land a job in Japan. Today I went to Salvation Army to try to find some clothes  for my trip. I suprisingly dropped $100 on clothes, but that was mainly due to the fact I got two pairs of shoes in size 14 and 13E respectively. (Okay my shoe size really is a 13.5, but in America they do not make shoes for the person in the middle.

Aside from my waffle stompers and clip on ties, I needed over coats. I found some really nice over coats for around $7! While not Armani brand, it does convey "interview me"! Also got a haircut again. I would've held off on that, but I needed to have nice hair for Saturday and Sunday. But overall here's my wardorbe for a job interview:

George White Satin Shirt: $12
Dress Pant: $5
Over Coat: $7
Dress Shoes: $22
Zipper Tie: $6
New Belt: $12

Notice that while they are alll new, I will not go broke over having the clothes. One of my wardborbes add up to $64 for formal dress ware. That is actually a bit pricy for me, considering in the past I used to make wardrobes on less than half that budget. I was actually a bit picky due to the conservative nature in which Japanese people dress. The more formal; the better. If I knew some people that were totally going to car pool it down to San Francisco, I would be trying to find ways to save there as well. I thought about taking all the non Salvation Army stuff back, but I decided that would be unethical and I would  be ripping off that store out of their bonus. Yes the Walton family would  not be hurt, however there are people who depend on making those sales like sales floor associates. That wouldn't be right to do so just to get my money back. I would feel better if it was a electronic devise, but that is just me. Well I got an online Skype interview to do so I bid you good night.

What To Do In the Event That None Of the Clothes Will Fit You at the Second Hand Store

Okay, this title probably holds the record for longest titled blog entry ever (well not really). I was in a dilemma with my frugality today. Meaning that...I have a extremly hard time finding clothes that are long enough to fit me. I am  6'5", meaning that I am big in America too. So no matter how I toss the dice, I will always have rolls against me in the size department.

To give an example, my feet are really big. My feet are so big that I can land aircraft carriers on them. I wear a size 14 or 14E/14W depending on the shoe brand. Today, I was shopping at Wal-Mart and I actually came across some non-throwaway shoe brands that actually don't stink (until after a few months wearing them that is). My shirt sizes are an L when it comes to actual fat content, but since I have a lanky frame, I have to go with XL so my shirt doesn't turn into a tube top. It is pretty embarrasing that I  have to wear such odd measurements. I was overweight at one point  in my life, but now I am probably heading towards average. Oddly enough I am able to use a 38" belt all of  the sudden. I could probably try a 36" but I do not want the belt to be too constraining.

In a nutshell, that was the highlight of my day: these weird facts. I am just waiting to be considered an endanger specie, because my measurements are probably not  human. Anyways, I am  getting tired. Those who are interested, drop some  comments, yadayadayada

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm Convinenced; All Bills Should Be Paid Through Skype

This proabably isn't major savings, but from what  I noticed is that everyone is switching over to longer and longer call centers. However, there is a savior and it goes by the name of Skype. I recently got Skype to do English teaching and ALT job interviews, but I have to give the devil its credit when due: Skype will save you minutes off of call center hell.

Call center hell is when you are put through  an automated system and you are forced to hear almost all the options of the billing information. (Whoever invented this is a  bad bad man. =( ) I actually lost about 14 minutes (about $1.50 give or take some change) of my minutes and my life. While I can't be reimbursed or the latter, I can pass on who to use Skype which will save tons of money off of International calling and--you guessed it! Call centers. First sign up at and get a user name. To call all landlines, you can pay Skype roughly $30 for that as an annual service I believe. If you're on a pay-as-you-go minute plan like me, this would actually be worth checking into. There is also one more service called the Magic Jack, but I believe it is only useful in the United States. I would seriously get one if I was trying to leave for Japan.

For everytime you use a call center, a kitten dies... Please, think of the kittens.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To my suprise...

I actually owed the IRS. A whole $4, actually. An epic feat for someone who happens to be in the 10% bracket or so I thought. Turns out I am in the 15% bracket with only the standard deduction (my donations=epic fail this year). The Barack Obama stimulus actually saved me money this year. I would have actually owed $4. All in all, I would have had written off my JLPT test if it was not for the fact the form cost $15 to just write off $4. not quite enough to fly a plane into a building over or is it? This year anything past 5,700 dollars will only count towards standard deduction. In 2011, it is expected (at least occurding to a reliable source at H and R Block), to increase to 6,000. So want an exemption? You have to donate pass 6,000 this coming up year.

Yeah like no one saw that one coming. But enough black humor for one day. Let me reiterate something: I am frugal for a reason. And that reason is to evade to the best of my ability, any suprise attacks on my banking account. While not everything can be evaded, one can at least shave off the unnessesary expenditures.

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Example of Non-spam

Another day here at CB. Just going to post this quick response because I want people to know the difference between what I call spam and what I call legit.

Ok this post here arrived to me today:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Response: Overcoming Fear":

Hey Great Blog. I submitted you to Reddit and Digg. If you want, you can check out my article here: World of Warcraft Mods You Need
This person is more than likely legit. He linked to a website with actual World of Warcraft information along with a small request: to take a look at it. (Which I actually did) I am actually more into Facebook RPG apps. when it comes to PC gaming and every now and then I play some arcade games. Marvel Vs. Capcom I is my favorite. Will actually post his blog link so you guys can check out his information regarding World of Warcraft. Go here to see it! 
If anyone has any interesting blogs for me to read, submit your link! Who knows; I might even subscribe! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SPAM this post!

  I would like more real human comments. Seriously, I actually read them. I read the spam ones too for just a laugh at how gullible the spamee thinks I am.

No, I will not put up any money towards any high yield program that I do not understand. I will not buy any of your "stock investment magazines". I prefer to get my infromation from actual analysts: like my aunt Jaime. I do not need information that is probably fallacious and fictional.

No, I will not harvest my own organs in order to get a fast 1 million dollars.

No, I will not buy your instructional videos on how to do basic trading in the stock market. I already taught myself.

No, I will not sell my soul for some fake gold.

I have recieved a lot of spam comments as of late. And reading them (and rejecting them) is seriously a waste of time. I'd rather be looking for a better job in Japan or watching South Park or something. That's all today. Peace!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What am I going to do with my bonus/tax refund?

This is just a response post.

First off, I find it funny that people always ask a bunch of questions about what am I going to do with a refund or any type of money I happen to earn or recieve. It is not like these people are really entitled or are asking me for money. I think they are just curious. This is not an isolated incident; I was asked several questions simular to this last year by droves of people that cannot seem to manage their finances. When I tell them the same answer, they always give me the same look as they go into some form of cardiac arrest.

I always tell them, "I am going to save and/or reinvest it".

Then magically their blood pressure goes up about 40 points and their eyes buldge with disbelief. Hey I am not trying to do retail for the rest of my life. Neither should anyone there; unless of course they are shooting for management. Godspeed on that one. It's possible, but there are seriously more better paying jobs out there in other states or countries. I, for one, will not stand by and have my money totally devaluate itself. For that reason, I am trying to seek employment in Japan. If everything goes according to my plan, I should be able to become a full time freelancer in a few years.

If you really must know, the money will a) cover a flight to Japan and b) will cover apartment fees, key fees, etc. If there is a c option, it will be either saving or reinvesting  into some stocks that I have had my eye one since December. I will try to make the most of the situation, however there will definately be some unavoidable costs that I have to factor in. So that is my plan in a nutshell. I could have replied "none of your business", but since everyone are kind of curious as to what I would do with the extra money I would have to reply using the words of L.L. Cool J: "Just smile and accept the money".

As the first official CB tangent for the new decade, I have been approached to write some food comparison articles for a international magazine called Healthy Beginnings. No, I do not know how to cook per se, I just know a lot about different cusine from around the Pacific Rim. If you want to check out their magazine the  link is Maybe you can find some food that is cheap to make that is considered healthy. I would rant about how food is too processed, but I'll save that content for my actual articles should  I get published.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chuckie's Blurbs Vlog Ep. 2: Sushi Pier #2

This is a video for the review Sushi Pier #2. I know that I did one in the past, but I do not think I really did the place justice by words alone. So, I made these videos. Enjoy the atmosphere and looking at the food!

Also I would like to add that all rights in this video are the property of  Sushi Pier #2 and their affliates.

Overall the rating is
Food 4.5/5
Service 5/5
Frugality 4.5/5 (For all you can eat sushi at dinner time, the price is pretty good.
Cleanliness 5/5

                                  For more info about Sushi, please check out the book The Sushi Ecnonomy, by Sasha Issenburg. It is a really good book!   

I also would like to thank the GM Chris and the waitress Chisato for being such good hosts. Me and my friends really put away the food. So overall I give them 4.75/5! Will be eating there again!


And part 2!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Return Policy of 90 Days at Sam's Club Will Officially Be Enforced

To all of you that think that the LCDs are still "grand fathered in" I am just doing this response to let everyone know  that Sam's Club's old it is not. ALL electronic devises that are not related to software are not grandfathered in anymore. As of today, I get to reject whatever is not covered under the return policy of 90 days or the 1-3 year N.E.W. purchased survice agreement. So for better or for worse,  when you bring an electronic device back to the store make sure your reciept covers it prior to the 90 day purchase. The only exception to that rule is any device purchased before November 1st, 2009. Those items are still "grand fathered" in, but once they are returned, that's it. You cannot bring back anything after the 90 days. So if  you do not get a "service agreement" on the purchased item and it breaks down after 91 days, for better or worse it is yours to keep.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Apple Comes Out With Ipad

And now another company that tosses their hat in the e-reader wars. Apple already has tremendous popularity due to their Iphone and IPod, but  now they will take on the e-ready and net book market. Yes they have the Itouch, but seriously it really doesn't count. No this Ipad will be a site to behold. I say this because of its features, not because I think Apple products are really cool. Right now there is the Kindle, the Sony E-reader, and the Ipad as the main contestants. Hmm...kind of reminds me of the console wars between Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Yes, I have been playing games for at least a quater of a century so I can recall the console wars. So what is going to be the Ipad's asking price? $499.

So what does the new Ipad do? See for yourself. Check out this CBS news article and the demo video.

Apple is obviously trying to connect with four demographics of people.
1) Loyal Apple Customers
2) Netbook Users
3) E-reader Users
4) People who wish to save money on their electricty.

Believe it or not, Apple might have actually turned it up a notch in the netbook and e-reader markets. Netbooks, mainly being dominated by Acer, will now will have to make a product that has varius functions and is  affordable. Also Apple will definately get its cut in the e-reader market. That LED screen is a lot brighter and easier on the eyes than the old school LCD 1980s mesh. The companies out there try to make that stuff like it is new technology, but in reality it is  not. My electronic dictionary from Japan and the TI-83 calculators made by Texas Insturments is testament to that.

LED is in too. The LED screen is becoming more of a staple feature to add into the LCDs. This means that computers will be able to eventually run on a 12 to 14 hour battery life. Right  now, I see some laptops that can run on a 10 hour battery life. LED technology also does not run as hot as plasma and the weight of LED systems is significally reduced. Soon with the combination of nanotechnology with LED technology, you will probably be able to own a almost paper thin laptop (although I do not see much praticality there). People seems to misunderstand that their screens are LED LCDs and not stand alone LED or LCDs. LED stands for Light Emitting Diote or something really cool that brightens up your picture with 40 percent  less energy consumption than a traditional LCD and 60% less than a heavy hunk of headaches known as the plasma.

Why do I spend  so much time talking about the Ipad. It is perhaps something to consider in the stocks. Apple stocks will probably fall for a bit due to the who fear and readjusting to new technology, but once that phase is over, it will more than likely rise, especially when the technology becomes  more affordable and they can produce a  product for a higher margin. Did I mention that the who app. store land scape just got altered. And with a rising Asian population becoming increasingly interested in such a product there might be shortage on the first generation of Ipad. Meaning it could potentially flip for 2 or 3 times its normal price.

In frugality terms, perhaps getting a netbook would be a better avenue to travel for now. At the $200 starting range, it just seems more affordable, but if  you have the extra cash I would wait until the 2nd or 3rd generation of Ipad comes out. They will more than likely be cheaper and less prone to electronic defects. So holding off might be more prudent. Investment wise, I would keep an eye on Apple and the e-reader market find out when it company falls [in price] and then sale at the height of their popularity.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beware of Aim Trust

This is one of the messages I received from another blogger. I was skeptical as usual and never take anything based on just face value. Although theoretically you could make that kind of money quickly, more than likely it's not likely unless it is something illicit, meaning illegal. Luckily no one ever has to worry about this poster ever again because I am about to debunk Aim Trust because obviously this/these blogger(s)  is/are affiliated with them. I have been approached by multiple "get rich quick schemes" which there will be more of these in this ailing economy. Now if they wanted to legitimately do something besides scam me they would have not left themselves be totally anonymous to me. It is just bad business to not introduce oneself. In case if you're wondering how I know this person is a scammer, feel free to go to the site and read the content. Looks like a bunch of testimonials directed at Aim Trust. Here is the post:


You may probably be very curious to know how one can make real money on investments.
There is no need to invest much at first.
You may begin earning with a money that usually is spent
on daily food, that's 20-100 dollars.
I have been participating in one company's work for several years,
and I'm ready to share my secrets at my blog.
Please visit blog and send me private message to get the info.
P.S. I earn 1000-2000 per daily now. [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

A good way to avoid scams outright is to type in the affiliates names into a search engine and see which keyword trends show up with their names. For example, if  I type in Wal-Mart the words associated with their departments show up along with the layoffs (which normally it wouldn't but I did a search on the layoff news) would appear. Another thing  is that a company that is looking to scam people focuses on getting "big gains" in a short time. And when its online it is usually under some euphemism like HYIP. What is all the HYPE about HYIP? This stands for High Yeild Investment Program. Sounds familiar? Remember Madoff and the boys on Wall Street? They took many a high profile client to the cleaners using a HYIP similar to this. No stock out there has ever had a continual upward arc on their graphs in profitability. Note: if there is a person that is boasting about earning 1,000-2,000 a day using only one affiliate, either they had some pheomenal luck or they are scammers. This is reeks of a scam if you know the laws of marketing and how to measure the success of online marketing.

Here are a few simple steps to find out if Aim Trust is "legit".

 1. ) Go to and put their official website in their search engine and it is a "proxy".

 2.)  There is this insistent need to include Aim Trust in every other sentence. No true investor would  be earning money from using  just one source of income. That is just dangerous. Depending on just one source of income is like depending on a job. For example: I work, sell used stuff at home, invest in stocks and I have gone through a real estate deal years back with gives me a small amount of income for a "finder's fee". I am about to invest in more stocks this year along with opening up a Roth IRA in a few months. No true investor, and I mean no true investor has all of his money coming from one source which it advocates on the site. This is risky and you should not invest in that way. At the same time you should not diversify too much and buy 30-40 different stocks. Most successful stock analysts usually recommend only a few stocks which have nothing to do with mutual funds although there are some who do like them. I am not one of them, but I will say that they are more legit than anything Aim Trust will try to sell you.

3.) Since the website is so good at SEO optimizing their branding Aim Trust. I  thought I would "help" them out by doing some of my own. Aim Trust is a scam. Aim Trust has random people trying to spam my blog. Aim Trust and all the lackeys under it are probably scammers too. If you invest with Aim Trust you will get taken to the cleaners. If you want a High Yeild program besides Aim Trust, it will take some serious research. Aim Trust can only offer you promises which they cannot keep. I have yet to meet an investor near the level of George Soros, Warren Buffett, and Andrew Yanyi give high praise about Aim Trust. Aim Trust is a power level scheme corporation who leaves their identity a secret. You cannot get accurate numbers on Aim Trust's  research. You can only get scammed by Aim Trust. Aim Trust only wants to see you become broke. Aim Trust is like a magical unicorn out in the forest which people chase after. So elusive yet it must be real...not!

I think I am driving home the point about Aim Trust so I will conclude here. If you have stories about being scammed by companies similar to this, I would  love to hear from you. Real comments are appreciated.