Payday Loans

March 2007 Monthly Archive


The notoriously late Sunset Limited

Taking a trip to Houston to visit a friend, via the inadquately funded Amtrak! Should be fun.

Be back on Sunday.



An eventual solid gold statue of yourself?

Or perhaps one depicting your favorite pooch, Spudgy.

Whatever it may be, finding that special reason to care about your personal finances will help you in reaching your financial goals.

Last week, the question “When did you start caring about your finances?” was asked, and many people kindly took the time out to respond. The responses varies from “I’ve always cared about my finances” to “rude awakening made me realize I should care more.” Although you can find the “when” in the context of these response, the “why” wasn’t always mentioned.

Ask yourself this question: Why should I care about my personal finances?

If you’re having difficulty answering the question on the spot, consider this other question: Would you like to live an uncomfortable and miserable life filled with stress and problems due to the lack of money?

The answer is most likely a resounding no (unless you’re a masochist; if so, call me). After all, who in their right mind would choose a life of miserly over a life of comfort?

So, is that the answer? Is that the reason why we should care about our finances? So we can have enough money to live a comfortable life?

Not really.

These days, you can easily live your life beyond your means. Theoritcally (and this isn’t being advocated), if you’re savvy enough with consumer lending laws, you can probably live through your entire life comfortably on borrowed money (of course, your future generation won’t be so comfortable, but that’s another story).

You can also be lacking severely in net worth and still live a comfortable and fullfilling life. No matter how much some people may like them, money isn’t the answer to everything.

If it isn’t solely about having enough money, and if it isn’t entirely about living a comfortable life, just what are the reasons why you should care about your personal finances?

The answer is of course different from one person to another.

A friend’s “why:”

My mother has been taking care of me and my sister as a single parent since we were born. My mom is 53 now, and all her life she hasn’t lived in a house yet. I’m working hard and watching my finances so I can one day buy my mom a house to call her own.

Yes, saving money for a house is a common financial goal. But that goal isn’t the real reason why my friend cares about her finances.

The reason? What a silly question. It’s because I love my mom!

Another friend’s “why:”

Seeing my father helping people as a doctor really made me want to become a doctor too. Medical school is no picnic, and the cost will definitely be something to watch for. I’m working hard and watching my finances so that the financial cost won’t be a factor preventing me from being a doctor.

Yes, saving money for an education or a dream is a common financial goal. But that goal isn’t the real reason why my friend cares about his finances.

The reason? What a silly question. It’s because I want to help people!

When we read personal finance books, articles, and blogs — we come across many good general advice: invest for your retirement, save for your child’s education, work toward reducing your debt, and plan ahead so you can buy that dream home.

What often happens with these many important goals is that we forget to attach an important reason onto them.

  • Why save for retirement? Because not only do you care about yourself, you care about your children and family and would not want to burden them.
  • Why save for your child’s education? Because you love your children and want them to achieve their dreams without being limited by financial factors.
  • Why accumulate wealth in order to give? Because spreading and improving the quality of life isn’t only limited to your loved ones.

For every financial goal you have, there is most likely a special reason behind it. Talk to yourself, talk to your loved ones, and talk to others. Seek and discover these special reasons, for once you’ve find the “whys” and attach them onto your financial goals, your goals will become much more real, much more clear, and entirely more feasible — because you’ll know exactly why you’re doing it.



mmm... 3200×2400 QUXGA

Demitri Martin:

I like digital cameras… because they enable you to reminisce immediately.

Just like *click* — look at us, we were so young.

Standing right there. Wow, where does the minute go?

Digital cameras almost made it on the Stop Buying Crap #20 edition, but after a careful deliberation of twenty-eight seconds while using the outhouse, I have decided that this is best put to a vote. After all, without my trusty DSC-P7 (circa 2002), I would have lacked a proper means to record pictures of people I admire as I stalk them hang out with them. Plus, this blog would have gone without spectacular pictures of burnt popcorn, toilet papers, and cereal boxes.

Regardless, digital cameras are a bit iffy. The mega-pixel capability steadily increases to ridiculous rates (does the average consumer really need 7 megapixel?), prices for “mid range” models continues to loom around $250, and units with prices beyond $300 are of the norm.

Poll Result:

Looks like not crap, sir

Related Post:



Just make sure you pass the ball when you wear these

Saw this on Friday night’s 20/20 and thought it was pretty neat.

Launched in 2006, New York Nick’s Stephon Marbury partnered with Steve & Barry’s to promote a line of shoes and clothing bearing his nickname, “Starbury.” Understanding the pressure that inner-city kids face to spend $150-$200 on footwear sold by other companies such as Nike, Reebok, and Addidas, Marbury’s line of shoes will sell from $9.98 to $14.98. To show their quality, Marbury will be wearing these shoes for the entire 06-07 NBA season.

On March 23, 2007, Starbury was featured in a segment on the ABC show 20/20 (edition entitled “Enough!”), hosted by John Stossel. The segment dealt with the high price of sneakers and the role of Starbury and Marbury as an alternative. During the show, Marbury stated “If you take my shoe and you take a $150 shoe, cut it down in half, and it do the same exact thing.”

Sure, the shoes are still made in China, but at least they’re not $150 made in China shoes. And yes, Marbury isn’t exactly a star NBA player (contrary to his own self proclaimation of “best PG in NBA”), regardless, promoting the idea that brand and quality doesn’t always equate to high prices is awesome enough in itself.



It’s reader’s appreciation day here at Stop Buying Crap. To show my appreciation for the many unfortuante readers who couldn’t find the unsubscribe button (or too lazy to remove the blog feed), here are some reasons why you are better than me:

  1. You’re better looking
  2. You’re taller (I’m a short geek with glasses)
  3. You have better eyesight
  4. Your IQ is higher than 87
  5. You make more money and you’re most likely wealthier
  6. You are definitely more educated (oh I hope I graduate one of these days)
  7. You have a bigger you-know-what
  8. You spell better and have a better command of the English language
  9. You’re not scared of horror movies
  10. You smell nicer (mmm… is that lavender?)


There’s an interview (on me), over at Mint’s blog.

In the interview, I shared my “worst financial move ever,” which is actually an incomplete post I have titled: Stupid Mistakes: The Time I got Sued for a Quarter of a Million Dollars. So for those interested in a brief summary of another reason why I can compete for the Ultimate Championship of Morons, check out the interview.

If you didn’t know, Mint is a free web application that effortlessly organize your money. It is quite spiffy. If you’re interested, you can sign up for a chance to try out their upcoming beta.



Yeah so the blog’s previews (& other upcoming post) takes about a few decade to become a full review… but you know, good things comes to those that wait etc. etc.

If you’re the cable news TV type, you may have noticed the ape-crazy advertising campaign that Chase has set up for the Chase Freedom Credit Card. In fact, as far as I can tell, the Chase Freedom ad is also aggressively marketed on many online news site.

The gist:

  • A cash-back credit card that can be converted to earning points, depending on customer preference.
  • 3% cash back (or points) for every $1 spend at eligible Gas, Grocery, and Quick Service Restaurant purchases.
  • Quick Service (as in fast food joints), but this may also include places such as sandwich, bagel, and coffee shops!
  • 1% cash back (or points) for every $1 spend elsewhere.
  • Save up $200 in cash back and get $250 back! (Essentially 3.75% or 1.25% cash back, depending on purchases).
  • Maximum of $600 in purchase within a billing cycle for the 3% category.
  • Cash back expires in 36 months, while points expire in 60 months.

Mmm cash back on fast food

Pros:

  • 3% cash back may be as good as it gets for now.
  • 3% cash back for trans fat filled burritos, burgers, fries, and donuts! Oh my!
  • 3.75% cash back for those that are patient.
  • No more two-cycle billing method.
  • New Chase site allows for easier cash-back claim and switching to point.

Cons:

  • High interest rate: 14.24% APR for good credit, 18.24% APR for moderate, and finally 23.24% APR for marginal credit. (Prime rate are high these days).
  • 3% international purchase/transaction fee. Yuck.
  • It’s another freaking credit card in your wallet.

Expect a full review soon. And by soon, I mean someday within this lifetime.

Update: Full review of Chase Freedom Credit Card is now available.



Question:

When did you start caring about your finances? And how did you come across these personal finance blogs?

I’m really curious, by the way. Although I always read all my comments, I promise to pay extra, tender, loving attention to comments left in this particular post.

My Answer: (for those that care)

I’ve mention the 10k+ of debt I incurred during my spending years before. Basically, one day I woke up, logged into my Bank of America account and saw something along the lines of: Checking account: $24.76. Credit card balance: $10,642. On that particular day, the debt level really struck me.

Perhaps it’s because the amount in my checking account will hardly cover the minimum payment. But more importantly, I was making money. I was making enough to pay off that debt, but somehow… the amount I owe hasn’t changed in months, and if anything — it has increased.

Alhough when compare to others, 10k+ isn’t a lot… but it was a lot to me at that time, considering how I didn’t have any large expense. I was bumming lodging off of mommy. The car payment was paid off. The school tuition taken care of by grants. Just how the heck did I accumulated this amount, when I was making money? (You see, in my mind, if I wasn’t making money… oweing money would have made more sense. heh).

I looked around my room, saw the numerous junk laying around. Rummaged through the stacks of old receipt in the tissue boxes (wasn’t really into shoes), and realized that I was squandering away my money. I realized that if I don’t change my ways, I will never pay off my debt and will never truly have the ability to take care of myself financially.

And so, I started to care more about my finances. I stopped buying crap (hence the craptastic blog name). I put efforts into paying off my debt. I found ways to reduce my interest rates. I started to save money.

On another particular day two years ago, I tried Googling for other similar accounts to ING Direct. Stumbled upon Jonathan’s My Money Blog, thought it was incredibly neat how people are sharing and writing about their finances. Hopped on the bandwagon, and now here I am today, asking you this question: when did you start caring about your finances?



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