Sometimes Saving Money Is About Principle

For the past two years I’ve taken the bus to work after driving for 7 years prior.  The company removed our free parking benefits and I wasn’t about to pay $350/month to park in a garage just 5 miles away.

I have a love hate relationship with the bus.  When it’s raining, and I have to stand outside shivering, I hate it.  When the bus skips my stop every so often, I hate it.  When the bus driver slams on the brakes a couple feet away from the stop light and we all go flying, I hate it.  When the bus is packed like sardines, but there are some very attractive riders I need to squeeze next to, well, I guess it’s OK.

My VIP Pass aka monthly bus pass costs $60, while taking a cab to and from work costs $30.  Hence, the cost breakdown is simply $60 for a bus, $350 for parking, and $600 for a cab every month.  Out of principle, I wasn’t going to spend 5-10X more on transportation if I could just ride the bus.

WHAT A DUMMY

The People Asked To Get ROCKED & A Boulder Drops On Their Heads

Feel The Pain And Like It

The Rock Of Gibraltar, Only Backwards

Anybody want to guess what happened on Wed, January 19th right before the market fell off a cliff?  If you guessed Obama delivered a politically charged speech to rally for his own support and crucify others, you’re right!  On Wed, January 19th, Obama went on national TV to tell the world, “we want our money back” and “if they want a fight, a fight is what they’ll get.” The “they” of course, are “greedy rich” people.  The markets immediately started to sell-off and the S&P 500 is now down about 6% since.

Good old fashion class warfare is never good for the economy, neither is continuous political jibber jabber.  Do you ever remember a president being on TV as much as our current president?  The risk of overexposure is very real, and the record low approval rating for any president at this point in his term shows this.  The State of The Union address is supposed to be an opportunity to unify the people.  Besides the typical feel-good rhetoric, what I heard was a continued attack on others, protecting personal interest groups, and maintaining giant silos.

YOU SO CRAFTY NEBRASKA

Someone Always Farts In A Crowd

Everybody was quietly watching the puppet show at the Asian Art Museum when I hear a “boooooooP!” What was that, I think to myself as a stench waffles in the air.  Someone must have farted!  I look around to see if I can identify the culprit.  Then I notice others looking around, with some staring right at me!

“Not me!” I silently voice with my lips as I point towards a kid rolling around on the floor in front of the stage.  “Probably the kid!” I mime again with each crease of my lips extending more exaggerated with every word.

Once the show was over I tap the kid on the shoulder and say, “Hey buddy, you got me in a lot of trouble with the adults.  The bathroom is over there!”

“Sorry sir, I was just farting.  Everybody likes to fart right?” replies the kid with a big, teethy smile.

“You’re right buddy, listen to this one!” KABOOM!  I let one rip right next to him.  We laugh and go on our separate ways.

THE MORAL HAZARD OF AMERICA

An Ambulance Screams By, Do You Feel Happy Or Sad?

There was once a time I felt very sad every time an ambulance zoomed by with sirens blazing.  I knew someone was suffering, and sorrow would fill my heart not only for the injured, but also for the person’s family and friends.  Nothing is permanent, and the ambulance reminds me of this fact every time I hear one.

Over lunch, I was sharing my feelings with a friend, and she changed my mindset.  She mentioned, instead of feeling sad, feel happy. Be happy the ambulance is out there saving someone’s life.  Feel emboldened help is on its way!

My friend was right.  I chose to feel sad about an unchangeable past rather than focus on the good act of trying to make things better.  It was this simple epiphany 12 years ago that changed the way I looked at everything, forever.

Rather than sulk about those personal finances on life-support, why not change the way you see your outlook?  Instead, look at your massive debt, or your crummy income as an opportunity to recover.  The worse you are, the more upside you have!

Shop around for health insurance:  The internet has really helped lower the cost of insuring yourself and your family. eHealthInsurance has some of the lowest rates and best coverage due to its largest network. They are based right here in the Bay Area, and I have met a number of their representatives. The Affordable Care Act debacle has proven to be more expensive and more cumbersome to sign up so far.

Keiju,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Someone Has To Give Birth! Why Women Shouldn’t Be Penalized For Being A Mom

Swans And Their BabiesI was at a cocktail party the other night, and after several stiff vodka tonics, a female manager-level friend, “Julia”, began complaining about one of her staff.

She came up to me and said, “Sam, what am i going to do?  Nancy keeps getting pregnant!  She’s having her third child in the past 5 years, and now I’ve got to find cover for her again!” After Julia’s rant, she twirled her way to a slick looking fella at the bar and began chatting him up.

Initially I tried empathizing with Julia, given I do remember the feeling of having to cover for someone when they’re “sick“. But Nancy’s case is different.  After all, someone has to give birth, and after seeing one too many sex ed video’s from the 9th grade with images of globulous placentas seared in my mind, i’m glad it’s not me!  The Europeans would argue a 3 month maternity leave is not long enough given they practice a 6 month healing process.

Julia’s complaint brings us to the great debate:

Is it fair or even true that women are discriminated against and make less money than men on average?

Never Call In Sick On Friday, Slacker!

ferrisThere’s nothing more maddening for a manager than getting a last minute e-mail from a subordinate “calling” in sick on a Friday.  At least have the balls to call in and fake a pathetic sick voice!  Sending in an e-mail last minute to say you are sick after partying it up all night is like breaking up with someone over e-mail.

Last minute notifications have managers scrambling to find your backup.  Your jealous colleagues who have to pick up your slack will surely resent you as well.  The next problem is the law of probabilities.  Let me explain.

WHY CALLING SICK ON A FRIDAY IS BAD

* There are seven days a week, meaning there’s a 15% chance (1/7) you’ll get sick on any given day.  Furthermore, what is the percentage chance someone is so sick they can’t even come to work for a day?  I say at most 50%.  Take 15% X 50% and you get 7.5%.  To suddenly be sick on a Friday right before your weekend is therefore an unlikely 7.5% probability!

Get An Umbrella Insurance Policy – Your Teenager Is Going To Bankrupt You

I was driving downtown to drop my wife off at the museum when a car started drifting dangerously into my lane.  I beeped the horn to alert the driver and when I drove by, the teenage kid in the back seat flicked me off!  I didn’t have a long annoying horn, nor a machine gun type rat-ta-tat-tat beep.  All I did was beep once so we wouldn’t collide.  The father was reading a map and driving at the same time.

I have to admit that my blood started to boil and I was tempted to blast him a new one when their car stopped next to me in front of the light.  Instead, I buzzed down my window, stared intently, and told the kid, “Don’t embarrass your parents.  I beeped at you guys because you were halfway in my lane and didn’t even know it.”

The dad was still clueless as to why I was talking to his punk kid and he also rolled down his window to ask, “What’s up?”