Category Archives: Uncategorized

An Actual Thing You Can Buy

I’m going to dive deeper into this later, but for now I thought I’d post this little beauty that I found in the weekly Best Buy circular:  Seasons 1 & 2 of Perfect Strangers, the unforgettable ABC sitcom that we all forgot about sometime shortly after it began airing.  How much would you pay for 4 discs’ worth of your Bronson Pinchot fix?  The good folks at Best Buy are hoping you answered $26.99.

Yup.  Want to retire wealthy?  Begin by never spending 27 bucks on DVDs of bad TV shows that you’re probably dumber for having ever watched in the first place.  But then again, I’ve developed a super-strict pathology on purchasing DVDs in recent years, which I’ll save for another day.

The “Balki factor”, as it were.  For a real-jaw dropper, note the several enthusiastic reviews on the Best Buy site.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

For your added convenience

You’ll note on the side you can click on the categories to filter these posts.  For example, if you’re only here to read me yammering about music, have at it.  If you’re here for the personal finance geekery, no need to scroll through some nostalgic trip through Zeppelin II.

Think of it like some sort of friendly internet gnome that picks all the stuff you don’t like off your pizza.

It’s also ridiculous for me to give out these sort of instructions when I know full well nobody is reading it yet.  S’cool.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Stupid Credit Tricks

A brief addendum to the Lowe’s Free Delivery post — while trying to figure out my best, most efficient options for using my “Reward” card to pay off already existing bills, I briefly entertained the idea that I could transfer $79 of my Amex balance to this debit card.  I’m still not sure if that would be viable or not — I could make arguments both for and against. 

But in googling the idea, I happened across an entire subculture of balance-transfer junkies who routinely (3 or 4 times a year) open up new credit cards with 0% offers on balance transfers for one year.  What they do is basically find efficient ways to turn an existing card’s entire line of credit into cash, stock it in a MMF, CD, or the like, and then transfer the entire balance onto a new 0% balance card, paying it off over the course of the year.

Which seems like a lot of risk for very little reward.  There was even a blogger who basically admitted that he makes about $700 a year doing this, but that his credit score takes huge hits from all the new accounts and activity.  Not to mention one missed payment on any of those cards could trigger universal default with all sorts of things.  I’m all about finding extra ways to squeeze, but to leave your credit score vulnerable in the process is just reckless.

Leave a comment

Filed under finance, Uncategorized

A brief word or two about me

I live in a college town, and have a decent-paying job.  It’s not the sort of job where you quickly amass a high degree of wealth, but I’m okay with that.  My bills get paid, and at the end of the day our combined income is such that we can put a little bit away regularly.  Sometimes we slip on the spending side, but that usually alarms us enough to make us pretty hardcore about saving again.  All in all, a certain balance is achieved.

I have a mortgage, and not a bad one.  I have a car payment, which I hate, but it was a fiscal necessity at the time.  I have two credit cards.  One I’m rather fond of, as rotating credit goes.  The other we don’t like, and should probably ditch in favor of another pretty soon.  Oh, and a Lowe’s card.  Can’t forget the Lowe’s card.

We both have workplace retirement plans, each with a 3% match.  They aren’t handled by what would be my first or second choice of companies, but they aren’t bad plans either.  Those contributions are obviously automated.  We each have IRA’s, and those contributions are currently not automated.  More on that later.  And shame on us for that.

I have a checking and savings account with your friendly national megabank.  It’s actually a pretty decent relationship, and after my particular megabank handled an indentity theft issue with great aplomb last summer, I’m not looking around.  I’m sure I could be making a bit more on interest with a non brick-and-mortar outfit, but that’s not what my banky-bank accounts are for anyway.

College towns are great for keeping you young, but that also means you can spin your wheels if you aren’t careful.  It’s easy to extend your adolescence beyond your college years here, which is rarely good for the wallet.  Several years ago, impending parenthood woke me up to the need to take better control of my finances.  We have a child, and are in that window of our lives where all of our friends have young children as well.  Over the past few years I’ve started paying attention to their money habits, the outwardly visible ones at least, out of the corner of my eye.  We have wonderful friends, truly, but my wife and I find ourselves increasingly at odds with them in regards to these sort of priorities.

My wife is a wonderful cook.  I know my way around a kitchen as well, or so I like to think.  I only mention this because I suspect it will come up regularly.  If you really want to save money, start by learning to f’n cook.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Okay, so here’s what’s behind this dumb idea

For years, I’ve been saying that I wanted to go through my music collection and review every piece of music that I own — the good, the bad, and the embarrassing — as a simple vehicle to get myself writing on a consistent basis.  I figure there’s some good nostalgia to be had in the process.

Which is all well and good, but I haven’t done it yet.  In the meantime, I’m now in my thirties, with a wife, a child, a job, a mortgage, and all the responsibilities implied herein.  So yeah, my goals have shifted somewhat.  And in the process I’ve become rather obsessed with saving, building a nest egg, planning for retirement, and being as efficient and frugal as possible.  Which, amongst my peer set, renders me somewhat of an anomaly.  So the thought became, I could document my ongoing financial progress as a means of keeping myself honest and on track towards my goals.

Instead, I waffled between the two ideas for sometime, and in trying to decide upon one, did neither.  So here’s both, combined.  Equal parts personal finance and music history.  Planning for the future with a nod to my past.

If I’m not doing this a week from now, somebody kick my ass.  Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized