Bus Routes, Life: Do You Have a Plan C?

Some people might think I’m a worry wart. I’m usually not the spontaneous type either. In fact, great things can happen from our backup plan. Just check out Samantha Brown’s Plan B. What happens if your original plan and your backup plan fall through? Then what? In this case, you have to turn to Plan C.

Literal And Figurative Road Blocks

I now have my bus routine down. Just the other week, I got a rude awakening from the MTA. I was about to cutover to my second bus when I noticed a MTA worker nailing up a sign. My usual stop would be temporarily closed due to road construction. I asked him, “Where am I supposed to go, the next block over?” He told me the next stop is three blocks away and sorry for the inconvenience! After trekking for what felt like an eternity, I vowed to find another way because under the sweltering heat, I almost didn’t make it.

Next Up, Plan B

Thankfully, my stops are on the main arteries in my town. I found a second bus route and I was happy as a clam. I was almost smug thinking that a little road construction and the MTA can’t slow me down. Unfortunately, Plan B had its own wrinkle. The transfer to my second bus required 30 extra minutes. So what normally takes one hour now takes one hour and a half!

Final Thoughts

Long story short, I found a third route out of my location and got my commute back down to my usual 60 minutes. Others who can fly by the seat of their pants would probably think I’m stressing for nothing. “Enjoy the ride. Whatever life throws at you, act accordingly. Cross that bridge when you get to it!” That’s all fine and good for you, but I finally realize who I am and what works best for me. I need some structure and I need some plans in place. I understand sometimes that the best plans can fall apart. So taking a page from your book, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Nothing personal, but for everyday life events, I’m the most efficient with a plan or two, or in this case, three.

Are plans a waste of time? Am I being a worry wart for nothing? Should I just be more spontaneous?

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Gym Membership: Use It Or Lose It

Earlier I suggested to check on your vesting period or lose it. Here’s another reminder in the use it or lose it realm. The summer heat wave is a little unbearable. The last thing I want to do is go to my gym, work out, and sweat! However, I got myself in there and powered through. How did I do it?

Not A Spring Chicken Anymore

In another life, I would run around and play basketball for a few hours non-stop. My shirt was drenched as if I ran through the shower. Sadly, my weekend warrior days are over. My knees and joints are creeky and it takes days to recover. Rather than turn into a complete couch potato, I push myself to work out in my apartment’s gym. The equipment is pretty new and works a variety of muscle groups (biceps, chest, and shoulders). It’s mostly upper body, but that’s not a problem since guys should focus on their guns and pythons, right? But seriously, as we get older, we should do what we can to exercise and stay in shape. Besides the physical work out, my stress disappears and I feel re-energized. Now I am ready to tackle the day. Can’t beat that!

Leaving Money On The Table

I’ve never joined a gym like 24 Hour Fitness or Gold’s, but I heard many horror stories about signing up for a membership and not even using it. Do you really have that much disposable income that you can give your membership fees away? If so, please sign up to the newly opened, Buck Inspire’s Gym! For the readers who are like me, guess what? Your apartment’s gym has a membership fee, too. Do you think the gym’s equipment was donated? Is it free to maintain? You would think the rent that you pay covers your apartment, but amenities like the gym and pool are rolled into your rent. If you aren’t using it, you’re leaving money on the table just like someone who signs up and doesn’t use their gym membership.

Final Thoughts

I know it’s difficult to squeeze in workouts in our busy and hectic lives. Just think of the phrase, “Use It Or Lose It”. Primarily, I’m speaking about your body. You’ll thank me when you retire. Secondly, I’m talking about your gym membership fees or the portion of your rent that covers your apartment’s gym. If you are in to bonuses, you can’t beat the free energy boost and the stress free mind you get after a good workout. So step away from the computer and go hit your gym. Just Do It! If Sly can do it at 62, what excuse do you have?

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Featured By

The Financial Blogger posted Yakezie Challenge and featured Lottery: Is It Really A Stupid Tax?

Invest It Wisely posted Weekend Reading Camping Edition and also featured Lottery: Is It Really A Stupid Tax?

Retire By 40 posted Yakezie Blog Swap Roundup and featured Steve Jobs Resigns: Why I Hated Apple

101 Centavos posted Random Flotsam and Jetsam in a Storm Surge of Links and also featured Steve Jobs Resigns: Why I Hated Apple

Financially Consumed posted Yakezie Chiyu and also featured Steve Jobs Resigns: Why I Hated Apple

Steve Jobs Resigns: Why I Hated Apple

We are still struggling with high unemployment, but did you hear about one more job lost? Some guy named Steven P. Jobs stepped away from his CEO position at some tech company named after a fruit. Just what we need, one more job lost. Ok, I’m being silly. This is no ordinary man and no ordinary company. After the news hit, some people were expecting a huge drop. In the after market, AAPL was down 5%. But after the dust settled, AAPL was only down 1. A few months ago, I was inspired by Money Cone’s Had You Bought Apple Shares Instead Of Apple Products. I had a similar post to write, but put it off because I had issues. With Steve Jobs resigning from a fairy tale run, I figure now is the perfect time to exorcise my demons.

Early 2000s

We were finally coming out of the rubble of what was the internet bubble. A friend of mine was talking about stocks. I dabbled with tech, but lost my shirt and almost lost my mind in the Internet Gold Rush. The last thing I wanted to talk about was tech companies. He was sort of an Apple fanboy and was raving about how great an investment they would be. “They have great products and they have so much cash on hand. Even if the company collapsed, you would still have a share of that cash!” AAPL at that time was trading at $12. Excuse me while I throw up. I know, “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda”.

Monkey See, Monkey Don’t

What even made this period more interesting is we both had a co-worker who was an even bigger fan boy and flaunted it. He said he was buying and holding Apple stock since the 90’s. We never saw eye to eye and I believe subconsciously I wanted nothing to do with him. I was slowly developing my identity and was more in line with the conservative, boring PC guy than the hip, cutting edge, Mac. These commercials came up later, but you get the picture. Ironically, since my nemesis had beliefs and a personality very different from my own, I further distanced myself from Apple.

What’s An iPod?

I believe it was 2004 and a friend of mine gave me a 40GB iPod (Click Wheel). I thought, “What is this unusual thing?” I never really listened to MP3’s and primarily used it as a portable hard drive. 40GB was huge back then! I’ve never been cutting edge. I didn’t particularly like the interface and I thought this was just a fad. My narrow-mindedness didn’t see we were on the verge of the greatest business comebacks in history. Whatever word you use to describe Steve Jobs, to put it bluntly, I was the direct opposite.

I Like My BlackBerry

In 2007, the tech world was buzzing. Rumor had it that the makers of the iPod would enter the smartphone space with the iPhone. Some of my friends were early adopters and raved endlessly. “You got to get it!” They were ecstatic, bordering on lunacy. “This is life changing.” Thinking back, my frugal self would not allow me to spend so much on a personal phone when my company provided a perfectly good BlackBerry. Research In Motion was dominating the business phone space so I thought nothing of it. How quickly things can change. The other half of me was still eeking out my identity. I had no opinions and usually followed the crowd. But now I wanted to be the guy who wasn’t into the iPhone craze. My mission to define myself blinded me of the ultimate game changer.

Strength Or Fear

I needed to go through what I was going through, but I sure picked a fine time to define myself. I vaguely remember thinking, “You missed the iPod boat, don’t miss it again.” AAPL was trading in the 90s and again I did nothing. I didn’t like change. I liked putting my head in the sand. At the time I was so weak, if I changed my tune my fragile ego couldn’t handle admitting defeat. In my warped mind, sitting and taking punishment is a sign of strength. How wrong I was. It was fear of change, fear of failure, and a whole lot of denial.

The Great Recession

Hindsight is 20/20. When the stock market bottomed in 2009, AAPL was back to iPhone levels. Did I buy? No. I feared for my job, my 401k, and my safety! People were talking of stocking up and getting shotguns to live in the mountains. I seriously thought it was over. Shame on me, yet again.

They Called It What? An iPad?

Here we are in 2010. After missing out on the iPod craze, the iPhone craze, and Great Recession sale, I was ready to make my move. I am going to buy AAPL before the iPad launch! You’re not going to fool me four times in a row! Four times in a row? Better late than never, right? I got in around $230 and happily saw it rise to $250. I’m on top of the world ala Leonardo DiCaprio on the Titanic!

Flash Crash

At the time, I was refining my stock trading moves. I was a very emotional and undisciplined trader. I finally added discipline to my game with stop losses. The Flash Crash activated my sell orders at $215 and just like that I was out of AAPL. I never fully recovered from that one. I properly executed my sell, was becoming a more disciplined trader, but never had a plan to buy back in. Self-doubt popped up again. Doing the right thing and becoming a better trader backfired on me. AAPL is now trading around $375. Where do we go from here?

Final Thoughts

Steve Jobs is a visionary. He miraculously rescued his dying company and transformed it into the most valuable company in the world. We are being drowned by his highlights, but for the first time ever I am coming to grips with one of my most gut wrenching lowlight reels. My personal Apple timeline is filled with second guesses and self-doubt. I was in denial and buried the pain. If I acknowledge my past failings and learn from them I have a chance to improve and move on. The final straw of inspiration came from Steve himself in a commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

The great Steve Jobs came back from what he called a devastating dismissal. In my opinion, that firing would have leveled most normal men and would have rendered me into a permanent fetal position. In the big picture, my lowlight reel is a mere fraction of what he endured. If there is something in your past that is holding you back, can it come close to what Steve went through? I know it doesn’t matter what other people go through and we all have our lives to live. But holding on to bad memories or perceived failings is just an excuse for not moving on and trying new things. Change is scary and routine is comfortable. Believe me, I know. But if the same issue keeps bothering you over and over again, shouldn’t you do something that you haven’t tried before? As for me personally, it is finally time to let it go of my hatred of Apple and in some ways, hatred of myself. Life is too short. It’s time to live for right now. Thanks for helping me “Think Different”, Steve. You’re an inspiration to us all.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Lottery: Is It Really A Stupid Tax?

We’ve all heard the jokes. I don’t play it often, but I have partaken in the so-called tax of the IQ challenged. However, I have evidence that it is a viable investment and a secret technique for being stupid tax-free! Ok, that didn’t sound right. You’ll get the picture.

100% ROI

Got your attention? Couple weeks ago, I needed change for the bus. I’ve been going Metro and been racking up some savings. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough quarters to get home. I went into my local 7-11 and needed to buy something in order for them to open the register. I slapped down a dollar for a quick picks Mega Millions lottery ticket and got my bus fare. I didn’t think too much of it since I needed the change. I don’t know how it is for others, but I do feel some joy, entertainment, and hope from the time of purchase to the time the winning numbers are picked.

The California Lottery asks “What can a dollar do for you?” Under the right mindset, it can do quite a bit! But if you are banking on this as an investment, you’ll be better off setting a goal, creating a plan, and following through. The odds are stacked against you so come back to earth after your trip to Fantasy Island. But in this case, I caught a break. I hit the mega number for a $2 payout. I doubled my money for a 100% ROI! I beat the odds this time, but here are the real odds from the California Lottery website. 
The overall odds of winning any prize in MEGA Millions will be 1 in 40 and the odds of winning the jackpot will be 1 in 176 million.

Discover Million Dollar Giveaway

I’ve been a long time user, but drifted away using my Discover card as it is not widely accepted. When they launched their million dollar giveaway, I couldn’t resist. Now many of my transactions start with, “Umm, do you take Discover?” Any time I make a purchase, I get an entry into their year end sweepstakes. I get the same euphoria and joy of a lottery ticket without spending a dime. Like I said, I’m living stupid tax-free! I really need to phrase this better.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely agree with the lottery is a stupid tax joke if you are relying on the lottery as an income generator and your fast track to a better life. Instead, why don’t you discover what you are passionate about, learn the needed skills, and find a more viable income stream. On the bright side, some of the lottery money goes back to the education system. So if you don’t hit the jackpot, consider it a donation to your state. We know California needs it. Finally, if you do play the lottery, keep your feet on the ground and enjoy the daydream and hope your ticket brings. We can still dream as adults, right?

For more info, visit the California Lottery and Discover’s Million Dollar Giveaway.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Featured By

Financially Consumed posted Yakezie Plutus Juyo and featured Do Girls Have It Easier, Superman?

7 Links Project At Buck Inspire

There’s a new fad sweeping through the blogosphere like wildfire. It’s called the 7 Links Project. I’ve read a few of these projects and like Tony the Tiger says, “They’re GREAT!” Basically each blogger goes through their archives and picks out 7 posts based on a few questions. I was nominated by Financially Consumed, Beating The Index, and Squirrelers, three of my favorites, so I thought I better step up. I’m not sure if my posts can compare to these three awesome writers, but I’ll do my best!

Your Most Beautiful Post

Most of my posts seek to entertain, so beautiful writing isn’t a strong suit, but I did find one. Have An Awesome Day! My thoughts were a little scattered as I spoke about my upcoming book review, and a dance performance. The focal point is a bus driver I ran into who just beamed of positive energy. I was so moved, I had to write about it.

Your Most Popular Post

Digging through Analytics, I am choosing my second most popular as the most popular (surprised) will be mentioned a little later. Royal Wedding, Barbara Walters, T-Mobile, and Blog Tips went semi viral right around the time of the Royal Wedding. I really enjoyed the T-Mobile parody of the Royals so I wanted to write about it. It was also a little experiment with writing for keywords. I got the traffic spike I was seeking, but it was more of a flash in the pan. After the royal wedding euphoria faded, my repeat customers also disappeared.

Your Most Controversial Post

I don’t really do controversy, but my readers were a buzzing when I posted Eating Out Is Cheaper Than Cooking. Everyone remained civil, but I quickly learned people are very passionate about their money and food!

Your Most Helpful Post

Since my posts either educate or entertain, all of my posts are helpful. I’m kidding! If I had to choose one, it would be Note To Newbies. It was helpful for me to get a grip as I started my blogging adventure, the tips struck a chord with fellow bloggers, and hopefully it will be helpful for future bloggers down the road.

A Post Whose Success Surprised You

I never expected it, but this post is also my most popular. Something Borrowed: It’s A Thin Line Between Love and Friendship was my movie review of this novel based romantic comedy. The movie was entertaining and I wrote a relatively favorable review, but the repeat readers were actively searching “thin line between love and friendship.” Readers quickly move on as my bounce rate is extremely high. But I’m doubly surprised at the traffic and how many people search for those keywords!

A Post You Feel Didn’t Get The Attention It Deserved

I chose Identity Crisis Or Self Improvement because it hits close to home. I spoke in detail about a lifelong shortcoming and how I managed to break through. I hope it will help others deal with their weaknesses in the future. My guess is that many of my readers already have a good handle on their deficiencies. I can’t really complain about that!

The Post That You Are The Most Proud Of

I was quite proud of beating the Yakezie Challenge and guest posting on John Chow, but the one that takes the cake is ProBlogger Guest Post Review. I was forced to take my writing to another level while also dealing with two rounds of rejection. In the end, I really grew as a writer and a person. I’m hoping I can use this momentum to continue growing, learning, and improving. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Final Thoughts

It was fun strolling down memory lane and thanks to all my readers and commenters who supported me along the way. Thanks again to Financially Consumed, Beating The Index, and Squirrelers for passing me the torch.

Here are my nominations to continue with their 7 Links Project:

Krant Cents

Money Cone

Bucksome Boomer (Dig the new look!)

Prairie Eco-Thrifter

Super Frugalette

Symphony Field Trip As An Adult

When I was in elementary school, one of the highlights was a field trip to the symphony. I remember lining up with my classmates, boarding a bus, and heading into the concert hall. What’s the brass section? What’s a woodwind? What’s the difference with a violin and a viola? To be honest, I was probably more excited about getting away from the classroom than the symphony itself. Let’s fast forward to the present.

I visited the Walt Disney Concert Hall for an evening of music appreciation. The concert hall itself is a piece of art. The one of a kind structure outside blended perfectly with the exquisite wood craftsmanship inside. Enough with art and architecture, on to the sound of music!

Music Candy Store

I actually forgot how many people are in a symphony orchestra. I did a quick search and it ranges from 70 to 100. The one I attended was somewhere in the middle. There were violins, cellos, clarinets, oboes, French horns, tubas, trombones, drums, a harp, a xylophone, and a triangle. A triangle? Yes, can’t have a symphony orchestra without a triangle, right?

I loved how each section played in unison. Just like watching awesome choreography, every different instrument section was in sync. The interplay between sections was also a sight to see as a section reached its crescendo, another instrument section would come over the top to continue the musical storytelling. Music told me stories of drama, adventure, and romance without uttering a word! During the adventures, each section reminded me of squadrons in an epic battle. The strings were the infantry attacking from below while the brass and the woodwinds attacked from above.

Solo Superstars

I also was treated to a violin and piano soloist. I initially wondered how one person could stand out and perform center stage, as all of these musicians were talented professionals. I found out in dramatic fashion. Both the violinist and pianist became one with their instrument and music. The other members provided the background. They were doing their jobs. The soloist was so passionate about their pieces; you could see it on their faces and performance. They looked possessed as they wiggled and swayed as the beautiful melodies flowed from them. The pianist in particular looked as if he was in ecstacy!

Final Thoughts

I had an amazing time and was surprisingly moved by all the performances. I did have to question the conductor and the triangle player. I’m sure they both could run rings around me in the field of music, but were they really necessary? From the naked eye, conducting and playing a triangle looks as if any guy off the street could do. I’m not trying to offend any conductors or triangle players. As a person with little musical background, I was just curious.

Until someone corrects my thinking, whatever you do in life, aim to be as ecstatic about your goal as a soloist. Why do anything if you are just going through the motions? I know it is easy to get caught in your routines. It’s easy clocking in to your nine to five and running in the rat race. Wouldn’t it be better to deal with your job, your relationships, controlling your debt, planning for retirement, and your other interests as passionately as a master musician? Learn more about the goal you are trying to reach. Put in the time to become a master through hard work and practice. Live and breathe it until you love it. I believe it’s a win-win situation. You will be a more fulfilled person as you are doing things you truly love. Secondly, because you are doing something that you love and have mastered, the output you create will be world class and awe inspiring to others. As you absorb the positive energy from your standing ovations, you can gleefully return to center stage and perform again. It’s not a viscous cycle, but a beautiful cycle. ENCORE!

Click here for more information on the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Do You Know Your 401k?

My co-workers and I caught up at the water cooler. The big news is our 401k was changing custodians. This sparked an interesting, but unexpected discussion about retirement.

I’ve worked with Bubba and Sherlock for a few years. I still remember years ago when I convinced Bubba to put a small percentage of his paycheck into our company retirement plan. Ironically, after my conversion to public transportation, I convinced Bubba to go Metro, too. I just sat back as he passionately tried to convince Sherlock to contribute to his 401k. For a moment, I felt like a proud teacher or coach.

Sherlock, like his namesake, is very intelligent and quite savvy. He’s already a homeowner and seemed pretty knowledgeable about real estate, taxes, and general investments. As we continued to talk, I discovered he only knew half the story.

He understood money is put away pre-taxed, but that’s all he knew. He thought the 401k was a fund that sat on the side and would be available when we retire. He ranted I could be using that money to earn interest. “Why would I want those funds just sitting around?” I saw my opportunity to strike and explained to him about using those pre-taxed funds and buying into investment vehicles depending on his risk tolerance. Look out Sam Waterston and EF Hutton! He was unaware that he could use those funds to invest. His eyes lit up. Houston, we have lift off!

Final Thoughts

Bubba chimed in that he started slow and has been increasing his contributions year after year. The good news is Sherlock was very open-minded and after hearing both of our sides, would look into starting up his 401k. I initially thought my blog would be my vessel to educate, inspire, and entertain. I was pleasantly surprised and fulfilled when I achieved my goal, albeit a small one, offline. Although the stock market is a little volatile right now, everyone should contribute whatever they can into their company’s 401k. Besides the tax benefits, over the long run, the stock market should provide returns way better than what you could get in a savings account. If you are interested, I suggest you speak with your HR department or whoever is responsible for your company’s retirement plan. If your friend or co-worker is unclear about something you know about, give him or her a little nudge, you might make a big difference.

Speaking of inspiring, check out Prairie Eco-Thifter’s How to Inspire Others.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Featured By

Retire By 40 posted Oral-B Rebate & Mega Roundup and featured Trust Your Trading System

Couple Money posted ING Direct Now Has Paper Checks and featured Save On Car Expenses

Do Girls Have It Easier, Superman?

When I was younger, my guy friends and I came to the conclusion that girls had it easier when it comes to the dating scene. At the time, it made perfect sense. You see it all the time in movies, in the clubs, and the bars. There is always a steady stream of guys lining up to chat up a girl. Sam’s friend Tracy experienced this a lot in her 20’s, but now sees finding love gets harder as we grow older. Over the weekend, I was forced to re-examine my old theory.

Are Guys Just Unware?

My wife, her friend (Debbie), and I caught up over drinks at a lounge. We ran into a few other friends as well. We were snapping pictures and a friend of a friend offered to take our picture. Afterwards, this guy starts chatting up my wife and her friend. I thought it was all harmless fun. Throughout the evening, he hovered around Debbie. He was intrigued, but it was obvious she was not interested. She kept her distance and was not very responsive to his questions. He came and went a few times. On another fly by, he saw his chance as my wife and I were preoccupied with another couple. He cornered Debbie and moved in for the kill. It was like a leopard chasing down the slowest deer in the pack. He kept wanting to shake her hand, but was also invading her personal space. Debbie was so bothered, she blurted out an excuse that she had to find her friend and stormed off. Was this guy drunk? Totally oblivious? Thought she was playing hard to get? Doesn’t take no for an answer? Thankfully Debbie was ok and that was the last time we saw him. He finally caught the hint.

Pon Farr the Barbarian

As we caught our collected breath from Bachelor #1, meet Bachelor #2. He spotted my wife and her friend and started excitedly screaming, “Hey let’s take some shots!” I thought he was an old friend of theirs. He was hooting and hollering to get the shot girl to come over. He talks up my wife and Debbie and come to find out that he is another friend of a friend. He finally noticed I was there and asked who I was. I joked I was the two girls’ bodyguard. He was a little tipsy as he playfully put up his dukes. I chuckled and thought to myself, “This guy is more of a piece of work than the first one.” After taking shots, he chats us up a little more. I tried to be friendly as he seemed nice enough. A danceable song came up and he was itching to dance. He screamed to the girls, “Let’s dance!” The girls didn’t want to and stared blankly at each other. Debbie must have used some pheromones because Bachelor #2 latches on to her arm and proceeds to try and tug her out of her seat. “Come on! Let’s dance!” Any person with a pulse could have seen Debbie was not at all interested and was beginning to fear for her safety. But Bachelor #2 had only one thing on his mind. My previous Clark Kent self normally wouldn’t mettle, but I felt compelled to act and save Debbie as Bachelor the Barbarian was about to tear off her arm. I used my assertive crisis management and told him to cut it out. Thankfully, hearing my voice snapped him out of his trance. He looked like Spock going through Pon Farr (Vulcan mating season)! Cooler heads prevailed and no fisticuffs were needed.

Final Thoughts

When I was younger, I was clueless about the birds and bees. Perhaps my friends and I clung to our theory that girls had it easier to justify our own struggles. Sour grapes? Perhaps. If girls want oblivious men in heat who think their caveman style of courting works, the supply is endless. However, if they are looking for a man of quality, I am now letting go of my old theory. Girls do not have it easier as you can clearly see. Finally, guys, I’m all for being confident, determined, and persistent. But if the girl you are pursuing cringes from you like you are a stalker or has a look of horror as her arm is about to be detached from her body, your approach needs some work. Be aware, don’t forget your manners, and be a gentleman. If not, you’ll make the Roxbury Guys look like master pickup artists.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

Save On Car Expenses

In today’s economy people are looking for more and more ways to trim
the budget and cut expenses. Unfortunately, the amount of money we
spend on our vehicle is quite high among our list of expenses. With
rising fuel costs causing us to hand over large bills and the
necessary routine maintenance required, car expenses can easily add up
to thousands of dollars. Vehicles also have a limited lifetime and
need to be replaced every so often. Despite the money involved, cars
are a necessity for most people. Here are a few ways you can cut down
on the cost of maintaining a vehicle.

Purchase a Car Within your Means

Larger vehicles are often much more then we need for our
transportation. Vehicles like SUVs and trucks burn lots of fuel and
can have high maintenance costs. When considering a vehicle to buy,
choose the smallest style car that will fit your needs. Consider how
many people you need to transport and the distance you commute.
Smaller cars are lighter, use less gas, and are easier to maintain.
Insurance for smaller compact cars is usually less than that of larger
models.

Look Closely at Warranties

When purchasing a car from a dealer, take a careful look at the
coverage of the warranty. Dealers will usually try to convince you to
purchase extended warranties or service coverage. While it may seem
like a good deal, they are often overpriced and cover a lot less then
the salesmen will lead you to believe.

Perform Regular Tune-ups

The price of a tune-up is small in comparison to the amount of gas
your car will use if poorly tuned. An engine that is not tuned will
cause a decrease in gas mileage. Even a small decline in gas mileage
can add up to a considerable expense.

Check Tire Pressure

While it may seem odd to routinely check your tire’s inflation level,
your tires are important to the efficiency of your car. Underinflated
tires can reduce gas mileage. Also poorly inflated tires wear much
faster and will need to be replaced sooner. New tires are expensive
and worth preserving as long as possible.

Combine Errands

Every little bit helps when cutting car expenses. Try to plan your
errands and accomplish as much as possible when going out. In the long
run, you will reduce the amount of gas used and save a few dollars.

Shop for Insurance

If you need car insurance, be sure to look around at several cheap auto
insurance companies for the best rate. If you have a good driving
record, then you might qualify for a better rate with a different company.
Also determine what kind of insurance you need. If your car is older,
then you can drop many different levels of coverage and stick with the
minimum amount.

Talk with your Insurance Company

Give your insurance provider as much information as possible regarding
the safety features. If you have airbags, automatic seatbelts, or a
car alarm system then you may qualify for discounts. Ask your insurer
how much you can save by raising your deductable. Often a small raise
will save you much more on your premium.

Carpool if Possible

Find a few workmates to go along with you on your commute. Splitting
the cost of fuel among each of you is a fantastic way to save money.
The amount each one gives will vary on the fluctuating gas prices.

Drive Conservatively

The rate of acceleration and braking have a big impact on the fuel you
use. Excessive or heavy braking causes a loss in efficiency. You car
uses a lot of gas to get it up to speed and is then wasted as you come
to an abrupt halt. Your engine uses extra gas when accelerating
rapidly. Try to slowly accelerate and anticipate slowdowns. You will
find your gas needle will not drop as fast.

The above was a guest post on behalf of Cheap Car Insurance.

Trust Your Trading System

Down 630, Up 430, Down 520. Are we having fun yet? It’s been a nauseating few days. Can anyone say volatility? Should you buy? Should you sell? Should you cry? Should you pray? I don’t have an end all be all answer because it really depends on you. No matter what happens, you should remember to trust your trading system.

What’s Your Cup Of Tea?

Buy and hold? Trend Following? Gold? Options? Forex? Real Estate? I’m not going to go into the factors that an investor should review to decide on their system. However, during these roller coaster times, you really have to stick to your system through good times and bad. If you make decisions on the fly, you begin to chase, act emotionally, and your critical money managing moves will be ruled by greed and fear. We all should agree we make our best decisions, investing or otherwise, when we are calm and logical.

Playing Cards

In blackjack, everyone has their tried and true system of hitting, standing, doubling down, and splitting. In poker, everyone has their system for betting, raising, checking, and bluffing. Like I said earlier, you play your best cards when you are calm and under control. If you are on tilt, or are swayed by greed and fear in stock talk, you behave irrationally and before you know it, you are out of chips, bounced out of a tournament, or get a 50% haircut on your portfolio.

Sell In May

For example, Sam the Financial Samurai practices Sell In May And Go Away. He looks like Warren Buffet right now, but during some better times in June and July, if he didn’t trust his system and his portfolio moves, he might have lost sleep and second guessed himself. I’m sure he’s sipping his Mai Tai on an exotic beach right about now.

Final Thoughts

After weeks of carnage, I started second guessing myself. On Monday night, I actually said, “I should have been shorting!” Bad Buck! It was just a thought. Sometimes it’s hard not to use 20/20 hindsight. When we popped back on Tuesday, I actually thought, “I should have bought some stocks. It’s obvious we won’t go too much lower below Dow 11000!” Bad Buck! Just a lot of internal chatter, but still, I have to keep this in check because one day, I might act on it. Don’t let this happen to you.

Stay Inspired!
Buck

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