Month: March 2008

Deflating Your Income

As inflation increases and the value of the dollar continues to tumble the amount of money that the company you are working for is paying you is worth less and less. This reality hit me for the first time last month when after recently starting a new job I realized that the money I agreed to get paid to work for them for was now worth less than when I had started only a month previous.

At times like these when inflation runs rampant, companies raise prices on goods and services to ensure that they aren’t losing anything. What they do not do however is raise the wages of their employees accordingly. So these big corporations end up making even more profit than before while people like you and I only grow poorer and have less buying power. Now it is true that there are many companies that are struggling to make a profit just as individuals are right now but in some sense that just proves that raising prices with inflation only serves to keep lower income families from spending money on their goods or services.

Don’t expect it to ever be a reality but a if any nation were ever to have a fair wage system it would include wages that fluctuate with the value of whatever the currency of that nation is.


Money Management

Something I haven’t really touched on so far in this ongoing blog journey of mine is the topic of money management. Every day you hear news reports about America’s growing debt and people being tens of thousands of dollars in debt to credit card companies and not being able to pay their mortgage and now expecting the government to help them out. The majority of the people that fall into the categories that I just mentioned obviously have no concept of managing their money and spending within their means. To achieve independence from the rat race and independence from relying on others to do everything for you, you must take care of your money. You must know where its coming from and where its going. Make a balanced budget and stick to it. Utilize the budget to explore areas of excess spending that can be trimmed back or areas to potentially make some extra money.

At my previous job my boss, who made two to three times what I was and his wife brought in a good deal of money too, was always complaining about money issues and not being gable to pay the bills. Between the two of them they were both bringing in more than 100k! There’s no excuse for this kind of poor fiscal planning. I’ve seen so many examples of people who make a great deal more than I do but have nothing to show for it simply because of their spending habits.

If you find yourself in this kind of situation then read these next few lines very carefully. You can change course. You can turn your fortunes around but you have to be willing to do the work that gets you financially fit again. The best advice I can give you is to go buy a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. The book will impart wisdom to you that you may be lacking and help you find a way to get back on your feet.


Preparing The Garden

Okay we are bad gardeners, I admit it. But we can change really we can. This year we are trying the concept of Lasagna Gardening. Wherein you lay wet cardboard down over the area you are planning to use for your garden and then you cover that in layers of organic material such as compost and other things. This in turn smothers all the grass and weeds underneath and leaves you with a rich medium to plant in on top. That’s the idea anyway. We’ll see how it works.

This year we are planting a lot more variety than previous years. All part of my pursuit of self-sufficiency.


Bluetooth Keyboard Works Like A Charm

Well unlike the lackluster experience I’ve had with my MiniSD Wi-Fi card, my bluetooth keyboard from iGo is really a great addition to my smartphone. I can spend my lunch breaks typing blog posts or working on my novels. Not having much else to do on lunch, other than eat anyway, gives me an amount of focus on writing that I don’t often find time for at home. In fact this blog post was typed up on my phone in a few minutes and now I’m able to move onto other things.This is the start of something good I think.


Where I’ve Been, What I’ve Been Doing

Well once again I’ve posted something about musical plans on here only to have those plans dashed aside by real life. I got a new job and I was out of state for a month so no music was accomplished and the new job has me working longer hours so it’s even tougher to get things done.

I’ve really given up attempting to make any firm plans in regards to music anymore. They just never seem to work out. I’ve been working on this album for more than two years now, even since before Watching the Ships came out. At this point I’m considering just shelving the whole project and starting new. I’ve written a lot of new songs that I think reflect who I am now as a person and a musician so much better than songs that are several years old and I also feel like I haven’t been starting anything new because I’ve been hanging onto this idea that that the current album needs finished even though I’m not much closer today than I was a couple months ago. I feel like its holding me back at this point.

But who knows, like I said I’m not making firm plans for anything. Maybe I will finish it after all. There will be new music from me, I just dont know when.


Wi-Fi Not So Cool

Well I finally received the Spectec SDW-822 wi-fi card for my phone and it’s not as good as I had hoped. Mainly because of the SDW-822’s limited range being that it is only 802.11B standard. I could have gotten the SDW-825 which uses the G wireless standard but that was $90 and a bit more than I was willing to pay for internet on my phone. The reason the range is such an issue is because I had planned on using it on my lunch breaks at work and the company wi-fi doesn’t reach the break room at all (atleast not with a B card).

The other issue is that the card sticks out from the phone about a quarter of an inch, which I knew it would ahead of time but I think I could have looked past that if the card had better range. And the few times I was able to connect to a wireless network I really struggled to find a way that it was going to help my productivity. If I was selling a lot of stuff on ebay then yeah but I’m not doing anything like that.

So hopefully I can return it. And for right now just be without wi-fi on my phone.


Self-Sufficiency

An area that I’ve been looking at more and more lately is the idea of self-sufficiency. Before global trade became so readily available, nations were forced to be self-sufficient. Now everything is outsourced to someone else. America depends on terrorist nations for oil and communist nations for food and goods. And look at the messes it makes?

The same concept applies to individuals and families. If you depend on other people for all of your goods and services then you are at the mercy of whatever the market conditions are. I don’t plan on being able to be entirely self-sufficient but getting away from being TOTALLY dependent is a good goal to have I think.

Something that we are getting into is growing our own fruits and vegetables as much as possible. And from that making our own jellies and preserves. This past year we made enough jelly to not have to buy any for a year. We did have to buy some of the fruit from local growers though because our own production hasnt matured enough yet. I say if it tastes better, is better for you, and is cheaper, why not do it? If you have kids it can also be a great thing to teach them agricultural principles.

Another way I’ve been pushing a little more towards self-sufficiency is doing minor car repairs. I’ve done some minor stuff in the last year or so that didn’t take very long to do and cost a lot less than taking my car to a mechanic.The flip side to this issue is how much of your time is all this taking up? And could that time be better put to use elsewhere? These are questions that the individual needs to answer for themselves. Timothy Ferriss, the author of The 4 Hour Work Week, advocates outsourcing everything to better free up your time. And this idea does have some merit but if you can do more for yourself at less cost than having people do things for you then you don’t need as much income to support yourself.

Take for example someone who is making $40,000 a year working 50 hours a week for some big corporation. Now what if that person took a job making $30,000 a year at 40 hours a week but spent ten hours a week doing things for himself that he previously paid someone else to do? It could be growing some food yourself, walking your own dog instead of paying someone, your own home and car repairs, or any number of things that you pay someone else to do because you simply don’t have the time. I submit to you that taking care of your own life instead of expecting someone else to take care of it for you is much more fulfilling than working yourself to death in order to make millions for someone else.


New Phone/New Tool

I found a solution (i hope) to using my time wisely during my hour long lunch break at work. I bought a Motorola Q9m through Verizon. It’s a Windows Mobile 6 smartphone that has all kinds of capabilities. One of which is a mini-version of Microsoft Office which allows you to edit and create Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files. It can also view PDF files but if you want to view them as they are intended to be viewed you have to zoom in on the files to read anything and then you have to scroll around a lot to see the whole page. To fix this problem change the View to Wordwrap. It will display the PDF in plain text but it will be much more readable

So far I’ve been enjoying reading eBooks but to truly make this phone into a productive tool I am going to buy a couple of accessories. One of them is the iGo Stowaway Bluetooth Keyboard. It’s a fullsize keyboard that folds up and connects to your phone using Bluetooth. The phone has a full keyboard on it but the keys are so tiny that I have difficulty doing anything beyond simple text edits with it.

The other accessory I plan to buy very soon is a Spectec miniSD Wi-Fi adapter. It will give me wi-fi capabilities without paying for Verizon’s over priced data packages.


Work At Home Scams

Many people in the American workforce are feeling frustrated and angry about having to work harder and harder for less money (less buying power as time goes by) while rich in the country only get richer while doing less to obtain that wealth.

Lowlifes have taken this situation as an opportunity to scam people out of money over the internet with Work at Home scams. They promise huge money for almost no work while you sit in front of your computer. When someone falls into these traps the scammers then either deliver nothing to the victim or something completely different than what was being advertised.

I too am someone who has felt the temptation to look into these “opportunities” that seem too good to be true but I know that they are all lies and people just looking to steal my money. I’ve searched deep into the internet looking for a legitimate work at home opportunity that actually pays something and so far I’ve come up empty handed.

Stay clear of these things at all cost. The newest trick is to make multiple websites that are supposedly reviewing a work at home opportunity and saying how great it was compared to all the other ones.

Someday I would like to work from home, but these crooks aren’t the path to that goal.


Job Training

As I said in my previous entry there was a secondary reason why I hadn’t been around for quite some time. With my new job I was in a different state for a month doing job training. After searching for and applying to and interviewing for new jobs for an entire year I finally got hired. I had been trying to get a promotion in the company I was working for for quite some time and the lousy district manager kept promoting guys that were younger than me, single and still living with their parents. Apparently being in your mid-twenties and having a family to feed didn’t fit into their idea of a manager. Oh well…

The new company I’m working for is a bit smaller but it is in the same industry as the previous one. I am actually enjoying it quite a bit more, though I still long for the day when I can just work from home.

So this doesn’t exactly help me in my pursuit of self-employment because now I am working more hours. But on the other hand I am also making a bit more money so I can fund other projects better and I have an hour lunch now so I’m planning on ways to be productive during that hour. We shall see.