Archive for the ‘savings tips’ Category

Debt Consolidation complete for now!

January 30, 2008

Ok, I’m card hopping – not the best routine, but better than getting killed with high interest rates.  Now I the most I’m paying is 4.99% at Bofa for about 11K of debt.  The rest of my $15K debt is at zero percent.  This means that I’m paying about $525/year in interest charges down from $2100 just a few months back.  Also, I increased my credit limit on my bofa card to 16K.

FALLING BACK INTO THE DEBT PATTERN

Since my rental check didn’t come in, I have not been able to pay the bills so I had to put it on my credit card.  This is the same pattern that happens so quickly with falling into debt.  I have not at all been able to spend time focusing on film – especially my own projects which I direct and/or produce.  I have people pissed off at me, but I’m trying to make them understand that working on a non-paid project is hard to justify when I can’t pay my bills.

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG? 

A few weeks back I was studying about blogging intensely, but realized that if I put that same effort to learning about real estate my wealth will increase even more.  So I have been focused on that. I’m not going to discontinue blogging, but it will be much further back on the priority list.  I do see a passive income stream there, but a slower one.  I have one site already set up with google adsense and will maintain it.  However, I don’t think I will start anything soon.

I’m also looking to get a job with an airline or some other franchise or both.  This way,  I can visit my parents more frequently.

MY PRIORITIES

My priorities are in a state of flux.  Previously, it was in this order:

1. Film/Acting
2. Family
3. Travel

Then last month it was:
1. Family
2. Finance
3. Film
4. Travel

Now since I’ve seen my  parents recently it’s:
1. Finance
2. Family
3. Film
4. Travel

I have a pretty clear vision now of where I’m going.  A few variables are getting a job to pay the bills until the passive income kicks into a higher gear (at least $2K/mo).

Advertisements

Pressure of No Income

January 9, 2008

I’ve been feeling really pressured lately as there is no new money coming in.  instead of pushing my property mgr to get a new client in. I formatted the listing of my condo to his site specific.  Sent him pictures I have of the empty condo and said that I would send this out to craigslist unless I hear otherwise – instead of asking him, ‘let me know if you want me to send it to craigslist.’  So that way, he has to respond to stop me incase I put something in my listing that he doesn’t approve of.

I hung out with a friend who mentioned mint.com.  it’s a really cool concept and basically it does everything automatically which I’m doing manually on excel.  Check out this article about mint.com on Forbes.

I spent a lot of time updating my other site and adding adsense and Amazon stuff.  I have this tendency to work really hard for something that might pay me back later – ‘might’ being the operative word.  I have such an entrepreneurial spirit, but a lot of times it doesn’t go to fruition, so all this time spent is wasted.  But I know – just the same with film – that I’ll only fail when I quit.

Debated With My Wife Regarding Finances

December 31, 2007

I offered my wife 20% for my half of the rent $425 (which equals to about $0.24/day). I didn’t want the emotion attached as if I’m a loafer husband who’s not pulling in the dough, so that’s why I offered double of what she could get with her money anywhere else.  She currently has about $3K sitting in a bank account earning about 0.25%.

She argued that I’m always on the edge every time prop tax comes around and questioned why I didn’t get a part-time job.  I told her that I refused to get a minimum wage job which is a waste of time. Instead I would rather put that time towards building a passive income system.

She works as a waitress like almost every other actor in town, but it’s not sustainable.  She makes decent income and can save, but it’s not what she wants to do.  So I told her that we’re at the opposite ends of almost everything we do – which is an excellent opportunity to see what the other person is doing and learn from them.  She said it breaks her heart to see me not having money. I told her that it breaks my heart that she’s working til 1am and coming home in the cold dark nights alone.  But didn’t fight and just kept each other in check to make sure we’re doing the right thing with our time.  This set up is so much better than both of us being in the same boat and not seeing a different type of life.  I told her that she has to learn about passive income every single day – whether it’s real estate, stocks, google adsense, etc.

BE KNOWLEDGEFUL BEFORE A FINANCIAL WINDFALL COMES YOUR WAY
Many of our friends land commercial gigs which pay about $20K for just a day’s work.  She even landed one recently, but you don’t start learning about what to do with the money ONCE you have the money.  You have to start learning BEFORE you have that money.  Usually what happens is that you get that kind of money and then you end up trying to save it and then six months later you realized that you worked less and spent all that on bills – like it happened to one of our friends just recently.  She moved into a nicer apt instead of setting up a system.  So, now she’s worse off than BEFORE she got the $20K because she lives in a ‘nicer’ place, but doesn’t have any more of the $20K to pay for it.

WAYS TO STOP EATING OUT
Also, we don’t have a system for food.  We usually go out and get something to eat when we have nothing in the house.  We should have at least 4-5 healthy choice frozen dinners as a back up.  We don’t like eating those things, but when we have no home cooked meals, we can dig into that which costs about $2 a pop – compared to $15 for two by going to a fast food restaurant.  We’ve been buying bags of beans and rice which is really cheap and easy to make and always readily available.  Another thing that really clicked for me in terms of cooking –  not sure if I mentioned it before – is to make gourmet food at home for about $5.  Usually when you cook pasta or something, it’s cheap and tastes cheap.  However, we started making fresh fish which at a restaurant would cost you about $25/plate.  We can make that for $3 at home.

Quest for Passive Income

December 31, 2007

Yesterday I spent about 5 hours on the website adding amazon’s omakase ad links hoping to get some sort of return.  But I know this will not be an overnight return.  I’ve had this site for years, but haven’t done anything financial with it.  It’s only been about film.

Next I will add amazon ads specific to the articles.  Then I will add the google ads.  I keep documenting these to see how much time I’m putting into it and what the return will be like.

KEEPING COSTS DOWN – JONS GROCERY
Yesterday, my wife and I decided to try out Jons grocery store instead of Ralph’s.  We went there for the first time a few weeks back and found the prices of mushrooms and other veggies to be almost half if not even less than half of what Ralph’s charges.  I always avoided that store because it seemed so dingy and didn’t seem like they could buy in volume like the other local grocery by our house.  Furthermore, it seemed like a real-life spoof in the vain of McDowel’s in the movie Coming to America and how they are always competing with McDonald’s.
We walked around the cereal section and it actually cost more than Ralph’s esp when they have the ralph’s club card sale.  You could tell by the distribution of the people in the store that no one was in those isles.  When we walked to the produce section, it was buzzing like some street market in China.  Obviously that’s where the savings were.  Same goes for the frozen foods, milk, cheeses, etc – nothing was cheaper.  We found a $3 bottle of wine that tasted better than he $2 Charles Shaw at Trader Joe’s.  It’s called Forest Ville.

Accounts
Nothing has gone through in terms of balance transfers to bring down the $9K.  I think it’s because of the holidays.  I surprisingly have about $400 still in my account, but rent of $425 is due tomorrow.   And cable is due which is about $25 (we don’t have tv cable, just internet).  And gas $10.

I don’t have enough, but I might take a loan from my wife.  I know what you’re thinking, ‘you guys are weird. That’s so business-like in a relationship.’ But it’s two-part.  One, I don’t want to her to suffer financially as she’s trying not to touch her savings account. Two, I want her to get into the mindset of making money from her money – passive income.  I had to borrow some about 6 months ago (usually occurs when prop tax is due) and I gave her 20% interest.  However, I paid her back within a week, so she made about $3, but it’s still a mindset.

One of our friends makes about $200K a year, but he doesn’t have the mindset to make passive income, so he’s working his life away.  I’ve got another friend who’s much older and has a McMansion and only 3 people live in it.  He’s about 65 years old and still has to work to pay for the extra rooms in his house which he uses a couple of times a year.  I don’t understand the mentality of material possessions, esp huge houses which are not paid off.  It’s not like he loves his work.  He works to pay for the house.  Why not downsize, pay off a smaller house with the value of the current one and I’m sure he’s getting social security.  You can use that for the food and utilities, etc.