Saturday, March 12, 2005

Hobbies. Boy, do I have have hobbies!

According to some horoscope I read once, being a Gemini, I am a renaissance person, and interested in many things. I can't decide if I was like that before, or am just trying to make it self-fulfilling. At any rate, I got hobbies.

I like to draw comic books. I am working on my large graphic novel, Chasing the Sun. I just started drawing Chapter 10, have wirtten through Chapter 18, and haven't finished the story, but I'm already starting "Osama Bin Laden Owes Me $400", my 9/11 story, and have started drawing the first panel. In my head I'm plotting another series called "Comancheria," a manga-style Western. Comic pages from Blue Line Pro cost $12.95 for 24 sheets, or $0.53 per sheet. ProBoardz from BCEMylar are $12.00 for 25, or $0.48 per sheet. So I have reduced the costs on that hobby.

I got back into homebrewing this year, but since I didn't have to repurchase all the hardware, all I'll have to pay for is kits. A friend, who encouraged me back into home brewing, said he'll pick up the tab on the next few batches and split the results.

I have already mentioned that I love reading comics, and that I collect Star Trek books. How do I cut that down?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Three weeks ago, I discovered I had written a few checks that bounced. All my fault! I did it without thinking. I wasn't trying to steal anything, I just hadn't been checking my account balance. When I got paid, I discovered that I had accrued several hundred dollars in overdraft fees. Geez! What a moron I am. All of the checks that bounced were for under $10. Fortunately, my bank paid them, so I don't have to run all over town and pay extra fees, but I'm still a moron.

Naturally, all this meant that I am late on some payments. I had hoped to pay off Security Finance today. Looks like it will have to be next paycheck.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

My eBay Principle

I have been selling my comic collection on eBay. I've noticed something That I call the eBay Principle:

If I want to buy an item, it will cost more than twice what I can get selling the same item.

It is similar to my Shopping Principle: If I want to buy an item, no one in town carries it. As soon as I buy it in another town, every store has twenty of the item at a cheaper price.

I guess I'm just not a savvy shopper or eBay seller.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

For the last few weeks, I have been mulling over writing about the crass commercialism of modern life. But I have been struggling with an approach to the topic. How could I contribute something new to the ongoing debate?

You want to know what business thinks of us, check your email. How many unsolicited commercial emails do you see?

According to Postini 69.6% of all email is spam. The majority of it is bulk mail, only a small percantage is "Get Rich Quick" schemes and a smaller percentage is sexually explicit. This is an 62% increase since January 2002. If you hear one of the spammers talk, they all say that we gave them permission to send us the email because we gave our address to someone. That person sold the email address to the spammer for him to use.

Business perceives us as at least two sources of income: First when we purchase from them, and second when they sell our contact information to another business. And as a result, we do not have the right not to be bombarded with ads in our mailbox, our email box, the TV and the phone. Hell, even I bombard you with ads: take a look to the right. I want to part you with your hard earned money as well.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

In the last post, I outlined my plan to get control of my finances. There are a few assumptions that I needed to make.

First, I'm using eBay to get rid of stuff I don't use anymore. Mostly, it's my comic collection that I have been keeping since the 70s. I'm hoping that people will pay top dollar for this stuff, but I realize that people shoping on eBay are shopping for bargains. What will really cheese me off is if some of the books I'm selling are resold for more money. I have an ebay rule: If I have it, it isn't worth anything. If I want to buy it, it's worth at least one limb.

Second, I have to cut my current expenses. Some magazines are going away. I don't like it, but it's a fact of life. I buy comics from Westfield Comics. I can't quite convince myself to give up my comics, but I need to pare down the books I buy to what I absolutely read: like Usagi Ujimbo, or Superman, Batman, or Captain America. I also buy Star Trek books through Westfield. (I live in a small town and can't always get the new book.) Right now, I spend about $100 a month on my Westfield order. I am going to cut that down to $75.

Third, I started putting ads on my websites, including my CafePress items. Of course, now all I have to do is get people to buy stuff.

I also thought about creating a website to beg for money, like Karyn did. She was $20,000 in debt and in five months was free and clear. But that's been done. Darnnit!

Monday, March 07, 2005

I've been wondering what this blog should be about, and decided it should be something self-exploratory. So, while I'll still comment on the stupidity I see around me, I will be focusing more on my self-improvement.

One thing I want to improve the most is my financial situation. I have never been able to be in control of my money. I have always lived from paycheck to paycheck, and I am getting a bit tired of it. For the second time in my life, I have maxed out several credit cards, and look at a steep, uphill climb to get out from under.

I have to focus! Right now, I am paying on six credit cards, and two loans from one of those loan places with extortionate interest rates. Add to mix a checking account i never balance, and have so far this year, chalked up $300 in overdraft fees.

This is a result of me being sucked into the "Buy more, live better" mentality that business has foisted upon all of us. In America, the ultimate purpose of life, it seems, is to work hard to buy stuff. And boy, have I done that!

So here's my plan:
Step One: I owe $144 bucks to Security Finance. That payment is $48 a month. On Friday, I will pay off that loan, three months early.

Step Two: I owe $325 to B&W Finance. I have to make a $73.80 payment, and then I'll owe $250. In April, I will pay that loan off.

Step Three: I owe about $1000 to Household Bank for my MasterCard. I had been paying $100 a month. in May I will begin paying $200, which means that I will be payed off in October.

Step Four: Decide which is the card with the lowest balance, and pay the regular payment, plus $200.

I'll put a table on the page to mark my progress.

So now my blog has a purpose, to make my committment to fiscal responsibility public, and hold me accountable.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I keep trying to make this blog count for something, but I haven't been able to figure out what it should be.

I mean, should it be a forum for my political views? Don't we have enough of those already? Should it be a family blog? I already have one of those. Should it be a travel blog? Well, I don't travel. So what should it be?

I'm thinking that this blog should have a purpose, besides for my verbal flatulance.

I working on it.