Monthly Archives: October 2015

Random Thoughts….

The NFL recently lost a lawsuit brought on by former players who are now suffering medical problems due to their playing days. The one billion dollar judgment was awarded after the courts ruled that the NFL did a poor job in awareness towards the players in not warning them to the possibilities of concussions and the effects from them. I know football players are stereotyped as not being too bright and this does nothing to improve that status that’s been placed upon them. The most violent sport in the world and you have to tell them that concussions could occur?!? Is the NFL now going to bring awareness to the possibilities of every injury that could occur while playing since these guys can’t seem to figure it out for themselves.

Whatever happened to the days when we target practiced anything and the target was a series of colorful circles with a “bull’s-eye” in the center. Now the target is the outline of the top half of a human torso. Not only that but the vital areas, or kill zones, score higher. Unlike the series of circles where the closer you got to the center the higher the score. Don’t you think in some small way this desensitizes us to shooting another human being just a little bit? Don’t think about it, your damn right it does!

The most valuable thing I carry with me every day, like most people, is a wallet. In it you will find among other things, debit and credit cards, drivers license, social security card, medical cards, etc etc. All are pretty valuable things in the wrong hands and a royal pain if they are lost or stolen. All the phone calls and trips here and there to get them replaced and getting the cards shut down before any major financial damage is done. Not to mention all the calls and trips if you don’t. Yet I don’t physically carry it in my hand all day to ensure it’s safety. What am I getting at? Many people carry a cell phone in their hand all day like it holds global secrets. Lose a cell phone, it’s one trip to the phone store at best. Go figure that out?

Even though what happened in Baltimore was bad for a day or so I think some good did come of it. Many folks stood up to the looters, sided with the police in their actions, got out and cleaned up immediately afterward, and one woman was shown on TV beating the crap out of her son when she observed him acting out against them. Yes it was bad and shouldn’t have happened in the first place, but a lot of good came from it as well. Sometimes you have to go backwards before you can go forward. Maybe the tide turned just a little bit. Hope so anyway.

Clark Howard’s Best….

Budgeting can seem a lot like dieting if you feel like you’re being deprived of something you’ve always had.  That’s why so many people never budget to begin with, which I believe is a big mistake.

Habits guide my spending decisions more than my actual budget.  When contemplating a purchase, I ask myself a few questions to avoid buying something that I might regret:

  1. Is this a want or a need?
  2. Can I afford it?
  3. Will this enhance my life?

When I choose to buy something after answering those questions, I can do so without feeling guilty.  I also don’t need to worry about overspending because of those savings habits I mentioned, which have become personal money mantras.

Here are a few examples to show you how I apply them in my daily life:

Know what things should cost

If you’ve ever watched “The Price is Right,” you know that half of America has no clue how much things cost. Once you understand the way retailers price items, you can decide what’s an acceptable amount you’re willing to pay.

Not all sales are equal

Retailers will plaster the word “sale” on just about anything because many shoppers will trust that they’re getting a good deal if it’s on sale. We know better than that. While I usually buy discounted items, I recognize that the word “sale” is part of corporate America’s marketing strategy to get you to spend more. Be a skeptical shopper.

Reject brand loyalty

Apple is just one example of a company that has enormous power over its customers. This is obvious by folks with perfectly acceptable phones who stand in line to trade-up to the company’s latest and greatest iPhone every September. Apple also has other expensive items to feed your addiction, such as the iPad and Apple Watch, which essentially perform the same functions as the phone. While these products may be great, think about how much money you could save if you considered what other brands have to offer.

Can I fix what I already have?

When something breaks, it doesn’t automatically have to go in the trash can. For example, wear and tear was taking a toll on a pair of my shoes. Instead of spending another $75 for a replacement pair, I used super glue to fix damage to the side of my shoes and then I used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (generic version) to make them look brand new again.

Shop in store, buy online

A major downside to online shopping is that you can’t try on clothing or shoes before you make a purchase. That’s why I prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores and then go home to search for the best price on Google. This method also gives you more time to think about whether you really want or need the item in the first place, eliminating impulse spending.

Get every discount possible

One great thing about living in the digital age is that we no longer have to wait for a Sunday newspaper to clip coupons or find out what’s on sale. It’s all just a Google search away these days. In addition to maximizing store incentives, I save on online purchases by using TopCashBack, Ibotta, Swagbucks and shopping portals linked to my credit cards.

Banking should be free

Banks need our deposits in order to continue making loans, which earns them billions of dollars through interest. In return, I believe basic checking and savings accounts should be free. After all, the banks aren’t paying out much interest on our deposits, so why pay them? Consider a checking account like Capital One 360 to avoid being hit with monthly maintenance fees.

Your credit card should pay you

Like commercial banks, credit card companies are in the business of making money, but they’re not making it from me — they’re paying me. Right now, there are at least a dozen good rewards credit cards on the market, including some that pay 2% cash back on all purchases. Find a card that suits your lifestyle and pay it off in full every month to avoid interest charges. That’s the only way to go.

It doesn’t matter what other people think

This mantra has probably saved me more money than all of the other things I’ve mentioned in this article combined. My goal in life is to pack in as many experiences as I can, not to accumulate fancy cars, expensive clothing and silly gadgets that “everyone else” is buying. You have to define what really matters in your life and surround yourself with people who share similar beliefs. I’ve never met anyone who was happy trying to be someone else.

No Justice, No Peace….

As of late one protest seems to spark another and the whole nation holds in collective breath every time you hear of a police action against an African American for whatever reason.  The marchers in these so called “protest marches”, which for the most part so far; have been just lead-ins to rioting and looting.  I’m OK with marching peacefully to get your point across but that point goes away real quick when you start looting and burning down the businesses and buildings around you, and in your own neighborhood to boot.  Figure that out.   Many of the protester walk along with their hands in the air mimicking the act of being arrested.  Seems to me that if the people their marching for would have done this when officers initially came to confront them, the minor situations which the police were there for would not had gotten out of control resulting in their deaths.  The man in New York City selling bootleg DVD’s or CD’s decided instead of being arrested and paying a small fine, he would fight five cops.  If you decide to fight five cops “YOU WILL LOSE”!  The SC man, who instead of sitting in his car as told to do so, decides to run.  Did I mention he was a wanted felon?  The young man in Fergusen MO who had just committed a strong arm robbery disregards an officers request to get out of the street decides a confrontation with him would be a better option.  It goes on and on.  The solution to all this is pretty simple really.  If a cop tells you to stop, you stop.  If he tells you to stand over there, you stand over there.  Stay in your car, stay in your car.  Not too hard.  All of these incidents as far as I can tell were pretty minor situations that as a result of the perpetrators actions escalated out of control.  So doesn’t it look a bit silly to be walking down the street with other protesters with your hands in the air which if that action would have happened in the first place they wouldn’t be marching and looting?  I want to say it’s almost ironic, it’s not, it’s sad.  The people of Baltimore kind of saw this and the protests and looting which happened, terrible as it was, were over quickly as the residents realized this was not the answer.  People we need the police.  As bad as some want to say we don’t, and show no respect for, we need them!  Recently a black sportscaster, a very outspoken sportscaster, said, “go ahead and take the police out of the hood, in two weeks it will be like the wild west and you’ll be begging for them to come back”.  Right now it’s all quiet on the western front.  I hope the spark of protest doesn’t return.