Category Archives: money

Living on the cheap

Recently I made a new male friend. This is rare for me as I am weary about having any new friends at this age. I have a complete collector’s set of useful, useless, user and multi-dimensional friends already.

Now this middle aged gentleman by all appearances is worldly, charismatic, youthful and self-driven. We had great conversations mostly about women, real estate, cars, investing, religion, politics and other middle aged guy stuff that I enjoy talking about.

One day he offers me a used jacket. I didn’t need or want it, but I did not want to offend. He goes into the trunk of his coupe and I notice it is filled with duffel bags and knapsacks neatly arranged in a stack. It seemed strange to me immediately that someone would keep so much stuff in his car. Admittedly I am a hoarder, and I still found that weird. This wasn’t hoarding, hoarders don’t keep things so methodical.

On another occasion, he invited me to go to the gym. I said what the heck, I can work out for free and have light conversation with a like minded person. So we went to the gym. He did what I thought to be non-productive exercises, that neither contributed to his aerobic or aesthetic improvement. Being the control freak I am, I had to restrain myself from saying ‘What are you doing bro?’ so eventually he finished his special workout and went to the showers. I continued my free workout and did some treadmill and some abdominal work. He was in the shower for maybe 25 minutes, which seemed like a long time to take a shower in a gym. He informed me that he goes to the gym, every single day. That was also strange as even a wimp like myself knows muscle has to rest.

All of the times we met up to have beers or talk shop we were at his office. He mentioned that he is in the office almost 24/7. That’s when I put it together that this guy was sleeping in his office(his military experience helps), showering at the gym and storing his personal effects in his car.

I found it to be economically ingenious and Ted Kaczynski like creepy at the same time. His overhead breaks down something like the following(approximately):

Old Car(Already paid off) – $0/ month

Car Insurance(Out of state) – $50/month

Car registration/tax(Out of state) – $10/month

Office space(works there) – $0/month

Food(Hes skinny) – $500/month

Gym membership – $20/month

Internet(office, starbucks, etc) – $0/month

Cable(Youtube, see above) – $0/month

Cellphone – $80/month

Gasoline – $100/month

So totaling all of the above assumptions comes up to $760/month  to live in New York. He could potentially work at a job paying $6.33/hour(before taxes) and pull it off. I am so impressed by the ingenuity that I really don’t care why he chooses to live this way. I have heard of tent cities growing in the woods of New Jersey, people living in RVs, people renting rooms, but not people showering at the gym and living in their office and car. The phrase [necessity is the mother of invention] seems to always ring true. Especially in a high rent market such as NYC, you have to be an inventor.

One bedroom studious in the dankest of areas go for close to $1200. Rooming and sharing bathrooms and kitchens start at $800. Your romantic life may suffer as ladies don’t want to snuggle at your office but you could amass a significant amount of saving in a short time and eventually purchase a home. The possibilities are endless when you have cash.

In conclusion. You can make it in New York. You just have to think outside of the box, small apartment or cubicle.

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Pater John’s Pizza Furlough

Some month’s ago, around the 2012 elections, Papa Johns Pizza threatened to cut workers hours in efforts to avoid paying health insurance under Obama’s health plan. There was a public uproar causing the head of Papa John’s to backpedal faster than Lance Armstrong on steroids.

Other companies and C.E.O.s also threatened to cut worker’s hours, close their businesses, and even outsource to Asia and in general repressive nations. Papa Johns provides a product and service that cannot be outsourced overseas so this is the best they can do. Also, I don’t think they could find a better market that a country with an obesity epidemic.

Let me get to the point in a New York Minute. We should applaud Papa John’s. There are still many unemployed and even though companies may cut part-time hours there customers do not stop eating. They will need coverage during the same hours they had previously by hiring more workers. They will have to have more workers and less hours per worker. Overall this will diminish the officially reported number of unemployed people. Maybe the Obama administration expected this reaction, but probably not. Either way this can be a good knee-jerk reaction by Papa John’s, Olive Garden, etc. for the hordes of unemployed.

The recent hub-bub about the sequester and the furlough or government workers is similar. Let us cut the individual worker’s hours to save the companies, save the jobs and give more opportunities to more people. I would be willing to work only three(3) days per week than have another guy work my other two(2) days. Or we can alternate some other way. We both would be able to live more, spend time with family, maybe even read a book made of paper, go back to school, write a screenplay. We would have enough money to eek out an existence and still have a real life! Let the furloughs begin!

Stop, theif!!

Today I want to rant about wage theft. I’m certain anyone that works for a salary and not an hourly wage can identify with what I will write.

Now all my young adult like I aspired to make thousands of dollars so I could make my parents proud and fund my creative activities and partying. When I was finally offered a living wage. I realized the concessions necessary to maintain that job compromised time with family and doing the fun things I expected the job to finance. I especially was not making a living wage if I divided my earnings by the amount of hours I worked and multiplied by 40 hours.

I felt deceived, no, dare I say, I felt robbed. Recently the HR department presented all the workers with a contract regarding “Wage Theft.” How dare they! Anyways just as we are all doing, I quivered in fear of reprisals and signed stating that the company has been compensating for hours worked over 40/week. By my calculations I have been robbed $16,000/year working overtime without compensation.

I must say though, that nowhere does it state that workers must work extra hours. It is an unspoken rule, somewhat of a culture. On at least two occasions it has gone beyond unspoken when my boss has stated [we all need to stay late, and if that’s a problem then we have a problem.] Being the submissive, yes-man that I am, I did not grab him by the throat ant throttle his wrinkly neck.

I must say that labor has gotten weak. What happened to the unions backed by Mafia dons who would punish these bosses and spread the spoils to keep the troops in good morale?(I’ve been watching a lot of Mafia documentaries of late.) Companies would not dare to send jobs away to another country or even state. They would not dare anger labor who had physical prowess to backup their pageantry.

I will close by saying that I am grateful that I am working for this company, in a time where jobs are scarce. I am definitely loyal and will provide them with a positive ROI. For how long is the only question, as I will take my talents elsewhere in conditions do not improve. Ideally to my own company, where I will reap the rewards and retards of exploiting my own labor.

People make the word go round.

We have done it to ourselves, as usual. In the attempt to plug small holes we have created one big hole somewhere else. I am referring to automated services that have saved companies on labor, therefore lowering overhead and increasing profits. TEMPORARILY. The increase is temporary because, when you eliminate jobs with automation you eventually and permanently eliminated a group of customers. Not only for your individual company’s goods/services but other’s goods/services.

This is potentially why the recovery was a jobless recovery. Stocks were moved around, markets and currencies manipulated, people were fired, wages/benefits were cut, and web-sites and automatic check-in/check-out machines were introduced. A large segment of the especially unskilled population became unemployed. Unskilled workers, who were WILLING to work are now have to use unemployment and other publicly funded methods of staying ALIVE. Creating a burden on local and federal governments.

So that’s a double whammy. No spending, plus leaning on the state. These people were WILLING TO WORK, but in our selfish and eventually collective shortsightedness we have screwed ourselves in the long term. We forgot Stylistics’ song “People make the word go round.”

I propose what the nut in the cabin in the woods proposed. Destroy these computers and job-killing automated systems. This will take people off state and federal doles and pump money back into the economy. FDR didn’t just give out money, he did public works projects. He put people to work. We just give out money and people become complacent. NO. Americans need to regain the culture of earning a living. Also while were smashing computers lets get rid of these reality shows full of wealthy people who are living off inheritances or non-working wealthy. That’s a terrible example. I dont expect government to do it alone that would be too hands-on. We the people have to hold public entities public and private to task. We come back to the fact that, “People make the world go round”.

Come on get happy!

I remember in High School, we were taught that during the depression, there was a lot of movie going. People indulged in as much entertainment as they could to escape their reality. I see the same thing happening now.

We have constant entertainment, via cell phones, laptops, tablets, television(sports,gossip,reality tv,etc), radio, music players, and some books, newspapers, drugs and interacting with animals(humans included). Take that thought wherever it leads and it leads to the fact we are trying to escape reality.

I have seen the same reflected in myself. Aside from the economic recession, there is Dec 12, 2012, mass shootings, terror threats(domestic and foreign), rumors of war….. Always some bad news rearing its ugly head. Between sleeping and working overtime for NO pay, I don’t find the time to listen to the bad news. I just indulge in as much entertainment as I can get.

I Have not looked at the markets in about a month, resulting in less posts on the blog, and I frankly don’t miss loosing money in that abyss. I was though tempted to buy Office Ma stock OMX but the back to school season peak is mid August and I had the epiphany in late August…too late.

Anywhoo, here it goes; YOLO

Downtime

In my last post, no, the one before that. I stated I’m getting out of playing with stocks. So far I have been able to stay clean for the past month. Trading is akin to gambling addiction.

In other news I saw a blurb of an article online stating that the old convention of having traders on the floor of one of the exchanges will be going away. I am surprised it didn’t go away sooner. The internet and technology has killed another set of jobs and we financed it. Soon enough with the development of what will be the next best thing to artificial intelligence we will all be out of a job. I stopped using automatic checkouts 2 years ago. If you replace low skill, low wage jobs with machines, what will the HS drop-outs have to do except lean on the system. Is that what we want? To replace people with machines, put them on public assistance and leave the burden of generating the money to a few? Smart people are stupid.

Reading an FT article today it appears the economy is not growing as much as it should be. People are not consuming as much as expected. Its in my opinion that the country is collectively emotionally depressed. In my opinion somewhat depressed people go out and buy food, drink, drugs or electronics to feel better. The severely depressed don’t leave their homes, they don’t go on dates, wash their cars, have dinner out, buy electronic gadgets,condoms, penicillin…. they don’t spend(if they have an income). The doom of the economic crisis, war, revolution, job security, government spying, erosion of civil liberties, celebrity deaths, everyday life and just plain bad news has sucked the mojo out of the people. We need some goos news, we need to get the peoples mojo going. YEAH BABY!! Unless this happens were going to see more angry depressed losers doing acts of violence to themselves and others. Get the low wage jobs back. Smash some of these computers. Give ore positive economic forecasts, and if you have nothing good to say shut up. Stop grabbing nuts at the airport so people can take trips and come here for vacation. Lets have some fun music like BeachBoys or bring back Disco. Get rid of sucky movies like Twilight, more movies like Airplane and Spaceballs. Cut out online dating and bring the hermits out of their houses and back into the economy. No more hermits, no more hermits, no more hermits……..

I’m Cashing out

There is a annoying song. The singer keeps repeating the phrase “I’m cashing out”

I am somewhat following in his footsteps. After loosing 20% of my value investing in oil “I’m cashing out” The whole market seems to be going down the drain. I though that we were at the bottom but that was just a plateau. I wanted to ride out the storm but I am seeking a faster turnover than is needed to recover. To recover I would have to wait until the next election.

Barclay’s LIBOR scandal is still manifesting itself. The mainstream media has not yet taken to it, but when they do that’s when there will be shock to the market…..I’m on the phone typing so I’m not coherent…..Anyways, I am saying that to say this, GET OUT!!

The house wins when good men fail to act

It’s an understatement but I am timid to enter the market considering the last few months have been a race to the bottom.
Recent events an knowledge prompt me to sink myself deeper in. TECUA is Tecumseh who makes air conditioner compressors. This week there is a heat wave expected and speculators appear to have known this since last week Friday June 15th. I neglected to mention that I have lost about 15% of my holdings of TECUA in the previous 3 weeks, but a heat wave suggests to me I will recover. If it lasts I may more than break even. I am definitely a gambling addict.
In other news a conservative government has been elected in Greece today. Greece should get its own reality show. Anyways NBG the National Bank of Greece had about a 90% jump between 6/14/2012 and 6/15/2012 in anticipation of election outcomes. On 6/13 it was about $1.19 at end of day 6/15 it was $1.89. I wanted to get out of my chair and kick myself, but thats how the cookie crumbles. It’s like you have a rare encounter with a lady where you meet as strangers have a great exciting conversation and then leave without getting her phone number. While were talking, I actually got that amazing woman’s number but I still blew it, now shes married with kids and I’m still kicking myself. Now I’m confuse…..oh yes! NBG and TECUH should be scooped up on Monday, if anything is left. Dump NBG on Wednesday and TECUH you can follow the following chart to determine the peak:http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/heat_index_MAX.shtml.

Somebody is going to make a load of money, but you have to be in it to win it. Get in the game. Alas, it is better to have loved and lost that have lost money.

Very superstitious Part 2

Didn’t I tell you? If you read my post entitled “Very Superstitious” you would understand what happened in the markets today. I knew that if I spoke of oil rebounding, it would then fall. I should have kept my mouth shut, but I risked it for your entertainment.

Not 24 hours after I stated that the tensions with Iran would raise oil prices, a Iranian Navy ship helps an American commercial vessel to escape pirates. Now that public sentiment might turn(highly unlikely with the warmongering media) oil has fallen, after about 2 straight days of gain. When I say oil, I mean oil related etfs that I trade.

Watching BBC world news yesterday it appears Hugo Chaves is back in good health so the potential of him being ousted by the other guy is somewhat diminished. So there is still some fear out there, and enough to keep prices up there. Like I said previously Venezuela provides 11% of our oil. If the western leaning new guy in Venezuela even looks like he has a chance, oil companies will be licking their chops while investors loose their shirts with the new gained access to the reserves bringing prices down.

Looking at history we see that there is always war, because its profitable. In a world where the market has expanded to the point where there is nowhere to go, and all the money is less valuable, and EU nations shirk their agreements(Greece I’m talking about you), you have to start over. One way to start over is to just have a big war. Start from scratch, and that is how you make money. By building. so you spend money to destroy so you can make money on the rebuilding. The stock market is essentially a microcosm of the world, the universe even. Nothing goes to waste, things only change concentration.

Very superstitious

I saw Stevie Wonder on television the other day. He has a catchy a tune called “Superstitious.” That title sums up why I have been hesitant to post a new entry. It is understandable that I would be superstitious as any gambling addict would be.

I come from a environment where if you say things are getting better, you effectively just reversed whatever gains have been made by stating such. Better to keep it to yourself and don’t speak so soon. This would make it difficult to write a blog about investing. So ladies and gentlemen for tonights entertainment I will risk lucre and limb to tell you that oil will be going up again.

There is essentially one reason, that reason is Iran. The west will begin its sanctions in July of this year. Also, according to a Bloomberg article an Iranian official expected oil prices to double this summer. Just in time for the vacation season. Another observation I have made came from loosing 20% of my oil portfolio in the last month and seeing that loss reduced to around 15% in two days. Current trends persisting I will be even by this time next week. So if you are a fellow gambler and have something to wager, put it on domestic oil and hold until the first week of the embargo.

Frankly the embargo is a money making opportunity as the west will attack Iran, no matter what they do. The only events that could prevent oil from rising in July is if the debt ridden Euro-zone stops buying, or OPEC members decide to increase production. Oh! Also, Hugo Chaves is ill and the internet is buzzing about an opposition candidate. Venezuela provides something to the effect of 11% of our oil. So there you have it. Turmoil in Iran and Venezuela make it prime time to grab some cheap oil stocks.

Hey, if my superstition works the way it should, there will be no embargo, no war and no overthrow. A lot of lives will be saved.