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Archive for March, 2008

A Great Weekend

March 31st, 2008 No comments

This past weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a while.  We went to the beach on Saturday and just hung out.  The best part was that it didn’t cost us anything except for gas.

We went to Cocoa beach, so there was an added bonus…  You are allowed to drink on the beach.  We kicked back and relaxed.

It got me thinking about other amenities we have around Central Florida, that I’m not taking advantage of.  There are lakes everywhere down here.  Why aren’t I doing more fishing?  There are plenty of national forests.  Why aren’t I hiking the trails on these?  I need to get off my butt on the weekends and actually do these things.  While it take some work to make it happen, I think it puts me in a better mood for the rest of the week.

If anybody reads this, do you have some suggestions for me to look into for fun, frugal activities?

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Not So Intelligent Investor

March 28th, 2008 No comments

I just finished up the book Intelligent Investor, written by Ben Graham, and I do have to say it’s changed my perspective a great deal.

Right off the bat when reading the book, he makes a statement that sums up the investing world.  Either you are a speculator or an investor.  A speculator thinks a stock is going to go up in the future, so he buys it.  An investor buys into a company in order to own a part of it.

In the past I’ve definitely been in the speculator camp.  I’ve bought all sorts of stocks for all sorts of reasons, but I’ve never followed the reasoning laid out in this book, which is value investing.

The market fluctuates up and down, going from overpriced bubble to depressed doldrums, and in the short term, the intrinsic values of the company’s behind these stock prices don’t always change.  If you want to follow the teachings of Graham, you would simply buy when the price of the stock is way less than the value of the company.

How do you determine the actual value of the company?  Well if there was an easy way to do this that could be explained in a simple blog post, then Warren Buffett wouldn’t be Warren Buffett.

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Do It Myself?

March 27th, 2008 No comments

I’ve been debating whether or not to install a tile floor in our house.  We would like to replace the existing vinyl flooring and carpet with some nicer looking tile.

The problem that I’m having is that I’m not sure if I should go ahead and do the job myself or pay someone else to do it.  I estimate that it would cost me around $2,000 to $3,000 to have someone else dot it.

If I were to tackle this job myself, I would probably spend between 40 to 80 hours total.  This includes:

  • moving all the furniture to different areas of the house
  • ripping up the old vinyl floor
  • scraping up all the old glue
  • ripping up the carpet and padding
  • hauling the old floor to the dump
  • pulling off all the baseboard molding
  • marking the guide lines on the floor
  • going to the store and buying materials (probably multiple trips)
  • laying the full tiles
  • cutting and laying non full tiles
  • grouting/caulking
  • re-installing baseboard
  • caulking and touching up the baseboards with paint
  • moving all the furniture back

Well, this seems like a lot of work now that it’s all listed.  In fact after coming up with that list, I won’t be surprised if it adds up to over 80 hours.

To figure out if this makes sense or not, the first thing I should do is calculate my hourly wage I would essentially be paying myself.  The amount I would save is $3,000.  Divide this by 80 hours and I get a hourly wage of $37.50.  Now this isn’t a huge amount, but if I could pick up a side gig to earn this kind of cash, I would jump on it.

The only downside is if it takes me longer to finish the job.  For each hour I take over top of the 80 hours I predicted, my hourly wage goes down.  For example if it ends up taking me 200 hours to finish, my wage would end up around $15.  At that point, I should have just paid someone else to do it.

For now, I am still planning on putting in the sweat equity and tackling this job myself.

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F**K YOU Zecco

March 24th, 2008 1 comment

That’s right… I said it.

Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, send them your money. I signed up for an account a while ago, figured everything was OK, and transferred money into my account.

Apparently, I didn’t realize I hadn’t filled out some required paperwork. No big deal. Let me just get my money back out until the paperwork goes through…

NOPE!

Unfortunately, they let you send money into your account if you’re paperwork isn’t finished, but hell no, you can’t get it back out. “Unfortunately we must wait until your paperwork is finished…”.

So to you bastards at Zecco, holding my money in a 0% interest yielding account for the last month while I’m still waiting for my paperwork to go through: F**K YOU!

I can guarantee I will be moving my money out of my account and closing it.

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Quit yer bitchin bout Housing!

March 20th, 2008 No comments

I’m tired of it.

All I’m seeing these days are stories about poor homeowners who were “taken advantage of”. The latest is an article on CNN.

The poor woman…

She thought the $1,478 monthly payment quoted by her mortgage broker included taxes and insurance. In fact, Cruz says she asked the broker repeatedly if those costs were included and was reassured they were.

“We just took his word for it, and unfortunately that’s not what it was,” Cruz said.

Ok… You are a dumb ass that doesn’t need to own a home. You took out a loan on a home and didn’t even read the loan document? There are hundreds of mortgage calculators on the web. You should have used one. In fact you didn’t even need to read the actual document mumbo jumbo, but could have just looked at the numbers on the summary page.

And another thing… What the hell was she doing getting a loan payment that would leave nothing left over at the end of the month? If she had half a brain, she would have made sure to have some breathing room in her budget.

I don’t get it. The tone of the article is supposed to make you feel sorry for this woman, but I seriously don’t. I bought my house at the tip top of the housing boom (signed the contract in June 2007), but we made sure to shop around, and study the documents that were provided to us, and definitely knew what we were getting into.

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