Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford

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A ways back, I was reading Jason Cabler's Celebrating Financial Freedom blog when I came across a post he highlighted. He found a hilarious Saturday Night Live video featuring Steve Martin and Amy Poehler. More importantly, it is extremely relevant to personal finance.

The bad news is that SNL doesn't like letting people share their skits online. However, there is a 30 second clip here:

Now that you have a little flavor of the skit, here's the whole skit nearly identical remade without the fancy actors or set:

If you could "magic eye" the two videos together in your mind, you'd almost have the real thing.

Sometimes we make things too difficult in personal finance. We spend time trying to figure out lending club earnings to a tenth or hundredth of a percent. While that can matter over the long term, sometimes it's best to stick to the basics.

This is a good reminder that personal finance doesn't have to be difficult. Hopefully you got a laugh out of it like I did.

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Posted on May 22, 2014.

My New Career: Stealing Cars in Oakland

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The local (Northern California) news has been a flutter this week with word that Oakland is not going to pursue a number of crimes anymore. Budget cuts have required that they lay off 80 police officers and the Police Chief Anthony Batts claims they no longer have the man power to look into certain crimes. In fact, he even put out a list of crimes they will no longer respond to. Here are some of the crimes from that link (note it is just a "partial list"):

  • burglary
  • theft
  • embezzlement
  • grand theft
  • grand theft:dog
  • identity theft
  • false information to peace officer
  • required to register as sex or arson offender
  • dump waste or offensive matter
  • discard appliance with lock
  • loud music
  • possess forged notes
  • pass fictitious check
  • obtain money by false voucher
  • fraudulent use of access cards
  • stolen license plate
  • embezzlement by an employee (over $ 400)
  • extortion
  • attempted extortion
  • false personification of other
  • injure telephone/ power line
  • interfere with power line
  • unauthorized cable tv connection
  • vandalism

After looking at this list, I am a bit at a loss as to what crimes the remaining more than 750 police officers in Oakland will be responding to. Perhaps kittens up in trees? Oh, wait, those are fireman.

So I'm thinking it's time I learn how to Slim Jim a car door and get my hot-wiring skills in fine tuned. Anyone know of a good chop shop in Northern California?

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Last updated on August 1, 2011.

Need Money Epic Fail

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I love Fail Blog When I discovered it, I lost about 4 straight hours of my life (so click through after you read this post). I just find the pictures hilarious. Earlier this week I was at Taco Bell. The receipt struck me as borderline funny enough to submit to Fail Blog. Rather than risk it getting rejected there, I'd use this venue for it.

Need Money Epic Fail

Need Money Epic Fail

The first words are "need money" and the next words are pretty much "enter our contest." If you really need money, entering Taco Bell's national contest isn't the answer. That's what I call "would be nice" money, not need money. I'm sure the odds of winnings are posted somewhere, but I couldn't find them. I can't imagine they give out a lot of $1000 prizes even though they could. It's possible they give out one a week, which would make your odds of getting the money you need pretty low.

P.S. How frugal was that lunch, right? Taco Bell's slogan is right, "Why Pay More?"

P.P.S. I would have highlighted the "Need Money" in the picture, but after looking how draw a box or circle in Gimp my head exploded. If any knows of an easy way to do that please let me know in the comments. I suspect the best answer is going to be... don't use Gimp.

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Posted on April 23, 2009.

Budgeting For a New House

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I was surfing the web earlier this week when I came across a home that I like. I haven't shown my wife it yet. It's a little larger than she's looking for and I'm a little nervous about her reaction. While she's really good at cleaning, she definitely doesn't enjoy it. This home would require a lot more cleaning than our current place... and we know that I'm too Lazy to do it. Nonetheless, I thought I'd openly brainstorm about this house... toss it by my budget and see how it goes.

You probably want to know a few things about the house. You may have read a little about it on the news already. It's the Spelling estate with a 150 million dollar asking price.

Is the Spelling Estate too Expensive?

While a price tag of over $2500 a square foot may seem expensive, I'd argue that it's not. You have to factor in all the surrounding land. How many more houses could you build on that? With a bit of work, you might be able to get that dollar per square foot down. Also, not all square feet are created equal. A square foot of a top end new stove is worth more than square foot with an a low-end one from 1976.

The Opportunity

Before we get into the costs, let's dream a little bit about how I could make money with the Spelling estate. Here are just a couple of ideas of the top of my head:

  • Make it a Museum and Charge Admission - Maybe I could turn it into a . I saw Tori Spelling on Smallville a couple of weeks ago, and she looked poised for a big acting break. That could only help the museum style business, right?
  • Rent it out for Special Occasions - Weddings are big businesses. I imagine Hollywood's rich and famous have significant money to spend for such once in a lifetime opportunities. There's no need to stop at weddings. My home could be "the it place" to have a Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceanera, or other similar celebrations. Anyone who has seen MTV's My Super Sweet 16 knows there's money to be made here.
  • Use it to Jump Start My Socialite Career - I'd get in all the newspapers as the buyer. That kind of publicity is hard to buy. I have to do more research on the socialite front before I can count on this income stream. I'm not sure if a guy can even be one. If so, do I have have a video tape get out there like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashians? Yikes, I think I just lost all but two of my readers.

I think some combination of all of the above is the answer to unlocking the full value of the home. Readers, can you help me out with other things that I missed in the comments?

Budgeting for the Mansion

I had a little difficulty in budgeting for the mansion. I fired up my mortgage calculators and found that most topped out at a paltry 10M loan. Fortunately, I can make some back of the envelope calculations with that amount. A 10M seems to lead to payments of around $70,000 a month. That would put the payments on a 150M home at around an even one million a month. However, I might be able to bargain down the 150M number a bit in this economy. I suspect I could get payments down to $900,000 a month. Judging by how much Lazy Man and Money has made over the last year, I'd need approximately 500 more sites like it.

If you are smart you'll start snapping up domains like right now.

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Last updated on April 3, 2009.

Three Ridiculous and Stupid Ideas that Save You Money

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While all of my posts are for your entertainment to some extent, this one in particular is intended as pure entertainment. I have to say such things, because otherwise people may think I'm serious.

If you didn't read the above italics and somehow missed the word "stupid" in the title, let this be yet another warning. These can be dangerous, so don't try them at home... or in car... or in a park... well anywhere outside of the home either. Simplified... just don't try them... thanks.

  • Donate blood to save on alcohol

  • How it saves you money: Get drunk off of 1 beer instead of a 6-pack. Your beer budget just dropped more than 80%. By donating the blood you can even make money.
    Why it works:Since you have less blood, your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) goes through the roof with less alcohol.
    Why it's stupid: Donating blood = good. Drinking a beer = good. Donating blood + drinking a beer = bad. Besides that, getting drunk... not exactly recommended by 9 of the 10 leading doctors. I knew someone who tried this in college. Though he could out-drink anyone I knew under normal circumstances, the result of this experiment wasn't pretty - he was wishing that Doc Brown had a DeLorean for him. Some things you should just trust me on. This would fall into that category.

  • Go on a Ramen and water diet for a month

  • How it saves you money: You can probably eat for less than $10 for the month.
    Why it works: Ramen is ridiculously cheap. Water is even cheaper.
    Why it's stupid: I shouldn't have to explain why malnutrition is bad... so I won't. Plus I'm too Lazy to look up how long it takes for scurvy kicks in... despite the bonus "cool points" for dying like a pirate.

  • Hypermile by tailgating big truck

  • How it saves you money: You get much better gas mileage.
    Why it works: Wind resistance is greatly reduced, so your car requires less fuel to keep it's current pace.
    Why it's stupid: I've never looked at a pancake and thought, "It would be cool to be one of those", have you? Even if you have this deep pancake fetish, think of the person in the truck or the other 86 cars that would be in the pile-up. I'd wager that at 80 of those drivers would put "Try not to end the day as a pancake" at the top of their wish list if you presented them with this scenario.

I wish I could say that these are contrived examples that no one would ever think of doing. Sadly, I bet they are being done by someone as your read this.

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Posted on September 29, 2008.

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