Money Forward

This blog is about money and trying to keep my money from flying out the window.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

There's something in the water in Orlando

My wife and I went on vacation a little over a year ago to Orlando. We had never been to Disney World before and she really wanted to go, so we went for her birthday. Having never been there, I just went with the most obvious approach to getting everything, from hotel tickets to park tickets. I'm not so sure I got the best price.

Since then, every once in a while all I can think about it going back. It's not like I loved it or anything, but for some reason I want to go back. There must be something in the water. Anyway, this time around I'm probably going to check out this website where I can get the best prices on park tickets and entertinament tickets, including Disney park tickets and Universal Studios tickets. These tickets are surprisingly one of the most expensive parts of the whole trip, and any savings you can get is well worth it.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

No wonder newspaper circulation is down

Journalists like the one that wrote this article on, could be one reason no one cares to read the news anymore. Why do they always have to talk to people who live nearby, or bystanders, or people that add NOTHING to the story, or even talk about totally irrelevant things.

The beginning of the article is fine, informative (sad and unfortunate), to the point, talking about a student who shot his roommate and then killed himself. Then they talk to some random person who's parents live nearby and instead of saying how sad it is that someone did this, and how bad that person must have been, she complains about students living in the neighborhood near the college causing trouble with partying, and how someone needs to do something about it. The person's thoughts are TOTALLY irrelevant, and outright selfish. The journalist (Katharine Webster) was trying for something and totally missed the point. Why do people have to try and do more than is needed, especially when it just screws up everything.

As a side note, if you choose to live near a college, you have to accept that college students are going to party, and there's going to be issues. If you don't like it, leave. If you expect a college not to grow, or to house all of their students, good luck. Most of the time, this isn't going to happen. Stop being blind.

My condolences to the family of the students and the people affected by this act.

Cell phones

We're always surrounded by people that are addicted to their cell phones. That can't help but to wake up in the morning, call someone, and then stay on their phone most of the time they're alone. It's pretty sad. We used to do fine without cell phones, and now some people can't live without them. I wonder if they have ever shown a drop in depression or loneliness due to an increase use in cell phone. Someone should work on that study.

Any way, I don't care how lonely or important you are, if your cell phone is distracting you from doing things that affect others, i.e. driving, you should be banned from using it. This is why I ahve no problem with laws that restrict cell phone use. In addition, it may be nice to use one on a plane or subway, but it's kind of nice to have some quiet.. there's not enough quiet.


As expected, not much of a networth bump. Our retirement funds did pretty well and gained a chunk last month. Our savings dropped, although this was expected, and this month it will drop a lot more. I'm not worried about it. We have enough money for a few semesters of my tuition, my wife has started interviewing for jobs and making connections. So far we're doing well enough.

My experiment has still been going on, although I made end it early (June or July instead of November and December). It lost a little bit the day before the new month, so things went down slightly. I'm still pretty happy with it overall. I may end it early because we're considering moving, so I want our credit to be better before we have people looking at it to see if we can rent an apartment they have. It'll be a non-gain of a some money, but only like $300 or so. As for the stock portion, we'll probably pay it off using savings and keep the stocks until they have been held over a year. Depending on how I feel about them, we may or may not sell them after that point. I would just rather pay the 15% capital gains, rather than the higher tax amount.

Lately we've been too busy, with the semester ending and a lot of things going on, and upcoming trips. I just don't care too much about our money at the moment. So we're spending a bit, but all to keep sanity and enjoy life.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


We definitely do not take enough vacations, mostly because they're so expensive. Although the hotel and rental car and flights are expensive, you at least know those prices before you leave. What gets you, is the cost of food. When we went on our honeymoon to Hawaii, the food was really expensive and we just didn't think about it before we left.

During our search to find a honeymoon location, we checked out a bunch of different sites for all inclusive resorts. There seemed to be a lot of good ones, but it was hard to search them all out. There is a nicely done site that I found recently that will help anyone find an all inclusive resort in most areas of the world. They say that you can ind a resort for up to 50% off. I didn't find the rates, but if you're interested in a place, it seems like they'll show you. The best part is, they have resorts from all of the major all inclusive resort companies. You can search by location, type of resort (couples only, families, adults only, adventure, etc.), or by the resort company.

We've definitely considered this type of vacation because then you're not surprised by the price of food. Plus, you know what you'll be getting before you even go since you'll be able to read up about the resort and all it has to offer. If this type of vacation is something you're interested in, check out the site.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


Frugality definitely has it's perks, although it has it's place and time as well. For example, I went to my parents' house on Sunday and I noticed that had a cereal box of tasteeo's (right next to two boxes of honey nut cheerios). My (and even my brother's) first exclamation as "what the hell is that?" My dad of course kept insisting that there was no difference, but there is. Just get regular cheerios. It's well worth the price.

Another good example, beer. Good beer is well worth the price. Paying nothing for bad beer is not only an insult, but a waste of money. I did used to by Miller High Life, because at the corner liquor store in one of my old places, a 6-pack of 16 oz cans was like $4.50. That as well worth it when I was poor. But even when poor, if I had the time and motivation to drive, I had no problem paying more for good beer. Like tonight, I had a Stone Brewing Company, Vertical Epic. It was excellent, and well worth the price. Other beers well worth the price are most things from Magic Hat Brewing Company, and Alaskan Brewing Company.


School has been a priority for me financially, making sure I don't have to go further into debt to pay for my degree. So far I'm making it. Even better, I have enough to hold me over through possibly next spring or farther. It all depends on what classes I take and how much extras are going into savings.

Although it's a great feeling, I've decided that my wife and I don't enjoy life all that much. Sure you can enjoy life without spending money, but there are a lot of things I want to do that require money. So, instead of keeping my savings and being ready for several semesters of school, we've decided to at least take one soemwhat vacation. I say somewhat because it will be a trip back to where most of my friends are, and so it's really a visit rather than a 'sitting by the beach, drinking fancy drinks' type of vacation. Although it will cost some money and possibly make me have to find more money for next year's tuition, it will be well worth it. We'll have the money, so that's not a big deal. Plus we need to enojoy ourselves, and we've been so busy the past few months, that it will be a nice break from it all.

Although have money security is nice, it's worthless if you aren't enjoying yourself.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

What can Brown do for me? Go out of business UPS, please.

UPS, you're a terrible company. Never have I not had trouble with you. From terrible, useless customer service, to some of your incompetent delivery people(although I've never met a competent one, I don't want to assume they're all useless), to your unrealistic delivery policies and procedures.

Your company lacks common sense. It is unfortunate that you have to hire people and then not train them correctly, keeping them from being helpful to your customers. When someone has a delivery sheet, a valid license (even if it is from a different state, it is still valid), you should allow them to pick up their package. It was bad enough that someone was waiting specifically for your delivery person, yet when the package did not arrive and I called customer service, they lied to me saying someone tried to deliver the package and no one was there. SOMEONE WAS THERE. Then to waste my time and make me rush to your delivery center to pick up the package that should have been correctly delivered, and then deny me the package because my valid license with my name which is totally unique in the whole country, if not the world, does not have my in-state address? USELESS.

Or the policy that does not allow your dlivery people to deliver a package to a house with apartments, even if no signature was required and it could be left inside a door, and even if I say it is okay to do so. How many people can take a day off just to wait for a package? We work. Being home between 10 and 2 during the day to get a package is impossible.

Now your latest incompetence when you say you left my package on my front porch. First, I do not have a porch. Second, you obviously didn't leave it at my building since I was hope 15 minutes later and there was no package in site. It was pouring rain, I seriously doubt people were walking around stealing stuff. And who would want to steal this anyway? It isn't worth anything to 99% of the people out there. Plus, my neighborhood isn't like that.

What can Brown do for me? Stop delivering packages for companies I order from. I would request other companies to deliver it, but those requests often, unfortunately, get denied. Just go out of business, restructure, do something useful, because right now, you are inefficient, incompetent, and a waste of everyone's time and money. There are much better companies out there, too bad people are generally clueless and can not be bother with change.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I want a sailboat

I've wanted a sailboat for so long, but I of course want one that is way too expensive at this time. But it is something my wife and I are working towards, even though they're money holes. I don't want to have to deal with renting a boat, or having to return it on time, or anything like that. Even if it's more expensive and more work, having the freedom to go sailing whenever I want would be great.

Since we like to sail, I've looked at several companies online that have private sailing charters. I've found one in Maine which looks really nice, although Maine can be cold. For an alternative, there are private sailing charters all over the place, Hawaii, Caribbean, etc. This one I found is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas Sailing Charter. They offer day cruises, you can go for a whole vacation, everything. It's like being on a luxury RV, but in the water where you don't have to go where the road takes you and you can explore a lot of different areas that you could never get to any other way. They also have dinner cruises, which is probably the only cruise we could afford. Full gourmet dinner, drinking, sailing at sunset. It sounds pretty awesome to me. Someday if we could afford it, I think it would be a great vacation, at least until I decide to get my own boat.


Update on stock games

As I've mentioned I'm playing two stock games online at the moment. One I've done decent in, and the other I got screwed by the system, so I've given up.

First, CNBC's Million Dollar Challenge, as of what is says now:
Value: $1,199,441.27
Rank: 17799
Percentile: top 4%

Best I've been is top 3%. I don't plan on winning this, I just don't have the knowledge or the time to sift through stocks to find the ones that will jump 20% at a time. The top people have over $2,000,000 which is a lot more than I can make I think. But considering my place, I've done fairly well.

For eFIPO's Stock Game, I've given up. I owned a stock that was giving a $15 dividend, and although the program says that they count dividends, it never went through. after the dividend, of course the stock lost $15, (and then went up like $3), but at that point I was down almost 60%. I can't get that back without a lot of work and since the system obviously doesn't work correctly, I'm not going to waste my time.


Thursday, April 05, 2007


I've been losing track of time lately do to the amount of work I've had to do at school and at my job. But this will catch me up a bit.

Last month was nothing exciting in the net worth area. It went up, but I know it's not going to stay that way. Most of the money in savings is for tuition, and since my wife and I decided that we need to live a bit more, some of that will be used for traveling as well. So, by June, our net worth will plummet, but it is expected and not that big of a deal. Hopefully my wife will start hearing about interviews soon and then we will be better able to cope with the ups and downs and actually grow our net worth. So overall, our net worth increased by 19.53%, or by a less exciting number, $809. Some of that had to do with extra money into my retirement from my company for profit sharing.

In the more interesting arena, the losses from last months crazy stock swings have evened out a bit. I'm still not as high as I once was, but my stocks are doing decent at the moment. Only two are in the negatives, and not by much. The two ETFs are up about 5% (as of today), and two other stocks are up over 9% and 38%. Not too shabby. The amount of money I've made is still down a little bit, although I'm not sure how this is true, but the numbers are correct so who knows. Overall my experiment numbers look like this:

Hopefully next month will see some good increases in the experiment.