Hang Onto Your Money

One of the good things about living life is that when you make money you have a sense of accomplishment, an increased sense of self-worth, a feeling of pride in what you have been doing. One of the worst things about living life is losing money and I don’t think I have to expand too much on that one, do I?

One of the easiest ways to lose money is to gamble. To gamble on horse races, sports contests, lotteries — you get the picture.

When you are tempted to gamble you have to remember that your odds of winning are stacked against you from the start and that, if you keep gambling, in the long run you are probably going to lose a lot more than you win … unless lightning strikes and you are that one in a million lucky gambler …. but I would rather hold my breath than wait for “The Big One.”

But there are differences in straight on “Betting” and taking “Calculated Risks” based on possibility research, results research, and the like.

One of my tactics over the years has been (and this is just an example) to scout out what is happening all around any parcel of land that I might be contemplating purchasing. If there has been evidence that the business center of a town or a city, for example, is moving along a path that might someday include the land that I am looking at, then the odds of profiting from purchasing it increase significantly. I have been wrong a lot, but when I am right, the sun shines brightly and when I choose a parcel of land that is obviously on the path of expansive development of the community then I feel satisfied that there will be a substantial profit somewhere along the line.

Thus, that old tax distressed farmer’s field located alongside the old two lane road that leads from my town to an adjacent city looks very much alone and neglected all by itself … but by keeping the taxes paid and waiting, that old field one day becomes very attractive to somebody who wants to build an airport or a shopping center because the town is expanding in that direction.

I had a friend once who had a private gun club and an old general store on just such a parcel of land and for years it looked like he was going to subsist on the profits from those small enterprises. That is until the day the developers of as major Amusement Park visited with him. He went into immediate retirement somewhere in Florida with a couple million dollars in his pocket. Who would have ever dreamed that remote piece of land in the middle of nowhere would enjoy such a fate?

One trick I have always used to hang onto my money concerns shopping.

When I go shopping and see something that I think I want to buy, I always deliberately refuse to buy it on impulse and/or on first sight. I go away and think about it for a few weeks or even a couple of months. If, after that time has passed I still want whatever it was as much as I thought I did when I first saw it, then is when I go and buy it. I have probably saved thousands of dollars simply by playing this little waiting game.

Another device I have used successfully is this one:

Here is an example of what it was that I had been looking to buy and the circumstances that saved me a handful of cash —-

The item was a high-end stereo system. I think the price was somewhere in the range of $200 or so.

Preparing to buy the item I asked the clerk to make sure I got the box in which it came as well as the item itself.

The store apparently had discarded the box.

I asked for a discount based on the lack of a box.

I got the discount …. but wait, there is more:

I rubbed my fingers over the stereo cabinet and got a finger full of dust — it really was unpleasantly grimy.

That accounted for the second reduction in price.

The third consideration came when I asked if the model I was going to purchase was the latest model available.

It was an older model.

Third reduction in price. My argument: “For a store of this caliber, a customer ought to be able to expect to purchase the latest model of merchandise.” The store agreed.

I walked out of the store in happy possession of a stereo set that had been marked for sale at $200 and I ended up paying only $69.00 for it.

Never pay the asking price for anything if you can avoid it has become a mantra with me.

In the grocery store, I am always saving money by getting the manager to reduce the price on dented cans of vegetables and things.

When negotiating the price of my former wife’s engagement ring, I complained about the occlusion in the stone and offered the store manager $1,800 for a ring that had been marked for sale at $2,000. The store manager was reluctant to take my deal until I informed him that I had the $1,500 in my pocket in cash. He took the cash. I saved $500.

Be in control of your life. Do not be intimidated by prices on shelves. Be assertive in demanding that you get full value for your dollar and that the stores pay you for any inconveniences or discomforts that you might be subjected to because of your transactions.

A high percentage of the time, you will gain a lot in savings by going this route or a similar route.

My Ten Year Learning Curve

I started writing my blog back in 2010 just after I had purchased my new desk-top computer. I wanted to talk to the world. I often thought of myself as “The Shock Jock” of the American Left Wing (Politics) and, at the time, one of my right-wing idols was Rush Limbaugh. I had a burning desire to become the Rush Limbaugh of the Left. Of course, it never worked out that way.

I did manage to put up a really virulent, often toxic, often profanity-laden political blog which I named, “American Liberal Times.” I was really proud of that blog. It was on the blogging platform, “Blogger” which later became “Blogspot.” American Liberal Times grew to a point where I had a minimum of 400 regular readers … or maybe they were not readers at all — maybe they were what is called in the blogging game, “Bots.” Bots are electronic impulses that can trigger statistics measuring devices to record themselves as “Readers.” So in all reality, Bots are not readers at all but are pesky pains in the ass put on the internet to screw with the minds of people like you and me.

My left wing blog did afford me some good times however.

In no time, I accumulated an attentive and active audience of Internet Trolls who rejoiced in calling me nasty names and saying the most unflattering things about me that one can imagine. I came to appreciate the trolls though because any audience is better than no audience at all and I even got to the point where it didn’t bother me in the least to be told to go “F” myself several times every time I posted something on the blog.

In the intervening years, I have learned a lot of valuable lessons about blogging but some of the most important lessons I have learned are summed up very nicely in a blog post on the issue created by another blogger named “Christian Mihai” and here is what he said in his blog that sums up the lessons I have learned by blogging:

I never bothered with any rules.

I don’t know if it’s good advice or not. I just don’t give a damn if anyone likes my posts or not. I write what I want, when I want, as often as I want. This is my blog. My space. My blank page. And I can create anything I like and do anything I please. That is, after all, one of the reasons I became a writer in the first place. No boundaries other than the ones I choose to create.” (UNQUOTE)

What Christian Mihai has written above sums up my attitudes about blogging one hundred percent and I have never suffered any negative experiences by sticking to these attitudes.

I have never made millions of dollars from blogging but then again, I have no need for millions of dollars because I already have everything that I will ever want or need. But I have had a lot of fun and blogging is very calming and stress-relieving … so it is therapy for me … plus I get to meet some wonderful Internet friends from time to time and I value them very highly.

Blogging Can Become A Demanding Grind
Writing a blog is not all honey and roses. There comes a day when you get writer’s block and as hard as you might try, you can’t get enthused about anything at all. That pause in your blogging might run for days, for weeks and sometimes for months even. It can be disheartening and discouraging because it causes some people to feel disconnected.

The secret that I have found that works for writer block is to just sit down at the keyboard and start writing. Write about anything at all. Look at a picture of some kind and start writing about it … what you see in it … what it means to you. Just go ahead and start writing ridiculous sentences … nonsense sentences … words … paragraphs … anything at all. Sooner or later something will click and drive your motivation and you will once again be off on an interesting verbal journey. Patience is required. It doesn’t do anybody any good at all to trash the computer because of writer block because sooner or later it comes to everybody.

I know that everybody must have heard the old saying by now, “If you build it, they will come.” I have always believed (And rightly so) that “If you write it, somebody will sooner or later find it and read it.”

Keep on trucking!

You will get there!

The Magic Of Inspiration

Somewhere along the line of our development, “Inspiration” began to play an important, vital role in making sure that our progress was compatible with our goals, that we moved the mountains impeding us from reaching our goals and that we acquired and used the courage necessary to overcome challenges and obstacles along the path toward our goals.

There is no end to the effect inspiration has on human beings in forming their habits and shaping their lives. Here is one simplistic example of basic inspiration in action: “The ordinary human being is heartily inspired, strongly inspired even, to get to the nearest toilet when inner physical stimulus tells that person that “Going” is both important and imminent.” The rewards evident in paying attention to and acting on this particular inspiration should be obvious to anyone. Imagine what could happen (and often does) if the human being inspired in the foregoing manner refuses to act on the inspiration. The social and personal consequences could be quite unpleasant!

One personal inspiration that had a great effect on me, as I recall, was the time I watched a “Tarzan” movie and was thrilled with the scenes of Tarzan swinging freely, majestically and almost magically through the trees on some kind of vine. I was so inspired by this motion picture that I went home and made myself a loincloth and then went down to a local wooded area (Kind of a remote little-travelled place), found some wild grape vines hanging from trees and did my own graceful swinging through the trees. The reward from that inspiration was a sense of profound personal freedom, an increased sense of my own developing manhood and a feeling that there wasn’t anything at all that I could not accomplish if I set my mind to it.

People should always seek inspiration and never be cowed by it because it is the key that opens doors to experiences we never had and often to experiences we thought we might never achieve. An inspired person is a person who can overcome his or her own limitations, fears, doubts, inhibitions, uncertainties — and thereby change their mindset from apathy and indifference to the famous and oft-quoted, “Can-Do” attitude that frees people from poverty and creates the great new ideas driving the momentum of the modern world.

What Can We Do To Find Inspiration?
Here is a list of at least 25 things we can do to find inspiration ….

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/25-simple-things-you-can-get-inspired.html

If you are in need of inspiration in your life, I would suggest you click on that link and read the article and see if you can find anything that appeals to you.

Danny Learns Not To Mess With Me
I had not yet graduated school when this event happened but the elements of the event serve to illuminate how inspiration can work:

It was a Summer day and I had gone to my friend, Tommy’s house to see if he could go adventuring with me. Tom and I were the best of friends.

Sometime during that day we had decided to cross a big field of somebody’s farm and go to a wooded area that we had seen from a road on the outskirts of our town. I was always interested in exploring woodlands and creeks and lakes and ponds and the like. Just standing by a fence row and looking across that field at a prominence of the earth that rose majestically like a cliff among the trees was inspiration enough to make the effort to cross the field. In this case, there was both inspiration from seeing the cliff and the trees across the field — it sparked our curiosity and challenged our youthful lust for daring adventure. There was both inspiration and desire ignited at one and the same time … the combination of desire and inspiration are definitely among the strongest motivational forces known to mankind.

So Tom and I crossed the field and got to a rise overlooking the creek below and directly in front of the “Cliff” that had drawn us in the first place.

Soon, however, we were accosted by a couple of other kids about our age all decked out in feathers and war paint, playing like they were some kind of savage warriors and they were armed with pellet rifles and wood axes and they “Captured” us and marched us down to their “Camp” on the creekbank at the base of the “Cliff.”

Not being in a mood to get shot with a pellet rifle, we played along for awhile but things soon got out of hand and became a little rough and we were forced to run up the creek with “Them” chasing and threatening us.”

We managed to outrun the ruffians and get back to our homes but the sting of being embarrassed in this manner became another kind of inspiration …. the inspiration to go back to their camp and wait until they left their tent to go swimming.

We went back to their camp, hid in some bushes, watched and waited until they finally decided to go skinny dipping in a pond in the creek.

While they were absent from their tent … and their pile of clothes, Tom and I took advantage of the situation by stealing their clothes and setting their tent on fire.

The memory of them cursing and screaming and trying to douse the tent fire without a stitch of their clothing to be had still remains in my mind as one of the greatest inspirational moments of my entire life and it has been more than 70 years ago now.

THE PRACTICAL SIDE OF INSPIRATION

On a more pragmatic side, inspiration can be a capital gain for those with a little intuitive foresight and courage to take a risk now and again. (I am not a financial counsellor so do not dare act on anything I might seem to suggest in this part of the post.) These are my personal experiences which I am sharing here, not financial advice. Let us have that understanding from the start!

Back in the day when Mutual Funds first took off in the money markets, it occurred to me that if all the stories being told by my friends were true, then it behooved me to have my Dad buy shares in mutual funds for me with money I was earning from my fledgling printing business. (I was an unusually motivated and adventurous teen aged boy.).

Dad agreed and then my Grandfather agreed to shift his money gifts to me that he had been investing in Building and Loan shares to mutual funds also. In a few short months during the beginning of the mutual fund boom, we were all astounded at the returns on our meagre investments. (It all eventually covered the house payments and a new car at the very least.) Our little adventure in investing paid for my entire education at a local business college and I came out of that institution with a bona fide credential as a Junior Accountant. Thank you, Wall Street!

The same thing happened, only on a bigger scale, when I was enthralled by what I was hearing about the performance of a publicly-traded stock in an instant-photography enterprise. There were a few “Splits” in that investment until the stock finally settled down and I was livid with appreciation to my parents for their cooperation.As I recall, it was because of that fiscal adventuring that allowed me to enjoy a two-week honeymoon at an upscale Miami Beach, Florida hotel when I got married to my childhood sweetheart.

This is the kind of thing that also allowed me to take my new wife on an airplane ride from Cincinnati, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky in a private plane for no other reason than to go to the iconic art deco hotel, “Seelbach” in Louisville, Kentucky for no other reason than to enjoy one of their famous “Open Faced Beef Hotshot” sandwiches which I had first enjoyed while serving at Fort Knox during a 6 months training session while I was in the Ohio National Guard.

Later on, because of all my good fortune with these crazy ideas, I was able to take my entire family (My wife and myself and three children) along with our close friends’ entire family (Mom and Dad and 5 kids) to Kings Island Amusement park in Ohio where I paid for all the admissions and all the food and our own suite in the Kings Island Hotel plus handing out Twenty Dollar bills to each and every kid in the group so they could go throughout the park and do whatever they wanted to do.

During all these adventures, my inspiration came from the many stories, some by mouth and some by news articles flooding the printed news and the airwaves about how other people were doing with their own adventures into the growing fiscal world. It started small and grew but I suspected something back then that has more than proven itself since … If I got in and did good (and I did get in and do good) then I was better off to get out before it either all came crashing down or it levelled off to the point where it was just mediocre and not a surging opportunity anymore. I always got out at the very first sign that growth had slowed. That was very fortunate for me. I was not greedy. I never listened to the standard brokerage argument, “Oh just ride it out, John, it will bounce back soon.” I never ever believed that and even thought it did bounce back sometimes, there were more times when it never bounced back at all. Somebody was watching out for me.

I see no reason to share my experiences with “Bit Coin” but I will tell you that I was glad to have gotten out of it when I did. However I am sure that “Crypto-currency” will come back strong again someday because I believe it is the currency of the future. But I have no idea when the next big surge will come … if it ever does … so I am biding my time on this one. Right now I am not inspired to do a second round with it even though the first round was interesting indeed.

What Does Luck Have To Do With It?

I do not believe that luck has anything to do with inspiration. I do not believe that inspiration is dependent on luck and I do not believe that luck is dependent on inspiration. In fact, I don’t believe in luck at all because everything that is done in this life is done because of somebody taking some kind of action and taking action always has some kind of consequence. And with as many actions and consequences that people have taken over the years, there is no excuse for anyone contemplating an action to be ignorant of all the possible consequences. So in the end, we all make all our “Luck” either good or bad … and since this is the case, the idea of “Luck” is an easy cop out for people who are uncomfortable accepting responsibility for their actions.