Options are a good thing (Part 1)


I’m a firm believer that options are a GREAT thing. I’m completely satisfied with my current job. I don’t make a ton of money, but I never work over 40hrs/wk, and have a bunch of other awesome benefits (company paid internet bill, company car, work from home, etc). Just to be clear I really enjoy my job and am completely satisfied with my career, especially for being one year out of college. But, and there is always a but, I’m always networking and expanding my potential career paths.

I have mentioned in my previous posts that I tutor high school students for a little extra income each month. Tutoring for me has two HUGE benefits…extra money and networking with some extremely successful people. Every family I tutor is worth millions of dollars, all the dads own successful companies, and almost all the moms are stay at home moms. Needless to say, the are all very well off financially. After one of my tutoring sessions I was chatting with the mom about her real estate business.

Let me give you a little insight about this family. The dad owns a construction company and designs/builds homes. The mom is a passive real estate agent that sells when she wants or when it’s convenient for her. They own 15 homes in a VERY nice part of San Diego and are amazing people with great hearts. Anyways, after tutoring the mom told me she is pretty busy because her real estate business is booming. She went on to make subtle comments like “My husband and I need to hire someone to help us out, but I’m just too much of a control freak.” She told me I should get my real estate license so I can sell houses with her. I have flirted with the idea of getting my license before, so when she said this my eyes lit up. I told her I would definitely look in to getting my license.

Here’s my thought process. I love interacting with people, the idea of selling homes is very appealing, possibility of big income, and getting to work side-by-side with a super successful realtor all make this potential career path very exciting to me. I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. I’m not going to quit my job assuming I’ll get my license and sell a million homes. I know real estate is a shaky industry. BUT, like the title of this blog, I believe options are a good thing. I begin my real estate classes in a month and will begin to open more doors for my future.

Wish me luck,

Read on for part 2 here

Bad Acne = Credit Card Debt

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I was watching tv the other night when I saw a commercial for an acne product. I don’t know why, but I thought to myself “Self…pimples and credit card debt are pretty darn similar. They both suck, no one wants it, and it’s hard to get rid of.”

I think of acne in three different phases.

Phase I: Everyone gets a little bit of acne when they begin puberty. I put little pimples on my credit card almost every day. I use it for all my purchases and each time I do, I increase the amount owed to the CC company. BUT, I pay off this debt each month. Its equivalent to the tiny pimple you get on late Friday night and it’s gone by the time you wake up Saturday morning. Sure you had a pimple, but no one knew it! Phase I is were you want to be.

Phase II: Phase II represents the kid that was born with naturally oily skin and unfortunately has a pretty bad acne problem. This person has a choice. He can choose to see a professional, get acne medication, and be disciplined enough to battle his greasy genetics everyday….or he can choose to ignore the problem and let his acne turn in to Phase III boils. Maybe you have more debt than you would like? Maybe it’s not even your fault you have debt! But you have to face the reality that you have bad debt acne. The only ways to clear up your financial blemishes are to seek professional advice, obtain the proper tools, and commit to fighting the debt battle with all you heart! Pop your financial pimples so they don’t ever want to come back! The kid with oily skin has a choice to make. Do you want a face full of pimples? Or would you rather, have flawless skin that everyone is jealous of?

Phase III: Phase III individuals not only were born with a predisposition to terrible acne, but they actually massage their face with butter, pizza grease, and fried chicken and don’t care. They eat greasy finger food, don’t wash their hands, and smear their hands on their skin…all the while they complain that they wish their skin could be like Jessica Alba’s. I have no sympathy for these people. They abuse their credit cards. They spend more money than they make. When all is said and done they have poor financial hygiene! They look in the mirror and stare at their oversized pimples and sigh “oh well” as they walk out the front door. Phase III individuals are seldom able to change their ways and their “acne” problems will only end upon death.

Go pop a white head,

This article can was featured in the carnival of personal finance #159 found here.

This article was a featured article at this weeks festival of frugality found here

Eustress and Distress

The following is one of the most important guidelines when in comes to exercise. So important, in fact, that it applies to every workout you will every do.It is the concept of distress and eustress. Distress is negative stress such as being sick or going through a painful breakup. Eustress is positive ‘stress’ such as accomplishing a goal, being particularly excited about something, or being in a loving relationship. Distress and eustress can come from all parts of your life. Your job, diet, relationships, etc…can all add to your total stress level (positive or negative). Exercise is actually a mix of distress and eustress – but the most immediate effect of a reasonable demanding workout is distress. Each time you plan a workout routine, or begin a workout session, you need to take into account your overall stress level. For example, if you do not have to work very many hours, have access to a great diet, are in a wonderful loving relationship, and are getting plenty of rest every night, you may be able to handle a workout routine consisting of 2 workouts a day – five days a week. If you have a physically demanding job, at which you work long hours, and are going through a ‘tough time’ personally, then the best routine for you may consist of only two workouts a week.

This concept is very important and easily illustrated in the following real life situations.

Situation #1 When I was a junior in college, around the beginning of the year, I had a somewhat demanding workout regimen – I lifted weight and ran 5-6 days a week – and I did all these at a high intensity. I was getting good results, I wasn’t huge, but I was really cut. Unfortunately I also had a demanding school load and I was right on the brink of over training (a lot of distress). Then it happened – I had a dose of personal stress, and it was enough to throw me over the edge. I became sick and had almost zero energy for a couple weeks to a month.

Situation #2 I was studying abroad in Spain. Classes were short and easy. Everyday life was fun and relaxing; I also had good nutrition. I had a good supply of eustress. I lived near gym and trained consistently 4-5 days a week. The training was great; I made gains, and never felt over trained or exhausted.

Situation #3 After leaving Spain, I moved back to San Diego. In San Diego I began training very hard. Life was not the stressful outside of training – but the exercises I was doing were very hard on my body and was not giving myself enough rest. I eventually injured my shoulder. My shoulder joint basically had much more distress then eustress (in the form of giving the muscle a break and chance to heal).

Situation #4 (The current situation) I have a very busy, yet somewhat irregular work schedule. Because of the irregularity, some weeks are harder then others. Because of this, and my experience with over training, I know that some weeks I can perform five to six workouts and some I can only perform two. My results are good so far. I have avoided overtraining, but am still making gains. All in all, I am very happy.

So, before your next workout or before planning your workout schedule, take some time to think about the sources of both distress and eustress in your life and how they may affect your available energy for exercise.

This article was featured in the weight managment and fitness forum carnival.

The best way to save over $200 a year!


I think for the first time in my life I was convinced by a door to door sales person to purchase their product. What were they selling? Cable…as in tv and internet. A man working for AT&T knocked on my door one afternoon and began his sales pitch. I was tempted to interrupt him and tell him I was not interested (as I do with most other salesmen).

He handed me a pamphlet of information that included all the different package options and pricing AT&T was offering. I saw their basic cable and internet package was $89 per month. I was paying $91 for my COX cable package. I told the man I wasn’t interested in making the switch because I wouldn’t be saving any money. He asked me about my current COX package (internet speed, how many channels I get, etc.). With COX I was only getting basic cable (channels 2 through 60) and medium internet speed. With AT&T’s basic package I would get over 200 channels and slightly faster internet. It sounded too good to be true so I asked the man how much the instillation fee was. Turns out, there is no instillation fee and we also get a cable box that can record four shows at one time and a high power wireless modem and router. With COX we don’t get a cable box and they charge a rental fee for the modem. The man said these aren’t promotional rates that are going to go up in one month. He explained AT&T is just trying to be competitive against the San Diego Mega-Cable companies like Cox and Time Warner.

Convinced that AT&T would be more bang for my buck I asked the guy for his card and told him I would give him a call later. I went back to my computer did a little more research and was sold that AT&T was a great value. I scheduled my appointment. The cable folks came out last weekend and installed our new cable and let me tell you…IT IS WONDERFUL! The cable box is amazing. I don’t need to record four shows at once, but its still a neat feature. The internet is WAAAAY faster than our old internet. Paranoid that there was going to be hidden fees or an upgrade that I wasn’t aware of I called AT&T and asked what my bill would be at the end of the month ….$99 the lady told me, but since we had cable and internet we got a $10 discount to bring out total bill to $89…just what the salesman quoted me. This is when things got really good. I asked the lady if she knew of any other deals that would be worth my while. This is when she told me that for $40 extra a month we could upgrade our cable to get a total of 400 channels. I politely declined. Then she said… “Oh wait I can get you the 400 channels and a $40 discount for 6 months making your bill total $89 a month.” I don’t need 400 channels, but if they’re free I’ll take them. I wrote myself a note to cancel the extra package in Dec. so I don’t get stuck with a higher bill. Oh yeah, and did I mention we get our fist month of service at no charge and a $100 check for signing up. All-in-all I will end up saving about $250 this year and will have a way better cable package.

My advice to you…. Check with other cable companies and see if you can get them to beat your current cable costs. They will almost always try and work a deal out because they want your business. If there are no competitors or you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing your cable company, at least call your current cable company and tell them you are going to cancel your service because you want to take your business elsewhere. They will offer you some type of benefit, maybe a cheaper bill or maybe just more channels and faster internet for no cost. Try it out. See if you can make your dollar work harder for you!

Take care,

The Power of Patience


I thought I was about to get in my first fight tonight. I was at the airport standing in line to get some food, when an older man (mid 40’s) stormed in cursing at the lady working behind the counter “I told you I wanted F***ing cheese on my sandwich” he yelled. The lady behind the counter was apologetic for the mix up and headed to the back to sort it out. Meanwhile, another woman, who had missed the incident, just stepped in to line. The disgruntled man moved across the counter and moved in front of the lady. She politely told the man that the line started behind her. He then looked and her and started cussing her out for accusing him of cutting. I had enough so I looked at the man and said “Don’t talk to women like that. You need to chill out they’re working on your order right now.” With quick wit he responded “Shut up.” I left the restaurant proud of myself for standing up for the innocent, but angry that this guy had no patience and was a huge jerk.

My words of wisdom:
Practice patience today. When driving on the freeway let merging traffic in to your lane. If you’ve been placed on hold for 30 minutes don’t yell at the person that finally gets to your call (it’s not like they chose to put you on hold). If you feel like your work isn’t valued, work harder and I promise good things will come of it.

Normally my blogs are more financially involved. And even though I didn’t preach about the something like the power of compound interest, I do believe patience is directly correlated to financial success. After all, Buffet didn’t become a billionaire overnight!

Do you live an impatient life? Are you willing to work hard now so you can reap the benefits later? Do you live frugal so you will be able to live extravagantly? If someone doesn’t put cheese on your sandwich will you curse him or her out?

Take a deep breath and enjoy life,

The importance of discipline.


If you haven’t read my previous article about discipline, I recommend you do as the following is part 2.

I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated that people don’t care about their finances. I’m frustrated that people choose to live in ignorance. I’m frustrated that people ignore great advice. I assume most of my readers have chosen to take action and address at least some aspects of their financial life. This blog probably wont reach the people that need to read it, and on the off chance that it does, they probably won’t do anything about it.

One year out of college I find myself frustrated with my peers’ lack of motivation to “get the ball rolling” in the financial sense.

“I don’t make enough money to be saving right now.”

“Investing is too confusing.”

“There’s always tomorrow.”

You’re right you probably don’t make a lot of money now, investing can be confusing, and tomorrow will probably come, but making excuses will get you nowhere…fast. If your expenses outweigh your income then you’re in need of some serious discipline. For everyone else, get motivated….today! Make this commitment “I (insert name here) am going to be proactive in my journey to financial freedom starting now.”

Do you know what compound interest is?
Do you know how much you contribute to your savings…hopefully it’s something.
Where does every dollar you spend go?
What is the difference between a Roth IRA and a 401K?
Why are online savings accounts better than a regular savings account?

If you can’t answer those questions you are in need of some financial discipline. Spend 20 minutes a day surfing financial blogs and getting educated on how to make your money work harder for you. I wish I could impact those around me and make a difference in their financial life. I wish I could just open an online savings account for them, or that I could sign them up for their companies 401k plan….Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. YOU are the only person that controls your life. TODAY is the best day to make that change, not tomorrow. BE proactive about your finances. ADMIT that you lack discipline in your spending and COMMIT to changing.

Note: I want it to be clear that “being rich” is not imporant to me, nor should it be to you. I simply wish people had motivation to make the best of their financial situation. I watch people wish they had more money, but choose to remain ignorant about how to make their dollar work for them. It would be like watching an overweight person say they want to loose weight while they are stuffing their face with chocolate cake.

Go forth and do BIG things,

The Cost of Muscle Mass + Health

One thing that has been on my mind lately has been the cost of gaining weight. I have been looking at my budget, trying to cut back where I can, so that I can start investing in a Roth IRA. One area in my budget that I can legitimately cut back in is my grocery spending. In May I spent $350 on groceries. This is quite a bit for one person. The problem is that I am buying a lot more food because I am trying to eat a lot more food in order to gain weight. I also like to buy healthier food – usually more expensive. So the conundrum is should eat less and/or eat less healthy. What is worth more? What do you think?