(pssst!) Hey Buddy. Can you spare a million dollars?

I’ve been lurking around the Blogosphere for a week or so now … and I haven’t been posting any thoughts.  (Bad, The Frugal Cheapskate, bad boy!)  🙂  

It’s interesting to listen to what the multitude of “others” have to talk about and how “they’d do it!”  

“Do what?”  

Well, make a lot of money.  Like, say, a $million smackeroos.  (but, is that before or after tax?)  

You can always tell who the ones are who fell into it, and those who actually rolled their sleeves up and made it the hard way.  nickel by nickel. (and without their parents help).  The ones who did it on their own aren’t pompous, nor are they name droppers of their lifestyle.  No, dear readers, they aren’t the ones talking trash about their neighbors who are always trying to one-up everyone else in the ‘hood.  (that’s ‘neighborhood’ for those who don’t watch MTV or some of the various other low quality movies and shows out there.  Slang-lish)  

These same people don’t have to copy cat, or ride someone elses wave to stardom.  In fact, they’re quite original .. and don’t secretly feel like they have to look over their shoulder least someone start copying their already copied stuff.  

But … speaking of “copied ideas” and “other stuff relating to non-plagiarised” … watching and mimicking someone else’s formula for success is actually a good thing to do.  If you want to open up a restaurant, or start trading in the financial markets, why not find someone who has actually been there .. and succeeded.  No, I’m not talking about those who push “a companies” mutual funds or the latest (in their opinions) stock picks (and god help them if they’re looking @ penny stocks).  Instead, try to do what the ones who do their own research do – for themselves, not for their work, and pull steady gains out of whatever vehicle they are using to do it.  Whether its real estate, stocks (even mutual funds if that’s your bag), or stuffing gold and silver coins under your mattress.  LEARN what they do and their “Formula For Success.”  And then Make It on your own merits, instead of following a so-called leader.  

Many years ago, I used to listen to all the “stock-pick” guru’s.  After all is said and done, 99 out of a 100, these people do not even invest their own money in what they are touting as “the best thing going.”  And sadly, even when they’re tooting their horn the loudest, they also go down with their own ship or even worse (pulling out but not telling “all their followers” to do the same).  How sad is that?  

It’s easy to pick a winner … if it is already winning.  It’s easy to use hindsight to prove “what I would’ve done had I been you” too.And these guru’s make their money off of people who “give it to them.”  Think about it.  If I have a winning formula for trading futures or some other commodities in the market, why would I tell everyone else?  (Oh.  that’s right.  People are paying me money to think for them.  instead of me taking the time and effort to LEARN what is the right way to make consistent gains.) 

 Here’s an idea.  Why not pay someone to go to your day job for you.  never mind that they might screw up, or say something wrong.  In fact, they’ll even tell you all is grand.  Just keep paying “me!” 

 Soooo, how did they get their first million dollars?  (Pssst!  Hey Buddy, ole’ pal.  Can you spare a million dollars?  Don’t worry, I’ll take real good care of it. Promise!) 

many years ago, I started playing in the markets. Playing might not be the right word for it, but I was basically “playing” or even “gambling” because I’d watch someone else who swore up and down they had the right thing going.  They knew what was going on, and could prove it .. (there’s where the hindsight comes it, right?).  Well, like a drug dealer, the first tips are free, but after that?  “Hey, you want the good stuff right?  Everyone else is buying it up so you better hurry!”  (LOL) After losing a large-ish sum and watching them just shrug their shoulders and say “it happens” and “that’s just the way the markets go sometime.”  (I guess they didn’t know that I’m also a card-carrying member of the NRA either, and live in Texas to boot … but I was nice.  Go figure)  🙂 

 I then set out to learn as much as possible about the markets and the seasonal movements, price actions, as well as “other things” relating to making money as easily as possible (in the financial markets).   The best advice I could give anyone is to “learn it for yourself.”  DO NOT give your money away to those who really have no earthy idea of what the markets can and will do.  Take Charge of your own money and how it is spent.  Spent by YOU, not some person who tries to push you into what they call a diversified portfolio.  Granted, there is a place for such … a (say it quickly 5 times) .. Diversified .. portfolio. 

 If I trade 4 times a year and pull 4 to 5 figures off each trade … and all from a different stock or two .. or three … does that qualify for “diversified?”  probably not in a salaried w/bonus fund managers eyes.  Despite the fact that they’re doing almost the exact same thing.  but they drop your money into their products, charge you for the pleasure of them doing it for you, and then tell you, “thanks” for letting me work for you (instead of you doing all the work yourself). 

The promise of big money is always alluring.  And the talk about “your retirement” and (then) how “we’ll make it happen for you” is almost an oxymoron.  Do you trust a complete stranger to manager your hard earned money?  For millions of Americans and others around the world … it’s obviously so.  And where is the warm fuzzy feeling now?  Or are you like so many of the masses who is just “playing” with their money and “hoping” for something nice and pretty to come in the mail that says, “Don’t worry.  We’ll help you make it back .. in these trying economic times.  Don’t worry, the markets will bounce back!”  Despite your “diversified portfolio” sounding more and more like a flushing noise.  And who’s money is it?  What could YOU, dear reader, have done to keep that from happening?  Or at least have been able to cut it short before the flushing noise?  And WHY aren’t you doing everything you can to find out how to NOT have that happen again?? 

Of course, you could just pickup your iPhone and Text your smartly dressed broker and ask him.  Of course, he could be out on the Golf Course somewhere.  But if he’s in his office, why not ask him/her about some of the things you’ve looked into … that are promising.  Or (and I love this one), why are they still in the same [stocks, mutual funds, etc, etc, etc] that have lost your money for a while now?  “Why??”  I already know the answer.  because … “in your diversified portfolio, we picked a group of stock/mutual funds that “have the potential” to generate some nice gains…” or something similar. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have kept the money where it belonged?  Either in the market when it was making you money (all the profits!  Not the percentages that they pay you as a favor for using YOUR Money to play with) … or in your pocket when things turned negative.  Instead, you pay for the privilege of their wheel spin.  When things turn bad, their reaction time is about as fast as a turtle crossing the road.  With the same consequences too.  (How lucky are you?) I do not have a million dollars in the bank.  But I’m working on that (and more), ever so steadily.  I highly recommend saving as much as possible.  I recommend “living under your means” not (extended) over it. Look for ways to save money, and if you really need to “Splurge” on an item, look for the best possible price, or even think about a refurbished model w/factory warranty.  I say the last one because I am getting the itch to Splurge on an iPod Touch. 

We (wife and I) just bought a “used” New Car.  It’s a 2010 model Toyota matrix with 20,000 miles on it.  Brand new they are $21,000+ … we got ours for $7,000 less (+ TT&L).  She really needed a vehicle and we budgeted $10 grand to get a vehicle.  PAID IN CASH!!!  No payments, nothing.  It would’ve been paid for and probably around a 2008-09 model (non-Toyota or Honda).  But, it’s September and the 9th month of the year is the best time to by a vehicle.  Dealerships are looking to roll out the 2011’s (next years models) and cut their inventory of “this years” vehicles.  We’d been looking for months but never found the right price.  It was about the price we’d pay … not the vehicle and “I want.” 

The Kelly Blue Book says that we could sell this car today and make $4,000 .. right now.  Imagine that … the Frugal Cheapskate spent money …. but he did it more as an investment, instead of a “I just got to have it” purchase.  Plus, Toyota’s hold their value quite well compared to other vehicles.  And the 7 year/100,000 mile warranty was just a bonus on top of it all.

Super Economical and FUN to drive!!!The real kicker to it all is …. we put a large chuck down, and it’ll be paid off in less than 1 year.  (Now … how did we easily get the money for this purchase?)Financial Security is waiting for everyone!  All the great things in life are waiting for you …. but you have to start somewhere small and work your way up.  Brick by brick.  mile by mile(stone).  I always tell people that we got debt free by brown bagging our lunch for 4 years.  We saved ALL the money we would’ve spent, instead of “spending all the money we would’ve saved.

D I S C I P L I N E is all it takes and a little perseverance.  Have the dream, have the goal.  You can do it (too)!  And stop wasting money on other people’s chatter.  Generate your own formula(s) for success. Learn from those who walk the walk, not talk the talk.  If it was easy, everyone would be financially secure, versus letting someone else do the thinking for them.  Don’t get caught in their trap.  You’ll be thanking yourself all the way to the bank … and the car dealership.

Dare to Live YOUR Dream!

ALL of the little things do add up!

The Frugal Cheapskate!

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Your financial future, and the coming job market. Are you prepared?

I’m sure we all read the latest and greatest news about the world.  We hear of impending doom in Europe.  Our own economy here in the USA is less than desirable. And we see more and more jobs being lost to overseas countries.  My question is …. when does it stop?  When do we see the light at the end of the tunnel?

In my industry, Oil & Gas (production and pipeline), we have been as busy as we want to be, and we’re Damn Busy!  Compared to the rest of the economy, we are like icing on a less-than-desirable cake.  The sweet spot.  In fact, up until the BP Macondo incident, the economy was flying.  It still is for us (in O&G), but the financial markets are still acting indecisive.  If legislation postures itself more favorable to offshore drilling in Gulf waters, I believe we (the USA) will start improving (economically speaking) due to such.  The oil industry will “lead the way” (despite what any financial idiot on MSNBC or elsewhere might say is the reasons).  Example:  Was it just coincidence that the markets fell @ the time of BP’s big “Oooops?”  For me, even before the “spill” the charts were telling me otherwise.  I enjoyed a fine run from Aug. 2009 to Mar/Apr 2010.  And Schlumberger buying Smith International (my favorite) was the icing on [my] cake.

Before I get into the reason for this Blog post, I wanted to interject something about “personal investing and the markets.”  If you are in (or follow) an industry that is moving up, or booming (ex:  Oil & Gas), do you think it is a good idea to invest in such growth?  Even if just for the short-term?  (To me: short-term may mean 10 days to 1 month to even a year or 2)  Our business was booming and the money was coming in because our services were needed.  NOW!!!  Wouldn’t the smart money be investing into the hot industry or sectors?  (think about that one, and do some research in to the reasoning behind such)  If a salesman was selling products, services, support, etc. to a company that was showing tremendous growth, would he be market-savvy if he also invested some of his/her own money into that same growth (re: into the companies stock)..??  That’s a bit more of a “fundamental thinking” for me (I’m more technical) but it makes a ton of sense. Anyway, something to think about (wink, wink).  Why play a guessing game.

Okay.  The other day, I was listening to some people talk about a company that was farming out their “design work” to India.  Design work involves drafting and the related engineering and technical support.  That gave me a cold chill because it is the same thing that has happened to a lot of jobs that were once in the USA.  American workers are losing plenty because it can be done cheaper elsewhere.  If you are a 20 or 30-something, I would speculate that you – too! – will be in a spot you do not like as you get older.  Sure, I know that seems like light years away, but it’s something that will inevitably become a part of your life … soon enough.  Why not start looking into your options now.  Whether you do something about that or not is up to the individual.

If you have gone to school, and become a doctor, a lawyer, an Engineer (Mech, Process or ChemE) or any of the “professional titles” that will be needed in the next 10 to 30+ years, then you will enjoy being able to keep your job.  You should be able to avoid layoffs because of overseas competition.  You will be able to even start your own practice, if you so desire.  (Desire: being the keyword)  Otherwise?  I’d be real mindful of what ones job title is and whether you (think you) are irreplaceable or not.  Now, why am I promoting all this doom and gloom laced with some negativity?  Because …. if you are truly wanting to be the “King of your own court,” you should also be thinking of “How can I recession proof my life.”  How can I insure that, despite my job being sent overseas or eliminated all together, I make enough income? (especially if I don’t have a PhD or some other letters behind my name, which isn’t really a guarantee either unless you went to Stanford, MIT or other such schools)

  • Go back to school.  Seriously, get the right specialization needed to service those who will gladly pay for it.  Very handsomely too!  The Baby-boomers come to mind and they will need (fill in the blanks)  I’m at the tail end of the BBm’ers myself.  We will retire with tons of money (as a class) and tons of needs (as we get even older). Who will they pay?
  • Start your own business.  Something that will service the ones with the money – the rich – and something that they will NEED to keep doing what they do.  What are those types of business’?  I have my own short list, and everyday I look into something more that I would/will need to do, if such were to happen.  Even that may involve going back to school for specialized training … like “How to start and run a pizza delivery business for Dummies.”  (LOL) Probably a bit more comprehensive than that.

I probably didn’t think this post through as well as I’d have liked, but the reality of such happening in yours-mine-our lifetime will be very real.  Way back when my father and grandfather were working and into jobs that actually gave a retirement?  They didn’t have the same type of problems that are cropping up today.  Economies were different, and not the one-world economy in this New World Order type of society.  And trust me, it wasn’t because of the Republicans or Congress or many other reasons people can blame it on.  It is a natural process that is evolving at a faster pace than human society is used to seeing. It’s happening, like it or not.

Despite my weirdness even talking about that … the truth is that having a backup plan will be essential to make it comfortably into the future.  If you don’t, then you will not be “lucky” as those who did plan ahead will be.  Having a financial plan for saving and more is a good thing, but, what if your livelihood were to disappear?  Your saving?  Your job?  Would you go out and find any job you could find (because it was eliminated or farmed offshore)?  Would you suddenly say, “Flipping burgers isn’t a bad job after all?”  Meaning:  “I’ll take whatever I can find until “the right one” comes along.”  If one gets to that point, how lucky were they so far?  I never trust luck, especially when talking about my financial future.  I’d rather walk instead of talk.

This is something I think about all the time.  The “What If” factor in life.  If (this or that) happens, what will I do then to counter that?  Am I already prepared?  Do I know enough about (this or that) to make the change?  Can I survive the next speed bump?

When preparing for a hurricane, you don’t wait until it’s inevitable that you are going to be hit.  Instead, you plan ahead, just in case.  If it never comes and you are not affected in any way, then consider yourself lucky … kind of like we do here on the Texas Gulf Coast.  We get near misses (hurricanes) all the time, but “what if” one day we were to get that category 4 or 5 to come right down our pipe?  Were we prepared?  Or did we just think, “Naw, it won’t happen to me.”

Signing off, and thanks for reading.

The Frugalcheapskate / The Little Things DO Add Up!

P.S. – By the way, I do believe in the future and the American way.  There’s going to be numerous opportunities that are going to be available.  The government is not going to disintegrate into oblivion. those are words of someone who’d rather complain, instead of keep trying to make it work (for you).  No one says it will be easy.  But, you reap what you sow.  better to walk your walk, instead of (anything else).  Are you preparing for those opportunities?

At a job I had, the boss always used to tell us (in production meetings) that we are all connected in one way or the other.  But, “are you a part of the problem?  Or part of the solution?  Which is it going to be?”  Interesting words, indeed.

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Feng Shui: Does it work?

I’m sure everyone has heard the term “Feng Shui” before.  My wife – a school teacher – came home from a seminar about classroom management.  The term Feng Shui was talked about in relation to the basics of keeping your classroom “clean” and the importance it has to having a good environment for teaching [the kids].

What she talked about captured my interest.  I’m not really a metaphysical type, I believe in God, but I like to see the similarities around various practices – numerology, Chinese horoscope, etc.  Is this fact or fiction?

Is our life a fate that has been predestined?  Good question Dr. Watson.

Anyway, as my wife explained the principals of Feng Shui, I started to think about the implications of having all this “good energy” flowing around the world.    In my car, my home, my eyes, my ears and even in my closet which is quite cluttered.  Isn’t that what closets are for?  Well, as I did the research into this mysterious practice, I found out that a cluttered closet and anything else cluttered in ones life is blocking flow.  Mental and Physical.  As I type this I find it hard to not make some jokes, or use a few examples of the beneficial ways to use Feng Shui as as a comical relief in this post. I’ll try not to do such.

We aren’t clean freaks to a point of being obsessive/compulsive.  I don’t vacuum daily (but I probably should considering we own two parrots and a cat).  Our furniture is placed “there” and “there” in our cubical sized apartment near the middle of downtown in our fair city (location, location, location).

Sometimes one gets complacent in their surroundings.  I love change, but when it comes to habitat, I tend to be more lenient on the “accept it for what it is” situation.  We look forward to moving into our own new home next year, as we will be bottom feeding of some of the great real estate deals that are coming (again) @ big discounts.  But, in the meantime, we can practice the art of Feng Shui in our own compact sized box.

Feng Shui (fung SHWAY). Google has an infinite amount of links about it.  I had a mission to find out what it was all about (having little to do at that very moment in time anyway – how odd is that?).

  • Feng Shui is related to the concepts of yin and yang, and chi.
  • Proper practice of Feng Shui is meant to maintain good health, wealth, relationships, creativity and more.
  • The aim of Feng Shui is to create a living and working (and dying — Feng Shui is for graveyards, too) environment in harmony with nature and the flow of energy.
  • The details of Feng Shui relate to position of elements, color and materials.
  • Fountains, mirrors and crystals are particularly important accessories in Feng Shui.
  • Feng Shui literally means “wind-water.”

What I got from all this info was that one creates a free flowing environment that feels good and brings into harmony a lot of positive things with your health, environment and “other things.”  What really gets me is that they have schools to teach one the art of such (when sitting there on the computer is Google, and it’s FREE to access).  Being a man, I probably gloss over the more detailed aspects of the descriptions and why they are what they are.  (If it’s what one really wants to do …… I shouldn’t make fun of it)  :^/

But now? I’m wondering if our dwelling is facing the right way … considering we just signed a new lease a few months ago.  Hmmm. How would I explain to the management, “Ummm, I’m sorry, but we have to move.  You see, the Feng Shui isn’t right and I’m not going to be able to handle that.” (poking fun intended)  “And, can I tear out a couple of the walls?”

Where is all of this going  ….

We started to clean out those corners, and nooks and crannies that had “stuff” sitting there that we never used, or even touched for years.  Nic-Nac’s that just collected dust (a no-no), and those items that seem to collect and stay in places where they really have no business being anyway (but the cat seems to like it – can I Feng Shui a cat?).  The coffee table gets cluttered, or the top of a kitchen cabinet (al those plug-in appliances) and various things not put where they belong, and more.

My wife and I cleaned out and arranged things that were more aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.  We then proceeded to move furniture around to “open up the room” more (as much as possible) and let the natural light from the (2) windows come into the room easier.

I’m not sure about the color or smell aspects of Feng Shui, but they say that all comes into play if one is going to go all out and be the best, most greatest Feng Shui’er they can be.  🙂

But here’s the thing I noticed the most after doing all this.  Some might call this “basic house cleaning 101” or even “house cleaning for dummies,” but after doing all this? And throwing out (or donating) a lot more than we thought we had?  We would come into the room and literally feel like we could breathe better.  The walls seems farther apart, and it was like there was some level of stress that was no longer in the room(s).  Stress Relief!!  It was an awesome feeling and we feel more relaxed even though we were sitting in the same room, on the same recliners and other furniture.  There was a sort of calming effect to it all.  Was it just the fact that we “changed” something around to opur liking?  or was it some energy blockage that was preventing us from feeling the flow.  (when saying the word “flow” .. say it sloooow)

Hey, I’m not one for practicing the eastern religions. But, contradicting myself, I do have a belief that there is Karma in the world (what goes around, come around).  I do believe that there are things we can’t explain.  But, after doing the quantum research into the concept of Feng Shui, I can say with good feeling that I probably won’t buy the “negative energy field blocker” or “the Power Stones” to sit on my TV or shelf.  Nor the travel version to go with me in my car.  I do have to draw a line somewhere … being the frugal cheapskate I am.  IF I ever got the notion to do such a thing, I’d probably just google the ingredients/materials and build it myself.  Why BUY something from someone for an outrageous price and made in a foreign country?  Of course, I could go to one of the schools (“Hello, University of Phoenix? I’m looking for some online courses….!  Can I just Charge it?)

If you’ve ever Feng Shui’d yourself, your environment, or whatever needed to be Feng Shui’d in your life, I’d be interested in knowing how it worked out?  Despite my poking fun @ it, I will say that I really enjoy the cleaner, less cluttered, living spaces.

Thanks again.

The -Feng Shui’d- Frugalcheapskate.

P.S. – Almost forgot these:  Click for a link to Feng Shui for Wealth and Prosperity!

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Splurge Alert! Clay Compounding and Wax Buffing @ Splash Car Wash

My first edition to The Splurge Alert!

  • The cost:  $150.00 + $10 tip

Anyone who knows me … really knows me … knows that I am a bit of a cheapskate.  Tight Wad is another way to say it.  But, for all the money I don’t like to spend on (what I consider) useless things of life, every now and then I like to Splurge on something that has some value to it … and sometimes no value at all.  I’m human.  Sue me.

The Splurge Alert will be shown from time to time when I feel like posting about something I bought, or did, and wanting to share it for absolutely no particular reason.  Sometimes even I think I’m crazy – but then there’s the song lyrics by Jimmy Buffett that says, “.. if we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane.”  (from: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes).  Sometimes one has to do something completely crazy to keep it interesting in life.  NOTE:  Crazy is not reference to “foolish” or “stupid” and definitely isn’t something that would be worthy of showing up in the “Darwin Awards” or a Beavis & Butthead episode.  It means “Safe, Sound, and Secure thinking without too much risk to your pocketbook.”

Today is Sunday @ around 11am.  I’ve wanted to do this for some time to our 1998 Nissan Altima.  It’s a black car and probably has never been waxed in the life of the vehicle.  This vehicle has just over 50,000 miles on it and is in “sweet condition” for one as old as it is. It cost me a grand total of $2500 when I bought it. The paint isn’t as bad to look at from a distance but when up close, there is oxidation all over the place and it feels rough to the touch.  I decided to get in professionally buffed with a wax/clay based compound from the local car wash … which is always packed on weekends.  Because of this, I chose them to do the work.  They must be good!  🙂

Truthfully?  I probably could’ve did this myself.  Get an electric buffer, buy the compound, and put lotsa’ elbow grease into it.  But, being one who’d rather pay for this type of service, I opted to let others do it for the (more than I’d normally pay) cost of services.  Plus, it’s hot in Houston on this sunny August Day.

** Fast forward 2 hours now ** (They have Wi-Fi too!)

Well, the car is now washed, professionally buffed out and waxed to perfection.  The paint is looking “almost” Like New and the black shines like polished black lava glass on a Hawaiian Island Beach.  It’s beautiful.  Even has a spray of leather scent in it.  I have cloth seats, go figure.

One reason for doing this is that it will help the car retain it’s value, even tho’ it is over 10 years old.  I got it for a song and I want to keep this car for a long time.  I’m normally not one to buy a vehicle with black paint but this was a diamond. I prefer more color in my vehicle (Red, Blue, Green, etc.).  It now looks as nice as a 1-2 year old car that’s well maintained.

The Texas heat and summers are very hot and very long.  Unless one has covered parking or a garage to keep their vehicles in, the paint will start to degrade within a few years time.  We’ve had the car for 3 years and is parked in a garage every night.  Previous ownership wasn’t as lucky and it sat outside year round.  Add in that we go to the beach often which is more torture to ones paint job.

Needless to say, this Splurge Expense was actually an investment into the cars future.  This is along the lines of my thinking and parallel with budgeting the expense to do so.

And the time and exertion saved IF I would’ve been doing this myself?  Priceless!

If you’ve ever paid for an expense that most would feel unnecessary or frivolous, but still a good deal or worth the time spent, please feel free to post it.  Everyone needs a Splurge Alert! once in a blue moon.

Have  a GREAT Sunday!

The Frugal Cheapskate  >:< >

P.S. – Despite being a cheapskate, I find enjoyment in spending money.  I’m just not wasteful.  But, if you’ve ever seen one of those movies where the clerk tries to take the money out of the buyers hand and he just won’t let it go so easily?  Sort of a tug-o-war between the two?  I always smile when I see that.  But, if someone – a friend in need – needed help, the wallet (and more) has always been wide open and willing to help.  (Hmmm, maybe I am easy.  Way too easy.)

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Living with Type 2 Diabetes can be fun!

I can hear it now from others with Diabetes. “The Hell you say!”

Okay, maybe it’s not FUN … as in fun like “I just got a puppy” or something. Ever since being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes late last year, my eyes and ears have been listening to my body. Much more than I was before hearing “the news” that would change my life forever. I’m here and I’m aware.  Welcome back to Earth .. Earthling.

A little background: Growing up, I was a pudgy child. “A butterball” as my father and mother had called me. Around 4th grade, my parents started enrolling me in Little League Baseball and then Football for those at the age level I was at.

THAT was the best thing to ever happen to me. From that point on in my life, I was active. As I got older, it just snowballed to even greater levels. I was always a “Big Boned” person, but I’ve always had meat on those bones too.

I had a time when I jogged 5 miles every single day. I’ve lifted weights and have even been an Aerobics Instructor for a few years. Life was good for the single guy in his 30’s! 🙂 So what the heck happened??

Somewhere in all this, I started getting a little relaxed with my health.  Diet in particular.

Then, in my 30’s, I started playing Volleyball at a competitive level (Indoor & Sand). I played for almost 12 years. My metabolism was at a peak (again). I never had any symptoms of Diabetes. No one ever told me that my father’s side of the family had some history with Diabetes. (FACT: The exercise and activities were doing all the work I needed to fend off the Diabetes. Listen Up Diabetics – Exercise IS the key)

As I got older, I started to be “less active.” A few steps down from full throttle.  Then I got married. All activity stopped cold. (and) The internal furnaces were quickly shutting down. The reasons are that you want to be around your spouse, you are a team (as my wife and I are). You order take-out or delivery. Before you know it, your waistline is expanding like a balloon in heat, and your metabolism is getting a flat tire. But, you’re okay with that because you aren’t single ~and/or~ you don’t have to do the things you used to do to attract the opposite sex. Right?

Something changed.  Me.  I changed.

Plus, the rules of the game changed along with it.

My heredity started to show it’s colors. I would get sick and stay sick for longer than normal periods. Things just did not heal as quickly, or my immune system would be low. I was on a fast track … in the wrong direction.

Last year, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, It’s the best thing to have happen to me, in a while.

“Why?” you ask?

Because it opened my eyes to the changes that were happening to me, my body, my health, and even the environment around me (how easily are you swayed to ignore the healthy choices and take the easy way out?). Instead of having a heart attack, I got a chance to get back to a special place that I am NOT a stranger too. A place that is full of Health, and Energy, and a Long Life ahead.  If I had ignored the symptoms, and just continued on the road I was on, I’d be looking at the final years of my life.  But now? I have all the years I can handle if I take care of myself.

Exercise and fitness ARE where it’s at!  I really enjoy the endorphins that are released each time I go for a bike ride.  And a great way to blow off some steam, or stress, or just nervous energy … as the body is always talking to the brain.  (are we listening to what it’s saying?)

And if you are a Type 2 Diabetic, you can even get off your medicine by just being active and taking responsibility for your health, your life.

It’s not work. It’s FUN!!!  The Ball & Chain part are because we aren’t used to the new changes necessary to get back to optimum health.

And, if you are ever diagnosed with Diabetes? Don’t think that the world has ended, or that god (or whatever) is taking it out on you. Why not look at this as an “opportunity to change” some of the habits and patterns in our life.  If you were already healthy and “got the news” then you’re already there, and you (truthfully?) couldn’t help the genetics that brought it to the forefront of your life.  Change is GOOD, if be believe it to be.  Lemons to lemonade.  I love sweet lemons.

We can:

  • Lose Weight
  • Get Active, even if just a 20 minute walk. You have to start somewhere!
  • Stop Smoking (Thankfully, I’ve never smoked cigarettes)
  • Learn to cook and eat the right way.
  • Get in touch with the person you are and take care of them.
  • try a new activity.  If you want to start walking regularly, time to go buy some GOOD shoes.

No one gets out alive, but why leave in worse shape than when you entered this world. Helpless and vulnerable.  Embrace your problems … like Diabetes, or being over weight, your life will change because you are facing [it] head on.  Little things DO make a difference!

If you don’t know all the answers, do the research. Find out what others are doing and mirror what they do right.

Make it fun.

Diabetes can be fun because you are learning new things that will keep you motivated and going forward. There are people out there who were diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, but they’ve taken charge of their life because of it, and never look back.   they live a better, healtier life now, than they did before being diagnosed.  I want to be in that spot, and I’m getting there each day as I work towards my goal of getting fit … again!

Truthfully, I’m preaching to myself with this Blog post.  I like the “Kick in the Butt” to get me motivated when I’m feeling like a slacker (or lazy).  Knowing me, I’ll read this post a hundred more times and wonder if I need to tweak my routines even more.  🙂  That’s a good thing, IMO.  A thought, provoked, creates stimulation and possibly action.

What do you like to do for fitness and exercise? What is your daily regimen to make it happen.
Bicycle riding (my favorite past time now) is what I do 3+ times a week.  Anything but sitting on the couch hour after hour wishing I was in better shape or doing more in life.

  • There’s PLENTY OF TIME to sit on the couch and watch TV, and a lot of people have TIVO’s or DVR’s. (wink)
  • Walk Fast. Walk Slow. It doesn’t matter.

Even if you don’t have Diabetes, it would still be a good idea to get outside and “Just Do It!” as the saying goes. (Nike:  Please send a big check to me for that endorsement!)

Over and Out,
The Frugal Cheapskate.  “The Little Things DO Add Up!”

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I have my own Website Domain! Woot!!

After fumbling through the iPage website and getting the domain name I wanted, I finally have it! My very own “TheFrugalCheapskate.com” site. (now if I can just find the driving manual)

I’m now somebody somewhere in this world. And, I’m Alexa ranked at….. 2,857,261…??? Now wait a minute, three days ago I was ranked at 14,500,000. Does this mean that more than the 3 people who’ve responded to my first blog post are actually looking at, possibly even reading what I’ve wrote? Or am I graciously getting some of the “click thru” from my friend and Blogger-o-matic Guru of Woodpress mentor’s own webpage @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff? Hmmm.

You can view and comment on any of her Blog entries @ “Budgeting In The Fun Stuff” … you’ll be glad you did!


The Frugal Cheapskate


Somethings afoot. I can smell it! 🙂 

Have a GREAT Day!!!

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Stamp Collecting for enjoyment and future profits.

Oil Burners Expo


Howdy y’all. For my 2nd blog post, I thought I’d talk a little about a hobby I have. It’s something I enjoy and it will end up being something I SELL one day.  When I get to that age where I’m (much) older and would still like a foot in “the game of making money.”     

I’m a stamp collector.     

I’m not your average stamp collector as I (now) only collect “Poster Stamps.”  (I’ve bought plenty of stamps from the authors of that hyperlink too, off eBay).  Another name for poster stamps is “Cinderella Stamps.”  Reasons being that they are left out of the limelight (they had no ticket to the ball, as they say) compared to the other USPS stamps out there that people still covet like a bear guarding its cubs.  There’s a lot of competition, rivalry.  And plenty of snobbery too.     

 In early 2002, my wife and I went to an “estate sale” here in Houston.  Estate sales are when an “estate” or personal belongings of a family (some entity) are liquidated for money.  I love to go to estate sales.  If you subscribe to the life of frugality like me, you would LOVE going to these sales. Cheap clothes, furniture, kitchen items, etc, etc….  I love finding Ralph Lauren Polo shirts for $2, but I’ll post another blog item on this subject later. (Psssst! Get on Estate Sale Liquidators emailing lists for dates and times)     

Ahem, where was I ….  

We’d been to many estate sales before, but this one was a high-end sale and the person having it used to be into “Philatelic” materials and very exclusive events.  Or (in English) … stamp collecting.  The word Philatelic sounds more like you are saying “Flat-L-lick” and thus a person must either be a snob to say it without laughing or you’ve practiced saying it over and over and over to the point of “you’d rather just say Stamp Collecting.”  In fact, the family having the estate sale was so into stamp collecting that he had the kind of US stamps worth 4 to 6 figures (yes, hundred’s of thousands).  Those were not on sale but there were all these old magazines, old postal history, and stock items about stamps and collecting.  I bought a ton of this for CHEAP and sold on eBay for a very tidy profit.  I was amazed at how many people are into this hobby.  Rabid, frothing at the mouth, enthusiasts who value a single stamp as more important that eating or sleeping.  And this got me to thinkin’ .. Hmm.     

I started doing the research into this.  What I found was a world of profits, and a class of items that would only go up in value like certain artwork and paintings do over time.      

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  • Only a select number were ever made, and
  • Every year, there gets to be less and less of them.

The collectors are usually people who are older, but the trade is catching on more and more with a younger set who are looking for alternative ways to find buy-and-hold investments. A place to park some money for the longer haul.  Similar to buying baseball cards but considered a more exclusive type of collecting.    

Okay.  I bought a book on values and types of stamps.  I started buying old postal stamps at stamp club auctions and off of eBay.  I was a member of the Houston Philatelic Club.  I will easily make my money back with what all I have to date. (Don’t ask how many…Ha!)  But then, one day …. I saw my first “poster stamp” and fell in love with collecting stamps and postal history.     

It was colorful, like a painting or something that made you want to know more about it.  Crisp, clear marks and vivid theme.  It cost a dollar.  It was a Tobler Chocolate stamp.  Early-1900’s.  They only made so many of them and the one I had was a hard one to find.  But, as I learned, these particular stamps are better in collections, not singles.   Why?  Because they are a theme, based on advertising [chocolate].  

Here’s an example of a current eBay auction for such:  eBay item# 300456927232 – I hope I got the hyperlink set correctly.  That set of 12 Continue reading

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