inflation is taxation by another name
your government is lying to you
Just in case you hadn’t noticed the price of everything is going up, starting with how much it costs to fill your car’s petrol tank. Here in England petrol costs about £6.00 a gallon, while in the USA it’s around $4.00 for a smaller gallon. Don’t expect the cost of petrol / gasoline to get cheaper, ever.
The inexorable increase in the price of everything is called inflation, and it’s currently standing at 3.3% per year in the UK and maybe 2.25% in the USA. The snag is that wages and salaries are not increasing in line with inflation, so we all need to make the most of our money.
- Don’t use your car for a short journey, walk instead.
- Cancel your gym membership, you probably don’t use it, and you don’t need it, especially if you walk more.
- Cancel your subscription TV channels, you don’t need them.
- Stop buying things you don’t need, never go shopping without a proper list, and stop making impulse purchases.
- Pay off your credit cards, even if it means using your savings and part of your pension fund.
- If you can, pay off any other borrowing you have.
- Stop borrowing money, no matter how easy it seems, paying it back, plus interest, is damned expensive.
- Don’t cool your home so much, turn up the thermostat on your AC.
- Don’t heat your home so much, turn down the thermostat on your heating.
- Stop hanging about in bars drinking and looking for casual sex.
- Eat out much less, stop buying takeouts, learn to cook instead.
- Start growing your own produce, gardening is healthier exercise than going to the gym.
- Sell things that you never wear, use, need, and probably don’t like any more.
Or do as I do and lead a minimalist life instead of a life of conspicuous consumption.
some of us have to count every penny
23 March 2021 ~ my birthday ~ one year of lockdown
trust me; howling at the moon doesn’t help
The British Government’s draconian response to the coronavirus crisis starts its second year today. We begin another year of lockdown. None of the numbers surrounding COVID-19 are either real and nor do they make any sense. In particular the alleged 126 thousand people who are said to have died of this virus in the United Kingdom in the last year is a completely false statistic.
There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. ~ Mark Twain
Here, as in most countries, anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus in the 28 days before their death is deemed to have died from COVID-19, no matter the true and real cause of death. Even using the false statistics fewer than 2 in 1,000 who have caught the disease have died from it, (0.2%), and of those who have allegedly died from coronavirus, the vast majority have been over 82 years old, (which is older than the median age of death here).
A real statistic is that because of the coronavirus lockdown the UK is broke, and getting deeper into penury with every day that passes. The cost to the UK economy of this lockdown is said to be £521 million a day, ($730 million), although our government is actually borrowing a billion pounds a day, every single damn day.
And the lockdown just gets more and more severe. From next Monday, March 29th, taking a foreign holiday is illegal ~ in fact I would be fined £5,000 for just turning up at an airport. It’s like living in East Germany under the yoke of communism.
All I can do is wish myself a happy birthday ~ hoping and praying that things get better for us all very soon.
after we’ve been vaccinated
why do we still have to wear a mask?
neither a borrower nor lender be
The phrase above comes from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and actually refers to never lend nor borrow from a friend, but I would expand that to include never lending to nor borrowing from a family member, partner, lover, or anyone else for that matter. Often you will never, ever see a single penny paid back to you. I would also expend that to say never, ever, ever stand as guarantor for anyone either. Because as guarantor you are jointly end severally liable for the whole debt, plus interest, plus charges ~ up to and including losing your home and everything else you own.
- Work out your monthly budget, with hard numbers. How much do you have coming in, and how much goes out, and on what? If you have more going out than you have coming in, then stop fucking wasting money on cigarettes, booze, gambling, drugs, vacations, sex, new clothes and shoes you don’t need…. Or get a higher paid honest job.
- Only ever borrow for two reason; #1 a mortgage to buy your home #2 to buy your car, if you must have a car. (actually student loans to pay for your education sometimes make a third reason) The only borrowing I have ever had, in my whole life, was a mortgage on my home.
- Pay off your debts just as soon as you possibly can, and only take out a loan if that is allowed in the documentation with no penalties. Don’t ever borrow from anyone other than highly respected, and properly regulated institutions. If you have never heard of them, don’t touch them with a barge pole.
- Never, ever, ever borrow on a credit card, for any reason whatsoever. Only buy something on your plastic if you can afford to pay for it in hard cash right there and then, and always pay off all your card debt in full every single month. The interest rates on credit cards are stupidly high. Anyone who says using a credit card / line of credit to consolidate your borrowing is a crook.
- On the other hand, I buy everything on plastic. I do that for 3 reasons #1 I get good points which I can use to get other things #2 because I pay off my card bills in full every month, I get 1 month’s free credit #3 if I have a dispute with the seller, then in the UK the card company will, at the end of the day, refund me in full in the seller will not, or cannot.
- Save for your retirement, however that works in your country and in your company. Save as much as you can afford for your retirement.
- Never ever trust anyone who tries to sell you any kind of financial product whatsoever. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is. If you don’t understand it, then it’s a scam. Never, ever believe anything you see on the internet ~ especially on YouTube. Everybody lies sometimes, sales people lie all the time. Often they believe their own lies, or they’re to badly educated to understand their own products. (That applies to all sales people.)
We had a mantra when I worked in Banking and Finance in The City of London; ‘My Word Is My Bond’. Sadly that no longer applies anywhere. The world of Savings, Loans, Credit Cards, Banking, Finance, The Stock Markets, Real Estate….. are today full of the ignorant, dishonest, liars, charlatans, confidence tricksters, and crooks.
We had another saying in the City of London caveat emptor; which is Latin for Let the Buyer Beware.
life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all
look towards the far horizons
Might I suggest that you take some time out to be with yourself, find a time and space where you can be alone with your thoughts, an hour and a place where you will be certain of just a little privacy, and ask yourself some simple questions.
- What do I need?
- What makes me happy?
- What is it in my life that’s making me unhappy?
- What and who am I afraid of, and why is that?
- Where and when do I feel safe and comfortable?
- What is happening to my health, why am I tired all the time?
- When and how can I make some time for myself?
- Who are my friends, and who can I really trust?
- How can I spend more time with my real friends?
- How can I express myself, how do I show the real me to the world?
- How can I connect with the people I love and care about?
- How can I pay all the bills this month, what about the mortgage?
- How do I find the time to do the shopping, and how do I pay for it?
- If I leave, who is going to do everything that needs doing around here?
- How can I ever show my face in that bar, ever again?
Some of these are big important questions, and some may seem more trivial, but if you ask yourself any of these questions, then the answers are very important to you. If you try to look at the big and very important questions first, then you may become discouraged because they are just too difficult to answer. So maybe don’t look for any answers at all just now. Just for now concentrate on the questions, write them down in your journal, or notebook, but for Gods sakes don’t leave your jottings anywhere where anyone else has the slightest chance in Hades of finding them.
If all that seems to difficult, then make the questions simpler, like;
- How do I feel today?
- What excites me?
- Who has captured my heart?
- What I want is…..
- My heart longs for…..
Or perhaps write all this stuff down, and then burn it, and flush the ashes down the toilet to join your failed marriage / relationship / friendship / love / partnership / shitty job.
Only by knowing what it is that we really want, need, and desire ~ and what we don’t want in our life under any circumstances can we move on in any constructive and positive way.
Some say that we have to understand what our needs are, first and foremost. And that if you don’t know what your needs are how can you ever satisfy them. All I know is that the more you are forced to give to others, the more you need to give to yourself.
give yourself a wonderful sunrise,
enjoy the peace of the natural world
being in control of your finances is a great stress reliever
Next to being in a dysfunctional relationship, money troubles are the commonest cause of severe stress. Sadly, dysfunctional relationships and money troubles often go together.
There are four sets of reasons that may have caused your money troubles;
- Misfortune. This is not your fault, You may have lost your job, have uninsured medical expenses, your ex may have never paid child maintenance, your water heater may have exploded in a cloud of steam…..
- Laziness and Stupidity. You never open your mail, you don’t check your balance when you withdraw cash from the ATM, you can’t be bothered to balance your cheque book, you don’t bother to look for the thriftier items when you go to the supermarket…..
- Compulsive Spending. You max out your credit cards and then get another, your favorite pastime is shopping, when you’re stressed you go shopping, you buy shoes you will never wear, you’ve bought a car you can’t afford, you buy stuff you don’t really want, need, or already have…..
- Addictions. Maybe this is where things get really, really bad. You’re a drunk and you spend a fortune on booze in bars and supermarkets. You’re a drug addict, you’re always jonesing for your drug of choice, and you would do anything to get your next fix, including spending the rent on coke. You’re a gambler and when you’re in a casino you lose track of time and money. You’re a sex addict and pay for a fuck or a suck, and you’re addicted to on-line porn and sex-chat…..
So you’re flat broke, have bills to pay, and you are very, very stressed, suicidally so. So WTF can you do?
- Stay calm, make yourself a cup of tea, sit down, get a pen and paper and make some notes.
- Work out exactly how much you owe in outstanding debt, including all your credit cards, parking fines ~ basically write down and add up every single penny you owe. Depressing isn’t it?
- Work out exactly how much is the bare minimum amount a month you need to live on, including food, rent, utilities, car repayments, insurance, parking, and petrol, (gas). Compare that with how much you’ve got coming in, and if you’ve got less coming in than you will have going out, find something on your list you don’t need to buy.
- Find the nearest discount grocery store, and resolve to shop nowhere but there in future, and to buy only their cheapest stuff, providing it’s nutritious.
- Contact your bank, finance, and credit card companies and see if they can help you by deferring or reducing repayments.
- STOP FUCKING BUYING NON ESSENTIAL STUFF. If you have to, then cut up all your credit cards.
- Find a way to recover from your addiction. If you have to go to a couple of AA, or NA, or GA meetings a day then get your butt down there. Take part. STOP doing whatever it is that you’re addicted to; if it’s booze or drugs you may need medical help.
Some say that something good will turn up soon. And that the Micawber Principle is a load of bullshit anyway. All I know is that one shouldn’t throw good money down the drain.
it isn’t this pensioner’s fault that she’s broke
you should have her worries
learning is not compulsory, neither is survival
learn woodworking and gardening
There was a time when most men could turn their hand to just about anything; from growing their own vegetables to completing their tax returns, from plumbing to motor maintenance. Yet I know some young guys who are so impractical they can’t even put up a shelf. I once met a guy who didn’t know how to open the bonnet, (hood), on his car ~ let alone check the oil. Hell, I once met a blonde girl who couldn’t open her fuel filler cap.
But we are not talking about girls here, we are talking about real urban survival skills for real men. What does a guy need to be able to do to survive and thrive? Leave out the whole surviving alone in the deep woods thing, (with a camera crew, doctor, and evac helicopter on standby). Let’s concentrate instead on what a cool guy living a great life should be able to do, and most can’t even make a decent attempt at. In no particular order;
- cooking ~ from making an omelette to an impressive signature dish. including doing the shopping and cleaning afterwards.
- DIY ~ how to you loosen a bolt?
- finance ~ budgeting, balancing your income and expenditure, completing official paperwork, negotiating a loan.
- first aid and CPR ~ from the Heimlich Maneuver, to using a tourniquet.
- health and fitness ~ fresh air, diet, food supplements, exercise.
- motor maintenance ~ from checking the tyres, lights, and fluids to doing a complete exhaust rebuild, to building an entire damn car.
- navigate from A to B without sat-nav ~ can you find north, use a compass, read a map, know how far a mile is?
- read, write, and do arithmetic ~ do you read interesting and challenging books? can you write a letter in cursive script? Can you make change, approximate pi, and work out a right-angle?
- safety and security ~ is your home safe and secure and can you walk the streets at night?
- disaster recovery ~ what will you do if there’s an earthquake, or a wild-fire, or flood, or your home just suddenly becomes uninhabitable?
For once, I haven’t given you lots of links, because a man should be able to find appropriate stuff on the internet, and not just be able to find his own particular taste in porn. So whatever you can’t do, start learning…..
There are a lot more things that a true Renaissance Man is capable of, from building and sailing a boat, to building a car, to building his own home from scratch. In extremis a real man knows how to survive natural and man-made disasters. There is even a list of 100 skills every man should know, (but no Englishman needs to know how to throw a good spiral). And, a real man understands the art of attracting women and keeping her happy once he has won her.
Some say they don’t need to do anything because they can always hire someone else to do it. And that guys don’t cook, clean, or do the laundry, real guys just have fun. All I know is that I can’t bake a cake.
learn car mechanics
Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need more.
In The Merchant of Venice Shakespeare explores the dangers of borrowing money, and in Hamlet, Shakespeare says; ‘neither a borrower nor a lender be…..’ And, especially think twice, and twice again before borrowing money from a friend. Think about what you need the most ~ the friendship or the money, for money is often the cause of acrimony and breakups of even the closest of relationships. Your friend may not charge you financial interest on the sums you borrow, but there are likely to be charges and obligations other than strictly monetary.
In order of the least to most desirable lenders from whom you could think of approaching are;
- Friends and lovers. Borrow from a friend and be prepared to soon lose a friend.
- Parents and family.
- Payday Lenders, who will charge you usuary rates of interest ~ 250% to over 1,000% per annum.
- Guarantor Lenders. If you have a poor credit rating you could get a friend or family member to guarantee your loan. These are doubly bad, with all the disadvantages of actually borrowing from friends, lovers, parents and family ~ plus very high rates of interest 50% per annum being about the norm.
- Credit card debt. These insidious borrowings can cost you 25% or more over a year ~ if you go on using that card you may never be debt free.
- Bank loans. If your bank will lend you money you may expect to pay a low rate of interest, maybe between 3% and 10% per annum.
- Mortgages and other secured loans from your bank or a mortgage company / broker. Personally, I could get a mortgage at 2% per annum.
- Car loans. If you should want to buy a new car, many dealers will offer you a car loan at 0%.
And, why do you want a loan anyhow? The very worst reason for borrowing is to feed your addiction; gambling, drugs, booze, sex…. and the second worst reason for borrowing money is to pay off another debt. Both of those are likely to get you into deeper and even worse trouble. Maybe the only good reasons for borrowing are to buy a home, or car, (or in some places to pay medical fees). Vacations, wide-screen TVs, plush furniture, jewellery, fancy clothes, expensive shoes, are all not worth getting yourself into debt for.
So, just beware of borrowing anything from anyone.
Some say a fool and his money are soon parted. And that a man in love never counts the cost of anything. All I know is that Shakespeare was a pretty smart guy.
Maybe a convertible Mustang isn’t the most prudent purchase.
To achieve your goals and dreams you are going to need money.
Back in the day I worked in banking and finance, and I saw first-hand just how much of a mess most people could make of their finances ~ usually due to buying things they couldn’t really afford. The three main culprits when it came to unaffordable and expensive purchases were; cars, clothes / shoes, and vacations ~ none of which are essential. (There’s a caveat, in that you may actually need a car and you do need clothes and shoes, but you can buy the cheapest used stuff you can find, rather than flashy and expensive.)
You do not need to be a millionaire, or act like a millionaire, to be successful or feel successful. Financial wealth is only one indicator of success. However, you’re going to need money just to live day-to-day, and no successful person has ever ignored their finances. Conversely, all successful people know how to manage their money and plan their finances. And rule #1 is Borrowing is Bad, especially if you borrow money you can’t easily pay off.
Financial planning begins with these 4 questions;
- How much money do you take home each month?
- What are your regular bills; mortgage, utilities, taxes, loan repayments?
- How much do you spend each month in the various stores you use; clothes, groceries, gas, booze, cigarettes, etc?
- What assets and debts do you have?
If you are in the fortunate position of making more money than you regularly spend, then you should also be able to work out how much you are saving each month.
You need to write all this down, either just pen and paper, or on a spreadsheet.
If you are regularly spending more than you earn, then you are heading for deep shit.
If you are regularly spending more than you earn, then you need to totally cut out some of your expenditure. Stop buying booze, cigarettes, chocolate, and anything else you may be addicted to; gambling, porn, sex, drugs….. Always buy the cheapest gas, buy less expensive groceries, stop eating out, stop using the deli to buy your lunchtime sandwiches and make them at home instead…..
Borrowing is Bad. Some borrowing is worse. PAY OFF YOUR CREDIT CARDS. Credit card debt is ruinously expensive. In this day and age if your paying more than 10% as an annual interest rate on a loan, then stop eating until that debt is paid off.
Some say that they can make money playing online poker. And, that its good to go to the pub most nights a week. All I know is that some people end up on the street.
life on the street is no fun
Land is the far greatest of fraudulent perpetual monopolies. ~ Winston Churchill
As it goes, and speaking as a guy with 30 odd years of banking under his belt, in the long term, financially, your beach home / house / apartment is worth less than nothing.
You may say that it’s been valued at $1,350,000 but what does that actually mean?
It means that if you sell the place, then that’s what you’ll get. Less all the bloodsucking bankers, lawyers, and realtors fees.
You’ll probably plough the $1,350,000 into a bigger place that’s notionally worth $1,450,000. And, in human terms that new place is worth even less than nothing. You will work much harder to keep it.
All you are doing is paying rent, and working harder to keep the place….. And, then you’ll die.
The only way your $1,500,000 place is worth anything at all to you is if you sell up and live in a van.
Real Estate is all about cost. Look at your monthly / annual bills and you will see that your house is costing you a fucking fortune. Any bum can have 80% of what you have for nothing. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there.
Any First Nations elder will tell you that property is expensive theft.
Banking and the real estate industry is built on the notion that your property is intrinsically worth something, and it isn’t. You can’t take it with you, and when the next Big One comes it won’t even be there.
But, even though I know that the Wizard is a fraud, I will never persuade you.
For the truth means you have too much to lose.
I thought about a school bus once,
but then I’d want a woman to share it with me,
There is scarcely anything that will drag you down like debt.
Basically there are two ways we can have more cash to spend on the things we really like, want, and desire ~ one is to go out and get more money, earn it, marry it, inherit it, steal it….
The other way to have more cash to spend on the things we really like is to spend less on ‘essentials’ ~ the things we have to buy to survive.
For if we remember our Dickens and what Mr. Micawber said in David Copperfield, happiness lies in spending less than we earn, and unhappiness lies in spending more than we actually have.
There are some tried and tested ways to spend less on the boring essentials. In my quest for minimalistic living, I have personal, (sometimes very bitter), experience of all of these following ideas:
- Live in a smaller place. Smaller homes cost less to buy, attract lower property taxes, and use less utilities; water, gas, electricity.
- If you can, switch your utilities provider to a better and cheaper company. All utilities companies are money-grabbing vultures, but try to choose the best of a bad lot.
- Drive a smaller car. Smaller cars are less expensive to buy and insure, and in general use much less gas than a bigger car with more weight and a bigger engine. If you buy a classic smaller car, as opposed to the latest model, then you won’t even suffer from depreciation.
- Switch your car insurance to a better and cheaper company.
- Learn some DIY skills. You don’t have to use expensive and useless contractors, car mechanics, cleaners, or gardeners. It’s cheaper and better if you do as much as you can for yourself.
- Cut out impulse purchases. On impulse, too many of us buy too much stuff that we don’t actually need, want, or really like. All that stuff clutters up our home and convinces us that we need to move to a bigger place.
- Don’t marry a sexy trophy wife, (or toy boy), who will also want you to move into a bigger place. A trophy wife, (or toy boy), will end up costing you most of your treasure, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Don’t try to buy love. It doesn’t work, it will cost you a fortune, and you’ll end up with a broken heart.
- Control your addictions….. booze, drugs, gambling, pornography, casual sex, smoking….. All of these will all cost you just about everything you have, including your self-respect.
- Resist the urge to have the latest and most expensive technologies. You don’t need a huge TV, costly cable, the newest computer, the best tablet, the most expensive iPhone with the most expensive contract.
- Buy whole foods rather than processed, heavily packaged, and generally bad for you costly crap.
- Buy generic brands. Trust me, I’ve been into factories where the expensive labels and generic brands are actually made on the same production line with exactly the same content. Only the packaging is different.
- If you can, then buy in bulk.
- Stop going out to lunch at work, instead take a packed lunch. Those people you go to lunch with are probably boring and certainly aren’t your real friends anyway. And, if you’re an average guy the women you take to lunch are never going to have sex with you, so you’re wasting your time and money.
- Don’t join a gym. Most of the people who have gym membership never go there. For great exercise take a long walk in the sunshine instead.
- Visit thrift stores, and if you find clothes you like, then save money and buy ‘pre-loved’ stuff.
- Don’t give to a big charity. (Have you any idea how much the bosses of the big charities pay themselves? The average pay across the top 100 charities is more than £250,000 a year, plus huge bonuses.)
- Don’t spend all your time drinking in pubs and bars ~ the booze is expensive there, and nobody in your favourite pub is your real friend anyway.
And finally, don’t spend on borrowed money, especially credit cards which all charge usury rates of interest. Credit cards are NOT money. Really, really, really NEVER use a payday lender, which all charge eye-watering criminal rates of interest.
You can probably think of some other money-saving tips of your own. For a month try making a note of what you actually spend your hard-earned on ~ I guarantee that you will be surprised and shocked. Learn what you actually spend your money on, and then you can start to control your finances.
Some say that money can’t buy happiness. And that a fool and his money are soon parted. All I know is that having money makes misery more bearable.
you can take the idea of living in a tiny home to the extreme…..