stress affects different people in different ways
Today I realised that since I was burgled and robbed a little while ago I have been suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety. Locked in the nightmare prison of my own subconscious mind.
The physical symptoms are shaking hands, shortness of breath, headache, and nosebleeds. Fairly unpleasant. But, actually, the mental and spiritual symptoms are worse ~ bad dreams for example.
It’s going to be difficult for me ever to be confident enough to trust anyone again.
I need to work on that.
Where was a proper English Bobby when I really needed one?
some say that crime does not pay
After I was burgled just a while ago, I’ve had to spend three hours at the police station ~ witness statement, victim statement, and going through about 20 pages of supporting documentation.
The police are optimistic of finding the criminals from CCTV footage when they used my credit cards ~ and then I’ll have to testify in court.
I’m a bit stressed, tired and depressed this afternoon.
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.
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…..
Easy Lifestyle Changes Could Save You A Small Fortune.
There some very basic things you can do which, added together, will save you a great deal of money. These changes to the way you live your life are not difficult, they’re not complicated, and they will not take up a lot of your time. In fact, all of these things are what my granny used to call; ‘basic common sense’. Get on with it, smell the roses, save yourself some money, and live a better life.
- Pay off all your credit and store card bills. The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 16%, with some banks charging as much as 79.9% per annum, this is just extortion and usury. Far better to borrow elsewhere, at a cheaper rate, and pay off your plastic.
- Use the internet and find cheaper providers for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, (cell phone), land line telephone, internet, cable television, and car insurance. Switch to the cheapest provider because customer service will always suck, no matter who you are with. And, by the way, do you really need all those rubbish TV channels?
- Lower the temperature of your heating, and raise the temperature of your air conditioning by a couple of degrees. We all pay far too much for heating and cooling our homes.
- Lower the temperature at which you wash your clothes. There is a 30C setting on my washing machine, (about 90F), and most of the time that’s what I use. This gets rid of most dirt and stains, but it does not get rid of germs, and it’s not hot enough to get whites clean. So, I still always wash my bed linen and whites at 90C, (about 200F). Mind you, I always use biological washing powder which works well at lower temperatures.
- Always make a shopping list. Far too many people go into a store and come out with a whole bunch of stuff they don’t really want or need, while forgetting the important thing they went in for. Make a shopping list and never, ever make impulse purchases.
- Try own-brand goods. Very often the own-brand products are just as good as the more expensive named-brands. Quite often own-brand products are made in the same factories and on the same production lines as named brands. Stores always try to make you buy the most expensive, premium goods.
- Never buy ‘designer labels’ ~ don’t be a logo whore, and who wants some other guy’s name on their clothes and shoes anyway? It’s pathetic.
- Learn to do DIY. I hate contractors, repair men, decorators, gardeners, with a passion. If it needs doing then 90% of the time I do it myself. Learn to decorate, put up a shelf, fix a leaky tap, (faucet), and save yourself an absolute fortune.
- Make your travel arrangements early and do it on the internet. Always shop around for the cheapest deal. Always pay by credit card. Get a brochure from the travel agent for information and to give you a comparison.
- Learn to drive properly. Almost everyone I know is a crap driver, especially women. Almost everyone I know drives too fast, races between the lights, uses the accelerator hard and the brakes hard, and sits in the wrong gear. Drive a little slower and learn what anticipation means and you will not only use less petrol, (gas), there will be much less wear and tear on your car.
- Don’t always buy the newest, top-of-the-range car. A low mileage used car, or the basic model in the new car range can save you thousands. Remember, the biggest cost of owning a car is depreciation. Most cars will lose between 50% – 60% of their value in the first 3 years. (Just don’t buy an Edsel ~ people will laugh.)
- Walk, don’t drive. If you don’t have far to go and don’t have much to carry, don’t drive, walk instead. That won’t only save you money, walking will do wonders for your health and fitness.
- Give up smoking / vaping. Both will seriously damage your health, both can kill you, and both will cost you a fortune. A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost you about £7 in the UK and about $7 in California, (USA prices vary by state). So, a 10 a day habit will cost you about £1,300 per annum in the UK and $1,300 a year in California ~ a lot of money for a disgusting habit that’s killing you.
- Cut down on your drinking. Too much booze will make you fat, ill, and temporarily or permanently stupid ~ it will eventually kill you. How much booze is too much? If you drink a bottle of wine a night, or 4 bottles of beer, or a quarter of a bottle of spirits, then you are drinking far too much. Decent booze is hellishly expensive.
- STOP GAMBLING. Gambling is exactly the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash. Gambling is an addiction, and all gamblers lose heavily over time, always, with no exceptions, (not even the Cincinnati Kid).
- Never, ever, join a gym, and if you have gym membership, then cancel it. Most people with gym memberships don’t go often enough to get their money’s worth. Gyms are poor value for money and bad places for most people to exercise ~ you’re breathing stale air, being made to listen to loud music, and you’re indoors under artificial lights. Nasty. Exercise for free instead.
- Plan ahead and buy stuff in the sales, at discount stores, and in thrift stores.
- Claim all your tax and other benefits. Use the internet at learn what you can really claim.
- Never use pay per view TV or TV services such as Netflix ~ this is just stupid. Do you really need to dumb down so much as to sit in front of the TV, and pay extra for the privilege, over and above whatever stupid cable subscription you are already paying for this crap?
- Never, ever buy extended warranties on things like a car, new washing machine, or television. These warranties are scams, not worth the paper they’re printed on, and cost a fortune.
- Stop buying expensive pre-prepared, ready meals. Learn to cook instead. ‘Ready meals’ are full of unmentionable crap, and are terrible value for money.
Remember, when you want to save money, when you want to stop wasting money, the internet is your friend. You may think you don’t have the time to spend on internet research, trust me, you do have loads of spare time, it’s just that you waste that too. Stop ruining your mind by watching hours of drivel on the TV, stop ruining your health by spending time in your usual sleazy pub / bar, and stop making excuses.
Never, ever, sign anything you don’t understand. Never, ever, trust a salesperson.
Money makes the world go around…
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings and sixpence, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery. ~ Mr. Micawber
I was a broken man when I eventually moved into the waterside apartment I call the garret. Broken in body, mind, and spirit. I was also flat broke. Which is likely to happen when your business partner is stealing you blind. (Given how much money she took from me she was probably the most expensive
sex I have ever had.)
I was used to having more money than a money-pit, trophy-wife could spend on clothes, jewelry, shoes…, so being penniless came as something of a shock. I had two choices, make some more money, or spend less. Given that there was no way I was going to take a regular job I had only 1 choice…
I had to learn how to live on less. Thanks to synchronicity, my time as a Banker had tought me how to manage money. Here are some
guidelines I followed / still follow:
- Pay my debts. Debt is an insidious trap. Debts incur interest, and if you don’t pay the debt and interest in good time, you risk serious consequences. The debts I had were a small mortgage on the garret, and some credit card balances. Of the two, it was most important that I cleared the debt on my plastic ~ credit cards carry a ruinous rate of interest. Even if I had to live on white-label canned goods for the rest of my life, the first thing I did, (and still do), with any money I had coming in was reduce my debts.
- Pay the local taxes and utilities bills. I had tried living without water, gas, electricity, telephone, internet, a roof over my head, (maybe you should read Alternative Living # 3), and believe you me, it’s no picnic. In fact, living without modern conveniences is a short way to illness and death for the modern man.
- Learn how to say No. I stopped accepting invitations to go out to bars / restaurants / coffee shops / cinemas. I stopped giving to charities. I would not lend or give any cash to anyone. Salespeople still get very short shrift from me, as in; ‘what part of
fuck-offno don’t you understand?’
- I stay away from shopping malls, and I don’t buy things from the internet’s virtual mall. As it goes, that isn’t strictly true. If it’s raining I take my daily walk in the local shopping mall.
- Write lists. I am terrible for going into a supermarket and coming out with stuff I did not really want or need. Supermarkets are very good at getting us to buy stuff… So, work out what I need, write a list, and buy what’s on the list, and don’t buy anything else.
- Shop differently. Use discount stores and thrift shops, look in the bargains sections, look for and use coupons, and never go shopping when you are hungry, thirsty, angry, depressed, drunk…
- Sell the stuff I no longer want or need. When I lived in a 5 bedroom home, I had a huge study, full of books, music, and man-junk. I am still using Amazon to sell vinyl, cd’s and books. Yet the garret still has heaps stuff stored in all kinds of unlikely places…
- Rethink what I want and need. I don’t need the latest and most expensive car, newest television, most expensive cable service, most up to fate cellphone, tablet, the latest fashions…
- Stay away from booze. Given the amount I could drink, if once I started drinking, I could spend a hell of a lot of money on booze. Added to that I do stupid and expensive things when I have been drinking.
- Keep away from other vices. I am very lucky, the only addictive weaknesses I have ever suffered from are women and booze. I have never smoked or taken street drugs ~ the people who do those things disgust me. If you read my Alternative Living # 4 you will know how I came to cope with the whole women / relationships / sex thing.
One of my friends is taking their first overseas trip in twenty-something years. That set me thinking a little.
I spent 30 years travelling to most places in Europe and North America, unluckily I also went to some more ‘off the map’ destinations ~ such as Ankara, Mexico City and Moscow. Most of these trips were ‘on business’ some were vacations, and some were both. I’ve been arrested, caught all kinds of unmentionable illnesses, been delayed at the airport for 72 hours, held on a non-moving aircraft for 8 hours, arrived at the wrong airport, returned to the wrong UK airport, been mugged by 3 Romanian girls in Rome, got ripped-off innumerable times, held at gunpoint in Nassau, worked / travelled / worked again for an entire week, lost my car at a London Airport, got utterly and completely lost in the middle of nowhere, lost my luggage innumerable times, been stuck in the dark in the Channel Tunnel for hours, and hours and hours….
Well you get the picture. Travel is often misery. International travel is often a lot worse than that.
There are some things one can do to alleviate one’s suffering. My ‘rules for travel’ are:
- Don’t go anywhere you don’t know anyone, or at least have a contact.
- Make certain all of your documentation is in order and in date. Passport, visa and driving licence are my starting point. Then check with the appropriate consulate, Foreign Office, State Department. This can usually be done on-line.
- Get all of the necessary injections.
- Book direct with the airline / hotel / car hire firm / travel insurance company, on-line or by telephone. Shop around. Check for deals and discounts. It costs me exactly nothing whatsoever to call a number in the USA using Google.
- Do not use budget airlines, down-market hotels, or car rental firms that don’t have a desk at your destination airport. Book coach on a decent airline, standard room at a decent hotel / motel. Personally I always rent an upmarket car.
- Study the geography so you know where you are going and where your layovers are. For example, transferring at Chicago ORD means you will be delayed.
- Pack no more than carry-on luggage, and check size and weight restrictions for that. (They have stores in most cities one can fly to.) Take some stuff which will allow you to look smart and clean at all times. In my case this is a shirt to change into during the journey, hand wipes, battery razor.
- Take at least twice as much money as you can possible imagine you will need. Check currency import regulations. Take at least 3 debit / credit cards, and know your PIN numbers.
- Plan on arriving a couple of hours early at airports / railway stations / ferry terminals.
- Have a fat book / tablet to keep you occupied during the interminable waiting.
- NEVER, EVER, EVER lose your temper with anyone ~ no matter how great the temptation.
- Keep your documentation, cash and credit cards very very safe at all times. Keep your carry-on bag with you at all times.
- Don’t pay for early boarding. This only means you will be at the back of the plane and getting off last. Getting on the plane last means that you get off first, (after First and Business Class travellers.)
- Don’t drink any booze during your journey.
- Try and sleep, go to the lavatory, stretch your legs in the aisle during the flight.
- Because you only have a carry-on bag and will be getting off the plane early you can probably stroll through customs and get to the car rental desk avoiding the crowds.
- Get a navigation system (sat nav), and check over your rental very, very carefully. Photograph any damage.
- If you haven’t rented a car, then take a taxi from the rank. Don’t use a gypsy cab, limo, or public transport. (except when arriving at a London Airport, when you should take the tube / surface train ~ better to rent a car)
- Learn your car before you get into the traffic. Set the sat nav. Know exactly where your hotel / friend / contact is located. Drive very, very carefully.
- Watch out for the 99% of the people you will meet who will try to rip you off.
- Do not expect anyone to be helpful, efficient, or polite. Be pleasantly surprised if they are.
- Attempt to speak the local language. Even in the States, US English is different from English English. Learn the local customs, and do it Fast.
- When the shit hits the fan, and it will, be polite and helpful. Do Not lose your temper.
- Have a nice day.
As it goes, all of the above is common sense, but so many times I have seen people get into very, very serious trouble for breaking any one, (worse more than one), of the above guidelines / rules. Sleeping on the beach isn’t the worst than can happen to you.