Purchases

I’ve been on something of a spending moratorium. (I’m feeling broke, though I don’t like using that word. It implies something is wrong with me, rather than my financial footing. So when I’m telling myself that I need more work; that I’m broke –  I’ll usually stop and say, “I feel like I don’t have enough money.”)

Anyway, it seems that all the money I’m making goes towards bills, which has been the case for the past couple of months. However, there are some purchases I’ve made that have been well worth the investment.

First, my Sony noise-canceling headphones. I bought them just over a year ago now. They have been used while traveling, in meditation, for walks and occasionally exercise, and when I’m working at home. They are a marvelous invention, and for years I said I didn’t need them. Now I’m so glad I have a pair.

A Patagonia Better Sweater Fleece Vest. I think I got this early in the year, maybe around February. It was just starting to get warmer, and in Florida, we don’t think about cooler weather all that much. But again, I’m so glad I have it. I wore it for much of my time Alaska this summer, and it just hit the sixties here last night. Besides, I’ll be up in Pennsylvania later this month as well.

And finally, another purchase I’m loving this year, my Parker ’51 Fountain pen. Now, I bought this at an antique store for $5, so it wasn’t really a splurge. But I cleaned it up, and it works perfectly. My morning journal entries are written with a Lamy AL-Star fountain pen, but everything else I use my Parker for. I carry it with me everywhere. Currently, I’m filling it with a Pilot Iroshizuku teal ink.

And over the past twelve months, these have been my most used items. I was gifted a pocketknife that I carry with me everywhere. So that gets used a lot as well. But these items bring me a lot of joy. Every time I look at them or use them, I’m so glad that I have them.

That is what purchases should be. Something that will bring you continued joy over the course of their lives. Otherwise, it could just become clutter. (Don’t worry, I have that too…)

Targeted marketing

There’s always a moment of disquiet when an ad pops up, or a brief commercial shows before a YouTube video, which is targeted to something that I’ve just researched. The Volkswagen Electric Bus; passive income streams; buying and selling put and call  options; NaNoWriMo (yeah, it’s nearing that time again).

Sometimes I bite the hook, like when I saw a concoction of ashwagandha and turmeric – two supplements I take daily. Sometimes I ignore it. But the fact remains that what we put out comes back in a way meant to entice us to spend money.

This can be good, for instance if our life will genuinely be enriched by purchasing what is being advertised – I think specifically of researching medication options and perhaps a new treatment is shown that you can ask your doctor about.

This can be bad – do you really need another set of pans? Or, in my case, a Honda CR-V? No, I don’t.

I don’t know that there is a way to combat this. Only that we must remain diligent and think rationally when it comes to online enticements.

An immigration dilemma

The current view on immigration is like an infection. Fear that foreign bodies will invade and take over otherwise healthy systems. There are two problems with this view.

  1. Corrective action against foreign bodies does not take a holistic view of the patient and environment. Unless the environment that is causing infection is healed as well, no amount of medication will keep a host healthy.
  2. Most importantly, the US isn’t an infected host, and immigrants aren’t a disease. The rich and diverse cultures that make up the United States are further developed by infusing new blood into the system.

It’s not a disease. It’s an infusion.

The A – Word

I’ve been bothered by the news reports concerning abortion bills over the past few weeks. I stand on both sides of the issue – I’m anti-murder in a mostly Buddhist outlook, which includes vegetarianism and opposition to the death penalty. I’m also a strict believer in a woman’s right-to-choose, as we all have inherent rights that others should not impose their beliefs on.

I won’t ask you, beg you, or try to pass legislation so that you can’t eat meat. This is my choice, and I do it a) because I feel it right not to allow an animal to die for my sustenance, and b) it is completely personal to me.

As a personal matter, I would rather abortions not be necessary. As a political matter, it’s not my body – the choice belongs to a woman primarily, and her partner in most cases.

I don’t know that there is an answer to this political quagmire, but I know the current rhetoric is only leading to disaster.

 

Hide your stash

Focusing on personal money is a stressful prospect. Seeing the rises and falls, the balance changing, seemingly out of your control, can imbue a feeling of powerlessness. That’s why the best investors and gamblers view their pools of available money as resource, not expendable cash.

The adage among drug dealers is to never use your own stash. The same can be said for the money that you pay yourself first – savings, retirement, major expense fund… Be careful that you’re not using the resource that you set aside for your self – for your future.

That’s your stash. Don’t use it.

Refinancing

Looking at my 2019 finances, I’m a bit less optimistic than I was mere weeks ago. One reason is that my healthcare deductible is increasing. Significantly. Like, from $60 to $350.

I set a goal in 2018 to discover what was wrong with me. Whether or not I actually had rheumatoid arthritis. All signs pointed to yes. I’m still off medication, which I’m thrilled about. Really, it’s been like two years.

When I was first put on medication I could barely walk. I used a cane to hobble around, and the time it took me to get out of bed was roughly an episode of The Price is Right. I hurt, and I was slow, and before the diagnosis, I thought I was dying.

The medication let me move comfortably again, but it had its own corresponding health issues. Fatigue (occasionally severe fatigue); responses to food that I used to enjoy – now they made me sick; lethargy; increased aggression for the first few months; and liver problems. They pinballed me through all different kinds of medication, trying to find the right cocktail.

So, not needing it and showing little signs of the initial RA diagnosis, I was certain that I had been misdiagnosed. But my bloodwork last year showed elevated inflammation levels conducive with RA, along with other markers. Long story short, better for me to keep my medical insurance.

Now, that’s one expense that increased dramatically. My work is mostly on a contract basis, so that expense comes out of pocket.

How does someone living in this day and age, balancing student loan debt, the rising costs of healthcare, and basic living expenses, make it? How does one become not only stable, but successful.

My first step is a budget. And with that cornerstone, I am hopeful that the bricks will fit securely.

Relationships with money

When considering your life style, your finances and living situation, do you feel as if you’re thriving? Or surviving?

If it’s the latter, it may be harder to ever reach a place of thriving.

I’ve been an advocate for the law of attraction for nearly three years now, since I began making life changes that were so drastic that I wouldn’t have believed them possible. Prior to that, I was using reactionary methods of attraction – still creating life, but with little sense of what I was doing.

Even now I sometimes experience the reactionary method (usually around money – major purchases, debt or job issues), and I have to remind myself that what I focus on is what I attract.

So I remind you (and myself) that we live in abundance. This is not a zero-sum game, and we are all capable of winning and achieving our best lives. The trick is to believe that we already are, even if we’ve temporarily stepped out of the abundant circumstances.

The GOP Exodus

“May you live in interesting times.”

– Chinese Proverb

And these are certainly interesting times. But they’ve been clocking in that way for quite a while. Though you may argue since the 2016 presidential election campaigns, it’s been increasingly public and messy for decades in politics.

Right now, the Republican-led Congress is experiencing tumultuous decision making, trying to navigate the stormy seas of Trump’s presidency, the concerns of constituents, and their own moral compass. With such directional challenges, some are opting to flee rather than fight.

Just this week, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced his retirement from Congress. In the growing instability of National party politics, Speaker Ryan seems to think that it’s time to jump ship.

You may recall Paul Ryan receiving the Speakership following John Boehner’s forced exit, amid criticism that Boehner wasn’t coalescing the party enough. Now, with the current Administration inciting divisiveness at all levels, it would be a wonder if there were Congressional Republicans who would want to remain.

We are living in interesting times, but I’m sure most Americans are hoping that every day wasn’t more interesting than the last.

Economic Theory

Been looking at the economics of the nation this week. Will give it more thought as the year progresses, especially with the new Fed Chair. A low rise in interest could turn out to be a good thing.

But I’m considering debt, and the need of money being bondage. Once you take on debt, you start working for someone else.

The Communist system has been used in similarly broken states as Capitalism. Bartering, maybe, was a more honest system. But the accumulation of goods led to some or one wealthy barons working less and exerting control over others.

An imperfect system is the only way to maintain order. Too little pay and you have revolt. Too much, and the need to work is greatly reduced. The majority barely making survival pay (needing debt) induces conformity.

Kill all drug dealers

Back at it. And this week, like all weeks it seems, is not uneventful.

  1. I don’t support the death penalty.
  2. Drugs are sold because they are profitable. (Hello capitalism.)
  3. Addiction is a disease
  4. Dealers exploit addictions, much the same way tobacco companies did (do), and, perhaps, social media companies do…

How to fix it.

I don’t know. Lots of possible ways. Killing the drug dealers just makes gaps for other drug dealers to come in. And in a world where dealers will kill each other to make room in the market, who among them wouldn’t be happy to have the President sanction those murders?

I personally like the German way. It is illegal, but there are buildings where users can go to partake in the hard stuff. (Marijuana should just be legal all the way around.) In these buildings, there are clean beds, clean needles, medical professionals, access to help, and the cops don’t go in there. So, you’re safe. If you have a problem, there are people there to help. When you’re ready to admit that you have a problem.

Less drug-related crime, less festering on the streets.