Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Just wanted to write a quick post to share something that has become a essential part of my financial knowledge.  While not necessarily making me money, is helping me keep it.  The website is and it is free.  It is a company essentially focused on collecting your financial data, displaying it to you in one place, and doing it in a really clear manner.   It takes all of your accounts lumps all of your cash together (also debts), produces some really good charts, and gives you the result. It will let you input anything you own.  The longer you use the site the more useful it gets.  It takes all of your transactions and comes up with trending information that is really useful.

I am working at a bar right now for some extra cash, and my pay varies greatly.  I write down everything I make, but looking at the net income graphs on the trends page I can really see how big of a difference summer made on the money I made.  It has also shown me that I spend way too much money on eating out and if I get over my budget it lets me know.

Getting started is really a simple process.  All you have to do is enter in your online banking info and it does the rest.  It is a little sketchy to give away access to all of your bank account information to a website, but it has been fine for me(so far).  The way that it makes money is that it also attempts to get you to sign up for various services that they get a commission on.  Sometimes the services are really good or can save you a bit of money.  It ranges from savings accounts to mortgages.

At any rate the site has really helped me.  It does make me feel a little weird out about all of my information being in their hands, but the service is worth it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Diesel vs Gas

Earlier this year I wrecked my old car, a 1993 Nissan Altima.  It was a real beater, but I thought I was going to drive her for a while yet.  Now being the super cheap guy that I am it took me a long time to buy something else.  Purchasing a car is a big decision.  It will be with you for at least 5 years.  I had my Altima for 6 years, but it had been in the family since '93.  Over the span of 6 years some small expenses really added up.  Namely the purchase of gasoline.  Back then I was not too concerned about the way that I drove my car and did not think about the effects of my driving on my MPG and my wallet.  I usually got somewhere between 28-38 MPG.

Going in to purchase this next car I had really become conscious of how this added up over time.  I did my research this time.  The car's price and fuel efficiency were my priorities. I had two demands for this car.  It had to be right around $10,000 so I could pay cash for it and it had to get at least 40 MPG on the highway.  I do a lot of highway driving and was really hoping to bring my costs down.

After looking in to it for an inordinate amount of time(Which I wasted a lot of) I had narrowed it down to a list of a few cars.  Chief among them was the Jetta TDI.  For those of you who don't know what the TDI part stands for... it means that it is a diesel, and wow are they hard to find used.  Everywhere I turned these thing were getting snapped up as soon as they got on the market or were not in my price range.  It took me forever, but I finally found one close by and bought it.  I know that I have been saving money on fuel since I bought the car, but I am curious to know how much I am saving and how that adds up over time.  I also know that there are a myriad of other factors that should be calculated with car ownership, but right now I only want to look at fuel.

It is common knowledge that diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline burning engines.  Here are a few articles if you are interested in further study:

I want to calculate the math on just how much this increased efficiency translates to savings.

I made a quick excel spreadsheet to do all of the calculating.  I might upload it, but it is really easy to make if you are interested.  Let me know if you spot any errors.  I did this post pretty quickly! I got today's average fuel price from:

The average price for unleaded fuel I used for my calculations is: $3.859 for gas and $4.124 for diesel.

I am going to guess the range that my Altima got was somewhere between 28-38 mpg with my average probably around 32.   For the annual cost I am assuming that I drove 12,000 miles.  Here are the numbers:

Cost Per Mile of Gasoline Cost Per 1000 Miles Of Gasoline Annual Gasoline Expense
28.000                ¢ 0.138 $137.821 $1653.857
29.000                ¢ 0.133 $133.069 $1596.828
30.000                ¢ 0.129 $128.633 $1543.600
31.000                ¢ 0.124 $124.484 $1493.806
32.000                ¢ 0.121 $120.594 $1447.125
33.000                ¢ 0.117 $116.939 $1403.273
34.000                ¢ 0.114 $113.500 $1362.000
35.000                ¢ 0.110 $110.257 $1323.086
36.000                ¢ 0.107 $107.194 $1286.333
37.000                ¢ 0.104 $104.297 $1251.568
38.000                ¢ 0.102 $101.553 $1218.632

Now I have been keeping records on the Jetta since I purchased it.  My lowest tank average has been 43.49 and my highest tank average has been 49.46.  I am working hard on increasing it and hope to break into the 50's soon.  The average of all of my tanks is 46.81.  This is much better than the numbers that VW actually puts on the car.  They say to expect 32/42.  However, with the correct driving techniques you can greatly increase it as I have.  Here are the numbers:

43.000 ¢ 0.096 $95.907 $1150.884
44.000                ¢ 0.094 $93.727 $1124.727
45.000                ¢ 0.092 $91.644 $1099.733
46.000 ¢ 0.090 $89.652 $1075.826
47.000                ¢ 0.088 $87.745 $1052.936
48.000                ¢ 0.086 $85.917 $1031.000
49.000 ¢ 0.084 $84.163 $1009.959
50.000                ¢ 0.082 $82.480 $989.760
51.000                ¢ 0.081 $80.863 $970.353
52.000                ¢ 0.079 $79.308 $951.692
53.000                ¢ 0.078 $77.811 $933.736

So we can see that the difference between my Altima's yearly cost: $1447.125 and my Jetta's: $1075.826 is $371.299.  That is quite a bit of money just to chose a different car. Now lets assume that I never wrecked my car and that fuel prices stay constant.  In the next five years I would have spent an extra $1856.495 on my old car.  Thats $7235.625 vs $5379.13.  I hope to have this car for at least ten more years.  Again assuming all stays constant thats $3712.99 in 10 years. Which makes my fuel cost at $14,471.25 vs $10,758.26.  A lot of money either way, but hopefully I can bring my average tank up and increase my savings even more.

The Altima was really not that bad of a gas burner.  If we compare me to a hummer we get:

9.000                ¢ 0.429 $428.778 $5145.333
43.000                ¢ 0.096 $95.907 $1150.884

Which works out to a difference of $3994.449 a year.  Which makes $20,347.53 in 5 years and $51,442.572 in 10. What about an F-150?  I live in the south and trucks make up a large percentage of vehicles on the road around here.

Cost Per Mile  Cost Per 1000 Miles  Annual Expense
14.000                ¢ 0.276 $275.643 $3307.714
43.000                 ¢ 0.096 $95.907 $1150.884

That is a difference of $2156.83 every year.  A difference of $10,784.15 in 5 years and $21,868.30 in 10 years. I have tons of friends who drive pickups everyday without any real reason.  I don't know if I could justify the added expenditure.

Also just as something to think about.  What if you were a truck person, sold your truck, bought a fuel efficient car, and put the savings in an investment like the stock market or bonds?  You now have to think about the fact that you are losing out on the potential earnings of that money compounded over your entire life.  Adds up pretty quickly.

There are some increased costs for diesels.  They generally have a premium attached to them, you have to find a shop that knows how to fix diesels, some maintenance costs more, etc.  But they are generally considered to have a life span far greater than their gasoline burning brethren and their resale value is much higher.  In a few years you should be able to get some gasoline burning cars that are pretty cheap and have the fuel economy close to a diesel.  There are a few out there now like the Nissan Versa (2012 sedan only), Ford Fiesta, and some others.  If we really are trying to get rich slowly this seems to be something we really should consider.  Its all about the choices we make and their cost adding up over time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It is hard to find motivation.  I have continuously been doing my side projects since I last wrote an article, but I somehow haven't managed to document them well.  I have a ton of ideas for articles, but I just haven't had the motivation to post them here.  A lot of these are really cool and need to be documented.  I will try and get the motivation to get them up sometime soon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Still Alive

Just wanted to write a quick post to let anyone who cares that I am still alive and kicking.  We are still working the game.  Hitting copper and silver really hard.  I will write a new post when I have the time.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Time Honored Traditions

So it has been a little bit since I have posted a quality article here, actually I have never posted one. Rest assured, people who don't care, that I am still thoroughly engaged in the hustle.

Our next area of focus is a time honored method of money making... Scalp... I mean reselling tickets. Ever since I saw Fast Times at Ridgemont High I thought. “Wow I wanna be that sleezy guy scalping tickets to 12 year olds.”

My Hero

On new years eve we wanted to go see of montreal. The tickets at the event were going for 15$. We kept talking about it and not doing anything, until finally they were sold out. They went on stubhub and craigslist for 150$ ish. Soon after we wanted to see girl talk. Again we were lazy and waited until the show was sold out. The Avett Brothers, Widespread Panic, Ween... The list is full of logistical failures. This lead to an epiphany. We are fucking lazy, and so is everyone else. This in theory leads to opportunity, which in turn leads to many theoretical dollars.


Our first venture was Jimmy Eat World. They come to a small club in our town every year, and every year they sell out. More to do with the size of the club than with the talent of the band if you know what I mean. I would like to note now that this band was my choice and not Silviu's.

The ticket buying system for this venue is archaic to say the least. The website is almost impossible to navigate. Most people don't even know if it is possible to buy online. There is only one place to buy the hard tickets. A shitty little shop that is full of hipsters and their shitty music that seems to be open at inconvenient times. Anyways we bought 4 tickets for 120$.

Next move was to make craigslist, ebay, and stubhub posts. We were asking 62.50$ per ticket OBO. We made the listings less than a month out. Weeks pass and we hear nothing. Silviu is being a negative nancy at this point and has already declared a failure with this venture. I knew that if it was going to happen then it was going to happen the weekend before the show (show was on a monday).

The friday before the show rolls around and we finally get our first call. Due to the venues terrible information system we didn't even know if the show was sold out at this point. We talk for a bit and agree to sell two tickets for 75$. He says he will call back... never does much to our delight. Saturday rolls around and someone buys two tickets for the full asking price 62.50$ a piece. We are stoked to say the least. Local pickup is free, so Silviu meets them in a parking lot, failing to remember that the guy he sold the tickets to went to high school with him, and completes the transaction. Sunday rolls around someone makes an offer on ebay. The two remaining tickets for 90$... Accepted. Now again local pickup is free, but apparently people think local is like 30 miles away and two city’s over. This is a mistake we are sure not to make again. Stipulate in the listing what is considered local. At any rate we get them the tickets and go on our way.

All in all it was a very successful dabble into a new realm for us. We want to make this one of our primary focuses in the coming year. All it takes is knowledge of good bands, when tickets are released, being organized and haggling skills. Also a little bit of money. So in the end we paid 120$ and got 215$ for our troubles, which were few. I'm going to chalk this one up as a success.   

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Update On The Verizon Iphone 4

 Update 2/21: Just got the email from Verizon that said that they got the phone and they were processing our return of 802.49!  That means that if we actually get that amount back then we will have lost no money by returning it.  SCORE!

Update 2/23:  Money has been put back on the credit card we purchased the phone with.

Conclusion:  We can now count the Verizon iPhone 4 affair as closed and as a minimal loss.  All we really lost out on was our .20 ebay listing.  We also took the time to list the phone.  The most we lost was my sleep because I had to wake up at 3 AM to order the thing.  I'm glad that we've finally got this one behind us and have our money back.  Also being able to chock it down as a really no win no loss situation makes me pretty stoked.

Have a few more things to say about iPhones and pennies, so stay tuned for next time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crossfit Level One

A friend of mine who is not Silviu and I just signed up for our level one crossfit certifications in the first weekend of April.  It will be in Charlotte NC, a little drive for us but not too bad.  I normally talk about more clear cut money making methods.  However I was thinking just now that this too will be a potential revenue generator depending on how I use it.  I will have a little ways to go to make some money seeing as how I just droped 1000$ on it.  Yet, I could feasibly get a job after/if I complete the course in a gym.   That after all is our goal.  We plan on having a crossfit gym around this time next year up and running.  Just felt like I needed to post something new and that was on my mind.  I will write it up more after I actually attend it.