Weeding Your Garden

February 3, 2007

In an attempt to usher the traffic over to my new site, AndrewBrunelle.com, I will give you a link to this blog entry on that website:  Weeding Your Garden.

Hope you enjoy!


Paycheck to Paycheck

January 22, 2007

People who live paycheck to paycheck, I feel you.  People who can’t make ends meet, people who try and “make a dollar out of fifteen cents,” (thanks Tupac) and people who feel victimized by their poverty, I know where you’re coming from.  Living paycheck to paycheck is miserable.  Knowing that if you got hurt or could not work for one week, you’d be out on the streets to fend for yourself.  It’s how most of America lives.  I have been hearing something about how the middle class is disappearing in America and it’s very sad.  I just wish this was not an occurence in today’s world, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. 

People who have all the money are usually reluctant to give it away to people who need it more.  There are exceptions, but most rich people hoard every penny they have, while most poor people have to do the same because they have hardly anything.  “All men are created equal” is a big joke.  We all know it.  With very few exceptions, the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.  It’s just the way it has always been.  Sure, there are some rags to riches stories, and even some riches to rags stories, but I believe poverty and wealth is just as much about the mindset as it is the amount in  your bank account.

The mindset of wealth is you have more than enough.  You have tenfold or more what you need in this life.  You have no real worries about any sort of financial situation, unless it involves putting your investments in the right company.  I mean, if you were to just let the money sit in a checking account, you could live out the rest of your years without any real concern about losing your house or your car, or even your sense of financial security.

The scarcity mindset is always, “I don’t have enough to scrape by.  I need more money.  I don’t have enough.  I’m going to lose the house/apartment.  Whenever I get ahead, I always fall back.  How come I can’t save any money?”  The thoughts you have about money bring to you the money you attract.

Then there’s the whole perception of money as good or bad.  Some people view rich people as dishonorable people, people who walked over at least ten other people just to amass the fortune they have today.  There are the people who say that money makes you more of who you already are.  If you’re a good and honorable person, wealth is a good thing.  If you’re a terrible, kniving, backstabbing greedmonger, then the more money you have, the more greedy you’ll get.

Another distortion some people have is that money will make them happy.  Like as soon as they get a certain amount of money, happiness will follow.  People who are hoping for a miracle, for a million dollars to just fall into their lap and they can finally relax and be happy.  Some of the people who play the lottery fall into this category.  Not all of them, but some.  It would be nice, but having that sum of money is not something I need to make me happy.  It may increase my happiness, but it will not make me happy.

Money is neither good or bad in itself.  And it’s quite useful if you need to solve certain problems.  It’s a great resource from where it works, and it’s immensely beneficial to getting you out of debt.  That should be obvious.  It’s a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil.  It has a great potential and can grow beyond your wildest dreams.  But how much do we actually need?

I’m not sure.  I am not a financial expert.  I do not write books about how making millions of dollars will improve your life significantly.  I’m not going to say that.  If you’re happy now, then hopefully money will only increase your happiness.  If you’re sad now and you inherit one million dollars, it may get you happy for a little while, but who knows if you can maintain that sort of happiness? 

I am on my way to achieving financial abundance in my life.  All it is going to take is for me to align my beliefs with that of a millionaire who is honorable.  Someone who uses his/her money for good purposes, and doesn’t just buy a f*cking blimp for $12 million.  My first thought of me being wealthy is to go into small towns and randomly give away $10,000 or so dollars to random people, people who need the money, people who have to realize that kindness goes a long way.  One visualization I get is me sitting at a restaurant and leaving a $10,000 tip on the table and walking out of the restaurant.  Just imagine what that would do to the waiter/waitress who was at my table?  Just showing people that being wealthy is all about attitude and mindset.

There is nothing that would fulfill me more than doing something like that, along with motivational type speeches, with much humor injected of course.  Seeing the look on people’s faces when you hand them an unexpected sum of money.  I’m sure the press will catch wind of this so I may have to go undercover.  With all the money I’m planning to have, it should not be a big problem to concoct a sufficient disguise.  I’ll be the Master of Disguise (one of the worst movies ever).

Getting to a state of financial abundance is something I wouldn’t mind doing.  I’m working towards it every day and the process is so enriching, so motivating, because I know that with the money I have, I can change people’s lives for the better (hopefully).  I’m going to look to give the money or advice to good people so they can also do the same good to other people if they ever achieve a state of financial abundance.  Isn’t that what life is all about anyway?  Being the best person you can be and helping others do the same.  Well, wish me luck.  I hope the same happens for you.

Banks Are a Pain in the Ass

January 2, 2007

Banks are a pain in the ass. There. I said it. First of all, they’re never open. Second of all, they put you through an obstacle course just to activate your debit card, then you have to verify all this information, followed by a bunch of more bullshit. The Patriot Act really screwed us over. Now you need two forms of government I.D., a driver’s license (which I do not possess), and a social security card (which I also do not possess). It’s not that I really care because I know my money is safe at home, but I find it rather cumbersome to store my money in a place where I could easily access it at home. It’s not like my bank is giving me much interest, less than inflation in fact.

What do I care about money anyway? Sure, it would be nice to have a lot, but it’s not a necessity. I could live perfectly fine on less money than most people make. It’s not like I need a Dolby surround sound system with speakers so loud they would make a deaf man scared (because of the vibration). All we need to do is provide for the basic necessities: food, water, and if you’re so inclined, shelter. Maybe some furniture, a bed even. But you can get used things like that at rock-bottom prices. It’s not like you have to make $100,000 a year just to break even.

Then there’s credit cards. People spending money they don’t have. Isn’t that a joke? Everyone says you have to build credit. Build credit? Pay back what I borrow. My grandfather said that I should use my credit card and then pay it back, even though I have the money for it. He told me if I ever wanted a house and a subsequent loan, I would need good credit. I believe credit cards are one of the worst things ever to hit the free world. It’s the instant gratification that makes almost everything meaningless. Here’s why. If you want something really bad as a child, you would save for it. After weeks or months of saving, you would go and buy whatever it was you wanted. The saving and anticipation is what made the item more pleasurable. Now, with credit cards, you can have almost anything you want, at any time, with hardly and consequences. Sure, you may have to make a small payment on it, but you’re never going to have to pay for whatever is in full.

The only reason I would ever use a credit card would be for an emergency where I did not have other forms of currency at my disposal. It’s a safety net, yet I see so many people buying groceries with their credit card. Wouldn’t you think that groceries are a number one priority, not something you throw on the back burner and use a credit card on. I don’t know how extensive their poverty is and it is a shame if they have no money to buy groceries, but I’m sure most of these people spent their real money on some sort of extracurricular activity, meaning something not necessary.

I am not a big spender. I’m not cheap, either, but I just think there are so many valuable things that are free. If I can get better enjoyment out of reading an online article or getting some exercise, then why would I go out and spend ten dollars on a movie that is sure to be bad? I mean, stockpiling money is not something I plan on doing completely, but it is nice to have extra funds in the bank if I ever do slip up and want the new Aaron Carter CD. At least I’ll know I can afford it without succumbing to the credit card, the leech of life. I may even stop carrying my wallet like Kramer. When asked how he pays for things, he responds, “Oh, I get by.”

I’ll never forget when I tried to go back to college last semester, I was out of money because my financial aid package sucked, so I was forced to use my credit card for books, but my credit card was declined. I waited in a line twenty people long to be told I cannot buy these pieces of paper held together by a “spine.” I was mystified that my credit limit was only $250. Now it’s higher, but it was funny how useless it was there, just sitting in my pocket.

For the most part, I use cash. It’s the best way to pay. There is no tracking by the government, and there are certainly no problems with activation. I just give it to the cashier and I get change back. I store the change in a jar on my dresser. Eventually, I’ll cash it all in at the bank. I just don’t want to have to roll them all myself. I’m certainly not going to a Coinstar. I don’t want 8.9 percent of my hard-earned change being taken away. I’ve been picking up a lot of change lately, that I’ve found. And on the manifestation front, a woman gave me ten dollars for helping her catch the guy who stole her purse. So doing good does pay, sometimes. I’m thinking of placing an “I work for tips” sticker on my shirt when I go to work, even though they have a strict policy against tipping. I still take what people give, though, because I deserve it. If I didn’t deserve it, then they wouldn’t be giving it to me.

When and if I ever get my own place, I’m pretty sure I’ll give the banks the snub. As it is a safe place to keep my valuable, I can think of an even safer place: my home in an undisclosed location, kept away where no one will ever find it, except me. The coolest thing I’ve ever seen used as a piggy bank was a Barbasol can (shaving cream), and it was specially made just to conceal money in it. The only real problem with that is if I’m living with other people, someone may throw it away by mistake, and there goes my fortune. But I’m not that concerned about it anyway. It pales in comparison to the fortune in my head. There is no bank that could contain that information.