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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stupid Handwriting

Why do schools continue to teach the art of Scripted Handwriting?

What a dumb, antiquated mode of textual conveyance. Why don't we write in the "Old English" style any more? Because it is inefficient.

Well, talk about inefficiencies. How many hours and hours and hours are poured in by teachers teaching how to write a scripted "L" How dumb.

Think of all the other ways kids could spend their time. Oh wait, therein lies the rub. Teachers would actually have to fill their time with something e-d-u-c-a-t-i-o-n-a-l. Geez.

The skill of "hand eye coordination" and "motor skill" development can be done in many other ways. Why not simply teach kids painting? That would be far superior.

Modern times mean using a damn computer. Not hand scripting writing things. Printing on screen or on paper is just fine. Let's evolve.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Free Summer Entertainment

Check out your local sub-culture nespaper. These are most easily found in cities with a million people or more and in college towns. Look in record stores, or boutique shops in the trendy parts of your town.

These newspapers are a gold mine. Chalk full of free events and nominally priced events, your summer will be overloaded with stuff to do. Many of the events are music or art oriented. The art ones, nicely enough, may include hor’dourves!

The free events are especially pervasive in the summer time. Take advantage of them and all the freebies that are handed out.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Smile Money Smile

Try something this weekend, be extra extra nice to every person you exchange money or goods with.

Being extra nice causes many folks to give you things, including rounding totals in your favor, or spot you a few cents to make the change returned to you “even.”

We use this a lot very successfully for everything from money to free meat (the lady at the local grocery store just loves talking to Val and the girls and always puts extra slices of meat in our stack, plus KJ gets free cookies!).

Remember, every clerk you deal with is a human being too. They probably get shit all day long from folks whom are pissed off about life. Imagine what a treat it is to them to have someone nice. I'm not suggesting you be nice because it is the right thing to do, I'm saying be nice because it pays off.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Billy Bumbleebee and the Magic Nickel Machine

To teach children the power of interest, I wrote the following to help educate my daughters.

Billy Bumbleebee
and the Magic Nickel Machine

Bill Peer
(copyright 2009)

Billy Bumbleebee wanted a new blue ball.
But the blue ball cost $3.

Billy Bumbleebee asked his daddy for $3.
"Billy", his daddy said, "If you bring me a basket of blossoms, I will give you $1."

Billy Bumbleebee asked his mommy for $3
"Billy", his mommy said, "If you bring me a bucket of blueberries, I will give you $1."

Billy Bumbleebee asked his big brother Bobby for $3.
"Billy", his big brother Bobby said, "I will give you $3 now if you give me $3 later and you buff my black boots, bag my brown buttons, and boxy my building blocks."

Billy Bumbleebee was bothered by his big brother Bobby's offer.
"But if I do that, I will be too busy to play with the blue ball" Billy thought.

Billy Bumbleebee began collecting blossoms for his daddy's dollar.
While buzzing back with a basket of blossoms, Billy Bumbleebee saw a beautiful shiny silver machine.

Billy Bumbleebee stopped before the machine.
"Billy", the magic machine said, "If you give me a dollar now and come back later, I will give you your dollar back and give you a nickel too!"

Billy Bumbleebee was excited and few home as fast as his wings would fly.
He brought home a basket of blossoms to get $1 to try.

Billy Bumbleebee collected his dollar
and flew back to the machine he found before

Billy Bumbleebee put his dollar into the magic machine and took a deep breath.
"Billy", the magic machine said, "Come back later and I will give you the dollar and a nickel too."

Billy Bumbleebee began to fill a pale of blueberries because
he wanted his mommy's $1 too.

Billy Bumbleebee stopped by the magic nickel machine while doing his work
"Billy," the magic machine said, "thank you for the $1, heres an extra nickel for you."

Billy Bumbleebee repeated this many times while picking blueberries,
giving the machine his dollar and later getting his money back and a free nickel.

Billy Bumbleebee, with his bucket of blueberries and now 20 nickels too
made enough money to buy the ball that was blue.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Infant-in-arms International Plane Ticket

Bill and I decided to take the girls to Rome in November 2008, for their first international trip. KJ was 3 and Dy was 7 months.

In July 2008, I decided to purchase the plane tickets from Delta; since we were using frequent flyer miles for two of the tickets and Delta has direct flights from Atlanta to Rome.

I had heard that when traveling with an infant internationally that most airlines require the infant to be ticketed and it is usually 10% of the adult’s ticket price. Well my roundtrip ticket price was $1,045 and I expected Dy’s ticket to cost $104.50, 10% right? Wrong!! Dy’s ticket cost $445. The reason Delta gave me was that the 10% is based on the ticket price without fees and that they had to add all of the fuel surcharge, FAA, airport, etc. fees to her ticket, as well. Also, I had to pay the Delta booking fee of $25(at that time) twice. This was because Delta doesn’t allow consumers to book an international flight with infant-in-arms on their web site. You have to call Delta’s reservation center. Since there are two people (Dy and myself) they had to charge me the fee twice, talk about hidden fees and sticker shock. I almost didn’t book the tickets and thought about canceling the trip, but I had already booked the reward tickets.

I'm glad I purchased the tickets when I did. By September 2008, the fuel surcharge and booking fees had doubled.

What I Learned (WIL):

(1) Call and check the base fare and additional fees, first, before booking reward tickets.

(2) If you believe that the fees are going to go up, book your plan tickets as soon as you can.

Damn Right I'm Selfish

What is wrong with being selfish? I don't get it. The reason we are doing this whole trip thing, adjusting our lives, living more simply, and saving money is purely for selfish reasons. It is not because I'm trying to save the planet, or I'm anti-consumerism or anti-technology. No, it is about creating a life that fits my family. It is about taking the ultimate vacation, seeing the world. I don't need an excuse to explain away why we are doing this. It is quite simple, we are doing it because we want to.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Goal, Strategy and Tactics

While discussing a choice we had to make regarding our trip around the world, Val asked me to pull out our Goal, Strategy and Tactics sheet. This is a handy device you can put together for any goal to help you make consistent choices toward your goal.

Your Goal is what you want to achieve.
Your Strategy is a high-level decision that helps exclude choices, from the universe of choices, for achieving your Goal.
Your Tactics are behaviors that fit within the strategy.

Each Strategy must fit the goal.
Each Tactic must support 1 or more strategies. The more the better.

There are merits to each strategy and tactic. As you attack your goal you may find some strategies and/or tactics don't actually work. Simply adjust your list.

Everyone's strategy and/or tactic is an individual choice. There is no right or wrong here. Some may be efficient than others, some may suit you better than others. Pick what works for you and your goal.

Here is our trip's Goal, Strategy and Tactics sheet:
Goal –
Explore the world as a family full time indefinitely leaving as early as 2012.

Strategy –
S1: Use boat for conveyance and residence
S2: Live self-sufficiently
S3: Don’t own durable goods with a life span past 2012

Tactics –
T1: Identify and liquidate all non-essential material possessions (S2, S3)
T2: Save as much money as possible (S1, S2)
T3: Reduce cost of living (S2)
T4: Create multiple parallel streams of passive income (S2)
T5: Identify and acquire appropriate boat (S1)
T6: Identify and discontinue all non-essential services (S2)
T7: Cook with a single burner (S1, S2)
T8: Add seafood to diet (S2)
T9: Identify and address all physical deficiencies before 2012 (S2)
T10: Maximize bodily health (S2)
T11: Live a minimalist life (S2)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Lazy Money

Do you have money sitting around on its ass? Put it to work! There are no labor laws for the dollar.

Get every single penny you have working for you, 24/7. Make money while you sleep, pee, play, read, or whatever. If you have a quarter sitting in your couch, it is lazy. If you have a dime in your bucket seats, it is lazy. If you have a nickel in your desk draw, it is lazy.

Put that change to work. Put it in an account and earn something … anything. Every penny counts.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Forward Looking Moments

We are each handed a moment in time. They are handed out serially. We have no idea how many we get. We can spend them any way we want. We can waste them dwelling on past moments. We can invest them in future moments that may not come. Or we can enjoy every single moment as they come, being in the moment. Be in the moment.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

10 Cent Perspective

In a city with 1,000,000 people, if you could get each one of them to give you a single dime, you would have $100,000! A dime isn't much to an individual, but $100,000 is. So, how do you go about getting those dimes?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Over Stuffed

Stuff costs money. Everything. Not only to acquire it, but to maintain it. A few weeks ago, we sold my dune buggy. It was an awesome car, but it cost. It cost in terms of insurance, oil, gas, tags, etc. It also represented money. Money that could be working for me. Money I could be earning interest on.

“Do you really need it?” is a question you must ask yourself about all your possessions. Sit down and do an inventory of everything you own.

Here's what you do: pull out a sheet of paper and create four columns. In column 1, write down what the item is, in the second column, write down when the last time you used the item (if yon can’t recall, simply write 100 years), in the third column write down what you think someone would pay for it if you sold it to them.

Once you have your list, begin selling off your stuff starting with the longest since used date. When in doubt, it goes out. The items on your sheet are not earning you any money right now. Sure, they may increase in value, but you don’t know for certain.

Convert your stuff. Sell your stuff on ebay, to friends, put them on craigslist, have a flea market day. You could be sitting on thousands of dollars of stuff, stuff that you aren’t using and that isn’t making you any money. We were.

In the 4th column, write how much you actually sold the item for. When you see what you get in return for those “precious” items, you will be much more shrewd and careful with what you buy in the future. This exercise is what helped us make the switch to buying used at every turn.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Free DVDs, Internet, and More!

The library has a fantastic selection of DVDs that we can get … all for free! Further, our library is part of the county system with an online capability to order DVDs from other libraries in the county so the selection is quite large.

Another way the library provides fantastic savings is through checking out books. Yes, it is obvious, but we’ve saved a ton of money getting our books this way. If a book is so good and important to us that we keep checking it out, then we will buy a copy.

For our trip around the world, we identify many of the places we want to go through National Geographic magazines. The local library sells old copies (anything more than a few months) for $0.20! Used books go for $0.75.

Then there is the no cost Internet access.

Pile on top of all this the various children’s activities (e.g. story time) at no cost and you have one hell of a place to save money. If you can walk to yours, like we can, even better!

Here is another way to look at it. You pay the taxes to keep your library going… you might as well get some, or all, of your money back.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Speed Costs In Unexpected Ways

When playing with cars, boats, motorcycles, you often hear the adage, “Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?” This is so true, but also in an unexpected way.

Consider the following:
When you hurry up to get someplace, what will you be doing when you get there?

If you quickly go from store to store, you will quickly spend your money!

Take your time, slow down. Enjoy the act of driving. Watch all that money, in the way of cars, float by. Pay attention to what the people are doing. They are not in the moment, they are speeding by to spend something. Plus, the mathematics on cars driving down the highway are pretty clear… going slower costs you less.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Walk King

2 years ago, we sold our house and moved into a small 2-bedroom apartment near my office. There were 4 reasons for doing this. First, we wanted more family time. Second, we wanted to use our cars less. Third, we wanted to lower our cost of living. Fourth, we knew we needed some mental preparation for smaller living spaces (the boat). While all of these outcomes were achieved, the one that continues to change our lives is the reduction in our car usage.

We ensured that where we moved not only put my office in walking distance, but so were grocery stores, sit down restaurants, movie theaters, fast food joins, and so on. As a consequence, we walk … we walk a lot. If the weather is accommodating, the shoes get put on and we walk. All 4 of us.

While I love cars (I’m a man after all), I find that we all actively look for excuses or reasons to not drive the cars. We want to walk. At first, we were looking for reasons to drive and not walk, but that has now changed and we are the opposite. Not only is this cheaper, and we have a chance to find money, but this is more healthy.

Keep mind that we walk as a family. A 1 year old, a 3 year old, and my wife and I. No stroller. We all walk.

Walking is slower, so there is more time spent doing that … and less time spending money.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

Rushing to a nearby parking spot I exclaimed, “I found a penny!” My friend said, “So?” Woah! Major Buzz kill. People don’t seem to understand how even a penny is huge. Let’s explore the mighty penny and see how as few has 5 pennies equals a dollar.

In very conservative investments, you can earn 5 percent. This means that for every $1 put away for a year gives back 5 pennies. Flipping this around, this implies that for every 5 pennies I find, it is the equivalent of having put a $1 away for a year!!

Think about that. Every 5 pennies you find is the equivalent of locking away a dollar for a year. Because we’ve refined the art of locating free change (finding some nearly every day), in a given month we accumulate around $3 of change. $3 translates into having put away $60 for a year! Multiply that by 12 months and you get $720!! The money we find equates to having put $720 into a conservative investment for a year. That is a staggering amount of money.

When you begin to think this way, every penny you save really means something. This applies not only to finding money, but every penny you save has this power. Imagine what happens when you save $5 or $10 on something. The numbers grow enormously.

Flip the equation. Every penny found or saved equates to interest on money you never had to put away in the first place! (note, we didn’t even begin to talk about this all being tax-free)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Ever want to watch the latest release DVD for $1? Ever want to get the movie right now? Ever want to avoid the ding dong behind the counter at BlockBuster video? Enter Redbox, an incredible self service, kiosk based, latest release DVD provider.

As a geek, I'm thoroughly impressed with how integrated their systems are. You can go online and reserve your movie, then go pick it up at a Redbox location. Or, you can go to any of their kiosks and browse the titles on the machine.

There are Redbox locations in McDonalds, Walmarts, and other places too. Get this, you can pickup a movie at any Redbox location and drop it off at another. If you're on a roadtrip, pick up a movie, watch it, then drop it off down the road. All this for a buck!!

We walk to the Redbox kiosk location. If you add up the walking to get + watching + walking to return, the cost per time of entertainment is fantastic. Another bonus is the number of Free Rentals that Redbox gives you. Fill out a survey and your in for a free night of movies!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time Spent, Spent Time

You have only 3 ways to spent time: a) Making you money b) Costing you NO money or c) Costing you money. We try hard to find a way to turn everything we do into an option (a) making money activity. When that isn't possible, option (b) is sought. The last resort is always (c). When forced into (c), cost per unit time is considered. Notice we don't necessarily find a money making activity to do. Rather, we turn our activities into money making. You can do fun things and still have (a) or (b). Walking, for example, is a fantastic (b) activity that can turn into an (a) activity under the right circumstances. ;)

Information Velocity Going Up!

The monthly journal of this massive transformation has been shared online since November 2007. Alas, the summaries hide too much good, juicy information. Going forward, by way of this blog, more of the daily activities and knowledge gains will be shared. Enjoy!