Category Archives: Money

Today’s Word is… GRIND

Rise and grind. Work 25/8 nah mean. I’ll sleep when I die. We have a weird belief that insomnia is the key to success. If you up at 2am “grinding” that’s not hustling, that’s poor time management. TheNeighborsSoiree doesn’t sleep but you know who does, his boss Drake. Who has a GED. So he’s factually correct. People with GEDs do sleep, while you’re up making songs that will be just be taken from you if they’re worth a damn. Countless studies emphasize the importance of sleep but it seems like we still can’t disabuse ourselves of the idea that if you aren’t worn out you aren’t trying. No matter how many generic self help quotes Will Smith gives on Instagram based off fictitious conversations because he’s Will Smith and he’s not actually talking to aspiring actors and the poor. The Rock loves telling people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps as if he isn’t a 3rd generation professional wrestler. Diddy is good for a don’t stop working quote but when was the last time he was up all night doing anything he didn’t want to do? That’s not shade to them, there was a time when they did have to grind. It was also 20+ years ago. They have no idea what it’s like to be in the 99% in the 99 and 2018. People aren’t struggling because of a lack of discipline. “We all have the same 24 hours” sounds good but an 8 hour workday, 8 hours of sleep, and the other 8 are spent trying to get to one or the other.

But I guess I’m a cynic in that regard…some people get their motivation from that, I don’t. Capitalism gon capitalism, in order to win there has to be losers. Everyone can’t be a boss, someone has to work. Everyone can’t be an entrepreneur, someone has to buy. To excel in a capitalist society, you have to crush competitors, you have underpay your workforce… there’s no honest way to a billion dollars. (I don’t know exactly what Oprah did but I’m certain someone somewhere got screwed) That’s how the game works. How the game also works is selling you the idea that if you work hard enough then you can be the one on top. Then when someone asks you how to get there, tell them to work hard, stay focused and never give up.

Whether it’s career advice, diet, dating, skin care… The end result is always gonna be do what works for you and pray. That’s the only advice they can give, everyone is different, every situation is different and a lot of the shit is luck. There’s someone who thinks he’s the next LeBron in a gym right now, working on his game, grinding, no sleep….and he’s probably going to end up a high school gym teacher. It’s nothing wrong with his work ethic, he didn’t take shortcuts, he believed in himself but everyone can’t be LeBron. For every drug addled mumble rapper who managed to find success without much talent, there’s thousands of more people on Soundcloud who quit their job, got a face tattoo, betting on themselves trying to make this happen and it won’t.

Then there’s me, damn near 30 still not entirely sure what I want to be when I grow up. Presently, I have a good job at a good company. Got a good start on my retirement…I can spend the next 25-30 years making upward and lateral moves, make good money but there’s no path to CEO. I can become a CPA, go into business for myself, grind mode and maybe I hit for a lick, or maybe I never get clients working out of a home office and do tax returns to keep the lights on. I can get laid off and write full time, pitch and grind my way to a book deal and a TV show and a production studio. (I actually started SFW when I was laid off 5 years ago, but unemployment checks will humble you. Quickly.) All of this is possible and none of it is. I guess it’s why we bother with this life shit. Either way, there’s gotta be a way to go about this that doesn’t involve working yourself to death or just dream chasing recklessly. Take your ass to work, but take time to cultivate other talents…and never tattoo your fucking face.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… SUPPORT

Like Issa, I root for everybody black. Whether it’s award shows, interviews at my workplace, watching Family Feud…I want to see us win. Even you, Soundcloud rapper. That applies in my day to day life as well, especially living in Boston with it’s well documented racial history, I buy black when I can and when it’s plausible. Of course there’s the common tropes, “black businesses are unprofessional”, “black people always want a hookup” which turns into a chicken or egg argument…perhaps you are a little too comfortable with black consumers, maybe black consumers are a little too comfortable with you. I think about my barber, who on hand asks I make appointments and adhere to them but when I do he has someone in the chair and he’s on the phone. I have no idea how much my haircut actually costs because whether I give him $25 or $30 he just gonna ask how much I want back. Like, it’s been years and I still don’t know if I’m tipping too much too little or at all. I think about so many podcasts I subscribe to that take months off at a time, Christmas gifts I ordered and just got the other day, restaurants with 50 minute wait times and one of my favorite blogs pretty much being reduced to lists and this is what I watched on TV last night. And as a black person I want to support but as a consumer I’m left unfulfilled. It feels my support isn’t earned, it’s assumed.

Of course, it’s impossible to buy all black all the time. I can’t live off soaps, butters, witty t shirts and crafts. I also can’t afford to not see what Amazon and Wal-Mart are hitting on. Woke Phi Woke Twitter like to sell this narrative that Black people are simply brainwashed into supporting larger companies as if there’s a black owned smartphone on the market. I love us, but I’m not rocking Starbury or Big Baller Brand kicks. Tidal isn’t as easy to navigate as Spotify. These are choices I choose to make as a consumer. That money saved can then be used towards black businesses, it could all be so simple.

I think trust also goes into it; the black businesses that win tend to be in skincare, food and clothing. We trust the black twitter skincare guru more than they do Jergens (or a white dermatologist who might’ve studied black hair and skin for a week). A black owned restaurant, we expect the food to be hitting. But then theres the black owned credit union or consulting firm that doesn’t get that same level of trust. Is it because we are just used to us in certain fields? (or, white people stop reading…. Niggas be scamming, B. Like whichever one of your cousins had you on Facebook embarrassing yourselves with that CashApp scheme, or your Twitter fave hosting dinner parties serving meatballs and texas toast, and of course your WCW selling that detox tea). If I left my employer and went out on my own, I’m still capable of the same work I was doing. Except without the backing of a name brand company with customer service and auditing which engenders trust.

So where do we meet halfway? While studies show millennials support black business much more than previous generations (because we’re better than you) we all should be willing to make little sacrifices to support our own. Capitalism is a whole hoe and it’s hard to avoid the giants but in this digital age, apps and websites like Official Black Wallstreet come in handy helping connect businesses with us. Holla at a black florist this #valentimesday, try to find a black dentist in 2018, bring back Fubu…we all we got.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… JORDANS

I haven’t owned a pair of Jordans since the 90s. As I said the other day, I wasn’t even that big of a fan. And I learned pretty early that I could cop 2 pairs of sneakers for the price of one pair of J’s. These shoes were gonna have to last the year and I had to game the system. Now, I’m about to get a pair. Maybe 3. Not because I’ve suddenly become a Jordan fan (it’s still fuck him for the most part) but because fuck respectability economics. The Air Jordan sneaker has become a symbol of black economic waste; never mind systemic racism, black people can’t get ahead but got them J’s tho. This anti black pathology has trickled down amongst our own, particularly the blavity blacks, who love praising the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs for being rich but not indulging in material things (those “generic” tees and hoodies retail for $900 hemmed with the hair of mermaids, so shut up) meanwhile hood blacks can’t get it together because they are too busy trying to look wealthy than be it. It gives false credence to the idea that only ignorant black people allow themselves to be suckered into capitalism like Susan and Spencer ain’t about to be camping outside Best Buy next month for a Vizio. Maybe we just want a pair of Jordans, because we work hard and want something for ourselves. You’re not the talented tenth because you wear Sketchers. (never trust a black man in Sketchers). Then last week, Amanda Seales of woke phi woke inc, the MTV VJ (and self proclaimed sneakerhead) turned 5th billed actress on Insecure added fuel to the flames recently by getting on Twitter and ranting about how having Jordans and Nike suits but not having a passport means you’re losing in life.

Now, I have a passport. Perhaps the wrong one because mine didn’t come with plane tickets, hotel deals, at least bout 7 personal days, food or drinks. Nope, my passport is just a regular ID booklet with an awkward picture because after the first 2 didn’t come out right I’m self conscious so I just took what was given. Yes, it is access. Yes, it’s something good to have. No, it doesn’t make you more worldly more cultured or somehow superior to your Jordan donning peers. Blavity Blacks and the likes love to move the goalposts in that way, just far enough that they can reach it and then establish it as the standard. But the goalposts can be moved on them just as easily, “you’re flying to another country, making some hotel owner richer, barely leave the resort and now think you’ve seen the world”,”you visited, but did you study abroad tho”, “you flew 12 hours and not first class…you’re losing”. It’s tacky and ridiculous and wish it would stop. Everyone doesn’t aspire to travel just as everyone can’t be an entrepreneur selling witty t shirts and body butters (see, now I’m doing it… Hurt people hurt people). Let people live.

We can all probably prioritize better. I’m not standing in line for Jordans (I do really hate the optics of that) but I’ve certainly opened my Mint app on a Monday morning and got a “oh no baby what is you doing?”. I’ve taken out $200 at the ATM only to look in my wallet the next day as and see a 20, 8 ones and bout 6 dollars in change. In that regard, a pair of Jordans actually is a better expense than one night of overpriced overwatered drinks. That money could’ve been better utilized like Bruce Wayne could use his money and influence to fix Gotham instead of running around beating up the mentally disabled, yet here we are.

It’s…. cute to think the very real income gap can be solved by buying cheaper sneakers but it isn’t. The problem is capitalism has to have winners and losers to work, the problem is after the great depression white families were given homes and black families were put in housing, the problem is I make 30% less than a white counterpart while having the same expenses. But that doesn’t matter, cuz I got some J’s tho (I didn’t actually get them, Jordans are ugly. Fight me.)

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… GIFTS

[Editors Note: Yeah, it’s a throwback. Merry Bhristmas and all that.  Be back next week. I think. Pretty sure tho.]

Tis the season to be jolly. Meh, not really. Anyway, Christmas time is around the corner and as we all make our lists and check it twice we stumble upon a boo that wasn’t there last year. New boos are hardest to get gifts for because obviously you don’t know them as well and you don’t know their own gifting ways. Ever get a gift for someone and get nothing in return, awkward. Ever do so a good 4-5 years in a row? Bah, humbug. Now, I’m an easy guy to shop for. I talk a lot about things I need or will treat myself to and because I’m a horrible procrastinator it’s very easy to beat me to the punch. I think men in general are like this, unless they are like Hurricane Buckfoy or some other lame, they don’t care about gifts they appreciate gestures that
a)showed you pay attention
b)takes something off their own to do list.

Women, I can say not so much. Feel free to disagree, but one of my favorite gifts last year was a new pair of clippers, buy a girl a blowdrier she’ll look sicker than an Alabama fan. Look at mother’s day sales, it’s for jewelry, flowers, spa trips. Father’s Day it’s tools and ties and sh t for work. Women appreciate spoils, men appreciate appreciation. It could all be so simple, but women rather make it hard when it comes to getting their #him a gift for Christmas, I’ve personally had my share of bad gifts. Some will be on this list of gifts not to get your man

The I Got Cash #struggleface

Cash- Where was you in the first paragraph, men like things they don’t have to get themselves. A couple years back, I asked “She” for an ipod touch, she apparently couldn’t find one and gave me the cash to get it myself, the cash went to bills and I haven’t had an ipod since. (Reminder this was written in 2012. iPod Touch…remember that was a thing?)

Gaming Consoles- There isn’t a man who wouldn’t appreciate an XBox One or PS4 (don’t get the PS4 Pro, it’s trash) this year but personally I’m just leery of any girlfriend making that large a purchase for someone unless it’s really real. Also the rule of thumb of gifts in general is don’t buy anything you can’t afford to replace.

Gift Cards that don’t cover sh*t– Gift cards are always the go to gifts right? However don’t get me a $20 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods and I can’t even buy a single item without shelling out my own money, it’s pretty much the equivalent of a coupon. Go hard or go home

Framed Picture– That’s for you not him. Something to put in his crib or office that lets everyone know you’ve arrived. If you’re going to go that route, go the extra mile and get a painting at least or something that shows you went beyond the neighborhood CVS

Clothes-Personally I don’t mind when a woman adds a touch of her own style to my wardrobe, I also prefer to do that while shopping together. Some men don’t even want that much, and rather not be bothered with what you think might look good on them. *side eyes my closet*

Wrong Item-If you don’t know, ask. I don’t know how one could mess up in a Google era but if you’re going to get him NBA 2K17, don’t get 2k16, if you’re going to get him a case for his tablet, make sure it fits. Nothing puts a damper on a holiday than striking out at the plate and knowing you can’t do anything about it until the next day. Hopefully, you’re doing the exchange (because again men like things they don’t have to get themselves)

Music-Unless he’s an avid collector, let’s be real no one buys music anymore, it’s streamed or downloaded now.

Some Assembly Required-Once again the ghost of Christmas past visits, I received one of those portable closet wardrobe thingys, it was something I did need at the time but, it came in a nice box with 40 pieces and only thing worse than going out and buying my gift is building it now if only I had some…

Tools– Unless it’s for their actual job, stay away from Home Depot this Holiday season (unless you’re buying a tree). I received a power drill once, it’s been useful to me over the years but bear in mind, I’m an accountant.

Colognes-Men who wear colognes know their colognes. Unless it’s something specific it’s probably better to leave it alone.

Now if you’ve bought any of these gifts or plan on it I suggest you go back to the drawing board, or talk to him and make sure he’s one of the exceptions. Otherwise, go with the 2 original guidelines, show you’ve been paying attention and get something he really didn’t want to have to get himself. If you haven’t then, are you sure that’s your man?

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… TWENTY

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Andrew Jackson wasn’t shit.   He slaughtered people,  he won his elections by rounding up uneducated southern voters, he amassed his wealth primarily through slavery.   Hell,  he abhorred the idea of paper money (dollars ain’t paper, they’re cotton) yet and still Old Hickory is on the 20.  (Yes I’m kind of a history dork…Oh yeah hi International readers who have no idea what I’m talking about, my favorite readers in Zambia,  a couple Canadians, UK… ) Recently,  people (or maybe this is just a reddit thread that’s gone viral,  also I don’t really know what reddit is) have pushed to get Jackson up out of here and the new face of the 20 be someone revered and isn’t an old white man.   Harriet Tubman,  former slave turned abolitionist, civil rights activist as well as a nurse and spy during the Civil War became the popular choice to replace Jackson.   While I support this move,  I’m also torn; Jackson wasn’t shit but to be fair neither is a $20 bill.   9/10 times I specifically used a $20 it probably went to something unnecessary and you can’t quite do that with a Tubman twenty.   How you gonna make it rain Tubmans in the strip club and not feel guilty?  Perchance, I don’t need that level of accountability and I need to stick to bad 20s.  So assuming this rumor is true and the switch is made, they’ll officially be Good and Bad 20s in circulation and one should spend accordingly.

Looking back on some of the bad spending decisions I’ve made,  I can’t help but think what would happen differently if I had Harriet Tubman judging me….Like let’s say hypothetically I had company over and they overstayed their welcome but it’s like 2am and maybe I just gave $20 for a cab so they can go on about their business.   I feel like you can’t do that with a good 20.  Good $20s should go to something a bit more worthwhile like…

-Buy that gross ass Boy Scouts popcorn,  why can’t they get some cookies no one wants that shit

– Get a fresh cut…. In 2013.  I paid $30 for my last haircut.  I’m growing dreads (no I’m not)

– Buy some clippers

– Get Ciara’s album,  she needs a win

– Map a domain name for your blog (oh yeah, that happened)

– Buy a nice tie (I spend way too much on ties and like,  they aren’t even clothes it’s a strip of fabric you wear around your neck, but I’m fly tho)

– Go to a thrift shop and buy random shit

– Go to a Dollar Store and buy random shit (I think I’ve said shit a lot already)

– Get her some Just Because flowers,  nice enough for her to instagram not too nice she wanna know what you did

– Buy a book,  reading is fundamental

– Get your car detailed, there’s like 2 year old fries back there

– Hook up a panhandler, maybe they too would feel bad about wasting a Tubman

– Take your favorite jacket to the cleaners

– Get a charger for your phone cuz your old one has like 3 shorts in it and you gotta hold it at a 45 degree angle to work

– Support a black owned business

Jacksons however, can and will continue to go to the ratchet goods as intentioned.   Hell, good 20s in circulation should make Jacksons even more ratchet; buy some weed, a bottle of Everclear, pay for a month of Tidal (Okay don’t do that).   And so I implore you to look back on the last time you spent a $20 bill and tell me that it wasn’t something ratchet or unnecessary.  Why?  Because Jackson ain’t shit. 

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… FRUGAL

“Now how you going to talk about the way I spend my money
Everybody say it with me now: it’s my money” – Kanye Omari West

My pops is the most frugal man I know.  It’s a thin line between frugal and cheap and he’s a damn tightrope expert.  I never knew how much he made or how’d he pull off Christmas for all his kids but the man got it done.  When he said “he was broke” we always sideeyed him and whatever new outfit or jewelry he was flaunting. Now don’t get me wrong we weren’t the Huxtables but off my Pops efforts, we stayed comfortable.  As an adult, I live the same way, I’m not strug life and I’m not balling, I’m comfortable.  I’ve come to master the ball on a budge; I don’t need Madden in August, I’ll cop it at Christmas time, I’m not really a big Jordan guy, I have dozens of casual kicks, when I shop online there’s almost always another tab open to look up coupon codes.  When I do splurge it’s on holidays and relatively well planned, I mean, I kinda do that for a living after all.  Looking over my budget, just about every unexpected expense comes from family and dating.  Family is a given priority but when it comes to dating, you can’t exactly plan for it.  It’s spontaneous, you can walk outside and meet someone who is going to cost you at least $120 next weekend.  You get a new lady in your life you don’t go that extra week without that haircut, you was going to do laundry next week but you need something to wear Wednesday night, that gas in the tank for work was used going across town to get some ass.  You never really know.  

So the other day on Twitter, someone from Sigma Zeta Bodypillow Inc went on a rant about using Groupons on dates.  Jigga what?  You do know that 3 weeks ago I had no intentions of my paycheck going to feed you right?  Your homegirl did your hair for free, you bought your outfit on clearance but somehow your perceived value is based on how much I am willing to spend.  Cool.  Like I said, there’s a thin line between frugal and cheap. I have three golden rules when it comes to using Groupon or the like on dates.

 

1. No Surprises: It is about presentation. Now, busting out a clipped out coupon that’s expired and you don’t even have enough to pay is one thing; using a Groupon have the reservation booked and the deal honored and added to the check and she has no idea is another. (Also ladies, if you ain’t paying stop touching the damn check, the cost of your meal is “paid for” that’s all you need to know, and don’t worry how much I tipped the waitress).  If that’s that possible, then the next go to move is to just keep it 100 about the 50% you about to save on the evening.  “I got this groupon for X it’s about to expire, do you wanna….” There’s no surprises and if she’s gonna be one of those people who brings up the fact that you wouldn’t ask her out if not for the coupon, she probably read 10 dating books and follows @AskCheyB on Twitter. Run. Fast. 

2. Events > Meals: Somewhat of a theory of mine that no one notices how much activities cost as much as meals.  Restaurants, you sit, order, eat and they literally tell you how much this experience cost monetarily.  Doing activities, no one puts as much stock in.  I’ve gone to free events and I’ve used deals and the experience was all the same.

3. First Impressions Matter: The first date is probably not the best time to be using coupons.  I’ll avoid when I can but sometimes a deal is just too good to pass up so she will deal, Deal? (Triple entendre don’t eem ask me how).  

 

 

 

 

It can all be so simple. But when it comes to dating, a lot of stock is put into perceived value, how much effort is he about to put in. Will he call and ask you out or just text? Is he going to pay or go Dutch? Knock on your door or text “I’m here”. Understandably you don’t know the person so actions speak louder than words. However I never looked at how much I spend as some sort of reference to how important someone is or isn’t. I’m a traditionalist, I’m paying even if I don’t like you, whether the bill is $80 or $14 the fact I spent time with you is the true indication. This notion is if you cant break bread don’t date but what if he knew he wanted to get to know you before he knew what his check was looking like. Money values goods and services not feelings. My father sometimes spent more on me than my siblings or vice versa there wasn’t any favoritism. He did what he could every time and we never thought how much it cost but the fact that he did, well that was priceless.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… MARRIAGE

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, okay, it was really the midwestern United States, there was a girl, smart, beautiful, with the right amount of sass.  A honor roll student, this girl was coveted by many prestigious institutions across the country but decided to attend a local school to be closer to her ailing mother and older brothers, as the youngest child and only daughter she felt obligated to.  Her mother would pass on, and still devastated, she took the opportunity to leave the rural town in her rear view, she joined the army.  It was there she met a charming young fellow from the big city also looking for a fresh start. They dated, fell in love and were soon married.  She, 21, him 23.  They would have 5 kids (including a certain blogger) and live happily for a while after.

Fast forward 30 years, I’m out having dinner and drinks with some people and one says, “no one should be married before 30”, a majority of the table echoed that sentiment.  The person was speaking from experience, he’s 28, recently divorced from his college sweetheart.  He was speaking from perspective more than bitterness, although I can’t say I agree.  Maybe getting married while Sallie Mae is already calling you like “gimme the loot gimme the loot”, or even when you haven’t even really enjoyed being a bachelor/ette (because being single at 18 and single at 25; two completely different things), but 30?  That’s 5 years for me, if I wanted to get married before a Playstation 5 and iPhone X drops am I really setting myself up for failure?

I guess I suffer from premature maturation, because I want to get married, hell I did 2-3 years ago.  I was out with other professionals all in their late 20s/early 30s, most resigned to the fact that love is great, but marriage is about stability. They looked at things from logic and practicality, and I get where they’re coming from but I don’t get where they’re coming from.  Love don’t pay bills, love doesn’t provide for a household, love isn’t even great sex (another I disagree with but I think I need a fresh 600 words for that one), I’m very logical but I’m also a romantic, why can’t I have both?  Will too much adversity kill love?  Has marriage really been reduced to a glorified collaboration?  Yet 74% of the country still thinks gay marriage is the slap in the face.

I think about “She”, perhaps the one who was closest to getting the ring and everything that turned me off.  Irresponsible, dramatic, disrespectful, what’s love got to do with that?  I love you but I can’t conceive a child with someone who chills and smokes all day, I love you but how we gonna sign a mortgage when you maxing out credit cards on shoes, do I already have that tunnel vision?  Or maybe that balance is just necessary.  I’m a romantic realist, there’s love but then there’s the aftermath.  Fairy tales always have prince and princesses, its easy to be happily ever after when them bills already handled.  What happens when you Dwayne Wayne a wedding then you get sued for the cost of the whole thing?  Aladdin still gonna be down when Jasmine put on 50 lbs?  These are the questions that keep me up at night.

But seriously what’s more important love or stability?  I still say love, I asked others in different age ranges, most didnt answer the damn question and said both, a surprising consensus went stability.  “Dessiner”(who insisted she got a cool nickname) was team love and also like me says its simply hard to separate emotion and reality.  All them love songs about I want nothing but you, but they are millionaires already, few are about that life.  Maybe Lauryn Hill she popped a Marley and gave it all away.  Perhaps I’m still young and naive but I believe in love (also in myself that even if we aren’t loaded we won’t be like unbelievably broke).  But who knows, apparently I got 5 mo years to figure this all out.

-Stan-

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