Category Archives: Money

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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Today’s Word is… HUSTLE

That awkward moment when you google “hustler” for a main image for this post and you forgot all about Hustler magazine.  That awkwarder moment when you make a random cameo on Facebook and are bombarded with FB chats.  One from a friend with a Gucci watch for sale, I don’t even wanna know how he got it, another asking me to check out his music on Youtube, and another from an old colleague asking me to check out his site.  I was only on to steal one of my father’s old army photos for a Veteran’s Day post.  Sheesh.  It seems everyone has some kind of side hustle these days, except me.  I had a big hustler spirit myself at one point, although I never cared to sell drugs the risk and profit didn’t seem worth it.  Instead I developed a network of side hustles in addition to a part time job to keep me afloat.  I sold bootleg CDs , my artwork, had 3 blogs, ghostwrote homework, ran a ghetto depository and repaired electronics.   These days, I’m still a jack of all trades but still master of none, I just can’t seem to take a leap on anything. Now I look back and wonder where did that spirit go?  Have I lost my sense of wonder? Am I a realist or just someone who’s scared to dream?

My first issue is I never put myself out there.  Perhaps I’m too humble.  I was the one the slyly slid my 100% tests in my bag as my friends all talked about how bad they did.  Most of my talents are hidden unless you really know me, or you’re one of those dates that asks “tell me something I don’t know about you” and I have nothing to say so then I’ll talk about my brief freelance art career or that I write.  Or maybe I’m too self conscious. I rarely let people in on my plans until they’re done, that way no one can know if I failed or not.  I don’t want to be asked about that girl I was seeing, or wasn’t you trying to lose weight or how’s the new job search going.  More dreams fail than succeed, I rather you not know I was even trying than know I failed.  <insert quote about failing vs not trying> yeah yeah whatever.

I also lack focus.  There’s so much I want to do I end up doing nothing. When I was a kid I dreamed of being a writer or a cartoonist or  creating my own animated cartoon which was like the equivalent of both my dreams having a baby. My mother knew I was going to be an engineer. My teachers foresaw politics.  My father envisioned my designing video games. The hood had me down for lawyer. I ended up in finance.  I love to write but I can’t see it becoming my career,  I dropped engineering as my major on my 3rd day, awkward teen years killed the charisma I had as a kid, video games are a lot harder than they look and I never had any real interest in law, they just wanted me to be a black Maurice Levy.   Sure I can attend Devry University, write a book, get rich, go to law school, then run for office and make my children fulfill their grandmother’s prophecy but the odds of that is slim. People barely buy books anymore.  Maybe a graphic novel, but I suck at drawing the same thing over and over, they’ll stop looking alike by halfway through, okay I’m rambling…point is I need to find a hustle and stick with it.

I’m young, ambitious and no mouths to feed but my own, so I’m still playing with house money.  I’m sure eventually I’ll develop something I’m passionate enough about that I’d overcome humility and doubt and just go for it. Maybe I’m just waiting for that tag team partner or for the perfect opportunity to fall in my lap *crosses fingers*.  Until then, my plan to take over the world remains under wraps.  *evil handrubs*

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BORROW

I have a mild case of writers block so i resorted to a word generator…it’s the perfect resource considering the concept of the blog *shrug*

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A few weeks ago I met a girl, not relevant enough to assign a nickname as this will likely be her only appearance.  So we hit it off initially, had quite a few things in common but not too much.  We went out on a date, a poetry slam she suggested.  While I’m not a big fan of spoken word, I didn’t have much else to do that night why not?  It was okay, I enjoyed some poets and kept sarcastic remarks to myself while she damn near caught the holy ghost next to me.  She wasn’t pleased with my lack of enthusiasm, and the date went south from there.  I didn’t hear from her for a week, didn’t phase me too much, I had lost interest after some other things she had told me.  She randomly hit me up asking to borrow money, I declined, I haven’t heard from her since. Beaches be tripping.


Dramatization. Her after every damn poem

She doesn’t work so that was reason enough to decline, but aside from that I simply don’t like lending money.  I’ll give it away before I loan it, I don’t like owing people already I couldn’t put someone else in that position.   I have mental logs of who owes me what (about $1400 from 6 people) but it wouldn’t even be worth my time or effort to pull the tab, maybe this is how China feels.   Charge it to the game, I suppose.

Some people I’m sure would pay me back if they could, others I’m convinced just made a quick come up at my expense (pun intended). Myself I’m reluctant to borrow anything, I did enough of that from Sallie Mae and Stafford. Back in the day, I would steal borrow my father’s albums copy them and give it right back, I don’t like to have anybody’s anything too long. Then not too long ago I used a friends truck to pick up a couch I bought, he said I could have it overnight, I got it back to him within the next 2 hours. I don’t like having other people’s things, or feeling indebted to someone else. I’m weird like that. The other part is pride, I don’t like to borrow because I don’t like to humble myself to ask. There’s only 2-3 people I would honestly go to if needed, and even technically they owe me already. Speaking of borrowing, my neighbor still has my The Wire DVDs, -__- I hate lending.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… BROKE

This can’t be life

OG(original geek) Count von Count

I’m a numbers geek.  I flirted with comics, got cozy with computers, had a nice fling with RPGs but overall I’m about the numbers.  On dates I total the bill in my head with the 10% gratuity, I have a very strict budget, hell I even count calories now. The Count taught me well. I do well, I’m very fiscally responsible yet week after week the realization is there; I’m broke as hell.  Broke Phi Broke alumnus, dollarnaire, it’s no mula baby.  Where does my money go?  All my bills are on auto pay, I don’t pay for movies or music, I commute to work via train, I’ll take a crisp walking shoe over some Jordans any day and I don’t smoke and only drink socially (free). However, reviewing my budget, I’ve determined the things I ought to spend less on…

 

 

5. Art: Art is my second love next to writing, I love to sketch, paint and publish a graphic novel is somewhere on my bucket list.  But art materials are ridiculous, the more you hone your craft the more you understand the need for quality materials.  I used to get a no. 2 pencil and some printer paper and could go to work but it doesn’t blend well.  I used to kill those little watercolor sets you could get from like a CVS or something but I’ve fell in love with acrylic.

4. Produce: I know why the country is obese, fresh food is expensive.  Grapes cost more than gas, I gotta eat a pound as I shop just to save me $4 #thuglife.  I’ve been focusing on eating better these days but Whole Foods be hurting my pockets, I need to start shopping in one of them grocery stores in the hood where they charge you 10 cents per bag and they only sell the off brand products like they have on TV shows

Same Difference.

3. Gym and etc:  I go to two gyms #atthesamedamntime, the easy solution would be to drop one but they have different purposes: my Planet Fitness has convenient locations and has nicer equipment (and eye candy) while my local gym with a basketball court and a pool.  Then of course there’s gym clothes which need to be washed frequently, factor in water and drinks, headphones that never last it costs me way more than I ever expected.  It’s cheaper to be fat.

2. Home Decor: I moved into my apartment with nothing but my clothes.  I was always bouncing around staying with fam and girlfriends that I didn’t have much of my own.  So when I finally had a space of my own I decked it out, and 2 years later I’m still buying stuff for my place. New curtains, rugs, trinkets, I’m the guy that goes into Wal-Mart for one thing and leave with a cart.

*Sigh*

1. WOMEN- Yes, women.  By no means am I whipped (anymore) but just in general women are expensive, gifts, dates, keeping myself fly, it’s daunting.  According to my numbers, I cannot afford to go out until next Tuesday or I can make her pay but that doesn’t always go over too well.  “She” alone cost me (won’t even post amount it’s that bad) and I was out of work for part of the relationship.

This doesn’t even count personal emergencies, family/friend emergencies, vacations, new car, moving and Mitt Romney winning in November.  Maybe I should get started on that book, graphic novel, business prospectus, or investment portfolio I was working on.  Or woo me a rich woman. I’m trying to do better than good enough.  *Broke Phi Broke stomp out*

The only frat I’d ever belong to…

-Stan-

 

 

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