Archive for November, 2011

IMG_5701I am very into photography and I recently purchased a Eye-Fi Connect SDHC card. The idea here is simply. Your SD card with all of your files, will automatically download directly to your computer in a desired location. No more wires or pulling the card out, the photos are waiting for you on your computer.

Basically how this card works is the card comes with a USB plugin device that goes into a standard USB port. Then after some setup, the USB device will detect and download all of the photos off your SD card inside your camera.

So far I’m extremely happy with this purchase – it honestly doesn’t cost much more than a standard SD card either. The only downsides I can determine thus far is that it can a long time for larger photos to download and it can drain your camera’s battery. Overall, very happy with this product.

Check it out.

How Big Should My Emergency Fund Be?

Emergency FundEmergency Funds are an essential part of living a stress free life. Some individuals can live paycheck to paycheck and find inner balance, but most would prefer to avoid this lifestyle. So how large should your emergency fund be? Many experts say 6-months of expenses, but that is far too broad of a rule. So how do you find the right amount for you?

Evaluate your “needed liabilities”. What is the bare minimum amount of cash on which you could survive? What costs are unavoidable (things like mortgage, car payments, etc.) – What do you view as “sunk costs.”

Could you reduce your housing expense?
Do you own a house?
Do you have equity in that home?
Could you move in with friends or family temporarily?
Could you sell your car and downgrade?
Could you remove your cell phone expense, cable bill, etc.?
How much could you reduce your food and gas budget?

It is important to know exactly what you and your family need month to month.

Assess your ability to get another job, and be conservative. Many people prior to 2008 were getting job offers left and right, but times have changed. What do you think your realistic timeframe for job placement would be? It’s always important to be conscious of the job market in your field. The harder it is to find a job in your field – the larger the emergency fund.

How secure is your current job? The more secure your current job is, the smaller the emergency fund.

Do you have any real estate or investments that could require more capital to continue to opreate? If for example you have rental properties – you are always susceptible to financial disasters that require capital to resolve. The more potential risk for you have – the larger your emergency funds should be. Do not count on bank financing for this capital – you may find it hard to secure credit when you are unemployed.

Now we come to the conclusion – You have a $ amount that you need per month and you have considered all of the factors above – what should you multiple that $ amount by?

Answer: Whatever makes you feel comfortable, within reason. Of course the larger the emergency fund the better, but if you feel comfortable with 2 months or 24 months – you should make sure you have enough emergency funds that you can resolve life’s problems. The general rule of 6 month’s of expenses is a good benchmark, but for many – it might be too small or too large.

You might be a father of 3 and feel that 6 months just isn’t enough to make sure you sleep well at night. If it isn’t – Keep saving and building that emergency fund until you feel safe about your family’s future.

If you are a 20-something year old and feel comfortable with only a couple of months of expenses then so be it, but be sure to understand the potential consequences if things do turn against you.

Assess your risks, evaluate your needs, and save until comfortable. It’s as simple as that.

Myself – I’m 25 years old and I have approximately 6-7 months, access to about 16 more months of home equity – so I’m finally starting to feel comfortable, but I personally wish I had more than 6-7 months in liquid reserves.

dviMany retailers constantly over charge their customers on basic cables they need for various hookups. HDMI and DVI cables in particular can vary in price tremendously. I recently needed a longer DVI cable for my second monitor and I wanted it immediately. I took a short journey to a Micro Center store where they had several in stock. Their 6 foot DVI cable was $29.99 and their 10 foot cable was $39.99!

Absolutely highway robbery. Not only did I waste my time and gas getting to the store, but now I would leave empty handed, because I refuse to be abused by a retailer. I jumped on amazon when I got home and the first one I found for $7.61 shipped.

If I would have bought the 10-foot cable at Micro Center it would have been $39.99 + tax ($42.58 total). That means the Micro Center cable cost 459% more! You also have to waste time and gas money going to the store! I understand Micro Center is providing a service, but this is insane. If the cable was $7.61 online and $12 in store – I honestly probably would have just purchased it, because I needed the cable. But there are limits to how much I’m prepared to eat.

RadioShack is just as bad in customer abuse when it comes to various hookups and cables. If you consider yourself to be thrifty, you probably should only step foot into RadioShack 2-3 times your entire life, because whatever you’re buy from Radio Shack should be something you need that CANNOT wait. A while back I needed an audio to tape cassette player to use Pandora in my vehicle – and it was $19.99 on sale. Amazon prices – $2 to $3.

images (1)Groupon.com traded up GRPN goes up 30.55% in the first day of trading. At one point the stock was up to 31.14 (+55.7%), but later retreated to finish the day at $26.11.  I recently wrote about this IPO stating that I believe it should be avoided, and I stand by what I said. This company is not generating enough revenue to possibly justify this valuation. This is 100% speculation (until proven otherwise through revenue). After all of the hype build up, I will be considering a short of this stock, simply because the fundamentals of this stock are so weak.

It’s good to see gambling is alive and well in the stock market.

groupon

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