YouTube Channel is Back

I’m learning quite a bit more about how I operate. I’ve learned I need a creative outlet in order to feel like things are in balance. I also feel that I am still relatively young and you can teach an old dog new tricks.

So the conclusion I’ve made is to re-create the YouTube channel I deleted proximately two months ago, providing monthly updates on my portfolio instead of weekly or mid weekly, and having it be a lot more personable than it was before.

In the grand scheme of things this is very much an experiment, who knows what the end decision will be. I want to be authentic, educated, non-scammy and truly helpful to the people who decide to view my content. I also I’m thinking of doing a channel completely unrelated to the world of personal finance or health, maybe focused more on gaming, but we’ll see if those plans pan out. Debt Free Alpha channel.

June 2020 Financial Update

June – What a month. I’m a mixed Black gay man from New York living in Texas. I had written a super long post but decided to leave it in the draft folder as it doesn’t tie into the purpose of this blog. Short answer – systemic racism is still a problem in america, Black people had it difficult in this country for centuries, it’s great to see whites, corporations, organizations all rallying together to bring about progress, consider all options on the table to end police brutality, and encourage equality under the law. In the dawn of everyone having a recording device, many of these injustices are now being brought to light. Social struggles lead to economic struggles which if not corrected leads to generational poverty. So it’s all connected.

I also believe individuals play a role in determining their fate. Just because someone else has the same skin tone or upbringing as me doesn’t mean I need to take responsibility for their poor decisions and the reverse holds true. I don’t expect the government to bail me out unless it’s for a short period of time while I get back on my feet.

In a capitalistic society it’s challenging to force equality. On one hand you should hire based on merit / would they be a good fit. On the other many people from disadvantaged backgrounds may have had a lot more obstacles to face, be the only minority on the whole team, and one could argue why should they get special treatment when everyone is working their ass off to get ahead. No simple answer here but these steps are definitely an improvement over where we were even 3 months ago.

Onto finances….

401k: $76,223.30
Roth IRA: $4,536.63
HSA: $561.65
M1: $342.78
June 2020 Total Retirement: $81,664
(up $7,596 or 8.8% from last month)

iPhone 11 Pro : $842.56
Credit Card: $145.90
Total Debt: $988.46

M1 Finance Investments July 2, 2020

I made a couple of good choices in my M1 taxable stock investing app. Not a lot of money but sheer insanity that the Tesla stock I bought 2 months ago already is up a whopping 66%. Even Amazon up 27%. I know these numbers are insane. When I started this 3rd investment portfolio I decided to just put in some “play money” to see what would happen. It could drop like a rock tomorrow but I’m still putting minimum $25/week in. If the market takes a dip on a particular day I buy more and schedule buys in my pie to happen the following morning. By the time I turn 38, a little over a year from now I hope to have $100k in my portfolio. By 50 I want to have at least $500k and a $1MM by 60.

I made a large dollar ticket purchase during June. I bought a Cannondale CAAD 13 Road Bike for $1800 plus tax, and sold my Fuji Roubaix 1.3 for $600 cash on FaceBook Marketplace. The old bike sold within 3 hours of me buying the new one. My original listing price was $800, then knock it down to $720 and negotiated down again. It had some light wear and tear, probably needed some new tires in a few months. Supply and demand never fails. During the month of June I’ve ridden over 200 miles of it. Yesterday I popped an inner tube and a friend was kind enough to give me a ride. The old bike wasn’t bad but I did pop a few spokes on it. Changed my riding technique a bit and that problem has esssentially gone away. The rims on the new bike are a higher quality and I haven’t had an problems so far. The bike was paid for the last time I got paid.

Cannondale CAAD13 105 Rim Bike

I haven’t worked with other people in an office since March 13th give or take. Still thankful I have a job when the unemployment levels are so high. I know a lot of others in this country aren’t so lucky. The days really have been flowing together. At times I do get lonely and I haven’t had nearly the amount of interaction with other humans as I should. Still working through the best ways to work through it. My “friends” are often extremely difficult to make any type of plans with. I’d have better luck with a complete stranger… 😀 I won’t let that discourage me though.

What is currently on my mind from a money standpoint?
1 – Does it make more sense to continue going guns blazing with retirement or should I look at Real Estate. A 401k has a lot of pros but also may be the slower path to wealth outside of Covid.
2 – Should I focus on having more fuck you money? I don’t have that much money sitting in a bank account, mostly because of inflation and I’d rather delay paying taxes now to get a break later on. So at least I’m deliberate about not having months and months in an emergency fund. Maybe 3 months and I’d sleep a little easier.
3 – When do I leave Texas? Is there a better place to live? I just renewed my apartment lease for $890/mo. The new complex several miles away I considered was closer to $1435/mo plus a month free, but with a $200 pet deposit, $300 pet fee and $10/mo pet rent. Really not worth it for zero equity.
4 – Will I get another stimulus check? Would be a nice buffer but in no means am I banking on that happening.

Brainstorming other topics that aren’t related to politics. Have a couple of ideas. Be healthy, safe, and have a happy 4th of July weekend!!!

May 2020 Financial Update

Hey all – It’s been about a month since my last update. Some things have certainly changed!

401k: $69,924.08
Roth IRA: $4,228.39
HSA: $770.42
M1: $144.88
May 2020 Total Retirement: $75,068
(up $5k or 7% from last month)

Car Loan: $0
Car Warranty: $0
iPhone 11 Pro: $898.72 (I’m intentionally not paying it off since I like to upgrade every year)
Credit Card: $302.46
Total Debt: $1,201.18
Total Savings: $2k+

Dipped into my savings to pay my car off last month so steadily trying to build that back up again. My 401k retirement contributions including matching are back up again to over $1700/mo. I’m also contributing $200/mo or $25/wk each to the Roth, Taxable account or more as my income permits. At my current rate I will be at $90k in retirement by the end of the year. Really hoping to break the $100k figure a year from now.

Nothing super exciting to see here, staying the course. Thinking long and hard about my next vacation….

Also my apartment lease is up for renewal. $880/mo plus $10/mo pet rent and roughly $25/mo for garbage disposal / sewer fees. I would like to live in a more lively area that is closer to work. The crime statistics though in the places I’ve considered are horrible! Literally 3x more crime and for an extra $300-$400/mo. Then add a good $500 or so in moving expenses, $300 for a pet deposit. A blogger I follow in the area pays more in taxes and HOA for the 2br condo he’s trying to sell than I pay for rent. How much does location really matter as we move more toward a full or partial work from home situation?

I have two friends who live in a sketchy part of town and there was a shooting last week where one person died. Their apartment was an active crime scene and they were not allowed to go in. There have been a series of incidents that made the news since 2015. I can’t be in a place where I fear for my safety. At the same time I see pictures I took from 5 years ago in this apartment… Feels like I’m not making any progress. Then again maybe not dropping $1400/mo on rent for absolutely zero equity is progress.

How Are You Doing?

So most of this blog, ok almost all of it revolves around me and my life. I do wonder how others are doing on their financial journey. Some of the general questions that come to mind…

1. Are you facing tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt?
2. Are you one of the lucky Americans who are still fully employed? Have you been recently furloughed? Have you had to take a pay cut?
3. Are you planning a major lifestyle change?
4. What if anything keeps you coming back to my blog?
5. Is there any type of information I could present that you would find beneficial?

After making a series of blog posts from January on, I had to look in the mirror figuratively speaking. Was the content I posted providing value to anyone else? Or was it 100% focused on me? I had less than 10 subscribers even after having posted 24 videos. My tactics for generating more subs was a bit cringe-worthy and didn’t actually work.

If you try something and fail after a few times, there is no shame in starting over provided that is an option.

Will I post content again under a different channel? Possibly. It needs to be quality informational content though. The “hey here’s a net worth type update” videos don’t really offer value or entertainment to others.

Also found some good idea on things your channel must have from Twin Cities Collective. Basically my channel didn’t have a single one of those elements I they recommended every one have. So I’m extremely humbled. Thanks for watching my content if you saw it before. All these videos are still saved in my personal archives.

For those who don’t want to go to another site…
1. Logo?
2. Banner
3. Social Media / Website Links
4. Custom URL
5. Front Page Full of Videos
6. Playlists
7. Videos with Consistent Thumbnails
8. Annotations (I think these were phased out)
9. Subscriber Count
10. About Section

Here’s another one from Search Engine Journal on Elements of a Successful YouTube video.
1. Branded intro footage
2. An attention-grabbing intro
3. Background Music
4. Being Clearly Audible
5. Brevity
6. Customized Experiences
7. Call To Action

Maybe I sound like a broken record here. I’m a firm believe that you can learn from others. You might not experience the exact same results for yourself, but man.. If I knew now what I knew in 2010 I would have made some different choices in life.

I’m Debt Free! – Car Paid Off and Reflecting on Blogging 8 Years Later

For all intents and purposes I’m now essentially Debt Free! I made the final payment of my 2016 Nissan Maxima on April 27, 2020. The original amount financed was $31,107.45 on March 28, 2016. The Maturity fate would have been 5/12/2021. It hasn’t truly hit me yet since I dropped some serious coin on the last payment.

A Paid Off Car Really Does Drive Better

In a funny bit of irony, right after I finished shopping at my local Tom Thumb I noticed a $165k Bently Bentayga SUV parked just two spots away from my newly paid off gray chariot. I did not get to see the owner, but I’m guessing it was an older woman who just wanted to buy some groceries during the pandemic. Heck rich people have to eat too.

Has it hit me yet? Not really. I still need to build my emegency fund back up. There’s still uncertainty about the future of my company. In the event of layoffs I would qualify for the Texas state $521 unemployment maximum and likely the coronavirus $600 extra payout for up to 13 weeks. It still would be a significant reduction especially once you factor in any type of Cobra coverage. Hopefully I won’t have to think about that anytime soon.

My first posting to this blog happened on April 7, 2012 – Ground Zero – My Challenge. I wasn’t even 30 yet, I did happen to have paid off my car at the time which was almost 4 years old at the time. I also still had $45k of student loans to pay off. My income was way lower than it is now. It seemed like an insurmountable obstacle, but I did it. I was inspired by Nomoreharvarddebt.com, MrMoneyMustache, Nathanbw, Double Debt Single Woman and a few others.

While I didn’t link to this blog or my YouTube channel on my social media accounts, I did receive a lot of positive feedback from my peers. It’s a celebration for me, I haven’t been debt free since my first college course in Fall 2001. To put things in perspective I took those loans out right before 9/11/2001. Took me 19 years to get to this point, I’ve made missteps. I spent money maybe I shouldn’t have on things I convinced myself I needed at the time.

What’s Next?
1. Rebuild heavy emergency fund
2. Increase 401k / Roth IRA contributions
3. Stay healthy + lose fat + avoid getting coronavirus
4. Relax more
5. Find a guy to date and fall in love with
6. Grow my hair back… Balding sucks lol

Looking forward to the next new chapter in my life. The last one wasn’t bad but I need a vacation… 😛 Still plan to post here occasionally. Much love.

Debt Free at 36 Video

Bye Bye Credit Card Balance & April 2020 Financial Update

Happy 4/20 – I don’t smoke, but those two do tend to go a little extreme this time of year.. 😀

My credit card balances hit zero again, across all cards as of 4/10. Just in time for the coronavirus pandemic. It feels quite liberating. No longer do I have the burden of paying near $1000 every two weeks in a rush to get the balance down to zero. I hope to continue having blessings in my life that allow me to pay the credit cards in full before they are due.

I know a few people with credit card balances in excess of $10k. For me I know I sometimes have a spending problem. Usually I’ll save money on my purchases but at the same time spending say $2800 on a computer, $1k+ on a phone, $2-300 on clothes every season, eating and dining out, it all adds up. My advice if you still have a job is to cut back your spending, put some extra cash aside and look at ways to generate more income.

On to an April 2020 financial update…
401k: $65,425.33
Roth IRA: $3921.22
HSA: $655.38
Total Retirement: $70,001.93

Car Loan: $3,761.16
Car Warranty: $0
iPhone 11 Pro: $954.88
Credit Card: $0
Total Debt: $4,716.04

Savings:
Short and Long-Term: $3,423

There is a lot of uncertainty right now in my world. Not sure about the future of a lot of things including my income. I still have a job, but many people I know have either been layed off, partially furloughed, or put on full furlough. I am going to keep grinding away in hopes that my postition stays secure along with my income. I did take a pay cut but nothing that would really impact my life all that much.

This $1200 stimulus check that everyone has been talking about it sitting right in my account. It brought my emergency fund up from $195 literally overnight. There are talks about an additional stimulus of $2,000/mo for most Americans over the age of 16.

Also another law proposed that would make it so renters wouldn’t have to pay rent for several consecutive months via a FEMA emergency declaration It sounds great on paper but also could lead to some pretty rapid inflation. Not to mention the national debt that we still aren’t paying off anytime soon. I’m sort of at a point if the government is giving out money or allowing us to pay it forward, why not do what everyone else is doing.

I really hope you my viewers are happy and healthy. Just today I found out one of my mom’s old bosses recently passed away from covid-19 related complications. The woman in question was in New York and she may have worked with the elderly but I don’t know all the details. I’ve heard story after story of people who came down with coronavirus, many didnt’ make it.

Keeping myself upbeat these times has been a struggle. I keep trying to remember certain things are outside of my control and many of them are temporary. I’m still upright, making progress toward my goals, and I’ve gone through way more challenging times in life.

More Debt Free Alpha videos on YouTube

I posted 10, yes 10 videos on YouTube since December. Linking to them below. My most popular video has 53 views, channel has 8 subscribers and my channel isn’t monetized so there is that. I’m mindful of what drives the highest ROI on my time and so far YouTube isn’t it. Planning to write another blog post update soon.

March 2020 Update – Coronavirus??

It’s March 21, 2020 and it feels like the world is on fire. Coronavirus has received to much press over the last few weeks it’s insane. My investment portfolio has taken such a huge hit. Things are happening at my company that make me wonder what’s going to be happening down the line.

My honest belief is that we can only control so many things over the course of a day. We should focus on maximizing our time and adapting as best we can. 24 hours are in a day, work usually will take 8-10 of them, sleeping roughly 8 hours. So that leaves 8 good hours to become Superman and try to accomplish everything else.

Some days over the past month I’ve been fairly amazing at this. Work 8 hours, commute an hr 20 minutes, go to the gym, make dinner, walk the dog, take an hour to let things wind down and be done with it. Others like the last week have been especially challenging.

In the last 2 weeks here are some of the things that have gone down that direct or indirectly affect me.
1. Employer is closing some of our locations permanently, resulting in hundreds of jobs being lost. That’s pre-coronavirus closures.
2. Our company temporarily closing all of its stores directly as a result of COVID-19, hopefully for only 2 weeks but I wonder if it will be longer.
3. My 401k/ Roth IRA took a huge hit dropping from a combined total high last month of $80k down to $55k currently. The $25k drop is a lot to swallow. I also have seen videos about the creash of 1987, lived through 2001, worked in banking during 2008/2009. None of this is too surprising. I know it will pass at some point. Last Monday the Dow dropped 3000 points, the highest single day point drop ever and highest % drop since 1987.
4. Two of my kickball friends were recently hospitalized. They’re getting tested for the Coronavirus after one developed a fever and was likely exposed to it. I hope the healthier one is safe and they both test negative. Doesn’t look super promising now though.
5. Bars, restaurants, many retail establishments in the state are just flat out closed.
6. Working from home – Not quite used to it. really, it’s been an adjustment for real. 8 days in so far, no end in sight. They say another week but my gut tells me it’s going to be a lot longer. I really need a vacation soon, have almost 3 weeks of time to use.
7. Oil is at record low prices. I hear it’s due to a pricing war between the Saudis and the Russians. Russia wants to get the price of oil down to hurt US shale / fracking companies that are heavily leveraged by debt. Gas in some states is below $1.00 in certain states. Without a 32 mile round trip drive each day, a tank of gas could easily lasting me 3 weeks.
8. The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates again, this time to .2%, on Jan 30th it was 1.6%. That’s less than 2 months we saw a huge drop. Great if you’re buying a house but the prices of those are expected to plummet next.
9. My home state of New York is getting a whole lot of attention right now related to the Coronavirus. On one hand they are testing more people than most other states in the nation and in some cases more than other countries. The downside is the total number of positive cases is also a lot higher. I’m worried about my relatives who either are or are close to being senior citizens.
10. Two people I know in the food service industry lost their jobs, one got a personal call from the CEO. Another is a bartender / gogo dancer and works a bunch of side jobs as he gets his acting career off the ground. I also wonder about two people I know in the airline industry. One for American and another for Southwest. These are turbulent times.

There are no shortages of conspiracy theorists who think this is all orchestrated by the ultra wealthy to acquire assets at a steeply low price. Others think it’s going to be the end of life in the United States for a while. One of my friends was trying to get me to drive cross country to be with other people in the event of a state or area-wide quarantine. Logistically it just didn’t make sense for me to drive 24-26 hours each way with a dog while still having day job responsibilities.

So onto my financial update….

As of 3/21/2020:
401k: $52,533.78
Roth IRA: $3,193.40
HSA: $651.46
Total Retirement: $56,378.64

Car Loan: $3,756.09
Car Warranty: $129.25
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,011.04
Credit Card: $1,028.33
Total Debt: $5,924.71

Up to this date I haven’t made any significant changes to my investment portfolio. My initial thought was to contribute in my 401k only up to the match and boost my emergency fund or pay down debts. I haven’t graduated to that point yet. If I start having doubt of my future employment, this could definitely change.

Timing of things is always very interesting. As I write this I’m watching a video from Joseph Carlson – Divident Cuts: My Response. One of the images in about 21:15 shows the length of time of recoveries from collapse.
1987 – Black Monday – 22 Months (-36% 2 Month decline)
2001-2001 – Post 9/11 Attaches – 48 Months (-38% 33 Month decline)
2007-2008 – Financial crisis – 48 Months (-54% 17 Month decline)
I wouldn’t call it greed, but there is definitely a part of me that likes to think mathetmatically.

Benefits of continuing my current path:
1. Buy stocks at a huge discount / use dollar cost averaging in my favor
2. Max out my 401k contribution limit for Tax Year 2020
3. Make up for lost time in a way since I waited until 30 until I started this current investment portfolio. Could’ve done it in my 20s but I was broke.

Downsides to current path:
1. Almost no emergency fund savings – I do have things I can sell quickly for cash like Camera, iPad, high end laptop if needed. Plus I have access to several lines of credit.
2. Still have car payment obligations outstanding in the event of a job loss. $545/mo is still a big chunk of my disposable income right now. If I were to contribute only up to the match the car payment would be gone in 3 months.
3. Not saving for moving. I don’t really like my apartment complex much. It’s familiar but it’s also old. My neighbor just moved after being here a year. Every other place I’ve reviewed is either super congested, way too expensive, not particularly safe, or has a lot of bad reviews.
4. Not saving for a house. If I ever want to buy again I will need help with a down payment. Hard to put any money aside for that currently. Plus thinking things are going to drop a bit in the coming month.

There are also rumors that we are going to be getting checks from the Federal government based on our income in 2018. I’m not really one to ask for a handout but definitely would use that money wisely. Most likely an emergency fund since $140 isn’t cutting it.

One day I hope to be able to look back on this perid and laugh about it. Right now we aren’t there yet. I’m hopeful though, have seen so many outpourings of support to one another online. I do work almost 7 days a week now in some capacity. Becoming as indispensable as possible and hope that helps a little more with job security. My schedule is too irregular for me to get a 2nd W-2 type job. Random gigs on the other hand would be a definite possibility. Or generating more content / finding a way to monitize it. Shit, even $100/wk would be something.

I’m up to my 13th Debt Free Alpha video on YouTube, published a few days ago. Trying to do 1 video per week and improve how I present information. Whenever I rush them the quality is really really bad, but I’m still learning.

So my readers I ask you this question. How has the economic downtown / coronavirus impacted you? What are you afraid of? What are you excited about? Know anyone severely impacted?

——————-
*Off-topic* – I was recently watching a video by Alex Becker, (Why Making Money Online Is Bull%^@! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfaor_HZ5Gg) he was speaking about why most people don’t have what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

One of the key takeaways was most people who work for someone else give that employer the hours where their mind is the sharpest.

Another was that their dopamine levels are all fucked up. Essentially being addicted to their phone, video games, and other things that give them a quick dopamine hit but don’t really move their lives forward. A lot of people who are successful in business are driven by pain, suffering, and fear.

The other one that resonated with me was that most people think they don’t have the skills needed to succeed in business instead of focusing on the right output quickly and consistently over time. Trying to be mindful of strategies that will help me become a six-figure income level and get me to the next level in terms of lifestyle.

February 2020 Update

February 2020 Update:
As of 2/21/2020:
401k: $75,068.17
Roth IRA: $4.704.99
HSA: $554.93
Total Retirement: $80,328.09

Car Loan: $4,294.28
Car Warranty: $258.50
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,067.20
Credit Card: $1,355.77
Total Debt: $6,975.75

Earlier this week my 401k + Roth IRA balance surpassed $80k, then the market took a bit of a dive. I’m contributing the largest amount I feel comfortable with. $1467/mo plus my employer match. That’s equal to my rent + car payment combined. I’m over having a car payment, you have no idea. Roughly 8 more payments to go and only 2 on the car warranty.

I feel like I’ve made a lot of sacrifices the past few years. Living in location with affordable rent but not close to work, not travelling much, watching each dollar I spend like a hawk. Ok maybe some of those wouldn’t go away with more disposable income but still.

My credit card balance is up this month due to two main reasons.
1 – I replaced my 2015 QHD computer monitor with a 2019 4k model. I originally bought it for $429.99 then got an $80 price match dropping it to $349.99. I love this monitor, it’s so incredibly sharp. Plus I’m experimenting a bit with 4k content creation. Shipped the old one to my parents who have two old monitors from 2001 / 2005 so my original $450+ purchase won’t completely be a waste.
2 – I booked a trip to see my family in New York. I haven’t been on a plane since July 2019. I’m getting the urge to leave Dallas for a couple of days. I try to stay off Social Media, lots of my friends are going on trips several times a month either for work or fun. Booked the coach flight through Expedia and got a discount for the car rental. Decided to get the car insurance since I have a $1k deductible on my own personal vehicle. Altogether the bill will be $492.37.
3 – Life – Things like getting shots for the dog, shipping the old monitor out to my parents, groceries, eating out with friends, occasional clothing purchases. Recurring expenses.

I still would like to plan a non-New York trip this year. Thinking about Fincon 2020 but not sure how much I would benefit from such a trip. I’m not exactly a popular blogger or Youtuber. There would be benefits from being around a community of like-minded individuals with a Financial Independence Retire Early mindset.

Last but not least I’m single again. No regrets. Just couldn’t see things going much further than they were. We are still friends and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still miss the familiarity of it all. I feel like after a year dating we should’ve had a general idea of what they next step was. I was allergic to his bunnies and they were afraid of my dog. I wasn’t and still am not sure if Texas is my long-term destination, but the economy isn’t great right now. There was a time where I thought about what things would be like living together. That was short-lived though. He’s still a good person and I hope he can find a husband again. Sometimes the best thing to do is to let things dissolve amicably. I’m still optimistic about finding love, enjoying life, and reaching my goals.

Aside from that I posted a few other videos to the YouTube channel. My last video was a trainwreck so I pulled it down. Some things you just can’t rush in the morning before you go to work. Lessons learned. It still feels weird writing our 2020 on anything I post here. Forever 2020 was *the future*, now it’s the present.

January 2020 Update

The stock market has been up, down, but mostly up. I’d be a fool to think this is going to last forever. I’m investing heavily right now to get compounding working in my favor, not to mention the tax benefits. I hate owing more to the IRS than I have to.

As of 1/22/2020:
401k: $71,078.21
Roth IRA: $4,668.99
HSA: $458.40
Total Retirement: $76,205.60

Car Loan: $4,831.60
Car Warranty: $387.75
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,123.36
Credit Card: $924.22
Total Debt: $7,266.93

In 2019 I made the decision to get brace. So far I’ve paid a total of $2,200.03, out of a total of $2,990. Not 100% sure how much I have left on my braces. Only *4* or $688.92 in payments left until I’m basically free and clear with that. It will be nice to see the money in the HSA actually accumulate and not just get wiped out immediately.

I lost my class action recall Plantronic Backbeat Fit headphones not that long ago. I literally looked everywhere for them, called my gym, nothing. It hurt and after a couple days I said screw it, time to upgrade. That in turn resulted in hours of watching YouTube videos talking about what people thought of different models of sport headphones.

I considered the Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro, Powerbeats Pro and a few cheaper options. My biggest beef with the old set I had was during a workout, static would occur and the connection would disconnect. You try grooving to some Fantasia or Mariah Carey only to go into radio silent mode while you’re pushing a steady 160bpm roasting in the hot 100° degree Texas summer sun. 😛

I have an iPhone 11 Pro so the Bluetooth only options didn’t make a ton of sense. Apple’s H1 chip provides near instantaneous sync up with my iPhone/iPad/Mac, supports Hey Siri functionality. That left the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro. APP has that white glossy plastic that scratches way too easily. My original earpods look like absolute trash all because I dropped them once. Then there is the “will these stay in my ears” factor. Again, I had my doubts. The last thing you want to worry about is losing your expensive gear due to a slightly off fit…Powerbeats Pro were actually in stock at my local store too. The audio quality is good for calls, I can walk anywhere in the apartment (even with the microwave going) without dropping, and chat walking the dog without the other person complaining they can’t hear me. Simple thing that would disconnect my old buds.

No they weren’t cheap. I originally paid $249.95 for them at my local Best Buy store. Got 1% Cashback through a Rakuten in-store coupon code, plus 3% back on my Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Then I saw the price drop by $50. You guessed right, I stopped by the store the next day to get it. That can pay for AppleCare which I definitely am getting for these bad boys. Sweat, heat, electronics, what could possibly go wrong…

Latest expensive purchase – Powerbeats Pro

My computer chair has been slowly disintegrating before my very eyes. Bungie cord to keep the back in check, now I added zip-ties for the arm that kept popping off. I can still get another year from it I tell myself. tweeted Mr. Money Mustache and he tweeted me back. Totally relished in my fanboi moment for a few days after that haha.

Office Depot WorkPro 1000 Chair with Bungee cord and zip ties.

I’ve been eyeing a 4k or 5k display to replace my 2015 27″ Asus PB278Q WQHD LED. The first 4k computer monitors made their debut in 2013, but they still haven’t really caught on. Content creators, prosumers, anyone who spends a lot of time viewing a screen and wants to preserve their vision has a justifiable use for them. In 2020 The most common resolution right now is 1080p HD or 1920 x 1080. My laptop is 3072×1920, my monitor is 2560 x 1440. The Apple ProDisplay XDR is 6mos worth of rent so that’s out, but then I see people complain about LG’s reliability and cheap build quality. After 2 years their $1200 screen just completely goes out. Unless you find a kickass warranty to go with it that sounds like a really shitty purchase.

I have a potentially short February work trip coming up, want to see my mom in New York in May, and possibly two other trips with friends later this year. Cruise and an island vacation potentially. Also throw in another trip with my boyfriend. Do I have enough money saved for any of this? No, but I’ll figure something out. 😀

I do feel very blessed these days. I don’t want to take any of it for granted. I know so many stories of people I’ve met who are strugging in varying capacities. Single mom who lost their husband, recovering drug addict, several depressed people who are struggling just to pay their bills. Guy who got stuck in a car while it burned to the ground. He fights to do even the most basic of things. Then looking at what is posted on GoFundme, I donate occasionally. It really pulls at your heart strings.

My hope is that more people would take time to love and respect one another while they are still here. I remember the storry of Mattie Stepanek, the little boy with a powerful message. He passed away almost a month after my father did which seems like a lifetime ago. Here’s his story if you want to learn more. Warning: You may need some tissues after you watch it.

Take care, be well. Remember to invest in yourself. Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want. Posted 7 videos so far. Quality isn’t quite where I want it. I can do a great video, or an average one, but sometimes my days are quite busy. So for now quantity rules out.