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I'm having one of those experiences where I'm just 'too happy' with the bag I've been given.  This year was overall a very positive year, one that I enjoyed to an utmost extent.  If I were to die right now, I'd die happy.  It could easily be said that I've led a full life.  So, about that bag...

I am a combat veteran who was a part of the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  I participated in some other stuff, too; and was medically retired from the Army in 2009, after nearly ten years of service.  Since retiring, I've lived in a supportive environment where I can see how much I've declined on the faces of the other veterans I live with.  I've known them for over ten years, from when we were all stationed in Germany together.  Shortly before Christmas I answered my water glass and drank from my phone.  It wasn't until someone with me in the room got my attention did I realize just what it was that I was doing.  It may not have been the first time. 

In 2011, one of my investments definitely went south.  $18,500 became $0.00.  Over $20,000 that I was tracking as 'investments' became apparent to be 'IOUs', and as such got removed from my list of 'assets'.  Now, a much more realistic inventory of financial assets reveals a total positive balance that is a small fraction of the aforementioned dollar figures.  At least its positive.

Anyway, while my hand is full of crappy cards, I should mention that I'm still pretty happy with how my life turned out.  Hence why I'm more concerned about proceeding down a long, psychological tunnel.  Rationally, I should be in the midst of a depression.  A deep one, at that.  

Nope.  Happy and bouncy are what I am instead.  Anyway, as for the memory issue (answering glasses of water and drinking phones), I do expect that should that symptom to continue, that it will get worse.  So, pardon me if I spend my remaining money, time and relative freedom having the best time I can.  
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There are few survivors of the Great Depression left to ask, but I believe that systems of living such as frugalism and minimalism are quickly becoming the ideal ways of living.  In the middle of the 19th Century, you were identified by your trade.  Whether it be a farmer, blacksmith, goat herder or cobbler.  A hundred years later, you were defined by the house you owned and the car you drove.  It still goes on today. 

However, consumerism and materialism have fallen out of lifestyle.  For this I'm happy - it is the first thing to let go of before budgeting and living frugally begin to really shape up.  Granted, I'm not saying that we all become 'freegans' or whatnot.  Shelter, clothing, food, communications, transportation and fun are in my mind very worthy things to have in my mind.  So much of the world lacks several of these five things, it's nice just to have that. 

Choose the things that you're going to hoard (for hoarding and collecting are fine pursuits IF you prioritize in a way that works for you).  Also, being selective about what you hoard will allow you to get much more of it - because your budget for hoarding (which would be a part of Fun) will get you a lot more things in one area than a wide variety of things. 

As for myself, I'm trying to shave some money out of my budget, partly to get my nest egg going as well as funding my company.  I spent $97 on groceries, and will see how many meals I can stand to eat from it.  I did not go the Top Ramen route, and bought food that seems to be fairly healthy (salad greens, dressing, cereal, almond milk, cheese, soup - lots of soup and some sweets).

Once I pass 5 meals, groceries will be less expensive for me than Ruby Tuesday's, Denny's or Shari's (I include my tips in this...)
Once I pass 7 meals, the groceries will be less expensive than Shiraz, Davidson's, Thai Delicious, and a number of other restaurants.
Once I pass 10 meals, the groceries will be less expensive than Mia Teriyaki, our local Lebanese restaurant and Bombay Curry.  Also, at the ten meal mark, the groceries will be on par with fast food. 
Once I pass 20 meals, the groceries will be less expensive than pretty much all other food options. 

As of time of writing, I've made it to 10 meals so far.  :)
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... so today starts class, and I find out a couple of fun things.  The Department of Veterans' Affairs was late (again) in paying my college tuition, so I had to get a $75.00 late fee taken care of to lift my registration hold.  Because classes start today, it is unclear if my seat in those classes exists (because of the hold), so I will find out tomorrow morning if I'm even able to attend class.  To top that off, by withdrawing from courses to accept work at the VA Hospital, and having a very bad summer term, I am disqualified from FAFSA.  Even though my old student loans are completely paid off, I was pretty much told that if I wasn't jailed or hospitalized this summer, that I am permanently disqualified.  

So... I'm still processing all this news; my primary thought about FAFSA is that I owe them nothing at the moment and I have no reason to clear a path so that I can owe them something later.  Sure, I'll have to do without loan money every year from here on out - but I think in the long run it's a better move for me.  Still, rejection sucks, and the documentation that I need to send them to appeal their decision is a complete disclosure of all my medical records. 

Anyway, I was told to check back tomorrow to see if the registration hold was lifted, so that I am cleared to attend class.  I'm losing confidence and patience in the system.  Back to work I go...
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Yesterday I was mortified... I saw that most of the cereal (the big brands) at the supermarket average about $6.00 per box. 


Jan. 25th, 2008 11:11 pm
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January is and was one hell of a month.

Today was made of win. Epiphany-style.

One major, major area of stress was addressed (not totally removed - I have a LOT of work to do to yet):

I discovered that my stress about the Army, deploying, combat, etc really doesn't bother me. It was denial - a smoke screen I essentially used upon myself.

I hold an investment philosophy (modified by me a little) that was handed down by a late friend of mine (who was a WWII vet that later managed over $100 million on Wall Street back in the 60's), divorced more than once - both times losing half of everything plus paying alimony, etc; who still was a multimillionaire at pretty much any stage of his life (after Wall Street).

Anywho, of the short code (10-12 dos and don'ts), I've been breaking most of them for the past five years, and wondered how I accrued $29,000+ of debt (10k credit cards), and why my investments stopped growing. The answer was pointed out to me with the claymore Cluebringer (applied with the flat of the blade upside the head).

So, now that I'm tracking what I am (and am not) doing financially, I can get myself back on to my plan. Not worried about music vs Army; or other things that seem to be dichromatic on the surface.

So, I'm happy. Oh, and glasses are fixed.


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