Tag Archives: money

Why I intend to play the Pennsylvania lottery

Greetings, readers. I have finally talked myself into, after much thought and some discussion, playing the Pennsylvania lottery. I know the chances of winning the big one are as high as getting struck by lightning, however I am the eternal optimist. I’m going to begin with the $1 or $2 scratch cards and perhaps play the Cash 5 once a week. Will I ever play the million dollar Powerball game? Once or twice a month for that one will do. I must remember I am on a budget.

Yes, my budget. I only have so much money a month for everything. I am trying desperately to get through each month on or under budget. So far it is a learning experience. I love to spend. What would I do if I won the lottery? Oh, boy, the options I would have. First, I would pay off all debts. I would buy a small house for my fiancé and me to live in, and whatever was left I would put in a certificate of deposit, some stocks and bonds, and maybe a savings account. If I won very big, I would fulfill my wish list mention in this linked blog entry from November 28, 2012.

Again, being on a budget, no I am not going to go hog-wild. I’ve read reports of people who literally buy hundreds of scratch cards a week. Sometimes they might break even, other weeks not so much. I’m desperate but not that desperate.

Where is this sudden lust for money coming from? For one thing, that part-time job I was going to get last September didn’t pan out. I was looking forward to that addition to my monthly income. I am wishing to purchase such items as a PS4, a smart phone, and eventually a new laptop. As a child I was always surrounded by money. We weren’t millionaires, but I wanted for nothing. I am learning to save or do without some things but it is difficult.

I’m sure that friends and family members will not think this is a good idea. I can just hear David now. But I’m going to do it anyway. With my expectations set low, I won’t be disappointed when I don’t win very much – if at all. If I do happen to win the $400 million jackpot, someone had better call an ambulance, because I can tell you now that I will go into shock and faint straight away.

I’m going to be on a slightly different work schedule tomorrow but a blog entry will be put up either by Rebecca or me at some point in the day. Until then, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

An update on my goals from this past August

Greetings, readers. I came home from Maine last August all full of energy, expecting to have a job within weeks of my return. To my disappointment, that job offer fell through. I was so disappointed I kind of went into a shell and did not look elsewhere. That is about to change.

Although I thoroughly enjoy writing the blog with Rebecca, a writing project must get underway immediately and come to completion in an attempt to make money with it. I know money isn’t everything, but it sure helps pay the bills, and a job would give me a sense of pride and accomplishment. Next week I am going to start by going next door to the local library and ask if they are accepting volunteers. Once I get used to getting out of the apartment and keeping that regular schedule, I shall look for a job that pays. There is one draw back to this plan.

It is already February. As my regular readers know, my annual trek to Maine in August is very important to me. It is a family reunion. If I were to start a job now, I might not have enough time in to request a summer vacation. I would have to sacrifice Bear Spring Camps for the job. I’m not a child anymore and I completely understand that a paying job would take precedence.

Hopefully I can volunteer or get a part-time job until camp time, and then when I return in late August I can reaffirm my plan to get that full-time job, and also be a writer. I know it is time for a life change when I feel guilty playing video games or watching too much television. The life of no responsibilities must end. As I get older, I do not wish to hit retirement age having hardly ever worked. To me that just seems too dumb.

Fear not, I know God put me on this Earth for a reason or reasons. I shall find all of them. Among my many appointments and apartment building obligations I will find time to be a productive member of society.

Okay, I’ve vented for today. I beg your pardon if I get a little repetitive now and then. Consider this a form of therapy for me.

Until next week, possibly earlier, have a fantastic weekend, take care and as always, happy reading.

To learn or not to learn

Greetings, readers. After many weeks of contemplating whether or not to go back and finish college, I am now leaning towards not. At least not full-time. I know this decision follows my pattern of never finishing anything. But after discussing the topic with my accountant today, we came to the realization that we would probably not make up the $80,000 or $90,000 that it would cost, in the ten years that I would have left to work. Yes, folks, I would be 55 or so by the time I was done. I was all gung-ho for this project a couple of weeks ago, and now once again I am depressed.

An alternative would be to go part-time, taking one or two classes per semester. That would drag it out even longer, but it would be easier on me and with the money. I have three possible majors in mind: Marketing to help me sell the books I already have; Writing to help me write more books; or Psychology in honor of my mother who was a psychologist. The first step will be to see what semester I take the first class in, in August or perhaps in January. The later semester start would give me time to get back from camp, possibly get that job at Panera, and settle in to the new year’s routine. Maybe the job will be enough to make me feel like I am a contributor in life.

Did I really want to finish college? It would have done wonders for my self-esteem and it might have opened up a career or two. Certainly it would have helped me with my writing. I’ve not ruled it in, but I’ve not ruled it out. At age 51, with a brain that sometimes acts like it is in oatmeal, I guess the question is, could I do it? Could I succeed? I guess I wouldn’t know unless I tried, would I? Those who don’t try, don’t get anything in life. Those who do try, sometimes fail, but are usually rewarded.

Besides being a bit bummed out about the whole college idea, I am currently suffering from mild caffeine withdrawals (pardon my yawn). I have had only decaf today and I missed my time at Panera. I’m sure I’ll go over this afternoon, but because of doctor’s orders I am drinking less caffeine and more water. I’m not exactly a happy camper. Not to jinx myself, but at least I don’t have a splitting headache. Though, I do admit that the experiment is working and the physical issues I was having are dramatically reduced.

For those of you who might be interested, my YouTube vlog is up and running. It is called the Joe Kockelmans Show and the only problem about it is that if I sing with music behind me, the video is blocked in 9/10ths of the world. My point on that is this: yes, I understand about copyright law, but I am not trying to sell it, and I am definitely not the Beatles or KISS. No one will confuse me for those bands or any others that I sing with. There must be some way around that snafu. Time will tell.

Until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

I hate online applications

Greetings, readers. As I continue my search for gainful employment, I have found out that most job applications are now done online. Without mentioning the name of the business, I am going to fill you in on what Rebecca and I just did this last hour. It was a frustrating experience.

After typing in name, address, social security number, etc, we got to the never-ending (we are still not done – we quit to do a blog entry) pre-application section. Yes, you read correctly. Before getting to the application section. After 52 minutes, we still haven’t reached the actual application part with education history, job history, and references sections. With time needed to do today’s blog, we were forced to click the “save now” button. I’m glad they had that option; some business’ websites don’t.

Another issue I had today was that I felt some of the questions to be non-pertinent to the job, as well as none of their business. I kept waiting for the what is your religion question. (Joke. I actually know that is illegal to ask). I’m going to have to finish the application this evening because even though it says I have two months to complete it, I doubt the job will be around that long.

The one thing the application did do was make me take a good hard look at myself. I kept asking, should I be completely truthful or click the answer I think they are looking for? The one that will get me the job. I decided for mostly the truthful answers. I will admit a couple of questions were so obvious, I couldn’t resist. Of course, they want me to like to multi-task, which I’ll be honest, I’m not the greatest at. Though I suppose I could learn. Rebecca was particularly bothered by a section on which adjective described me best at work, with choices that did not match, like Content or Cheerful. As she burst out with, those are not mutually exclusive, you can be cheerful because you are content. She was not content or cheerful about it.

Two questions have popped into my brain about this job. First, do I really want it? Well, I do need the extra money right now since I am having trouble making my monthly budget. But I might not be quick enough to keep up the pace there. Second, do I think I’m going to get the job? No. I didn’t take tests well in college, and I consider these long application sections very test-like. I probably will bomb it. But time will tell.

On a quick side-note, yesterday was the six-month anniversary of my girlfriend Traci and me being together. A lot of our friends chimed in on Facebook with likes and thumbs-ups.

This blog entry is #494. Not that many to go before the magic 500. I think I will discuss my most read topics, such as Air Crash Investigation stories, the blog entry about my father, and From Rebecca: A little bit in a hurry.

So there you have it. Another week’s blog entries are in the books. Have a great weekend, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

I’m frustrated and blowing off steam

Greetings, readers. The last 48 hours have not been what I would call “peaches and cream” for me. I do tend to worry and fret about a lot of things, but over the last couple of days money worries have really stressed me out. Rebecca and I had our usual Wednesday meeting with my accountant and, though I am not calling it a failure, it did not ease my stress level. He says I spend too much money and he is correct.

Luckily today is my therapy day and I’ll have tons to talk about. I always think that I can make myself feel better, though I am finding it harder and harder to get by without help. Yesterday afternoon and this morning I was blowing off steam. Sometimes just talking my problems out makes me feel better. Sometimes not. This is one of those times that didn’t. Although, a plan of action came of it.

The time has come for me to put the writing career on the back burner and look for a local part-time job. I think it would benefit me in two ways by doing this. First, I would feel good about myself because I would be a productive member of society. And second, the extra income certainly wouldn’t hurt. I picked up the information for the on-line job application from a local shop, and Rebecca and I will be doing that right after today’s entry. I have already spoken to a couple of people about getting a part-time job at Panera at the end of summer or in the fall.

Whether I will be strong enough or coordinated enough to do said jobs is still to be seen. But it is the attempt that is important. I am no longer going to sit on my bottom and wait for things to come to me. I am going to go get them … whatever they are.

Yesterday I was talking with my girlfriend and we were both listening to each other as we vented our separate problems. At one point I said something incredibly stupid. I told Traci that perhaps I would rent a Zipcar and drive off a mountain. Would I really do that? No! I am more of a fighter than that. That is the frustration talking. After today’s therapy session, I know I will feel better and will have more tools in place to deal with life’s daily setbacks.

After this blog post, we have only 8 to go until #500. If any of you have a topic that you would like to suggest to me to write about for #500, write it to me in the comments section or on my Facebook page and I will definitely consider it.

I will not have a blog entry up tomorrow. Until next week, have a very nice weekend, take care, and happy reading. And by the way, happy St. Patrick’s day.

The last month and a half of Mr. Gotrocks

Greetings, readers. I was telling my accountant today how sick and tired I am of constantly being low on cash and stressed about my monthly finances. I told him I was going to come up with a plan by January 1st to rectify this problem. He told me that he has heard this story many, many times. Well, I have said it before. Times have changed, however, and it is a whole new ballgame.

I’m constantly talking to my therapist about how stressed out and depressed I am about my monthly budget. She and I talked about the idea of getting through the rest of this year and having a brand new self-imposed budget ready for the new year. I thought that was an excellent idea. I didn’t tell her, but I was already thinking about that idea myself.

After I get back from my mini-Thanksgiving trip with my girlfriend, Traci, Mr. Updagraff has given me the okay to have Meals on Wheels delivered 5 days a week instead of 3 days. This will take care of my weekday needs. Traci and I are going to have to just realize that any eating out we do will have to be done on the weekends and as cheaply as possible.

If I can get this plan to work, I think my stress level will be significantly lower and I will be much more of a happy camper.

Along with my new budget, I hope to have in place, by the New Year or soon thereafter, a new daily schedule to keep to. It will incorporate the early get-up time, which quite frankly I have become accustomed to. It is having the hours to write part and the going to bed earlier part that will need the most work. I’ve noticed one thing about myself over the years and it is this: I might take longer to get things done, but once I’ve ‘had it’ I do whatever I need to do and I don’t look back.

I asked my accountant to bear with me until the end of December, in case I need extra cash for the upcoming trip, Christmas presents for friends, and maybe a little something for me. Then Mr. Gotrocks dies. I will no longer be able to live outside my means and I no longer wish to. I think it would help my self-esteem if I got on a serious budget and stuck to it. I shall let you know the outcome. 🙂

Until Friday, when I’ll have a top ten list for you, take care, have a good couple of days, and happy reading.

P.S. Prayers go out to the families of the victims from the horrible terrorist attack in France. My heart goes out to you.

I dub the Keurig experiment a partial failure

Greetings, readers. Although I love my Keurig coffee maker, I am finding that since I bought it three months back, I have failed to make my budget each month. When I would get my coffee at Panera, in the early morning, I would tend to get a muffin or souffle, which would add to the cost. I would sit there for several hours, drink cup after cup of free refills, and fight with their internet connection. I figured that the Keurig would let me stay home, have a cup or two of coffee, and save a bunch of money.

Scanning my receipts I have noticed that the K-Cups are close to $8 per box at the store next door. I will usually have three or four cups a day. This means one box will last approximately four days and then more will have to be purchased. This starts to add up quickly. The per unit price is larger than I thought it would be, I am using more K-Cups per day than I thought I would, and I still buy food at Panera (with water), just closer to lunch time.

The way I used to get my coffee was to either make a big pot in the Sunbeam coffee maker, switch it off and nuke each cup as I needed it, or I simply went to Panera, paid a couple of bucks and could enjoy as many refills as I wanted.

Sure I get more time at home now, and that is good, but yet again today I had to ask my accountant for a little extra to make it through the month. This is frustrating me to no end.

At this stage of the game, I am not ready to sell my Keurig on E-Bay or put it downstairs on the swap table. I think the answer lies in finding a store where K-Cups can be bought in bulk so that each individual one is a bargain, i.e. Sam’s Club. A friend of mine says that she is going to look into this for me, and perhaps purchase some and I will pay her back.

I have loved coffee from the age of ten years old, and have no plans to give it up. I thought for sure that the Keurig coffee maker was the answer. Yes, it has kept me at home, but as far as being the economic answer that I was looking for, the jury is still out.

We will be back to a three-day work week next week.

Until tomorrow, have a good day, take care, and happy reading.

Life doesn’t have a reset button

How many of us have ever wished that there was a reset button in life? Obviously there isn’t. What I am about to share with you is something very personal that happened in 2006. My divorce became final after a very short marriage. Though I was with the woman I loved for a year and a half, the marriage only lasted eleven months. Pity, I didn’t even get to celebrate an anniversary. I’ve actually pounded my head against a wall a couple of times, going over events that lead up to 2005 and right through when the final divorce papers were delivered in my mailbox.

If I had a reset button, it would have been worn out by now. I would have constantly tried to change my life, undoing the mistakes that I made. Did I love my wife? Of course, that’s why I married her. Did she love me? I think so. But we had problems and it just didn’t work out. Some of my friends tell me that if I had a reset button I should have pressed it when she first arrived.

I was born with parents and grandparents who worked very hard their whole lives and were lucky enough to make the right choices at the right times to become financially stable. Not that I would have used that money as a crutch, but what money was left to me is now gone, due to bad choices I made. Some friends of mine have said that, “She stole from you.” I say, unequivocally, “No. We spent the money together, trying to get a business going.” Here is where I would have hit the reset button the second time. No business venture!

The more I think about it, I actually could have hit my reset button in junior college with my girlfriend at the time. I was shy and awkward and one terrible evening I got scared of the whole situation and suggested that we break up. I shall never forget the hurt look on her face. I had completely misread her thoughts and feelings. Apparently, she loved me and was just as scared and shy as I was. My attempt at reconciliation failed.

People say that hindsight is 20/20. If at ten years old, I had decided that every time I get a quarter in my change I’d save it, and I did, imagine how rich I would be now. I’m going to be 47 this July. That would have been 37 years’ worth of quarters. Do the math.

Well, readers, obviously there is no reset button in life. There is only something called good judgment. That is something I have lacked for many, many years. I keep telling myself every New Year’s Eve, that I shall make my resolution to be more frugal and less “too nice.” In other words, stop being a sucker. But that resolution lasts about three days. The only thing I can do is to try to better myself each day and make fewer mistakes as I go through my life. I guess that is what they mean by people get wiser with age.

A brief word about what’s coming next. I plan on sharing some updates about my writing as to how camp book 2 is coming along. Also, if Keekee does anything spectacular, you’ll be the first to know. Until next week, take care.