A Paid-Off Car with High Miles, Not a Brand-New Car with Payments, is a New, Unspoken American Status Symbol

I noticed that back a few years ago, when I lived on the edge of Nashville, where income levels were lower than where I live now in my commuter town, that it was the norm to see so many fellow commuters driving luxury cars, on every side of me… which were obviously leased. Compare that to where I live now- people make more money, but drive older cars; not many Mercedes’ to be seen.

Owning a brand-new car is not worth celebrating, unless the person paid cash for it. Otherwise, the person is paying more money for something they couldn’t afford in the first place.

Imagine the irony: A person doesn’t have enough money to buy the product, so they agree to pay even more of the money they don’t have in the first place- in interest.

The Eighties and Nineties are long gone. No longer can we pretend we are doing financially well because of the false status symbols bought with credit. That mentality ended with the Financial Crisis of 2008; which happened to be the year I got married.

I believe our culture is now realizing that the new status symbol is being able to afford more, but choosing to save and invest that money instead.

If anything, the new status symbol is to be able to brag on how little money you paid for a product, not to allow others to believe you spent more. The new status symbol is being able to figure ways to save money and make money on the side, then share that info with everyone else. That has value.

We are living in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2008. My generation is becoming the new version of those who lived through the Great Depression.

Being frugal and in full control of your finances is the ideal; not necessarily making a lot of money, only to continue to struggle to pay the bills and live in debt. Now it’s all about low overhead and living well within your means.

This month makes exactly 13 lucky years that I’ve owned my 2004 Honda Element, with 170,000 miles and a salvaged title; making it worth only about $500. Two years ago, it came within about $25 shy of being totaled, when an albino dear ran into my driver’s side door and wheel. (True story!)

But the way I see it, that car is worth a whole lot more than what I could sell it for.

It’s funny how typically, when a person “buys” a new car, the typical reaction is to be happy for them: “Oh wow! I like your new car! I wish I had something nice and shiny like that!”

When I overhear a conversation like that, I always privately think, “But yeah, now they have to be making monthly payments for the next few years, coupled with the insurance payments that accompany a new car…”

And it’s even worse if the car is leased, because there’s no chance of making any profit when the lease is done; in fact, you may end up having to pay more money if you drove too many miles or caused damage to the car.

So yeah, I am proud to drive my 2004 Honda Element. It’s a bit rusty and my kids complain about having to ride in it because, “It’s so old!”

But hey, it runs and it’s been paid off well over a decade.

Advertisements

Yes, I Accept Guest Blog Posts, If You Can Afford My $35 Fee to Help Boost Your SEO (3 Steps to Getting Published in 3 Days or Less)

If you are a fellow blogger, or you manage your own small business and would like to boost the SEO for your company or brand online by linking it to a website has healthy as mine, here’s your opportunity.

After constantly receiving inquiries all last year, and having to go through the arbitrary process of negotiating my fee with each potential client, I’ve now looked back on what ultimately was the going rate in 2018: It was $35.

So in 2019, I want to make this simple for both of us and save us a bunch of time. Here’s how to get your guest blog post published here on my site:

1. Write an informative article like this one with links back to your website, as well as links to larger websites. Ideally, you will want to have a number in your title. (For example, “5 Ways to…”) This is ultimately a parenting blog, so your content should be somewhat relevant to a family lifestyle.

2. Email me your article to nickshell1983@hotmail.com, with a relevant copyright-free photo attached, with this as the subject line: “$35 Guest Blog Post”. Also let me know the name of the person, blog, or company you would like to see credited as the author.

3. Pay me the $35 fee within 7 days. Once you complete the previous step, I will review and publish your article, sending you the link for your review along with an invoice through PayPal for $35. If payment is not received within 7 days, I will delete the blog post.

So it’s that simple. There is no need to send me an initial email to start the process or to try to negotiate the rate.

Just complete all 3 steps and within 3 business days, your guest blog post will be up live on my website, and shared through my website’s Facebook fan page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

I look forward to working with you.

And if you can’t afford my $35 right now, I have a free SEO starter kit for you right here.

3 Ways to Enjoy the Weekend with Your Family, When You Live in a Commuter Town

As of this month, our family has now lived in our “new home” for 4 years. We moved from the edge of Nashville to a commuter town, or bedroom community, which is 36 miles from Nashville.

We reside in a town full of other families who are in the same situation as us: We drive nearly an hour to get to work each day, yet we live, eat, and sleep in our cookie-cutter homes which were built on top of old farm land.

So while living in a commuter town is great because it provides a more affordable, quiet, safe community to raise a family in an excellent school district, the major downside is that it’s easy to feel trapped there. This is because commuter towns typically have little commercial or industrial activity beyond a small amount of locally oriented retail businesses.

Therefore, the temptation lies in basing weekend plans around going to Nashville; having to travel with young kids for an hour one way, based around the kids’ desperate needs for naps they don’t want- plus having to pay for parking, food, and entertainment. Otherwise, we end up ironically feeling “stuck” in our house.

But this past weekend was really good for our family. And the thing is, we didn’t do much.

It was so noticeably enjoyable, that I decided to write this blog post to determine the formula for our success. So here it goes…

1. We didn’t leave town. When you have young kids, being in a car can pretty quickly drain your happiness level as a parent; especially if that drive is any longer than 10 minutes. So much stress is elevated from both the parents and the children when the family doesn’t have to leave town. Because even if it’s in the name of entertainment, it’s often not worth it if by the time you get there, everybody is tired and frustrated.

2. We didn’t eat any meals at restaurants. While not having to cook, or sit through a meal with kids who don’t want to eat anyway, then have to clean up for that meal is a glorious thing, the reality is, it’s still not that great to have to pay money for food while having to entertain and referee kids who don’t want to be there in the first place. When I was a kid, I loved eating at restaurants. But I recognize that my kids’ generation is apparently not wired the same way.

3. We did hang out at a locally owned coffee shop. While dining at a restaurant can be a bit too much with young kids, going out for coffee can be totally enjoyable for the whole family. We visited our favorite local coffee shop, Legacy Coffee, this past Saturday morning. Not only is the coffee the best in town, according to my wife and me, but there are plenty of freshly baked pastries for the kids. So we hung out for about 20 minutes, all enjoying our delicious calories. It was a fun outing, yet it didn’t require much of a drive, or a time commitment, or a heavy bill, yet it helped contribute to a local business.

So that’s my advice, if your family also lives in a commuter town.

Sure, we travel to my parents’ house about 2 and a half hours away once a month, and go on vacation to California as well as Florida each year.

But other than that, the majority of our weekends take place where we actually live. So for those weekends, I will be more mindful of these three tips I learned this past weekend.

Dear Jack: Your Brand-New Homemade Lizard Blanket!

8 years, 1 months.

Dear Jack,

Last week, you stayed at Nonna and Papa’s house for a few days while school was still out.

You and Nonna stumbled across some unused fabric from 20 years ago, of lizard print.

So that gave you the idea to ask Nonna if she could make you a lizard blanket.

Just your luck, she was happy to do it!

She took you upstairs to her sewing machine, so you can to see it being made.

Needless to say, you were to proud to bring home for brand-new, yet very classic, homemade lizard blanket.

It is safe to say that it is the only one in the world:

A small blanket with lizard print on one side, and a soft plush on the other.

 

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Don’t Need a Nap as Long as You’re Playing with Your Cousins

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

During the Christmas holidays, we spent one whole day at your Aunt Dana and Uncle Andrew’s house. I enjoyed it very much.

That’s because I basically got the whole day off, just to sit back and enjoy old home videos that Uncle Andrew had transferred from VHS to our family’s own private YouTube channel that we were able to watch up on the flat screen TV.

There were so many classics, like the video I made Aunt Dana shoot exactly 23 years ago day, right before I got my haircut:

Meanwhile, you and your two cousins completely entertained yourselves the entire day, with all the toys they had in their playroom. For you, it was like getting to try out all the new toys in the toy store with your friends. And with it being a one story house, I never had to be watching to make sure you made it up or down the stairs okay.

You never even acted tired, so I didn’t have to put you down for a nap. And when you don’t have to take a nap, it’s one less thing for me to have to do.

You got to play. I got to rest. A good time was had by all.

Love,

Daddy

So I Guess I’ve Always Been a Side Hustler; Being a “Gum Dealer” in High School and Running a Convenience Store from My College Dorm Room

Looking back, I realize now that I’ve actually always been a side hustler; even in high school and college. Earlier today, I published an article declaring that my 5 SEO side hustles all made me a minimum of $1,000 each in 2018. But that mentality has been a part of me, undeniably, since at least when I was a teenager in high school. (See picture above.)

Here on the first day of 2019, I am learning a little bit more about myself. The fact that I have 5 side hustles as a 37 year-old man makes perfect sense, considering my scheming ways back to when I was a teenager.

When I started high school, I couldn’t help that notice that chewing gum was high in demand in the halls of my high school. It just so happened that it was weekly tradition that I would accompany my mom in buying groceries. I noticed that I could buy a multi-pack of Wrigley’s gum at nearly a wholesale price for $1.25; which contained 10 packs of gum (each of which contained 5 sticks of gum), then I could sell each pack for just a quarter. By the time I sold the 10 packs, when I could easily do in a 10 minute break, I had made $2.50. In other words, I was making 100% profit!

It didn’t took long before I became known as “the gum dealer.”

This was great for me. I got to social with all the different groups of friends, and met new ones, by offering them the best deal on chewing gum during each of our two breaks each day during high school.

It was also during high school that I began making my own videos, on VHS. Not only did I direct a horror movie, called “Frosty Bites”…

But I also filmed hair videos, too…

In case you missed it, I made over $4,000 in 2018 from my most popular YouTube channel and its Amazon links, which focuses on men’s hair and beards. And that’s not counting my 2nd YouTube channel, as well. This is not a coincidence.

Then when I moved into my college dorm, Dorm 15 at Liberty University, I took my gum dealer experience and opened up my own convenience store, using two micro fridges, and buying all my products for wholesale price at WalMart.

I sold soda, Little Debbie snack cakes, Ramen noodles, Hot Pockets, and frozen burritos. I even let my customers heat up their food in my microwave, so they could hang out with me while their food was preparing. I appropriately named my store, The Freshman 15.

Those profits went to financing my mission trips to Thailand in the summers of 2003 and 2004, where I was a 4th grade teacher specializing in ESL…

then teaching conversation English to high school students and adults.

Some things just never change. I am and always have been a side hustler. This is simply part of my identity.

I Used Rosemary Essential Oil for Hair Loss for 2 Years and This is What Happened…

Pictures of me from 2 years ago on Christmas Day, 2016:

I am the first and only man to consistently apply rosemary oil to my scalp for a period of 2 years, while documenting the process the entire time. Most important is that I was not using one particular brand of rosemary oil, so that it could not be perceived I was pushing a certain brand name:

1 ounce almond oil (carrier oil)

18 drops rosemary oil

3 drops rose hip seed oil

3 drops sage oil

3 drops lavender oil

Based on my regularly documented research, both in photos and videos along the way, I hereby proclaim that I see no proof that rosemary oil did anything to reverse my male pattern baldness over the past 2 years. 

Pictures of me, 2 years later, from Christmas Day, 2018:

However, I cannot prove that rosemary oil didn’t prevent my hair loss from getting worse. 

So did rosemary oil reverse my hair loss? I say no, but I am curious to know your perception of this experiment. 

Did rosemary oil prevent further hair loss? It may be impossible to know that. 

All we can do is determine whether my hairline and density look the same now as they did two years ago. But even if they didn’t worsen over the past two years, we cannot determine that that was on account of using rosemary oil. 

It may simply be that my genetics dictated that I would not experience further hair loss over that two year span. 

What are your thoughts on this, though?

And in case you’re interested in trying out some shampoo that contains some of the oils I use everyday, here’s a link to Amazon.

Or, if you’d rather just shave off your hair, like I did in this video…

Here’s an Amazon link for that, too.