December 2017

Grocery Store

In the Personal Finance community, a term that gets tossed around sometimes is Geo-Arbitrage: the idea that you can relocate to places with lower costs of living to make your money stretch farther when paying for the things you need on a day-to-day basis. This comes from the finance term, Arbitrage, which is essentially taking advantage of the same investment being priced differently in two different places. Investors can quickly buy it at the low price and sell it at the high price and turn an instant profit. Now, in efficient markets, arbitrage opportunities are hard to come by and quickly disappear. However, in the real world you’ll notice them all over the place, once you open your eyes to it.

For example, think about the last time you had to fill your car up with gas…In the wealthy part of town, or maybe by a highway exit, the prices are always a bit higher, but in the middle of nowhere the same tank of gas could be significantly cheaper. When you up the distance to cross state or national borders, the price disparities for equivalent goods/services become even more obvious. This is where the geo-arbitrage crowd takes advantage. From food to housing to medical services, looking outside your home country can mean significant cost savings. Continue reading Grocery Arbitrage

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Om

On November 4th, I began a 30 day Meditation Experiment. What follows is a day-by-day account of how it went. If you just want the summary, skip down to the bottom.

Daily Experience

Day 1: I found a random 10 minute long guided meditation video on YouTube and gave it a try. I don’t know if I have enough experience to judge the quality of the guidance, but it was decently relaxing, at least. A couple of times I realized my thoughts had drifted and I brought them back to the present, which I think is what I’m supposed to be doing. So, I’ll count it a win.

Day 2: I downloaded the Head Space app and then promptly deleted it when it required me to create an account to even use it. I then downloaded the Calm app and discovered they have the same problem. At that point, I sighed and gave in, creating an account, then started their 7 day free trial set of meditations. Day 1 was about 10 minutes focused on breathing Continue reading The Meditation Experiment Results

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TV

You may remember that in 2015, some dictionary made headlines by declaring “binge-watch” to be their word of the year. Now, if you’re like me you probably take issue with a hyphenated word being given such a high honor in the first place, but let’s move past that… Binge-watching has become a part of our lexicon because the action has become ubiquitous (now THERE’s a word worth honoring) in our society. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, pick your poison, but they all make it super easy to get sucked into episode after episode of whatever shows you happen to be into.

We made the decision to “cut the cord” and not pay for a cable subscription a few years back mainly because the value proposition seemed terrible. You want me to pay dozens of my precious dollars every month for a whole bunch of channels I couldn’t care less about? No thanks. However, I was raised on a steady diet of TV. Huddling up on the couch after dinner to watch the latest prime time hits was standard-fare in the Aardvark household growing up. So, you’d best believe that a lack of cable has not stopped me and the wife from binge-ing through dozens of hits over the years on the various streaming services mentioned above.

That brings me to today and to this experiment. I certainly still love television and movies and don’t necessarily want them gone completely from my life. I think they’re a cornerstone of our culture and I love seeing the ones that are really on top of their game and discussing with friends and coworkers. What I don’t want, however, is the binge-watching in my life. I hate the feeling that I got sucked into watching more than I should have, especially when there are a lot of ways I’d prefer to spend my time. For example, writing to you fine folks here on the interwebs! Continue reading The “Make TV Watching Hard” Experiment

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