Weekly Ketchup 02 - Book Sale, Saving Money, and CES

Just a few hours ago, I decided to check out Fully Booked Gateway's 50% off renovation sale - against all sound reasoning. I say that because:
a) I still have close to 75 eBooks in my digital library (all paid for, by the way)
b) I had just done my financial projections for the year and I really shouldn't be impulsive with my purchases (but more on that later)

To be fair, I wasn't really in the market for a novel. I was hoping to score one of those heavy, big-ass graphic design books that are always so damn expensive. Either that or a nice illustrated reference book for fantasy, mythology, and such. Or a nice non-superhero graphic novel like these ones I found some months ago:
Manga Shakeskpeare
I find that illustrated books are much better in printed form rather than digital, though I do have some graphic novels in my eBook collection as well. Reading illustrated digital books, for me, is a horrendous experience, especially since I have to zoom in and out just to get the whole picture.

I also like randomly perusing the graphics in a book, which is an I impulse I don't get with novel passages. As soon as I'm done with a novel, it's either put on the shelf for display or packed in a box for storage, never to be read again. Seriously: I have never read a novel more than once. The two times I read "A Wrinkle In Time" were school requirements. I didn't even finish book one of "Wheel of Time" when I thought to do a reread of the entire saga in preparation for the last book.

Lastly, I like the idea of pulling up information without having to boot up, go online, and search Wikipedia. So a handy reference book is still best for me. And I was hoping to find one, especially of the Tolkien universe at the Fully Booked - but alas, no avail.

I actually left the store empty-handed. And that's okay.

I shouldn't be here.
Earlier in the week, I did a spreadsheet tracker and projection of my income and expenses. I started doing that sometime in 2006 but I can't remember when or why I stopped. As a result, I've been fairly loose with my expenses these past few years - and I often wonder where my money go.

In fact, if not for the numerous sources of spikes in my income last month, I wouldn't have any savings. AT ALL. Yeah, it's that bad.

A year ago, I really wouldn't have minded. Then, I was still holding on to the returns from my PrudentialIfe plan but now that that has gone kaput, I really gotta think about financial stability. Actually, this matter has been in my mind for sometime now. Not only have I been incredibly impulsive - I have also not made the kind of money to support my interests. Yes, I've come to realize that I have been living WAY beyond my means. I'm not even supporting a family or paying bills.

That has to stop.

Hopefully, having an expense matrix will help me keep track of my expenses - and determine when and how much I can allocate to books, theater, movies, comics, toys, gadgets, and all the geeky stuff that I'm interested in. Thankfully, I already have a bank of books and games to keep me occupied.

I need to stop
And that brings me to the last matter I wanna touch on.

I did my first income-expense matrix on my old Palm E2. I can only surmise that I stopped tracking when that device conked out. Fast forward to today and I have three Android devices - a keypad phone, a touchscreen phone (that I use like an iPod touch), and a tablet. I've had them for months yet it only occurred to me this week to make them as useful as my old Palm. My new matrix is stored on all three devices, so I can immediately update it on the fly. Ironic given that they were my biggest impulsive purchases last year.

The thing is that I wouldn't have been on this whole Android binge had my very capable feature phone not been stolen. I hesitated to get on the Android/smartphone/mobile OS wagon because I knew I would be obsessed the same way I was with Palm. True enough, in less than two years, I've already gone through five devices and, more recently, a couple of accessories that turn out to be duds.

I only mention this because it's also CES week. A year ago, I would've been excited with all the new technology. Now I just kept thinking "How much of this do we really need?" Though at the same time, I know I'm going to want some of them (those smartwatches are looking particularly good).

Somewhere along the line, I know I'm going to be tempted. I need to remind myself that, at this point, spending on new gadgets is more of a vanity than an actual need.

I realize that these might be personal matters but I'm putting this here as a reminder and to hold myself accountable.


  1. We were there on the first day of the sale, and it was clear that the best stuff had been the first to get boxed for shipment to other Fully Booked branches. Just as well - my wallet has bled enough over the holidays.

    Good luck with your budget management! Tracking is always the most important step in order to bring your house in order, as it were.

  2. So, I need to skip going to Gateway in the next few days then. Bookstores on sale is eviiiil.

  3. I know what you mean, man. I may have spent way too much on guitar gear and I'm not yet even halfway done with my pedalboard. Oh, the perils of not earning enough to sustain my hobbies.

    And oh, the prudentiallife thing sucks.