Mar 31 2011

cost analysis, kid style [day 309]

My youngest son came home with this a few weeks ago.

I’m not sure why he decided to draw this, but I’m glad he gets it.  Joe likes money and likes to spend money, but he also lives in the real world.  He’s 10 years old and somewhat budgets his money, that is, enough budgeting to get what he wants to buy.  He talks about buying stuff all the time, but he’s selective when it comes to actually making a purchase.

My oldest talked about an idea he had for an environmentally friendly missile.  While we were sitting in our think tank (hot tub), Cole spent almost 15 minutes telling me about his missile design.  It’s a missile that puts out an environmentally friendly gas that temporarily paralyzes people, allowing the police to ‘go in’ and get the bad guys, place them in prisons, and when the gas wears off, nobody is harmed in the process.  Here’s the blueprints.

Here’s the best part.  Yesterday, he did a cost analysis and figured out was his profit margin will be.  ??!!??!  How does he know how to do this?  He’s eleven years old.  I’ve talked about cost analysis stuff, but I’ve never shown him the process on paper.  Take a look.

Not only did he think of the labor costs, but when Joe talked to him about advertising, he adjusted the analysis accordingly.  I’m guessing Joe’s ad plan for him was to advertise during the Super Bowl.  If my two radically different kids partner together in the future, using their gifts to collaborate for good, they’ll do great things.  Yes, I’m the proud parent today.  :)


Jan 15 2011

no retail shopping cost analysis [day 233]

Several people have asked me to compile this information, so here it is to the best of my knowledge.  I did not start this challenge to save money, although it’s been a nice benefit.  Here’s a few of the details, and I will be tracking this more going forward.

My bank records don’t go back to the start of the challenge in May, but I was able to grab the last six months.  I rarely pay cash for anything, I mostly use my debit card, so this is a pretty accurate picture of my retail shopping.  The retail amount spent during the challenge is at thrift stores or retail places that carry used merchandise, such as Half Price Books or Plato’s Closet.  Here’s some interesting data.

Savings: $1,767

Again, this was not by purpose, but it’s a nice benefit.  My finances feel better, as I’m not always broke and I feel like I’m living within my means.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve made sacrifices either.  I’m buying less, but making better choices.  What does that mean in layman’s terms?  I like and appreciate the smaller amount of stuff I do get, and less sits around collecting dust.

Thrift store shopping up 70%

Before the challenge, I shopped at thrift stores for 3.4% of my purchases.  Now it’s 73.8%.  What does this mean?  It means I’m getting things for a fraction of the retail price, and in the process, supporting local charities while keeping stuff out of landfills.

Behind the scenes

Looking at my expenditures was a little scary.  I spend way too much money on eating out and in fast food places.  My craigslist purchases are not reflected in the chart, as these are cash transactions.  I made 2 major purchases for about the same amount.  The first was before the challenge, my living room leather furniture for $700 (retail $3500) and the other, during the challenge, the hot tub that I blogged a week ago.

There’s a lot more data and things to report in this area, so stay tuned.  Anything you want to know about the challenge that I’ve not posted?


Jan 10 2011

2 stores in store [day 228]

I had to go to 2 stores for work yesterday.  I needed a frame, a mat board and to have 1 photo printed.  I decided to go to Aaron Brothers for the frame and mat board, because in January, they have their “buy one, get one for a penny” sale.  I found the perfect frame, however I have no idea what we’ll do with the second one.  1¢ is too close to free to pass up.

It felt strange to be in a store.  I looked around a little bit, as they have art supplies, but I had no desire to buy anything.  I really didn’t want to be there.

Next, I decided to go to Wolf Camera for the print.  Now, I love camera equipment, but walking into the store still felt odd.  The aroma of film processing chemicals was a sweet reminder of the past, having to pay a lot of money for my photography habit.  It sparked a momentary appreciation for digital photography.

I rarely print photos, so I had to ask the quickest way to get one photo printed.  The sales guy pointed to the large yellow machine that does instant prints.  After several failed attempts to get it to read my jump drive, the sales guy tried.  After his many more failed attempts, I decided that wasn’t meant to be.

I had no desire to shop in either of these places.  Had I wanted to buy something, and did, it would be classified as an impulse buy, right?  It made me think about how many times I’ve done that in the past.  Going into a store to buy something I wanted and coming out with other things, things I didn’t need.    Continue reading