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***Secret FSR Fender guitars? Yes, they exist, and they're right here

Cutoff date

After my big thing on saving cash this reminded me:

To all the guys I'm hosting web sites for right now, the cutoff date for you to get your own web hosting is January 15th, 2005 - NO EXCEPTIONS.

If you don't get something together with another hoster so I can transfer your site over there by that date, your site will be shut off.

The guys who host with me know who they are - so get hoppin' and get a web host so I can transfer your stuff.

If you have no host by then.. well.. you know what happens. (grin)

On what I didn't spend

Been doing some fiscal calculations on what I would have spent had I stayed in the band.

Money I saved by departing the band I was in:

Driving

I'm writing this more for my own personal benefit rather than for anyone else. Still, this is good reading if you're watching your pennies (and who isn't these days?)

The total distance I would have traveled per month in my car for 8 practices a month with an average of two gigs a month: Around 1000 miles. For real.

100 miles round trip to rehearsal spot twice a week (200 miles) x 4 weeks = 800 miles.

Two gigs with at least a minimum round trip of 100 miles per gig = 200 miles per month.

Rehearsal miles + gig miles = 1000 average miles per month.

I get roughly 300 miles to a tank of gas, so that's roughly 3.33 tanks of gas per month.

A tank of gas (for my car) around these parts costs about $22.00 for a tank full of 87 octane cheap stuff.

So we're talking at least around $73 bucks just for getting there, alone.

Yeah, $73 bucks a month. Just to get to rehearsal and gigs. Just gas. Nothing else.

Ouch.

..and this doesn't even take into account buying food and maintaining the car.

Useless crap not bought

I was pressured to buy a new guitar amplifier and cabinet setup by the band members. A lot. A whole lot - but I did not buckle thankfully.

Note: That pressure to "BUY BUY BUY" a new amp was one of the reasons I left the band. I absolutely do NOT like to be pressured into spending cash on something I'm not even sure I wanted to buy in the first place.

The setup (the amp/cab thing) I was looking at would have cost around $700 and change. But again, I did not buy it. Very proud of myself there.

Another note here: Music stores are just as bad as when I remember them back in the mid to late 90's. Everything is overpriced. Quality is poor at best for craftsmanship unless you're will to shell out at least $700 bucks.. for almost anything in the store. (sigh..)

Notes on pressure to buy stuff you don't need

Time and time again, I've been pressured by people in one way or another to buy stuff I don't need. Thankfully, the majority of the time I know when to keep the plastic (the credit card) in my wallet.

We've all seen those shows on tv where people go into thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands into debt by buying completely useless crap. I will not be one of those people. Hell... no.

At this point in my life I am (as I've said here several times before) on a mission to get back to zero debt - and nothing is going to stand in my way if I can help it. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is reachable.

There are several things I've decided not to buy in order to reach my goal of being debt free:

1. New CPU and RAM for my computer.
This would cost me around $325 after shipping. Do I need it? Nope. Would I like it? Sure. Would it truly make a difference in my overall computing experience. Somewhat, but not really - so it's not being bought.

Additional notes on the computer thing: The only reason I wanted the upgrades was to play Counter-Strike faster and more smoothly. Dumb reason to upgrade. Really dumb, actually. So I uninstalled Counter-Strike and Half-Life 2 completely. Yes this means I'm not playing Counter-Strike any longer. Screw it. It's just a game. But guess what... my computer does everything I want it to do now and it's plenty fast enough. Who'da thunk it? (grin)

2. Guitar amp/cab.
Already mentioned why I'm not getting that - and probably won't for a long time unless I am put into a situation where it is absolutely necessary to do so. At this point in time it's not necessary.

3. Laptop computer.
Yeah I want one.. and oh man does that deal on the new Inspiron model from Dell look sweet. $24 bucks a month with approved Dell credit.... and I almost bought it - but didn't. And won't. I have no reason to own one. Maybe when I have some cash to burn later on I'll get one - but not now.

Stuff I bought that I'm happy I bought (and use)

1. Sony LCD Monitor
Recently got this. My eyes are loving it. No more dull headaches from looking at the computer screen. Text is much easier to read. Overall computing experience: Much better. Very happy I got it.

2. New audio cable
Bought this for my existing guitar amp. Sounds good. I do need a few more for my in-home studio setup. Fortunately they're not too expensive and the sound it delivers is really good. Total cost will be around 50 bucks - that I can handle. (grin)

3. SanDisk USB 256MB Flash Drive
I bought one of those little usb flash drives for 40 bucks to try it out. Originally I thought I had paid too much for it, but, I've found out that on eBay this is (currently) the normal going price for these little things. Even though I bought it to just try it out, I've actually been using it quite a bit. It's so much easier than burning a CD and you can't beat the portability of it. This little thing is great for quick file transfers (like programs and documents and whatever). Turned out to be a good purchase even though I didn't think it was when I originally bought it.

4. Bridgestone Blizzak Tires
You've heard me speak about these before and today they proved themselves yet again. Unbelievably awesome snow tire. I drive with confidence in the snow and sleet now - something I haven't done since I owned a 4x4. They were worth every penny I paid for them.

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You'll notice the things I say were good purchases are things I use regularly. (grin)

But anyway... I have to constantly remind myself that I'm on the mission to zero debt. It's hard sometimes because there are lots of nice things that you really want - but don't need. (grin)

The Sphinx.. ter

And now for today's secret chamber... not that you would want to go there or anything. (grin)