Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rock on Roku

Hello Dear Friends,

In one of my post a while back I discussed the joys of Broadcast digital TV for free. I still have it but was limited to the local channels. Since, I had WiFi at home, I used my Wii to get Netflix and watch it on the High Def. This went great until Netflix lost the Stars account and some great movies. Long story short. I have Amazon which just signed a deal with Epix and already has great movies like Iron Man 2, plus you can purchase recently released movies and take 2 days to watch. 

I also found the best little device called the Roku. It allows you to watch internet streaming through the television. The best part is that you can get one for around $40 and it is about the size of an astray. You do not have to turn it on or off and it uses very little power. The screen views are great and you get access to multiple streaming movies and news sites. It is so good you will stop using you Blue-Ray or game box to stream.

I would also recommend PlayOn. For a one-time fee of $75 you get access to Hulu, all network movies and shows, Crackle without having to pay a monthly fee.

So, take from Frugal Frank and stop paying $180.00 a month for cable. Ladies, think of all the nice things your spouse could buy you with that savings. Of course, if he is a sports fanatic, I can't help you. No live sports streaming yet.

Peace Out,

Frugal Frank OTBS

Barack, The Peoples' President

Hello again,
This is Frugal Frank back for the 2012 election. I will state for all to know that I am a fiscally conservative, socially liberal democrat and I like President Obama. If you ask me if I am better off than 4 years ago, the answer is yes. Four years ago, I was laid off, but today I am working in a new career. I will not even discuss Mitt in this post because of what I heard him say at the private donors meeting, he's not running to help out me and my other 47% of Americans who at times have had to rely on Uncle Sam for a little unemployment assistance. We help built this country but some people want to kick us when we hit a rough patch in the road. Also, I don't trust anyone who won't bank their money in the good ole U.S.A. Well, enough with politics, I am a history buff and could talk days about the Gilded Age and the New Deal comparisons. Only thing I can say is vote whether you are republican or democrat, our Black(yes, check with DAR, over 6000) and White Revolutionary forefathers fought too hard for this right.

In today's economy, I never thought that putting your money in the bank and under the mattress would give you the same return but that is the case today. Your only option to stay ahead of the game is to risk a little in the market. If you have  401K or IRA money, Vanguard or TIAA-CREF will still give you the best bang with low administrative cost. They are conservative but their funds are doing pretty good.

If you invest in the market follow a principle I like: Stick to what you know.
Really, if you pick up your local newspaper you will find deals in companies in your back door. Think about it, Labcorp was once a small testing lab in a small town. The people who missed it, missed big. How many times do you wish you had bought Ford stock at a $1.00 a share three years ago. No, I don't give stock picks because there is no magic bullet, but only persistence and staying in the game. Remember losses are only on paper until you sell. Wait I take that back; or unless you own Enron(that a real loss).

Until later,
Frugal Frank on the Blackside

Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Drive Your Car 300,000 miles

I remember growing up during the 70's and 80's. If you had a car that lasted to 100,000 miles, you were lucky. Most vehicles that reached this achievement, probably lost parts like door knobs, seat covers, screws, etc. along the way.

Today, with the advancement of vehicles, there should be no reason why the average vehicle should not get 300,000 miles. The vehicles now have no carburetors to fail and spark plugs that last 100,000 miles. The key is that the cars have to be maintained. These are the must do's;

1. Oil change (every 4000-7000 miles)
2. Timing belt change
3. Spark plugs and wires
4. Have any knocks or noises checked and repaired soon- the longer it goes the more costly it gets

My favorite vehicle hands down is the Subaru Legacy. It is a good running and reliable vehicle.
I have had my present Subaru for 20 years and it runs like a charm. I treated it to a Maaco paint job for around $450 . Don't believe the advertisements of $149 or $249, but don't pay alot on a used car.

So, why do I discuss this? Because you do not need to buy a new car every few years for reliability. When you consider that that in order to get payback and break even on your car you need to keep it the additional amount of years it took you to pay off the loan. This means that for a 5 year loan, you need to keep your car for 10 years.

Use my tips to save on your car purchase:

  1. Never pay more than $13000
  2. Buy from older owner car with 90,000 to 100,000 (Don't go past this)(all problems and recalls will be resolved.
  3. Before buying check web for recalls or problems with transmissions(Honda and Lexus had transmission problems around 2000-2004, they tended to go out around 60,000 and cost $6000 to fix) make sure these have been fixed or you are within warranty.
  4. Find a good none dealership mechanic who will install parts you provide. (Very important)
  5. Before you have parts installed, search web for used parts. They will work just as well as new and you will save 60% on your repair bills.
  6. Check Consumer Reports for used vehicle reliability.
  7. Only purchase new when technology or usage changes
- birth of baby- need van or 4 door
- your vehicle does not have airbags and you have a family
- you have a 4 cylinder and you need a six

Now with all this savings, once you have your vehicle paid off defer those car payments into a bank account. When you accumulate $13,000 or keep your vehicle for as long as took you to pay it off, then you can pay cash for another used vehicle.

Remember, the people who tried to keep up with the Jones just found out that the Jones were foreclosed on last week.

Peace Out,

Frugal Frank on the Blackside
(stay Black and cheap)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Reflection on P-Diddy

I have to say, I have always tried to post with integrity and fairness. In commenting about P-Diddy's purchase of the expensive car I equated it with the possibility of not instilling values that are solid. That may be the case but it also may be to the contrary. I wanted to balance my previous blog with fairness because it does seem that black celebs are being slammed nowadays and I don't want to join in. Sean has accomplished a lot in his young life and I look forward to greater things from him. At this point, I want him to take a greater pivot. I would like to see what he is doing for his artists in a way that ensures their financial viability no matter how short their careers. I know that he may be doing the right things for his kids to make sure they are taken care but he has to run a ethical company or after he leaves it will be consumed by wolves. I know that we have a lot of successful black talent out there today but I am a historian and we always have blips of great success but we need organization that don't decline with the second generation. From Motown, to Essence, to Ebony we have seen declining empires with second generation families. The main dominate force in black entertain today is Oprah Winfrey who has no rightful heir. I don't know if she has looked at the Milton Hershey model, who created a foundation with his orphanage as beneficiary, but it may be a good start. I do wish you would adopt several female kids and set up a network to build strong viable and powerful women. She has the money to be like the Kennedy's and put this women in powerful political and social positions with Winfrey at the end of their names.

Peace Out

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A $300,000 Car for a 16 Year Old Kid? WTF

Dear Frugal fans,

Again I have heard the unbelievable. I try not to judge too harshly and I think Puff Daddy, P-ditty,
Sean P is a talented person and shrewd entrepreneur but he just purchased a $300,000 car for his son's sixteenth birthday. Come on. Like Chris Rock said, "He is rich but he ain't wealthy." "Rick James was rich...." Aside from the comment of where is a 16 year old going to drive his ride outside of Beverly Hills without being Jacked discussion, what about the principles of money management a teenager is missing. Is he setting his son up for sustainability for the future. It would have been much better to put that in a trust or annuity available at age 55. Could you imagine how much he would have? This would ensure that if he blew his money and Puffy's that his son would be ensured a poverty free retirement.

I will give P-ditty a challenge if he thinks his business model is so strong. Walk away from it for a year without contact. Make no business decisions and connections to new talent. If the business sustains it self then great you have done your job as a father. Why this experiment? Because this is exactly what will happen if he expired today.

Now look at Warren Buffet who we know is wealthy. He has set up his children so that they will not be able to blow their inheritance. He has picked a successor to his position. More than that he has lead a frugal life and set a great role model so well that his grandson is modeling himself after his strategy. He lives in a modest home but enjoys life and his job. From my research, he has never purchased a $300,000 vehicle for anyone or does he own said vehicle.

Now for the everyday folk like me, who had hard working frugal parents who had Warren Buffet tendencies just not the money,I tip my hat. These parents delayed wants and satisfied our needs. I remember a time when everyone on my block wore pleather not leather jackets and the arguments were about whose pleather looked real or fake. I remember knowing exactly what we were getting for Christmas because my mom had layed it away months ago, but I still acted exited on Christmas morning. I also remember that most teenagers first cars needed paint jobs or interior work, but you drove it as is. There was no conversation with your parents about getting a job during the year to fix it up because school came first. I was never embarrassed and neither were my friends because if and only if you were lucky to have a car everyone had old cars or a new Yugo, Horizon,Chevette which might as well been close to junk cars.

I do wish the musical artists would at least take a few history courses on Black music. They would soon find that Louis Armstrong was a better business man than they. He was getting 3 cents per record sold in his day. If I am wrong from my information, I think the artists still get 3 cents. They could learn from Mahalia Jackson who demanded her payment for concerts before she went onstage and had several million left when she passed.

Sorry, I have to go. Starting to babble.

Peace Out,

Frugal Frank OTBS

Friday, January 8, 2010

Back in Black for 2010!

Back in Black for 2010!

Hello, Hello! Frugal Frank on the Blackside is back in 2010 in full force.
Well, from my last blog my predictions are on point. We are seeing a turnaround in the economy,employment is coming back slowly and health care reform is coming soon. These will be wins in President Obama's corner. Remember, we have got to back him on Healthcare. Write your senators and blog the news sites. Trust me, even though it will be a flawed bill, there should be enough loops holes to get what we want down the line. For those of you who took my advice, I hope you are feeling better about your financial situation. I have got to share a great story with you. I went to my second home for Christmas(yes! see what being cheap can get you) with the family and open things up for the Holiday and settled in to watch some movies on my 42" LCD Olevia Flatscreen. I watched it for 3 days and it went black, sound but no picture. I then found out that Olevia had gone bankrupt. Now being the cheap person that I am, I did not buy an extended warranty just took the 1 year with manufacturer but I did purchase it with my American Express card which extended the warranty for an additional year. Now repeat after me, "The Lord is Good., When? All of the time." I purchased this TV on Dec. 22, 2007, It died on me Dec.20, 2009. The people at American Express were great. After contacting them and supplying the correct info. I had my money to purchase a new set by New Years day. So I will get an extended warranty on the new set and keep my AmExp card. But again you know me, I quizzed the repair about my broken set because it gave a great picture. For those of you in the know. The LCD's only have 3 replaceable parts, back-light, power supply, main board. My board was shot and parts are expensive. He said that if I wanted to try and salvage, I may be able to find the board on Ebay. These parts are plug and play and I might be able to do it. I have the set in storage and I will let you know how it goes. I am purchasing a new set and at the present I am looking at Vizio and Samsung. I had to watch broadcast on tube with a DTV converter during the holidays but I was good. I will discuss broadcast in a later blog. Frugal Advice: Drop Blockbuster and Pay per View; get a library card and use Redbox. Most libraries get the latest movies a few weeks after the retail stores and you can reserve up to 10 copies online. This is a great way to save money and support your local library. And with the Redbox kiosk, you can get new releases for a $1.
Peace Out,
Frugal Frank OTBS

The Return of Broadcast! Save $1200 a year

The Return of Broadcast! Save $1200 a year

Frugal Frank OTBS checking in,

I was listening to some Moms Mably while at home during the Holidays(I hope someone out there remember Moms) and enjoying the simple things in life with my wife and kids. Ladies for the record, my wife is a strong sister who is also my best friend. She has to be to tolerate my cheap you know what. After listening to the comedy tape, I turned on the news and heard the hoopla going on between Time Warner and Fox. At that point I was thankful that I fired my cable company a year ago and you should do the same. With the change of Broadcast from Analog to Digital, you can now get better picture clarity than cable or satellite and its free. I purchased a DTV converter and an RCA amplified antenna and I pull in about 26 channels in my area. You will get at least two stations on each channel, Spanish channels,CBS,NBC,ABC,Fox, CW and at least 3-4 PBS channels. I also get two movie channels; THIS, ION If you want an on screen menu, go with Dish Network DTV or one from Radio Shack. You get show descriptions and a few days worth of programming. I don't know if you can still get the government coupons which were worth $40.00 but would try. If you have a New LCD or Plasma TV all that you need is the amplified antenna and you need a good one to get great reception.Regular rabbit ears will only get you a few stations. I put my antenna in the attic and then spliced all my cable lines into it, that way I have cable like access in all the rooms in the house. Straight airwave broadcast on an LCD Flatscreen is awesome especially the NFL games. Remember, if you don't have a flat screen you can buy one in 6 month with the $100/month savings. I would take a new flat screen without cable any day than a tube or old large screen with cable. This is not your grandma's broadcast analog. The digital broadcast is awesome. We just need to get more programming. I bet someone in New York, DC or Boston would bring in 60 channels. So, go ahead, spread the word and join Frugal Frank OTBS, fire your cable or satellite company.

Peace Out, Frugal Frank OTBS

Also, I love comments. I get excited when you talk frugal to me.LOL