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God Of Wealth Shrine

January 20th, 2007 at 01:53 pm

My wife and I went on our annual trip to the God of Wealth (Ebisuten) shrine in Osaka to make our personal finance prayers for the year and to buy good luck charms for Nate and I for our business. here are a few photos from the trip:

My wife washing her hands before entering the shrine:

My wife making her money prayers:

The good luck charms for Nate and I

The Cutest Tax Deduction

January 3rd, 2007 at 07:09 am

Ah, if taxes could only make us smile like this all the time...

Courtesy of blakefacey

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

November 13th, 2006 at 03:58 pm

My mom asked me to replace a light bulb in the bathroom yesterday. When I went to do so, I was amazed to see that the light actually took four 100w light bulbs. This seemed a bit of an overkill for the bathroom that isn't that big.

Instead of replacing the light bulb, I I decided to take it out along with one of the bulbs that was still working and placed the cover back on. There was hardly a difference.

A bit later I found some energy saving bulbs stored in a drawer and went back and switched the 100w regular bulbs with the higher efficient bulbs. This worked so well that I went to the other three bathrooms in the house and did the same. I was able to eliminate 6 bulbs and switch 6 others to the high efficient models. My little step to save the earth for the day Smile

*This is a series of photos that shows money as part of our daily life.

Hot Tea Days Are Here

November 12th, 2006 at 07:23 am

The weather has turned a bit colder which means I made the switched from water to hot tea as my beverage of choice (well, at least while working on the computer Wink ). While it is true that tea does cost more than water, it's minimal compared to what I used to spend on soda. Besides, have you ever tried drinking plain hot water? It tastes like crap (not even a lemon wedge helps too much).

Crayola Crayons Gift

November 11th, 2006 at 08:53 am

I've started to think about holiday gifts and one of my all time favorite ones to give is a 64 set of Crayola Crayons. I think they are the greatest gift to give because no matter how old someone is, they will bring a smile to the person's face. Of course, kids love them, but I also give them as gifts to adults (of course, the adult has to have a certain personality to appreciate them and not think you're absolutely nuts, but those who do will treasure them years later as one of their favorite Christmas gifts). There is just something about a box of them that brings a bit of joy upon seeing the box.

I think that they inspire imagination and that is what brings the joy no matter the age. It's that inspiration that I look for when I choose all my holiday gifts and what I find is that gifts that inspire often cost very little...

Cell Phones

November 10th, 2006 at 08:03 am

I stopped by a friend's house while he happened to be cleaning out the drawers of his desk. Inside he found three cell phones that he no longer needed and so he was going to throw them out. I told him that while he needs to be careful to erase all the data on the phone (he said that there was nothing on it that would be of interest to identity thieves), he could actually sell the phones for a bit of money if he sold it to a place like

While we found that the Motorola phone was too old of a model to get money, the two Nokia's were worth $5 each so they are being sent off. The Motorola will be donated to a cell phone collection box at the local library.

Library Book

November 9th, 2006 at 03:57 am

Working long days on personal finance I sometimes need a break from anything financial. I walked down to the local library today and picked up some non financial reading. Now the question is whether I'll actually find the time to read it before it is due back...

I actually need to spend more time in our local library. It is an amazing resource space which I don't take advantage of as much as I should.

Bay Area Rapid Transit

November 8th, 2006 at 03:18 am

One of the things that I miss most about Japan is their efficient public transportation system. There is absolutely no need to own a car in Japan. The same can't be said in the US. When I do go to San Francisco, I try to take the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system as much as possible. While it doesn't compare to Japanese public transportation for convenience and scheduling, it does save me money compared to driving to the city and trying to find parking.

*This is a series of photos that shows money as part of our daily life.

Personal Taxi Driver

November 8th, 2006 at 02:58 am

I was a personal taxi today for my dad and his wife who were flying off to New York. Instead of paying $100 to get driven to the airport, I was asked to do the honors and in return, I get their car for the week while they're gone.

It works out well for everyone involved. They get to the airport and back for a lot less than paying for a taxi and since we don't have a car, this gives us a week to get done all the things that we need to get done with a car without having to rent one. A nice solution for everyone involved that saves everyone money.

*This is a series of photos that shows money as part of our daily life.

Gas Fire Place

November 8th, 2006 at 02:54 am

I can tell that fall is here and winter is just around the corner. The leaves outside are yellows, oranges and reds while the days are getting colder. Last night my dad decided to have a fire in the fire place since it was just that kind of night. Instead of getting a few logs from outside, a bit of kindling and shoving newspapers underneath to get the fire started (as we always did when I was a kid), he simply turned the gas nozzle and lit the flames. Instant roaring fire.

I haven't decided if I like the gas log fire place yet. I know that it makes financial sense. There is no need to purchase firewood. It also doesn't pollute like a regular fire does which gives it environmental points. In fact, at night when the room is dark and the fire is lighting the room, it looks beautiful and you would not even know that it was fake.

The problem I have is during the day when it is obvious that the logs are not real. I guess that the savings and environmental friendliness outweigh the daytime ugliness, but you'd think they could make them look a bit more real...

*This is a series of photos that shows money as part of our daily life.

Gas Prices

November 8th, 2006 at 02:52 am

Stopped to fill up the car today. Most days my dad won't go out of his way to purchase gas at Costco versus the local gas station because it is only a few cents less and the distance negates any savings at the pump. The last couple of days, however, there has been a larger than normal gap ion the prices. While the local station is charging $2.34, Costco has been charging $2.19. Making payment with a Costco credit card gives a 1% cash back making the price $2.17 a gallon and he decided that a $0.17 a gallon difference in price was worth driving a couple of extra miles.

*This is a series of photos that shows money as part of our daily life.

Junk Art Sculptures

November 8th, 2006 at 02:49 am

I was in the city and came across these huge pieces of art down by the bay. What made them so unusual was that they were made entirely from junk. Basically, they had been constructed from old nuts, bolts, scrap metal and various other pieces of material that were to be thrown away (close-up shown in photo 2).

I love the creativity that was used. This artist is creating something new from material that that was bound for the dump. S/he has found a new use for it. Furthermore, values is being created out of something that appeared to others to have no value (I assume the artists gets paid for the completed work). With a little creativity and ingenuity, I think that anyone can do something along these lines.

This is a series of everyday photos taken to show how money affects our daily lives