Financial blunders – I never learn, do I?

I put up a post earlier this year showing how much money I wasted last year, and this year is no different! Since then! I have made just as many financial blunders…

So just to recap these were my biggest financial blunders last year (2015):
-BitTorrent stock options: $4200 – while not a terrible blunder, I still don’t think BitTorrent will ever amount to anything, so this money is basically wasted. I got a stock certificate that probably won’t be worth anything. So $4k down the drain
-Paid $215 for Kickstarter projects that never came to fruition. (iWinks Aurora + Home free)
-Paid $3000 for cleaning up bed bugs in my apartment.
-I missed or changed 4 different flights last year. One from San Francisco back to Korea because I forgot my apartment key and couldn’t wake my friend up to let me in. One from Vienna to Croatia because the Austrian Airlines’s convoluted process where they botched my seat up, forced me to waste 1.5hrs going back and forth to clear up my seating arrangement. This caused me to miss my flight. One from Istanbul back to San Francisco, where my iPad showed the wrong local time, being one hour late in Istanbul time for some reason (it was connected to Wifi, but this convinced me to ALWAYS use my iPhone, not my iPad). I was stuck an entire day in Istanbul airport because my iPad messed up. And lastly, when I changed my flight from Toronto back to Seoul to meet my then-girlfriend earlier, not knowing that it would indirectly lead to my break up with her (see my Jan post for detailed info there). The total cost of missing and changing all these flights is about $1500.
-I shipped a TV to an ebay customer where it arrived broken, and I refunded the guy $500 the full cost out of my own pocket, when really I should have gotten UPS to refund it instead, since it was damaged by shipping, not by me.
-paid $500 for impounded scooter that was leftover from 2014, and that one really wasn’t my fault, because I think that was legal parking, but anyways I tried to argue with the SFMTA for 5 months and couldn’t convince them to give my money back so I gave up.
-paid $300 for useless SATA docking stations i never needed
-paid $100 extra for special New Nintendo 3DS copy
-paid $400 extra for my Asus gaming laptop because I made some extra customizations by Xotic PC, and needed it to be built and shipped express to my place in San Francisco so I could pick it up on time. Now you can find the same model on eBay for 40% of what I paid for it.
-repeatedly buying and selling things on ebay and shipping them via UPS probably cost me thousands. I can’t even calculate how much.
-paid $150 to ship some speakers to my parents. the shipping price alone was the price I paid for the speakers..
-When I was in Budapest, got scammed $700

This year so far (2016):
-Lost $2500 on sports bets on Bovada. This is because I really expected the Golden State Warriors to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, and didn’t hedge my bet. Of course, I ended up losing the bet, and lost a lot of money on it.
-Paid $150 extra to ship 2 video games (Dead or Alive Xtreme 3) to my friends place earlier from Japan so that I could get it on time to play it with him. Thats the extra money just for express shipping.
-Missed 1 flight from San Francisco to Tokyo because I thought the ticket time showed PM but was actually AM. This one was a doozy – I had to pay $1100 for a new flight since it was last minute – and this was a one way flight too! I sold my scooter for about $1300 so basically I sold my scooter to pay for my flight to Japan. Yup… that was dumb.
-Lost $5000 from betting on Hillary in the election. Honestly, I’m not that upset about this one, because every predictor on the internet thought Hillary would win. Just goes to show anything is possible I guess. Its a lot of money for sure, but I’m not the only one who lost a lot of money on this bet. Congrats to Trump supporters though, they must’ve made a lot.
-Lost $500 from bitcoin transaction fees
-lost $200 paying for a website I was supposed to develop for but never went anywhere
-Paid $500 for a wireless phone bill because I was too lazy to get a new Korea sim card after my old phone broke, and I decided to use an international plan instead. Bad idea, for ONE month I was charged $500 for using up a lot of data and I immediately stopped the plan and got a Korea sim card instead. Lesson learned. NEVER use international phone/data plans, they are always way more costly than a local prepaid sim.
-I shipped a laptop to an ebay customer where it arrived broken, and I refunded the guy $400 the full cost out of my own pocket, yet again because I didn’t purchase insurance. Another case of bad luck selling items. I originally bought the laptop for $900 last year, so it was a $1000 loss in total because I also gave him the $100 Kindle Fire free of charge as well.
-Had to throw away the Creative T4W ($400) and Synology DS415play ($400) as they were not working anymore. Should have returned them with warranty.
-still waiting on $800 of kickstarter projects (Dragonbox Pyra + Smach Z)
-$300 on currency conversion fees because US dollar is so high. Not much I could do about this one though.

So yeah, I never learn.. I wasted at least $8500 last year, and this year $12000 in lost money. That is ALOT of money I wasted or lost… Even going back to 2013 and 2014, $3000 wasted on stock option bets, $2000 wasted on parking tickets and impound fees from my scooter, etc Sometimes even though I try really hard to make the right financial decisions, sometimes these things always end up happening to me.

Anyways, I hope Hillary wins next Tuesday, I might be able to make back some of my losses (albeit a small amount).

Edit: She didn’t win. of course.


Holy moly, I spent $24k on shopping last year!

I am trying to be more financially conservative, of course its always been a bad habit of mine to spend money wastefully, but I’m trying to improve myself. The thing is this year, I’m actually on track to get my mortgage down from $286k at the beginning of the year all the way to $200k! $86k in one year which is far more than I paid down any other year. I’m quite proud of that, but it begs me to wonder… how come I seem to have so much more money this year despite my salary not changing. So I did some investigation.

I keep track of all my spending on Mint and I have my own spreadsheet to keep track of my investments + mortgage + net worth and was shocked to learn that my net worth went from $43,000 in Dec 2014 to $49,000 in Dec 2015. You mean after a whole year making $62,000 net income, my net worth only went up $6k? Thats crazy. Where did all my money go?

Well I had a look and the usual suspect is there: shopping. Mainly its my bad habit of buying useless things and selling them at 50-80% loss. I feel free to share what I spend my money on so here’s what happened last year:

Travel (plane/hotels): $8717
Amazon stuff that I kept: $10000
Ebay stuff that I kept: $10405

Stuff that I bought and sold:
Bose headphones: $270 – sold for $60
Nokia ngage – $40 – sold for $20
Firefox phone – $70 – sold for $30
HP touchpad – $80 – sold for $50
Asus MyPal – $55 – sold for $30
Palm Treo – $13 – sold for free
Cybiko Xtreme – $25 – sold for $30
HP iPaq – $20 – sold for $20
Nokia N8 – $80 – sold for $70
Helios Pantech – $20 – sold for free
Casio BE300 – $65 – sold for $40
Gizmondo – $30 – sold for $20
Pepperpad 3 – $165 – sold for $70
Razer Seiren – $170 – sold for $120
OQO model 2 – $450 – sold for $300
Asus garminfone – $38 – sold for free
HTC status – $62 – sold for $30
HTC Quickfire – $30 – sold for free
BB Torch 2 – $44 – sold for $20
Samsung Q1 – $80 – sold for $70
Motorola Droid 4 – $47 – sold for $30
Motorola Backflip – $50 – sold for $25
NEC Terrain – $85 – sold for $50
Samsung Alias 2 – $50 – sold for free
Motorola Flipout – $50 – sold for $25
HTC mytouch – $41 – sold for free
Dover drive pedal – $200 – sold for $150
Nokia E70 – $120 – sold for $50
Nokia E71 – $35 – sold for free
Olio model one – $500 – sold for $300
Sony Ericsson P990 – $150 – sold for $50
Nokia 5700 – $75 – sold for $40
Nokia N93 – $110 – sold for $60
Hermida Reverb – $180 – sold for $120
Casio Ravine 2 – $45 – sold for $25
Asus R2H – $110 – sold for $80
Sony XEL1 TV – $500 – sold for free because I shipped it in a fragile package and item was broken when it got to the buyer forcing me to refund it
iPod nano – $70 – sold for $50
iRiver – $45 – sold for $30
Viliv S5 – $125 – sold for $100
Keeley Oxblood pedal – $200 – sold for $150
Nokia E71 – $75 – sold for $35
Farcry 4 – $60 – sold for $35
AC Unity – $80 – sold for free
Duke nukem – $50 – sold for $35
Gundam seed destiny – $54 – sold for $15
Stardock 4bay SATA – $330 – sold for free (seriously)
DJI Phantom 3 – $800 – sold for $600
Philips headphone – $300 – sold for $220
Transcend SSD – $65 – sold for $50
Canon Camcorder – $290 – sold for $180
Marshall acton – $250 – sold for $200
Synology DS215j – $200 – sold for $150
Fallout Pipboy – $120 – sold for $110
Yakuza games – $120 – sold for $40
SW Battlefront – $60 – sold for $15
Gechic touch monitor – $360 – sold for $200
Zoom iQ5 – $100 – sold for $50
sony walkman – $100 – sold for $80
Nokia N900 – $150 – sold for $80
Samsung Galaxy Golden – $350 – sold for $200
Klipsch KMC3- $240 – sold for $200
Fiio E10K – $75 – sold for $50

Kickstarter/Indiegogo: $1110
HOA fees: $7200 (mandatory)
Mortgage interest: $9600 (mandatory)
Rent: $9600 (mandatory)
Bug/pest control: $3200 (mandatory)
BitTorrent stock options: $4200
Property tax: $6500 (mandatory)
UPS Shipping: $791
Steam/Nintendo games: $3260

So yeah.. no wonder I had no money in 2015. First off, I bought $24,770 worth of electronics and games. And My 5 trips last year to SF (2 times), Toronto (2 times), and Eastern Europe cost me $8.7k in plane/hotel fees. Furthermore, I lost thousands of dollars by buying and selling items and shipping them at a huge loss. So last year was probably my worst year in spending yet. This year I seemed to have learned my lesson by reining in my spending. I regret not doing it sooner, but I will put up this post so that I can look back on it and learn from it.


Financial troubles and Youtube troubles

Well, I blinked an eye and its October already. My best friend in Korea left already so now I’m even more lonely than before… what can I do. Moving back to SF isn’t an option thanks to insane housing prices there and moving back to Canada is just more depressing. Looks like staying in Korea is still the way to go.

Some updates – I’ve been calculating my net worth since Aug 2009 – and my net worth this year is actually the same as in Nov 2013. Which means that I’ve lost net worth despite making money last year and this year. What happened? Well, the short answer is, excessive buying/selling, collecting vintage electronics, paying back owed taxes, bedbug issue, excessive rent in Korea/SF, excessive cellphone bills, alot of travelling, and a bad stock market this year.

If we break down the spending on, I can see that for last 12 months:

-36% ($35,205) was spent on shopping. This doesn’t mean I bought this many items; I bought and sold alot of things, and including eBay and UPS shipping fees, I lost alot of money here as well. I also spent alot collecting my vintage PDAs/UMPCs/gadgets, video games, Magic cards, etc so thats why this category is so high.
-19% ($19,181) was spent on mortgage and condo management fees. This is valid, since there’s no way to avoid this.
-7% ($6,843) was spent on travelling. Since I go back to USA every few months, this can’t be helped as well. I already went back to US twice this year and Toronto once. I will travel to Europe next week, go back to US again, and then back to Korea. And then later this year I’m going back to Toronto again. That’s 2 trips to Toronto and 3 trips to San Francisco and 1 trip to Europe all in one year.
-7% ($6,419) was spent on food. This is valid, since eating with friends is pretty important.
-$6,450 was spent paying back owed taxes for 2013. Turbotax must have made an error 2 years ago or something. This really impacted my finances alot.
-4% ($4,264) on entertainment. This would bars, lounges, clubs and Steam games. Probably could be avoided.
-3% ($3,408) on Bills. Yeah, yeah I know.. I’m spending way too much on my cellphone bill. I need to figure out a way to bring this down, I think my AT&T contract for my iPad which I’m not using expires in Nov so I can at least get rid of that.
-3% ($3,500) on getting rid of bedbugs. Yeah, not only did last years bedbug problem give me permanent scars, I also had to pay up the arse to get rid of them.

So, I’ve figured out some ways to increase my revenue and reduce spending, which I will be serious about starting next year. Here’s my plan:
-Sell all the excessive electronics and other things which I don’t use or need that often. This includes my unused PS3/PS4 games (sadly, Steam games and Playstation Network / Nintendo eStore games can’t be sold), unplayed Magic cards, unplayed records/LPs, gadgets (UMPCs,computers,PDAs,speakers,headphones,etc) that I feel are useless, unnecessary or not worthy to collect, extra guitar gear (Traynor amp and Gretsch white penguin), extra audio and video equipment like my microphone and extra tripods. All this is worth probably at least $7,000.
-Increase rent. As a landlord, its my duty to increase my rent to reflect local prices and I’ve been undercharging my SF apartment for it. This should be some nice extra cash.
-Move to a cheaper place in Korea. I’ve been living in one of the most expensive places in Korea and I can cut the rent in half by moving just a few stations away.
-Migrate this website to my own server hosted on my Synology DS. Yes, so I won’t need to renew the $300+ hosting fee with Bluehost every year
-File my scooter as PNO – I’m not operating my scooter anymore so no longer need to pay insurance or renewal fee, this is already done.
-Consolidate my electronics. I just got a nice Creative T4W 2.1 system which has bluetooth and optical in, which should mean that I can sell the following with no loss of functionality: Samsung soundbar, Polk Audio hampden, Klipsch KMC 3, Audyssey Wireless Speakers, Marshall Acton. That’s 5 speakers replaced by one! I can use the same system for my PS4/PS3/Mac Mini/Asus/TV that’s great consolidation.
-Be satisfied with what I have. I have an incessant need to upgrade equipment and I should stop doing it. I still use my iPhone5S. That’s a good thing. I should do that with my other electronics. Use it until it breaks.

I also would like to make some money off of Youtube (I have over 1500+ subscribers) but here’s the problem: My current account is associated with an invalid or suspended Adsense account and there’s no way I can get that fixed. So I tried creating a new youtube account with a valid Adsense account and started uploading some videos – Youtube flags all of them as requiring some proof of copyright! Even if its something as recording some DOS games or my own guitar music! That’s not in violation of any copyright! Other youtubers like PewDiePie record games all the time so why can’t I do it? So I deleted that account because I thought its useless since I can’t monetize but it doesn’t delete my subchannels underneath it… and I need to be logged in to delete my subchannels so now I have some extra youtube accounts floating around that I can’t delete!
Get your act together Youtube! Why aren’t the subchannels deleted along with your main account? And why won’t you let small time people like me monetize videos? Seems like a big middle finger from Youtube for me as far as that revenue stream is concerned. Blah.

Anyways, In other news I’m going to Czech, Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and Turkey in a week. I’ll write back after I get back from my vacation :).