Category Archives: Financial

How Gas Prices Do and Don’t Affect My Life

All this talk of rising energy prices, just for fun I decided to see how this affects me personally. Since everything has some correlation to transportation which is directly related to gas and energy prices, the prices of pretty much everything has (or will) rise.

I want to see what areas of my life are affected more than others in respect to rising energy prices.

How They DON’T Affect Me (much):

  • Driving in Austin. Thankfully most things where I live are pretty close. My gym is 5 miles away and I usually ride a bike (bicycle) there. Downtown is also about 5 miles away.
  • The Scooter. I bought a scooter a while ago to bypass traffic and parking when I was in college. That scooter gets 122 MPG (Yes, one-hundred and twenty two miles per gallon), and I can comfortably ride anywhere within about an 8 mile radius (can’t use freeways). Full tank of premium gas (1.9 gallons) used to be about $4.30, now about $7.80. However it’s still negligible. 200+ miles of travel for less than $10 is pretty good.
  • Groceries. I know all the prices have gone up, but I eat a very simple diet of mainly fruits and a few other things, so each trip to the grocery store (about once per week) costs me roughly $20. Simple trick: use one of those hand-carry carts instead of a normal shopping cart. It’s hard to stuff that little thing with more than $20 worth of food and it forces you to only buy the essentials, no junk. So while rising energy prices DO affect this area, it’s not extremely significant yet.
  • Going to work. I wake up, walk to the next room and BOOM I’m in the office. Zero commute time = zero transportation costs.

How They DO Affect Me:

  • Prices on my websites go up. For example HouseOfRave’s shipping prices have literally doubled in the last year. Many products have also gone up in price to correlate with higher shipping costs from Asia. People accustomed to paying $5 for shipping are sometimes surprised to see $10+ shipping charges on relatively small orders.
  • When I drive to Houston. My family and lots of friend live in Houston so I try to go back often. It’s exactly 150 miles from Austin to Houston, so a 300 mile round-trip (Roughly one full tank of gas in my GS300). Each trip to Houston equates to about 450 miles of driving which equates to nearly $110 in gas per trip.
  • When I drive IN Houston. This city is huge, and no matter where you go, I’d say it’s at least a 15-30 minute drive. There’s really no way around this in Houston.

Conclusion: So far rising energy prices are more of an annoyance to me than a real issue. They haven’t really had too much effect on my lifestyle, although I’m pretty sure this is something that will slowly become more of an issue in the coming years.

*By the way…this article really tested my grammatical ability to differentiate between ‘Effect’ and ‘Affect’!

What It Costs To Be Alive

I don’t know where this came from, but I was randomly curious on how much it costs me to simply exist here in Austin, TX. per year.

Fixed Yearly Costs:
$1,000 = Car insurance ($84/month)
$1,800 = Health insurance ($150/month)
$960 = Cell phone ($80/month)
$6,000 = Rent ($500/month)
$12,000 = Food, gas, general items ($1,000/month)
$2,400 = Random Costs ($200/month)

Total = $24,160

That’s just to live, doesn’t even account for going out, travelling etc.
I also have few monthly bills because I have no debt, no loans and no car payment.

Hmmm….good to know.

Money Made Since 01-01-2005 – Gone

From the beginnings of this blog on November 17th 2004, I openly wrote how much money I made, saved and spent. However I rarely reported what I earned through partnerships or consulting. This means what my actual finances were and the finances listed on this blog were different.

December 2006 was the last month I publicly accounting my income. For all of 2007 I haven’t listed specific income, and I will finally take off all that income on the sidebar.

The plethora of bloggers openly listing their income generally hide their identity, write under pseudonyms or don’t name the companies they work for.

It’s not exactly hard to find out that I look like this:

…or that I live in Austin, TX. and Houston, TX., or that my phone number is:

…so listing detailed income gets tricky. Let’s say I do some consulting for a company and I openly list how much they’re paying me per month. It’s not fair to them to openly list that information.

One of the interesting things people found about this blog was the fact I so openly listed income. It was also good for me, as I felt self conscious about my finances if they were too low. An open environment definitely helped.

But for now, I’ll stop writing every piece of specific income on this blog.


Here is the income for 2005 and 2006. And yes…I know I listed “Change Jar” as income when it’s not.

Money Made from January 2005 till Deceber 2005:
Online Biz – Jan. $ 502
Work $ 253
Work $ 281
Ebay Sale $ 100
Change Jar $ 55
Online Biz – Feb. $ 751
Work $ 271
Change Jar $ 30
Rebate $ 30
Work $ 229
Lottery Experiment $ 2
Web Design $ 100
Online Biz – March $ 946
Syntel Dividend $ 270
Ebay Sale $ 218
Ebay Sale $ 340
Water Experiment $ 5
Work $ 246
Work $ 248
Online Biz – April $ 836
Web Design $ 300
Change Jar $ 32
Surveys $ 55
Books $ 165
Selling Notes $ 105
Work $ 297
Online Biz – May $ 1,024
SYNT Dividend $ 21
FO Dividend $ 6
GE Dividend $ 10
Work $ 213
Change Jar $ 17
Work $ 167
Online Biz – June $ 718
FO Dividend $ 11
Work $ 274
Work $ 261
Online Biz – July $ 834
Work $ 304
GE Dividend $ 10
SYNT Dividend $ 11
Change Jar $ 35
Acco Brands $ 183
Work $ 210
Books $ 30
Online Biz – Aug. $ 804
ACCO Dividend $ 7
Work $ 228
Change Jar $ 76
Online Biz – Sept. $ 654
Selling Pixels $ 1,350
FO Dividend $ 11
SYNT Dividend $ 11
GE Dividend $ 9
Online Biz – Oct $ 1,120
Misc. $ 1,000
Birthday $ 200
Online Biz - Nov $ 1,630
Change Jar $ 115
Online Biz - Dec $ 1,801

Total on Dec. 31st 2005
$ 20,021


Money Made from January 2006 till December 2006:

January 2006
Selling Pixels $ 700

Online Biz - Jan $ 1,131
SYNT Dividend $ 11
FO Dividend $ 11

February 2006
Change Jar $ 85
CraigsList $ 100
Online Biz - Feb $ 2,016
Adsense Experiment $ 138

March 2006
Mobile Marketing $ 158
Other $ 3,000+
Online Biz - Mar $ 1,915
Selling Pixels $ 100

April 2006
First order f/ new biz $ 30
Other $ 350
Selling Pixels $ 50
MobileCampus $ 110
MobileCampus $ 50
Online Biz - Apr $ 1,080
SYNT Dividend $ 11
FO Dividend $ 11

May 2006
SYNT Sale $ 681
ABD Sale $ 175
Other $ 1480
Selling Pixels $ 50
Change Jar $ 55
Online Biz - May $ 1,345

June 2006
FO Dividend $ 11
PGH Dividend $ 12
DYN Sale $ 250
Other $ 30
Online Biz $ 2,505
FacebookProfile $ 28

July 2006
Online Biz $ 1,770
Other $ 300

August 2006
Online Biz $ 1,600
Other $ 300
Change Jar $ 80

September 2006
Online Biz $ 1,700

October 2006
Online Biz $ 5,000+
Other $ 1,000

November 2006
BIDU Sale $ 230
Stock Dividends $ 32
Other $ 500
Adsense $ 120
Online Biz $ 4,000

December 2006
Stock Dividends $ 30
Other $ 500
Online Biz $ 4,500

Total on Dec. 31st 2006
$ 38,341


Last Account Snapshot:

Explanation of accounts

Making More Money Than His Job

The Bottled Water Experiment (and part 2) were some very interesting experiments in a micro business, and since then I’ve got tons of feedback about them.

However it’s always cool to see someone else take the idea to the next level. Here’s a guy who saw these water experiment posts and tried it out, and is currently making more money selling water than his job!

Checkout this comment on part 2 of the water experiment:

I started my own water business after reading this post. I put a twist on it however as I replaced the stationary location with a backpack lined with a trash bag full of ice and bottles, and parked my car in a stationary location with the ice chest and other water to come back and refill. I am MOBILE! I made the shirt that says “Bottled Water $1″ and headed to the river on a very hot day. People could not believe that I was doing this, everyone thought the idea was so awesome, and I couldn’t take credit. But I did sell ALL my water. 200 bottles on the first day.

I did this 5 days in the first week, for 4 hours before my shifts as a manager at chick fil a. I found out that I was making more money from selling bottled water than from my real job. So I posted ads on craigslist, offering to pay college students $10 an hour to do my bidding. I got 14 responses, and hired 5 people. Now I have a guy at the river, one at the biggest local park, two on the college campus of VCU and one in the popular downtown business sector. Each person generates about $100 a day for 4 hours of work at ten dollars an hour. thats 20 hours of labor for me to pay so 200 dollars gone, but 300 dollars are mine, minus my costs of getting water from costco, which costs me roughly $100 dollars each day. and I make $200 a day for myself, and all I have to do is go buy water once a day. Thanks nev!

I love how he took the concept, put a small spin on it then scaled it to make $200/day. That’s some serious summertime cash (not to mention good experience)!

I Bought A House!

That’s right, I bought a house.

Technically the house is still just a plot of land with the builders temporary office and a large trash bin on it…but it’s MY plot of land.

I put down a $500 deposit and instructed the builder (Centex Homes) to build it far out as possible, so I won’t be moving in the new house till around November 2007.

The plot I bought was the last one in the entire neighborhood (71 and Riverside in Austin, TX.). It’s on a cul-d-sac and is an oversized lot so I’ll have a bigass backyard.

SUPPOSE SOMETHING GOES WRONG and I don’t end up wanting the house, I basically get my deposit back from Centex. However I can also sell the contract to someone else and make a nice 4-figure profit as the demand for space in the neighborhood is very high.

The cool thing is this community is strictly no-investors, so the demand for these homes is not coming from people just trying to flip the homes or rent them out, which is a sign that a bubble is not driving the prices, but just shear population growth (Austin is growing like crazy).

The reason this neighborhood had such great prices is because it’s in a relatively unknown area. However there are 4 major projects around the neighborhood under construction (and nearing completion), and a brand new highway with an exit/entrance right near by. It’s also only 5 miles away from Downtown.

There is nowhere to buy a house in Austin for $148,000 with that proximity to Downtown.

This is a bad Photoshop rendition of what the brand new house will look like. In actuality it will look much like that house on the right.

Me on my swath land (and an industrial receptacle in the background):

Move in date: November 2007
First Payment: October 2007
Price: Roughly $148,000 + additional features.
House: One story, 4 bedrooms, roughly 1,500 sq. ft.

One room will be my bedroom, one room will be an office, and two rooms will be rented out. There are 3 very large high tech companies not even a mile from the house, so I can pretty easily find some other young professionals to rent to.

Hopefully this turns out to be a good financial move in the long run, I have a feeling it will with the amount of development happening around here! I also have 8 months before I have to start paying for anything, which means I can get proper finances in place for the mortgage and start saving for all those expensive things associated with home ownership (furniture / tools / TV / bedroom sets etc. etc…).


Resumite Sold, I’m $145 Richer was put on sale a few days ago, and now the auction is over.

Total I made was

So all in all Resumite for me wasn’t a failure, but not necessarily a stellar success either. It was something that had potential, but it just wasn’t in my interest or right timing.

All in all I learned something and made a little money. End of that saga!

Like most of the little sales like this, I put the money away:
30% – Bills Account
30% – Investment Account
20% – Permanent Savings
10% – Spending Account 1
10% – Spending Account 2

Online Business Exceeds the $5,000 Mark

Through some simple marketing and a bit of luck, I’m glad to say House Of Rave received 530 orders this October! Profits exceeded $5,000 for the month which is good news. Hopefully I can successful sustain at least 80% of his profit level in the non-Halloween months. According to my sidebar, I made $1,120 in profit from House Of Rave just one year ago in October 2005, so there has been significant improvement in profits.

This is a new milestone because it indicates I could realistically live off just one venture of mine if needed. Now the real work starts, sustaining and growing these temporary results.

HoR still runs almost the same, just a few modifications that cut out certain steps like manually charging each customer or creating orders one by one. My time should be spent growing, marketing and adding content, not caught up in small details which can be easily automated.

Starting Charity Account with AdSense

I’ve complained about Google AdSense many times before, saying I will never put them on NevBlog. Well, that’s changed.

I have a very under-funded Charity Account with Bank of America which I recently started, and not much money has gone into it. This account automatically accumulates money every week from my main account, but relatively slowly compared to the other accounts.

Starting this Feb 1st I put a vertical Google Adsense banner on NevBlog to generate income for this new charity account. I tried to make it very un-invasive:

Leaving the ad relatively out of the way is contrary to maximizing its profit potential, but I don’t want to clutter the site.

So far the return is extremely BAD. The first day I got several thousand impressions, 8 clicks and a grand total of 38 cents. If that’s a taste of the profit to come, then I’m not sure AdSense is even worth it.

I thought this would be a painless way to increase the amount of money I give away, so hopefully the profits improve!

2005 In Review

I came out of 2005 earning around $20,000 for the year just from side projects and while still a full time student. Not too bad, but not a living wage.

I am now graduated and can concentrate full time on the game of making money.

For my own reference, here is the money I brought in for 2005:

-Online Biz – Jan. – $ 502
-Work – $ 253
-Work – $ 281
-Ebay Sale – $ 100
-Change Jar – $ 55
-Online Biz – Feb. – $ 751
-Work – $ 271
-Change Jar – $ 30
-Rebate – $ 30
-Work – $ 229
Lottery Experiment – $ 2
-Web Design – $ 100
-Online Biz – March – $ 946
-Syntel Dividend – $ 270
-Ebay Sale – $ 218
-Ebay Sale – $ 340
Water Experiment – $ 5
-Work – $ 246
-Work – $ 248
-Online Biz – April – $ 836
-Web Design – $ 300
Change Jar – $ 32
-Surveys – $ 55
-Books – $ 165
Selling Notes – $ 105
-Work – $ 297
-Online Biz – May – $ 1,024
-SYNT Dividend – $ 21
-FO Dividend – $ 6
-GE Dividend – $ 10
Work – $ 213
-Change Jar – $ 17
Work – $ 167
-Online Biz – June – $ 718
-FO Dividend – $ 11
Work – $ 274
Work – $ 261
-Online Biz – July – $ 834
Work – $ 304
-GE Dividend – $ 10
-SYNT Dividend – $ 11
-Change Jar – $ 35
Acco Brands – $ 183
Work – $ 210
-Books – $ 30
-Online Biz – Aug. – $ 804
-ACCO Dividend – $ 7
Work – $ 228
Change Jar – $ 76
-Online Biz – Sept. – $ 654
Selling Pixels – $ 1,350
-FO Dividend – $ 11
-SYNT Dividend – $ 11
-GE Dividend – $ 9
-Online Biz – Oct – $ 1,120
-Misc. – $ 1,000
-Birthday – $ 200
Online Biz – Nov – $ 1,630
Change Jar – $ 115
Online Biz – Dec – $ 1,801
—2005 Total – $20,021

There are some dividends and interest earnings missing, but nothing significant. I also do not publicly publish income made from partnerships I have going, as that violates other people’s privacy.

I ended the year with the following in my public accounts:

-General Account – $ 3,647
-Spending Account – $ 179
-Spending Account 2 – $ 350
-Investment Account – $ 2,234
-Bill Account – $ 1,379
-Permanent Savings – $ 3,342
-Stock Portfolio Value – $ 11,016
-Roth IRA – $ 6,680
-Emigrant Direct – $ 1,002
—Total Liquid Assets – 29,829
-Credit Card Balance – $ 0
-Business Holding – $ 1,647
—Total On Hand – $ 31,476

2006 will be the year I hope to firmly establish myself….or go really broke. Either way will be quite fun and teach me a lot :-)

2006 Goal Setting, Other Stuff

Almost 2006, so it’s time to start setting goals. I made a poster board with goals and a sort of calendar to make sure I work towards those goals every month. Goals rarely get accomplished unless they are constantly kept track of.

I’ve also bought a giant cork board to thumb-tack inspirational articles right in front of my desk. I’ll start putting up quotes, articles, pictures or anything that inspires me to work harder.


I think a great financial move I’ve made is splitting my money into separate accounts. It really shows how much money I have for what purpose. I had too much cash sitting in my extremely low-yield permanent savings account (aka “No Risk” account), so I maxed my Roth IRA for the year by adding $2,000 to it, and threw $1,000 into an EmigrantDirect savings account.

I also recently opened up a 2nd Spending Account specifically for the holidays and larger purchases. I noticed every holiday season is much more expensive than other months, so I’ve been stashing a little money each week for a couple of months and built up around $800 for gifts and other holiday expenses.

It makes me feel good that I can buy gifts for family and friends without worrying about prices.


The second scooter I bought has recently been fully registered and is now actually legal to drive. Almost immediately after I bought it, I got a ticket for driving with: No insurance, No inspection and No registration.

I’ve also got two parking tickets, each $50 a piece. In relation, it takes me $3 to fill an entire tank of gas.

I’ve also been yelled at several times for cutting through standing traffic. One cop said I was a “Traffic Unit” like everyone else and couldn’t go through just because I could. I disagree. I’m not sure what kind of ticket I can get for moving through a line of traffic, but I’m willing to find out.

Despite $700+ extra dollars of additional costs (Not counting helmet, gloves etc), I have been able to easily absorb these costs thanks to my “Bills Account.”


Visit and see if is available. If yes, buy it. I don’t know why, but it just seems a good idea. It costs $9 or less per year. redirects to my original webpage, Having a website throughout the years has really helped me in many ways.