Jeff

Author Archives: Jeff

Menswear designer, artist, author, digital usability strategist, coach. I'm one of those guys who've done a lot in life and now I want to share it. I've traveled and worked across the globe and currently reside in Washington, DC.

BSG Budget Tips

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

Live Smart to Live Large

I’m listening to a great book on Audible right now called Set for Life by Scott Trench - Dominate Life, Money, and the American Dream, and I want to give you some tips from it.

While the author states that his primary audience is 20 somethings just getting started, in median income jobs of around $50,000, I find what I’ve heard so far to be applicable to any age range and any income because the premise is to be cash rich.  He calls for an immediate goal of $25,000 in cash so that you have options that others who are debt heavy don’t have.  This $25,000 will of course have to ratchet up if you make more.  He’s calling for one year of living expenses in the bank ASAP.

For example:  he clearly defines how our largest expenses such as rent or mortgage payments can hinder us from that savings goal, while the smaller, lifestyle type of expenses such as clothing and entertainment expenses are minuscule in comparison and won’t adversely affect your goal to the $25,000 like a huge monthly rent will.  He also doesn’t advocate for being a hermit, staying in all the time and not socializing because you don’t budget for that.  

A Bit of My Story

I started life in my 20s first in the midwest, where after a year of college I went back home and went to work.  I lived with two of my high school buds in a condo that was dirt cheap because hey - small town midwest.  We all had a bit of money in the bank, all had cars, all like the ladies, bars, and other vices I won't mention right now, and we were happy guys with no worries.

I then moved to NYC and went to FIT, the highly competitive and most grueling design school in the USA.  Life changed fast!  I paid almost three times the rent in a tiny apartment with two classmates and had a bedroom that was little more than a big closet.  I worked my way through school, and with a little help from my parents, managed to live okay.

We had a favorite bar on the block and I could do that a few nights a week, but couldn’t keep up with other friends who had rich daddies.  Still, I was in NYC and that became my new home and lifestyle.  I resonated with big city life much more than I ever did with small town America, where I never really fit in.  And the ladies?  Well, at FIT, straight guys are the minority so yeah, every party we threw - our apartment was right around the corner from school and we took huge advantage of that - was jam packed, wall to wall with hot FIT co-eds.  Life was very, very good for us.

Now Back to the Budget

Your mindset has to be on wealth and your budget has to support that.  So, what it takes to design your life so that you can live happily while keeping your big expenses down, and your contributions to your savings up.  Get an understanding of what debt does to you and embrace the power of cash in the bank.

Any purchase you intend to make should be weighed against the consequences your savings goal will incur.  If you’re a big city guy, do you really need that car?  Your insurance is more, there’s never a place to park - hint:  STRESS! - or if you garage it, damn that’s costly.  And how often do you really use it?  Some research I did recently shows that the average cost of car ownership - and this is across the US so it’s watered down - is close to $1000/month.  Ponder that for a bit and then think about selling that money pit.

Scott’s message is frugality in your early years of professional life so that you can have the luxury of travel, choosing a career you really want, and being who you really want to be in your 30s, 40, 50s, rather than working just to get the paycheck to pay the bills, dreading every day you throw your body out of bed to face the grind yet another day, week, month, year.

Make smart expense choices by honestly assessing what it takes to be happy and productive.  Get a smaller place for now and don’t sweat going out with your friends a few nights a week.  Walk those six blocks to the gym rather than immediately getting an Uber.  

Cook!  At home!  Buy real food at the grocery that’s two blocks from your place and fire up that stove. Have dinner parties with your friends.  Everyone brings something and everyone pitches in with meal prep and drinks.  Never tried it?  I guarantee you it’s more fun than hitting a bar and forking over $65 plus tip, yelling at the top of your lungs so someone can hear you, and waking up the next morning hungover and croaking out your syllables.

Go get it, you goal directed beast,

Jeff

Big City Bachelors Fitness Tip #1

Being a bachelor in a big city has its challenges and its rewards.  The cost of living is high, the competition for jobs and ladies is high, and stress can be off the charts.  But big city living is unparalleled for the opportunities that abound - the food, the entertainment, the ladies, the possibilities.

Tip # 1 - Stay Fit

It's a sad truth that most of us sit at a desk for hours at a time and barely move for most of the day.  For times when you can't exercise it's a good idea to set a timer for breaks.  Science tells us that we can really only function optimally for small stretches so take advantage of that.  Work for 20-30 minutes and then take a 5 minute break.  Get up and move around and drink a glass of water.  You come back to the work fresh again and your entire day will be more productive.

Big city life offers fitness from many angles

Walking

Just walking to and from subway stations and your apartment or the office can log you 5000 steps a day.  I started tracking mine and I average just under 9000 steps per day.  There are great smartphone apps for tracking your steps and I strongly urge you to get one.

Yoga

Yoga is a fantastic form of mind and body exercise.  Many pro athletes are finding the magic in yoga and you can too.  Some guys take to it very quickly and others take a bit longer but if you stick with it, you begin to understand what it's all about.  When I walk out of a class I have a feeling of centeredness and solidity that's amazing.

Here are links to sites where you can learn about the different styles to find what's right for you:

14 Styles of Yoga Explained Simply

Find Your Match Among the Many Styles of Yoga

Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash

Gyms, weight training, CrossFit, etc

This is hard to go into great detail on in this short guide but belonging to a gym and making a commitment to get fit is a great way to go.  If you can find a workout buddy it's even better.

Others

  • Swimming
  • Boxing workouts - these are great!
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Running
  • Cycling

The point is to simply get moving.  Get an app that buzzes you at intervals throughout your day and move away from the desk on either your smartphone or smartwatch.  Get up and take a short walk, clear your head, and then get back to work.  Simple as that.

Now head on out and get some fitness on,

Jeff

Cost Per Use

Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

Every purchase we make in life can be boiled down to one very simple concept:  how much it costs us to use it.

Go out to a bar and have drinks.  Polish off that Manhattan and you gotta pay up for another one if you want to keep rolling.  One use and one use only.  Right?  You drink that drink and get your shine on and that’s it.  You want to do it again - that’ll be $15 sir.  Food is the same.  You can only eat that particular Ribeye one time.  Was it worth the $35 you paid for it?  That’s up to you and only you.

Now how about your car - if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a place where you need one of the costliest expenses you will every incur, or, you’re just a car nut and glutton for punishment.  If you pay cash and drive that thing for years and years, just divide the price you paid - we’ll skip insurance and gas and maintenance for now - by the number of months you had/drove/wrecked the car, and you have a cost per use on a monthly basis.

Example:  I pay $9000 cash for a used Nissan and drive if for four years.

9000/48 = 187.50 per month — not bad, right?  Sell it and get some of your cash back and the number goes down further.

How about extending that another 2 years?

9000/72 = 125.00 per month — easy and I think you get the picture.

Now let’s talk about clothes

Your wardrobe.  The stuff hanging in your closet that allows you to be presentable to the world.  And world meaning colleagues, women (GFs, wives, significant others), other dudes, loan officers, the 16 year old at McDonald’s whose first day happens to be today, small children, and puppies/kittens, etc.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

Classic Fashion vs Trendy Fashion

Classic Fashion

Blue shirts.  Navy jackets.  Khaki pants.  Jeans.  Boat shoes.  Rep stripe ties.  Grey suits.

These are all classics and because they are so, will last forever in terms of fashion acceptance.  Of course there are degrees of fashion within each but let’s keep it simple for now - we’ll cover some of the other parts of this in another post.

The point to get here is very low cost per use.  Each of those items listed above can be worn over and over and over and…  A good blue oxford shirt can last you years and be worn hundreds of times.

Here are equation is a bit different.  Instead of a per month cost, we want a per use cost.  Wear this shirt an average of once per week for 3 years and you’ve worn it approximately 156 times.  Divide that by your cost and voila!  You have your cost per use.

A good pair of shoes can last you even longer because your feet stay roughly the same size for all of your adult life.  And while our arms and legs stay the same length give or take a centimeter or two, we can’t say that about our waist line can we?  

Dude, if you’re in your 50s and can still wear your jeans from your 20s - you are a superstar to the nth degree and we all want to know how you did it.

Trendy Fashion

Ripped up jeans.  Wearing your fucking baseball cap backwards.*  Wearing flip-flops everywhere you go until there’s 6” of snow on the ground.  Scratch that because I was in Wisconsin a couple years ago, it was snowing and raining and slush was 3” high all over and I saw a guy in a restaurant wearing flip-flops.   *If you’re over twelve and still do this, please stop.

Purple shirts.  Jeans down your ass.  Floral print sport coats.  No show socks - although this one has been around for a while, thank you Thom Browne.  

Trendy fashion comes and goes quickly so your cost per use is usually very low.  Some things you can really only wear for one season, maybe two so your $500 lime green skinny jeans, with a crotch liner made with silk from worms that only live on a tropical island in the Banda Sea are going to cost you $250 per wear if you’re lucky.  Not money well spent.  Not an investment, just a waste.

Still seeing this trend, but not as much as a few years ago.  Certain trends die hard, but rest assured, they do die.  You can pull this off for a while - and if you're on the younger end of the young man scale - but eventually you'll realize you wasted your hard earned money on this fad.


So, think about this before you spend any more money on clothes.  Your wardrobe is an investment to you.  You’re investing in your style and in people’s perception of you.  Don’t think I’m crazy with that.  I’m sure you’ve read that first impressions count, right?  This what it means.  

You walk into that meeting with a sharp outfit, groomed hair, clean teeth and fresh breath, and you greet everyone with a smile and firm handshake with eye contact, and people instantly feel comfortable with you there.  They’ll get that you mean business and will take care of their needs.

And while I’m well aware that there are billionaires out there who walk into meetings with jeans and a t-shirt, if you’re not him, don’t do it.

Go get 'em,

Jeff

Welcome to Bachelor Survival Guides

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and see if we can share anything good with you.  My hope is that you will use this site and the books we’ll be writing soon to navigate your way through bachelor life with more ease and confidence than maybe you have in the past.

Now let me say that this site isn’t going to be for every man.  There’s an old saying about how if you try to please everyone you’ll end up pleasing no one.  Something like that. And it’s been a challenge of mine for many years. It’s always been hard for me to narrow down my sights and decide on the one business niche I would go for.

That said, think of this site as a guide for modern guys who are single, who have - or are willing to understand - a contemporary outlook on life, and who know that their lives could use a boost in certain areas.

We cover:

  • Clothes and Dressing
    • You see other guys put together really well but you have no clue how to do it for yourself, or worse, you look like shit all the time and have no clue

  • Apartments and Living
    • You sleep on sheets your mom gave you from your childhood home hall closet, ...

  • Cooking and Food
    • Your idea of a good meal is the cheapest fast food you can find.  You can boil water, and you know what salt is. Period.

  • Fitness and Health
    • The days when you could get by without being in shape are over.  Being in good physical condition helps you in multiple ways.

  • Grooming and Personal Hygiene
    • Your toenails are so long you wear holes in your socks every two weeks.  You have hair coming out of your nose. Oops - forgot to put on deodorant again.  Umm, yeah, I have a toothbrush.