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GUYS' GUY'S GUIDES
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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Things Worth Investing In

Robert Manni - Thursday, November 02, 2017

They call it disposable income for a reason. We dispose of it every day—at lunch on $12 salads in plastic containers, ironic t-shirts, another pair of sneakers or shoes we don’t need to choke our closet space, or on numerous $9 glasses of so-called craft beers. But even though we live in a consumer society where over two-thirds of the money spent is on items we don’t really need, there are a few items worth paying those extra dollars for. Large or small, these are classic items worth the money, so your Guy’s Guy is going to lay them out for you to chew on and digest. Here in no particular order, is my GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO THINGS WORTH INVESTING IN.

1. Real estate – The rent really is too damn high. And besides getting a roof over your head for the next thirty days, there is not much to get excited about when renting your home. From my personal experience, I’ve done relatively well when investing in real estate and it began as soon as I found a way to scrape together the down payment to afford a mortgage for a modest, man-cave studio and the responsibilities that came with it. And I have never looked back. When you own that roof over your head, you get a tax break on the mortgage interest, you live in your investment, and in the vast majority of cases your home appreciates while you’re there. Wherever you may be, but particularly when you live in a ridiculously expensive city like New York, if you can find a way to buy your home, do it. If you can make those monthly payments, in the long run it will serve you well, amigo. Very well. Ask anyone who has done so and they will have a story to tell you about how much profit they made after buying that once-cheap co-op back in the eighties.

2. A great watch – Every Guy’s Guy needs at least one piece of top-notch jewelry. If he’s married he’s going to want a quality wedding band, but regardless of his marital status, this Guy’s Guy believes that owning a classic watch is a worthwhile investment. Let’s face it. There are clocks everywhere and you carry a phone so you don’t need a watch to know the time. A watch is a statement piece for a Guy’s Guy.  It’s something you can wear every day or if you choose, just to events that you hold in importance. I sat in the office next to the director of the Mont Blanc account at a big ad firm. I gave him a few bottles of rum since I ran the Bacardi account and he let me to pick from the Mont Blanc catalogue at half price. I was making good money so I bought very high-end “sport” watch, a silver dress watch, a pen, and a wicked cool pair of shades. I still have them all and I wear the two watches frequently to this day. On my fortieth, my folks bought me an engraved Rolex, so of course I also wear that too. But besides also owning a handful of very affordable watches, I’m done buying watches. The watches I own are statement pieces so I don’t need a special box or case filled a dozen good watches. I have three great watches, and that’s all I need. I still like admiring the classic timepieces I see, but I’m done.

3. A well-tailored suit and a tuxedo – A Guy’s Guy knows how to clean up, so every Guy’s Guy needs to own at least one finely tailored suit, regardless of his job or the type of work he does. There will always be an occasion where he needs to get decked out and show his stuff, so it’s a good idea to invest in a tropical wool designer suit in navy, charcoal or black. If you shop at an outlet you can pick a very nice suit for less than five hundred bucks. I recently purchased a classic, yet modern Theory suit that fits me like a glove for less than less four hundred that was originally priced at $1200. And, I will wear it when I need to for the next decade because it’s quality, a classic yet modern cut, and I work hard staying in fighting shape, like Guys’ Guys tend to do.

Another consideration is investing in a classic black tuxedo. I recent attended a wedding where the young guys in the wedding party wore maroon tuxedo jackets with black shirts and pants.  Not my style, but it was is their business. The point is; no one buys a maroon tuxedo jacket. I bought a well-made black tuxedo when I was in my twenties, and it still fits me and looks good. I also bought a formal white dress short shirt, cuff links, and a pair of shoes I only wear with the tux. Buying a tux is not as mission critical as owning a well-tailored suit, but it can be a good investment, especially if you compare it to the cost of renting.

4. A quality automobile – I’m still working on a personal issue that I have about letting go of things and people. This time it got me in trouble. I bought a silver Toyota Four-Runner in 2000 and due to my moving back into NYC, I rarely drove it. I kept it parked it on the street near the beach in New Jersey, and over the years the engine and the parts underneath the vehicle began rusting, and rusting, and rusting. I need car when I’m in Jersey and this vehicle was fully paid for, so I kept it but was making repairs and replacing rusting parts repeatedly. The decay continued and eventually, my prized vehicle became an albatross. I eventually dumped it, but not before I wasted a shitload of money on repairs.

I did buy a good vehicle, and that is part of the lesson because owning or leasing a good car can be a good investment, but only if you know when to cut bait and move on. Buying a car is so 1990 these days, so now I recommend leasing a top of the line vehicle and switching it out every few years. If you live in the burbs and show up for a date in an old rattlebox, it means negative points with the new lady.

5. Going to the dentist – A Guy’s Guy needs a first class ride for his teeth. A man’s oral health is a gateway to his overall health. And who doesn’t want a great smile? A Guy’s Guy looks for a dental practice with skilled hygienist and a dentist that can handle drillings and replacing old fillings to get that toxic metal out of your mouth, and doing what’s necessary to brighten your smile. Most healthcare plans these days scrimp on dental so having a great dentist might get expensive at times, but think about it as a sound investment in your overall health. Studies have found that built up plaque can find its way to your heart and other areas of your body and create havoc.

6. Wedding ring and band – Earlier I briefly mentioned this key, hopefully one-time purchase as another statement piece for a Guy’s Guy. When you marry, you want to show pride and your commitment. There is no better way to make your wife feel good about it than investing in a classy wedding rings and bands for both of you, but in particular for her. Make sure you exceed her expectations, and if you can swing it, go for at least two carats. No matter who pays for your band, pick a ring that looks masculine and makes you feel good about yourself. Trust me on this, amigos. It’s worth the investment to the marriage. And do you best to wear your wedding band. I’m not a big ring guy, but I keep mine in a little box on my bureau and at a bare minimum wear my platinum gold band when I am out in public with my wife. It’s the right thing to do.

7. Wine and spirits – Many Guys’ Guys like a cocktail or a glass of wine or beer now and then. Over time, most guys have had their fill of keggers and shots of lousy booze. When you finally grow out of that stuff, drink the best that you can afford, especially if you are drinking infrequently or drinking your booze straight. So out with the speed rack brands and on to the top shelf brands. As you age, if you still drink alcohol, drink less and drink better. Fear not, it’s not going to break the bank. There are many good vodkas available for $20 bucks and rums for between  $20 and $30. You’ have to pay more for good tequila, bourbon or scotch. When drinking wine, you can usually find something for every day drinking between $20- 35.  And if money is an object, with a little research you can find a decent bottle for less than $20. Beer is all about personal preference regardless of price. The point is that the clock keeps ticking and you're not going to live forever. Opt for the good stuff when you drink.

8. Organic food – It costs more, but you are protecting your health by eating organic food. The processed packaged crap down the aisles in the supermarket may taste good, but it isn’t good for you, and non-organic produce and fruit has been sprayed with pesticides. Over time, eating this stuff can cause chronic health issues. Think of yourself as a sleek Mercedes-Benz 450SEL. To keep it running smoothly you don’t fill it with the cheapest fuel. And despite all the cute memes you read about bacon, it’s basically processed pork, and that is not good fuel for a luxury vehicle like you.

9. Your wallet – This might seem like a minor thing, but think of how many times you pull out your wallet every day. A good wallet sends the right psychological signals to your brain about your financial self-worth and to others as to how you value yourself and your money. Spend a few extra bucks and buy a good wallet. It will help you feel your best about your financial standing even in tough times. Stay classy, amigo.

10. The right relationship – Investing the time in finding and securing the right life partner is probably the best investment you will ever make. I stayed single for so long that close friends and family stopped asking me when I was getting married. I knew I was not ready, so I waited until I had the epiphany of making room in my heart for someone else before taking the plunge. Maybe it took me longer than most. That’s my business, but I’m glad I waited, and I am glad I made the right investment in the right woman for me.

I hope these tips help you make sound decisions about the things in life that are worth investing in. I’m sure I missed a few along the way, but this is a good start for any Guy’s Guy who wants to send out signals that say, “Hey, I’m a Guy’s Guy and this is how I roll.”

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is the actor and classic Guy’s Guy, Cary Grant. Although he may have swung ways, no worries and no judgments. He still was a Guy’s Guy. Despite his living in a different time, this guy was all class. Although I’m not sure how he invested in real estate, he died a rich man and oozed timeless style when he was alive. If you are ever in doubt about spending those extra dollars on any of the items I mentioned, ask yourself what would Cary Grant do and you can’t go wrong.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Love and Money

Robert Manni - Thursday, September 21, 2017


Once upon a time, guys paid for everything. And women were not your bosses. And jobs were not downsized and replaced by robots.

Life was so simple. Or was it? All the changes that have occurred over the past thirty years have reconfigured our lives and how men and women relate to one another. But throughout it all one thing has not changed. Money can still have a major effect on a relationship. So you better get on the same page with your partner when it comes to managing the cash. I’ve lived, loved, and learned a lot about money and relationships throughout these past three decades. Now I’m taking this opportunity to share a few secrets about how to make your relationship thrive when it comes to dealing with financial issues.

Surprisingly, the key to success isn’t necessarily tied to how much money the man or a woman earns. It’s more about the ways a couple share certain values about money. If they do, they can turn their love into a true partnership where everyone wins. But there’s no one size fits all solution. The world is a different place now, so if you are a guy, your partner may now earn more than you. And that’s one reason that couples need to be flexible about how they view cash. So, here are my insights in what I’m calling The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love and Money. To help clarify some of the issues and nuances I’ll segment my tips into three categories:

1. Dating – The best time to set the tone for dealing with money in a relationship is at the beginning. Although for the most part men still earn more than women and unfairly still get paid more to do the same work, many things have changed over the past thirty years. Back in the day, a guy would ask a woman out and pay for the date. It was accepted and expected. Nowadays, people meet online or through apps for a meet up, a coffee, or even a quickie. So things are more fluid.

And there’s more. Today’s young women are entering the workplace more educated than the guys, and are making more money than ever before. They don’t need a guy to take care of them financially like their parents’ generation rolled. But, that still does not mean women want to pay their equal share.  I’m not judging, but because of this perceptual selectivity, things can get off on the wrong foot and pretty sticky if a few ground rules are not put in place.

To make things work right from the start, I suggest that when a guy asks a woman out for drinks, coffee, or dinner that he pays for it. It makes sense, and who wants to end a first date on an awkward moment when the check arrives? Guys, suck it up and pay for that first date. After that, if you want to get together again, set up another date and when the bill arrives, don’t flinch. Reach for the check again. One of three things will happen—she’ll either let you pay, she’ll offer to split the tab, or she’ll pay for it herself. At this stage of the game, it still doesn’t matter. You can easily pay for a second date, so pick up the check and don’t sweat it. After that, you hope she comes up with a plan to treat you right, by maybe offering to take you out or inviting you over to her place for dinner. Any of those options is a good thing because what you want is a natural, comfortable flow where mature adults deal with money like champs and money is not an issue. Based on who earns more money and other factors, a pattern usually surfaces that suits both of you. However, if she never picks up a tab or makes you dinner or comes up with something to contribute on her own, it’s a potential red flag. The truth is that some women, regardless of how much money they earn, still feel that the guy is responsible for all of the cash outlays in a relationship. If that turns out to be the case, then you have to decide if that works for you. If you run a hedge fund and she’s a teacher, it should not be an issue. But if you are both earning about the same amount and she expects you to pay for everything, you’ve got to determine if it’s a workable situation. In my experience, all the cool women I’ve dated were chill when it came to doling out the cash. I’ve dated a few women who never reached for the check or never even baked me a cupcake. Over time, it didn’t feel right so I moved on. But, that’s just me. You have to find a happy place based on your income and what feels right for you, and for her also. If you like her, but she never, ever picks up the tab, there is nothing wrong with bringing up the subject, although it can be a touchy area that could become a deal breaker. But that’s better than avoiding a potential sore point.

2. Committed or co-habituating - In all likelihood, if you’ve gotten to the point in a relationship where you are committed or living together, you probably have a grip on the financial aspects of your relationship. Most likely, you have fallen into a groove where and you pay for different things. Maybe you pay the rent and she pays for groceries and cable. Or you pay for dinners out and she buys the groceries. Or, she moved into your pad so you handle the rent and she pays for utilities and meals. Whatever. The point is, by this time if you are in a real partnership you most likely have sorted out the money issues.

But, maybe not. There are many variables to consider. What if you bought a condo and she moves in? You pay the mortgage, what does she pay for? Does she expect to share the equity built into your place because she is living with you? Do you charge her rent? Will she be resentful if she pays you? Every situation is different, but one thing is for sure. You need to work out what feels right and consider any and all potential scenarios if you are living together or preparing to take that big step in a relationship. Like most things in life, it’s all about anticipation and expectations, so put on your thinking cap and make sure you have a fair-minded system that works for both of you. The last thing you want is for your partner to latch on to feelings of unspoken bitterness. That is often a silent but deadly relationship killer. Trust me. I’ve been there. Get your perspectives out in the open and be willing to discuss what you feel. Whatever you do, come to terms with a mutually agreeable solution before shacking up.

3. Married – Marriage comes with a whole new set of financial considerations. Many couples these days have at least one partner who has been previously married. They may have kids, or have a very specific set of financial issues they are dealing with. So when you marry, it’s good business to get full disclosure about their fiscal obligations, especially if you’re planning on pooling your assets.

There are a number of ways to make things work. Because life gets so complicated many older couples sign pre-nuptials before marrying a second or even a first time. You’ll need to determine if pooling your assets or maintaining separate bank accounts is the way to go. There are benefits to both paths. Couples usually save money when they jointly file their taxes, but that does not preclude their maintaining their personal investments, bank accounts, and credit cards.

And it’s only fair to consider these options, especially if one person has been very diligent about his or her credit score and savings while the other may play things a bit more fast and loose when it comes to managing debt and doling out cash and managing their lifestyle. There are huge discrepancies in how we spend money for what some consider everyday purchases where others consider those same things as unnecessary. Take coffee as an example. If you buy a good brand of coffee, brew it at home, and fill up your thermos each day you can save at least twenty bucks a week. That may be a drop in the bucket for some, but now add in the savings from making your lunch at home versus paying twelve bucks for a chopped up salad in a plastic container every day. You’ll probably save close to another fifty bucks a week just by schlepping your lunch to work.

The point is, the little things add up so make sure you and your partner are singing off of the same song sheet when it comes to how you two spend your cash. You don’t want to quibble about take out food, but if you are not paying attention, you may see your pile of dough sink a lot faster than you anticipated, mainly because you are no longer solely in control of it. The older I get, the more sense it makes for couples to maintain separate checking, savings accounts, and credit cards. This way you don’t have to totally freak out by having to see your partner’s purchases, although in reality you are probably sharing the costs of everything. You just don’t have to have the your partner’s purchases rubbed in your face all the time.

I’m a good saver so keeping some things separate has proven to be protective of the partnership. I do my best to maintain a cushion of savings for when things go haywire, which they often do. These days, people lose their jobs and change careers in a flash. That means couples need to be in synch when it comes to managing their money, and even more so when kids come into the picture. So think things through and talk about financial issues with your partner. You don’t want surprises. I promise you if you keep the lines of communication open it will eliminate most of the stress when things get random.

When it comes to money, whether dating, living together or married, couples need to find out what works best for them. We live in a capitalistic society driven by consumerism. There is no escaping our needing to face down various financial situations almost every day, including those inevitable rainy days, too. Think about money, talk about it with your partner, and get on the same page. When it comes to love and money, communication is the only way to make things work. Good luck.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK are all the couples who have found a system, a formula, and a way to co-exist in a financial partnership built on their love. It’s never easy, but it can be done. 

Do I Stay or Do I Go? (5 Reasons to Leave NYC, 5 Reasons to Stay)

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 03, 2017


Although more and more people are moving out of New York, it feels like the city gets more crowded every day.

The first few years of living in New York is a love affair. But over time it can turn into a love-hate affair. When I was a kid, my dad worked in the Empire State Building. New York was a beacon to me. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I knew I would live and work there when I grew up. After graduating college I knocked around suburbia for a few years before landing a job in the city. Whoot! I was a young buck working at global corporation in huge skyscraper in midtown traveling the globe selling bubble gum. Since then, I’ve never wanted to live anywhere else but New York. That is, until now. After a few decades of city living and finally settling down and having a child, city life has changed. These days, my wife and I are discussing our future and we’re not sure if New York City is going to be part of it. We’ve done so much here, but there is so much more out there for our son and us. So soon, we may be saying adios to NYC.

I don’t want to move and find myself bored with the pace of a So Cal beach town, freezing my ass off in New Hampshire, or feeling like I’m much too far way in New Zealand. I also don’t want to be so jaded to think that there is no other place to live besides NYC. And although I grew up in New Jersey, sorry Chris Christie, but I do not want to return to my roots in the Garden State. I’ve had enough of the tri-sate area.

So, I’ve mapped a handful of the pros and cons of living in the big city and whether or not it is time to move out. To stay or leave NYC is a big decision, so let’s explore the criteria.

REASONS TO STAY IN NYC

1. NYC is a 24/7 playground - There is always something to do in New York. Unless you want some quiet time, being bored is virtually impossible in a city that never sleeps. If you dig people, they are out and about at all hours of the day and night. If you don’t believe me, hop on a subway at midnight and chances are it will be overflowing with people coming home or going out. If you’re the type of person that often gets that late night itch to find some action or some great food, there is no better city in the world than NYC. Once you become accustomed to the lifestyle and having all the resources at your fingertips, it’s hard to fathom living anywhere else in the world.

2. The people, the energy, the culture - New Yorkers are a high-energy, purposeful, intelligent, and cultured group. People with that purpose-driven mindset come here from every other country to follow their dreams and become part of the fabric of this amazing city. We’ve got some crazies here, but that’s understandable when you jam eight million people together and expect them to fall into some semblance of order and organization. Over the years I’ve had neighbors from every continent on Earth all drawn to New York like flies to honey. And there is no other city in the world with the cultural diversity of New York. Open any issue of Time Out New York and hands down you’ll find more things to do and places to go for the arts, music, theater, and film than anywhere else.  You get four real seasons and you can hit the beach, the slopes, or a golf course relatively easily from midtown.

3. The food, the drink – Not only does New York offer indigenous foods and drinks from every culture on Earth, it’s also a leader in inventing and fusing new foods and cocktails, whether it’s Korean tacos, cronuts, or alcohol-infused ice cream. If it’s new and it tastes good, it usually starts here. And, you can get it delivered at any hour of the day or night. Check plus, plus.

4. If you can make it there… - Deep down, I think every New Yorker carries pride knowing they are making their mark in arguably the toughest arena in the world. Unlike life in other areas of the country, many New Yorkers live to work and take pride in being the best in their jobs. Of course all work and no play gets old, so most careerists know how to cut loose in their down time, often in extreme ways. If you don’t believe me, check out the action at the clubs and after-hours dens of diversions in sex, gambling, and other extreme activities. If you’ve got an itch for something edgy, yeah, you’ll find it here.

5. It’s constantly changing – If someone asked me what’s the one thing that I’ve learned that stands out about living close to three decades in New York, I’d have to say that New York City never stops moving, evolving and changing its shape. Nobody can keep up with the city, even if a lot of New Yorkers roll 24/7/365. No one person has the time, stamina or resources to harness the pulse of this ever-changing magical city. Hot new neighborhoods like Hudson Yards and Gowanus pop up like weeds all over the city.

There. I’ve laid out a strong case for living in and never, ever leaving New York. If only life was so simple. There is a big wide world out there, amigos and it’s important to know when it’s time to pack up the caravan and move on.

REASONS TO LEAVE NYC

1. The rent, and every thing else is too damn high – Can you really afford to pay $3,000 a month for a studio in midtown or would you rather live with four random roommates in a two bedroom walk up in Bed Stuy? That’s just the tip of the financial iceberg that impacts your quality of life in New York City. New Yorkers can handle it, but after awhile living like you did in college gets old. New Yorkers like convenience so they eat out for most of their meals. That along with cocktails, the daily Starbucks, and a trip to Whole Foods on the way home gets expensive. Unless you are a savvy New Yorker who has been here long enough to stay ahead of the housing trends, it’s tough to keep yourself out of debt when you are renting, raving, and rolling in the clubs until dawn and all the while working a backbreaking entry-level job. Over the past few decades the situation has gotten worse. Unless you got a break on a Wall Street job, most kids fresh out of college to wheel and deal and improvise just to find a place to live, and that sucks. Back in the day, you might have to live uptown or on the west side, but at least you could plant some roots and live relatively comfortably with some privacy when starting out. That’s tough now. Almost a deal breaker if you ask me. I would not want to have to commute from the depths of Brooklyn or the Bronx for an entry-level position. I always managed to live near my office and relatively close to the nighttime action. I’m not sure that’s possible these days. And it’s very expensive raising a child in this town. Swimming lessons go for $50 a half hour. That’s just the beginning, folks.

2. Mass transit is worse than purgatory – Unless you have a trust fund to draw on or a corporate Uber card, you are probably using the subway. Over the past few decades the subways have gotten way more crowded, and much less reliable. And now we’re in the mass transit “summer from hell”. Very simply, riding the subway sucks more than ever. The cars are dirty, unreliable, and overcrowded, even in the dead of night. New Yorkers, and human beings in general, deserve better. Did I mention subway service on the weekends? Hahahaha. For a long-time New Yorker, traveling by mass transit has become a sore point and an actual embarrassment that is below the standards of a quality of life that New Yorkers deserve. And I don’t see the situation improving.

3. The noise, the lights, the crowds – After three decades you’d think I’d be used to the sounds of pounding jackhammers and blaring sirens at all day and night. Nope. Where I live uptown, we are also treated to churn of motorbikes plowing down the streets at all hours. All the lights from the streets and businesses that stay open all night make it challenging for us New Yorkers to get a proper night’s rest. By now I’ve learned to sleep through anything but why should I have to shut my windows to dull the roar from the crowds outside the bars at 3 am? Did I mention the lines New Yorkers stand in for a cool movie, event, or a bargain? I now pass on anything requiring me to stand in line, unless they are giving out free money or sex.

4. City living can be toxic – New York City living is a stress-inducing experience. Don’t discount the effects of living in a cramped metropolis filled with all types of Wi-Fi, radiation, and radio waves bouncing around and throughout the entire city. Humans soak this stuff into our bodies and over time it collects in our systems and causes havoc to our health. Recent studies show that our once-thought-as-wonderful city drinking water is filled with carcinogens and heavy metals. Get a water filter and walk in the park whenever possible. And even though New York has come a long way since 9/11, it is still number one target for terror.

5. Been there, done that – Black outs, 9/11, hurricanes, massive snowstorms, a garbage strike, the AIDS crisis, sweltering heat waves, and blinding rain and floods have all been part of my life in New York City. Like Mick Jagger sang, “I’m in tatters”, after surviving these tumultuous years. After decades of running wild and finally settling, there comes a point of diminishing returns for living in the big city. It’s that, “do I really want to put up with this shit?” feeling when you’re dealing with the cable company, mass transit delays, broken elevators at the train station, “show time” on a crowded subway, or witnessing general bad behavior on the street in front of your kids. This stuff gives even the most ardent New Yorker pause about continuing to live in this crazy town. Admit it. You’ve thought about living elsewhere.

So where does this leave me? I’ve put myself on a two-year plan before making a final decision about leaving New York. After working for major corporations, ad agencies, start ups, I’m not sure if I want another nine to five gig in the city. Nowadays businesses no longer require employees to come into the office every day. More and more jobs are done virtually, so it doesn’t matter where you live. I’ve done or tried just about everything I’ve wanted to in this city. So I ask myself, why not cash in and check out of New York to start a more peaceful life with my wife and kid somewhere less interesting, but saner? It’s a decision I will be considering over the next twenty-four months. Until then, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. Now I’ve got to go back into the bowels of the sweltering subway and get on that filthy C train to take my kid to his expensive swimming lesson.

This week’s Guys’ Guy’s Guys of the Week are all the folks who have taken the leap and lived in the New York City. Some like it hot and some do not, but everyone here adds a bit of spice to this human zoo. I’ll see you in the crowded streets, amigos!

10 Questions Guys Need to Ask Themselves Before Getting Married

Robert Manni - Sunday, July 30, 2017


I was single for so many years that no one bothered asking me anymore when I was getting married.

But then I got married, and I am glad I did. Marriage is one of, if not the most important, decisions you will ever make; yet many folks take this life-changing decision lightly. Nowadays the divorce rate exceeds fifty percent and until recent times who ever heard of a “starter marriage”? Take it from a Guy’s Guy. Don’t get married until you are absolutely certain that she is the one or you will pay a big price for your folly. I know so many guys who either married too young, grew apart from their spouses, or decided wanted to trade in their partner for a younger, hotter model. They all have one thing in common. They’re paying for it now.

Now, I’m not saying that when two people become partners in this fast paced modern world that it is always going to work out just fine. No sir, amigo. Shit happens and some of it hits you in the face when you least expect it. And it’s not necessarily your fault or that of your spouse. Life gets complicated, so unless you are a true risk taker, I suggest you do your homework and then think long and hard before getting married. If this sounds harrowing, it shouldn’t. Getting married to the right woman can be the best thing that ever happens to a guy. Take it from one who waited before finally hitting the jackpot. My experience confirmed what my gut told me. Do not get married until it feels right inside. And when you find that special woman, you’ll breeze through my list of ten questions guys needs to ask themselves before getting married. When it feels right inside and the stars are aligned, the answers come quick and they’re affirming. I hope they work for you the way they worked for me. Here goes… 

1. Am I truly ready to be a married man? Marriage is a lifelong commitment. And it’s no joke, so make damn sure you’re aware of what you’re signing up for before you take that leap. Marriage means you are entering a partnership built on a bond built on love, trust and respect. I strongly suggest that you look inside and ask yourself if getting married feels like the right decision. If there is any hesitation, take a deep breath and ask yourself again. If your underlying hesitation remains, you might want to reconsider your options. Ignore any outside pressures. This is your life, amigo. You hold the answers inside your heart.

2. What kind of future will I have with her? Do your best to peek into your shared future and visualize the kind of life that awaits the two of you. Where do you want to live, work, play, vacation, travel, settle down and buy a home, and spend your sunset days together? These questions can go on and on. Do your best to “see” your future with this lady. If you like what you see, proceed to the next question.

3. Will I be content not shagging other women for the rest of my life? This is usually an unspoken area, but in many ways for a guy, it becomes the issue. And if you are a horn dog like me, you’ll want a woman in total synch with your boning stylings. If she is the only one you’ll be rumpling the sheets with, you two better be simpatico about sex. Maybe, and this is a long shot, you both will be cool with an open marriage. It could happen, but don’t count on it. Unless you are a douche, once you tie the knot, your prowling nights are over. Yeah, you can always look at the menu, but ultimately the big dogs like to eat. Make sure you are cool with this.

4. What are her expectations? Guess what? It’s not all about you. If she’s going to invest her body, mind, and spirit in commune with you for what could be her entire life, she deserves to know what she’s getting into. If you think she’s the one for you, make sure you don’t hold back any creepy secrets that would give her pause. Let her know about your dreams and aspirations and how you’ll be there for her. And ask her what she expects from you along the way. It’s only fair that you are transparent and that you feel comfortable with her needs.

5. Do you both want kids? This can be a deal breaker. Everyone has their own vision of what their future family will look like, and not every woman wants to have kids, or wants to stay home and care for them. So if you want three kids and she wants none, or she wants to work and you want her to raise the kids, these issues could become a sore point as the years go by. Maybe you’ll have to take care of the kids! It happens a lot nowadays. Will she be cool with that? Will you? Get the details about children out in the open before walking to the altar. I was single for so long that I didn’t think I would ever become a father, and I was okay with it. That said—I kept an open mind in case the woman I married wanted to start a family. And here I am now, a doting father of a four year old. And I could not be happier.

6. Do I like her family? You might not think that this matters, but it does. In the vast majority of cases, you’re going to have quite a few interactions with your in-laws. So if you really can’t stand being around them, think twice before moving forward. Hey, you might find out that they don’t like you either. 

7. Does she make me laugh? The power of humor is underrated. When I think about it, most of my friends are funny, or at least know how to laugh. If you can’t make your future wife laugh, you are in trouble. And hopefully, she can get a rise out of you, too. This becomes important when you fight (which you will) and how you make up (which you will also do). I highly recommend finding a partner that laughs easily at your shenanigans. You want to make her laugh, don’t you? 

8. Do I really want to grow old with her? Fast forward thirty or forty years. She no longer rocks a black bikini the way she used to, and maybe she’s put on a few pounds. And you have less hair, worse eyesight, and a belly. Can you handle that? I actually weigh less than I did thirty years ago and I still run the same times. Why? Because I give a shit and I invest time in taking care of myself. And, frankly I expect the same of my partner. Think about how you will handle her looks and health three decades from now. Can you handle the variables? My advice is that you set the example by taking care of your health and fitness as a matter of lifestyle and pride. There is nothing wrong with a little pride when it’s for the greater good.

9. Does she fight fair? Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are like an old married couple. They fight, they avoid one another, and yet they still make wonderful music when they come together. Be like Mick and Keith. You can fight, but don’t hit below the belt. And always forgive. That doesn’t mean you become a doormat. You may not instantly forget shit they may have done, but it means that you don’t allow your partner’s behavior or your anger eat you up from the inside. The point is, marriage is a like long dance when it comes to managing emotions. Take the lead and make it a waltz. 

10a. Do we share the same values? Another underrated, but important thing to consider. By values, I’m referring to what you value you as people. It’s not about money. We’ll get to that. It’s more about how you both see humanity, and your role in making this world a better place. Do you both care about this, or is she the only one who cares about clean water, feeding the poor, education, and health care. What if she prefers country life and you dig the big city? Think about all of your values or you may end up marrying someone with a completely different set of beliefs. Can you imagine a Trump loyalist married to a Bernie supporter? You think that would work out?

10b. Are we in synch on financial issues? To solve a mystery, they often say, “follow the money”. When it comes to marriage, you best be in synch when it comes to how you view and handle the cash. If not, you could be in deep shit, and it could happen quickly. Nowadays, many couples have separate bank accounts. I think this is a good practice, but it doesn’t guarantee that financial issues won’t beguile your marriage. Money problems are near the top of every divorce hearing. There is a reason for it. People have their individual relationships to money, many times formulated during their upbringing. If you like to save and she likes to spend, good luck, champ.

11. BONUS QUESTION - What’s in it for her?  Why should she marry you? Think about it. What do you have to offer her that would inspire her to spend the rest of her life listening to you snore and watching the Jets lose? She can give you love, emotional support, children, and the kind of love that only a woman can share. What are you going to do for her? If it all boils down to is you making a paycheck, you are skating on thin ice, amigo. Think long and hard about how you can add to her life emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. She deserves it. So do you.

With marriage there is a lot to consider, but then again, if it’s meant to be, you’ll breeze through these questions. If you have to think long and hard about any of the points I raised, then you might want to think hard and possibly reconsider your options. After all, you want to be fair to yourself and your partner. If deep down, it really doesn’t feel right, no matter how much pressure you may be under, don’t do it. After all, who wants to spend their life with someone who may secretly not feel the same about them?

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is my father, Serge Manni. He was twenty-five when he married my mother, who was 21. They have been married for 67 years now. Sure, they have had their arguments and they are very different people, but underneath it all they have consistently maintained their love for one another. And ultimately, love is the fuel that drives a marriage. Good luck, amigo. I hope you make the right decision. It will change your life. Just ask any Guy’s Guy.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Navigating Change

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 25, 2017


Change doesn’t come easy for a lot of us, but it’s something we all need to come to terms with if we want to live happy, fulfilling lives.

Change comes at us in many forms. Sometimes it’s organic, just a natural part of our journey. Other times it’s thrust upon us whether or not we want it or are prepared for its repercussions. But one thing is for sure—change is part of life and the faster we come to terms with it, the better off we’ll be.

Even us Guy’s Guys often find themselves challenged when faced with change. Like most people, we’re creatures of habit. Job loss, a sudden break up with a girlfriend, or the death of a loved one can often be devastating and require maturity skills to cope with life’s sway. And although not all change is bad, even a windfall of money brings with it important decisions that can have a lasting impact on the road ahead.

I’ve been going through a number of changes lately and have finally have come to terms with the fact that if you live in the present, change is a lot easier to deal with. So here are a handful of tips to help you navigate through the infinitesimal changes that will come your way, whether you like them or not. Did you really think Trump would become president? Talk about change…

1. Stay present - Although change is omnipresent, it comes in different forms. Some of it seems good. In other instances, not so good. Whatever the circumstances are, living in the now keeps you balanced and adaptable. Being present means having your head screwed on right and your hand on the wheel. This makes a huge difference in how you roll, and gives you a major leg up when things get shaken to the core. So when shit happens, even good stuff, try not to overreact. Take a deep breath and exhale. Don’t do anything yet besides grounding yourself. Get your footing before you deal. It will make a difference.

 

2. Take stock of the situation - Let’s say your boss just called you in and fired you out of the blue. Or, maybe you just won $100,000 from your scratch off. Obviously these are very different scenarios with different implications, but in both cases it doesn’t pay to overreact. Nowadays, almost everyone loses a job at one point or another. My dad worked for the same company for forty years with the same colleagues. How often does that occur now? Rarely. So even though your parents might think losing your job is the end of the world, it’s not. In fact, in most cases it can turn out to be a very good thing.

But, a lot depends on how you handle yourself. If you win a hundred grand in Lotto, it’s cool, but it isn’t that much money, especially after taxes. So, before blowing it all on a hot car or material indulgences, sort out exactly how much your win is worth. It’s probably not as much as you expected. But now you know, so give yourself major thumbs up and buy yourself and your lady a nice treat. I’m not saying that you should bank the rest, but don’t be too quick to jet out to Vegas if you want to make that cash work for you.

3. Find the lesson - Nothing in life is sporadic. It’s all about cause and effect, amigo. When your world is suddenly flipped upside down, there’s usually a reason behind it. So whether you lost your gig or had that windfall of coin, there’s a good chance that your actions had something to do with it. I know Lotto is a game of chance, but you did buy that scratch off at that same bodega when Hector was behind the counter, so you did play a role in your stroke of luck. In the case of the job loss, there is always a reason. I’m not suggesting it was your fault. But, there were certainly factors in the decision, and when it’s work related, in most cases it comes down to the money. All of us can become collateral damage when revenues decline. Don’t take it personally, but also be honest with yourself and see if you can discern why you got the axe. Then, keep it in mind for the next time your company trims its headcount. 

4. Be appreciative - This is obviously easier when the changes are good, like in the winning that scratch off. But, even if you lose a job, it almost always leads to other doors opening when the timing is right. And if you follow the first three steps, at some point, you’ll probably find yourself shaking your head and realizing that the gig wasn’t right for you long term anyway. So there you go. 

5. Consider your options, make a plan, and take action – Regardless if the changes were bad or good, after you’ve taken stock of the situation, found the lesson and given thanks to the universe, it’s time to get cracking. Use change and even chaos to make things happen. Most people are sleepwalking through life anyway, so use your recent experiences, bad or good, to elevate your game. Bruised or battered or better, you’re stronger now, so decide what you want and then go kick some ass. After all, you’re a Guy’s Guy.

This week’s GUY’S GUY OF THE WEEK is David Bowie. This man was the consummate changeling—writer, musician, singer, and a true creative chameleon. Wasn’t he the GG who sang, “Ch-ch-ch-changes…?”

17 Ways You Can Save Money in NYC

Robert Manni - Friday, July 22, 2016


Money comes and money goes. And when it goes, it can go quickly.

So, for many of us living in these uncertain economic times, every few bucks saved can add up. That’s why every now and then your Guy’s Guy likes to share some of his hacks for saving coinage, even in a big, bad city where everything seems to cost more than anywhere else in the country. Although most of you thrifty-minded peeps will recognize some of these tips, let’s hope that you can garner a few new ideas while also refreshing your memory about the ones you already know, but may not be executing. You can talk about saving money all you want, but if you take a taxi to and from work each day you either have money to blow or when it comes to saving bucks, you are not doing a good enough job. So, here are seventeen go-to tips for keep money change in your pocket and seeing less go down the drain.

1. Walk whenever possible – New York is a great walking city and hoofing it is an excellent way to stay in shape and burn unwanted calories.

2. If you can’t walk, take public transportation  Another no-brainer that most New Yorkers have figured out. Plus, with so many of us on the trains and buses at all hours of the day and night, mass transit travel has never been safer relative to the amount of people using the MTA.

3. When necessary Uber, Via, Lyft, etc. instead of cabs – Hey, sometimes we all need a ride home. Sorry taxis. You did not adapt to a changing culture. Maybe you will now.

4. Don’t buy a newspaper – Everything is online in real time anyway. Who wants to toke the Times around on a crowded subway and who has time to read it except on the weekends? If you can’t get online, the two free daily papers will do just fine during a quick ride to the office.

5. Bring your lunch to work – There certainly are a lot of hot women in short skirts standing on that long line for Chop’t, but is it worth it to pay $12 for a salad in a plastic container that you eat at your desk while working up another Excel spreadsheet? Make lunch at home and bring it to work a few days during the week. You’ll live, and you’ll also eat better. Use the savings to buy drinks for those women on the Chop’t line.

6. Bananas  They are really good for you (potassium). And, you can still get a nice big one for a quarter if you buy four in a bunch. Bananas taste great and they become more nutritious when their skin begins to turn.

7. Happy hour – I don’t think I need to explain this one. But how many times have you walked into a bar ten minutes after happy hour ended? Drinking in bars is expensive, amigos. Getting a head start will save some cash. Who knows, you might get free apps with that cocktail, too.

8. Drink at home before going out on weekends – I’m not pushing alcohol, but if you do drink, top shelf drinks can run you $20 a round. That adds up.

9. Buy top shelf booze in large sizes at discount stores – Your Guy’s Guy only drinks the good stuff, so I did my research and found some liquor stores that have deals on discontinued items. In fact I recently bought a $54 bottle of tequila for $18.99 at Broadway Discount off Astor Place. That’s a $35 savings for a tasty tequila.

10. Movie Matinees – Believe it or not, you can still score a deal to see new movies on the big screen. AMC theaters offer a $7.50 price for before noon.

11. Netflix – Everyone has access to Netflix. But, have you thought about how much you can save using it?  If you enjoy binge watching Marco Polo you can get a whole season of the show for a song versus what you pay for a movie in the theater or for premium cable.

12. Books, CD’s, DVD’s – I recently purchased a returned hardcover copy of the brand new best-selling book about the Rolling Stones for half price at Strand. Now that I’ve read it, I will sell it back again along with my CD’s and DVD’s wherever I can get a fair shake for my goods. It adds up.

13. Coupons – Maybe Mom really did know best. Since I don’t buy most of the processed crap they sell down the aisles of the supermarket I rarely use grocery coupons. That said, with my trusty Coupon Sherpa app I can always get a deal when shopping for clothes at J.Crew, Gap, Levis, etc. There are also coupons for eyeglasses, travel, and a few dining options that are palatable to a New Yorker’s tastes.

14. Bring your coffee from home – For the investment in a quality lightweight thermos you can reap major savings by buying a top shelf brands of coffee or tea and making batches at home. I always keep a big jug of chilled home made organic rooibos tea or organic coffee on hand for the summer months. It saves me hundreds of dollars.

15. Free stuff – The free daily newspapers usually list the free things going on in the city over the coming weekend. It could be yoga classes, concerts, and other things of value. And these events are great ways to meet new peeps with similar interests. Worth a shot...

16. Lasker Pool – There is a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool open all summer at the northwest end of Central park near the Harlem Meer. The pool is spotless and you can swim laps early in the morning. Most people have never heard of it, but it’s real.

17. Quit the gym in the summer- Unless you are going four or five days a week, the gym can be a major waste of money in the summer. There are lots of ways to stay in shape outside and on your own.  And if necessary, you can always take a class or buy multiple classes at a bulk discount. Now put on those running shorts and shoes.

There are lots more ways to save, but this feels like a good place to stop for now. The point is that although NYC can be a very expensive place to live, there are always ways to save money if you use that same big brain that scored you that cool job in the Big Apple to save a few bucks hear and there. It all adds up. See you at Happy Hour.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the Week is Asa Candler who launched the first coupon in 1887. He was also the owner of Coca-Cola. Very smart guy.

See also: Money Hacks from your Guy's Guy

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Working at Home

Robert Manni - Friday, April 08, 2016


If you don’t have to get up at 7am to schlep to an office in the bitter cold, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of lounging around your flat all day in your pajamas.

But that’s not how championships are won or how you pay the rent. When you’re working from home, especially after spending years toiling in a traditional corporate environment, things can get dicey quickly. There is an additional skill set you’ll need to deploy to make a go of it. It’s called discipline and time management. And, you’ll need to do so without the resources you had while working in a large team at an office.

Let’s face it, even in the most stringent corporate office environments, you can take solace knowing you can become invisible every so often without forgoing your paycheck. That changes when you're working freelance from your home office.  When you're on your own, time really is money in or out of your pocket, so you need to be sharp. Yes, many jobs are becoming virtual due to our being tethered to technology, but when you’re working virtually at a real company you still show your face every so often, and with that comes the usual office politics and gamesmanship. Plus, you still collect a paycheck.

When you are flying solo, maybe in a creative endeavor like writing, art, or music, you need to master the fine points for being your own boss and motivator pronto, and it ain’t always easy. That calls for some insights from your Guy’s Guy. After all, he’s been slugging it out from home for a few years now and he knows a thing or two about managing time and making the most of a day while working from the home HQ. With that I offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Working From Home. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few nuggets that will help you on your way to more productive days and the fame and fortune that awaits you from your solo pursuit of success.

Drum roll please…

1. Set routines – Okay, this may sound boring, but managing your time while working from home is mission critical to success when going it alone. It’s far to easy to sleep late, get distracted by Facebook, memes, and all the media that’s hurled our way every second of the day. I’ve found it extremely helpful to set my iPhone and mental alarm clock every morning. I'm usually awake before the alarm goes off, so I use the time to for a short meditation based on being thankful for my health, family, abundance, and joy. I do this every day and it gets me off on the right foot. I get up and swish coconut oil around my mouth for twenty minutes before drinking a big old glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in. While swishing I feed my cat and help my toddler get ready for school. By 8:30 I’m usually on my own and ready to work hard for the next six hours. On most days, I crank out 70 push-ups, work out for an hour, or go for a run. The physical activity ignites my mind, body, and spirit for the rest of the day. The discipline of a routine is good for the mind and necessary when you have a dream, time on your hands, and working from home on your own. Once I sit down to work, I listen to digital tracks created to help my focus, creativity, and IQ enrichment. In fact, I’m listening to one right now. Then I work, work, work until mid-afternoon. I might take a short break for lunch. I use that time to check my email, etc. between mouthfuls of nutritious food.

Have I been tempted to loaf around in my shorts, watch sports, porn, movies, or scour Twitter, Facebook and the like? Sure, but that's a quick path to a downward spiral. Maybe you’re more adept than me at juggling your time and getting things done. That’s good. For most, a routine can be our friend when making the transition to working from home. Without the usual office distractions and office meeting nonsense, you can get a lot done in six or seven hours.

2. Get out of the house - Although getting the written work done is extremely important, it’s also critical to get outside and maintain your relationships and connection to society. During the long winters in the northeast, I’ve found it easy to stay inside for days at a time. Not good. Sure, I get a lot done, but I find myself becoming insulated at my workstation in my man cave. When I do this, I find that whatever I’m working on or what is on my mind becomes all-consuming. I also have a tendency to take things too seriously so I get too intense and eager. That’s why I go for a run, talk a walk, or hop on the subway and meet up with my friends or former colleagues for lunch or a beverage. Frankly, it reminds me about my professional cred and reputation, and that people I respect are pulling for me to break through. And, that’s exactly what is happening.

3. Don’t neglect yourself – As mentioned, part of my routines focus on nourishing my mind, body, and spirit to enhance my productivity and chances for success. So, I eat organic food, hydrate throughout the day, work out regularly, and even forgo alcohol and recreational drugs when I'm inspired to do so. Over time, I find myself less in need of booze, pot and whatever else used to turn me on. This may sound like a boring lifestyle, but it’s anything but tedious. My mind is fresh with new ideas and I have the psychic energy to grind out projects in one sitting. It’s all good and I know I can enjoy a glass of wine or tequila if that’s what I want after my work is done.

4. Shun media – Although I come from the media business and have made a good living from it, I also know how easy it is to fall prey to staring at the television, social media, or simply binge-watching sports, movies or cable series like Billions or Ray Donovan. It’s easy to get sucked in, but there is a way around being pulled into it. The key is not turning on the television until all of your work has been completed for the day. At first it’s challenging, but it soon becomes a non-issue when you realize how much you can actually accomplish during the day if you're not goofing off.

Did I enjoy being part of a functioning team, having the tangible accomplishments you get when working in an office, and bonding with lots of other people? Yes, but I also have a dream, and sometimes dreams require you going it alone.

So, I hope you’ve gleaned some insights that will give you a good start to making the most of your time if you decide to work from home. If you find that flying solo is not your cup of tea, I hope you find your way back to the rat race. But remember, they call it that for a reason.

This weeks’ GUY’S GUY of the Week are all the people who took a chance and went for it, whether they worked from their studio apartment, mother’s basement, or even out of their car. Success to you, amigos.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Holiday Hacks

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 10, 2015


Let’s face it; our culture has sucked the fun out of the holidays. Between our bowing to political correct greetings, decorations on display in October, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, tipping everyone from the dental hygienist to the dude who bags your groceries, and those omnipresent holiday musical playlists, this time of year can be tough. How can we deal with the calamity without turning into a Grinch?

Take heart, amigos. There is a bright side to this holiday story. Your Guy’s Guy is stuffing your digital stocking with his helpful hints to give you a firm handle on the season before it can rise up and devour your soul. And it makes no difference which holiday you celebrate. Everyone needs a strategy and flawless execution to help make the holiday season joyful

So, here is my not-so-secret Santa gift — The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Holiday Hacks.

1. Plan early and often.
This critical first step requires only a modest investment of your energy, but pays off handsomely in dollars and hours saved by the time Santa squeezes his big butt down your chimney. December flies by at the speed of a reindeer on PED’s, so it’s important to plan in advance. A good first step is to begin a mental checklist in September and October of things to consider for the upcoming season. In fact, it’s never too early to plan or be on the lookout for things you’ll need once we enter the season to be jolly. My wife buys wrapping paper whenever she sees a pattern or material she likes, regardless of the time of year. Sounds crazy, but it saves her time in December.

For the rest of us, the best way to get started is by asking a few key questions. Where will I be celebrating and with what people? Who do I want to (and need to) exchange presents with? How much can I (and do I) want to spend? Mull this over during your commute, on the treadmill or even when showering. Then, grab your iPhone, jot down a few notes and let them it sit. Subconsciously, you’re laying the groundwork for a successful plan and execution. Over the coming days, you’ll come up with things you omitted and revise your checklist, and that’s good. Soon you should have your game plan mentally mapped out and documented. Although it’s just a guideline, you’re getting off on the right foot start.

2. Do your research online and offline.
There are plethora of digital apps for price comparisons and tools to find the best deals and best times to buy. A quick walk through a few selected retailers before Thanksgiving can also give you a good idea as to what items are hot and in ample supply. For instance, UNIQLO is the king of lightweight down jackets and vests, so you know they will be a few mega-sales during December/Christmas. The point is, if you are mindful and invest a few minutes into research both online and offline for ideas and deals, I assure you that you will spark some ideas and score bargains. Gone are the days of frantically marching through big box retailers the week before Christmas.

3. Consider themes.
After compiling your list of the peeps you want to buy presents for and your budget, consider a common theme for the bulk of these gifts. By the time December rolls around and we’re on the clock, buying one theme that fits all actually levels the playing field and prevents hassles about who got what because everyone's getting something similar. Hey, I’m just being practical here.

Let’s say you need to buy gifts for a bunch of kids. Unless there has been a special request or there's something you specifically wanted to give one of your nieces or nephews, themes save a lot of time. My nephews live for the Dallas Cowboys so last year I bought them both Cowboys caps and shirts and they were happy campers. This year I decided on polar tech across the board, including gifts for siblings and cousins, etc. I’ll drizzle a few more tasty items on top if I see something I like for someone. Of course you will want to be more selective for the people that are closet to you. And the spirit needs to come from a place where there is joy in giving.

3. Booze – Who doesn’t like a select bottle of wine, tequila or rum? If your loved ones indulge, they are probably putting out the full assortment of beer, wine and spirits throughout the holidays. Although it’s not an exciting gift, a nice bottle of wine or spirits comes in handy, for guests or even for (Gasp), regifting. Hey, we all do it and booze is perfect for passing along holiday cheer.

4. Tips and gift cards – You can find tipping guidelines online for everyone from your hairdresser to your doormen. But really, just give an amount that feels right. When time is running out or you’re not sure what to give someone, you can’t go wrong with gift cards. You can find them for everything, if you can’t come up with an idea; all of the credit card companies offer gift cards.

I realize it’s already getting late, and that not all of this is news to many of you. My goal, as a Guy’s Guy, is to help you in whatever way possible, to be at your best during the holiday season. It’s a time for giving, but also a time filled with stress. Have a safe, healthy holiday season and remember the true meaning of all these holidays is bringing loved ones and mankind together in peace.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are the retailers who did not open on Thanksgiving.

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

The Guys' Guy's Money Hacks

Robert Manni - Monday, March 30, 2015


Bruce Springsteen sings, “Times are tough. They keep getting tougher. The world is rough. It’s getting rougher.” And he was right.

If you have money, the past eight years have been a boom. The stock market has doubled and interest rates have stayed down. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, during this period the average person’s standard of living has declined while their cost of living has skyrocketed.

Guys' Guys enjoy the high life, but they’re also practical and resourceful. They know how to do bend with the breeze and make do with the simple pleasures. Over the years I’ve learned a number of ways to manage my cash when times got tight.

Here is my list of money hacks for when you need them, and even when you don’t.

1. Eat at home – I’m not suggesting that you never dine out, especially in Fun City. But you can use your noodle when it comes money and to your dining choices. I lived the high life for years on agency and corporate expense accounts. It was great fun and an effective way to establish relationships and conduct business outside the office. But NYC is freaking expensive, so unless you have a fat expense account or are killing it as an investment banker, professional sports star, etc, dining out all the time is impractical. Yet, to partially combat their loneliness, many single people in the city eat out at least a half dozen times a week, and that gets expensive.

The other consideration is health. When you eat dinner at home, you can choose organic, healthy foods. And let’s fact it; most restaurants cook and serve GMO foods laden with butter, oil and salt. So eating at home more often will save you money and keep you healthier.

1a. Bring your lunch to work - When I worked in midtown a modest take out lunch would run me about $10-12 bucks a day. Add in a coffee and a snack and the total rises to closer to $20. That’s $100 per week and $400 per month. This does not include dinner and a cocktail with your mates. If you bring your lunch to work, and maybe a thermos of your favorite beverage, your cost is probably reduced by $70 per week and $280 per month. That’s real cash.

2. Shop online – In big cities, people love to unwind after work by stopping into a retail store on their way home from work and impulsively purchasing another piece of clothing to stuff inside their overcrowded closet. Remember the old 80-20 rule. We usually wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. You can always convince yourself that you need another pair of shoes, but this gets expensive.

Unless I need to touch and feel a product, I buy my stuff online. Oftentimes, I score free shipping, and if not, there is always Amazon Prime, which is a pretty good deal if you use it frequently. The other benefit of shopping online is that it keeps me out of the stores. Yes, I know we get sucked into buying stuff online via consumer retargeting ads, but if you have an iota of discipline, you can simply click to another site and poof, it’s gone. Bottom line, if you are on a tight budget, stay out of stores unless you know exactly what you need to buy.

3. Buy in bulk – There are certain household items we use every day, and this is where buying in bulk can save you real money. If you shop at the better supermarkets, you can usually find major savings on larger sizes. I recently bought a gallon of Bragg apple cider vinegar for $15 at a leading chain. That’s more than a 100% savings on the smaller size. And I use it every day. There are plenty of deals for bulk items online too, and most of the sites will throw in free shipping. I’ve even gotten free shipping on oversized bags of kitty litter. So not only did I not have to lug that big bag home, I also saved a bundle by purchasing the jumbo size.

4. Before going out for the night, have a snack at home – Guys’ Guys prefer top shelf booze. And in Manhattan, a mixologist drink will run you twenty bucks when tax and a tip are included. That adds up quickly. If you are on a first date, two drinks and a few appetizers is one hundred dollars. I’m not suggesting that you drink before a date, but if you’re meeting up with your buds, it’s not a bad idea to eat before heading out. I’m sure you can whip up something at home more tasty and nutritious than a greasy bar burger.

5. Give up eating meat – I stopped eating meat seven years ago and I have never felt better. Your body does not require eating dead animals to function. In fact, with the current abhorrent factory farming practices, you will be healthier if you forego meat. And guess what, a plant-based diet is cheaper and much better for you. I realize that this is not for everyone, but if you give meat a rest, your taste buds will quickly evolve to enjoying veggie burgers the same way you once craved a bloody bacon cheeseburger. Your heart, waistline, and wallet will thank you also.

6. Enjoy the simple pleasures– That means life’s simple pleasures like reading and spending more time outdoors. I do my best to read a book every week. E-books are cheap and portable, and there's always the library. The city parks are great places for a long walk or a run, and they are also fun for a date. Just being outdoors gives you a needed respite from the stale air in your office or apartment. And it’s free. NYC.gov also publishes a list of free events in the city every week and some of them are pretty cool.

7. Reward yourself – If you manage to do all of the things on this list, congratulations. You are healthier, you have more cash in your pocket, and so, you deserve a treat. Do something fun and forget about the money. It’s good for the soul. If you stick to a more mindful approach to your money, you won’t even notice a dent in your wallet.

These are certainly not solutions for getting out of real debt or making more money in business, but when you are living paycheck to paycheck, like 50% of America does, the benefits from these hacks can serve you well. I hope they work for you.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. You’ve patiently poured through this article and picked out some the tips that fell right for you to try. Now the next step is putting them into practice and saving some cash. Congrats!


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