Friday, November 14, 2014

Power of the Baseline

Power of the Baseline
We have dirt cheap cell phone service: $5 or $10 a month, per phone, on a pay-as-you-go plan. We use basic Android phones through PTel, a T-Mobile "MVNO" (a kind of subcontractor who provides cell phone services, but does not actually own the network). How do we keep costs so low? We primarily use free options to call and text (Google Voice for free texts and free calls in Gmail) when we're by our computers or in wifi. Which is all the time. We learned about this stuff from IP Daley, the guru of all things telecom, who we met on Mr. Money Mustache's forums.

Monday, November 3, 2014

House Lust

House Lust
I want this house.
I owe you all an apology. I've once again fallen off the radar, both from writing on this blog and from reading yours. There are a lot of little reasons. For one, as I work from home, I've moved my laptop to the living room as my computer is a constant distraction during work hours. This is good for my career but, admittedly, not so good for reading or writing blogs from nine to five. As often happens with habit change, there are unintended consequences (i.e. - I don't use my laptop very much in the evenings). I've also been studying for a professional certification, with the first out of three tests now completed. The tests are proving harder than I thought they'd be. But my biggest time bandit has been house lust.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

When Sunk Costs Help

When Sunk Costs Help
I love my little sister. After our parents divorced, we became modern day latchkey kids. We spent every weekday afternoon after school hanging out and playing mancala and watching t.v. And, yeah, back then I sort of tortured her, too. But in a loving, big-brother kind of way. The funny thing is that we grew up into such different people, even though we were raised in the same household. My sister is completely health conscious, hiking all over the place and eating organic foods; but exercise and diet are a constant struggle with me. I'm obsessed with finances and investments, while my sister would rather be doing something, maybe anything, else.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Social Capital vs. Financial Capital

Social Capital vs. Financial Capital
Today I'm on the roundtable of the Stacking Benjamins podcast, along with Len PenzoGreg McFarlane, and Joe Saul-Sehy. We're talking about retirement, ownership trends of certain assets, and when you might be saving too much. It is my very first podcast and, go figure, immediately after having me on the show, Stacking Benjamins won the Plutus Award for "Best Podcast". Coincidence? 

If you have an hour to burn, click here to give it a listen. And if you just want to skip to the roundtable, you can fast forward to 11:15. And...back to the blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Convenient Narratives

Last month I wrote about an NPR podcast that outlined how the real cost of education is not rising all that dramatically. In inflation adjusted dollars, the amount may be going down slightly. This is not the narrative we hear when we turn on the television or radio. We hear about skyrocketing tuition and fees that the average American family simply cannot keep up with. The truth is trickier than that. But I suspect that we're more comfortable hearing news stories and statistics that confirm what we already think: confirmation bias at work.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Is College Really Getting More Expensive?

Thanks to my only real source of news, NPR podcasts, I learned that the cost that college students are paying for tuition isn't rising very fast at all. This story from Planet Money tells a very different narrative than the one I'd been hearing for years. So I was skeptical. But as the good folks at NPR make clear, the disparity makes sense. There are two costs being tracked: the sticker price, which is the cost that colleges list on their official websites, and the net price, the average price that students actually end up paying. So while the sticker price is increasing, most students do not pay the sticker price.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Am Miley Cyrus

A quick note: I offered to write about any subject whatsoever if someone could get my comments to show up again on other blogs. EcoCatLady came to the rescue with a tip on Akismet, which was great, but then she took me up on my offer to do an in-depth analysis of Miley Cyrus' cover of "Jolene", which was terrifying. I mean, it's cute to say you can write 800 words on an ironic subject. Then someone calls your bluff, and you have to stare into your computer monitor and face the hard the truth: you only have about 80 words in the hopper, and they are not even good words. But, a promise is a promise, so it's time to give it the old college try. Lord help us.