I wrote this post Saturday noonish, after returning from a morning out at the farmers’ market. I’ve noticed that far too often the term “farmers’ market” is thrown around when the event is actually more of an arts-and-crafts fair. This one today certainly was. I only saw two booths actually selling produce. Most of the vendors were selling seashell earrings, craft breads, birdhouses made out of salvaged wood, and so on. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s enjoyable for the kids (lots of music, balloons and this weekend, Easter Eggs). But going to one of these so-called “farmers’ markets” is no more than a trip to a mall. It’s outdoors, and it’s more pleasant, handcrafted stuff than the plastic-and-polyester junk at a mall, but it’s still people trying to get you to drop money on junk you don’t need.
Links of the week:
Defense Beats Offense: I agree, for the most part, but to use a football analogy all the defense in the world isn’t going to help you when you’re losing. If you’re deeply in debt – I’m talking six figures – you may need to play some offense and increase your earnings, or you’ll spend a long time waiting for coupon clipping to save you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but if you start a side business and establish a new wealth stream, you’re going to pay it off faster than you can by pennypinching alone.
Seth’s Blog: First and never: I don’t link to Seth much – he doesn’t need MY help – but this was insightful, I thought.
Use Less Soap and Detergent in the Washing Machine: Referencing an article in the NY Times, this caused some habit changes in my household, too.
Know your limitations when you do it yourself: Definitely. It took me as long to put crown molding in one room in our old house in Jersey as it took a skilled craftsman to do the rest of the house.
Postpone College In Order to Pay For It With Cash?: Maybe not postpone, but if you have to take out more than $40,000 or so in today’s dollars, you would be better off either (a) going somewhere less expensive or (b) postponing college and working instead. Incurring more debt than your expected first year’s salary is, frankly, stupid.
6 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your Next Car: I hate buying cars, to be honest – I dread the whole process. Part of my problem is that I seldom manage to pay attention to tips…
Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss Reviewed: I’ve reviewed the Four-Hour Work Week too (see “the four(ty) hour workweek | brip blap“), and it’s a book worth reading. Whether you agree with it, or aspire to that lifestyle, is up to you. I aspire to it but I don’t work enough to achieve it.
How to Make Extra Money with Your Brain: Your brain is, of course, the main instrument of wealth-building unless you’re a pro athlete, and even then I’d argue that the difference between a run-of-the-mill pro athlete and a star athlete is probably linked more to the brain than to pure physical prowess.
Should You Do a Roth Conversion?: I’ve been debating this, but my conspiracy theory brain always kicks in: I do not believe that in the 2040s, when I’d be withdrawing from a Roth, that they will still be tax-free. I think our brilliant leaders will find a way to penalize “rich people” who have bothered to save money in their “fancy tax shelters” and we’ll see means-based withdrawal taxes. You just wait and see. It’s coming, sooner or later, for ALL retirement savings. The middle class “rich” who relied on the honesty of the government (seldom see those four words in a row, do you?) will see that all of these promised benefits will be jettisoned to take care of a war with Canada or Myanmar or whoever’s playing Eastasia that year (we have always been at war with Eurasia, Winston). End rant.
Thoughts on Tipping Etiquette: Why Should I Tip?: Because it’s expected. Why should you hold open the door for able-bodied women, or speak quietly on your cell phone on the bus? Just cause.
Is Your Budget Making You Bitter?: I don’t budget, although I probably should, but I live a frugal enough lifestyle combined with making a fair amount of income. I try never to let myself regret things like a nice evening out. If you have the ability to enjoy a pleasant evening out, enjoy it at least once in a while. It’s like dieting – once or twice a year you can have a piece of chocolate cake. It’s not like having a heroin addiction where you need to swear off cake (or eating out) forever.
Highest Paying College Degrees: I’m always surprised that engineering hangs in there at the top in various forms. Having spent the last six years on Wall Street and seeing the wild salaries there, I’d assume finance would be at the top, but I guess for every Gordon Gecko there are 2,000 Johnny Banktellers who make $30,000 a year. I’ll tell you one thing: I wouldn’t bet against an accounting degree for a money maker, though.
photo by NatalieMaynor