Just tidbits about money and finance.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

WordPress Migration Done!

Please update your links to show:

I kind of botched my installation so you will need the extra 'mfc/' on the end when you make the link.

No more posty posty here. It will all be OVER THERE.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Articles I liked last week

Madame X asks what are you worth? This is one of the best memes I've ever seen.

Amanda at Young and Broke, on traveling cheaply. She's totally on the money here. I'll also use this as another opportunity to plug the Frugal Traveler. Thank you readers for visiting him. He told me that it was one of the most popular sites at the NYT this summer.

FreeMoneyFinance on why Reverse Mortgages are not a good idea, or proceed with caution.

Debt Hater thinks about running off to be a yogi. She links to Flexo who writes about being pennywise, and pound foolish. To sum up his list, "Haste makes waste." Hunt for a quarter, etc. Friday I ran back into my apartment to grab some quarters. It made me a little late for work, but I had to feed the meter that afternoon when I went to an appointment downtown. Those quarters saved the day.

Tired of Being Broke (has never been featured here before) writes about her new Sallie Mae payment plan. It's inspired by 3 Things About Money. Will this work for you? If you get paid by the week, it might!

Hat tip to Amanda for a very funny parody


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Making a Living as an Artist

Millionaire Artist has a fantastic link about making a living as an artist. I think from watching my friends, I have a few observations to add.

#1 - Price your art higher. For some reason, that makes it sell because it's value is perceived to be more. I've seen this phenomenon particularly at craft fairs. The standard rule for handknits is 50 per yard knitted or your cost in terms of hours of labor. It makes the item way more expensive, but it's perceived value.

#2 - Show your work. I have lots of artist friends. They display their work at their home, in the homes of friends and that makes a difference when it comes to the next point.

#3 - Sell to your friends for real money or services. I buy artwork from my friends, or receive it as gifts. One friend tried to let me get away with two studies for free. I insisted that I give her some money to at least cover the cost of making them. Another friend drew two pastel paintings for me in 30 minutes after she helped me redecorate. I get a lot of compliments on them and people get interested in her work that way.

That's about all I have to say. I've tried selling little crafty things, but I find that I am a process-oriented knitter and really don't worry if I have projects in half-completed states. I get around to finishing them eventually. That's why I don't make many gifts. You get your knitted item when it's ready, which is why sizeless stuff is great. (scarves, baby blankies, teddy bears, etc.)


Monday, November 06, 2006

Update on my car

I wasn't going to post here. I was going to take a little break and get stuff moving at the migrated site. But today happened to me and I'm kind of in the dumps. Posting makes things better.

I took my car into the dealership today to replace the clutch and a few other things. My check engine light went on about two weeks ago. It turns out it needs a new catalytic converter. So this means I'll have sank in about $4000-5000 of work into the car this year. That's approximately 20-25% of the original purchase price (new).

My car turns 6 on Friday. Six years isn't too bad for a car with 104K miles on it. It really isn't.

Over the weekend I thought about it. I think I'll have to start a special car fund separate from my Emergency Basket of Cash. In 3 years, I hope there's enough in there for a decent downpayment on a new/newish car. I prefer new/newish since I'm not the best with maintenance. I try to drive kind of lightly.

So for next year, I will only need to budget for a new brake assembly (Front & rear rotors, my dealer doesn't like the aftermarket ones I got a few years ago. And neither do I. They squeak.) and two new tires.

At what threshold do you get rid of a car? I've raised the deductible on the insurance. I've put in maintenance equivalent to less than half the purchase price, but really, when do you stop and just get rid of it? The car is worth ~$6K. This year and next, I'll have sank that much into it, but I will be able to drive it pretty worry free for another 3-4 years.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

test posting

I almost lost my blog today in this migration. Le sigh.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Side Income

I wrote this post before getting outed by my fellow PFBloggers with regards to advertising for

One of the things pulling me in different directions is the opportunity to get paid for blogging. I've got a few friends who make serious money from their blogs and I wouldn't mind a little side income. However, being paid to post is kind of hard for me. I'm free form. I take my inspiration and schedule whenever the mood strikes me. That's probably why some of my posts don't make sense a few days after I've written them when they get published.

However, the opportunity to blog about products or as part of a marketing effort seems like fun. (Not here, but for a blog representing an actual commercial venture.) I figure the publicity couldn't hurt me and it's another potential job skill.

One of my commenters asked me recently if I was a journalist. I'm not. The extent of my experience has been the high school paper. Hm... On second thought, I guess I actually have done it, but it was a bad job experience, I kind of blotted it out. For about a year, I took press releases and repackaged them as small blurbs. I've always fantasized about turning into an actual writer, but only to make this blog better. I'm not one of those literary types who writes to get published in the New Yorker. I just want to get my point across.

I guess this is what they mean when they tell you that you can turn a hobby into a real job.

That was the original end of the article. But I feel I should say something more. will be compensating me for the advertising space on my blog. Whether or not they make editorial suggestions, I will take full responsibility for writing what is posted here. Meaning, if I choose to accept their suggestion for content, it is because I have judged it to fit and be appropriate. I fully expect to decline some of their suggestions. If there's an ethical dilemma, I'm sure I'll write about it.

I don't care if people think I'm selling out. I already sell out by wearing a corporate uniform and going to work every day. If you haven't seen Trainspotting and heard the diatribe that Renton spouts and the beginning and end of the film, see it. Just remember. CHOOSE LIFE.

I expect that being compensated for ad space will help me live my life more fully.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pulled in all directions? Or just pulling out my hair?

My month has been really wacky. And that's coming on the heels of September, which saw me spend a lot of money. And now it's November and it's just going to get worse over Christmas season if I'm not careful.

Whoa Nelly! Is it time to regroup or what?

1) This blog will be moving to WordPress sometime soon. Not 100% sure when, but I got a new domain for it and it will have to happen before the end of the year. That is a hard target I need to meet for some new bloggy-fun I'm planning.

2) I need to start banking cash again. I depleted my Emergency Basket of Cash this year for a fun splurge and to pay some stuff with cash instead of running up my credit cards. I had a goal to save another $4K. I think that's going to take me most of next year to save.

3) I need to cut back on my spending. Since it's cold again, I hope to get into a rhythym where I make stuff in my crockpot once again.

4) Bring down that credit card debt. I commit myself to keeping my current balances level till the new year, while focusing on replenshing my basket of cash till then. I actually think I can save enough to refill it in 2 months. After that, I'll refocus and pay down my stupid consumer debt.

5) I still need to apply for my property tax relief. If I say it here, I'll do it. Accountability. It's why I'm trying to 'fess it all up now.


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