money, materials, manga, and musings

Posted on Sunday 14 January 2007

sense :: hearing // CES coverage in podcast form

One of my new year’s resolutions was to “wage war on my checkbook,” which I kind of toned down a bit by saying I was going to redo the budget and do a household budget. To me, that really means that I need to take some more concrete steps towards meeting my financial goals, from saving more money to making sure all of the bills get paid with money to spare, to making sure I’m not flushing money down the toilet by eating out every other night and consequently spending a ton of money on groceries. There’s a lot to do there, and I’ve already pretty much redone my budget and I’m making headway with sticking to it, even though I’ve budgeted myself a pretty significant portion of my monthly funds for fun, games, and other related silliness.

To help me on my way, I’ve been keeping an eye on a few websites that offer some comprehensive money management tips, like Your Credit Advisor, specifically these Top 25 Personal Finance Myths, and the previously mentioned 102 Personal Finance Tips Your Professor Never Taught You. I’ve long thought wistfully about wanting to hire a financial advisor to help me get a plan going to pay down my debt significantly and quickly and to help me get my finances and investments in order to help me meet my long-term financial goals, but everything I’ve read says essentially that you need to learn the basics of budgeting and such before doing something like that. Basics like these, for example. In the end, when you learn those basics, you may very well not need a paid advisor at all.

The author of the first piece I mentioned, Top 25 Personal Finance Myths, emailed me to mention the new article, and I’m very glad he did; it’s pretty informative. Like the number one: I don’t deserve to be rick: I tend to see the way people with a lot of money waste their money and think to myself that I’ll likely never be rich because I can’t see myself being so irresponsible with my money, and I see people living in million-dollar condos downtown and wonder what I’m doing wrong. It’s difficult when you’re surrounded by affluence, even when you’re well off yourself, to believe that you can do better. Still, a lot of work is left to be done before I’d consider my war on the checkbook to be over and won, but I’m making progress. Part of that work will definitely be personal perception as much as it’ll be putting the right dollars in the right columns.

I mentioned this over at Gears and Widgets, but the site chanceXchange has been looking more and more interesting to me lately. It’s kind of like a centralized system for freecycling, where you list your items you don’t want, get rid of them, and earn credits for other items that you might actually enjoy having or might enrich your life. I really really dig the idea and have already signed up for the site, but I haven’t listed anything yet. We still have a few things we’d like to try selling on eBay before I put it all up there, but I can think of more than a few things.

Among other sites capturing my interest lately is a site that my friend and old coworker Seth is involved with, Be Better Guys. The site is good, with a ton of great information, from dressing oneself to cooking a decent meal to staying healthy and organizing your home or space. It’s written and filtered through the usual stereotypical guy-guy writing style, so expect to read a lot gags like “like your older brothers without the beatdowns” and “because that’s the closest you’ll get to Angelina” and so on, but don’t shy away-roll your eyes and dive in, I’m really impressed, and I’m sold on the content. All in the constant quest for self-improvement, I suppose.

Speaking of self-improvement, I’ve been making a point to try and get more sleep and eat better as well as more economically lately. It’s difficult, especially with the whole not-getting-out-for-lunch very often bit at the new job, but I think I’m making progress. Progress in all things, eh? I suppose making progress is much much better than not getting anywhere at all, and while I can’t say I have any of those things licked, it’s only half-a-month into the new year and I shouldn’t hold myself to having solved all of my problems and brought about world peace quite yet. I think I just need some sleep.

Before I go, though, I want to point out the dance of the flight attendant, which someone used as album art at some point, I could have sworn, but even so, finding it again made me fall in love all over again with the art of Jen Wang. I absolutely adore her art style. There’s something about both her style and that of Amy Kim Ganter that’s so remarkable that it makes my heart skip a beat. Amy Kim Ganter, by the way, is the genius behind Sorcerers and Secretaries, which has got to be the first manga, even considering some of my favorites like Death Note and Claymore, that’s made me absolutely ravenous for the next volume and waiting for it to arrive. I picked up some more of both of those, as well as the second volume of Q-Ko Chan to give me something fun and fast to read aside from tech magazines.

4 Comments for 'money, materials, manga, and musings'

    January 15, 2007 | 10:42 am

    Lots of lovely links today; thank you. I need to go start reading . . .

    I may have said this before, but if I could do one thing over again in my 20’s, it would be to religiously put away 10% of my salary every month and invest it . . . even 5% . . .huge, huge, huge benefits to be had.

    P.S. Like your title!

    January 15, 2007 | 12:44 pm

    Thanks for the praise! Sometimes I actually produce something worth taking away. 😉

    I think you’re right. Right now I’m trying to do a balancing act between saving for the future and paying off my short term debt. It’s a difficult place to be in, and I think that the sooner I can get the debt paid off, the more of my overall income I can save for the long haul…

    January 16, 2007 | 10:35 am

    You ALWAYS produce something worth taking away, my friend.

    February 20, 2007 | 5:50 pm

    […] Since this year is the year of the boar, like I mentioned, some of the common themes are prosperity and good fortune. I’m taking some of that to heart by waging my ever so fierce “war against the checkbook,” and found some pretty interesting tips to add to the ones I mentioned a little while ago, specifically 31 Days to Fix Your Finances. Pretty much a crash course in doing something every day for a month to fix some common ailments with your finances, the wrapup contains hints and tips that the blog authors had laid out one-per-day for 31 days. At a lingering glance, the tips look really really worthwhile, and I want to give it a shot. In the same vein, I keep worrying about what I’ll be able to do if something terrible happens and I’m cut off from my sources of income, so calculating my emergency fund needs looks like a good tip as well, especially as I begin to smooth out the kinks in my financial plan and have more money to kick around for things like that. Sadly, three months worth of everything, from rent to debts to groceries, is a pretty hefty sum of money for anyone to stash aside easily. It’ll take some work, like most things do. […]

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