June 2012


Here is June’s review of blog posts. We hope you find something you enjoy!

 

Get Rich SlowlyCan’t Afford to Socialize? Compromise! – Don’t sacrifice spending time with friends because you can’t afford to do the activities they want to do. Just find a lower cost alternative to compromise on.

 

Get Rich SlowlyReader Story: What Financial Freedom Really Means – For many, financial freedom is an obscure concept only relevant in the future. For others, it’s a very real prospect that comes into play today.

 

Good Financial Cents Average Retirement Savings – How Does Your Savings Stack Up? – It’s hard to know whether you are going to have enough to retire. How do your savings look compared to a recent survey, and what can you do to improve your situation?

 

Please let us know if you have a favorite financial blog that you think we should be reading.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

 

On Monday, over at The Simple Dollar, Trent Hamm wrote a post that really resonated with me (Dawn), “Plant Shade Trees.” The post is part of his “365 Ways to Live Cheap” series.

Many people may not be as interested in this post as I am, but it really hit home for me because I know exactly what it’s about. My husband and I bought our fixer-upper house three years ago in an older, well established neighborhood where the houses range from being built in the 1920s-1950s (ours was built in 1953). It just so happened that, for whatever reason, our house is one of, if not the only, house in the neighborhood that doesn’t have at least one large shade tree in the yard.

Depending on where you live and what your yard/home is like, not having a shade tree may not be an issue for you. But for us, it has become a major issue, so much so that for the past few weeks we’ve been trying plan how we can pull off planting one in our yard.

This post was great for me, because it gave me some ideas on where to start. So far, our plans have consisted of deciding we need a tree and, in general, deciding where it would likely go. But I wanted to share some of the reasons why we decided a shade tree would be right for us. Not all of them are financial (though the financial benefits will be worth it as well).

  • Lawn Maintenance – During the dry summer months, many people have issues keeping their lawns green. We have trouble keeping our lawn alive. The first year we moved in, the city had repaved the road we live on. During the process, they had put new sod down on the easement between the sidewalk and the street. Through observation, we were one of the only houses on the street that took the time to water the new sod. And by the end of the summer, we were the only house on the street with completely dead sod.
  • Cooling Cost – Our house is a bungalow, and because of that, our ½ story upstairs is often much warmer than downstairs (often by 10° or more). This problem is exacerbated by the sun beating down on the roof with no relief during the summer months.
  • Outdoor Activities – Due to the positioning of the house, we usually get only a few hours of shade a day (some in the front yard, some in the back). It makes afternoon outdoor activities unbearable, when the sun is directly overhead and providing no shade from the house. While some people don’t mind sitting out in the sun, I am not one of them!
  • Tree Envy – Sounds petty, but when you are the only house in the neighbor without a shade tree, tree envy sets in. Most of our walks through the neighborhood include discussions about how we wish we had a tree like that in our yard.

So, we’ll work on our shade tree plan and hopefully be planting one in the near future!

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

We’re sorry about the past couple of weeks! June is a very hectic month for us and we didn’t have enough time to spend preparing posts for the last couple of weeks. We’ll return next Friday with our normal weekly post.

Yesterday, over at Get Rich Slowly, there was a post by Sarah Gilbert entitled “One Lesson From a Financial Whiz Kid.” The post is really about a book by Zac Bissonnette, Be Richer, Smarter, and Better-Looking Than You Parents. While we haven’t had a chance to read this book ourselves, the post has some great highlights.

 

Zac is a 20-something writer who is targeting his age group, but the lesson he gives can apply to everyone, no matter their age. The lesson he teaches is simple: “Don’t spend money.” Obviously, not spending any money isn’t an option, but not spending money on something that is unnecessary or that will get you into debt is.

 

Sounds simple, but as we all know, this type of discipline can be very difficult to maintain. But it’s such an important part of handling your finances. As Zac writes, “Managing your financial life is not about spreadsheets and compound interest. It’s about your life. The financial decisions you make can give you freedom or make you a slave.” You can spend as much time as you want on dealing with your finances, but if you can’t learn and live by this simple rule, you’ll likely never get ahead.

 

Another important point Zac makes is that many people will buy something not because they really need or even want it, but because they want the status that may come with it. He writes “A house you can’t afford can be a prop. Or a car. Or a watch. When you think about it, we spend a lot of money on props — stuff that makes us look like something we’re not.”

 

Again, the idea is simple, but it’s a great lesson to learn. And it’ll be much easier on you if you learn it before you run up your debt and have to dig your way out.

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.