Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Get Rich Slowly talks about how to plan a debt free dream vacation. It's a little obsessive to me, but not a bad idea!
This Thrifted Life talks about the 3/50 project. Key points: 
  • what three independent businesses would you miss if they disappeared? 
  • If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue. 

I would miss the local hardware store, a local sushi restaurant, and a local coffee shop. I wish I could say I would miss my local independent bookstore, but I haven't gotten a warm welcome there and can't ever seem to find anything inside so I don't regularly shop there. I also patronize a fruit and vegetable stand. Oh, and the local yoga/dance studio! I'm going to keep my eyes open for opportunities to buy at local independents that I would otherwise take to chain stores or online.

I'm not sure if you've followed the Amazon/Macmillan situation that developed over the weekend with any interest, but it's made me really think twice about doing business with Amazon. If you're not familiar with it, Macmillan decided that Amazon had to honor a certain minimum price on e-books (a reasonable $15.00) and Amazon disagreed (they want to charge their $9.99 bestseller Kindle price). Then Amazon yanked ALL Macmillan books, physical books and e-books alike, and as of today they are still not available for purchase directly from Amazon, although Amazon claims the dispute has been resolved. Macmillan has every right in the world to set that kind of minimum price for their products (it happens in retail stores all the time) and Amazon's reaction didn't just hurt Macmillan--it hurt the authors and the customers. This kind of "our way at any cost" mentality is not something I want to support with my money.
The New York Times details three Facebook settings you should change right now. I am the most paranoid person I know regarding my Facebook privacy, and I thought I went through things with a fine-toothed comb, but there were STILL a few things that were open to "Just Friends" that I didn't want showing at all (my religious and political beliefs, for example). This isn't just important in terms of whether my friends can see these things (my friends probably know my stance on politics and religion, after all) but those fields are up for consideration by advertisers, and I don't want them to have that information about me. Since it's clear Mark Zuckerberg thinks that my profile should be open to the world (even while he's closing off his own), I'm glad I saw this NYT article. 
Madame X details seven years of tracking spending. I can't wait to do this! I've been tracking my spending for about five years, but I think I really only have usable data from 2009, maybe 2008. So I've got a while before I'm able to do this, but I find it really interesting.
Trent talks about how to save money on reading. I hope you'll still buy new books occasionally because I like my job and want to keep it, but I get a lot of books from the library and Paperbackswap, too.
A hilarious spoof on book piracy!

Some interesting quotes: We are what we repeatedly do, via Happiness Project, and We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs, via MoneyMonk.

A Family of Geeks expounds on reading and understanding your warranties. Very good ideas. I'd add to always check the return policy on a major purchase before you spend anything.

Peanut and I've been talking about doing some kitchen windowsill gardening (via Penny Go Lightly). Maybe we'll get that started this weekend. We don't get a lot of direct sunlight to our windows, so I'm not sure what we can grow (also, I have a black thumb).

I have to admit that this post about the mysterious adventures of a 26-year-old wallet kind of freaked me out. It was all fine and good until the bit about the new bills...someone cleaning out his conscience is just creepy to me. Very interesting nonetheless! I wouldn't have had a wallet 26 years ago (I was not quite three) but my 13-year-old self's wallet probably contained school photos of my four best girlfriends, a surprising amount of money (not huge, but like $30 or so....the name Little Miss Moneybags has a long history. I'd eat cookies at lunch and squirrel away my lunch money.), and a library card and maybe some jewelry that I snuck to school and put on when I got on the bus.

And related: what to do when your wallet or purse is stolen from Money Ning. If you photocopied your cards, it's not as difficult to get in touch with your CC companies, but otherwise very good advice!


  1. I totally disagree with you on the Amazon-MacMillan dispute. As MacMillan isn't a retailer, they shouldn't force a price floor onto the retailer. If they really wanted to the minimum price, then they should have sold it themselves. Amazon is a company that is not focused on servicing big businesses, but rather creating value for customers. Thus, MacMillan should review their pricing policies and reconsider setting a price floor for Amazon.

    I'd like to specify that this is perfect for book stores or other retailers. However, with Amazon, as it does service a sizeable portion of the global online shopping community, MacMillan should have known better than to even threaten a price floor. They are going to lose a significant amount of business if they don't settle this dispute quickly.

  2. Sounds like Amazon is taking some lessons from Walmart's playbook.

    An independent retailer that I would miss would be Politics & Prose--one of the oldest independent bookstores in DC. But, I usually visit a library for my books and only go there to browse.

  3. I used to eat cookies and squirrel away my lunch money too!!

    (I just had to point that out)

    I'd also killed just about every plant that came my way, until I bought an herb garden from home depot. I just water it EVERY DAY and it sits outside my door. It's still alive! I think I just lucked out with the lighting though. Good luck if you do get a windowsill garden!

  4. I did the same thing with my lunch money! :-)

    Amazon has been disappointing me lately. First there was the systematic de-ranking of all feminist and LGBT titles (which they claimed was a "glitch"...uh huh). Lately I had an item arrive broken, and replacing it was going to be a HUGE hassle. Also, their customer service has gone downhill. It's a shame, because Amazon's always been my go-to site (after all, they have practically everything you could ever want!), but eh.

    Facebook is making me angry lately, too. I was MAD when they changed all those privacy settings without warning. Some people--like me--have totally legitimate reasons for wanting to keep their information private. Like stalkers. I don't appreciate social networking sites playing around with my safety.


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