Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I've reached a milestone of sorts.
I have accrued the equivalent of 23 days of leave, when one combines my annual and sick leave accounts. This basically means that if something were to happen to me, I would have a month of income before having to tap into my emergency fund. (I would have done this much sooner but I needed three weeks of leave for family care last year.)

As much I would like to have proper disability insurance, my employer doesn't offer group plans, and all the individual quotes I've received are simply too much for my budget right now. When I've paid off some more of my loans, that will be a priority.

But for now, it means that I can use any additional annual leave hours as they were intended: for vacation. Since I can only accrue the equivalent of 30 days of annual leave before I hit the "use-or-lose" threshold, it makes no sense to hoard them. (I can accrue sick leave indefinitely.)

I'm starting by using an upcoming Federal Holiday to springboard a five-day weekend. Which includes my birthday. I'll be practicing my Lorelai Gilmore impression.

How do you handle paid leave at work?


Monday, April 16, 2007
Entertainment: Frugal and Not-So.
I did my fair share of socializing this weekend. In some ways, I was fairly thrifty, in others...ah well.


Frugal: My friend C. won a pair of tickets to see [Theatre Group Sponsored by a Certain Monarch] at [Notable Performing Arts Center]. So I managed to see a rarely-mounted (and quite entertaining) production of a Shakespeare play for free.

Not Frugal: Since the performance started at 7:30, we left directly from work and ate at the cafe at the Center. My pasta and salad weren't too pricey, but adding a large bottle of water and an individual cheesecake brought the total to almost $24. It was a tasty cheesecake, but next time, I'll probably skip dessert and just get a snack at intermission if I want sugar.


Not Frugal: I've had a gift card to use at Office Depot for awhile, with which I was planning to get a file cabinet and a replacement ink cartridge for my printer. But since I haven't done that (file cabinets are HEAVY), I had to drive over to the library and print a coupon I needed. I only spent a dime on the print job, and I doubled up the trip with a recycling run to waste less gas, but it still would have made more sense to be ready to print at home.

Frugal: While I was at the library, I attended the Book Sale downstairs, and picked up a copy of Paradise Lost and the 1999 edition of A Random Walk Down Wall Street for $5 total. Whee! (I might have been able to find copies of those for less online, but I would have been charged for shipping, and I wouldn't have been supporting the institution that lets me check out books for free in the first place.)

Frugal: I used the aforementioned coupon to take advantage of 2-for-1 tickets at the already discounted second-run movie theater, so L. and I paid less than $3 each to see The Queen (which I recommend).

Not Frugal, But Worth It: I bought a pretty tasty BBQ sandwich for dinner. After tax and tip, I put in $12. Technically, I could have eaten at home and gotten a light snack while there, but I enjoy the dinner-and-a-movie thing.


I did nothing but laze around, chat on the phone (unlimited long distance plan), and clean a bit, so that's a pretty frugal day.

How was your weekend?

PS. I'm continuing to monitor the student lender debacle, and will write up my thoughts sometime soon. If you want good commentary, check out Anya Kamenetz for details.

Labels: ,

Friday, April 06, 2007
Festival of Under 30 Finances #20

Welcome to the 20th edition of Festival of Under 30 finances! I recently returned from a much-needed family vacation, and so my question was:

"How has your family contributed to your current financial position and attitude? Do you plan to follow that example with your own younger relatives, or chart a different course?"

We received some very interesting responses to this question, including some full posts!

Family Lessons

Wanda at Well-Heeled says: "Mom helped me alot - in terms of paying for the bulk of my college tuition to teaching me about the importance of saving. I am probably more interested in mutual funds investing than she is, whereas she is focused more on generating cash flow from real estate - but the tenets of personal finance (spend less than you earn and save save save) I got from her."

Silicon Valley Blogger atThe Digerati Life notes: "Interestingly, I grew up without money being discussed much in our household, but we had no money problems either. So I don't believe my family had much bearing in how I turned out financially as far as my mindset was concerned, but they had a big impact on how my finances today turned out because without their help and past assistance, I doubt I would be worry-free today. My family is fairly generous with finances but did not really instill education in me, so I had to go and learn about finances myself. However, I hope to teach my children about finances as they grow up and impart in them lessons I learned on my own."

We also got long responses from the following posters:

plonkee mentions a lesson that she didn't learn from her family in Not A Money Script: Investing posted at plonkee money.

Aspeth shares the "lessons of a Depression-era grandparent" about frugal living in Whatever Happened to Frugality? at TwelveYearsOfBeingAnnoyedByChloeSevignyDotCom. This entry is one of the Best of the Festival!

Living Almost Large says that "I think I learned the most important skills from my parents about personal finance..." and that foundation helped while she learned some more lessons in Learning my financial skills at Living Almost Large.

And Big Cajun Man learns a lesson from his son in Zen, Thomas the Tank Engine and the Art of Financial Planning posted at Canadian Financial Stuff.

Family Finances

ISPF shares some guidelines on managing independent accounts toward common goals in Relationship Hack: “Independent Money Management, Common Money Pool” - How to Make it Work posted at Grad Money Matters.


Silicon Valley Blogger lists the pros and cons of jumping on to the entrepreneurial track before graduation at Should You Quit School Because You’re Brilliant? posted at The Digerati Life. This is also one of the Best of the Festival!

Laws of Finance shares some frightening exchange rate figures at Studying in Europe is Getting Expensive posted at Laws of Finance.

Matthew Paulson reminds students how to manage limited school funds in Five Great Money Saving Tips for College Students posted at Getting To Graduation.

Michael Cook provides an overview of The College Loan Process posted at Suite101: Mortgages/Loans articles.


Wanda considers alternatives to traditional emergency savings in Maybe I don't need such a big emergency fund after all posted at Well-Heeled. And this is my final pick for the Best of the Festival!

Bryan C. Fleming suggests that saving for repairs lets a driver get a better car in How to Drive a Mercedes Benz instead of a Hyundai posted at Bryan C. Fleming.

Super Saver explains why young people will need to save so much for retirement in The Impact of Inflation posted at My Wealth Builder.

General Personal Finance

Larry Russell suggests ways to make the expense of a financial advisors worthwhile inFinancial advisor costs and the value of their investment strategies determine your return on investment from these investment advisor services posted at THE SKILLED INVESTOR Blog.

tc offers some basic reminders in 8 tips on How to make a million dollars posted at Investments & Loans.

He Just Laughs plans on becoming American Airlines' most valuable customer at A Million Miles Begins with the First Mile posted at Endless Gibberish.

Finally, Priya Jestin offers a long list of tips for money and life management in Starting Early: The Young Adult’s Guide To Personal Finance posted at Debt Consolidation Lowdown.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of festival of under 30 finances using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007
March/April Net Worth

Personal Items

I left all valuations unchanged this month. My car mileage is inching up, so I suspect I'll be retooling my car's value soon (I already keep it below the KBB market value for fair condition vehicles).

Cash and Cash Equivalent

I was reimbursed for some of my vacation expenses by my grandparents, because they are very generous. So I was able to keep from pulling out too many funds.


My accounts rebounded from February nicely. I finally hit one of my "round number" targets for my retirement fund, as well.

Loan Balances

As always, I keep making my scheduled payments on these loans.

Other Debt

My travel reimbursement meant I was able to pay off my statement balance in full (which I was already prepared to do), as well as a good portion of my next statement's charges (which I normally don't do). My charges should be more "normal" this month.

The Month Ahead

I have one concert to attend, but the ticket was purchased long ago, and I have a gift card that should help cover some of the related food expenses. I have one other play in mind, and may try to volunteer usher rather than pay for it. My auto insurance premium is going up slightly; my accident from last October was priced into the premiums for this cycle. So I expect I'll be weighing purchases carefully for the month.

In other news, today is the last day to submit to the Festival of Under 30 Finances! I've gotten a few good submissions, and six that I've had to toss out for various reasons. So if you want to send a submission in, please don't duplicate other carnivals, or go completely off-topic, and CERTAINLY don't recommend illegal activity as a personal finance strategy. Sheesh.

Labels: ,