The way I think about money & spending has been impacted by numerous thinkers, ideas, research, as well as (largely) my own personal experiences. Here are two ideas that have challenged me over the years:
Many years ago, when TEDTalks were only just beginning to be mentioned at dinner parties and were only available by slow release on iTunes, I watched one by Dan Gilbert. He is a Harvard psychologist and “happiness expert”; the key argument in all of his work, I suppose, is that our brains systematically misjudge what will make us happy.
What I remembered for years and years was a story that swum around my brain and poked at my own perception of money:
Of course, this is not how our brains naturally work; we are not wholly rational beings and our brains are predisposed to compare according to the past, to scale, etc.
All I know is that this story (and there are numerous examples in his talk) stuck with me and began to challenge the way I perceived my own car/stereo spending. Here is the whole video (including Q & A; the talk is the standard 10 minutes), if you want to watch it later:
Here’s another story, this time from one of my faves, Chris Guillebeau. He wrote a book The $100 Startup, that was incredibly helpful and motivational when I was beginning dignify. This story was from a chapter on how to price products or services in a way that balances the value an item provides with the kinds of psychological barriers mentioned above.
How much do you judge a product or service on its value to you and how much is on camparison with other ways to spend your money? When or where are you most irrational with your spending choices? Share your comments below!
Our production partner, Basha, began in one little office in Dhaka, Bangladesh — the most densely populated city in the world. Over the many years they have been in business, creating kantha textiles & jewelry, they have expanded: both in number of staff, and also locations.
It was helpful for some women to leave the norm of their old life environment, to get away, to start fresh in a new city. So, Basha created different offices in varied locations. They established a girls' home to safely house daughters & other vulnerable young women as they come of age.
As Basha has continued to identify the great need of women in Bangladesh, there is another area they have expanded: actively seeking women in brothels & whispering the potential of a new life.
As I was packing for our first family international flight (to London UK), I wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed to make our overnight journey the most comfortable. As you know, those flights can be a little chilly - so I wanted to bring blankets for all of us. Naturally, I wondered...
Can I bring a blanket onto a plane?
In short: YES! According to the TSA you are allowed to both check a blanket in your luggage and to bring a blanket on a plane within a carry-on (and this also includes electric blankets). You can even bring your own blanket in your arms as you would a jacket or hat, without it counting towards your carry-on or personal item limits or paying any extra fees.
When I got married as a baby (4 days over 21), I was still a student. Then, we both worked for a bit, then we had babies, and then my husband was a student. For almost all of those years, our "budget" was: try to not spend money.
This head-in-the-sand tactic has served us... ok... BUT, now that I'm pretending to be a real grownup (at age 35 — youngest children tend to be late to the responsibility party), I'm taking a new approach!
After Christmas, I started using You Need a Budget (YNAB) to track every expense & plan for future spending. Two months in, here’s what I think.
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