Money Monday:

How many of you are users? It was one of those websites I signed up for early on, then forgot about. A friend of mine mentioned it recently which propelled me to give it another try.

Hands down, Mint is the best financial website out there. Gone are the days of tracking debits and credits in an Excel file. Mint aggregates all my balances in one place (my mortgage at Wells Fargo, my brokerage account at Schwab, my Chase credit card, my savings account at Navy Federal, my property value via Zillow). I can track all my transactions, figure out a budget, and see my net worth.

It’s pretty awesome. Check it out.

Money Monday: UC Pledge

This is an email from the Cal Alumni Assocation.

A new economic impact report demonstrates just how important UC is to our state’s economic future:

  • Every $1 the State invests in UC and its students helps attract other revenues and results in $13.80 in overall economic output.
  • UC generates $46.3 billion in annual economic activity in California through its operations and through the outside spending of its employees, students, and retirees.
  • For every $1 UC gains from private and government sources in California, the University attracts $2.27 from outside the state, mainly in federal dollars.

At a time when California is struggling with deficits and high unemployment, this kind of return on investment cannot be ignored.

Sacramento cut the UC budget by $650 million (16%) this year and will likely cut the University an additional $100 million if state revenues do not meet projections. We greatly appreciate your past advocacy efforts on behalf of UC, but now we need your help again—as well as the help of your Cal friends and family—to tell Sacramento to start investing in California’s future.

Money Monday: Urban Outfitters

Back from two weeks in Italy and suffering serious jet lag. I woke up at 5am and wasn’t able to go back to sleep so I came into the office. What a productive little employee I am! Many more posts on the honeymoon later.

Did you miss me? I know my dad did. He asked me yesterday why I had stopped blogging. 1) I had spotty internet access. 2) I was on my honeymoon. 3) I got plain damn lazy. But I’m back. Shout out to my dad for reading my blog. Hi Dad!

It’s Money Monday post-Italy so today I’m going to relay a story from a dinner we had in Positano.

A family of three (dad, mom, and college-aged daughter) was sitting behind us having a serious discussion. Here’s what I overheard.

Daughter: I’m upset because you’re making me out to be a bad person. I’m not a bad person for wanting, for asking for these things. A new computer is not a big deal.

Mother: You just bought a couch.

Daughter: Mom, I use that. I use that every day. I needed that.

Mother: What about all the charges on your credit card from Urban Outfitters?

Daughter: Clothing is not a big deal. I’m going to get a job when I graduate. If there’s a shirt I want, I’m going to buy it. It’s not expensive. It’s Urban Outfitters!

Mother: (in hushed tones) Your spending is out of control. It has got to stop.

Daughter: No it’s not. Stop making me out to be a bad person.

Father: That’s it. From now on, we’re going to have to set boundaries on your spending.

I have several observations about this exchange. The daughter is not at fault. Yeah, her spending is out of control, but it seems like her parents had never done anything about it. The parents are enablers. Enablers are the guilty party.

The situation had clearly deteriorated so much that the mother felt she had to pull an intervention. Now? How many credit card statements later? What an idiot. And the dad talking about setting boundaries. Again I ask. Now? You’re going to set boundaries after your daughter has spent the better part of her childhood spending frivolously? Shame on her parents for not being more disciplined to begin with.

Also, someone needs to set this girl’s head straight. She said she was going to get a job after college. Has she read a single news article about the state of our economy? There are professionals with years of experience who are jobless. I may be wrong about her, though. If she’s an engineer or computer science major she probably will get a job right away. But then again, I don’t think those types shop at Urban Outfitters—if they shop at all.

Money Monday: The Budget

I wanted to share my opinion today on the budget–THE budget–as in the federal budget that’s slated to cut $38 billion in spending for the year. The fact that the measure was not finalized until the last minute because of funding to Planned Parenthood makes me so furious. The socially conservative, pro-life Republican party eventually caved on their proposal to restrict federal money for family planning.

The irony that the staunchest anti-abortion proponents are right-wing, conservative men should not go unnoticed. I want to laugh when I see these righteous people waving their Bibles, flaunting their morals, and telling other people how they should live their lives. The fact is their daughters and granddaughters are getting knocked up and having abortions. The fact is their sons and grandsons are gay. The fact is these anti-gay political leaders are leading double lives. How many conservatives have been shamefully caught having gay sex? And for them to point their fingers and tell women that we can’t have access to birth control, that we can’t get advice on family planning? Oh yeah, stand by those Christian principles of yours.

I’m all for slashing the budget. Tough times call for fucking tough measures. But consider the consequences. First, you eliminate Planned Parenthood. Next, a woman can’t afford childcare so she can’t get a job. Then, she’s on welfare, but that’s not sustainable because we’re cutting the budget, remember? It all starts at prevention. Prevention as in Planned Parenthood!

This is the land of the free. Free to practice your own faith. Free to stand by your own Christian principles. And free to make choices.

The Miserly Life

I spent exactly $55 this whole weekend.  Comparatively, I usually spend at least five times that–upwards of several hundred dollars from Friday through Sunday.  This was the weekend for coupons.


Dean paid for dinner on Friday night.  It was only $20 since we used a $20 Open Table coupon.


On Saturday, I used a Bloomspot coupon for a luxurious mani-pedi and waxing at Cocoon day spa.  I paid $18 for tip which practically paid for itself with the glasses of champagne they continued to pour.  We spent the rest of the evening with my sister hanging out with my nephews, then at a playoff party.  Free!


Marc laughed during Sunday brunch when I told him I’d only spent $18 thus far that weekend.  We split the bill–each paying $21–and I made sure the waiter boxed up all the leftovers–even Marc’s salmon benedict.  “Everything.  I want everything boxed up.  All this toast, too.”  I bought a $4 birthday card for Jen, then spent $12 on two glasses of chardonnay that night for her birthday.

This is how I live my life now.  Miserly.