Thursday, September 4, 2008


I watched part of her speech this morning. Hopefully I'll watch the rest tonight, which I've heard was very good. However, I'm utterly sick and tired of this Republican class warfare crap. The bit I saw was painful. To paraphrase: "I'm from a small town and if you're not from a small town you aren't a real American, and hockey moms who can't move beyond their high school years are better people than the rest of you." blah.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Buy Nothing Month

So, we are 11 days into "buy nothing month," by which we mean "buy very little for 43 days." The general concept is that our current assets were steadily trending downwards. Much of this can be attributed to extra-ordinary items (e.g. weddings on the other coast, short vacation with friends, etc). However, we had enough successive months of this that the "extra spending" had become the norm--no matter how we tried to explain it away. The hope is that "buy nothing month" will 1) restore our immediate cash balance to where we want it, and 2) put us back in a more frugal mindset. So far, the results are positive, and progress has been made towards the first goal. Whether or not a small dose of frugality lowers our average consumption in distant months remains to be seen.

Originally we planned on making September buy nothing month, but we decided that things were sufficiently out of hand that we needed to start early. We've decided to allow ourselves a small entertainment budget, but placed rules around it. For example, trips to restaurants are limited and mostly reserved for social occasions. We've agreed to no new clothing or homegoods purchases. The other big change is cash: points be damned; many things we would normally buy with plastic and pay for 20-40 days later are now being purchased with actual cash. This helps in two ways: it limits spending and it will spread the benefits into October.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Post on the Arsenal

Arsenal play FC Twente in the champions league tomorrow night. If Arsenal manage to score one, then Twente will need four to advance. Hence, the outcome is fairly certain. Now then, one wonders what team Arsene will select. If he plays Cesc he is gambling with his health, but he is also providing some match fitness for the team's most important player. More than that, he is pressing for an outcome. Fiscally, playing in the CL is very very important. So, while the result of this qualifier may be far more certain than an individual PL match, it is also far more valuable. On the other hand, losing Cesc for an extended run may put the team in danger of missing next year's CL. So, in effect, the choice to play Cesc is a function of how he values this year's CL revenue vs next year's.

There are other choices to make as well: assuming that Djourou is still third choice, should he get a start ahead of Gallas (who has played all three games and has been subpar) or Toure (not fully match fit)? Cleary Djourou could use the experience. Should RVP or Adebayor be rested?

Personally, I'd have Cesc, Gallas, and Ade on the bench. By doing this you rest your players and increase the quality of your bench. Improving the bench controls costs in the future.

An introduction

This blog is meant to be my thoughts on personal finance, sport, random ruminations and visceral reactions. The name refers to the general concept of spreading consumption evenly across life, but there is a slightly more specific motivation. A few years ago, I was enjoying a bitter--even though it wasn't nearly as bitter as a good American beer--in Waxy's Little Sister debating some ridiculous thing or another. The beer was being bought on credit, and the evening's entertainment (the long running play "The Women in Black") was on credit. My lodgings were being paid for with credit, and even the rather expensive purpose of my trip (a short course) was also on credit. What's more, the form of credit is a familiar one--visa rather than student loans, and I had NO intention of paying it back in the near term (beyond maintenance payments). At said time I was a student, and I was accruing the credit card debt, which we frequently hear about as being the scourge of America's newly educated.

Anyway, a few years later I've graduated and am gainfully employed. I still haven't paid off that debt, but it doesn't exactly hang over my head. To lay it out again, that particular evening I ran up debt to pay for beer. America's newpaper columnists will tell me that I was being irresponsible (maybe) and careless with money (nah), but I'm quite convinced it was the right thing to do. I borrowed against my future to pay for the present. The net result was a good play, and some persistent friendships which I value more than, say, 100 quid at 3% interest. So this raises questions. Was I too sure of future earnings? Should current earnings be used for consumption or savings? If they are spent on savings, which kind: debt reduction, short term savings, IRA, etc? Those are some of the things I want to explore.

Well, that is that lot.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


This is the first post on intermporal smoothing, but it is a bad one. More fun to come.