Now Read This — what you really want, house happiness, and the fiscal cliff
Erica Strauss on getting what you really want
Remember â€˜miswantingâ€™? Erica at Northwest Edible Life offers a another way to rethink your tangible purchases with Occupy Your Brain (Why You Donâ€™t Really Want What You Want). She lays out a nice little chart to help you dig down past the initial desire-reflex and examine the real issue.
Iâ€™ve been trying to implement this process myself in the weeks since Erica first posted this, and I have to say that my answers rarely come out as cleanly as the ones in her sample chart. For any significant purchase (e.g. iPad) I usually have a whole stack of reasons for wanting it, so that even with a huge grid of intermediate problems and feelings in place, the answer to the final yes/no question is not always apparent.
But despite this messiness, I still think itâ€™s a great way to facilitate consideration of your spending. Just the attempt has helped me clarify my emotions and expectations — and when the issue is whether to drop four monthsâ€™ personal allowance on an iPad, I canâ€™t have too much clarity.
Matthew Amster-Burton on happiness and houses
The secret to happiness, writes Matthew, is to Live Like a College Student for the rest of your life. In particular, that means keeping your domicile 1) small and 2) close to your work or other frequent destinations.
I almost wrote an entire rant explaining in great detail why I think you should take every last word of this article to heart RIGHT NOW, but I thought better of it (see also: whining). Let me just say instead that, as I sit here in our isolated, inconvenient 1800sf mistake, I am feeling what Matthew has to say in a big way.
Not only have I now read the same psychology studies he references, Iâ€™ve lived them. Getting separate rooms for the kids was a major factor in our house selection process, and it was completely, utterly misguided. In addition to wishing weâ€™d remained renters, I wish weâ€™d stayed small and prioritized location over space.
At some point the bank will decide to come after our house, and weâ€™ll be moving. This time (and from now on) Iâ€™m aiming for tiny — less cleaning, less clutter — and convenient. Two of my top three criteria are access to public transit and walkability. Iâ€™ll trade a whole lot of space for those.
Ezra Klein et al. on WTF is the fiscal cliff
Itâ€™s all fiscal cliff, all the time on the news these days. Read/listen/watch for a while and you get the idea that it has something to do with taxes, and something to with government spending, and itâ€™s all about Democrats and Republicans fighting. But the details are pretty vague.
Fortunately, the fine people at the Washington Postâ€™s Wonkblog are here to help with The Fiscal Cliff: Absolutely everything you could possibly need to know, in one FAQ. The title is not an exaggeration — it really does break down the whole thing and explain it piece by piece, in language that you donâ€™t need to be an economist or a politician to understand.