small change toward a rich life

Topic: Personal Stories

  1. Our year of radical change

    6 July 2013

    Okay, I went AWOL on Pocketmint again. I’m sorry, but I’m hoping when you hear why, you’ll forgive me. Around the time of my last post, my whole life took an abrupt left turn … and then just kept going. Here are (some of) the major developments from the last three months: 1. Jak got […]

  2. Spoons, decision fatigue, and a glimpse into poverty

    17 January 2013

    In recent years, people who have chronic illnesses have adopted lingo which may seem odd or fanciful to the uninitiated, dealing as it does with the presence or absence of spoons. The choice of cutlery as a metaphor was random, but it appears to have filled an explanatory void for a whole lot of people. […]

  3. Two things I wish my teenaged self had known about college

    23 November 2012

    In my last post, I talked about my early misconceptions about choosing a career and a major. My next big life decision was selecting a college, and I was pretty woefully misguided there, too. I approached college selection in my usual methodical manner: first I sat down with two huge catalogs — each two inches […]

  4. Career advice for cats and foxes

    30 October 2012

    What do you want to be when you grow up? I spent a lot of time as a kid trying to answer that question — not in a casual way, but with an unchildlike level of seriousness and deliberation, including trips to the library to research esoteric details of my prospective careers. For example, at […]

  5. Setting up the Great Cash Experiment

    18 October 2012

    Having been convinced by numerous psychological studies that credit cards are causing us to spend more, on October first Jak and I began our Great Cash Experiment, in which we try to replace plastic forms of payment with cash — as much as is feasible, here in twenty-first century America. As you might expect, there […]

  6. The choice between values and value

    31 August 2012

    Today’s Pocketmint topic was inspired by Dogs or Dollars, where there’ve been recent conversations about the frequent conflicts between one’s budget and one’s beliefs, especially as relates to food for both humans and pets. These are some of my beliefs: I believe in farms owned and worked by families or co-ops, not owned by corporations […]

  7. Don’t buy drugs from a drugstore

    31 July 2012

    A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we were resorting to anti-anxiety drugs in an attempt to cure Sammy and reclaim our house from the plastic and pee. I already budget $25 per month against veterinary care for all three pets. Part of that covers their annual checkups and any necessary shots; the rest serves […]

  8. Redefining success; redesigning our lives

    4 April 2012

    Here in middle-class America, there’s a formula you’re supposed to follow in order to be considered a successful adult. With only minor variations, you’re expected to: get a college degree, find a lucrative career, get married, buy a house, fill it with stuff, and have kids … all while continuing to work at that same […]

  9. Debt freedom, debt relief

    26 March 2012

    I haven’t talked a lot on Pocketmint about getting out of consumer debt, in part because our own climb out of the credit-card debt pit is now some years in the past, and so less on my mind. Also because I’m not sure I have any ‘how-to’ wisdom that hasn’t been said multiple times by […]

  10. Mortgages: knowing when to walk away

    12 March 2012

    In January 2011 Jak and I made a bold and controversial financial decision that would send our lives down a sharply different path. We decided to default on our mortgages. For background, you should read my earlier post about buying our current house in 2006, around a year before the Seattle housing market peaked and […]

  11. The Conflict-Free Family Budget: Our Results

    27 January 2012

    Our new budget system accomplished everything I hoped for, and then some. Still, I’ve been surprised by a thing or two about my own reactions, and even more so by Jak’s. (This is Part Two in a series. See the Introduction and Part One if you missed them.) I fully expected that for at least […]

  12. To buy or to rent: failing to predict the future of housing

    26 June 2009

    In the last month I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that purchasing this house when we did was a huge financial error. It’s been hard, and I’ve engaged in a lot of self-flagellation over the subject. We closed on this house December 1, 2006. Two and a half years later, we’ve paid […]

  13. Less income, more savings

    6 June 2009

    Yesterday I promised to give an update on our personal financial situation and how it’s changed over the last half-year. In November I wrote that we were down to a quarter of our prior income, as Jak’s employer had cut his hours by half just as I’d been summarily dismissed from my full-time job. I […]

  14. I believe this qualifies as an emergency

    14 November 2008

    I’ve been quiet for a while, going through a number of struggles that have left me without the — in the vernacular of my childhood, the ‘gumption’ — to keep writing frequently.  I’m trying really hard to get the spark back now, because I know in the long run the Pocketmint project is important to […]

  15. Working for a financial company during a financial crisis (… or not)

    27 October 2008

    The post you’re about to read first appeared here on October 27th, for less than 24 hours. On the morning of October 28th, while en route to work after a doctor’s appointment, I received a call from the Human Resources director of the company that had employed me for nearly three years. He asked if […]

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