Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday Night Classic Music Video

They are from Chicago:

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Friday, June 03, 2011

20 More Frugal Friday Tips

The past 4 Fridays I posted 80 tips on how to be Frugal.

Today, I have 20 more ideas from the DLM Blog:

20+ Ways to Get Rid of Your Debt for Good

Posted: 12 May 2011 05:44 AM PDT

This is not a step-by-step guide to reducing debt. Rather, it is a collection of a lot of the wisdom I have read so far on this topic and a list of some of the things that worked for us.

As you go through the list, I would recommend sorting it out into things that will definitely work for you and things that could possibly work for you. Start implementing the things that will work for you right away and start working on incorporating the others when possible. Believe me, soon it will become an obsession (if it already isn’t!) and slowly but surely you will be free of debt. And that feeling is worth any short-term pain you have to go through.

  1. Stop adding more debt
    Duh. No kidding right? Well, if it's so simple why aren't you doing it? Think of your debt as a small hill of dirt in your back yard. To get rid of that dirt hill, you need to dig out a shovel at a time. Now imagine for every 2-3 shovels of dirt that you dig out, you toss 4 shovels back on. How long will it take to get rid of that little hill? Piling on more debt while you are trying to get out of it doesn’t make much sense either.

  2. Get rid of your credit cards
    One of the biggest down falls that most of us have is the reliance on credit cards. Unlike spending real cash, when you charge it to a card you don’t feel the burn. So if you cannot control how much you spend on your card, then cut up your cards, leave them locked up at home, freeze them or bury them until you are out of debt. (Note: Don’t close the accounts since that can result in reducing your credit score!)

    When I was in college, I went a little wild with student credit cards. I learned the hard way that I needed some control, so I froze the cards in a large pan of water. If I wanted or needed something badly enough to wait for the cards to thaw out, then it was probably worth purchasing. If not, I saved the dough. My mom still laughs about this, but I saved thousands in forgone impulse purchases. -- Kelly Colucci, Cumming, Ga. - quote source: Kiplinger

  3. Change your attitude
    Like everything else in life, getting out of debt is heavily dependent on your attitude. Switch to a “Can Do” attitude. Stop giving into the victim mentality or self-doubts of whether you can do it. Start attacking debt and don’t stop until its all gone.

  4. Stay busy
    An idle mind is a devil’s work shop and a retailer's dream. If you go to the mall just because you are bored, you are bound to end up buying stuff you likely don’t need. If you laze in front of the TV doing nothing, then the advertisers are bound to instill a yearning for something that you wouldn’t have wanted otherwise. Throwing away money to keep yourself entertained when you could be using that time a lot more productively just won’t cut it if you are serious about getting out of debt.

  5. Change your spending habits
    Do you always plan before you buy something or do you just pick things up? Do you ask yourself if you really “need” it, or justify your “wants” and keep indulging yourself? Do you spend an excessive amount of money on showing off to your friends? Take a long hard look at your spending habits and fix any short comings that you see.

  6. Cut your spending
    Can you still save some money after all of your bills are paid? For instance when you look at your groceries, can you replace some brands with generics so you can save some cash? Can you stock up during sales to save some money? How about making sure you use your utilities wisely to save on water, electricity and gas bill? Look at all aspects of your spending to pinch some more money out that you can throw at debt.

  7. Embrace a simple, frugal lifestyle
    We are in a land of excess. We believe that we need a lot of things to survive. But in reality we can get on by with very little. The more of the excesses you can trim out the sooner you will be out of debt. Yes, life will seem a bit drab without some of the indulgences you are used to. It’s your call which one you like more – temporary indulgences and sleepless nights worrying over debt, or a few sacrifices now to be free of debt issues for the rest of your life!

  8. Always lookout to improve your current income
    The more the money you make, the more you will have left over to throw at your debt. So always look for opportunities for picking up tasks with higher commission, or over time pay or something that will result in a bonus. Take your job seriously and work hard everyday, at some point it will pay off for you.

  9. Create additional sources of income
    Sometimes it is not easy to simply increase your current income at your day job. If that's the case, look at means to create additional sources of income. Do you have a hobby that you can monetize? Do you have skills (musician, carpenter, writer, etc.) that you can use to get some part time gigs? Do you have computer knowledge that you can use online? Creating additional sources of income not only helps you get out of debt but provides you with better cushion to survive through primary job loss.

  10. Build an emergency fund
    As you attack your debt, remember to put away a small amount for the rainy day. If something unexpected comes along or if you are forced to borrow money again, you will have a rough time getting out of debt. So stash away small amounts of money in an emergency fund, and make sure you use it – well, only for emergencies!

  11. Avoid paying fees when possible
    Get organized. Make sure you are paying your bills on time. There is no point in paying fees in addition to interest! Also, look out for other options where you can save on fees – for instance, going into a bank to withdraw money may seem like a hassle, but is it really worth spending $3 in ATM fees every time you withdraw money? Booking your movie tickets online may seem convenient, but is it really worth paying an extra dollar for the ticket?

  12. Use balance transfers
    Call up every single one of the credit card companies and ask them if they can lower your interest rate or offer you special interest on balance transfer. Repeat with all the credit cards you have, and consolidate your loans onto the cards that offer the best interest rate. Watch out for the “balance transfer fees” and make sure you are really coming out ahead. Again, do NOT close paid off credit cards because it will lower your credit score!

  13. Make a budget
    A budget is not really that difficult to make or follow. You don’t need fancy software or tools, just a simple notebook and pen, or a trusted spreadsheet program. List all your recurring bills like rent/mortgage, groceries, utilities, bills and put a limit on it. Then create a category for miscellaneous expenses to cover what you cannot plan for and an indulgence category. If you don’t have enough for paying towards debt, tweak and tune these categories, until you find enough.

  14. Reuse and recycle
    Reuse and recycle whatever you can. I never buy garbage bags. Instead I have small waste bins in my kitchen and bathrooms that I line with grocery bags. I don’t care if someone thinks that is cheap – it saves me money and is a small way to reduce my environmental footprint. So why should I bother about what snobs think. And since they are smaller waste bins, they get cleaned our more regularly, reducing the possibility of stench in the kitchen. You will be amazed at how many different places you can apply the reuse and recycle principle to save a few bucks!

  15. Make your intentions public
    When you start digging into your debt, make your intentions public. Say it out loud - maybe to your spouse or your family or friends. When people know that you are tackling debt, they will give you dirty looks and lectures when you slip up :) It may be an unsavory experience, but if it keeps you on track and gets you out the hole faster, why not? Maybe it will also stop them from enticing you to eat out or buy that new pair of pants!

  16. Start a blog about your effort
    If you are not comfortable about sharing it with the people you know, share it with strangers! The internet makes it so easy to have an anonymous public image! Use it! Create a blog and chart your progress. You can create free blogs using software like blogger - it is fairly easy and you don’t need to be tech-savvy to be able to do it. Nothing makes you obsessive about getting rid of your debt like encouragement from a bunch of strangers whom you have never met! Besides, depending on your success, you may be able to monetize your blog and make it an additional source of income. Here are a few blogs to get you started Blogging Away Debt, No Credit Needed, The Simple Dollar. A simple search for “blog debt” on Google will show you many more if you are interested.

  17. Surround yourself with the right type of people
    If you are surrounded by people who keep spending, then it is difficult to get out of the consumerist mentality and slip into the more sensible mentality of living within your means. This may mean changing friends or keeping your distance from those that influence you negatively. It is a very difficult tip to follow, but a necessary one, if you want to really get out of debt.

  18. Move!
    Drastic times require drastic measures! If you are really deep into debt you might want to consider more drastic steps like moving to a city with lower cost of living, to a smaller house, to an apartment with lower rent etc.

  19. If something is available for free, don’t pay for it. Throw the money at your debt instead!
    If you can take public transportation to get around, skip the driving. Better yet, ride your bike and get a little workout at the same time. At the end of the month you may have used one less tank of gas. Make sure you bump up your debt repayment by that amount. It may not seem like much, but over a course of time, this can add up beautifully to free you from debt a lot sooner.

  20. Always pay more than the minimum payment toward your debt.
    If you only pay minimum payments, you will be old and gray before you pay off a the debt. Here is a calculator that shows the true cost of paying minimum. For example, if you only pay the minimum payment on a credit card loan of just $1000, at an APR of 18%, then it will take you around 13 years to pay off that debt. In that time you would have paid $1,115.41 in interest. That is more than the principal borrowed! Imagine how much worse it is with larger loans. So always try to make more than the minimum payments if you are serious about getting rid of debt.

  21. Don’t hesitate to take help from loved ones
    When you are down and battling with debt, if loved ones offer to help don’t hesitate to accept. This could be in cash or kind. For instance, can your mother baby sit your kids so you can save some money that is spent on daycare and apply it to your debt? Can your parents loan you some money at low or zero interest that will help you reduce the amount you pay in debt? If you are just starting out, can you move back with your parents for a few months and throw the rent money towards your debt? These may be very tough but they can save you several years of slaving to pay off your debt.

  22. Make it automatic/manual
    I know that’s ambiguous, but pick what works for you. If it hurts you every month to go over the bills and make the payments, then just set up automatic payments so that a fixed portion of your income goes towards paying debt. Your sole responsibility then is to make sure that your bank balance stays above the required amount and to avoid overdraft fees. On the other hand, if it gives you pleasure to watch your debt shrink and motivates you to keep at it, then make it manual. Pay your bills by yourself each month.
Ultimately, getting rid of debt is like going on a financial diet; it is not easy and the temptations to give in are high. There will be that tiny voice in your head that says, “what’s the point of money if you can’t enjoy life?” But if you are in debt, and constantly worrying about it, you are in fact enslaved to your financial miseries. Unless you make some sacrifices, it is unlikely that you will be able to get out of it. Not all of these tips will work for you, so pick what does and stick to it!

Written by ispf of Grad Money Matters.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Are You A Spud?

from the DLM Blog:

Five Ridiculous Reasons Why You’re a Couch Potato

Posted: 26 Apr 2011 09:18 AM PDT

I’m pretty good at making excuses – and I expect you are too. It’s all too easy to come up with a reason not to do something if we’re feeling a bit tired or lazy.

Now, we all know that we should be exercising. We’ve heard all the benefits – lifelong health, weight loss, more energy, fewer illnesses – but we’re great at finding ridiculous reasons not to get moving. Do you recognize any of the below ones?

#1: “I Don’t Have Time”
I’ll bet you’ve said this before – I know I have! It’s so easy to think I don’t have time to exercise. But is that really true?

Sure, you might not have three hours to go to the gym every day. I don’t either. But you do have twenty minutes to go for a brisk walk in your lunch hour. You can squeeze in some sit ups during the ad breaks on TV in the evenings.

The truth is, we all have enough time to do enough exercise to stay healthy.

#2: “I Hate Exercise”
When I was a teen, I was convinced that I hated exercise. I was overweight and pretty uncoordinated. I dreaded gym class at school because I got bullied by my classmates.

Maybe you’ve had similar experiences – and maybe you associate exercise with being unhappy and uncomfortable.

It really doesn’t have to be that way. There are hundreds of different types of exercise: you certainly don’t have to jog around a school field or fail to climb up a rope. How about:
  • Housework – you can burn calories by vacuuming, cleaning, even ironing
  • Walking – a leisurely walk in the countryside can be very relaxing
  • Swimming – if you hate getting sweaty, then exercising in a pool is great
  • Fun! I’ve surprised myself by enjoying activities like trampolining and fencing
You’ll probably find that there are certain sorts of exercise that you hate. But saying “I hate exercise” is just as silly and childish as saying “I hate vegetables.”

#3: “I’m Too Tired”
When you get home from work, you probably feel like slumping on the sofa. You certainly don’t feel motivated to go jogging or to do an exercise DVD. You might even worry that if you do, you’ll be even more exhausted.

Tiredness can actually be caused by insufficient exercise. If you get up and move, you’ll probably find your energy returning. Often, saying “I’m too tired” really means “I’m too lazy” – but once you get started, it’ll get much easier.

If you really struggle to exercise in the evenings, how about fitting in a short workout in the morning, or during your lunch hour? If your workplace is within walking or cycling distance of your home, you could even have an active commute to and from work – a great way to de-stress at the end of the day.

#4: “I’m Too Fat”
I do have some sympathy with this excuse. I know how shy I felt when I was overweight, and how much I hated exercising in public.

Whether you’re just a few pounds overweight or seriously obese, the thought of exercise can be terrifying. If you’re very out of shape, you might struggle to walk for more than a few minutes.

Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous in order to be beneficial. If you can only walk round the block, do that – each week, you’ll find yourself able to do a little bit more.

If you hate the idea of anyone seeing you exercise, then don’t force yourself to go to a gym or jog outside. Look for some cheap equipment that you can use at home – like hand weights, a jump rope or DVDs.

#5: “I Don’t Wanna!”

I think this is what all the other excuses add up to: what we’re really saying is “I don’t want to exercise!”

You might think that’s true. I know that I have days when I feel like the last thing I want to do is get on my elliptical trainer. But every single time, once I get past the first few minutes, I find myself enjoying it. And I’ve heard lots of other reluctant exercisers say the same.

Of course it’s easier to stay on the sofa. But once you get up, put on your workout gear and get moving, you’ll be glad that you did.

So – what’s your ridiculous excuse for not exercising? And how can you get over it, this week?

Written on 4/26/2011 by Ali Luke. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.Photo Credit: gLangille

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

7 Ways to De-Stress

I have just gone thru what most likely will be the most stressful month on 2011.

Especially the past couple of weeks.

We had my step-daughter Abby graduating from Purdue University followed by a couple of small graduation dinners for her and the family; her future mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law in town for her bridal shower, and then a semi parked in our driveway as she and her Dad and fiance prepared to move her to Nebraska. (That wedding is in August).

We also just completed the wedding of my oldest daughter, Rachael, a few days ago with all the dinners, tuxs, dancing, speeches, and now I get to take care of their cats (that's the easy part) while they are gone for a few days.

In between those two daughters events, my youngest daughter Tiffany and her husband Jon were expecting their first child and when the due date passed we were wondering when Calvin would make his debut.

I am so thankful for my family that I only had to play a supporting role in all of these events and now all is calm for a few weeks except for some home repairs I need to do before the August wedding.

I've had to learn a few tips on how to de-stress, and here's some ideas from the DLM blog:

Seven Ways to De-Stress Instantly

Posted: 22 May 2011 02:42 PM PDT

Imagine it’s Monday morning. Over the weekend, you had a major argument with your partner (and you’re both still sulking), your alarm clock fails to go off, you try to get your usual breakfast only to find that the cereal box is empty and the milk’s gone sour, and then the car won’t start. By the time you get to work, you’re already feeling frazzled – and then your boss dumps an “urgent” project on your desk. You know you’ve got a backlog of emails to deal with from last week and you can feel your stress levels and blood pressure going through the roof.

Now, it’d be nice if you could de-stress by following some of the great advice you’ve no doubt already heard. You know, take a long bath, have an afternoon off, enjoy a long weekend’s vacation, go for an hour-long jog, etc. Unfortunately, you can only afford five minutes. Can you de-stress in five minutes? Yes, you can; just try one of these.
  1. Go For A Quick Walk
    Even if you can only spare five minutes, go for a walk (it might just be to the water cooler and back). The aim here is to get yourself away from the immediate source of stress and to calm down. A few minutes to gather your thoughts is all you need to get some perspective.

  2. Read Some Fiction
    If I’m seriously worked up, upset or stressed, one of the best things I can do is to grab a book. Fiction is ideal (especially anything funny or uplifting). Reading fiction takes you out of the here-and-now and into a different world. You can forget everything that’s troubling you, for just ten minutes, as you concentrate on the story.

  3. Meditate or Pray
    Often, the best thing we can do to instantly de-stress is to simply stop. Many life coaches and stress advisors recommend meditation: there’s no mystery to it, just sit and try to clear your mind of thoughts (perhaps concentrating on a calming image or a word or phrase, if that helps you). I also like to pray – if this suits your religious/spiritual persuasions, it can be a very powerful way to get outside of your own head and call on a higher power for some much-needed help!

  4. Watch A Funny Video
    I don’t know about you, but I just can’t stay stressed out when I’m laughing. (It’s like trying to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time...) If you have a favorite YouTube clip, or if LolCats make you giggle, then give yourself five minutes to indulge. You’ll find that you return to your work – or whatever the source of the stress is – feeling much better equipped to handle it.

  5. Make A Herbal Tea
    If you’re feeling uber-stressed, caffeine isn’t going to help. A warm, soothing mug of herbal tea might, though. The act of making yourself a drink can be calming: it gets you away from your desk, and it gives you a chance to concentrate on something physical. You’ll probably also feel a psychological boost from doing something positive and nurturing for yourself.

  6. Punch A Pillow
    Depending on where you are when you’re feeling stressed, and on your personality, throwing a few punches at a pillow might help. Think of the stress leaving you through your fist with every punch. (If you’re in the office, please don’t be tempted to use a co-worker as a substitute pillow ... even if said co-worker has caused your stress.)

  7. Take Slow, Deep Breaths
    When we get stressed, we tend to breath more quickly, taking shallow breaths. Concentrate on your breathing (you might want to do this in conjunction with meditation or prayer). Imagine breathing from your stomach, not your chest. Take slow, deep, fulfilling breaths. Calming your body down physically in this way is likely to have a knock-on effect on your frazzled mental state.
Do you find yourself getting overly worked up on a regular basis? What are your instant fixes for when you’re feeling stressed?

Written on 5/31/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali is a professional writer and blogger, and a part-time postgraduate student of creative writing. If you need a hand with any sort of written project, drop her a line ( or check out her website at Aliventures. Republished 5/22/2011.
Photo Credit: stuartpilbrow

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Rest of ScLoHo

Every once in awhile I need to remember to share a little more about this website and myself than I usually do.

You are currently on my personal website that I started several years ago as a blog to share some random thoughts with friends and family.

These days I update this site ( twice a day.

At 6 in the morning I feature a link to another Fort Wayne area website.

At 4:08pm I post an afternoon update that varies depending on what is on my mind, what I've read, or what I have found online.

There are a few other websites that I own, edit and manage including a couple on Media, Marketing, Advertising and Sales.

ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom
is updated 3 times a day, 7 days a week with articles that I have collected from others that have bits of marketing oriented wisdom.

The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo the book that my wife asked me to write a couple years ago, and instead I started another website that is updated every Tuesday morning at 7am with another chapter.
ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure is the site that is devoted to Social Media which I launched 5 months ago with updates at noon, 5 days a week.

I also have a home page which also has connections to my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles at

And for those folks who are on Tumblr, I have a Tumblr account that all of my blog site postings appear on =

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Monday, May 30, 2011

5 Steps to Success

I always get value from the DLM Blog:

How to Become Wildly Successful at Anything

Posted: 07 May 2011 04:18 PM PDT

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are." -- Tobias Wolff, Writer

The interesting thing about success is that anyone can do it. If you simply do what successful people do, you are inevitably going to be successful. Right? Well, ok, maybe it's not simply a case of follow the leader. However, I can tell you that settling for 'good enough' is not the way to succeed.

Those that settle for good enough will regret their decision sooner or later and yearn for more. Good enough is simply never, well, be good enough. We are made for adventure, growth, and facing our fears. We are made to overcome win.

Despite what the gurus tell you, there is no master secret or plan. There is however something else, something that is easily overlooked. It's your brain, your vision and your passion. The ideal combination of those ingredients will help you supremely in life and believe it or not, success will follow if you figure this out.

Within this process, there are a ton of variables to consider. We're going to talk about five major ones here.
  1. Clarity
    First, you have to know what you want. It’s not enough to go after a profession that pays well. Making money your #1 priority will destroy your soul. It will leave you unsatisfied and miserable. Why do you think so many people have seemingly great jobs that pay well, but are still deeply depressed and unfulfilled?

    In order to discover what you want, you have to first discover what you don’t want. This can only be accomplished by trying, experimenting, and taking massive action. When you start, you will always be confused and unclear. As you keep moving forward, you will feel inspired to take action in one direction instead of the other.

    If you follow your heart, your life will not only become a fascinating adventure, but a journey of personal growth.

  2. Focus
    Once you become clear about what you want to do, it’s important that you focus on the tasks that help you make the most progress. For example, if you’re building an online business, you can spend all the time you want checking email, but it won’t get you closer to the goals that truly matter in your life.

    An online business is not a business until a sale is made. In order to make sales, you have to create products, recommend products, build an email list, and do work that matters. It’s hard work and often uncomfortable, which is why most people avoid it. If you can discipline yourself to work on high-value tasks, your life will change for the better.

  3. Goal Setting
    Goal setting gives your mind something to focus on. Our brains are goal seeking mechanisms. If you don’t give your mind something to go after, it won’t know what to do.

    When you have a goal, you will feel clear, motivated, and inspired to take action, because you know where you are going.

    A simple way to set simple goals is to ask yourself where you want to be twelve months from now. Use the SMART criteria for setting goals, which stands for
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Realistic
    • Timely
    If you’re starting an online business, a good goal might be to get it to $1,000/month in 12 months. After you have that goal, you can start brainstorming how to attain that goal.

  4. Action
    Once you’ve set your goal, it’s time to start taking massive action. Most successful people are positive. They face the same amount of challenges as anyone else. The only difference is that they view their failures differently. They know that by trying many things, they will succeed sooner or later, while unsuccessful people tend to give up before they’ve even started.

    If you want to succeed at anything, you have to become relentless.

  5. Trial & Error
    Becoming successful is all about trial and error. The more you fail, the faster you will succeed. Keeping with our online business example, the way I succeeded in creating an online income was to be willing to try different things until I succeeded.

    This doesn’t mean you should jump from thing to thing before you’ve given it a chance. Believe me, I’ve been there and done that, and it doesn’t work.

    What you should do is pick one thing that has been proven to work, and make it work. It doesn’t matter if you make $50/month or $500/month. The important thing is that you stay focused until you make it work.
Action Steps
I want to leave you with a few action steps you can take right now to improve your life and the probability that you will succeed. So grab a pen and a piece of paper and get ready. By doing the simple exercises below, you will be much more likely to get what you want.

Remember, you can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want in the first place.
  1. Get clear about what you want. What is the final result you are after? Do you want better relationships, financial independence or something else?

  2. Set a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goal. Write down 10 things you want to accomplish in the next 12 months.

  3. Write your most important goal at the top of a blank sheet of paper and brainstorm ways to make it happen. Do this until you feel you can’t come up with any more ways, then push yourself to come up with more.
Anyone can become successful. There are no excuses. You can manifest your wildest dreams if you truly want to.

Written on 5/7/2011 by Henri Junttila. Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where he shares his personal tips on how you can live the life you know you deserve. When you feel ready to take action, get his free course: Find Your Passion in 5 Days or Less. And if you liked this article, you will enjoy one of his top articles: 77 Great Quotes That Will Change Your Life.Photo Credit: baileyraeweaver

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Sunday, May 29, 2011


2 of my daughters of quit their jobs in the past month.

You might think that it's not a smart thing to do in our current economy.


But in their case, maybe not.

The first to quit was Rachael. Her employer promoted her from hourly to salary then piled on all kinds of extra work.

Rachael is a hard worker, but she and her fiance felt this was wrong and so she decided to take a break.

Yesterday her fiance became her husband and I don't know how she could have gotten everything ready in the past 30 days if she was working 60+ hours.

Tiffany's early retirement was also a joint decision with her husband. She knew she was going to be a Mom and wanted to start out as a full time Mom.

What about you? Would you work for money if you didn't need to?

From the DLM blog:

Thoreau’s Guide to Living More by Spending Less

Posted: 18 May 2011 03:11 PM PDT

There are lots of reasons for living a more minimalist life. By owning less you reduce your impact on the environment, you spend less, and you live more simply.

For Henry David Thoreau, the reason for spending less boiled down to a simple formula. It’s what I call “the life calculation.” Here’s how Thoreau describes it:

The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.

Why live more simply? Because the more stuff we buy, the more we end up exchanging our life for the things we own. This is a radical way of thinking about cost. Normally, we think of cost as a measure of dollars and cents. The latest iPhone costs $399. A new Toyota Prius costs around $25,000. A house on the beach in Malibu costs $20,000,000. You get the idea.

Thoreau’s key insight is that the things we buy don’t just cost money, they cost us time, effort, and sacrifice. They cost us our life.

Example. Let’s say you decide to buy a million dollar house. Thoreau would say that the real cost of the house isn’t one million dollars. The real cost is the number of years of work required to pay it off. So if it takes you 40 years of long hours working a job you hate to pay off that house, then it’s real cost is not one million dollars, it’s 40-years of life.

How can we apply Thoreau’s “life calculation” to our daily lives? Here are three steps that might help:
  1. What’s Your Work Time Worth?
    The first step in applying the “life calculation” is to calculate the value of your working hours. Let’s say you make $50,000 a year working 40 hours a week. After taxes, you end up actually seeing $35,000 (this will depend on where you live, number of dependents, etc.). Assuming you work 50 weeks a year, the monetary value of each working hour is around $17.

  2. The Shift From Dollars to Life.
    Once you’ve nailed down the rough value of each working hour, you can begin shifting away from thinking dollars to thinking life. You do this by calculating the life cost of all those things you wish you could buy. So that new MacBook Pro you wish you had no longer costs $1,800. If each hour of work is worth $17, it now costs 105 hours (almost three weeks) of life. That new house you wish you could buy no longer costs $500,000, it costs 29,411 hours of life (roughly 14 working years of life, and that’s assuming that the house is the only thing you spend your money on).

  3. Consider trading things for life.
    Once you’ve calculated these actual life costs, think seriously about the trade-off between things and life. For Thoreau, the trade-off was simple. He always chose life over new things. As he says, “There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of his life getting his living.” But you may decide that certain things are worth the life sacrifice. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed at spending less and living more. Quite the opposite. It means that you have made a reflective choice to sacrifice a portion of your days and hours for the things you own. You’ve made a conscious choice. The real danger Thoreau points to arises when we lose consciousness of this choice, when we buy without ever considering the amount of life exchanged for our latest purchase.
Of course, many of us work on a fixed schedule. We cannot call in one day and decide that we are going to exchange the next month of earnings for a month spent walking through the woods.

This may be true. But it’s also true that employers are becoming more flexible. I just had lunch with a CEO who told me, “I would be happy to let an employee take a few more weeks off for a cut in pay. But nobody has ever asked for it.”

What do you think about Thoreau’s “life calculation”? Would it help you spend less and live more?
Written on 5/18/2011 by Nate Klemp. Nate earned his PhD at Princeton and is a professor at Pepperdine University. He founded, a website dedicated to exploring philosophy as an art of living. You can follow him on Twitter @LifeBeyondLogic and on Facebook. Download a free copy of his new ebook, Finding Reality: Thoreau’s Lessons for Life in the Digital Age.Photo Credit: Fred Sheahan

From First Photo to First Dance

This Memorial Day weekend has been a memory maker for our family.

The first part you can read about here, including the comment for an update:

Earlier in the week I mentioned on Twitter that we should have someone Tweet the Wedding.

Rachael invited a table full of some of her Twitter Friends, (That's usually people that you first meet on Twitter, who become face to face friends too), to the wedding and we nominated Christie to be the official Wedding Tweeper complete with the hashtag #GGWed !

I can see it now, you have a best man, maid of honor, caterer, and now an official Tweeper for your wedding with your own hashtag, so you can read it later!

And the significance of #GGWed?

My daughter Rachael, goes by the Twitter name @GreenGlassHero and her husband is not on Twitter. So we shortened GreenGlass to GG and that made it short enough that others could still have room to Tweet.

So, Christie's Tweeps were mostly pictures which I'll share in a second.

I was not about to Twitter during the wedding, despite my Twitter-holic nature!

In a few hours, I'll be heading to Indianapolis to visit my daughter Tiffany who was supposed to be in the wedding, but decided to give birth to my first grandson Calvin and turn Tiff and her husband Jon from parents-to-be to simply parents! (Welcome to the club!)

Perhaps Tiff got to see the updates as they were going on via the Twitter updates from her hospital room. She was missed by all of us, but I am relieved that both of my daughters have survived May 28th, 2011 with all of the blessings of marriage and a growing family.

Now, a few pictures...

The walk down the stairway was so easy the night before when I was wearing comfortable shoes, but this was the walk of death for my feet. I decided to Man-Up and walk with a smile as a proud parent down the stairs with my daughter Rachael on my arm, with only minutes left to her being a single lady.

The ceremony on the steps in the museum with Rachael and Brandon preparing to exchange vows, rings and later their first dance as Mr. & Mrs.

One of the shots of the reception. Rachael is visible at the head table, and also included in this shot are my son Josh in the blue/purple shirt on the left, and step daughter Abby in the red dress on the right. Sitting in the white shirt next to Abby is her fiance Jeff. Their wedding date is August 13, 2011.

And this is Christie who recorded the wedding with these pictures and Twitter updates.

The weekend and the month continues....

Fort Wayne Site of the Day

Click on Pic