DIY

The Money Affirmations Experiment

What would happen if we said Money Affirmations for a week?

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Radio Recaps: StartUp Podcast Ep. 6, “How to Value Your Start Up”

#6 is the first episode that discusses, on a meta level, the effect the podcast — created to document but also promote the fledgling venture — has on the venture itself.

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In Search of Lost Money and How it Just Got Easier

your money could be waiting for you right now, like little orphan Annie in the window of Miss Hannigan’s singing the wistful song, “Maybe.”

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Advice for Retirement: Invest in a Metal Detector

There’s gold in them thar hills — at least, the hills of Scotland, as a retiree with a metal detector recently discovered:

Amongst the objects is a solid silver cross thought to date from the 9th or 10th century, a silver pot of west European origin, which is likely to have already been 100 years old when it was buried and several gold objects. “Experts have begun to examine the finds, but it is already clear that this is one of the most significant Viking hoards ever discovered in Scotland,” Scotland’s Treasure Trove unit said in a statement.

The Viking hoard is McLennan’s second significant contribution to Scotland’s understanding of its past. Last year, he and a friend unearthed around 300 medieval coins in the same area of Scotland. … The latest find, also containing a rare silver cup engraved with animals which dates from the Holy Roman Empire, and a gold bird pin, is the largest to be found in Scotland since 1891 and could be worth a six-figure sum, the BBC said.

(If, like me, you’re reading the Outlander books, about a WWII nurse who accidentally time-travels back 200 years to the Scottish highlands, this news is particularly apropos and entertaining.) Vikings, man! They came to rape and pillage and they did a lot of burying treasure in Scotland and England too, which means there’s probably more to find.

But even if you can’t fly out to the UK and start marauding, you can still find money just by looking down when you walk: I’ve collected easily $50 over the years that way, as well as a really pretty tiny diamond ring. One morning, when I was a kid, I found $100 in an unmarked envelope hidden in my dresser. No idea what the story was but for a while there I lived like a king.

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Why You Should Buy Thanksgiving Tickets Now

It’s October! There’s a nip in the air, a gourd on every doorstep, a scarf round every throat. And you know what that means: it’s time to go broke paying for holiday travel. Except maybe not this year. Maybe you can get it together to buy tickets in advance and not have to shell out an extra $300 for the privilege of visiting your Aunt Ellen in Milwaukee and listening to your relatives try to explain Twitter to each other for the fourteen-thousandth time.

We tend think that maybe tickets will get really affordable at the last minute because airlines will get desperate, like bar patrons still lingering on their stools at Last Call. This is a myth. MYTH. According to CheapAir.com:

For most domestic trips, we found a similar pattern. The worst time to book your trip was the last minute. No big shocker there. The day before was the single worst day, two days before was the second worst, etc. etc. all the way up to 13 days in advance. Our data completely debunks the myth that if you wait until the last minute, there will be big price reductions to take advantage of, as airlines dump empty seats. That simply doesn’t happen, and buying a flight with less than two weeks advance purchase is the last strategy we would recommend.

When is the optimal time, then? So glad you asked:

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Link Roundup!: Sleep You Need vs Sleep You Get; Podcast Love

+ Another way we are unequal in this paltry excuse for a civilization? The number of hours of sleep we get a night, on average, varies based on how much money we have. The effects are real, lasting, and frightening:

McCalman’s life reveals a particularly sorry side of America’s sleep-deprived culture. Though we often praise white-collar “superwomen” who “never sleep” and juggle legendary careers with busy families, it’s actually people who have the least money who get the least sleep.

Though Americans across the economic spectrum are sleeping less these days, people in the lowest income quintile, and people who never finished high school, are far more likely to get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night. About half of people in households making less than $30,000 sleep six or fewer hours per night, while only a third of those making $75,000 or more do. …

A later study on 147 adult humans found that the sleep deprived among them had actively shrinking brains. This suggests that no amount of “catch up” sleep can ever reverse the effects of sleep loss on the body.

“How do you sleep at night?” “On top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.”

+ The ‘Fold got some love on the newish Slate parenting podcast “Mom and Dad Are Fighting!”

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Professor Dumpster Still Trying To Make Dumpster Happen

Remember Dumpster Dad, who decided, after his divorce, to move into a dumpster? And then wrote this unnerving “It Happened To Me” story for XOJane which included the detail that the dumpster was behind the women’s dormitory at the university where he taught? (Seriously, were there no dumpsters behind the business school? Or the environmental studies program?)

Well, Dumpster Dad is back, and he’s now been promoted to Professor Dumpster. The Atlantic has a lengthy feature on Professor Dumpster (aka Jeff Wilson), one of those sweet glossy features with animated GIFs and dumpster schematics, and here are a few of the updates on Professor Dumpster’s life:

—People actually call Wilson “Professor Dumpster.” I have no idea if this generated naturally or if it is Wilson’s self-styled nickname (and BRAND). I do know that it is the name on Wilson’s Instagram.

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Baby Carrots, Evil or The Most Evil?

POINT: Baby carrots are the devil, argues generally sensible dad writer Brian Gresko. They cost more, waste more, and perpetuate the fiction that our food does not come from the ground.

The name “baby carrots” seems apt, not just because they look like baby versions of carrots, but because they infantilize the consumer, who has only to open the bag and start munching without a care in the world.

And don’t get him started on juice boxes:

According to PBS Kids, juice boxes are built from six layers of paper, polyethylene plastic, and a thin layer of aluminum. They also, of course, come with plastic straws. The plastic in these packages will likely take at least 300 years to break down, though that’s a conservative estimate.

The contents of the boxes don’t get much better, as many juice brands are loaded with sugar. AsEveryday Health reports, sugary drinks lead to an increased risk of obesity and diabetes, and establish taste preferences for sweet beverages in young children that may get out of hand when they enter their teenage years. (On top of this, Dr. Oz caused a stir in 2011 when he found certain apple juices contained high levels of arsenic.) Kids who drink a lot of juice are avoiding healthier fluids like milk and water.

COUNTERPOINT: Fine, juice boxes, whatever, but baby carrots taste better than the regular kind. I don’t know why but they do! Is it the chlorine? Or the convenience?

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Producing a Beyoncé-themed Burlesque Show on a Budget

It wasn’t long after I became friends with burlesque star and producer Calamity Chang through freelance work that I came up with the idea for Beylesque, a Beyoncé burlesque show to take place on or around the pop diva’s 33rd birthday. “It could be huge!” I said. “It’s underground meets mainstream pop. You could serve birthday cupcakes and have a dance-off/twerkout during intermission.”

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Battle of the Budgets: YNAB or Mint?

There are YNAB people and Mint people, and then there are people who are like, “Oh golly, you want me to organize my spending? That’s so terrifying I need to buy another two handbags right now.” The basic difference seems to be proactive (YNAB) vs reactive (Mint), whether you’re into planning with a tinge of self-improvement (YNAB) or simply tracking what’s happened over the course of the recent past and making order out of chaos (Mint). Hope or facts, January resolutions or December summaries.

This battle has gone on for some years now. Lifehacker’s audience preferred YNAB all the way back in 2011 (although they acknowledge that the results might have been somewhat skewed):

Newcomer You Need A Budget (YNAB) topped the poll with 50.84% of the vote. Mint came in second after leading early-on, with 28.63%. In third, the simple spreadsheet turned out to be the budgeting tool of choice for almost 10% of you, and in fourth was Quicken, with 7.4% of the votes cast. Bringing up the rear is the now-discontinued (but still free) Microsoft Money, with 3.3% of the vote.

It’s worth noting that the founder of YNAB reached out to us to let us know that he let fans, users, and the community around YNAB know about our poll and advised them to vote, so that may have influenced the final results. Regardless, it’s clear there are a lot of YNAB fans here in our community as well, so the app is well worth a look.

Now that YNAB is no longer the well-groomed, bright-eyed newcomer, and Mint is still the wise old lady who’s been on the block forever, whose door do you go to for advice? Do you aspire to be a budgeter or are you content to be a tracker? Or, in a Know Thyself kind of way, do you realize you’ll never really be either — and in that case, what’s your fix? 

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Just Because You Have a Standing Desk Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Sit Down

I love my standing desk. I made it by sticking a wire crate on top of my thrift-store desk (which is not even a desk, it’s some kind of Ikea table, but you work with what you have). I put on a big pair of rubbery flip-flops that I bought at Rite Aid for two bucks, I stand up, and I rock out.

I don’t think my standing desk makes me any more productive. I have a lot of evidence that working at a standing desk makes me feel better, although my “evidence” is mostly “it’s fun to bounce around to Pomplamoose while I work.” The key takeaway here: when I get tired, I sit down. That’s why I made my standing desk out of a wire crate and not a set of concrete blocks. It stops being a standing desk in approximately 1.5 seconds.

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