Saturday, March 31, 2012

YMOYL Book Club: Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life (Step 4)

Today we begin week four of the Your Money or Your Life Online Book Club, where we are tackling the nine steps of the YMOYL program over next nine weeks. Get more background info. and a complete list of the steps here.

Chapter four is all about asking ourselves what is enough for us. It starts out by asking some pretty heavy questions.
  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  2. What have you always wanted to do that you haven't done yet?
  3. What have you done in your life that you are really proud of?
  4. If you knew that you were going to die in a year how would you spend that year?
  5. What brings you the most fulfillment--and how is that related to money?
  6. If you didn't have to work for a living, what would you do with your time?
The grape hyacinths are in top form this week.
I love seeing the wave of purple in the yard.

Step 4: Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life

In this step, you will learn a method of evaluating how you earn and spend money and if it aligns with what you want to do and be in your life. You’ll achieve this by reviewing your monthly categories in the context of three life-changing questions:
  1. Did I receive fulfillment in proportion to life energy spent? 
  2. Was this in alignment with my values, goals and purpose? 
  3. How would this change if I didn’t have to work for a living? 
Using the fulfillment curve as a model (see introduction), these questions will help you adjust your current behavior so as to achieve maximum fulfillment in relation to money.

To complete this step, go back to you monthly tabulation from step 3, and write the answers to these three questions next to your totals for each category. You can use any scale you like to answer the questions, + 0 -, as suggested in the book; :) :| :( as suggested in the program guide, or make one up. Whatever gives you the most fulfillment!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Has Sprung so Grab a Mop

photo by Melissa Ann Barret 
I'm pretty sure spring cleaning was invented by a man with a maid fetish.

Spring has definitely sprung. And you know what happens in spring, don't you? Why, it's that special time of year when the little lady's thoughts turn to cleaning. I mean really, what the hell else do we females have to ponder?

The spring cleaning furor seems to have dulled down a bit now, but for a while there I couldn't click on a link without seeing some mention of spring cleaning (although I am happy to see that using green, homemade cleaners seems to be the "in" thing this year).

I don't know about you, but when the weather turns nice after a long winter (ok this winter was pretty tame here, but bare with me), the last thing I feel like doing is staying inside and scrubbing. I mean I love cleanliness as much as the next borderline OCD person, but anything that requires a long checklist, likely written by some homemaking maven who probably has a maid for that kind of thing, is not something I feel the need to follow. And if there are some heavy duty cleaning jobs around the house that need some tackling, does doing them once a year really cut it?

I thought spring cleaning harkened back to the days when heat sources caused a heck of a mess. Since that's hardly the case, or at least not for those of us reading this post, isn't it time we kill this antiquated tradition?

All of which  leads me to wonder, do any of you actually spring clean? 

I tackle heavier cleaning jobs throughout the year whenever things get out of hand, but I can't recall ever spending hours spring cleaning. Nor do I remember seeing my mom do so, not even during her "June Cleaver" years. Sorry to out you there, Ma.

Although, come to think of it, my aversion to spring cleaning may just be another way of trying to block out the horror that was my experience as an au pair. For Americans unfamiliar with the au pair concept, it's really just a way of getting cheap slave labor and childcare. In other words, I don't recommend it. Now those people could have given Martha Stewart a run for her money. Walls, baseboards, doorknobs and floors had to be washed every week. Cupboards and the fridge were to be emptied and washed monthly. Three times a week I had to dust, vacuum and clean the bathrooms. THREE. TIMES. A. WEEK. I failed my first week because they found dust in between the stairway spindles. I shit you not. On the upside, I now clean things that would never have occurred to me without that experience.

So the moral of the story is, drop the mop and go outside dammit!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

YMOYL Book Club: Monthly Tabulation (Step 3)

Today we begin week three of the Your Money or Your Life Online Book Club, where we are tackling the nine steps of the YMOYL program over next nine weeks. Get more background info. and a complete list of the steps here.

Congratulations, we've made it to step 3! However, the authors tell us that in terms of where the program will take us, we've just begun. Starting with step 3, we'll be doing more of the work needed to make this program successful. (And here I thought digging out old salaries was hard enough!).

Step 3 isn't about budgeting. Perhaps my favorite part of this chapter is that it starts out by saying that budgets don't work. I know some people are major fans of budgets, but I never could be bothered to do them.

One of my favorite bits of this chapter starts on page 78 of the new edition of YMOYL:
This [program] is not about following our or anyone else's budgets...This is not about swearing at the beginning of each month that you'll do better. This is not about guilt. It's about identifying, for yourself, what you need as opposed to what you want, what purchases or types of purchases actually bring you fulfillment, what represents "enough" to you and what you actually spend money on. Consequently, the success of this program rests on your honesty and integrity.

Step 3: Monthly Tabulation

In Step 3 you will use the information gathered in tracking to see what patterns are emerging. You will establish your own spending categories and create a monthly summary or tabulation of your expenses and income.

This is different from a budget, with its arbitrary estimates of future spending. A monthly tabulation shows what you are actually doing with your money in the present and provides an accurate portrait of your lifestyle and spending patterns.

The practices of Steps 2 and 3 form a foundation for Step 4, where you will learn how to evaluate those patterns with an eye to increasing your fulfillment.

Specific steps:

  1. Discern your unique spending and income categories and subcategories from your daily money log.
  2. Set up your monthly tabulation.
  3. Enter all transactions in the appropriate category.
  4. Total money spent in each category.
  5. Add up monthly income and expenses. Total your cash and all bank account balances. Apply equation to see how accurate you've been.
  6. Convert dollars spent in each subcategory into hours of life energy using the real hourly wage you computed in Step 2.
Checking In

As we enter our third week, I wanted to check in and see how everyone is doing. How is your motivation? What's been your biggest stumbling block in the program so far? Are you still with us for the next six weeks?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: Take Back Your Time

After borrowing Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America, edited by John de Graaf, from the library, I let it languish on the shelf for weeks. I think I found this title based on a recommendation from another book and quite frankly, I didn't have high hopes for it. I figured it would basically boil down to reduce your expenses and work less. And who hasn't heard that message before? Or that it would be about trying to enact policy changes, which while important, could take so long that I'd never see it happen in my lifetime anyway. So, yeah, expectations were not high.

But eventually I got around to reading the book and I have to say, it was the very opposite of what I expected. As usual, there is a lot more to this issue than it appears. Take back your time details the connection between many of the world's social problems, including the environment, health, crime, transportation, etc., and our ever increasing work hours. Each chapter is an essay written by a different author, many of whom you've probably  heard of many before, including Juliet Schor, David Wann, Vicki Robin and Cecile Andrews. This is the second book I've read recently that uses this essay format (hey! another review coming...sometime) and I really like it. No only do you hear about different sides of an issue from many different voices, but if there is a particular side you are less interested in, well you can get the gist in a shirt amount of time. It's also a great way to find out about new authors who may be of interest.

I especially enjoyed the book's explanation of the differences in work hours between the US and Europe. As workers became more productive during and after the industrial revolution, Europeans fought for reduced hours and more time off instead of increased wages. Americans made the opposite choice of course, and though many predicted that our work hours would be drastically reduced by now, and certainly less than 40 hours per week, in reality they keep increasing.

Favorite bits:
  • What's the economy for anyway? We're told to shop, among other things, for the good of the economy, but what is the economy for anyway? Are we supposed to serve the economy or is it supposed to serve us.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans have the shortest vacations in the industrialized world (those Socialist bastards!!). We are also the only country in the industrialized world without a minimum paid-leave law. Even the Chinese get a mandated three weeks off (p. 22).
  • It's not just adults who are overscheduled, but children as well.
  • Our desire to keep our health insurance benefits ties us to jobs that are bad for our health. (But we can't possibly provide universal health care, cause then we'd be Socialist bastards too!)
  • The US is not very healthy compared to other industrial countries, despite spending almost half of the world's health care budget. In the early 1950s, the US was one of the healthiest countries in the world, but by 1960 it had sunk to 13th healthiest, ranked by number of years lived. Today we are 25th, behind almost all other rich countries and some poor ones as well.
  • Lack of time has severe environmental consequences as well. "The message we get every day is hurry up and consume. But many scientists now agree that overconsumption is the world's most serious environmental threat, because for every product we consume, an average of 20 times its weight in raw materials was consumed to make it (p. 96).
  • "Our industrial society is poverty-stricken in the time we have to live as compared to most of the rest of humanity throughout history. Even the majority of slaves in the ancient world and serfs during the Middle Ages did not work as hard, as regularly, or as long as we do (p. 115).
Lest these points depress you, the book as plenty of ideas for solutions too,m both within and outside of the realm of public policy. But I'll leave you to read the book and find out those for yourselves.

In summary, Take Back Your Time is definitely worth the time it takes to read it. Rating: 4/5.0.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

YMOYL Book Club: Being in the Present - Tracking Your Life Energy (Step 2)

Today we begin week two of the Your Money or Your Life Online Book Club, where we are tackling the nine steps of the YMOYL program over next nine weeks. Get more background info. and a complete list of the steps here.

with all the warm weather we've been having the daffodils are blooming
like crazy. This lovely patch is my neighbor's.

Wow, I'm really impressed with our first week! Thanks to each of you for sharing your experiences and observations.

Chapter two starts out by asking us to examine our own personal definitions of money. How do you answer the question, money is _________________ ? Do you believe that money is security (guilty), power, social acceptance, or evil? YMOYL advises us to really examine our money personality in order to master money and grow.

Even if you haven't read Your Money or Your Life, you may have heard that the authors define money as "something we choose to trade our life energy for." It is one of the key and most enlightening themes of the book.

The authors also ask us to examine what financial independence means to us.

"Financial independence has nothing to do with rich. Financial Independence is the experience of having enough--and then some....Financial independence is an experience of freedom at a psychological level. You are free from the slavery  to unconsciously held assumptions about money, and free from the guilt, resentment, envy, frustration and despair you may have felt about money issues...."

Week 2 Activity 

In step two, we are to examine how much of our life energy is passing through our hands. There are two parts to this step:
A. Establish the actual costs in time and money required to maintain your job, and computer your real hourly wage.
B. Keep track of every cent that comes into or goes out of your life.

A. Establish the actual costs in time and money required to maintain your job, and computer your real hourly wage.  In this step we are to calculate "an accurate, reality-based and useful definition of money is based on how much every dollar actually costs you in terms of the time needed to earn it. Once you know your real hourly wage, you will know how much “life energy” you are exchanging for each dollar you spend."

Your Real Hourly Wage (RHW) = Adjusted income ÷ Adjusted job hours 

Adjusted Income = wages/salary plus value of job benefits received

Adjusted job hours = the expenses you have because you work (gas or transit fares, income taxes, work clothes, and others) actual amount of time spent on the job plus the time you spend on activities necessary to maintain the job (time spent commuting to work, shopping for clothes for the job, doing work or reading at home, etc.)

The book further advises us to consider other expenses that we might not otherwise, such as daily decompression, escape entertainment, vacations, job-related illnesses, food expenses, hiring help to complete chores and other tasks you don't have time for, etc.


B. Keep track of every cent that comes into or goes out of your life.
Part B is pretty straightforward, simply keep track of all the money (down to the very cent!) that comes into or goes out of your life. As the book says, this is simple, but not necessarily easy to do.

Source: Financial Integrity Program Guide

Tracking the flow of money/life energy in and out of your life is the basis for the progress that will be made over the next seven steps, so it is important. 

As the Financial Integrity program guide tells us:
It’s important to know exactly what you are doing with your money, and tracking gives you that data. Why every cent? Because it all adds up! As you will learn in Steps 3 and 4, combining your real hourly wage calculation with your tracking will help you make rational, wise decisions about your money – your life energy. In the steps that follow you will use your tracking information to:
  • Eliminate expenses that aren’t worth the life energy they cost.
  • Spend your life energy where it brings most fulfillment. 
Helpful Reminders
The program guide and book also give some helpful reminders for dealing with this step, such as
  • Remember, no shame, no blame!
  • No leeway - accuracy in money tracking is important.
  • No judgment, lots of discernment. Blaming ourselves and labeling things in terms of good and bad isn't helpful; sorting the true from the false is.
  • Consider ways to decrease work-related expenses, so as to increase your real hourly wage.
  • As you make financial transactions, think about the amount of money, received or spent, in terms of the TIME it represents. Before making a purchase try asking yourself, “Will I get my time’s worth?” 
  • If you’ve stopped tracking for whatever reason, just start again whenever you notice you’ve lapsed. Ask yourself why you stopped, and address whatever issue your answer brings out

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Long Could You Go Without Buying Superfluous Stuff?

image: Ed Yourdan

It seems like more off us are swearing off superfluous buying these days. I decided to buy no new winter clothes, which turned into not buying anything besides food and essential products (like soap) yet in 2012. It's Not Easy Being Green declared March a no-buying month (food and other essentials only), Meg at MakeItDo (interesting tumblr by the way, definitely worth checking out) challenged herself to go all year without any non-critical purchases and NotBuyingAnything tries to buy as little as possible all the time. All of which makes me wonder, exactly how long could I continue this not-buying challenge?

Not buying unneeded stuff for 2.5 months this year has been surprisingly easy. As long as I stay away from my temptation stores, I've been fine. I've even gone in stores and managed to leave empty-handed. I did pick up a few items during  thrift store visit once, but upon further examination I realized I didn't need them and didn't even like them that much so I left empty-handed. But I don't think I could keep this up all year. For one thing my hot weather wardrobe is seriously lacking. I doubt that I have five work-appropriate outfits, so that would be an issue. Other than that there might be a thing or two I want (bike gloves for instance), but I could live without them.

My reduced shopping habit has also paid off in the personal finance department. Upon doing a little research, I saw that even though January and February tend to be low-spend months for me, due to the excess of the holidays no doubt, I ended up having my lowest total spending month on record in February. That translates into at least an extra $100 or so that went straight to savings. Imagining the impact of 12 or more months of that kind of increased savings is a pretty powerful motivator.

It's really quite amazing to think that a couple of years ago the boyfriend and I spent at least one weekend day a month shopping, well window-shopping mostly, for something. Now that seems like a waste of a perfectly good workfree day.

Are you taking any not-buying challenges this year? How long could you go?

Related good reads: 

  • Why I am SO Not Buying an iPad 3 by Mr. Money Mustache

  • Do You Love This Thing by Deliberatism - This post is along a similar vein, one of examining the stuff in our lives, although it doesn't specifically address the shopping portion of that equation. Still this blog is a new and very interesting find that I wanted to share.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Review: The Power of Half

The Power of Half: One Family's Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back by Kevin and Hannah Salwen documents the Salwen family's decision to self their 6,500 square foot house and donate half the sales price (that's $800,000) to villages in Ghana. A noble effort? Of course. Inspiring? Yes. Great read? Um, well, as much as I'd like to say otherwise, not so much.

First, as a wanna be author myself, I think it's amazing that Kevin Salwen and his daughter Hannah wrote this book together. To be Hannah's age and have a co-author credit to her name is awesome. Hell, I'd be happy to be my age and have written or co-written a book. But most of the sections of the book where Hannah weighs in really didn't add anything to the story in my mind, although it might be beneficial for kids who are reading this book (and if you know any kids who voluntarily read this book and finish it, I want to meet them!)

Obviously this family is well-off, but it doesn't seem like they're as rich as I would need to be to feel comfortable giving an $800,000 donation. I give them total props for that because even if I owned a $2 million dollar home and the lifestyle that went with it, I'd still be very, very hard pressed to give up $800K for charity. I mean, that's a huge chunk of change. Not only that, but that each member of the family agreed to the idea, albeit some took longer to do so than others, is also remarkable.

But that brings me to the other issue in the book that rankled, the Salwen's downsizing from 6,500 square feet to a home a little over half that size. Even a 3,500 square foot home seems pretty big for two adults, two kids and two dogs. Does that even really count as downsizing? I mean, of course it is in the mathematical sense of the word, but the larger concept of downsizing is usually meant to only use as much space as you need. Most typical downsizers start at where the Salwens ended up. But the tone of the book when talking about their downsizing and other parts of the project was just a turnoff.

Despite the great concept for a story, the book itself didn't capture my interest as I would have hoped and I found the tone grating most of the time, which ended up making me feel more annoyed than inspired. In the end, I struggled to finish the story, which is why I have to give this book 2.0/5.0.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

YMOYL Book Club: Making Peace with the Past (Step 1)

Welcome to week one of the Your Money or Your Life Online Book Club, where we will be tackling the nine steps of the YMOYL program over the next nine weeks. Get more background info. and a complete list of the steps here.

First, I want to stress that this isn't my book club, it's our club. I'm making the format up as I go along, so if you have any suggestions, please speak up! Now that the housekeeping items are out of the way, let's start, shall we?

When I went back and really studied chapter one, The Money Trap: The Old Road Map for Money, in preparation for writing this post I realized just how much wisdom is packed into the first chapter of Your Money or Your Life alone. We could easily spend a few weeks discussing just this chapter, but since nine weeks is already a lot of time to ask of you, I'm not going to do that.

What do you want to get out of this book and book club?

I so identify with Penny Y's comments at the beginning of chapter one, her feelings of wondering is this really it? I played the game as instructed. I got good grades, went to college and got a good job. But just like Penny, since graduation I've been plagued by feelings of "is this really it?" You work and work until you retire? It's not that I hate everything about my job, I just want to work on my own terms. I don't want to be forced to make work the primary thing in my life and squeeze the rest of my life in the time that's left. To me, financial independence equals freedom and that's what I'm hoping to find through the YMOYL program. What about you, what do you want to get out of this?

The fulfillment curve. Source: Financial Integrity  program guide

Wisdom from Chapter One
What are your favorite parts of chapter one? What did you find most enlightening? Some of mine include:

  • We aren't making a living, we're making a dying: "What they do for money dominates their waking hours, and life is what can be fit into the scant remaining time."
  • As we work more, our saving rates have actually decreased: "According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. personal savings rate has hovered between 0 and 1 percent over the past three years. By comparison, a quarter century earlier in 1981, Americans saved and average of 10.9 percent.
  • The daily grind isn't making us happy: "It is becoming increasingly clear that beyond a certain minimum of comfort, money is not buying us the happiness we seek."
  • Once you have enough, more isn't better. "If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough."
  • Materialism creates clutter. "What creates clutter? It comes from the disease of materialism, of looking for inner fulfillment in outer possessions."

Week 1 Activity - Step 1: Making Peace with the Past

The first step of the YMOYL program is to "examine the past so you can understand and take responsibility for the present." There are actually two parts of this step:

A. Calculate how much money you have earned in your lifetime.
B. Find out your net worth.
Source: Financial Integrity  program guide

A. How much money have you earned in your life?
At first this task seems almost impossible, but you likely have records that will make this easier to do than it may seem at first. If you have your Social Security Administration Statement of Earnings, you can quickly find your income earnings in one spot. Other retirement plan annual statements may offer the same information. If not, you can always turn to your old income tax returns.

Once you have your reported income earnings, you need to add any unreported earnings you received as well as cash gifts, rent received, earnings from selling your clutter, etc. I found going through my old check registers helpful for getting some of this information. Obviously unless you are a record-keeping fiend your number is going to be somewhat of an estimate, but even so seeing that total can be a powerful surprise.

As the book says, the value of this step is that it shows you just how much money has entered your life in the past and how much could enter in the future. It can also help eradicate false beliefs about your earning potential or your financial past.

Source: Financial Integrity  program guide
B. What have you got to show for it?
Now that you know how much money you've earned, you will calculate your networth to see how much you have to show for it. To calculate your networth, you need to add up all your assets (savings, retirement accounts, cash, house, car, personal belongings, etc.) and subtract your liabilities (any money you owe including unpaid bills, loans, mortgage balance, etc.). See the book for complete details as needed or the Financial Integrity Program Guide (starting on page 31).

In this step it is also suggested that you go through and inventory all your possessions and "itemize everything worth more than a dollar." I'm really curious how many people did, or would like to go to that amount of detail? I've been calculating my networth regular for several years now and I've never bothered to add in the value of my possessions. I could easily become mired for days if I even attempted it. Before I decided to start the online book club, I did try to start taking an inventory of my home. I didn't even make it through the entire kitchen and living room and I was already up to 192 items and only $1200 in value. Did you take an inventory and if so, did you find it valuable?

No Shame, No Blame!
YMOYL reminds us often to take it easy on ourselves as we complete this step. The point is not to be critical of your past behavior, but simply to examine it and see the truth for what it is.

Now that we've examined our money past, we'll be ready to move to the present next week.

Once you complete step 1, let us know what you learned in the comments! What part of chapter one resonated the most with you? Which part of step one did you find most valuable? Most difficult? Please feel free to post any and all reactions in the comments, or on your own blog and just share the link below.

Monday, March 5, 2012

YMOYL Online Book Club: Who's In?

I just finished reading Your Money or Your Life for the second time. It's definitely a good book with some great personal finance tips. What's more, it's inspired me to tighten my already tight belt a bit more after the second reading., But I still feel like I'm missing something, because I just don't seem to be getting quite the same life-changing value out of it that everyone else does. And there have been many questions popping up as I read the book (especially about this whole real living wage idea) that I'd really like to discuss with someone.

See, I think what I'm missing from reading the book all by my lonesome is good discussion with other frugal-minded folk which is why I'm forming the YMOYL Book Club right here, right now. That's where you come in!

I know, you're busy, I'm busy, so I'm aiming to make this as simple as possible. Starting this Saturday (which will give you some time to buy, beg or borrow a copy of the book), we'll take it nice and slow and tackle a chapter/step a week. There's nine chapters, which makes (watch these mad math skills come out. Wait for it....) nine weeks of frugal, finance goodness.

The nine-week program

Week 1: Making Peace with the Past (Step 1)
Week 2: Being in the Present - Tracking Your Life Energy (Step 2)
Week 3: Monthly Tabulation (Step 3)
Week 4: Three Questions That Will Transform Your Life (Step 4)
Week 5: Making Life Energy Visible (Step 5)
Week 6: Valuing Your Life Energy - Minimizing Spending (Step 6)
Week 7: Valuing Your Life Energy - Maximizing Income (Step 7)
Week 8: Capital and the Crossover Point (Step 8)
Week 9: Managing Your Finances (Step 9)

The Rules
The rules of the YMOYL Book Club are simple; tell everyone about YMOYL Book Club. Nah, just kidding, there are no stinkin' rules. Participate as much or as little as you want. Don't wanna actually do the exercises? No problemo. Going out of town in three weeks? Jump back in when you get back. Not comfortable giving the deets on your finances to the internets and beyond? Me either. We don't have to be specific. Already read the book and are willing to share your experiences? Heck yes, we want you too!

In fact you don't even have to get the book if you don't want to, although I'd definitely recommend reading it sometime. You can just go to and download the free program guide, which outlines the steps that make up the program. Yes, the book includes much more information, including stories from other program participants, but my point is the more the merrier.

Sounds simple enough, right? So, who's in?

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm Right, You're Wrong Minimalism

This rant has been a long time coming. I've held back because I try to be a "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" kind of person. Oh, wait, no I don't. Not in real life anyway. But online and in writing I try not to be too negative lest I later say something that shall be archived forever that I come to regret. But I've been pushed too far, for too long by a type of minimalist I can't keep silent about any longer:  the "I'm Right, Your Wrong" Minimalist.

You know the ones. The "your life sucks if you live in one place and still have a 8-5 job" types. The ones who espouse how if you own more that 100 things, you're a consumerist moron. The Far Beyond the Stars aka Everett Bogue aka I'm-just-going-to-start-making-up-BS-to-see-how-long-people-keep-giving-me-money types.

There seems to be a well-established formula to becoming an IRYW minimalist:
  1. Revel in consumerist orgy for first 20-35 years of your life. Rack up some crazy debt. 
  2. Finally wake up one day and realize massive debt sucks.
  3. Sell your crap until you own less than 100 things. Obviously books don't count. Nor do socks.Or anything you share with another person. Or anything once sat on or licked by another person. Or anything with purple-polka dots. Or lizards.
  4. Start a blog. 
  5. Cut living expenses to bone by sleeping on friend's couch. Pay off debts
  6. Tell everyone they are idiots if they ever buy anything or own anything. 
  7. Quit your job.
  8. Write e-book about how much better your life is now that you completed steps 1-7.
  9. Offer said e-book for sale for the low, low price of $19.99.
  10. Somehow build online audience despite acting like complete douchebag.
  11. Tell your readers they are complete morons who need to get a life and that the only solution is to buy your e-book for $19.99.
  12. Write second e-book about how easy it is to make a living writing and selling e-books.
  13. Decide you can't be bothered having discussions with unwashed masses anymore and turn off blog comments.
  14. Remind people that they are still morons and you now have super-duper double e-book package on sale for $49.95 and they are super-duper morons if they don't buy two!
  15. Declare blogs are dead and bloggers are morons. Offer elite subscriber's special newsletter instead for amazing, super low, never-before-heard-of price of $100/month. 

Obviously I exaggerate, but am I the only one who absolutely does not understand the popularity of certain blogs that are just dripping with arrogance? Take relative newcomers, The Minimalists. Now, I'll be the first to admit that these guys are nowhere near the level of the aforementioned total whackjob, yet still certain posts of theirs just make me want to smack them. Like a recent post about how you need to ditch your DVDs and get a life. Because, obvi, owning DVDs means one is a pathetic hoarder who does not have a life whereas knowing exactly how many possessions one owns equals living EXTREME. I can't dispute this on their blog, however, because they can't be bothered with accepting comments. So instead I shall rant here.

And really, how many black and white photographs of themselves do two 30-something men need? 


Ah, thanks, I feel better now.

p.s. Apologizes to EcoCatLady for borrowing her blog post format just this once.


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