Round-up: The idea machine

To my new readers of this blog: welcome! Every Friday, I post a round-up of my writing from other places, any media mentions, and other interesting tidbits. I’ve been exploring a lot of cool money blogs over the past few weeks, so I’m going to start posting links to those as well. I’m always looking for more fodder, so feel free to send ideas. 

CBS MoneyWatch:

“The secret to becoming an idea machine“: So, confession, I get a lot of ideas in church. I don’t go with that in mind, but the conditions are perfect. You’re not distracted by the internet or chores, you’re listening to music and reading passages that are very different from what’s in the paper. Is it any surprise that stillness makes ideas pop?

What your young employees really want“: Getting paid to learn is a sought-after perk. Here’s how to offer that perk on a tight budget.

Are women leaders selling themselves short?“: A worldwide survey of entrepreneurs finds that women have lower expectations for their businesses than men.


Babysitter Back-up Plan“: Donald Rumsfeld said there are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. When it comes to kids, sick days and snow days are known unknowns, so you can make a plan and budget for them.

Around the web:

Over at The Frugal Girl, Kristen writes about her Food Waste Fridays, and how taking a picture of the food she has to throw away has led to her eating more produce, not less (my concern).

I’m joining the Women’s Money Week challenge, pledging to blog about money between March 5-11. Shouldn’t be too hard, given that I have a book on money coming out on March 1!

I’ve also been reading The Family CEO Blog. I particularly liked this post about buying discounted plates on vacation…and then having to pay 132% of the purchase price to ship them home. Oh, the frugal complexity.

I’m starting to look at Kathryn’s Conversations. She’s an actual finance person, working at a financial firm with $30 billion under management, and so her take on money comes from that angle. Also, I just like the line “run in feet, dream in miles.”

Over at The Well-Heeled Blog, people are talking about “no spend challenges.” The idea is to not spend any money for a certain number of days. Which is fine… except money is going out the door anyway. Like one-thirtieth of a rent payment. A no-spend challenge focuses on variable small expenses, but I maintain that it’s the big set expenses that are most important in the grand scheme of things. Hard to change quickly, I know, which is why “sell your house challenges” probably aren’t that popular in the blogosphere…

What are your favorite finance/money blogs?



7 thoughts on “Round-up: The idea machine

  1. The babysitter backup plan violates some of my principles.
    1) If husband and wife both work, it’s not just working MOM’s who need to find childcare, unless that’s how a particular couple works it out. Finding/maintaining quality childcare is time-consuming and counts toward “family household contribution”.
    2) Are there many retirees and SAHM’s in middle class neighborhoods willing to be backup babysitters? I’m a SAHM and I wouldn’t do it, both for liability reasons (child gets hurt in my house or car) and logistical ones (I’m out of room for carseats and can’t just stay home all day on a given day) In my experience, working class families tend to live near family and life-long friends and have a built-in childcare support network. This is one of the things that itinerant professionals, like my family, lack and REALLY MISS.

    If I had been able to do what this article suggests (find multiple sources of reliable backup childcare), I might have been able to keep working.

    1. I don’t know about this – is there really some kind of inherent principle to be violated in such an innocuous statement as “have backup child care”? If you, as a SAHM, decide that you don’t want/need extra money or that the insurance risk is too great, don’t put your resume out there. Problem solved. But in my experience, yes, there certainly are college students and retirees that are willing to earn a few extra bucks as an emergency babysitter. SAHMs are more complicated, because you get into the resentful/judgmental dynamic there. (God, will women EVER just get out of each others’ way??) I don’t think Laura’s saying that you should just be calling your SAHM neighbor who doesn’t want to babysit and turn your emergency into hers. I think she meant you should find/interview/try-out several babysitters that can be “emergency backups” so that when you need one you can go down the list and call the people that ARE willing to be with your child on that basis. A college student with no Thursday classes is your first call on Thursdays, for example. On Fridays you don’t bother calling your SAH neighbor who said that Tuesdays are good days for her to help you out if you need it. And so forth.

  2. I agree, Twin Mom. In our case, we just simply don’t have the option of backup childcare when one of our kids gets sick. We live 6+ hours away from any family, all our friends work too, and our occasional babysitter when we go out works at our son’s daycare, so she’s not available weekdays. We are stuck. When kids are sick, we alternate who will stay home (for instance, today, I am home with my son because we both have strep throat… was obvious who would stay home this time).

    1. @Emily and Twin Mom – a few points that didn’t get raised in the post (because it’s 200 words). Of course, it’s not just moms who need to deal with this issue. But DailyWorth has a female audience, so that’s who I did this post for. Second: another tidbit that didn’t get included in the cut is that, if your kid is sick, there’s a good chance you/partner is working from home that day (if either of you have a job where that’s remotely possible). But even having an extra set of hands for a few hours can buy you time to do anything that absolutely has to get done that day. And there are people who will do back-up care who have flexible schedules. College students are one option. Retirees. We have used various email lists we’re on to try to find people. You want them before you need them — interviewed, having met your kids, sat for an evening, etc. When Jasper was in daycare (and getting sick a lot) I had like 4 different people at one point that were possibilities. I had to re-work the list a lot, because people would get day jobs, or move, or what have you, which was definitely stressful (and one reason we ultimately went with hiring a nanny). I think Twin Mom raises an interesting point about having family around. That is definitely a plus, and is a downside to being a roaming professional. But I know as kids we were often at a neighbor’s when my parents were both working — there’s something to developing new family (from non-related people) as well.

      1. Those are fair points. I think when Jasper was small, you were in NYC, where the population within 5 mi of your residence is significant. Where I live, the grocery store is 4.7 mi away and backup childcare is tougher. My situation was compounded by having an “illegal” family, i.e. too many kids in one age range for an in-home provider in my state.

  3. I came on here this a.m. to comment on that productivity post about drinking coffee and looking at laughing babies… which I really enjoyed.. and also wondered what the research says about exercise. I prefer a day that has 1/2 hour job and 1/2 hour yoga or strength training in it… wonder what the research says about exercise as it relates to that post…

    THE BACKUP CHILDCARE or just childcare period thing is huge.. Friday I just gave up.. my kids weren’t sick.. just the thought of packing one more set of lunches and driving 1/2 hour to and from daycare since my husband can’t or won’t share that drive on thursdays or fridays so that means I’m in the car 2 hours that day to work from my home office. i have an assistent and she watched the kids for two hours and my neighbors kids can usually b ecounted on to watch my kids from 3 to 5:30 o rso so that was a four hour day.. and I did get somet things done.. but I would have preferred to get up at 7 run for one hal fhour be at my des at 8:3 and work until 5… I just hate that I have to do like 3 or 4 hours ofprep work some days to work what feels like a 35 our week.. SAHMs hate to watch working moms kids it is a dirty secret of the suburbs… I have 2 on my street and one is looking for a job and needs extra money and sh ewoul dNEVER watch my kids… this is a very i nteresting fu women have for each other that is much more well articulated in the upper middle class… I was raised a bit moreas one person here says working class and where I come from 15 bucks and hour or 12 is better than 0. that is not the case for the SAHM. if you have links about retirees or others I’d take them adn I have played with the au paire idea… I have my mother in law as a live in basically 8 months out of the year but b the 4th month of the other 3-4 months … it is just very hard .. it should be the responsibility of both parents but statistically it is not .. If you could repost the links to … also i thought the comments about well my mom stayed home and made me jello so that is how I do it with my kid and so what are veyr much those of an employee… I am self employeed and a primary breadwinner in m yhouse.. so most days if my kid is sick … I can’t just be off work that entire day… when they are at an important drs appointment I am totally there… but then I am right back on the phone when the are napping in thecar and trying to make up that time.. which I like … but only an employee or sahm of a wealthy man can say .. well no I”m not working today..

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