Tag Archives: blog

Has A Comment Ever Changed Your Final Decision?

When you blog regularly, it’s common to ask readers for advice for everything from financial to purchases to travel decisions.  Is crowdsourcing the term? I’m too lazy to look it up.

The reason I’m asking is that I am tempted to ask for advice  from time to time.  I hesitate only because I wonder if I or anyone ever follows advice from their readers.  Oftentimes it seems like the person receives a lot of good advice but makes the opposite decision, or actually has their mind made up anyway.  I believe there’s science behind this, too, called “confirmation bias” (scholars, correct me if I’m wrong!). From my understanding, this means in general people simply pay more attention to views that confirm their own beliefs.  Example: If you think all Asians are good at math, you will notice if an Asian person wins a Nobel prize for mathematics.  If you have an Asian friend who is bad at math, you’ll assume that’s an exception to the rule.  I’m sure there are many more and better examples of this in the political arena, of which I stay far away from!

I still remember a debt-blogger who asked readers if she and her husband should join her family on a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Europe.  They did not have ailing relatives. Everyone else in her family was financially stable but did not have enough to subsidize her tickets/travel expenses.  They would probably have to spend on higher-end hotels than if they had gone on their own. I would say that the answers were sort of split.  Many people said “go for it” which in my mind is very easy to do when it’s not your money! A lot of people also advised her not to do it until you’re out of debt.  I felt that those who were against it made better arguments.  After all she had racked up debt due to lifestyle choices, not education loans or medical debt.  To me, they had spent to enjoy their early 20s and should pay for it before going into debt for another fun adventure.   This is tough for me to say because I love traveling and I also believe travel is worth the money; however, paying off a trip for years didn’t make sense even to me.  Of course you could say that she followed the advice since most people said to “go”; however it was pretty clear that she had made up her mind before even asking the question.

As for me, my question would have been about whether moving to another rental house that is out of our real budget range but closer to my work is worth the trade-off (the classic time vs. money).  I haven’t written about the move yet because I’m tired and a bit embarrassed by my/our bad financial decision-making skills.    If I had asked, I’m sure I would have gotten good advice and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have listened either.   Maybe someone would have suggested a compromise that would save time and also reduce the hit on our budget.   However,  we made the decision based on “wants”.  We wanted to save time, but also wanted a larger house with a yard.  We didn’t want to share walls.   In other words, I didn’t think that the best arguments in the world probably would have swayed me.  Of course two years down the line I might regret this move!  Once I’m recovered from moving, I may write more about it.

Have you ever asked readers for advice and actually read a comment or comments that truly affected your final decision? I’m especially interested if you changed your mind on BIG decisions, like a job choice, moving, finance etc…

Blogging Is Failing As A Journal

A while back, I wrote about being embarrassed about past journal entries, especially those around the pre-teen and teen years.  After skimming through a few, I destroyed them all.  I would rather not remember details than have someone stumble upon by accident.  I sort of hope that blogging would take the place of these angst-filled journals.

The problem is that I hesitate to document my day-to-day life even if I’m anonymous.  If I read between the lines of my own past posts, I can gauge my mood and sometimes remember the impetus for certain thoughts or rants.  However, most of the time, the post is too vague to help me recall events.  Part of me really wants to remember my life more clearly, especially where the kids are concerned.  Part of me wants to retain my privacy.  I know a few “mom” bloggers who struggle with this as their kids get older.  It’s one thing to share the cute/funny/bad of life with babies and toddlers; it’s another thing when the kids are old enough to understand and may not want their private life in the public eye.

For now, I have no answer except to keep on blogging, since I don’t only need this outlet for journaling.

How private or public is your blog?  Do you worry about your kid/family’s privacy? 

Things I Let Go When Low On Cash

With a newborn in the household, Grumpy Rumblings (#1) asked “What do/have you let go when something new takes a lot of your time?  Answers varied from socializing with friends to exercising to reading/writing blogs.   For me, lack of time often equals spending money as an attempt to gain back time, or just keep sane!

Here are some ways I spend more money during time crunches:

1) Hire house cleaning help!

2) Hire gardening help

3) Get car washed

4) Eat out more often (since I’m too tired/busy to make lunch or go grocery shopping

5) Shop online for convenience (although I still check prices)

6) Stop comparison shopping, counting on Target/Walmart to have fairly decent prices

7) We have also hired a nanny to help us during busy or transition times.

Although I would argue time is always scarce, there are times when saving money becomes more important.  It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition of course.  However, I think many of the things I let go are the direct opposite of my earlier list.  Here are things I give up when low on cash:

1) Eating out at work

2) Snacking at vending machine (bring my own snacks instead)

3) Online Shopping for clothing, shoes, purses etc..

4) Hair cuts (this gets delayed until I can’t stand it any longer)

5) Car washes (Dusty brown is the new black)

6) Netflix (or some kind of media/cable)

7) Expensive gifts (I really stick to my budget at times like this)

8) Going out with friends/family (I decline get-togethers or suggest cheaper options)

9) Less organic foods

10) Expensive fun like international travel, massages or amusement parks (truth be told, I haven’t had facials or massage or travel in years…but these are things that I gave up in my 20s/30s when necessary.)

11) Tech upgrades (computers, phones, etc..)

12) Gym membership (home DVDs are good enough…)

13) Mindless spending (like walking out of Target with excess stuff not on my list)

I do still stock up if I catch a really good sale on household goods or needs.  So far, I’ve never been at the point where I didn’t have a big enough cushion for stocking up but I’m sure that can happen.

What do/have you let go when you’re low on cash?

How I Read Blogs

Just for fun, here’s a glimpse of my decision-making skills (and my first chart…):

Note: I included 2 mood options for the purpose of this chart. I normally do not arrive at work very angry or super happy, just more in the middle.

Why I Blog

I’ve been thinking about why I blog, and more importantly, why I continue blogging despite a busy schedule. I could write my thoughts in a private journey. I can talk to friends or my husband about daily life and thoughts.  I don’t need to blog. 

If you knew me from my private journal entries, I would appear to be a very deep (often dark) person. That’s because I tend to dwell on negatives.  It’s not that I don’t have many happy moments; it’s just that I tend to write more when I’m angry or hurt. 

If you only knew me from conversations (in real life), I may seem either cheerful or shallow.  At work or with casual friends, I’m on the cheerful side.  Those I’m close to, of course, know that I have a deeper side.  Even so, I spend a lot of time chatting about lighter things like make-up, clothing and daily life.  In other words, go elsewhere for deep meaningful conversations about life, social issues and politics. 

So I like to think of this blog as a way to capture another side of me — the side that is a little more reflective, more thoughtful and “wiser” than I really am, the side that tempers her anger with more thought, and the side that is grateful for life but not relentlessly upbeat. 

Why do you blog?  Is your blog identity very different from your real-life personality?

Thoughts on Blogging

I came up with a few observations after years of reading blogs and a few months of blogging.

1) Titles Matter

I found a blog titled “When Adobo Met Feijoda” that chronicles the life of a Filipino woman (adobo) and her Brazilian husband (feijoda is a typical Brazilian dish) and I thought it was so clever. I should have named this “When Soy Sauce Met Olive Oil” instead! 

I noticed that I tend to skip blogs that have Finance or Money in the title; there are simply too many of these and they don’t stand out as much in my mind.  I like assertive or intriguing blog names like “Give Me Back My Five Buck”, “Budgets are Sexy”, or “Punch Debt in the Face”.  A lot of women seem to think small, if you go by titles alone, with names like “Stacking Pennies”, “Counting Pennies”, “I Pick Up Pennies” or “The Art of the Coupon”, while men dream big and have blogs like “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”.  Of course women also helm blogs like “Well-Heeled” and “World of Wealth”.  Food bloggers seem to have a wider range of names and I haven’t pinpoint why I may click on ones and not others.

2 ) I still confuse various bloggers

As you can tell from the list above, I do skim through a lot of blogs even though I only read a few on a regular basis.  I subscribe to a few feeds and then click on a random list depending on most recent updates.   Because I tend to speed-read and not read the “About Me” page, I don’t remember much detail about bloggers.  Is “Fabulously Broke” an Asian female or was that “Well-Heeled”?  A few are getting their masters or additional education but I can’t remember the subjects. I think “Stacking Pennies” is studying Engineering, or is that “M is for Money”?

I’m surprised that many anonymous bloggers get “outed” by friends, family or colleagues.  For all I know, one of the blogs I read regularly is written by my best friend and I wouldn’t put two and two together!

3) Mom blogs Are Very Similar (Stepford Moms?)

There are exceptions of course but many “mommy bloggers” seem to write about the same things and could be written by the same person.  I get that parenthood, especially motherhood, changes you but I still don’t understand why they change a person so drastically.  A punk-rock artist friend and a conservative doctor friend could now write the exact same blog!

4 ) Diversity Rules

In real life, we all tend to pick friends based on similarities.  I admit that my closest friends have been Asian or a minority, just not white.  I have many white friends but I feel a stonger bond with those who are a bit outside the mainstream.  I just don’t get it when my American friends rave about smores or canned tomato soup!  In the blogging world, it’s different.  Yes, I read a lot of blogs by middle-class white Americans or Asian women.  I also read many blogs by white American men.   However, a lot of blogs I like are written by 20-somethings even though I don’t have any friends in that age range in real life.  I also read a blog called “Funny about Money” written by a retired woman living in Arizona.  We have little in common but I like her writing style.  I just found an interesting ex-pat blog by a black Caribbean woman living in Italy.   I read a few Canadian and English blogs.  The list goes on.

What about you?  Do you prefer blogs by people similar to yourself? What attracts you to a blog in the first place? 

Not Watching “Julia & Julia”

Confession: I rarely read food-related websites or the food sections of any major newspaper. I don’t know much about the hottest restaurants or chefs in town. When I’m at a bookstore, I’ll choose a magazines about decorating, fashion or fitness over food/cooking. And I have little interest in watching food-themed shows or movies. (Although I did watch “Supersize me” and half of Mario Batali‘s “Spain: On The Road“).

Yet I write a food blog.

On my free time, I read mostly finance blogs and a few blogs about simple living, decorating and fashion. I do read food blogs but not as regularly as I should. (i.e. I much rather read Apartment Therapy than the Kitchn.)

I guess I’m not your typical food blogger.

I considered a finance blog but decided that writing about money, while entertaining, can also be slightly depressing. I think about money enough already!  As for decor and fashion, I love reading about these topics but don’t feel that I have enough knowledge to write about these on a frequent basis. So I chose food…because my husband is a great cook and his food gives me fresh ideas every day…because it’s an online diary that matters even if only he and I read it. 30 years from now, I can read about a delicious dinner we had one night in August 2009.

And after all, food makes the world go around, right?