May 23, 2008

Living Under My Parents Roof

I'm now on the East Coast, in my parent's house, where I'm quickly reminded of what life would be like had I decided to move back home three years ago after graduating college. I'm pulling my hair out in reaction to my mother's screeching voice and father's bad temper, even though it is nice to stay in a large air-conditioned house and spend some time in my old bedroom.

The big benefit of staying here is the free food. Of course, if I lived here for real, the food would not be free as I'd have to contribute. Or at least I'd feel guilty if I wasn't contributing and I had a job. I went out to a big dinner with the family last night in NYC and I ordered a nice fish dinner and wine. It was nice to not think about the bill.

But sans the financial benefits, I could not deal with living here. Within the 24+ hours of being in this house, my parents have already had about three fights. The more time I spend away from my mother, the more I realize that she really is crazy and annoying instead of just being a typical "mother annoying." She's nuts. She is obsessed with controlling everyone else's life, down to what people are going to talk about. She even sometimes has a conversation FOR two other people. Meanwhile, my dad has absolutely no patience for her, and his hot temper is the first thing that comes out the second she says something stupid. Which is often. It's not even what she says so much as how she says it. She doesn't get that she constantly talks down to people because she just assumes everyone is thinking what she's thinking and if they're not then they're being dumb. Crazy, real crazy. My poor dad, who isn't innocent in the least, has worked his whole life to make money for her (and us, the kids) to spend and he's, well, he's been miserable for a long time. Sure, he has the house, a nice house at that. And two kids... we're ok, I guess. But what else? Her?

Maybe someone could appreciate her. She'd do well with a boyfriend who wants to be controlled. There are guys out there who like that. Not my dad. He just snaps.


May 19, 2008

It's Official - I'm Moving!

Looking at the lease renewal letter with the $250 rent increase one more time, I decided I really have to move. So I wrote up my 30-days notice letter, turned it into the apartment office, and clenched my teeth knowing that means I'll have one week to move out when I get back after my trip next month.

I think this is for the best. I hope this is for the best. I'll be saving money, anyway. And given that the only way to ever be able to afford property is to live super cheaply now and save, save, save, well, that's what I'm going to have to do. I just hope I can find some place decent to move.


May 15, 2008

Moving: The Latest On My Decision

I've decided to move.*

(*"decided" in the dictionary of me = decided for today. That could change tomorrow.)

I don't want to live in a super-cheap living space, per say, but there are a lot of big-ticket items I want to buy within the next few years (including cosmetic teeth work and a condo), and spending $1300 a month just means that my dream purchases will not be possible.

I looked at a place for about $960 that I like, but it's a bit out of the way and I feel like if I'm going to move, I might as well try to get something even cheaper than that. I'm not sure how cheap I can go... The $960 place at least has its own bathroom (just a shower, no bath), and anything less than that will undoubtedly be a shared bathroom situation.

There are plenty of random roomshares on Craigslist for about $500-$700, and some of them even include utilities, but the majority of them do not have kitchen "privileges." I don't really understand how using a kitchen can be a privilege, it's not like you're at college with a cafeteria to eat at. Not that I use my kitchen all that much other than to microwave something, but I still think I ought to get a place with a kitchen.

It's looking like I'll just move out at the end of June and look for a place in July. If I do manage to find a place for "cheap" I'm going to really be careful not to overspend throughout the year and instead to really focus on saving. That way I can save up to get my teeth fixed, maybe get some laser hair removal for my face, and finally one day buy a condo.


Heat Wave

These are the days when I really wish that I could stop being so frugal and purchase an air conditioner. Unlike back on the east coast, out here in Cali, few people think to buy an air conditioner. The weather doesn't get that hot, usually, but right now the heat wave is... well.... really hot.

Even sitting in the shade with the lights off, the heat is like a thick fog which doesn't move. Outside, there is sometimes a nice breeze, but my apartment seems to absorb heat and not let it go until winter comes along.

I'm looking forward to going home in a few weeks, back east, where air conditioning is plentiful. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to justify air conditioning a home, especially a large home, given that it's such a huge expense and many people in the world just learn to live without.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a good summer thunderstorm back east. I hope I get to see one. Growing up in Jersey, I hated those violent thunder storms. But now I feel like I'm dealing with passive aggressive weather. It never comes out and hits you with something, it just burns for days. The east coast weather made more sense. It was hot and humid and eventually it had to storm, and so it went. We don't get thunder storms out here. I miss the angry sky.


May 11, 2008

Care to Prosper? P2P Lending Update

I'm rather risk adverse when it comes to my finances, but the idea of person-to-person lending has enough reward behind the risk for me to take some chance on the newly-minted credit market.

My Prosper plan is to handpick one listing per month to fund. I transfer $50 from my paycheck to Prosper and decide on a listing that I think is worthy. Most often I chose folks in the A or AA category (though I recently went as low as C) and I pick people who are trying to get a lower rate on their credit debt or who need smaller amounts of money for important things like house repairs, doctors bills, etc. I try to stay away from business loans.

Here's an update on how my Prosper accounts are doing (none have defaulted yet, knock on wood.)

Total Account Value: $357.43
Amount Invested: $350

Average Interest Rate: 14.76%

[[6 loans out, $50 each]]

Loan Title
$ Interest
Paying off/ Consolidating Credit Cards $50.00 16.00% C
$0.00 Current
Let me pay you instead $50.00 17.00% B $1.06 Current
Termites have destroyed my home, $50.00 15.55% A $2.21 Current
Paying off Adoption Credit Debt $50.00 19.33% B $2.11 Current
Help Me Study Abroad ** Relist #2** $50.00 13.00% B $4.66 Current
Emergency Home Repairs - Winter $50.00 7.00% AA $5.06 Current

Business & Personal Loans. Great Rates. Prosper.


May 10, 2008

Ridiculous to Stay, A Pain in the Ass to Go

Ah, it's a beautiful Saturday morning in my lovely studio apartment. The spring air is keeping the room cool - in a few weeks it will be piping hot outside, with the heat somehow collecting in between the walls of my studio.

In the background of my waking state is TLC's "My First Home." A couple is looking for a home in the Bay Area, and they've found one they loved.

Meanwhile, I search Craigslist ads vigorously. It's not that I'll find a place to move today, as my move-in date is July 1 at earliest, but I'm still trying to decide whether to leave my complex for a more affordable option or stay here and deal with a tight budget and less savings.

When I moved in and the studio cost $905 including utilities, it wasn't that much of a jump from the $700 + utilities room share options available on the market. For $100 extra dollars, approx, I could have a place of my own. That was a no brainer.

Then rents went up to $1050 and I decided to stay. It was a shock, surely, but it still seemed like a pretty good deal given my options.

$1300 - is about double what I could be paying for a room share situation. I could even compromise and get a room and bathroom in a 2br/2ba condo apartment for less than the $1300.

Moving is such a pain in the ass, though. I could hypothetically "move" for little cost, if I can get some friends to help. As far as furniture goes, I don't have much. The only large thing I'm sold on keeping is my bed, since I bought that new for a whopping $800 two years ago (I decided after 6 months on a used futon with poor support, I deserved a good night sleep). I have a large bookshelf I got at Target a few months ago and it's really heavy - but it would be a shame to toss that! Other than the bed, bookshelf, and some small tables, I have a piece of crap IKEA coffee table that started to fall apart before I put it together (though it's functional) and a large horizontal dresser that I could part with - I'm not sure anyone would want to buy it, but I'd consider trying to sell it on Craiglist. I have plenty of room in my closet now for my clothes, and I'd hope that wherever I move would have at least this much closet space. Then there's a TV, a printer, a microwave, and other odds and ends. I really don't have that much stuff. It's still a bitch to move, but it's not like I'm moving a house worth of life. It's just whatever I could fit in a studio for the past two years.

Also, having less space might be good for me. It would keep me organized as there wouldn't be places to hide things. Heh.

The downside of getting a roommate is - well - obviously enough to have me living in a studio currently. Noise. Roommate drama. Not being able to cook naked in the kitchen. These things are hard to compromise on. :)

My biggest fear is that I won't find anything I like. I have some cushion. If I decide to move - I'd come back to California around June 20-something, and I'd have that time to finish getting out of my apartment. I'd put my things into storage and move in with my good friend who has offered up her second bedroom. I'll pay her rent, but it will be way less than what it would cost to stay in my studio in August. $1300 versus, maybe $500 or something (plus whatever it costs to put my things in storage for a month.) That will cover the 2 weeks in June that I can't work because I'm going to be in Israel on vacation. Then I can really take some time to find a good living situation.

The real question is, how picky am I? I get anxious in so many living situations. Finally, in this light and airy studio I feel, well, at the very least calm and comfortable. The greenery outside (beyond the parking area) makes me happy. It almost reminds me of home, back east. I love waking up here.

But is it the stupidest thing in the world not to move? If I did move, I'd look for a place ideally that costs less than what I'm paying now, so I could pay under $1000, and I'd put any extra money between that and the $1300 I would be paying for my studio into a special down payment fund. I'm tired of renting, and dealing with yearly rent increases.

I just wish I felt more settled. All of my friends are getting engaged and married. Buying homes. Me? Well, I've been in a relationship for two years. We joke about moving in together one day but we're talking more apartment than house. He's going to grad school in fall 2009, and who knows where I'll be. That's why it really doesn't make sense for me to buy anything right now. Even though the prices for condos in the area are coming down while rents are going up, up, up.

The more I think about it, the more I realize the only logical option is to move. I could be saving $500 a month if I find a place for $800, or $6000 a year. $6000 a year is nothing to shake a stick at. That's a huge chunk of change to go to my downpayment fund. Even if it's $4000 and I get a slightly nicer place, it's still a lot of money.

*sigh* - I just... wish there was an obvious option hitting me on the head. But life is never so black and white.


May 9, 2008

May Spending Report, May 9

This month I am making a few purchases for my "free" trip to Israel, so my budget is a little off. I will make up for this by being really frugal with my budget and trying to underspend it once I get back from my trip.

Next month is going to be difficult because I am missing two to three weeks of work for my trip, and that's unpaid time off. Which is fine, I just need to be careful to be really frugal next month. Luckily, my parents will probably feed me while I'm home, and while in Israel the trip provides some meals. So if I can get away with just paying my fixed costs in June, I can afford to take the trip. Granted, the trip is free, so this is a frugal vacation by proxy. Can't complain about that!

FOOD: $40
$2050 / [$2400 budget for month]

(($350 left for May))

Still need to...

*go food shopping (approx $80)
*get water shoes for trip ($60?)
*haircut ($70)
*get bathing suit? ($90)
Still to spend: $300 (put any extra in vacation fund!)

Rent: $1050
Phone: $55
Cable: $72
Health Insurance: $129
Gym: $27
Car Insurance: $87

$20 (eyebrow wax)

Entertainment /Hobbies
$15 (camera fix)
$22 (theater ticket)

Food [*still have to do food shopping for May]
$23.99 (dinner for two)
$10.24 (dinner)
$6 (dinner)

$5 (Bart fare)
$66.21 (Gas)
$3 (bart Fare)
$5 (bart fare)
$2.25 (caltrain)

$148 (dress for trip)
$53 (shirt)

Roth IRA [investments]

Prosper [Investments]


Put that rebate check into your emergency fund, before it's too late!

If you work a full-time job and aren't making a gadzillion dollars, chances are you've received (or will receive) a $600 check from the government.

Whatever you do, DON'T use it to "stimulate" the economy.

Don't let the Iraq war fool you -
It's not patriotic to be in debt.

For all of you folks out there who always say that you don't have enough money to start an emergency fund, this handout really is a prime opportunity. Take your $600 (or whatever amount you received), spend, say $100 of it, if you feel the need to, and put the rest of it in a high-interest savings account.

If you haven't started an emergency fund yet, this is now your emergency fund. While an emergency fund should have more than $500 in it, at least that's a start.

Try to add $20-$50 a month to this savings account. Otherwise forget the money exists.


The Wealth Money & Life Network is a team of personal finance bloggers ranging in age from 20-60. Each month, we choose a different topic to focus on and write posts about from our perspective. This month's topic, if you haven't guessed, is "emergency funds." Check out some of the other great posts on this topic over at the WEALTH, MONEY AND LIFE NETWORK


May 6, 2008

Is Moving Worth It?

As many of you know, my rent has gone up $400 in the past two years. That, alone, should be enough to get me out of this $1300 a month studio apartment.

But looking at the apartment rental listings on Craigslist, there really isn't much for anything less. And at least this is utilities included for $1300 a month.

Going from $1050 a month to $1300 a month is definitely going to mess up my budget. I finally was making enough to do some serious saving (so that one day I could buy a house, god forbid) and this price increase basically makes that impossible - unless I manage to get a job that pays even better than my current job, which is probably possible, but I love my current job, and it pays pretty well, and I'm so happy working for this company, and I don't want my rent price to control my career.

It's possible I can find a place cheaper. There are studios occasionally on the market for anywhere from $900 to $1200 in the area. By area I mean anywhere from South San Francisco to Sunnyvale. The "SF Peninsula." Silicon Valley. Where the majority of people who live here are engineers making bank, and the rest of us are, well, half-wishing we were engineers.

Getting a roommate seems like the only logical thing to do right now. I don't do well with roommates. Living alone has taken my depression and thrown it out the window. For the most part.

Lucky for me, my friend volunteered her second bedroom as a place for me to live in July. That's very nice of her. I'll pay her rent, of course, and I'll save some money because I won't be paying $1050 or $1300 - what I would be paying if I stay in my current place. I can't stay there forever, but a month will probably be ok. She has a big dog and I don't get along that well with most dogs. But maybe I'll make friends with the dog in July.

So if I decide to move out, I'll pack up most of my stuff before I leave for my trip, and then put all my furniture into storage when I get back at the end of June. In July I'd do my apartment shopping and, fingers crossed, I'd find something decent that's a good amount less than $1300 a month so the entire moving situation was worth it.

Given, I'm somewhat picky about my living space. I like light in my apartment. I work from home most of the time, so I need a place where I can be comfortable working. A place that isn't too small. I get really claustrophobic in teeny tiny studios. My current studio is nice and large. It would be nice to have a balcony or patio. It would be nice to have a second room to make my office, so I could deduct that portion of the rent on my taxes. I'd probably turn the bedroom of a 1br into an office and keep the living room set up as a "studio." I hope the IRS wouldn't mind that I store my clothes in my office closet.


May 5, 2008

Emergency Funds: Save Yourself


Sometimes it's easy to spend every last time we earn and then some. Being in debt is almost synonymous to "being American." The American Dream is to not have to worry about money spent because, at some point, it will magically reappear. Maybe the streets aren't paved with gold, but opportunities will eventually balance illogical spending.

The fact is, for most of us, that's not true. That's why it's vital to have an emergency fund. An emergency fund is basically a certain amount of money that's set aside in a liquid savings account, that can be accessed in cases of - here's the keyword - emergency.

Having to go on a last-minute vacation does not qualify as an emergency. Needing to get a new shirt definitely not does qualify as an emergency. Losing your job and needing money to pay the rent and eat, does.

It's actually fairly easy to save up an emergency fund if you budget wisely. Even these days when the economy is so awful, there are ways to save. Skip your morning Latte at Starbucks, put your change into a piggy bank, don't buy a new outfit this month, etc.

If you're starting from scratch and your salary seems too low to start a fund, start small. Open a savings account online, pref. one that earns "high interest," and put in your first $25 when you get your next paycheck.

Every month, promise yourself that you'll save $25. When you get into this habit, bump it up to $35, and keep going until you're saving $50 - $100 a month, more if possible.

Ideally you should have about $5000-$8000 in your emergency fund.

I was keeping $5000 in a liquid CD which I considered to be my emergency fund. I've recently liquidated that CD, but I'm moving the money over to my ING account which I'm planning to label "DO NOT TOUCH."

It's so much better to have that money to tap into when something wicked this way comes in one's life. Having the fund means you can avoid at least some of the stress that comes with not having enough money to pay for an emergency - bounced checks, collection agencies, bad credit, or even bankruptcy.

Here are some more tips for saving money:

- Bring cash to the grocery store, and a list of things you need. Overestimate on the cash that you bring a bit, but stick to your list when you go shopping. Put all of the change into a piggy bank in your room. Every six months or so, bring that to the bank to put into your emergency fund.

- Turn off your lights except when you need to use them at night. Take the estimated savings on your electric bill and put it towards your EF.

- Don't go overboard on gifts. This is a hard one for some people. Remember, it's the thought that counts. The money you spend on a gift for someone else is money that could be saved. I'm not advising you to stop giving gifts entirely, but you don't need to spend large sums of money for your friends OR significant others. (Especially in boyfriend/girlfriend land, where sometimes gifts can end up costing hundreds of dollars.) Enter into a relationship (or friendship) in a healthy way, including setting gift expectations, will help everyone involved save money and get into good financial habits for the future.

- Rebate check? Screw saving the economy, "save yourself." \ You know that $600 rebate check you received (or will receive) this year? Put it directly into an emergency fund. I know it won't necessarily help the current economy that way, but what do you owe the economy? Poor spending habits got us all into this mess. To really help the economy, everyone in this country needs an emergency fund and needs to learn how to save!

What do you do to save?

Read what other WLM-Net Bloggers have to say about emergency funds:

Dollar Frugal: Emergency Fund Etiquette (sorry to DF for leaving this post off of my list originally!)
The LocoMono Website: Defining Your Emergency Fund
How I Save Money: Save Money in an Emergency Fund
Saving for a Home of My Own: Rebate Check ---> Emergency Fund
Dividends4Life: Are there cracks in your foundation?


May 2, 2008

How We Gonna Pay This Year's Rent? - a $250 a month increase!

I knew it was coming. But I didn't know how fast or how hard.

My rent increase letter arrived in my mailbox today. In its perfect off-white envelope adorned with the elegant and harmless-looking apartment complex logo, the contents inside were more like an offer of a boxing match where the mailer was allowed to bring guns and a knife. I would, of course, have to fight bare handed.

When I moved into my quaint Silicon Valley studio apartment two years ago, it cost me $905 a month, utilities included.

Last year, when they bumped the rent up to $1050 a month (still, with utilities included) I was tempted to leave. But around here, I had few options anywhere near as nice. I wanted to live alone - that's part of the problem. Still, other options for studio apartments that are cheaper than $1050 are, maybe, $900, and look more like a closet than an apartment.

Today's letter, I knew, held the answer to my question - will I have to move out this year or can I stay for one more year? The answer... I'm moving out.

The utilities are no longer "included" although they're offering $50 a month extra for them to be "included." That brings the total rent up to $1300 a month to get what I'm getting now for $1050. A $250 increase? Are they out of their minds???

No, they're just raking in the dough while plenty of people are losing their homes and the rental market is getting increasingly more squeezed. When my rent was $905 another company owned the apartment complex, in fact, I think it was family owned, so the rents were always reasonable. Then this big shot property management company came in, decreased the quality of life around here, and upped the rents. Gotta love capitalism and free markets, eh??

So... now I have to figure out what to do. To complicate matters, I'm leaving town for about a month at the end of May into June, which leaves me with about a week when I get back to find a new place.

The good news is that my friend has offered to let me stay with her while I look. So it sounds like I'll be storing my stuff in storage for the summer, living with my friend, and trying to find a decent rental in this painful renters market. I'm almost tempted to look into buying. It seems like a really good time to buy. I'm not sure I'm in the right part of my life right now to buy property, but gosh, if I'm going to really be spending that much of my income on housing, I might as well be putting it into something I'll own in the long run.

So right now I have about $25k for a down payment if I cash out my Roth IRA and all of my savings accounts. Of course that would leave me with no emergency fund - probably not the best idea. Perhaps I could convince my parents to give me a loan for a more enticing down payment, but I'm not sure they even have the money. Well, my dad will have the money in a couple of years when he can access his 401k, but he retired early and the money is apparently somewhat tight right now.

Do any of you think I should look into purchasing property? I'd probably want to buy a 1br condo - it seems to be in poor judgement to buy a studio (as I doubt it's easy to resell a studio.)

There's a lot I have to think about. I didn't expect such a huge rent increase. I thought maybe they'd bring it up to $1200 and I was going to deal with that. But $1300 a month? For a studio? For a fucking studio?



May 1, 2008

How Does Anyone Afford Superficial Purchases?

I went to the mall today. I know, I know, I should never do that. But sometimes I like to shop. I went for an hour on my lunch break. I tried on a bunch of clothing. Outfits that would cost me two month's of my food budget. Looking in the mirror, I realized that even these garments, these $200 pairs of jeans and $99 shirts layered over another $99 shirt weren't able to make me look halfway decent.

I stared at my thighs. Those chicken legs. Short, with lots of fat up on my inner thigh. I thought of a time when I was thinner and how that fat was still there, albeit slightly less prominent. I thought about how growing up my mother constantly reminded me of my fat stomach, that protruding bump that must be hidden at all times, but how she never mentioned my giant hips, butt or thighs - and how I wonder if my legs will ever look remotely attractive.

Then, I thought about liposuction. The surgery that, with a little vacuum cleaner, sucks out all your fat (while cleaning out your bank account.)

I came home, obsessed with the idea of lipo. After all, my happiness depends on not having fat thighs. That's worth the price, isn't it?

Of course, I'll probably never get liposuction. The costs are far too great. It would probably cost me $3000-$4000 just to get rid of the lard on my inner thigh. And there are plenty of other areas I want to tackle to. I imagine lipo for all of my problem areas would add up to over $20k. Lower abdomen, arms, inner thigh, hips, outer thigh...

And then, I really want to get my teeth fixed. They're yellowish and crooked, with an unsightly gap in the middle.

Throw in the laser hair removal, which would probably not be permanent due to my having PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), add some hair extensions for kicks, a breast lift, some laser eye surgery, maybe foot surgery because that weird bone sticks out making my toes really wide and impossible to fit into any shoes, plus, why not also get a laser facial to make my skin look fresh and radiant, some new highlights and hair dye, and... then, only then, will I even start to feel good about how I might look in that pair of $200 jeans, and that $99 shirt layered over another $99 shirt.

But... at what point in one's career does she feel entitled to spending that much money on making herself beautiful? Obviously people do it, there wouldn't be that many plastic surgeons in the world if the only people getting such surgery were in accidents.

I'm 24 now, and in my 20s, I just want to be beautiful. In my 30s, I want to be beautiful. I want to enjoy the last remnants of my youth by - being able to wear a bikini and feel beautiful.

Sure, I could exercise, I could eat right. That would help a lot. But I don't think all of the fat would go away. It would stick around some places. That's just what happens. That's why people get surgery.

I want to save up for liposuction.

But I also want to, one day, buy a house.

Lipo versus a house... I think the house wins.

And once I buy a house, well, I'll have to pay for that house for many years to come.

And then I'll have children and they'll cost a fortune. And if I actually have them (and not adopt) my stomach will get even worse. And I'll want plastic surgery even more. But by then it will be impossible to be that selfish. The money will have to go to bills and health insurance for the family and my kids and their summer camps and college and...

And I'll never be able to enjoy being beautiful.


Introducing The Wealth, Money & Life Network (WML-Net)

I'm thrilled to announce the debut of The Wealth, Money & Life Network (WML-Net). Composed of a select group of kick-ass personal finance bloggers, The Wealth, Money & Life Network will provide information on saving, smart spending, and how major finance topics effect different locations and age groups.

The WML-Net is made up of a diverse group of individuals. Our ages span across the 20s, 30s and into the 40s (I'm the youngest at 24!). We are located in different parts of the U.S.; ranging from the east coast to the west coast, from the midwest to the southwest to the deep-south. Our backgrounds are varied and include careers, education, income streams and lifestyles. Some of us have debt, while others do not. There are those who are married, with and without children, while others are single. Some of us have a college degree, some us are prospering without one.

We are excited about this opportunity to share with you what we have to offer. Realizing that no two situations are alike, our diverse group will provide multiple perspectives and insights which will allow you to identify the one that most closely aligns to your circumstances.

Each month we will present a topic and approach it based on our own unique experiences. This month, we are going to discuss Emergency Funds. I certainly look forward to hearing about each member's approach to establishing and maintaining an emergency fund. If you would like to share your thoughts on an emergency fund, feel free to contact any of us to add it to the network post at The Wealth, Money & Life Network site.

Be sure to pay a visit the other The Wealth, Money & Life Network member sites and subscribe to their feed, and my feed, if you haven't done so already. The links below will get you there quickly!

Also, be sure to visit The Wealth, Money & Life Network site. If you would like to participate in our first Carnival of Wealth, Money and Life, click here.

We look forward to sharing our financial and life experiences with you in the future!


A Moment Like This

I've always dreamed of being the Suze Orman for Generation Y. Unfortunately my somewhat limited knowledge of finance makes me ill suited to be the queen bee of twentysomething spending and saving.

However, this blog and my "persona" in the personal finance community has been getting a decent amount of attention. The latest has been an e-mail from a producer at a local news station that is doing a story about money - and she wants me in the story.

I have a lot to say about personal finance, especially when it comes to educating people my age about saving and smart spending. But I'm nervous that I'll just come off sounding the fool.

It's also quite scary, given that I started this blog to have a place to write anonymously about personal finance and now I'm going to be somewhat "outed." Not that everyone and their mother will be watching this particular broadcast at the specific time the story airs, but someone will see it.

There is a blessing and a curse to writing so honestly. More people want to read when you're letting your thoughts out raw. It can also get you into more trouble.

I'm not ashamed of anything I've written in this blog. But they are things I wouldn't talk about in public, or with my actual identity attached to them. I kind of like having this anonymous space to rant about all things money and career related.

But... the big but.. is if I ever want to build a name for myself in personal finance, maybe gain enough cred to one day write a book about the subject (which is my goal at this point) then I'm going to have to "out" myself one day.

I'm just amazed at how this little blog has gotten so much attention in such little time. I guess that just attests to how interested people are in money and saving. But looking at the personal finance section in the local Borders could have told me that...