book reviews, crafts, cheap things…

Financial Literacy February!

Welcome to Financial Literacy February!

If you have read any of the previous month’s posts (where I bought one lottery ticket per day and reported on my winnings and losses), you will notice that this month’s theme seems to be quite the shift from the last!

You may also notice that “Financial Literacy February” really doesn’t seem to fall too well into step with this blog’s professed theme of  “art/cheap/free/crafty stuff in my life and in this city (SAN FRANCISCO) that enraptures me.” HOWEVER, I want to suggest that it actually does! As I have been working my way though my late twenties, I’ve begun to notice that money kind of matters (Granted, I knew money mattered when I was twenty years old and working and going to school full-time and paying San Francisco rent– and still only having $20/month left for food– but something about it feels more final– or important– now). Presently at age 28, I have recently finished graduate school. Which means student loan payback is coming. For the first time my body is showing some signs of age (stray grey hairs, popping knees), and I don’t have health insurance. I am working two part-time jobs (in my desired field, luckily!), and I have non benefits and a lower income than any of my co-workers because of the recession’s hiring freezes and cutbacks. However, working an additional job means that I have some extra money. I’m not talking a ton– I still made under $20thousand last year. But I’m making more than I need to survive. This is new to me. If I see shoes that I want online, I know that I have the money in my bank account to buy them (within reason). If my bicycle (my mode of transportation to most places) were to get stolen tomorrow, It would not be too difficult for me to procure the cash to buy another (again, within reason). I can buy anything that I want at the grocery store, and my day isn’t ruined when I forget to bring my lunch to work– because I can afford to buy one. From either the fancy health food store– or a restaurant.

This has been going on for about 6 months, since I started my second job. Since my income moved above the survival notch, I have bought clothes without holes, subscribed to magazines and journals, bought some art, purchased glasses with an up-to-date prescription, and more. It’s been pretty amazing.

But here’s the thing. I want to try something new for every month of 2012. And I feel like it’s time for me to become more financially literate. I’ve bought the things that I want and need– it feels like it’s time to go further. Sure I know the basics about paying my credit card bill on time and not over-drafting my checking account. I even have a CD and I order pre-tax commuter checks through one of my jobs. But I want to learn what the tax forms are talking about when they ask about Roth IRA’s. I want to understand how I can make my money grow more interest in the bank, and I also want to figure out how to get more “value” out of my everyday life.

But I want to do all of this without falling into the trap of believing that money is everything. I want to do this without the risk of becoming a living, breathing, crappy photocopy of a page of Fortune magazine. Because that would be awful. I wouldn’t want to read that. It would feel antithetical to my values of DIY, creativity, craftiness, cheapness, and, essentially, to the drive of making glitter out of dirt, or dessert out of scraps.

Instead, my goal for February is to learn and write about the above-mentioned financial things, but to also discuss additional stuff that can impact one’s financial circumstance. After all, all of this financial stuff exists, so I may as well know about it!  There will be personal reflections, video reviews, projects, and more. More specifically, some of the planned features are:

  • ‘old stuff in the kitchen cabinet’ iron chef
  • financial guru reviews
  • the financial wonders of the public library
  • definitions of financial stuff in plain language
  • personal anecdotes of my bank to credit union transition (and others)
  • cheap recipes and projects where you can make something awesome out of hardly anything
  • resources for free amusement
  • and much, much more.

See y’all soon.

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