No More Plastic Toys

‘Tis the season. The big marketing push for people to go out and buy lots of plastic things with plastic money for people they wish they could spend more time with. I like Christmas. I enjoy Thanksgiving. I love spending time with my friends, eating delicious food, and relaxing with my family. I like the festivities and excitement this season brings. And this year, thanks to the help of Josh and Ryan, I’m looking forward to a more meaningful holiday season. However, each year, it seems marketers are taking their game to a higher level. In an effort to out-duel one another, the creep of spending and buying expands. It seems quantity, consumption, and the volume of stuff is getting the upper hand. Now that I am more aware of its effects, especially on children, I start to question the excess of disposable toys and plastic waste that has captured giving.

toy messThe ultimate irony is that I truly enjoy giving. I like to support people and organizations. I like to give great gifts to my wife, friends, and family. I think many people get stimulation from the buying process and the actual giving part. I’m working toward enjoyment of the utilization of the gifts and implementation instead of the process itself. I don’t mean this essay to specifically be a tresses against plastic toys; but merely to start a discussion about the disposable excess that permeates western culture and specifically manifests itself during the holiday season. And honestly, my push back to the giving season is based in its implementation. The combination of expectations and marketing that now are such an excessive part of the experience that it can diminish the joy of quality time and simple generosity. Continue reading No More Plastic Toys

Introducing The Simple Economics Series

imageThe Simple Economics Series is a collection of information that explains, in plain English, the fundamentals of economics. I remember thinking in high school exactly how much I hated economics and wondered why I was forced to sit though the most boring class of all time. Fast forward 15 years later and I’m finishing up my PhD in Financial Planning and Consumer Economics. Who knew? Economics doesn’t have to be boring and it actually quite useful in our everyday lives.

Economics, at its core, it about making choices with the time and money we have. It is extremely practical at we can leverage the principles to live a happier, healthier, and more efficient life. I’ll put my own spin on the subject matter I call Personal Economics. Basically, anything that I find useful or interesting in personal economics, I’ll work to make it understandable to anyone- even without an advanced degree in boringness. If there is a specific concept that you would like to know more about just send me an email or leave a message in the comments. Continue reading Introducing The Simple Economics Series

My Favorite Books

I enjoy reading and I spend as much time as I can reading non-fiction. My favorite books tend to be ones that make me think or create action in my life. I’ve already written about five books that have changed my life but there are plenty more that I enjoy. I primary read on my Kindle but I often give away paper books as gifts (my favorite thing to give people). So, without further ado, here is the list (in no particular order) of my favorite nonfiction books:

walWalden – Thoreau
1854 called and told you to get off your computer and get out in the woods. The classic, which can be read for free, describes social experiment and spiritual journey of Henry David Thoreau. The book outlines the life of Thoreau and the challenges and observations made while spending two years in a small cabin in the woods of Massachusetts.

leoSimple Guide to A Minimalist Life – Leo Babauta

A short read that explains the basic tenants of minimalism, but, more importantly gives practical advice on how we can design our life and our habits. Even if minimalism sounds awful to you, the advice is great for prioritizing your life and work. I try and read this book at least once a year. Continue reading My Favorite Books

Enjoying The Process

Someday I’ll be rich. Someday I’ll finish school. Someday my kids will be able use the bathroom on their own. Someday I’ll be able to quit my job. Someday my blog will have a million readers. Someday.

I’ve always been told to write my goals down. That is what famous, rich people do with their dreams. The next step is to put your head down and work as hard as possible to attain your goal. Then, when you finally reach that goal- you write down a bigger one and start the process again.

ID-100213431I actually have goals. I write them down and obtain them frequently. However, one thing is missing from the traditional sense of progress. Something is missing when the end goal is all that matters. The notion of miserable sacrifice as a stepping stone to some lofty fictional finish line. Something else is important in life. Often, the process itself is just as valuable as the result. There are plenty of examples in real life where the ride is more fun or important than the journey’s end. In fact, we spend a lot more time in process than we ever will basking in the reflected glory of our final destination. I think it is time to step back, take a breath and enjoy the process of life. Continue reading Enjoying The Process