Updated on 03.20.12

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: March Madness Edition

Trent Hamm

I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about the weather.

We’ve had six days in a row where the temperature peaked above 80 F in central Iowa in March. The grass is rapidly turning green and everything is blooming. All of this is happening a month or so earlier than normal.

I am so tempted to start planting our garden (in fact, Sarah’s been out there already, poking around and turning the soil), but I remember many, many Aprils that included a lot of freezing and some big snowstorms.

Is It Better to Be Frugal or Earn More? I don’t think this is really an either/or choice. For one, frugality can start saving you money immediately, but it has a cap. Earning more can’t just be flipped on like a switch, but it has no ceiling. (@ watson inc.)

Do You Know Your Monthly Nut? A person’s “monthly nut” is the amount they have to spend each month on required bills or basic essentials of life. It’s the amount that’s going to be spent each month, no matter what. If you can lower this, that’s a big success. (@ my journey to millions)

You Are Already the 1% 95% of the population of developing countries gets by on $10 a day or less. Simply being born in the United States is an enormous income opportunity. (@ i am one percent)

5 Ways You Can Pay Back Your Student Loans Faster The last tip, volunteerism, is particularly interesting. I know of several people who have done just that with great success. (@ scott on money)

The Dangerous Terrain of Unnecessary Dream Shrinkage Overwork will not get you to your dream. If you’re burnt out, you’re not producing too much of value, anyway, so scale back a little. (@ danielle la porte)

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  1. Jessica says:

    Similar weather here in central Ohio.

    But there are some seeds you can sow now. Peas, broccoli, spinach, lettuce and beans are cold hardy and will give you an early harvest. I just started my seeds in a little greenhouse kit. In 8 weeks when I can transplant them, I should have some healthy tomatoes and peppers.

  2. Tracy says:

    That 1% article completely misses the point of the 99/1%. It’s not simply about pure income but about the widening gap and the rate of that gap’s increase. (This is obviously extremely simplistic as well, but it’s more to the point) – the fact that the top is growing at a much, much higher rate than the rest of the population.

    Or, another way to say it:

    You say “95% of the population of developing countries gets by on $10 a day or less. Simply being born in the United States is an enormous income opportunity.” – but you’re missing the point that that opportunity has been steadily decreasing over the last 30 years and at the rate that it is, eventually we no longer WILL have those opportunities.

  3. Angie H. says:

    The mosquitoes were out last night here in east-central Indiana!

  4. Kai says:

    Start planting seedlings in the house, and they’ll be big and ready to move out by the time the frost in done!

    The 1% is still making a good point to me. When poor Americans talk about being unable to afford Christmas gifts or new clothes for their kids, or can’t support pets, or can’t afford more than basic healthcare, that’s not a good thing, but it still doesn’t compare to the world where people can’t afford or find food for their children, let alone clothing, and access to clean water alone would make a huge impact on their health care.

    I think it’s worthwhile to still reflect on how lucky we already are.

  5. Tracy says:

    The problem with the article is that it’s lying about what it’s trying to answer, though.

    It’s fine to have an article about how comparatively well off we are – but you can’t do it as an answer to Occupy Wall Street without being disingenous (which, ironically, is what the original article is claiming about OWS. Just stupid on their part, because it means they either are liars or they don’t understand the argument.)

  6. Hard Money says:

    Unfortunately the monetary policy of the Fed discourages frugality and encourages spendthrift instead. Inflation means people are incentivized to borrow rather than save. If there was sound money people would have a natural incentive to save which means that more capital accumulation in the economy would result and therefore an increased standard of living for everyone.

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