Monthly Archives: January 2016

Big Events Require Big Preparation

The bigger the event, the more preparation it requires.  We saw that in action this weekend as the big snowstorm brought havoc to the northeast.  For days we were warned that it was coming.  Be prepared.  Stay home.  I have to say I was a little disappointed that State College got only a few inches.  But I was prepared for snow of Carlislian proportions.  Snowblower and shovels at the ready.  Fresh bag of salt in the garage.  Super snow brush in the back of my Subaru.  And a several days long supply of food in my kitchen.  I wasn’t trapped in my house, but if I had been trapped, I’m sure I would have been fine for many days.  A big storm demands big preparation.

The same holds true with money.  The larger the event, the more you have to put into preparing for it.  When you buy a tube of toothpaste, you just have to make sure you have a couple of bucks and go to the store.  When you buy a car, however, you have to make sure you have sufficient down payment and financing (which may require reviewing your credit history).  You have to make a major decision about what kind of car you are going to buy.  You have to research where your best deal will be and haggle on price.  It’s a lot more complicated than the tube of toothpaste.  And buying a house involves even more research and preparation (not to mention the formidable task of moving into it!).

The bigger the event, the more preparation it requires.  So if you have a major financial event (or a big paper…or a big trial…or a big snowstorm) coming up, make sure you leave yourself sufficient time and energy to deal with it.  Maybe it won’t be so bad (like this weekend’s State College snow), but it’s better to be prepared for the worst.

Betting on Yourself

I’ve started wagering. I don’t normally bet on things because the odds of losing are so much greater than the odds of winning, so it just doesn’t make financial sense. (Though I did buy a couple of tickets for the 1.3 billion dollar Powerball drawing…just in case…despite the fact that I’m very aware that the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.)  But the wagering I’m doing now is different because I’m betting on my own behavior.

Along with this year’s New Year’s resolutions about diet and exercise, I started using the app Pact on my smartphone.  With Pact I am betting on myself.  Last week I bet that I would exercise three times and that I would eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables.  And I met my requirements within the first few days of the week, so this week I increased my bet to three times exercising and 15 servings of fruit and veggies.  If I meet my wager, I get paid.  But for every veggie or workout that I miss, I owe $5.  The money from the people who fail is divided up among those who succeed.


I’ll probably get about a dollar for last week’s success (I’ll find out for sure tomorrow).  And that’s not a lot, I know.  But somebody is paying me for doing healthy things that I was going to be doing anyway.  And if I get a dollar a week for the rest of the year, that’s $50, just for doing things that are good for me.  And that’s a bet I’m willing to take.