Principled Money Posts #22: the new academic year is upon us

Last Wednesday, coming back from Bonn, I noticed the exceptionally long lines at the ‘outside EU’ counter at passport control. On a whim I struck a conversation with the border control guard.

‘Very busy today’ – I said.

‘The overseas students are back’ – she replied.

This kind of real – a new academic year is upon us and teaching is starting from next week. A surge of excitement mixed with the mild panic of missed deadline and the busy time ahead – I am developing and teaching a new course; one where I can do anything and see as a great opportunity to bring the Business School where I work, kicking and screaming, to the 21st century.

My son also started school the week before last – his first days in high school. Fortunately he loves it; the whole thing! The science lessons and experiments; the literature and drama; even the homework he now gets. He was also selected to be on the school cross country running team. Great! Now he wants to train with me and we run hills together – and talk about things, growing up boys talk about only if their mothers are wearing shorts and huffing up a hill.

Now about the posts around the blogosphere that caught my attention and made me think, amused me or both.

Do you find it difficult to self motivate? Because I do and have always done! On and off, I have managed to do loads of writing over my life and career but the process is more like a being in a car driven by someone who has no idea of how to change the gears; nothing smooth about it. Also, I don’t know about you but I don’t do discipline very well – inevitably my capacity to suffer and obey fails me. One day, I’ll write a novel; one day I’ll write a commercially successful book; one day…But there is a way to get from one day to today. Want to know how? Follow the link and read the article!

My first week at the office after my sabbatical was hard; every evening I got back home completely drained – no energy, no thinking, no writing. Just a wave of exhaustion that seeped through my bones. Thinking about it, I realised that it is not the work – I worked really hard during the sabbatical and produced (achieved) a lot. What is really getting me tired is going to the office, meeting people, talking to them, interruptions, claims to my time and meetings. Fortuitously, Leo Babauta published an article about the the zen of work reminding us that annoyance, stress and tiredness are not characteristics of situations or events; these are the way we react to and perceive them. More often than not we react like that because of our expectations regarding the way things ought to be. So next week, will be zen of work day for me – I will certainly need it!

I find that my morning ritual is important; apart from that, and sorry Leo and all mindfulness people, it consists of well established routines. I get up, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water, check my citations (only joking :)), have a coffee, have breakfast, take a shower, moisturise my face and body, put perfume on…Hold it right there! The latter part of my ritual consists of using much chemistry! Is this safe? David at the Prairie Eco Thrifter tells us that most cosmetics are far from safe and contain a cocktail of harmful elements; but we can also avoid toxic skincare products – good for us and good for the environment.

We all have to navigate the labyrinth of insurance and with some kinds decision is not that hard. You want to take life insurance, you figure out what will ensure that the ones left behind are looked after properly and judge this through the premium. Not rocket science! House insurance and car insurance – easy; all one has to do is to shop around for the best price. I have always found content insurance very hard to decide on; for that matter I bet that my estimate of the value of possessions for calculating net-worth is well off – it could be either way. This is why I did find Paul’s guide on calculating home content value very helpful.

I am an ‘espresso girl’ and really don’t like Cafe Latte – never mind the time of the day. My feeling about what has come to be known in personal finance circles as ‘the latte factor’ are very similar – I don’t like it and in my experience most of the time having latte is not really the problem. This doesn’t mean that that small expenditure doesn’t matter – quite the reverse; I believe that ‘small’ is an extremely powerful number. However, people should not forget to check their ‘large’ expenditure items – we, for instance, were over-paying on insurance (bad deals, really) and are likely to have ‘too much house’ soon; sometimes you just don’t earn enough. Last week I was very pleased to realise that one of my favourite bloggers, Roshawn, agrees. Yep, often lattes are not your problem!

I have always liked Len Penzo’s 100 words series. Last week the words were on the allure of the Eiffel Tower. And I fail to see it as well. Then again, and please do not think this overly pretentious, I think that Paris itself is over-rated – my favourite city in Europe is Vienna, remember?

Are you thinking about re-financing your mortgage? Before you do anything else please read an article on the Money Crashers setting out the good and bad reasons to refinance your home mortgage loan; after that think some more!

How is The Money Principle Doing?

We are doing really well! As you may recall, The Money Principle finished the Yakezie challenge and was accepted as a member of the network. You can read our membership post here.

Last week, The Money Principle was included in these five carnivals:
Yakezie Carnival at Finance Product Reviews
Y and T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
Carnival of MoneyPros at My University Money
Wealth Artisan’s FinCarn at Wealth Artisan

This is it for now, guys. Speak soon!

12 thoughts on “Principled Money Posts #22: the new academic year is upon us”

  1. I am Teaching a section of advanced science this year and am really enjoying the students. I enjoy being able to have discussions with my students about current events in Science.  Enjoy the time with your son, they grow up too fast!  Appreciate the mention!

    1. @Paul: I am getting a course on managing innovation and creative enterprise off the ground. Exciting – including the fact that finally I’ll be teaching undergraduates rather than graduate school (Masters and PhD) students. Hard work for couple of years though!

  2. I don’t really ‘get’ Paris either. I mean it’s a decent city but I don’t get why people think it’s so refined and cultured. You quite literally cannot go a day without seeing at least one guy urinating in the street.

    1. @Ash: Now you are talking. I cannot stand Amsterdam for the same reason – all cash point machines stanck of piss. Then a German friend said something that made me belive the continentals cosider it ‘manly’ to urinate on the street. Beats me, but…

  3. I have never had sabattical but I can imagine how hard it would be to come back after being away. I guess like anything we adjust. 

    The stuff with your business school sound exciting. Best of luck. Congrats on becoming a member of Yakezie too. That’s great.

    Also, thanks for including David’s article this week. I really appreciate it.  

    1. @Miss T: I alwasy said that during my sabbatical I’ll become a writer; this meant that as my Jewish friends say ‘one needs strong bottom’. Have to say that my bottom was not only strong – it expanded a bit. All gone now with marathon training but still the lack of fitness was a major problem.

  4. I’m glad to hear your son liked high school! My twins are almost at the finish line. So far, Senior year has been the best yet. Initially, when we moved to this little town, my two were on a completely different wavelink. Now, it seems that at least some kids are realizing that life outside Texarkana’s borders is probably worth investigating….

    1. @AverageJoe: Good to hear! My son is well travelled and appreciates the finer things in life – for the time being. He is yet to get in puberty when we will become ‘the enemy’ and all culture ‘oh, so lame’. How we are going to survive this one again, I have no idea. Most probably I will decide to have my mid-life crisis (a totally mad and indignified one) and run through the whole thing.

      How is training going? I have a stincking cold which really annoys me – can’t wait to be out in the blasterring rain again (no joke, I love running in the rain).

  5. Yay, I’m glad we agree on the Latte Factor. I wasn’t sure if I would get HATE comments, emails, and tweets because it disagrees with the “apparent” majority.
    Good luck with teaching undergrads. Teaching them is an entirely different beast sometimes (usually?); at least, that’s been my experience. I hope the experience is everything you hope it will be.

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