garden fun

What the heck! I am an adopted Brit (and my country of origin doesn’t seem very keen on me anyway) so I may as well talk about the weather again! This time, my statement about the weather, however, will jus provide a background for something else, namely a discussion about the difference between spending and investment which is not always as clear cut as we may wish to believe.

After a really miserable beginning to the summer, with temperature only just touching the mid-teens, finally we have a sunny, balmy, ”let’s laze about it is too hot to do anything else’ summer. And rather exceptionally for Manchester (UK, that is) it has already lasted two weeks now. Normally, we get three days of sunshine and the summer is over!

But enough about the weather! Let me tell you what you are seeing at the picture:

You are looking at my breakfast, on our new tables, chairs and parasol, in our back garden.

You have already noticed that my breakfast yesterday, when the picture was taken, was very French – chocolate spread on bread and, as a nod to being in England, a cup of Earl Grey tea. I have to admit that because of the heat I have not been as good with the ‘low carbs’ diet as I was; but there is enough time to get back to it.

But the breakfast is relevant only in the context of us forking out for garden furniture and a new BBQ. What I have been asking myself is: did we just have a spending spree or made a wise investment. It seems to me that this was an investment albeit a not very traditional and/or direct one; on and all we bought for the garden was a little over £100 ($150).

How is buying garden furniture and a new BBQ an investment?

1)      We finally spend time in the garden; we absorb the sun (essential for health and wellbeing), it is great fun and I find it very relaxing.

2)      We spend time together; the three of us – John, son and I – sit in the garden, having a meal or just a drink and talk. This is an investment in family life bringing excitement and a feeling of contentment.

3)      We have BBQ often which our son finds exciting and we all enjoy. Having BBQ is always about eating meat but…our son is starting to eat salad because ‘it goes together’.

4)      Last week we had a BBQ for eleven people which was great: we saw our friends and neighbours, my co-author from ‘down south’ was here and, even more importantly, grown up sons came over. Altogether a great little party which we could have never had if it were not for our new BBQ and garden furniture.

So you see, the ROI is already ample though not purely financial; it is mainly about quality of life and the way in which it affects our ability to be happier, healthier and more productive.

Am I entirely wrong on this one?

Now let me move to the (mainly) personal finance articles that caught my attention this week.

We people naturally like order so that we could compare, judge, decide and act. I believe this is where our focus on generations comes from; we have the baby-boomers, generation X, generation Y, and of course I did tell you about my generation – the ‘missing out’ one. Peter on UberStewart published a post inspired by an article in Time about the ‘me’ generation. Apart from falling into the usual trap of ‘thing are not as they used to be’ he shares thirteen reasons why people are not as successful as they may be. Check them out! I don’t agree with most of these but still worth a look.

Barbara Friedberg published a post that keeps alive the debate about which one is easier: to save money or to earn money. This is a post that raises many good questions though on the surface it is about Barbara saving some money. One question I’ll ask would be is it really easier to save than earn? And the answer is: depends. Tricky, uh? It is true that people shouldn’t pay so much attention to stuff, though…

I’ve mentioned that I am a high scorer on the Aspergers scale; not clinical but just. This doesn’t mean much apart from having to think about feelings, sometimes misreading signals and generally preferring things to people (mildly). This is why all that is written about Autism grabs my attention with the speed with which a magpie would grab a shiny marble. This week, Money & Potatoes published an article about eleven applications that children with autism love. A bit specialised but worth a look; you never know what life will bring.

Curious about the World Domination Summit? Looks really fun so go and check this post out!

Neal Frankle over at Wealth Pilgrim is one of my PF favourites: knowledgeable, wise and clever. I was reading his article on how to apologise when money is involved and given that I live by the maxim ‘better to ask forgiveness than permission’ I was obviously intrigued. Good one and I intend to try Neal’s way; who knows…

Jacob and I ‘Heart’ Budgets has a message for you: ‘spending money is not a bad thing; wasting is‘. And I couldn’t agree more.

You want to build income streams? If you don’t yet you should; and if you wish to know how to do it read this article on Moolanomy (and while you are at it, you may wish to read a bit more – it is a good site).

And if you haven’t already visited Pauline’s new site – MakeMoneyYourWay – do it! Vintage Pauline and there are some great ideas there that most people can at least try.

Now, how did The Money Principle do this week?

This carnivals of personal finance included one of my posts:

Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses
Finance Carn. for Young Adults at Finance Inspired
Carnival of Retirement at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses
Carnival of MoneyPros at Thirty Six Months


I am also very happy to report that TMP readership is growing steadily and subscriptions (e-mail and RSS) are picking up. I am taking it that people are interested in what we have to say so feeling good about it!

And finally, you thought that there isn’t much fun about taxes did you? Well, I found a really fun site where one can find all kind of funny taxes. Did you know that apart from getting Russians drunk on vodka, Peter the Great introduced a ‘beard tax’ – this was his way to bring modernisation. Well, it didn’t work and then the real fun began – Peter brought in his aristocrats and had their beards cut by force (but this is something few people would tell you).

This is all for now, my friends; speak soon.