Archive for August 8th, 2007

Prepping for Vacation

August 8, 2007

As Noma mentioned we’re getting ready to board a plane tonight. I’ve learned my lesson and decided to take today as a vacation day to take care of all those miscellaneous things I need to do before a big trip.

In the past I would have worked at least a half day. Not anymore. There’s just too much to do to prepare for the trip. This includes taking the cat to the kennel, cleaning the house (who wants to come home to a dirty house?), finishing packing and reviewing of our finances. I’ll check Quicken, Wells Fargo, etc and make sure we have enough cash for our trip and make a trip to the ATM. Once we’re back East we won’t be near a Wells Fargo and if we withdraw cash we’ll get those pesky bank fees. 

In addition I’ve leveraged today’s vacation day to have some contractors out today.  The extermination company just left — they came to inspect post fumigation and clean up the frass (termite poop — great new scrabble word) and an electrician coming to replace our broken (for 6 months) porch light.

I’ve already stopped the mail, the papers and bought small gifts for my nieces who we will be staying with….Getting closer.

Our friend will be driving us to the airport which will save us money on parking. We’re also fortunate enough to have family who donated their miles to us…so our airfare was free!!! Yipee! So, financially speaking the biggest cost for us will be the cat kennel fees, entertainment and dining charges, the car rental and money we spent on small gifts.

I feel very saavy about the car rental. We’re flying into one airport and out of another. When I looked into one-way car rental costs for it was going to be like $500 for 5 days! I then played around and found that if we rented a car in the first city for the first 4 days and then returned that car and got another one from a second company just to drive down to the second city that I was able to get the car for about $250. Saving $250 is worth a extra trip to the airport.

Yes, indeed. I can almost taste the sweet New England air.

We’re excited!

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Vacation, Blogroll, Aching Desire

August 8, 2007

We’re going on vacation today! Off to the East coast. We’ll be back, perhaps even posting, by Monday, August 20th. I noticed that we’re getting a lot of traffic from the frugal for life blog. Since I’ve always liked the site, I added it to our blogroll. I had an ache to reciprocate… If that’s a non-sequiter, see the last post.

The Crass Construction of Desire

August 8, 2007

Smooth Persuaders: Leveraging Human Nature.

…Would you mind? The pf community is a great place for otherwise scarce information about debt reduction. Pfbloggers are making a public commitment to debt reduction — a powerful motivator. Perhaps you will post something to the next carnival, respond in kind? Since you’re reading this, it only makes sense.

In a brazen and hamfisted way, the opening section of our debt reduction carnival attempted to incorporate many of the common techniques advertisers and politicos use to separate us from our money:

  • I appealed for a sense of commitment, “would you mind?” by making an innocuous request.
  • I mentioned that there were limited resources in terms of debt reduction advice (patently absurd). That’s an appeal to your fear of scarcity, and the tendency to value things that are scarce, or even might be scarce.
  • I stated that other people are doing it too. In other words, why don’t you? Particularly in ambiguous situations, we model our behavior on what other people are doing.
  • I appealed to your sense of wanting to return a favor. Reciprocity is simply one of the foundations of society, and as social creatures we feel a strong desire to reciprocate. A big part of this is that we generally hate to feel we owe others something! (Funny, given the personal finance context of trying to reduce or avoid debt…)
  • There’s a war going on out there — and if you don’t watch out, you and your pocketbook will be the casualties. That’s one of the central thrusts of Dr. Robert Cialdini. His book has sold over 1 million copies. If you think you are largely immune to the ploys of advertising, read on!

    Cialdini on unconscious modes of persuasion.
    I mentioned Cialdini, a social psychologist, in an earlier post. You can find his books in the business section. (A recent New York Times article “Who’s Minding the Mind?” covered the surprising range and variety of powerful ways we can be manipulated — without any conscious knowledge of what is going on. In the Yale study, people’s judgment was strongly affected simply by handing them a cup of coffee.) Cialdini writes about the ways in which human beings respond automatically, without thought. Here are the ways he outlines that we can be easily manipulated: (more…)