plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

May 11, 2009

dressing to impress

Filed under: education and career — Tags: , , , — plonkee @ 8:13 pm

I finally started at my new job last week. It was a nightmare getting rid of my responsibilities at my old place, and surprisingly tiring having to speak to all new people all the time last week. As with all jobs, this one isn’t exactly what I expected, but I think I’m going to like it.

thinking about clothes

A new job is a good opportunity for me to evaluate my working wardrobe.

On balance, the dress code is about the same as at my last place – business casual – but there are many more women, so I’m feeling more inclined to wear make up and jewellery. I don’t need to buy any of these as I have a good supply, and certainly more eye shadow than I realised.

My current working wardrobe is:

  • 3 pairs of trousers
  • 1 skirt
  • 4 jackets
  • 6 skinny knit sweaters
  • 6 long sleeve tops
  • 8 short sleeve tops
  • 2 skinny knit cardigans

This is not too bad as it stands – it stands me reasonably well in my normal working life – mostly in the office, but with and handful of external meetings. I pretty much wear a standard uniform, my tops are essentially the same designs in different colours and all my trousers (and skirt) are various shades of grey!

cheap or frugal?

One thing that I have noticed more as I’ve been trying to make a good impression on my new colleagues, is that a few of these things are wearing out. At least one pair of trousers is on its last legs (possibly because they are my favourites) and so are a couple of the tops. In fact, my work clothes wear out really quite quickly – certainly within a couple of years. That might be because I buy pretty inexpensive clothes, I don’t think I’ve spent more than £10 on a top, or £20 on a pair of trousers in my current wardrobe.

I’m not sure whether I’m being cheap or frugal. I have to admit that I don’t exactly look after my clothes brilliantly – I certainly don’t live to dress – and I wouldn’t want to buy more expensive clothes if they’re going to wear out just as quickly.

Perhaps I should have more clothes, so that they don’t wear out as often? Maybe I might have read somewhere that your clothes last long (more wearings) if you don’t wear them as frequently. Not sure whether I believe that’s likely to be true. On the other hand, if I had more clothes, I’d get less bored of wearing the same thing over and over!

what about you?

What do you all do about your working wardrobe? Do you invest in key pieces, shop second-hand, or, buy cheap basics? What kind of clothes do you wear, do you have vast quantities of work clothes, or operator more minimally? Let us know in the comments.

April 20, 2009

personal finance education is like…

Filed under: education and career — Tags: , — plonkee @ 9:16 pm

I’m thinking that a financial education has lots in common with sex education. Some people think that it should be taught in school, others say that it’s the responsibility of parents to educate and schools should leave it well alone. Some people feel strongly about abstinence in sex education, and some people feel strongly opposed to credit in personal finance education.

Of course there are some differences. One of the best ways of teaching kids about personal finance is to have them watch their parents… Yes, you really can only stretch an analogy so far.

and there’s a point to this?

If we’re taking a strictly outcome based approach, the Netherlands is particularly good on sex education. Rates of teenage pregnancy are some of the lowest in Europe, and teenagers wait for longer before having sex. Now, the Netherlands is pretty liberal, and you might not be comfortable with some of the things that they teach the under 11s about sex, but the really important thing that they do is focus on relationships, values and self-worth with the mechanics being taught but with less emphasis. As a result people (that pay attention and learn in class) are more likely to make decisions that benefit them in the long run.

Really I think we can learn something about personal finance education from this approach. The mechanics of budgeting,  and how credit cards work, and how to balance a cheque book are important, but nowhere near as important as organising your finances are around your goals, and the life that you live. It’s really helpful to understand the rules around RRSPs or ISAs or Roth IRAs, but it’s even more important to understand how risk works, and the sort of risk profile that you have at the moment. Or to work with yourself to get out of debt, rather than embarking on a plan you won’t stick to.

Personal finance education, is a bit like sex education!

March 31, 2009

fringe benefits of being employed

Filed under: education and career — Tags: , , — plonkee @ 12:25 pm

The benefits of going to work for a living.

There are many ways of generating an income, and lots of people seem to ideologically favour working for yourself, or working at home. Being your own boss is the great way to wealth apparently. Probably wouldn’t work for me, but each to their own.

One of the things that people who are for some reasonable reason against being employed talk about, especially those advocates of stay at home parenting, are the hidden costs of working. I’m talking about things like commuting, eating lunch out, buying nice clothes, conveniences that you use which you wouldn’t if you spent more time at home.

This got me thinking about the converse. The things that you can get from your workplace that would cost you money to have to provide for yourself. I mean, just like you don’t notice the hidden costs of working, so maybe we don’t notice the hidden benefits of working.

  • At my current job we get free stationery, not exactly for our own personal use, but still a pen is a pen.
  • My walking commute enables me to exercise easily for free.
  • I have to travel to London at least once a month, and I can use this train ticket to meet up with friends or family for dinner or drinks and then head back to my own place for no additional cost.
  • There’s a subsidised gym (which I don’t use)
  • It gets me out of the house everyday and talking to real people. What can I say, I’m an introvert at heart
  • They heat the place. If I had to heat my house all day, that would get expensive pretty quickly.
  • Let me know what benefits you get out of work.

    Older Posts »

    Powered by WordPress