As some of you already know, my husband and I decided to sign up for a CSA program this year. This is our first time trying a farm share program and we really have no idea how it’s going to go (although we’re very optimistic so far). My hope is that by sharing our experiences as we go, we can help others decide if this type of program is worth trying.
According to the latest State of the American Workplace report by Gallup, approximately 70% of American workers report being unhappy with their current jobs.
This isn’t too surprising. After all, the economy is still poor and unemployment remains stubbornly high. Many American workers are still settling for jobs in which they are overworked, under-paid, and under-appreciated… because they don’t think they can find anything better. In some ways, it’s like being in a really bad relationship.
However, the more startling thing about this study (to me) was the severity of some workers’ disengagement. According to the survey, 18% of workers consider themselves to be “actively disengaged,” which Gallup defined as follows:
Actively disengaged employees are more or less out to damage their company. They monopolize managers’ time; have more on-the-job accidents; account for more quality defects; contribute to “shrinkage,” as theft is called; are sicker; miss more days; and quit at a higher rate than engaged employees do. Whatever the engaged do — such as solving problems, innovating, and creating new customers — the actively disengaged try to undo.
Collectively, these actively disengaged workers are estimated to cost the U.S. between $450 billion and $550 billion in productivity every year. They also cost their employers significantly more in health care, as they tend to be sick more often than their more engaged counterparts.
After last Friday’s car transmission debacle, I decided it was probably time to write a post about the importance of emergency savings, specifically addressing the following questions:
What is an emergency fund?
Why does everyone need an emergency fund?
How much money should I set aside?
How can I get started?
Rochester, NY is the city of festivals… and the mother of them all is the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest (XRIFJ). This year’s festival will take place from June 21st through June 29th, with over 15 venues and 225 shows in and around downtown Rochester.
While the price of headliner concerts and Club Pass venues can be a bit discouraging, budget-conscious jazz fans can still enjoy over 80 FREE indoor and outdoor shows during this year’s Jazz Festival.
Below is a full list of this year’s free shows, compiled from listings on the festival’s official website:
When does it make the most sense to sell your car?
That’s the question I had on my mind yesterday, as I struggled with the fact that my transmission blew. With the replacement cost ranging from $2,500 to $4,000 (parts and labor), I don’t know how much longer I can afford to keep this car.
There’s no good rule of thumb for determining when you get the best value trading in your car. However, had I sold my car even a year ago, I could have completely avoided paying for a new set of tires, two O2 sensors, a catalytic converter, and now the transmission. D’oh!
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and the decision to sell a car is complex. There are many different factors that go into deciding whether to keep or sell a car – such as age, mileage, current trade-in value, amount owed on the car (if applicable), and your overall financial situation. Sentimental value can also be an issue. Maybe it was your first car. Maybe you have fond memories of driving your car across the country. Or maybe you invested in customizations that make your car unique and more difficult to replace.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the trade-in value of my car is $6,700. However, without a working transmission, it’s not worth jack. While I hate to spend thousands of dollars on anything, it makes sense to fix the car… even if it’s just a “band-aid” fix with used parts. The question is what to do after that.
Note: This is a situation where having an emergency fund was crucial. Having the ability to pay for the repair gives us numerous options going forward. Had we not had sufficient savings, we would have been left with only two choices: max out my credit card, or sell the car at a loss and borrow even more money for a replacement.
It looks like Amazon is planning a major expansion into the online grocery business with AmazonFresh. This new service will allow shoppers to buy fresh groceries online and have them delivered right to their doorstep via Amazon’s own fleet of trucks.
So far, AmazonFresh has already been successfully tested in the retailer’s home city of Seattle, with plans to expand to Los Angeles and San Francisco by the end of the year. If those new locations do well, Amazon is expected to continue expanding their fresh grocery service to 20 other cities across the globe.
At first, this doesn’t seem like such a huge step when you consider how many people already buy things like toilet paper, diapers, laundry detergent, and cereal through Amazon’s grocery department. Buying groceries online is definitely convenient, and if you use the “Subscribe & Save” option, there is potential to save quite a bit of money on items you use on a regular basis.
The idea of buying fresh meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables online is a bit more difficult for me to wrap my head around. We have an amazing grocery store less than a mile down the road, farm markets all over the place, and a good-sized vegetable garden right in our own backyard. Needless to say, convenience has never been an issue for us when it comes to fresh food. I’d be curious to hear about other people’s locations and shopping habits though.
Would you ever buy fresh groceries online? Why or why not?
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about cutting the cord, or ditching traditional cable and satellite TV in favor of free or low-cost internet streaming. There are currently over five million American households classified as “Zero-TV,” a 150% increase since 2007.
Like many 20-somethings, my husband and I are part of that five million… although we’re a bit unique in the sense that we never had cable to start with. In other words, there was no cord to cut.
To say that we’re TV-free, however, would be very misleading. Despite not having cable, we have always had plenty of opportunities to watch TV at little to no cost. Here’s how:
Do you have a thirst for knowledge? A passion for learning? Or maybe you’re just hoping to develop your skill set to make yourself more marketable?
We all have our reasons for wanting to go back to school at some point, either full-time or part-time. The problem is that we’re often discouraged from actually following through by the rising cost of higher education, inflexible work schedules, and the fact that many of us are still paying back student loans from the first time around.
There are, however, many different ways to gain the knowledge you desire without having to spend a single dime. Here are a few I was able to come up with:
A few days ago, Covered California became the first state agency to release a preliminary pricing list for various health insurance policies under their newly-established health insurance exchange (effective in 2014).
On the one hand, Californians are thrilled to see that these figures do not show any spike in health insurance premiums. On the contrary, some premiums are projected to drop as much as 29% through the exchange. Others are likely to stay the same or increase slightly.
So what do these figures mean for the other 49 states? Not a whole lot.
While Americans are increasingly hopeful for positive change as the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) takes effect, it’s difficult to make any predictions when each state has a unique set of rules and regulations to sort through. Smaller states may also be at a disadvantage due to a lack of competition.
If you have ever grown your own food (in any capacity), you probably know that homegrown produce is fresher and cheaper than anything you can buy at the grocery store. But just how much cheaper is it?
When starting a garden, you realize pretty quickly that there are some significant upfront costs. Such costs could include installing raised beds, putting up fencing, renting a tiller, buying trellises or cages, etc. However, once you have your garden area set up, the annual costs become MUCH more affordable.