December, 2009:

ONEin3 Money roll…

Read these posts at

All I want for Chanukah
Matt Brownell

The Financial Reform Bill Highlights Need for Real Reform
GE Miller

Last-Minute Shopping on a Budget
Nick Kennedy

No Checks Please, We’re British
Steve Barth

8 Tax Strategies to Consider Before 2010
GE Miller


Happy 2010! Quick Q for you…

NYE is almost here, what’s your favorite resolution? What should ours be? (One is to drive more dialogue!!!)
Comment away… esp if you’re the only one left working this week (ahem).
Happy 2010 ONEin3ers!


All I want for Chanukah

When I was in high school, I had a summer job pushing stretchers at a local emergency room. This being a hectic ER, taking long lunch breaks was generally frowned upon, so most of the nurses and orderlies stuck around the hospital for lunch. So you had three options: pack your lunch, take your chances on the hospital cafeteria, or be a fancy-pants and go to the Au Bon Pain.

Despite my meager salary, for the longest time I just went to Au Bon Pain. It was expensive, but the food was good and there was a cute checkout girl who always gave me a smile. Then one day I noticed that everyone else in the break room – the nurses, the assistants, most of the doctors – were either bringing lunch from home or buying at the cafeteria. I suddenly felt very conspicuous, as if I’d strolled in wearing a monocle.

Of course, I wasn’t richer than any of these people. The difference was that they were on a budget and I wasn’t, so they understood the difference between something you want and something you need. I wanted to eat at Au Bon Pain, but I didn’t need to; and if I’d been on anything resembling a budget, I would have quickly realized that I didn’t want to eat there enough to make it worth the extra $50 or so a month that it was costing me.

It’s taken me a while to realize the difference between needing and wanting something, but being on a budget has made the distinction clear. A couple months ago I wrote about my financial goals, and one of them was that I would be attending the Winter Classic at Fenway. Well, that ain’t happening – tickets are going for $300-plus on eBay, and while it would be a nice experience, I don’t need to be spending that kind of money when I can watch it on TV. I also assumed that I would be buying a new computer, as my laptop has slowed considerably and recently sustained a broken hinge that causes the monitor to slam down on my fingers without the slightest provocation. But as much as I’d like to upgrade to a better machine, my attempts to find $800 in my budget have caused me to reevaluate whether my “need” for a computer is really more of a “want.” And I’ve concluded that as long as I can write this blog and browse, I don’t really need to shell out for a new ThinkPad.

That’s not to say that I’ve deprived myself of all pleasures and reduced my lifestyle to the bare necessities. I still buy comic books and fancy beer, and occasionally take in a live sporting event. But when it comes to big purchases, I’m a lot more restrained than I used to be.

That’s what the holidays are for. While I’d been coveting a smart phone – or really, any phone that doesn’t abruptly turn off when I talk too loud – I knew that it was very much a “want” and not a “need.” Fortunately, Chanukah Harry brought me a shiny new iPhone on the eighth night, so I’ve managed to join the 21st century without demolishing my budget. Truly a Chanukah miracle, my friends.

And how about you, dear readers? Did anyone get something on their “want” list for Chanukah, or Kwanza, or whatever other holiday you might celebrate? Give me an earful in the comments section, and I’ll see y’all next year.


Share your wealth (of Financial Knowledge): Volunteers needed

Giving back doesn’t have to end with the holidays… Volunteer in one of the Boston EITC Coalition’s asset building programs as a Credit Advising Volunteer or a Financial Coach!!

Trainings for both of these positions will start again at the beginning of January. For specific training dates, volunteer position descriptions, and much more please visit our website at or Jessica Cook at