Drinking White Wine in the Sun

It's hard to be an atheist around Christmas sometimes. As we are reminded, often loudly, Jesus is the reason for the season. But I, like many atheists, enjoy Christmas for all of the beauty it brings unrelated to religion. Singing songs, spending time with family, loving each other.

Tim Minchin, whose work I have mentioned before, has a beautiful song that sums up the conflict of the unbeliever, but in a gentle, sentimental way. The bonds of love and family that come around this time of year are worth celebrating.

If you purchase White Wine In the Sun from iTunes in the month of November, December, or January, all the proceeds go to the National Autistic Society.

Merry Christmas to you, no matter why you celebrate or what you believe. Love each other.


The $1,000 Challenge

There are only two ways to improve your financial situation.  You can bring in more money or you can stop spending as much money.  In my quest to do the latter, I read The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheeseby Brian J. O'Connor.

Mr. O'Connor is a personal finance columnist at the Detroit News.  The book follows his quest to cut his monthly budget by $1,000 ($100 in each of ten categories). The prose is easy to read and humorous and the tips are broken up into three categories in each chapter, depending on where your personal financial situation is.

None of the recommendations are life-changing or that new to those of use familiar with Mr. Money Mustache or Early Retirement Extreme, but the book helps you with how to think about your budget and figure out where you can cut.

If you can cut $1,000/month from your budget, you can reduce the nest egg required to retire (or reach financial independence) by $300,000.  This is based on a 4% safe withdrawal rate and the amount of money required to support $1,000/month.  (1000 x 12 x 25 = 300000)

Check the book out from Amazon or your local library and let me know what you think.