Category: General


And we are LIVE!

I am finally done (sort of) fiddling with installations and un-installations and just generally showing myself to be an embarrassment to computer scientists everywhere.  Brian and I have our new site and up and running and we’d love to have all our readers migrate over.  I’d do it myself but I haven’t figured out how yet…

So change your google reader links and point them to www.outliermodel.com

I’m working on the email subscribing option…

Let me know what you think!

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Updates: Apr17-23

The bf and I are working  on moving our site off WordPress and onto our own domain name and hosting this weekend.  We’ve actually had the domain name for a while, but never got around to it…  Stay tuned!

Onto the new and amazing:

  • Funny About Money talks about the great deals you get at ethnic markets.  I love ethic markets – I do most of my shopping at small markets where I can get whole chickens for $6 and coconut milk for $0.79 a can.  Safeway would charge me $12 for the same chicken and nearly $3 for a can of coconut milk.  I find that rice is especially over priced at Western stores.  I can get 40lbs of rice for $25, typically.  2lbs of rice at Safeway is what, $3.99?
  • Lifehacker is one of my favourite sites.  They posted recently about what to do if you think you’re going to lose your job.  It’s a great list of suggestions for people who are concerned about their job security.  And, it’s not mentioned in the article, but many of the suggestions are also relevant for people who want to leave their jobs.  When I was getting ready to transition from my research job into full time computer science, I did many things like saving up an emergency fund and getting rid of non-essentials.

Updates: Apr 10-16

I had a bad month or so where I was incredibly swamped with writing!  Of course, at the same time, Brian was incredibly swamped with work.  I am exceedingly grateful, of course, but now I’m trying to get myself back on track, setting up a schedule and making sure I set aside time to get all the little things done.

On to the clicky-clicky:

  • A cool new Canadian-made device will soon allow you to control your electronic gadgets from afar, monitor how much electricity each appliance or device is eating up, and allow you to nuke it.  Sustainable, useful, and financially responsible – hopefully it will appeal to the technically-minded out there.  For myself, I am quite happy with the “off” switch on my power bar, but I am glad that the option is out there.
  • You’re bound to get funny looks from family and friends, but it’s important to get into the habit of not spending, as Canadian Dream: Free at 45 discusses.  Staying busy and being engaged really does prevent idle spending.  For myself, this revolves around writing, learning new recipes and going to (usually free!) concerts and events.  But it is true, even when you go out on a “spending” occasion.  For example, the bf and I notice this especially when we go out to the bar with friends.  When we spend less time mindlessly staring at the TV and more time talking to our friends and engaging in conversation, we order less food and fewer drinks.
  • This is actually from a while back, but I never got around to talking about it.  Can you retire on $25,000 or less?  Apparently that’s how much 54% of actual retirees have in savings.  I have that much in student loans alone.  It’s a scary thought, and although PopEconomics points out that most of the people are surviving, I have no intention of spending my days watching hours upon hours of TV.

When does it become too much?

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours.  Shortly after posting about how I became a writer for the Stem Cell Network, I received two possible leads on other writing jobs.  One panned out, the other didn’t (as a freelancer – never count on a job until you actually get the first paycheque!) and as a result, I’ve been running around in circles trying to get things done!  Love it.

It is stressful at times when you’re sitting in front of the laptop, trying to find the words to link this paragraph with that paragraph – but it is also incredibly rewarding, at least for me, in ways that my previous jobs never did.  In the same way, I find my new career in programming rewarding.  There is just something about creating something new and watching it take shape that is incredibly satisfying.

But now I’m wondering if I should give up my part-time job in order to concentrate on writing.  It’s a casual job, so I can choose to take shifts or not, but I do try to work 2-3 times a month so that my skills are not forgotten.  I’m also a little hesitant to give up work just before returning to finish my last year of classes.

Decisions…

It is unresolved as of yet, but I remind myself that it is far better to have decisions about what I want to do with my time than not!  And also apologize for the lack of blogs  🙂

Updates: Mar 6-12

After posting about how I came to be a paid writer, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position as a contributing writer to a local family/health magazine!  The magazine launches in May and I will provide more details once I’ve had a piece published, but needless to say – I’m super excited!

Links this week:

  • This is not a “new” post but was new to me, via Twitter from Caleb at PocketChanged on ways to save on textbook costs during college.  Computer science students are perhaps notorious at wanting to get around “the system” and I’ve definitely used many of those tips myself.
  • Since the economic downturn, many US homeowners are owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.  The New York Times discusses a few new options have become available to help these homeowners refinance.
  • I think I’ve mentioned before that real estate is a part of my early early retirement plans.  LandlordRescue recently posted about alternative real estate investments.

And from Brian:

  • Do you feel like there is too much going on in your life to possibly keep track of it all? With the amount of information and resource at our disposal, storing information and recalling it when it’s needed can be a tall order. Check out this link and learn how to unlock your memory.”

Updates: Feb27-Mar5

Busy week here on the West Coast.  I’ve restarted a science blog I used to run.  What can I say, inflicting pain on myself in the pursuit of knowledge is an itch that just doesn’t go away.  

Meanwhile, Brian has been busy increasing his skill set in his side hobby of wine by taking the first course in a sommelier certification program.  One of our dreams is to one day own a small hobby winery in the Okanagan.  This course is the first of three!  Small steps…

  • Vancouver just got hit with a bit of a cold snap again with temperatures over the last two weeks frequently dropping below zero, though it has been getting warmer.  While some people might run to turn the heater on, I’ve been resisting.  Heating is expensive!  As Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme reminds us, it’s far cheaper and often more comfortable to simply layer up with a few pieces of extra clothing.
  • Ever since moving out on my own, I’ve changed apartments every 1-2 years to get cheaper rent.  This includes the condo that my bf and I own!  Why?  Because as long as I keep moving costs low (usually ~$150 for all) it saves me money.  Free From Broke points out that depending on your situation, moving costs, deposit, and other factors can really add up, making it less worthwhile to move.
  • This post from The Financial Blogger contains a great how-to for goal setting.  It’s a lot harder to rationalize cheating on your goals if you follow these steps.  Best of all, these “rules” for goal setting are applicable to any goal you might set in your life, not just the financial ones.

All for now – hope everyone’s weekend is amazing.

Updates: Feb 20-26

It’s snowing outside, the bf is gone till tomorrow, and it’s cold… damn cold.  At least for me.  I blame my tropical ancestors.  After visiting a friend and watching the hockey game, I trudged home in the snow and was dismayed to discover a container of cooked rice of unknown age in the fridge.  *shakes fist*

So it was that at 10pm on a Saturday, I made fried rice.  Take note – if the rice is not moldy, it is fry-able…  🙂

Blog-wise: Now that we’ve gotten a start on posts and whatnot, it’s time to extend some link love.  Here’s a few things I’ve been reading this week:

  • I really like this post on the value of the college degree from Trent at The Simple Dollar.  I definitely agree that the value I got from my undergrad program lay in the experience I gained and the people I met.  Sure, I needed the piece of paper to even consider applying for the job.  But I wouldn’t have had landed the job if not for my experiences outside of the classroom and the people I knew.
  • The bf and I almost always use vacation or apartment rentals when we travel for more than a few days.  We like how it’s more “authentic” and also provides us with amenities such as a kitchen.  Wealth Informatics reminds us to be careful to avoid scams when renting a vacation home.
  • Money Smarts Blog wrote about some useful websites for checking out your financial advisor.  I will definitely be referring to this when I get around to getting my financial situation reviewed.
  • MP Dunleavey guest posts on Get Rich Slowly and explains how the Dow and related stock market indexes came to be.  I’ve always wondered!

All for now -I’m going back to hiding from the cold.  Brr!