More than a book on personal finance and budgeting, it is a collection of our personal finance tips told through a bakery metaphor. It is now available and can be enjoyed with a coffee and danish on Smashwords, Amazon’s Kindle, and Google Books.
As an added bonus for visiting our page here at The Mint, you can download a sample budget spreadsheet in Excel format to help you to implement some of the tips here:
dough-/dō/- noun -1. A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry. 2. Money: “lots of dough”.
Dough. Unless you work in a bakery or pizza parlor, you probably can’t get enough of it. As we began to elaborate this current volume, which, at its base, is a presentation of our unconventional budget tips, we knew that it would be necessary to employ a metaphor to keep fellow bakers, who have any number of demands upon their time beyond budgeting, or seeking out metaphors, for that matter, engaged long enough to revolutionize their approach to money, which in turn will give them time to knead dough, ponder metaphors, compose run on sentences, or indulge any number of whims which may be germinating in the dark recesses of their minds at this very moment.
Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead
Most of the human race spends the better part of their waking moments either doing something or wondering what they should be doing. Human action is an ultimate given, and, as the band Rush reminds us in their early 80′s smash, Freewill,
“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
The choices available to most of us are limited to the amount of dough that we have available or lack at any given moment. This goal of this volume is to equip you, fellow baker, to dominate your dough situation and bake the loaves, pastries, or crusts in the style and quantities necessary to satiate your desires. If we are fortunate, this volume will convince you that the key to happiness is in helping others, however, this is a hypothesis that must be proved by personal experience, and is not the central theme.
The central theme is dough, more precisely, how to manage your dough. If you have been searching for information on budgeting and personal finance for any amount of time, we don’t have to tell you that there is an exhaustive amount of material available, and finding good advice that fits your situation, is can be as rare as finding a butcher, baker, and candlestick maker together these days.
With this in mind, we present these healthy habits as morsels on a platter. You may choose to scarf them down in one sitting, which will undoubtedly shock your organism into convulsions, or you can take them in, one at a time, savoring each one while giving your organism adequate time to digest it, maintaining the nutrients and eliminating the waste through the proper channels.
The organism we speak of is your personal or family economy, which in this volume we refer to as the bakery, for all of us are cooking up one thing or another. We recommend that you treat your bakery with the utmost of care. This volume is designed to give you the tools to do just that. If properly used in just the right proportions, these tips will help to ensure that everything you cook up will come out just right.
As the clock ticks down once again on another fiscal deadline, it would appear that the US and global economy are in for a brief bout with a familiar friend, uncertainty. In the face of uncertainty, it is important to review one’s basic premises to be assured that they still hold. Here at The Mint, we perform this analysis by way of presenting a list of Key Indicators at the end of each segment.
Most days, it hardly seems worth doing. The data we track tends to stay in a fairly tight range. However, were one to read The Mint say, two months ago, there may be a noticeable difference in the data points which would tell us something. That something, for the past two years, has been that come what may, be it TARP, Debt ceiling votes, Euro zone crises, Fiscal Cliffs, or the latest version, the Sequester, our key indicators have consistently returned one answer as to what lies beyond the speed bump: Inflation.
However, the drama that unfolds in the lead up to what can only be described as a failure to properly sends jitters through the most vulnerable parts of the financial markets, which circa 2013 are literally all financial assets. The jitters are caused by a Pavlovian reflex that the markets have ingrained in their psyche at the hint of the POMO (the Fed’s Permanent Open Market Operations) running dry.
The POMO, for the initiated, is where the magic of QE and other monetary alchemy takes place. It is where the FED exchanges wine for sewage, and it is increasingly difficult to say who is providing what. In the end, it will all turn to sewage, and the end is always nigh, hence the Pavlovian response.
To illustrate the point, we offer an incident from our youth as an example of how the Pavlovian response of market exits (or risk off trading) works. Though no animals were injured in the incident that follows, if you are a member or PETA or are sensitive to animal cruelty, you may want to jump below the graphic to continue reading.
When we were a young boy in Colorado, we had a dog that we would come to call the Rock long before an aspiring professional wrestler adopted the nickname and made it famous.
The Rock was an extremely lively dog and, while fun to be around and play with, he, like all young pups, wanted to get out and see the world. To accomplish this goal, The Rock would dig holes under the fence and wriggle through them. More often than not, the family would spend the better part of the afternoon patrolling the neighborhood in search of our four legged explorer.
Our Uncle, who lives in Nebraska and is a farmer turned banker, but was a farmer at the time, offered some advice on the matter. As most people are aware, cattle and other livestock can be coaxed into staying in an enclosed area by running an electrified wire around the perimeter. The trick is that the perimeter fence does not need to be live for the livestock in question to respect it as a boundary.
The reason for this is that the livestock are trained to have a Pavlovian response to the mere sight of the wire. When the fence is installed or new livestock are moved to the enclosure, the wire is turned on and the electric current runs through the wire. The initiated livestock stay clear of the wire and search for a good view as the new livestock, who are unaware of the fence’s magic powers, bump into the wire unaware and are promptly shocked, or as the farmer thinks of it, “conditioned,” to stay away from the wire.
We now return to The Rock. Our Uncle, after hearing of our plight, offered to lend us one of the electric wire fences so that The Rock could be trained to stay within his confines.
We set up the fence. The Rock watched the installation with interest. We put the final length in place and then turned to The Rock for what we imagined would be a brief round of “conditioning.”
We stared by placing his paw upon the live wire. There was no Pavlovian response on the Rock’s part, just the usual excited stare and panting. Next, we tried the top of his foot, which was covered in hair. Again, nothing.
We quickly touched the wire ourselves and satisfied ourselves that it had been turned on. How could we get The Rock to understand that the wire was a force to be reckoned with?
Again, readers with PETA affiliations, if they have read to this point are encouraged to jump to the graphic. This is the final warning.
It began to dawn on us that the reason that The Rock had avoided the shock to this point was that there was no moisture on his paw or hair (it was a fine summer day in an arid climate, after all). All that was needed to get the current running was a bit of moisture.
It did not occur to us to grab a spray bottle to lightly moisten the dog and retry the relatively innate area of the paw that we had focused on up to that point. What did occur to us was to grab a piece of raw meat and hang it over the wire.
What happened next remains permanently etched in the memory of all who witnessed it.
The Rock, delighted at the offering, immediately extended his tongue to retrieve the meat from the wire, the way he would have any food morsel that he was offered. Naturally, he was shocked as his tongue made solid contact with the wire.
The Rock did not retreat at that point, rather, between yelps of both pain and pleasure, continued what was a vain attempt to remove the meat from its perch.
After about the third attempt, a shock of sufficient strength was delivered by the fence and The Rock abruptly turned and ran 180 degrees into the house. We were standing at the door in disbelief as The Rock hit cheetah type speeds as he encountered us at the door.
We do not remember exactly how we ended up on our back, but we suspect we completed at least one full, albeit involuntary, rotation in the air before we arrived there.
In the background we heard uncontrollable laughter, and The Rock didn’t leave his hiding place under the bed for the rest of the day.
Strangely, the incident did not change The Rock’s attitude towards digging under the fence, and he managed to escape whether or not the electrical perimeter wire was on or off.
The Pavlovian response, which was so evident in his cheetah like retreat that day, had been completely forgotten. It wasn’t until he was hit by a car and had his hip shattered some time later that He finally gave up carousing.
We take a brief break from our tale to welcome back PETA members and animal sympathizers and to provide the following graphic, which was created by Wells Fargo’s Mark Vittner and Michael Brown and comes to us via the Money Game. The graphic looks at which states stand to lose the most income, on a relative basis, should the Sequester become a reality. By extension, it shows which is most dependent on Federal government spending. Not surprisingly, the noise attributed to the Sequester threat comes from the fact that those populations most affected on a relative basis reside near Washington DC.
Those closest to Rome are the ones who will get scorched as it burns. However, thanks to the Fiscal fire hoses provided by the POMO of the FED, the Sequester will barely register as a spark
So it is with government finances when the monetary premium is removed from goods in the natural realm. The above mentioned TARP, Debt ceiling votes, Euro zone crises, Fiscal Cliffs have proved to be nothing more than the meat hanging on the electrified wire for the governments of the west. The latest version, known as the Sequester, which is essentially the spawn of the August 2010 debt ceiling debacle, is simply more meat on the wire.
Traders will yelp and make a dramatic retreat, and then return to digging under the fence the next day. They will continue to roam farther and farther afield until they are hit by a car, which will come when the FED is the only customer for US Treasury debt, and the incestuous feedback look of the money supply overlords and government debt and spending collapses upon itself.
At that point, analysis will be useless, as the entire system upon which present analytical tools base their assumptions will cease to exist.
While the moronic Sequester is important for doctors and those who make armaments for a living, (many of whom live very close to Washington DC, making for a vocal and visible constituency that will be impacted) it is meaningless, both in terms of reigning in government spending or slowing down, let alone stopping, the t
It has been an exciting couple of days in the financial markets. We almost can’t bear to watch. From what little we can tell, the out-sized effects of short-term funds, which are jittery in nature, are determined to drive anyone who is taking a long view on the market mad.
Most of what passes as equity investing today is done with short-term funding provided by the Federal Reserve. No matter how much propaganda the Fed puts out promising to maintain their QE programs in full force or keep the pedal to the metal on ZIRP, it is an inescapable fact that funds at many of the Primary Dealers are short-term and can be pulled by the Fed on a whim.
Lately, between the sequester threat and the Federal Reserve meeting notes which can only be described as anti-inflationary propaganda, the short-term funds have been taking flight. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but it is and always has been the Fed’s prerogative. Whatever market participants anticipate that they will do with the regards to the money supply flashes through the equity markets, as equities are essentially on the margin of visible economic activity.
Today we wish to bring two things to the attention of our fellow taxpayers, unfortunately both of them are somewhat ominous. They are nothing new, mind you, but as the warning signals of the next crisis and its probable outcome begin to appear on the horizon, we thought it best to keep interested readers informed.
First, Lee Adler over at the Wall Street Examiner, who performs a great service to the economic world by slicing through the economic propaganda to analyze the true data, shared this piece which is worthy of reading. It explains how the mountains of customer deposits are piling up at Commercial banks. If, and more probably when these deposits begin to be deployed in the real world, asset bubbles and inflation will begin to pop up in the US economy like lava flowing down the side of a volcano.
If Mr. Adler is correct, the Fed’s inflationary crazy train may be about to leave the station.
We are compelled to warn you that the next quote, from a piece by Jeff Neilson at www.gold-eagle.com, may be enough to make your blood boil if you are not one of the privileged classes (in other words, most of us) that he believes will likely benefit from the upcoming “Debt Jubilee,”
So what will our 21st century Debt Jubilee look like? With History’s most-corrupt governments, expect the most-corrupt “solution.” The debts of our governments, the Big Banks, and the wealthiest Oligarchs will be totally erased. We will be told they are doing this to “save us” from drowning in their (reckless/fraudulent) debts.
However, the Little People will face a somewhat different future. Their debts will be maintained at 100-cents-on-the-dollar. The bankers, politicians and Oligarchs (via their Corporate Media) will tell us that this is necessary to “protect the integrity of the System” (their System).
Think this level of perversity/injustice is impossible? We already have precedent. After the Wall Street banks had caused (created?) the Crash of ’08 (with their reckless fraud/gambling); and after they took their $15+ trillion from the U.S. government in assorted hand-outs, 0% loans, tax-breaks, and “loss guarantees” (i.e. more hand-outs); the Wall Street banksters kept their massive bonuses.
We were told this was because of “the sanctity of contracts.”
Then after this massive give-away; various U.S. governments began unilaterally hacking-and-slashing the wages, pensions, and benefits of their own workers – which had been freely/fairly negotiated in their own contracts. The reason? After giving $trillions to the bankers; the workers were told the government “couldn’t afford” to honor their contracts.
The sanctity of contracts is important, as all that men and women ultimately have in this world is their word. Unfortunately for most of us, we may soon find out just how much the government’s word is worth.
The following is the introduction of our soon to be released ebook on budgeting: Budgeting Healthy Habits: How to get the Dough you Knead. It will be available on Kindle later in the week. Stay Fresh and enjoy!
Dough: An introduction
dough-/dō/- noun -1. A thick, malleable mixture of flour and liquid, used for baking into bread or pastry. 2. Money: “lots of dough”.
Dough. Unless you work in a bakery or pizza parlor, you probably can’t get enough of it. As we began to elaborate this current volume, which, at its base, is a presentation of our unconventional budget tips, we knew that it would be necessary to employ a metaphor to keep fellow taxpayers, who have any number of demands upon their time beyond budgeting, or seeking out metaphors, for that matter, engaged long enough to revolutionize their approach to money, which in turn will give them time to knead dough, ponder metaphors, compose run on sentences, or indulge any number of whims which may be germinating in the dark recesses of their minds at this very moment.
Most of the human race spends the better part of their waking moments either doing something or wondering what they should be doing. Human action is an ultimate given, and, as the band Rush reminds us in their early 80’s smash Freewill, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
The choices available to most of us are limited to the amount of dough that we have available or lack at any given moment. This goal of this volume is to equip you, fellow taxpayer, to dominate your dough situation and bake the loafs, pastries, or crusts in the style and quantities necessary to satiate your desires. If we are fortunate, this volume will convince you that the key to happiness is in helping others, however, this is a hypothesis that must be proved by personal experience, and is not the central theme.
Back to your dough. If you have been searching for information on budgeting and personal finance for any amount of time, we don’t have to tell you that there is an exhaustive amount of material. Finding good advice, or good advice which fits your situation, can be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. With this in mind, we present these healthy habits as morsels on a platter. You can choose to scarf them down in one sitting, which will undoubtedly shock your organism into convulsions, or you can take them in, one at a time, savoring each one while giving your organism adequate time to digest it, maintaining the nutrients and eliminating the waste through the proper channels.
The organism we speak of is your personal or family economy, which we recommend you treat with the utmost care.
Stay tuned to The Mint for the release later this week and Trust Jesus.
We were privileged today to witness an oath ceremony which is taken by residents of the United States who have chosen to become naturalized citizens. What we thought would be a mildly interesting event, which for those taking the oath serves as the final step towards becoming a full-fledged American citizen, moved us to tears.
The ceremony, far from being a bureaucratic event with little more to offer congratulatory remarks and an official seal affixed to a document, is a veritable celebration of the idea of America.
What is moving about the ceremony, at least for us, is a video segment which shows still shots of immigrants of the past, all of whom have come to America’s shores to escape oppression, seek opportunity, or both. It is very powerful.
After the ceremony, they show a brief video address by President Obama, where he welcomes the immigrants to America by inviting them to become part of the great American story which is now their story as well. He encourages them to do good both in their communities and throughout the world.
The ceremony is a celebration of the American idea, that all men and women are free, and that with this freedom comes the obligation to protect it and to share it with others. To use it for the betterment of mankind.
It chokes us up to think about it. We have only been brought to tears at the idea of America three times: First, in 1992, watching Carl Lewis anchor the 4 x 100 relay in Barcelona, where he covered 100 meters faster than any human being before or since. Second, while watching the movie Seabiscuit. And third, today, at the citizenship oath ceremony.
Despite the faults that are inherent in self-government, we will always be inspired by the idea of America and have a profound respect for immigrants, both legal and illegal, for they are the embodiment of this ideal.
In closing, we echo the President’s exhortation, both in the State of the Union and in his video message welcoming new US citizens, that we must all do what is within our power to better the lot of our fellow-man and woman, for to better their lot is to better our own.