Optimism works

A successful experiment in personal finance.

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It’s been four days since I decided to make an effort to find the silver lining in my daily finances, and I can honestly say that it’s been a success.

Like forcing a smile when you’re in a bad mood, the simple act of looking for something to celebrate produces a positive effect. And finding things to be happy about has been far easier than I imagined.

I highly recommend that you keep your own “what-went-right-today-and-why” diary for a week. It won’t make you a millionaire, but let’s face it: finances can be stressful. Why not find a way to make things a little easier?

Dear Diary:

This morning I was informed that my condo building will soon have electricity meters for each unit. This is very good news, as the current setup, which bundles utilities into the condo fees, serves only to encourage waste on a mass scale. No word yet on how much our condo fees will fall as a result, but the notice slipped under my door said that “Energy-conscious owners will have the opportunity to save money.”

Not super-promising, admittedly, but I’ll be happy to no longer subsidize the wasteful ways of others.

Also, Chomper stole ten bucks from me last night. At first I thought he was chewing on an empty wrapper, but then I thought, "who’s throwing empty wrappers on the floor?" A closer inspection revealed a $10 bill between his paws, and when I attempted to take it, he responded the way I expected him to — with a low growl. As his name implies, Chomper doesn’t make idle threats. So I wrote off the $10 and went to bed.


This morning found him in a more amiable mood. While I was making coffee, he deposited the bill at my feet and wagged his tail. It was slightly disgusting, but still legal tender as far as I can tell. Since I was resigned to being $10 poorer, I look at this as a win.

13 comments on “Optimism works

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  13. Beware — don't be too optimistic about individual metering in condos. It can be a significant cash grab on the part of the electricity company. We crunched the numbers at our last condo, and we voted it down. The individual administrative fees quickly ate up (and went well beyond!) any potential savings for the condo community as a whole. Yes, individual metering might get a couple of wasteful people to be less wasteful, but it won't come close to outweighing administrative fees that are as high as 30 to 50% of an average condo dweller's electricity usage. A cash grab disguised as environmental conscientiousness is still a cash grab.

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