Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy First Birthday, MoneyChangesThings!

It's a year since I impulsively created MoneyChangesThings, so I'm celebrating by a featuring the highlights of my first year blogging. MCT is a hybrid of a website with useful links and resources (in the right hand column) along with my "column", featured on the left-side. The content of the posts stays on the site; each post is labeled; at the bottom of the blog (scroll down to find this) the topics are listed by frequency. If you click on a topic, all related posts come up, and you can scroll down and skim through them. There is also an internal search engine on the top tool bar, so if you want to find something specific, it just takes a second.

A cool stat for the year is that I've drawn over 20,000 visitors and 30,000 page views ! [OK,probably 1 - 2,000 were me checking on things]. I was thrilled to learn that Temple students in the undergrad biz school's Ethics and Society class use my site to research consumerism and sustainability. Another thrill was being featured in Lilith Magazine.

There are two ways to subscribe. If you submit your email in the box on the right side, you'll receive FeedBlitz emails with the intro to each new post. If you want to read more, click and it takes you to the site. A second method is to click on "atom" or RSS feed . This adds a feed; the blog will appear on your tool bar or as a live bookmark, and you can see by clicking if there's a new post. [If you're under 30, you probably understand this!] This brings up one post at a time.

Here's my digest of the year's hits.
(Don't worry, normal posts are much shorter than this one.)

It's been a great pleasure to feature inspiring role models - generous, effective philanthropists like
-the Lenfests, who passed on building a 16,000 square feet and instead have donated their beautiful property for a public nature reserve, individual idealistic activists who do amazing things
- Erin Sprague, a 24-year-old who is running a marathon on each of the seven continents to fundraise for a progressive cause in each place.
- And Anne Heyman, who in the midst of all of Africa's bad news, who is the lead philanthropist building Agahozo Shalom, a community for orphaned Rwandans, an idea she hatched while listening to a documentary about their plight.
There are so many greedy creeps getting so much media coverage. It's nice to provide an antidote. To read about additional interesting people, click on the Role Models label.

My most frequent label has turned out to be sustainability and resource conservation, featuring great strategies including
-easy ways for getting rid of catalogs
- and eliminating junk mail credit card offers.
- One of my favorite sustainability posts is on activists fighting for the right to hang their laundry outside on clothespins. We Americans have the right to bear arms, but not to hang wet laundry outdoors....

My original goal was to be a wise steward for money I inherited from my frugal, hard-working parents. Hoping to invest a portion of it in ways that would be beneficial to society more specific than a screened mutual fund, I have been reporting on my findings, like
- MicroPlace, where [unless you live in PA] you can directly loan money to microfinance institutions at a modest interest
- and EqualExchange, which features low-interest CD's which extends credit to FairTrade coffee farmers through the Wainwright bank.
My most creative post, IMHO, is envisioning a Social Finance Portfolio where we could invest in the things we want to promote in the world, and still save for retirement.
- the most useful research tool I found was Co-op America. I have become such a fan that I am presently running for a seat on COA's National Board, so if you're a member and still have the Nov-Dec mailing, please vote for me and send the ballot in by Dec 31, 2007.

I have been working at simplifying and examining my own consumption for a long time. One of the areas I've focused on is gift-giving, where simplifying and celebrating are in tension.
- Check out a list of my favorite gifts for kids, Ten Gifts Least Likely to Become Landfill, and my least favorite kid gifts, based on our own family's experiences.
- I am hugely ambivalent about wedding gift registries - as it seems, are many others. For suggestions on how to deal, both as invitees and as brides/grooms: Wedding Registries: A Love Hate Relationship.

With my children's permission I also have shared family stories under the labels Raising Unspoiled Children: Values-Based Non-Materialistic Childrearing and Children's Financial Education. So you can read about
- my daughter's $300 Prom Challenge and even see her, and
- read a wonderful guest post from my son on Investment and Justice. He is a financial educator himself now.

As for whimsy - blogs are just plain fun. One of my favorite posts is Frugal City Popcorn. No more buying microwave packaged popcorn for me. Turns out all you need is a paper bag!

Of course what makes it all more fun are your comments - so please keep on sharing. Many thanks and happy new year. Use your money to change things, and may your efforts be blessed.

Photo from
PinkCakeBox, Denville, NJ. Their cakes look awesome!


ChiefFamilyOfficer said...

Happy Blogoversary! Here's to many more :D

Aliza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mazal tov!

Money Changes Things is a great contribution. To many more anniversaries!

Simcha Daniel Burstyn שמחה דניאל בורשטיין said...

Mazal tov! What a pleasure to see an old neighbor sharing the same ideas in a new way!