Sunday, February 06, 2005

Scoping out Scopes &The 6 Months List Fund

We visited Austin Astronomy yesterday to look at telescopes and check out prices. The owner was very helpful and didn't seem in any great hurry to sell us something we couldn't use. He seemed pretty bummed out about the clouldy weather we have had lately, but was fully of good suggestions, inlcuding going to Mansfield Dam on Friday nights to try out other people's scopes first to see how the view really was.

We checked the Dobsonian mounted Orion brand scopes and they were much larger than in the web catalog. It looks like the 8 inch diameter one should be about the right size as the 10 incher looked too big to carry around and the 12 incher almost needs its own planetarium as it is too big to move around easily.

Cost? About $550 after taxes.

The 6 Months List Fund
Assuming we keep to the 6 months timeframe for the list of toys we've put together, how do we go about funding this endeavour?
Enter the 6 Months List Fund. This is a zero overhead way to gather the funds to go toward the goodies on the list. How does it work?
  • Get an envelope, regular size will do.
  • Label it '6 Months List Fund'
  • Every week, withdraw $X from the bank and put it in the envelope.
  • Keep the envelope where it won't be a temptation to empty on something not on the List.
In the older, pre-Internet days this program went by the name of 'Piggy Bank', but these days we need something more complicated to call it or else we can't charge $25 at the bookstore for a book on the topic. Let's call it the '6MoLi Fund' and copyright that while we're at it.

If we are going to strictly adhere to the 6 months proposition, here is how much dough we would have saved up after 6 months at varying X per week:
  • $10: total $260
  • $20: total $520
  • $30: total $780
  • $40: total $1040
  • $50: total $1300
So, even though some of these things on the list are expensive, putting back a little money every week lets us buy them without going into debt, and also allows time to contemplate whether or not to part with the bundle of green building in the evelope.

Let's do it!