Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

One PacificCoast Bank

This week I learned that our “eco-bank” is now One PacificCoast Bank. The acquisition and merger of ShoreBank Pacific with a community bank OneCalifornia Bank wasn’t altogether surprising, since the original Chicago-based ShoreBank closed last summer. But it stills makes me feel a lack of control over our own money, and I certainly hope that the sum will be greater than the parts. I also hope they’ll be able to dominate community lending and invest more people’s money in solving community and environmental issues. 


From the media release: “Together we can bring the value of sustainability to a broader audience and provide greater opportunities for employees, as well as the communities that OneCalifornia Bank and ShoreBank Pacific serve,” said David Williams, CEO of ShoreBank Pacific.


Last spring we made what for us was a pretty big decision to merge our funds to ShoreBank Pacific. We’ve been very happy with our choice, and banking solely online has been really convenient…though it’s kind of funny that their branch doesn’t even have an ATM!  


At a recent new year’s party (celebrated like true families at E.S.T.), I got into a conversation about the benefits or reasons for switching from a corporate bank to a community bank or credit union. One couple was considering switching banks, but wondered what was in it for them. I told them a bit about our story, and another friend chimed in about why they choose credit unions. I was honest in saying that switching banks is a total pain the neck, but that I feel better know that our money is being invested in projects I would support, sectors like alternative energy, specialty agriculture, specialty fish, and green building. It’s really a feel good choice, but there’s no real financial benefit of sticking with a corporate bank. Now I can see the fruits of my labor in local projects, and remember that we are all connected.


Are you a customer of a community bank or credit union?


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

MetroParent Family Finances

I was already geared up for a great new year, but I was so thrilled to see my first blog-related article in Metro Parent January 2011 – Money Matters – A Primer on Family Finances by Julia Silverman.


A big kudos to my friend Courtney for suggesting that Julia interview me (and for being a loyal blog reader!) Even though blogging has some instant gratification, it’s different to see your words in print.


I also enjoyed reading about the personal finance perspective of other moms, since talking about our finances is often taboo in mom circles. The financial advisor had some great advice too. While I’ve heard about breaking your budget into fixed and unfixed expenses, I like how she suggests analyzing and separating your  nondiscretionary fixed, nondiscretionary unfixed, discretionary fixed and discretionary unfixed expenses. I think this little exercise would help me gain some more perspective, and perhaps some insights…I’ll let you know.


I naturally suggest that you pick up your own copy or read it online, but here’s a sneak peak of my favorite quote:

    “Just start where you are and don’t waste time feeling guilty or wishing you were further down the path to sustainable abundance,” Cronin says. “Begin by making goals that motivate you, then take small actions each week.”

The article is indeed a great primer on family finances, and the magazine includes a few other great articles that I’ll write more about later this month…


Thanks again to Metro Parent, Julia and Courtney!


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

2011 Family Goals

Happy 2011!


I hope you are feeling refreshed and renewed for the new year. After a peaceful holiday season, we are feeling more blessed than ever before. And I’m definitely looking forward to continued financial success and sustainable progress in the year ahead. 


I don’t get wrapped up in resolutions, but we do set our annual family goals at the new year. Our goals cover three main life areas: financial, family, and sustainable home. I’ll share our financial goals with you:


1)   Continue to track family finances and take action to reduce expenses
2) Meet monthly to discuss finances and progress
3) Complete savings for trip to Denmark ($3k more, $4k spent already on tickets)

4) Complete mortgage refi (save for rainy day, split between home maintenance and saving for a beach cottage)
5)  Double family rainy day fund to $20k (saving 2010 tax returns, plus refi surplus)
6)  Update wills – our old wills don’t include Girly or our current home
7)  Evaluate Car/Mini-van/ZipCar alternative
8) Evaluate health care costs and coverage
9) Sell baby stuff in spring sale – pre-sale for friends – proceeds for DK trip

While this blog may help us focus on our family finances, our family’s success is not defined by external things or superficial status. Setting goals helps us make sure that we are on the same page and have similar expectations for the year ahead. Mismatched expectations are the root of disappointment, and goals need to be set to be achieved.



Sustainable Home Goals:


    1)  Track carbon footprint – gasoline, natural gas, electricity, etc.
    2) Bicycle more – average 2x weekly for 2011
    3) Install water heater blanket
    4) Install drip irrigation system
    5) Grow vegetable garden – potential as a yardshare
    6) Buy blinds for the house – increase comfort and efficiency
    7) Prune tree and roof maintenance
    8) Recycle aluminum storm windows – replace screen door  
    9) Reupholster yard-sale find chaise lounge


We also have family goals. Obviously these are pretty personal, but since sharing your goals is key to achieving, I figure that I may as well share away:

1)   Investigate school options for Big Guy – get into best school
2)   Potty train Girly – solve/improve digestion
3)   Retrain Doggy – watch training videos
4)   Volunteer in the community:
a.   Friends of Trees
b.   SOLV beach Clean-Up – Spring Break
c.   Big City Mountaineers
d.   Grace Green Team/Campus Master Plan
e.   Adopt family for holidays
5)   Recreation: Plan family trips
a.   Sledding/Snowshoeing
b.   Trip for Great Oregon Beach Clean-Up
c.   Silver Falls State Park
d.  Cabin Trip
e.   Oregon Country Fair
f.    Denmark Trip
6)   Relationship: Plan bi-monthly “date” night (current average 3-4 months)
a.   Find good babysitters
b.   Flex Friday” afternoon date/hike/bike
7)   Local Recreation: Plan special family days
a.   OMSI once a month
b.   Complete Portland Hill Walks, Wilderness Hikes and Portland City Walks
8)   Spiritual: Attend monthly Grace Family Services

Here’s good post from The Simple Dollar on financial resolutions, and how they often fail us and how to move beyond forgotten resolutions. So make sure that your goals inspire you, you share them with friends and family, and celebrate your small successes.


Wishing your family a prosperous 2011!


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Happy Solstice!

This will be my last post of 2010.
Don’t worry, I’ll be back in 2011.


I love the fun-filled and slightly hectic holidays, but when winter comes it’s time for me to reflect and recharge. I always schedule some serious down time following all the festivities. I take time to appreciate all the abundance in my life and plan for the year ahead.


I’ll be meeting with Hubby to set our family and financial goals. I’ll review our holiday related spending. This year I’ll also be reflecting on this past year of blogging and set goals for 2011. 


I’ll also fit in a little snowshoeing and a trip to Skamania Lodge with Hubby sans kiddos! Got a great deal on Groupon 😉


Happy Christmakwanzakkaholstice! 
See you in 2011.


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Icelandair

“Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”
– Leon Suenes


This quote feels so true; I’m ecstatic because we bought our tickets to Denmark! 


Just a year ago, before starting this blog, I honestly didn’t have much faith that we’d be able to afford such a trip. But we saved up by investing in our family’s dream, not the consumer-driven American dream. Sharing my love of all things Danish with my own family is worth any superficial sacrifice. Experiencing life to it’s fullest is far more valuable to me than any “thing.”


Hubby commented as we bought our tickets how it’s a shame that Girly will be too young to remember the trip, but I don’t feel the same way. During these early years, experience is learning and this trip will help form her own values and beliefs about the world. Our Big Guy will hopefully remember some of the beautiful places and people will visit. They will begin to form bonds with my host families and friends, and that will be priceless.


So, here’s the skinny on the tickets. My goal has been to get our tickets for under $4k, and we bought our four tickets for $3991.68. 


I’ve been researching on and off for several months, and Icelandair is by far the best deal from the west coast (by $300-400 per ticket). Icelandair has a great reputation, and the true reason for the savings is the fact that the trip over the arctic requires less fuel than other routes to Europe. So, we’re also saving on our carbon footprint. They also have an Iceland Carbon Fund, which I plan on using the offset our trip.


And yes, for the critics out there, we did save our entire $4k tax return. We’ll also soon be setting other financial goals for the upcoming year together.


I’m so excited that our dream is now a reality!


What’s your dream trip?


~*~*~*~*~*~ 
Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.