It’s a sad day here at Rosings Park (as Kris and I call our half-acre). We have a big old English walnut tree that acts as the centerpiece of our yard. Unfortunately, it’s become diseased over the past few years, and is now mainly a playground for woodpeckers. Because one limb was in danger of falling onto the house, we paid an arborist to come in and lop it off. There goes our summer shade! At least the rest of the tree ought to stick around for another decade or so. (And now we have some firewood.)

It’s not cheap to have work like this done, though, and we have more home projects on the horizon. We’re both relieved to have a “home repairs” savings account for situations just like this. Next up? Replacing the gutters…

Here are some other personal finance stories from around the web:

First off, there’s an awesome discussion in the Get Rich Slowly forums about what CrankyBolt calls “personal finance gone wrong”. In this case, “gone wrong” refers to bank executives with lifestyles that cannot be supported by the proposed $500,000 salary cap for those who take bailout money. While the argument over the cap is interesting in itself, the look at lifestyle inflation is even more so. Frozen hot chocolate?!? And I was worried about an extra teaspoon…

Donna Freedman has graduated from MSN’s Smart Spending blog to a full-fledged column at MSN Money called “Living With Less”. In her most recent article, she challenges readers to take the brown-bag challenge. She wants readers to carry lunch to work for a month, add up the savings, and then pass along advice. (Because I work from home, nearly every day is a brown-bag day for me.)

At The Simple Dollar, Trent recently bought three $120 light bulbs (?!?!?). But these aren’t any ordinary light bulbs. These are super fancy LED light bulbs! He used them to compare the quality and cost of LED bulbs vs. CFL bulbs vs. incandescent bulbs. The winner? CFL bulbs, and by a mile.

Finally, as a certified geek, how can I not link to “What would Bilbo do?” over at Pimp Your Finances? David has drawn 14 money lessons from The Hobbit, and while the idea is gimmicky, it’s gimmicky in a good way. This is a fun article.

Oh wait — one more. Kevin Kelly has a great article about Amish hackers. They take DIY to the next level! This may be my favorite article I’ve read so far in 2009. It’s fascinating.

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