Mary Beth Writes

I regularly read blogs about being frugal.  I like them because they are about people taking as much control of the quality of their life as they can within the many different circumstances in which people live.  I especially love the letters people write listing what they did in the past few days to be careful and thoughtful about what they spend and how they save.

But frankly, if I tell you what I do, its gets weirdly personal and repetitive really fast.  Um, I didn’t eat meals out, made the laundry detergent, and bought some cool stuff at Goodwill that I am trying – without much luck lately – to sell on eBay. Yah, that’s gonna change anybody’s day….

Instead of listing what I do – let me tell you some of the things I have read and learned from other people’s letters and articles.

1. Len read this, this morning and pointed it out.   http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-dementia-prevention...

“The most disturbing thing I heard recently about the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia was … : "I was speaking to the head of neurology up at Stanford who said 'My waiting room is filled with 70-year-olds with the bodies of 40-year-olds and no minds.'"

Not exactly how to save some dollars today, but a powerful way to save our minds.  This is so incredibly true; there are always and will always be so many things to accomplish in a day – but we are spending our future if we don’t make the time to eat well and MOVE.

2. Add a small amount of water - a tablespoon or two - to a nearly empty hand lotion bottle. Shake and use for another week or two.

3. Cut empty toothpaste tubes open half way down the tube, stick your toothbrush in there and get another week of toothpaste.

4. I’ve not done this, to me it sounds like a fun project to do with kids but... when you finish celery, green onions, leeks, carrots… put the root end in a glass of water. When new roots begin to grow, you can plant that plant outside and get another round of that veggie for free.

If the squirrels, robins, and bunnies don’t eat them.

5. Look at the website before you go to a movie, restaurant, theater, store, park, or whatever.  There are often deals and coupons at the website.

6. Try this for a week.  Write down (or save the receipts and go through regularly) every single thing you buy in a day; bottles of water and sodas, lunch, the stop in at Target for Band-Aids and how you leave $63 later.  Add it up.

What are your goals? Save more towards owning your own home? Save towards retirement. Waste less? Simplify the stuff in your house? Live more kindly and lightly on the planet?

Yes?

A. Figure out how much money you spent that was not exactly necessary. Let’s say you could find a way to “save instead of spend” $25 every week.  In 20 years you would have spent $26,000. But if you had saved it, you will have $40,000.

Or use the calculator to see that $25 invested for 20 years at 5.25% equals - $70.   

https://www.budgetworksheets.org/invest/

B. Places to give $25 that will make a strong different. Google this question: “Where can I give $25 that will help the world?”

Oh the places the internet can take you.

Here are some of Nick Kristof’s recommendations

https://twitter.com/nickkristof/status/276519215354236930?lang=en

 

Comments

I love to punch different numbers into a retirement calculator and see how the numbers change. If I add $10 a week, what if it $15. I know, I'm a nerd. I do most of the above. I think posting about it keeps bloggers accountable. Sometimes something new pops up and I have the DUH moment where I'm like why didn't I think of that.

Thanks! We keep looking at it from the other end - we are recently retired and we still need to be smart about this, but we have enough to live securely (knock on wood). And how did this happen? We started saving modestly 30 years ago - whammo, this works!

I do learn a lot from you. Does putting new handles and knobs on 60 year old cabinets, instead of buying new - count as being frugal ? Smiling.

You betcha!

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Mindful Chickens on an Icy Night

My church has been working for months to organize their fund-raising auction that was supposed to be TONIGHT. But instead we are in the middle of the massive spring storm that is scrubbing the nation from Oklahoma to I don’t know where next. The wind is howling; rain is sleeting into snow over a glaze of ice.

So the auction is postponed until next Saturday evening. I have put in so many hours (as have many other) working towards this event in the past weeks - that being quietly at home not working on it makes me feel as if I won a lottery. 

Two Chickens and a 3-Legged Lamb

Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

Did you have a nice weekend? Did you get to share a meal or a chocolate egg or a PEEP with a friend or a child or a childish friend?

Retired Chicken Observations 3/22-2018

Two things I have been thinking about lately. Both are related to retirement income and retirement adventure.

1. Last week Len and I went to our Social Security office to sign me up for Spousal Benefits.  It took me several run-throughs to understand what “spousal benefits” are. Since then I have talked to several other people who were also unclear on the concept.

My confusion was this. I was already getting Social Security based on my earnings when I worked (as opposed to what I did when I stayed home and raised kids. But let’s not go there now. Grrrr.)

Franc’s Wildly Successful Life

This is a long piece of writing and I am proud of it. If you don’t want to read it all – here are my take-way points about how my friend Franc lives well on a surprisingly small income:

Mindful Chickens 2/24/2018

1.  We did it!  We called, explained what we thought we needed to do, made appts, were home for the appts, rec’d the estimates about - fixing the gutters and getting the house painted.  I think one of the reasons we usually do it ourselves is because this process is so daunting and time consuming.

The gutter guy is coming next week; we are looking forward to no rivulets when it pours. 100-year old houses built on non-waterproofed rubble foundations, like George Washington, cannot lie about what’s happening outside your basement walls.

Mindful Chickens - The Snickerdoodle Edition

1. When we were sick in January (with flu and cold) Len used the CVS card that I had signed up for last year and then barely used.  He bought several OTC medicines plus a cool-mist vaporizer using that card, which saved us 20%. That was helpful.

2. While I was under the weather I signed up for Starz in order to binge-watch an Outlander season.  After I watched TV for two days I canceled the subscription, thus paying nothing.  This is the third year I have done this.  Why do they let me do this??

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