Mary Beth Writes

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) about three things.

  1. Being Cheap (cheep, cheep).
  2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.


Stuff we did (and didn’t do) this past week:

ONE - If you tend to have minor flooding/seepage in your basement during big rainstorms – go outside WHILE IT’S RAINING (I recommend an umbrella) and figure out where your gutters are over-flowing. In the big picture, clean your gutters or hire a service to do this. In the meantime put buckets under the vulnerable places. Our house painter (for weeks now) took a downspout off a section of our house. We put big orange Menards buckets along that area and collected 15 gallons of rain water this past week. That’s 15 gallons of water NOT trying to seep into the basement. 

TWO – Remembered to use the “frequent flyer” points from the grocery store when we filled the car’s gas tank. $.40 off per gallon.

THREE - Made hibiscus tea.  I have a bag of loose tea and I usually make it by putting 2T into my tempered glass French coffee press. Let it sit, squeeze it out, now I have gorgeous tea that I let sit on the kitchen counter; I drink it within a day or two – often mixed with sparking water.

But I was preoccupied when I made it yesterday and poured boiling water directly into a clear glass pitcher.  Yup, it cracked.  After the tea finished steeping I poured it in a different container and threw away the lovely but cracked pitcher. (Lovely but cracked? Am I getting too personal here?)

BUT since the pitcher was bought years ago at a Goodwill, this sad loss was manageable.

FOUR – Biggest savings? Happily living in this house that was priced 10’s of thousands of dollars cheaper than we assumed we would pay when we started looking. Also still content with one car instead of two. Cars and houses are easy places to buy out of one’s realistic comfort zone and we didn't do that. 

FIVE – Our son’s BFF since middle school is the manager of an apartment complex that was upgrading their patio sets - you know, small metal tables with 4 matching chairs? Son took two of the sets and later decided they only wanted one, so would we like one?

We would.

SIX – Len’s COBRA insurance from his last FT job runs out … yesterday. This summer he spent some aggravating mornings figuring out what to do from Sept 1 until his 65th birthday which is later this fall. Clever guy that he is, he knew the previous insurer paid for monthly medications every 28 days – so he made sure to have his September order in on August 28th and he picked up those meds yesterday, thus saving us one month of RX cost.

The politics of this is so unjust and unfair. Len doesn’t love to research insurance options, but it also doesn’t trip his heart-rate to do so. He is good at reading fine point quickly until he finds whatever is relevant to us. He owned his own business for ten years, they changed their insurer almost every year – which was a whale of a lot of paying attention to insurance options and surprises. He is pretty good at this and thus he used this hard-won skill to saved us a pile of $.

It is a scam that health insurance is this complicated and this expensive.

SEVEN – Argh, we need a happier note to close on.  I didn’t have a pony-tail holder when I was at the Y. The receptionist overheard me and gave me a one.  I now have one second-hand hair elastic. Ask and ye shall receive.





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7-6-2020 Mindful QUARANTINED Chickens

(Thanks, KJR, for the funny fluffy chicken photo!) 

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

Making (a little) Sense of Medicare by Len Lamberg

Friends learned recently that they are facing imminent retirement with the accompanying medicare and insurance decisions - that have to be made now and made right. They asked how we figured out what to do. I asked Len if he could write up what he knows in plain English - and thought this would take him 20 minutes.

This took Len several hours over several days.

Our friends say this makes more sense than anything else they have read so far.

Mindful Chickens - Clucking at the Stock Market

I started this a month ago. Time flies…

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to values and values.

Big Shopping & Quick Shopping

Len and I are buying groceries differently than we used to and we are saving $100-250 per month doing so. If you know us, you will have noted that neither of us are any slimmer.  This is not about eating less.

Mindful Chickens - the "It's been a while" edition

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.


Mindful Chickens in Canada

In case you don't already know... My husband and I did a 15-day road trip to eastern Canada.  Kurt Vonnegut wrote “Unexpected travel is like dancing lessons from God.”  The plan was to visit Nova Scotia and Newfoundland – but then Hurricane Dorian changed that. Stories and photos at my website.

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

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