Mary Beth Writes

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. https://www.marybethdanielson.com/

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.

 ...

1. I think this is our best travel tip/strategy.  It took a while for me to understand what we were doing, but it saved us hundreds of dollars, so if you might be traveling out of the country it might be helpful to you, too.

 First - We tried to figure out “roaming costs” on our Consumer Cellular plan. Then we gave up and called the service and the guy was super helpful. 

 He said when outside the US we should turn off ‘cellular’ in our settings. Without ‘cellular’ our phones would ONLY work with WIFI. He also sent us (free) chips that changed our carrier to a T-Mobile because it would work better in eastern Canada. This way if we wanted to use cellular (for Google Maps when we were lost) we could turn on the cellular and it would work. We did this less than one hour out of the whole trip and that charge was $20, which is why I think we saved hundreds.

 Tim Horton’s are everywhere in Canada and they have free WIFI.  Each afternoon we’d pull into a Tim Horton’s, park close to get the WIFI, look at motels for the town where we would stay that night and make online reservations.  Then we used Google Maps to get directions from where we were right then to the motel where we would land hours later. As long as you don’t erase those directions with further queries, the last set of directions you asked for stay in the app, even when it is not connected to WIFI.  So we didn’t have to turn Cellular back on to find our motel

 2.  We packed extra tasty sandwiches for lunches the first two days on the road. After that we ate peanut butter and banana sandwiches for most lunches.  Saved time, stress and money. 

 3. We had motel points plus we downloaded two motel chain apps. Used those points, garnered more points to get free and reduced prices. Always ate the breakfast when offered – so our average cost per night & breakfast was $75, even though most of the places actually charged north of $100.

 4. We like to wake up slow with a cup of good coffee in bed. Always have, always will. For this trip we bought a smallish drip coffee maker (it fit in my duffel bag) that makes coffee into a commuter cup. Voila! Waking up coffee plus coffee for the road saved us a BUNDLE.

 5. Our car is a hybrid. We got 38mpg.

 6. The point of this adventure was not to be frugal every minute of the trip. We ate out most evenings at wonderful local places. We bought some park entry and boat-ride tickets. We used our National Park Senior Passes, also. We hiked a lot and took a zillion photos. 

 8.  I used part of our adventures as a basis for a sermon I already preached once and am going to use again in a month. So, like, free anecdotes?

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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.

...

How Big IS Grandma? Do You Need More Space?

Our internet service had been goofy all that day; the house alarm system sent a random beep to my phone at 3AM. Waking from deep sleep to “Is there a bad guy coming up the steps right now?” turned into the kind of insomnia that requires … decluttering videos. My heart stopped racing as I watched a mild woman talk about the closet in her laundry room.

How I saved Tens of Thousands of Dollars Lately and also got a New Kazoo

Just in case you thought I stopped paying attention to how to live cheap and well. 

1. For several months we have composted veg and fruit scraps - our weekly garbage reduced by half! We collect detritus through the day in a bowl on the counter, carry it out to a steel garbage can we brought from our last house. I’ve dug some of this collapsed organic stuff into the garden.

Less Lemming, More Living

Last week I posted an essay railing against our North American/western maniacal consumerism. We are so deep into climate crisis and into destabilizing world poverty caused by the oligarchy of the few.  Something has to give. Plus this: If we are living on $50,000 a year or more, we are already earth’s top 1%. Isn’t this nuts? It really is up to us to turn back this crazy lemmings’ march to the sea.

Mindful Chickens/ The "Before its Too Late" Edition 5-14-2019

Mindful Chickens   5/14/2019

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.

These are things we have thought, attempted, and done in the past month to live more lightly and frugally on our City Plot of Planet Earth.

We have to change how we live ...

We can’t go on like this.  Our everyday Western/American lifestyle -- is utterly unsustainable. 

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