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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The Choosing Season

“Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price.”  (https://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-...)

The Arrows of Yore

I have a weird dark closet in the back of my soul. In it are critical things people have said to me in my life. I rarely consciously think about those old cuts and criticisms, but they are tucked in back there and sometimes I remember them uneasily.

Here are some of my particular arrows of yore:

“Can’t you do anything with her hair, Dorothy?” Dorothy was my mom. My dad liked his daughters’ hair to be curly and orderly, mine was straight and flyaway. I think I was in my 40’s before I realized OMG I do not have “problem hair”… whatever the hell that is.

Make Persimmon Cookies; Don’t make a Persimmon Life.

We are new subscribers to “Imperfect Produce” which is a service that delivers imperfect (duh) but safe and flavorful veggies and fruit to your house. This helps to keep “imperfect” produce from being wasted. (https://www.imperfectproduce.com/  I don’t get kickbacks from them.)

We are open-minded about trying new things to eat so when they included a pomegranate – cool. I enjoyed pomegranate, raisin, and walnut oatmeal I invented for myself.

Buy Angry

Frugality is a tool and a weapon. You can use it to be powerful.

What?

Frugality and Privacy

 “If you aren’t paying for the product, you are the product.”

When one of our kids was 8-years old, Len thought it would be fun to let that kid drive his car. I swear - though I doubt you will believe me - no drinking was involved. Len just really believes in our kids and sometimes this turns into bigger adventures than one would expect.

Did I mention the car was in the garage so it needed to be backed out? Also, the child in question was too short to adequately reach the pedals.

Mindful Chickens – Up North Weekend Edition 9/24/18

Mindful Chickens are (for people who don’t know why I call them this) 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 little things like bugs and crumbs, dollars and daily choices.

Several years ago our son and his wife decided that they were going to set a goal to visit every state park in Wisconsin. There are 50 state parks and they only have a few more to go; what a cool way to claim where one lives.

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