frugal living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7586/all en-US The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-drinking-coffee-cafe-Dollarphotoclub_69832612.jpg" alt="happy woman cafe" title="happy woman cafe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I moved this summer. Before packing, I did some decluttering, and took a lot of books to the used book store. And what I got rid of were my simple living books. Because, really, simple living is simple. It doesn't take a dozen books to explain it. It doesn't even take one.</p> <p>I started buying books on simple living twenty-odd years ago. I was undergoing a minor crisis in my life. I was moving then as well, plus having some financial problems. I was having to reevaluate my whole future, and simple living was looking pretty appealing.</p> <p>I read the modern classics like Duane Elgin's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002QGSXJ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002QGSXJ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QBWWV4KYGM5TVWK3">Voluntary Simplicity</a> and Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0143115766&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=ESRHK2P6DXNJIOFS">Your Money or your Life</a>, and Amy Dacyczyn's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0375752250/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0375752250&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=7X34G2TAOCWZSZTL">Tightwad Gazette</a>, and re-read the older classics, like Thoreau's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1494466694/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1494466694&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=LKBUHVWQROEDLDKZ">Walden</a>. (In the end, the only one I kept was Dolly Freed's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0982053932/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0982053932&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=UZIDQSS7CD45XEJ2">Possum Living</a> &mdash; and that one mainly for the chapter on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">moonshine</a>.) They came at just the right moment in my life. They helped a lot. But I eventually figured out that there's a problem with writing a book on something as simple as simple living: It's so simple that you can't fill a book, unless you add a bunch of other stuff.</p> <p>Because simple living is really simple. There's really just one idea: <em>Prioritize the few things that really matter, and put aside everything else</em>.</p> <p>Beyond that, everything you're going to read about simple living is just tactics &mdash; ways to figure out what matters, ways to optimize your acquisition and use of those things, ways to get by without the other stuff, ways to fit into a society where you're something of an oddball.</p> <p>And while simple living isn't complex enough to fill out a book, it's just about right for an article. So here's how to get started.</p> <h2>Figure Out What Matters</h2> <p>This is the core of the whole enterprise. In one sense, it's easy: What matters to you is what matters to you; what you want is what you want. Simple living isn't about wanting other stuff, and it certainly isn't about wanting less. It's about finding the essential core and focusing there.</p> <p>Even so, this doesn't turn out to be an easy step, for a lot of reasons.</p> <p>First of all, a lot of people don't know what really matters to them. Some people are deeply unsure about what they really want, and even people who have a pretty good grasp on it can still confuse what they want <em>right now</em> with what they really want on a deeper, more fundamental level.</p> <p>Second, almost everybody needs to take other people into account. What matters most to you has to take into account what matters most to your spouse, your kids, and possibly other relatives as well. To some extent, you probably need to allow for what matters to non-relatives as well &mdash; your neighbors, your boss, teachers, students, people who work for you, and people who care about you. The balancing act of figuring out how much the desires and expectations of other people should affect what matters to you is necessary, even in those cases where the decision ends up being to go with your own thoughts on the matter.</p> <p>Finally, what really matters to you isn't a fixed star. It changes over time. It changes as you learn and grow. It changes as your circumstances change. It changes as the world changes. So, you're always going to be dealing with a moving target.</p> <p>Having said all that, here are some thoughts on figuring out what matters to you most, and focusing on those things.</p> <p>The most crucial step is simply to think deeply about what matters to you. I wrote a post with some suggestions for how to start called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-your-passion">Find Your Passion</a>. That post includes a list of related links at the bottom.</p> <p>Another thing that's worth doing is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-engineer-the-best-time-of-your-life">Reverse Engineer the Best Time of Your Life</a>. That is, think back to the best times of your life, and figure out what it was about those times that made them the best.</p> <p>Yet another is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-joy-in-temporary-frugality">experiment outside your comfort zone</a>.</p> <p>Finally, it helps to be honest about what you really want, by recognizing that it includes things you may be taking for granted &mdash; such as a place to live, clean water to drink, and food to eat. I talk about figuring this stuff out in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong">If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong</a>.</p> <p>On negotiating this stuff with your family and others, I want to suggest two posts, one called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The Line Between Frugal and Crazy</a>, and one called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-takes-a-frugal-spouse-to-make-a-frugal-home">It Takes a Frugal Spouse to Make a Frugal Home</a>.</p> <h2>Optimize That Stuff</h2> <p>Okay, you've made the decision that simple living &mdash; this idea of simple living, where you focus on what's most important &mdash; is the way to go. And you've decided what is most important to you. Now what?</p> <p>Well, now you live a life rich in whatever you've decided is most important.</p> <p>That seems simple enough. Even easy, in a sense &mdash; what could be easier than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-as-hedonism">doing whatever you want</a>? But, of course, it's not that simple. You probably need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dream-job-or-day-job">earn a living</a>. You also have longer-term goals, and meeting those will depend on <em>not</em> doing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-happier">whatever might seem most attractive right now</a>.</p> <p>Your key tool for successfully living the life that you have chosen is a budget. Besides the one I mentioned above, about how budgeting is fun, I've got two other posts on creating a budget: One called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refactor-your-budget-categories">Refactoring Your Budget Categories</a> (because how you categorize an expense makes a bigger difference than you might think), and another called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-better-way-to-create-a-budget">A Better Way to Create a Budget</a>.</p> <p>The key is to remember that your budget isn't a constraint. You do have constraints, but they come from the real world. Your budget is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-budget-is-not-a-constraint">tool for helping you live a life of joy</a> in the face of those constraints.</p> <p>You can't go back and change the past, but except for the decision to have kids, there are almost no decisions that can't be revisited. Given time and effort, you can completely <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/designing-your-life">redesign your life</a> &mdash; you can move, change jobs, change careers, go back to school.</p> <p>You can alter every aspect of your life. Don't hesitate to do so, in your search for a life that's as fun and fulfilling as it is simple.</p> <h2>Get By Without the Other Stuff</h2> <p>There are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">many reasons for making do with less</a>, and for some things, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/doing-without-is-often-better-than-making-do">doing without is better than making do</a>. But wherever you draw the line below what's most important, there will be things that just barely miss the cutoff. Those things are pretty darned important, but you've decided that, to live a simple life, you'll let them go. Deciding that is one thing. Living out your decision is something else.</p> <p>The most common strategy among ordinary folks &mdash; folks who haven't chosen a simple life &mdash; is not to have that line at all. Instead of a sharp line, they have a long tapering off, where they have some of the stuff that's less important, just not as much than they really want. This strategy is, I think, a source of great misery. They don't just have less than they want of everything below the line. To pay for those things, they <em>also</em> have to make do with less of the stuff above the line &mdash; the really important stuff.</p> <p>The point of simple living is that you get enough of <em>all</em> the most important stuff. Once you make that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/making-the-most-of-your-guilty-pleasures">mental shift</a>, the rest is easy. (There are plenty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up">mental tricks</a> for dealing with the things that don't make the cut.)</p> <p>Never forget that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplicity-and-being-cheap">simplicity is not the same thing as being cheap</a>.</p> <p>Of course, you still have limited resources that you need to allocate. Wise Bread is full to bursting with suggestions on ways to do that effectively. I wrote one called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/borrowing-renting-substituting-and-doing-without">Borrowing, Renting, Substituting, and Doing Without</a>, and another called <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-live-better-without-spending-more">Five Ways to Live Better Without Spending More</a>.</p> <h2>Fit In When You're an Oddball</h2> <p>Finally, there's the problem of being strange.</p> <p>There are the internal aspects &mdash; you're bound to sometimes get grumpy <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">when poor folks have better crap than you</a>.</p> <p>And there are the external aspects &mdash; your friends and family will sometimes find it <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-driving-your-less-frugal-friends-crazy">tough to deal with your simple life</a>. Your choices here fall into two general categories. One is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/passing-for-middle-class">Passing for Middle Class</a>. If you'd rather not &mdash; if you'd rather just appear to be the oddball you are &mdash; one way to make it easier for others to accept is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-luxury-eccentricity">Choose a Luxury Eccentricity</a>.</p> <p>In the past, I've sometimes cast simple living in terms of needs and wants: You satisfy all your needs, and then you satisfy your most important wants. But I think even that might be more complex than necessary. It's simpler to say: You get enough of all the most important stuff.</p> <p>That's my idea of simple living. Not enough for a book, perhaps, but just about right for a Wise Bread post.</p> <p><em>What are some of your ideas about simple living? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/voluntary-simplicity-versus-poverty">Voluntary simplicity versus poverty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-simple-ways-to-start-living-on-less-today">10 Simple Ways to Start Living on Less Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living">The Best-Kept Secret to Frugal Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-wabi-sabi-simple">Book review: Wabi Sabi Simple</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-living-through-capital">Simple Living Through Capital</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living essentials frugal living fundamentals simple living simplicity wants and needs Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:00:14 +0000 Philip Brewer 1269223 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Financial Mistakes We Don't Make Anymore (and 2 We Still Do) http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-we-dont-make-anymore-and-2-we-still-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-financial-mistakes-we-dont-make-anymore-and-2-we-still-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ok-3846541-small.jpg" alt="ok sign" title="ok sign" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I was a recent college graduate working at my first real job, my friends and I quickly realized that making the minimum payment on our credit cards meant carrying a balance for a long time. We learned to make heftier payments and avoid consumer credit altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-habits-of-highly-responsible-credit-card-users">Good Habits of Responsible Credit Card Users</a>)</p> <p>A few years later, when my employer transferred much of its workforce to a larger city, I noticed that houses in our town were difficult to sell, particularly at prices that would return a substantial gain to homeowners. That experience taught me to be conservative when buying a house and not count on a quick sale, helping me avoid problems during the housing crisis later.</p> <p>But there has always been more to grasp, especially as my personal circumstances evolved from single to married with children and the economy changed, tax laws were revised, new financial products introduced, etc. Basic principles remained the same, but each new phase required navigating more complex challenges and learning from more recent missteps.</p> <p>Like me, many Americans are learning from the past and moving toward better financial stewardship, according to <a href="http://www.citigroup.com/citi/news/2013/130807b.htm">a nationwide survey by Citi</a> that measures Americans' attitudes towards the economy. Specifically, the majority of people surveyed report the following changes:</p> <ul> <li>Establishing and maintaining adherence to a budget</li> <li>Saving money in an emergency fund</li> <li>Paying off credit card balances every month</li> <li>Developing a long-term financial plan</li> </ul> <p>In addition, we are generally more optimistic about our financial futures in 2013 than when the first pulse was taken in 2009.</p> <p>But Director of Financial Education for Citi's Personal Wealth Management, <a href="http://www.citigroup.com/citi/about/leaders/jonathan-clements-bio.html">Jonathan Clements</a>, cautions that &quot;national foolishness&quot; has not yet come to an end. We are not masters of our individual and collective financial destinies.</p> <p>Sure, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/15/five-facts-about-household-debt-in-the-united-states/">household debt is down 12% since its peak during the third quarter of 2008</a>. However, this decline is due in part to loan defaults and home foreclosures that erased debt, not fiscally responsible Americans applying disposable income to loan balances. In addition, <a href="http://www.consumerfinance.gov/speeches/student-debt-swells-federal-loans-now-top-a-trillion/">student loan debt is rising</a>. Further, student loan delinquencies have grown from 7.55% in the second quarter of 2008 to 10.9% in 2013.</p> <p>Jonathan points out that Americans who are more upbeat about the economy tend to have such an attitude because of personal financial circumstances rather than broader notions of increased prosperity for all. That is, those who are employed today tend to have a more positive outlook than when they were unemployed and unsure of their financial futures during the Great Recession. As unemployment numbers declined, countenances brightened.</p> <p>Similarly, MBA professor and portfolio manager Barbara Friedberg celebrates the <a href="http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com/credit-card-delinquency-rate-hits-rock-bottom/">decline in credit card delinquencies while expressing concerns</a> about credit card balances. She indicates we may have shown slight improvements in financial discipline without making more substantial changes.</p> <p>According to Barbara, &quot;The recency behavioral finance bias suggests that we weight recent events more heavily than those in the past. If that's the case, then we're saving more and paying our bills because we remember the recent financial crises. This theory also predicts that once we forget about the financial problems of the recent past, we'll all go back to over spending, over borrowing, and just living beyond our means.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-credit-cards-manipulate-you-into-more-debt">4 Ways Credit Cards Manipulate You Into More Debt</a>)</p> <p>Still, making adjustments to our current reality is a good first step in learning from our mistakes.</p> <h2>Mistakes We Won't Make Again</h2> <p>After thinking about mistakes that I won't make again, I spoke with Jonathan and folks at Citi about what Americans may have learned in the past few years. Here are items that made our list.</p> <p><strong>1. Assuming a High-Paying Job Will Always Be Available</strong></p> <p>Those unemployed during the most recent recession have learned that finding a high-paying job is difficult if not impossible. Many have taken salary and wage cuts in order to pay current bills.</p> <p><strong>2. Assuming Stock Market Investments Will Earn Double-Digit Returns</strong></p> <p>We've seen that the stock market can be volatile and steady returns are not guaranteed. People are starting to develop long-term plans considering this new reality.</p> <p><strong>3. Counting on a Modest Retirement Nest Egg</strong></p> <p>We now realize that we need to save much more and/or develop and maintain an income from a full-time position, part-time work, or business to support ourselves through much of our lifetimes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-avoid-running-out-of-money-in-retirement">6 Ways to Avoid Running Out of Money in Retirement</a>)</p> <p><strong>4. Not Having Enough Cash</strong></p> <p>We realize that we need to have cash available to service debt, handle major expenses (such as home repairs or auto purchases), and capitalize on down markets (allowing us to buy low and sell high).</p> <p><strong>5. Spending Impulsively</strong></p> <p>The prevalence of mobile apps to monitor bank balances has helped curb spending. The constant awareness of how our habits affect financial solvency is beginning to impact our decisions.</p> <p><strong>6. Thinking That Spending More Means Getting More</strong></p> <p>For example, Americans in general and millennials in particular are increasingly opting out of expensive cable television packages in favor of lower cost streaming subscriptions. Similarly, teens and their frugal parents are shopping at Goodwill or thrift shops rather than name-brand stores. Frugality has become more in vogue for certain purchases.</p> <h2>Mistakes We Still Make</h2> <p>Though we are more happily coping with the new normal today and embracing greater frugality than in the recent past, we are persisting in making a number of finance mistakes.</p> <p><strong>1. Not Saving Enough</strong></p> <p>Our savings rate is still low. We are saving about <a href="http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/pi/pinewsrelease.htm">4.5% of our income in 2013</a>, well below rates of <a href="http://www.hamiltonproject.org/multimedia/charts/u.s._personal_saving_rate_1970-2012/">8.6% in the 1980s and 9.6% in the 1970s</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trick-yourself-into-saving-more-of-your-biweekly-paychecks">Trick Yourself Into Saving More</a>)</p> <p><strong>2. Chasing Investment Performance</strong></p> <p>We still have a tendency to put our dollars into investments that have recently experienced high returns. Jonathan points to potential buyers re-engaging in house bidding wars as one example.</p> <p>Recognizing our errors is the first step in correcting them. But we also need to look beyond our present circumstances and avoid past mistakes as we prepare for the future.</p> <p><em>What financial mistakes have you stopped making?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-we-dont-make-anymore-and-2-we-still-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-have-in-30-years">How Much Money Will You Have in 30 Years?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-obstacles-that-are-especially-tough-for-women">5 Financial Obstacles That Are Especially Tough for Women</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-true-source-of-wealth-creation-that-you-probably-already-have">The Surprising True Source of Wealth Creation (That You Probably Already Have)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-things-everyone-should-be-saving-for">The 10 Things Everyone Should Be Saving For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance frugal living investment retirement saving Mon, 09 Sep 2013 10:00:30 +0000 Julie Rains 981741 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best-Kept Secret to Frugal Living http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4807180858_ca3b431407_z.jpg" alt="shush" title="shush" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s easy to take the checklist approach to personal finance and frugality. Save more. Check. Spend less. Check. Invest wisely. Check.</p> <p>While that works for some people, though, there are others who find it impossible and even the most conscientious Type A will have moments where they&rsquo;re not motivated by check boxes and lists of numbers.</p> <p>Without the right motivations, financially responsible, frugal living isn&rsquo;t only difficult, it&rsquo;s impossible. Sure, you might be able to maintain momentum long enough to pay down some credit cards or make it through a rough patch, but you won&rsquo;t make long-term lifestyle changes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-frugal-changes-you-can-make-today" title="25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today">25 Frugal Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>To do that, you need to do more than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/feeling-stuck-100-ways-to-change-your-life" title="100 Ways to Change Your Life">change</a> how you act. You need to do more than change how you think. The secret?</p> <p><strong>Be content with your life as it is.</strong></p> <p>The best path to becoming frugal through and through is to realize and appreciate what you have. Only then will you be free from the desire for more, because you won&rsquo;t be looking to the next thing, the next purchase, to make your life complete.</p> <p>Being content means recognizing that no one possession nor amount of possessions will ever make you happy or fulfill you. It means realizing that you will never have it all. And it means choosing the life you have, with its difficulties and frustrations as well as its special joys, over any life, past or present, that now only exists in your head.</p> <p>Finding contentment means learning to be present, and to choose the now. Often, it means making that choice over and over and over again, every time you feel discontent rising in you, even under hard circumstances.</p> <p>The content stance acknowledges that life as it is isn&rsquo;t perfect and that it never will be. Becoming content might mean making peace with a past where you had more things and more financial freedom, and choosing to live in the present instead. Or it might mean choosing this moment&rsquo;s financial hardships instead of focusing on dreams of future abundance, even when that&rsquo;s what you&rsquo;re working towards every day.</p> <p>The point of contentment isn&rsquo;t a trance-like unawareness of the difficult things in your life, but to accept them, particularly if you can&rsquo;t do anything about them. When you&rsquo;ve done this, you won&rsquo;t need to buy into consumerism&rsquo;s cycles because you won&rsquo;t need to spend to be happy.</p> <p>Contentment comes easier for some people than for others, but anyone can find it. Start small. Begin to notice your frustrations and things that you wish were different. Instead of trying to change them or make yourself happier, just hold these things. Look at them, examining them and how you react to them.</p> <p>As you do this, you&rsquo;ll find in yourself the growing ability to just let these things go and let them be. And as this ability grows, you&rsquo;ll find yourself spending less, because you won&rsquo;t need it anymore.</p> <h3>Tips for Finding Contentment</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Remind yourself of what you have when confronted with what you don&rsquo;t have.</p> </li> <li> <p>Ask yourself if a purchase will make you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/delayed-gratification-and-the-secret-to-will-power" title="Delayed Gratification and the Secret to Will Power">happier long-term</a>, or whether you&rsquo;re buying for short-term pleasure.</p> </li> <li> <p>Stay away from advertising: watch movies and TV on DVD; determine the articles you want to read from the table of contents in a magazine, instead of by flipping through; copy and past web content into a blank document to read</p> </li> <li> <p>Spend time with people you love who love you back.</p> </li> <li> <p>Learn to form meaningful relationships that go beyond &ldquo;How are you?&rdquo; and &ldquo;The chicken sure looks great.&rdquo;</p> </li> <li> <p>Discover how you feel when you&rsquo;re discontent - common signs include tightened muscles in your neck, shoulders and back, stomachaches, general malaise.</p> </li> <li> <p>Tell yourself the truth - &ldquo;I have enough.&rdquo;</p> </li> <li> <p>End each day by remembering the moments that you liked best and the ones that meant the most to you.</p> </li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty">Living within your means isn&#039;t nasty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-cut-your-grocery-bill">5 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-wearing-things-out-and-then-some">The Art of Wearing Things Out, and Then Some</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/failed-frugality-5-clues-youve-gone-too-far">Failed Frugality: 5 Clues You’ve Gone Too Far</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living contentment frugal living secret to frugal living Fri, 24 Sep 2010 11:12:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 246104 at http://www.wisebread.com The Audacity to Waste Money for Better Finances http://www.wisebread.com/the-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/36525227_3d32c517c7.jpg" alt="starbucks frappuccino" title="starbucks frappuccino" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I always thought it would be great if a screen door would work with the double french doors in my kitchen. That way, air could come in without the bugs having access to my house. Recently, I saw a retractable screen door at a friend's house. It would be the perfect solution I thought, until he told me it costs $700 to get it installed.</p> <p>$700?! That's practically a decade's worth of air conditioning. I might as well just turn on the A/C any time I'm hot. But then a few days later, though the temperature was high in the kitchen, I opted to just bear with the heat since it was actually cool outside. The retractable unit obviously popped into my mind again. Since I was never going to turn on A/C anyway, is comparing it to the cost of running air conditioning just plain wrong?</p> <p>This got me to think: Is there anything else that seems to be a waste of money at first glance but might not be so bad for certain types of people? Here are a few examples.</p> <h3>What's Worth the Waste</h3> <p>Financial advisers want 1 percent every year, and I've read loads and loads of articles about financial scumbags. Expensive, right? I get it. But for those people who can't keep themselves from themselves when the markets are at extremes, isn't that 1 percent a very smart price to pay? Buying a cup of Starbucks coffee every day may cost thousands of dollars a year, but isn't it better than feeling miserable all day?</p> <p>I mean, some people end up buying a big ticket item every few months just because they aren't happy! And if you feel at peace, what's to say that you won't end up finding the motivation to start a side business that will make you that Starbucks fund many times over? Same with houses, cars, dresses and whatever else you fancy. If it motivates you, makes you happy, and you can afford to pay for it, what's so wrong about buying it? After all, money is meant to be spent, not hoarded.</p> <h3>What I Mean</h3> <p>Look. Most of us can probably use more of the &quot;don't ever spend on anything&quot; articles because we aren't saving enough. But in specific types of situations, what seems like a big waste of money is actually worth it. Think of it as an investment. Investment for your peace of mind, investment for your business, and maybe an investment for your happiness. Not every waste is actually a waste. Know yourself, and may your decision take you onto a smoother path to financial freedom.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-am-doing-well-financially-now-what">I Am Doing Well Financially. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/financial-tricks-to-master-for-a-happier-life">Financial Tricks to Master for a Happier Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-keeping-you-from-a-life-of-financial-independence">What is keeping you from a life of financial independence?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-free-and-low-cost-ways-to-protect-your-credit">7 Free and Low Cost Ways To Protect Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Investment Lifestyle Retirement cost finances frugal living money management personal finance roi spending Wed, 11 Aug 2010 13:00:10 +0000 David Ning 202563 at http://www.wisebread.com Failed Frugality: 5 Clues You’ve Gone Too Far http://www.wisebread.com/failed-frugality-5-clues-youve-gone-too-far <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/failed-frugality-5-clues-youve-gone-too-far" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fail rd.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="354" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">For most people, frugality is a lifestyle choice born out of necessity.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>A lost job, increase in expenses, or a battle with debt has forced them to take extreme measures to balance their budget.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Sometimes, however, frugal choices can hinder you beyond the benefit of the dollar saved.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Here are five tell-tale signs that you&rsquo;ve done yourself no favors in your quest to cut costs.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>You Spend More Than You Save</strong><o:p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Unless you are investing for the future in a specialty item, there is usually no justification for spending more money via &ldquo;frugal&rdquo; methods than if you&rsquo;d just done your normal shopping.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>This happens often with coupons, for example.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I applaud those who&rsquo;ve mastered the art of getting stuff for less (or even free), but I&rsquo;m personally aware that using coupons most likely leaves me buying unnecessary things and ultimately increasing my shopping bill by at least 20% more than if I&rsquo;d stuck to a list and didn&rsquo;t entertain extra &ldquo;deals.&rdquo;<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Buying something on clearance (even at 90% off) isn&rsquo;t a great buy if you didn&rsquo;t have the money to begin with, or you didn&rsquo;t need the thing you just bought.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>You&rsquo;re Not Fun to Be Around</strong><o:p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Some folks will never be the life of the party, but that&rsquo;s not what I&rsquo;m talking about.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If your obsession for cost-cutting has left you looking stingy and insane in the eyes of your friends, it could be that you need new friends.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>More likely, however, is the fact that you&rsquo;ve let your penny-pinching ways rule every decision, and worse yet, it&rsquo;s affected your relationships.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If you&rsquo;re intent on letting the almighty dollar invade every thought for the day, do us all a favor, and keep it to yourself.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Some of us truly understand what it means to be frugal, but strive to keep it in balance with the rest of our lives. (For excellent reading on frugality as an obsession, I suggest reading <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/05/20/should-repaying-debt-be-an-obsession/">Get Rich Slowly&rsquo;s comments on the topic</a> and <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2009/05/21/debt-repayment-and-frugality-as-obsession-it-depends-on-how-your-brain-works/">The Simple Dollar&rsquo;s response</a>)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>You Don&rsquo;t Know Why You&rsquo;re Doing It</strong><o:p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">The other day I tried to make dandelion wine.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I allowed my kids to handpick every yellow bloom in our yard that morning and tried to follow the recipe I selected exactly as written. <span style="">&nbsp;</span>About a week after I&rsquo;d let my potion set for the year, I began to smell something horrible coming from the corner of the room where I had it stored.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>It really, really stunk, and my craving for anything wine-related died.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>The kids complained, hubby was concerned, and I ended up dumping it out and calling it a futile experiment.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>I had decided to make wine out of a curiosity, but continued to let it smell up my kitchen out of stubbornness (I didn&rsquo;t want to admit that I had failed.)<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If select attempts at frugality have you wondering &ldquo;what the heck was I thinking?&rdquo; it may be time to take up a new hobby (or start small with more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-real-simple-ways-to-save-thousands-of-dollars">simple cost-cutting strategies</a>.)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Your Frugality Isn&rsquo;t Safe</strong><o:p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I&rsquo;ve already covered this a bit in a previous article (&ldquo;<a href="../../../../../../when-frugal-is-stupid">When Frugal Is Stupid</a>&rdquo;), but I feel it bears repeating.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Some money-saving habits have the potential to cause harm, but only need a few extra safeguards to make them safe (making your own laundry soap, for example, would require extra care to keep little ones out of the commonly-used buckets that the soap is stored in.)<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Other tips (like reusing plastic containers that aren&rsquo;t meant for food storage) can cause others to get sick or degrade the quality of your possessions.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Before you head out into the Wild West of ultimate frugality, check with trusted sources to make sure you&rsquo;re keeping it harmless.<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>You Hate It</strong><o:p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Granted, most of us make frugal decisions out of necessity.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Others, however, make the choice out of habit or the sense of control it gives them over a situation.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If you&rsquo;ve found yourself doing things that could save a bit here and there, but it&rsquo;s left you despising money, life, or other people &ndash; maybe it&rsquo;s time to take a hiatus.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Life, after all, is meant to be experienced, and most of the precious experiences don&rsquo;t cost much.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Take time to assess where you&rsquo;re saving, and where you&rsquo;re simply causing extra work and heartache.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>If you&rsquo;re able to loosen up on a few of your frugal rules (even for a little while) it might be worth taking a fresh stab at it after a small break.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>(Opportunities to save money generally aren&rsquo;t going anywhere.)<o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Where are you at in your frugality?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Are you new and growing?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Have you been doing this &ldquo;cheapskate&rdquo; stuff for awhile?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Do you still enjoy those times that you&rsquo;ve succeeded in a plan to pinch pennies, or are you dreading the work involved with taking care of your finances?<span style="">&nbsp; </span>Share your tips for keeping frugality fresh with us.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>We&rsquo;d love to hear how you do it!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/failed-frugality-5-clues-youve-gone-too-far">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-living-on-one-income-a-status-symbol">Is living on one income a status symbol?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-forced-frugality-last">Will &quot;forced frugality&quot; last?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty">Living within your means isn&#039;t nasty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sleeping-in-airports-for-the-stranded-and-frugal-minded">Sleeping In Airports For The Stranded And Frugal Minded</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle frugal living frugality Sat, 23 May 2009 16:00:43 +0000 Linsey Knerl 3194 at http://www.wisebread.com Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paying-with-cash-481534557-small.jpg" alt="paying with cash" title="paying with cash" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While I am a cash-only person by circumstance (paid off the credit cards and never reopened accounts), I am so grateful that I live in a cash world. Of course, having only cash is not always convenient and does occasionally make it difficult to rent a car &mdash; but overall I am so happy to no longer be a slave to the credit card industry and the high interest rates that are overwhelming so many people around the nation.There are also so very good reasons why using only cash is completely logical.&nbsp;Here are my top 6 reasons why using cash-only rocks.</p> <h3>I have had to learn to manage my money.</h3> <p>Back when I had credit cards, I didn't think too much about what I was buying on credit. Of course I was young and not financially intelligent back in those days. Now that I only use cash, I have had to learn how to manage my money down to the penny because I have nothing else to fall back on in the way of credit. If an emergency arises, I need to know I have the cash on hand to deal with it.</p> <h3>I have a true understanding of my needs and my wants.</h3> <p>It has taken some time but I can now walk into a store of any kind and differentiate between the things I really need and those things that I just want. Before I would throw whatever in the cart and figure the credit fairy was there to cover me. Now I take time to pause in the aisle and really think about the necessity of my purchases. I have also encouraged the same kind of thinking in my whole family.</p> <h3>I understand the need to wait on big purchases.</h3> <p>Because I can no longer run out and get anything I want with a swipe of the plastic, I have to wait and save up the cash. This waiting period, highly recommended by many credit experts has really worked for me. In most cases, the stuff I really wanted because a case of out-of-sight/out-of-mind for me after a waiting period.</p> <h3>I have used my creativity for the good.</h3> <p>I have always been crafty but not necessarily frugal. Now, I love creating fun alternatives for usually expensive things, such as family trips, birthday parties and gifts, and other events that I used to pay top dollar for in the past.</p> <h3>I finally do not fear the financial future.</h3> <p>When I was overwhelmed with debt, I hated even thinking about money. Now I am excited that we will soon be debt free after a few more car payments. There are no more credit card bills hanging over my head and I have no desire to qualify for any new accounts.</p> <h3>I am able to follow my dream.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h3> <p>Since I no longer had big debts to fear, I felt confident to follow my dream and become a writer full time. Working for myself has been the fulfillment of one of my biggest dreams and along with financial freedom, I am thrilled to earn a living doing what I want to do each day.</p> <p>It will not be easy for many to convert from a credit card life to a cash-only existence but it will certainly be beneficial for you in the long run. If you are interested in changing over to a cash-only life, take baby steps away from your credit cards. Start by leaving the plastic at home when you go to the store. Slowly but surely, you too can learn to manage your life on a cash-only basis.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-why-cash-is-still-king">6 Reasons Why Cash Is Still King</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-green-how-to-live-a-nearly-cash-only-life">Going Green: How to Live a (Nearly) Cash-Only Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-to-use-credit-cards-instead-of-cash">6 Times to Use Credit Cards Instead of Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-debt-settlement-can-leave-you-deeper-in-debt-even-with-trustworthy-companies">6 Ways Debt Settlement Can Leave You Deeper in Debt (Even With Trustworthy Companies)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash credit card debt frugal living money management purchases Mon, 16 Mar 2009 14:10:41 +0000 Tisha Tolar 2932 at http://www.wisebread.com Frugal Living Lessons From The First Thanksgiving http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-living-lessons-from-the-first-thanksgiving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugal-living-lessons-from-the-first-thanksgiving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/turkey_0.jpg" alt="turkies dressed as pilgrims" title="turkies dressed as pilgrims" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="322" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here in the United States, Thanksgiving is a holiday governed by some fairly specific traditions. Most of us <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alternative-thanksgiving-menus-for-nearly-every-situation">eat a turkey-based feast</a>, enjoy a parade or football game on TV, go to sleep early, and rest up for the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/black-friday-black-in-more-ways-than-one-0">biggest shopping day of the year</a>.</p> <p>We know that these traditions are mostly modern inventions, but on some level we all invoke the myth that our celebrations are a <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/1127/p13s02-lign.html">reenactment of the first thanksgiving</a>.</p> <p>This is fine (I would be the last one to give up my pumpkin pie in the name of historical accuracy), but there is still a lot we can learn about frugality from the first Thanksgiving celebration.</p> <p>Here are five lessons:</p> <h2>Use what you have</h2> <p>We are not exactly sure what was on the menu during the first Thanksgiving. Still, it likely consisted of foods that were readily available in the limited local area of the Plimoth Plantation in early November. It was a celebration of what the colonists had, not what they pined for.</p> <p>This is, perhaps, the most significant rule of frugal living. Instead of looking to what could be, make yourself happy with what you have. Then, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-wearing-things-out-and-then-some#comment-141272">as some have pointed out</a>, we can try to &quot;use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.&quot;</p> <h2>Work with your neighbors</h2> <p>We don't know if the English at Plimoth Plantation made a regular habit of working with their <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wampanoag">Wampanoag</a> neighbors but the limited evidence we have indicates that the first Thanksgiving was indeed a joint celebration.</p> <p>Instead of &quot;competing with the Jones',&quot; it is clearly better to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forums/frugal-living/annoyingly-competitive-friends-neighbors-791.html">share and work</a> with them. Whether its a cup of sugar, an afternoon of labor, or a shared dinner, working together allows us to live more simply and frugally.</p> <h2>Learn new skills</h2> <p>It is likely that, in preparation for the celebration, the English of Plimoth Plantation <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)#1621_thanksgiving.2C_the_Pilgrims_at_Plymouth">learned some new skills</a> from the Wampanoag, such as catching eel and growing corn. Most of this education, if it happened, would have come from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squanto">Squanto</a>, a former slave who learned English while in bondage in Europe.</p> <p>Regardless of its authenticity, this element of the Thanksgiving story remains a strong lesson for frugal living today. Learning to repair your home, maintain your car, or cook saves significant money over time, making education one of the most valuable investments available.</p> <h2>Prepare for lean times</h2> <p>Before the famous first Thanksgiving, it is thought that both the English and Wampanoag held harvest festivals. Traditionally, the goal of these festivals was twofold: to collect the food reserves necessary to survive the winter and to restore everyone's health before entering these lean times.</p> <p>Those looking to live frugally should take note of this philosophy. Windfalls, be it a holiday bonus, tax return, or small inheritance, can buy some excellent gifts. However, this unplanned income can also be used to build an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund">emergency fund</a>, save for planned health expenses, or as a contribution to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rewriting-the-definition-of-retirement">retirement fund</a>.</p> <h2>Celebrate accomplishments</h2> <p>Of course, the first Thanksgiving was a celebration. The English of Plimoth Plantation had survived disease and drought and saw easier times ahead. It is thought that the festivities lasted three days and featured entertainment as well as eating.</p> <p>If you have been working hard, saving money, and cutting expenses, don't forget to occasionally give yourself small rewards. Otherwise, the tunnel ahead becomes very dark with burnout looming ahead. Instead, set goals and reward yourself responsibly when you achieve them.</p> <p>When you sit down for your Turkey Day meal or kick back in front of the TV this Thursday, try to take a moment to think of the frugal lessons we have learned from the first Thanksgiving celebration. And don't forget to relax, enjoy the company of your friends and family, and have an extra slice of pumpkin pie. You can say it's for me.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-defranza">David DeFranza</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-living-lessons-from-the-first-thanksgiving">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-really-need-soft-water">Do You Really Need “Soft” Water?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-spectacular-uses-for-that-lone-can-of-fruit">8 Spectacular Uses for that Lone Can of Fruit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The line between frugal and crazy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-your-frugal-obsession">What&#039;s your frugal obsession?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living frugal frugal living Thanksgiving Tue, 25 Nov 2008 14:47:31 +0000 David DeFranza 2601 at http://www.wisebread.com The Art of Wearing Things Out, and Then Some http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-wearing-things-out-and-then-some <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-art-of-wearing-things-out-and-then-some" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/58cadillac.jpg" alt="1958 Cadillac Sedan" title="1958 Cadillac Sedan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>I&#39;ve grown up hearing the phrase, &quot;If it ain&#39;t broke, don&#39;t fix it.&quot;</strong>  It never occurred to me that this saying could apply to a frugal lifestyle.  How often do you really wear something out before replacing it?  I mean, really wear it out--to the point where it is barely recognizable.  There are pros and cons to fully using up the useful life (and then some) of our household possessions, and deciding when to replace something can pose a significant threat to your financial picture.</p> <h2>Frugality Supports Quality</h2> <p>I&#39;ve said before that one of the <a href="http://frugaldad.com/2008/03/26/the-difference-in-being-frugal-and-being-cheap/"><strong>differences between being frugal and being cheap</strong></a> is that frugal people value quality over a rock-bottom price.  <strong>We frugal types will pay a little more for something that lasts a little longer, or costs less to operate over time</strong>.  Large household purchases, such as cars and appliances, often times begin to cost more to operate the longer we use them.  But that doesn&#39;t necessarily mean it is time to run out and buy a new one.</p> <h2>The Broken Refrigerator</h2> <p><strong>Our side-by-side refrigerator has been giving us trouble off and on for the last few months</strong>.  It would go through periods where the refrigerated compartment became hot, and we had to empty it, call a repair technician and wait.  Twice technicians came to our house days later and by that time the fridge had started cooling again.  Because I don&#39;t profess to be an expert in appliance repair, I accepted their diagnosis that nothing was really wrong and we settled up for the service call and reloaded our food.  The third time this happened we were ready to toss the thing out by the curb!</p> <p>We came home one afternoon from a day trip to a hot fridge.  We were forced to toss much of the fridge&#39;s contents, such as lunch meat and other perishables.  My wife and I were both weary of dealing with the busted appliance.  <strong>We looked online at replacement models and had sticker shock when we saw most similar refrigerators now retailed for well over $1,000</strong>.  A quick search of CraigsList and a credit union publication&#39;s classifieds yielded no results for used models.</p> <p>I asked around for a reputable appliance repair shop and decided not to go through the store where the refrigerator was purchased, even though the telephone service reps recommended them (it was out of warranty, and they had their chances, so at this point their recommendation carried little weight).  For $200 a technician found the problem, replaced the part, manually defrosted and cleaned the refrigerator and has it operating like new.  Obviously, I&#39;m glad we found them, and I&#39;m glad I didn&#39;t rush out and buy a new refrigerator, even though that was our first impulse.</p> <h2>Drive It Until the Wheels Fall Off, and Then Fix the Wheels</h2> <p><strong>I&#39;ve taken this same approach to our vehicles, our furniture, and several other household items</strong>.  Ten years ago I would have run out and replaced something the first time it hinted at giving us trouble.  Now, I am much less eager to run out and spend money, so I typically try to repair or maintain something long enough to get by.  There is a risk that repair/maintenance costs will ultimately cost more than replacing the item, so keep up with how much you are spending on upkeep to make sure you aren&#39;t sinking too much money into something unncessarily.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-white">Jason White</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-wearing-things-out-and-then-some">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-car-look-awesome">12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simplest-way-to-live-simply-and-cheaply">The Simplest Way to Live Simply — And Cheaply</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-5-car-maintenance-tasks-and-keep-your-car-on-the-road-forever">Do These 5 Car Maintenance Tasks and Keep Your Car on the Road Forever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-kept-secret-to-frugal-living">The Best-Kept Secret to Frugal Living</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Cars consuming frugal living Wed, 10 Sep 2008 20:16:14 +0000 Jason White 2414 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-cut-your-grocery-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-cut-your-grocery-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/278050_9913.jpg" alt="At the Supermarket" title="At the Supermarket" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're like me, a trip to the store for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk can easily run $30 to $40 bucks. Has inflation just really gone up in my neck of the woods? No... I just always seem to find other things I need.</p> <p>But now that we've moved to the country - and I mean, really out in the country - running to the store is more than just a quick jaunt around the corner. In fact, going to the grocery store means &quot;going into town&quot; and that's somewhat of an event all by itself.</p> <p>So, to <a href="/gas-efficient-driving">save on gas</a> and to avoid multiple trips to the store, I decided to rethink the way I shopped. Here's five easy ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/supermarket-savings" title="Supermarket Savings Guide">cut your grocery bill</a> and get the most from your shopping trip:</p> <p><strong>1. Make a list.</strong> Okay, you've probably heard this one before but I'm going to expand on this idea a bit. Before you start listing items, sit down and plan your meals for the upcoming week, even if you're just planning to have sandwiches one night. Now go through your fridge and cabinets and determine what items you need to make those meals. Next, you'll want to add any staples that you're out of - i.e., flour, sugar, bread, milk, etc. - and anything else you want to include. While you don't have to be obsessively organized to make this work, it does make the process easier if your cabinets have some sort of order to them.</p> <p><strong>2. Know what you can spend.</strong> Before you place one thing in your shopping cart, you should know exactly what you plan to spend. And as you put an item in the cart, write down its price beside the item on your list (it's easier if you round up). When you're through shopping, add it up and see how you did. You'll be surprised at how much you spent, especially if you didn't implement Rule #4 (see below).</p> <p><strong>3. Not on the list? Don't buy.</strong> There are two ways you can work this one: either you agree that you won't buy anything if it's not on your list or you allow yourself, say, three extra items in case you forgot to add something. You can also note the item so you can add it to your list next time, although you'll often find that by your next shopping trip, you don't want the item as badly.</p> <p><strong>4. Eat before you go.</strong> There's nothing worse than shopping on an empty stomach, especially when so many grocery stores now include gourmet delis with delicious aromas wafting through the air. Make sure you only shop on a full stomach to avoid spending more because you're hungry.</p> <p><strong>5. And last but not least...pay attention.</strong> This is perhaps the most important tip you can use to save on your grocery bill. Because believe it or not, grocery stores have a motive for every aisle, every endcap and even the overall design of the store. </p> <p>For example, the deli, the produce aisle, and the flowers and gifts are typically placed near the front of the store so that you have to pass them to get to the rest of the aisles. These placements are there for three reasons: 1) if the fruit and vegetables look good, then we can assume the rest of the store must be the same high quality, right?; 2) regardless of what we really plan to eat, the majority of us have intentions of eating &quot;better&quot;. So, if we buy some apples or bananas that weren't on our list, it's okay because we're doing something good for our bodies; and 3) If you're in a hurry, you're less likely to buy extra goodies. Providing a tempting deli and some eye-catching, colorful produce is an easy way to slow you down and get you into a &quot;shopping mood&quot;.</p> <p>You'll also find that endcaps often feature sale items but also include similar or related items that aren't on sale. Charcoal, for example, might be the heart of the sale but then that makes you think of hamburgers, hot dogs and oooh... how about some steaks?!</p> <p>Front store displays entice you to buy things you might not have looked at otherwise, including everything from a gigantic bag of Cheetos to a cheap t-shirt with a fish and &quot;Kiss My Bass&quot; on the front. </p> <p>Checkout aisles have magazines, candy, batteries and a whole slew of other random things in one last attempt to get you to fork over more cash. And if you're not buying, you can bet that the candy and big bag of balloons catches the attention of your kids.</p> <p>The bottom line?</p> <p>Even the best budgeter often finds that groceries fall into a gray area and that's because we have such a hard time tracking and estimating what we'll spend from month to month. But with a little planning and a little willpower, you can get everything you need at the store without spending a penny more than you planned.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-cut-your-grocery-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/menu-planning-backwards-and-forwards">Menu Planning Backwards and Forwards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to Grocery Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-15-foods-that-are-worth-buying-organic">The Only 15 Foods That Are Worth Buying Organic</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Budgeting Food and Drink Shopping frugal living grocery shopping save on groceries Wed, 06 Aug 2008 01:08:22 +0000 Kate Luther 2296 at http://www.wisebread.com When it Pays to Call in the Experts http://www.wisebread.com/when-it-pays-to-call-in-the-experts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-it-pays-to-call-in-the-experts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ChoppingWood.jpg" alt="Chopping Wood Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" title="Chopping Wood Can Be Hazardous to Your Health" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>I&#39;m pretty good around the house.</strong>  I can make most small, household repairs, and have even been known to take on a larger <a href="http://frugaldad.com/2008/05/20/diy-project-2-unclogging-an-air-conditioner-drain/" target="_blank">DIY project</a> or two to save a buck.  However, I know my limitations, and will gladly call in the experts when I am out of my league.  Some guys just can&#39;t stand the idea of asking someone for help, because they think admitting they don&#39;t know how to do something is a sign of weakness. In fact, I think being able to admit you don&#39;t know something is a strength.  There are times when we have to push frugality aside and call in a professional, or pay for a service, because it is not practical, or not safe, or because we just plain don&#39;t know how to do something.</p> <h2>Injuring the Hand that Feeds You</h2> <p>I read an <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=txdolphinsjoshmccown&amp;prov=st&amp;type=lgns" target="_blank">article on Yahoo Sports</a> recently about Miami Dolphins quarterback, Josh McCown.  McCown and his brother were chopping wood and Josh injured his hand, requiring six stitches and jeopardizing his availability for the start of NFL training camp, set to open in a few weeks.  I don&#39;t know why they were out chopping wood, but I have to imagine two NFL quarterbacks would know better than to do anything that could injure their hands.  After all, a quarterback with an injured throwing hand is just about useless on an NFL roster.  Surely they could afford to have someone chop wood for them, or buy pre-split firewood.  Who knows--whatever their reason for engaging in wood-chopping activity, it has proven to be a career-threatening move, at least in the short term.</p> <h2>Spend More Time Earning, and Less Time Working</h2> <p><strong>In some cases it makes more financial sense to pay someone to do something rather than take on a project yourself</strong>.  For example, if you need your house painted, but work in a job where you are not able to take paid leave, painting it yourself could result in a week&#39;s worth of lost wages.  But if you hired someone to do the work for you while you continued to work, chances are you will come out ahead, financially.  This is a difficult concept for the most frugal of us to understand, because the idea of paying someone to do anything evokes fear in frugal households.  It is still important to work with the person you hire to get a lower rate, perhaps by negotiating aspects of the project, or offering to do prep or clean up work.</p> <p>Often times I hear stories of entrepreneurs hiring someone to read their emails, or run errands, or handle their shopping, and I think, &quot;What a waste of money!  Why don&#39;t they just do it themselves?&quot;  Well, it could be that &quot;doing it themselves&quot; takes them away from what they do best--earning money.  I often emphasize the importance of living frugally, but don&#39;t be so afraid to spend money that it costs you more in the long run.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-white">Jason White</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-it-pays-to-call-in-the-experts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-uses-for-a-bandana">20 Great Uses for a Bandana</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks">Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-amazing-diy-decorating-projects-that-are-easier-than-you-think">18 Amazing DIY Decorating Projects That Are Easier Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY DIY frugal living Mon, 21 Jul 2008 15:00:02 +0000 Jason White 2250 at http://www.wisebread.com Sittin' on Dubs: The Andrew Jackson Proposal http://www.wisebread.com/sittin-on-dubs-the-andrew-jackson-proposal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sittin-on-dubs-the-andrew-jackson-proposal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Might spend a Dub Trick.jpg" alt="Dubberific" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="132" height="132" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&#39;s been probably a decade since I&#39;ve been on the real, true-to-life dating scene in earnest and truthfully I don&#39;t plan on returning there anytime soon. But I have ideas about what I might do, when I do, if that makes sense. </p> <p>See, a lot of young men in the parts of the city and country where I grew up were proud of being frugal - a kind way of saying they insisted on not &quot;getting got,&quot; by so-called &quot;money-hungry&quot; females. </p> <p>Even for all the flash and hood-rich pomp of the cats I grew up seeing, it was still considered a sign of weakness to splurge on a date, or a friend, or an outing. After all that&#39;s not what true pimps, players and hustlers do. These are not my words, I&#39;m repeating what I&#39;ve heard. I am from my environment not of it.</p> <p>But in pondering the realm of money and interpersonal activities, I thought about what the great Black American poet O&#39;Shea Jackson once quipped: </p> <p>&quot;Girlfriend show me luv up in the club, I might spend a dub (double-saw=$20) tryiiick!&quot; </p> <p>Very eloquent isn&#39;t it? BTW, O&#39;Shea Jackson is the rapper/actor Ice Cube&#39;s government name for the curious. But allow me to step down from the 2:15 train to digression and get back to my lightbulb. For all the wacky consumer choices that come out of my community: spinner rims, $200 shoes with the tag still on them, $700 jeans, all bought by people who still rent and don&#39;t have bank accounts mind you, there&#39;s hope in that stingy madness when it comes to hitting the town. </p> <p>And it got me to thinking. Oh no. Why not turn lemons to lemonade? Why not test Mssr. Cube&#39;s theory and propose ten ways for grown people to spend $20 or less on a date or outing and still make priceless memories?</p> <p>Put your &quot;dubs&quot; up. </p> <p>1) Dinner and DVD: Produce vegetables and noodles at the grocery store make for a good primavera or pad thai whip up. Then, a six pack of whatever or a $3 to $6 red could leave six to ten baysacks for a funny romantic comedy rental for her and any movie where the actor who plays the protaganist has a name that ends in a vowel for him. (See De Niro, Pacino, Pesci, Li, Liotta, Sizemore, Buscemi and John C. Riley - sometimes &quot;Y&quot;) Not ready to do it at the house, take your laptop to the park, slap the disk in, enjoy.</p> <p>2) BYOB tapas spots: There are certain restaurants in certain cities of the ecletic variety (sorry you have to do the research, it&#39;s your 20 bucks) that allow you to bring you&#39;re own bottle for a cork fee, order some filling appetizers, and sit their as long as you can hold your nectar</p> <p>3) Off-brand, specialized museums: It&#39;s easy to think of the contemparary art museums or the natural history exhibits and things like that. Use your imagination and learn something. There are things as arcane as bottle-cap exhibits, or aviation or trains or shoelaces; or a labor history exhibit and any of the ethnic museums in your mid-sized to large city. They cost comparably less than $20, different from the prime tourist spots.</p> <p>4) A drive to nowhere: Exactly what it says, put $10 to $15 in the tank, pack some supplies from home go........</p> <p>5) Go hiking. That&#39;s it, just walk up a hill.</p> <p>6) Giddy up, expenses down: If you live a rural place or a big city that has outlying rural places, a horseback ride can often be had for less than a dubber for two people. Just don&#39;t bet on the horses.</p> <p>7) Second-run theaters: We&#39;re back on cinema. If there&#39;s a stupid movie you haven&#39;t seen and wouldn&#39;t be willing to pay full price for it, almost every mid-sized to large city in America has a second-run theatre. They usually smell like popcorn popped by the actual inventor of popcorn and lodged under the seat for a century, but it keeps your pockets fatter than they otherwise would be. Wear big clothes and bring a beverage LOL:).</p> <p> 8) City Parks and city gardens: Totally free. Spend time talking, chatting and learning something from that new person, or that old person or that in between person or that stranger. Technology be damned for a day.</p> <p> 9) Board game dinner party: If you&#39;re the type of person who reads this site,  you&#39;re probably the type to have an old board game in your house. Tell one of your friends to bring $20 in potato wedges or assorted snack foods, tell that couple you hang out with to bring $20 in beverages, then everybody bring their favorite CD from their shelf at their house.</p> <p>10) Garage sale and thrift store world tour: Get a friend or a group of people, hit the sales and practice your haggling skills to see how long you can go without spending your whole dubby.</p> <p>I got some great responses and ideas so far so I&#39;ll extend this list now and it&#39;ll be your twenty for twenty. No? Okay I thought it was a cute play on words but oh well.</p> <p>11) Dollar, dollar store Ya&#39;ll: How fun and zany would it be to go to a 99 cent store and buy a bunch of silly, stupid stuff up to $20 that you would never think about buying otherwise. Apple Sauce in bulk, stuff that enables you to blow bubbles, fruit, really bad movies in the 49 cent to dollar range, plants, six packs of obscure root beer</p> <p>12) Bowling: At most alleys you can sign up and get your Barack Obama on</p> <p>13) Free music: Especially in the summer time a lot of Jazz - not smooth Jazz I hope - and classical ensembles stage free concerts.</p> <p>14) Spring and summer festivals: From the ethnic specialized carnivals of LA to the &quot;Taste&quot; in Chicago, you can have the time of your life and keep it under a double saw.</p> <p>15)  Cookin&#39; with grease and  other things: Places such as Williams-Sonoma stage free cooking classes all the time and they&#39;re fun.</p> <p>16) Community and college theatre: You can attend both of these for under $20 bucks - sometimes for both people - and if they suck you have something to talk about, if they don&#39;t you&#39;re reminded that there are people who practice the craft because they still love it and not because they&#39;re trying to be discovered.</p> <p>17) Hijack a park grill: There are several parks where you can grab some fish, vegatables meat or some Tofu equivalent and BYOC - the &quot;C&quot; stands for charcoal.</p> <p>18) Heavenly bodies: Even if you&#39;re landlocked you have should have a river or lake within 40 miles of you. You might eat up the whole twenty in gas but think of the variety of things you can do when you get there, like look at the water.</p> <p>19) Historical &quot;you&quot; tour: If you live where you grew up, you can take that special or for-the-moment someone and show them the places where you achieved all your milestones, maybe not all of them.</p> <p>20) Send me $20 via paypal (No really my address is jabulani.lefff, ahhhh forget it)</p> <p>There you have it. Anyway, when someone asks you about the typical dinner and a first run movie - a prospect that even if you&#39;re a cheapo is going to cost you $100-plus if you include gas - you tell them &quot;naw dawg, I be dubbin,&quot;</p> <p>On second thought don&#39;t do that. But do tell Andrew Jack I said hello. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sittin-on-dubs-the-andrew-jackson-proposal">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-gettin-baptized-in-the-watahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-epiphany">The Gettin&#039;-Baptized-in-the-Watah Epiphany</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances">The Audacity to Waste Money for Better Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-young-entrepreneur-paid-off-40000-in-student-debt-by-age-24">How One Young Entrepreneur Paid Off $40,000 in Student Debt By Age 24</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-personal-finance-moves-you-can-make-while-jogging">8 Personal Finance Moves You Can Make While Jogging</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-26000-in-5-years-or-less">How to Save $26,000 in 5 Years or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Dating frugal living personal finance savings shopping Sat, 19 Apr 2008 21:46:06 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 2025 at http://www.wisebread.com The Downsizing of an American Dream http://www.wisebread.com/the-downsizing-of-an-american-dream <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-downsizing-of-an-american-dream" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dollhouse.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Adults with high-paying jobs, nice cars, pretty homes, and a house full of kids are said to be living the American dream.<span> </span>I was drooling for that dream when I headed off to college, scholarships in hand, and a decision to make between becoming a lawyer or a teacher.<span> </span>As adulthood set in, however, my dreams became fuzzy, and my ideals became more concrete.<span> </span>My American dream changed, for better or worse, due to these common factors: </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Location</strong> – Location really is everything.<span> </span>A move from the small town I was born to a metropolitan city of almost 1 million, changed my view of “what a girl needs.”<span> </span>The dumpy car I drove to college wasn’t good enough anymore.<span> </span>Even my poorest friends had nice rides.<span> </span>My dream was going to require me to make much more money. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">After my marriage, several successive moves put me right back where I started.<span> </span>My 10-year-old car was a common mode of transportation, and the brand-new company car that my husband drove attracted more attention than it was worth.<span> </span>Our dream shifted again to satisfy more conservative standards. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Priorities</strong> – With only myself to care for, working two jobs in college seemed like a great way to pass the time.<span> </span>Extra money came in and was spent quickly on CD’s, bar tabs, and highlights.<span> </span>Building equity was a foreign idea designed for folks much older than myself, and my income was gone almost before I earned it.<span> </span>I still held on to the hope of “making it big” someday.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">After I became a mother, new shoe purchases made way for diaper duty and prescription medicine.<span> </span>With no time to work outside of the home, our suddenly one-income family found new ways to make ends meet.<span> </span>The American dream was put on hold until a week when we could get more than a few hours’ sleep. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Satisfaction</strong> – Believe it or not, it has been awhile since I could buy something just because I wanted it.<span> </span>What’s more amazing is that I prefer it this way!<span> </span>As our standards of living have sunk to an all-time low, the level of satisfaction I have gotten from my purchases has been record-setting.<span> </span>Frugality has spawned a joy from every little thing we indulge in. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Our five year plan would have been met this month.<span> </span>Our new car, new home, two college degrees, and one child could have made us happy.<span> </span>We would have been living the America dream we always wanted. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Instead, we sit in a downsized version of our original plan.<span> </span>Older cars, (barely running at times), a strange rental situation, one set of graduate classes, and four kids grace our lives with their unplanned presence.<span> </span>We dream of owning a small business in our even smaller hometown and raising our family in a quiet, simple way. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">It isn’t the dream we wanted years ago, and at times I’m not always sure it is the dream we will want years from now.<span> </span>I guess that is why it is the American dream; on any night where you can sleep soundly, it may change.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-downsizing-of-an-american-dream">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty">Living within your means isn&#039;t nasty</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-financial-mistakes-we-dont-make-anymore-and-2-we-still-do">6 Financial Mistakes We Don&#039;t Make Anymore (and 2 We Still Do)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sittin-on-dubs-the-andrew-jackson-proposal">Sittin&#039; on Dubs: The Andrew Jackson Proposal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-dreams-mean-about-personal-finance">What Dreams Mean About Personal Finance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-audacity-to-waste-money-for-better-finances">The Audacity to Waste Money for Better Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance dreams frugal living Thu, 24 Jan 2008 03:52:59 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1666 at http://www.wisebread.com Reusing Your Christmas Cards http://www.wisebread.com/reusing-your-christmas-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/reusing-your-christmas-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/card1.jpg" alt="A home made Christmas Card" title="Cannibalized manger scene from another card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="215" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After the holiday dust settles, the question of what to do with received Christmas cards can induce fits of guilt. I am sure that there are some super-organized people out there that file each and every Christmas card by year and by the name of the sender, and get them out periodically to reminisce. The hypothetical existence of these people makes the rest of us twitch when we attempt to toss our old cards in the trash. Thus begins the shadow life of the Christmas card--buried in a drawer somewhere, fallen on the floor under the desk, stuffed in a box and stored in the attic or the basement. Some of us feel okay about tossing them in the recycling bin. That&#39;s environmentally friendly, right? But still it feels rather disrespectful.</p> <p>What if there was a way to honor the beauty and intentions behind your received Christmas cards, while at the same time allowing you to get rid of the darned things without guilt? By cannibalizing the cards your friends and family send you, you can save your conscience, save the earth, and save a buck.</p> <p>This all started with my annual December 26 bargain hunting mission. On this day each year, I purchase cards for the following year. The cards I liked best this year were sets of &quot;make your own&quot; blank cards that come with decorations you can glue on (I got them from Dollar Tree on 50% off clearance). I thought it would be fun to send a unique hand made Christmas card to everyone on my list next year. </p> <p>When I got home, I couldn&#39;t wait to get started. I don&#39;t usually have time to spend an afternoon playing around with scissors and glue, so it was quite a treat. I learned early on that with home made Christmas cards, less is more. This Christmas card started out looking pretty good. Then I went and glued on some gold sequins. Notice the strings of hot glue and the uneven spacing? Don&#39;t do that. I&#39;m going to have my son inscribe this one. That will render it from pathetic to adorable. </p> <p><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2147/2144260393_b0d5aa7cbb_m.jpg" alt="Messy Santa Card" title="Less is More" width="240" height="222" /></p> <p>A lot of my cards turned out pretty nice, though. And if they looked home made, it was in a good way. Soon, I was out of ideas. I had a little square of gold-foil covered cardstock I wanted to use, but nothing to stick on top of it. Glancing around, my eye fell on the display of Christmas cards in our dining room. It wasn&#39;t long before I found the perfect image to glue on top of my gold foil, and I came up with this:</p> <p><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2189/2144258843_de8f9677a3_m.jpg" alt="Mary, Joseph, Jesus Card" title="Recycled manger scene" width="240" height="207" /></p> <p>It was my nicest card. I found many other pictures and motifs to reuse among our collection of cards. </p> <p>To make your own cards, you can start with a kit like I did. (Promise me you will only buy them on clearance, though.) Or you can use a nice heavy paper or cardstock. In addition to pieces cut out from other cards, you can use stickers, rub-on ornament decorations (I had good luck with these), craft foam shapes, glitter glue, crayons, feathers--really, the sky&#39;s the limit. This is a great project for kids, and you can work them at it, sweatshop style, during those long winter, spring, and summer vacations. (&quot;Make another one for Aunt Violet, and this time I want you to really <em>feel</em> it!&quot;) </p> <p>Now I suppose you could argue that buying ready-made cards is just as cheap. And you would be right. But cards left over after Christmas tend not to be the cream of the crop. Sometimes the designs are cheesy. Or, the design might be beautiful, but the message inside too religious, too secular, or simply too weird to actually send to all of your friends and family. By creating my own cards I am able to send my loved ones exactly what I want them to have, which is a holiday greeting that will make them feel loved and appreciated. And if the card they receive is a frankensteinian re-creation of a card they themselves sent, it just might make them smile, too. Best of all, what to do with it is now their problem. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/catherine-shaffer">Catherine Shaffer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reusing-your-christmas-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-recycle-and-reuse-old-t-shirts">15 Ways to Recycle and Reuse Old T-shirts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects">18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-ways-to-use-old-newspaper">17 Ways to Use Old Newspaper</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pretty-projects-for-pine-cones">5 Pretty Projects for Pine Cones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living crafts frugal living Fri, 28 Dec 2007 23:37:38 +0000 Catherine Shaffer 1552 at http://www.wisebread.com Living within your means isn't nasty http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sunday times with grandfather's hat.jpg" alt="Sunday Times with my grandfather&#039;s hat" title="Sunday Times with my grandfather&#039;s hat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="221" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How bad could things get? The New York Times asked that question about the economic situation. It&#39;s a good question, but they gave a really bad answer.</p> <p>Here&#39;s what the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/weekinreview/25goodman.html?ex=1353646800&amp;en=d86bc5397faf7872&amp;ei=5090&amp;partner=rssuserland&amp;emc=rss">New York Times had to say</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>How bad could things get? Pretty bad, say many economists. Not so bad that your grandfather’s prescriptions for enduring the Great Depression need dusting off, but nasty enough to force many Americans to get reacquainted with living within their means. That could make life uncomfortable.</p> </blockquote> <p>Okay, the title of this post is unfair. Peter S. Goodman (the author of the piece) didn&#39;t say that living within your means was nasty, he said that about the economy. He said living within your means was &quot;uncomfortable,&quot; but that&#39;s still completely wrong: living within your means is the only comfortable way to live.</p> <p>Over time, living within your means eliminates all your financial worries--no worries about debts, no worries about making ends meet, no worries about retirement.</p> <p>I have no idea what Goodman&#39;s grandfather had to say about surviving the Great Depression, but my relatives of that generation had plenty of good, sound, timeless advice. In fact, &quot;dusting it off&quot; and sharing it with people is a good bit of what this blog is about.</p> <p>Most of this country&#39;s economic problems stem from two sources--people&#39;s desire to get something for nothing and people&#39;s desire to live beyond their means. The first leads to small foolish actions, like <a href="/creating-an-artificial-windfall-generator">buying lottery tickets</a> and day trading. The second leads to larger foolish actions, like <a href="/good-debt-bad-debt">borrowing money</a> to take a &quot;well-earned&quot; vacation. Put both together, though, and you can get some really big foolish actions, like <a href="/how-the-subprime-lending-boom-hurt-everybody">buying houses you can&#39;t afford</a>, hoping to flip them at a profit.</p> <p>We&#39;ll know things are getting better when &quot;living within your means&quot; is once again viewed as common sense, and not as the sort of old-hat notion that might be dusted off and considered when things get nasty.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-within-your-means-isnt-nasty">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-living-frugally-hurt-the-economy">Does living frugally hurt the economy?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preparing-for-a-recession">Preparing for a Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-last-person-to-leave-america-please-turn-out-the-light">Could the last person to leave America please turn out the light.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stag-hyperinflation">Stag-hyperinflation?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living depression Economy frugal living frugality recession Mon, 26 Nov 2007 17:33:42 +0000 Philip Brewer 1430 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy Ways to be Nicer to the Environment and Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/green living.JPG" alt="Live Earth" title="Live Earth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="250" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <div style="margin: 1em; float: right;"><script type="text/javascript"> digg_url = 'http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet'; </script> <script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript"></script></div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In recognition of upcoming Blog Action Day, I have ten easy suggestions for improving your lifestyle and the environment. Thank you to Joanna Yarrow's <a target="_blank" href="/%3Ca%20mce_thref=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2F1001-Ways-Earth-Joanna-Yarrow%2Fdp%2F081185986X%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1191978044%26sr%3D8-1&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325%22%3E1,001%20Ways%20To%20Save%20The%20Earth%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20mce_tsrc=%22http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1%22%20width=%221%22%20height=%221%22%20border=%220%22%20alt=%22%22%20style=%22border:none%20%21important;%20margin:0px%20%21important;%22%20/%3E">1,001 Ways To Save The Earth</a> for providing me with the creative inspiration. </span></p> <h2><span> 1. Make Your Jeans Walk The Mile</span></h2> <p><span>Believe it or not, 3/4 of a pound of fertilizers and pesticides are used to produce one pair of jeans. But thanks to Myscha's <a target="_blank" href="/twenty-five-things-to-do-with-old-jeans">recent popular article</a>, there are at least 25 things you can do that will keep your torn up tattered denims from being a waste.</span></p> <h2><span>2. Dry Cleaning Isn't Dry Cleaning Anymore</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>It isn't dry, and when you think of all the chemicals used to dry clean your fancy duds, it isn't really clean either. Try not to buy clothes that require dry cleaning. If you must, then try to space out trips to the dry cleaners by taking care to air out your outfits between wearings. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Also believe it or not, some clothes that are &quot;dry clean only&quot; can in fact get washed on the cold cycle. Certainly heed this advice with caution, but I've done many a delicate load with my &quot;dry clean only&quot; duds and not had any troubles.</span></p> <h2>3. And If You Must Dry Clean, Get Rid of Those Hangers!</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In my dry-cleaning days, I had more hangers than I did clothes. Take your extra dry cleaning hangers back to the dry cleaner for recycling. They'll save money on their own overhead, and you'll also help them save the environment from further hanger consumption. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>4. It Doesn't Have to Be Scalding Hot to Clean</span></h2> <ul> <li><span>Speaking of washing clothes, try using a cooler cycle than what you are used to. Nine times out of ten your clothes aren't so dirty that they absolutely require the hot wash, and you'll save 30-60% of the energy consumed using the hot cycle. </span></li> <li><span>When it comes to drying, don't over-dry your clothes, and consider using the cool-down cycle to utilize the residual heat in the dryer. </span></li> <li><span>Even better, consider line drying your clothes. </span></li> <li><span>If you're in the market for a new washer or dryer, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.energysavers.gov/tips/laundry.cfm">this site</a> has some great tips on what to look for to save both energy costs and the environment. </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>5. Iron Clad Pots &amp; Pans</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Although they may cost a little more at the outset, a good set of cast-iron pots and pans will last a lifetime (or two), and is more energy efficient than many other kinds. With the superior performance and non-stick qualities, you'll also turn out some of the best home-cooked meals you've had in years.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>6. Car Washing Is A Gas!</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>When I owned a car, I loved to have it clean. I mean sparkly clean. But it meant many trips to the car wash, which was both expensive and a waste of energy and resources. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Of course, I tried to visit car washes with a <strong>water-recycling system</strong> (which recycles 95% of the water), but that wasn't always possible. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>For those more disciplined than I, you can save some money, and heck - burn some extra calories - by washing the car yourself, and hold off on the hose; use a bucket and sponge to <em>save extra 20 gallons of water consumption</em> over using the hose. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Really into this idea? Better yet, use a rain barrel to catch rainwater for your car washes. The properties of rain water are actually more beneficial for getting the dirt off your car and keeping it shiny longer. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>7. Cancel The Gym Membership</span></h2> <ul> <li><span>Huge energy is consumed to light and air condition your gym, and power all the machines. All to allow you to <em>pretend</em> you're climbing stairs, riding a bike, or running in the park. Why not try <em>actually</em> climbing the stairs, riding a bike, or running in the park?</span></li> <li><span>I already showed you <a target="_blank" href="/how-to-turn-a-video-game-system-into-a-gym-membership">one way</a> to reduce your gym membership fees, but here are a few more: </span></li> <li><span>Find a way to volunteer for a conservation project. You'll not only help the environment by planting trees or maintaining public green spaces, but you'll also burn a ton of calories doing so!</span></li> <li><span>If you can, bike to work. You will actually inhale <em>less</em> pollution than your counterparts who are sitting in their cars in bumper to bumper traffic. And if the commute is too painful to bicycle the old fashioned way, <strong>try an electric bicycle</strong> to help you pedal.</span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <h2><span>8. Cut Down On Your Pens</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I never knew where they come from, but if you saw my pen collection five years ago you'd say I had an obsession. Now there's only one pen I actually use, and it's a really nice refillable ball-point pen given to me as a present exactly five years ago. Not only does it write beautifully, feel great in my hands, and the refills are cheap, but it saves all those crappy disposable pens from filling dumps. </span><span> <br /> </span></p> <h2><span>9. Recycle Your Cell Phone, and Pocket Some Cash</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In this day and age of having not only a functional but fashionable cell phone, we seem to replace them more and more frequently. Of course you can donate your old phone to local charities, or give it back to the retailer for recycling, but you can also find a service like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pacebutler.com/">this one</a> that will actually purchase your used cell phone from you. </span><span> <br /> </span></p> <h2><span>10. Be Frugal</span></h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Just being frugal not only saves your wallet, but helps to keep the planet green. In the age of consumption and abundance, it is easy to absolutely have to have the latest this and the most popular that. Before you put your <a target="_blank" href="/a-guaranteed-way-to-avoid-impulse-credit-card-purchases">credit card</a> down to pay for the latest impulse gizmo though, consider your actual needs. Will this item be truly useful to you, and a positive addition to your life? Can you live without it? </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Seventeen million heated toilet seats have already been sold worldwide, and one of the manufacturers of heated toilet seats projects sales of over 400,000 a year to North Americans alone. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Reality check, anyone?</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>Don't miss another tip from Wise Bread. <strong><a href="http://www.feedburner.com/fb/a/emailverifySubmit?feedId=601373">Subscribe to our articles via email</a> or <a href="http://feeds.killeraces.com/wisebread">RSS feed</a>.</strong></em></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-be-nicer-to-the-environment-and-your-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-green-is-good-but-isnt-always-better">4 Reasons Why Green is Good, But Isn&#039;t Always Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-old-neckties">New Ideas for Old Neckties</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reusing-your-christmas-cards">Reusing Your Christmas Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-celebrate-earth-day">How to Celebrate Earth Day</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living blog action day environmentally friendly tips frugal living green living Thu, 11 Oct 2007 00:46:43 +0000 Nora Dunn 1274 at http://www.wisebread.com