Mary Beth Writes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes?

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

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

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

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

Oh the places the internet can take you.

Here are some of Nick Kristof’s recommendations

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

 

Comments

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

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

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

You betcha!

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Frugal? Road Trip to New Mexico

If our finances were stretched we wouldn’t have gone to New Mexico. We are doing fine despite the advice that says one ought to retire with a million dollars in the bank. Imagine that.

1. We and, at this point, about half the nation, have had our Covid vaccines so we felt safe and ready to see something new. However, we traveled to a place where they had worked WITH the effort to fight this pandemic. This limited our choices and is the #1 reason we didn’t go to the Badlands. How we spend $ is our power.

The Mindful Chickens are Wordy Today

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

  • Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).
  • Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.
  • Paying attention to the constant tumble of dollars and choices.

This is my collection of wise choices and dastardly schemes from the last two months.

ONE: Our electric toothbrush/water pick would no longer hold a charge but a new one costs more than $100. Len took it to the battery store where they replaced it for $15.

Mindful Chickens - Plastic & Hunger 12/20/2020

I went for a walk on Wednesday and saw this mitten on a sidewalk. When I was at the same spot on Friday, it was still there, so I brought it home because it is a hand-knitted kid mitten, ya know? Any knitters out there interested in making it a mate, so that we could give it to a kid in my community or your? It's 7" from top to ribbed bottom. 

...

The point of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money while being mindful of the environment and our human values. We can try, right?

Holy Mackerel! Mindful Chickens 12/12/2020

Yamiche and Weijia licking out the mackerel bowl this morning.

...

I said I would write “mindful things” we did this week. The agenda of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money plus be mindful of the environment and our other values at the same time. Sometimes, one of those purposes wins over the other, but we can think before we spend, right?

1. I cut my hair. This is not a particular skill of mine, but I can do it well enough to not look like the Pittsburgh Paint Dutch boy.

Who Let the Chickens Out?

Mindful Chickens i.e., being frugal and living by our values instead of by blithering consumerism is how this blog started. Yet I seldom post lists anymore about choices Len and I make that hit that marker because I can tell from who follows me that this is not why most of you are here.

But today I have a lot of things I want to accomplish. Preparing the Light Posts takes me a long time so I am not going to do one – I do plan to be back at it Monday.

7-6-2020 Mindful QUARANTINED Chickens

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

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

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