Mary Beth Writes

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

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

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

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

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

 ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Frugality Hacks or how I saved $64,000,000, so far.

I read the ‘frugal things I did’ letters in other people’s huge and interesting frugality blogs. I figured I could list some of the ways I saved some money this week (this life). I’m pleased to say I saved about 64 Million.

Quarantine Diary #645 - Granola

Two recent tweets : Someone named Kate Harding tweeted; “What haunts me is that I am not just smart enough for so many people to be this much stupider than me.”

And from Di, Obstinate Hoper; “I’m starting to think of pandemic caution like labor: buckle down during peaks, relax a little between them. Hang in there, folks. It’s a damn long labor.”

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.

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