Friday, April 18, 2008

"No, frugality is not a dirty word..."

I remember a person telling me that he had 'FUM'
money (like fee, fie, foe, fum) - when I asked him what that was, he said: F#*($
U Money....

For some reason, he felt he had to have lots of
MONEY in order to 'win' - to be 'somebody'. Now if money would buy
everything, Donald Trump would have decent hair, and Bill Gates would look like
George Clooney!

There's nothing wrong with being frugal; nothing wrong with announcing to your friends and family that you've adopted that life-style. There's every thing right with treating your hard-earned income, with the greatest of respect; not frittering it away to the delight of your friends.

If you have to 'buy' your respect; your
friends, and even love, then you're hanging out with the wrong

As we all come to know the meaning of being
less wasteful not only with money, but with our natural resources, we can truly
take pride as we tackle the 'art of recession' as an opportunity to challenge
our own independence to think and spend for ourselves; not follow the line of
least resistance, and brag about how many pairs of shoes we have in our closet -
or how much we wasted on a vacation that we could have enjoyed right at

There are some fun and low-cost ideas for your children (and some are for you), that you can check out - Put a smile on your face, and some money in the bank at the same time.

Let’s talk a few minutes about things that impact us over which we have no control – I’ll call them ‘Outside Forces’….

First: I spent nearly an hour writing up a myriad of solutions to those ‘outside forces’ that affect us financially, then without warning – my computer ‘crashed’…all that data was lost – OUTSIDE FORCES…

Now: I decided since the I-net is unreliable, I’ll draft this into Microsoft Word – once completed, I’ll save; then ‘cut and paste’ – overcoming ‘outside forces’….

Outside forces: Gasoline prices! We car-pool. We drive
less. We don’t take that long-distance vacation. We think – we get
creative, but we often ‘resent’….

We think of that Ethanol – we realize what’s being ‘forced on us’; we realize
that what was a food product, now will be a fuel for transportation – we realize
people will be hungry; possibly ‘starving’ because of the OUTSIDE

We can not control the government; the laws – state, city;
we feel such a loss of independence; control, and personal freedom. This
makes us angry – this means we have to get INVOLVED with others, to try to
over-turn, or even BOYCOTT and boy have I boycotted and gotten results in my
many years!

We can REFUSE to buy something that we see has been deliberately increased in price – when we know we’re being taken advantage of, we can STOP BY STOPPING…and asking others to join us. Boycotts only work when you get a strong enough following….

I boycotted red meat in 1969; our local market had to drop the price because everyone joined in, and the meat was ‘rotting’ in the show-case.

I boycotted coffee; tea became my drink of choice – in our area, prices dropped 50% because everyone else joined in.

Make sure you boycott ‘peacefully’ – hostility and anger only create negative results; negative news, and violence can not be part of our reaction to ‘tough times’.

OUTSIDE FORCES: All the replacement
televisions; my mother will get hit on 2/09 – she lives on $1,000/month – she’ll
have a new t.v. because I’m saving right now; $100/month (x) 9 months = $900 for
mom’s new television. I vow that my mother will not ‘suffer’ from outside
forces any more than I can personally do to prevent it.

DVD’s – all those we no longer watch; shipped them to mother – now she has ‘new
movies’….she loves them.

CD’s – same; trade with friends – give to
your parents or people who have lesser income than you do; the gift of

Books: Of course – trade; scan those chapters you
liked ‘the best’ – put in a note-book; now give that book to another…

Garage sales: A community sale; then before you ‘go public’, TRADE – no charge – one to another; after that, announce your ‘sale’…don’t expect to make a huge sum of money, but expect to meet your neighbors; those that stop by might be a ‘contact’ for the future – a friend – a resource.

Community Service: I use my business and legal back-ground (now that I’m retired) to offer (at no charge) to help others; lots of hours – lots of accomplishment – lots of smiles; I love ‘lots’….

Location, location, location: When we bought our retirement ‘spot’, we made sure we could walk to the library; park, grocery, and post office. We have a bus stop right outside our front gate – we know we can ‘park the car’ if necessary.

We use our ‘legs’ to walk; keeps the weight down – the circulation up, and maintains our health and vitality (2 assets during tough times).

Mass transporting: We tell our neighbors when we’ll be taking things to Good-Will. We have to spend $10 round-trip for gas, to take our items; we realize others do the same. So, we have our neighbors bring their items; all goes into our motor-home (lots of space inside of course); they give us $2 for gas – they save time and money; we have the time and the gas money now that each has contributed just a little bit….

We avoid buying ‘disposable items’ such as costly bags; containers, and the like
for ‘storing foods’ – all of this is ‘trashed’, and we don’t need that for our
environment or our pocket-book.

We cut up old clothes that aren’t
suited for giving to Good-Will; they become polishing cloths; cleaning cloths –
cloths to wrap delicate items that we ship across the miles.

We ‘recycle’, by cleaning many of the containers, and ‘recycling’ them right in our own home – using them again and again…we’ve got the time as retired; we make our time ‘pay’ in a different way now.

Empty food boxes (or any sturdy, sizeable box) become ‘file boxes’ for old magazines; photos – receipts; anything that we want to store ‘upright’, and put on the shelves of our spare closet. I cover them with either remnants of fabric (on sale) or plastic self-stick laminating material. They’re labeled with a bold-tip felt-marker; up they go…no more $3.99 each for those magazine holders…..

An old brick from an 1879 building is my paper-weight; it is my burger press after it’s wrapped with foil, and after we eat the burger it is that paper-weight again (or a door stop when I want a wee bit o’ fresh air coming through home, and I need to keep the wind from slapping the door against the wall). I love my old brick – it’s a reminder that being the ‘strong, silent type’ isn’t all bad when you have to quietly go about resolving your own financial situation in life – or making a decision that is personal to you, and is absolutely no one’s business….

I use 4x6 photos that simply didn’t come out ‘perfect’, as post cards…they mail beautifully, and I save on spending 50 cents per card; postage is less than first class, and with a post card I’m about as ‘brief’ as I’ll ever be when it comes to writing….

OUTSIDE FORCES: Holidays – get rid of that ‘commercialism’! This is what I did last year:

Turkey Day: Bring your favorite dish to share – I provide the ‘turkey only’.

Christmas: We donate to charity – in the name of those we love.

Gifts under the tree? We bring our own gift. Yup
– no one complains about the color of the shirt. No one has to exchange
for a different ‘size… No one says: “Hey, I spent twice as much on
you, as you did on me!” No one is disappointed. No one has to wrap a
gift; it’s in the original container – no one even has to remove a price

Christmas foods? Just like Turkey-Day!
Years: No booze; no hang-overs; gatherings are like Turkey and Christmas

Halloween: You make your own costume; we all gather –
pizza and fun, and a $20 prize goes to the winner (that means about $3 to $4
from each family to create that prize money, is the sum-total of that

Halloween: Trick or Treat? We ‘treat’ – we
all pool money; we visit a family we know needs a few dollars, and we ‘treat’
them….that’s it!

Mom’s Day: Hugs and phone calls; visits – cards must be home-made; no gifts.

Dad’s Day: - Repeat Mom’s Day.

Valentine’s Day: Cards only – home-made or e-cards.

Easter: Coloring ‘real eggs’; dip a few in strong coffee (old coffee –
save it)…pretty brown. Grape-juice – drink some; dunk eggs in the rest –
great purple. Leave some eggs ‘white’. Balance of the eggs are
colored with felt markers…cute faces; polka-dots – fun! Going green?
Soft-boil those eggs with your spinach – a light ‘khaki’ .

designs? Just spread a little Vaseline in random spots of the egg; put
into the color, and the Vaseline ‘repels’ the color; wipe, dry –

Do you want to eat the eggs? Do you want to peel the
eggs first? If so, you can do all this – use the coffee; grape-juice…it
only takes a small amount of each to saturate the peeled egg, to give it a
pastel color. Play with this – have fun; we’re not saving tons of money
here, but we sure are learning how to be creative now aren’t we….

Wear ‘house clothes’: We buy those big over-sized t-shirts; always on sale, and much more comfortable. We reduced the wash-loads from 1 a day to 2 a week; that saves money and we don’t need to ‘dress fancy’ when we’re at home banging on our computers, or reading a good book.

Two pairs of old socks: Ah, warm feet – padding around the house; we don’t track in dirt with our shoes (those stay at the door in the closet). We don’t stain the rug; we don’t care if the bottoms of the socks get a bit ‘dirty’ – it helps us to remember to keep the the carpet clean and prevents streaks and smudges on that nice tiled kitchen floor.

HAIR CARE: Wash once a week; saves on shampoo costs. In
between: Brush some baking soda through your hair; put an old sock over
the brush first – picks up oil; keeps the hair

COSMETICS: I’ve never (as a woman) worn liquid or
pancake make-up in my life; never worn powder – one color of eye-shadow (brown
only since shadows don’t come in purple). Vaseline on my eye-lashes; keeps
them soft – mascara only for ‘dress-up’. I mix Vaseline with my lipstick –
that’s my ‘blush’ if I’m not already blushing from the sun or
embarrassment…. Lipgloss is 99 cent Chapstick – not something that’s
$3.99 with a ‘brand name’.

PERFUMES: A few good ones for
‘special times’; the rest of the time, both my husband and I share a
fresh-smelling after-shave – splash it on; smell fresh, not like a spice

HAIR-SPRAYS: I use men’s hair-spray lightly; it’s
half the cost of the women’s brands….

45 years I’ve cut my own children’s hair – I’ve been to the hair-dressers once
in my life; after I paid their prices, I took care of my own….

roll my hair up in ‘rollers’. I start with the low row of rollers; unwind
that row – cut until it’s all even. Then comes the next row up; down comes
the hair – it’s cut even and on and on, until it’s all done, and I’m delighted
because it’s just so easy and never fails.

nail polish for me; we weren’t born with red nails, I don’t want them. I
rub Vaseline into the nails 3 times a day; it leaves a tiny ‘gloss’ – makes them
plenty pretty to suit me.

– but, because I bought only ‘good pieces’, I’m still wearing the same beautiful
jewelry I was wearing when I started working at age 19. I only used
jewelry as part of my ‘business get-up’; or my ‘party outfit’…cared for each
piece by putting it safely away; keeping it clean, and none is brought out of
the box except for those special times.

‘figure’; maintain your weight, and you’ll still be climbing into those clothes
30 years later as I am……

‘show’ – let nature take its course; stay healthy, and enjoy the ‘change’ in
your face and body as you start to look like that grandmother you always thought
had such twinkley eyes and beautiful white hair.

PLEASE: Nothing looks worse than trying to ‘change your appearance and
age’…you were born with that hair color; enjoy what you were given – pay nothing
to change it.

LET THE AGE SPOTS SHOW: Badges of honor and
confirmation that you are the age you say you are; and say the age you are….be
proud of it!

No, not really – there are ‘dollar savings’ by adopting an attitude; a
belief – an awareness of who you are, and why you don’t need to change the hair
on your head; the color of your hair, and only need to possibly change the way
your spend your hard-earned money!