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Archive for August, 2009

Frugal strategy number two

August 31st, 2009 at 01:10 pm

I don't drive...that is in some respects an obvious way to save, no insurance for me, no car, no gas, no car related expenses.

But there is more to it than that.

For one thing, I can't sign my kids up for tons of classes, nor take them tons of places every day. Not that I have anything against 'stuff'. Just that I have to be very choosy so that most activities are done when my husband is around to drive, or when a wonderful friend will drive me (in return for gas money) I know many a broke person who thinks nothing of spending hundreds a month on different children's classes. I believe children need a great deal of 'down time' to create their own play, too much driving form one class to another takes away that time.

Another more useful result of not driving, when I am out of something, I HAVE to make do, I do not live less than 2 miles from a grocery store, or any other store for that matter. So if I am out of something, I must improvise.

You can sub for just about anything.

Out of one kind of tape, use another, or use glue, or creative folding, or a stapler.

Spaghetti sauce on rice is perfectly edible. Seriously, make it spicier and it is called 'Spanish rice' Really rice can be a base for anything you would put on pasta, or potatoes, and vice versa.

Most dishes can manage without a spice or two, baking as well. and most items in a recipe have a decent trade available. google em Smile. When cooking it helps to know the type of taste you need to replace (sweet, hot, acid, whatever) or chemical habit of the item (binding, rising, ect)

Crafts are great examples, use a bobby pin instead of a paper clip, or a paper clip instead of a 'brad'. Look at what you have, not at what you think you need, I am always surprised at how inventive I can be when neccessary.

When I teach the kids a new game, or math concept, or science, I often find instructions calling for certain 'manipulatives' (items you can move). If I know the point I can sub. For example, 'teddy bears' are often used to count or graph. I have a bucket full of miscellaneous animals to count, and duplos are uniform in size enough to graph. No cash spent.

Need some shapes for tessellations? google and print em. Science is a little more random, but so long as you know what you are trying to do, you can fake it at least part way.

Not that any of my inventions will be winning awards, nor being paid for. But that isn't the point. Making a craft with the kids or playing a game, or cooking isn't about making money. It is about having fun without spending.


August 28th, 2009 at 01:43 am

A list of things I have spent 1K or more on....

1. Multiple cars over the years
2. House
3. One of my rings, might have? I only recall that it cost way more than needed.
4. husbands non college education, well over 1K on no degree. and no real life skills either (though in his defense he started with chemical engineering, fun, but not applicable to computers really.)
5. Oh yeah, one of the many dental trips prolly topped 1K...combined they certainly do!
6. Forgot JC's birth, several of her medical bills (simple, easy delivery, no complications) were over 1K, total around 5K for all. UE was over 1K all added up, but no one bill was that high.
7. El's birth was also over 1K I think? or it could have been 800? I am so not good with numbers Smile

Umm, that's it. While the sum total of replacing the computer might cost more than 1K, the parts were bought bit by bit as they went on sale, so not 1K all at one time.

Even the vacation to DC was less than 1K. (and all other trips less than that)

My secret weapon against spending

August 26th, 2009 at 01:44 pm

I actually have several strategies for keeping out of the store, but the strangest I think is the 'liquid gold' theory. So named after someone long ago in my youth said perfume was so expensive they must have bottled up gold. Needless to say I still do not wear perfume regularly.

When I was a kid I was convinced that the price of foil was so high you might as well be wrapping your food in gold; which you then throw away. We hardly ever used it, and I was surprised to find, after years of not listening to directions to use it, that a box was only a couple bucks.

I still to this day have difficulty using foil, I own some and use it for a few recipes (fudgie brownies). But I had to discover the stuff wasn't so expensive before I would use it. (generally a lid for covering, and oil for greasing make it unneeded)

I make this work for other expenses. I avoid knowing how cheap something is and assume the price is too high. This keeps me in the mindset of 'I can't afford it'. I happen to have a terrible memory (really terrible) so I find it easy to forget if I happen to see the price of anything.

The reverse of this is used to sell items all the time. Infomercials break down costs into 'low monthly payments'. Disney suggests a trip is 'less than you'd expect'. (since I expect it to cost a years salary, less than that is easy, affordable is another story)

Any frugal person knows to add up all the monthly payments plus fees before considering an item, but a non number cruncher like me can turn it into a 'gold' item..I just assume that three monthly payments of 39.99 would be way too much for any gadget, no math needed. Smile

Items I figure must be 'liquid gold' include (but are not limited too)
-disposable products
-convenience foods
-junk food, chewy chips ahoy cost an arm and a leg don't they?
-Newfangled gadgets, it took years before we found a flat panel monitor that was less than gold plated.

I still don't know what foil costs, but paying for something you are going to throw away seems a bit strange anyway.

Camp fail!

August 10th, 2009 at 02:54 am

First of all remind me never to go camping on the same day we give blood!

Second remind me to make GMC eat a LOT. This is the third time he has gotten sick while camping; I am amazed we still go!

But he does love it, and he especially loved how this time he got to look at the planets and ask lots of cool questions of a true Astronomer.

First of which was if he could look through a telescope and see the volcanoes on IO. Apparently you need Hubble for that.

Fortunately we were backyard camping only 15 minutes from home, so we made it home and to sleep relatively easily, and managed our early day to church..with 2 meetings after, and being in charge of Fellowship on the walkway. (food in between services for all to share)

IF this FB game is accurate, the companies are doing it all wrong

August 5th, 2009 at 02:49 pm

I just had a challenge on FB to get 35,000 customers. Now a day is like 4 minutes, so I do have unlimited time, but.

I set the ticket price at $1 (down from $20) and went from 20K visitors to 35K in just a few 'days'. My profit went from 100K a day to 200K a day. Seems to me charging less and having more folk in is better than charging more and having less folk.

Now I do know that not all facilities for 20K folk can be expanded to fit 30K in just a month, but I still wonder if companies are not all shooting themselves in the foot to charge so much.

Take books. I enjoy a good book, and I read plenty, but at todays prices, I use the library, or the internet archives. (old ones where the copy write has expired). On the other hand if the books were cheaper, or if current books were available with a few ads on the side, I would read them more.

Movies/TV I rarely ever pay for, but I do frequent Hulu. A couple ads is an easy price to pay for my favorite shows.

Cleaning, I would pay a 10 year old a couple bucks to sweep my floor and tidy my bathroom, but I wont pay an adult 40K a year to do the same.

Video games, and computer games suffer the same problems, I would pay 20 or maybe a rare 30 for a decent game, but 40, 50 or even 60? Never gonna happen from me.

There has to be a mathematical equation showing the relationship between price and folks willingness to pirate. I think that while there will always be folk who pirate to avoid even a dollar, but there are many more who would rather pay a reasonable price for a reasonable product.

August 5th, 2009 at 02:26 pm