Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘frugality

Interview with Vicki Robin

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Vicki Robin is the co-author (with Joe Dominguez) of the book Your Money or Your Life, which describes a process of changing your relationship with money. (At the link, you can pick up a copy for $1.) The Simple Dollar has an interview with her that’s worth reading. It begins:

If someone were to walk away from “Your Money or Your Life” with just one idea in their head, what would you like that idea to be?

If people walk away with one idea I would pick “money is life energy”. We live in a financial, economic and money system that to most of us is incomprehensible, out of our control and unfair – yet vital to our survival. Seeing money this way, we are stuck in the scramble to get some of that thing out there into our wallets so we can get what we want and need. In reaction to that, we develop ideas about what money means – prestige, power, bad, good, a tool of the devil, evidence of God’s blessings, helpful, harmful. our daily transactions with the pieces of paper and metal and plastic in our wallets are distorted by these unconscious – so doubly powerful – emotionally-charged ideas. Plus we live inside a collective delusion that more is always better (more stuff, money, prestige, power, love, etc.) – which drives us to stress, clutter and debt, never having questioned that assumption or discovered how much is enough for us. When you understand money as YOUR life energy, the hours of your life you invest to put dollars in your wallet, you translate it into something knowable… and limited: the hours of your life. This transforms spending because you see everything from a cup of coffee to a new car in terms of “does this merit the hours of my life invested to get it” rather than “I want it, I deserve it, everyone else has one, expense be damned I’ll put it on my credit card.”

What is the biggest change in the overall message of the book since it was first printed?

Continue reading. You can find more info at FinancialIntegrity.org, which is the foundation that she and Joe Dominguez and others created. As she says:

Joe, I and others created New Road Map Foundation in 1984 as basket to take in money from our teaching and — without retaining any money for ourselves — give it away to organizations concerned with a sustainable future. The design was to give people practical tools and perspectives to transform and liberate themselves in three areas: money, relationships, and health — and to financially support others supporting the sustainability shift.

Written by Leisureguy

1 March 2009 at 7:34 am

Posted in Daily life

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Good breakfast idea

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The Simple Dollar has an excellent post on fixing the week’s breakfast burritos on Sunday, to freeze and then microwave each morning before going out the door:

I’m a big believer in eating a good breakfast to start your day. A healthy, high-protein, low-fat breakfast provides the fuel you need to get going in the morning.

The problem is that most mornings are really busy. When your alarm goes off, you have to take a shower, get dressed, find your stuff, complete a little task or two, and if you have kids, help them get ready for the day as well. To put it simply, most mornings we don’t have time to prepare such a breakfast.

Of course, one could stop by a fast food place or a coffee shop for a quick breakfast, but that eats five or ten minutes during the commute – and is ridiculously expensive, too. A tiny breakfast burrito from a fast food restaurant costs two bucks, is pretty unhealthy, and doesn’t taste all that great, either. A cup of coffee and a pastry from Starbucks might hit the spot, but is it really worth five or six bucks every day?

My solution to all of these problems is pretty simple: just make a big batch of healthy breakfast burritos during the weekend and freeze them up. Not only are the burritos really healthy, they’re also very cheap to prepare, and they’re very convenient in the morning since you can microwave them as you’re getting ready and eat them on the go.

You can make a big pile of healthy, tasty breakfast burritos for less than seventy five cents a pop in less than an hour. In fact, I recently did it myself and I’ll walk you through the whole process…

Continue reading for the entire illustrated process, step by step.

Written by Leisureguy

21 February 2009 at 8:29 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes & Cooking

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Frugal Food & Fitness

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SquawkFox offers a free eBook, Frugal Food & Fitness, that looks quite good—I just downloaded it and in looking through already have found some good stuff. And it’s free, so what’s the prob?

Written by Leisureguy

23 January 2009 at 8:23 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Health

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Frugality tips for summer

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Trent Hamm of The Simple Dollar has some good frugality tactics he’s discovered.

Written by Leisureguy

29 July 2008 at 11:21 am

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Frugal living

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With the economy tanking and oil prices likely to increase due to increasing demand and flat supply, frugal living is willy nilly a matter of interest for many. This site may be helpful, and of course I highly recommend Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin—and $1 is a frugal price for it (at the link).

Written by Leisureguy

27 July 2008 at 10:41 am

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A money-free weekend

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The Simple Dollar has a long list of things to do that fill a weekend with no money spent. He explains:

About a year ago, I offered up the idea of the money-free weekend:

For the last few months, my wife and I have been doing something every other weekend or so that we call a “money free” weekend, in an effort to live more frugally. It’s actually quite fun – here’s how we do it.

We are not allowed to spend any money on anything, no matter what. In other words, we can’t make a run to the store to buy food, we can’t spend money on any sort of entertainment, and so on. Since we often do our grocery shopping on Saturdays, on a “money free” weekend, we delay it to Monday or Tuesday.

We can use our utilities, but no extra expenses on these utilities. No renting movies on cable, no text messages that aren’t already covered by our cell phone plan, and so on.

I followed this up with fifteen things to do during such a weekend, fifteen more things to do, and fifteen deeply fulfilling things to do during such a weekend.

Since then, lots of people have sent me ideas for activities for money-free weekends, plus we’ve uncovered a bunch of our own. At the same time, many readers have asked for a master list of all of these ideas.

So, here we go – one hundred fun ways to spend a money free weekend. The list below includes the first forty-five (with duplicates removed), plus about sixty new ones. Print this off and use it as a checklist or a thumbnail guide for your own money-free weekend. Please note that everyone’s interests are different – you probably won’t find everything on this list fun and neither will someone else, but the two lists won’t overlap (I can think of countless things other people find fun that I find utterly dreadful). Anyway, here goes!

Take a look and give it a go.

Written by Leisureguy

17 July 2008 at 3:55 pm

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Shaving frugality

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In thinking about shaving frugality, consider the Astra Superior Platinum blade, which is, for most, an excellent blade. (Like any brand, it works for some and not for others, hence the sampler packs.) You can buy 1100 of them for $100. That’s just a tiny bit over 9¢ a blade. Or, to put it another way, if the blade lasts a week, which is reasonable, that’s 1100 weeks of shaving, or just over 21 years—about $4.75 a year for blades. Compare that with the cost of 21 years of Gillette Fusion Power disposable cartridges. Assume a cartridge lasts 2 weeks. 21 years is thus 546 cartridges, or (at $26 for 8 cartridges, the price I find on Amazon) $1,775, or $1,675 more than enjoyable shaving would cost (for blades alone).

Written by Leisureguy

11 April 2008 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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Make your own laundry detergent

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I suspect that, as the recession really sets in, people are going to embrace frugality like never before. This entertaining post at The Simple Dollar shows, with lots of photos and a video, how to make your own laundry detergent, which costs 2.5¢ per load of laundry.

In fact, I’ll venture to bet that we’ll see more guys moving to traditional shaving for the money savings. These will not be hobbyists and collectors, just guys who prefer to pay a dime for a week’s shaves from a blade rather than $3.50 for a disposal cartridge.

Written by Leisureguy

10 April 2008 at 9:20 am

Posted in Daily life

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Preparing food in advance for a houseful of people

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I don’t have to do this much any more, but I know that some of the readers of the blog will occasionally have friends and/or relatives come and stay for a weekend or a long weekend, in which case this post from The Simple Dollar looks useful:

The weekend after next, we are expecting eleven houseguests who will be staying for varying periods of time ranging from two days to seven days. This means that on top of the challenges of having two children in diapers, we also need to plan ahead for food for that many guests. Since we’re frugal, that also means that we’re looking for ways to minimize the costs associated with that many guests. Here are our plans.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

16 October 2007 at 10:11 am

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes & Cooking

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Eat healthfully & organically on $7/day?

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Interesting article, via Lifehack.org. A 7-day example, from the article:

Day 1:
Breakfast: Tofu (47 cents), veggies ($1), brown rice (20 cents)
Lunch: Eggs (39 cents) and potatoes (30 cents)
Snack: Two dates (60 cents), 12 almonds (22 cents)
Dinner: Fryer chicken ($1), veggies ($1), brown rice (20 cents)

Day 2:
Breakfast: Oatmeal (20 cents), 12 nuts (22 cents), raisins (22 cents), milk (50 cents), protein powder (20 cents)
Lunch: eggs (39 cents) and veggies ($1)
Snack: One organic apple (25 cents), dollop of organic peanut butter (14 cents)
Dinner: Turkey chili ($1), lentils (22 cents), veggies ($1), stock from fryer chicken (50 cents), whole wheat berries (5 cents)

Day 3:
Breakfast: Cornmeal (14 cents), seeds ($1), nuts (22 cents), molasses (10 cents)
Lunch: Chili from last night
Snack: Veggies ($1), homemade hummus (90 cents)
Dinner: Salad (62 cents) with chicken from fryer ($1), veggies ($1), dressing from apple cider vinegar and olive oil ($1)

Day 4:
Breakfast: One egg (39 cents), whole grain toast (20 cents), piece of fruit (25 cents)
Lunch: Beans (30 cents), rice (20 cents), veggies ($1)
Snack: Carrots,($50) cheese piece (50 cents)
Dinner: Half can sardines (89 cents), pasta (49 cents), tomato sauce (16 cents)

Day 5:
Breakfast: Veggies (90 cents), brown rice (20 cents), sliced cashews (22 cents), sprinkle of cheese (50 cents)
Lunch: Hummus (90 cents), whole wheat bread (20 cents), lettuce leaf (30 cents)
Snack: Banana (50 cents) and peanut butter (14 cents)
Dinner: Whole wheat pasta (49 cents), veggies ($1), beans (30 cents), nuts (22 cents), brewer’s yeast (20 cents)

Day 6:
Breakfast: Brown rice (20 cents), red beans (30 cents), miso (15 cents), greens ($1)
Lunch: Lettuce and veggies ($1), second half of sardine can (89 cents)
Snack: Sliced pears and apples (50 cents), cheese (50 cents)
Dinner: Brown rice (20 cents), veggies ($1), tofu (47 cents), sesame seeds (50 cents)

Day 7:
Breakfast: Plain yogurt (60 cents), sliced apple (25 cents), coconut, sunflower seeds or ground flax seeds ($1)
Lunch: Kale ($1), chard, ($1) rice (20 cents), onions (5 cents)
Snack: Roasted yam (30 cents) with 12 cashews (22 cents)
Dinner: Soup from chicken stock ($1), lentils (22 cents) veggies ($1), grains (20 cents), one slice whole wheat bread (20 cents)

Written by Leisureguy

12 October 2007 at 11:29 am

Posted in Daily life, Food

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Good lessons from The Simple Dollar

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Some good points:

The last two years have taught me many, many things about personal finances. Some of the lessons have been useful and others thought-provoking, but a few have really knocked my socks off and changed the way I view the world. Here are the five lessons I learned that really altered my perspectives.

Every time you buy anything, you sacrifice a bit of your dreams.
I have an old college friend who constantly moans about how he hates his job and how he dreams of not having to work any more. Yet every single weekend, he spends about $100 on two new video games and about $60 on beer and pizza – he then spends the whole weekend “zoning out on reality” by playing games and watching football.

He constantly tells me how he should be making more money and how it’s difficult to save money, but it’s pretty easy to see that he’s spending away his future here. Every time he buys a video game or goes on a beer and pizza binge, every single time, he extends his attachment to the misery of his job. If he took that $160 a week and invested it, then spent his weekend free time looking for other avenues to raise money (like building a side business), he’d be moving directly towards the kind of freedom that he wants.

While his case is an extreme example, it’s true to a degree for all of us: every frivolous purchase is an active choice to postpone our dreams. Consider what your dreams are the next time you pull out the plastic – and ask yourself if this item you’re buying is worth giving up a piece of that dream.

There is no such thing as a free lunch.
I used to often do things like sign up for in-store credit cards to get that “awesome” 10% discount. To me, it was like they were giving me money for free! I used to collect big time on the credit card offers on campus as well that offered “free” tee shirts just for getting a card.

Bad move. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If someone is giving you something for “free,” you will be giving them something in exchange. Often, it’s your time – other times, it’s personal information or access to you as a customer. Sometimes, it’s a freebie in exchange for signing up for something costly, as is the case with freecreditreport.com.

If someone offers you something for seemingly nothing, step back for a second and think about what they’re actually getting in return. Usually, it’s something more valuable than the freebie – your time, your information, or sometimes even your money.

My “income” wasn’t nearly as high as I believed it to be – and neither is anyone else’s.
Want to see how much you really make? Take your salary, then subtract your annual income taxes from it. Then subtract all of the extra expenses you incur because of work – professional clothing, transportation to and from work, extra food, work-related social gatherings, travel. Then add up how many hours you actually contribute to your job in an average week – time at work, time transporting to work, time spent traveling, time spent doing other work-related tasks like buying work clothes and attending work-related social functions. Multiply that average week by 50 or so (assuming two weeks off a year), then divide your real income by your real working hours and find out what you actually bring home per hour.

Ouch. There’s no other word for how you feel when you see that number. Lots of people working at high paying jobs discover their hourly rate compares well with McDonald’s. So why not do other tasks that pay you more per hour than your real job? I know of at least one woman who switched to a lower paying job (on the surface) that actually allowed her to bring home more cash per hour of work than before.

Thinking about things in this fashion really changes your perspective about what’s really important in life.

Investing isn’t just for rich people – it’s for everyone.
It wasn’t long ago that I had a perception that investing in the stock market and building a portfolio is something that rich people did, not people like me. In fact, I often used the fact that many investments return quite well as an excuse to believe that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

It’s not true. Anyone who is capable of spending less than they earn can invest and start collecting some great returns on the fruits of their labor. In fact, the internet era has made it easier than ever for people to invest – you can do everything from the convenience of your web browser. All you have to do is start spending less than you earn – that’s it.

Success is a choice.
This one is going to get some people upset, I’m sure, but it’s true. If you want something to happen in your life, you have a choice to make: do you really want it to happen? Are you willing to wake up for three hours in the middle of the night most nights to get posts written for your blog, so that you can spend the daytime with your family? Are you willing to spend weeks in a row without any simple relaxing activity – no television, no entertainment, just the stuff you need to do to get the job done? Are you willing to forego spending unnecessary money, period?

Success at anything requires some level of sacrifice, and often the big successes require a lot of sacrifice and focus. If you want to turn your financial life around quickly, you’re going to have to make some very tough choices. If you want to start a successful business, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices.

I used to look at people who started their own successful businesses with jealousy, and I felt like people who had their finances in order were given access to some secret that I didn’t know. It’s not true – success at anything is a result of a lot of hard work. You lay the groundwork for good things to come to you, but it’s a challenge. Are you up to the task?

Written by Leisureguy

30 September 2007 at 9:00 am

Posted in Daily life

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Frugality backlash?

with 6 comments

I’ve come late to frugality and still struggle with it, but I do endorse the idea. And it’s especially important given the condition of the US economy and the somewhat bleak future prospects. As with shaving, the idea (it seems to me) is to turn a necessity into a pleasure and find ways to enjoy being frugal—which shouldn’t be difficult, since rather quickly frugality begins to return benefits in terms of psychological comfort, financial reserves, and the like.

At any rate, I was surprised to read this post in The Simple Dollar. Some of the comments seem to come from those who have embraced consumerism beyond what even a marketing manager could dream: people who have the idea that they have a “right” to buy whatever they want.

The issue is not one of rights, of course, but one of consequences.

Written by Leisureguy

28 September 2007 at 8:46 am

Posted in Daily life

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