Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Daytime TV Bites!

OK, who out there just has the time to do this? Besides, other than sneaking in the odd Oprah show when I have to fold laundry, just about everything bites during the day. Most of those daytime time talk shows are warping the minds of our nation’s shut-in seniors. This vulnerable group probably thinks that all their neighbours are cross-dressers, polygamists, or Satanists! And all those ads that are always trying to get you to sign up for Medical Office Assistant School! Is there a shortage of medical office assistants out there, or something?

How do I deal with this?:
I just don’t bother turning the thing on. Life’s too short - and it cuts into my reading time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Do a Hug Bug

Best way to get to get your teens out the house (and OFF your computer!) during the summer holidays:

When they come into the room, start singing "Four hugs a day! That's the mininum!" and then demand those hugs. At least four, of course. Keep singing till you get those hugs, or until you repel them out of the house.

I love you Charlotte Diamond!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cheap Trick

This is a letter that I attempted to send to More Magazine regarding an article by Jennifer Allford, The Era of the Frugalista. It is a lite commentary about, because of tighter economic times, cheap now chic, and “frugal is the new black”. If you haven’t already guessed, Frugalista is a play of its antonym, fashionista. I wrote this comment on why I think being cheap has always been the cat’s meow for me. Unfortunately, my letter was too big and it was rejected from the magazine ‘s on-line comment box. Well, I didn’t want to shorten it, so I gave up on giving a More Magazine response. “That’s OK” , I thought, “I’ll just hang on to this and share with you guys.. “

I too, am of the sisterhood of frugality. And it's not just about saving money; it's fun. I cherish the challenge of finding a pair of $120 jeans for $14. I also enjoy giving myself the frugal gift of self reliance. I can colour my own roots and I streak my own hair at home. Last Spring , at a fancy party, I received many compliments on my hair and people kept asking for my hairdresser’s number!

Why so frugal? It's a hangover from my poorer college days. When I actually started getting a paycheque in the working world, I thought, "Why should I have to give up my treasure hunts?" This way of thinking extends well into the larger economic and environmental decisions in my life. When the folks who are now spending a small bomb to furnish their homes with pricey, trendy, modern furniture find it filling up the landfills 20 years from now, my quality, “second hand” antique furniture finds will still be looking great, and likely be worth more than I paid. Is this cheap? No, it's smart! Besides, I’d rather put the time into drawing, writing, or into my vegetable garden -not redecorating my house every five years.

This way of thinking has also helped shape the biggest financial and lifestyle decision of our family’s life: buying a house. We bought a cheaper, smaller home in a great neighbourhood, and we bought “second hand”. Granted, older homes present some challenges in terms of repairs and upgrading, but our 120 year old house is solid and will likely, in the very least, maintain its value, and outlast a lot of the poorly built, more expensive ,“luxury (leaky) condos” being built in BC, these days. And again, the environmental angle favours the frugal; we are not contributing to the tons of waste material produced to build a new home.

Recently, to save money on vacations, I’ve been looking into home exchange holidays. That is, free accommodation in another exchanger’s house in exchange for a free stay at your house. And please note: apparently, an older, cute little home filled with antiques, does attract other potential exchangers!

So be proud, my fellow frugal sisters. Our more thoughtful and careful spending ways teaches us to be more self reliant, environmentally-friendly, and when your friends stop spending long enough to see how happy you are, they may consider becoming “cheaper” too.