Saturday, September 25, 2010


This has gotten TOOO LOOOONNNNGGG so I broke it in two, which is why I should not write the blogs offline and then try to upload them (which is one way to make the most of my 20hours per month of free dial up service). I write too much when not under time pressure.

Here are a few of Mr. Yeager's suggestions that I already do (hence the whole "mirror" thing mentioned above) and thusly I think they are brilliant (re: mirror):

Fiscal Fasting: Going for specified periods of time spending NO money in any form. He recommends a week at a time and says it's fair to fill up the car before you start if you need to commute to work etc. Otherwise, leave all forms of cash at home. Best to schedule during a week when you don't have bills due or regular payments taken out of an account (thouse count!). I generally do a modified version of seeing how long I can go without spending. Then note what it was the broke me. Often I just really want a candy bar. Sad. For Mr. Yeager's version, keep a little notepad or pencil (or use your cellphone) and note when you break the rules. Don't get bent, just notice. Also notice how much food you have in the cupboards and where the gaps are. Right now I have what seems to be a good balance of beans and grains but may be low on veggies and fruits (other than dehydrated tomatoes).

Spending Autopsies (I may have the first word wrong but I can't be arsed to go through the whole set of 7 CDs and the book (which has no index) to find it). Take one or two months a year and write down EVERY transaction. All money in, remember to include interest, and all money out in every form. It's just a check up for those of us who don't always use a formal budget. I usually start with what seems like a reasonable budget and keep everything in a categorized list in a budget book I bought about 3 years ago (in a thrift store for like 50cents) and see how it goes. If it turns out I'm spending more or less in a category than I think I am, I check out where, why and whatfor. Sometimes it turns out it's because I want to and then I keep doing it. If not, I'm a bit more conscious and try to change. That usually works. I don't track every penny all the time but I did for about 6 months when I was trying to turn my spending habits around. I may have actually bored myself out of shopping.

Frugal Hobby Choices: Choose hobbies that save money or at least don't spend any or at least least cost very little. Hobbies that produce gifts are good. As are hobbie that save money (like learning to do home repairs, fix engines, change oil, biking rather than driving, you get the idea). My hobbies are generally free or cheap and often produce something of value or interest. Canning, dehydrating, cooking, beadwork (must remember to do that more...). there are some associated costs, but they all come up with an interesting product and cooking probably saves me the most. Cooking from scratch saves a bundle. Biking and walking save oodles in driving / gym memberships / healthcare costs.

Cooking from scratch: Duh. Even if you can buy a crap lunch for 2$, you can make one for less. You can make an elaborate lunch for less if you figure in the costs of damage to your health and well being into that 2$ lunch (probably costs 1-2$ in future or current healthcare). How many people do I see (including me) who take supplements to make up for a crap diet? (see "candy bar" above). If you cook in large batches, in a crock pot, from in season/on sale products and with basic ingredients (generally cheaper) you can eat for very little.

Put money in savings all the time: DUH! Of course, I didn't always do this. But, I do now. I like to go online and move money from checking into savings and look at my new totals. If you don't find that fun (admittedly, most won't) automating your payroll deposit to divide into checking and savings may help.


Anonymous said...

Jill, I really enjoyed reading your last two blogs and they made me pause and think about my own spending. I agree with you that buying a new car so it will have a higher resale value one day is the kind of logic only the inventor of the crazy straw could navigate. I once asked a financial planner about paying off my mortgage early to save interest, and she said, "Well, if you do that, you won't be able to declare that interest on your taxes." Um, isn't it better to SAVE the money directly than hope it lowers my income taxes by some unknown increment? Oh well, I'm not a financial planner so what do I know?

I did find lots of room for "growth" in terms of the other things you said that you do. I am not as careful with my money as I could be and should do the "monitor the money" task you suggested (there are many free downloadable financial programs out there where you can keep track of your expenses and look at categories of where your $$ is going). Also, I took a financial planning class (for the ladies. Seriously.) where we were told to take a certain amount of cash and put it in an envelope. Then write down on the envelope where the cash was going. Um, lots of Snickers candy bars from the vending machine, if I recall correctly.

Anyway, as always, thanks for making me think. AG

Jill said...

You are so sweet. And isn't that financial class the one where you were all writing out your budgets and you, miss smartypants, asked "Where do I put projected lottery winnings"?

Anonymous said...

Oh, that financial planning class. I knew I was outgunned when the entire first evening was devoted to helping all of these elderly women fill out paperwork to GET credit cards (I was the youngest person in the room by a margin of about 40-50 years). The reason I was taking the class in the first place was because I was up to my eyeballs in credit card debt (well, relatively speaking. I had a salary of something like $25K that first year, and I had about $2500 in debt. In my math challenged brain, that was like 10% of my income! And seriously, it was billed as "Financial Planning for Women." Like the time I went shopping for tools with Bree at Target. I came running over to him with this "Toolkit for Ladies" because I couldn't decide on the lavender or the pink. Bree's response: "The good thing is when all the cheap, shitty tool handles break, you can use this adorable little carrying case to hold all your lipsticks."

I DEFY you to give me better advice than that!