Tuesday, October 26, 2010

25 Things I DON'T Do

that save money. I liked the line in one of the Tightwad Gazette issues ( have volumes I and II...looking for III or the Compleat Tightwad in thrift stores and the free book bin at recycling), that the author, Amy Dacyczyn was having trouble with news crews filming her since most of what it takes to save money is NOT doing things. See the family NOT stop at the drive thru. See them not buying popcorn and enormously expensive pop at the movies. There the pizza delivery guy doesn't go. Fascinating viewing. Obviously the time is filled with other things but they aren't things that made for good TV viewing. Hanging laundry seemed to be a hit for her (something I just did moments ago).

Anyway, below are 25 things I don't do that save money. And FYI as soon as I posted the list of 25 things I "do" in previous entry, I thought up many many more. Each as boring as the last...crock pot cooking, whatnot.

And now the list:
1 Buy clothes retail (except shoes, socks, undies)
2 Buy clothes at full price even if retail
3 Pay interest
4 Pay for that initial depreciation. Used is where it is at!
5 Eat out much (it happens...less and less...partly because I want things the way I want them and the best way to get that is to cook it myself. According to family lore my first words were "I'll do it myself")
6 Buy pricey coffee (yes, it does add up. I know people who spend 5-10$/work day which is 25-50$/week, 100-200/month, 1200-2400$ per year! The high end is my food budget for the year.)
7 Eat mostly processed food. Cook-n-save. I also end up with almost no trash. I just took out 2 grocery bags of "garbage" which are things I can't recycle here. It's about 2 months worth.
8 Buy everything that catches my eye
9 Browse through catalogs
10 Window shop when bored
11 Shop as a hobby or pastime (well...sometimes I am in thrift stores without a list so need to work on this one)
12 Drive around for entertainment. Actually, I miss this one. I like a nice drive in the boonies. But, alas between wasting gas, and wasting money, and putting polution out in the environment I gave it up. Back to walking and riding my tricycle.
13 Try to keep up with the neighbors / the Joneses. Partly because I don't give a crap and partly because I don't see them as role models
14 Accept upgrades rather than refunds or discounts. But if I can't get a refund I'll take the upgrade.
15 Buy bottled water. It's insanely expensive compared to the tap and may well be LESS healthy AND the bottles use more water to manufacture then most of them hold. That's just wrong. Fill a container at the tap. I almost passed out at an event recently when the hostess offered me a water to drink. I said "great" and she got a PLASTIC BOTTLE out of the fridge and POURED THE WATER IN A PLASTIC CUP! Nothing was recycled. I realized that that might be standard behavior and that maybe, just maybe, I'm the weird one. I don't get it. Why pay a huge amount for water (and based on the size of the package of bottles she DROVE somewhere to buy it which means gas money, wear and tear on the car, etc) and then pour it in a cup that is used ONCE!!!? At my house you'll get filtered tap water (it tastes rank without the filter and according to my free test kit has as much chlorine some days as a swimming pool should) in a glass or cup out of my cupboard. It will cost me almost nothing and your thirst will be equally quenched and frankly, the graniteware tumblers I have now (Thanks Sher) are pretty cool.
16 Buy cake. This probably seems odd. But for a year there (in Spokane...) I would just run out about once a week and buy a slice of cake from the store across the street. It wasn't going to bankrupt me, but it was wasteful in general. I can make an entire chocolate cake for about a dollar. I was paying 3 or 4$ for one slice with crap frosting. I do make quite a bit of cake. I like cake. I just had chocolate cake with my potato soup, dried venison, and ratatouille on quinoa dinner...and a cup of tea made with loose leaves.
17 Eat meat at every meal. I did "meatless Monday" this week (ratatouille on quinoa for lunch and supper, apple pancake for breakfast...it was really good). Meat is spendy and hard on the environment when raised industrially. Monday I was positively STUFFED and as far as I can tell, I ate maybe 1200 calories. 50 of those were honey in my tea. I love honey. I'm not a vegetarian and I eat extremely well (see "cake" above) and cutting back on meat has saved bunches of dollars in groceries as well as allowing me to upgrade to organic free range meats AND it will probably save me healthcare dollars in the long run.
18 Look for happiness in stuff/possessions. I have in the past. I was once pretty sure that having a mortgage would make me happy partly due to the promised tax savings. Turns out it was a crock. I didn't get a net savings. Only about 30percent of the interest came back in the taxes. The other 70% was a loss. Forget that. And I didn't like having the debt. It was a cool little house though and I liked having somewhere to paint and decorate (well..Sher did the painting) how I wanted. Hence the dream of buying for cash.
19 Expect to be rich. Letting go of the idea that I'll ever be wealthy, or even want to be wealthy has helped. I've settled on the level I wish to live at. I want a basic structure to live in with interesting cooking facilities. I was going to put in "hot shower" and "indoor toilet" but realized those are still negotiable. I can get a free shower at the gym and a bathtub with no shower would be fine. I prefer a toilet in the house, but I also really like camping in areas with pit toilets because they never break or back up and they don't stink up the house. Hmmm....
20 Pay for more degrees. I'm done now. If it's free, fine. But I've got 4 college degrees and one free one off the internet. I'm interested in many things and now I can just read up or audit a class or whatever, but I don't need or want to pay for any more degrees.
21 Immediately assume I have to pay someone to do a repair or maintenance task. Just yesterday I checked a book out of the library on wiring to see if I can fix a lamp. If that doesn't work I'll borrow a ouija board and try to contact Grampa Bush. He was an electrician (in fact, I think he rewired this lamp at some point). I may end up paying someone, but we'll see if I'm able first. I'll learn something too so fits in with the not paying for degrees/education bit above.
22 Pay for storage (sorry Pam!). I just learned on the radio show this weekend that the ministorage business is far larger than I ever suspected. That's insane. How much crap do we need? Our houses are larger than ever (some folks excepted...Sally, Rik, etc you know who you are), families are smaller and yet the houses are over flowing with crap to the point that folks rent temp storage for stuff they clearly aren't using. Wow. I've rented storage in the past when I had no housing and I've abused others' storage units when I had inadequate housing (chevy van, anyone? anyone?). I don't THINK I've rented storage when I had a reasonable size place to live. Later we'll talk about how two rooms in the trailer are basically storage...I could rent an even smaller place if I got rid of my crap here and in Pam's basement. And yet I think I'm at the bottom of the rental market. There might not be a cheaper rental. Still it would be good to get rid of and/or use up some of the crap.
23 Buy new (meaning "new to me") clothes if I can remotely possibly make an acceptable outfit out of clothes I have. i only really gave a crap about clothes in jr. high and even then, I didn't "get it" I just wanted to be invisible and sought to blend in with the other tight panted pre-teens. Given where I live and the profession I'm in, this is generally possible. Idaho formal is black jeans. I've got one pair I only wear for meetings. Bought them at thrift. Black jeans, a decent sweater or columbia shirt and reasonable shoes or boots will pretty much do it. I have one sort of blazer for real emergencies (came in handy for court a few times...no, I wasn't charged with anything! I was there supporting others).
24 Throw crap out or donate it until I'm sure I don't need it. This results in a bit of a hoarding issues, but I've also saved some dollars. Recently I was going to donate a couple of travel mugs as I had 4 and really, 2 is plenty. Well, 2 died so I dug the others back out of the goodwill box. So, I'm still set for travel mugs.
25 Buy t-shirts. I'm not talking shells or the shirts to wear under button downs and v-necks to work but actual t-shirts. It's come to my attention that people give me enough free ones to keep me supplied. I just had to retire 2 shirts (rag bag...later to be composted) and ended up with 2 brand new t-shirts from events I attended. Freebies. Even found one in my mailbox at work Monday morning! I used to buy them to commemorate events, trips, whatnot. But now I've got so damn many I'll never wear them out. I wonder if I can make underpants out of them? Or re-weave the cotton into spandex free jeans.

The list actually goes on and on and on but I'll stop here. There are probably more obvious things (e.g. don't buy a car until the one I'm driving dies or is murdered on the highway) but I can't be bothered right now. I need to get on that pantry inventory and wash some undies.

P.S. I did give up last night and turn the furnace on. The temperature in the house just would not maintain without it. I had put up storm windows and plastic, styrofoam in front of the backdoor with shrink plastic over it, plastic plate (which has been washed and reused many many times...) over the bathroom ceiling fan, plastic over the windows that don't have storms (the front bedroom/root celler/cold storage has not had all the windows done. It's next.) I even stuffed used wax paper into cracks in the west side jalousie window. But the wind was sailing through the trailer. It was pretty strong and there is only so much one can do. I thought about lighting the oil heater but it gives me a headache until I throwup so that can't be worth it. I made a new filter (it is a size that does not occur in nature so I buy what I can get and cut to size) and started it up. The temp was back over 50 degrees in 10 minutes. Central heating is a miracle.

Turning on the furnace has also made it possible to dry clothes. When it's too raining to hang them outside and I'm not heating the trailer, I can't do much laundry as the moisture just condenses on the walls and ceiling and makes mold. I've got enough clothes to get by for quite a while, but the outfits have been a bit creative.


Anonymous said...

Jill, I continue to be amazed by your ingenuity and resourcefulness. But I've got to ask, what is your internet degree in??? Can you marry me (as in, can you marry people because you are an internet ordained minister or something?)

Jill said...

YES! I can totally marry you. Actually, in Iowa, I can be both the minister AND the groom (because let's face it...between you and I, I'm totally NOT the girl).
It's from Universal Life Church Monastery so I'm a minister.

Fly Right said...

I love not doing most of those things!