Monday, July 23, 2012

A Frugal Icon has Passed

First, yes, I'm embarrassed that I read the HuffPo because it is utter crap...but my computer blocks most of and

ANYWAY: I'm sure I blogged out this guy in the past but I can't find the post.  Will put in a link if I do find it.

Herbert Vogel and his wife Dorothy are amazing art collectors who lived very simply and spent money on what they valued:  art and turtles.

They lived in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment in NYC.  They lived on Dorothy's salary as a librarian and spent his salary, he worked as a postal clerk, on art. Every inch of their apartment was stuffed with art. Great art. They bought what they loved and the over 5000 pieces now form the basis of many modern art collections around the US.  They donated it to the National Gallery (because it is free), which was unable to accept the entire collection due to curation and other costs, so much of it went to smaller museums and traveling exhibitions.  They could have been "rich" if they'd sold it, but they chose not to as they had no need for more money.  They hobnobbed and shared pet-sitting with Cristo and many other important modern artists.

The documentary about the couple: Herb and Dorothy.  2008.  Directed by Megumi Sasaki

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Historic Frugality

Turns out Abe Lincoln also had problems with moochers wanting his money when he was doing well.

The lovely blog "Letters of Note" published one of his letters to his half- or step-brother (I find wikipedia, and other sources muddle those distinctions and I'm too lazy to go to the library and figure this out, also it's SUPER hot outside so I'm not going across the street to the library for nothin' today).

Anywho, this half/step-brother was asking for money.   Lincoln noted that given this dude's constant pleadings for $$, this was just not going to happen.   I've been down this road with people twice.  It's tough to tell them no, but it has to be done.

Here's the link to the letter:

Here are a couple of my favorite bits.
The opener:

Your request for eighty dollars I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little you have said to me, "We can get along very well now"; but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now, this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether, since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work in any one day.

The common sense approach:

You are now in need of some money; and what I propose is, that you shall go to work, "tooth and nail," for somebody who will give you money for it. 

And the incentive:

I now promise you, that for every dollar you will, between this and the first of May, get for your own labor, either in money or as your own indebtedness, I will then give you one other dollar. 

And the best possible outcome:

 Now, if you will do this, you will be soon out of debt, and, what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But, if I should now clear you out of debt, next year you would be just as deep in as ever.

Nice.  And true.