I got to work earlier than usual today because I caught the early bus, and had to kill 15 minutes round town. The Art Gallery wasn't open yet, I hadn't brought my knitting, it was too cold to hang around outside, so there was nothing to do but inspect clothes for sale and drool at the smell of bacon and coffee coming from the cafes. I didn't spend anything, in fact I even found 10 cents, but it is quite clear town is a place designed to separate you from your money. So now I've got to figure out a way to make trips into town profitable. I could start by only going there on work days, so I don't have to pay extra busfare. Then... hmm, how about learning the flute, so I can busk? Could take a few years before I make any money at it. What's a good way to make money in town instead of spending it? Any ideas anyone?
Viewing the 'Not Spending' Category
So I'm standing in the Post Office waiting to buy stamps and idly perusing the headlines of the magazines, as you do, and this Cosmopolitan catches my eye:
The right way to squeeze a pimple
I'm blown away by the amount of knowledge it takes to be a Cosmopolitan girl. Also wondering what marketing genius thought putting that on the cover of a magazine would make people part with their hard earned dosh.
Shortest day of the year. Brr, thank goodness summer is on its way back. I dread my next power bill. I celebrated midwinter by having a NSD - and finding .40 cents. With the change I'd already saved up, that made nz$8.90 to go into my travel a/c.
Here's an idea I read about ages ago. Since this is the shortest month make it one where you spend as little as possible. We're talking basics here; only groceries, utiliities, transport and health care. Keep the eating out and movie going till later in the year after you have saved up a comfortable cushion. I reckon I should be able to save 50% of my income this Feb. This is where the scrooge genes I inherited from grandma come into play.
So on Saturday I saw an ad for some nice cotton tops, only $14. Gee I wanted one, even though I didn't need it, but I wasn't going to make a special trip to town to buy one. I figured if it was meant to be there'd be one left for me. Today I made my usual trip and looked in the store, but... they had sold out. Phew, money saved. I'm quite happy about it, maybe because today has been quite cold and wet, definitely not cotton top weather.
if you feed the hungry. At this morning's service we had an infant dedication followed by morning tea with andwiches and all manner of goodies. Then this evening we had a baptism followed by supper with samosas, savories and all manner of goodies. I didn't need to cook at all today. Don't understand why more people don't come to church
Today was a good day for saving money. I hung the laundry out on the line, opened all the windows to let the natural air conditioning thru, enjoyed some free vitamin D on my skin and thanked God he doesn't charge us for universal power.
Now's the time of year when I normally go into whirling dervish mode, pulling contents out of cupboards, cleaning them and then often as not, donating them all to the Sally Army, only to buy a fresh load of stuff to fill up the spaces. The sight of all the new stuff in the shops makes me think my stuff is old and tired and needs to be replaced, when in fact it will last for years with care. I don't really need new summer clothes and curtains, it's the advertisers who make me feel discontented. I firmly remind myself of Dave Ramsey's mantra; live like nobody else now and later on you can live like nobody else.
The supermarket down the road has a notice up. From Monday they are going to charge 5 cents a bag for plastic shopping bags. For the sake of the environment, of course - nothing to do with the bottom line.
Not that it makes any difference to me, I bring my own bag anyway. But I do wonder what the charity shops that ask people to give them their leftover bags will do.
Life is hard sometimes. Especially when I'm coming home from my evening cleaning job and I'm hungry and I have to go past all the fast food joints in our area. The thought of going home and waiting while I cook up a meal makes me want to give in and buy some pizza or a burger more often than I should.
So I'm taking action. Before I leave for work I put a banana or some raisins or some other snack in my bag and nibble on it as I walk past the Chinese takeaways. On a cold night it's not as comforting as fries would be, but it works.
Maybe next winter I could get a thermos and fill it with really thick soup? At least I didn't spend tonite and I found 10 cents outside the Indian restaurant so I came home richer than I went.
Today was a very frosty morning. My neighbor is away for the weekend, so I went over to feed her cat, and slipped on her path. So now I am hobbling around with a sore knee. All's well that ends well - I can't go out and spend money. Instead, I started on making Christmas presents. Everybody is getting hand knitted sox this year.
I remeber when we first came to this country nearly forty years ago, there was no weekend shopping. There was an old joke about the American who arrived on Sunday and found New Zealand closed. Only the corner dairies were open for people to get milk, bread, icecream and cigarettes. No shops open on public hols, when it was a long weekend like Easter, the shops could be shut for several days. How things have changed. Now every day of the year you can see people stocking up for a siege.
I have fallen into the habit of dropping into the supermarket on my way home from church and picking up something from the deli. I also wander through the mall if I am in town to change my library books (tho I rarely buy anything there.) I have decided to make Sunday a day of rest and give up shopping. I am not going to die if I have to wait 24 hours for something.
ETA I found I had run out of laundry powder but rather than buy some I opted for a rest from laundry as well.
and I seem to be the one person in the country who hasn't bought a ticket. Everyone is talking about what they'll do if they win. The odds are 1 in 16 million - that's four times the country's population. I picked up 10 cents outside the Lotto shop - more than most people will win.
It is still drizzling outside so I decided to stay home and do my tax return. I wound up doing a major search of all my papers becuase I couldn't find the reciepts for my charity donations. In the process of going thru my filing cabinaet, and turfing a lot of old stuff in the process, I wound up with properly sorted and labelled categories. Now I have to stop myself from just shoving stuff in the miscellaneous folder.
BTW, I did find my reciepts.
A friend has this old hand knitted jersey he's very fond of. He complained to me the cuffs and neckband were wearing out and asked if I could do something to mend it. They were quite ragged, so I unravelled them and knitted up new ones using some old wool I had. Result, one smart looking jersey. He was very pleased.
I think poeple who know these skills are going to be frequently called on in the coming months.
NSDs that is, if you don't count a direct debit to pay the credit union loan. The weather this week is horrible, yucky sleet and hail. I am not at all tempted to go out, so it looks like tomorrow will make it a hat trick. Of course I haven't received the electricity bill yet...
I briefly considered giving it up and drinking water, then I went and bought more coffee. nz2.50. I'll save on something else. No point having piles of money if I can't have what I like with some of the excess.
I have these periodic savings binges where I stop spending on virtually everything to save money, but that's not sustainable long term. I actually enjoy spending money on something I want, even if Depression-raised family voices keep telling me I should stick it under the mattress, in case I need it more later. I have no intention of being a multimillionaire centenarian full of regrets for how I deprived myself. So I'm planning to go on a retreat at Easter after my Lenten frugality.
Fourth one this month - an average of one a week. Will see if I can make it 8 nsd next month. The less often I'm in the shops, the less I'm tempted to spend.
Guess where I had breakfast this morning? At the casino! I won a $10 meal voucher on the radio, so had myself a very nice plate of bacon and eggs. I have never been in a casino before. It was all very ornate gold decoration, but not many people playing at that time of the morning. There were quite a number of senior citizens. I wonder if they play the pokies, or were just there for a cheap meal. I didn't try any of the machines, I'm sure it's far too easy to get addicted.
You are supposed to get dressed up to enter, so I had my smartest top on, but I observed a lot of people who looked quite casual. The idea is to deter people who can't afford to lose, but I don't think it works. Last year there was a case of a professional woman who gambled away millions of dollars embezzled from her employer, and no doubt she was very smartly dressed.
As I was leaving a priest came in. My imagination ran riot - it must be very good to go to a casino if you are a writer.
abeautiful day, hard to believe we are in the middle of winter - it is almost like spring, with the primulas coming out. We have been very lucky with the weather, a gorgeous Indian summer and a mild winter, apart from one very nasty week of sleety stuff. If this is global warming, bring it on!
When I say I work for a power company, peopele immediately start moaning about how high their electricity bills are. Of course they are all convinced they don't use much power. If they were to go around their house and make a list of all the items they have that run on electricity, they would be surprised. Since beginning this job I have learned the importance of reading the meter daily. Once you know what your usage is, if you find you get a higher use (mine is at weekends) then you can think about what you are doing differenctly.
And if you're still convinced that it's not you - there's something wrong with the meter, here's a test you can do. Go round and switch off all your appliances, incl your hot water. Then switch off at the mains. Wait for 10-15 mins and the little disk should stop moving. If it's still going there may be a fault with the meter, but usually faulty meters slow down or stop. Switch back on, then plug in your applicances one at a time, checking the dial between each new one. If you find the dial really speeds up when you plug something in, you need to look at getting a more efficient model. Hope this advice helps.
Didn't blog yesterday because I was late back. It was raining in the morning and I had some wet washing, but I didnt use the dryer - I put it all on the clothes horse, then lit the fire, using wood chopped from my trees, and also cooked lunch on top of the stove.
Im the evening I went to a barbecue, having made quiche and beetroot salad. After eating we watched Jailhouse Rock. Elvis plays a character who wants money above all else, but learns the hard way that love is more important. I have to go out more now that I live alone, but I'm keeping the entertainment down to such simple things, rather than big screen movies and restaurants.
This morning I was listening to the radio and this Chinese herbalist said NOT to use shampoo to wash your hair. She claimed all that is necessary is to wash it in water in the shower every morning. Well, I'm always on the lookout for tips to save money, so I'll do as she suggested and give it a month's trial. I have very fine problem hair and have spent a lot on fancy shampoos over the years. I wonder if many other listeners will give it a go - there could be a dip in shampoo sales for the holidays!
Today was a no spend day. I looked through my coin collection of foreign money I recieved in change or found under parking meters. I have
6.03 US (plus a Kennedy half dollar - are those legal tender?)
10 rupees Indian
plus coins from Austria, Falkland Islands, Samoa, Eire, France, Indonesia, Netherlands, Solomon Islands, Cook Islands, Switzerland, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
Be nice if I could get to all those countries to spend the money.
This weekend I went to the Oamaru Victorian Heritage celebrations. Had a lot of fun, including a history lecture in the basement of a whiskey distillery. There were horse drawn carriages, people riding penny farthing bicycles and lots of people dressed up in 19th century costume. The highlight was a tea in the park, with tea poured from silver teasets, and cucumber sandwiches and scones with jam and cream. Yummy, and as it was an outing with my support group it didn't cost me anything.
Of course I know that back in those days it really was a lot of hard work, which is why most people were dressed up as ladies and gentlemen rather than servants, but it is fun to pretend once in a while.
...saves nine, as granma always used to say. I was so peeved about that library fine, I took a couple minutes to sign up to libraryelf.com. I'd been told some time previously this was available and kept meaning to get round to it. Procrastination has cost me money!!
Those of you bothered by returning books on the due date, check to see if your local library is linked to it.
I have been told of a free community college course I am eligible for, doing computing. i thik I'dlike to get my typig speed up to 60wpm with less errorrs!!! Owing to the lack of flexibility in all my joints and limbs this may be difficult, but there are good jobs out there for speedy typists. I also want to do web design, MYOB and payroll. that should get me a wider range of temping jobs. I found a free trial version of TypingMaster, the same one used by the college, so am practicing 30 minutes every day at home. The advantage of going down to college is someone else pays for the heating!!
Woah, didn't realise time whizzed by so quickly, been waiting for something interesting to post about, as my daily spending gets mundane (milk, bread, busfare...)
Our local supermarket has one of those noticeboards where people can post ads. Today I was browsing it and I saw the following:
For Sale: Would your little girl like a walking talking Fifi doll? (unwanted birthday present) $20. Phone XXX
Well, I admit I've regifted a few unwanted presents in my time, but I'm usually careful to post them to the other end of the country. Selling a child's birthday gift seems a bit on the nose to me. Or - maybe the parents gave it and the child didn't want it? But in that case why didn't they return it to the shop? There's a story in there somewhere, any writers among us care to have a go at it?
Today was knit group. I walked in and behold! - a sale. If I had been armed with a credit card I could have run amok snatching up bagsful of gorgeous mohair for only nz$4 a ball. However I controlled myself and sat down to work on the project I had brought with me, firmly telling myself I had plenty in my stash. Even at the table I was not immune from temptation - of a different sort. There were chocolate coated cookies most ruinous to slim figures.
So I made myself some Catch 22 rules:
1. If I resist buying yarn, I am allowed to have a cookie.
2. If I resist eating a cookie, I am allowed to buy some yarn.
3. see rule 1.
My salvation came in the stash box. Our group keeps a box for people to donate their odds and ends, so I dug through and found enough to knit a couple hats for charity (we knit from the stash box for the Women's Shelter). That will satisfy my new project urge for a while.
So I made it through the morning without succumbing to the mohair siren call. On the way home I passed the freebie box outside the Sally Army - and Hallelujah! A whole stack of McCalls magazines, dating from the 50s, 60s and 70s, just chocka with vintage patterns. They are too tattered to sell, but I am having great fun going thru them. I had a sort of cross between a giggle and a sigh when I got to 1972 - I was at high school then, and all the girls were crocheting fringed granny square vests, batik dying skirts and all the rest of it. We thought we were so trendy - if you ever wanted to be assured fashion is a waste of time and money, look back to the clothes you had to have when you were young.
So another no spend day. So long as the freebies keep flowing, the going is easy.
The Public Library booksale was this weekend. It was so big, it was held in the basement carpark instead of the usual room. There was a barbecue and coffee for sale. I'm not sure how many tables of books there were, but I was a bit overwhelmed. Instead of the usual ooh-bargains-goody response, I was thinking to myself; these are all the must-have books of yesteryear - do I really need them now? OK they were 50 cents each instead of $10-15, but it's still spending money I could save for something else, and cluttering up my home with more stuff.
In the end I only bought 3 books, as gifts for other people (hint, if your friends don't like 2nd hand books, get some new friends). I am now resolved to become a serendipity reader; I will read the books that find their way into my life, instead of forever trying to find that ONE book that will transform my life. There will always be another bestseller and a new how-to-fix-your-life book.
Actually, I'm now into free ebooks and classics. The Gutenberg Project is great, and stored on my computer they don't take up space. Plus, it is the one way I can read and knit at the same time.
Today I visited the University library at which I have alumna borrowing priveleges. There was a display of rare books, including an 1822 biography of Napoleon and a first edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary. He was a character who came up with his own opinionated definitions. The book was open at the one which reads: "stockjobber (ie broker) a low wretch who makes his living buying and selling shares." Given the unregulated market of his day, he was likely correct.
I took out a book on Salt, Health and Diet by a couple of medical professors. I'm finding some fascinating information about the history of salt and the role it played in the economy, as well as the effect on the body. Some snippets:
- Salt is not necessary in the diet. Many primitive tribes don't use it.
- The top cause of death in the 19th Century was apoplexy, or stroke, caused by high blood pressure from eating so much salt preserved food.
- Salt played a role in the South losing the Civil War. They didn't have enough to preserve the meat the troops ate, so the Confederate soldiers were starving and couldn't fight well.
- Manufacturers add more salt, and MSG, to cheap meats like sausages and luncheon meats because it is largely mechanically recovered ground meat and fat, and doesn't have much flavor. Another reason is that salt can absorb more water so they can make it more cheaply.
- Salt makes you thirsty so that is why bars serves salty snacks and fast food giants serve soft drinks. Many manufacturers of salty snacks also own soft drink concerns.
- Cutting down on salt in your diet helps you lose weight. Part of it is loss of body fluid, and also because you are cutting out high calorie foods like chips.
The other book I borrowed was Planet India: How the Fastest Growing Democracy Is Transforming America and the World by Mira Kamdar. Only flicked thru this, but it deals with the effects of jobs offshore on Americans, the rise of the Indian middle classes and the impact of technology on their economy, and the consequences on the poor Indian villages and the landless who flock to the cities for work. Having seen this at first hand myself, I look forward to reading what an Indian economist has to say about it.
Heh, I'm getting the equivalent of another degree - for free. Oh, and found 40 cents coming back across campus. Think I'll start a running tally in the side bar.
Now as a thrift store habituee I must admit I don't pay much attention to fashion, I just buy what I like. But a couple of gentle hints have been dropped that I am a little bit - uh, showing that I'm now in late youth and still wearing the clothes that were popular in my - trendier years. Important to dress for success if I'm job hunting! And since losing weight I need new clothes anyway.
So I decided to spend some time browsing the Main Street stores, then I'd know what to look for - in the thrift stores, of course. Well! I found some of the clothes pretty enough, but the prices! Oh me, my wallet would have a heart attack if it had to pony up over nz$20 for a few flimsy bits of material poorly sewn together. Some of those things look like they will become shredded rags the first time they are laundered.
So I left the teenagers to it and checked out the higher end of town, where the succesful business women shop. Now there was some really nice stuff, well made - but nz$120 for a simple black top with some beads sewn on? Reminds me of when I was a teenager; we used to get a plain T shirt and applique or embroider a motif on it ourselves rather than pay for a fancy one. Now I still have some cheap jewellry from India, so I was thinking I will just get a basic top and sew the beads on myself - come to think of it, why not just wear a plain top with a pretty necklace? You wouldn't need to worry about beads coming unsewn and blocking the pump!
I don't think I'll spring too much for a new wardrobe until I know what sort of job I get, but best dressed working women I know told me to go for basic black with a few solid colors - much easier to coordinate and saves time having to make deicsions. In the meantime I've borrowed Trinny and Susannah and Stacy and Clinton from the library as they haven't yet arrived at my front door with $$$ and a team of stylists to make me a knockout.
Oh and a NS day - second in a row - plus I found 80 cents.
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