Tuesday, May 04, 2010

tighten thine belt

(I hate to post this without a photo to relieve all the words but yet again my camera batteries have run out. They seems to be running through quickly and the new pair I bought is the wrong size. X#%Z. Anyway, I'm still here, just wanted to let y'all know. Just sitting on my bench contemplating like Ekhart Tolle. Hopefully this won't take three years as his bench contemplation did.)

I am trying to tighten my belt. May cancel the cable TV. I downgraded my cell phone plan. Didnt even know I could do that. I rarely use it since I can't get reception at home. Now I'm working on the land line phone plans. The ones I'm using were set up by my parents. So am trying to find the thriftiest plan for me. Could completely cancel the long distance plan and just use calling cards.

Need to be more careful about food purchases too. I waste a lot. My preferred food shopping is to do it daily or every few days but that's hard in the winter up here in the boonies and even in the warmer weather it entails a half-hour drive round trip.

I come from a very New England thrifty nostringtoshorttobesaved family. In fact, I have spent some time trying to reverse that penurious attitude in myself. I try to be generous and give to others. I also like to buy things for myself but up here in the boonies there are few opportunities for that. Shops are far and few between. Enforced savings.

I remember being with my Dad in the Vermont Country Store. He admired a hat but didnt buy it. Dad, why dont you buy the hat!! A treat for yourself. Grumble, grumble, leave me alone. He had the money to buy anything he wanted for himself, yet books and music were about his biggest indulgence. That and a piece of fillet Mignon once in awhile. And dental care.

I must say the economic down turn didnt really effect me as 1) I had no money invested in anything and 2) I have lived frugally ever since I graduated from college. I chose to follow what I thought was an artistic and alternative path over buying things and accumulating money. I'm not saying this was admirable or good. I know I caused lots of stress and hardship on myself and others by my stubborn on- the- edge- life.

But I did learn how to live without spending much money. I have bought my clothes in thrift stores for years and years. Unfortunately up north, where people are poor, there are very few thrift stores. For the pickings to be good you have to be around rich people who buy great stuff, tire of it quickly and then give it away, which doesnt happen up here.

Even now I rarely eat out, never go to the movies (it's a 45 minute drive anyway), wear my clothes into rags, don't go to the hairdresser, and so forth. I turn the heat way down at night. I like homes with big windows to let in light so I don't need artificial light. This is the first place I've lived in my adult life where I did not have a clothes line and racks to dry clothes on. (Note to self: buy clothes rack). I never had a dryer before and also have never had a dish washer (which I dont use). With clothes drying racks you have to plan way ahead as air drying clothes in the winter can take a few days. But hey, it's free.

I do give myself treats though like books (although I'm going to try and use the library more again) and pretty handmade things. I have bought a number of pretty things for my new house whenever that might happen. Now, they are packed. I get two movies at a time at Netflix. Whoopee. And I get massages.

I am not sure what prompted this post. We seem to be coming out of the economic downturn except for whatever happend y'day. Up and down. Who can listen. Each day is different. We are happy when things are up, upset when things are down. Best to just change the radio station when they start on this stuff. It seems kinda manic/depressive to me.

Be well and know that we are all rich in the beauty of friendship, the greenery and flowers, the sweet animals and love.


San said...

Suki, I enjoyed your thrift post. You know, we had our land line disconnected about a year ago--at home not work--and we haven't missed it at all. I am so not fond of Qwest, the phone company. Not that I love big cell phone companies either, but we're on one of those "Faves" plans, so that when we call those "main people," the minutes are never counted. This has worked well. As far as cable TV goes, we have just the basic because we enjoy renting movies more. Although I use my clothes dryer a lot, I've found that the winding iron stair rail, in a south-facing room, with windows that are two stories high, performs beautifully as a clothesline in the winter. And in the summer, we use our actual clothesline, unless it's just too hot to bother. My two cents on belt-tightening.

~Babs said...

Very interesting post.
This comment comes from another frugal home.I buy myself few indulgences,,most anything I buy in that area is for Jack. The pleasure I get from that is so much more than anything I could want for myself.
(well, other than the odd art supply item)
But we've taken the very same belt tightening procedures you mention. I use the freezer for so much more than I used to, buying on sale and putting away.
It just makes sense to do what you can to save where you can,good for you!

Lynn said...

I think I was born frugal. Saved my nickels and pennies as a child. Today I have a bag full of coins that DH leaves on the coffee table each night and I collect to take to the bank and put in his savings account. ;-)
I do use more appliances than you do, but haven't bought a book full price in years: Our thrift store gives them away for free.
Or friends send them to me... thanks!!!! ;-)
Or I borrow from my daughter's stacks.
I buy thread new but fabrics recycled.
Love, friends, hugs, are all free!
As long as I have those, life is good.

Your new banner photo is beautiful!

old pajamas said...


I think you're punishing self. If so, cease.....pajamas

Robin said...

Suki, so good to hear from you! Missed your wise words....and your wicked sense of humour!

As I write this, "My" Mockingbird is sernading at a furious pace.... I am so angry....as I was going to "capture" him on video - both photo andsound.....and yes, you guessed it, my camera battery is dead! Foolish me.... will promise to deliver soon!

Check your e-mails.....


♥ Robin ♥

Had to write now because the word verification is" "Joyahead"...too cool!


♥ Robin ♥

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Oh Suki, it's good to hear you attending to these things, crossing them off your to-do list.

Me, 3+ years after Mike's passing...some of those things are still on my list.

I mean, I rarely watch TV and only have basic cable but need to check into downgrading that bundled service but am so dependant on my internet service that I am intimidated on checking into other carriers etc... I did change phone plans, and have Vonage for my landline and it's inexpensive.

And I just joined netflix and will save on movie rentals that way and a better selection that Blockbuster too.

But I am starting to work on my basement--have had to clean out my filing cabinets just to be able to start, lol. Washed sheets that had been tossed on the couch since my flood 2 years ago! and may soon be able to sit on my couch again once it's unburied!

I never could take it on a bit at a time, so never did any thing, finally decided I had been shackled to that albatross too long.

patti said...

Love your thoughts on abundance Suki. Good luck with your efforts.

You're not missing anything cancelling Pay TV! LOL I also agree with your comment about the financial world/media being manic depressive. Our society reflects this. It's all madness!!

I just laugh when I hear panic about interest rates etc. I look only to my own world and see how IT is doing and don't buy into the wider madness.

We try to be frugal here too, but not shrinky and stingy. We have treats every now and again - Yesterday I bought the movie Avatar for my son - a big splurge! Sometimes a tube of paint for me, a bottle of beer for my hub. These are life's sweeter things anyhow.

Katiejane said...

Well, this is very true. I, too, am a minimalist. I often look around me when I am sitting in my comfortable chair at home and say to myself, "This is all I really need; a chair, a bed, food and shelter." Perhaps you should be looking for a cabin in the woods! :)

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

We have done some belt tightening as well...rechecking phone services and being careful with the heating. My mother was Queen of the lay-a-way and my sister was an expert on thrift stores...I fell somewhere in between. Now I order mostly from catalogs...Land End (free return) for casual clothes and ever so often buy something nice like a jacket or cardigan on sale at a big store...I like the simpler less expensive life, it suits us. Farmer's Markets, home grown and thinking before buying. I'm also careful on my art supplies...waiting for sales or discounts.

Anonymous said...

Suki, This seems to have come out of nowhere. May I ask what prompted this? Is it nervousness over the global economy? Not that a simple life isn't good for the planet, but everything in balance and moderation, including kindness toward yourself.

Kim said...

Hello Suki,

I think it is good to review these things from time to time, because how we spend money changes. I can and have been very frugal, but now I find great joy in doing for my children and traveling. I make decisions now based on what is good for us (less quantity and more organic food, for example), for the environment (source local when I can, don't spend money on nasty chemicals, etc.) and for life in general (what companies take care of their employees the best). I don't use a dryer (too hard on the fibers), but I do use a dishwasher (we don't pass as many germs around to each other when I do). In the long run, these things do save. As for the phone, we use a family plan and have free time and our land line is necessary for our security system (which saves in the worry department).

I think the questions Old Pajamas and Kikipotamus asked are worth exploring. What is the reason for this thinking? Is it valid? Is it covering up something else? Only you can answer!


layers said...

Well, it does sound like you are living a life pared down and basic- but allowing yourself special things as well- I think that is essential to a balanced life- that you do not feel like you are denying yourself and can find pleasure in small things- I could go for a massage myself!

Anonymous said...

Suki, I admire you for being a natural frugal nature. I don't think this is punishing, but can bring joy to a person too, (I mean to be frugal).
Personally, in my pockets money burns and I have to spend it, but with the help of time and wisdom of others I improved :)
love , Andrea

Mary said...

we have pared down a lot here in my home--my work has virtually disappeared in the last 2 years and my husband may lose his job soon and we have little in the way of savings. we have always been frugal so there really isn't much more to cut down...but then i look around and yes, there is always more to cut down. did you see that article years ago in National Geographic about people's belongings around the world? It was pretty startling. In much of the world a bowl, a spoon, a knife, a blanket and a change of clothes is what constitutes belongings. when i look at the world through those eyes what we in america consider frugal is shockingly rich and wasteful.

i think it is good to consider what we need and what we want and why...not to punish ourselves but maybe to remind us of our gratitude.

i love your honesty ;-)

i hope you are well--i think of you often throughout the day...

Annie said...

You sound like me Suki, I don't even have TV, and I don't often buy treats, but I am thinking differently now, the thought that how to have money come to you is by spending it, I heard that every dollar spent yields 3 back to the spender. This could be why I have not had money. Also I think that I NEED to buy myself some treats, I deserve them and have went without far too long.
I think that tightening the belt will lead to more tightening. I am not saying spend without thought, just that life it to be lived and money holds us in prison far to much these days and it is not about buying things just to buy them, as many have said it is the free stuff that counts, but tightening the belt sort of sounds like nose to the grind stone, not much fun. And one thing I know for sure, spirit always provides what we need. xoxo
Also like what old PJ's and kelly said.