Saturday, October 31, 2009

Counter-Frugal...or Not

Recently, I posted a comment on my Facebook page that I'd decided using a disposable camera is counter-frugal. (And no, I can't find that word in the dictionary.)

Why? When my digital camera began to malfunction, I began buying disposables for family gatherings: Christmases and graduations. One day my son needed a picture for his homeschool co-op, so off I went to buy another camera (complete with developing costs)...and on top of the expense, my pictures of him didn't turn out very well. That's when it dawned on me that in the past few years I had spent the price of an inexpensive digital camera on buying disposable cameras and paying for developing the pictures...and that I had the money - at the moment - to buy an inexpensive disposable camera.

You could apply that same principle to my car. I drive a 1993 minivan with 193,000 miles...and we spend close to an average of $300 a month in repairs to keep it on the road. That's not to keep it perfect! (My windows won't even open at this writing.) People often tell me I could be making a car payment with that money. Talk about counter-frugal!

So what's the difference? And what's the similarity? When I bought the first disposable camera, there were more urgent uses for the money it would cost to buy a digital camera. More honestly expressed, there was no way I was going to spend a hundred dollars on a camera at that time. Later, that changed, and a few weeks ago I got my digital camera.

My car, on the other hand, gets me from Point A to Point B (when it's not stopping off at the shop), without the commitment of an auto loan, with low insurance payments, and without having to combine monthly payments with warranty or maintenance costs. A $300 car payment is never really just $300; there is always more. There's no way I'm going to buy a car at this moment in time. When the time comes that we are ready to replace my car, hopefully we will know it, like I knew it was time to buy a camera.

One more example where we can be counter-frugal...or not, depending on finances at any given in renting an apartment vs. buying a house. People say, "If you rent, you are throwing money down the drain." Well, first of all, if it's a home (the place where you live and love), it is never wasted money. Secondly, while owning your own home has wonderful benefits, renting can be simpler in some ways, too. When the plumbing acts up, we call maintenance. When the dryer acts up, we call maintenance. When the lawn needs mowing, we don't even need to call anyone. With my husband sometimes working as many as 60 hours a week, and with me working 20 hours and homeschooling, it's nice to not even worry about the yard.

Are there ways that you are frugal that might seem at first to be counter-frugal? Are there old ways you are clinging to that you might be able to change and actually save money? When is it time to scale down - and when is it more frugal to spend a little more and save in the long run? Key to these decisions, I think, is to question the so-called "principles" that we've heard about finances and frugality...and then to question, not once but periodically, whether what we did last year is good for this year.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blog Leans on Website

ADDED IN AUGUST OF 2012:  The Little Saint Therese book is now available as a bound book, with a little black and white picture to go with each little story!  You can read the sample chapter here. I have also added a couple prayers and a list of suggestions of other books about Saint Therese for children and adults.

You can now buy the book for $5.39 from Amazon. 

The following is the past post  about the free pdf. You can still obtain that file, but it does not have the pictures, nor does it have the added prayers or book lists.

Hello, Friends,

My first foray into online publishing was my (late) website, "Mothers Almanac". When I started blogging, I used the website to post pictures onto my blog. Then Geocities decided to close their free websites, but I decided not to proceed with moving my website. (I did copy and paste most of the content onto my computer.)

So...Yahoo shakes the magic Etch-a-Sketch to erase my website and the pictures on my blog are gone. Whoops! I kinda' knew this would happen, but I kinda' got busy and forgot. I also "lost" the hosting site for my Little Saint Therese book.

Soon, I will get the website pictures back up! (Hopefully, depending on the technologies involved).

As for the Little Saint Therese book, I'm still working on what I will do with that, but in the meantime, if you'd like a free (pdf) copy...

ADDED LATER, here is the link to the free pdf file (without the pictures that are now available in the bound book).

But, if you are looking for the bound book, with little pictures, prayers, and a book list, you can now buy it here from Amazon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Online Course for the Job Search

Most of us know someone who is looking for a job...not an easy task any time, but especially during an economy where there are so many lay-offs. Yet there are jobs still out there. People quit their jobs for various reasons (a move to a less expensive city, spouse being relocated, etc.), and many of those jobs really do need to be filled.

Career Search Skills: Beacon of Light in a Dark Economy
is a reasonably priced, three session online course to help your friend or relative (or yourself) land that job.

Click here for more information about this course.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Posting about Posting (or Not)

Daily posts, where did you go? Weekly posts, that's good enough, she shrugged. Over a month? My loneliness for you, my readers, pierces my heart.

I need to write. I've been too _______ (multiple choice. Your guess is as good as mine: busy, tired, distracted, confused about what to write).

Outside of the blog world, I've been trying to decide whether to write an autobiography or a fiction book, or just what to write. (If you have any thoughts, I'm open to hearing them.)

Of course, I've been writing a few emails...and occasional brief facebook posts. And I've been busy with other life stuff. But I need to write...if only I can figure out what, and find the time and energy.

Life changes. I've noticed that a few of my favorite blog friends haven't been blogging much more lately than I have. Is it simply a matter of their kids getting older or is it also the challenges of dealing with a difficult economy? Maybe that thought sounds crazy, but hey, some of us are working more, giving moral support to more people, working harder at spending less money on the necessities. Even the blogs I've been reading the most lean more to frugal blogs these days.

Would you be interested in reading my thoughts and findings about frugality here?

Praying for you all, and hoping the best for your families and dear ones.