Two years ago I wanted a laptop. I thought my life would easier if I could write during my 50-minute bus rides to the University of Washington.

But then I examined the potential purchase the way I examined all others:

  • Can I really justify the expense vs. the payoff?
  • If I got it, would my life be significantly improved?
  • If I didn’t, would my life by substantially diminished?

No, no and no. Buying the laptop would have meant dipping into my nascent emergency fund. It also would have meant one more thing to carry – and a backpack jammed with textbooks and my daily brown-bag lunch already had me feeling that I was toting my house on my back.

In other words, it would have amounted to a very expensive shoulder ache.

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You can get rid of anything on Freecycle, and I can prove it: A woman came to my house the other day to pick up five empty 42-ounce oatmeal boxes.

Bonus: The lady is a Yup’ik Eskimo so while we chatted on the phone I had a chance to use one of the approximately three Yup’ik words I know: “Akleng,” or “I’m sorry,” when her toddler daughter woke up crying from a nap.

I wasn’t sorry to be giving her the boxes, though, because it gave them one more use before they hit the recycle bin.

I also wasn’t sorry about having five empty oatmeal boxes. I kept them because I figured someone would want them. And someone did.


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Why you need a nap.

When I was a child I loathed naps. There was just way too much to do to spend daytime hours lying on a bed. These days I crave naps because, well, there’s just way too much to do.

I wish I could distill the essence of sleep and sell it in pill form. I’d call the product a “napsule.”

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Remodeling This Life hosts the Festival of Frugality blog carnival this week. The hostess, Emily, chose my “The wedding gift as price of admission” as an Editor’s Pick.

This is my obligatory link to the carnival — but also a chance for readers to browse a wide array of topics, from “Frugal sick days” to “The international restaurant tipping guide.”

You might be as tickled as I was to read what Emily’s 5-year-old daughter did with the money she made at the yard sale.

Home delivery

The lovely and talented Matt at the Promoting Group has updated the Surviving and Thriving home page to include an e-mail subscription option.

If you don’t do Google Reader et al., it’s now possible to get updates sent to your inbox. Fresh, hot copy every day — and since delivery is free, you won’t need that international tipping guide.

Sign up now and you’ll never miss another chocolate giveaway.

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We have a winner! Two of them, in fact. The “Carrie necklace” goes to Tania, whose name comes in well under the allotted 12 letters. She’ll be the envy of all the other girls (and not a few of the boys) if she wears it to “Sex and the City 2.”

The confectionery consolation prize winner is Catseye. As we all know, confections have a stupendous capacity to console. In this case, that’s a bag of Godiva milk chocolate strawberries and two Godiva bars (milk chocolate with almond, dark chocolate with extra-dark ganache filling).

Congratulations to both, and as for the rest of you: Suck it up. I wasn’t even eligible to win and you don’t hear me whining, do you?

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