thMy month-long experiment, aka NaBloPoMo, ends today. Thanks to all who read along.

Despite its having been a stressful month, I’m glad I took this plunge because it taught me a little something. Three little somethings, actually.

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thAs I hinted in “Thanks a million,” changes are afoot in the way I do business at MSN Money. Specifically: Frugal Nation is no more. Instead, I’ll be writing three times a week (not five!) at MSN Money Smart Spending. [Edited to add: In September 2013 Microsoft fired all its writers on the same day and went to a partner content setup.]

Relieved? Yes. But sad, too.

After all, Frugal Nation was my baby alone: For more than a year I posted five times a week, offering “save money today” advice and also bigger-picture articles about money and how we use it, abuse it and sometimes deify it.


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I hate shopping.

th-1I’m beginning to understand why people have things delivered. Today I drove DF to work so that I could use the vehicle for the day. I figured I’d do a couple of errands and maybe meet a friend for lunch.

Somehow the errands took over, shaving off slabs of time like a knife on a shawarma spit. It felt as though I spent two hours just getting out of the car and into the stores.

I’d forgotten how much I hate shopping. Real shopping, that is, not the kind I did in Seattle.

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FC9781573443654The subtitle of Billee Sharp’s book is “The D.I.Y. Guide to the Good Life.” If that sounds like you, then enter to win this book.

It’s designed to help you consume less and create more. Sharp’s philosophy is “applying effort, common sense and imagination to daily living,” which she says can ultimately free us from unnecessary expenses.

Or you could view it a how-to for spending more on the things that matter to you (organic food, non-exploitative manufacturing) by reducing costs elsewhere.

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Buy once, cry once.

thMy father, a constant remodeler and handyman, has always favored Craftsman tools. His vise grip got used pretty hard, especially in its last few years of life when Dad was working at an automobile factory.

One day the tool shuddered, sighed and broke – you can ask only so much of even a good vise grip.

Sears replaced it for free (store policy), and he’s been using it ever since.

“There’s an old saying with tools: ‘Buy once, cry once’,” Dad said. “Of course, that applies to just about everything in life.”

Some things you just shouldn’t cheap out on, like tools, or shoes. Or condoms.

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