Quantcast
 

thYesterday I had a stimulating conversation with a Surviving and Thriving reader who was traveling with her family. It was a frugal meet-up: We talked for a couple of hours in the play area of a Carl’s Jr. restaurant, since I figured the two kids would be bored spitless by grownup blather about  money and frugality.

Both the reader and her husband have names that begin with the letter K, so henceforth they’ll be referred to as “K-she” and “K-he.” (Didn’t get permission to out their true identities.) We talked about not just how to save money but also about the sense of freedom that comes with taking control of your cash.

K-he revealed that initially he was nervous about his wife’s proposal to be a full-time parent, fearing it would deal a death blow to their finances. But now he’s not only in awe of his wife’s mad frugal skills, he’s on board with the whole idea.

He also asked an interesting question: “Why aren’t more people like you two?”

 


read more

th-1My personal-finance pal J. Money started an interesting conversation over at Budgets Are Sexy. A reader asked if it were “a poor decision” to use an item for years, then return it for a refund.

(That’s even a question?)

In “Returning used stuff – cool or no?,” J. Money said he wrote back to the reader saying, among other things, that this was a question of personal ethics. The blogger added that he would not return anything unless it was broken or otherwise not delivering on its promise.

(In his wild youth he’d returned a used boombox two days before the return window expired, and was thoroughly shamed by the customer service rep before he got his refund. Lesson learned!)

The reader then shared that he’d needed to move and “just couldn’t throw out my bedroom set that was in perfect condition and 10 years old.” (Emphasis added.) So he took it back to Costco and, unbelievably, the store refunded his money.

 


read more

thI’ve noticed a lot of summer blooms lately. And by “blooms,” I mean “yard-sale signs.”

The hand-lettered, brightly colored notices are tacked to utility poles, taped to trees (really?) or stapled to big boxes that have rocks inside to keep them from blowing away.

Narrowly missed attending a couple of these this morning. My niece e-mailed to see if I’d be interested, but we were entertaining an unexpected guest and then working in the garden, so I didn’t get online until mid-afternoon.

In addition to her e-invite I saw “Tag sales: Don’t buy the fantasy,” a Time magazine column written by my former MSN Money colleague M.P. Dunleavey. It’s a darned amusing (and darned true) story of the ways we sometimes lose our minds in the face of a bargain.

Even a bargain we don’t need. Especially a bargain we don’t need.

 


read more

A pullet surprise.

thMonths and months ago I wrote a post called “Ask me (almost) anything.” Among other things, it invited readers to send questions that I might (or might not) answer.

The questions came in, and remained unanswered. Sorry ’bout that.

Also sorry about maintaining radio silence since May 6. My book project plus an issue to be explained later have kept me from doing any writing for fun.

Today I’ll kill two birds with one stone (plus one really unappetizing picture).

 


read more

thGreetings from Phoenix, where I’ve spent a lot of time editing the manuscript for my daughter’s upcoming e-book. The working title is “Frugality for Depressives,” and it’s designed to help people who experience depression figure out which money hacks will work and which won’t.

Fact is, not all tactics work for all people even if they aren’t depressive. Some folks are never going to soak beans, do online surveys or wash Ziploc bags.

“Frugality for Depressives” looks at money-saving tips in terms of common depressive symptoms and also suggests workarounds so that these tips could be used in at least some form.

As Abby knows from painful personal experience, depression and other mental illnesses make it hard to live on a budget. These diseases can also affect a person’s ability to earn, which means frugality isn’t just a lifestyle choice – it’s a survival mechanism.

The e-book should be out within the next four to six weeks. To my knowledge no one has written anything like it before. I believe the book will be a huge asset to those who can’t frugal* the way everyone else does but who still want to save money.

It’s been great (if time-consuming fun) and of course a writer always likes to see her offspring write great stuff. This is especially true if it keeps said writer from having to work on her own book.

 


read more