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stop buying crap! March 14, 2009

Posted by vMonster in Frugal Living, Humor.
1 comment so far

I’ve spent a big chunk of time this afternoon perusing this blog and I’ve been enjoying it for many reasons. Two of which are: 1) I’m inspired by frugal living blogs recently in my efforts to scale back my lifestyle and “live within my means” and 2) the guy who writes it is friggin’ hilarious. How can you say no to reading about things like World of Warcraft Addictions, obnoxious ringtones, not buying things like iPods, Starbucks Frappuccinos, minivans, solid gold toilets, iPhones, private helicopters, etc. etc. especially when dosed with plenty of sarcastic humor? I sure can’t. Plus, anyone who touts the merits of library books as “portable entertainment” is cool in my book. Some of the funnier posts are older but have no less value today, citing our troubled times as a reason to approach our newly simplified lifestyles with a smile.

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my frugality limits March 6, 2009

Posted by vMonster in Dating/Relationships, Frugal Living.
1 comment so far

I’m cutting corners, recession-style. Everyone is keeping a closer eye on their money these days. Those of us with jobs are thankful to have them and are mindfully scrimping and hopefully saving. Recently I’ve cut my cable service back down to basic (without the upper channels for the first time in six years: farewell E!, MTV, VH1, Bravo, Lifetime, TBS, HGTV, TLC, Food, Travel…wait, did I make a mistake canceling that?!), as well as drastically reduced my discretionary spending (music, books, movie outings, bars & booze, takeaway coffee, going to restaurants, clothing, etc.) in order to more efficiently funnel my cash. Like many others, my main priority is to reduce my debt and grow my capital as much as possible. Because who knows how bad things can get?

Even so, there are just a few things I refuse to cut out entirely. I was inspired by this post at Being Frugal.

Netflix.
I personally don’t consider this a splurge at only $17 a month, but it’s something I’d never cut out. I’m a big fan of watching TV shows on DVD this way (buying seasons is expensive, and who wants to see the same thing that many times), and you can get pretty much any movie out there. If it sucks, send it back. I’ve almost always enjoyed their smart recommendations as well. I think you’d basically have to be crazy to waste $9/a person on movie tickets (forget the inflated-priced snacks!) these days when you can just curl up at home.

Gym membership.
Mine is only $10 a month, so it’s practically painless to begin with. I just joined about a month ago, and it’s become a fun activity my boyfriend and I do together. We enjoy it and we reap the physical benefits of exercise. In short, it makes everything better and it’s worth the effort and the little bit of money spent.

Philadelphia cream cheese.
I tend to choose the store brand or the cheapest name brand on most things, but Philly cream cheese is just by far better than anything else. The same goes for Thomas’ bagels, and the two were obviously made for each other.

Pets.
It makes me sad to hear that animal shelters all over the country are seeing an influx of abandoned animals due to the fact that the owners can no longer afford to care for their pets, largely because they lost their job. While I know that the combined costs of veterinary care, food and supplies for pets (I have two cats) can most certainly add up, I love my kitties and would do just about anything I could to keep them. In the past, no matter how hard up I’ve been, there’s always been enough money for food and litter to keep them going. The reward is always greater than what I pay, anyway.

Music.
There’s nothing wrong with a few music downloads now and then, and cover fees to support local bands. My love of music is far too great for a bad economy to suppress. However, I do look for deals on amazon.com and iTunes for cheap(er) MP3 albums and buy used CDs and rip them to my iPod. Don’t underestimate the potential in sharing music with your friends and lover(s). Chances are they like similar stuff as you, can introduce you to great new music, you can expand each other’s collections, and it’s a bonding experience to boot. What could be better?

There are probably a few other luxuries and splurges I’ll be indulging in as the economy worsens, but for the majority I’m embracing frugality as more of a personal challenge than a no-fun sentence. My boyfriend and I both have limited cashflows and have found many satisfying ways to pass the time without ever being bored. It’s good to find a balance, that way you can focus on what really matters.