The Definition of Luxury in Hard Economic Times



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spending money on necessities

Here is a quote I read the other day by an unknown author: The trouble with most of us is that our necessities are too luxurious and our luxuries are too necessary.

It might take a moment for that to sink in but hopefully you will get the meaning. For years, I have said the only way to get out of debt is to just stop spending. That is still true but I have started seeing that people not only need to stop spending excessively but they need to start looking differently at the way they spend and examining what they spend their money on.



 

Let’s look at 3 different people buying a baby gym, which is that big toy the baby lays under and spends time looking at the things hanging from it.

  1. A couple finds one for $20 at a garage sale. These same people are deep in debt but they feel a baby gym is a necessity for their baby’s happiness. They are so excited because they think it is a good deal (since it usually sells for $50) and buy it right up.
  • My daughter Tawra decides she needs a baby gym but makes up her mind she will not spend more than $5 on one and finally finds one for $3 at a thrift store. Not too bad.
  • I decide my grandbaby needs a baby gym at my house, too, so I lay him on the floor and place 2 dining room chairs, one on each side of him with a broom stretched across the seats of the chairs. I then tie toys and odds and ends on the broom handle for him to lay and look at. It cost me nothing but about 2 minutes setting it up.

 

This shows different levels of thinking about money. Nothing is a good deal if you are in debt. You shouldn’t be spending at all and you need to be trying to figure out how you can make do with what you have.

With the first couple, yes that was a good deal compared to what they usually spend, but they really haven’t gotten their minds wrapped around what it means to truly not spend and are fooling themselves into thinking they are doing really well with their money, thus ridding themselves of any guilty feelings. 

The second example (Tawra) shows someone who isn’t in debt and can afford to buy a few things but is a wise enough steward to know the best way to stay out of debt is to spend some money but to do it wisely and with control.

The third example (me) is someone who has had to make do for so long now it just is a way of life. Yes, a baby gym is nice but I know in a few weeks the baby will be crawling and will no longer need it. My income is small enough and I have other things I really need to spend it on so I don’t buy one at all.

Here’s another example of warped thinking I saw yesterday on TV. The title of the show was, “Fill Your Freezer for Less.” It naturally caught my attention because I thought they would give some good ideas on saving on food for your freezer. You can imagine how it blew my mind when they said, “Today you can get 6 lobster tails for only $100. You’ll be saving $50. Isn’t that a great deal in these hard economic times.” The even scarier part was that they sold out of them and other similar items very quickly.

It’s not just that we need to stop spending but in order to do that there needs to be a drastic change in the way we think and look at money and things.

      -Jill

Photo By: stuartpilbrow

Comments

  1. Brandy says

    Jill,
    I agree 100%! When I talk to friends and family about frugal living I always start off by saying, “You have to start by learning the difference between your “needs” and your “wants”, and you’ll find that your “needs” are very few and your “wants” are in abundance!” I have a friend that is currently on food stamps, however she has a the latest cell phone and her nails are always professionally manicured. This makes me crazy, and I’m trying to figure out a way to diplomatically explain my needs and wants theory. We are so spoiled as a society, and I’m thankful that you and Tawra have this website to bring a little reason into this unreasonable world.
    Thanks so much and keep up the good work!
    Brandy
    PS Speaking of needs and wants, any suggestions on flea control for a cat and dog? I’ve been using Frontline on both of them and they seem to have built up an immunity. I hate the idea of spending more money on flea control, but can’t abide by having fleas! I know the most frugal solution would be to get rid of the cat and dog (because really they fall into the want catagory) but, alas, they are a part of the family and we love them. So any suggestions from anyone would be welcome.

    • Rachell says

      I recently had a conversation with a woman who has operated a cat rescue for over 30 years. She explained that Advantage, that is large enough for a 55# dog, can be re-dosed for cats. A tube for a dog 55# has 4.0 ml of medication. A cat up to 9# needs 0.4ml & a cat 9#- 18# needs 0.6ml. She treats 9-10 cats with one tube. You would need to get a small syringe that does not have a needle, squirt the entire tube into a container so you can keep the left over for the following month and draw up the liquid according to your pet’s size. She said she has done this for years with great success & is able to treat 150+ cats every month much more affordably. I have relatives who do the same and treat all their dogs and cats using this method.
      I am not trying to give medical advice, I just wanted to pass along this information. This woman also adivsed that she would only do this method with ‘ADVANTAGE’ specifically & no other flea treatment.

      • says

        PLEASE NEVER USE ANY KIND OF FLEA TRAETMENT MADE FOR A DOG ON YOUR CAT NEVER NEVER NEVER as it contains an ingredient that is TOXIC to cats it will build up in their system and eventually poison them if the 1st dose doesn’t. We had a cat brought into the vet with poising from advantage for dogs used by mistake, a $1500 mistake and devastated owners,. the cat survived but will have effects for some time to come.

    • says

      FLEA CONTROL yes everyone has that problem and most resort to expensive and dangerous chemicals, here is what do wash your cat and dog {yes cats can be bathed and they do get used to it } regularly in this mix make a very strong solution of green tea and mint leaves let sit a while then add to a tub of water an saturate your animal DO NOT RINSE OFF I have found this keeps fleas under control at my place. Also wash/soak their bedding in same and hang to dry no rinsing.

  2. says

    This is an excellent post!

    There is a mindset in our current society that saving money has something to do with spending it. For example:

    1. The supermarket gives you a receipt that tells you how much you “saved.”

    2. When buying things used at garage sales, thrift stores or second hand shops, you feel like you are saving money or getting a deal. Maybe this is true in some cases, but more often than not, you can get by without the item you purchased.

    During the Depression-era and even before then, it was not normal to just buy things.

    My favorite book about being productive, creative, inventive and industrious is an old book, “Farmer Boy” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you want a lesson in home economy, this is an incredible place to start. I was amazed by the wisdom and habits of the mother and father in this story.

    Blessings
    Mrs. White in rural Vermont

    • Shellee says

      We also love Farmer Boy and it is as source of inspiration to us when our frugality is lagging. I just want to mention another book by the same author that has also helped, The Long Winter. We have it sooooo good and have no idea what some folks have had to do to survive.

      Hope this helps someone out there today.
      Shellee

      • T says

        Oh, Shellee! When I saw Farmer Boy post, I immediately thought that I would reply with The Long Winter but you did it for me. Thanks! Laura’s books are all lessons in frugality. People should read these books! Think about how she worked at store making shirts, teaching when she didn’t want to, etc. just to send her sister to college. I still have my set of these wonderful books that were given to me as a Christmas gift when I was in third grade. That’s about 35 years ago. A simple luxury, yes?

        • says

          Your comment reminded me of a book I read once about a woman living on the Kansas prairie when it was first settled and the things she had to do during a drought. One thing stood out to me was she only had 1 cup of water a day to wash a whole days worth of dishes in. My grandmother in law told how when they first settled on the prairie one of the things she missed the most was a cool drink of water in the summer. The men would have to take a wagon with barrels several miles away and haul it in for them to use so by the time they got it back to the ranch it was always hot and they had no ice or anything to cool it with.

  3. Melinda says

    So very true!

    I’ve often wondered when in our society thrift began to be looked down on instead of being embraced as it once was. I guess that’s one of the reasons we are living in the mess we are in now:(

    I’m hoping that the current economic conditions will open the eyes of my fellow American’s, but I’m not holding my breath. It seems to me that all it accomplished so far is a “poor me” attitude in my sisters and brothers. Maybe that’s just me though…..

  4. Tina Barrett says

    How true your words are! It is especially true with children. Why do we feel that we have to buy them treats and rewards to entertain them, for their good behavior, or for finishing their responsibilities. Teaching our kids to use their imaginations, entertain themselves, and turn everyday responsibilities into fun is priceless. I find it funny that my children’s friends will abandon video games and other electronic entertainment and beg to accompany our family on currant picking expeditions, garden gleaning, fruit picking,camping and fishing trips. All the things that my kids consider work; they consider great fun!

  5. Rachel says

    Jill, what a great post! These are the things I think about all the time. A perfect example is my daughter. She has a credit card with a balance on it and they are charging her 27% interest. When she told me this I told her she really should transfer to a lower interest crecit card. She hasn’t done this and makes the minimum monthly. Well, she just started a new waitressing job, and was telling me yesterday what she pulled in in tips last week. Tips are in addition to her pay per hour, which for servers is now in the $4 per hour range. I said “You can put some of that on the credit card.” “No, I’m just going to pay that off with my tax refund.” So she is satisfied to pay the bank 27% interest for the next few months, and it relying on the tax refund. I notice a lot of people have this habit. “I’ll buy this with my tax refund. i’ll catch up my bills with my tax refund.” I wonder if they are looking at our present administration and realizing that if Obama has his way, you’re not going to get much of a tax refund, if you get one at all. This is an important time for Americans to learn self sufficiency. Those promises of “free” health care and “free” this and that have to be paid for by someome, and it will not be rich in our nation. It will be the working class.

  6. Tina Mudong says

    I have learned to be content with what I have and I think that is the difference!! I know there are things out there I could want, but I know that I only have very few needs and they are all covered. I too have friends who work themselves ragged so that they can buy the newest gadgets, vacations and auto’s. They come home too tired to cook so they order takeout or go out to eat almost daily. Their recreation is going shopping for things they really don’t need and at the end of the month don’t have enough money left to pay their bills so they whip out one of their several credit cards and get further in debt! I would much rather live my life!! I am a stay at home mom so no childcare (other than myself!) is needed. I have time to cook, clean and wash laundry. When a need arises I find it cheap (thrift store or yard sale) or free (freecycle or dumpster diving). Like when my daughter’s needed a dresser and I found an ugly purply, black painted one with a broken leg and bottom. I brought it home removed the hardware painted the whole thing white, removed all the legs and nailed a piece of wood cut to fit over the bottom and replaced the hardware. All it cost me was $30 for the paint and wood. I have no need of a newer vehicle, gadgets, etc. I am content with what I have and I am blessed!

  7. says

    Luxury….haven’t seen that in a while. OK, the 1/2 gal of Butter Pecan, I had this past week, maybe.

    God is Great! Little did I know his guidance was happening when I took another job and had to relocate. I began commuting to work by bicycle two years back. Everything needed for business..banks, grocery, shopping, doctor, etc is within a 3 mile radius. Easliy performed with my bike/trailer combo. Now I use maybe $40 a month on fuel vs. $65/week. Every little bit helps indeed. I get a minimum of 1 hr cardio exercise each day! No luxury gym membership required.

  8. Lucia says

    Brandy, have you tried bathing your pets in dawn? Dawn detergent is deadly to fleas and eggs and all you need is a drop or two in the bath water for it to be effective. This is a tip from my SIL who used to be a Vet tech. The “expensive” flea dip at her office was actually a Dawn Bath LOL! It’s also SOOOO much less toxic then the alternative!

    Jill, This is a perfect example of why I prefer this site over discount sites. You give REAL solutions for saving money. If you go on MSNBC and read their “how to save money” articles they tell you to give up digital cable and cut back on the pop tarts. I ONLY have basic cable because it gives me a $5 discount on my internet and I don’t eat pop tarts. Sell your second car or get a used one so you don’t have car payments I have ONE car and it’s 10 years old. There is nothing more depressing then living in the poverty level and then having someone loose their job and have to cut back even further. There is a desperation that comes when you don’t think or know how to cut back any further and you and Tawra give me that hope and practical ways to ease up the budget. Thank you!

  9. says

    I agree with you 100%. I’m getting better at doing without, and getting creative with solutions, but there is one issue…. MY DH isn’t ready to do without and he often vetos my “make do with what we have” solutions. Many of my alturnatives are just “not good enough” for him. It’s extreamly frustrating…

    QH

  10. Bea says

    Jill, I was reading a devotional called “God at Eventide” and thought of you when I read this, so I thought I would share it. It is Jesus talking and He says, “Be content to do the simple things. Never think that if you have not the cleverness of the world that I cannot use your services. Pure sparkling water may be in a silver goblet, or a simple glass, but to the one who receives, it is the water that matters, not the vessel, provided THAT be pure and clean. It is MY Truth that matters, not the person that utters it, provided the desire is there to deliver My Message for ME. True simplicity is found only as you live in Me and act in MY Strength; for only in our close companionship can real value be achieved. Never accept the values of earth. Be content with simplicity.”

  11. Donna says

    Some of this wisdom comes with age and experience. Like your baby gym. A young woman can’t be expected to know what jingly things keep a baby occupied. One day you just know it.

    I can get babies to quit crying. I can get them to fall asleep on my lap in minutes. People say it’s like magic. You would have never believed it if you would have seen me with my first-born.

    Some of the new baby shower gifts are just crazy. They are absolutely unusable. I have seen some of those gifts still unopened for sale in thrift-shops and garage sales. I’m sure that young women who are buying these items for their friends didn’t expect them to go unused because they aren’t as practical as they were advertised. A grandma would just know it.

  12. Tonya Wright says

    Lucia, I know what you are talking about. We were beyond poverty level when we moved back from Florida when my husband lost his job. We were terribly depressed and didn’t know what to do. Finally, things got so bad I told God, “Either you’ll save me or I’ll go under–either way I can’t do any more.” I was so desperate I was willing to accept destruction if only our pain would end. God must have grinned when at last I took my hands off the wheel!! He moved so fast on our behalf my head was spinning. He had to have been waiting for me to get to the point that I confessed I could do nothing.

  13. Jayne says

    Thank you for sharing, Bea.:) I really am trying to find my way out of “the values of the earth.” I am getting better at needs versus wants, but my nature is naturally pretty self-indulgent. Oh well, onward and upward!

    Thanks for the wonderful article!!

  14. Debbie says

    I have been on all levels on the example above. I am somewhere between the second and third examples right now but still have moments in the first. I have to watch our money but not every penny…at least not yet…so I figure that I’m doing alright. Since losing my full-time job a year and a 1/2 ago, I have been doing a pretty good job on cutting out the extra spending. My hubby still marvels at how well we are doing.

    Seems strange but we have more money since I have moved to a much lower paying part-time job than we ever had while I was working.

    It all comes from tips from this website and similar ones on the web. Thanks so much for the great tips and the occational kick in the pants. :)

    • says

      I was so glad for your comment Debbie. We get so many people saying they would like to stay at home or there is no way you can survive on one income etc. I try to tell them to at least try it because they would be surprised at how in many cases they not only would do okay but even better with their money sometimes. When people lose a job or get a pay cut theyare forced into being more careful with their money and their spending and sometimes (I’m not saying this is your case) between having an extra car, gas, going out to eat because mom is tired, different tax bracket etc.these can make things so your aren’t even gaining that much with a second income.

      PS I usually try to wear slippers a lot so the kick in the pants won’t hurt so much. Hope it worked. : )

  15. says

    The day after our eldest son was born my husband came to the hospital with his lay off notice. Needless to say we bought very few luxury items for our son.
    One thing we did splurge on and people all said we were nuts since it was a baby chair $50. but it was a god send item.
    It was like the seat in “3 men and a baby” movie. With every move or breeze the chair would bounce a bit. Raymond was not a child to want to sit quietly and when in the chair he didn’t have to. If he was just falling asleep and the chair was still he would start to cry. The cat would step on the foot part and the chair would move and raymond would stop crying the cat would leave. This would go on all day and I got a lot more done than sit and entertain a baby..
    That chair went through 5 children and when I tried to find one when my 1st grandchild was born I couldn’t find one for love nor money.
    We have always only had one pay cheque and we raised 2 children on it. They were never hungry and they had toys and computers but were never over indulged. Don and I are not social butter flies (some would say we are hermits) and the boys grew up with friends but not a lot of them. We did much as a family with no outsiders. I sometimes wonder if we should have made a bigger effort to be friendly so that the boys would have had more opportunities to socialize but they tell us no they like the way our family still is together and happy even when far apart.
    So I guess it is ok.

  16. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Additionally if you live by the philosophy of using a broom stick to entertain your baby you don’t need a big (more expensive) house to hold all your stuff.

  17. barb~ says

    My luxury in these hard times is a hot, soaking bubble bath. Then when the water has cooled off and I get out, I toss my “unmentionables” in the water and swish them around. Drain the bath water, rinse and hang to dry on the towel bars. I feel soooooo very frugal:)!!

    Barb~

  18. Marilyn says

    All those sales magazines, that are just waiting to entice you to buy what you didn’t know you “needed” go directly from the mailbox to the trash container that is outside.

    I always laugh at the sites that tell you to go on vacation in the US instead of Europe, or to forgo that cruise, or eat at home more and don’t buy lattes. Never have gone to extreme on things for myself,but I d have had to curtail getting my granddaughter some things that I think she “needs” and I am blessed and happy doing the little things for her.

  19. rose says

    its funny how after i looked around on the website and found this article and posts .. after going to the mall this past weekend (just to walk around and window shop) … well i noticed this shop of nothing but purses and change purses … so i decided to go in and look ..
    jill .. they were gorgeous! .. and yes i picked out a few (thinking well maybe i can afford at least one!) .. ahahhahahaha .. what a joke .. (i am being very sarcastic at this moment, not directed at anyone but to let you know what was said next) …
    i asked the sales girl how much (bc there was no price tag, and i should have known) .. she said $200! for a purse!!!!! .. yes you read right.. my face just dropped .. and again i thought (am i on one of those funny shows that teaase people!) .. again i asked and she said $200! .. i told her i didnt believe her and i thought she was lying .. she got kinda insulted (well i would too if i was working somewhere and that was the price) and huffed and puffed (and no she didnt blow the store down hehhehehe :D ) .. and i asked her to check the price again and use the price scanner .. and the manager came over and said what was wrong … after telling her what happened and how i didnt and couldnt believe a simple little purse could be sooo high .. well the manager then informed me it was a name brand and it was actually on sale bc those purses go for alot more! .. and again i thought she was nuts and i did tell her she was crazy .. and i wanted her to double check the prices and she did . and yes it was true jill!!! on the price check on the register that little skimpy purse was $200 + tax!!!!!!!!… i almost died and told them both that is just crazy! .. for a purse! .. and anyone who bought one of those was just an idiot .. and i didnt care who heard me and whatever but it was just crazy ..
    and get this, they looked at me like i was the one that was nutty .. well maybe my facial expressions said it all but i dont think i am nutty ..
    not when $200 can do alot of other things instead of buying a purse! ..
    what has happened to us? .. not begrudgeing anyone of wanting and can well afford to do this but for the every day working class person (and that is who shop at this mall) how can they justify this? ..
    i called my sister and she said she wasnt surprised .. its the name of the purse .. and my daughter she said if you wanted one of those purses you have to go to the wholesale places (flea markets or a tj maxx or ross sometimes sells them for really cheap) .. i told my daughter i will just do what i normally do and go to hte thrift store and get one for $5 and that will be ok with me ..
    i thought i would share this with you .. not sure why but maybe bc the name of the blog is luxury and hard economic times ..
    i will also have to check out that book too ..
    and the young lady that asked about frontline .. our pets got an allergic reaction to that . we only use advantage now …
    sorry so long …

    • says

      I know exactly what you are talking about. I watch QVC and HSN just because it fascinates me that they have very few purses under $100 and the $200+ ones sell like crazy. I watched a doll show on there once and figured out they sold 1000 dolls at $300 in less then 10 minutes and they sold out. That was $300,000 worth of dolls.

      I heard a thing too on TV where they said sales was way up on luxury items like jewelry and people didn’t feel the hard press need to only buy necessities like big screen TVs and DVDs. Uhhhhhh!!!!! When did tvs and dvds become necessities?
      Boy do I feel an article coming on. :) :)

    • says

      Oh Rose, you cracked me up!! I have a couple of friends that *ONLY* carry those name brand purses, yet they are too broke for some things. One of them posts on Facebook that they are out to eat at least 3 times a week…but she can’t afford $300 for dental procedures.

      I admit, I used to spend money like crazy until I lost my job last year & husband’s pay was reduced by $7,000/yr. Now I try to make food go as far as I can & I almost have a heart attack when hubs wants to go out to eat. My brain starts to calculate the amount it will cost us & how much I can get at the store for that price. lol I have learned how to make my own lattes at home & actually enjoy them MORE than the ones you go to the drive thru for! :) Sometimes I do still overspend at the grocery store because I talk myself into it thinking at least it is something we will use.

      Thanks Jill & Tawra for all your great info!!

  20. rose says

    oh jill.. you do need to make an article soon ..
    and guess what i have been doing the last 2 days ..???.. hehehe :D ..
    and to tell the truth my kids are kinda mortified .. not so much my son but my daughter (not really but in a small way) .. their friend thinks its funny tho…
    remember the $200 purse with the name brand on it (it’s a material with the name all over it, well the 1st letter of the word) .. well, that afternoon/evening when we were walking around the mall, we stopped at the godiva chocolate store and got a few items and they gave us a little shopping bag to carry our order in ..
    well.. to make MY own fashion statement! .. i told my daughter i needed that little bag and she was like “why mom? what are u up to?” and i told her that i just needed it ..
    well! for the last 2 days i have been carrying my wallet in that little baggie with the name godiva on it as a purse ..
    i showed my daughter my “new purse” this morning and she said “mom! why? if you need a new purse i will give one of mine (she has several and htey are all really nice too) .. i told her i am making a fashion statement and if its ok to have a “purse” with a company’s name on it then i am in style .. adn then she said “no ur not .. thats a bag and the other is a purse!” and i had to remind her that mine is made of paper and yes the other is made of material and that is the ONLY!!! difference ..
    sooooooo my question to her is: whats the difference? why cant my idea be as much of a fashion statement as that bag that is made of material .. both have the company’s name on it ..
    soooo again, what is the difference? the only differnce i could tell (besides one is paper and the other is material) is that one COSTS!!! $200 *and on sale at that price!* and mine is FREE!!!!! ..
    she just shrugged and said “why do i even get into these discussions with you” .. and i had to remind her that its just a way of TAKING! your hard earned money …
    again not begrudging anyone who wants and can well afford these things …
    so please do not misunderstand me .. these were beautiful purses .. but i cant justify buying a $200 purse when that money could go for something else that might be of more use later on ..
    again i do apologize if i am saying things that sound mean but i wanted to also teach my children that even tho there are items that look pretty and are really nice but its best to save ur hard earned money for the day when you might truly need it .. or at least take that money and invest in something that will give u a profit! ..
    again i do apologize …
    ps i told my hubby about this and the first thing he asked: is it made of gold or silver? and i said no.. then he said it didnt surprise him that some women (these are women’s purses) would pay that much and much higher for an ordinary purse … he has worked in sales most of his life and said (and i full heartedly agreed) people pay money for some things that you and i wouldnt even give 2 cnets for .. and its true ..
    when we had our flea market i saw with my own eyes that people bought real garbage (not food garbage or stuff like that) but stuff that was broken, cracked and well just by looking at it, you knew it did not work .. and yes, he proved that to me! .
    again, sorry so long ..
    i just wanted to share with you about my new “purse” .. hehehe :D ..

  21. says

    here is the perfect example of a product you must have during these hard economic times.
    an egg separator: Yes all you need to do is crack the egg into the tumbler give it a twist and you now have whites in one bowl and yolk in another.
    Sounds wonderful and will save you time and energy from doing it the old fashioned way.
    Old way.
    crack egg in half and run the yolk from one half to the other until the whites fall into a separate bowl.

    with the gadget you have to haul it out of the drawer use it then wash it as well as the two bowls you use to keep the egg separated then your hands as well from the clean up.

    How lazy have we become that we need a gadget to separate an egg?
    Oh yes it costs in Canada $25.

    • says

      Amen to that Grandma. I wonder about many gadgets like that. They sound “quick and easy” but no one mentions having to take the time to wash the messy things. I guess after spending most of my life without a dishwasher I always think in terms of clean up.

    • Julie says

      I have had the same thoughts about some of these gadgets, but then was told by someone who has arthritis very badly in her hands that some of the things we find silly are lifesavers for her and allow her to continue to cook and bake.

      • says

        Like many things of course Julie there are always a few exceptions to the rule. Usually when I write it is about the norm or majority of people and the way they think a do things. There are many electronics that people think they can’t live without but the reality is they could if need be but that may not be true for some handicap people who literally could not function without certain electronics. That really wasn’t the point I was trying to make which was to look more carefully how you are spending and do your really need to spend on this or that etc.

  22. rose says

    jill .. and everyone .. just to let you know .. my fashion statement is over .. hehehe :D .. my daughter, bless her heart, took me to the goodwill and guess what we found .. ?? .. hehehehe …
    a jessica simpson handbag for $5! ..
    we couldnt believe it .. and yes guess what else ? .. she bought it for me .. .such a good daughter i have ..
    i just wanted to let you all know .. hehee :D .. not to gloat but i guess somemone somewhere got tired of looking at that godiva bag and decided to donate that purse and we just happened to be at the right place at the right time ..
    i asked my duaghter if she did this and she said no .. it was just a coincidence .. i believe her bc the goodwill is closer to my house and not hers and i know with her car in the shop she has to depend on her fiance to take her to places and well she refuses to drive his van (its a long story) …
    thanks for allowing me to share a bit of my life with everyone ..

  23. Miller says

    Tax refund? What’s that? I was saving money very well and paying down bills. Before Jan. 1,13 that is. Now I lose $400 a month because the taxes went up. I saved up 4k in 2 yrs of other windfall $$. I used my credit card & $ from my checking to pay off my 401k loan. Now I’ll get that loan $ that was deducted from my pay back and now I’ll be able to get back to paying off bills again. When I got home from the bank, the amount I used from that bank’s card got transferred to another card for 0% for a yr. almost free $. And I learned something I really didn’t think about. Always heard it was bad to get a 401k loan because you lose that amount to invest. Yes, but there’s another reason. Your 401k is a tax shelter. You take a loan out and then pay back that loan with after tax dollars. Then when you retire, you use the 401k money and get taxed at a lower rate. When that happens, you have been taxed twice. Using after tax money to pay the loan and when you have to use the 401k at retirement. That’s why I paid this loan over other loans.

  24. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Rose I work in “fashionable” Washington DC. I OFTEN see people using Victoria’s Secret and other bags to tote their gear. Tell daughter that you are ahead of fashion. I hope that you are enjoying your Jessica Simpson purse, even more so because it only cost $5 from the thrift store!
    As a good steward of my talent, time and money I do a cost benefit analysis of most anything that I do and purchase. For example people say crack the whole egg into a bowl and such the yoke out with a soda bottle. That would require me to wash the bottle beforehand, and have a possible salmonella contaminated one afterward. I’ll just stick with pouring the white off from one half egg shell to the other side of it until the egg is separated. Why not just learn the old fashioned way of allowing the white to drip off the sides of the egg shell rather than spending money, wash a soda bottle or create contaminated trash?

  25. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    DOGGIE ITCHES. My 9.5 year old Siberian Husky is keeping me awake itching and his elbows are bleeding. One “Benadryl” twice daily didn’t work and the $300 vet visits’ resulting Tamaril made him stagger around like an alzheimer’s patient. I heard that head and shoulders anti psoriasis shampoo would kill his itches. Any suggestions?

    • says

      We have always used Benadryl because our dogs have allergies and that helps but all itching isn’t caused from the same thing. For example some itch because they are allergic to grass so you need benadryl and others may itch from skin problems of some sort. I am no vet but I would think that if the allergy meds aren’t working then it may skin problems so you could try a special shampoo. A good dog shampoo made for this type of thing might be best.

    • says

      We found out that our dog was allergic to his food. When we found a food that he could eat (lamb and rice) then he stopped itching. The food only has 6 ingredients so there isn’t anything in there for him to react to. It started helping in about 2 weeks. Now he never itches at all.

    • WiseLdyJ says

      Grizzly Bear Mom, I have a Boxer who was itching like crazy. He is allergic to everything, so he gets Benadryl too (I get them from the Dollar Store to save $). But he continued to itch. I took him to the vet who took one look and asked if I noticed that the area his hair was coming out (I assumed from the itching) was symmetrical (on both sides of his body in roughly the same place. This is a sign of thyroid trouble and he’s now medicated for that (talk about a dog being a want vs a need! But he is family…). She of course did the blood tests to confirm. Symmetrical spots of hair loss and itchy skin are very different than “hot spots” which can be just from allergies. I found this out after trying many different foods and animal products on him and would have saved a lot of money had I known this “tidbit” of information. Hope this helps!

  26. Jenny Oram says

    Jill – more sensible, inspiring thoughts and ideas from you – as usual! I so enjoy reading all your articles and have put so many of your words of advice into my frugal life. I find that if I write down EVERYTHING I buy (and once you get used to keeping your receipts it only takes a couple of minutes to make a note of them in a Housekeeping Book)I can easily see just where the money is going. This makes you think twice about casually spending money when you are out – how easy it is to go through cash and have no idea where it went. We don’t use cards at all now – just get the cash out of the bank and when it is gone – IT IS GONE. We have been married (just!) for 45 years and like you – we are having a touch economic time here in England – and have been since the crash of 2008, so I am well used to living frugally (and in lots of earlier years from the 60′s with a growing family of three sons!) . When newly married and there were no credit cards available then I am sure people managed their housekeeping money much better – no stretching cash into next week’s pay as you can with a credit card! So if you are really keen to keep an eye on the pennies – keep it CASH and see where it goes. I am horrified when I see people handing over cards to pay for giant shopping trolleys – if they had to part with the bank notes it would really dawn on them just how much everything costs. Handing over a piece of plastic really removes you from the REAL cost – so just a little tip from me – Keep it cash and keep tabs on your spending – it really works! Keep up the good work on this site Jill – it is a joy to read – even from as far away as a wet and windy England! Jenny

    • says

      Loved your comment Jenny and thank you. You are so right about people not realizing what they are spending. I don’t use a credit card often and when I do I pay it at the end of the month but one time I was using a credit card because I was want a bonus thing from it for using it. I handed the cashier my card and as I was walking out I realized I hadn’t even noticed how much it all was compared to when I pay cash and have to actually count out the money to pay. It dawned on me then if I who am so careful where every penny goes didn’t pay attention what must other people do who don’t really pay attention at all do. I have never been able to understand how people can say “I don’t have a clue to how much I owe.” That day it dawned on me why they say that.

      Off the subject, are you a weaver? I have been wanting so much to learn to spin wool but didn’t know if it would be an expense hobby to look into. I was wondering if you spin wool too and weave or if you are just a weaver. My grandmother and great grandmother were weavers and that was their business for all of their lives. Any way thanks again and you made some great points. Oh and I would love to visit England even if it was wet and windy. It always looks so green and beautiful. ;)

  27. JCR says

    Good Morning. Just purchased two of your cook books (half price! Yay!-thanks). I already have one but was thinking to give these two as Christmas gifts this year. One is for my bachelor brother who just got laid off and doesn’t even own a coffee pot because he never eats at home. (GASP!) I find that somewhat horrifying. Not in a mean sort of way, it’s just a lifestyle I can’t relate to in the slightest. Anyway, I know this isn’t on topic for this post but just wanted to say thanks and let you know that the lovlies will be gifted this year! <3

    • says

      Thank you. We so appreciate it when you take time to let us know you are enjoying the book. I know I have said this before but there are days when we wonder if we are helping at all and then we get these nice e mails from our readers and make it all worth it. I hope your brother likes it. Strangely enough I was so surprised that so many single guys and young guys love our book and how many moms, grandmas and sisters : ) buy this for the young men in their lives. So thanks again. : )

      • jcr says

        Gosh, really?! I would thing you guys were inundated with compliments! I use the cook book just about daily. I even took it to one of our church’s marriage group meetings (to share the “recipe” for a good marriage – HA!) and everyone love the book and wanted to know where I got mine. I must have given out the web address 20 different times. :D You ladies are doing a Wonderful thing! Don’t doubt it for a second.

  28. Julie says

    Jenny, when you say that you write down everything you spend does that mean you write own each individual item or just that you spent $75 on groceries?

  29. Erika says

    I have to admit; I really struggle with this! I like your site because it keeps me grounded and makes me realize where I struggle financially.

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