Ironically enough, while I was surfing for the best way to offer support to the victims of the disaster in Haiti, I came across an interesting article addressing this question. It referenced a 2006 study published in Science magazine. The research concluded that there is an inverse relationship between having "money on the mind" and compassion. Significantly, people who were "primed" to think about money were measured in various areas of social interaction, such as helpfulness, caring and collaboration. The result? Not so good. They were more aloof, indifferent to the needs of others and more isolated from social interaction in general.
So ummm, okay, says me to myself: time to look in the mirror here. Has a focus on frugal living made me less forthcoming or spontaneously generous? Has thinking about savings goals and controlling expenses crowded out energy I direct outwardly toward others? You know, I actually think that might be true in my case. I'll have to do some soul searching on this one!
What do you think? Has your focus on saving changed the quantity and/or quality of your interactions with others? How do you maintain a balance?
I currently have a land line and a cell phone and Skype. The second is indispensable for work. The third is terrific for free international calling.
I'm really wondering why I still have the land line. I rarely use it, and it costs about $20 a month, by the time all the taxes are added, just for local service.
So this timely article is making me think more about this:
How many of you have given up the land line, and how is it working for you?
Both of these happened to me. The first, a year ago, was a very expensive stunt. And the second, a minor expense, just happened.
1. Leaving the garden hose attached to the outside faucet in freezing weather. Result, a burst pipe which only became known in the spring after it was discovered that all the plant watering was also watering stored items in the basement.
2. Buying soda in 12 packs on sale and then storing them in the garage, and forgetting to bring them in during freezing weather. Result: exploding pop cans and monstrous bulging pop cans. Luckily, everything was still frozen, so cleanup was easy. What a waste.
I would like to use up the foodstuffs I already have in my cabinets and fridge before shopping for more (read interesting and new) grocery items.
I'm a pretty good cook and love to make things from scratch, so I guess half of my space is taken up with staples, spices, and things that take some planning and preparation to make into a meal.
Ah, but getting the motivation to do it is another thing! It just seems so overwhelming.
Some folks on here make periodic challenges to eat out of their current inventory of food, and I admire that. Are there any simple strategies about how to do this on a regular basis to use up what you already have?
It's great to see everyone posting their goals and budgets for 2009. There are so many different folks here with various lifestyles, ages, etc., so it makes for a very interesting and informative read. Thanks to all.
I'm getting off to a good start, at least in my head! Things to focus on this year include better tax preparation and retirement planning (hard to do with all the political changes afoot and this volatile financial market!) We'll see how it goes.
Digging out spare power strips from basement, plugging in appliances, and turning off power strips when not in use. (Lux)
Creating no spending days and living out of my pantry. (Tightwad Kitty, Laceshawl)
Taking advantage of specials at Walgreens and CVS. (Happy Couponing)
Decluttering and creating home spaces with simple beauty. (Broken Arrow)
Making a list of home repairs and learning to do them myself on weekends. (Wild Blue Yonder-Fern)
Recognizing how small daily savings over time can really add up. (Ima Saver-Julie)
Living below my means and appreciating what I already have. (Disneysteve)
Beginning to make a budget for retirement (Carolina Bound, Retire@50)
Remembering that a life is made of small moments of experience and not a collection of stuff. (Cheshire)
Knowing that no matter what inevitable setbacks or losses life deals us, we can always pick ourselves up and stride forward with courage and grace to achieve our goals. (Thrifty Ray, Paulette Goddard, Aevans)
And this is just a start---there are so many, many more! With gratitude and hugs to all.
Now that the frenetic pace of the holidays is almost behind us, and the cold (here in the Northern Hemisphere) days of January and February stretch ahead, I've made a list of some of my small, frugal winter joys that are special to this more "yin" time of year. I'd love to hear yours!
1) hot water bottle tucked between the sheets on a frosty night
2) steaming mug of hot scented tea or cocoa with marshmallows
3) potpourri of orange rinds, cinnamon stick, and whole cloves simmering on stove
4) contemplative hike in state park or nature preserve to observe Mother Nature at rest
5) invigorating bike ride on local rails to trails path
6) reading a good book by the fire
7) listening to music programs on NPR radio
8) warm, fleecy baggy clothes
9) ham and bean soup in the crockpot
10) planning a fun getaway for the summer months
Interesting article at Kiplinger.com to see how your income stacks up compared to other Americans. And a calculator to see exactly where you fit and how much of the national tax burden you pay.