Friday, November 14, 2008

A Rare Visit to My Blog

I haven't been blogging much since the summer. I've been very focused on my business and my two boys. But, in light of the collapse of the economy as we know it since September, I feel that I was WAAAYYY ahead of the curve in practicing frugal ways. I'll be interested to see how Americans respond to this crisis. Granted, according to news reports, October saw an almost 3% decline in consumer spending. Considering that 2/3 of our economy depends on consumer spending, that is significant. But, will Americans change their ways? There are so many blogs to help with frugal living, least of all mine.

Have I changed my habits? Well, not too much although tomorrow I will go to the local kids' toy swap to see what I can find for holiday gifts for my boys. I don't plan on many new toys or clothes, in fact, for them. Thank goodness they're not yet old enough to realize tags would indicate that they are new, not used!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Deceptively Delicious Works!

I just picked up the Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld at the library. The idea behind this cookbook is that you puree fruits and vegetables and then include them in the recipe so that the kids won't even notice. I've tried quite a few of the recipes so far including the French toast, PB&J muffins, frozen smoothie popsicles, brownies, scrambled eggs, and chicken rice balls. The French toast and scrambled eggs have worked out the best so far. I have similar cookbooks like Moms' Mealtime Makeovers, Healthy Kids Cookbook and Super Baby Food but I've found these recipes to be the most "user-friendly". I've been pureeing my own fruits and vegetables but I'm wondering if some people use baby food?

In any event, I like knowing that my children are getting more fruits and vegetables than they otherwise would have if I used a standard recipe.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Who's Your City?

I picked up Who's Your City at the library today after hearing the author, Richard Florida, interviewed on NPR. He rates cities according to your stage in life, budgetary constraints, and lifestyle, i.e. straight or gay. The chapter on Superstar Cities which are cities that attract major talent but tend to be expensive because of huge price run-ups such as San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, Portland, etc. has an interesting argument at the end. I will quote part of it.

"I can't help but wonder whether this dream [home ownership] doesn't belong to a bygone industrial era.... Strangely, our system of home ownership dramatically limits mobility, and, in a country where nearly two-thirds of residents are tied to their houses, this means that the economy will suffer.

The creative age may well require alternative forms of housing-something between ownership and renting. In many markets today, it makes more financial sense to rent rather than own."

So, for those who feel excluded because they rent rather than own, take heart. Renting allows for more mobility. And, for those who own homes but feel that they are forsaking the American Dream if they want to rent, here's an argument that basically says mobility could allow for creativity.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Check out the Festival of Frugality--My post was included!

My post on Is Being Frugal Patriotic was posted at this week's Festival of Frugality #132! Thanks, Budgets Are Sexy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Suburban Garden Update

I'm pleased to report that my vegetables are growing pretty well. I have four corn stalks, three bean stalks, three tomato bushes and two basil plants. Most are doing well although a few are looking a bit yellow in terms of leaves. Perhaps poor drainage or not enough water? Granted, a week ago, we had a huge hot spell three days in a row with over 100 degrees.

And, I'm waaaayyy behind on the Millionaire Mommy Next Door Abundant Life Challenge. She's on Day 11 with $102,000 so I'll just jump to Day 11.

How I'd Spend It:
10% to Church
10% to Charity of Choice
50% to College Funds
30% to Invest

How I'd Earn It:
Implement the new marketing system for our business. If I can get that going, I believe our revenue will increase by at least that much.

What I'm Grateful For:
My parents whom I miss since they're on vacation right now! I appreciate my parents, and have much more so since I turned 30 (which was a while ago). Parents have wisdom and patience and now that I have children, it's all the more I appreciate what they endured. Sometimes children can try the patience of a saint! And, they're wonderful grandparents, too!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is being frugal patriotic?

I'm working on creating a Statue of Liberty costume for the 4th of July festivities. I had been looking at costumes online which range in cost from $16.99 to $99.99 and so I figured I could probably make one myself for less. I found an easy online "how to make a Lady Liberty costume" which includes buying material for the draped dress and making all the accessories--the crown, torch and book. I found the perfect green material on sale (!) which cost $3 in total for a yard and 1/2. I'll use foam sheets for the rest of the accessories and find a book to hold.

But, in preparing for the 4th of July, I found myself thinking about our current economy and whether it's been part of America's history to be frugal. And, for the most part, I'd say, it's been a resounding yes. (In my former life, I taught US History to high school students which is why my mind wandered to our country's past.) I can think of so many times and eras where Americans had to tighten their proverbial belts to make it through. In the pre-Revolutionary era, colonial Americans made their own herbal teas and spun their own yarn to make their own cloth when they faced taxes on products and decided to boycott English goods. In the early part of the 1800s prior to the Industrial Revolution, most Americans were farmers so they were used to growing their own fruits and vegetables and then canning and storing. Just think of the life as described in Little House on the Prairie! Even with the Industrial Revolution in full swing by the late 1800s after the Civil War (another period of deprivation), the majority of Americans were frugal--only the middle-class and the wealthy began to have leisure time. And then, let's not forget the first half of the 1900s included World War I, the Great Depression and World War II. Both World Wars featured meatless days, Victory Gardens, etc. but the World War II saw the imposition of rationing and serious lack of consumer goods and durables. The Great Depression was America's greatest moment in Frugal History where people had to live with less. So, really, the excess consumerism of the Baby Boomer generation from the 1950s on through today accounts for just about 30% of our history, and it's our recent history to boot. So, I'd have to say that there's a long tradition of being frugal and if we were to look back at some of our books on homemaking (Catherine Beecher comes to mind), I imagine we'd find a wealth of great frugal ideas. We should be proud of our frugal heritage and call on it now in these challenging economic times.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Abundant Life Challenge

I forgot to include the other part of how to bring the money into my life! How to make that much money and show gratitude!

Day 1: $100 - Send out a postcard for $99 PC tune-ups to customers and prospects.
Gratitude: I'm grateful that we've been in business for 12 years.
Day 2: $200 - Sell our blue couch/chair that's in our garage.
Gratitude: I'm grateful that we live in a beautiful neighborhood with a community pool where the kids can swim and a lake where my husband and I can go out on the boat.

Now onto Day 3: $400

Spend: Have a birthday party bash for my youngest son at an indoor party place.
Earn: Send out letters to clients explaining our newest 24x7 Automated Remote Management service.

Gratitutde: I'm grateful for a wonderful husband who's a great dad to our two boys. He took them to the local Touch-A-Truck event yesterday and went swimming with them. He said he had a great time and that interaction with them was the greatest Father's Day gift he could have.