Pursuit of Frugal January 2015

I’ll open this post with an embarrassing confession.  I just learned how to make coffee in a coffee maker.  All my life I have been drinking tea or instant coffee.  Ack…I know right!  And now that I know, I am in heaven and completely beaned out.  I am drinking at least 1 ½; pots of coffee a day.

Pursuit of Frugal January 2015 Messy MoneyAnyhoo, with all that coffee, one might imagine that I would be blogging up a storm, but no, this poor messy blog has been neglected.

I do admit that it has been nice to spend some time away and examine, reflect and ponder.  A major theme for me this year is about balance.  Blogging has without a doubt contributed to some imbalance in my life  so I will be working on a schedule that will help restore that precious balance I am looking for.

I am also questioning my desire for financial independence.  Don’t get me wrong – I still want FI and I am staying the course BUT I do question my reasons for wanting it.    Why?  A comment from my dear husband.  One day he was especially frustrated with the absence of cable TV in our house and blurted out,

“We are all SUFFERING because you want to quit your job?  Is that what this is all about?”

Me – Gulp.

Him “You are stressed out and all this focus on money is stressing you out more.  Your stress is making me stressed.”

Me – “Oh, oh.”

So I am wondering how much of this money focus is unhealthy, an effort to bring order to chaos and a way to quell my own anxiety. Anxiety – what an ugly word.

A couple of other things I have realized over the last few weeks:

  • If nothing else changes, we are 10 years away from retirement.  10 years!
  • We cannot reduce those 10 years without selling our house and moving to more modest home.
  • Trying to squeeze our budget is a fun and worthwhile activity.
  • None of the financial misfits in my life made ANY crazy, bonehead, bizarre, laughable money comments over the holidays.  I am shocked.  I was hoping for some blog fodder and entertainment.  Some of them have actually started to save money for a rainy day.  (I am secretly proud of them!)

Frugal Activities:

As time goes by, it is getting increasingly difficult to find savings but I will keep trying.  A few notable examples from this previous month

  1. Electricity win!  We turned off the stupid hot tub for the winter.  Our December usage was 43% lower than last December.
  2. Loyalty rewards – cashed in $50 against purchases
  3. Our local scrap yard has started paying for clothes.  They buy for scrap value, not resale so I am in the process of rounding all of our clothes that are not fit for sale or donation and we will be scrapping this month.  I will share in next update how much we made.
  4. A friend gave us a nice leather sofa for the garage.  (Man cave)  The garage is well outfitted with sofa, TV, stereo, bar refrigerator, heater.
  5. Love affair with library – resumed.  Right now reading Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  Apparently this book will illuminate the way to happiness.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m off to top up my coffee.  Thank you for visiting.

19 Comments


    1. Good idea. The hot tub was using about $50 worth of electricity every month. Good savings now that it is off but partially offset by my husbands brilliant idea to heat the garage. (I know!)

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  1. Keep it up! Soon you will be able to save more money like a pro.
    Just keep the discipline and self control and you will be able to live life with it.
    Hmm I suggest to save for retirement as early as now. While you are already at it, save now for the future especially long term care )it is the most expensive expenses you might face in the future that might bring not only stress but frustration and even more burden).Plan for it and get protected.

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  2. As soon as I cut the caffeine, the stress magically disappeared. It sucks because I liked it so much, but I like this relaxed feeling a lot more. Oh yeah, and the withdrawal sucks too. But it’s worth it in the long run. Love your posts, May. I’ve missed them, but I do understand. Moderation has always been an issue for me, too.

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    1. I know – there is something very peaceful about sitting in the hot tub when it is snowing!

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  3. I can’t tell…is ten years too long? There does have to be a balance…I have trouble striking it a lot. I’m obsessive about money, but I guess that’s why we write about it? I need to destress myself a little, too.
    femmefrugality recently posted…7 Tax Credits for ParentsMy Profile

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    1. LoL 10 years feels too long. Your grocery project looks very interesting. It’s hard to believe how much grocery prices vary by region.

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  4. May,

    Sorry to hear you’re under so much stress lately. Don’t let financial independence get in the way of enjoying your life and your husband. It’s not worth it.

    Financial freedom is as much about balance as it is about saving money. If you don’t balance saving and living life out, you’ll end up in a worse place than if you didn’t try to become FI.

    I’m sure you’ll find a new balance soon together with your husband!

    Best wishes,
    NMW
    No More Waffles recently posted…Why Only Cavemen Resist Financial Independence and What Can Be Done about ItMy Profile

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  5. We had a point when we went too far with cutting back as well. There are some big wins that really reduce expenses, and then there are some cuts that cost more mental energy than it’s worth. Is there anything you can do to earn more instead of cut back?

    Good luck on finding balance!
    Jenna recently posted…6 Ways to Make Extra Money This YearMy Profile

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  6. I sat here wondering how I wrote this for you and don’t know it, then I remembered I have been making coffee in coffee pot since I was ten 😉 yeah, I’m having some trouble balancing blogging with life and the financial theme of the blog does sort of induce stress into our lives. And I hate not having cable but yeah, I want to quit my job more. I guess. Some days.
    Kirsten recently posted…Making Progress, Or: Alternatives to the Debt SnowballMy Profile

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    1. Good to know I am not alone on the pf blogging thing. Trying to find the spot where I am engaged enough but it is not taking over. The coffee maker has been the highlight of my life lately – but need to cut back a bit.

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  7. I just rekindled my relationship with the library, and it was only because I need to save money. Now that I know the library has all the info that I need I refuse to purchase a book unless I have to have it and its not in the library. You seem a little stressed in this post about coming up to retirement and I think 10 years is more than enough time to set up a great financial plan and build the wealth that you need. One thing that I have learned living in Japan is that small and modest can look fabulous with effort and love…..good luck.
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted…5 Reasons Why I’m Addicted to BloggingMy Profile

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    1. Small and modest – I like it. 10 years is the amount of time I think it will take to be in a financial position that will allow us to retire. I should really follow up with a post on how I came to that conclusion.

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  8. I’m sorry you’re finding things stressful lately, and I appreciate your honest snapshot of a not-so-pleasant exchange with your husband. Debt-freedom and financial-freedom are definitely long-term pursuits, so pacing is extremely important. I hope that you stick with it. If you need to adjust the rate at which you’re moving, it’s not a setback. It’s setting yourself up for success.
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…Debt and IdentityMy Profile

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    1. Thanks PDF. I guess sometimes we all need to course correct a bit. I think husband does appreciate my frugal side but just like everything else – balance is key.

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  9. Just learned to make coffee? Wow, I’m not a coffee drinker, but it must have tasted like you were drinking dirt, for all these years compared to all the fancy beans out there today. 🙂 Scrape yard taking old clothes, that’s interesting I wonder what the they do with them.
    brian@debtdiscipline recently posted…Wiggle RoomMy Profile

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    1. I think I am going to switch to decaf and try that. Can’t wait to find out more about the scrap yard.

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