Frugal Beautiful

Posts Tagged ‘Frugal Hobbies

The famous line “People first, then money, then things,” comes from financial guru Suze Orman.  I adore Suze- I am watching her show right now on Itunes.  Fabulous stuff!  While her other advice is great- “people first,” is really something I’ve been focusing on.  I’m currently on the 30-Day-No-Shopping Challenge and I realized that time not spent shopping needs to be filled with something else in order to succeed.

Filling your life with people, not things is a way to free up your money for greater opportunity: retirement, starting a business, going on vacation, cutting your work hours and living comfortably…or how about this:  not bursting into tears when the credit bill comes each month?  That sounds pretty darn good.

 

Shopping keeps us busy.  It also gives us a sense that we’re building something- a more beautiful home, a more savvy wardrobe to spur more confidence,  a repertoire of things to make life better, faster, more efficient.  But what it all boils down to is people.  We want a nicer home to invite friends over and gadgets to entertain them with, a wardrobe that inspires awe and praise from people at work,  a birthday gift that shows our appreciation.  While things can be useful- it’s a distraction from the sometimes intimidating work of making personal connections with people and building community based on our own personalities and effort.

I recently had some friends over for drinks after hitting up a discount pizza place for their Monday night specials.  Honestly, I was embarrassed to have them over- my new apartment was sparsely furnished- we didn’t even have enough chairs for everyone.  I found myself fretting over the appearance of my apartment, but of course- as you can imagine, nobody cared.  Everyone was just happy I opened my home and we had cheap beer and wine and sat around and talked.  They were happy to get together, and in the end, I was happy to have done it.  Relying on personal connections and not things can be scary-  but often the experience is more genuine.

To ensure the success of my No-Shopping Challenge, I’m filling my life with EVENTS and not stuff.  I’m going to knitting meetups and attending health workshops.  I walk my dog each day and finally tackle projects that have been nagging at me.

 

Shopping has been a distraction for far too long.  It makes you feel accomplished, productive and successful when you can buy something new- especially when you’ve hunted down a good deal, but the activity of shopping usually distracts from other activity.

What are you using shopping to hide from? How are “things” holding you back from genuine experiences and connections with people?  Does debt keep you in a constant state of stress or does shopping hide the fact that you haven’t explored what really makes you happy?  Do you feel you don’t have the right “things” to start your goals?  (Trust me, having a cute pair of Nikes will not really encourage you to go to the gym).

People first– the money will sort itself out and the the things will matter less and less.  You will have exactly what you need.

 

 

On a budget this weekend?  Put some zest into your weekend plans with ONE DOLLAR.  Donate a buck, feel good and get that oomph to have a kick a$$ weekend!

I got totally teary eyed when I saw that that as a group, we were able to reach a huge goal of $13,000 to help a family purchase an assistance dog for their children with autism.  Every month is a new family, a new chance to do small things collectively for big impacts.  Signing up is easy- and for a $1 a month (or more if you’re so inclined) you can know that you are part of some of the most heartwarming, tear jerking YouTube videos on the net is totally worth $1.

Here’s a message from JMoney and Nate at LoveDrop:

Last month the Love Drop Team raised over $13,000 (and 3 iPads!) to help two little boys with autism receive a service dog. They were beyond touched, and we did this in only 1 month – that’s it. Everyone came together and gave a few bucks each to impact one family’s life. If you were a part of it, THANK YOU! You can check out the final video of us showing up to their house here – it’s pretty cool.

This month we start all over again and rally behind Katie, a single mom out in Dallas battling not only two brain tumors so far (she’s knocked out one, and currently working on the other), but who’s also dealing with hydrocephalus. We’re teaming up with folks at Blissdom this month to not only bring the community her way, but to make a huge dent in her medical bills.

Wanna help? Here are 3 ways we could use you:
Give $1.00 – This is the best way to help out and join our team at the same time.
Join our blogger network – Blog about our Love Drops each month like I am 🙂 It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps our families). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.
Give a gift or provide a service – Gift cards are always helpful. Places like Target, Safeway, gas stations, etc would definitely help them out.
Thanks for reading! Here’s to love, baby.

Victoria's Secret Black Friday at Westfield San Francisco Centre 2009While I am not in consumer debt- I seem to have a penchant for spending as much as I make- if not sometimes more (which is easy to do when you work part time and go to school).

I find that my spending habits are irregular- sometimes I’m very aware of my income level for the month and spend accordingly- other times I feel as if I make all of my purchases at once leaving for one month of an unusually high credit bill.

I just recently took in a foster pug named Ralph, and while some expenses are reimbursed, much is not- such as kibble, treats, grooming and a bed -$80.  I also a month ago signed up for a student gym which was -$96 ( if I go to yoga at least once a week it’s the cheapest rate around, even better when I go twice weekly!) +$6 for yoga gloves to help my grip on the mat.  I got a great rate to fly back to the west coast for a 5 year reunion with my friends from the non-profit, which was a round-trip ticket for -$305 with taxes.  I also purchased two books from Amazon for -$20.  Needless  to say, it’s gonna be a wee-bit tight for the next two months since I make a meager income and I’m going to challenge myself to BUY NOTHING for 30 days.

I tried to challenge myself and not shop for 30 days at the beginning of this year and failed around day 20.  I had to chip in conjunction with a gift card to buy a pair of boots I needed for winter so that was $25, and a few days later I gave in at Target and got a pillar candle and a picture frame.  Seriously, THAT is what mucked me up- $33 in 2 days.  I have to try again- both because I’m broke and because I’m prideful.

The Challenge Parameters:

-No purchases except food, medical care and necessities for the dog (if the dog needs a crate I will get him 0ne).

-Gift cards may be used, but not if the purchase exceeds the card amount.

-My grocery bill must be under $200 for the entire month.

-Purchases for the reunion dinner are applicable since I am in charge of the food/prep/setup.

What else am I forgetting?  Oh, ya, probably how challenging it’s going to be. Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

 

I want to set up a reward for myself at the end of the 30 days, but what can I do as a treat for myself that wouldn’t defeat the purpose of saving money? Suggestions are appreciated.

See you on March 1st, 2011 for a challenging challenge!

227/365: Happy Bench Monday {Amigurumi Edition}!
Knit and crochet has seen a revival lately with the popularity of amigurumi (seen here) and a need for cheap pastimes that doubles for gift-giving!

Why should you learn to knit or crochet?

-Amigurumi, Scarves, Coffee Sleeves are always a big hit. Friends will love that you made it yourself, and you will be beaming with pride.  For those that actually appreciate a gift like this, you will get quite a reputation since they have a tendency to brag whenever inquired about their adorable scarf or legwarmers.

-It *can* be really cheap. Granted, if you go crazy with buying more supplies and yarn than you need, or start out with a bunch of artisan/hand painted yarns, you can easily spend $40 on a single scarf.  It might be tempting to go overboard and buy the gorgeous alpaca blend on your first project, but for starters- get an affordable yarn and try to find coupons!

-Stitch-N-Bitches. SnB’s are essentially modern day “knitting circles,” and consist of women and men that get together at a park, coffee shop, yarn shops, etc. to just craft, brainstorm projects and socialize.  Find a local SnB on meetup.com.

-Baskets of yarn are great décor. You know how when you walk into a space that has a bookshelf full of books it leads you to believe the person is well-read and cultured? Or someone with a shelf of nicely arranged wines makes you think they’re mature and have great taste in food?  Seeing an adorable basket of gorgeous yarns next to a chair or in a windowsill will leave your visitors thinking, “Wow, this person is totally way cooler than I am, I wish *I* had their taste.”  I’m serious.

-It makes movies bearable or at least productive. If you’re on a budget and watch most of your movies in-house, getting through 2 hours of SAW with hubbs (or wifey) will be that much better, and you can knit through the tension!  I once had a large Prayer Shawl to knit for a friend and finished it through the three Lord of the Rings movies.  Two birds. One Stone.  Good times.

-Learning is easy. Your crafter friend will be overjoyed if you ask her for lessons (trust me).  Anything you don’t know or need a refresher on can be found online at YouTube or another crafting website named below.

My favorite sites:

Lionbrand.com -Tons of free patterns and online tutorials, plus a great podcast.

Ravelry.com -A community of other yarncrafters with patterns, forums and tons of pictures.

Craftzine.com -Great resource for inspiration and patterns

Getcrafty.com -This was my first experience with the online crafting world (awww)- So nostalgic.

Crochetspot.com – Great crochet patterns

Hookandneedles.com –  Online tutorials, ideas and an adorable layout.

MochiMochiLand.com –  This woman is a knitting machine!  She churns out some of the most adorable creatures!


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