Thursday, July 8, 2010

10 Things I Learned In the Last Few Days (Money-Saving Lessons Included)

It's been a busy week. Here's some stuff I have learned:
  1. I am not much of a kayaker. I put "go kayaking" on my goal list for this year because I had never tried it and it looked like fun. I ran across a flyer at our local military base that said they had weekly evening kayak trips for the bargain price of $30 which covered the equipment, guide, and transportation so I signed up. Lesson #1, always write down your goals this makes your goals kind of come to you somehow! Lesson #2, when you are checking off the stuff on your goal list, look for bargain-basement ways to accomplish them. So we launched our kayaks and it was fun but a lot of work! I saw all kinds of seals and sea lions and even watched a seal give birth (!). We passed the seal and her pup on the way back and the momma had her pup on her back swimming around. How cool! I didn't bring my camera because I figured there was a good possibility that I and my camera could end up in the water. Kayaking was OK but I don't like being completely attached to a boat. If I tip over, I want to be able to swim away not be fighting to get loose from my boat. Overall, a good experience but I like my boats with an engine, a captain, and a Lido Deck :)
  2. Another kayaking lesson learned...if you want to try out a new sport, rent the equipment first. I can't count how many sports/activities I have been interested in so I proceeded to buy all of the gear and equipment FIRST (a big expense) and then found out I don't have much interest in it. Save money, rent first.
  3. Our appliances are in! And we were able to save the installation fee for the dishwasher by doing it ourselves. Anything plumbing/electrical-related seems kind of daunting to me but between the hubby and I, we read the instructions and figured it out (and saved money in the process).
  4. When you are doing any renovation/construction project you need two things: extra money and a runner. There were quite a few times I ended up running to the local Walmart/Home Depot for a part or pieces to complete a project. Having extra cash on hand to purchases needed items is, of course, a good idea, and having a spare person (me in this case) to run to the store to get the items is also a good idea so the work doesn't come to a screeching halt if you are doing all of the work AND being the runner too.
  5. Treat your delivery people well. The appliance delivery guys could have dropped off all of the appliances in our garage or just inside our house but as soon as they got to our house, the hubby offered them some ice-cold Cokes which made them happy. They proceeded to bring the appliances in and set them up (except for the dishwasher which would have taken too much time), took all of the packing stuff off, plugged them in...basically all of the stuff I thought we would have to do, they did. I then talked to their boss and told him how pleased I was with the service provided by the two delivery guys. Lesson: treat people well and they treat you well.
  6. I'm glad we were prepared for the mini heat wave that happened in the middle of our project. While other people were running to the local Walmart or home store to buy fans and air conditioners, we had bought these items at the end of last season at bargain prices. All we had to do was unpack them and set them up and we stayed pretty cool even though the temps reached 98 today.
  7. You need to make a written list of goals. None of this stuff (kayaking, a renovated kitchen) would have happened without my first having written down what I wanted. Having written goals gives you a clear path to follow to accomplish your goals and gives you an incentive to get them done (like posting your successfully achieved goals in a public forum like this blog). At the time I made the list, I had no money and had no idea how any of these things would get accomplished, I just knew that these were the things I wanted. I was getting my hair cut a few days ago and I asked my stylist when she was going back to Italy since she had raved about her wonderful honeymoon there a few years ago. Her response was "some day." To me that is kind of depressing. If you really want something you need to write it down first, with a "do by" date, and then let the universe figure out how to get it to you. Otherwise "someday" may end up to be "never".
  8. I am thankful for my wonderful hubby and I tell him so daily. A good marriage/partnership can save you money (hubby is the chief decorator in our house and can do a pretty good job at plumbing too!). Having the resources of two people (their incomes, their skills, their natural talents) is also a boon for a family. Meanwhile my friend's horribly contentious divorce is moving forward (another court appearance tomorrow) and she was even hospitalized recently due to the overwhelming stress of the situation. Lesson learned: the work it takes for a good marriage is worth it (obviously both people need to have the same desire to make a marriage work though).
  9. Small things can make a big difference to people. Another friend is a widow with four little kids. She has no money but is such a great mom. Her kids are pretty amazing too. A few years ago when the oldest child was maybe five, I took a birthday cake to their house to celebrate the girl's birthday (birthday parties were new to this family which had recently immigrated from the Middle East). So after the first birthday party, the next child's birthday came around and the entire extended family showed up when I brought a cake over. There were about 18 people who had heard about the birthday party and wanted to see it for themselves. Now it has become a routine, when one of her kid's birthdays come around, I bring over a big Costco cake and the whole family comes over for a party. It is really a simple and inexpensive thing to do but it makes a huge impact on so many other people (especially the birthday kid!). If everyone did simple things like this to make others happy, our world would be a better place!
  10. My health goal is working out well. Since I made my doctor's appointment, I have been a model "healthy person". No Starbucks, no junk food, no wheat, exercising....I don't know if it will last after I have my doctor's appointment, but I know that so far, eating healthier has saved me lots of money. I used to go to Starbucks daily and haven't done so since June! Ditto with the junk food purchases, ice cream stops, etc. Hopefully this develops into a habit.

That's all that has happened over the past few's been busy but interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment