Saturday, September 4, 2010

10 Happenings this Weekend (Along with Money Lessons)

It's starting off to be an interesting weekend...
  1. A friend had breast cancer surgery yesterday and it looks like she will be fine. The lesson: catching medical problems early will save you money and could possibly save your life. Also, having health insurance is a very good thing, especially when major problems come up--it could save you from ending up bankrupt.
  2. Another friend's daughter ended up in jail a couple days ago. Stupid teenager. When my friend called me in a panic, we took care of the basics and eventually the kid got bailed out. The lesson: you never know when your emergency fund will come in handy and in this case, if my friend hadn't had a good sized emergency fund, her daughter would still be in jail.
  3. I heard about this local story and was horrified. Vancouver, WA is not a big city and the people there are pretty laid back. I would expect this hideous crime in a big city, not a smaller town where such things "never happen". The lesson: this young girl was going to Starbucks like many of us do every day. She had no idea that her entire world would be turned upside down and that she would not be able to go back to work the following day and that she would incur medical expenses get the idea. Another example of why having an emergency fund could come in handy when you least expect it.
  4. There are blackberries and apples growing wild all over the place so this morning on my walk I picked some of both. The lesson: foraging for wild food can be fun (and can save you a lot of money over paying for the store-bought stuff).
  5. As I was walking this morning I had kind of an epiphany. I was really happy for the opportunity to get out in nature and walk. It also dawned on me that I am perfectly happy without a car. The lesson: a two person household can easily get by with one car if you arrange things well. Hubby and I have been sharing one car for more than two years and it has saved us LOTS of money and also makes us work together more to efficiently coordinate the use of said car which I think is good for the marriage.
  6. I'm getting ready to go on a month and a half long vacation. Right now I am trying to cram 45 days worth of clothes into one carry on. Yikes. The lesson: layering clothing is a good idea. A more important lesson: when I first started shopping for the clothes I would take, I was so hung up on brands and having lots of clothes to take that I didn't buy anything because the cost was so overwhelming. Fast forward to this week when I decided I better get busy on this project. For some reason I came to my senses and realized that the most important thing that I am looking forward to about the trip is exploring new places, being with the hubby, and meeting up with family and friends along the way. No one will care, five years from now, if I was wearing a North Face Jacket. So I went to Ross and the Eddie Bauer outlet and for less than the cost of the NF jacket I really wanted, I was able to get a cute purse (instead of the Coach purse I wanted), a huge carry on (instead of the Timbuk2 one I had been eyeing), a pair of pants, three tank tops, a nice Eddie Bauer rain jacket that will pack away real small, six pairs of sox, a cute tee shirt, a comfy long sleeve shirt, leggings, and a dress. Wow.
  7. A friend called from out of the blue saying she had just got into town and asked if I wanted to meet her for lunch. The lesson: I realized as I was waiting for my friend at the restaurant that if I hadn't scaled back my lifestyle and changed my spending habits that #1 I would probably have been working this weekend instead of having a flexible job that allows me to work when I want. And #2, before I would have made up an excuse and declined because--back then--I often didn't even have $5 to my name and what if I needed to pay for lunch and didn't have the money? Now, with cash on hand and an emergency fund, this is not a worry and I am often happy to treat friends to lunch or Starbucks simply because I can. Today my friend paid which was a nice surprise and a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
  8. We are "eating down" our food supply. The idea is to have no food left in the refrigerator and minimal stuff in the cabinets when we leave so we won't have to throw away any food. The lesson: if you will be gone for a period of time, instead of continuing to shop for groceries like you usually do, get creative with the stuff you have and clean out your fridge/cabinets. This will both save you money on grocery shopping before your trip AND it will keep you from throwing out all of the perishables before you leave so you don't come back to a whole bunch of green, fuzzy stuff in your fridge.
  9. I'm going to end up with a free Christmas tree this holiday season and a clean, de-mossed roof. I do some freelance web design as a side business and a friend of a client called to see if I could make him a website. He has some money to spend but not a lot and as we got to talking, I learned about some of his skills (namely he repairs roofs and has a Christmas tree farm). The lesson: don't hesitate to barter! After chatting for a bit and getting an idea about the amount of the work I would put into his project, I made him a great deal (which he accepted). He would pay a lower than usual fee for the work I would provide AND he would give me a free Christmas tree this winter and clean up our roof this fall. Cool.
  10. I got a nice deposit of AdSense revenue into my bank account from the handful of blogs I run (it's free to set up blogs and add AdSense ads), I connected with a bunch of friends and family via Twitter and FaceBook these past couple days, texting allowed me to send out messages to a few friends who I know are looking for jobs when I came across "help wanted" signs at some local businesses, and because of a notice on a travel blog I follow, I will be attending a free "Meet, Plan, Go" event week after next. The lesson: technology--especially free technology--rocks!

I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings!

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