Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gail V's case study: example of a fast treadmill

Today's case study at Gail V's website was interesting. It is what I call the 'treadmill' going a little too fast.

For those of you starting out a new stage in life (i.e. student to working class; trainee to practicing whatever) or have had a salary increase/promotion that yields more disposable income, it is very tempting to live it up.

You can justify it by using phrases like

"I deserve it"
"I worked hard, now it's party time"
"Just this one time..."
"I can afford a nicer...."

You have to remember that when you lock yourself into a higher lifestyle, it is very difficult to come down. Moreover, once you've locked yourself into new payments, it's hard to come back.

The case study that Gail has on her website is very interesting, and highlights a family that needs to trim back on things to regain financial control.

What we are highlighting is that their treadmill is going a bit too fast. We don't care how they got there, but it is definitely going too fast.

We're in a society where banks, furniture stores, and other companies have turned everything into a payment. While it looks like a small price to pay, it adds to the speed of your treadmill.

When a treadmill is going slowly, it is easy to keep it going, but once it speeds up, it's hard to stop.

That's why we advocate living based on your previous stage of life. If you get a job, budget as a student; if you progress from being a trainee to a full-fledged doctor or something, budget as a trainee; if you get a raise, budget as if you didn't.

That way, whatever is extra helps to slow the treadmill down and eventually allows you to get off the treadmill (i.e. when you are financially secure or retired!).

Long time no post! We've tilled under our garden!

It's been awhile since we last posted. Life has gotten quite hectic, especially in preparation for our third child in nearly as many years.

Anyhow, we harvested all of our tomatoes prior to the last frost warnings, so we're sitting on a pile of >100 tomatoes!

Over the last weekend, we took out the trellis and also cut the remaining plant stalks into little bits with garden shears (we found a pricing error one time at a store by accident, so they gave us one set of shears for free). We then took a small edger and tilled everything into the squarefoot garden, square by square.

From now until winter sets in, we'll fill our squarefoot garden box (every square) with organic plant waste from our household and we'll till it in so that the stuff composts by next spring.

Stay tuned for more garden details next year!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pita Chips

Pita Chips are all the rage these days in our health conscious world...not to mention they are incredibly tasty with the perfect hummus! We picked up some day-old pita bread at the grocery store today at 50% off. Brush with some olive oil and sprinkle with some seasoning salt, bake at 300F until it's golden and turn the oven off and let cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

Break up the pieces and you've got yourself some gourmet, fresh pita chips! Voila!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

End of Season Sales

A great way to save money? Wait for end of season sales. Everything from seasonal clothing and footwear for your kids (for next year) to gardening supplies and tools to seasonal stuff for around the house. After identifying a "need" for the item, waiting for the existing season to pass and for the end of season sale allows us to really justify whether we really "need" the item or not. Many times we realize we don't...but often enough, we realize we do need it and the hunt begins for the deals. It saves us money and gives us to time to evaluate whether there is a true need or if we can come up with a substitute. Today's find? A weed digger for $1 and a kids inflatable wading pool for $3...all of which were nearly 70% off!