March 2011 - Posts - The Dollar Stretcher Review
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The Dollar Stretcher Review

My take on articles and ideas presented on Dollar Stretcher.

March 2011 - Posts

  • Missing TV

    I bought one of those things a couple or three years ago. I hadn't had one in several years and got to thinking that I might be missing out on something. At least, maybe I could get a clue about what the kids were talking about sometimes.

    It didn't help, really.

    Oh, I watched it. I got hung up on the Weather Channel. And I watched the news when my blood pressure would allow. There were a few documentaries that were interesting. But after awhile, all I was doing was wasting time and sitting when I should have been at least on my feet. I was sitting for a living, you know. (Computer)

    So I decided to cut the cable and get one of those converter boxes. Somehow I never got around to it, so my son bought me one for Christmas this year and installed it. I didn't get many channels, so my brother came over to check it out, since he'd installed quite a few for senior citizens (I'm one, too, but don't tell him). There was nothing wrong with it, there just weren't many channels.

    I kind of missed the Weather Channel for awhile, but I'd just go to weather.com and watch it there. I found a lot of other things online to watch, too. Since I can watch them when I want to and when I have time, they're more convenient than sitting in front of a TV anyway.

    I still turn it on now and then, but it's maybe 4 or 5 times a month instead of that many times a week.

    Pamela Parks wrote about "What I Miss About TV," which is what started me off on this. Since I don't have kids, I never got into the commercials and I've always had an aversion to "celebrities," so I don't miss the same things about TV that she does. I do miss a few cents on the electric bill and I miss the "plop yourself down after a hard day and vegetate" thing I used to do now and then.

    But the internet is my environment, I suppose. A few weeks ago, I watched a fantastic documentary called "Victorian Farm" that was four hours long. I paused when I was cooking dinner and rewound when I missed some things and I didn't have to record it or buy anything special to do that.

    I do miss running to the refrigerator during commercials, though. As a matter of fact, I'm missing around five pounds' worth.

    Posted Mar 29 2011, 04:00 PM by Pat with 4 comment(s)
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  • Shopaholism?

     There's a scientific name for it: onionmania. It means that you can't quit shopping, even when you don't want or need anything. You get a "high" from buying things, then you fall to a painful low when you bring them home and realize what you've done. Tammy Ruggles wrote a piece for Dollar Stretcher called "Are You a Shopaholic?" in which she lists symptoms of this disease... or disorder. Or whatever you call it. No one seems to know just how to categorize it.

    If you think you have this or know someone who does, the "quick fixes" she lists do more than just take care of it for today. Limiting shopping excesses can be done by taking a limited amount of cash - no checks or credit or debit cards and it can be done by taking a friend or spouse who will keep you accountable. Sticking to a list works for some, but it's not the easiest way to tackle the problem. 

    When the urge to shop strikes, try getting your "fix" for free or cheap. Go to the library and borrow books, CDs, DVDs, paintings... whatever they have that you like. Go garage saling or thrift store shopping rather than retail shopping but still carry a limited amount of cash. 

    We all have the urge to get something new now and then just because it's there and there's nothing wrong with that as long as we can afford it. When it becomes more than a "now and then" thing and we really can't afford it, it can cause a sound financial ship to sink. Get help if you need it. Counselling is available, and although credit counseling can be free, it may not do the trick. Go to a psychologist if you can. Even if it's expensive, you may very well save money in the long run.  

  • Spring Fever or I'm Ready to Garden!

    It's kind of muddy out there, but that's all right. The ground is supposed to be muddy in the early spring and I have faith that it will be dried out enough to start planting a garden soon.

    Planting so soon? Where did this year go to?? It's already time to get the garden planned in more detail! I ordered a few seeds today and yesterday I drove past my favorite plant nursery to see if they were open yet. They were! No, I didn't go in. I don't think they had plants out yet and I'm not quite ready to start lugging bags of potting soil and compost, but it will soon be time. My backyard is small and the garden soil is still not so good after several years of working with it. Since the compost area is limited, I buy two or three bags of organic compost each year to add to what I've finished, but it just doesn't seem to be enough. Besides that, I'm thinking of other ways to get plants this year.

    Oh, but I'm jabbering. That's what happens when anyone says "garden."

    Jeffrey Yeager, of The Ultimate Cheapskate fame, wrote a piece called Guerilla Gardening for Dollar Stretcher this week that got me going, so you can blame that.He's got some really frugal ideas to help fill the garden and yard with plants, both edible and ornamental. With a little effort (not much more than going to a nursery) you can save your money for other things and still have a wonderful yard and garden. Why not? 

    Posted Mar 09 2011, 10:30 AM by Pat with 4 comment(s)
    Filed under: , ,
  • Procrastination and Money

     I was going to write about procrastination a couple of days ago, but... well, I kept putting it off and here it is the middle of the week. Oh, well. Better late than never, right? Or does that saying really make sense all the time? Not according to Kathy Gates, who wrote "End Procrastination Now!" for Dollar Stretcher. I suspect she may be right. 

    I remember going to a "personal finance" seminar many years ago where a woman convinced us that generic food tasted as good as brand name and that shopping at thrift stores could save a lot of money and provide some very stylish outfits. Then she blew it. She said that it made more sense to go to the library for books than to buy them. So far, so good. But then she said the librarians at her library all knew her because she always had overdue books. She missed this one point: Procrastination can cost money. 

    On the other hand, I have procrastinated over some things long enough that they no longer seem important or I missed a deadline to buy something. Money saved. 

    It all boils down to plain old common sense.

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