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June 2010 - Posts - Yankee 2.0
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Yankee 2.0

June 2010 - Posts

  • A couple of inexpensive garden solutions

    It's gardening time here in New England. I've looked into a few inexpensive garden solutions that I thought I'd share with Dollar Stretcher readers:

    Epsom Salt as fertilizer -- Use 2 tablespoons per container or plant and then water. This perked my plants right up, and is more natural and less expensive than stuff marketed as plant fertilizer (works on shrubs, veggies, flowers, and trees).

    Vinegar as weed killer -- Straight white distilled vinegar kills weeds. Be careful you don't get it on your plants, b/c it kills them, too. I use it on the weeds between the bricks in my brick patio. Safe for kids, adults, and pets to walk on.

    Egg shells for evergreens -- I have some boxwood shrubs that were looking pretty dull and brown and I crumbled up egg shells and put them right on top of the soil (again, mine are in containers) -- this helped the foliage turn green and shiny.

    Coffee grounds for roses -- careful not to over-do it, but coffee grounds at the base of rose bushes are beneficial for flowers and leaves alike.

    Happy Gardening!

  • How do you know if you've really changed?

    I've been out of debt many times. Which means that I've been in debt many times. I have had a tendency to get the same satisfaction paying off a bunch of debt as I did racking it up. I would be super-frugal while in debt-payoff mode, then as soon as the debt was gone, I'd make some big splurge purchase or get rid of a source of income and those decisions would lead to another round of accumulating and discharging debt. I feel like I have changed my mind-set (over the past few years or so) about money and debt and spending, and I *think* (I sure hope) that I'm going to continue living frugally and saving money (and not incurring new debts) as my new way of living.

    I think and feel that I've made a lasting change. But how can one really be sure? I'd love to hear from DS readers who have permanently changed their attitudes about anything -- how do you know the change is permanent?

  • Frugal vacation, group tour style

    I recently came back from a wonderful, spiritual, educational, and relaxing vacation in Germany. I went on a group tour for the very first time and found that it was quite a thrifty way to travel. The main purpose of my trip was to attend the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany. It has been put on by the villagers every ten years (more or less) since 1634.I normally travel by myself, staying in budget hotels and schlepping my suitcase on the train. It's kind of stressful. The only way to get tickets to the Passion Play, though, was through a group tour. So I signed up for one called "Catholic Germany and the Alps, with the Oberammergau Passion Play."

    We stayed in very nice hotels (extremely nice compared to the places I usually choose), we had a huge breakfast spread every day and several dinners included, we went from location to location in a private and very comfortable bus, and we didn't have to schlep our suitcases anywhere. We had fantastic seats to the Passion Play, wonderfully interesting outings, a careful driver and a knowledgeable and kind tour guide. The other travellers on the tour were from around the US, Canada, and Australia, and it was a fantastic experience. 

    And the total cost? For round-trip airfare, A+ seats to the performance, meals, hotels, excursions, spending money, a single room supplement, parking my car near the airport and using an airport shuttle, my total for this ten day tour was $3900.

    I only spent about $150 in spending money. How? First off, I brought my own water container (one of those stainless steel jobbies) and filled up in the airports and hotels. Second, I don't eat a huge breakfast, so I made myself a little sandwich from the breakfast buffet each day and had it for lunch. Next, on the nights when we didn't have dinner, I found a grocery store and bought my meal there. 

    I had a WONDERFUL vacation. I wasn't stressed out worrying about catching a train or checking into a hotel, and really, the cost for the tour was very reasonable. I was so glad to have had this opportunity and would DEFINITELY recommend considering a group tour to other frugal travellers out there.

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