Saturday, 31 December 2016



We enjoy having visitors; often they are of the family kind.    They usually prefer to stay overnight or for a few days since there is an (expensive) ferry trip involved in the journey.   One important strategy in managing your money is to not spend (much) on items that are rarely or only occasionally used.   This includes the once in a lifetime red carpet type of event (If your life is more exciting than mine!) as well as overnight visitors.   Don't buy a large home with extra bedrooms.   You're not running a hotel.   We had a sofa bed years ago and found it to be an unhappy compromise.   The mattresses are rarely comfortable and if you have ever tried to move one you'll be aware of the weight of the internal metal frame.   You'll be paying increased mortgage, property tax and heating bills for the extra, rarely used bedrooms.

We purchased an inflatable bed at the time of our move and have found it to be incredibly useful.   Don't let memories of gasping endlessly into a small plastic plug attached to a vinyl air mattress on a family camping trip discourage you.   These mattresses inflate within a few minutes on their own, once plugged in, and deflate similarly.   They fit easily into the included tote bag.   Yes, it's not the same as providing a separate guest room with a regular bed but that should be saved for a (very) long term inhabitant.   All users have reported the mattresses to be sufficiently comfortable for several nights' stay.   Along with a 'bed in a bag' set complete with sheets, pillowcases and quilted comforter that is kept separate for guest use, overnight guests are easy to accommodate.  

Read the reviews carefully and choose the one that suits you best.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Nothing like a little history


If you've lived long enough or spend time talking to older and even really old people, eventually you will come to realize that your daily reality is not the same as it used to be for others.    You might get a hint from the size of closets in older houses.   They're small.     That's because somehow people managed with far fewer clothes.

Long before the days of malls and even department stores, women would buy their clothes from small dress shops on their 'high' street.   The main shopping street in town featured individual shops from greengrocers to shoe stores to hardware stores.   My mother would make a daily excursion for the enjoyment of the walk, to meet friends and acquaintances along the way and to pick up the odd item as well as fresh food.   Or some had a favourite seamstress who would sew a made-to-measure outfit.

When a new dress was purchased or made it was of good quality.  It was flattering to the wearer and fitted well.   Styles and hem lengths did not vary much so there was no concern about becoming unfashionable the next year.   The dress would be worn on a regular basis for years, carefully covered with a large apron if needed at home.   After a half dozen years a trip might be made to the dressmaker for a refresh.   A neckline might be changed or a sleeve altered and then the dress would be good to go for another five years.


All of this seems alien to us today.

Blogger hiatus until the New Year!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

More dreaming


In my book I suggest that you make a list of your top ten goals (dreams) in life.   You could pick a different number but ten is sufficient to include a variety of goals but not so many as to be totally unrealistic.    And no cheating!  You want to be able to name them off without checking the list.  Some dreams are definitely not going to happen.   I will not become a prima ballerina even if it is on the top of my list.  (It's not!).  But I could do lots of things around that including attending opening nights, flying to performances around the world, starting a ballet school in a far flung location (or a small town on the Prairies).

If you think being beautiful will make you happy (it likely won't) you could pay for cosmetic surgery,  wardrobe makeovers, nutritional consultants, private trainers, spa treatments . . . It worked more or less for the Kardashians.

Once you attune yourself to your dreams, and then tweak them so they are physically and realistically possible considering your circumstances (don't abandon your children!) you will find that money is what stands between you and a potential dream.    When you know that, what you might have viewed as a financial sacrifice becomes the pathway to happiness.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Cheer up shopping


Do you shop to cheer yourself up?  I do . . . sometimes.   I think most people do.  Or the last day of the month you reward yourself for careful spending the entire month past.   There are a couple of keys to managing this:

-  Set a price limit (under $20 for me)

-  Spend a lot of time choosing the item(s).  You want to extract maximum pleasure from the shopping experience.   I'm not a 'shopper' but I love  certain beautiful unique items.  That lets the mall out for me!

It helps if you know your weaknesses.  No point in indulging yourself, if you don't feel much better afterwards.  Of course, this won't work if you are depressed in a clinical, medical sense.  Much better then to seek appropriate treatment.    But I think one of the ways being frugal  can work is if you allow yourself to splurge--maybe once a month-- in a controlled way.

Choose something you can savour, look at, use with affection and pride.   You want your splurge to be worthwhile.

I like going on Etsy or Ebay or similar once a month and can spend a long time perusing different on-line shops and stores that have items for sale that I wouldn't ever come across with in person shopping.   I love beautiful buttons and have turned some into brooches (glue gunned backing pins)  or as an accent on a knitted scarf or cowl.    I found recently that someone in the United Kingdom has a little on-line shop on Etsy selling various most appealing (to me) buttons.    Another time it was a small lot of Vera Scarves on Ebay.    This is just how I treat myself.   You, no doubt, have other items that add zing to your life.

Unless you are close to destitution,  well controlled spurges can make monetary restrictions more bearable.   It's a little like eating a couple of pieces exceedingly good quality chocolate when on a diet.  (not that those things work very well but you get the idea).