Saturday, June 26, 2010

Frugal Hacks

Frugal Hacks

Link to Frugal Hacks

Posted: 18 Jun 2010 03:38 AM PDT
This list is off the top of my head. If you ask me again tomorrow, it will probably look slightly different, and the week after that I might remember something else I think is even more important. There is probably something more important that we do that I learned at my mother's knee so I take it for granted that everybody knows. That's why I didn't title this: "The Ten Most Important Frugal Things We've Done".
1. This advice given to us at the beginning of our marriage.  We did know this one from the beginning, but we also strayed from this one too many times.  Still, having been told early on, we did do much better than might have otherwise. We'd have done better still to never use a credit card at all, or at least to never, not even once, use it without paying off the balance at the end of the month.
2. Laundry soap, home-made (Also check out my Q and A posts on the laundry soap here. also here, and for more information on suds try here.) This would have saved us a bundle if we'd done it from the beginning or our 1982 marriage instead of only the last five years.
3. After far too many years of ordering pizza delivered on pay-day, we finally realized that if there is any regular indulgence in your life that you can only afford on payday, you really cannot afford it at all and need to get your spending  under control.  We needed to get our self-control under control!
4. Home-made diaper wipes and travel wipes.  We did this pretty well for the last three children. Even though the 'baby' is now nearly 12 years old, I still make these from time to time for traveling.  So refreshing!  And so nice for sensitive skin.  Also, I asked my grandson's mama to tell me off the top of her head her favorite frugal tip she'd learned from me, and this is what she thought of.  My grandson's mama is my second daughter, and while I do love being the grandmama, I can't really say it's more fun than being the Mama.  It's loads of fun, but not more fun- just different.
5. This home-made stain remover, which works even on thrift shop baby clothes with yellowed stains of undetermined origin.  In fact, sometimes I can buy used baby clothes that are drastically marked down because of those yellow stains, and then I soak them, launder them, and sell them at a yard sale or consignment store for more than I paid.
6. Washing my hair with baking soda I do have incredibly soft water. When we went on vacation we stayed in places where the water was incredibly hard, and my hair just felt stiff and icky, so while we were gone I switched back to shampoo- only Head and Shoulders because my hair felt so gross (Pipsqueak, who has thin, silky, very blonde hair, does not use baking soda, and she, too, complained of her hair feeling 'gunky' from the hard water). I noticed that I had to shampoo my hair daily or it was greasy and clumpy, whereas, at home with baking soda, I can go three days between washings, and my hair still isn't as disgusting as it was in 24 hours with hard water and shampoo.
7. Washing my face with cod liver oil The first week I did this every night.  Now I only use the oil a couple times a month, and mostly just splash my face with warm water and baking soda the rest of the time (the baking soda when I am washing my hair), and maybe take clean, wet washcloth to it.  I don't wear make-up, so this regimen works well for me. If you wear make-up, the cod-liver oil is a great remover.
8. This recipe for cookies- no wheat, no corn, no eggs, no sugar, no dairy, but the Cherub still loves them!
9. Reading the Tightwad Gazette Books To be fair to myself, I could not have read these from the beginning because they were not published yet. I do have all my Progeny read them for part of their Home Economics class in our homeschool. If anybody tells you these are 'extreme' ask them how much they are saving each month and what their debt level is, and then ponder whether or not that's the sort of standard you share or desire.
10. Revising my way of thinking from 'what do I feel like having' to the What's In My Hand principle (see also here) , because the biggest aid in frugality is attitude. I know you've heard me say that before, but I don't think we can hear it enough. Y'all are probably much nicer than me, but there are always new areas I am discovering where I am a bit of a spoiled brat. I am 48 years old and I think I was a late bloomer at this growing up stuff.
So... what do you wish you'd known way back when and put into practice from the start?
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Posted: 17 Jun 2010 06:49 AM PDT
Walking into the restaurant, my heart sank.  The music would not be to our taste and the animated atmosphere not conducive to heartfelt communication. Driving Friend to the airport, a nice coupon in my purse, the original plan had been to eat at a quiet place.  Morning errands had taken longer than planned and another spot to have lunch was needed so the airplane would not be missed.
Knowing there was no other alternative, we sought out a booth and decided to make the best of these new circumstances. A special lunch, well within my budget, had been my plan.  Perusing the menu, my frugal senses began to throb. The coupon in my purse would not be honored in this establishment and I quickly ascertained my little budget would now not suffice.
Choosing to put my frugality in my pocket, I made a decision to cheerfully bear the consequences of this secondary option.  Some other budget could be "pinched" and I went on to enjoy this precious time.  Hearts were shared, some misunderstandings cleared up and my frugal thoughts kept in check as I left the restaurant with no regrets.
My feet sinking into the wet soil, I wondered what the cause might be.  Knowing no rain had fallen in recent days, panic set in.  My assumptions were correct.  Hose was running!
Too late, I now remembered  Air-conditioner technician had not be told our hose had a second valve that needed to be tightened to insure the cessation of our water flow.
Again, the decision was made to pocket my frugal thoughts about the water bill.  Nothing could be done now and although we had been having a wetter spring, a little extra water never hurt this south Texas soil.
Answering the phone, Husband's voice came through in a excited mode.  On a whim, he had entered a contest and actually won a night's stay in a hotel!  My thoughts began to race.  Earlier in the day, I had been trying to figure out how to give a special gift to someone.  Gift budget had left me with few alternatives and this news seemed like the perfect answer. As Husband began to share his plans for this winning, I again put my frugal thoughts in pocket and chose not to mention my idea!
Finding the balance in the frugal life can be a never ending process for me.  Certainly not encouraging people to live outside their means, there are still times when choices can be, or need to be made that don't always seem as frugal as originally desired, but still have to be cheerfully accepted.
When do you pocket your frugal thoughts?
Related posts:
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Normal is Broke

Living With A Chain

How to Get a Job when No One is Hiring

When the jobs are hidden

To get a job, you have to find the openings that no one's advertising, and really impress your potential employer.

By Jia Lynn Yang, writer-reporter

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- David Perry, a longtime headhunter, says you're wasting your time if you're looking for job postings online. And he should know: he's often the guy on the other side helping companies lure new talent. Perry, who's based in Ottawa, says that in the last 22 years he has accomplished 996 searches totaling $172 million in salary. And the bottom line in today's economy, he says, is you have to tap the "hidden job market."

Perry's also the co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters" and he recently spoke with Fortune.

What's the "hidden job market"?

When companies say, 'We have a hiring freeze,' that doesn't mean they're not hiring. It just means they're not adding headcount. Every year there's 20-25% turn over. So in a 1,000-person company, 200 or 250 people are going to turn over, either through attrition, or someone moves. Those companies are still hiring but they don't want to tell you.

So how do you find these jobs?

What you have to do in a recession is map your skills to employers to where you know they have a problem you can solve. My advice to job hunters is pick 10 to 20 companies, no more, and pick companies you're interested in, and that you think you can add value to. That requires researching companies, and so that list may take you two weeks. If you're trying to crack the hidden job market and you know the job position you want reports to vice president, find that vice president on LinkedIn and look at his profile to see who else he's connected to and go ask them, 'What's this guy like to work for?' Do the research before you even pick up the phone.

How can you get someone's attention?

We can go into billboards, sandwiches - that stuff only works once. It's only for one person who figures it out once, once in a city. If you're looking for fun stuff, we have this thing called the coffee cup caper, 30% of the time it will result in an interview. You send an employer a coffee cup with a little $5 swipe card with a little note that says, I'd like to get together and talk with you over coffee. I'll be calling soon. And you send it by U.S. post two day delivery, and that gets registered. So when they've signed for it, you wait about 20 minutes and then you call them. And then you go, Hi, I know you just got my package.' You're proving you're imaginative and creative.

What something people should avoid during a job interview?

This drives me insane: I've seen people mentally deciding in the interview whether they want the job. That's the last place to decide. You go into an interview, and you sell like your life depends on it. You've got to get the job first. I've seen it thousands of times. There's this point in the interview, where people go 'Hmm, do I really want this? You can see their body change. The employer picks it up and it's gone. If the employer is telling you, 'I love you,' and you're not saying 'I love you too,' it's over with.

How about following up afterwards?

If you really like the opportunity, don't go home and write thank you very much. Go back and write a letter that says, upon further reflection of what we were talking about, here's what I bring to the table, here's how I see myself fitting into the organization, including a 30-60-90 day plan.

How can someone attract a recruiter's attention?

You have to go to ZoomInfo and LinkedIn and create a profile. All corporate recruiters and probably 20% of the headhunters in America have ZoomInfo accounts. When we start a search, companies aren't going to advertise. The headhunter goes to ZoomInfo, types in requirements that we need, like skillset, degree, city, functional title, and up will come anywhere from a hundred to several thousand people who fit that criteria. Then we go to LinkedIn and run the same search. If you're in ZoomInfo with a picture, we're going to call you first. Just reverse engineer what recruiters are doing so you get found.

How can you really impress a potential employer?

It hasn't worked in years just to bring in your resume, except only in the most junior positions. I concentrate on directors to CEOs, and the last interview for us regardless is always a Power Point presentation of what you've learned, pain points, and how you intend to fix that. Everyone talks about being a great leader and great communicator, so prove it. Don't go into an interview and treat it like it's just another business meeting. Your career is your biggest asset now - because it's certainly not your house. To top of page


August 2008 Dave Ramsey on Barack Obama

This was aired in August 2008. So was Dave right???