The reason I felt so compelled to start a blog is because I could never find many frugal tips that could be applied to my situation. There are so many great frugal tips out in the world. But what about those of us with severe fatigue? Or other physical limitations?
That’s great in theory, but…
I think of personal finance blogs much in the same way I think of home decor/crafting shows: There’s tons of great ideas, but most of us have to find something a little less ambitious.
Of course, there will always be people who have the time/energy/talent to make a swan ice mold out of nothing but old newspapers, bag ties and cut up credit cards.
The rest of us are just trying to keep our the dust bunnies from banding together and staging a coup.
In other words, how do you accomplish debt reduction if you’re not exactly the Martha Stewart of frugality?
And so I started this blog, in part to see who would join in the discussion. I’d be interested in getting the perspective of others living with disabilities. But this blog isn’t just for people with Medicare cards.
There are a lot of people trying to find a balance between the advice they hear and what actually works for them. Because there is no magic one-size-fits-all.
So what’s the answer?
I wish I had the answer to this one. I’m still trying to figure out a good balance for myself.
- How much can I do vs. how much I want to be able to do
- How much can you plan ahead vs how much life will foil your best laid plans
- How many allowances do you make for special circumstances?
For example, we have cable (just the basic stuff, no premium channels) and cable internet. But we’re home all day. Every day. Is this a luxury we could do without? Yeah, probably. But the results would be pretty ugly. So, although those items are technically expendable, I made the executive decision that they’re keeping us sane.
And I’m sure lots of people would disagree with me about those. But our situation is very different from a lot of bloggers. And so I have to take all advice with a grain of salt.
There will always be people out there like one commenter from today who said that $1000 isn’t that much money. And while he’s entitled to his opinion, clearly his life is quite different from mine.
On the other hand, people like him make me feel pretty darn good about my level of frugality. (Cheap thrill, I know, but there it is.)
A matter of priorities (too many of them)
I had this class at the UW about decision making in politics. The point was basically that the human brain can only hold so many priorities at once. And it was something appalling like 3 or 5. When’s the last time you had just three or five things on your mind?
So if we can only hold that many items at any given time… Well, I think we’ve found what’s keeping us all from being perfectly frugal: Life.
Because life is terribly misbehaved. It doesn’t limit the amount of crap going on in day-to-day life just because we ask it nicely. Instead, each of us has to learn how to juggle multiple (and sometimes conflicting) priorities. And no matter how good a juggler you are, you’re eventually going to drop a ball or two.
And all this musing about randomness got me thinking about a great scene from “Gilmore Girls.” Lorelai is complaining to her daughter, Rory, that she has to write a letter in support of her friend. But nothing’s coming:
- Rory: Sounds like you’re overthinking this. Maybe if you just put pen to paper —
- Lorelai: I tried that. I thought, I’ll just sit down and write whatever comes. No judgment, no inner critic — boy, was that a bad idea.
- Rory: Really? Why?
- Lorelai: Because my brain is a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. “I’m writing a letter. I can’t write a letter. Why can’t I write a letter? I’m wearing a green dress. I wish I was wearing my blue dress. My blue dress is at the cleaners’. ‘The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.’ Casablanca. Casablanca’s such a good movie. Casablanca. The White House. Bush. Why don’t I drive a hybrid car? I should really drive a hybrid car. I should really take my bicycle to work. Bicycle, unicycle, unitard, hockey puck, rattlesnake monkey monkey underpants.”
- Rory: “Hockey puck rattlesnake monkey monkey underpants”?
- Lorelai: Exactly! That’s what I’m saying. It’s a big bag of weird in there.
And while I’m lucky enough to have avoided the dreaded “rattlesnake monkey monkey underpants” phenomenon, I still lie awake at night, desperately trying to shut my brain off. But all I think about is all of the things that didn’t get done today, everything that needs to get done tomorrow, things that I should at least start thinking about getting done, and so on.
With all that noise clattering in my head — much like the state room scene in Night at the Opera — how in the world am I ever going to be able to sit down and make those swan ice molds?
Okay, I want to issue a challenge: I am interested to get a look at the “big bag of weird” in your brain. So I think we should all do a quick list of the overwhelming number of things nagging at us. It should provide some ranting/comic relief. And maybe it’ll give us some perspective about why we’re all so stressed out!