Simple living is reducing the clutter of life and space down to the essentials of what is important; allowing what remains to stand out and bring value.

Simple living has been going on for many, many years — Hindu and Buddhist from the east and in the west with Shakers, Mennonites, Amish and Quakers. They practice a life of moving away from wealth and technology. Though simple living is a part of these religions, it is more a philosophy and lifestyle that could, in a sense, become its own religion. Much like the voluntary simplicity movement in the US and the down-shifting taking place in parts of Europe.

People who are active in their simplicity voluntarily reduce their need for consumable goods and put a monetary value on their time as it relates to what they buy. For instance: If you make $100 a day at work and a sofa costs $500, you just spent a week working to buy that sofa — you want to make darn sure it is worth your time and lasts you as long as possible.

This reduction of stuff in our lives not only simplifies the clutter around us, but also the stress 'clutter' in our lives. If you are only working towards maintaining the few things of value in your life, you have a better direction as well as less stress about 'keeping up with the neighbors'.

With fewer consumable goods in our lives, being able to reuse/recycle an item to make it last longer also allows you to live with a smaller 'footprint' in the world. I believe that there is not a religion out there that says we shouldn't take care of the world provided us.
Technology in the simple life is a personal decision. If you feel removing it might be best for you, test it out and see what you can do without. However, minimizing the technology to only the items that bring VALUE to your life, and not distraction, might be the first step to make.
Where do you start?
  1. Reuse items — Coffee in travel mugs instead of Styrofoam; use rags instead of paper towels.
  2. Reconnect — Spend time with family, eliminate distractions, go outdoors, or go it alone.
  3. Rethink — Ask yourself if you need the item. Is it worth the money you make, will it be used, will it be of value?
  4. Reevaluate — Take a look at your bills and see where you can lower consumption; add a low-flow shower-head, conserve water, lights, etc.
  5. Reduce — Live in a smaller space. There's less to take care of and less to worry about.
One of the biggest influences in our lives is advertising and the pressure to 'fit in' to a certain cookie-cutter mold. Break out and break away!

We always talk about squeezing our nickels and dimes to get every last bit we can from it. We pinch pennies so hard we build up the muscles in our hands and people look on in amazement. But rarely do we pinch our money so hard that silver comes out.

I've always wanted to pan for gold but since I neither have an idea how to do that or had an interest in shaking a pan full of muddy water to find it. I have instead, found that the next best thing is to collect silver and this has been nice to my lazy ass  in that I have to only dig through the coins in my pocket to search for silver.

Before I go any further if you would like to host the festival of frugality or find out more go to festival of and take a look around.

The 1964 silver (90%) Kennedy Half Dollar (1965-1970 = 40%)replaced the Franklin half dollar within three months of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The 1971-1976 silver (40%) Eisenhower Dollar, because its cumbersome and excessively large size, this lead to their short time in circulation and replacement by the smaller, but even less popular, Susan B. Anthony dollar in 1979.

Editors Picks
Mrs. Nespy's Frugal World: 8 Items Your Baby Really Doesn’t Need - Since my sister is having her first baby this one caught my eye and I sent to my sister to review.

Personal Finance By The Book: Five Reasons Why a Penny Saved is Better Than a Penny Earned - I fully agree, saving money to me is more fulfilling than earning more.

Budgets are Sexy: Frugality on a Whole New Level! - The post is short and to the point, but the comments are better. Always nice to see commentors who are willing to voice their opinions.

Bargaineering: Your Take: Why Are You Frugal? - Another short post but the comments make up for that with wonderful personal experiences.

Privately minted silver coins are commonly called "silver rounds" or "generic silver rounds". They are called "rounds" instead of "coins" because the US Mint reserves the use of the word "coin" for Government Issued circulating currency, such as all common coins and the American Silver and Gold Eagles.
The privately minted "rounds" usually have a set weight of 1 troy ounce of silver (31.103 grams of 99.9% silver), with the dimensions of 1/10 inch thick and 39 mm across. These carry all sorts of designs, from assayer/mine backed bullion to engravable gifts, automobiles, firearms, armed forces commemorative, holidays, etc.

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The current rarities for the Washington Quarter silver series are: 1932 D/ 1932 S/ 1935 D/ 1936 D/ 1937 S/ 1938 S/ 1939 S/ 1940 D/ 1950 D/S Over mintmark (coin is a '50-D, with underlying S mintmark)/ 1950 S/D Over mintmark (coin is a '50-S, with underlying D mintmark)/ 1955 D
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The Silver Series of Washington Quarters spans from 1932 to 1964; during many years in the series it will appear that certain mints did not mint Washington Quarters for that year. No known examples of quarters were made in 1933, San Francisco abstained in 1934 and 1949, and stopped after 1955, until it resumed in 1968 by way of making proofs. Denver did not make quarters in 1938, and Philadelphia never stopped, except in 1933
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Although most commonly referred to as the Mercury dime, the coin does not depict the Roman messenger god. But instead, is a depiction of the mythological goddess Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap, a classic symbol of liberty and freedom, with its wings intended to symbolize freedom of thought.
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With the passage of the Coinage Act of 1965, the composition of the dime changed from 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper to a clad "sandwich" of copper between two layers of an alloy of 91.67 percent copper and 8.33 percent nickel. This composition was selected because it gave similar mass and electrical properties (important in vending machines)—and most importantly, because it contained no precious metal.

Soon after the change of composition, silver dimes (as well as silver quarters and half dollars) began to disappear from circulation, as people receiving them in change hoarded them.
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From mid-1942 to 1945, so-called "Wartime" composition nickels were created. These coins are 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese. The only other U.S. coins to use manganese are the Sacajawea and presidential dollars. These coins are usually a bit darker than regular nickels, said to be due to their manganese content.
The wartime nickel features the largest mint mark ever to grace a United States coin, located above Monticello's dome on the reverse. This mark was a large D, S, or P if appropriate for those mints
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Is there a silver penny out there to make me a millionaire?
Unfortunately - No.
The 1943 silver colored penny is a wartime issue made of steel, and coated with zinc. During World War II, copper was so badly needed for the war effort (to make shell casings) that the U.S. penny was made out of steel that year, which is why most 1943 pennies are silver colored. They are worth about 12 to 15 cents each in circulated condition

Gift card companies have new rules when it comes to the gift cards they promote, thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank rules for August 2010, so here is the breakdown.

The cards covered 
This includes retail gift cards, gift certificates and general use prepaid cards for network branded cards. This doesn't cover re-loadable cards or gift cards received through a loyalty program.

Restrictions on inactivity and service fees
This part is the best. There is no worrying about a monthly fee. You can get a gift card for the holidays and toss it into the desk drawer until your birthday to use it and not have to worry about losing value while it sits there.
But if you go more than a year - there is a fee. You can findout the amount on the card. If there is no fee stated on the card than that card is fee-free

Expiration dates
You have 5 years to use the balance of the card before it expires, if you haven't used it by then, you probably lost it or aren't interested in using it. If the card you have is re-loadable, it would be 5 years from the time you last reloaded it.

However, the gift card companies do gain a few points.

End of the year fees
No fee if it takes you 11 months to use the card, but once the year is over when it sat unused, there are no restrictions to the amount of fees they can charge you - up to the value of the card.

The card can still expire
The balance has a 5 year expiration date but some cards may not and will expire before that, like Visa/AmEx cards that have an expiration date for the card. Now if you still have money on the card, the packaging or the card itself should have information on how to get a new card with the balance transferred onto it. And they can't charge you for replacing that type of card.

After the 5 years, the gift card company can do what they want with the card - they can deactivate it or just confiscate it or take the balance down to $0.

Other Notes on the Gift Cards
Obviously there are still expiration date and fees on some of these cards and you have a better chance of dealing with fees and expiration dates on the Visa/AmEx cards that you would with a retail store card. So if you do get the general use cards, rank them as a higher priority to use than a retail store one.

States Rules
If you live in a state that has stronger laws on the books than the federal rules, they will trump the rules set up by the FRB. 32 of 50 states have some laws on the books that are stronger.

Now that you are up to date, go on and get yourself a few gift cards for birthdays without worry.

It's time for a reminder for myself as I see the water bill is going back up and I watch the Discovery channels series "Life". I realize I have already written about the 5 R's of basic frugality but I don't want to forget it all started with the 3 R's first.

The documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” helped me understand my impact on the world around me, and the documentary “Affluenza” helped me understand the amount of waste I have in my life, and the many documentaries I have seen about the poor conditions people live through in other countries helped me understand how incredibly rich I am in comparison.

Over the last few years I have tried to make it a purposeful attitude to want less and use less and find contentment in that. What a better way to prepare for any trouble times ahead.


  • Using Central Air minimally and making good use of fans that use less electricity.
  • Using cloth bags for grocery shopping and minimizing plastic bags.
  • Wearing clothes longer, airing them out, to reduce wear and tear and washing time.
  • Reducing waste by making more food from scratch and fewer prepackaged meals.
  • Buying fewer ‘new’ items and picking up 2nd hand items at goodwill and yard sales.
  • Emptying containers and finding ways to use them for storing left-over food or for organizing household items.
  • Getting the items I can’t re-use together and offering to someone who can through Craigslist for free or through freecycle or a Reuseit network.
  • Attempting to fix items before considering them a ‘loss’.
  • Understanding my rich life in relation to others.
  • Helping others out in anyway possible through giving food, clothes, or money.
  • Getting an attitude that commercials do not have the answers to life and know what makes me happy or content.
  • Taking responsibility for my financial mistakes and WORKING to correct them, so I don’t make them again.

I hope this has rattled your brain’s cage to realize that we are taking things one small step at a time and yet over time, those small steps are moving us across life with a better end result.

How are you reducing, reusing and reclaiming your life?

You can dispute over and over whether Costco or Sam’s Club is better until you are blue in the face. Consumer Reports online has an investigation on Costco vs. Sam’s Club.

However, I don’t want to post on their opinions of the two warehouses but the good info they hide at the bottom of the article. This is the kind of information that is good no matter what store you shop at.

Make a list and stick to it. – Personally, I also take a calculator so I can stay on budget.

Know how to identify super-bargains. At Costco, “.97” at the end of a price generally indicates discontinued or slow-moving products. At Sam’s, a “C” at the end of the item number denotes a canceled item.

Compare the club’s unit prices to those at your supermarket for heavily discounted staples. Supermarkets might be less expensive. – This is easiest if you keep a notebook for pricing information, unless your memory is like a steel trap.

For big-ticket items, compare the club price to that of other retailers nearby both online and offline.

Consider splitting large buys with friends.
Otherwise, don’t buy in bulk perishables or medications with a short shelf life (check the expiration dates). You’ll end up tossing a lot away. – This is a BIG one; don’t buy it if you are unsure if you can use it all. 2¢ an ounce may be a wonderful deal, but it won’t be if you end up throwing away 300 ounces of it.

Try unfamiliar products judiciously. You don’t want to get stuck with say, a gallon of Brand X Vidalia onion salad dressing. – This is what is so wonderful about a supermarket; small sizes for trying new stuff instead of the new brand of maple syrup that you hate but have 85 ounces of it now.

Pay with cash; it’s a reality check on how much you’re spending. – I say to just stick on a budget, hence the calculator mentioned at the top of this list

Shop on weekdays,
preferably when the store opens or in midafternoon. That’s when crowds tend to be lighter. – AMEN, Weekends stink!

Not sure about joining?
In many states you can request a day pass at Sam’s Club or Costco and pay a surcharge, typically 10 percent over what members pay. Costco used to have a similar program, but discontinued it. Now, only members can purchase there. – Perhaps you can tag along with a friend or co-worker instead.

About 6 months ago we had the car taken into the shop for an oil change and tune up and while in there they noticed a small leak from the oil pan gasket. Considering that my car is a 15 year old Crown Victoria, leaks are bound to sprout here and there. However, I hadn't budgeted for the fix that was estimated to be around $600.

Now, 6 months later, I had the money to get the car fixed. I hadn't driven it much over the last 6 months so as not to make the situation worse and the cost higher. As insurance I held onto the estimate so that I would get the same price. At the time, I didn't consider that it would be 6 months longer before I took the car back in.

First, a call was placed to the repair shop to 1) see if they will take the estimate from six months ago and 2) to schedule an appointment if they did. The first call was answered with a stern "no way do we take them that old." Which I could understand; how do they know how little or more I had driven the car and made the situation worse.

However, over the last couple of years we regularly go to this repair shop and have built a good rapport with the owner so we called back when she was working and she was fine with us bringing in the car since the car had only been driven a handful of times over the last 6 months and she honored the estimate.

After picking up the car we asked if more damage had been done since the last estimate and she said not much, but the prices had gone up as well. By just keeping that estimate and working with a repair shop that had a good relationship with us saved us a good 300 dollars more. This isn't the first time that saving an estimate has saved us money a few month later while the cash was put aside to cover the cost of the estimate. But this is the first time it has been this great of a savings.

What have been your experiences with saving money on car repair work? This would include both doing it yourself and taking it to a repair shop.

This is a review for an online book – 1918 book “Thrift in the Household” By Dora Morrell Hughes – Here is chapter one…

THRIFT is the making the best of what one has in strength, time, or money; getting one hundred per cent, in one’s relations with life.

Thrift is an appreciation and application of the accumulative force of little things.

Thrift is a constructive force; waste is its destructive opposite. Sometimes thrift is saving, going without; sometimes thrift is spending “there is a scattering that increaseth ” but always it is something for something.

Chapter 1 WHAT THRIFT IS AND IS NOT: That opening line in the chapter is wonderful, it sums up the explanation. If someone asks, "why you are thrifty?" It is about gaining what is important to you and giving away, in exchange, what is not.

I like how she views the opposite of thrift is waste or destruction. What you don’t save you waste. What you don’t need or don’t use and give back is thrift. Easy enough.

Of course given the year that this was written (1918) I will take the servants comments and gender generalization with a grain of salt. But, we can all do better in our thriftiness whether male or female.

“There is no thrift in saving when the value of the article saved is less than the expense of saving it.”

I like this comment and her following example about bread crumbs. Some people would view washing out sandwich bags as not being thrifty. This is situation where you have to add the value of time into the equation. Does this not only save me money but does it save me time or does it add quality to my life. Perhaps washing out sandwich bags isn’t a great idea and instead buying reusable sandwich containers is, it depends on the person.

“An empty garbage pail is the certain indication of two things: How to buy and how to use what one has bought.”

What an excellent analogy. You can determine what type of person you meet by not looking in their medicine cabinet but by their trash. What do they spend their money on, what do they consider waste and what do they consider not worth their time in fixing up so they can continue to use it.

If you want to read the full 17 chapter book, it is online for free

This is a post I wrote about 3 years ago and recently found again and I thought it was still relevant today. I still pick up pennies on the ground and check vending machines and even recently found 85¢ in a coin counting machine, and every time I find coins I make sure to check them over for any more valuable then face value. I still think it is worth keeping an eagle eye out for a decent coin.

You never know what you will find. I collect old coins and when I come across some good old ones, I check them out to see if they might be worth selling.

Last summer I came across a penny from 1909 among some other old ones around the same year, I picked up each and everyone of them (27 total). I checked out the price online for them all and found that the 1909 penny would go for about $35. I thought I would get a decent deal as I figured that was based on a mint penny from that year, I was hoping for a tenth of that: $3.50

After posting it to eBay, imagine my surprise… I guess I looked at the wrong price guide. Time to check your coin jar!

Do you have any good coin finds to share?


>> The Festival of Frugality #221:Spiderman edition is going on over at Canadian Finance and has hosted a thorough batch of frugal-related links that anyone will find enjoyable.

>> Recently I was hearing some odd sounds coming from the Saturn and I didn't want to just take it but maybe it was something I could fix on my own - So I search out a few Saturn forums with no help but in the process I came across Just where knowledgeable people in their field answer questions.

I got hooked up with a 15 year Saturn Mechanic who was able to determine the issue with my car by me going out and kicking the muffler - I had a muffler strap that had broken and needs replacing - I believe I saved myself around $100 asking a question and getting an answer from someone who knows for $9.

>> I enjoyed reading this article by PFAdvice - Does Frugality Equal Detachment? - Sometimes I wonder if frugality comes easy to me because I can turn on my anti-social behaviour and hide out in the house and could care less what is on tv. I wonder if it is harder to be frugal for someone who is more of a social butterfly?

This is a guest post by Dorothy Anderson who is a finance blogger at OVLG. She offers advice to people on debt consolidation. 


Financial fiasco gets in the news every now and then. We land up paying huge mobile bills sadly to add to our woes. What if you could save a little more and cut down on your cell phone bills? It is none other than our very own Google that has revamped telephone communication by introducing Google Voice (GV). GV will come to your rescue to help you make your both ends meet.

What is Google Voice? It a telephone calling, texting as well as an answering service. Google Voice was also known by the name Grand Central. Google Voice is a great approach towards organizing your phone communication as well as enabling you to save more dollars from your phone plan. If you are thinking that Google Voice will be replacing your landline or phone, then you are wrong. Let us see how Google Voice can be really effective in lowering your bills.

Google Voice (GV) facts:

At the outset, you need to sign up for a Google Voice account where you will have to select a phone number. This number will let you communicate and will be like a middle man between your phone numbers as well as other outside numbers. Now if someone makes a call to you at your Google Voice number, Google Voice will call up all the phones that you have entered while registering with GV. You will get a ring at your phones and the one you pick up will allow you to talk to the person who has called you. This is the reason GV is tagged as “one number to rule all the numbers”. Apart from incoming, outgoing calls are also facilitated by GV and you can use any of your phones for this. You can also sent text messages via GV. GV has a special feature to direct all your text messages to your mail box and they will come from an address at

What you get from Google Voice is a free phone number. This number will be connecting your current phone numbers whether at office or home. Money is considered to be the root of all evils. So it is important that we control the reigns of money. Debt stories are becoming common. People run into debts because of overspending and also due to their laziness. When they are into arrears, they run to consolidate debt for improving credit record or even at times submit to bankruptcy. So before these horrors could grip you, start saving from today. With GV, all your phones will ring together and you can pick up any phone that is near to you thus reducing minute usage.

Another advantage that GV offers is, you can add your GV# to the various calling circle programs to make your incoming free. You will find many such as T-Mobile MyFaves, AT&T’s A-List, Verizon Friends & Family and many more. For making your outgoing calls free, call your GV# and then press 2 and thereafter dial a number you wish to make a call. For free long distance calls from your landline, you can switch over to a local plan without a long distance calling facility. Now when you wish to make a long distance call, just call your GV# and dial from there. Just remember that calls made to US or Canada is absolutely free!

Google Voice will be an all new money saving experience. So jump start by requesting a Google Voice invitation here at GV is all set to give you one number that will make others reach out to you everywhere on all your phones.

I was reading through the 10 Diets You Probably Want to Avoid and beyond the odd ones where a danish author was forced to eat his book and an automobile maker ate weed sandwiches… there were a few that got me thinking.

“When Ernest Hemingway was writing his works of literary genius, he certainly wasn’t dining on fillet mignon and caviar. Nope, most of his books were written on a diet of peanut butter sandwiches.”
“British wrestler Sir Athol Oakley maintained his physique by drinking 11 pints of milk every single day for three years. That’s 12,012 pints of milk. When asked how he had arrived at that particular amount, he said it was because a wrestler he admired, Georg Hackenschmidt, gave an interview once in which he had professed to drinking exactly that amount. Hackenschmidt met Oakley and informed him that the 11 pints had been a typo – he actually drank just one pint of milk a day.”
After reading these I thought that it was interesting how far they would go to the extreme or cut back in order to attain the goal that they desired. So many people want a pill or a secret answer to making the debt go away or to become a millionaire, but it takes time, hard word and sacrifices. Some sacrifices that may seem extreme.

Take a pause and reconsider just how out-there someone might be when you hear that they re-use the same tea bag all week, water down their bottles of condiments or pick up pennies.

It is good to see that some people are seeing that the need to sacrifice or even just cut back is starting to sink in for some outside of the original frugal living community. I do realize that some are doing it out of necessity and the minute things look up they will be back to their usual spendy ways, but I am a hopeful person and I don't think the lessons will be far from their mind.

For myself this frugal diet does take on a life of it's own by involuntary means and other times I willingly put myself on a diet to attain a goal. But ultimately, I want that diet to move from a temporary fix to become a way of life that means I am living below my means in a comfortable way.

What are your thoughts on a frugal diet?


Speaking of food, recently I had a novel idea. Since I am a big fan of yogurt for snacking on as I eat healthier and drop weight, I figured that since milk, butter and cheese can be frozen without any major troubles, I would freeze my yogurt. I had quite a few coupons and a good sale was going on, so I stocked up on 24 containers of yogurt. I had 8 in the fridge and the other 16 in the freezer.

Last week I broke out the frozen yogurt and found that, like milk, it needs to be shaken. A lot! Even though the flavor tastes the same, the texture has been changed and it isn't quite what I am used to. And God knows my food has to taste the same!

So this weekend I will be figuring out a way to get my yogurt back to the origninal texture so it's more edible to me. I have 12 containers left with a variety of flavors - I'm thinking I'm may to do some re-blending and using new containers. No more frozen, then thawed, yogurt for me.

When I pick up the Sunday paper in the morning I flip through the business section because it may having something I can use to write about, but mostly I just pull out the coupons and flip through them in 5 minutes, cutting out the few that capture my attention. Is the paper worth subscribing to any longer?

At 3.25 a month for 4 Sunday (and Saturday) papers I am still unsure if the value is there. Some Sundays I find absolutely nothing in the coupons section. Plus I can always print out my needed coupons from online sources for the cost of ink.

Here is how I broke down my decision:

Ideas for the paper -
Handy for tossing in the trash to soak up smells
Paper bags are always nice for doggy poo pick up
The monthly cost breaks down to 81¢ a week = 1-2 coupons
Some stores prefer these coupons to online printable
Comics section is also nice

Ideas against the paper - 
I don't always agree with the bias
3.25 a month isn't a lot, but every penny counts
I can print coupons off the web
More waste to send to the garbage

Ultimately the decision was to keep the paper as I found that an extra coupon is always nice when I can only print out 1 or 2 from an online source for a good deal. Also, if I can make back the 81¢ each week then it is worth it. But the coupons were the deciding factor for me in determining value.

What has been your deciding factor for keeping or quitting a subscription to the Sunday paper? 


I'm thinking that if I'm having a REALLY bad day and my stove, oven and microwave were on the blink I could still cook a hot meal with help from my dishwasher! Yes, there is even a book out on this very idea for those who have shunned the stove and microwave and found only the dishwasher fits into their lifestyle. No more cold meals for you, no way - cook yourself up some dishwasher chicken, hot dogs, or vegetables.

Jim has been punching out some good articles for me lately and I liked the list he gathered so we all can get some free specialty consumer reports that we usually don't think to get. There is more than the 3 credit reports but also the employment history reports, the tenant history reports and the insurance resports. Let's not forget the check system files or the personal information files. Definitely worth checking out to see if it is correct.

Jim @ Bargaineering recently brought up some things with his article: Your Take: Does Unemployment Insurance Reward Laziness? and I thought I would respond to snippets of his article that would be too long at his site.

"However, unemployment benefits do act as a disincentive. You get unemployment benefits when you are unemployed, you don’t get them when you are employed."

I see unemployment benefits as an emergency savings of sorts because the the employer and I have paid into it and when I can't find a comparable job to replace the one I lost, I like to know that I have some money coming in to pay bills. True I SHOULD have 3-6 months living expenses stashed away, but I don't and this will help.

In my state of Colorado the pay can be as small as $25 a week to a max of $487 a week, depending on any other money coming in. Since I have 4 weeks of severance coming that will delay any unemployment check by 4 weeks, definitely not incentive to stop looking for a job and live off the unemployment checks.

"If I lost my job and was on unemployment, my initial sense of urgency at finding another job would be much lower than if I didn’t have unemployment benefits (once I got over the sting of being fired). If I just need to meet the job hunting requirements to receive unemployment benefits, I’ll do that while I search for the “right” job and not the “right now” job."

My sense of urgency is still there to find a job, I don't want to not have money for rent, food and utilities. However being laid off does bring me to a crossroads that with assistance I may be able to go back to school and get a degree or certification to get a better paying job or open up an opportunity to work for myself.

The job hunt requirements for my state are 5 contacts a week, however that can be waived or cut back if I am taking classes. However, if I decide to go back to school, and even if I get paid the full $487 a week I would still have to cut back considering schooling takes longer than 6 months.

That really is the only incentive to me to stay on unemployment, is to go to school and get a degree that makes me more marketable. Otherwise, I want to get up in the morning and know that I have done something challenging, bettering myself and paid for my room and board by myself and not relied on government assistance. To me anything less would mean a breakdown in my personal integrity.

You can respond to my thoughts by clicking on the comments link or read Jim's article and respond over at his site.

Hilary Hinton “Zig” Ziglar is an American author, salesperson, and motivational speaker. Ziglar was born in Coffee County, Alabama as the tenth of twelve children.

Ziglar became a salesman and worked for several different sales companies. During this time his sales skills grew as did his wish to become a motivational speaker. Ziglar still travels, takes part in motivational seminars.

Motivation is a Daily Task

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

The motivation to be frugal isn't a once in a while need, it is needed daily to remind us why I am changing my habits and bettering myself. We here negativity all day from news to co-workers to advertising and it is rare to be around uplifting, inspirational thoughts and ideas and that is why we need to bathe ourselves in it.

It Takes a Big Person to Change

Little men with little minds and little imaginations go through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes which would jar their little worlds."

I already know that the way things are going isn't going to do it for me, I need to change, I need to think beyond my current surroundings and think bigger to become better. I need to use the imagination that I was born with to be flexible and adjust to my surroundings

Utilize What You Already Have

It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you use that makes a difference.”

I am a horrible cook, I can practice and get better but where I excel is with numbers, organizing a budget and cleaning the house - I take what I do well and bring that to the table while my partner is a better cook than I. If I was single I would work on what I lacked to get better starting with that I know I can do semi-well, baking and breakfast.

You can Choose to be Positive or Negative

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”

There is a guy at work who really doesn't seem to like his job, but everyday he says to himself out loud and to those around him, "I love this job! And you love your job, right?" Whether he really means it each time doesn't matter, because it puts a smile on our faces and our thoughts going about why we do like our job, even if it simply for having a paycheck.

Life is One Big Teaching Moment

"Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street."

If it weren't for WD-40 failing 39 times we would never have the wonderful product that ranks up there with duct tape, baking soda and vinegar. Failed attempts at frugal ideas doesn't mean the idea is bad, it may simply mean it needs to be attacked in a different way.

We are Fighting an Ingrained Trait

"People don't buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons."

When I feel guilty about having promised myself I won't do this or that for a certain amount of time and I don't follow through, I have to realize that I am swimming upstream in some cases and fighting with myself. But that is a good, it builds a stronger me as I jump back up and go at it again.

Some other quotes I liked:
"You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure."
"Money won't make you happy... but everybody wants to find out for themselves."

Frugal living is essentially about only a few things, it is amazing how we can take those few points and expand on them though for years and years of blog posts because each new day presents new challenges.

Step 1) “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do” 
This saying was from WW2 days that pushed people to use what they have and leave more for the war effort. It is about using up what we have before buying more, wearing out clothing before we replace it and making what we already have work for us even longer. It is the thrifty persons mantra and the first step to being frugal for life.

Step 2) “Don’t be afraid” 
This means that you don’t want to be afraid of what others think or say. You don’t have to be afraid that you will end up penniless. You have been reading all this information in books and online and now you can put it into practice and know it has value. Don’t be afraid, jump right in and do it!

Step 3) “Less waste, more money”
Specifically the less you waste in energy/utilities, the more money you have at the end of the month. There are the easy things like turning out lights and turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth to more complicated issues of replacing old appliances or sealing up leaks around the house. Less waste brings more money in your pocket!

Step 4) “Do it yourself”
This includes cooking your own food, fixing something around the house or changing the oil. A step beyond cooking for yourself is to raise the food yourself as well. Sometimes the best satisfaction comes from doing it yourself no matter how long it may take.

Step 5) “Live on Less”
You can make 20,000 a year or 20 million a year but all these can be summed up by living on less. Less than what you make in money, less than what you think you need, less than what others think you need. Ultimately, saving that extra bit will help you in the future for the unexpected or as my dad commonly said, "It builds character." I do have to agree and say I that I've turned into quite the character!

Frugal living is not:
Living a life you dread waking up to
Thinking that money controls you
Feeling like you are carrying around a ball and chain

Frugal living is:
Knowing that you control the money
Seeing treasure in items and people around you
Using your mind to think creativity
Most people have it all wrong about wealth in America. Wealth is not the same as income. If you make a good income each year and spend it all you are not getting wealthier. You are just living high. Wealth is what you accumulate, not what you spend.
– from The Millionaire Next Door

Recently both Simple Dollar and Man vs Debt has articles on stopping kids from being crass consumers or keeping children frugal, both wonderful articles for those parents who are looking for inspiration in this media driven, advertiser soaked world around us. Of course I don't have children and I kinda wondered aloud, "what about me?" And then I realized I am still a child in some ways. Though I don't toss myself on the ground and bang my fists onto the carpet because I didn't get to go on vacation since all the money went to fixing the car - but the feeling are similar!

So let's combine the two and take a look at how we can make the child in us more consumer-proof:

Photo via young me/now me

Turn Off or Limit Media
After reading through a variety of blogs where people talked about cutting out tv totally or limiting the amount of tv watched, they have spoken about the desire to buy, buy, buy had lessened as well and this led to an increase in their free time to get other things done around the house.

☺Baker said from Man vs Debt - "Your kids won’t crave the latest gadget"

Focus on People Not Stuff
Making yourself and others around you aware of the qualities you notice about someone and not the car they drive helps to emphasize to yourself and others that there is more to life than fluff but a substance that is deeper and lasts longer.

☺Trent stated in Simple Dollar - "I usually make it a point to identify – and usually try to point out – a good quality about a person when that person comes up in a family conversation."

Reinforce Quality of Life with Like Minds
I am not a carp trying to swim up hill, so why would I want to swim uphill by being around people who dwell on a materialistic view of the world around me? Instead I want to be around people who will add positively to a quality of life that is deeper than the clothes we wear.

☺Baker said from Man vs Debt - "You will find that your child has more fun playing with other kids who understand their type of play and can engage in it fully."

The Hard Work of Having Fun
Sometimes being frugal isn't so much fun for us, we just want to sit in the corner and sulk about all the belt tightening we have to do. There are ways to make a game out of saving money, whether it is a challenge with rewards or locating all the free stuff you can do in a 50 mile radius and start checking them off as you go through the summer.

 ☺Trent stated in Simple Dollar -"I don’t praise everything they do, but I strongly praise their effort in a positive direction, especially when that effort is producing a good result (like my son’s ongoing journey towards reading)"

Returning Gratitude and Value to Others
The things that we learn can be passed along to others who are searching by sharing our time or materials or by bringing attention to a way others can save based on our experience.

☺Baker said from Man vs Debt - "A great mind-shift can happen when we stop thinking about what we don’t have and begin thinking about how we can help others."
 ☺Trent stated in Simple Dollar - "It is nice to share, but you shouldn’t expect someone to always share what they have, and it’s a good idea to set a sharing example first."

I said I would keep you updated on how things are going along the layoff process at work. This also helps me organize my thoughts and the information I receive, so I appreciate your time.

Notification was sent around that those who made it to April 30th would receive a severance of 4 weeks (which would be taxed at the "gift rate" which is around 35-40%) as a lump sum check. Also, we found out this week that our annual reviews were finished and raises were given, most all of the people I spoke to got the most they had ever received from the company. These raises will get us through for the last 4 paychecks and final severance and of course will help if unemployment benefits is in the future.

The company has been doing a good job of trying not to leave us dangling but to be prepared. Last week they brought in HR people who spoke with who ever was interested in moving to other cities within the company. Some places have bonuses if you go to them, some do not and the bonuses appear to be available in those places where the turnover rate is highest and pay lowest.

Next week the company will be have a state representative come in and give a 2 hour meeting on the state's unemployment benefits and how the process works. Since I have never used unemployment, I signed up for that meeting right away.

This week they brought in a subsidiary company of Manpower, called Right Management and have paid them for two months of help for each employee that signs up with them. Right Management had a 90 minute meeting with us to go over what they do - They aren't a job placement company but instead help people tweak their resumes and interview skills so that they stand out among the crowd.

I know I need help with my interview skills and I'm not a young chicken any longer, I have years of clucking experience so I want to make sure I am appealling to whomever I peck at. :)

Really quickly here are some comments that stood out from the meeting:
- 4 out of 10 interviewees respond with a thank you card or email after the interview is over
- 80% percent of resumes don't include the person's accomplishments 
- Most interviewees have no focused answer to the statement, "tell me about yourself" 
- If you are fired from a job, always tell the truth and practice what you want to say
- If you are laid off from a job, give the business reasons, don't get personal

The biggest part of the meeting was just getting comfortable with talking about our accomplishments. We had to go around the room and give our name and title and then talk about something we are proud of and where we want to go into the future. We are trained (especially woman) to not talk about ourselves, to be humble and just do our job. When we were asked to look over our professional life or personal life it is hard to think of something we are proud of. I noticed most of the men in the room thought of something professional, and most of the women thought of something personal. Just interesting, that's all.

One of the items the speaker mentioned about finding out what our accomplishments was to think about all the times we have been challenged and those are our accomplishments. Those times we have saved the day or simply made someone happy.
Challenge + Action +Results = Accomplishments

And in answer to that statement, "Tell me about yourself", we want to answer with a 30-60 second 'commercial' about ourselves.
Most recently (background)....
I am best known (accomplishments)...
My next step is (future goals with company)...

This isn't going to be something that is done for us, from here on out we have to go over our yearly reviews and keep our eyes open to challenges that will help jog our memory so we can get a list of accomplishments on the ready. The speaker suggested we keep a notepad handy to jot these situations down or save a word file. Recently I saw that Lifehacker put out a post on Setting Up a Praise Folder to Track Successes for Performance Reviews, Resume Boosts, so I made sure to tag that post for reference.

I think the best part about the meeting with Right Management was that it gave me hope, there are improvements that I can make which will market my product (me) better. Of course whether that is working for someone else or someday working for myself, what I learn through this will certainly help in the future.

Billboard courtesy of Adam UXB Smith