Monday, May 4, 2009

Mini Linkfest

Living Almost Large asks are bulk stores frugal? I think it depends on how you use it. I share a Costco membership with Peanut and his roommate, and we go there all the time (Peanut lives only a block or so away). We get toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo/conditioner, movie tickets, soap (laundry, dish, and bar), ziplock bags, granola bars or bags of nuts (for snacks, since I'm always on the go). We've recently started getting pasta sauce, baby carrots, frozen chicken breasts (marinated or crispy), dental floss, and other food items. I'm leery of Costco--I want so much stuff when I'm there! I look through the coupons and think, Oh, I could totally use that airpopper/60 gallon jug of mayonnaise/17 pounds of frozen shrimp!

Luckily, we are able to rein ourselves in and really only buy what we need and use. Peanut renewed the membership in February, and within one month we'd saved more than the yearly fee just on chicken breasts and movie tickets alone. Also, I love buying toilet paper in bulk because that means you rarely have one of those "um...oh no!" moments.

So, my opinion: Yes, bulk stores CAN be frugal, but only if you have self-control and don't need to buy everything you see. If you can make a realistic list and stick to it, the membership fee is totally worth it.

I'm loving Stacking Pennies I Can Handle It post! I needed some of those reminders. I can handle it if I lose my job. I can handle it if I choose to leave my job before I planned. I can handle it if whatever happens!

Get Rich Slowly looks at The New Age of Thrift. I totally agree with JD on these thoughts: None of us wants to pay for the mistakes of others. When people make poor choices, they ought to face the consequences. Still, I’m happy to see so many people discovering frugality.

I don't like being lumped in with the blame of the current economy, caused both by general public greed and shady lending practices. I didn't spend above my means. I didn't buy more than I could afford. I didn't fall for deceptive offers. I've saved and couponed and budgeted. So DON'T BLAME ME, Redbook and any other media outlet saying "We're all to blame" for the current situation.

On the other hand, I'm glad that finally, I'm no longer getting weird looks when I say "It's not in the budget". I'm glad to see my friends waking up and trying to pay down their credit card debt. I'm glad to see people learning how to manage their money, and I hope these lessons stick around for a while.

MoneyNing talks about being satisfied and saving more money: Most frugalist I know asked themselves at some point whether he/she is missing out by not participating (insert your own activity here).

So true. A coworker of mine goes out for lunch every single day and spends $20-30 per meal. She's going out to eat with lots of people from my company and from others in our industry--she's networking and I'm a little jealous of that. I can't afford to spend $150 a week on lunches. And I don't feel like I can ask these people to lunch at the $7 salad place--but anyway, I can't afford even $35 a week on lunches, either. I bring my lunch to work almost every day--turkey and cheese sandwich (now on homemade bread!), apple, chips, and granola bar--easily a $2 meal.

I do feel like I'm missing out on connections with people in my company and industry by not eating lunch out every day. And the corporate culture doesn't support being a little alternative and eating lunch in while networking--remember, publishing execs basically introduced the concept of the "three martini lunch". But my priorities place living within my means higher than rising up the ranks by lunching. And I have faith in my ability to move up eventually--maybe not as quickly as my coworker, and maybe through different means. So I'll stay at my desk and rinse out my tupperware and focus on feeling satisfied with that.

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