Can you come up with creative ways to minimalize things around you? I got a weather proof backpack, and it is about the same size as my old pack. I can either send it back, or figure out how to make what I carry-less. Also, try to do it without spending a fortune. I was looking at smaller wallets. They have one I was really interested in by a brand called Big Skinny, and one day I will get one. But, for now, I decided to make use of what I have. I never wear a wallet, it sits in my pack, and I dig my money clip and other things from it. So, I dug through it and discarded another 5 cards I do not need to carry. Then, I cut 1/3 of it away, this part was broken anyway, and taped it up. I probably only saved about 1/4 to 1/2" over all, but it is giving me motivation to look further, and share with you guys. :) What tips do you know?
In America, we have library system which allows us to check out books, and then bring them back. All of this is done with taxpayer money. It is a great resource for those in College, or who wish to read for leisure, or even to learn something new.
We also have book stores that, obviously, sell books and magazines for us too keep. I have a tough time understanding why you would buy a book, when you can check it out for free, and then return it. But, that is a part of my fear of things, another blog post.
In Thailand they have book stores where you can rent books. In the last decade, we have seen the demise of Borders Books, and probably many other book stores. I enjoy going into Barnes and Nobel to look at things. I believe their business model is great, giving people the option of reading and enjoying a hot coffee in a relaxing atmosphere. I thought about it, and propose an end to the public library, in favor of book stores making a resurgence, and being able to rent out, and sell books, or whatever else. I am guilty of not being a big reader. But it is sad to see them disappear. The library is not responsible for this, but I feel that we could support a business in this way, instead of Government funded libraries. Colleges would still need libraries for study, that we cannot be rid of. What do you guys think? Just a thought. 😃
Being a wise spender can save you thousands of dollars in this life. I just wanted to point out one way. I refinanced my house to a 15 year loan 2 years ago, after a tip from a friend on rates of 2.875, and doing the math on interest from my 30 year loan. I know some people say "just pay extra on the 30 year loan." However, the initial interest is always the highest, and you will still pay more than if you just picked a payment you could afford on a 15 year loan. The rates are usually, or always, less on a 15 year loan as well, less out of pocket interest.
The tax write off of interest is another argument I find only slightly valid. You do get the write off, however, if you pay say $2000 in interest, it just makes your income go from say 40,000 to 38,000. You will not make $2k back from the tax man. Maybe it will pay off with multiple other write offs, maybe...
If you can live within these means, there will be more left for the future. 😀
I just shared a post on facebook about what happens with our electronics when they are sent overseas to be disposed of. The people disposing of them go through a lot, and it shortens their lives. But, another aspect of this is the recycling, or just hanging on to the electronics themselves. Which, in the long run, would save most of us money. I have a Samsung S2 phone that Is considered ancient now, but works fine. I was thinking of buying a newer, but still used phone, to upgrade. I think I will see how this one does, as it surpasses my expectations of what a phone can do. Thus, saving me money. My car is 10 years old, and I am hoping to make that last another 10 years, and possibly be the last car I buy. Not sure about that, but it is a thought. I know most people are a little more realistic than myself, but where could you not splurge today, and have a little more for tomorrow? Maybe that $4 coffee thing you get everyday, or bring lunch to work instead of eating out. Maybe you really do not need cable TV. There are many ways we can save for the future. Maybe it is buying a quality product, that will last a lifetime, instead of multiple cheaper products. I have been searching for backpacks, something I use everyday, and I hope I have found the near perfect one for me. I only want one, and want it to last. What would you like to do differently?
My son talks of the goings-on in his school often. There are common themes that I notice.
1. Kids still misbehave and could care less about school
2. There is a lot of money spent on electronics every year, and yet they keep saying they need more money.
They first one has been going on forever in this country. I cared enough to do okay in school, but the overwhelming theme was that school was not a good thing, and to do well at it made you somewhat of an outcast. From what I know about schools in different Asian countries, education is revered. It is expected that they will do well, by the staff, students, and their families. They may actually have to pay out-of-pocket for their education, and thus, not everybody gets it. This I know from friends in Thailand. They take care of the school. The daily cleaning inside, and the yard work outside is performed by the students. I believe this gives them a feeling ownership in the their education. It also teache them skills needed for later in life as they have their own families. From what I see in America, Asian people succeed in education beyond that of any other race.
My son tells me about the carts full of new ipads and chromebooks everyyear, and yet there is a new referrendum for more money each and every year. I understand the need to learn about technology, but new stuff each and every year, for probably each and every school, seems quite extreme. While at work, I have also heard of people getting free computers, and ipads, from teachers. Maybe these have been donated by someone, and I really hope so. There is a Wii in the gym for kids to use as well. These all seem very unnecessary for a successful education. What could we do right in my opinion?
I believe education should not be free in America. Having children is a choice, and therefore we should have the financial obligation put more on the parents than it is now, and less on socitey. The hope of this is to make people more aware of the money spent in schools. Also, parents would be financially invested, and really care about their children attending, and doing well in school. As this concept spreads, I believe it would become the "popular" idea, and more young people would latch onto it.
Now, I am not putting anywhere near the full burden on the parents, my thought was $2000.00 per student, per year. And, another way of working this off would need to be introduced for those who cannot pay. Not a welfare though, someone would need to work for it. It is enough to open the middle class' eyes, and maybe change the education mindset. Along with this, would be a look at the expense of college and trade school. It is too high, and I have heard of a great deal of waste from colleges, that could be cut so education could be cheaper. Also, more job based education, and less fluff-filled generals. I do not need to take art or gym to become an accountant. To be honest, you really do not need college for these things, but that is another rant. What do you guys think???
Everyday the job I have leads me on adventures, meeting interesting people. On a gas leak call at a Chinese immersion school, which I find fascinating in itself :), I met a man that moved from a 3000 square foot house, to a 350 square foot house, with his wife. They got rid of a great deal of "stuff", yet still have a garage full of neat things that they do not have room for in the house. They gave most of it away, and are still working on purging. He said the freedom from a house payment, and a lower tax bill, has given the couple the lifestyle they dreamed of. They can now afford to have lower paying jobs they actually enjoy. And, now they can afford to travel more. Is the American dream to make as much money as possible, and live in a large house. Or to be able to live as this couple? I suppose that is the great thing about America, we get a choice.
Where are we going, what are we doing? Is this really the life I want? What is it that is important to me? Why do I feel like I am going nowhere?
These questions sometimes enter my head. I am not usually positive where I want life to go. Smaller, bigger, it all seems to be about wanting something different than I have already. Anyone else feel this way? What do you think you should change, if different than just adjusting our attitude? hmmmmm.....
Around me are all sorts of people trying to do what they feel is the right thing. What I am noticing with the changes that are going on, is that things are appearing to be worse before they are, hopefully, better. To give a glimpse of hope, I will share some of the story of not seeing my son for 3 months. This is a lesson for sure. When his mother was coming to pick him up one day, he ran off. Being around 3-4 years old, this was dangerous. She started walking after him because she is too feeble to run, I guess. So I ran past her and caught up with him another block away. I was frustrated and said some threatening things. She took him and left. The next time I wanted to see him, she would not let me. I was angry and confused. We went to court to get things figured out. So I went from not seeing him for 3 months, to seeing him for 1 hour a week,supervised by his mother, to 2 hours, 3 hours......ect. Now I have him every other weekend, and more. Pretty much whenever now, but it took time, and anxious suffering. It was not patience, I did not feel quiet in my head, I was angry. I learned to be nice to get what I wanted, because I ultimately win then. Some say it is kissing butt, and it is. But it works. None of it is easy, but in time things will change. Just know that, and do the right thing, even if it burns you up inside. This will not be for every circumstance, but I hope this helps someone.
Things I will share about: Divorce, not seeing my son, alcoholism, codependency, jealousy, anxiety, Love, God, spirituality, success, exercise, nutrition, and I am sure to come up with more. Lets talk!