Intentional Spending: Frugal vs. Cheap

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I’m in a facebook group for frugal living and a question came up regarding personal care spending.  The question went something like this: 

“Do you spend a lot for your shampoo?  I believe mine is making my hair fall out. “

The responses ranged from “do not skimp on caring for yourself” to “this could be related to something other than shampoo, such as thyroid issues or vitamin deficiencies.”  But the responses were consistently and unanimously on the side of not skimping on personal care items when choosing frugality could possibly cause you harm.

Obviously there’s no way for the internet congregation to know whether cheap shampoo is actually the cause of her issues, but assuming it is, then the group definitely sided with self-care over being cheap.

It made me realize that sometimes choosing a positive lifestyle choice, be it with your finances, your fitness or anything in between, being so extreme that it’s causing more harm than good is not the way to go.  While I can’t say that this is or isn’t the case for this particular person, there are many times that people put a goal over safety or good decision-making.  And that can be dangerous. 

I love being in groups sometimes because they do often bring out interesting discussions, and this group did bring up some pretty good points.  Here are some thinkable moments that came out of the discussion:

You only get one body.  Take care of it.  This should be a no-brainer but it’s a good mantra to keep in mind for so many reasons.  I know that I take my body for granted every single day.  And I need to stop that. 

Skimp in other areas so that you can pamper yourself and your body.  I think this is a great idea.  I have never been an every-two-weeks mani/pedi girl, and I don’t go to the hair salon often at all, but I do believe that you should figure out how to set aside money to pamper your body from time to time.  Massages, hair treatments, whatever is important to you…figure out how to incorporate it into your life in a way that makes sense financially.  Sinking funds or cash envelopes are a great way to budget for these items.

I don’t go to salons, but I buy nice quality items to give myself nice at-home hair treatments and manicures.  There are great products in the store that are affordable.  Figure out those great products that work for your hair and your skin.  Look for them when they are on sale, grab a coupon, or take advantage of specials.  And honestly, this is possibly a splurge area for me.  I have a face cream that I love, but I’ve also found a good store brand knock-off, so I alternate each time I purchase face cream:  one month cheap stuff, one month good stuff.  But for me, I’d rather spend the money to do upkeep versus spend a lot of money down the road trying to correct issues that could have been avoided. 

You should see a doctor/dermatologist/nutritionist/etc.  Let’s face it.  There are a lot of people who only go to the doctor if they are truly debilitated.  Things that are labeled as small, cosmetic, or discretionary are often overlooked until it spirals into a more serious issue.  I’m not sure if this is a frugal thing or not.  For some, it could be, but for others, it may be a hassle that just doesn’t rise to the occasion of a doctor’s appointment.  These “small” symptoms can often be the piece of a larger puzzle.  Squeeze those doctor’s appointments into your schedule.  They could be crucial for catching something before it’s too late.  Quick story which I plan to blog about later…a visit to the dermatologist for something I chalked up to my own vanity ended up catching a malignant tumor for me in November of this past year.  It wasn’t causing me pain, it was just annoying and I hated looking at it.  Even the dermatologist told me it was nothing, and said I didn’t have to do anything unless I wanted to.  And when it was removed and biopsied, the result was skin cancer.  So yeah, that’s my quick lesson about getting “little” things checked out. You just never know.

Try a different product. Many people in the group provided product suggestions.  Sometimes people feel like there’s only one product that works for them.  And while there’s no real way to tell if something that works for an internet stranger will also work for you, at least it does get you into thinking about other options.  Some people have been buying the same shampoo since the 90’s.  It’s routine and it’s comfortable.  But it could also be time to venture out to something new.  Our bodies change over time, hair included, and another product could be a better option for you.  Doing a little research and trial and error could be the answer.

I agreed with all of these points, but I question how frugal someone is living if it means that something as dramatic as hair loss still makes them question whether they should spend a few extra dollars.  In the days of extreme couponing and store discount cards, there are a lot of people that make big decisions based on price—even if the price difference is insignificantly small and does not justify buying the cheap product over the more expensive option. I shop based on price comparisons quite a bit, and a lot of times I regret skimping. 

Where do you stand on the issue? I have often times opted for cheap when I should have splurged, and vice versa. Sometimes it’s hard to know what is right, but I definitely feel like you should spend money when the cheap way is causing you harm.

What’s something you’re always cheap on? What do you always splurge for?

My Spendless Saturday at the Library

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Last weekend I had no plans. I love weekends like that. Being able to just do whatever I feel like it, go wherever I feel like it, IF i feel like…that’s the epitome of relaxing for me.

So on Saturday when my boyfriend asked what I wanted to do, I had nothing really to suggest. The easiest answers to that question always seem to involve spending money for no reason, And with it being winter, like…below freezing winter…it’s not like I could pick some free outdoor activity. So an easy response usually is something like let’s go to Target, the outlets, Home Goods, or some random errand where money is involved. Or even something like going to Barnes & Noble, which is actually on my to-do list, would be entirely too tempting to not spend.

I considered a local farmers market because it’s not like we couldn’t use fresh veggies. But even with something like that, I could see me venturing to the candle seller or random crafter and feeling like I should support them by buying something I absolutely do not need. Which…I typically have no issues with and love to do, but…random purchases add up, and at the moment, I’m really trying to only spending intentionally.

I’m not one of those people that doesn’t believe in spending at all. But I have some financial priorities right now, and mindless spending just don’t fit in with those priorities.

So, we decided to go to our local library. I didn’t really have anything specific to do there but figured, I could work on some things on my laptop, see if any books caught my eye, and just be in a different space for a few hours. OMG, it was SUCH a nice time!

I picked a few books that seemed of interest, and I spent a little time with each book.

Here are the ones I looked through.

Single Tasking: Get More Done One Thing at a Time by Devora Zack: Everyone claims that multitasking is where it’s at. People put it on their resumes, in their cover letters, and scream it from the rooftop…”I’m a skilled multitasker!!!” But this author, and several studies, says that multitasking is actually not possible. What we all think is multitasking is actually task-switching, which is the act of moving very quickly between tasks, usually within tenths of a second, and we don’t consciously notice the delays. The author goes on to talk about how the brain is actually incapable of focusing on two (complex) things at once, and performance suffers when you task-switch back and forth between tasks. Though people are capable of doing a mindless task that requires no conscious effort along with a complex task, this is not typically what people mean when they claim to be multitaskers. The author goes on to discuss how single focusing on one task is actually far more productive and typically has a higher likelihood of error-free results.

The Millennial Whisperer: The Practical, Profit-Focused Playbook for Working With and Motivating the World’s Largest Generation by Chris Tuff: Whether we like it or not, time passes, people age, and the generation after us takes over the workforce. There is so much talk these days about millennials in the workforce and how their priorities and methods just don’t measure up to the generations before them. I can’t say for certain, but I’d imagine this happens every time there is a generational switch in the workplace. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030, so it’s no surprise that the older generations have some things to say as the younger get added to the workforce and the older generation retires from it. This author delves into the misconceptions about the millennial generation (such as they are lazy, entitled, selfish, and disloyal) and explores some practical steps that employers and leaders can take to positively incorporate millennials into the workplace and provide them with an environment in which they can excel and thrive. Personally, I found this book fascinating. I am in a relationship where my partner is 15 years younger, thus being a millennial, and I’m a Gen X-er. Suffice it to say, we have some differences. So, this book gives some great perspectives on what motivates and inspires him, as well as gives me some noteworthy tools for getting along with my younger colleagues.

Do Less, Get More: How to Work Smart and Live Life Your Way by Sháá Wasmund: This book is all about getting out of your own way, which resonated with me. I’m a classic overthinker to the point of complete inaction sometimes and this book helped me understand what I should do about it. When it comes to blogging and business, and even at work, I think too much and let lack of confidence rule my decisions. And I HATE IT.!!! This author explores tools for ditching negative thoughts and things that do not get you to your end goal–which is living a life you love and deserve. She talks about fears (the fear of upsetting people, of regret, of failure, not being good enough…etc.) and explains how these thoughts are just distractions. The book includes some really good thought exercises, and I even went through a couple of them on my own.

These last four books are ones that I flipped through but ultimately decided that I wanted to spend more time with them, so I will either find them on my kindle, maybe buy them on ebay if I can find them for a cheap price, or get my library card situation resolved (I’m still a digital nomad so…not quite sure how to handle my address/card sitch right now, and the librarian didn’t seem to know either).

Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li: I have heard of this concept before, and I find it really intriguing. This book is a therapeutic guide to the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, which is the art and science of how trees can promote health and happiness. I felt that this book would be better suited for me as an audiobook, or maybe as something to explore when I had a little more time to singularly focus on the material. However, the concept of forest bathing is that by immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way, you will use your senses to derive a whole range of benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, and social health. I definitely get a whole feeling of mindfulness and healing when I spend time in nature, and the idea of forest bathing seems like it ties in well with that thought.

You Got This!: Unleash Your Awesomeness, Find Your Path, and Change Your World by Maya S. Penn: This young lady is an inspiration to all. Starting off as a teen entrepreneur and now a motivational speaker doing TED talks and talk shows, I really want to hear what this young lady has to say about discovering my passions, and maximizing my full potential for a creative, successful life. This may make a good audiobook choice, or I may spend some time looking for her TED talks. I just didn’t want to reduce her message to snippets I skimmed through with no context, so I will put this on my list to look into further as time permits.

Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle: It’s really interesting to me that, as I strive to lead a life of intentional spending and minimalism, the books I truly want to hold and own physical copies of are the ones that talk about minimalism. I really do not know why I’m like that but it’s super ironic, right?? Honestly, this book would make a really nice coffee table book, but…the whole point of trying to live with less is to not physically own things that do not suit a specific purpose. And what purpose does a coffee table book hold other than to be decorative? This author shares practical guidance and personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption. And the key to living with less and not having a cluttered home is being conscious about the items you bring into your space, hence why I will try my best to not buy a physical copy of this book…but we will see…

New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable, Intentional Living by Cary Telander Fortin and Kyle Louise Quilici: This book has some really inspiring pictures, so I feel like this is a book best held and thumbed through in person. This book discusses interior design as it relates to intentional living and decluttering, and for some reason I feel like seeing pictures and visual encouragement will be better than just reading it on my kindle or borrowing it from the library. But whichever way I decide to read this book, I definitely did not want to rush through it, so I put it on my list of books to revisit when I have more time.

Have you been to the library lately? What do you do on days when you want to be spendless? I would love some suggestions!

My Reading List: Bloganuary Entry #12

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Writing Prompt: What book is next on your reading list?

I really have slacked off with my book reading, and I should be absolutely embarrassed by this. I will never be one of those one-book-per-week kinda people because my free time is so little and the list of things I need to accomplish in my free time is extremely long. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t read ever.

To make matters worse, I have an extremely short attention span, so I will pop onto a blog or read short articles or listen to a podcast when I do have some time to sit. But I have not been motivated to read a lengthy book in a while.

I have downloaded a few things that are ready to go on my kindle over the past few months, and I’ve also gotten some book recommendations that I’m dying to jump on. So in no particular order, I’ll go through what I like to read and what books are on my upcoming reading list.

What I like to read: In general, the types of books I love to read are going to either be smut, forbidden romance, LGBTQ smut and romance (which covers the previous two topics), and things that make me think or learn. There’s something about people powering through every reason they shouldn’t be together so that they can love and be loved. I also love a good sex scene. And I love trying to get my life together. So, the books that I read typically fit into those boxes.

When it comes to getting my life together, I absolutely love Brene Brown, Tony Robbins and authors similar to them. My boyfriend and I love to discuss these books because they help us keep a pulse on our thoughts, emotions and goals. I love to learn about business and social media, and I love lifestyle books that inspire me. I particularly love anything that covers intentional, simple, or minimalist living. I also love to learn different ways to organize and budget.

So without further ado, here are the six books that I’ve downloaded and/or plan to read in the near future:

Saint (Priest Book 3) by Sierra Simone: Smut smut smut. I already read books 1 and 2, so this one completes the trilogy.

Strictly Professional by Kathryn Nolan: more smut. I haven’t read this author yet, but I started following her on IG and FB, so her book is on my list.

A Way Home by Kiera Andrews: A gay Amish romance, and the third in a series. I loved the first two books so I’m excited to find out what’s next for the main characters.

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker: This author is a master of living a minimilist life, which is something I’ve been interested in for quite some time. So I’m super interested to read his thoughts on the topic.

Down to Earth (a guide to simple living) by Rhonda Hetzel: This book is on my blogger friend, Rebekah’s, Book of the Month list. It seems right on par with my simple living interests.

Kakeibo: The Japanese Art of Saving Money by Fumiko Chiba: I am really intrigued by this concept of budgeting and intentional spending and saving. I feel like sometimes something that should be simple is made difficult, and I feel like the Japanese concept of budgeting, kakeibo, takes budgeting and pares it down into simple concepts. It’s essentially a minimalist and mindful approach to budgeting, and I’m intrigued.

So that’s my upcoming reading list. What types of things do you enjoy reading? Do you have any book recommendations? I’d love to hear about it!

My Ideal Day: Bloganuary Entry #11

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Writing Prompt: What is my ideal day?

It’s really hard to settle on one ideal day. Are we talking about an ideal day in my current life? Or an ideal day if I had the day off…or if I didn’t have to work because I was wealthy…am I on vacation? There’s a lot of ways that a day can be ideal. Here are the five things I need for an ideal day.

Perfect weather. It either needs to be 70 with a slight breeze or 85 and sunny, depending on whether I’m at the beach or not. But perfect weather is truly the start to an ideal day.

Rest. I definitely need to sleep until my body rises naturally. Any day where I’m on a clock, especially when I wake up, is not ideal to me.

Time outdoors. OK, so…I’m not a hiker or nature buff or anything like that. But I love being outside when the weather is nice. And even when the weather is not perfect. But on my ideal day, I am assuming the weather is perfect according to my preference. If I’m on the beach, I want to sit out there ALL day. If it’s fall, I want to sit outside and enjoy the crisp air or take a nice walk. So something that involves a walk outside, sitting outdoors at a restaurant or winery is definitely ideal to me.

Live music. I absolutely love live music. I don’t care if it’s one guy and his bagpipes, or someone singing an acoustic cover of Baby Got Back. I love it all. My ideal day absolutely must include live music of some sort.

Good company. Now…for me, this can be tricky. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I am a complete and absolute introvert. I prefer my own company above all. However, if I am in the presence of others, it needs to be quality. Not that the person needs to be some sort of elite or an academic or anything like that. But introverts do not care for superficial conversations. For me, there needs to be banter or a topic of substance, or just an agreeable, pleasant, conversation with mutual exchange. I don’t want to hear someone just jabber on and on about some topic I could not care less about, I don’t like having conversations with people that have no interest in what I have to say, and I don’t want to talk about hateful horrible things. We introverts do not care for fake people or wack, disingenuine vibes. So whether I’m alone (which I love!) or with someone that I have a great exchange with, the company needs to be top notch on my ideal day.

Do you have an ideal day? What is a must for your ideal day? Do we have any musts in common?

Five things I’m grateful for: Bloganuary Entry #9

Gratitude, as defined, is the quality of being thankful.

And it is truly the key to life.

I love the current movement towards finding reasons to be grateful and ways to express gratitude daily. Sometimes I feel like it’s all too easy to forget that there are so many things in every single day that we should be grateful for. The simple act of waking up every morning is a gift. It’s an underappreciated gift. It’s a gift that is often taken for granted, and sometimes it’s not even acknowledged at all.

Last year, I bought a gratitude journal. Every entry was devoted to the things in that day that I felt gratitude for. I felt like it was super easy to think of every bad thing going on around me, but I truly needed to see the brighter and bigger picture, and I needed to realize that I had so much to be grateful for. Sadly, I was hot and heavy with my entries in the beginning, but things slowed down over time. So I’m happy that this prompt came up, because it’s a great reminder to get back to acknowledging everything that I have to be grateful for. Which is a lot.

So here is what would be in my gratitude journal entry today. Today I am grateful for…:

Medical care: I could go on and on about this one. Reliable, affordable, competent medical care is just hard to quantify or even explain, so all I can say is that I’m extremely grateful to have it.

Supportive and loving family: My family is just awesome. I am grateful that I feel this way about my family, because not everyone is able to say that about theirs.

My devoted partner: Whew chile! After what I’ve been through the last few months in addition to the pandemmy, lockdown, and the craziness of the last couple years…he has both driven me crazy and kept me sane all at the same time. And I legit would not have it any other way. I am so extremely grateful for him.

Delivery services: I cannot say enough about the way that delivery services has gotten me (and the world) through the past two years. USPS, Fedex, UPS, Amazon, food and grocery delivery, and any of the shipping partners that aren’t mentioned…they have truly stepped up in these crazy and scary times. I could go on and on and on and on about their sacrifices and their hard work in a time when things are uncertain and terrifying.

Animals: I don’t currently have a pet, but that doesn’t mean that animals have not been therapeutic in my life. I swear, I can watch animal videos all day if you let me! They brighten my day, make me laugh, and just bring me entirely too much joy.

So now that I’ve made this post and this list, it’s time to pull out my journal and get back into the practice of making sure I fully acknowledge all of the wonderful things, big or small, happening around me each day. There is entirely too much to be grateful for, and when it’s super easy to talk about what’s wrong in the world, I need to just as easily remember the good things around me.

If you had to pick something that you are grateful for today, no matter what scale it’s on, what would it be? I’d love to hear it!