Archive for June, 2007

Deliberations on Moving Frugally

I’m moving out of my apartment right now and it’s slow going but things will pick up later on today when my family gets here with the UHAUL that I rented.

A UHAUL, you say!  How expensive!  How unfrugal you are!

Not necessarily.

Of course, just looking at the situation right now, it may seem like I’m just wasting money left and right.  I’m renting a UHAUL that I’m driving about 130 miles round trip along with my family that’s driving another car up for about 130 miles round trip plus my giant old gas-guzzling van which I’m driving down the last 65 miles.  Plus all the heavy furniture (and tons of books) weighing all the cars and the UHAUL truck down will suck more gas.  So, here is everything that will cost us:

-UHAUL truck rental base price + a certain number of cents per mile driven

-gas for the van, the UHAUL truck, the family sedan + a little extra gas guzzled from the weight

Seems like a waste right?  Why couldn’t we just use the van and the family sedan and not the UHAUL truck at all?  or just the UHAUL and not the family sedan?

Here are the factors that influenced me:

Peace of mind for my family which number 4 people besides me which will be thoroughly uncomfortable squished in the tiny cab of the UHAUL truck.  Which is why we need the family sedan.

Saving gas.  If we didn’t have the UHAUL truck to carry all my big old heavy wooden furniture, we’d have to make multiple trips in the gas-guzzling van using more gas in the end.  Besides, it’s definitely more dangerous to have a big wooden futon sticking out the end of the van on the freeway than safely tucked inside a UHAUL truck.
Easier for me.  I need my family to come help me move since I don’t have the strength or energy to do it myself and would probably exhaust myself or pull some muscle trying to move all the heavy items.  It would be very dangerous to drive after becoming so exhausted and/or injured.   Also, it’s a LOT faster to move with multiple people than one lone person scurrying up and down stairs.  This is why the family sedan is needed also.

So in the end, even though it doesn’t seem like a very frugal decision I made, there are other factors that influence me more.

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Why I Don’t Have Guilty Pleasures Anymore

Now that I’ve started absorbing financial knowledge and trying to have a good financial mindset, I’ve discovered something unpleasent.  I feel guilty splurging on myself now!  Of course, in a savings perspective, this is a major plus but it sure makes my life a bit more dreary if I can’t treat myself out sometimes to yummy food or that really cute new pair of shoes every so often without giving myself a guilt trip.

So, I’ve decided to set up a mini-account in my ING savings account just for splurging.  I’ve even named it “Splurge Savings” which I admit is a bit of an oxymoron.  But, hey, I treat it just like any other savings account, auto-deposit money into it, hopefully earn a bit of interest on it.  Then, once a month or so, I take some money out specifically to spend on something frivolous. I’m not going to allow myself to spend it on something practical at all!

This way, I’m still putting most of my money away but whenever I want something really badly, I tell myself that that’s going to be my once-a-month splurge, wait until it’s that time of the month (you know what I mean!), and splurge on myself.  This makes me cheerier, less prone to spend money randomly on frivolous things, and sort of reward myself for sticking to a frugal mindset most of the month.

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Frugality vs. Waste

I’ve been reading a lot of article lately about frugality which is very dear to my heart.  However, I have a dilemma.  A lot the tips involve replacing certain items in order to save electricity and that seems to be prudent.  That is not only frugal but environmentally sound.

However, for example, one of the tips involve replacing all normal bulbs with CFL bulbs since it saves electricity and is more durable.  This is a sound suggestion.  Unless I take into the consideration if the normal bulbs were just replaced recently or recently bought or even not recently bought but was stored in the garage to be replaced.   Now, if I were to go out and buy the CFL bulbs to replace all the bulbs in my home, this would entail spending money. Ok, but the rebuttal is that I’ll no doubt save more money in electricity in the long run.  However, I have to throw away perfectly good bulbs (albeit non-CFL bulbs) that may have been used only a little bit or even not at all.  I feel that that is a waste of the money spent.

Now the dilemma is:  Do I use the bulbs I have in the garage or may have just installed until they burn out and then when they do burn out, replace them with CFL bulbs knowing that I will potentially pay more in electricity but not wasting any of my previously spent money?  Or do I throw away all the regular light bulbs and go out and buy CFL bulbs  therefore making my home environmentally attractive as well as saving money on my electricity but throwing away perfectly good bulbs and the money spent on them down the drain?

Of course, if your bulbs are already flickering and are on their last breath, I highly recommend switching to CFL light bulbs.   They get 2 thumbs up!

I think the main point I have here is:  Frugality is all and good but sometimes there are hidden costs that need more consideration.   

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Struggle with Materialism

I just graduated from college a few weeks ago and I received lots of gifts of money from relatives.  This is good right?  Yes, I watched in fascination as my checking account climbed to heights never before known in my starving college student days.  My mind already imagining all the lovely things I could buy with it.

But, I had to forcefully shut down that line of thought.  I had to switch into my newly formed financial mindset and thoughts of emergency savings, retirement accounts, investments, graduate school savings, and car savings all whirled around in my head.  Suddenly, I discovered that all that money sitting in my checking account was actually not that much after I divided it into all my other accounts and savings.  A few hundred here and a few hundred there and once again I was left with piddling amounts of money once again to spend on myself.  It was quite a disappointing experience.

I kept telling myself that I’ll be better off later, that I’ll retire in tropical islands with the money I save now, but the devil on my shoulder kept whispering to me “It would matter if I died early would it?  Someone else would just enjoy all the money that I had painstakingly scrimped and saved away.  They’d probably spend it on themselves anyways.  Why shouldn’t I just enjoy the now and make myself happy.  Live everyday as I’ll die tomorrow mentality is good!  Carpe diem!!”

But sadly, I swept that devil off the shoulder and transferred all the money to different accounts and now I’m stuck looking at the piddling amounts again.  I keep telling myself that it’s for a good cause: myself!  But, I still feel kind of bummed.

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Hi, I’ve decided to start this journal to document all the financial ups and downs of a new graduate going forth to a really unknown future.  I hope you enjoy reading it and maybe taking away some life experiences from it.

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