Friday, February 28, 2014

I'm Done Listening to Others!

It’s time to listen to myself.

I believe I made the right decision to retire early and find out who that person really is! I've always been a good employee and given my employers the best me I can be; and like everyone else, juggle home, family and job the best way I know how.

Having listened to others who had cancer radiation, I heard everything from “It’s a snap!” to the lady who had to have her husband take her every treatment. Honestly, it’s someplace in between that. Radiation affects the human body, and as we are all different individuals, we will all have a different story.

During treatment, I was able to work and do pretty much everything else. Hubby helped and we did fine. When the side effects caught up with me, during the sixth of seven weeks, everything was different. I had no energy and could barely function.

My immune system was compromised and during the first and fourth months after treatment, I contracted serious upper respiratory infections. Think of it this way, one month out of three I was out of commission. This is not acceptable.

Once I decided to retire and started heading toward that end, I got sick again. During this time, I talked to other real women who spoke of a 6-18 month recovery period. These were not working women and at the time of treatment, they might not have been sixty years old. 

Why aren't professionals real with you?

I thought that I would start back up at the fitness club as soon as I retired. NOT. The first two weeks were pretty much at home, getting well. The third week I started doing things, but I was only up to one thing a day. If I went to the gym, that was pretty much it. Also, I did have some things to do that week that I had been putting off, so exercise was on the back burner.

The fourth week I went to a class and was so happy that only four people were there that morning; because even with “holding back,” I threw up into the waste basket after class. Marvelous. The next day I decided to just start on the treadmill and bicycle because my muscles were sore from the previous day. I have not regularly exercised in the morning and I want to, but I may have to do some changing of the times that I take medicines.

I am going to listen to my own voice. I am NOT ready for “prime time.” (boot camp in the evening) I going to start this slowly and build, because it’s not really the same as it was the first time. I was just dealing with soreness and stamina then. Now, there is so much more. Medications. Fatigue.

I am grateful for the staff at the fitness club that doesn't push me—right now I don’t need pushed. I just need to go, regularly.

And see where it takes me.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Buying New or Used?

This is a blog that is different from other blogs. There are many blogs and sites for those who practice thrift and frugality for families. This blog is focused toward those who are in the retirement and down-sizing years. I hope to share my own education and experiences and link to other sites that can help us. I plan to do research as we go. I don’t have all the answers. And most importantly, I hope readers will comment with suggestions of their own.

A simple definition of “thrift” is economical management, economy and frugality. I want to emphasize that in my thinking, “thrift” and “cheap” are not synonymous.  Many of us “of a certain age” have come to the place where we want quality, and we may not need the quantity. We don’t want to be “rebuying” an item every few years, but we want a good deal!

For us women, the perfect example is with clothing. We have reached the place where style is not as important, BUT we like an item or two to freshen up the nice things we already have.

Acknowledging that obsolescence is built into many of the items we do buy, we try for the best deal there too.

Thrift is a loaded word: it means different things to different people. My thinking as I write this blog is simply this; saving money over here, so that perhaps I can splurge on something over there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Purging Responsibly

You want to get rid of stuff and you want to do it responsibly.

My first topic is computer stuff. This MUST be done by a reputable company that certifies that the hard drives have been wiped clean. As I write this, I have a desktop and two laptops in the basement. Perhaps this is a project an extended family should take on, or neighbors or other friends. There is usually a cost, but what price would you put on your personal data?

Secondly is clothing. I have a strong feeling about this. If they are junky clothes, take them to Goodwill, who, while this is not commonly known, does recycle fabric that it doesn’t use in their stores. I have seen this with my own eyes at a recycling facility. I will not soon forget the “denim room.”  Stacks to the ceiling of jeans, it truly is a sight. At least, it is being done responsibly.

For clothing that can be worn, I feel very strongly about keeping them in my community. Perhaps it’s the social worker in me, that knows there is need all around me, but I would rather donate good used clothing to the local clothing closet than have someone decide to recycle it. There are too many folks in need.

Maybe you want to take on a garage sale. There’s enough that you are not using that could possibly be turned into cash (just make sure you don’t spend your profits on the Longeberger basket sale down the street!) and used for a better purpose. One investment piece, to keep for a lifetime. Garage sales are definitely work, but if you have help or combine with others, it might be worth it.

The AmVets and Salvation Army are always calling. If that’s a valuable resource, use them. They do see that someone’s need is met. I don’t know why, but we ended up with seven desks in this house and no one even wanted to buy one at a garage sale. I gave one away, we cleaned one up for the Towhead to play with, and we are using one IN the garage to store and stack things on. However, those are the types of things that these organizations can pass on.

Maybe you have a big ticket item (such as your china) that you’d like to sell on eBay. Make sure no one in the family CARES about this item, and check into either selling it yourself, or paying one of these shops that does this type of thing for people. Make sure it didn't open just last week. You want to be dealing with someone reputable.

I’m not ready to sell my china, or my grandmother’s crystal. I love them, but I know the love stops with me.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Taking a Look at Stuff Differently

This is a hard blog to write. It will touch a few nerves. Heck, it touches MY nerves, but I believe it’s something that must be said.

A little background of my life: before I understood what estate auctions WERE, my father was taking me to them. I am not opposed to auctions and I have found many a useful item at a good price. My first personal experience with an estate auction was my grandmother’s in 1972. Now that all her sons have passed, and my mother agrees with me, I can officially say that it was poorly handled. Much of our family history went out the door.

My second experience was the auction my mother had while downsizing after my father died in 1977. Now, I was a part of that process, but I chose NOT to attend as I knew it would be painful. In 1992, I executed my uncle’s estate, and we had talked about an auction before he died, so I knew that I was doing what he would have me do. The auction people come in and do all the work, I just had to go through and make sure no financial papers that I needed were in drawers of desks, dressers or whatever.

It was not painful to attend that auction, but it gave me cause to pause and consider how quickly a lifetime of belongings is sold and hauled away. This is just “stuff.” A couch is a couch is a couch. A dining room table with no history is just a dining room table. God bless the people who got good deals and made those items a part of their lives.

In 2004, my husband’s family sold his parents’ belongings at auction. I didn't really have any reason to attend, and SubHub and Coach went, and came home with “auction stories.” You know, the ones where what you think is junk goes for a lot of money; and the things you think would be worth something sell for next to nothing. We all have them.

These 350 words are leading up to my main point: as we are in the autumn of our years, we look at everything around us, and realize that our kids will probably either (1) have an auction or (2) set it out by the curb.

This is not easy to face, and each story is different, but somewhere I missed the boat in planting the history seed within my children. Now, maybe an in-law or a grandchild may show some interest, but for right now, I look around and realize, for the most part, it is just STUFF! Stuff that takes up room.

I have been through many purges and will continue to do that, and I do think my garage sale days are behind me. As I write this entry, my son and his lovely wife are building a home, so there is a bunch of stuff leaving the building this spring. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. But then, I will really take a look at what is left and make decisions.

First of all, I want to spend the rest of my days with the things I LOVE, regardless of whether any other person on the planet cares. While I recognize they may end up on the curb, I am still above ground and I want to look at them and enjoy them for my lifetime.

But, in this process, there may be items that are not as important to me and if I can turn them into cash now, I can enjoy what I can purchase with that cash. And yes, kids, Mamma is spending your inheritance—the part you don’t give a rip about!

Look around you. What is truly meaningful and what is “stuff?” My family pictures and portraits will always be important to me. So is the original artwork my mother has created. We have a nice clock on the wall, but….it’s a clock. Maybe the kids will fight over it, but I highly doubt it. Picture what will be in an estate sale and what will not. (I AM planning to outlive that sofa over there!)

Books, which I realize are going by the wayside. I have a poetry book given to my mother’s cousin. It has four names in it. I really don’t want that on a junk pile, but I realize it’s a possibility. PLEASE find a good home for your paternal grandfather’s flag, your great-uncle’s flag and your great-grandfather’s flag! (By the time it’s all over, I may have my brother’s too!) These things are important.

I know that my Precious Moments collection will virtually be given away, but I love it while I am alive.

These are heavy thoughts, but I will close for today and pick up tomorrow with some ideas of how to responsibly purge, helping thy neighbor or maybe even earning a buck or two.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Starting Over!

It has been some time since I have written anything with regards to My Cancer Journey or My Fitness Journey. Of course, they are inter-connected.

Two weeks before my retirement, I came down with another upper respiratory infection. It lasted four weeks. I had planned to return to the fitness club as soon as I was retired so I could begin to make up lost ground, but I was ill for two more weeks.

Being a task-oriented person in a task-oriented society, I am learning and changing. I am learning that it’s more about the process than the task. I was anxious to fill spots on my calendar with fitness classes (and other things) and I had to learn that it was more about healing.

I have been frustrated with my “starting and stopping” at the gym. Each time I would begin again, only to “overdo” it. I have lost weight, but we all know what lost weight without exercise is—flabby! It is really time!

Although I may try a class, I need to remind myself that back in the beginning it was three months before I attempted a class setting. Seriously, it may be awhile before I get there, and I don’t need to beat myself up over it.

I meet people from both extremes in My Cancer Journey. There are those who said radiation was a “snap;” so I thought it will be like that for me too. Radiation itself was not a problem, it was the after effects. Later, I have talked to people who say that I will feel the effects from anywhere from six to eighteen months. This is a slightly different story, and changes the way I see myself. My expectations have been too high.

So I start a new week, with good intentions. I want to get to the fitness club several times. What I don’t know is if I will stay healthy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Shopping With Purpose

Much of what I am going to write you have heard before, but perhaps have not seen all in one place.
I mentioned earlier that I am a fan of our closest dollar store. These all are managed pretty much the same, at least to the consumer. I start here, and WHY I start here is that it’s right across from my fitness club and the bank.

I am NOT a fan of driving all over town, wasting gas and time for every good deal. First of all, my time is valuable and I am not in favor of lining the pockets of oil companies and wasting gas in general. My suggestion is to pick a store, follow the ads, and get to know the staff, make it personal and ask any questions that you may have. Get the VIP card for your key chain, follow the ads in print and online, and stick to them.

NOTHING is 100%. There will be a day when you see something at a different store, and you go get it because you can’t pass it up, and you buy for your kids and neighbors and everyone else.

I chose a major chain (at least in my state, not necessarily in other parts of the country) because it was “on the way home” from three jobs ago! There actually is another good chain a little closer, but it’s usually very crowded; and I would drive just a little further and combine errands with it.

In addition, I frequent the closest IGA; partly because of my belief in buying local and partly because they have a good meat selection and prices, and a great bakery and deli. I don’t necessarily need the bakery and deli all the time. I don’t have the selection at this store, but I do use it in a pinch, because it’s ridiculous to drive further away. It is also across the street from the dollar store. It gives a senior discount, but I rarely use coupons at this store. It is a good store, but I use it when I am weighing time and need.

We also use the neighborhood drug stores. Here, I also suggest that you use one or maybe two, depending on what is near you. More than that just gets confusing. This is where you can double coupon, using store coupons, rewards with manufacturers’ coupons. The thing is that they all basically work the same and it’s marketing, ours for the taking. If they offer you something free, take it and share with someone in need.

Any store you choose has an online presence and you should research it. I can “clip” coupons for my grocery store online—I prefer on a computer because I see better—and send them to my iPhone © where I use them when I check out. This is another blog, but I love my smart phone. It may not pay for itself yet in coupons, but it enhances my life in other ways. Stay tuned.

I subscribe to some other deals. These are what I can manage.

These are deals for everything from manicures to dinners and hotel getaways.

This is similar to living social. Please note that when you set up your account, you can set preferences. You choose a town(s) and the things you would like to see in your emails. You can always go back to the home site and look around for other deals that you normally would not use.

Mainly used for restaurants. You pay $10 for a $20 coupon. Great for a stocking stuffer for your significant other.

The RN daughter-in-law started me on this. I found it useful when I ordered from her bridal registry. Got good deals on what she wanted, got a percentage dumped into my Ebates account. In a little over a year I have made about $60. They will cut a quarterly check, but they tempt me with offering me an extra dollar and they send me an Amazon Gift Card. Always a good thing for me. You also get money for referrals. You wanna join? Message me!

These are all places where you set up an account and you will get emails. It’s important to choose only as many as you can manage. I have had my nails done many times with Living Social and Groupon deals. We stayed in a Bed and Breakfast we could NEVER have afforded without the Living Social deal. I have treated friends with Double Take Deals. Depending on the month, you can pass. I would say that I mostly use these for things that I would NOT pay for otherwise.

Over time I have subscribed to some emails from other “coupon clippers.” Here’s what I have found though. 90% or more of the time, the coupons are for things I don’t buy. I look at them every Sunday, and I know there is a cycle for Proctor and Gamble©, Pillsbury© and other brands. You know it too.

The one thing I do not do is buy more than I need or will need. However, I never say never. There might be a special occasion where I break my own rule, but it’s not within my norm.

Another suggestion to online shopping is to find a clothing brand you like and pretty much stick with it. My example is LL Bean©. I got hooked on them in 2005 and I have been wearing them ever since. I still have some originals! You just cannot wear them out. However, I know there are other brands too which are just as good. What I did was get their credit card so every time I use it, I get rewards FOR LL Bean©.  I also look at the Daily Markdown and the Reduced and Further Reduced items. I know what my size is (I am in the process of losing a little weight that I gained with cancer treatment) and I can buy what I know. I had the SubHub get me a red wool coat for Christmas; originally $240.00 with savings down to $80.00. It will likely outlive me. I have bought $90 shoes for $13.

I know there are other good brands which market in similar ways. The point is that they are good garments that I can wear for a long time. I suggest picking one and staying with it. I may not have as many clothes, but they are quality!

That certainly doesn't mean I never buy anything else, but these are the basics. What tricks do you use in shopping?

P.S. I am looking into Amazon Prime. I would love some feedback on that.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Big Picture

I think it’s important to make a few statements in the beginning. This blog will generally take a “big picture” approach, but the idea is to take “little steps” to support the big picture.

If you are reading this blog, my guess is that you are at least 55 and are balancing time and money. Fundamentally, there is no right or wrong to this. There are ideas which will help save money so that we can spend money. But HOW we save money is a personal issue.

We will share ideas and resources here, and I have ideas. Some are successful for me, but won’t work for you. Maybe not now. Maybe it’s an idea that will get filed for future reference and you can return to this blog and use the “search blog” feature.

We've earned our “time.” We've worked our lives in some profession, and now our time is “worth” something. I don’t suggest using your last job as a benchmark if you have been a casualty of the economy, but you will know what your time is worth. Just as a quick example from me: it’s too darn easy to buy pre-made pie crusts and mine were never so great in the first place. My time is more important to me that making my own pie crusts. You have your own “pie-crust” example.

We only have so much room to stock up. As I discuss ideas for a retired couple or perhaps a single person, I am assuming there has already been some downsizing done. Maybe not—maybe you still own “the old homestead” and you've got a big basement. But most of us don’t have the room we had in earlier stages of our lives. I don’t even have a freezer anymore, although I made a mistake in buying a smaller refrigerator. I wish it were larger. I have parties, I store things for parties. I just have to deal with it. You may have a better way (I hope you do!).

We only have so many resources. We CAN be creative, but there is a limit in most of our lives. Because I have retired because of a health diagnosis, we will most likely discuss health issues. I have already discussed my Fitness Journey at my other blog Connection Intersection. You can find the label on that blog.

I usually avoid politics, but I can’t guarantee I won’t have a take on some legislation that affects us economically. We’ll see.

I have different missions for my two blogs: Connection Intersection and The Thrifty Tabloid. CI is more about relationships and life experiences, many are a look back. It started with my high school 40th class reunion and I just kept writing. 

The Thrifty Tabloid is more about retirement issues. It will be more specific. I have linked to other blogs and if I haven’t discussed it, chances are others have! The beauty and wonder of the Internet is that we have all these resources available to us.

And we have more time, don’t we? Supposedly.

Well, we’ll make time for what is important to us. I hope to be a center of resources: I encourage commenting and sharing, if you do not have a Google account or one of the others, sign in as anonymous and leave your first name, last initial or whatever you are comfortable with. I will repeat myself: I HAVE NOT ARRIVED. I will share failures too. We can help each other.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Living on Less and Enjoying Life!

What do you think of when you see a title like The Thrifty Tabloid?

When life throws you a curve ball, you have to make adjustments. With my recent bout of cancer, the hubby and I decided that I would “retire” about eighteen months ahead of schedule so that I could focus on my own (and his) health and well-being as we fight disease for the future and go into this final stage of life as healthy as possible. THIS retirement means less income for a period of time.

This blog will be about saving money. Living on less in retirement and loving it!

First of all, I want to say that we are NOT poor! We are not wealthy either, so by making some alterations here and there, we will thrive. There are many, many blogs about frugal living out in cyberspace, but I find they are primarily about families.

This blog will be about two people. Naturally the quantities will be different, but some ideas are similar.

Many people are working longer because they feel they have to, for one reason or another. Then something comes along to change the plan. Mentally are we—collectively—ready to cope? We’ll find out as I have more time to research different options. I WANT comments! Maybe YOU HAVE a better idea! We can learn from each other!

I am not a big “coupon clipper.” This will not be about that. I’m not extreme anything. I don’t garden, because I live on a postage stamp-sized lot. However, as long as our knees will hold out and we can stand for a period of time to “put up” a garden, I am all for it!
My first topic will be “partnership.” Both people in the relationship have to be on board. Because gas prices are high and that’s a commodity we want to use sparingly for the common good, we want to shop “as we go” but “with a purpose.” This involves awareness.

One strategy would be to use the Big Chain Drug Stores and their double couponing and up-sized couponing. I haven’t grasped this yet, but hubby is kind of getting into this. He even likes to brag about it. Go ahead, make it a contest; but DON’T, I repeat DON’T buy things you don’t need. If you have down-sized and have limited storage, buy what you need. Big box stores are behind us now.

I will insert here, that if you can manage to get a personal item for FREE, go for it. It can be a stocking stuffer, it can be donated to the local food bank, which usually doesn't have this type of thing donated, or you can use it in some sort of Christmas Shoebox or other holiday giving. Free items are marketing gimmicks, and maybe you can’t use them, but someone can. Words of warning, though: don’t collect, donate!


I personally am a fan of the dollar stores. Yes, I know that the prices are cheaper because the bottles/boxes/whatever are smaller. That’s the idea! If you need a large quantity of some item, go someplace else. But for most items found there, you can go with the smaller box.

I have had to give up my idea of name brands. I had to have my Charmin © toilet paper. Really? I am not going down that road. Tissue is tissue. At our Dollar store, I get paper products, cleaning products, many beauty products—so that—I can still afford my Mary Kay© make-up. I don’t need to wear that every day either, and I don’t need every color in the rainbow anymore, but by buying cheap in one place, where it doesn't matter, it frees me to spend in other areas where it does.

We’ll spend some time asking ourselves some questions along this line. There are extremes in every topic and this will be no different. I do not fold up aluminum foil; but I chop up every unused vegetable and have a “vegetable soup” gallon baggie in the freezer.

We’ll learn together. But unlike the “Savings Race” on local TV, there will not be any prize at the end. The prize will be learning contentment, and having a little extra to have fun!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Story Time

Gather around, boys and girls. Today I am going to tell you a true story. This is a story of what we are NOT about!

My paternal grandfather lived to be 79. He worked at the post office, so he drew Social Security for fourteen years. I believe this was before the PERS system or whatever postal employees pay into today. His wife survived him by two years, drawing on his retirement. (I remember that she worked as a cook at the elementary school in her 30’s, but outside of that, she was a full-time homemaker)

She saved out of her Social Security check, so that she could leave money to her three sons. In those days, it was a matter of pride—which is one of the seven deadly sins—to leave money to your children, even if you did without. She WANTED jaws to drop; as mine and my other grandmother’s did when we saw the appraisal of the estate published in the newspaper.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. Her estate, which included her house that eventually sold for $17,000, was appraised at $90,000 in 1972. I was just amazed, as I thought of how she lived her life. There probably was a time when she had to be more frugal, but she never gave it up in her lifetime.

This, my friend, is notwhat this blog is about.

We want to save in the unimportant areas so that we can enjoy other areas, or be free to give away during our lifetimes. There are words we will never even think; like stingy, tightfisted, ungenerous, grudgingly.

We all have our preferences and that is fine. What I choose to do may not be what you choose to do and vice versa. We’ll talk about time vs. money. After all, we realize that we are getting older and time is of more value. 

I hope you join me with ideas for the blog. It's a process, and I still have many things to learn!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Thrifty Tabloid--An Introduction

I am a woman who has turned 60 within the last year. The month before my birthday, I was diagnosed with stage 0-1 breast cancer and had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation treatment. I have a very good prognosis. During the fall, my husband (SubHub) and I decided that we could manage for me to retire early, specifically about eighteen months before I would draw my first Social Security check.

This blog is an outflow of the life I imagine we will be living as we live on less this next period of time. I am fully confident that with strategies that I have learned, and will continue to learn, that we will do JUST FINE. I have not arrived. I will research things, but my reader may have other ideas and sources that he or she may share with us. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO COMMENT at the bottom of this blog. We are all in this together!

The difference between this blog and others is specific to age. There are many sources of “frugality” blogs for families. I may link to some of them because it’s just plain good sense, no matter what the age. However, most of our discussion will be about that family of two, or one, as we head into the twilight years—not to be confused with a series of movies.

I graduated at the height of the baby boom. I finished college in three years and then didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do with myself, but I knew I had to get a job. It didn't pay much, and I was provided a very nice apartment at a reasonable cost by an in-law’s relative. Even then, I had to be frugal.

After a year, my father had a heart attack and I moved back home to take care of him and “start afresh,” with my family’s blessing. I have never regretted this decision, as my father died two years later at the age of 47. I wouldn't trade those two years for anything. I found a job, and eventually moved into an apartment of my own.

Three months after my father died I married a teacher. By this time, I was working as a bank teller. Teachers and bank tellers don’t make a lot of money, but we had no children, we lived in a nice little house which we bought, and we had two car loans. Even though things were not “tight,” I still wanted the best bargain I could find. Sometimes I succeeded, and sometimes I didn't.

We decided that I would be a stay-at-home mother. This was a major decision! Our daughter (The Runner) was born and I was in homemaking bliss. This brought us together as a couple in all our spending, and we did fine. I do remember a time that SubHub came home with a Pound Puppie© for the toddler at the expense of $22 (for a darned stuffed animal). Quietly, I said, “My boots have holes in them, and the baby gets a stuffed animal!” I got new boots immediately.

All in all, we did pretty well. I did all the things you can imagine, I watered down apple juice, I spread peanut butter very thin and no one noticed, and I did NOT breastfeed. I used cloth diapers and washed them until a year after my son (The Coach) was born and I fractured my elbow and had my arm in a sling. From then on, we managed with disposables.

My grandmother always said that I could squeeze the buffalo head off a nickel. Grandma’s say things like that. I participated in marketing studies, I did something with our co-pays for medicines that went to our major medical insurance—anyway the short of it is that we paid 21 cents per prescription and I kept that check that I usually got twice a year.

We had gifts and we had hand me downs. I sewed well in those days. I didn’t sew for Coach, but SubHub’s sister had three boys, so I didn’t need to. We were the beneficiaries of lots of things, and we passed on to others who were raising families. That’s just life.

I went to work at the children’s preschool and I became their Business Manager for ten years. That wasn’t in the plan! However, I continued my thrifty ways as I tried to keep costs down for families seeking a Christian foundation for their children’s first school experience. Looking back, it was probably the most important work I did in my life. At least it affected the most people.

When the kids were four and nine, we moved from our starter home to a larger home. We were able to do this with an inheritance from my childless uncle. This again, was never in the plan! I continued to work at the preschool and held another job until the time that my children were 10 and 15 and I went to work full time.

Financially, I probably was as non-frugal as ever in my life. I was making good money (for me) and as many of us think, I deserved it. However, it was also the beginning of the busiest time of our lives and for me personally, the onset of menopause. This was DEFINITELY NOT in the plan! That didn't affect what I did, just how I felt about what I did.

We had two athletes, The Runner and The Coach (as he eventually became) and there were weeks we were out every night. These were not the years of spreading peanut butter thin, these were the years of walking tacos.

I do remember a very clear thought when my daughter turned twelve—should I teach her to sew (as I had been taught) or teach her to shop—which meant learning the sales cycles, and looking for deals. I opted for the latter, and was really delighted when one of her friends came to HER for advice on shopping. Later in life, I would have a daughter-in-law (RN) that would dwarf us all in finding deals. Maybe I can get her to guest blog.

During these years, while not a frugal as before, we did watch what we spent. We saved for college educations, and maneuvered through those years with thrift, and graduated both of our children debt free. The Runner, like her mother, went to college in three years so she could get married! I salute her adviser for using every trick in the book to make that happen and save us some money.

Originally my intent was to work until the second-born’s college tuition was taken care of. That was in 2008 and here I am in 2013, still working. Cancer is the one thing that made us stop and reevaluate money over time, and since we were able to get by during lean years, we should be able to do this.

Today there are so many more marketing techniques and the Internet and things we never had available to us before. This is why I blog, to share and hopefully be shared WITH.

I have not arrived. There is much to learn. Join me in my journey. Please feel free to comment or link a frugal link.