If you can make one change a year, I would add recycling a hard-to-recycle item on your list. We’ve struggled with this over the years as we didn’t have curbside recycling for many years, and we still often forget what is or isn’t recyclable. However, in recognition of Earth Day, I thought I would share some new and old (recycled!) environmentally-friendly tips:
How to recycle even if you can’t get to a facility. A simple, good idea if I do say so myself!
Recycling AAA batteries! In addition to Jiffy Lube, I found a nearby hardware store that accepts household batteries. I feel so much better doing this than dumping this toxic item into the trash.
Who knew you can recycle paint? Apparently in California, you can drop off used household paint at participating retailers like Sherwin-Williams, Vista Paint, Super Hardware (Mission Ace), Dunn Edwards and more.
I still can’t figure out a consistent way to recycle expired medications or Brita filters…
Of course, just as important as recycling is buying and using less stuff in the first place!
How are you doing in terms of recycling? Can someone explain to me how Recyclebank makes profits?
I recently got free magazine subscriptions to InStyle and Redbook. While InStyle has always been light on content, I thought Redbook offered more “insightful” articles about relationships, marriage and life in general. At least that’s what I remember from skimming through Redbook in doctors’ offices. Anyway, the issue I got was a revamped Redbook with a beaming Lauren Conrad, bold fonts and bright, happy graphics and tons of images. There was definitely an attempt to be more interactive as in encouraging you to scan a code to see videos or go online. In many ways, it was mimicking a website or blog. And it read like a very light-weight fashion blog, too. InStyle also seemed more graphic and image-heavy than in the past.
I get it. Magazines are competing with the online experience on tablets, websites, social media and blogs. It’s fair to assume your readership, or potential new readers, have very short attention spans. Still I find it sad that both of these magazines have become so shallow (especially Redbook, now a sad imitation of Lucky and Teen Vogue) that it’s not worth keeping for a second glance.
What are your thoughts of lifestyle or glossy women’s magazines?
I have lots of posts in my head but work is keeping me too busy to write anything substantial, so here’s a random list….or some causes of world divides:
- Democrat vs. Republicans — I know I’m leaving out Independents, Green Party, etc.
- Rolling Stone or Beatles – Gen-Y or younger would deem both bands as ancient!
- Prince vs. Michael Jackson
- People who like to try new foods or People who don’t
- People who like spicy foods and People who don’t like spicy foods
- Team Edward or Team Jacob
- Dog people vs. Cat People (not sure where horse people fall in this… and I’m not even going to include people who hate animals!)
- Macs vs. PCs
- People who like to travel abroad or People prefer to stay home
- Star Wars vs. Star Trek
- Book readers/lovers vs. Non-readers
- Wuthering Heights vs. Jane Eyre (or neither, you prefer Jane Austen?)
- People on Facebook or People who are not
- People who tweet and People who don’t
- Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera
What other opposing sides can you think of? Which “side” are you on?
The idea of finding frugal substitutes for expensive wants turned from a comment, courtesy of reader and commenter Debbie M, to a full-fledged post at grumpy rumblings.
Here’s the excerpt from that comment, and I’m called out to name my list of frugal substitutes, an idea inspired by the book “Your Money or Your Life.”
Debbie M says:
“And then there’s also strategizing about what makes you happy. If you want to feel pampered, do you need to visit a tropical island? Or would you be just as happy with an in-town spa or fancy hotel, a massage, a facial, or, in my case, fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies and a good book?”
…And maybe oilandgarlic can share a list of Frugal Substitutes! We can always use more of those!”
And I said:
“I’ve been meaning to respond with my frugal substitutes but I could probably do a whole post. The gist of it is that I try to figure out WHY I want the big indulgence. Am I stressed? Do I want to try something new? In the past, I would assume that the best way to satisfy my want is a spa day or travel. Now I realize that I can satisfy that need for pampering in multiple and often cheaper ways. I could do a at-home facial. I could buy flowers and put a slice of lemon in my water. I can put on relaxing music. I could convince my husband to give me a massage.”
So without further ado, here’s my handy dandy chart (sort of tongue-in-cheek), and please feel free to share your own frugal substitutes:
Posted in Advice, finances, random thoughts, simple living, travel
Tagged frugal substitutes, frugality, lower cost, massage, money, pampering, saving money, travel
I apologize for the long title for this post but I’m really puzzled how come I have zero vacation time left when I haven’t gone on a “real” out-of-town vacation in years? I’m not panicking since I will continue to accumulate hours and should accrue enough for some time off during the summer.
I know that I took a day off here and there last summer and around the holidays. Sad to say, except for one beach excursion, I don’t remember what I did on those vacation days. I guess this is a reminder that rather than picking a random Friday and then see what’s happening around town, I should find a fun activity first and then schedule my vacation time around that event. Otherwise, I’ll end up staying home and only taking the kids to the park if I’m extra motivated. Apparently staycations don’t work that well for me, unless I plan in advance.
The good news is that I did plan my upcoming time off so at least I’ll remember what I did with those vacation days!
Are you planning your summer vacation already? Anyone going on big trips?
I’ve written about working mother guilt countless times. And I like reading and commenting on posts and articles on that issue, too. I feel it’s important for women to stop beating themselves over choosing or having to work, as their contributions to the family are just as invaluable as staying home in my not-so-humble opinion. Finally if you have to work or want to work, guilt is just a waste of time and people who try to make you feel bad about it are a waste of time.
So in my typical fashion, I felt the urge to dole out advice. Since my concrete tips for not being bitter at work seems most useful to people, I thought it would be helpful to offer real suggestions for reducing motherhood guilt as well.
After re-reading my own post, I trashed it. I realized it seemed a bit sanctimonious, as if my way for guilt-free motherhood was the best way. I also realized that my concrete tips may not work for different personalities, nor should I dictate the best way to spend “quality time” with your kids (and kids all have different preferences and personalities anyway!).
So for now I am giving my best tip, which is not concrete nor necessarily easy to follow, it’s all really mental. If you create a mental image of perfect motherhood or set up some unattainable ideal, or compare yourself to a mom who seems to be doing it “right”, then you’ll feel guilt. If you truly believe you’re doing your best and your kid is fed, sheltered, loved and happy, then you’ll stop wasting precious time on feeling unnecessary guilt.
The other day, a casual acquaintance asked me about alone time, and when I said exercise or my lunch break, she gave me this ‘look’ which clearly meant that those 2 activities didn’t count.
To me, getting some exercise is a great feat in and of itself. Getting to read a book, even if it’s in the middle of a work day, is also a great stress relief. After work, it’s family time and if I’m lucky, I get in some couple time and see old friends. My goal is to focus more on career this year so any other extra time will probably be taken up with chores, cooking or career-related activities/reading. There’s just zero time for “me” time, as in hobbies or whatever “counts” as quality me time. This brings me to the question. What does count as “me” time? Is it shopping by myself, rather than with friends? Reading on the weekends? Taking a walk by myself? Going to a spa by myself?? I could take a class I suppose. I guess I’m not quite sure what I’m supposed to do and if I should schedule “me” time?
I’m not saying that my acquaintance is 100% correct; after all, the early parenting years are extremely busy. However, I wonder if I’m shortchanging myself and asking for burn-out because I don’t take time for myself.