“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
Mark Twain was not addressing young people finances when he said that but he might as well be, it’s true. It’s easier to save money when you’re young even though it may not seem like it since the paychecks tend to be smaller. Life is a little less layered when you’re young.
Bad health makes living simple and frugal more difficult. Which is even less excuse for the young and healthy kids to start shoveling money in now to take advantage of their blessed health today.
Someday, someday sooner than you’d think, the big stork carrying babies will start dropping them down like grenades. They’re little but they come with their own hospital bills too! Watch for that just in case and save more today.
I am astute with saving money and being frugal but I don’t think I’m a great minimalist since I hold onto things a bit too long. I was never a big spender, I’ve always been conscious about spending so there is no hoarder situation going on…otherwise, I might be in trouble.
Going for the frugal and minimalist life…
The gist is that he was this entrepreneur multimillionaire who once lost it all (about $10 million dollars worth) in a single afternoon, lost his house, lost his wife and had to live out of his backpack with about $70 dollars left in his ATM.
That’s a pretty steep drop from multi-millionaire. He eventually earned those millions back – which is not too, too surprising – as is the life of a serial entrepreneur.
He is also a minimalist, living on 15 things out of his backpack for a year. Anyway, I’ve been going the Altucher approach:
If I had to evaluate in an emergency or the house is foreclosed on, how would I best pack my entire life into my backpack?
It works for everything except food…I can carry that in my stomach! I haven’t figured out food yet nor do I want to yet.
That very simple question has cut down a lot of unnecessary spending. I was at a second-hand store looking at a lime masher tool and I almost got it because freshly squeezed lime tastes light years better than bottled. But it’s weird getting one specific tool for one specific citrus so I passed. I was doing pretty good with not buying crap even at great thrifting price.
“Aw yah, I’m doing sooooo good…”
*12 hours later*
I threw my neck out doing God knows what! (While I was asleep.)
I can’t believe I’m 26 years old. My back hurts, my legs hurt, my feet hurt and I’m trying to not move my neck and shoulders too much.
I’ve been taking it sleazy. It’s hard to sit up straight so I’ve been keeping away from working and blogging this entire weekend.
I throw my neck/shoulders out an average of about once or twice a year. I’m just clumsy. This happens to me once in awhile and I’m good as new in a few days and can move my head and shoulders again.
If this weekend of prolonging discomfort has taught me anything it’s that we Normies don’t give enough credit to those with ailing health, age, and pain.
It makes everything harder. Everythingggggg.
Related: Why Some People Won’t Save Money
If you’re submerged in pain and discomfort, everything including a simple matter like money seems pretty transient to just a spare moment of easy mobility. Any money means less and less as you’re just looking to spend anything to feel better.
I guess that comes in the form of retail therapy…or in my case…prevent my accident-prone nature from striking blind again. I pulled 5 triggers on purchases in my weekend strain/boredom haze…
1) Anesthetic Cream
You know that peppermint-y smell that some old people have? Yup, just realized it’s from those creams. I bought a giant 3-pound tube from my dad for $5 and it numbs the discomfort even though the numbing properties don’t last too long.
He gets it from his Chinatown buddies without the retail mark up and…passed the savings onto me. (I didn’t have to pay him $5 but that’s how much it cost him. They retail for $8-$12 on Amazon.)
My husband found it a bit sad that my dad’s leg pain is simply masked by gobs of this cheap cream but I told him that’s a pretty typical life for immigrants and to not be surprised. Darn it…now I’m sad thinking about it at midnight.
2) Neck Brace
Yup, a neck brace. I don’t think I need it really but just in case for the next time I do something clumsy…like you know…existing. l will wish I got one to try. My neck is so uncomfortable holding up my giant bobblehead right now. My original plan was to use a travel pillow an Airbnb guest left but it’s too flimsy to support my neck and head.
3) 2 Special Pillows
I’ve been complaining about bad nights sleep since I was a teenager. It started with my family spending their entire life sleeping with old mattresses found on the sidewalk. I was a 16 year old with loads of back and neck pain. We didn’t own pillows either. Man, the more I grow up the more I’m realizing how much creature comforts are missing in a real bare-bone immigrant’s household.
For the past few years, I’ve reverted back to having no pillow. My theory was most pillows are too tall for my small neck so they end up doing more damage than good. But that’s just a theory. Sleeping without a pillow might (or might not) have anything to do with my neck injuries 2x times a year.
This time I did my research and bought a fancy new memory foam pillow at the insistence of my husband. I’m not too confident about it because most pillows don’t work for me so I don’t have high hopes. But hubby worries and insisted so…all the features made it seem like a good value for the price from the reviews. We ordered it used from the Amazon Warehouse for $15.
The other pillow I picked up from a thrift store visit just a day before I threw my neck out. It’s one of those obscenely huge, hyper pink bedrest pillows that you can buy at Target for $20. I got it for $3.99. If you haven’t visited your local thrift store (or an online thrift store)…guys, you guys…you don’t know what you’re missing.
I don’t know what in the world prompted me to buy something so obscenely huge and cart it home but I was just talking to my college roommate from freshmen year who had one of these neon pink pillows…and look…there is one for super cheap in stellar condition right as I walked into the store! I’m so happy I bought it because this baby has helped so much with sitting upright in bed this weekend.
4) New Ugg Boots
I take good care of my Uggs. They’re not exactly cheap although I think mine are cheaper, I got them for $65 during Ugg’s annual sale 2 years ago. I’m on my feet a lot living in a 3 story townhouse, AIrbnbing, living car-free, walking my daycare doggies (and Grace) and I dance/exercise up to 2-3 hours EVERY morning. A small collection of quality shoes are important for each physical job.
A few months ago, my dad decided to wash all of our shoes. My dad gets bored a lot. He only has watching TV, groceries shopping, and walking the dogs occasionally as entertainment. As a senior person, I think he goes out of the way to be helpful when he’s not in one of this “moods” which is his form of damage control.
Anyways, Uggs are made from sheepskin which is not great for getting wet or dirty…pretty much anything intensive. They’re high maintenance boots. He didn’t know that and just dunked my boots in water. Even though I proofed them to be water resistant, they’re not completely waterproof and dunk proof.
I splurge on Uggs because they’re so comfortable to wear and as long as they’re taken care of on the outside you can always buy new footbeds for $15 on eBay. Any new footbed replacement will make you feel like you’re wearing new Uggs, which essentially feels like you’re stepping on a bed of soft puppies. That’s being frugal compare to just buying new shoes every time.
In my combination of neck, back, and foot pain I decided to just buy myself a pair of classic Kristin Uggs from eBay for $80 instead of waiting for a better deal. It’s not a bad deal. They’re $150 retail price and those boots are my new shoes for the year. I generally limit myself to 1 pair of new shoes a year. Because I choose to only get one pair of shoes a year, I shoot for practicality and quality.
See? Frugality is fun; with limitation brings creativity.
These winter Uggs are like normal Uggs but they’re sturdier, weather-resistance, and has a thicker heel perfect for Seattle splash puddles during rain.
Also, the old man will know not to wash them anymore. 😌
5) Another Credit Card
I met up for lunch with an old coworker who came to town last year and he saw my wallet once and thought I had a credit card problem.
“It’s so unlike you to carry so many credit cards…you have to be careful with them.”
“What?? I……you think I have credit card debt?”
“Oh. Doesn’t everybody?”
Related: How to Overcome Credit Card Addiction (Re-written so it’s stronger content now.)
I can see why people are wary of credit cards but to be blunt – credit card rewards is a definite perk for those who are naturally astute with money and has their money on a firm footing to back it up. Yes, yes you, reading this personal finance posts in your spare time, you’re astute! Word of the week is astute!
I applied and was approved for a Capital One Venture card with 50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. I have pending business expenses coming in the next few months that will push us right past the $3,000 charge. Our family monthly spending (around a $300 to $1,000 dollars a month) doesn’t warrant much action for headline-making credit card hacking rewards but whenever we anticipate higher spending I take full advantage of it for some free banker money.
The Chase Business Ink sounded tempting with 80,000 points but we know we won’t be able to spend $5,000 in 3 months even with my new business expenses so we went conservative. Either of us wanted to manufacture spending (like buying the rest in Amazon gift cards in order to hit $5,000).
Capital One Venture is now our 13th active card between the both of us. Not too entirely minimalist if your wallet is 10 inches thick full of plastic but that’s only the outward appearance. My favorite is still Citi Double Cash because it’s quite an effortless card.
You know I crippled myself to bring you guys this lesson right? 😸
Being unhealthy makes frugality and minimalism harder among other things too. I pulled a few triggers on things that I wouldn’t have as quickly if I wasn’t sitting here bored and injured, trying to distract myself from the discomfort.
My thought process goes like this when it comes to purchases:
OK if I had to evaluate my house after a foreclosure, how would I best pack my entire life into a backpack?
Which was immediately followed by:
Shut your cake hole Lily. This is not the time right now. Everything hurts. Buy this, get that, so you can be better prepared the next year when you throw out your neck…AND FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTMAS PRAY FOR A BETTER TOMORROW.
I’m pretty sure hardcore minimalism, fitting your life in a backpack, super lean frugality is for the physically healthy.
Do I find joy when I pick up one of my lumbar pillows?
No. Why would I, it reminds me of my impending old age.
Do I need it?
Yep, pretty much, especially when I throw my flexibility out the window which will occur more often because of my impending old age.
That neon pink bedrest pillow is not going to fit into no James Altucher style backpack life.
I think we forget that some people have it harder when it comes to living with pain and bad health. It completely jumbles up a person’s priorities as we’re all constantly try to escape from pain and discomfort.
Subtract the snark…
I’m still going to use that basic question when I’m deciding on a purchase but there’s no reason to take it to the extreme. Minimalism isn’t about extremes and frugality is only bad if you’re miserable. I hate having clutter around the house but sometimes, clutter is necessary especially if it’s health-related like a huge lumbar bedrest pillow or a bulky, uncool tube of anesthetic cream.
I still think frugality and minimalism are both absolutely, resoundingly brilliant concepts and I’m proud that the millennial generation/our community is particularly inspired by it. Maybe I’m not as gong-ho about attempting both from the perspective of a bummed out paralyzed person at this particular second1…but THE CORE MESSAGE IS SO GOOD.
We should have a healthy relationship with our possessions. We should try to spend less than what we earn. No rocket science here!
Have you ever indulged yourself when sick? What mental trick do you use to make sure your purchases are sound?