Tag Archives: frugality

Frugality on hold

10 Mar

It’s been a while since I have talked money, partially because I have not been riding the frugality train as hard as I had been in the past. Things have started to look up with regards to income, of course that’s the life of a freelancer. Some years the Spousal Unit has had a great yearas a freelance writer and editor and then there are years like the past few where things have been tighter than…use your imagination.

Seriously though, I realized that while the past year we survived, we put a lot of things off that needed to be taken care of and recently have been playing catch up. The man and I broke down and got much-needed eyeglasses, truthfully he needed them more than me since I wear contacts but I always like to have a pair of recent glasses around for those days when my eyes are not feeling like wearing contacts.

While I have enjoyed thrift store shopping the fact is there are some items I am just not buying used, so we have been playing catch up with personal items. I must admit though my single biggest splurge was the Tony Lama boots I bought clocking in at $260 with tax. There was a part of me that felt guilty about buying em, but I will be honest I have been wanting a pair of cowboy boots for quite a while, last pair I had lasted a good 5-6 years and they were no name ones. I also have not bought a pair of decent shoes in years and that is not an exaggeration. I used to be a die-hard Dansko wearer, last pair I bought was 4 years ago and they are still going strong with my oldest pair at 12 years still in rotation.

One of the reasons I had not bought shoes aside from not having any extra cash is that I am big believer in you get what you pay for as far as footwear. Yeah, you can go to Payless and get a pair of $20 kicks but my own experience doing so is generally they either fall apart or have my feet hurting. Thankfully my old shoes have lasted and definitely have some life in them but sometimes you want something just because….in this case I have been through financial hell and back in recent years and while there is a temporary lull, I just needed something for me.

Now that we are getting adjusted to having a little more breathing room in the budget, we have no plans to go hog wild but I admit the past few weeks have been nice. I am reminded that having extra cash is nice, sometimes it allows you freedom. This past weekend, we took the girl child to see Nemo on Ice, it wasn’t planned but it came up and she really wanted to go. Just a few months ago, we would have had to say sorry sweetie instead we were able to go and while I found the show boring and all the extras they were selling to be quite costly ($10 for cotton candy? Come on now), I was one again reminded that sometimes life is meant to be enjoyed and money can help that happen.

So its time to get back on the frugality wagon as we prepare for tax season, and some travel plans. How are your attempts at frugality coming for this year? What are you doing in this area?

Schemes to part us from our loot

30 Nov

As further proof that I need to rename this blog old black chick in Maine, I have only recently learned about the Kindle reading device. I had heard about it a while back and knew that it was a reading device but after hearing a few folks recently debate the merits of the Kindle versus the Nook, I figured I would find out what the hype was all about.

Let me state for the record that I am a voracious reader, I love books, I love to read. Never am I reading less than 2-3 books at a time. We as a family are on a first name basis with the library, going at least 2-3 times a week. I admit there was a time when I used to pass by the library instead to spend money at bookstores. Yet in 2007 when our financial tide shifted I was reintroduced to the joys of the library and have been a fan ever since. I will buy a book, but generally only if it’s a very specific book that I will either use as a reference guide or something I really want to own.

Yet as someone who always travels with a book in my bag, I thought maybe it would be great to have less weight in my bag, which is why I was checking out the Kindle. So if I have done my reasearch right, it appears that the starting price is $259 for the basic device, and then I have to start buying something to read on my device. Now I admit the magazine subscription prices seemed reasonable, I love magazine but I canceled almost all my subscriptions instead choosing to borrow them from the library. The few publications I still buy are quarterly so the cost isn’t too bad especially if I find a friend willing to loan me their copy.

What got me though was the cost of New York Times bestsellers, they were going for $9.99, I saw a few for $14.99 but I was told you can find inexpensive stuff to buy as well. Oh really? Once I started adding up how much my reading habit would cost to go Kindle, let’s just say I had a laugh and decided I will be sticking with the local library and the occasional visit to the local booksellers.

I think for folks making a comfy financial existence, who travel a bit and love to read, the Kindle might be a good idea. However for most of us regular Jane and Joe’s, I am not sure its a great idea. From a purely financial standpoint, it’s definitely not a great idea, after all in most places access to the library is free or there is only a very minimal cost to check out items.

No, the Kindle like so many other gadgets that we think we must have, seems to be another scheme to part us from our money.

I spent some cash…

16 Nov

I guess since I been talking money lately, I might as well keep it up. Actually I have a confession to make, I spent some money this weekend. It was an unplanned purchase but one that I have been thinking about for a while. I bought a netbook. See, my laptop that I have been using for the past several years has been acting wonky, my internal wi-fi connection died well over a year ago, so the only way to access the internet is to plug-in at home. Which in some ways defeats the purpose of me owning a laptop since as someone whose job keeps me on the go, having a laptop that I need to keep at home just sucks. Granted that is not the reason I bought another one or was thinking of one, no, my system has just been getting slower and slower combined with the fact that sometimes I can’t even turn it on. This happened a while back on a day I had a grant deadline, it was not pretty at all. It cost me $100 and a visit to the computer repair shop to get it working again…no, it’s been time for a while to get a reliable computer. Yet in trying not to spend, I have been putting it off.

So yesterday found me at the Verizon wireless shop where the plan had been to get the Spousal Unit his free phone upgrade but they were having quite a sale, where after the rebate the cost of my new netbook is less than $100. Yes, I know it will require yet another  data plan, but this is where my also being self-employed in addition to my day job is a good thing since my cell plans are actually business expenses for me…so its all good.

I guess I felt like sharing this because in my last post, a commenter made a comment to the effect that living a life of frugality is not always a good thing. Yes, that’s true but when we are saving money and being intentional about our money, it gives us freedom. The freedom to buy a computer when we really need it and there is a great deal to be had. See, when I was living and spending and really not thinking about the long-term plans for money then I could not make such purchases. Hence why I ended up on a deadline with a dying computer that had all my work on it.

Make no mistake, I am not living a spartan life, yes we drive a beater but just the other day when I was griping about our car, the Spousal Unit reminded me that it’s all ours. We owe no one money on this car which makes it beautiful, I have to say I agree. Yes, we want a newer car but unless our car either dies outright or doesn’t pass inspection next month, then we need to keep on trucking with it.

When we are frugal and forgo the daily drink or other small items that threaten our financial stability with the slow leaks, we are trading short-term pleasures which really mean little for overall financial security. Don’t get me wrong, I am human and when I hear about friends who have the latest and hottest toys (I-phones, snazzy footwear…lawd, I love gorgeous footwear) I do have a twinge. Hell, I envy buddies who hire cleaning ladies! On the other hand, striving to get financially free is what feels good to me at this time. Besides cleaning my house is a workout since with 10 rooms, it takes a lot to clean it up, so when I do clean, not only am I saving money but I am getting in a workout!

So for those who are following my journey with money, no I am not completely depriving myself but as I love to say its all about balance and sometimes I even spend some money.

Black folks and our money

13 Nov

I know I have a fair amount of readers who are not Black, so if you want, you can feel free to come back another day since this post is for Black folks. Of course I would love to have you stay but I understand if you want to leave. 🙂

Nope, this is for us. Regular readers know I have come public about my money woes…much like any addiction, I believe truth is necessary in overcoming a problem and no longer can I sit and pretend I don’t have money issues. The truth is while money is tight now, the reality is if 10 years ago I had been wiser with my money choices I might merely be broke at present rather than trying to dig myself out of debt. I estimate that if in the years when the Spousal Unit and I were earning good money rather than availing myself of fly hair do’s and the hottest leather jacket or whatever the hell I fucked my money away on, I could have easily saved over $100,000 in cash. Yep, easily could have saved at least $100,000.

But the truth is I didn’t and now I am paying the price. It’s funny because while there are a lot of Black bloggers out there, there are very few of us who are talking money on a deep level. Hell, reading Black publications such as Essence, it would seem most of us who still have good jobs are merrily going about our way, not really thinking about our financial future. Yeah, many of ya’ll have a 401K plan courtesy of your J-O-B. But really how are you living? If shit hit the fan do you have any real money put away? Do you have six months of living expenses saved up for a rainy day? If shit hit the fan and the Glen Beck-bots go crazy, can you survive? Can you cook? Do you even have food in the fridge or is your idea of eating in involve making a phone call and waiting for somebody to bring you a meal?

It’s funny because I read a lot of white blogs and can I just say white folks, sane middle class college educated liberal white folks are working on learning handi-skills like cooking and sewing…can you do that? Or do you think that is some old domestic shit our Grannies did that we no longer need to concern ourselves with?

I have been reading this blog Wildflowersbloom, and let me say this sista has a lot to say, in fact she is the inspiration for this post. I was thinking about her blog today. See, it was my payday and like many of us on payday I think nothing of treating myself. Now I admit, I no longer head to the mall on payday since those days are long gone but I almost went and got a drink at Starbucks…after all don’t I deserve it? Hell, I been working hard, what is $4.30? Well after thinking about it that is $4.30 that can go on something far more valuable than the 10 minutes of satisfaction I would get from that drink. Instead since I am working from home today, I went in the kitchen made myself a cup of chai and whipped up some muffins with all the lovely baking supplies I bought the other day. The total time spent making the chai and muffins was 25 minutes tops and the calories satisfaction was nice too since my homemade chai and muffin was fewer calories than that venti espresso truffle I had planned on getting.

Now I know some of ya’ll are laughing thinking damn that is one cheap ass sista, glad I don’t have to live like that. Funny thing is even 5 years ago, I would have thought the same thing but we are living in different times and the comfy life you enjoy today unless maybe you come from some steady stable old money (how many of us come from that kind of money? In that case you probably wouldn’t even be reading me) your financial tide could change on a dime.

Look, I am not saying live a life of deprivation but too many of us only focus on the short-term, looking good today, feeling good today and in the end those things we blow our cash on have no value at all. So think before you spend and if you have no handy skills like cooking…do me a favor and give it a try. Once upon a time I didn’t know how to cook either, now I prefer my own cooking in most cases.

Have a great weekend!

Random babbling on frugality

4 Oct

I have money on the mind, as I work pretty damn hard to stick with my budget. Of course my ole friend Murphy had to rear his head and already the budget seems like it will be derailed slightly. Now before you wonder if I fell victim to a wonderful sale or am sitting here in a coffee coma the answer is no.

Instead the sounds of a critter in my walls has me awaiting  the arrival of the exterminator. See, my house is old, over 120 years old and in Maine when the weather gets cold sometimes outside critters such as field mice like to move into homes. It appears they have decided to come back for a visit after being absent for a few years. Now I know some folks would opt to do, do it yourself pest control and yeah the Spousal Unit already offered to do that but there are few things that will make me part with my cash faster than the thought of pests in my house. Shit, I will give up coffee for good to ensure no pests in my house.

The other night I was cooking in the kitchen and thought I was hearing things when I had the hubster come in to see if he heard the same sound I  heard, sadly he did and having been down this road before, the only logical solution is my pest guy. So that is a couple hundred bucks out the window that is not in the original budget in fact I had planned to use that cash to get a deal on elder boy’s Thanksgiving ticket home but for me living in a house without mice or critters is a justifiable expense. Now I know there are folks who don’t feel the way I do but in fact find mice cute or I have gotten suggestions to get a cat to deal with the fall visitors. Well the way I look at it, in 5 years of living in this house this is only the second time I have needed to call my pest guy to deal with the fall visitors, hell that is cheaper than a cat.

Which also brings me to another thought regarding frugality, is it possible that one can be skirting the line of frugality and delving into poverty? Lately I have been on a tear reading blogs about others digging out of debt and learning to live frugal lives. In my search I found a blog from a family of four that lives on less than a $1000 a month! Now at first I was excited since I thought maybe I could learn something, but after a few readings I have to say for me maybe there is a point where frugality would just be too brutal.

Now this young family has a Papa who is a student and works making less than $8 an hour and the Mama stays home with the two kids and they are expecting a third child. I have to say I admire them and for a moment was wondering what was wrong with me since the truth is if the  Spousal Unit made so little the last thing we would be doing is having more kids. I feel heartless saying that and some of you may consider me a bitch, but its ok, I know I can be bitchy.

I think I was struck by the fact that this young family pays out over half their income for rent and basically their monthly grocery bill is less than what I spend in two weeks. The blogger calls their meals simple but having grown up at times where fruits and veggies were sparse when my Pops was in between gigs, any lifestyle choice that limits access to fresh fruit and veggies (no I didn’t say organic, I mean fresh) is not one I would pursue. I could go on about the choices of this family but that isn’t the point but I did find myself wondering is there a point when we can get too frugal? Or when frugality is a better word than saying one is living in poverty?

I struggle with these concepts as I strive to reduce my expenses and dig out of my debt hole, for me I think the issue of what I need to do ,is get a better handle on my needs versus wants. Lately there are times I feel poor but the reality is my basic bills are paid, I have a fridge full of good healthy food, even a spare freezer filled with food and I have a workable plan to get out of debt. My job is stable at the moment and the Spousal Unit though he is in a dying field is hanging on and working on plans for career change and hell we even have health insurance at the moment. So in some ways are lives are complete, I mean here I am feeling bad because I can’t go shopping for some new shoes when I have 30 pairs at least in a bag to give away to Goodwill! Only in America can one have basic needs met and still feel bad about themselves!

So clearly I have a lot more work to do when it comes to money but hey as I like to say, it’s all baby steps!

Thou shall not covet that SUV

27 Apr

It was a great weekend, the weather was just lovely up here in Maine. I hit the beach, had the local french fries known as pier fries (hard to describe, but they are delicious) local ice cream and even checked out a local concert at our church (it was a date for the hubby and I even with the girl child is tow). I even worked in a lovely pedicure in time for the weather so I could show off my purty red toes. What more could I want?

I want my friend’s new GMC Envoy, that’s what I want. I have been mostly content with our 12 year old Nissan, after all its cheap on gas (fill-up now that gas prices are down again averages $20), my insurance on it is cheap and more importantly its paid off. Only problem is its a tad rusty and really small, as I was reminded Saturday when I hit an amazing yard sale that had the most lovely chairs (vintage) for less than $20 and an amazing chaise lounger for $20. No way in hell we could get these things home. There is also the problem that when elder boy is home, our car is a tight fit for the 4 of us. So we really could use a larger car, its just that financially its not the greatest of times.

So yesterday, my girl called me and wanted to show me her new ride….Lawd, it was beautiful, its everything I want in a car. Large enough to have fun with yard sales, we could all comfortably fit and enjoy going on a drive, a large vehicle would also mean that I don’t have to wait for the annual pickup for leaves and lawn trash since we would have a vehicle big enough to take our stuff to the transfer station ourselves.

Plus with my pesky agorophobia being in a larger car would probably make me more apt to drive on a regular basis, since I would feel less like I am in a sardine can.

Thing is mathematically that car is costly, as I was asking my girl, to fill her tank up is $40 (um and gas is just a hair over $2 a gallon, gulp…what happens when it goes back to $4 a gallon). I know insurance would be more plus in Maine we have the annual excise tax, thankfully ours is only $100 a year on a 12 year old car???Imagine what it would be on a big newer car? See, these are all the things that the Spousal Unit brought up as I racked my brain trying to figure out how to get that car.

See, the Spousal Unit is more inclined to stick to our original plan of buying a used Volvo in cash late summer early fall and maybe later adding a small older pick-up truck. Both options would no doubt be cheaper than a 2-3 year old SUV and we would own the cars outright, no payments. Only thing is the Nissan just needs to get through the summer and we will be in the home stretch.

I know he is right but dammit, I want that SUV, guess I should remember the Good Book, though shall not covet..in this case I should not covet my girl’s SUV.

Frugality on hold

21 Apr

The past couple of months, I have been diligently recording all expenditures and trying to abstain from the use of plastic including the ever faithful debit card. In the past two months  I have been working hard at seeing where my money goes. I learned that the reason my budgets always seem to never work is because I am never completely truthful during the budget writing process. Its easy to forget small reoccurring expenses like Netflix, etc…

I also have a habit of running to the store for one small item to make a recipe, I am happy to say that I have cut down on extra trips to the store. Lately I have taken to doing one large grocery trip every 2 weeks and only running out for milk, water (my tap water taste like Donkey ass and the Brita filter doesn’t fit my faucet) and produce. It definitely cuts down on spending. It also meant that when the girl child’s nitrate, nitrite gluten free turkey hot dogs were out, she went a week without her favorite food and guess what? She survived.

However after 2 months of being a good frugalista, I have to confess it was driving me crazy. So this month, I took a break. My son also known as elder boy was home for spring break and truthfully while I know he would not have said anything if we just sat around the house, it was time to go out and have a little fun…sadly fun in Maine in April when the weather doesn’t quite know if its spring or winter, will cost you.

So I figured I blew the budget by at least $400 and you know what? Its okay, I realized that I will get back into my daily financial journal by May 1. While living within your means or even below should be a goal, there comes a time for some when it starts to feel like a burden and at that point I am realizing its OK to give myself permission to spend a little.

So frugality will be on hold until May 1 around here. Hopefully I can get those electric blue Chucks I spied the other day before I go back to no-spend land.

Nope, I’m not Amish just cheap

16 Apr

I’m a city girl by ny ature despite the fact that I live in Maine, hell I was born in Chicago and spent almost 30 years there.  However after 7 years in Maine, I will admit that some “Maine” ways have crept in..Mainers by nature are a frugal lot. Folks in Maine will freely sit used shit on the side of the road so it can be recycled and no one and I am talking folks I know with millions here have any shame in hitting a thrift store. In fact rich folks here seem to go out of their way to not seem rich, generally the only outward signs is that they may have an oceanfront house which even in Maine still costs a lot.

Nope, Maine folks take pride in being frugal and its something I have come to appreciate. That said, as I have been connecting more and more with old friends and associates from back home, I am a lot more conscious on just how wasteful I used to be granted I still am wasteful by Maine standards.  I have also come to appreciate that its just wasteful to spend money on shit you can do yourself which is one reason I have become interested in learning to sew and knit. It looks relaxing but also over the years I have become a sucker for buying anything handmade that in theory I could make myself for a fraction of the costs.

Look, we all would like to believe that we are always going to be financially comfortable but the truth is that for many of us that is no longer reality. When I met the Spousal Unit he was a college grad pulling in a solid salary, now his field and career are in flux and the cash flow we used to have simply doesn’t exist. Now, I am not going to toss his ass out but I have had to have a paradigm shift in how I view the world. Weekend getaways just for the hell of it simply don’t exist any longer and while I could be bitter about that, what would be the point?

Instead I focus on what we have (good health, great kids and love) and look at our new financial reality as a time to make changes and seek the fun in those changes.  I know some folks I know wonder why I seem to put such effort in home cooked meals, well they are tastier than most outside meals, cooking can be fun and in most cases it also saves money.

I also think that as adults we owe it to ourselves to know simple shit like how to cook (opening cans doesn’t count) do simple home improvements , and even know how to sew our buttons back on our clothes. See, my Mom and Granny had the full array of domestic skills yet I chose not to learn them as a kid and they didn’t pressure me. So now I am hitting close to 40 and barely can sew a button back on which really is stupid. I taught myself to cook early in my first marriage when after months of eating out of a can, I was getting sick as a dog.

Yeah, one could count on earning a lot of cash or marrying into money but shit happens and its best to be prepared. Also 5 years of home ownership has taught me that hiring folks for every small problem gets costly as hell so I now hit the library and google to try and assess problems before I start calling folks. Just yesterday I asked my neighbor for help in the garden.

Living in such precarious times, its not about trying to live like the Amish but just as many of us prepare ourselves by going to college for our professional lives we also need to well rounded in other areas too. The ability to take care of the home and hearth are actually pretty useful skills to have and you can never go wrong knowing how to cook a meal.

Frugality versus reality

19 Mar

I have a problem, it seems my bed is dying and what that means for me is every morning I wake up feeling like I went a few rounds with Mike Tyson back when he was in his prime. Seriously, my bed is so uncomfortable that I actually dread going to bed. I spend a fair amount of time each night tossing and turning, trying to find a position to sleep in that is comfortable where I don’t feel the springs prodding me into my side.

Now once upon a time when the Spousal Unit and I were flush with cash, I would have remedied this situation by going out and buying myself a new mattress and box spring. Problem is cash is not flowing and with many items on the agenda coming up, namely taxes to the federalises and the state as well as house insurance and house taxes, this is a pretty bad time to need a bed.

Now kids this is what I call a problem, my back is hurting so bad that I am inhaling Aleve and other pain killers like a child gobbling up candy the day after Halloween. I have been trying to pretend the pain is not that bad but really it is…so this morning I woke up with one thought. Rent-a center. You know the place where for a few dollars every week you pay on a item until one day you own it.

The problem is any rent to own item goes against all I believe in, for starters by the time you actually own the item you have paid 2-3 times what it would have cost, had you just saved up your shekels and bought it outright. I think places like Rent a Center and others of its ilk prey on poor folks, so its always been my policy that if I can’t buy it or at least charge it then I just don’t own it.

In theory this is a great idea, except that if I put away $15 a week, every week it will take about 30 weeks before I have enough cash available to buy a bed outright, that is a lot of nights and days to walk around with a hurting back and neck. Plus there is the cost for all the Aleve I have to buy to be functional during the day and that says nothing for my poor kidneys processing all that shit.

Nope, you can see where I have a problem. Now I don’t mind buying used except that with the resurgence of bedbugs, I am scared as hell to buy a mattress off say Craigslist. I have a buddy who used to get all her furniture and bedding used, well they got bedbugs and it was a mess. In the end they had to get rid of al their furniture and their place had to be fumigated by professionals. It doesn’t help that I was recently at a meeting where the local code enforcement officer spoke against getting used items like couches and beds because bed bugs have made such a resurgence in this area.

A table from Craiglist?Yes. A bed? No. So you can see where I have a dilemma, and no I can’t charge it because my neither of my two remaining credit cards have enough room, actually both cards have small limits. So while my frugal brain says no and to suck it up for 30 weeks, my back right now says get thee to Rent a Center and get a bed.

What say you? I could use some friendly frugal advice because my back is hurting.

Edited to add, I just called Rent a Center and it seems the cost to rent a bed is $22.95 a week, it takes a year to get the bed paid off and I can get a new one that has never been used. I don’t know but after doing the math, I feel less inclined to go this route, that’s a shitload of cash. Still how do I get by until I have enough cash in hand to buy a bed is the question?

Schemes to part you from your cash

4 Mar

Clearly money is on my mind these days, next month is tax time which in self employed land means next month I have to get some cash to my pals at the IRS and Maine Revenue Department before I end up in a nice new home known as the federal penitentiary for not paying my taxes. Ok, I am joking about that last part (I hope) but the reality is I have to come up with some cash at the same time I have less of it. (once again, did not do a good job of paying the taxes in advance)

So I am doing all I can to reduce costs, regular readers know I have been struggling to reduce my grocery costs and other things. Last month I changed my services on my cell phone to reduce the bill, we were paying $150 a month for 3 lines…that’s service for me, Spousal Unit and Elder Boy. Well after talking to the fine folks at Verizon, we have brought the bill down to $80 a month. No more mega minute and text packages here. I know a lot of frugal living folks don’t do cell phones but with the nature of our jobs, being cell-less is not an option since I would end up giving a lot of folks I do business with my home number which I would prefer not to do.

So, I was feeling good about the changes and was reminded by Verizon that I am eligible for my every 2 year phone upgrade….you know the deal, you can get a new phone either free or pretty cheap for remaining a loyal customer. I have been a Verzon Wireless customer for probably 9 years now, I don’t have any complaints and since my credit is no longer stellar, the fact they keep me, keeps me happy.

Anyway I am browsing the Verizon Wireless site looking at all the snazzy new phones, seems I can get just about any except for a handful for free. First choice, a Blackberry. I call and talk to a representative who is all excited to get me hooked up with a snazzy new Blackberry, I’m getting excited thinking of all the fun things I will do with my Crackberry until the rep tells me I have to choose a data package. Wait, hold up. Is that going to cost me anything? Yep, turns out the basic package starts at $29.99 a month. Um….sorry, I will have to pass, I just got the bill down, I am not trying to get it up.

So I take a few days and go back to the site and start my search all over again for a new phone, so I settle on the Samsung Omnia, nice looking with a lot of features. Well it turns out its a smart-phone too, so guess what? I need to pick a data package. Ok, what the fuck is going on here? Look, I want to have a hip phone like everyone else but you mean to tell me I have to pay more? No, its not going to happen.

I spend more time looking at that damn site only to realize most of the phones anybody would want to get are so-called smartphones. As I told the Spousal Unit, clearly this is the new thing, you can either have a basic shitty phone like my current Razr or pay an arm and a leg for a smartphone.

While a smartphone looks cool as hell, truthis I have a computer with internet access at both my home and office, I only live a 10 minute walk away from my office, so I don’t need a smartphone I just thought it would be nice. Needless to say I will be using this current phone until it dies or they stop being able to support it which happened to a good friend recently, she had the same phone for 5-6 years and was told by her carrier who happened to be Verizon, that it needed to be upgraded.

I don’t know about you but at roughly $30 a month, in the course of a year, that same amount of money could fund something far more exciting than the ability to type this blog post on my phone.

So beware of trying to be frugal, everyone wants to make you part from your money. Hell, they will even offer you a free phone to get you to spend a ton more cash. Nope, I am not going to do it.