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You Know You’re A Cheapskate When…

What’s the difference between being frugal and being cheap? Where’s the fine line, if there is one?

As a recovering cheapskate, I can assure you that there is a line, and it can be quite fine at times. Frugal living is wise; cheapskate-ism borders on obsessive compulsiveness and often is void of wisdom.

Again mimicking Jeff Foxworthy’s “You know you’re a redneck” style, I present to you my little sketch, “You know you’re a cheapskate when…” It will be my last installment of this attempt at humor for a while. If you really want more, please let me know in the comments section!

Also, if you prefer to watch the video, keep scrolling down.

You know you’re a cheapskate when…

…”eating out” means a picnic of balogna sandwiches in the backyard.

…your spouse doesn’t dare buy you anything on your tenth wedding anniversary.

…you win a $1,000 gift card in a coupon-clipping contest, and you just can’t spend it.

…you let the whooping cough you contracted just run its course.

…all the furniture in your house comes from the back alley.

…the soap in your shower is a teeny, weeny splinter – and you’re still using it.

…you still have a pocket folder from high school. And you graduated thirty-five years ago.

…your best dress, or suit of clothes, has a hole in hit.

…you spend your spare time dumpster-diving.

…it’s your fault nobody can find toilet paper on the shelves at K-Mart when they run a two-for-one special on it.

…your kid is wearing underwear a size too small for her. And you bought it second-hand.

…you pick up pennies – from the floors of public bathrooms.

…the only thing on your “bucket list” is a garage sale marathon.

…you’re addicted to cigarettes, and nobody knows it.

…your longest pencil is an inch long.

…The A/C in your car is broken, the bathroom faucet is leaking, and the kitchen light bulb just went out. And you’re good with all that!

…you never borrow books from the library, because you’re so afraid of incurring a fee.

…you eat the peel with the bananas.

Now, the video version. Enjoy, and please click the “thumbs up” if it makes you smile. Thanks! :)

If you want to add your own (family-friendly) ideas on how to know if you’re a cheapskate, please add them in the comments below.

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You Know You’re A Health Nut When…

Are you a health nut? What makes a health nut a health nut, anyway? Do you have to be vegan? If you eat bananas instead of Twinkies for dessert, does that count?

Having been a health nut for a couple of decades, I’ve seen and heard just about everything. And while not all of the following qualifications apply to me (I’m not telling you which ones do!), they include some of the more extreme examples of what people do for the sake of being healthy.

Here we go: you know you’re a health nut when… (video follows)

…your mechanic asks you what’s wrong with your car, and you tell him you think it’s had too much gluten.

…you’re shocked when you meet anyone who’s never heard of a Vitamix.

…your kids see a candy cane on a Christmas tree, and think it’s just a decoration.

…your friend offers you some unroasted almonds, and you ask, “Are they really raw?”

…you spend fifteen minutes in the supplement aisle trying to decide between two brands of calcium.

…the only think you’ll eat at a potluck is the dish you brought.

…on your tenth wedding anniversary, you and your spouse eat out at a health food store deli.

…your skin is turning purple from all the berries you eat.

…someone mentions that they’ve been taking Sudafed, and it takes you a minute to remember what that is.

…you never have the cold or flu. You’re just “detoxing.”

…your city announces it’s going to spray for mosquitoes, and you cover your entire front yard in plastic.

…you’re the only person you know who’s ever done an enema. More than once.

…you’re addicted to kale chips.

…when someone talks about the big “O”, you think it means “organic.” [If you don’t get this one, here’s a hint: it’s rated X.]

…a friend tells you he got spam in his inbox, and you go off on a tirade about the importance of eating real meat.

…apple cider vinegar, vitamin C, and cod liver oil can cure anything.

….you’ve been a fervent vegan, and a Paleo evangelist. In the same year.

…baking soda is the only soap in your house.

…you eat dirt. On purpose.

…everyone else is wrong.

Now, enjoy the video, and please give it a “thumbs up” if it makes you smile. Thanks! :)

Got any of your own (family-friendly) ideas on how to know if  you’re a health nut? Please add them in the comments below!

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In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Know You’re a Redneck When…”, I present to you, “You Know You’ve Been Gardening Too Long When…” First the text, then the video.

You know you’ve been gardening too long when…

…you start talking to earthworms.

…your husband buys you a new tool set on your tenth wedding anniversary. And you are elated about it.

…you declutter your closet, and end up taking a dozen old straw hats to the Goodwill.

…you can’t buy lettuce at the grocery store without wondering what variety it is.

…your mechanic asks you what’s wrong with your car, and you tell him you think it needs more fertilizer.

…you can think of nothing more exciting than flipping through seed catalogs.

…you don’t get why people look at you funny when you tell them you eat weeds.

…your friend complains about the bugs in her house, and you suggest she set up a frog pond in the middle of her kitchen.

…your friend complains about the bugs in her house, and you have to go over to look at them and figure out whether or not they are beneficial.

…you’re the only one in your neighborhood who cries when she steps on a spider.

…you actually have an opinion about the best heirloom radish variety.

…your neighbors tell you for heaven’s sake to stop leaving boxes of zucchini and tomato on their front steps!

…you don’t flinch when you figure out that the speck on the lettuce leaf you just put into your mouth was an inchworm.

…two weeks without rain depresses you.

…you attend a keg party, just because you hope to get a free rain barrel out of the deal.

…you burn a pie in the oven because you got caught up watching a bean plant sprout.

…someone tells you they smoke weed, and you picture them with a flaming dandelion in their mouths.

Hey, no such thing as gardening too long! Fellow gardeners, rock on!

And if you need resources to help you simplify your life, be sure to click the “Emily’s books” tab at the top of the page.

Now, for the video. Enjoy, and please give it a “thumbs up” if you like it! Thanks. :)

Got any of your own (family-friendly) ideas? Please add them in the comments below!

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The Top Ten Reasons People Stay In Debt

Why do people stay in debt, instead of working to get out of debt?

More on that in a moment, but first a personal note. If you are one of my loyal readers, you will have noticed my absence for a couple of weeks (thanks for noticing, by the way :) ). I have been busy busy busy, and within the next week I will be telling you all about why – with videos to boot!

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post…

I have recently decided to try my hand at humor – I am reluctant to call it “comedy” – for several videos.

This one is humor with a message, inspired by David Letterman’s Top Ten sketches. To watch the video, scroll down (and please remember to hit the “thumbs up” button if you like it!). Following is the text of the video, plus a little side note on each Reason.

Reason number ten: Without a car payment, what would they worry about every month?

Obviously tongue-in-cheek. But the American lifestyle seems to be embroiled with never-ending debt. Even if a person pays all his bills on time, once he gets one thing paid off, he buys something else that requires monthly payments.

Reason number nine: How can anyone stand to live in a house that isn’t completely redecorated every six months?

This is an exaggeration for most people; nevertheless, most American households do regularly update their furniture and décor – and much of that is done with credit cards. Larger projects, like remodeling the kitchen or bathroom, are financed with special loans.

Hint: being happy with what you have is a lot cheaper.

Reason number eight: The devil makes them do it.

People have all sorts of lame excuses for getting into debt.

Reason number seven: They’ll pay off their student loans…when they win the lottery.

Some people do live in such ridiculous fantasies. They try for the Publisher’s Clearinghouse, buy lottery tickets, join MLM, or get involved with any number of get-rich-quick schemes. Why waste their own hard-earned job money on paying down debt?

Reason number six: They believed their financial planner.

Many financial planners care more about what goes into their pockets than what goes into yours. My own financial planners has never even heard of The Permanent Portfolio – and tried hard to talk me out of putting a fourth of my investments into a money market account when our Permanent Portfolio money is performing much better than our mutual funds!

Perhaps worst of all, financial planners tell you not to pay extra on the principal on your mortgage, but to invest it. If you read my book Hatching The Nest Egg, you will find out why this is an abysmally horrible idea.

Read books, research, and think for yourself. Don’t let a financial planner determine your financial future.

Reason number five: They’re trying to win the Guinness Book Of World Records for the number of debt collector calls in one year.

Getting a letter from a debt collector is embarrassing enough. Dealing with phone calls from them is stressful and humiliating. (So I know from having heard stories, not because I’ve had personal experience.)

Reason number four: They have stock in Visa.

You know, as in, the stock market. Okay.

Reason number three: The Joneses are watching.

Who cares what your neighbors think? Your neighbors may have more debt than you do, their marriage may be on the rocks, and their kids may be on drugs. Live your life responsibly, with a standard of ethics that cares for both the planet as well as other people, and you’ll be able to get – and stay – out of debt.

Reason number two: They believed the Time-Share salesman.

Never, ever, EVER buy a time-share.

Reason number one: Your mother-in-law hides all the credit card bills.

Back to lame excuses again.

Are you in debt? Then, ask yourself this question: how free do you really want to be?

Enjoy the video, and remember to “like” it. Thanks! :)

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Of late, I have been an advocate of supplementation. I still am for people who refuse to eat a nutrient-dense diet. But what about people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and/or organ meat, and maybe raw or vat-pasteurized dairy products? Must they supplement, as well?

This is one of the most highly debated questions in the nutritional world. Some say no. Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods every day, and you’ll get everything you need. Others say – just as vehemently and with just as much research to back up their stance – that everybody needs to take dietary supplements because they can’t get it in their food.

Who’s right?

When supplementation is necessary

Remember, I’m talking about healthy eaters here, not SAD eaters. People who eat a nutrient-dense diet may need to supplement under certain conditions.

  1. They’ve gone through an illness (and therefore need temporary supplementation).
  2. They purposely eliminate a food group (such as dairy or meat) from their diet, or don’t eat much of it.
  3. They’ve done a certain task which has depleted them of a certain nutrient (such as excessive time in front of a computer screen and thus incurring a beta carotene or vitamin C deficiency). In such a case, supplementation would be temporary.
  4. They don’t want to pay for, or cannot grow, a particular food that would enable them to get sufficient amounts of the nutrient in question.
  5. For whatever reason, their body has trouble absorbing nutrients which requires them to intake several times more of them than they would need to otherwise.

My challenges

Because I feel better when I don’t consume dairy, I usually don’t. And while I eat more greens than is recommended, I don’t get enough calcium from them. So I recently began taking a calcium supplement after reading that chronic anger (which I’ve been dealing with) can be a sign of acidosis (which I was diagnosed with a few years ago) which usually indicates a calcium deficiency.

I’ve been taking a magnesium supplement for probably seven years to eliminate restless legs. It has also relieved P.M.S. symptoms.

I take vitamin C mostly for my eye health.

I take iron because I don’t want to eat meat all day long.

I’ve been taking Thyrocsin, a thyroid support supplement because at one point my T3 count was in the red (and the T4 in the yellow).

I take a digestive enzyme because I began to feel nauseated after eating several years ago, and it only got worse.

On top of all that, we recently began taking cod liver oil capsules because we were deficient in DHA.

Understand, I have been taking these because I muscle-tested that I need them, not “just in case” or I thought certain symptoms merited their use.

When the cod liver oil capsules joined all my other ones, I thought, “What, am I crazy? Can’t I possibly get some of these nutrients in a more natural way?” (And yes, I have been trying to get at least part of what I need in food, such as magnesium from sesame and pumpkin seeds, and calcium from sesame seeds.)

How I reduced my supplement use by half

My first bright idea was to start eating salmon three times a week. That should earn me an automatic Ph.D. from Harvard, don’t you think?

It’s not that I hadn’t thought of it before. It’s that taking the capsules is much cheaper than eating the fish. But seeds and nuts only take a person so far. I was ready to put fish back into my diet.

The tricky ones were magnesium, calcium and vitamin C (I need a lot of the last, and it’s really expensive to get enough from food). Several years ago I read about how high in nutrition stinging nettle tea is. Well, we have a lot of different weeds on our property, but stinging nettle is not one.

Then one day, I was walking through my garden and marveling at how my blackberry and raspberry canes have proliferated over the past year. And I remembered having heard about raspberry leaf tea.

I also remember having heard that the nutrients that are present in one part of the plant are generally present in the other parts. Could I not get at least some of my vitamin C through drinking raspberry (or blackberry) leaf tea?

And those leaves are greens, and greens are known for being good sources of calcium and magnesium.

Hmmm…

I got online and did some research.

Sure enough, raspberry leaf tea packs a good wallop of all three nutrients (plus a few more). In addition, the two or three websites I read mentioned that the nutrients in such a tea are very bio-available. By that I inferred that one would get more than the typical 30% absorption rate of nutrients (that’s for both food and non-liquid supplements).

By muscle-testing, I discovered that one ounce of fresh leaves – that’s a large handful – replaces about half the calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C I generally need. So I’ve been steeping that much of raspberry and/or blackberry leaves every morning, and drinking the resulting brew.

It seems to be working. My eyes are still functioning well, and I haven’t had restless legs.

I would use two ounces of leaves and eliminate those supplements entirely if I thought I could spare them. But I don’t know if I could at the moment. However, I plant to propagate some raspberries and blackberries elsewhere so that I can.

What will I do in the winter when the leaves dry up and fall off? Cabbage, broccoli, and/or kale tea!

And counting

The tea takes care of half my magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C daily supplementation need. What about the rest?

I will probably be able to skip a day here and there of iron once my body sees that I’m serious about eating salmon three times a week. The Thyrocsin I will be able to eliminate once I get egg yolks back into my diet on a daily basis (but I’m going to wait on that until we have laying hens next year.).

Do you need to supplement if you eat healthy? I used to believe the answer was yes. But if you don’t count herbal teas as supplements, and you are willing to eat the necessary foods to get the nutrients you need, the fact is, you may not need to.

Want more info like this to help you simplify your life? Get blog updates in your e-mail, and/or check out my books on simple living (click the “Emily’s books” tab above).

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