Well, hello Memorial Day weekend! The unofficial start to start to summer – this time of year just puts me in a great mood. Birds are chirping, everything is greening up, and the smell of freshly cut grass is almost constantly in the air. What’s not to love?
Short list of links this week, as I’ve been busy enjoying the onset of my favorite season, but the three I do have are freakin’ awesome. I’m sure you’ll agree.
- Free Money Minute describes one (of many) downside to ObamaCare in The 51st Employee is Fired!
- I’m always up for a great confession, and DINKs Finance doesn’t disappoint with Reader Confessions: I don’t know how much money I spent
- Warning! Your Prescription for Proper Credit Card Use via Money, Life and More – for me the proper use of a credit card is to cut it up into lots of little pieces, but other people can handle them responsibly.
CleverDude was included in the following carnivals this week:
- Finance Carnival for Young Adults at Faithful with a Few
- Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
- Carnival of Financial Independence at Reach Financial Independence
Brought to you courtesy of Brock
From Clever Dude: while I could be the one who buys groceries, Clever Dudette does because she absolutely loves grocery stores. She’s a registered dietitian and enjoys walking the aisles to check out what’s new and their nutritional value for her profession and her own knowledge. Her birthday gift a couple years ago was a surprise weekend trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market outside Cincinnati, OH just to check it out (and shop), and we even went to their new location last year (it has beer!!!). So my wife LOVES grocery shopping, even if she does it frugally.
I was at work last week (at a pediatric outpatient office, where I work at as their staff dietitian), and we were discussing how much we each spend on groceries. Now, the Dude and I are without kids and pets, so that decreases our food costs. However, my colleagues were stunned that we spend only $50-60 per week in groceries! Some of them usually spend $200-300 a week!
How do we manage this?
- We don’t buy soda, juice, vitamin water, or any other liquid except for skim milk, and we get that at Sam’s Club at such a discount that it pays for the membership and then some. We have good quality city water so we don’t buy bottled water.
- We don’t buy chips, pretzels, cookies, cakes, pastries, except on special occasions (maybe a bag of one of these a month?). If we want snacks or sweets, we’ll take a walk to the nearest frozen yogurt shop (it’s nice to live in a semi-urban area).
Image courtesy of scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I looked back as we left a popular local restaurant and saw chicken wings, most of a burger and two half empty beer glasses sitting on the table where my wife and I had been eating lunch with another family. Our friends had ordered too much food again.
I mean seriously, who wastes chicken wings?
They had ordered chicken wings as an appetizer, but couldn’t eat them all. When it came time to order entrees, they let their seven year old order a half pound burger from the adult menu because they didn’t want to deal with him throwing a fit over having to order off of the kid’s menu. I’m not exactly sure why they didn’t finish their beverages.
No to-go box needed as they didn’t have room in their refrigerator.
In contrast, our pre-planned meal had been executed perfectly with no food being left behind. Before piling into the van, we had visited the restaurant’s website and decided what we were going to order. My wife and son split a burger as neither of them can finish the half pound burger served. We each planned to order a beverage, but when it came time to order I decided to downgrade to water. Taking into account my beverage change, our total was exactly what we thought it would be, and it was half that of our friends’ bill.
Clever Dude bought me a kindle for Christmas in 2011; little did he know that I spent most of my teen years reading! I would read while my parents watched TV, read while we were on a 20 minute drive to visit my grandmother…I read every chance I got. Although he often complains that I spend most of my free time with my face up to my Kindle Touch, I remind him that besides the initial cost of the Kindle Touch 3G (which was about $150 and they don’t seem to offer free 3G access anymore, just free AT&T hotspot wi-fi access), I have only spent $20 on Kindle books last year. Of the 164 Kindle books that I bought off Amazon, 2 I paid money for; the rest were deals from Amazon and cost me $0.
How did I get 162 free books?
Of these 162 books that I purchased for free, 2 of them were “automatic free books” because they were written over 100 years ago. A few of them were nonfiction, but most of them were contemporary fiction, Christian fiction, teen fiction, or beer books for Clever Dude. Several of these books were first time authors or just deals I got around the holidays.
I have built a wish list of books on Amazon that I want. On the weekends, I will check my wish list to see if any of the interesting books are now free. I also will search Amazon for “free kindle books” and “buy” (I write buy in quotations because they are free but I still have to go through the purchase process) the ones that seem interesting to me.
Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Over the weekend I committed a cardinal sin for personal finance bloggers.
I joined a gym.
I know, personal finance bloggers are supposed to write about dumping gym memberships because they aren’t worth it. I’m supposed to list ways to work out at home for pennies. Oh, but wait, it’s even worse than you think. You see, the wife and I already belonged to a gym. We quit our old gym and joined a more expensive one.
And we’re totally OK with it.
The Old Gym
Chain fitness facility without many amenities or options. It did have lots of strength training equipment including a good free weight area. For cardio machines it had a ton of treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes. Included in our membership were a wide variety of group fitness classes including studio cycling, my personal favorite.
Price: $40 per month ($20 each for my wife and I).
The New Gym
Full service health club with all the things the old gym has plus basketball, racquetball, an indoor track, tennis, a restaurant, and an indoor and outdoor pool. It also has a huge area for kids of all ages that has activities such as mini-golf, a golf simulator, table tennis, air hockey, a basketball court and batting cages.
Price: $150 per month (for the entire family)
I was excited to mow my lawn yesterday for the first time this Spring. I love the smell of freshly cut grass, and I love the look of a newly mowed lawn. It’s also the only place a man can truly be alone. I think the rest of my family is afraid that if they interrupt me, I’ll have them take over.
I am definitely NOT left alone when I am sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop reading blog posts. Sometimes I unplug and go sit alone in the basement so I can read them uninterrupted. Check out my favorites of the week below, and don’t forget to give the Clever Dude Facebook page a thumbs up!
- Clever Dude was included in a list of 22 Financial Bloggers You Should Get To Know over at Options Credit. Check it out….humbled to be in this list!
- Home maintenance projects can be expensive. Money Beagle tells us 7 Things I Learned During Our New Roof Project.
- A little over a year ago my wife and I bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner. I wish I would have read Why I’ll Never Buy A Dyson Vacuum—And Neither Should You from Frugal Guru Guide. Maybe I would have made a different decision.
- My post on Wednesday talked about my recent experience with dealing with medical insurance. DINKs finance tells us about Insurance secrets that we should not keep.
CleverDude was included in the following carnivals this week: