Waste Not!

Let’s talk food. Did you know we throw out about 25% of the fruits and veggies we buy? So says a study conducted by the University of Arizona, (reported by the Arizona Republic 7.24.08 from an AP reprint) Jeez! That’s about $500  a year for a family of four. We may be trying to get our 8 servings a day, but looks like we’re failing miserably. The other bad news? Expect food prices to go up 5.5% this year.

I started that blog several weeks ago, intent on coming up with some great savings ideas like sucking it up and settling for canned veggies at 3/$1 or freezing grapes for little pop-in-your-mouth treats, but guess what? Life happened. Worries about saving money hid the sidelines when my 95 year old grandpa fell and broke his hip. ON MY WATCH! Now, it was an accident. He had  his cane. He went to feed the birds as he does daily. It wasn’t my fault. But, as any of you who’ve ever experienced a crisis with a loved one knows, rational can’t go ten seconds in a round with guilt.

At this point it looks very good that grandpa will fully recover to live out how every many hours, days, months, years his life clock is set for. (Any prayers, good thougths, mantras – whatever your belief system – are appreciated.) But this experience left me with a whole new perception about the truly critical area of life that requires frugality.

Waste some money? You can earn more, or squeeze extra hard and pinch it out of somewhere else. Waste food? It’s not bright, but it’s not critical. Truthfully, a few leftovers that grew mold instead of growing my waistline so I didn’t “waste” would benefit me. What we can’t waste is time. It isn’t renewable. You can’t recover it. It’s gone.

You probably budget your money, some of you right down to the cents column. But what about the hours in your day, month, year? Do you know where they go? Are you maximizing their value? Are you finding ways to make them more productive?

I could give you ten quick tips I use, but I’m no expert. There are tons of sites out there with time-saving tips that I should learn. That’s not the point. The point is about mindset, about coming to realize that our greatest asset is often slipping away silently, or being openly squandered by many of us without any concern or remorse. We splurge on a double-mocha-latte- whatever (sorry, I don’t do coffee) and feel guilty because that’s $4 or $5 out of the grocery budget, but think nothing about spending hours fighting with a spouse or child about chores (during which, of course, the chore could have been completed in half the time without incurring the additional lost hour, afternoon, days… (hey, some people hold onto stuff) of lethargy and inaction that bad feelings and stress cause.

So, this weekend, sit down and do a Time budget – what’s available, how do you want to use it, where can you save some it by being more productive? Frugality doesn’t judge how you use it, only that you don’t waste it.

Me? I’m going to go read for an hour. It soothes me, engages my brain, offers “me”  time – in short, a $3.99 ebook at Frugal Fiction gives me a little mental health therapy that’s far cheaper than 45 minutes on the shrink’s couch.

Remember: A Frugal Fiction Book? $3.99. Reading to your child 15 minutes a day? Priceless!!

The International Language

Who could not be wowed by the Olympic opening ceremonies – the color, the texture, the history – what an extravaganza! But the Olympics represent so much more than a sporting event – patriotism, sacrifice, hope – as multitudes strive to achieve the thing that all of us as humans understand – the dream. Maybe our dreams aren’t as large, but we have them, we sacrifice for them, and we hope to fulfill them.

Which is why today’s latest addition to Frugal Fiction is so appropriate. The Olympics are announced in just three languages – Chinese (of course), French (no, I don’t get that either) and English.  Worldwide, people struggle to learn English because, worldwide, people understand that this ability allows them access to well, most of the world. But, English is not a “neat” language. It’s filled with nuances and contradictions and peculiarities.

Mani Jack tackles those oddities in his book,  Understanding GRAMMATICAL ERRORS in SPEAKING & Writing, a blueprint for those struggling to learn English. Culled from his five years as an ESL teacher, he provides ample explanations and examples sure to make English easier to grasp. After all, where else but in English must you understand TO, TWO and TOO, or know that the same word can be a verb, adverb, or noun. 

For just $3.99, this guide will help ESL students with the many complex whys and whens of English so you can speak and write the language accurately. With a little effort, it will soon seem like English is your first language!

Remember: A Frugal Fiction book? $3.99. Reading to your child fifteen minutes a day? PRICELESS!!