week twenty-one: spending money like my dad

My dad is frugal. Not cray cray cheap like stuffing ketchup packets in his pants at McDonald’s and then refilling the bottle at home with the purloined tomato-y goodness… but frugal. His truck is 20 years old and when he bought it, he went in and got the most stripped down version of a Ford Ranger those bitches sold. No power steering, no carpet, no radio, no power windows. Actually, thinking back on it, how the hell do you buy a new car without carpet and a radio?

My dad has never bought into “luxuries.” You know, things we convince ourselves are “needs” but really are just wants in disguise. We didn’t have cable growing up. A new car happened about once every 10 years. He got a $6 haircut and wore his Levi’s until they fell apart. Then he wore them when he changed the oil on the cars or did handyman repairs around the house and neighborhood.

He wasn’t necessarily opposed to spending money – but he never seemed to spend it thoughtlessly or on things that wouldn’t last. Of course, as a child and definitely as a teenager, I thought his thrifty ways were outdated and lame. Before he bought the Ford Ranger he drove a horrifically beat-up, rust-covered lemon-yellow truck that embarrassed me endlessly. I used to make him drop me off at school a few blocks away so no one would catch me in it.

But, like all people who have kids and get old, my parents’ once-bass-ackwards-seeming ways now seem like good sense. And although I never thought I’d say it, I will: My dad was right.

Lots of blogs have touted the idea of the no-spend months. Basically it’s just like it sounds: No buying dumb shit. For a month. Typically there’s a few exceptions, like groceries and maybe personal care, like a haircut or medicine.

But a month to me seems like an eternity. So I’m going to do a week. If it goes well, I’ll try a month next time. And I’m using my dad as inspiration. So instead of asking myself WWJD, I’ll be asking myself WWDD?

My rules are:

– Groceries are cool. But I mean food, not “grocery shopping” at Target and also slipping in fingerless gloves and a DVD.

– I have a brow wax scheduled this week. Babysitting is lined up and I’m not missing out on it. Hells naw. When you have super short hair and ungroomed brows, it’s way too easy to look like Peter Pan. Trust.

– No money spending on activities. No $5 rides on the carousel (sorry baby!) or $8 trips to inflatable world. Bonus: We have memberships at the Zoo and the local aquarium. So it’s not like baby will be all sad and deprived.

– No spending money on food outside the home. No restaurants, Starbucks runs or churros at the Zoo. (Oy. That one hurt to write. Churros take the Zoo from “wheee!” to “OMNOMNOMNOMYAYYYYYY!)

– Also – I’m going to write down all the stupid shit I feel longing for during the week, just to have a record of the unfulfilled “needs” and if, with a bit of reflection, I even want them.

Writing this down and being all serious about it makes me realize that I’m super lame if I can’t do the above for just a week. It’s a hard fucking life, huh? The week starts now, let’s go!

week twenty: bottle cap crafts

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Even though I am a foul-mouthed, somewhat mean-spirited (I love when kids fall down! HAHAHA!) beeyatch who’s trying to become a minimalist, I still like to craft. Yes, cross stitching and paper punches aren’t just reserved for prim old ladies who miss the good old days when Murder, She Wrote was on every Sunday night. By the way – that show is the SHIT. And the opening sequence when Angela Lansbury is like riding her bike through her New England town or wherever the hell she was from and then like gardening… TIGHT. I’ve watched reruns on Netflix. Truth.

Anywho, yes, I like crafting. Making stuff with your hands is awesome and people who turn up their noses at embroidery or sewing or glue gun action are basically joyless turds. Who doesn’t want to get down with a glue gun? That’s a bomb diggity girl’s night in right there, no lie.

The problem with liking to craft is that you can – very easily – become a crazy hoarder person and hold onto trash in the hopes that one day you’ll magically glue gun it into something phenomenal that will take your family’s breath away when they open it on Christmas morning. Bottle caps were the key to my Rockwellian crafting dream.

Pre-Pinterest, I saw a tutorial online about turning your used bottle caps (trash) into magnets for holidays gifts (upcycled trash someone else will throw away after Christmas). The idea was that you’d cut out tiny beautiful pictures, glue them into the bottle cap, fill the bottle cap with some sort of toxic chemical or resin or something like that, then hot glue a magnet to the back. Voila! Magnet perfection.

I was so convinced this would be the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT OF ALL TIME that I demanded husband start saving all of his bottle caps. To keep things neat, I stacked them on a nice shelf I have in the kitchen. Yeah, a trash collection on my pretty floating wall shelves where I prep our food. House Beautiful, please feel free to give me a call.

This was… hmmm… maybe like three years ago? Three Christmases and no bottle cap magnets. No bottle cap jewelry, dollhouse art or bedside lamps. Let’s face it, people – I’m never making anything with those bottle caps.

I have decided I can accept this. See, I’m not just a serial craft supply saver. I actually do finish some stuff. I really like cross stitching and have vowed to finish baby’s birth announcement sampler by the end of this month. I usually make at least two or three cross stitched gifts for Christmas. I make all of our Christmas cards. And last year, I even made some homemade stamped wrapping paper for holiday gifts.

So I have to learn to appreciate the crafting time I do have and focus on the things I actually enjoy and complete. Not just try everything that looks sexy and fun. I have to be crafting monogamous. Or, at the very least, not be a slutty crafter, flirting with everything that looks my way. (I am talking to you, jewelry-making aisle at Jo-Ann’s!)

So the bottle caps went into the trash today. I screamed a little inside when I saw them there, laying amongst some strawberry stems and banana peel from baby’s breakfast. And, I shit you not, I immediately regretted it.

“Hey ooohhh… didn’t I see some adorable bottle cap mini candle craft on Pinterest?” My inner craft slut started in on me. “Wouldn’t that be an awesome gift? And OH MY GOD they would look so cute on our deck this autumn. I can make orange ones for Halloween!”

I slammed the trash can closed and ate a cookie.

week nineteen: no more pedicures

DIY Pedicure instructions can be found here, y’all!

In the process of cleaning out my house and re-examining the stupid shit I’ve purchased (and still continue to buy, let’s be real), I’ve also come to realize that I not only spend MONEY on dumb shit, but also TIME.

It can be overwhelming to manage all of the upkeep involved with being a woman. I mean, look at all of the miscellaneous crap we have to do just to be reasonably hot:

1. Hair did. (In my instance, this is not just cut, but cut pretty frequently as it’s super short AND two-hour bleaching sessions as it’s platinum blonde. The payoff being that it basically looks cute without much fuss. At least I think so, maybe I look like Kate Gosselin. Who knows?)

2. Waxing. Choocha, brows… and yes, upper lip. Sorry! My mom is Portuguese, what am I supposed to do?!

3. Pedicures/Manicures. OK, to be honest I never get manicures. I think painted nails look kind of lame and they never last anyways. I keep mine short and they look OK. Maybe a bit boyish, but whatever.

Those are in my regular rotation, along with other services here and there – a facial, teeth cleaning, that sort of thing. Y’all bitches might have other crap on your to-do list – but essentially what I’m saying is that grooming seems to take up a lot of my free time.

And nothing shines a big spotlight on your frivolous use of time like being a mom, let me tell you. I get about 37 minutes of “free” time a day – that is, specifically, time when I’m not with the baby, making food, working, doing laundry, updating the family blog for the grandparents, writing thank you notes, paying the bills, yadda yadda yadda. Please don’t get me wrong – women that aren’t moms are crazy busy, too. It’s just for me, it didn’t become overwhelming until baby entered the picture.

So when I needed a pedicure and couldn’t get one scheduled due to husband’s crazy work schedule and lack of babysitting options, it occurred to me that a fucking pedicure is not that hard. DIY that shit!

I decided I wasn’t going to outsource pedicures any more. Not necessarily from a money standpoint – although saving $42 on each one sounds awesome! (And yes I realize that’s insane person money for a pedi, but I just can’t get on board with those strip mall fungus emporiums, and I patronized the fancy lady pedi place.)

So saving money is good, but really, I am looking to save a bit of time. A pedi by itself isn’t a huge time sink, but the 40-minute roundtrip drive and the purtying up I had to do beforehand cost me valuable free time. Free time I wanted to spend doing something else. Plus, I have to get someone to watch the baby, and I hate wasting precious babysitting favors on “errands.” I want my mom to babysit so I can go to the track and drink margaritas, bitches!

So I gathered up all my materials – and surprisingly, I had just about everything I needed for a decent pedi DIY. I soaked, filed, exfoliated, pumiced, base coated and painted. From start to finish it takes me about 25 minutes. I do it during baby’s second nap and put terrible, god-awful TV on and turn my brain off. Next time I’m making a margarita!

Bonus: Over my blogging break, I took another carload of crap to the thrift store, yay! I think that makes six total. Also sold a bit more junk on eBay, made $100. Although I spent it before the Paypal payments even rolled in on three dresses from the Gap Outlet. We’ll see if they were a wise investment. Now that I’m typing it… maybe not so much.