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The Backdoor Steakhouse, Blair OK

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Seriously.  2nd best steak I’ve ever had.  For $20.  So that’s awesome twice.

Article publié pour la première fois le 09/06/2010

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Saving Rocks (Double Entendre Intended)

Today I was procrastinating.  Fortunately, it was one of my positive procrastination days.  

Rather than surfing the internet looking for totally rad Christmas presents, I decided to clean.

There’s one room in the house that is basically a big junk drawer.  Instead of paperclips, matchbooks and errant pieces of paper, however, the junk room collects boxes, small children (who can’t escape), holiday decor and glitter.  Lots and lots of glitter.  By the end of the day I looked like I had been mauled by a fairy.  

Picture the room in your mind.  It’s important that you do this so you can understand just how miraculous it was that I found what I found…  

I   f o u n d   m y   d i a m o n d   e a r r i n g !

Side-note: Now do you get the title?

Before you start judging:

A. They were a gift from my awesome sister.

B. They aren’t even 1/4 carat.   

C. Oh, like you never lost a diamond before.  Sure, sure.  Kettle much? 

Perhaps most remarkable is the fact that I lost it over 4 years ago and that I somehow managed to hold on to its pair all this time.  

I mean, what do you do with an unmatched, small diamond earring?  And don’t say, “Get a nose ring,” Hubs would kill me.  

Chalk another one up to saving – with a purpose.

I talk a lot about how we need to let go of things.  This is partially because I’m a little OCD and can’t stand clutter, and partially because I want people save what they do for the right reasons – sometimes any reason at all would suffice.  

I saved a single diamond earring for a couple of reasons:

1. This should be obvious: IT WAS A DIAMOND and no matter how small, it’s probably a teency tiny bit valuable.   

2. My sister gave it to me, on a college student’s income, and that’s special.  

Saving in general, be it money or things, should have a purpose.  

Lindy at Minting Nickels had an excellent post this week about, what I refer to as, “extreme saving.”  You know, the people who cancel cable and live off $2/week?

My question about this type of saving is always, “what’s the point?”  Sure, there are some valid reasons to undertake extreme cost-cutting measures, but when does it end?  Tell me. When does it end?!

Never save just because something is a waste of money (or it would be a waste of money to throw away).  Much of life could technically be considered a “waste of money,” depending on who you are.  Waste would be denying yourself simple joys for the sole reason of putting more money in the bank.  

Save with purpose.  And never ever throw away diamonds.  It simply isn’t done. 

Article publié pour la première fois le 18/11/2010

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Introducing 52 Ways to be Richly Reasonable

One of the things I love most about this site is the name—Richly Reasonable. To me that name evokes a certain kind of image and represents a level of maturity it’s taken me a long time to achieve. To me, that name means that we can all have a rich life as long as it’s done in a reasonable manner.

In my completely unscientific research, I’ve learned that frugal fatigue is one of the primary reasons that people get derailed in either their debt repayment strategy or their newfound frugal lifestyle. It’s difficult to always pick water over soda. It’s exhausting to never go out to eat or pack your lunch every single day. It’s sometimes embarrassing to drive a 16 year old car. It’s boring to stay home with a movie borrowed from the library every Saturday night. When all of these activities are compounded with each other for weeks and months on end, a person can get frustrated. A person might give in to temptation of a $100 sushi dinner because she just can’t take it anymore. And then feel remorseful because that $100 could have put her family closer to their debt free goal.

It’s the polar opposite of what we see glorified on TV. From MTV Cribs and My Super Sweet 16 to The Real Housewives of Wherever and the Kardashians, excess is glorified. We love to watch how these spoiled rich people live in a world where $900 on a pillowcase makes sense. And while we can sit back and watch them like exhibit animals, this is not the life most of us lead (and I’m pretty sure it’s not the life most of us want to leave). We laugh at their inane ideas and poor financial choices while at the same time wish we had money we could throw away like a bad sandwich (or is that just me?). Which is why a site with the name Richly Reasonable is so important.

A site like this should discuss ways to have a life that is not deprived of luxuries. Believe me, after 5 years of paying off debt, I understand that life is not about the material things but more about the people and experiences. Five years of paying off debt has taught me to appreciate even the smallest little indulgence or free activity. But sometimes, it’s OK not only to indulge a little but to admit that you want to indulge. Or at least admit that you want the ability to indulge. So I’m going to help you out.

In 2012, I’m going to provide a list of 52 (one per week) ways that you can indulge at a reasonable price (and sometimes for free). The list is certainly not meant to be exhaustive as I’m sure there are hundreds of richly reasonable activities. Some of the activities are for women, some are for men, some are for families, couples—everyone will be covered. There will be ideas for your home, your hobbies, and your interests.  If you have an interest or an idea for this series, please leave it in the comments below. I’ll do my best to incorporate it!

Here’s to a Richly Reasonable 2012!

Article publié pour la première fois le 03/01/2012

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Last time, I talked about how to save money on more expensive makeup. Now we’re going to talk about how to stretch the life of that makeup and other beauty products. After all, if you’re going to spend the money, you want to make them last.

Here are a just a few of the ways I’ve found to increase the life of my makeup and save money in the process:

Use only what you need. Saying this reminds me of what Lone Star says to Princess Vespa “Take only what you need to survive” but it’s true. A little bit goes a long way, and the less you wear, the less you use. Also, by using less, you wind up enhancing your looks rather than looking like cast off from Ringling Bros. Clown School. As a subcategory to this, I suggest you only buy what are going to wear. While this doesn’t exactly stretch the life of your products, there’s no sense in buying neon yellow eye shadow just because you think you might wear it one day.

Pay attention to expiration dates. I didn’t know this until recently but you know that number on shampoo bottles and some perfumes that is typically on the back of the bottle, under the ingredients? That’s an expiration date. Typically, these dates are on products that are more plant-based or natural based (think Aveda or The Body Shop). It’s really important to pay attention to these for a few reasons. One, you don’t want to use an expired product because you don’t know the effect it can have on your skin or hair. Two, you want to make sure that you finish the product before it expires; if you can’t finish the product before the expiration date, you’ve wasted money.  And three, the expiration date will affect the frequency with which you use a product (ex., if I have a foundation with a 6 month shelf-life, I’m going to buy a smaller bottle and use it every day).

Squeeze out every last drop. I’m not suggesting that you water down your shampoo or cut open a tube of toothpaste but turning a bottle upside down does stretch the life of a product. I do this with my lotion from Bath and Body Works. By doing this, I have been able to use a bottle for at least a week (or more!) longer. I’ve also opened my foundation bottle and been able to access what was left in the bottle that the little straw thing couldn’t get to. At $29.50 a bottle, you can bet I’m getting out every last drop! This post also has some great ways to get that last bit.

Buy the right tools. I know this seems counter intuitive in a post about saving money but if you have good brushes or a good base and top coat, you will be surprised not only at how long your makeup and nail polish will last, post-application but it stretches the life of the products as well. I recently bought a great base coat for my nail polish and now I can go about 10-14 days in between doing my nails. This means that my nail polish is going to last longer, saving me money.

Store your makeup appropriately. It’s crucial that you make sure your makeup and nail polish are stored accordingly. Leaving $15 lip stick in a hot car is not only a bad idea but it’s a huge pain to clean up. If your makeup is stored incorrectly, it can compromise the integrity of the product leading to breakouts or something worse.  Additionally, by storing your makeup in the right places, it can stretch the life of the product far beyond what you would typically think (ex., storing nail polish, upright, in the fridge will reduce discoloration).

What tips do you have for saving money and making your beauty products last? 

Article publié pour la première fois le 07/02/2012

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The Only Thing You Need to Know:

To Save Money

 

Personal finance can seem cosmic.  As far as we know, it may actually be cosmic. 

Cosmic1

Q: How do people accumulate millions, billions, gazillions of dollars in outer space? 

A: They don’t; the “cosmic” reference was really just a metaphor.

So, how do people accumulate all those dollars on Earth?  In many different ways: they inherit, they win, they gamble, they take out life insurance policies and hire hit men (JOKE).  But for the most part, “rich” people become rich by saving and investing.

Saving is step one.  That’s why I put it first.  I’m making a point here.

[click to continue…]

Article publié pour la première fois le 05/10/2010

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Cheetos: A Lesson in Every-Single-Bag

Funny how often my thoughts are inspired by snack foods.  I wonder if there is a deeper psychosis behind that…

Anywho, I was chowing down on a handful of Cheetos at lunch today when I noticed how similarly shaped the orange cylinders were.  In fact, they were all nearly identical.

Not remarkable you say?  I beg to differ.

By now you know that I am not a sunshine and sprinkles kind of gal.  I don’t cry when I see rainbows.  I don’t sing along with Barbara Streisand songs.  And I actually really don’t like sprinkles.

But I do find a bag of Cheetos to be somewhat miraculous.

It’s not the Cheetos, though they are delicious, so much as the process of making the Cheetos.  Imagine how long it must have taken Cheeto Inc. (I know that’s not the name of the company, let’s just stick to the point) to perfect the Cheeto-making-process so well that they can produce kazillions of nearly-identical, puffy, little bits of awesome.

We can all learn a lesson from a bag of Cheetos.  A lesson about life and how to conquer any obstacle, climb any mountain, financial or otherwise!

This is starting to sound like the beginning of a really good screenplay…

Y’all better not steal my idea.  I will hunt you down, so help me (I’m shaking my fist)!

1. Focus on what you’re good at, and perfect it.

Chances are, you are capable at making one perfect Cheeto.  Maybe that Cheeto is remembering to clip coupons before you go grocery shopping.

Examine the process you used to make that one Cheeto.  Focus on how you can apply the same steps to make more primo Cheetos, like saving money elsewhere or making a budget that works for you.

2. Love what you do.

Look at Chester Cheetah.  I know, I know, I’d be excited too if I got to go around promoting a deliciously cheesy snack; might I add, without adding a single inch to my wasteline.

However, that type of statement right there is part of the problem.  Chester could spend all afternoon playing free online bingo and still not waste a dime in pursuit of decent entertainment, or have anxiety all evening after eating a delicious snack. Don’t envy Chester. How much you love what you do or have is not dependent on how much Chester loves what he does or has.  Happiness doesn’t have to be relative.

Furthermore, don’t make a financial, or any plan that you hate.  That’s a recipe for disaster, not a Cheeto.

3. Keep things interesting.

When Cheeto Inc. perfected their first form of Cheeto, did they stop there?  Did they say, “Well, I guess that’s it?”

No!  No, they didn’t!

Do you know how many forms of Cheetos there are out there?  Why, you’ve got your X’s & O’s Cheetos, your Fire Hot Cheetos, Puffy Cheetos, Crunchy Cheetos, there are a bunch of Cheetos.

Don’t rest on your laurels.  Keep things interesting.  Things can only get better (except for Fire Hot Cheetos, those were kind of a bust).

Article publié pour la première fois le 29/11/2010

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