I’m Moving On, But Not Going Away

Not sure if others have experienced this but hosting my blog on WordPress wasn’t the best idea. Their hosting plans are pretty cheap but though their digital eco-system you are limited to their boundaries.

For that reason, I’m out.

I will be starting a new blog with the same content moving forward but the name will change. I should have done better research up front on domains and social media accounts before pulling the trigger.

The good news? I’ve learned about a couple amazing tools through this process and I’ll share them with you:

Bluehost – This domain hosting tool allows you to integrate with your Google accounts and transfer a WordPress content.

Namechk – This tool allows you to type a name into the search and it will tell you if that domain is available AND if the associated social media accounts are available.

If you’re starting your own blog and you want to monetize it or add affiliate links, steer clear of purchasing a WordPress.com hosting account as they lock you into a very limited ecosystem. I believe that a recent change allowed people to add plugins to their WordPress.com blogs where you could script in some Adsense or similar account but the ability to add plugins is sealed away behind their “business” paywall.

If you’re willing to wait for more easy frugal finance rules, hiking reports, travel tips, and my investment journey, please be patient. I’m working on getting the next iteration of this thing online as quickly as possible.

Thank you for reading!

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The Buy It Once Rule

Have ever been working on a car, piece of furniture, small motor, or other object with screws and have the screwdriver snap in half along the metal?

I have.

It was at that moment, many years ago, that I decided I was only going to buy things once… or as close to once as possible.

The screwdriver had been purchased from a convenience store in a pack of about three different sized screwdrivers for less than 10 bucks. I didn’t have any delusions that such a cheap object would last forever but it really WAS spectacular when it snapped.

Imagine the Terminator 2000 from Judgement Day fragmenting into a hundred pieces after being frozen… yeah, something like that.

Anyways, this rule has to do with spending your money on quality items WHEN, and ONLY WHEN you need to buy it. A good example is the screwdriver or other hand tools. By making a smaller investment up front for the better option, you might save yourself from having to buy it again in the future thus doubling your expense.

My parents have a kitchen knife in use today that they used to cook for me when I was a child. It’s been sharpened down and now closely resembles a filet knife but it’s sharp and durable and my parents only had to buy it once.

This isn’t a new concept and I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating here because the effect of owning a quality item for many years is rewarding spiritually and financially.

What items do you have that have stood the test of time, and what things have you bought that failed right away?

The Added-Investment Value Rule

Here’s another tip that I’ve put into practice with the tenacity of a hungry raccoon.

Choose a value that’s comfortable to you to add to every purchase.

For us, it’s $5.00.

Now, go shopping, and save your receipts.

At the end of each week (if you feel okay with that frequency) add the number of receipts you’ve collected, multiply that by your value and then invest that value in whatever form of savings account or investment vehicle you use.

For us, it’s Betterment.

Example:

You spent money at stores 7 times this week, so…

7 x $5.00 = $35.00

So we would make a deposit of $35.00 to our Betterment account.

It’s a simple way to save more money and add pressure to your impulse purchases. Do I really want that Coke from the gas station knowing it’s going to cost me $7.50ish?

Be careful that your fervor for investing doesn’t have you buying more just as an excuse to invest. You can always just invest the money without the purchases.

Give it a try.

The Cost Per Use Rule

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve found about being frugal (specifically, about being more mindful of your spending) is the Cost-Per-Use (CPU) rule.

Here’s how it works.

Set a limit for yourself on the CPU of anything you purchase from here on out. Obviously this only works on physical, non-consumable goods… like a hammer, or coat, or deluxe baby stroller.

For me, I’ve set the limit at: $1.00

When you go to a store and you’ve got a product in your hand, take a few seconds to estimate what the CPU is based on how many times you will use the item in a year. If the number of times you will use the product multiplied by your CPU is greater than the price of the product, don’t buy it!

Example:

You want to buy a new flashlight that costs $12.00 and you remember that you went camping six times last year where you used the old flashlight and used it twice to rummage through your car at night and you used it for five nights when you helped the school crossing guard for evening classes. Based on that estimate, your math looks like this:

$12.00 (Price) x $1.00 (CPU) = $12.00 / 13 (estimated uses) = $0.92 CPU

Buy it!

If my math is wrong, forgive me, it wasn’t my strongest suit in school. Also, I’m aware that this goes against the theory that you should always buy the best version of whatever forever product you plan to own, but this is less a rule and more a way of looking at frivolous spending.

In the scenario above, if the flashlight cost $25.00, the CPU would have been higher than the price and you probably shouldn’t buy it. It’s important to be honest with yourself about the number of possible future uses because you can convince yourself that you will use ANYTHING more than you actually will, just to buy it.

This rule also gets a little tricky when you consider Feature Creep.

“It’s only $3.00 more to get the flashlight with the built-in carabiner! This deal’s a steal!”

IF… and that’s a HUGE IF, you went to a store on purpose to buy just one product, you weren’t planning on buying a flashlight with a carabiner. So you probably don’t need it. And… that carabiner option probably only cost about $0.12 for the company to add. It’s NOT a deal.