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The Value of a Dollar June 20, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Less IS More, Poetry, Sustainable Living.
Lithograph of

Poor Richard’s Almanac ~ Lessons for the Young & Old on Industry, Temperance, & Frugality by Benjamin Franklin

As a kid
I understood
The value of a dollar.

I scrimped and saved
For rainy days
As Poor Richard did before me.

“A penny saved
Is a penny earned,”
Franklin did admonish

My mom’s thrift
Mirrored his
No surprise ~ she’s Scottish

Frugal, I am
Scrooge, I am not
I just don’t spend what I don’t got!

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?

Would you describe yourself as thrifty and frugal?  Or extravagant to the extreme?  Are you miserly and mean like Scrooge . . . or something in between?

Related posts:  Thrifty, Frugal, or Cheap  (Respiratory Therapy) * You Better Stop Shopping Around * I Don’t Want Stuff Anymore (Raptitude) * Take ChargeThose Alluring Lures * Annie Leonard & The Story of Stuff  * OMPM: Overkill


1. Piglet in Portugal - June 20, 2011

Trouble with a lot of kids today they are spoilt rotten and do not value money 😦

Some countries are the same – Portugal and Greece for example. they are given handouts from the EU, spend money they have no hope of repaying and then when the economy goes tits up the political parties blame each other. The poor man in the street is told to tighten their belts…strikes and discontent follow.

Hey ho…the news on Greece is bad.


nrhatch - June 20, 2011

I’m reading ZEN & The Art of Making A Living. In it, the author (Boldt) points out that we have been “brainwashed” into believing that through technology, we will become “little kings” ~ each at home in his castle:

If not a palace, then perhaps a country estate. If not a country estate, then a home in the suburbs. If not a home in the suburbs, then perhaps a condo, an aparment, a mobile home ~ any kingdom, no matter how small. That’s what we work for . . . a kingdom and the promise of leisure to enjoy it.

Of course, we haven’t all become little kings. It’s a myth, yet most of us are caught up in it. That’s why high school kids rent limousines on prom night. They (and their parents) want to believe that they are Kings and Queens on the way to the Ball.

Because of the myth, we spend beyond our means to buy stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like. And we are slaves as a result. Frugality is the key to FREEDOM. 😀

Piglet in Portugal - June 20, 2011

“Because of the myth, we spend beyond our means to buy stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like. And we are slaves as a result. Frugality is the key to FREEDOM

Tell me about it. I no longer bother to even try and keep up with the”jones”. It’ws actually more fun being poor and making do!


nrhatch - June 20, 2011

Same here!

We look for FUN and FREE things to do . . . so that we can enjoy our FREEDOM debt-FREE. 😀

2. Cindy - June 20, 2011

I’m in-between, when I am flush I splurge, went I am not I pull in my belt.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

I enjoy “small splurges” . . . mostly on experiences to savor. 😀

3. William D'Andrea - June 20, 2011

Where I live, a dollar gets me less than two thirds of a cup of coffee in a local deli, and with my senior citizens discount card, two rides on any county bus. It also gets my clothing dried in a local laundromat, twice.
I remember when I could get a full cup of coffee for 10 cents.
I am 65 years old, and will be 66 on August 3rd, and in all that time, I have never seen the cost of anything decreasing.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

Lots of “stuff” has come down in price: Computers, Cell Phones, DVD Players, Digital Cameras, TVs, Video Recorders, Kindles, and other technology with built in obsolescence.

What has soared . . . college educations, homes, and health care. The things that we SHOULD be investing in.

4. Loreen Lee - June 20, 2011

Dear Time Out Box:
I am, at last, beginning to understand, that our concept of what is entailed by ‘freedom, have certain similarities. Personally, I watch the cash flow, and that is limited, and except for the occasional necessity to purchase on the web, (my anti-virus, and occasional Page to Fame) that’s the way I go. Cash only. No debt.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

Good for you, LL.

Borrowing for education and things that appreciate in value often makes good sense ~ because we will (eventually) get a return on our investment.

Borrowing to buy Knick Knacks and Paddy Whacks that we don’t need and can’t afford is not a sensible financial decision ~ buying acquisitions gives people a quick rush of satisfaction at the expense of long term happiness.

Happiness is NEVER in things . . . it is in us. And it’s hard to access if we’re buried up to our eyeballs in debt or in the clutter surrounding us.

Loreen Lee - June 20, 2011

Dear Time Out Box:
Well, this is where I start having trouble, especially with these personalized blogs. Good thing I didn’t start one up. I find it difficult to deal with compliments on matters that I regard merely as a matter of course. That is, things that are just ‘the way they are’. One of the reasons, perhaps why I can deal more easily with Uphill Writing. Thanks, though.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

No problem, LL. If you can’t handle a “Good for you” . . . just pretend I didn’t toss it your way. 😉

Loreen Lee - June 20, 2011

Dear Time Out Box:
Knick knack, paddy whack,
Give your dog a bone,
This old man comes rolling home.
(An old ‘Irish’ limerick)
There can be a place for knick knacks,
An education does not guarantee success.
Happiness may indeed be within ourselves,
But often even a cup of coffee will be a stimulus to a smile.

5. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - June 20, 2011

My wife and I are frugal. We have dumb phones, hand me down computers and beat the heck out of our cars. We don’t eat out a lot and try to keep our fixed bills low. Plus, we save, save, save.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

Sounds like us! Some people think that we are depriving ourselves. I view it just the opposite . . . we are FREE to do as we please more often than those who buy toys that they don’t even have time to use. 😀

6. souldipper - June 20, 2011

I’ve not needed to live beyond my means. I am over the moon if I find some perfect item in a Thrift Shop. I like the creativity it takes to spot it! I’ve kept myself in the style to which I am accustomed. 🙂 I always have more than I feel I have and never know if I have enough. But I do not go without. Sometimes if I get a hankering for something that costs a fair chunk, I sit on the idea. It usually shows up…a lot less costly than if I’d gone out and bought it immediately.

Someone just loaned me a telephoto lens because her camera ‘fell’ into the ocean. She’s going to buy another brand so she wondered if I wanted to buy the lens. She’s giving me the impetus to do some research and I want to buy one that has a couple more features than hers. Watch…I bet she’ll offer to give me this one!

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

Good point, Amy. Paula recently got a camera and accessories for FREE by making her needs known ~ synchronicity at its best:

* I’d been debating getting business cards, but wasn’t sure that spending the money made sense just yet. This week I got an offer from Staples for FREE business cards and took advantage of it.

* On Friday, we needed to overnight some documents to NJ. Found out that it would cost $33. Then, a local business offered to notorize and send the documents for us for FREE.

* On a smaller scale, I also got a FREE margarita and a FREE cupcake for our Anniversary Celebration this week.

All appeared by listening to my intuition . . .

7. Maggie - June 20, 2011

I’m pretty frugal, but I manage to enjoy myself. Life isn’t about how many things you own.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

So true, Maggie. When we stop trying to impress others with the latest shoes and handbags . . . we end up with less baggage. 😉

8. oldancestor - June 20, 2011

Frugal by default.

I tell my wife that I am a rich man trapped in a poor man’s life. Then I say, “But look, I still got to marry a supermodel!” At that point, it’s too late. I’ve already insulted her.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

At that point, you’ve become a rich man trapped in a poor man’s life who is relegated to sleeping on the couch!

Ouch! 😉

9. Christine Grote - June 20, 2011

I used to collect discarded pop bottles we would find in the woods behind the park and cash them in for 2cents each.

nrhatch - June 20, 2011

What a win~win! The fun of the hunt, money in your pocket, and a cleaner planet with less litter.

10. jannatwrites - June 21, 2011

I’m fairly frugal. I shop for sales and use coupons for groceries. We will spend money to get something of quality, but not over-the-top expensive. If there is an expensive item we’re looking to buy, I’ll track the price fluctuations while we’re saving up for it, so I know how low it can go.

nrhatch - June 21, 2011

Sounds like a wonderful balance, Janna. When we buy less stuff, we have more room for the stuff that really matters.

11. Tilly Bud - June 21, 2011

Circumstances have forced frugality uppon me but I was never really wasteful, and I have been an avid recycler from before it was fashionable.

But I wouldn’t mind the occasional mad money. 🙂

nrhatch - June 21, 2011

I agree. It’s nice having a bit of financial flexibility ~ keeps us from feeling deprived as we enjoy voluntary simplicity and frugal living.

Does your newspaper need a columnist? A humorist?

12. eof737 - June 21, 2011

Heavy duty shopping used to be a favorite pastime… not anymore…. eventually we do get tired of “stuff!” 🙂 Now if I could stop buying those one cent books on Amazon I’ll be home and free…. LOL!

nrhatch - June 21, 2011

When we view shopping as “recreation” or “therapy” . . . we tend to overspend, justifying our over consumption with trite (but untrue) expressions like:

* Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
* I’ve worked hard and deserve to splurge.
* You can never have too many shoes, handbags, or widgets.

Now my favorite shopping mantra is . . . Less is More! 😀

But even I would have a tough time resisting one cent books.

13. Tammy - June 21, 2011

I am frugal but perhaps not thrifty although I could claim that quality on a dime. Raised by a depression era grandmother, I know how NOT to spend but alas, there are times when I splurge too.

nrhatch - June 21, 2011

I feel the same, Tammy.

I am frugal and thrifty most of the time . . . but the occasional splurge (especially on affordable indulgences) adds to the joy of living in the here and now. For me, one such splurge is chocolate. 😉

14. Paula Tohline Calhoun - June 21, 2011

I am frugal or a tad bit extravagnt in irregular cycles, but generally more frugal than otherwise.. I can honestly say I have never been a Scrooge, and I enjoy giving away extravagantly more than buying more “stuff” for myself! Can’t talk about “stuff” withour thinking of George Carlin and one of his greatest routines ever:

nrhatch - June 21, 2011

I love Carlin . . . and this is one of his BEST routines ever. Thanks for adding the link.

15. kateshrewsday - June 21, 2011

That Boldt book looks wonderful. Definitely one for my reading list, Nancy. Thanks.

nrhatch - June 21, 2011

Thus far, it seems like time well spent ~ as I get farther into it, I may say more.

In the meantime, you might enjoy this quote, Kate:

“The modern world was born with the ticking of the clock.”
~ Zen & The Art of Making A Living.

“Time machines” shifted our world view ~ before the clock, we would never have thought to say there were not enough hours in the day.

The only time the clock stops ticking, for a time, is when we embrace the Eternal NOW.

Paula Tohline Calhoun - June 25, 2011

I love those quotes – they remind me of some of my feelings about time:


The concept of time is an invention of a bunch of people who must have had no idea what sort of havoc it would create. At least I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I would rather think them foolish than devilish! 😀

nrhatch - June 25, 2011

I hope you’re sleeping better now than when you wrote that post. Sleep is so important to my peace of mind.

If I’m tired, I’m frazzled.

16. Samyak - June 24, 2011

i grew up in a village in a poor family with my Mom having to manage three kids all by herself while my father toiled away in the city to send money back home to us. i remember how much a penny meant to me then. apparently money has devaluated so grossly in the meantime both in the money market and in my head. today ten times of that amount doesnt make me happy. i remember having to save for quite a while for my first plastic toy (before that, we had only mud toys).

and make no mistake, that was one hell of a happy childhood. i love those days when too little money used to buy too much of happiness. those times no doubt made me learn to appreciate value of money.

great post, nancy,

nrhatch - June 24, 2011

Thanks, Samyak! People today tend to think that, with enough money, they can “buy happiness.” But stuff is just stuff.

Happiness is never in things . . . it is in us. 😀

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