Category Archives: Money

The Joy of Thrifting

I am an avid thrift store shopper. And I think you should be one too. Here’s why:

If you are striving to be socially conscious as I am, shopping for second hand items is a good practice. You are not purchasing brand spanking new items that were made by poor people for pennies an hour in a poorly ventilated, possibly unsafe factory in an underdeveloped country.  You are part of the solution here, instead of contributing to the problem.

Thrift store shopping makes you feel smart. Who doesn’t appreciate feeling smart sometimes? Often I find high end brands of clothing or purses which appear to have been purchased by the original owner and worn approximately once. What would have cost you over $100 brand new at a fancy schmancy store, you got for a measly $12.99! Like this lovely purse I recently acquired.

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A Brighton bag, no less!

You are saving money! That to me, is always a good thing. The money saved can be used for more important, meaningful things and/or activities. Like giving to a charity that you believe in. Like vacations, dinners out, or if you really insist on being super practical, to save for the future.

Thrift store shopping is fun! By taking the time beforehand to write down a list of specific items you wish to snag, which as a planner especially trips my trigger, you can channel your inner child and take yourself on a scavenger hunt! Another bonus: while you are using your “little eye to spy” for the items on your list, you sometimes come across that one thing that you didn’t even know you needed. A fun, little surprise just for you! My Brighton bag pictured above is a great example of that.

If you’re environmentally conscious, as I feel we all should be in this day and age, shopping at thrift stores lessens the amount of stuff in our landfills. We need to be doing all we can to respect our dear Mother Nature.

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Do we really need to add to this?

Thrift store shopping can positively impact the lives of others in your community. Many thrift stores, like the one I frequent (ARC), employs people with intellectual disabilities, so spending your money there benefits this worthy cause.

And you can kill two birds with one stone at a thrift store! As in, donating bags of gently used, in season items at the same place you are shopping, at the same time. You can get rid of your unwanted stuff and get yourself some wanted stuff instead. Which saves gas money and your precious time to boot!

So go forth and get your thrift store groove on, smart readers! Always remember that another’s person’s junk could be your personal treasure.

4 Points from a discontented Polly

I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.

My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway,  only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.

I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.

It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox. 

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Here I go!

Here are a few things that I believe in my heart and mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:

We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans.  And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?

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Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this.  We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies,  such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

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It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.

I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.

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There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.

 

 

 

Monday Money Musings

There is a multitude of tracks I could take this one on. This may or may not be a regular feature on this blog. But it is a topic on which I have much to say, truth be told. Thoughts in my head re: money right now…..

  1. ) How much do I want and for what? And why? Always remember that how you use money shows what you value, what your priorities are.
  2. ) Smart financial moves/timeline for me and the Hubs.
  3. ) Totally bi-polar thoughts about winning the lottery.
  4. ) Compare current national budget/priorities and what I would change if I had the POWER
  5. ) Money as a means to an end.
  6. ) Somewhere in the Bible it says that money is the root of all evil. And I will not be evil. Spiritual lessons/deep theological thinking of money and it’s place in my life.
  7. Follow the money (you’d be right if you suspected this was related to the current shit show going on in our nation’s capital).
  8. ) I want to have just enough money. Having too much money would just make life unnecessarily complicated.

Okay, I have decided to pick #8. It’s my favorite number for a boatload of reasons. The best version of myself, the one that is emotionally intelligent, humble, and peaceful at heart, fervently wants “just enough” when it comes to the almighty dollar.

But the question is what, for me, is “just enough”? Is it enough for all the monthly bills to be paid with a bit of spare change left over to buy the simple things in life, like a reasonably priced bottle of vino, or a cup of coffee and a cupcake to enjoy while chatting with my new Colorado girlfriends? Is it “just enough” to fund all of my fanciful vacation dreams (Hawaii, Germany, Canada, Cuba, Sonoma, I could go on and on and on)? Is it “just enough” to financially contribute to causes I believe in that need the cash now more than ever (i.e.,Planned Parenthood, the millions of Go Fund Me campaigns for folks who had the misfortune of being poor and sick in Trump’s America)?

These are all questions, for me, to struggle with.

I think it is highly important that I am honest and clear about my privilege when it comes to money.  First off, I am a white American. That is an advantage that I believe I may never fully comprehend.  How I was raised and the trials/tribulations (aka good and bad choices) of “adulting” have informed my relationship to these pieces of green paper. I grew up in a middle class household. Both of my parents worked. Hard. They had iron-clad work ethics. They were great at saving, so much so that they were able to fully fund 4 years of college for me, for which I will be forever indebted to them. I married a guy who is a very smart, hard-working scientist who over the course of about 25 years has worked his way to a very comfortable salary. Because of this, I was able to be a stay at home mom for the better part of the first 5 years of our children’s lives. As a family, we went on a few nice vacations. We have had the financial ability to purchase 5 homes and sell 3 (making a profit each time). My primary reason for obtaining paid employment for myself was because I wanted to. I enjoyed learning new things on the job, making new friends, and my confidence as a woman grew tremendously from bringing home a little extra bacon. I’ve been so, so lucky.

At this point in my life, however, I have the luxury of being unencumbered by paid employment. I get to make my own daily schedule. Essentially, I am time wealthy but not financially wealthy. It’s hard to say which one is better. Honestly, it depends on the day.

Yet, the thought of raking in my own dough again is totally beckoning me right now. I know that sounds gross and greedy. Two things I don’t wish to ever be called. Maybe I should just increase my volunteer hours at the food bank and/or find another volunteer gig. That would be so rewarding.  But then I may not be able to fulfill my vacation fantasies. This is a first world “problem” obviously. I come from a place of privilege in comparison to my peers in most other countries. And that I must not forget.

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