Friday, April 27, 2012

The price of a manicure

my favorite seat, in my favorite cafe

Years ago, after I turned 30, I decided that absolutely nothing was more important to me than to travel. It became, for me, the primary criteria by which every purchasing decision was made: "Does this get me closer to an airplane?"  If the answer was no, then I at least paused before proceeding.

The upshot of this discipline is that I was able to go to Europe twice a year, spending about 3 weeks there in total each year.  My co-workers exhibited a constant combination of annoyance, jealousy, and just plain incomprehension as to how this could be done.  

Here's how:

  1. As soon as I got a cell phone, I disconnected my land line.
  2. Packed lunches.
  3. Coffee from the free office coffee maker, rather than the expensive cafe downstairs.
  4. No cable television.
  5. A library card.
  6. Lots of walking.
  7. Buffing my nails rather than paying someone else to paint toxic chemicals on them.

I'm not against manicures, or frappucinos, or having someone serve me a meal.  But I wanted to travel, and that's what I wanted the most.

You can only spend each dollar you earn once.  If you're NOT spending your income on what you want to do, why not?  Obligations to others are understandable, but lack of focus on your part can be changed.

Think big.  Think long-term.  Think outside the normal behaviors.  Life the life you dream of living.

love,
Janice

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36 comments:

  1. LOVE this post! I feel like it is the story of my life right now. Thank you so much for writing this

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    1. ((((Stephanie)))) Sometimes, you just need things spelled out in front of you, and then you see the path you want to take. Let me know what you do!
      another hug,
      Vivienne

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    2. Hi Vivienne.

      I have started implementing some of the things you've mentioned in this post. I have always packed my lunch and taken tea everywhere (which makes me the crazy tea girl :). Plus i hate strangers doing my nails so i do it myself

      Now that i am graduating in July; everything for me is: do i really need to buy this or do i want to live in my own apartment as opposed to renting a room in someone's apartment? Needless to say, i have already started saving for my rental bond and furnishings thanks to your post :)

      xo Stephanie

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  2. Yes, and more yes! I have just plunked down some retirement cash to spend a week at a sewing workshop. It is an investment in my creativity.

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  3. Yes,yes, yes and hallelujah!

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  4. "you can only spend each dollar you earn once"...a no-brainer really isn't it?

    Simple, straight-forward advice.

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  5. Fantastic post. You're right, prioritizing makes all the difference. Sometimes I wonder how some people do it. I see them spending their money on what I feel is frivolous (like a $4.00 cup of coffee on the go) and I tend to judge them on that. I need to stop myself. Maybe that cup of coffee is one of their few indulgences and they save their money well in other areas. It's the same as when I see someone use their credit card for a purchase. This doesn't mean they're on the road to being in debt, it could mean they're being smart and using their card to rack up points. I too follow the same 7 points you've listed here, and I try do things for myself rather than pay someone else to do it for me (i.e. mani/pedi's, cleaning the house, etc...). It's amazing how redirecting funds can make an enormous difference: very liberating!

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    1. You can't hear this too much. And: "annoyance, jealousy, and just plain incomprehension as to how this could be done." You got that right too.

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  6. Yes! There is actually a term for this - "the latte effect". People can waste money by being nickeled and dimed to death.

    One really great website for saving money is "Get Rich Slowly"
    http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/

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  7. You are so very right about focus. You need focus to keep from squandering so many things- time, money, opportunities. Great post.

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    1. What a fantastic post and something I've recently made a decision to become *conscious* about after literally *spending* many, many years aimlessly trying to buy self-love through material goods. You know, confusing the belief that looking good made me more likable to myself and others.

      I replied to Kristien62 because she is SO right to add in the other components of lack of focus and the resulting squander of time, money and opportunities.

      Vivienne, just when it's been awhile since you posted something important about life, I come here to find this. Such simple information but SO totally life-changing and a fantastic reminder of how we can sometimes coast through life spending to our hearts content, only to realize we have nothing.

      Who taught you to think this way? I wish I had learned this when I was young and really want to convey it to my own children. But I missed the self-esteem boat and buying self-love is the path I remained on until recent discovery. I also now know the importance of teaching my children to love themselves so they don't go down the same road or..worse. So hard to do, though. Anyone have any suggested reading or advice on that front?

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    2. I am going to add even more to my already long comment! In an effort to think like a minimalist, I have been reading, miss minimalist. A reader over there made a comment that had me checking out her blog where I read the following: http://www.iwontbeahoardertoo.blogspot.com/2012/04/you-too-can-buy-achievement-for-low-low.html
      it touches on buying self-esteem and the importance of appearance in our work environment. Interesting food for thought.

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  8. I share your values and admire your discipline.

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  9. Great post and to the point. If you have one goal you need to be mindful of how much money you are putting towards things not that important to you personally. I have a really hard time paying for manicures and pedicures anymore when I can just do it myself. It's one small area, but it adds up to a lot of money not spent at the salon.

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  10. Great post and great ethos. I also work to be able to travel and often turn down offers from work colleagues to join them at lunch/coffee. When I say it's not in my budget it's usually met with a sideways glance and I just say I'm choosing not to spend money destined for something else - "you can only spend a dollar once". But, if I want a coffee I will go to a cafe with a friend and enjoy the experience rather than pick one to go in a paper cup.
    Love, love, love your blog!!!!
    Fiona

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  11. I totally agree. When hubby says "let's go out for dinner", I reply, "I'd rather cook and enjoy our own wine here and save the money for a great meal in Paris, or Sydney, or New York. I'm passed having "things". I'd rather have experiences>

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  12. For me it's a dance lesson. Everything is compared to that. Do I want a new deck more than I want a year's worth of dance lessons? Never! New car? No way, I'll drive my old one and keep dancing. I so agree with you.

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  13. Yes! I've been stepping sideways, glancing out the corner of my eye at this truth - & specifically with regard to Travel: which I haven't been able to "afford" for far too long. Part of my (lack) of rationale has been that the little that I can accomplish at a time, won't help anyway. My plan is to start to live more simply, like I did many years ago - because what I really want most is to travel until I can't.
    I've been enjoying your blog so much & expect to send you a scarf picture soon. Thanks!

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  14. I am a frugal person and rather spend a little more money on one great shirt instead of buying five. Several years ago I began to splurge on a business class ticket for my yearly trip to Germany. The holiday starts the moment you board the plane! But this year the ticket prices have increased so much that I can't save enough by brown-bagging, cooking dinner at home and doing my own nails. Maybe!

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  15. This is how I bought my first house on my own - Do I want a new dress or do I want a house? A pizza take out or a house? A coke from the machine or a house? Knowing what you really want and focussing on that is so powerful.

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  16. Marvelous post. Tell us, what cafe is this? I'm surprised no one else has asked yet.

    Amities,
    Marsi

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    1. It's La Terasse du 7eme, at the Place de L'Ecole Militaire. I'm not sure it's my absolute favorite cafe, because I haven't tried all of them yet, but I have some fond memories of hanging out here...
      sigh...
      V

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  17. Ahhh I needed this reminder!!!

    Veronica
    Tassels Twigs and Tastebuds

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  18. Excellent advice for obtaining your goal. You're a smart gal.
    Sam

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  19. Sensible, practical advice and I wish to hell my husband and I were doing this now. We tell ourselves we enjoyed our lives fully before the children were born. They came late, I was 35 & 36 when I birthed out the boys. Now, they are out of the house. In fact, they just moved out (again) today. No, really. We have the 85 yr old MIL to look after. I work full time and the spousal unit is a photographer. He's in his second, make that fourth, life and he's good. No retirement in sight. But inklings of travel, outside the U.S., are coming back. Now, if I can get him to cancel the damn cable and quit buying camera equipment, we may have a shot!

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  20. so,so true, I am an old lady, proud of saying this!!! , I followed what you have just said and now my retirement is better than if I had satisfied all my whims without a goal in sight.

    Annie v.

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  21. "you can only spend each dollar you earn once"....THANK YOU!!!

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  22. Thanks! Reframing something, that for me, is a struggle. Keep your eye on the prize, as they say!

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  23. My parents are both retired, and they travel, travel, travel! They are not particularly frugal, but they are certainly not frivolous and will tend to eat in rather than dine out, for example. Between this moderate living, good jobs when they DID have to work for money, and us kids who urge them to spend their money on themselves rather than planning to leave us inheritances, they thoroughly enjoy the liberty they have now, have traveled to 4 continents, are planning their next trip to Europe, and remain healthy and engaged by these fabulous life experiences.

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  24. this was a really inspiring article! I like the quote "you can only spend each dollar once".

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