Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Stay at AIRBNB

I don't think the purpose of retiring early is so one can sit around at home watching TV or reading.  Travelling when you are a young retire is (in my opinion) the main reason to retire early.  However, travel can be expensive.   There are many ways to reduce your costs, and using airbnb is one of them.

AIRBNB  (pronounced, air b & b) is a web-site which allows individuals to rent out a room in their house, or their entire house or apartment.

It is normally used by the younger set, but my brother and I used it during a recent road trip.  We stayed at 4 places, and 3 of them were excellent.  

Here is the wikipedia description

Airbnb is an online marketplace for vacation rentals that connects users with property to rent with users looking to rent the space. Users are categorized as “Hosts” and “Guests;” both of which must register with Airbnb using a variety of means. A valid email address and valid telephone were initially the only requirements to build a unique user profile on the website, however as of April 2013, a scan of a government issued ID is now required.[57]Profiles include details such as user reviews and shared social connections to build a reputation and trust among users of the marketplace.[58] Other elements of the Airbnb profile include user recommendations and a private messaging system.[59]In addition to providing personal information, hosts display listing details including priceamenitieshouse rules, imagery, and detailed information about their neighborhood. Due to the nature of the business, a merit system is in place to allow guests and hosts to leave references and ratings which are displayed to the public in order to provide an evaluation method.[60]

As with hotels, the price is often cheaper the closer to the date of stay.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Deprivation leads to later appreciation

I have always noticed how much I appreciate something after not having it for a while.  For example, when we had the blackout in the Northeast U.S., and I didn't have electricity for 2 days.   What a delight when it came on.

Now the Wall Street Journal reinforces what I have long believed, in this article

"Can Money Buy Happiness"

This could even mean depriving yourself of your possessions for a while, perhaps by lending them or sharing them with someone else. Elizabeth Dunn, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and co-author of the book “Happy Money,” recently conducted an experiment where she sent people home with a big bag of chocolate, telling some of them to eat as much of it as they could and others that they were forbidden to eat it. A third group could choose how much to eat.
The result? The people who had been forbidden from eating chocolate were able to enjoy their next chocolate bar much more than those who’d either eaten a lot or consumed their normal amount. “Giving something up temporarily can actually help to preserve our capacity to enjoy it,” Prof. Dunn says.

click here for link to article

Friday, November 7, 2014

Do You REALLY Need to buy it...?

The "shopping therapy" practiced by so many Americans can really cause a problem with finances.

There's a fairly good article in Psychology Today which details many reasons.


I think one of the biggest reasons is people want to keep up with, or impress, their friends and relatives.

A guy I use to work with bought a ring for his wife when we were out at the mall for lunch one day.  It wasn't really expensive, but not some junk either.  He bought it at a jewelry store.   I asked him what was the occasion and he said "we are going to see my brother's, and my wife likes to have some new jewelry to show off to her sister-in-laws".   Apparently a couple of the brothers had done extremely well, and there must be quite a bit of competition among  the sister-in-laws.  

So I am assuming that insecurity is one of the main reasons we feel compelled to buy things to impress other people.   I don't know how one "learns" to be secure in your own skin.  Maybe a bit of therapy, or just reading Psychology Today.   When I discussed my problem with procrastination with a therapist, he told me to read an article in Psychology Today which addressed the problem, and it was great advice (and not
so expensive).    I learned why I procrastinate, but learning to change the behavior is not so easy.  I am sure
the same will be true of learning NOT to buy.  

Maybe one of the best tools for learning to not buy things is to know what you need or want to buy.  Even before you go to the thrift store.   I did this last week, and walked out empty handed.  I was a bit disappointed, because surely there was SOMETHING I needed (or wanted).  But I kept reminded myself of all that "stuff" I already have, and need to get rid of, and make the wise decision to not drag more stuff home.

So, make a plan of what you want to buy.  Then, set it aside for a few days, or a week, to review and see if you still think you need or want that item.   I guess that would be the "cooling off period".  Works for lots of things.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Easy Apple -Banana-Raisin salad

One of the easiest ways to save money is to learn how to cook...from scratch.

Now that apples are quite cheap by the bag ($2.99 for a 3 lb bag), I have been making
an easy salad my mother use to make.   It is an apple and banana salad (add raisins if you

Take 2 apples.  Cut each in half (lengthwise through the core).  Cut out the core.  Chop
the apples in bite size pieces (leave the skin on).  Put the apple pieces in a bowl.
Add approximately 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and stir until apple pieces are coated.

Peel a banana. Cut into about 1/4 inch pieces, add to apple pieces and stir until all is

You and add a handful of raisins at any time.

This is how I like to prepare this salad, but any order will work.  It might even
be easier to put the mayonnaise in the bowl first, with raisins, and the add the
other.  The trick is to get apples and bananas coated with mayonnaise so they
don't turn brown.

This needs to be eaten within a day or so for best flavor.