Saturday, February 2, 2013


I'm a senior citizen, so I've been around awhile.  I am no genius, but I do try to have a sensible approach to life.  I am also a stressed person, and have had to work out strategies to cope with what comes at us daily.  I thought I would start this blog to talk about those thoughts.

There are many types of intelligences. I have always admired what I consider the most important type: wisdom.  I can't claim to have lots of wisdom, but I try to learn what I can from those who do.

The world is crazed... I think... But it's the only world we've got, and we have to live in it.



We are all looking for the meaning of life...

The great writers, artists, philosophers of the past and present give us some very
sound advice. Many societies have proverbs that have special meaning.






I remember, as a child, my father had an aquarium. It was a small tank with small tropical fish. I loved to sit and just stare at it, and found it very relaxing. He was an elementary school principal. He had an aquarium in his office. When children were sent to him for
disturbing behavior, he would allow them to look at the fish. It seemed to have a calming affect on them.

I am not advising that everyone go out and get an aquarium. It takes a lot of work to maintain it and that might not be for too many people in these hectic busy times. However, I mention the aquarium because it is one relaxation technique which worked on me in the past.

Here are some well-known relaxation techniqus.

1. exercise, particularly yoga, or Tai chi Chuan
2. meditation
3. relaxation breathing
4. listening to soothing music
5. recordings of natural phenomena, such as rain showers,ocean waves etc. specifically
   made for relaxation.
6. There are relaxation youtubes. Here is a link to one with an aquarium: 

I made some youtubes designed for relaxation, and they are shorter than the one above.
The visuals are abstract designs with no identifiable meaning attached to each.
Here is one:

There are many many more strategies; what works for one might not work for another. One needs to experiment and see what works. 

There are many methods listed on the internet. Type in ' relaxation techniques' and links will appear.   

This is a tough one!  People these days are lucky to have jobs...and sometimes, in order to make ends meet, they need more than one.  So how can one possibly put money aside for savings?  Perhaps it is not possible; perhaps it is.

Well, the tendency is to spend whatever is available. However, if you have a strategy for "forced" savings, the money put aside is simply not available. Here are some strategies I thought up.


In 1990 a friend of mine said she saved all single dollar bills which had a "7"
in the middle. That number represented the Federal Reserve District where those
particular bills were earmarked.  The "7" region is in Illinois. Living in NY means that
though we do get '7s', we are more likely to get bills with a '2', because '2' is the
Federal Reserve district for New York and the states surrounding NY.

In 1990, the singles, fives, tens, and twenties all had the number in the middle of
the bill. In recent years, only the  singles have that format remaining.

In 1990 I started putting away all bills with a 7 in the middle. I put away singles, fives, tens and twenties. I use the money regularly for extra needs.

 If I find a dollar bill with a 7 in the middle, I save it.

If I find a five, ten, or twenty dollar bill with a 7 as the first or
last number in the serial, I save it.

I do not save  the bills that have the 7 under the serial, but that is a choice too.

The total as of December, 2012:  $94, 504
 Too bad I don't have any of it! If  I  put that money in the bank (and interest rates were higher in the 1990's and early 2000's)  my 7's account would be much higher.
But I did keep a record of what was saved. That is how I know how much.


In December, 2012, I started putting away ALL singles. I intend to put what I 
collect into a savings account.  

 Counting JUST Singles

Total as of the end of February:                        $384
Total as of the end of March :                            $434
Total as of the end of April:                                $490 
Total as of the end of the first week of May    $520

I am also  collecting '5s'-- If you can do that, all the better!

 Counting both singles and Fives

As of the end of February, 2013:                         $564
As of the end of March, 2013:                             $ 749
As of the end of April, 2013:                                $840
As of the end of the first week of May:               $1000

I now put the money into my savings account twice a week, and though the interest is
low, it is better than nothing! 


You can set aside all the coins that you accumulate.  If
you have separate containers for pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters,
it would make it easier to sort.  Get some paper wraps from the bank and
make coin rolls. Take them to the bank and put the coins into a savings account.
Although I don't keep records, I usually collect about $60 or $70 in coins in
a two month period.

Fill  a hat, or any kind of container with slips of paper. On each slip of paper write: $1,  $2, or $5  or $20  or any  amounts that is affordable for you. Make sure you have at least three different amounts on the papers...(Keeps up the interest!)

Each day, or twice a week, or whatever interval you wish, pull a paper out of the container.  Take that amount and save it in a special place.  Make it a routine to do this on the same day you specify. For example, I might determine to do it when I get up  every Monday and Wednesday mornings. Make it a habit and follow it. See how much you accumulate.


Just saving coins is saving.  Take come small containers, such as the
containers for soup from a Chinese restaurant.
Label each container with the type of coin saved:

pennies, dimes, nickels quarters

I save dimes, nickels and pennies only.
When the container is filled, get coin wraps from the bank.
Some banks have a coin machine where you throw the coins in and the coins are
counted for you.


....being cheap. Nor does being frugal necessarily result in depressing deprivation.
Being frugal means being smart and making choices, at a time when for most people, money is tending to be limited, more or less.

   I have an unusual opinion as to when the American economy started to slip.
For me, it started to go downward in 1607 with the settlement of the Jamestown colony.  Why did it start going down during the colonial times?  I believe that infused into the American national character was the erroneous concept that resources are unlimited; opportunity is unlimited; that in America we can want and HAVE just about everything, if not now, then ultimately...and, that we are entitled to it. NOT TRUE! There are limits for most of us.

 In the United States, there have been many downturns. There was the panic of 1819, the panic of 1837...and many more. The great depression of the 1930's was worldwide. We seemed to recover for all of those or did we? 


  In the 1990's a remarkable woman by the name of Amy Dacyczyn (pronounced--decision) appeared on talk shows illustrating ways to be frugal. She came to be known as the "frugal zealot" and produced newsletters, now sold collectively called 
The Tightwad Gazette.  

(sold on Amazon)

Amy Dacyczyn  presented many ways of being frugal. Though she and her husband are now retired, they still follow their frugal way of life. 

The basic idea is this:  though one practice or another might save only a little,
all together, these practices will save quite a lot.  It reminds me of  something Sherlock Holmes said about clues in the mysteries written by Sir Arthur Connan Doyle:  Taken individually, they (clues/facts) are suggestive; taken  all together they are almost conclusive.


  1. Understanding that most of us can not have it all, we learn to make choices.
      Once you make a choice, try to stick to it.

      Here is a story about that:

and a  sing-along song:

   2.In everyday living, there are ways to avoid waste. These are simple things, but they add up to savings.

   a) The paper towel idea:  

I was wasting a lot of paper towels. One thing you can do is use cloth whenever possible (although that would increase the wash load--but still less expensive than using paper towels.   For cleaning, making rags out of worn out clothing that is too worn for  Salvation Army donations can be cut out to make cleaning rags.

As for the paper towels, someone suggested in a letter to the Tightwad Gazette to
cut the paper towels in half and use only half a sheet at a time.  If any of the brands
that have sheets already pre-cut in half are on sale, you might stock up on those.

  b) The Shampoo idea:

Most shampoos work equally well. Most people use much more shampoo than they need. Try using less and see the results.  When the bottle /container of shampoo is
finished, try putting some water  in it  and shake when washing your hair.  There often is some shampoo stuck to the sides of the container.

 c) Dish washing liquid idea:

The same policy can be used with dish washing solution.
In addition, instead of pouring dish washing solution onto a cloth, pour a little into
a small container and fill with a small amount of water. That can last the whole day.


Tack is defined as having " a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense." 

People often do not realize that something said or done tactfully can be very powerful, sometimes more so than being aggressive and pushy.  I remember an incident that goes back to my early life. I was volunteering at the Sierra Club with a group of other people. The person in charge would direct us as to what to do.  I don't remember any of the instructions he gave , but he would say something in this manner: "I wonder if it would be a good idea to put the materials in the envelopes before addressing them."  And that was precisely what we did. It stayed in my mind all these years.

Tack is being considerate of other people's feelings. Tack is gentle...but we must remember that gentle can be very strong and powerful.

When speaking with others, try to think about how you would want something said to you. 

 Modifying words help. One such word is "actually." That word tends to tone down
whatever you are saying. Adding other words help as well.

Not Tactful:  I want to eat in Burger King and nowhere else.

Tactful: Actually, I was hoping we could eat at Burger King, which I would prefer to
              eating in any other place. How do you feel about it?

Being tactful here might not get you to Burger King, but it would get you some
sort of favorable response, often including a compromise. Not being tactful
generates hostility...and even if you succeed in going to Burger King, there might
be resentment. That makes your time out unpleasant.
Tack requires  thought before speaking. This does not mean that every time you speak you have to sit in a long contemplation as to what to say. A person can train him or herself to instantaneously  and very quickly reflect upon what he or she will be saying. What is required is a willingness to understand how the other person is feeling, and practice in doing so. Before meeting with a person, think about that person's personality...what would press that person's buttons; what are that person's vulnerabilities. With an understanding of that in your mind, the tendency would be to be more tactful. 

The key element in being tactful is a willingness to be so.


Common sense is defined in the Merrium Webster online Dictionary as having"sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or fact." Common sense is a form of wisdom; a judgment about people and situations in a sensible, practical way.

Common sense is an important intelligence. There can be highly educated people who have poor common sense. There could be poorly educated people, even illiterate people, who have a high degree of common sense.  

Common sense is not only based upon experience, but perceptions into that experience.
It involves an intuitive sense of  the reality of people's personalities and  how they function in life situations.  A person with good  common sense makes realistic, practical and sensible decisions.  A person with good common sense knows that it is normal to have  strengths and weaknesses,  has an awareness of what those are in him or herself and organizes his or her life accordingly.

For example: 

A person with good common sense who wants to travel would not choose a place with a high reputation for danger to foreigners.

A person with good common sense would not go into debt buying luxury items that are not necessary for practical living.

A person with good common sense would not engage in activities that are dangerous and way about his or her ability level to perform those activities.

A person with good common sense would not get into futile arguments.

 A person with good common sense would not eat foods that have previously, and consistently made him or her feel ill or at least uncomfortable.