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Winning & Losing & Paying Attention

So much of what we do in this lifestyle – day to day attempts to manage our dollars and our lives responsibly – so much of it is just our best attempts. Sometimes those work out. Sometimes they crash and burn. If you’re lucky, you break even somewhere between the two.

Exhibit A: $50 and a flyer from Whole Foods, with which I am demonstrating two of the three principles found in the above title.


Winning: A car stereo, no longer in use, replaced for The Husbands birthday (with another slightly used model), sold on Craigslist for $50. I could have sold this on Ebay. I thought I would have to, in fact. But, sold it did. In a few days. With minimal fanfare other than a horribly lost and late buyer. No seller fees, no shipping costs. Unneeded stuff becomes cash. Abracadabra.

Paying Attention: I’ve got a freezer full of beef and pork. That’s all well and good, but sometimes people need chicken. I’ve scoped out the market and the very best deal I can find is $2.99/lb for local, organic, whole chicken. This happens to come from THE hippie-yuppy chain, but a deal it is. On a recent trip to said chain, I grabbed the sale flyer (as is my way) noting an upcoming one day sale on those chickens. For $1.99/lb (!!!). Be still my heart. I’m there. The flyer also noted this was $2.00 off the everyday price. Say what? $2.99 – $1.99 does not $2 equal. That one day sale is being sweetened by a forever price hike of $1. Confirmed in the meat case. New price $3.99. I’ve got a date with that sale (marked on my calendar already). Free up some room in the freezer! The question is only how many to buy.

Losing: For all my attempts, I strike out. Sometimes more than others. That stereo I managed to sell is nicely countered by a bag of very old books. Books I thought I could cash in for, well cash.


Book selling I sought a used book store of that persuasion for, making a not quite special trip, but going slightly out of our way, calling in advance to ensure buying hours, paying a little parking, hanging out for 20 minutes-ish. Whew. You see how this ends? By being told (very politely) thanks, but no thank. Worth something, but not for us. Schlep your books somewhere else.

And the list goes on: Store credit I tried to use for a specific item. A specific item still out of stock (losing). Picking up chicken feed on the way to the used book store, because the destinations are remarkably close, and we’ll need chicken feed next week anyway (paying attention). Trying the new brand of chicken feed that’s $5 cheaper a bag because its not certified organic (winning).

It’s the ebb and flow of money. Of energy. Of trying. For every win, a fail. Imperfections in your system. Corrected, only to discover the next deviation. Occasionally, if you are lucky, you hit a streak of autopilot. Your stars align. Your tips and tricks are finely honed skills not requiring much forethought. You win, win, win. Without the losing or even much attention. But, most days are like this. A mixed bag. Lessons learned. Car stereos can be sold locally. Rare old books probably can’t. And sale prices are oft deceiving. It’s still $50 toward 2013 goals. Maybe someone on ebay wants those books. How many $1.99/lb chickens will fit in my freezer?

What about you? Wins? Losses? Catching your attention? Do you keep score? And is that useful?

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Erica / Northwest Edible Life

Fact: girls who can do math are sexy. Those books look cool. Turn them into a lamp and sell them on Etsy. (Kidding.)


Oh yes, I can relate. I’ve been so careful with gas. Formerly, it stretched 5 days and now it’s stretching 8-9 days by paying attention. But then my savings is taken away by a dastardly trip to a medical cinic and losing a hubcap. I save water like a mad woman, but then the washing machine goes out. I water potted plants with my washing machine water. Bummer. I bought coffee in bulk quantities and paid $50.00 upfront, only to lose the savings in an unexpected floral purchase for a coworker who lost her mother. However, people are always worth more than money.–Always. And so it goes.


Some days are good, some days are bad. Focus on the good, and bounce back from the bad. Good luck!

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