11 July 2008

On The Cheap..

As I sit here contemplating the sharp rise in the price of EVERYTHING, and the subsequent shrinkage of what is left each month after I pay the bills, I am trying to find comfort in the activities that do not cost money.. Sometimes it isn't easy..

Sometimes I can only see what I can't do.. I can't go camping next weekend, because I went last weekend and the insane gas prices deem going again so soon not altogether a wise choice for my budget.. I started feeding my cats a cheaper kind of food. A cheaper kind of Nutro that I buy at Petsmart, but not the Natural Choice kind which sort of makes me feel bad, even though they seem to like it better (good thing they're not picky, Purina may be only weeks away).. I've seriously started to pay attention to the cost of food when I go grocery shopping.. I cancelled my subscription to Audible.com.. It seems like each week there is a new thing I can no longer justify spending money on..

It's not as though being financially challenged is anything new to me. When I got out of the Army and was jumping through hoops trying to get the VA to fix my knee, things were a lot worse. Back then I was living with friends and collecting food stamps..

Maybe I'd just assumed that the days of stressing about each purchase was a thing of the distant past.. Maybe I need times like this to make me remember the joys in things and activities that don't cost money..

So, here's my list of favorite things to do for free...

1) Spend time with Alex.. Today when I got home from work, she woke up and, half asleep, came up to me wanting some love. It made me remember how very lucky I am that I have her (even if I do have a dead opossum in my back yard that I need to go dispose of)..

2) Reading.. I have about a hundred books in my house that I've collected from various places and have yet to read. After my grandma passed away, I took two boxes of her books. She loved to read and had so many great books. I recently read The Alchemist, which I thought was wonderful and would recommend to everyone. Right now I'm reading Stolen Lives. (There's nothing to make you appreciate what you have than reading about the inhumane suffering that others have endured).. My favorite book of my grandma's was Reading Lolita in Tehran. Not only did I read it, but then I got it from Audible and listened to it twice, unable to imagine what it would be like to live in a place where you had so little freedom that you even have to read in secret..

3) Podcasts.. This is my new favorite addiction.. Every night at work I listen to hours of podcasts; This American Life, WNYC's Radio Lab, CBC's Vinyl Cafe, The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, This Week in Science, Car Talk, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, Masterworks Broadway Podcast Theater, etc, etc... Lately it's the science and history podcasts that I most enjoy. Every night I learn so much!!

So, here's my question.. What do you like to do on the cheap?? And if you have any podcasts you could recommend, I have a few hours during the week that I'm still looking to fill...


Blogger leaner said...

I don't have an iPod, and don't listen to podcasts, but I love LOVE car talk! Not sure what it is about "Click and Clack", but I adore that show.

My whole world revolves around my kids, so things we do cheaply are not really things you would find fun. (Unless you like story time at the library?) I could use some suggestions for this, too. While Will is deployed, I will definitely be looking for cheap activities.

7/11/2008 7:52 PM

Blogger hairball said...

I love making art out of junk I find in the garage. I keep finding plywood scraps and have been painting wall hangings for nieces. Also I bake sugar cookies for people. I frost them to fit a theme that fits whatever is going on in their lives (sugar cookies are cheap to make) Another goofy thing is volunteering my time for whatever service people need. I think I am going to call Grandma next week and start cleaning her house just to kill some time and to see her happy.

7/12/2008 3:22 PM

Blogger Mo said...

You must have a great job that allows you to listen to This American Life at night! I am envious, sounds like my dream job. :)

7/25/2008 4:59 PM

Blogger Alex's Human said...


Hello there! Do not be too envious, I drive a truck from Portland to Seattle at night. Not exactly a dream job, but it does help with my house payment.. Listening to great podcasts all night is just the perk. That and not having to deal with too many dumb people..

7/28/2008 8:16 PM


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