Idea Machine: A Penny Saved?

Idea Machine: A Penny Saved?

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It’s Day 25 for me in the Idea Machine project. I’m blogging my way through Claudia Altucher’s book, Become an Idea Machine, as I reconfigure The Ben Franklin Follies.

My original intention for The Ben Franklin Follies was to make the site a place to explore ideas, but didn’t execute that very well. Over the past two years, however, I’ve slowly figured out how where I want to go with my vision. The Idea Machine project is helping me move forward in one aspect of that.

I know the overall reconfiguration will help me help others along the path to health, wealth and wisdom.

Benjamin Franklin is famous for popularizing the maxim, “A penny saved is a penny earned” and that maxim, in many ways, goes to the heart of today’s topic.

Claudia’s prompt [affiliate link] is to list 10 things that I deny myself permission to buy and explain why.

I explain something of a universal “why” about my spending habits at the end of the list.

Here’s my list.

10 Things I’ve Been Denying Myself Permission to Purchase

1. Monthly visit to the masseuse

Claudia mentions an unwillingness to take the time for a full day at the spa for a massage, facial, etc. For me, it’s less about time than a feeling that a regular massage would be an indulgence that I can’t quite afford in my budget, especially if I’m spending money on organic produce and grassfed meats.

The reality is that the occasional massage is a proactive expense that saves on medical and health costs in the future. The health benefits of massage therapy are well-documented in health research.

2. Gym membership

Related to number 1 has been an unwillingness to join a gym, even though I’ve been wanted to resume strength-training for several years. Most of the gyms that are convenient in location are quite expensive because they offer lots of amenities I didn’t need or want.

Fortunately, this issue was solved when a new gym opened very near my house with an emphasis on weight-training and cardio equipment. Classes are optional extras, so I got in for the minimum and it’s working out great. Very pleased to have joined Flex Fitness. Loving it.

My maxim is that being physically healthy through fitness activities (and real food) saves me lots of money in healthcare expenses. I could write a book about how this has played out in my life. Actually, that’s something I will do.

3. A Certain Pair of Boots from L.L.Bean

This are on my wish list. I’ll probably order them this weekend. I’ve been waiting for the past 3 months for the boots to go on sale. They haven’t gone on sale yet, so I guess I’ll buy them anyway.

They’re gorgeous, made in Brazil (not China). I haven’t been willing to spend the money to buy these because I have two pairs of boots that are suitable enough to cover the same outfits these boots will go with. But the reality is that one of those two pairs of boots are fairly dated. These boots are just what I want!

These are a want, not a need, so I’ve been disciplined to wait to buy them. But I can use them as an incentive and reward for finishing several big projects this weekend that will lead to income production.

If I finish those projects I can buy these boots Sunday as a reward!

4. New DSLR and/or a Macro Lens

I have a nice entry-level Nikon DSLR, a D3100 and three lens. I really want to take a lot of close-up nature photos (like my honeybees) and shoot better food photos. I also want to use the DSLR as a second camera for HD video projects.

The D3100 is suitable for most (but not all) of what I want to to do at this stage and I have plenty left to learn to use it more effectively. So, for that reason, I’ve held off on upgrading to a D7100 or D5200.

If I’m going to buy anything in this category, the better choice would be to buy a macro lens, not a new camera body. I bought a 35mm fixed lens for myself at Christmas and that’s a good lens for food photos. But I keep waiting on the macro because I can’t decide whether to spend the $500 – $900 for the lens I want. It’s not in my budget and I’m being frugal here. Sometimes there’s a nice sale that provides a $100 off the purchase of camera body AND an 85mm macro lens, which is one of the two I’m interested in. In that situation, buying both at the same time would actually save $100. I’m still not ready to make a decision on this one.

5. Order My Grassfed Beef Online

Here’s where I can really save money by ordering directly from a ranch that sells grassfed beef and poultry online. I found a fairly local supplier in Georgia and, while the prices are still higher than conventional beef, it’s much MORE economical than buying weekly at the grocery store.

So why haven’t I ordered? It would be less expensive and more convenient. Hmmm…..

I originally delayed because my limited freezer space was somewhat maxed out. I’ve slowly worked my way through the food I’ve had stored in the freezer. At this point, I really need to make the order!

6. Photo Mechanic Software

Because I am a photography buff (see item 4), I have thousands of high resolution digital photos stored mainly on SD cards. At first I was using iPhoto to import and view. Then iPhoto became buggy and dysfunctional. I think it’s because I have about 60g-70g of photos and that was as of Fall 2013.

For two years, I’ve searched off and on for an alternative that would let me store, tag, search and view my digital photos on an external hard drive. Don’t like Bridge in Adobe. And then Adobe moved to the software-as-a-service model so that eliminated Bridge entirely.

Recently, I stumbled upon two options: Lyn which is about $20 and Photo Mechanic, which is pro and about $150. Although I don’t like the idea of spending $150 for software of this nature, the company has been around for a long time and the software gets raves from pro photographers.

Why haven’t I bought it yet? Schedule is so tight that I haven’t had time to buy, download, install and learn to use.

A while back I established the personal rule that I won’t buy new software until I plan to begin using it at the moment I purchase it. I found that I was paying for software that I wasn’t using and, in some cases, forgetting that I had downloaded the app or paid for a service yet not even installed it or configured!

7. Virtual Assistant to Help With Publishing Online Content

I desperately need a VA to help me create the visuals I want to use for all of the content I’m creating. I need them to customize the images for various social platforms. I could also use someone (maybe the same person) to do all the tagging and related configuration activity that goes along with publishing a blog post.

For every blog post I write, I spend another 20-30 minutes (sometimes more) creating visuals and configuring all the style settings and SEO info I want for a post. Given the volume of content I have backlogged, this time commitment is not sustainable. I’m working IN my business, not focusing on the value-added activities.

I’ve used several contractors on eLance and PeoplePerHouse for one-off projects and I don’t have a problem with using virtual assistants.

So why haven’t I taken the plunge? I know that to use a VA effectively I need to have defined the specific job duties and responsibilities and created the publishing specs and system parameters I want the VA to follow. I haven’t done that yet and, until I do, I would be wasting money…..

8. Monthly House-Cleaning Help

I’m frugal. I can’t convince myself to spend $75 or more each month for someone to come in for 2-3 hours and do tasks that I can build into the day. But I really need and want to do this. Maybe I will. That’s the price I was quoted for 3-hours a month in the city where I live.

9. New Hair Dryer

This one is kind of silly. About 2 weeks ago my hair dryer started shorting out. Apparently, the wire adjacent to the handle has come loose, so I have to hold the hair dryer a certain way to keep it running. I keep intending to stop by Target on the way home from work and buy a new one but I haven’t remembered to do so or, when I’ve remembered, I’ve just put it off for another day. To-do list!

10. Cuisinart Food Processor

I have a mini Cuisinart that is great for chopping small quantities of things I need when cooking, but I could really use a larger one for bigger projects. Or maybe just a nicer blender.

I’ve held off on buying one because I have limited cabinet space and storage space for larger kitchen items. Maybe if I reorganize I could find somewhere to put it!


Have you ever considered WHY you won’t spend money on things you want?

It is a highly-practical exercise and can reveal a lot about how you think and feel about money and financial wealth.

As I created this list in my journal, I started to realize some assumptions I still have about spending that related some things I learned about myself over the past few years in relation to money and finance.

Those lessons are something that I have on my writing list to work on in the coming months in conjunction with a book of autobiographical essays about the first half of my life.

Confession: I got really busy at work mid-week and haven’t had time to type, configure and publish Days 23-24-25 of the Idea Machine project. I had my ideas list in my journal each day, but didn’t have time to get the ideas into blog form. So I’m publishing these days on Friday, February 20 and back-dating into chronological order!

About Sheree

Change Catalyst, Idea Explorer, Dot-Connector, Square Peg