No Cash For This Clunker

No Cash For This Clunker

Why I'm Keeping My Old Car

In the middle of this winter, on a sad day, I looked down at my odometer which was at roughly 95,000 miles. I vowed to myself I would be in a really interesting place when it turned 100,000. That event should be happening sometime in the next month.

I have the quintessential Maine car: a 2002 Subaru Forrester. It has taken me up mountains and through snow storms. It is an unassuming silver color, a great hider of dirt. And when you open the door, it smells slightly like a mixture of slightly stale coffee and my dog. It is not beautiful but certainly functional.

My Subaru, even when covered in snow, remains unconcerned about the weather.)€”Sarah Amend photo

I would like to say I am not particularly attached to this car. I bought it after the car I actually loved plowed into a moose about four years ago. I still haven't forgotten what it's like to plow into 700 pounds of massive animal going 60 miles per hour. My car was of course totalled.

I was moving the week after the accident though and if I wasn't going to buy a car before I moved, it would take me awhile to get one after. The nearest car dealerships were over an hour from my new island home and as anyone who visits Maine knows, there is almost no mass transit here. In short, to be independent outside of Portlant, you need a car.

I've considered Cash for Clunkers (CARS as the acronym for the Car Allowance Refund Program). I've ultimately decided against it. Here's a few reasons why:

Why I Love Reading Old Books

Why I Love Reading Old Books

I'm a new school kind of gal. My job is almost entirely online. My ginormous computer is probably the second most valuable thing I own (after my car). I text, blog, and tweet and yes, all those verbs didn't even exist ten years ago. I'm so new and shiny.

I'm also a little old school though. Eighty percent of my blog posts are written on scrap paper before getting typed(this one included). When I send cards, they are real life cards. And I spend time reading loads of books I've either bought from garage sales and used book stores, or borrowed from friends.

We could argue this last fact makes me a cheap, cheap person but there is, as usual, a little method behind my madness.

Reason One: I will eventually get to read the bestsellers, it'll just be after everyone else.
I just finished 'Water For Elephants' a couple weeks ago, borrowed after my friend Susan read it with her book club. No doubt everyone else has already read it but I still enjoyed it, a year or so after the craze. And since bestsellers are, well, bestsellers there are a lot of copies kicking around, prime for the borrowing or purchasing for 50 cents at a used book store.

Sort of like scoring a piece of clothing one season late, I really feel like I've delayed gratification rather than missed out when I wait an extra year to read a bestseller.

This Week In Business: Plugging Away

This Week In Business: Plugging Away

For Matt and all the other nice guys out there. Yes, I appreciate you and if you don't take my money, I'll do something nice back gosh-darn-it!This week in business, it's been more of the same as it was last week. Dare I call it a routine? OK, maybe not, but it does seem to be a repeat of last week. A few new developments:

I officially gave up on video importing and am turning it over to someone more able.
Matt, the guy who lent me the camera, is going to take my clips and burn them on DVD for me. He may just be The Nicest Guy On Earth.

Not one to let people do completely nice things for me for free (because who takes advantage of their friends?), I offered Matt money. He's refused (nicely, of course) so I am going to instead help get WERU's new site user friendly, since Matt is on their board (WERU is a non-profit community radio station based in Blue Hill, Maine in case you were curious.)

Too Cute Tuesday: Batik T-shirts

Too Cute Tuesday: Batik T-shirts

What do you get when you mix tea dying with wax? Apparently batik.

Dorrie did some batik-ing back in her elementary days. "We made purses." she said.

"What did the boys make?" I asked, since I am always that difficult friend.

"Man purses." she said. After a pause, "Well, they gave it to their moms or whatever!"

Had those poor boys known that can batik any fabric they want, we may have more enthusiastic male fabric printers in this world. You know, or not.

This is what happens when you tell batiking girls to look cute mid-soak.

I Confess, I Enjoyed Confessions Of A Shopaholic

I Confess, I Enjoyed Confessions Of A Shopaholic

I confess: I watched a cheesy rom-com that has vaguely to do with money.Besides sleeping for about 18 of 24 hours on Sunday, I also happened to rent 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'. (Ironically, the fact I did a Redbox rental among a few other things triggered a fraud alert phone call from my credit card company. They are right; I never go out to lunch or rent movies!)

This movie had some great moments, and I appreciated how it addressed an attitude a lot of people have towards spending.

As someone who grew up solidly middle class, I differ from Rebecca (the main character), who grew up wanting things other people had. As a kid, I learned that stuff didn't make you happy. I knew because I had the stuff that was supposed to, and I was just as happy as most anyone else I knew.

They couldn't have timed a better release time for this movie about someone who goes from spending money like crazy to realizing she needs to save money. A few basics gleaned in between cute-borderline-repulsive overpriced outfits and some ridiculously obvious sexual tension:

How To Get Digital Television For $20

How To Get Digital Television For $20

My friends Sean and Stacy are one of those couples who are able to save money without seeming like they are suffering. They grow their own food in a ginormous garden. They find the best stuff on Freecycle and in Uncle Henry's. And up until two months ago, they got 10-12 channels with rabbit ears on their 20 year old television.

When stations started to go digital, Sean and Stacy figured out their old television probably wouldn't handle it well. This was fine, because they had planned on getting a new one anyway. What they hadn't planned on was going from 10ish decent channels to two channels with crappy reception.

Oh but not for long my friends...

Thanks to NPR All Tech Considered for having the perfect photo to accompany this post. Stacy loves cats, and Sean loves screwball humor. Can't think of a better tribute to the inspirations of this blog than this photo!