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John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist, oil-man, and — at one point in the early 1900's — the world's richest man & first ever American billionaire. When he was asked by a reporter,
“How much money is enough?”
He famously replied,
“Just a little bit more.”
I’ve heard varying accounts about when people feel like they have enough money to be satisfied, or happy. One recounted: from Donald Trump to a Manila garbage dump-picker, people would be satisfied with "about 10% more than I'm making now." I’ve read elsewhere that it’s double: if we made twice as much, then we would feel settled & satisfied.
Regardless of the study (or anecdotal “study”), what’s common is that the satisfaction is not tied to a specific number, it is completely subjective by person. The other thing that’s clear is: we all (pretty much) want more.
There is a great little piece of advice that swirls around parenting books & mom blogs (& all of those fun and exciting places…) The setup is like this:
Pretty good advice, I think. And it even (more or less) works!
Last summer, I came home from our family vacation to face the realities of life .
I had felt weary from the responsibilities of family, home, business, self, and so, naturally, vacation is when I ignore all of those things and do whatever I want! (it helps when you tag along with grandparents). Eating ALL THE THINGS was part of my responsibility-rebellion, so when I came back to life, I wasn’t surprised (but nonetheless horrified) that my clothes were ill-fitting and I looked, to myself in the mirror, well… vacaction-y (and I don’t mean tanned & relaxed).
I resolved that I would find some kind of exercise solution that would help get things back on track, and ultimately, signed up for a membership at my local YMCA. It made sense financially, because I was going to register my kids for various programs (there are discounted rates for members), it had dozens of drop-in classes included in membership, as well as a pool & the usual fitness facilities.
I have always been very motivated by the commitment of spending money. If I pay for a program, I am going to show up. Otherwise, what a waste of money! I know this isn’t a motivator for everyone (see: Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies), but it has worked for me.
This so-obvious tip has been a game changer for food management (and waste minimization) in our home...
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I have spent most of my adult life rolling my eyes at the insanity of expensive jeans. They are jeans! How different can they be?!
Ever since I saw a £50 ($60) D&G white baby onesie in Harrods department store in London, I was convinced that staple-type clothing items made by design houses are a total scam. Isn’t a pair of $200 jeans just the same thing? I mean, I know that stretch jeans from Old Navy will disintegrate within months, but Gap? Guess? Banana Republic? With discounts & coupons & sales, I should be able to get a great pair of jeans for $60, right?
Well, as I sit here typing in my Seven for All Mankind jeans… I can admit that I may have changed my tune.
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The cheerfulness is right in the name there, isn't it? You get through your day of turkey & holiday peace, and then... doomsday!
But, stampedes and nonsense aside, we all know that Friday (through Monday, often) is the time to shop. Christmas is coming, and we are all just trying to stretch our dollars as far as we can. I am certainly not above special event & sales shopping, personally, or (as you can read below) as a retailer.
How can we be smart about getting the good deals, and maximizing our budgets, without going totally overboard? It is soooo easy to get swept up in the excitement and one-time-only and fun of it all; it is very easy to still overspend, because we buy all kinds of extra things that were too good to pass up.
I wrote a guide earlier this year that is essential Shop Good: it's how to shop smarter, spend better, avoid buyer's remorse, and really to be able to shop with confidence & with the satisfaction of money well spent. Here are a few principles straight from it that can really help direct your shopping next weekend (and throughout the holidays):View full article →
November & December are SUPER busy months for me, the most professionally & personally nutty time of the year. I’m sure that your experience is completely different. … Ha!
It can be a stressful time of year and while it may seem as though I am suggesting adding more to your overflowing plate, my experience has been completely the opposite. Instead of scrambling every time there is an event, house party, unexpected neighbour drop by with baking, or on the last day before school vacation when I have totally forgotten about the teachers, etc. I have a go-to solution for all of those things. If I buy a few extra ingredients and carve out a little bit of prep time on a rare, spare evening or afternoon, I set myself up to have an on-hand solution for a myriad of holiday niceties.
Re: packaging: I buy a flat or two of canning jars (16oz/500mL for the nuts, a little bigger for the granola). We've passed peak mason jar, I think, but the reality is that they have a classic, simple look, and just about anyone can use them in the kitchen. If you really want to fancy it up, trace the circle part of the lid on wrapping paper, cut it out, and slide it in when you screw on the lid. Boom! You’re crafty.
I, for one, don't like to learn about history. But, I do like to read and I do like to be smart (or at least sound smart). The best solution for me is to read novels that are set in a time & place that teaches me all about it, without me even realizing I am getting a history lesson.
Of course, it's not just about gaining smarts! Reading stories that are set in another time & place gives us a first person point-of-view to understand better the circumstances of others' lives. Like "heavy reads" that pique my empathy, any stories that take place in a life different that my own do increase my sense of humanity and fraternity. Straight up: learning about different lives makes me a better person! And, it makes life more interesting, too, no?
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I met a woman recently and, as conversation does, talk went to what we do and questions about my weird interesting job and what it entails. I told her that my background is marketing and so (since Wayne has taken over much of the operations & shipping), a lot of my work time with dignify is spent doing marketing types of things.
“Oh, yeah, I get it. Trying to convince people who wouldn’t want it to buy your stuff. I have a relative who breeds dogs and she works so hard trying to find and convince people to buy her dogs.”
That’s not, how you say, how we do things around here.View full article →
Around this time last year, I sent a reader survey and asked a number of questions about what you all like to read about on our blog & email list. One thing that came up a few times was a request for me to share areas in which I fail!
It sounds a little mean, but I know (well, I hope) that actually, what motivates this is a desire to be affirmed that the journey is not about perfection. Don’t we all feel better when someone acknowledges their flaws & broken bits?
In Tsh’s book about simple living, she talks about the 80/20 goal: If you are succeeding in being mindful about your life & choices 80% of the time, you are doing great! Celebrate! Don’t worry too much about the other 20%.
Same message from Shawn Blanc, whom I’ve mentioned because of his resources on Focus & Margin. He is fully sold on planning out all of your time, even leisure (yes, that would include: “2 hours watching Netflix” or “3 hours surfing the internet aimlessly”). Most people are scared to plan out their time because: A) obviously, it’s much better to spend 3 hours watching Netflix without acknowledging that you’ve spent 3 hours watching Netflix. But also, B) we are afraid of failure. I don’t want to plan out my time and then not end up doing what I had planned, then feel like a dummy.
He says: wrong! If you plan your time, you are way more likely to spend it in a way that you’ll be happy with. And if you change your plans 20% of the time, you’re doing an amazing job!
If your goal is set for 100% success, there will be guaranteed failures. Plans change, inevitable, complicated real life rears its head… You’re probably going to be disappointed, discouraged, and want to can the whole thing. I think that instead of wanting all or nothing, and beating ourselves up about it, 80/20 is a great goal to work towards.
I talk about thoughtful shopping… at its basic essence: putting your money where your mouth is, right?