Frugal Idea #13

Have you ever been on the Muni when it is hot, cramped full of passengers, and you are just hoping & praying that someone cracks the window to let some air in? The bus stops & the doors opens and you wonder how anyone else can really fit on this bus. You sway side to side as the bus goes up the hills and makes the turns. You politely say “excuse me” when you have lightly kicked the left shoe of someone fortunate enough to grab a seat 10 stops prior by the Embarcadero. It is one of those unusual sunny Bay Area days and everyone is out and about to cherish the incredible weather. Your forearm cramps as you grip the handlebar above you tighter as the bus speeds on. Finally, a popular stop arrives, and a good amount of passengers depart the bus. You quickly grab a seat and now you have no choice but to stare at someone’s glutes and think how lovely their designer jeans are. You finally notice how dry your mouth is. At last, your stop has arrived, and you are thankful that you are free. As your feet step onto the pavement, you can not help but stare at the bus that drives on full of suffering people. I am parched.

I stop and give a moment of thanks for I had brought my Nalgene water bottle that still possessed melting ice cubes. I pause and have a large sip of cool crisp water. I think of all of those times I was dying of thirst at special events, concerts, sports events, movies, and those amazing Las Vegas trips where you had no choice but to buy bottled water. My eyes would blink twice as I was rung up for my buy and repeat the price to the cashier in disbelief: $4.00? Really?!

I was guilty of buying bottled water all the time. I bought 24 packs of water for the home, for the car’s trunk, for road trips, well, for the hell of it.  I bought gallons of water because that became easier to carry to and from the grocery store. I would buy individual water bottles for friends who visited for 15 minutes and as we hugged farewell, I noticed the half drunken bottle and thought what a waste of water. That eventually switched to the thought of what a waste of money!

If I buy a $1.00 bottle of water a day that would amount to $365.00 a year. I tried to justify this for the fact that I did recycle and would earn some money back. I took control of the situation once I was inspired by friends who offered me water from a Brita water filter pitcher. I remember visiting a friend once on Sutter & Hyde. We talked about our days and she spoke about her dance class as I watched her fill my glass. With a smile explaining her day, she moved the pitcher under the sink faucet to re-fill it with more water. The cost for more water: $0.00. Intrigued, I made my way to Target to buy my own Brita water filter pitcher. The filter will need to be replaced at least twice a year, but the cost savings (and time & waste savings) is undeniable. Along with my Naglene water bottle, I have saved money and improved my health by drinking much more water throughout the day. Granted, I also use the bathroom so much more, but I take that as a good thing. Heading there now after this last sip (Pic included).



Frugal Idea #12

Be in the moment, be present, be aware, be open to communicate, and you may just save!

I have to admit I enjoy people watching. I try my best to not judge someone, but I am naturally curious of a person’s actions, thoughts, and emotions. I have noticed that many more of us seem to be distracted by our cell phones & tablets. Headphones seem to always be inserted in ears listening to music, focused on the sounds of beats versus the sounds of life, always allowing us to avoid talking to strangers. As people walk with heads down and headphones on, reading their emails, texting while driving, I cannot help but wonder how conscious we really are sometimes!

I recently took a business trip to Las Vegas for work (winner at the Roulette table!) and as I waited by the airport terminal gates for my flight, I noticed the crowd of people with headphones on, tablets up, and how cell phones were checked every few minutes. I made a conscious decision to be in the moment; otherwise, the moment may just pass you by. I decided to chat with my co-workers who happened to have the same flight home. Suddenly, we hear a voice from the Virgin America employee from the overhead speakers stating that they sold too many seats for this flight and if there was one person willing to give up their seat. In exchange, a $300.00 flight credit would be given along with a free meal in your upgraded seat in business class. I looked around and I saw blank stares and bobbing heads as music blasted through their headphones. I wondered if this would be a good financial move for me considering you would have to sacrifice time and fly to Los Angeles’ LAX airport first then to San Francisco’s SFO airport. This would mean I would be home 1-2 hours later than planned. I imagined taking off and landing a total of 4 times and my stomach turned.

However, I then thought of how much I loved traveling, thought of my upcoming trips (Bachelor party in New Orleans and Chicago later in the year) and thought $300 would really help me in my financial goals. Frugal Nev would be proud! I then realized, I had some of my co-workers’ items stored in my luggage since her bag was over the weight limit. I felt guilty knowing I would not be able to give her the items after we land, but if we do not ask in life, we shall never know our options. So, I decided to communicate. After telling her that I was interested in taking the deal and explained that this flight credit would help me financially, she agreed to let me give her items at a future date. Score!

As I waited for folks to board, I was informed by the flight crew that someone ended up not showing up for the flight and that I can get on the original flight as planned. To thank me for volunteering, I was given a $25.00 flight credit instead. It may not have been $300, but not only were the stressed out employees thankful, I now have a future discounted flight. As the plane took off, I smiled knowing I saved money by being present and in the moment – exactly how I want to live my life.