I hope all my northern hemisphere readers are having a great spring! Summer is trying its best to get here, and that makes us think about grilling. So I have to tell you about our grill:
Here she is on the inside:
You can see how big she is in relation to the little propane canister. This is a camping grill, and it works very well for camping. But it’s also our regular grill, and it works just fine for that too. It can easily cook enough food for the four of us, all at once, and even food for a few guests can squeeze on there too, especially if it’s something like brats. There has only ever been one time that we had so many guests that we had to grill stuff in multiple shifts, and I think that was a party of about 20 people (very rare around here). So in general, this little grill serves our needs very well.
But recently, we wondered if maybe we should upgrade the grill. It’s been nine months since I started working a second job, and we’ve been saving a large chunk of our income ever since. We’ve almost entirely avoided lifestyle inflation, and our habit is to just move money directly into various savings and investment accounts as soon as it comes in, so it’s never available for spending anyway. But we can technically afford to buy something like a new grill, especially since “new” always means “new to us.”
We started looking on Craigslist and found a grill in our town that was originally $700 being sold for $200. Compared with our little camp grill, this one was like an outdoor kitchen. Rotisserie, huge grill surface, side burners, storage… it was fancy, and it was huge. I had no opinion on the whole subject, since my husband does all of the grilling. But my husband looked at it for a few minutes, and said thanks, but no thanks. Afterwards, he told me that he just really doesn’t need a new grill. He said that looking at the big fancy one really just made him realize that it would be overkill. He can do everything he needs to on the camp grill, and it’s portable (he’s thinking maybe he’ll get an adapter hose so that he can use a regular size propane tank instead of having to buy the little disposable ones).
So we put our $200 back in our pocket and carried on. Just one of the many reasons my husband is perfect for me
That’s not to say that we haven’t increased our spending at all in the last several months. We’ve upgraded our socks and underwear to higher-quality versions, but we’ve tried to scout out deals rather than paying full-price. Zulily has been awesome – I recently got Smartwool socks for the whole family and some really great underwear too. 6pm is another good resource for good-quality socks and undies at a good price, and they always have free shipping. And although all of my other clothing is still second-hand, I’ve purchased several items on eBay over the last few months. Most of what I buy is still from thrift stores though – I like the scavenger hunt, and it’s a lot less expensive than eBay.
So that’s where we are for now. Our higher income has resulted in better socks and undies (totally worth it!) and a few new (second-hand) clothing purchases, but not a new grill. Because our old one is just fine. And so is everything else we have – our car, house, kitchen, bathrooms… they’re all just fine, so there’s no need to upgrade or change anything. For a little more inspiration on avoiding lifestyle inflation, check out this article from Mr. Money Mustache about how you can make money buy happiness… by buying nothing at all.
A bit of a tangent here, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a very long time, you might remember that back in 2007 we sold my engagement ring and replaced it with a ring that has a lab-created stone. We’re currently thinking about selling my husband’s ring as well, and replacing it with a stainless steel ring ($11 on Etsy). Gold is worth more than three times what it was in 2003 when we bought our rings, and my husband hardly ever wears his anyway. He never wears it at home, and half the time we both forget about it when we’re going somewhere – it mostly lives in my jewelry cabinet. We’ll have to see if we can find the time to figure out the details, but it’s an idea we both like. I just wish we had known about stainless steel jewelry back when we first got engaged!
And now for a completely unrelated topic (mainly because I want to share a good site with you) I’ve recently been inspired to get back to the no-poo method of hair care, thanks to a blog post from The Crunchy Moose (set aside a little time if you’re heading over to browse around her site – I promise you’ll get sucked in just a wee bit!). I did it for a while back in 2012, and I think for a few months a couple years before that too, but eventually ended up going back to shampoo and conditioner – although I can’t remember why. I haven’t had much in the way of greasy hair or an adjustment period, which is good. Even for the last couple years that I’ve been using shampoo and conditioner, I’ve been using very gentle ones that don’t contain any harsh detergents, and I only wash my hair about once every four or five days (the rest of the time, my hair goes up in a bun when I shower). I’m on the same schedule now with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and it’s working great. Here’s to sticking with it this time! Oh, and I did go ahead and spring for the more expensive baking soda that the Crunchy Moose post mentions. I don’t know if I can tell a difference, but it’s still so much less expensive than shampoo that it’s fine with me. A $2.50 bag should last me several months, so it’s not going to be a budget buster either way.
Cheers my lovely people! I’ll be back soon with an update on our garden (we’ve completely changed our garden setup, so stay tuned).