Every other Monday, I answer a few questions from readers. If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer, email me or leave your question in the comments.
Good Monday morning, dear readers! One quick thing before we get to questions.
You can sign the petition to get the adopted kids out of the DRC even if you DON’T live in the U.S.
They need 75,000 more signatures before March 10th, so if you can sign it and share it with your friends, that would be marvelous. I have two friends with kids who are stuck there, and there are hundreds more.
(I wrote about the petition in the P.S. on this post. Also, the DRC is short for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.)
On to questions!
Can you recommend a computer virus protection company that works well but doesn’t break the bank too badly?
Several other people have asked about this as well, so I checked with Mr. FG, as he works in IT and takes care of all computer security matters for me.
He recommends a number of free ones (the first two are his faves):
A lot of these have premium memberships, which are obviously not free. However, we just use the free versions of all of them and have not had any need to upgrade.
Interestingly enough, he says that Norton and Symantec (both paid products) are inferior to the ones listed above.
I hope that helps!
(I’m not affiliated with any of those programs. They’re just products that we use ourselves.)
My family and I just moved into a new home and circumstances forced us to downsize considerably. As I’m unpacking, I find myself wanting to purge a LOT. Our home was cluttered before because we had too much, I can’t imagine all of THAT in this smaller place!
I’m feeling a little trapped by my possessions, though, how do you balance frugality with simplicity with sentiment? For example, 6 crystal ice cream bowls handed down from my grandmother who passed 7 years ago. She likely picked them up at a yardsale, so not family heirlooms. I don’t need bowls dedicated to just serving ice cream. But they were a gift… (That’s the simplicity versus sentiment problem)
I’m also debating downsizing my every day dishes to 4 place settings for my family of 4. We currently have 12 place settings, a hand-me-down from my aunt. We like having friends over and we could use paper plates then, but that’s not very frugal. We also intend to have 6 kids, so 8 place settings eventually. But not now. What would you do?
When I’m trying to decide how much is enough, the most useful thing I can ask is, “How much will I/we fully and regularly use?”
It’s a pretty simple question, but it really helps me to figure out what’s enough and what’s too much.
For example, in my house, we have a set of about 12 plates and 12 bowls, and almost every single day, we use all of our dishes. To me, this says we have the right amount.
(I do have some extras in an out of the way cabinet for when we have guests.)
Or when it comes to clothes, if I haven’t done laundry in a while, our drawers begin to be a little bare. This means that we are actually wearing all of our clothes, which is just how I like it to be.
So, regarding your everyday dishes, if you end up using only 4 every day, then maybe 4 is the right number.
But if you are like us and use plates more than once per day, maybe the whole setting of 12 is right.
I personally don’t want to have to wash all the dishes between every meal in order to have plates and bowls for the next meal (that would complicate, not simplify my life!), so everyday dishes would not be the first place I’d downsize.
I’d be looking at underused kitchen equipment first.
Like those ice cream bowls.
A thought about gifts: just because something is a gift does NOT mean you have to keep it. This is particularly true if the person who gave them to you is no longer around and couldn’t possibly be upset with you for getting rid of them!
Also, your memories of and love for your grandma probably don’t depend upon the possession of the bowls, you know? You’ll still remember her fondly without seeing the bowls.
And if you feel super sentimental about them, you could always take a picture before you donate them.
If you need more space in your kitchen and you have other ways to serve ice cream and you don’t feel super attached to the bowls, then donate them.
If by some chance you NEED ice cream bowls in the future, I can almost guarantee you that you can find some at a thrift store when the need arises.
Basically, rather than just automatically downsizing everything, think about what YOU and your family actually need and use.
If other people use four plates a day but you use 12 (4 for every meal), then feel free to keep 12.
And if other people feel great joy as they use their ice cream bowls every day, that’s great, but if your bowls collect dust, then send them on to a new home.
Alrighty, readers! The floor is yours!
Any thoughts about virus protection? And how do you find a balance between simplicity and sentiment?
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