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this and that | 6 miscellanous things!

I’ve got a collection of randomness for you today, frugal people.

1. The FTC says you should pick credit monitoring from Equifax.

Hat tip to WilliamB for sending me the article!

The FTC recommends that you choose the credit monitoring option from Equifax.  SO many people have filed for the cash, the payout will end up being far less than $125, which makes the credit monitoring a better bargain, in their opinion.

I’m still keeping my opt-in for cash, though.  Very excited for my $0.33 check! 😉

2. Here’s the Duplo squirrel I sold on eBay.

I couldn’t find the pictures of it when I posted about it, and someone was asking what in the world a Duplo squirrel is!

So, here you go.

Duplo squirrel

I think it’s from a long-ago discontinued line of baby/toddler toys that they made.

3. My Costco DOES want you to pump from both sides.

We had a discussion about this on Instagram recently (I’m thefrugalgirl over there), with some readers saying they’d heard this was inadvisable.

I can’t speak for every Costco, but I paid attention last time I filled up and they do have a sign saying they want you to use either side of the pump.

Costco gas pump

(For efficiency, Costco only lets you pull into the station from one side, which means you can’t just pull in whichever way puts the pump close to your gas tank.)

4. Consumer Reports tells you how to eat less plastic.

This article is a little depressing, but it does have some suggestions about how to minimize the amount of microplastics you consume.

5. Rent, don’t retire early, don’t be a lawyer.

These are some keys to happiness, says this article from CNBC.

We’re not gonna be retiring early (not opposed, it’s just not going to happen!), and I’m not going to be a lawyer, so we’re good on those fronts.

But I don’t think I really want to go back to renting, mainly because it makes good financial sense for us to own. 

And good financial sense = happiness for me. 😉

6. This guy quit his job to rescue food.

He started an organization that takes extra food from events and brings it to people who need it. So great!

AND, his organization gives food providers data about how they could prevent food waste in the future.

You can volunteer with his organization, but it’s only in a handful of cities right now.


I’m curious: if you’ve tried both, do you feel like you are happier owning a home or renting one?

(I kinda answered this above but: my only renting experience is our newlywed basement apartment. I definitely preferred owning our townhouse and this house over renting, but that’s mainly because I prefer not living in a basement if possible!)

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Saturday 24th of August 2019

Renting depends so much on the landlord. I have had absolutely terrible landlords, but my current one is amazing. Sure there are things that we would fix up or change if we owned, but if we owned we would be responsible for the boring important stuff, too. My sister owns a condo but has an HOA, which surprised her that she likes because they handle some of the boring important stuff. My parents own but only bought the one home when they were in their late middle years (50s?). They plan and save and always prioritize boring important stuff, but have lots of fun with the fun gardening stuff and decorating. Six of one, half dozen of the other?


Wednesday 21st of August 2019

Re: rent v. owning -- I think it depends on your area. I live in an area where the housing market literally starts at $1 million for a fixer-upper. It's true this area goes through boom-bust cycles every twenty years or so, and I've seen both sides of it: folks who started when it was low and ended up losing the house, and those who got a $300,000 property that is now worth $1.4 million and sold out. There's also the downside: buying at $1.4 million right before the bubble bursts. Rents are also very high in these areas, too, though, so it's not always an easier way to live. I never look at real estate when I travel to more moderate areas--it's too depressing!


Wednesday 21st of August 2019

I rented for years mostly sharing as the cost here is high. Now sadly in Aus people trade homes like shares so people have to move a lot when renting, twice I had to move after 6mths as the owners decided to sell. Here leases are typically 12mths but they can beak that & the landlord can put up the rent every 6 mths unless in a fixed term lease. Rents are now so high, people often have to bid silently like an auction to the realter for how much they will pay. I have been to open houses for renting where 50 competing families turned up. It was very stressful not knowing when I would next have to find another place to live & pay more removal costs, I can't imagine what that would be like if you had children who had to move schools etc once or twice every year. Renters here pay their own utilities & usually provide their own fridges/washing machines etc.


Wednesday 21st of August 2019

My current mortgage interest is about $50 cheaper per week than I would pay for a room in a share house, I feel for the first time in years I can make solid plans, my place is a renovators delight but it's mine, I don't have to move, I can put pictures on the walls, choose paint colours, I don't have to keep up with the Joneses so I don't need marble benchtops. I have a roof over my head & can afford the heating so I'm blessed.


Tuesday 20th of August 2019

I was extremely lucky to rent from some very good landlords over the years and I never thought of renting as "throwing away my money" because I got a place to live out of it and did not have the responsibility of home ownership. I always rented from individuals and not big complexes or properties run by management companies. Once the landlords knew they could trust me, a lot of the rules were waived. I was allowed pets in "no pet" apartments; I could paint the walls or replace the fixtures as I saw fit. My rent was never raised, and even lowered in one case, because I was a good tenant and they wanted me to stay. Everything was well maintained, problems were always fixed, etc. etc. I realize that this is not everyone's experience.

But I wanted my own home so badly! I wanted autonomy. If I wanted to paint the walls chartreuse, (I don't), I didn't want to have to ask. I wanted a garden. I wanted to make all the decisions. It took a long time before I was ready. I bought in an older neighborhood, with no HOA (I am opposed to paying other people money to tell me what to do with my own property). I bought near the bottom of the market during the recession which was lucky because I wouldn't be able to afford this house if I were buying it today. I have huge lot, but no garden yet. The mortgage is much lower than current rents but it does take a lot of time and money to maintain this property. I don't care. I wouldn't want to go back to renting at this stage in my life. The equity I have built is nice, but is not the main reason I wanted to own. I'm a happy homeowner for now but I definitely see the benefits of renting.


Tuesday 20th of August 2019

I just want to chime in on the financial side of renting vs. owning. People are putting their money into their property when they pay their mortgage, and they assume they will get that money back when they sell. That is NOT always true.

We bought our first home when prices weren't particularly high. But when we needed to move, the major employer in the area was doing layoffs and the bottom fell out of the market. We lost well over $10k (probably closer to $20k) even if you account for what we would have paid in rent for the duration. And it took almost 2 years to sell, during which we lived in a different state.

Ultimately, renting vs. owning is about a place to live. People who are thinking about buying a house as an investment should do their research. Buying was the right decision for us at the time, but it definitely didn't turn out to be the best financial one.

Even after all this, my dad is still convinced that buying is always better. Sigh.

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