Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ripping the Rug: Money Tips from Pet Stains & Hurricanes

Our rug has been soaked by hurricanes, a cute dog named Scruffy and a broken water heater. I've lost track of how many times our carpet has been professionally dried, cleaned and hammered back into place.

Yesterday, the rug was finally lifted, torn out and cut up. The tile man will be here today through Friday, G-d willing. But beyond new squares of clean, cool tiles, I've learned a lot of frugal and financial lessons from our rug-lifting experience.

1. Be willing to start over: It was hard to let go of the rug, which buffered sound and was great for gymnastics, yoga and break dancing.

Likewise, due to assorted comforts, I've held onto jobs, clothing, banks and even unsuitable investments longer than I should have. But often it pays to rip up a rug, a portfolio, a contract and just start over.

2. Be realistic. Know your limitations. I live in Florida. Hurricane Season is a fact of life. At least twice a year, strong winds and rain soak my living room. Given that scenario, a wall-to-wall carpet is insane.

Likewise, I have certain financial limitations. I am an addictive shopper. I am disorganized. Armed with that reality check, I save more of my pay check because I avoid the financial squalls of Hurricane Sharon ripping through Art Deco malls and cafes.

3. Call in the professionals. We should have hired a professional trainer to housebreak our dog, who is now a year old and trained. A professional puppy training class would have been money well-spent and left us with fewer carpet stains.

Note to self: hire a professional accountant or CPA. I have a head for business and numbers, but some financial computations ---like taxes -- are beyond my grasp. I get so ADD about forms!

4. Be patient. Be persistent. Once, we made the decision to rip up our ugly, stained and storm-damaged carpet, it seemed to take forever to get the rug removal crew and the tile pro on the scene. We accomplished our goal with heavy doses of patience and persistence. Lots of phone calls; lots of reminders.

Ditto for my own efforts to rip up the unsightly portions of my financial profile. Lots of calls; lots of reminders -- Like this mental note.

The Frugal Duchess Boutique


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