• Like a bad penny, debt always turns up…

    unless we change how we interact with money, of course!

    The Bad Penny is dedicated to two pursuits: getting out of debt and staying out of debt! It recognizes that frugality and caring for our planet go hand in hand, and that our unsatiated need for stuff is hurting us in so many ways.

    Easier said than done!


    I am not a finance professional. I write about the world as I know it, and my advice may not be the best course of action for you! Please seek qualified advice for your particular situation.

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You know, it’s crazy, but I never imagined I’d be in this much debt by the time I was 28. I have student loans, two mortgages in two states, and a TON of credit card debt from starting a fairly successful business without funds (obviously not successful enough.) I’m going to go into more detail in a later post, but for now, suffice it to say that I’m overwhelmed and tired of it.

I don’t want debt anymore. None of it. Not even a mortgage. I want it paid off.

And you know what? I’m tired of paying for expensive products – especially when they are expensive because they are overpackaged or stuffed with chemicals. I’m tired of having cabinets full of stuff I don’t need or don’t use just because I bought into some advertisement or because I thought it might actually work better than something else I had. And I’m tired of worrying about what exactly is in my food – whether it’s pesticides, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup (I struggle with a major Pepsi addiction.)

Funny, but I find greater satisfaction using vinegar to clean my stove and refrigerator, knowing that if today my 2-year-old son decides to lick it (kids are weird) I don’t have to worry. Not about the toxicity of my stove front, anyway. My son is another matter! And knowing that I don’t have to worry about running out of paper towels or diapers (not to mention paying for them) because we use cloth napkins and diapers whenever we can is a very secure feeling! There is something to be said for the feeling you get when you look at an object and know your hands provided it – a knitted sweater, a sewn tablerunner, or a jar of blackberry jam, picked and jammed fresh from your own yard.

Not everything I suggest will work for you. You have to adapt what you can, file away some, and be creative with your own situation. You have to ask yourself on a regular basis – how could I consume fewer products? how could I get this cheaper? how could I use something else instead of buying something new? There’s a Quaker poem I like to repeat to myself on occasion to remind myself to ask those questions:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without

We recently moved out to a rural area of northeast Ohio for my husband’s new job and we have some new options open to us. Canning, gardening, even raising chickens are options available to us now. We live in an area fairly densely populated by Amish – they provide resources for us we didn’t have living in the city in the south, such as chicken killing (I’m such a wimp!)

But that might not work for you. You may not have space for a garden and you’ll have to adapt – either starting a container garden or looking for other ways to save money on healthy, local food. Or you might prefer your diet now, and not desire a change.

My number one rule of frugality is do what works for you. This blog, and all others, are simply a resource of ideas. For example, if you love to go out to eat and you cut your out-to-eat budget to $20 a month, you will feel like frugality is a punishment. The goal is to make frugality a game. Eliminate what you don’t need or really want. Keep the things that make you feel human. Every little bit counts!


One Response

  1. […] To close, I wanted to share something that happened in a conversation between me and a new friend of mine. I really respect her and her husband – they don’t do things conventionally, and their choices often go back to a poem I quoted in my very first post: […]

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