Monday, September 28, 2009

Never Owned a Dryer, Never Needed One

In my country laundromats are not common. Usually school campuses might have them. It must be something about the culture I guess. Most people own washers but not dryers. Owning a washer was quiet an expense in the past so most people would not spend any money on dryers at all. Therefore, they never became popular until recently. Even now, most people do not buy them. I can afford one but have no place to put it. We own front loading machines and many people stack them; washer at the bottom, dryer on top. In my case even that will not work.

However, I never needed a dryer at all. I am so much used to using a drying rack in my spare bedroom that, I never felt I needed one except for a brief period during late Fall and early Spring when the Central Heating is off. During those periods, it takes a little longer than I like to get my laundry dry. You might say that it is easy for me to dry my stuff since I am single and there is not much laundry when compared to a family of four or five. Well, when I was growing up, mom had a semiautomatic machine and we were a family of four. Since mom worked, Saturday was her laundry and cleaning day and after an exhausting day of these activities, she would hang the laundry on lines she would put all over the apartment and at the back balcony. I still remember the acrobatic moves we had to make so that the fresh laundry stayed fresh.

Nowadays, I see lots of commercials about dryers and all those commercials claim that the dryers are very frugal in terms of electricity usage. Well, I do not have that cost now, do I? So, how can buying a dryer be frugal?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dressing up, dressing down or just plain dressing...

It is one of the two weird times of the year again. Although it is getting to be rather chilly, I see women refusing to give-up their flip-flops and tank tops yet. Some others have already started showing up in their Uggs as if we are expecting real cold weather and snow sometime soon.

For me, it is time for socks, pants, reasonable shoes and light jackets may be. It has been raining heavily in Istanbul lately so, I always check the weather report to decide if I need to carry an umbrella or not.

This is a good time to sort out summer clothing and get rid of those pieces no longer needed by way of charity or re-purposing. I usually give items in good condition to charity and make rags out of the ones no longer usable. I am a practical dresser. I stick to certain colors and classic styles so if I grab a top and a bottom blindfolded, they will still match.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Frugal Choices and One's Values

A lot of people think frugality is deprivation. It sure is not "hip" or "cool" to be frugal in today's consumer world. I have a different opion on the matter. Frugality allows me to spend money on things that are important for me. I like to make budgets and stick with them. I like to save money for rainy and stormy days. I also like to take nice vacations which can be quiet pricey.

Not replacing an old but working TV with a cool new LCD or plasma, buying a used car instead of a new one, replacing old bulbs with CFLs and cooking from scratch are frugal choices. I do not care to impress anyone with my possessions. For me important things in life are family, quality time spent and experiences gained by travel and socializing. For you it may be driving the best car you can afford to buy or giving your time and money to charity.

We may be different when it comes to our values and I do not think it is logical to argue on them. The problem is wanting to have everything. If you want to have the best car and the biggest house and the luxury clothing and that Rolex watch and to travel the world, then this is a problem. Economics 101 usually starts by stating the obvious: There is a "Scarcity of Resources". It is no wonder why many people have huge credit card debts. They just want to have everything NOW and they use the money which seems to be available right away without considering the consequences.

Do not get me wrong, I am not against credit cards. I use two cards for everything which allows me to track my spending. I have never ever paid a penny of interest or late fees on them. For me credit cards are a simple method of payment not a money source.

If you know your values, then you know how to spend your money. Frugality makes that only easier.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Three Generations and a Sewing Machine

Today I took out my grandmother's sewing machine for the first time since my mom gave it to me. I had bought a brand new sewing machine when I had decided to sew my own kitchen curtains back when I bought my apartment. That one now belongs to mom who in turn gave me this old Singer which is at least a good 70 year old machine.

I have many wonderful memories of this machine and grandma in her big kitchen or rather the center of universe at her house. I have learnt to cook, sew and knit a little right there under the supervision of my beloved grandma. She used to sew me and my dolls cute outfits and pajamas. She was a very frugal lady and always recycled and re-purposed everything. During her time "going green" or "conservation of nature" were not popular topics but she probably was the "greenest" person I have ever known.

This old Singer has already served my grandma and my mom faithfully. Now, it's my turn. I guess this is a great opportunity to learn more about sewing. Besides, it is a frugal choice to keep a machine which still works regardless of how old it is. I do not have a daughter to pass the machine on but may be it will not outlast me, ha?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Life goes on...

The last few days were especially tough due to a sudden death of an old friend. Still trying to cope with it. His death took away a part of my youth, the carefree, wonderful years, most probably the best years of my life.

Well, life goes on...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fishing Season and Good Times...

September 1 marks the official beginning of fishing season in Turkey. Today, a close friend of mine invited me over for the season's first Atlantic Bonito , (Palamut in Turkish) feast. She fried the Palamut since it is not fatty enough at the moment. I have not been eating fish during the summer except for canned tuna and sardines and I have realized I missed fresh fish.

I usually broil all sorts of fish instead of frying them. Frying is both messy and the fish smell takes over the entire apartment for quiet a few days.

The best part was to dine with good friends, chat about all sorts of different things and have a relaxed night. I feel blessed when I think about my friends. I am happy to be surrounded by many thoughtful individuals who brighten my life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall: My Favorite Season

My favorite season has always been the Fall. Some people find it depressing but I love to go leave watching, sip hot cocoa while there is a thunderstorm outside and bake apple pies (an acquired habit while living in the US). For me the first sign of the Fall is when I wake up early in the morning feeling chilly and needing a warmer cover in the bed.

Nowadays I am trying to consume the contents of my freezer to make room for tomatoes, sauces and veggies for the winter. I am not going to overdo it like two years ago. I had frozen so many packages of string beans that by April there were still some left and I could not enjoy the fall and winter veggies at all.

The effort of trying to empty the freezer had me eating curious combinations of food. Chili with zucchini anyone? It actually tasted very good. There is a large open market close to where I live on Saturdays. So, this Saturday, I will go and get tomatoes, grape leaves, green peppers, string beans and red beans. I stuff the grape leaves and cook them before I freeze them in portion sized aluminum containers. I heat them up in a small toaster oven and have them with plain yogurt. Yum!