Skinflint Sunday: Dreams cost nothing.

Blenheim Cavalier.
Poppy trying to look soulful.

Look at what I found on another blog! There’s a cruise ship that travels the world, the itinerary decided each year by the passengers and the captain. The passengers live on the ship in apartments ranging from studio to 3 bedders. Every year they go to different places, never having to unpack. Imagine…

Here’s the link. Have a little dream of what it might be like. If I had the wherewithall, I’d go for a year. Any more than that, I’d miss the dogs too much. Oh! And the boys, of course. A simple one bedder would suffice. I’m a woman of simple needs.

But now let’s come crashing down to earth. Here’s what it costs:

You need at least 5M net worth to set foot on this ship.

Ah well.

On the other blog I wrote about a fantastic frugal challenge I’ve set myself. Since I retired, I’ve lost access to my school’s library. Early in January, I wandered up to my local library to have a look around. It’s a tiny space – so small that it’s only open in the afternoons during the week, which shocked me. I’ve never heard of a library branch with such restricted hours.

But it’s part of a long list of our local council’s libraries and this means that you can jump on their website, search for books and reserve them (or request that they buy them). As it turns out, my local library may be small in physical size but, like the Tardis, it’s far bigger than it appears. So far, every single book except one that I’ve looked for has been there. It’s fantastic!

I’m a very quick reader, so I’m reluctant to pay over $30 for a book that I’ll read for a day or two and then it sits gathering dust. It’s not a great return on my dollar. If a book gave me, say, a week or two’s entertainment, then that’d be a different matter. So for me, using a library makes a lot of sense.

Our local libraries are paid for as part of our rates. Things like rubbish collections, footpaths, maintenance of local parks etc are also part of that. My challenge is to take the amount I paid this year for my rates ($1,800) and deduct the purchase price of every book I borrow from the library this year to see if I can equal or surpass it. In effect, I’d be getting my rates for free. Sort of.

No one likes paying rates. But this way, if I’m able to use my library to pay for books that I don’t have to buy, then I’ll feel slightly smug about myself and my own cleverness in using the system to my advantage.

Anyway, I’ve put a running total on the sidebar of the FIRE blog. Like my chart where I track my spending – only 2 more weeks until I hit 52 straight weeks of only spending money on 3 days or less a week! – I seem to do better at things when I track how I’m going.

Anyway, I think it’ll be a little bit of fun this year to see if I can do it.

Half-pruned row of lavender plants.

Last year I put another lavender hedge along the edge of the outdoor room. I already had some lavender bushes planted on the other side of the steps leading up to the veggie patch, so I thought I’d continue it along. The bees likes the flowers and I love the smell.

However, after Christmas I decided to pull the older lavenders out. The underneaths were all dead-looking and woody and because they were elevated, all of that ugly growth was pretty much at eye level. So out they came. In the 3 years they’d been there, we’d only ever trimmed the tops of them, so decided to do an experiment with the new lavender plants.

I was going to butcher them.

Google said that they can be pruned back to 1/3 of their size. I decided to see what would happen if I cleared away all of the dead leaves, branches that turned inward and basically made them start again from scratch.

I’m hoping that if I do this every year, the ugly woody/dead growth won’t happen and I’ll have a pretty, fresh lavender edging to enjoy every spring and summer.

The sticks that remain after pruning.

Or else I’ve killed them. Hope not.

Oh! Before I go, I have a quick question to ask any asparagus gardeners out there.

A couple of years ago, I planted 10 purple asparagus crowns. Last year only 7 spears came up. Should I just leave them be and trust that, over time, they’ll get stronger and multiply, or should I wait until the crowns are dormant and then quietly plant a few more in the patch? I really want to eat more than 7 spears of asparagus a year!

Would I kill the crowns I already have if I disturb the bed to give them more friends? I’d really appreciate some advice on this. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Skinflint Sunday: Dreams cost nothing.

  1. I’m stunned at your apparent lack of environmental awareness on the destructiveness of cruise ships. I’m glad you can’t afford it! i wouldn’t go on one if you paid me!
    https://daily.jstor.org/the-high-environmental-costs-of-cruise-ships/
    Re asparagus…..my purple ones have never been as productive or vigorous as the green ones. Something related to the purple gene line is probably to blame. I’d suggest you get some normal green varieties and no, you won’t harm the existing ones by planting new crowns amongst them, depending on their size of course. Asparagus plants are tough as old boots. Asparagus grow easily from seed, but the drawback is they take a year or two to be really productive. Mine have self-seeded everywhere.

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