frugal living

graduation-sign-150I am a secret self-improver.

There is a stash of relationship books in my apartment, tucked where my boyfriend is unlikely to stick his nose. One of my favorite vacations ever was to Canyon Ranch, where I spent five hours a day running between yoga and cardio workshops (and hoped nobody saw me in the bongo class). Over the past several years have enrolled in French, Chinese, guitar, tennis, and cooking classes. No, I still can’t cook. Thanks for asking.

One of the bummers about being unemployed is that I don’t have the dough to finance my “personal growth.” And even though I like the idea of being an autodidact, I don’t have the discipline to teach myself stuff from books. But these days, you don’t need money or good study habits—there are plenty of classes available for free, both online and in person. In fact, I’m now tempted to spend the next few months in my own personal summer school. Feel free to crib my curriculum…

duct-tap-roll-150The downturn has made many of us question our priorities, become more interested in spirituality, and even seek out new religions. It’s certainly true for me. I was raised a nonbeliever, and before the recession, I lived a misguided life. Even in the wake of September 11, I resisted the call.

But now all that has changed. It took losing my job, but I have let duct tape into my heart. Duct tape, it turns out, can be a miraculous cost-saver and time-saver, and in the recession, we could all use both…