Ever Been Trapped In The Bathroom?

We were. All the time. Every spring and summer, thanks to a bit of increased humidity, our full bathroom’s door used to swell just enough in the top left corner to keep the door from opening on the first pull. Or the second. Or the third. In fact it usually took some serious “door flapping” (grabbing the knob and rocking back and forth until it sprung free on the fifth or sixth tug) to get out of the bathroom every time we used it. And forget about our poor friends and family members who innocently ducked in there and then freaked out about a minute later when they thought they were locked in the bathroom permanently (screaming and pounding usually occurred in those instances- if not at least some mumbled obscenities).

The odd thing is that we put up with this silly inconvenience for such a long time. Especially when there’s such a simple solution. One day when John had our $50-ish Black & Decker hand sander from Home Depot out (while working on something for our new office- more on that tomorrow) I mentioned that he should hop up on a chair and sand down that dastardly left side of the bathroom door to keep it from sticking ever again.

And it worked like a charm. It seriously took him less than sixty seconds of running a hand sander across the top of the door to ever-so-slightly slim it down so it no longer got caught by the door frame as snugly on those hot and humid days. And even if we didn’t have a hand sander, we’re sure about five minutes with a sanding block or even a piece of sandpaper and some elbow grease would have also done the trick. Oh and painting the top edge after you sand it (priming first = extra credit) will further keep it from expanding again, so your door will be shaved into submission for the long haul.

So if you have a sticky bathroom (or any other room) door that you’re dealing with, just break out that sandpaper and get ‘er done. Or you could wait four years and titter every time you hear friends and family members panicking when they think we’re trapped in the restroom forever. Either one.

And we’d love to know what simple project you guys have been putting off for weeks, months, maybe even years. It always seems like the tiniest to-do’s get put on hold the longest…



Dad Advice

John’s dad’s nickname is El Cheapo and he truly is one of our money management role models. It’s not like he wears shoes with holes in them or lives without creature comforts- he just saves for what is truly important to him (like a family-sized vehicle and even a vacation home for us to gather) and forgoes things that don’t mean as much to him (like fancy meals on the town and a room-sized flat screen TV). Of course deciding what matters to you and being frugal in other areas is truly a personal decision (so if a flat screen TV will give you more joy than a minivan you should certainly follow your heart and save up for that!).

But the point is that Tom literally squirrels away moolah for years to put towards a new car, buys it after extensive research, and then drives it until it has record breaking amounts of mileage (which averages much less cost per year or per mile than most people would ever think possible). True story: he still drives a fully functional 1998 Nissan Quest with over 300,000 miles on it (!) while his wife drives a new Honda Pilot (they saved up for that but the Nissan still works so his thoughts are “why not drive it until it dies?”). In short, the man knows what he wants to save money on and he knows what he wants to spend it on. And he’s not afraid to divert funds from one area to attain something that will bring him and his family great joy- which is always an honorable quality.

In fact we referenced both him and my father when we answered the big “how do you budget and afford so many DIY projects?” question a few months back (see more on that subject right here).

And after reading that post, he sent us an inspiring and memorable email that we just had to share (note: we’re always astounded when our relatives email us to say that they read our blog). So without further ado, the wise words of Tom Petersik:

“Loved your frugal blog post! Funny thing: I was just “admiring” that puffy painted tie from John yesterday. But onward to the main point: too often frugality is incorrectly viewed as “giving up,” when the real point of frugality is “getting what you really really want.” Many times I think the main point of frugality isn’t in “not buying;”  the main point of  frugality- and perhaps life- is to recognize what brings you the greatest rewards and to go enthusiastically for those things. When Kathy and I got married, buying our first home was a biiig stretch, all $27,500, but we loved every minute of it. And buying our current home was a bigger stretch, but it has been a great blessing. And they were both “frugal” decisions. The point is, if you as a person truly derive great pleasure from something, the frugal behavior is to “go for it” – enthusiastically and whole hog. Who cares if you’re not going out to dinner if the money you’re saving can afford you the things you really want? What is given up means little compared with the pleasure of the better choices.” -Love, Tom/Dad

So we thought we’d share those inspiring words with you guys since they meant so much to us- and because so many of you seemed to relate to that original money management post that he’s referring to. And while we’re on the subject of great parental advice, have you guys ever been taught something by your parents (or another wise-beyond-their-years family member) that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear what legacy your relatives are passing down and inspiring in your household.