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Why I will not shop this Black Friday

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While chatting with a friend the other day, I mentioned that I would be staying home this Black Friday. He was quite confused; didn’t I want to rake in the savings that could be had on this day?

I tried to explain it to him but failed entirely; given my nature, I’m much better at explaining things by using the written word so here it is.

I’m not going to shop on Black Friday because I don’t need anything.

I have everything I need. I have a roof over my head, food in my pantry, clothes on my back and money in the bank. My computer works like a dream and I’ve even acquired all of the software I wanted to attain for my business.

The only thing Katie wanted this year was a backpack. I found that on eBay.

If I really needed something (like the crock pot the other year) and I knew that I could score a good deal I would probably wander out but this year I don’t need anything.

That is a really good feeling, not needing anything. I must confess that in this Minimalism does have its advantages.

As for a washing machine, the appliance is a want, not a need. For now I am content washing things by hand and occasionally visiting a laundromat while I look around for a replacement.

So this year I’m staying home. I will work on my book projects, watch a little Netflix and enjoy the silence since Katie is going over to her Dad’s.

Before you decide to venture out on Black Friday ask yourself if there is anything that you really need. Remember, the stores that will be open have a single goal in mind: to separate you from as much of your money as possible. They do this by offering you deals on items that you may not necessarily need but want instead.

By all means, if you really need something (like your coat is falling to pieces or your computer died), go out and save some money. But if you don’t need anything, why not stay home instead. It will definitely be safer!

Walking Dead Black Friday

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How I saved 15% on my heating bill with one small change

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Every winter my inner cheapskate screams for mercy because it costs so much to heat my tiny home.

I heat with electric baseboard heaters, so my electric bill (which hovers around $45 in the summer when I use the air conditioner) balloons to the triple digits. I’ve received $300 bills in the colder months here!

To help with the expense, I place quilts on the windows, over the doors, stuff insulation in every crack I encounter and research methods to locate ways that I can shave money off of this huge annual expense.

I finally found something that worked!

During my research over this past summer, I discovered a forum post that pointed out that the more devices you run to heat your home, the more energy that you use. That particular post was about portable heaters so I initially dismissed it but one morning as I sat drinking my coffee it occurred to me: baseboard heaters are individual devices.

My house is only 500 square feet in size. With the exception of Katie’s room, the house is open, so I wondered: what if I could reduce the amount of heaters that I used to keep this house warm?

We hadn’t turned on the heat at that point, so I resolved to try it for a month when I did and compare my utility bills to the previous year to see if the change helped.

It did. When my electric bill came in for the month of November it was only $73.69. Last year’s bill for the same time period was almost $90!

That worked out to a 15.57% savings over last year!

To verify, I compared billing dates and average temperatures for the period using the information available on my utility company’s site. There was only one degree of difference in temperature and three days’ difference in the billing cycle.

That’s not enough to account for the drastic reduction in my heating expense, so it must be because I am using one less heater to warm this home.

As a result I am going to keep the heater in the living room shut off for as long as I possibly can. I may have to turn it on if the temps get below zero but otherwise I am just going to use the heaters in the kitchen and Katie’s room to keep our house warm.

If you use multiple heaters to warm your home, perhaps you can benefit from this tip as well. Use a minimum amount of devices to heat, whether they are baseboard heaters or portables. If you close off any rooms in the winter, turn the heaters off in them entirely unless you have to keep them warm to prevent your pipes from freezing. If there are pipes in there, reduce the temperature to a bit above freezing to protect the pipes.

Hopefully you will be able to rake in the savings as I have with this little change.

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Making changes

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To improve your experience here on Annienygma I’ve decided to make a few simple changes.

For instance, since the majority of you come here for my simplicity/frugality/minimalism posts, I have decided to create another site to discuss the Law of Attraction at If you are interested in that subject, please go there and subscribe. In time, all of the older LoA posts on this website will be moved there (and deleted from this site).

Also, I’ve written a guest post for James Weaver’s LoA blog to help promote the new website that shows you one simple tip that you can use to reprogram your subconscious. You can read it here if you are interested.

I am also considering a few more changes to make your experience here more relevant to your needs. For instance, once I get the LoA site established, I may create another site designed to help writers instead of posting tips here as I have in the past. This will allow me to better focus on specific things that I want to achieve without watering down the content here and boring you with subjects that you may not be interested in.

Do you have any suggestions that would make this site even better? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Is Buying Used Worth it?

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In my search for another washing machine I’ve been combing want ads and visiting local thrift shops. As it was back in the days when I wanted to purchase a refrigerator, the prices are exorbitant and range from $150-$300. I can’t see paying $300 for a used washing machine, especially for the ancient ones being offered around here.

When you purchase a used appliance, you are buying something that is not only out of warranty, but that may have issues you won’t discover until after you take it home. I mean, there has to be SOME reason the original person eliminated it from their life, and in this economy vanity (just wanting a newer, snazzier model) isn’t the norm, at least in this area.

As a result, I’m seriously considering just waiting until I can save up for a decent new one. A small one doesn’t cost that much, and I can order it online and have it delivered to my front door. I wouldn’t be able to wash my blankets but I can always visit the laundromat for those. My thinking is this: if the price of used is half or over what I could purchase a new one for, should I perhaps just splurge on the new and get a warranty?

What are your thoughts on the subject? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Free Law of Attraction Book

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One of the books that has helped me learn more about the Law of Attraction (also known as The Secret) is the book “Attract Money Now” by Joe Vitale. In my opinion, it is one of his best books on the subject.

While you can purchase this book on a variety of websites, a little-known secret is the fact that Joe also offers this book for FREE on one of his pages. Go here if you are interested.

This is a book that I have read multiple times. I keep it in my library and pull it out whenever I want some inspiration. Perhaps it will help you as well.


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Frugal Foods: Scrambled Potatoes and Eggs

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On Saturday mornings my dad loved to commandeer the kitchen. He made a variety of simple meals served during his childhood and he showed me how to cook several of them.

One of the things he liked to cook was scrambled potatoes and eggs. It was a simple dish that lends itself well to whatever meat you have on hand—or none at all, if you prefer.

To prepare this meal, he would peel however many potatoes he needed. For the two of us tonight, we peeled three smallish potatoes. Slice somewhat thin and fry in a heavy covered skillet with real butter. If you have bacon grease (and aren’t a vegetarian), use that instead for a different flavor.

If you have any meat you want to add, (you can use almost anything here like sliced hot dogs, chopped bologna, bacon, ham, etc.) add it in with the potatoes so that they cook together. Since Katie is a vegetarian, we currently skip this step.

Keep the potatoes covered while they are cooking so that the trapped steam will soften and aid in the cooking process. Turn them occasionally so that they will brown evenly, making sure to scrape the bottom of the skillet to remove any stickies.

While they cook, break however many eggs you need to coat the eggs thoroughly into a separate bowl (we used four tonight). Whip well with a spoon until well mixed. When the potatoes are done (I prefer some to be golden brown but not all), add the eggs all at once. Turn down the heat and stir constantly until the eggs have cooked through.

Once they are done, remove from the heat and add your seasonings. I generally just use a good sprinkle of seasoning salt, but you can use plain salt, pepper, onion powder or whatever you desire.

Serve immediately and eat while hot for best flavor.

potatoes and eggs

If you like, add a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top for a change of pace. We like to have a slice of buttered toast with ours as well, and occasionally add jelly to our toast for a different flavor. It mixes well with the eggs when you eat them at the same time. This is a filling meal that sticks with you for a while.

Do you like to eat something similar? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Now Published: Tips and Tricks for Living Small

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Hello, everyone! Some time ago I mentioned that I was working on a book about my experiences with small house living. I wanted to write this book because so many others on the topic gloss over many important things that folks need to know before they decide whether or not downsizing is for them.

It has taken over a year, but the book is finally complete and live in both print and digital editions.


In this book you will learn:

  • What constitutes a small house
  • Why you should consider living small
  • Caveats to living small
  • Tips and tricks to living large in a small space

Unlike many other books on the subject, I have included both the advantages and disadvantages to small space living to help you make a more informed decision before you make the leap.

It is my sincere hope that this book helps you in your pursuit of a simpler, more comfortable life. With that goal in mind, click here if you would like more information and to purchase your copy.

Thank you again for your support! You are fantastic!

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Farewell, Fishies!

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The other day I woke up to a sad sight: the last of my beloved little fishies had finally went belly-up in my aquarium.

Farewell my friends.

Farewell my friends.

For those that remember, I acquired my tank and the fish way back in 2011 shortly after I moved to this little house; I had kept fish for several years in Paducah and acquiring some here gave me a taste of home.

That was three years ago. I have changed somewhat since then. While I enjoyed watching them swim about I have grown beyond the need for their comfort and entertainment.

So now that they have all died I can eliminate something else from my tiny little house: my aquarium.

In my determination to avoid changing my mind (and buying new fish) I quickly scooped all of the water out of the tank and moved it to my front porch. By the next day Middle Daughter had hauled it all away with plans to gift her son with either some fish or a hamster – she was undecided when last we talked.

I kept the piano bench the tank rested on; I plan to repurpose it into an end table for my couch. I will write about that when the job is finished.

It feels good to have one more thing out of my house. While I enjoyed the fish I am now free of the burden of caring for them.

Part of me regrets ever getting them in the first place but I was at an odd time in my life when I moved here and they gave me the comfort that I needed.

I refuse to regret the comfort they gave.

My living room has been rearranged now; I have a little more open space to enjoy.

It feels good.

What have you eliminated lately? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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As most of you know, I’ve become a bit of a homebody since moving back to this town. There aren’t a lot of places to go so I generally stay home and write now that I’ve reacquainted myself with this area.

One of my buddies from high school is also my hair dresser and she is the polar opposite of me. She loves to go out and stay busy. Recently she accepted a part time position as DJ at the local bar in town where they have karaoke every night.

She talked me into keeping her company during one of her shifts so I grabbed a beer and allowed her to put me on the list. I had a blast! I danced and sang and to my surprise the patrons loved it.

Fortunately, they sell soft drinks and iced tea as well as beer so I can hang out and not feel like a lush. Katie doesn’t even mind me going occasionally, so I can have fun and not feel guilty.

I actually discussed this with my daughter. I was worried that she would feel like I was neglecting her but she told me that I deserve to be able to hang out with other grownups every once in a while. I was rather amazed at her response!

Part of me feels odd at the fact that I enjoy hanging out at a bar of all places. I spent so much of my childhood hanging out in them (my Dad used to give me a roll of coins so I could play on slot machines that charged a nickel in the early days) that it gives me shivers to think that I visit one now but there’s just not much to do in this town that’s cheap and fun – and a couple of bucks there can buy me a night’s worth of iced tea, good music and the ability to cut loose and act silly. That’s a lot cheaper than Biancke’s!

After discussing it with Katie, I’ve decided to go there once every week or so to get out of the house. I can schedule my trips for the nights my friend works so that she can run interference if any guys decide to pester me (so far that hasn’t happened, though I have gotten flirted with) and we can walk part of the way to our homes together at the end of her shift.

To be honest, I would be much happier if this town got a coffee shop to hang out in but such is life. I will just have to deal with it.

Where do you guys go to cut loose? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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Good morning Internet! I interrupt the regularly scheduled programming for a BIG announcement.

Okay, it’s time to come clean. For some time now I’ve been battling a demon so insidious that I couldn’t see it. I sensed that it was there, right over my shoulder, but every time I looked it was gone.

That veil has been lifted.

All of this time I’ve struggled. I’ve fussed and fought and argued with myself, trying to figure out what was wrong. Why couldn’t I publish? Why wasn’t I able to produce books like I have in the past? Had I lost my touch?

Where was my mojo?

This morning I was awakened by a series of dreams. They were rather odd so I won’t bore you with the details. The important thing is that they have showed me the block.

Even better, they helped me learn how to remove it.

The block was me.

I had lost faith in myself, faith in my ability to be a successful writer.

Even worse, I didn’t love myself.

I saw myself in the mirror, folks, and what I saw changed my life.

Now that I have named my demons, they have no power over me. I can move on.

Let this be a lesson to you: Brick walls are there for a reason: they are there to keep the other people out.

Time to turn up a glass, world. Here comes Annie!

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