Last night and tonight, we had planned astronomy events. Yesterday was our club night open to the public in a park. Today was an out reach event at a school. As late as Thursday, the weather guessers predicted clear to mostly clear nights for where these events would be. Sadly, they were far off the mark. It rained last night, albeit only a small amount. Tonight there is a call for more rain, and I suspect that will occur.
I love looking at the skies and the rain in the Northeast has been significant this summer, really since July. Now, I’d rather rain than drought. We had a mild drought last year, and some folks in my area had issues with their wells. The West is in yet another drought; of course in general, that’s normal. I’ll take the rain over the drought. Still, it does make my hobby all the more difficult.
I like to bring this up in a frugal context, because astronomy can be both very expensive and very cheap. Most clubs like mine offer free to the public viewing nights. We love to share our toys with the public, and try to encourage others to get interested in the sky. Thus, if you have an interest in this hobby, you can enjoy it for nothing. I know of several libraries that offer telescopes to borrow like you would a book. Admittedly, that is more rare, but it is available in a few places. Meteor showers are both fun and relaxing, although it can be rather chilling to sit still and look up. There are 2 really good showers in the Northern Hemisphere a year, but there are many lesser ones. Pretty much every month there is one.
One of my persistent themes has become the bang for the buck argument. If I am spending money, I want to get good value for it. Buying that walk behind leaf blower was not cheap, but it saves me a lot of time. It’s a lot easier to use than the hand held ones, and works better than my other options.
Right now I play World of (Warships/Tanks/Aircraft) with my son. We have a blast. They are free to play games with better advancement and achievement with spending money. I purchased one ship for about $25, and we play it often. We play others. I have not purchased a tank or airplane. My son wants to buy a ship. I wont let him. He knows he has money, but I won’t let him spend it. That cash is locked away in Series I bonds, of which I am a huge fan. Technically, though he could buy one. The real problem is that I want to buy one.
I love buying toys. I am luck to have a wife who is quite frugal. She’s a real win for someone like me. To fairly praise her, she’s helped me get better at frugality, and see the value of frugality. Like the recovering spender that I am, though, it’s difficult.
My parents taught me the value of saving money. I am great at saving for something. Retirement is harder for me to see as something to save for. It’s nebulous, long term, and far away. How do you think on that scale? How do you see small goals met as winning? The only approach that I can see is to set smaller and smaller goals that give you that sense of accomplishment. This is how video games work. This is how Dungeons and Dragons work; really in the modern sense, I think DnD was ahead of the game there. Pun, intended. DnD really is a great bang for the buck if you ask me, but I digress.
So then, without going even further off topic, and talking about the Hero’s Journey, let me pull back on track here. Reading every day about how happy folks are when they are retired is a aide to me. Reading about different ways to save more money is a aide for me. Writing on this blog is an aide to me. Something is lacking though. I need to find away for smaller wins. I need to find something else to track. I am going to find it, but as of now, that idea escapes me.
Do you struggle as I do? What is your approach? What do you think of my thoughts today?