Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Frugal Workshop Podcast #8 Transcript- Pressure to Overspend? Expensive Vanilla. Christmas.

Good Monday morning to all my listeners. I hope your week is off to a great start. I'm your host, Belinda Richardson and I want to welcome you to the Frugal Workshop podcast. I'm so glad you decided to join us.

Today’s main topic is going to be about the pressure we may feel to overspend during certain times in our lives. After that we are going to discuss why the price of vanilla has increased so much over the last few years, and then I’m going to discuss a little bit about Christmas. 

Many people, even those who are frugal, feel obligated to overspend in certain categories such as back to school shopping, holidays, birthdays, work obligations, etc.  
For some parents, back to school shopping can be just as stressful financially as holiday shopping. The pressure to have the latest smartphone, clothes, shoes, backpacks and electronics is very intense. 
As a substitute teacher and a mother, I have witnessed how teens see having the latest iPhone as a status symbol. I have even experienced this pressure for myself as students have made comments on my phone from time to time. As an adult committed to the frugal life, I do not let this affect me, but I can see how it affects my students who are just coming of age and feeling the pressures of their peers. 
I can recall when I first entered high school that Nike sneakers were the shoes to have. Now I never owned a pair of Nike sneakers and the majority of my clothes came from K-mart.  My sister-in-law had a pair of black Converse tennis shoes and I wanted to be just like her. So, those were the shoes I wore my freshman year of high school. This was back when Converse tennis shoes were not cool like they are today. 
During that time, my Mom and I had a booth at the local flea market every weekend to earn money. One day I found a man who was selling Nike sneakers and I was able to buy a pair at a discount. Soon after that my friend and I were sitting in science and she noticed my shoes were Nike and she seemed surprised. 
Before I was able to buy the Nike shoes, I was perfectly content with those black Converse, but I felt the pressure to be like my other classmates and have a pair of Nikes. 
If you succumb to the pressure to overspend it can wreak havoc on your budget. Therefore, It’s important to identify what is causing your spending triggers and set limits. 
How many other times during our lives do we feel the pressure to overspend? Weddings, funerals, parties, especially children’s birthday parties these days. 
My grandparents prepaid for both of their funerals and they were to be cremated when the time came. When my grandfather passed away my grandmother felt the pressure to have a traditional funeral, so she rented a casket and paid for a funeral procession. 
Even though my grandfather was still cremated they charged my grandmother a lot of extra money to have that traditional funeral. There was really no need to have that added expense as we could have just had a memorial service for him with his ashes at the church. 
Is peer pressure creating a trigger for you to spend? Do the Black Friday ads create in you a feeling that you need to get in on these great deals or the feeling that you’ll miss out on something if you don’t? I can certainly understand that and is the reason I don’t normally look at the Black Friday ads anymore. 
Always Have a Shopping List

One way to avoid this pressure to overspend is to be prepared before you go shopping. Whether you’re purchasing back to school supplies, Christmas presents or groceries, having the items you need written down will put you in the right frame of mind and provide you with clarity and order while you’re shopping.

Reward yourself for sticking to your list and you’ll be more likely to commit to it: buy a cup of coffee while shopping or plan a fun activity for when you return home. 

We have found in the last few months that the best and easiest way to stick to your list is to not go in the store at all.

Most major grocery chains have online ordering and pick up programs that allow you to see what you’re buying before hand. 

This is how my family has done most of our grocery shopping over the last few months, and we love it! 

I personally use Walmart’s pick up service and I’m able to add items to my cart in the app as I run out of things throughout the week. Then when it comes time to purchase my items for pickup, I can take a look at my cart and tweak it, removing items that I don’t think I’ll need again for a while or adding something I forgot. 

The best thing about this is that I can see the total before I’m committed to buying the items. Often times in the grocery store, we don’t realize how much we are spending until it is run up at the register, and it’s easy to overspend in this way. 

Using an online pickup order allows you more control over what you are spending at the grocery store, and as an added bonus, you aren’t in the store making impulse purchases. It’s a win win situation. 

Relinquish the Desire to Keep Up

Give up the need to keep up with your neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Everyone’s financial situation is different and it’s dependent upon multiple factors. Don’t tie up your self worth in trying to keep up with other people. You are a beautiful person just the way you are. 

Be Accountable and Ask for Help

Hold yourself accountable by maintaining a good financial mindset, which will better equip you to stick to your money goals. Planning ahead will help you hold yourself accountable. Prepare before you leave home, so you won’t become overwhelmed and feel pressure to spend.  

Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member, someone you can trust, is reliable, and is committed to helping you reach your full financial potential. Express your financial goals to them and ask for their encouragement to help you stay on track.

Once we recognize that it’s pressure behind our overspending, we can take the necessary steps to eliminate it in our lives. It might not be easy, but it’s pressure we don’t need and we can overcome it. 

Did You Know?

Why is Vanilla so Expensive?

Have you been wondering why the price of real vanilla has skyrocketed in the last few years? This increase in price has to do with a number of reasons, which include theft of vanilla beans, complex pollination, extreme weather, and the rise of the all natural food movement. All of these variables combined to create the perfect storm for a very expensive spice. 

One of the reasons vanilla is so expensive today is because it's a difficult product to grow. Vanilla takes anywhere from two to four years before it’s ready to pick and the flowers only bloom for one day of the year. 

In order for the plants to produce beans, they have to be pollinated that day. In the places where vanilla is grown today like Madagascar, vanilla is not a native plant, so there are no bugs or birds to pollinate the flowers, which have to be pollinated by hand. 

The pods will then need several months to cure after harvesting, which makes this whole process both time consuming and labor intensive. 

Changes in the marketplace have also been one of the reasons for the high cost of vanilla. 

Inexpensive artificial vanilla took the place of real vanilla during the 1980s. As a result, farmers who grew vanilla cut back production because they weren't making enough money. 

Beginning in 2011, demand for real vanilla rose again. Big companies were pledging to eliminate artificial flavorings from their products and going to an all natural product. Unfortunately, it has taken a while for the vanilla farmers to get back in the game.

Growing vanilla is a stressful business because there is such a high demand, which makes vanilla beans a target for theft. Can you imagine working so hard to cultivate your vanilla crops only to have them stolen? 

Some farmers also run the risk of having their crops destroyed by extreme weather such as we’ve seen in the midwest here in the US. 

Cyclones are common in Madagascar and climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of such storms. Farmers may not want to take such risks with their livelihood, so the supply could continue to drop even further.
Don’t Throw Macaroni at Your Neighbor

This segment of the podcast was inspired by my daughter Bailey. One day when she was in middle school, she walked into the classroom I was subbing in that day and heard me say, “Don’t throw macaroni at your neighbor”. 

It’s something she hasn’t forgotten about and reminds me about it from time to time. Substitute teaching can be an adventure for sure, so as time allows in the podcast I’ll be sharing some funny sub stories with you and that will be the title for this new segment. 

On this day in particular I was subbing in the Home Ec department and we were making posters using macaroni as the texture part of the student’s projects. 

Students love it sometimes when they have a sub because they think they can get away with some stuff such as throwing macaroni across the room when the sub isn’t looking. This is what was going on that day when Bailey walked into the room and heard me say that. It’s not something you would ordinarily hear in a classroom, which is why she found it so funny. 

Christmas is only 114 days away:

When I was growing up we didn’t put the Christmas tree up as a family and as I became older the task fell to me each year. Because of that I eventually found the task to be a chore more than anything and no longer enjoyed the process.

When my daughter was old enough she let me know that my feelings about this made her sad because she considers decorating for Christmas to be one of her favorite activities of the holiday season. So I knew I had to change my attitude and not spoil her fun for the holidays.  

Having said that, do you know that there are only 114 days left until Christmas? Have you started making plans yet? If you are wanting to make gifts for this holiday season you might want to get started now. 

As for me and my household I want a frugal debt free Christmas and I know I can make that happen if I start now. I’m going to use the end of my podcast each week to discuss things we can do to make this holiday season a frugal one. I hope you’ll join me. 

In Conclusion

I hope that this podcast has been helpful to you and I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to listen. I hope you have a great week and we will see you back here next Monday. :)

Resources Used In This Podcast

Why Vanilla is So Expensive

Christmas Clock

~ Living within our Means ~
My Linktree


  1. Hi Belinda,
    Excellent post. I have been using the Watkins Baking Vanilla from Walmart. In Pennsylvania it is about $8.50 for an 8 ounce bottle. I have had excellent results with it. Real vanilla and vanilla beans are out of my budget! Have a great school year!
    Barb in PA

    1. Thank you so much, Barb. That is great to know about the Watkins vanilla. They have some of the best products. They used to have a vanilla air room freshener that smelled so good. I'm not sure if they have it anymore or not though. I hope you have a great week. :)

  2. The little Christmas decorating my mother allowed fell to me as I got older as well, probably because I was the only one who cared about it. I didn't enjoy it back then, but now, like your daughter, it is one of my favorite Christmas activities. DD and I start after Thanksgiving clean-up. What I truly dislike is the UN-decorating.

    1. Oh, I'm glad you enjoy decorating for Christmas now, Meg. It helps when you have someone to share it with. Yes, the UNdecorating can be unbearable, although it is nice to gt everything back the way it was. I think this year we will start on December 1st and do a little bit each day. It's much more fun now that she is with me.

  3. I notice that all spices are more extensive. But I think as many paople don't cook the amount of spices are not in demand so the price of those of use who do goes up.

  4. I listened to your podcast in the car on the way to work on Tuesday. I have an app on my phone that automatically downloads all your podcasts. So convenient!

    That's interesting about the vanilla. I usually buy the vanilla flavoring. The real stuff is beyond my budget right now.

    1. k you for listening to my podcast, Nana. I appreciate that. I buy the vanilla flavoring too. It might not be as good, but it is cheaper and beyond my budget for now too.

  5. I bought vanilla from Costco, and sometimes make my own from the beans, if it's cheaper. It tastes amazing when it's fresh.

    1. I hear so many good things bout Costco. The price of vanilla at Sam's was very high last time I checked. I'd say the homemade kind tastes amazing too. I've always wanted to try and make my own. :)

  6. My pantry has its own "coin jars": 8 ounces of pure vanilla!!!
    -memphis metro


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