Friday, June 2, 2017

May Ramblings - Lagom - the New Danish word

My hygge dining area
Everywhere I look there are articles on the Danish being the happiest people in the world and how hygge contributes to that happiness. Hygge has been a huge buzz word in the UK for a while but is just now reaching our shores here in the US, so don't feel bad if you're just starting to hear about it. Basically hygge is creating a warm fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, as usual, a concept has been exploited to the point you can hardly recognize it and I think that's the case of hygge.  In the UK they've got special hygge candles, cashmere sweaters, cashmere blankets, fur blankets, etc. all promoting hygge.

Unfortunately if the UK has gotten bitten by the bug I can only imagine what this will turn into here in the US. The good news is it doesn't need to cost a thing! It can be as simple as friends sharing a cup of tea maybe with some homemade cookies or a homemade cake. It has nothing to do with breaking the bank to buy things. Hygge typically occurs the most over the winter when people in Denmark are stuck in their homes.

Less known is Lagom which typically comes after the over indulgences of the holidays, It's reining in the money spending and appreciating what you have. Logom focuses on the balance yet still enjoying hygge in your life. Hygge and lagom are about simple things, not about extravagance. I think a lot of Americans need to learn to grasp this concept.

Moo hanging out on the bed and checking out the bookcase for a new book to read
I've been trying to figure out how to reduce my expenses - a very lagom or frugal thing to do. I chose to only have the internet installed when I moved into my rental. I've had Netflix for years and have tried a couple different membership subscriptions like Acorn, Gaiam TV and Hulu. I enjoyed Acorn, which is a British channel, and Gaiam TV which has a ton of yoga sessions. Unfortunately I don't have time to watch a ton of TV or to do yoga right now so I decided to cancel them. Hulu I enjoyed while I watched the entire 6 seasons of Miss Marple but really didn't find anything that drew my attention to justify keeping it. Besides, if I'm only going to watch British movies and series then Acorn or BritLit are cheaper at about $6 per month. For yoga I found a ton of yoga and other exercise videos on Youtube for free.  I may add some of these back on later, but for now it's just Netflix for TV watching.
**Savings about $27 per month for those I cut.

I also did away with Amazon Prime. I was starting to find that most of the items I was ordering were from third party suppliers and the 2 to 3 days delivery was a joke. Yes, it was nice not to have to put together a larger order to get free shipping but I'd started buying less and less from Amazon and finding things on other sites cheaper.
***Savings $99 per year.

I'm going to shock people when I admit I cancelled my Kindle Unlimited (gasp!). Considering I have been reading about 2 to 3 books a week I could justify the cost of this BUT I found my library has digital e-books and I can read them through an app called Overdrive, which is totally free, and you use your library card to activate and use. I installed Overdrive onto both my Fire Tablet and cellphone and then stopped at the library and finally got my very own library card.
**Savings $10 per month.

Another awesome savings I get with my Overdrive is audiobooks! So I was able to cancel my Audible membership. I love listening to audiobooks while I do dishes, cleaning, knitting or working on my rugs or while relaxing in my recliner. I don't want to buy everything I listen to though so it's a costly enjoyment if I'm buying each book. I can also get free audiobook rentals at the library. I bought a mini stereo system to be able to listen to the audio CD's which also allows me to listen to the radio too so an added bonus.  I had to wait a couple weeks on a hold list but I received The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking (shown above). This book was released last year in Europe but was just released here in the US a couple months ago. I've heard tons on how great it was on the various hygge groups so of course I wanted to listen or read it. This week I got the email stating it had been added to my audio bookshelf - it was like a Christmas present! I finished listening to it while typing this. Today I got another email saying the e-book has been added to my bookshelf as well so I can both listen and read it.
**Savings $15 to $25 per month.

So to start my summer off I'm now saving about $50 a month on memberships and subscriptions that I've cancelled and been able to find free or cheaper alternatives to. I'm in love with Overdrive! I can listen or read anywhere just like I could with Audible and Kindle Unlimited. The disadvantage is that there are a lot of Kindle only books that I won't have access to unless I buy them but as most of these are romances and not the best written anyway I don't think this is a huge disadvantage. $50 may not seem like a lot of money, but over a year that's a savings of $600 and with not continuing my Prime membership it's about $700 in savings - that's HUGE for some of us. What could you do with an extra $700?

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