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Beware conflating frugality with scarcity

As a kid, we rarely turned on the air conditioning and sparingly used the heating system.

My parents emigrated to the United States from Taiwan with very little and we always looked for ways to save money. Summers on Long Island (average highs in the 80s) were far milder than the summers in Taiwan (average highs in the 90s). Winters were harsher on Long Island but my parents would turn the temperatures down at night when we slept. I remember nights when it felt too hot but never felt it was too cold.

We were frugal but my parents never cut back on the things that were important. We flew back to Taiwan every few years, we had piano lessons, tutoring, SAT prep, etc. All the things you’d do to help your children succeed, even if they cost money. I learned a lot about cutting back on what isn’t important but being willing to spend on what is.

That’s the theme of today’s Apex:

7 Tips to Live on a Low Income (Without Feeling Deprived) [The Wallet Wise Guy] – “For the majority of our first seven years of marriage, Kendall and I mostly lived on my income alone. And, no, I wasn’t bringing down the big bucks as a doctor or a software engineer.

Instead, I was happily (even if not necessarily gainfully) employed as a pastor.”

The big takeaway is that you can live on a low income but you have to be quite intentional about it. Rather than just saying “spend less,” it’s a tactical look at how to do it so you aren’t just approaching everything with a “spend less” mentality.

Why a Scarcity Mindset Is Keeping You Poor [Debt Roundup] – “While it’s true that basic necessities like food and shelter cost more than ever, the real reason that most people aren’t achieving wealth goals has nothing to do with how much money is in the bank. It has to do with how they think about money.”

Grayson shares a good definition of the scarcity mindset and why it’s a very bad thing.

Fighting Scarcity Mentality Is About More Than Just Money — or Beliefs [Brave Saver] – “Why was it been so hard to get my stuff together, run those errands I’ve been putting off, mail that 401k rollover check that’s been sitting on my desk for weeks?

When I actually try to answer that question, it’s kind of obvious: I’m tired. With the holidays and end of the year approaching, it seems there are “bonus tasks” cropping up in pretty much every area of life, from home to work to parenting. It’s tiring to keep up with all of them.

In short, I’m running closer to empty, lacking the mental, physical, and emotional reserves that I need to be productive. And it’s landed me in a familiar place: a scarcity mindset.”

A great post that can help you identify when a scarcity mindset starts creeping into your default state and what you can do to combat it.

And now for something totally different:

How Baseball Cards Got Weird [The Atlantic] – “One night not long ago, with my 3-year-old son finally asleep and my wife wisely heading to bed, I settled onto the couch, beer in hand, to catch some baseball. Well, not really baseball. I opened my laptop, navigated to, and prepared to watch a pair of rubber-gloved hands in East Wenatchee, Washington, open an entire case of baseball cards—more than 4,000 cards in all.” If this sounds odd, it’s not. There is a kid on Youtube who makes millions unboxing toys and kids love watching it … this isn’t that much different except everyone involved is an adult. Well, and there are stakes.

If you thought it was strange for kids to watch other kids open up toys, there are adults watching other adults open up baseball cards!

Can you do us a favor and share this with someone you think will enjoy it?

(Also, we will not be publishing a curation for the 24th or 25th – we’ll be back on Thursday!)