World Domination Summit 2013

Peg Cheng at WDS 2013Sometimes you have to do something you don’t like to do in order to gain something wonderful.

This is what happened when I attended the World Domination Summit (WDS) last week in Portland, Oregon.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand sitting in a small seat in a very large auditorium with thousands of people for hours and hours.

Makes me claustrophobic. Makes me cramp up. Makes me want to leave.

I will tolerate all this to see a play, concert or performance that I’m really interested in, but usually, I avoid.

The WDS attracts a lot of entrepreneurs, writers and bloggers. I’m an entrepreneur, a writer and a blogger. My friend Laila Atallah went last year and told me it was awesome.

So, I went.

I had to sit in a little seat in the Schnitzer Concert Hall for two days in a row, for six or so hours each day, listening to 10 different keynote speakers with 2800 other people.

Uncomfortable? YES.

Worth it? HELL YES!

I came to be inspired, to get new ideas, and to meet other entrepreneurs, especially solopreneurs. I accomplished all three of my goals.

Sukhneet, Me, Sean and Michelle at the WDS Opening Party at the zoo

Sukhneet, Me, Sean and Michelle at the WDS Opening Party at the zoo

I especially loved learning how to improve my workshops through story from Nancy Duarte; how self-knowledge is the key to happiness from Gretchen Rubin; and how to embrace rejection from Jia Jiang.

Not only that, I got to DANCE BOLLYWOOD STYLE with thousands of my fellow conference-goers at the after-party!

Which just goes to show…sometimes you have to do something you don’t want to do to gain something wonderful.

ps. This video of thousands of WDSers dancing Bollywood Gangnam Style was shot by my husband Marcus Donner who couldn’t join me at the party since he was not a WDS attendee but he could watch and shoot from the balcony of a nearby Starbucks. Way to rock it, Marcus! Here’s the full article from the Portland Business Journal.

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel

YouCanBuyHappinessbookCan you imagine giving away most of your possessions and then moving into a custom-made 128 square foot house on wheels?

Does this sound crazy?

Does it sound enticing?

Either way, you should read You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel.

I read this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down.

I found Strobel’s journey to simplify, reduce her consumption, and create a life that she loves absolutely fascinating.

Her writing is friendly, straightforward, and honest – she shares her triumphs and accomplishments along with her mistakes, misfortunes, and faulty ways of thinking. I really appreciate that.

Chapters include:

  • Buying Things Will Not Make You Happy
  • The Stuff You Own Owns You
  • Changing Your Relationship with Stuff
  • The Power of Debt
  • Sell What You Can, Give the Rest Away
  • The Joy of the Small House
  • Reclaiming Work
  • Time is the Only Real Wealth
  • Money vs. Experiences
  • Relationships Matter, Not Things
  • The Art of Community Building
  • The Power of Tiny Pleasures

Strobel doesn’t just share her story, she also peppers the book with stories from other happy, interesting, and independent people who have also simplified their lives. Also, she’s done her research. Throughout the book are enlightening and often shocking factoids on happiness, consumption, debt, personal finances and more.

This not only an inspiring book, but one with tons of resources for anyone who wants to live a more frugal and intentional life. Whether you would ever live in tiny house is beside the point. This book is worth reading just for all the simplifying, life-altering, happiness-inducing ideas and strategies.

Check it out when you get a chance and let me know what you think of it!

NOTE: The book link on this page is an affiliate link, so if you end up using it for your own online shopping, Super Frug will benefit (thanks so much!).

A Year’s Worth of Clothes for $110

ThriftStoreIt’s been a year since I started my No New Clothes Project of buying only used clothes (underwear, bras and socks excluded).

When I started this experiment, I wondered, could I really do it?
Would the temptation to buy new be too great?
Would it be frustrating sorting through used clothes?
Would I still look good wearing used clothes instead of new?
Those answers in just a minute . . . but first, here’s what I ended up buying.

All items except for #8 were bought at Goodwill. All prices include tax.

  1. PRANA denim shorts = $5.46
  2. GAP lined knee-length skirt = $6.56
  3. L.A. BLUES jeans = $1.41
  4. LEVI STRAUSS SIGNATURE jeans = $1.41
  5. NINE WEST jeans = $1.41
  6. DAVID KAHN jeans = $6.71
  7. THE LIMITED dressy slacks = $1.13
  8. LIZ CLAIBORNE sweatpants = $4.37
  9. CASLON t-shirt = $5.46
  10. BROOKS BROTHERS short-sleeve sweater top = $5.46
  11. PREVIEW short-sleeve cable sweater top = $1.41


All prices include tax.

  1. 6 pairs of HANES underwear, Target = $8.89
  2. 2 MAIDENFORM bras (buy one, get one half price), Fred Meyer = $60.23



I ended up spending less than $110 on all my clothes for the entire year!

Now, let me answer the questions I had at the beginning of this project.

Could I really do it?
Hell yeah, I did it!

Would the temptation to buy new be too great?
As the saying goes, “If you want to lose weight, don’t walk by the donut store.” To avoid temptation, I stayed out of clothing stores and avoided the clothing section of department stores. I shopped only at places that had great prices on used clothes, mainly the Goodwill and Value Village.

Would it be frustrating sorting through used clothes?
I went shopping knowing that I might not always find what I was looking for. That’s true whether you’re shopping for new stuff or used stuff. And as I wrote before about shopping for used clothes, I shopped when I knew what specific items I was looking for. That helped me to stay focused and not get frustrated.

Would I still look good wearing used clothes instead of new?
Yes! All of the clothes I bought were in really good or great condition.

In the end, the No New Clothes Project helped me learn something much more important than just saving money by buying used clothes over new ones. It helped me to break a die-hard habit of buying without thinking.

This year-long experiment was a real wake-up call for me.

Because of the conscious way I bought my clothes for a whole year, I now apply that conscious way of thinking and buying to everything else I need in my life. I feel a lot better about how I spend my money and what I spend it on. And I owe it all to this one little experiment.

Thrift store photo by sparklingdawg.

The Housecleaning Workout

BroomsI’ve joined three different gyms in my 41 years on this earth and each time I wondered, why am I paying to exercise?

Still, those three times in my life were the three most physically healthy times in my life.

You see, when I pay for something, I want to get the most out of it. So, when I had a gym membership, I actually used the gym. Not a lot, mind you, but a decent amount.

Most weeks, I would work out on a cardio machine, use the weight machines and/or take a yoga class two or three times a week. I made myself exercise and stretch and sweat, and guess what? I got into shape!

But, I still couldn’t get over the fact that I was paying to exercise. And I just didn’t like the gym culture. Some people love it. They love to work out with other people. They like to have a community of exercisers around them. It motivates them. But despite the beautiful, buff bodies around me to inspire me or give me some eye candy, I just was not comfortable. It did not inspire me. It did not motivate me. I was just trying to get the most from paying for my membership.

I haven’t been to a gym for about two years now and I can definitely see it and feel it. I’ve gained about 7-8 pounds, my clothes are tighter, I feel more sluggish and less flexible, and I just don’t look very fit. * Sigh. *

I keep thinking, maybe I need to join a gym again? But each time I debate it in my mind, I come up with the same answer: NO.

So, what’s an out-of-shape Super Fruger to do?

I’ve tried working out with free weights at home. That lasts about a week.

I also tried riding a stationary bike for six months. It was great except I kept having lower back and neck pain. Out went the bike.

I do love taking walks every day. And I do take qigong classes every week and love them. But what about the strength training?

Well, I think I came up with an answer yesterday as I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, crouched down on my haunches. This was probably the first time in three years that I have done this (usually, Marcus just vacuums the floor). Let me tell you, when I got up after 30 minutes of scrubbing, my legs were sore. My shoulders and arms were sore.

I thought, that was a workout! Then I thought, why don’t I do this every week?

With that in mind, here’s my new exercise routine for May.

  • Every day, I will take a 45-60 minute walk.
  • Twice a week, I will attend my qigong classes.
  • Once a week, I will clean our two bathrooms (toilets, sinks, tub and floor).
  • Once a week, I will scrub the kitchen floor or the dining room floor.
  • Once a week, I will sweep out the front entryway and the front walk.

Maybe some of you are thinking, I do all this already. Congrats, little Miss or Mister Housecleaner. Don’t rain on my parade.

I’m going to try the “Housecleaning Exercise Workout” for one month. I will put my all into it and try to work up a sweat when I’m scrubbing.

Rubber gloves on. Here I go!

UPDATE: I tried this for a month and sorry to say, it did not work. I do love taking my walks almost every day and going to qigong class twice a week. But do I like cleaning the bathrooms and floors every week? No! Have I swept the front walk? Again, no! Alas, on to brainstorming more ways to get exercise.

Brooms photo is by jam343.

What I don’t like spending money on

SmoothiesThere are lots of things that I don’t like spending money on.

Here are my top five.

1. Drinks
I pretty much drink two things: tap water and tea made with fresh, chopped ginger steeped in boiling water. That’s it. Because I don’t value drinks, I don’t buy them at the grocery store or when I go out to eat. Now, I do buy a drink when I meet a friend at a cafe and I have no problem with that. I am happy to pay for it because I think of it as paying my tax for sitting and enjoying my time in the cafe.

2. Insurance Premiums
No offense to the people out there reading this who might be insurance agents but I think of insurance as basically an institutionalized and legitimized form of gambling.

You are paying a recurring fee to protect yourself and your assets in case something bad happens. If nothing bad happens, you lose money through the premiums you’re paid, but that’s it. However, it something bad happens, then all that money you spent month after month, and year after year, finally kicks in and hopefully you get enough money from the insurance company to cover your costs. It’s the only kind of bet you hope you lose.

So, even though I don’t like paying for it, I do pay for health insurance, car insurance, and home insurance. Because one bad accident or one major surgery without insurance can mean going from a relatively good life to a toboggan ride to bankruptcy hell.

3. New clothes
After my self-imposed year of “No New Clothes,” I’m now a secondhand, thrift store, and consignment store convert! When you pay only $1.29 for a like-new pair of jeans, it’s painful to walk into The Gap and pay $70 or more for a new pair.

4. New house stuff
After shopping at the Goodwill and Value Village for the past year, I realized that I could buy all kinds of good stuff there for my house (especially the kitchen) for a fraction of the price of buying it new. Whether it be my $7 cast iron grill ($20-$50 new), my $2 spice/coffee grinder ($15-$30 new), or my $7 blender with glass pitcher ($35-$75 new), I can find great buys on used stuff if I’m willing to take the time to look…and look again.

5. New books
Don’t get me wrong. I love books. And I love bookstores. But ever since I stopped buying new books as my first resort for reading something new, I have saved a lot of money. Now if there’s something I want to read, I first borrow it from the library. If I really, really love it and need it for my home library, I will look for a copy at a used bookstore. If I call around and none of my usual used bookstores has it, then, and only then, will I buy it new.

There are more things I don’t like spending money on but these are my top five.

Please know that I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with spending. That’s not the point of this post. We need to spend money (or trade or barter) to get the things we need to live our lives. My point in writing this post, and the last post, is that knowing what you like spending money on, and what you don’t like spending money on, will help you to prioritize your spending.

When you prioritize, you are more conscious. When you are more conscious, you will save money.

Saving money means having more resources to do the things you want to do whether it be traveling to a place you’ve been dreaming about, taking a class, spending more time with the people you love, quitting a job you can’t stand, or retiring without worries.

So, why not try it? Write down your spending likes and dislikes. 

You might be surprised or pleased or frustrated or sad about what you write down. That’s okay. No matter what feelings it brings up, it’s all good to know.

Articulating your spending likes and dislikes is a great step towards more conscious spending and eventually, a more conscious and fulfilling life.

Smoothies photo by Vera Kratochvil.