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Our two-car, insulated garage combined with our two current vehicles (2003 Pontiac Vibe, 2005 Chevy Aveo LS) definitely constitute the life upgrades that have provided me with the most lasting happiness.

Living close to the vest while in college, driving used vehicles, and dating a woman (the future Mrs. FFP) who had perpetual car trouble forced me to become somewhat of a self-taught backyard mechanic in my late teens. What I lacked in skill and experience I made up for with a determination grounded in the knowledge that failure was not an option, simply because neither she nor I could afford to pay for someone else to perform the repairs.

With no garage available, more often than not this left me on my back under a car in the limestone driveway. I don’t miss the cuts, scrapes, and bruises from laying on the rocks, the fire ants biting my legs and back, or the freezing cold and lack of feeling in my fingers caused by mid-winter oil repairs here in Michigan.

The house we purchased after we were married has a large two-car garage (a mandatory requirement during the home-buying process!). The vehicles we drive now are still over 10 years old, but they are well-vetted, highly-regarded, Consumer Reports-recommended models. I still perform all of our own car repairs, but can now do so in the comfort of an insulated and paved garage, while needing to perform them far, far less often. The garage still brings me an immense amount of happiness!

I would say the type of spending that provides me with the least form of lasting happiness is that of eating out. Very temporary happiness boost, more often than not while sabotaging other life goals such as fitness. We don’t do it much, but it has probably the lowest ROI on the lasting happiness scale for me.

That Frugal Pharmacist April 10, 2018, 1:25 pm

I hadn’t put much thought in to it, but I think my husband may have perfected this without having put any thought in to it.

He’s “retired” to take care of our property (and now child), and it made sense financially when we moved where we did for him to not have a job for multiple reasons.

Anyway, he always has 20 different little projects or ideas in the works and is constantly making little tweaks and improvements indoors and out.

I find myself getting frustrated that ideas and plans take so long. But maybe he’s actually settled on a formula for giving him the most bang for his buck and effort of keeping busy, spending little and always feeling like he’s got something he enjoys to do.

Unlike me who would rather focus and get a project done, he’s happy to string it out for weeks. And why not really? It’s not like we were really any better or worse off in the end.

Chris April 10, 2018, 1:30 pm

One of the best upgrades I’ve made was to convert an old mountain bike to an electric assist car crushing machine! I ride it on days I am not riding a pedal only bike, or about 2-3 days per week. Money savings, time savings, and sheer joy are some of the benefits derived from this upgrade. I still get a workout and the bike allows me to carry much more weight than a pedal only bike and travel much faster. I get that actual benefit bump every time I throw a leg over the top tube and roll down my driveway!

Mr. Freaky Frugal April 10, 2018, 1:40 pm



Food, Agriculture, and Female Farmers in Burkina Faso

Julia Morgan ’18, Millie Varley ’18, and geography professor Bill Moseley researched food security and diet diversity in Burkina Faso.

January 17 2018

Assessing Public Health Issues

Students’ GIS research projects explore issues such as health care access in North Dakota oil fields.

March 13 2017

Maps for Good

Ross Donihue ’11 builds on cartography skills learned at Macalester to promote conservation of critical landscapes.

September 26 2016

Mapping North Minneapolis

Mac geography students partnered with a local organization to tell a story using maps.

July 26 2016

Networking in D.C.

Through MacConnect DC, Joe Klein spent his spring break networking and talking about careers with Macalester alumni in Washington, D.C.

March 28 2016

Meeting Mongolia

Students visited Minnesota's Iron Range and found lessons relevant to their study of Mongolia.

March 21 2016

Welcome to the Geography Department

Macalester’s nationally and internationally recognized Geography Department, founded in 1947 by Hildegard Binder Johnson , is unusually broad in scope for an undergraduate liberal arts college. The department leads students through an exploration of urban and regional planning, environmental geography, cartography, geographic information science and socioeconomic development in various regions of the world. Students may major or minor in geography. Students may also take a specialized minor focused on Geographic Information Systems or major in geography with an additional concentration in Urban Studies.

27th ANNUAL COLLOQUIUM OF THE IGU-CSRS The Geography Department looks forward to hosting Sustaining Rural Systems: Rural Vitality in an Era of Globalization and Economic Nationalism , the 27th Annual Colloquium of the Novica Garnet chandelier earrings Majestic Cascade UvslQDiP
. The conference and field study will be held in July 2019.

CRYSTAL GLOBE AWARD Congratulations to the 2017-2018 Crystal Globe Award for Distinguished Service to the Macalester Geography Department — Ti2 Titanium Floral Pendant Silver Silver Colour 16 5tqDgQss0v

DEPARTMENT HONORS 2018 – The Association of American Geographers Honorable Mention for Bachelors Program of Excellence More. . .

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Our Department In the News

Seeing Homelessness Differently | Univ. of Minn. News | May 4, 2018

Why it’s important to recognize multiple food systems in Africa | The Conversation | July 18, 2018

Is food self-sufficiency making a comeback? | African Arguments | June 15, 2018

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