Festively fall

I read lots of blogs, and many of them have nothing to do with frugality or personal finance. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I have other interests besides money, people! I really enjoy reading what I suppose could be grouped as ‘lifestyle’ blogs. Many of these bloggers are closer to me in age and interest than the pf bloggers that I read, so I relate to both sets equally well.

Many of the so-called lifestyle bloggers are talking about decorating their homes for fall. Yesterday, I definitely had a very strong urge to do the same. I really wanted to go purchase a few cute fall decorations for my apartment, with the thought being that now that I am on my own I can start collecting ‘home furnishing’ things like decorations. But wait. I am not supposed to be spending any money- or accumulating a bunch of stuff.

I still wanted it to feel like fall in my apartment. So, I went outside and took a few pictures of the trees changing colors and picked up some leaves. Leaves are now artfully arranged around my apartment (dried and de-bugged; don’t worry!) and if any of these pictures turns out particularly good, I’ll print it out and hang it somewhere in the kitchen. I also lit a pumpkin candle that someone gave me as a gift last year. Ahh, fall.

Mission accomplished.


September 29, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What the heck do you eat?

I get that question a lot, actually. I’ve mentioned it to many people (in real-life, as well as blog land) that I spend as little a very small amount on food each week. They are always curious as to how that translates into actual meals. As a result of this question, I’ve posted below some of the things that I purchased and my meals for the week. First, a note about my meal plans. Yes, I realize that many would see this as boring and repetitive. I do, too. It’s the downside of buying and preparing food for one. I’ve not yet found a solution for cost-effective variety and that doesn’t create much waste. I absolutely hate food waste. Seriously, it really bothers me – but that is not what this post is about. My current solution to the repetitiveness of the day-to-day is to have very varied meals from week to week.

And a second note about this plan. You’ll notice that there is little preparation involved. In case you’re curious as to why, please refer to the open letter to Kaplan. That is what takes up all of my time, and I’d much rather spend it with exam practice and review than with making meals for the next few weeks. Normally, I could devote some of the weekend to meal prep, but I will be traveling these next two weekends for work, so that’s out of the question. This weekend I’ll be gone by Friday afternoon, hence no plan for dinner.

M – granola and yogurt (leftover from last week); coffee
Tu-F – toasted onion bagels with butter; tea

M – veggies and hummus, cheese, grapes
Tu-F – pita and hummus, grapes

M – canned veggie soup, pita bread
Tu- veggie and rice stir-fry
W- rice and beans
Th- canned lentil soup, pita bread

I snack on either dried fruit or almonds, and I have big bags of each that I’m working my way through slowly, from a shopping trip a few weeks ago.

This is an atypical week, especially because of travel, but I’ve only spent about $20 on food. I’ve forgotten exactly, but here are the approximations. The soups were 2 for $3, the bagels 2 for $4 (so I have extra in the freezer), hummus $4, grapes $3, pita bread $1.50, and $4 for carrots, a green pepper, and a cucumber.

So, there’s your answer. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

September 29, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

No-spend weeks

Try as he might, I will not let the little bugger that is my Kaplan class get in the way of my writing. No way.

I have been reading up on a lot of interesting things lately about no-spend weekends. I think these are a great idea, with one caveat. I travel or schmooze often on the weekends as a part of my job, so a true no-spend weekend would not be possible to undertake until late December. Yes, you read that right. I am hoping that I have some time to catch my breath in the next few months!

So instead, I am thinking of trying two no-spend weeks, with the weekends excluded. It is not that I plan on going crazy on the weekends, but rather I wouldn’t be able to be true to my promise.

Here’s my plan: I will grocery shop tonight (Sunday) and next Sunday for the few things that I’ll need to replenish- like milk. I can, and will, walk to work every day, meaning that I won’t need to buy gas. No lunches or sodas or vending machine trips allowed. No extra trips to the grocery store for food ‘just because’ I want to make something specific.

Such is my mission, I choose to accept it, and I will be back to let you know how it goes!

September 27, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Dear Kaplan

Dear Kaplan,

You better be worth so much of my hard-earned money. For $1200 (mixed in with some serious study time) your test prep better get me into my grad school of choice. I don’t know if you realize how much I am giving up to be with you, but in case you were wondering – it’s basically months and months of fun money. Fun money that included things like brie cheese and artisanal breads and the occasional Dunkin Donuts bagel and cream cheese. (Yes, Kaplan – I really enjoy breads and dairy. Thanks for judging. We’re moving along now.)

So Kaplan, this is just a warning that I’ve got my eye on you. I’m not going to fall for your silly games. I’ll go all in with your system, but I’m going to expect results in return. Show me those results, or you’ll have one unhappy, freezing, and bitter New England customer come December.

With love.

September 23, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Checking in…

It is never a good sign when your dashboard shows you nothing but ‘older posts’. I sincerely apologize to any readers that I have left. Thanks for sticking with my slacker self. I hope to make it worth your effort.

Really nothing much has been happening money-wise for me, which is mostly what motivates me to write. I am still working out minor kinks to my budget, so I am waiting a while before posting that.

I’ve paid off one store card completely (yay!) and will have paid off the other one at the beginning of next month. Then everything is going towards my one main credit card. I have about four months of an emergency fund saved up – but I also have an especially stable job so that is slightly less of a worry for me. Only slightly.

Life is good in this new town of mine. I feel like I am finally starting to connect with people and have a chance for somewhat of a social life. (Sidenote-that came out far more pathetic than I meant it to.) I don’t live in an especially youthful town, so it was hard at first to meet and connect with people my own age.

I hope things are well with all of you!

September 23, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

I woke up this morning thinking about how little I had to do today. As per usual, I went grocery shopping this morning. I do it every Sunday morning. It’s my release; my time alone and without distractions, and is something that I very much enjoy- I can take an hour, browsing through almost every aisle, even though I have a very specific list and few needs.

After coming home, I looked around my room and realized that it was dusty. So, I swept and dusted. Cleaning always makes me feel grimy, but before I hopped in the shower, I decided to go for a quick run, something that I haven’t done in quite a while. Although exhausted after only a few miles, I felt instantly better afterwards.

I showered and made a quick and easy lunch of leftovers after running. Seeing the clock, and realizing that it was only 1pm and I had about four more hours before I had anywhere to be, I felt rather listless and instantly bored. But then I remembered how full my laundry basket had been when I threw my running clothes in there. I don’t have a washing machine in my apartment and the communal ones are disgusting, so I spent a good hour washing some clothing. This is not a normal pastime for me; there is a laundromat walking distance from where I live, and I usually frequent it 2-3 times each month. Doing some of my laundry by hand will not only give me a way to fill up some hours of my day, but also save me money by saving me trips to that laundromat.

Now my room smells of the lovely scent of air-drying laundry and I am grateful both that I have clothing to wear for the week and that I managed to fill up most of my time on this lazy Sunday. When I finish and publish this post, I will change my clothes, do my hair, and head out the door just in time for my dinner plans. I will come home from my friend’s house both full of delicious food and exhausted from a rather full day. Luckily I will sleep well knowing that I have accomplished plenty for this lazy day.

I hate sitting around and doing nothing – the feeling of listlessness doesn’t sit well with me. It has been an abrupt and harsh change to go from super busy full-time student and extra-curricular maven to someone working only 40-45 hours per week. I like to read, I’m becoming a much more adept cook, I plan on taking up knitting again once it becomes cooler, and I have this as an outlet for my writing. I am also looking for a local community organization that I can become involved in. All of this has served to fill the void that finishing school has left me with.

September 13, 2009. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.