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Archive for May, 2008

Grocery Budget?

May 20th, 2008 at 08:15 pm

Ok, I am a ramen/tuna/cornflakes kind of person who, if peanut-butter and jelly were outlawed, would have to live in San Quentin. In the settlements near the Guild, it's microwaves and George Foreman grills. Not the stuff of haute cuisine.

But my apartment has a kitchen, eeek! And now I have to stock a pantry. I'm thinking that having one meatless meal a day will really cut costs. I'm not a vegetarian (I am a baconarian) but meat=expensive!

I know there are frugal cooking websites, but they seem to be family orientated. I am perennially single, and using Monday's meal for 4 to make leftovers for Tuesday and Wednesday's meals (also for 4) mean that I've got tons of food that's going to waste.

But what's a reasonable amount to spend? I'm organic for dairy, but I can make my own yogurt and cheese is incompatible with bikini season, so it's mainly a milk bill. Cutting down on meat is definitely going to help, but I could cook a chicken or something. There's a local farm cooperative not too far from me that's selling shares. For about 20/week** I can get fresh vegetables (not fruit). I could bake my own bread. Eliminating coffee is slightly less preferable than eliminating air.

So I'm guessing 20+6 for fruit, plus dairy and some meat...that's looking like 35/week? Say 40/week total. Is that crazy?

**this is a half-share. I expect to freeze a ton of stuff for casseroles. If I could find a buddy to pair up with, it'd be 10/week. This is the second peril of singledom. The first is that there's no one to kill the spiders for you.

Sorting, Sharing, Shopping

May 20th, 2008 at 07:46 pm

I have too much stuff. And I can't take it all with me! The funny thing is that at the Guild, there are a ton of people that are saying the same thing. So this time of year is like musical chairs: the people change, but the furniture stays the same. In my new apartment: donated shelves. So in my old apartment, a cabinet will be left behind.

I've been scouring the coffeeshops and signboards for deals. One apprentice is selling a lamp for $2.00, no doubt purchased from another apprentice a few years ago. I don't need another lamp, but I can definitely use a fan, so I buy that, a coffee machine and a plastic storage caddy for $15.00. And I sell a chair for a few dollars and try to unload some old scrolls.

I've been purging a lot of stuff though, so my local Goodwill will be getting a few drop-and-run donations. My goal is to strip away the stuff that I don't use or absolutely love. The odd thing is that even with all this stuff, I didn't have the things I really needed, like a dresser. So it makes me think about the ways I've thoughtlessly spent money, and what it's really cost me.

I did pretty well with my thrifted deals: I've got a way to make breakfast and to keep my socks off the floor for less than the cost of dinner and a movie. But I look at all the stuff I forgot I even owned, and I realize how easy it is to be wasteful.

What's done is done

May 15th, 2008 at 08:21 pm

I sign a lease this weekend. For the original price. So my total rent is about 10/mo more than what I'm paying, but it's less driving, and slightly better accomodations. And I'm alone. So the next step is (pack, whoo boy) and crunch the numbers: I really want to crush my debt.

Gazelle Intensity or Jack*** Decisionmaking?

May 14th, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Trying to keep it clean and family-oriented. Smile

So, I am ending out my current apprenticeship at the Guild, and my Guildmaster has recommended that I spend my summer in the dungeons assisting the Potions Master, instead of in the Guildhall.

This is good, because lowly apprentices have to pay Guild fees, but lowly assistants just have to scrub cauldrons, and pay labor for trade. Also, it may put me line for a senior apprenticeship, which may mean that I have to cut my hours at the Forum.

Also, there's been some trouble back at home, and I think that sooner or later, I may need to start sending some $$ there.

So the concept of cutting costs is really in my mind lately. One option is to go back to the Souk for the summer, but I wanted to spend this time preparing for the Imperial Examinations and working will take away from that.

The second option...may be good or not. Currently, I live alone, and I pay base-bottom rent. But there are some other apprentices in my neighborhood who are looking for someone to share a home, and this would cut my costs by about 200.00/month. The downside: I don't know these people, I'd probably have to move again in a year and, parking is a total nightmare.

But, that extra 2400/year would be a nice buffer to send to the 'rents and/or a tidy way to pay off my debts sooner. Or it could be just enough for bail money for when I strangle the person who eats the last of my Frosted Sugar Squirrels.

I know, I rarely post anymore...but any thoughts? Take the plunge or keep my sanity?