Thursday, March 19, 2009

What If It All Came In Ones?

I still haven't hit the grocery store. I have coffee enough for tomorrow morning, but food for days still. I still have two packages of mushrooms, two green peppers, a pound of jalapenos, a package of extra firm tofu, a bunch of scallions and cilantro, and of course- more bulk food than you can shake a stick at. My goal is to eat all of my bulk before I buy any more.

Cheapskate deliciousness:
Slice two yellow peppers, one cucumber, a bunch of cilantro, and three scallions (white and green bits, please). Seed and mince a jalapeno. Mix all that together with some black beans (canned from the pantry- I used a whole can), the juice of one lime, and salt and cumin. It's delicious! It's also dinner tonight, plus lunch tomorrow, for less than two bucks for the whole shebang.

I do wish that a gym membership wasn't necessary, as it would save me another thirty bucks a month, but Tucson is hot. And sunny. And I am pale. And prone to skin cancer. And trying desperately to stay in shape is rough under the heat of the southwest sun!

A colleague gave me the following cheapskate/budget advice: figure out to the cent what gets taken out of your checking account each month and when- car payment, mortgage or rent, credit cards, utilities. Now factor in what gets transferred to savings. Out of the rest: get it in cash, divvy it up for the days, put it in envelopes, and THROW YOUR DEBIT CARD AWAY. I think I'm going to try it! Her point was that it's hard to spend cash the way you spend money on plastic, as it feels more like you're spending, and you can see how it decimates your stash. Now, I refuse to spend change- it all goes into my change jar- so I don't know if I would be great at this, but certainly it's worth a go. And then all my leftover cash every pay period could go in my savings!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tiny Piles of Money!

I'm on week two of eating off of 26 buck bill at the grocery store. Tonight's dinner/tomorrow's lunch is eggplant baked until soft in an Italian seasoning thingie with just a tetch of olive oil, then marinated in a mic of red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. I'll eat it with some white beans (smooshed into a paste with some garlic and olive oil) on some pita. It'll be delicious. I hope.

Kim and I were talking (as is our wont to do) about the delight of saving money- being thrifty makes me feel clever for no real reason. All it takes is not spending your money on total crap. The thing is, since I started restricting my spending, I don't even miss thrifting as much; the money I'd spend in a day of thrifting, maybe 40 bucks tops, is almost 2 weeks worth of groceries. When I look at it that way, it doesn't seem very attractive. She told me about some woman who scrimped and saved on her husband's wee salary and they bought, cash, a farmhouse in New England within like ten years. I want to scrimp and save so as to be able to buy some land and put up my straw bale dream house (all 600 square feet of it) before I am 40. I think this is reasonable.

I'm even thinking of having a yard sale. I know! I have a lot of clothing, and a lot of shoes, and I like them, but it's possible that my life here in Xanadorm is going to change for the even-smaller soon (cross your fingers for me) and paring down will both fatten up my wallet, and make any future move that much easier.

I won't get rid of books, though.