Friday, September 30, 2005

Mindset change

Yesterday, I wanted to setup an old DayRunner I had to be my permanent price book. It is sturdy, has a leather cover and a pen loop. It had some old business cards in it, but only like 2 sheets of paper.

Now, I tend to be a packrat, so I thought I had a pad of paper for the dayrunner. Looked through my file cabinet, and found it! So I filed the old business cards and such, and used the tabbed pages from the address book in the DayRunner, sticking a few pieces of paper between each. So now I'm all set.

I know this probably doesn't sound like much. I didn't really save any money, but it's the mindset I'm trying to develop. Reuse, recycle, use what I have or can reuse cheaply. It's a small step in that direction at least.

My partner and I had a good talk last night about money. We talked about ways to save money on electricity this winter, since we have electric heat and we pay for electric here. And we don't pay for water, but we do pay for the electric water heater. We also talked about the changes I've been making. So far, all the food changes and more home cooking is working well. It helps that neither of us care a lot about high end brand names. For instance, a lot of people here have Columbia Sportwear jackets. They work well handling the mist and damp of a Portland winter. We have no name jackets that are 50-300 bucks less then the Columbia Sportswear jackets. They work fine for us.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Free tickets!

I was at Fred Meyer's yesterday, getting some things on sale that were a great price. For one of them, (toilet paper) I needed a coupon from the ad but there weren't any upfront. So I went to the customer information desk and she went to get some ads. They had a sign about the Portland Art Museum.

It has finally finished adding on a new wing, and so over the next two weeks they are have a celebration. Fred Meyer donated money toward a plaza connecting the new wing, so they are giving out tickets free. So I got two free tickets and next week my partner and I will take the bus downtown to the Park Blocks and visit the Portland Art Museum!


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Finding sales

I use my computer to help me find what's on sale. I have bookmarks to the online ads of several of my local grocery stores. But I've found a site that is even easier to use. It's, a dumb name for a useful site.

No signup is required. You put in your zip code and a keyword of what you are looking for. Simple is best. 'Toilet paper' or 'rice' or 'beans'. You'll get a price and an image of what's on sale. They seem to have all the stores around here listed, at least the major ones. It's very useful and keeps you from wasting that expensive gas going from place to place.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Learning from mistakes

I've been making whole wheat bread from scratch. So far I've made 3 loaves. The first one I used the bread machine for mixing and the first rise. It came out pretty good, but quite a dark top.

The second one I did by hand, and it didn't rise as much, but it was tasty. Sunday, I got a good rise but I guess I was overly gentle with the dough when I was shaping it to put it in the loaf pan. Once it was baked, I found out there was a nicely done bread, but with a fairly large hole in the center.

Now, obviously this wasn't any good for sandwiches. ;-) So, trying to be frugal, I used 2 slices for breakfast and cooked an egg in the middle of the bread. I got that idea from watching Moonstruck a long time ago. Then for dinner, I stuffed the hole with some steamed veggies and a little marinara and heated it up. Sliced it and enjoyed it a lot.

I'm going to continue to make bread. I enjoy it, it is very cost effective and both I and my partner like it a lot. And it's good for you!


Monday, September 26, 2005

Potato scramble

I made potato scramble yesterday. It didn't look like much, honestly, but it tasted good. Another thumbs up from my partner. She did ask next time that I have a meat side dish.

I bought some boneless skinless chicken breast the other day on sale. The breasts were huge! So, I sliced them up into approximately 6 ou pieces, which is a recommended serving size. I am trying to get away from supersizing myself by eating large portions.

I'm old enough to remember when going to McDonalds was a treat. I think my mother gave in about once every 2-3 months (yes, months, not days or weeks). We were all satisfied with what is now a small hamburger or cheeseburger (the ones for around a buck), a small fry and a small drink. At some fast food places I've been at lately, you can't even buy a small fry, just medium. Sometimes I buy a kid's meal, because honestly it's at least smaller and a bit healthier.

You can get apple dippers at McDonalds, mandarin orange slices at Wendy's. The plain baked potato at Wendy's is good too, as long as you don't get all the fatty add-ons. I like potatoes with BBQ sauce, or salsa on top. Tasty yet healthy.

Speaking of potatoes, I did find at Safeway 10 pounds of russets for $1.99. Since they are usually .69 a pound, I snapped up a bag. So I do have to eat a lot of potatoes fairly soon.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Gaining knowledge

Knowledge is power as they say. The person who really inspired me to start this more frugal way of life, is another blogger, frugalveggiemama, who posts regularly. She recommended a few books.

Now, trying to be frugal, I am first getting them from the library. I use the Multnomah County Library, which last year had the most circulation of any library in the country. Something like 15.4 million items. Reading is a good way to pass the rainy winters.

Anyway, I've got a few books on hold and one video. The video is called Escape from Affluenza, and two books I'm really looking forward to reading are The Complete Tightwad Gazette and Yankee magazine's living well on a shoestring : 1,501 ingenious ways to spend less for what you need and have more for what you want.

Today I'm making a potato scramble. Yesterdays apple crisp got good reviews from my partner.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Hello from Portland!

I have recently decided to start living more frugally, to simplify my life. Saving money is a big part. I want to eat well, but not spend a lot. I want to eat healthy, but not spend my life cooking. I want time with my partner, and savings for retirement later.

So I'm learning about a frugal lifestyle. It's different from a lot of people, in that I live in the middle of a large city, in an apartment. I don't have a yard, or a basement, or much storage space. So even if buying beans in 25 pound bags is much cheaper, I can't because I have no place to put them.

My partner is willing to try this lifestyle. We are low on funds, but rich in our life together. We will see how this goes, how to save money yet live a full life together.