Blog Archives

saving electricity

I’ve cut my electricity bill down to 10 bucks. :D!

hello, income

I’m going to assume that we’re all aware that I’m one super-frugal son-of-a-gun. I have been known to wash dishes/take out the trash for people in exchange for food, so why should it stop there?

I somewhat recently learned that one of my friends absolutely hates folding laundry. Of all the household chores there are, folding laundry is probably my favorite one, mostly because it means warm, clean clothes fresh from the drier. They smell nice. :]

F: Seriously? You hate it more than cleaning toilets and bathtubs?
M: Yeah! With bathrooms, I just put a pair of gloves on, get some bleach and go to town. But laundry? It takes me several days.
F: …How much clothing do you have!?
M: Well, it’s really because I get pissed off at it and leave it for another day, but I really hate it. I found a lady at the laundromat who’ll fold my clothes for me if I pay her $10.
F: …
M: Sweet deal, right?
F: …No, not at all. I can’t believe you won’t fold your own clothes. That’s probably my favorite household chore.
M: We’d make a great team then. …Wait, if I pay you $10, would you fold my clothes for me?
F: DONE DEAL.

Yes, that really just happened.

I apparently looked a little sad yesterday. (Listless might be a better word. I’ve been desperately fighting a somewhat-losing battle against a cold, so I haven’t been feeling too lovely.)
M: Hey Farrah, is everything okay?
F: Yep, been better, but still kickin’.
M: Are you sure? I feel like something’s wrong! I feel it! Your aura’s not as strong today. Your qi’s down!
A bit extreme there, but it made me smile.

In other news, this is a good read.

money woes

Our dean came in to talk to us the other day and basically scared me half to death, so now I feel like I need to be studying for boards starting now and throughout the summer, and I feel like the board prep material they provide isn’t enough and won’t be given to us soon enough. :[ Tis a good thing I’ve made friends with so many different people. :O

But board prep material does not come cheap. I think it’s almost $1k for Doctors in Training, which I’ve heard good things about. The one the school provides is Boards Boot Camp, but I’m wondering if I should get the question bank, and my friend also suggested Gunner Training, which is ridiculously inexpensive compared to the others, is supposed to help you actually retain the knowledge as opposed to straight-memorizing, and I just really love the name, especially since I’m about the farthest you can get from actually being a gunner.

I was talking with a couple friends afterward and although we’re all pretty worried about student debt and such, I feel like I’m either extraordinarily frugal and don’t even realize it since it’s the way I’ve always lived, or everyone around me = exorbitant spenders. (I scored a free bookshelf/desk/desk chair & a bunch of books the other day. :x )

I think the max I could have taken out this year was almost $80k, but I couldn’t think of any reason as to why I’d need that much, so I looked at my previous years’ worth of spending and decided to take out $64k. (Most of the fellow OOS’ers I talked to took out the full amount. x_x)

Obviously, the biggest chunk was for tuition ($50k), leaving me with $14k to deal with the year’s worth of rent, utilities, auto insurance, health insurance, transportation, books/supplies, groceries, eating out/social activities…(basically everything else).

This is basically how I’ve slashed costs.

  • Rent
    Although I live alone, the 2-bedroom apartment I live in is $525/month, has its own washing machine + drier, and includes internet and water. I pay my rent in 6-month chunks so I won’t have to worry about it. My mom is currently under the impression that she’s paying my rent right now, but my dad and I worked out a conspiracy.
  • Utilities/Trash
    I basically only leave appliances plugged in before I leave for the day. I also live in an apartment and on the “second” floor, so it doesn’t take as much energy to heat, and I usually pay ~$25-50/month for utilities. I share trash with my neighbor and a friend, so it’s ~$7/month instead of $22.
  • Auto Insurance
    Can’t really save that much here, but I shopped around and Progressive was the cheapest, at a little under $1400/year. :/ I could practically be considered a new driver though, so meh. It could’ve been a lot worse.
  • Health Insurance
    At present, I am fortunately still under 26, so my mom’s insurance covers me. :x
  • Transportation
    I only really ever drive to and from school, so I spend about $50/month on gas. (10 cents off/gallon if I end up making it to $100 in groceries.)
  • Books/Supplies
    I bought a grand total of…5 books this year? (I sold one back.) I also lucked out because the guy who lived here before me left me a ton of his books. He’s awesome.
  • Groceries
    I average about $100/month, mostly because this is the only place where I splurge. I can also basically count on the school to be feeding me at least 3 meals/week, and church feeds me once a week.
  • Eating Out/Social Activities
    I rarely, if ever, eat out. (I’ve gone out to eat 4 times this year: when Luke came to visit, for Pixie’s birthday, after Follies, and to get sushi with the HBLers + 1.) Our social activities typically consist of potlucks, which don’t require much money, and even if we do go out, I generally end up spending nothing since I don’t drink. I’m usually the DD.
  • Miscellaneous
    These are all mostly splurges, presents to self for passing another class, or things to make my life easier. :O

So I guess my monthly expenses are as follows (living pretty effing comfortably :x ):
Rent: $525
Utilities: $57
Groceries: $100
Insurance: $117
Transportation: $50
Everything else: $100 (very generously rounded up)

Well under $1k a month and living pretty effing comfortably? I may try to cut it down by $100/month so I can get board prep material. I was actually thinking of requesting less money this coming year, but I may ask for the same amount, just to factor in the costs of taking the test, traveling to rotation sites and all that good stuff. My friend asked if I wanted to move downstairs from him–it’s 1.5 miles from school and only $400/month, which is ridiculously awesome. Is it sad that I turned it down because I’m just too lazy to move? x_x (He even offered to help me move, haha. ._.) I really like my place though, despite it being farther away, and I kinda don’t want to just leave my landlord’s wife in the dust like that. The lack of washer/drier was also somewhat of a dealbreaker, but it would’ve been cool.

a fair trade

I’m [in]famous at school for always having (or eating) food, so while I was at church yesterday, my friend texted me to see if I wanted any vegetarian chili. (Who am I to say no to free food?)

Her boyfriend had made a gargantuan vat of it, and apparently likes to cook but doesn’t like to eat (?!) or wash dishes.

K: Andrea, can you wash the dishes?
A: No.
K: Farrah, can you wash the dishes? (is clearly expecting me to say no)
F: Sure!
K: :O! What!?
F: Well, you cooked, so you shouldn’t have to wash em’. I’ll do it.
K: :O!!!

While I was working on the pile of dishes in the sink, I heard them squabbling over something in the background that went something like this:
K: You ask her! If I ask her, it’ll be weird.
A: No, I’m not asking her that.
K: Ask her!
A: No!
F: What’s going on?
A: Now you got her curious!

Basically, he was wondering if I’d be willing to take out the trash for him. He recently sprained his ankle (we’re not sure why since I’ve heard opposing stories involving him looking at a pretty girl and tripping into a pothole, or being abused by Andrea and falling), so he’s been milking it for all its worth. We’ve been calling him a useless cripple because of this (only because he’s been trying to pass off everything he can to us because “he can’t walk.”).

I did indeed take out all the trash for him, and in exchange, I got a giant vat of vegetarian chili and a huge thing of spicy cornbread, which I brought to school to share the wealth/foster good relations. Twas worth it. :D I look forward to further transactions. :D

Yeahhh spicy cornbread!

Vegetarian chili! :D!

 

bartering

I probably haven’t mentioned this since I keep writing into the future, but I put myself on another grocery store ban. When I tell people this, they usually get really confused, especially when I tell them how much I’m spending on groceries every month (~$100). That equates to roughly $25/week, and I’m eating pretty effing healthily (and constantly, because I’m usually cold and studying, and those are probably the two greatest hunger-inducing stressors in my life).

The ban isn’t really even because I’m spending too much (although to me, $100 is actually a little on the higher end). I was talking to my friend, who asked if I was eating really crappy food (quite the opposite, actually :O my meals are pretty healthy most of the time; I’ll get to why it isn’t shortly). It’s because every time I go to Kroger (where I really only wander around the perimeter unless I’m out of Peanut Butter Toast Crunch), I end up buying way more than I actually need because there are so many awesome things on sale.

One could argue that I’m saving money because they’re on sale, but if they hadn’t been on sale, I wouldn’t be buying it. ;_;

So, the ban was placed indefinitely. (Basically until after I finish all the food in my fridge.)

This may take a while because, as mentioned in #8 here, I’ve definitely been doing a whole lot of that. At one of the free lunch lectures I attended last week (heh heh heh), I discovered (according to the three questionnaires I filled out) that I would likely actually fare better in poverty than I would in high society. (This is probably only because I used to work at a free clinic.) Bartering was a skill that they mentioned in the poverty questionnaire. >_>

I would be so freakishly overjoyed if all our free lunches could be this. *-*

In any case, I haven’t had to cook in a good while because I made pumpkin cheesecake with a friend not too long ago and another friend gave me a whole container of Korean BBQ (<3!) since her parents had made/left her a ton. I also traded off a bunch of jasmine green tea bags for two containers of beef stew, and the same friend has promised to cook me all kinds of awesomeness after she replenishes her kitchen post-spring break (when she’ll have returned from a mass NYC-Asian-market food haul) because I tutor her in anatomy.

<3