Frugal Living

 [an ongoing list – last update: 10/26/10]

A starving architect must somehow live in style. How else can we convince the world that we are masters of design and taste?

Enter: tricks to live luxurously while spending very little (you can also read more ideas at brokelyn – my personal bible for living in brooklyn)

#1. Pack beautiful lunches. (have not yet achieved)

This is, unfortunately, not mine. I stole it from  Just Bento. Its full of great ideas – ie: how to pack healthy food and how to pack efficiently. My lunches are currently chicken mashed over rice – not very aesthetically pleasing. However, laying sardines in a teepee fashion over rice is suprisingly appetizing. add a little hotsauce and its ready to go. In anycase, am planning on stepping up my game by taking a few pointers from this awesome site. As soon as I can streamline my morning/after dinner routine into 15 minutes (including clean-up), I will post an image.

#1b. Cook delicious dinners.  (Sept 2, 2010)

Job hunting is sometimes the most disheartening exercise. All day, you just want people to acknowledge you exist. “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT MY PORTFOLIO AND WORK EXPERIENCE!”

Sometimes there are days when it is hard to stay positive. So when I am really down, I go grocery shopping. I think of it this way: it’s still being productive! – need to buy groceries anyways, and it’s always a challenge to see how far a dollar can stretch. I am by no means coupon mom, but she has taught me a trick: always stock up on front page sale items.

Today, 4 cucumbers/$1!!! Yes… shall be gazpacho day. It is perfect since it is so unbearably hot and I’ve always wanted to use sherry vinegar. The recipe calls for yogurt, but I’m going to fatten it up with some sour cream… who can say no to that?

While the final presentation is modest, I can assure you that it is delicious! I’ve always had a thing for eating out of brown bowls – so rustic and appetizing. Makes me feel like Goldmund on his one of his wayward adventures

2. Make new clothes from old clothes. (Aug 23, 2010)

When summer night temperatures got beyond 90 degrees (F), I could not take it anymore. Humid heat and I are not friends.  Solution? Make a summer nightgown out of one pantleg of my boyfriend’s old pajamas. Surprisingly comfortable and an excellent way to divert trash from landfills.

#3. Ride a bike – all the time

This one takes some commitment and vigilance to prevent your investment from getting stolen by disrespectful punks/desperate thieves. The usual cost of a used but relatively lightweight smooth riding – and preferably ugly bike to prevent aforementioned theft – plus lights, helmet, accessories such as back rack and fenders, plus tune up/maintenance would cost a total of around $350. If you bike instead of taking mass transit, that is a saving of $5 a round trip. It would then take about 70 days of round trip cycling expeditions to even out the cost between the bike purchase and bus/subway rides.

For a normal person, this might mean around 3ish months (to take in account those rainy/windy days, or when you’re wearing fancy clothes, or you’re just not in the mood for attacking that certain hill,  or when you’re headed somewhere really far and you’re afraid of being stranded with a popped tire halfway coming back in the middle of the night…)

After that, your bike is practically MAKING you money, as you can sell it later for almost the same cost of when you bought it (providing you upkept it well). Of course this doesn’t include the savings from the gym membership fee you can cancel due to your new habit. But unfortunately, this also means giving up cool in-gym classes like bootie ballet.


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