Friday, August 27, 2010

Viva la Frugalista!

Here's a little unsolicited financial advice from me to anyone who stumbles upon this: don't get a Phd using credit cards.  Okay? Just really don't.  Oh, and read that again, because it said P.H.D. not iPod (I know, they look almost the same right?  Except one of them costs, like a million dollars and the other one you could probably buy with your birthday money plus six months worth of wine bottle deposits.  Not that you would have to buy a new iPod that way.  Unless, of course, you lost it on vacation or something like that....)

So that being said, it's time for me and the Good Doctor go get our financial house in order once and for all.  And the only way to do that is to apply ourselves with the utmost of rigor, to getting rid of high interest, nonsecured debt, by spending less money on incidentals like food, shelter and clothing, and giving much, much more to MasterCard each month.

So we put together a new, very stringent "use cash only" household budget and went at it.  For about fifteen minutes.  That's when the 12 year old HAD to have new shoes, and five extra people showed up for dinner, and the car needed a brake job. Immediately.

So back to the drawing board.  Next thing we did was go through an exercise called "What Stuff REALLY Costs and How Much of it Do We Need.  Turns out that the basics, not even including the good coffee and wine and olives and baguettes, or goat cheese or bath bombs from Lush, were going to cost far more than we'd budgeted.  We pay a premium on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING living here in paradise.  It doesn't seem like  a big deal to pay .15 extra for a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle, but it adds up bigtime!  Once we figured out What Stuff REALLY Costs and How Much of it Do We Need, we revised our plan again to make sure we had enough money for the 50 litres of milk, 10 dozen eggs, 10 rolls of toilet paper, etc., that we need each month.

It's going to take a lot of self-discipline, but we'll get there. Here's what I learned this week: sunflower seeds cost half what walnuts cost, and pine nuts cost more than twice what walnuts cost. But, after the Frugalista Pesto Taste-off, I can confirm that any of the above used to make a decent pesto (though we all thought that pine nuts were the best, followed by walnuts and then seeds, but all were good).
Spaghetti with pesto image stolen shamelessly from the worldwide web. We were too busy chowing down to figure out the food-porn settings on the camera and take pictures of our dinner
   This weekend we are doing back to school shopping with a list and a budget, and I'm thinking of making some cloth napkins. Film at eleven.

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