Teaching As A Part Of The Human Experience

It is nearing the end of the year. For a small pawn in academia like myself, that means students are done with their lab courses and I’m done teaching them. 

Instead, I get to spend weeks on end in my own lab and in the instrument room. Quietly running samples with hearing protection blocking the world out. 

I really enjoy these quiet weeks before and after teaching. The autist in me revels in the solitary puzzle solving, and it occurs to me how much easier it would be to do the research part of my job if not for all those students all the time.

But I do realize this is not what the university is for. 

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Got Wood? The Case For Firewood

I got home from work on Monday to two large bags, stacked full with firewood. As our new home came with two tiny ovens in the toilet and bathroom, and was otherwise only supported by a fireplace, we knew we had to restock before winter arrived in earnest. 

An air-to-air heat pump is on the list of upgrades we’ll do eventually. But since it was more critical to get some professionals to redo our electrical system, we will not get to it this winter. 

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Rubber Boot Luxuries

The word “luxuries” brings up some pretty strong connotations for a lot of people. Usually, they are associated with frivolous, often unnecessary spending of items, food or experiences we really could have done pretty well without. What they are not usually associated with are rubber boots. 

But if you’ve grown up knowing some of the pains of your family not having a lot, you might be familiar with a different kind of luxury. Especially if you’re doing all right for yourself as an adult. 

These are luxuries which bring a smile to your face because you didn’t have them as a kid. You might want to share these perceived luxuries with others who don’t have them as well. People who grew up with more material wealth than you might not even recognize it as a luxury at all. But you know better. 

I call them rubber boot luxuries. 

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November 2018 – Sidehustle Record

Just a short update to tell you – I am not dead! And more posts will follow soon as life is starting to fall back into place little by little.

What a month! November was all about moving, upgrading, driving – and not to forget the exam in the beginning of December. It’s been a crazy ride, and obviously our spending is reflecting that.

I am still feeling anxiety related to whether or not this house is going to be an enormous money-suck. Our downstairs neighbour let on that the chimney sweep had eluded to a mandatory chimney refurbishment not being too far in our future. That’s a $15-20k expense we definitely hadn’t budgeted for, and which the seller had not let on about. My biggest fear is that even though we now have a house, we might have just as much in our savings accounts at the end of my four year contract as we did in the beginning, and I’ll experience the stress of needing a job and not having one all over again – something I had desperately hoped to avoid.

Still, let’s not take all the sorrows in advance. I don’t know if it is the spirit of dreadful black Friday or what it is, but November was the month where I beat all previous Etsy earning records at a whopping $50 in profits after fees and listing costs. Woo! Let’s put a slightly hairy goal in for 2019 and hope to at least double that. If it covers my monthly student loan bill at $150, even better!

I am realizing more and more how much time and energy I need to spend at work just to keep my head above water, so the next couple of years will be primarily focused on that with sidehustles and blogging being forced to take a bit of a back seat. I still enjoy writing for Frugasaurus and hope to continue doing so regularly, but I am also realizing that for my mental health I need to get my priorities in order.

The good thing is that a fresh, clean start of 2019 is just around the corner! And with that new, clean, and hopefully ambitious goals. I want to get my student loan under 200 000 NOK ($25k), double, if not triple my modest sidehustle income (currently around $30-50 pm), re-build the emergency fund back up to 50 000 NOK ($6k) after loosing it to closing costs and hopefully pay off at least 100 000 NOK ($12k, 4%) on our mortgage. The latter I am not quite sure we will manage – but what’s life without a few big, hairy goals?

The rest of December will probably be spent trying to bake some cookies, hang out with friends, try to wrap things up for work and hopefully – hopefully get some sidehustle projects/writing done while we are visiting family for the holidays. There are some advantages to being a morning person after all, and getting more out of the day while visiting family is decidedly one of them.

This one’s for 2019!

The Joy Of A Dining Room Table

It’s been almost a week since we got the keys for our very own half of a house. The boxes are still piled high and we are sleeping on the floor until we finish painting the bedroom. We have drastically inflated our life by almost doubling our living area and obviously it has been an expensive affair.

Gas for moving (we got to borrow a big car and trailer from friends), spoiling our friends with food, snacks and pizza-on-the-door who were so amazing as to offer their help carrying heavy furniture (we could not have done it without you!), and not least having electricians and plumbers in to assess some of the things that need fixing to make the house safe and sanitary to live in.

I’m risk averse and terrified of being tied down, but do you know what makes it worth is so far?

Neighbours who actually say hello, introduce themselves and want to get to know you. Reducing the distance to my best friend by 2/3 (still having the same distance to work), having a cool basement for all my food storage needs and a garden larger than anticipated.

PS: You know what also makes it worth it? Our downstairs neighbour grew up here as a child and carries fond memories of the strawberry fields and vegetable patches that used to be where there is nothing but grass now – but she has been hip operated twice and cannot do it by herself. She was beyond herself with excitement when we relayed our modest wishes to perhaps grow a few food-bearing crops.

But do you know what bonus we are now shamelessly enjoying which we didn’t have before, and hadn’t expected to have such a large impact on our lives?

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Target 2025

As some of you might have noticed recently, I have thrown around the number 2025 around on various social media outlets.

That’s because I am doing something scary. Something I am not very good at doing – namely trying to set a goal and a date for when I want us to have bought and moved into our dream home in the woods/by the sea. Psychologically, this has two effects. One is that I have a specific motivation to work towards. And the other is that the goal is far enough, yet close enough, that I need not be impatient right this very second. It is no lie that I have been pestering Mr. Frugasaurus and my good friend M with any and all cute small farms listed, even if they are completely unrealistic.

I’ve been a bit of a pain, and setting a date as far away as 2025 helps me calm down in the moment. Enjoy life a bit right now, moving to our new house and take a breath. There is a target date and we are saving towards it. We might find a great place which ticks all the boxes before that, but we’ll take one year at a time. Plus, 2025 is a nice, round and symmetrical number that appeals to me.

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Life With IBS – Financial Independence and Disability

You might wonder why the featured image for this post is displaying a bathroom.

Surely, any post dealing with disability would more naturally display a picture of a wheelchair, or crutches?

Well, disability is different for everyone. And in our case, it is closely related to that tiled, warm room in the house we all love. For Mr. Frugasaurus this is often where he spends a large part of his day, and on that porcelain throne in particular.

When we go out, there has to be a plan for bathroom access.

Some days we don’t make it out the door at all, well-meaning intentions non-withstanding.

Mr. Frugasaurus has IBS, and that plays a large part in our quest for financial independence and employer independence.

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Plant A Tree

Please, please plant a tree?

It’s related to personal finance, I promise. Well, sort of. It’s related to how we interact with the world and how we take care of it.

This post is going to have math. Not a lot of it, but still some pretty large math. Large numbers that is, and hope. And a little bit of defiance against the technocracy which inflicts so many people, making them unable or unwilling to take simple steps to affect change. Because technology will save us.

Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But much like an emergency fund and the imfamous , let’s save some money in the bank before we need it, shall we?

And it begins by planting trees. A native tree or a fruit tree or just a pretty tree in your eyes. But do it, plant one as soon as you can and then another next year.

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Banking On Values – Ethical Banks And Where To Find Them

Today, 8th of November, is the international day for banking on values.

Did you know that there is a whole alliance dedicated to transparent and ethical banks? It’s called the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, and it has 55 banks as members all over the world at the time of writing this. I have been trying to bank with the Norwegian member, Cultura Bank, for years. I will write a little bit about my experience with this, and hope you might consider moving your money to an ethical bank too, if it is feasible to you.

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October 2018 – Bottles And Accountability

Happy November once again! I don’t know where you’re from, but around here a lot of people have some beef with the month of November. It’s neither cozy autumn, nor solstice-December. But I object! November is more than rain, wind and increasingly below-freezing temperatures! It’s also a time for tea, blankets, candles, staying inside, all things cozy and… accountability for all the things we spent on in October.

Will they come and demand I give my frugal card back soon? Because I keep spending money on stuff that is not technically essential, and yet I don’t even have the audacity to regret it.

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