The Electric Bike

We’ve had the electric bike for about a week now, and I am already loving it.

The Frugasaurus household has always been a no-car household, and there are no plans to change that anytime soon, unless we move someplace far from public transit.

But there are also times when I just don’t want to spend a lot of time taking the bus, walking to or from work, or am simply feeling tired after a long day and just want to get home as quickly as possible!

The funny thing is, I was resolved to walk or bike to and from work to get the added health benefits. But we were also losing so much time, and I would always come home spent and tired.

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The Benefits of Dating a Trans Man

With Mr. E. letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak, there are ways in which we wish to gently integrate a bit of LGBTQA+ awareness into some of our posts.

We were dating for almost four years before we tied the knot, and although I had no previous boyfriend with which to compare Mr. E, there are some distinct differences that I notice in how Mr. E. and myself organize our household, as opposed to how some of our friends organize theirs.

Obviously, this is my personal experience with one trans man, my husband. There will be differences between people, so don’t expect to find all or some of these things I consider benefits in all or even some other trans men. Your mileage may vary, and different countries’ socialization will have a big impact as well.

So ye be warned. This is written from a privileged Norwegian perspective, where both paternal and maternal leave is mandatory, and no one looks at you funny for leaving the office at four to pick up your child at the kindergarten, be you a man or woman.

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Self-Insuring for Life

It has been almost two months since Mr. E./Frugasaurus finished his exams and dove headfirst into freelance work and writing full-time. Even with the wedding and everything surrounding that, it is quite amazing how much work he has been able to do.

Even during the very first month, there were enough projects from his company to make him pull in a paycheck that was able to cover not just some, but the entire share of his expenses, and more than his stipend was as a student. He doesn’t seem to take it in at all, but I am amazed at how smooth the transition has been. Even now in the second month, he is set to blow past that by a mile, easily earning him enough money to set aside for months when there are fewer projects.

On my side of the freelance spectra, my little Etsy shop it growing slowly, and I am trying to publish something at least once a week, maybe two.

Over the last year since starting this blog, we have both realised how important it is to our mental health that we earn an income separate from an employer and their paycheck, and why we consider this our version of insuring for life.

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Experiments In Zero-Waste: Hair Care

Short of a few instances where I wanted to shave off all my hair like a buddhist monk/nun, just to see what it would feel like, I have almost always had a thick, long head of hair.

Caring for this mane used to take quite a bit of time and not-insignificant amounts of shampoo and elbow grease, creating equally significant piles of empty plastic containers.

Well, no more.

All other mammals manage to keep their fur shiny and plush without the aid of copious amounts of chemicals. As did we, not 100 years ago.

What did we forget along the way?

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July 2018 – Month Of Monstrous Spending!

This post contains affiliate links.

Publishing this one a bit early, but I truly don’t believe two more days are going to make any sort of dent in the report at this point.

At a measly 33% savings rate, but boy, oh boy, do I have some not-so-frugal confessions to make for this month!

But since nobody is perfect, I figure it is better to put it all out here. To remind people that it is the journey that matters, and that we are still headed for the same destination.

Behold, this month I/we spent almost 50% of my income on “various”!

Not only that, but this was the month that I got reimbursed for my work trip to Svalbard and a conference, landing me with no less than twice (!) as much money come payday as I would usually receive. You should have seen my reaction when I logged into my bank and saw more money than my checking account has ever been in possession of at any one point in the past!

So yeah, I made some big purchases, and paid off another big event, and I don’t even have the frugal decency to be ashamed of it.

All in cash, obviously!

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Post Marriage – Our Semi-Combined Finances

We have written before about how Mr. E. and myself do not share finances. We both have different issues related to money, and brute force combining them would have led to conflict and stress.

But because we are also a household and we share expenses, the are instances where we value pooling our resources. Shopping for groceries comes to mind, and as Mr. E. is going to spend the next year working from home, writing and establishing himself as a freelancer, he will most likely be the one to do most of the grocery shopping while I’m in the office.

Previously, we have solved this by me paying a higher portion of the rent and him covering the grocery bill, but that turned out to be sub-optimal. We would eventually “forget” that this was the reason for my increased contribution, and I would contribute to the grocery bill as well. No big deal, but we have learned over our years together that we need visual reminders of things like that, or we will forget.  Read More

Frugality Is Not Depravity

If you’ve been a frugal monster for any considerable length of time, you might have experienced something along the lines of the following encounter:

Them “So, found any good restaurants lately?”
Me “To be honest, we only really go to restaurants when we have guests, so I wouldn’t know.”
Them – A look of utter astonishment and bewilderment, couldn’t possibly know how to continue the conversation.

I can’t count how many attempted conversations have just fizzed out and died when people ask me something and I relay that we don’t really know much about it, because we don’t spend much money on it.

“But you have to live a little!” is often the answer we get in return. Treat yourself, living life, letting your hair down.

The truth is, we are able to do all that and more, without spending precious investing power and future house funds (AKA money).

Because frugality is not depravity. Especially not if the alternative is buying more and thrashing the planet even faster.

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Sustainable Alternatives: Methanol (and trees!)

The primary reason I went to Svalbard a few months ago, was to learn more about human-caused pollution and the methods with which we can analyse minuscule amounts of dangerous and often hormone disrupting compounds.

One of the added benefits of attending this course, were passionate lectures given by leading scientists in their field. Experts dealing with the detection of new and hitherto unknown or unacknowledged chemicals (though not new from a production or use perspective), experts in method development and experts in air science and air pollution.

It was especially the air pollution enthusiasts who gave particularly passionate presentations. They used current and sobering statistics and showed how they could use data to back-track emission and pinpoint not just the source, but also the total emission from their data.

On the very last day of the very last lecture, these passionate experts gave a talk about how we might work our way out of the problems we have created for ourselves, and one of the suggestions was the transition to a methanol economy.

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Sidehustle Log 06: Progress

… Or just a spike in the statistics?

I am still afraid of believing the numbers I see are going to last, but I’ll certainly be happy about them!

Welcome to my sidehustle log series. A real-time experiment in striving for financial independence online. I don’t know what the answer to this series will be any more than you do!

Other instalments the sidehustle log series can be found here:

I know we are only halfway through July at this point, but boy am I excited!

For the last week, there has been a sale in the shop almost every day, and even though we are only half-way through July, FrugasaurusVault has already earned more than twice what it did in June!

How do you ask? Well, through the magical powers of… vacation.

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Our Frugal, Zero-Waste Wedding

We promised you all the nitty, gritty details to our frugal, very nearly zero-waste wedding, so here they are. Included a detailed rundown of all our expenses!

I will begin with a caveat that weddings in Norway are nothing like some of the weddings I have seen in the US or UK. Like baby showers and other customs that are not common here, they are slowly making their way here, but are still somewhat isolated to middle class and above.

In Norway, “barselgrøt” or “maternity porridge” used to be a thing instead of baby showers. Friends, family and neighbors literally came over with porridge (full of cream and butter to get your energy back up), and would help the new mother with looking after the child and various house chores after she gave birth.

Costs less, helps more.

This was also the theme with our wedding. We wanted it low-key, low barrier of entry, simple and fun event with our closest family and friends. Big bonus if we managed to keep it less than 10 000 NOK, or $1 250 as well.

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Our Frugal Honeymoon

As I am writing this, Mr. E. (perhaps we can now finally change to Mr. and Mrs. Frugasaurus? For less confusion all around?) and I are relaxing in Mr. E’s parents’ vacation home in Sweden. It is set in an idyllic, rural setting and the only audible noise outside right now are the various different birds chittering to and at each other.

Not much has changed since the wedding last Friday, perhaps except a general exhaustion after the party (post to come!), and trying to get used to wearing a ring.

I am not a ring person. They are distracting and in the way when I work. But as far as rings go, we chose the simplest, most unobtrusive gold band we could find. As far as rings go, I might be able to get used to this one.

But that is not what this post is about. Here I talk about how we managed to enjoy a frugal get-away honeymoon through the help of our family. We also share some tips to how you could hack your own honeymoon if you are considering tying the knot and want to have some time just for the two of you.

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The Personal is Political

Mr. E. checking in, dropping some news right before our big (wedding) day!

I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for quite some time now. A blog post about sex, gender, queerness and how it all fits with personal finance. I’ve given a lot of thought to the trend across various media to attempt raising issues about privilege. And this is where a lot of people will go “But Mr. E, aren’t you a straight white dude from privileged-as-F-Scandinavia?”

…well, both yes and no. I will be the first person to say that yes, I am privileged. I come from a white background and have a loving supportive family. I have a secure home. I have an education. I have an amazing fiancé, who happens to be a woman. But my first relationship was with a man. And I still like men. I just like women, too — and one woman in particular. But I digress. My bisexuality is not the topic of this post. What I wanted to write here is that while I wear all these hats of privilege, I was also assigned female at birth and lived the first 19 years of my life as a woman. And then continued to live the consecutive 3 years trying to “pass” as a man, in order to receive the help I needed from the Norwegian health institute for gender-related dysphoria (note: this is not their official title). The reason I’m mentioning this is not that I want to write a long soppy story about my past. But to address what this means to me in the present, and how it links to personal finance and FI.

Ever since K brought me on this financial journey last year, I’ve been eagerly consuming podcasts and blogs about Financial Independence. And the next sentence I’m going to write is certainly not going to surprise anyone, because it has been said so many times. Yes, I’m talking about the representation of straight white men in the FI-community, in the shape of bloggers and podcasters. I have nothing against straight white men or their content in general (hey, in a lot of people’s eyes, I’m considered a straight white man, so who am I to judge?). And a lot of my favourite podcasts/blogs are produced by these straight white men, such as ChooseFI and The Mad Fientist, whose podcasts I’m sure I’ve mentioned before.

Over the past year, I’ve also started listening to a lot of the female voices in this strange corner of the internet. It’s no secret that one of K’s favourite bloggers is Liz from Frugalwoods.com. And I’ve grown dependent on my weekly feed from The Fairer Cents podcast, and recently (after K sent me in their direction), the FIRE Drill Podcast. And their content is amazing to listen to. Just like every other blogger and podcaster, they bring their own unique voices to the FI-community and add content that really opens up the space to new conversations.

But the more time I spend here, the more I notice the lack of queer voices. It is quite selfish of me, but I miss seeing, hearing from, and reading about people like me talk about FI. How the question of money relates to queer people. And how queer people feel about money. There are definitely some great and visible queer role models in the FI community, such as Debt Free Guys. And this episode of The Fairer Cents podcast is all about money, success, and how they relate to sexual identity.

Still, I have yet to find a blog post or a podcast episode about personal finance written by someone who identifies on the gender queer spectrum (and if you have seen any, please point me in their direction!). My first thought is that it might be related to the costs of physical gender transition, which I’ve heard are quite high in many countries. But then I think about all the people I’ve heard who talk about the amount of debt they were in before they heard about the path to FI. And that makes me think that the reason has to be something else. What that something else could be, is impossible to say.

emil r. jonas5

In a podcast episode by Freakonomics, titled Are Gay Men Really Rich?, they discuss the social stereotype of gay men always being portrayed as rich on different media platforms. In the podcast, they came to the conclusion that it would be near impossible to find an accurate answer to this question. Why? Because accurate/

good data on queer identified persons are really difficult to get by. It’s not hard to imagine why this data would be hard to come by. With all the social stigma around queer identities, many LGBTQ+ people don’t wish to share their data. This makes it difficult to know what an average income among queer people is at, as well as how discrimination feeds into the job market in terms of employment and alienation.

What this makes me think is that this same aversion to disclosing data to others, perhaps out of fear of discovery, is the reason we see so few gender queer identified people in the FI-community. After all, personal finance isn’t exactly a non-taboo topic, either. But that makes it all the more important to talk about it. So let’s get personal. Because that’s how we let others know that it’s possible.