A Scandinavian perspective: Education privilege

This post has not been the easiest of posts to write. Privilege is never a simple thing to talk about, but I think it is an important one. The topic of this post has been on my mind for some time. Unlike some financial independence and debt-averse people, we are not aggressively tackling our student loans. The reason is simple, we are both citizens of Norway, and have the privilege of a government controlled student loan institution where everyone gets the same amount at favourable interest.

There is also no tuition in Norway, so unless you study abroad part or the entirety of your degree, your final debt will largely be a sum of how many years of living expenses you received a loan for. Finally, the interest is the lowest in the country, lower even than mortgages (my student loan is currently at 2 %), it will vanish if you die, there are tax benefits to being in debt, and 40 % of it is transformed into a scholarship when you pass your exams.   Read More

Index Funds and the Environment

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” – Anna Lappe

Many years before I heard about the concept of financial independence, I was an ardent environmentalist. To the best of my ability anyway. I’m not very good at being an angry activist, so I typically try to do what I can by changing things in my own life, having conversations with friends and family, leading by example and donating money to environmental organisations when I can.

That was why, when I discovered the financial independence (FI) community and some of the great personal finance blogs out there, the ones that appealed the most to me were always the ones that intermingled environmental concern with their frugality and money badassity. There was never a doubt in my heart, that our journey to FI would be intermingled with planet-conscious choices to the best of our ability. That is why I wish to discuss some of the issues and conundrums we are facing on our journey.  Read More

Frugal Friday: Make your own soap

I bet you knew this was coming, right? After last weeks post about trying to start a small, handmade soap business, it should come as no surprise that I would like to share how easy and fun it can be to make your own soap.

But wait! This is not only about saving money. This is also about keeping things local, learning skills and not littering the world in plastic. Just think about it, all those bottles of liquid soap need a container to be shipped in, and most of the time, that is plastic. A bar of soap is also more compact, taking up less shipping space for the same amount of washing value, and can easily be wrapped in sustainable and reusable paper or fabric. They are not riddled with germs as many people seem to believe, and even if they were, the action of washing our hands (with soap!) would still kill or rinse off the majority of them. Even if it is just as your hand soap of choice in the bathroom, I encourage you to give bar soap a chance. In the Frugasaurus household, all our personal hygiene needs are covered with my handmade soap, hands, hair and body. We haven’t yet tried to wash our dishes with it, but I know of other people who do, so maybe we’ll try that when our current bottle of dish-washing liquid runs out.

Yes, I know that you can probably get a really cheap soap for less than it costs to make your own. I will admit that freely. But making your own gives you a nice bar of soap that does not drain your skin of moisture and leaves your hands dry. You can also choose to omit rainforest-killing palm oil from your own soap. And, let’s admit it, at least to me, there is less value to living a long, prosperous life in financial independence if it is contributing to a planet that is less diverse and less awesome.  Read More

Staying Childfree – Why we’re not having children

At least not biological ones.

At first glance, this might not be something that belongs in a personal finance blog. But since this is our personal finance blog, I get to add a dash of philosophy on top of our frugal lifestyle and saving hacks.

As the title says, at the present moment, neither Mr. Frugasaurus nor me are interested changing our childfree status. We have discussed this several times, and usually we reach a conclusion akin to “Well, if we really want to raise children, there are plenty of children already on the planet who needs some love.”. Right now though? We are happy being a small, childless household.

Sure, this can be explained by the cost of having and rearing a child. But to be completely honest, that is not the main reason we have reached this decision.  Read More

Why you should walk to work

It’s Monday, and we had our first wet drizzle of snow a few weeks ago here in Trondheim. The days are getting darker, and I am already looking forward to the solstice in December when the days start getting brighter again. Still, I don my woollen underwear and solid winter boots and walk the 45 minutes to get to work each morning.

Is there not a bus to my desired destination? Could I not afford a car or electric scooter? Sure, I could, but only recently. I’ll also let you in on a little secret, I’m a total wuss when it comes to biking in the dark, especially when the streets are covered in slush. So, I walk. And it does my body and mind a whole lot of good. If you live less than an hour’s walk from work, I strongly encourage you to give it a go!


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Frugal Friday: Spend nothing

This Frugal Friday, we encourage you to spend nothing. Yup, in our fast-paced, hectic lifestyle, we encourage you to leave your wallet and just… have a day. More than one, if you can. It is surprisingly easy, once you get the habit of it. There are simply so many other things to do which do not require shelling out hard-earned cash.

Then again, I grew up in Norway. Most shops are still closed on Sundays here. If you absolutely cannot wait until Monday, you could stop by a gas station, but those are ridiculously expensive. So most people grow up with a “no spend” day almost automatically.  Read More

The power of lists

Do you employ the awesome power that lies within proper use of lists? I know so many people who simply rely on their memory for everything. They take great pride in it. As if spending time and mental energy on remembering countless tasks is something to be boastful about. Of course, they rarely realise if they forgot a task until it is too late, or perhaps they forget it all together.

No, even though frugal we may be, we have no qualms about spending paper and pencils on the fabrication of lists of many different kinds. It reduces our stress levels and make shopping trips much faster and more efficient. It makes days run smoother at work, and helps avoid buying something twice.

In short. Lists are amazing. We employ them regularly and for many different purposes. For the aspiring frugal weirdo, I daresay they are almost essential. Below are some of the many ways in which we make use of their help. If you’re not a list person, why not give one a try? Perhaps you’ll be positively surprised. Read More

Sidehustle log 01: Beginnings

Welcome to a new and hopefully successful mini-series here on Frugasaurus!

The other instalments of the sidehustle log can be found here:

As many of us know, reaching financial independence, in a nutshell, is about reducing your expenses, investing what you save, and if you can, earn more money. The latter does not have to be taking extra shifts at work or working overtime until you keel over. On the contrary, many financial independence enthusiasts would rather suggest that you diversify your income, just like you would diversify your investments. That way, if one income stream dries up, you have one or more other ones to turn to, making your economic situation a lot more robust and hopefully, less stressful too.

In the following series, I would like to relay to you my fails and (hopefully) wins as I try to start up a small, physical side hustle. I realise the advantage of having a digital side hustle that just requires a laptop and a WiFi connection, but I’m one of those people who just likes to make stuff. If I am tired from a long day at work, I might be too mentally exhausted to sit down to write, but I am often not too tired to make something with my hands.

While I have dabbled at soap making as a hobby previously, this is not something I started years ago which is already successful and I’m just telling you the story bit-by-bit. No, I really just started this project, and it could be a fluke just as much as it could become anything self-sustained. I wanted to show an honest, warts-and-all attempt as a complete beginner tries to transform her joy of making into something that can help provide financial independence and personal fulfilment. Read More

Frugal Friday: Keep it simple

Here in the Frugasaurus household, we don’t just like putting our money to work by investing it and saving up for big lifestyle changes. We’re also a pair of hardworking twenty-somethings who often struggle with what to have for dinner. It used to be that we were really good at sitting down each Sunday to meal plan for the upcoming week, but I’m not going to lie, it has fallen a little by the wayside lately.

To avoid the temptation of running down to the shop every time we have a craving for something, what is a frugal person to do? Enter our pantry and a handy list of simple, cheap and filling staple dishes that are easy to cook and utilise a handful or so of staples in the cupboard. An extra bonus being that many of these dishes are also very versatile and can be combined with many a wilted or wilting vegetable in our fridge.  Read More

All About the Books – sourcing curriculum for less

’bout the books, ’bout the books! (Sorry. I couldn’t help it. It’s a really catchy song…but let’s not get into the politics of it, ’cause that’s an entirely different blog post).

Kristine has already mentioned a few of the tricks we played earlier this year when we were biting our nails waiting for my student loan/scholarship to show up. The #1 expense for students at my university, (apart from food and rent) are course books we have to buy each term. Often, these books will cost a few thousand NOK (which is a few hundred $/£). The most expensive book on my reading list is nothing compared to the horror stories Kristine tells me about certain chemistry books that would cost around 1K NOK for one book. Compared to that, my most expensive book this year costs around 550 NOK (approx $70) when you buy it new. Normally, I would look for the books on my reading list on sites that offer these books used, where you can get these books for half the price that the retailers sell them for. Read More