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

Why we chose to spend money on a kitchen machine

To me, frugality is not about always getting the cheapest option or depriving yourself of the “finer” things in life. Ours is decidedly a life of abundance, and our frugality is a natural companion to that. By being frugal in our everyday life, we save lots of money. By not going out for dinner every week, we can invest in things that increase our happiness like, say, the safety to leave an employer in the pursuit of a new adventure or a kitchen machine.

We have both wanted one of these for a long time. While we lived abroad, they were certainly not an option, as they would be far too big and heavy to lug on the plane home with us. So we waited, and dreamed.

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Frugal Friday: The story of oats

Today, we talk about the mighty oat. Avena sativa, a cultivated grass of many uses and traditionally used as horse feed. Today, oats are experiencing a Renaissance as more and more people are discovering the benefits of this humble seed, such as low cost and an excellent source of energy for hardworking people.

I used to have a more ambivalent relationship with oats. While I loved the oat flarns we made each Christmas, I would rebel any time my mother tried to serve me cold oats with milk and sugar for breakfast. Unboiled and unswelled, they would grow in my mouth to a point where I just could not finish.  Read More

Save hundreds on heating bills by being cuddly

It’s definitely getting to that time of year here in the North where night temperatures are dipping below freezing and it is high time to put the shorts away for the season. Tea is being brewed by the bucket and in our home, blankets, slippers and sweaters are being deployed with great enthusiasm.

But why, you decry, wouldn’t you just turn up the thermostat?

That, my dear fictional blog reader is an excellent question. I’ll even let you in on a small secret of ours: our flat has heating included in the rent. We live in a beautiful, panorama-windowed basement apartment with our landlords above us, and since their central heating system covers the entire house, there is no easy or cheap way for them to split the two. Hence we pay for our electricity, but not for our heating. Great for predictable bills year ’round.

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A Nordic perspective: Matpakke

I don’t know if this is just me, but a lot of the time when I am reading about people who “brownbag” their lunch in order to save money, I often get the impression that this often stems from a scarcity mindset. They’re missing out on nice lunches out with coworkers, or they just can’t get over how much less exciting their own lunch is compared to what they’re used to paying a lot of money for every day.

When we moved to London for two years, this was such a surprise to me to see firsthand. Almost everybody, even if they’re just earning a minimum wage, still shell out anything from £3-10+ on a daily midday meal. Which means that, if you’re earning £7 an hour, you have to work almost an hour, or more, just to eat during work! And that’s not even taking into the account the cost of commuting, which often drains another hour daily out of the paycheck. To make examples simple, some people spend around two hours of their eight hour workday, simply paying for the privilege of going to work! It boggles the mind! Read More

Frugal Friday: Darning socks

At least in these parts of the world, we are coming up to the time where autumn is firmly leaving its mark on the land. Some trees still cling to their leaves, but many are starting to shed them like old coats. It is the time where we move inside more, and don’t even have the decency to feel bad about it. A time for tea, cocoa, blankets, thick sweaters and… mending!

While I usually have some craft or another to occupy my time, autumn and winter is the time where I really get to it. It is perfect snuggle-up-in-the-couch weather, either with friends and tea (and crafts) or a movie/audiobook/radio/podcast. In the hectic warm months of summer, mending has a tendency to fall by the wayside, which is why there are always a pile of things waiting for my attention once the wind starts picking up.  Read More

The opression of the 40+ hour workweek

Do you live for the weekend? Is the main purpose of the workweek to count down to those two days of freedom? Do you find you often end up picking up chores that got neglected throughout the week, like laundry, vacuuming or cleaning the kitchen?

I actually like my job, but if you’re anything like us, the above paragraph might be a bit too familiar.

Now, I might sound like a very privileged millennial saying this, but I do not enjoy the classical 9-5 (or 8-4 in Norway) workweek, nor do I feel like I have the ambition or stamina required sometimes. Truth be told, I enjoy shift work even less, so between the two I would always go for a predictable, daytime Moday-Friday job.

Never the less, what I really wanted while studying, before finding the FI community, was a reliable part-time job 3-4 days a week, doing meaningful work. I knew I had low spending habits and no real desire to inflate that much beyond poor-student mode, so I saw this as no problem at all.  Read More