There has been quite a few discussions in the personal finance sphere about privilege, poverty and money lately. One post about Poverty Tourism by Liz over at Chief Mom Officer in particular made me think about just how intrinsic privilege can be, and how difficult it can be to claw your way out of poverty.
It made me think about this post, which has been lying in my drafts folder for several months.
It was something that came to my mind around the time I changed from an underappreciated job to one where I was welcomed with open arms. The stark contrast from being treated like a very disposable commodity to one where my skills and education were needed was a pretty big shock to the system.
Not just that, but moving to a job where I felt safe in my ability to pay off bills and did not have to feel insecure about where the next shift was going to come from, meant that the higher paying job also made it possible for me to pick up hobbies like writing again.
There is a strange trend that I keep observing in the intersection I occupy online between frugality/personal finance and sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyles.
At least in certain corners of the internet, some people seem more concerned with showing the world that they are eco-friendly by having certain things and looking a certain way.
But considering how over-consumption and over-population are the biggest contributors to the decimation of natural resources and climate change – there is just no way you can buy yourself a sustainable lifestyle through conventional consumerism.
Do you want to fill up your pantry with cheap staples in order to stretch your grocery budget and ensure you always have something in the house to avoid those dreaded late dinner munchies?
I must admit, take-out is so atrociously expensive where we live, that it isn’t even an option. However, going to the shop more than once a week is, and that is often the one thing that can cause a significant spike in our grocery budget.
Although we don’t always manage to shop only once a week, there are several strategies that help us. Accountability and awareness of our ultimate goals are some, but a well-stocked pantry and freezer are equally important.
Thanks to both of us being quite vehement pantry stockers, we always have something to eat.
If your palate is accustomed to steak, burgers and pizza, it might take some time to get used to simpler, frugal alternatives. Cooking from scratch is, without a doubt, one of the things that really save us a boatload of money. Plus, it is better for you and creates less food waste if you’re mindful about it. What’s not to love?
It feels weird, but good, to realise that we are in April already. How time flies! While my Instagram feed is getting flooded in pictures of spring greenery and new life, here up north, we are still waiting for that elusive day when daytime temperatures are equal or higher to the nighttime temperatures.
Excited rumourmongers stalk the weather forecasts and hope it will be this time. Snow is melting outside, making for somewhat lethal walking conditions, but we are excited, spring is coming!
April saw us hosting my father for a few days in Easter, which meant going out to eat and sharing a few beers afterwards. We also indulged something horribly in candy over Easter, being neither healthy nor frugal. Ops.
savOn the positive side, our continual saving and investing, even in spite of being in the red and having guests over, I still managed to get my negative net worth down to the five figures in NOK! Woop woop! That zero line is inching ever closer, and I feel confident I will reach it within the year. Barring a mortgage, it’ll only be up from there!
As I am writing this, I am sitting right across our new snake plant. I had read about it over at The Green Purpose and figured I wanted some more green life to improve the mood in our living room.
Did I buy it?
In this case, I am actually a little embarrassed to admit that no, I did not buy it.
Why? Well, I don’t have any friends or family with one (that I know of), so I had no one to get an offshoot from.
How did I come across one then?
Well, I thought maybe my grandmother might have one, so I thought about it for some time, before asking her if she did.
She did not, and now I had a problem. She had heard that I wanted a snake plant. In her grandmotherly mind, that meant she had to buy me one and ship it over 570 kilometres (over 350 miles) to our flat, because our local plant shops could not possibly have one.
I thought I managed to talk her out of it, only to greet my father, visiting for a few days over Easter, with a 3 feet tall snake plant in hand. I suppose I might have expected as much, but to my surprise, he had not paid for it either!
As it turns out, he had gone to the plant shop to ask after a snake plant. The store clerk said they were not in stock, but she had one at home not five minutes away, and he could have that one.
Que bafflement and amazement that a stranger gives my dad a large, healthy snake plant for free.
At the time I am writing this, my meagre little investment account (started about seven months ago) has been in the red for a while, ever since the market took a bit of a dive about a month ago.
Mr. E’s account has been the same. A small, initial fall, and then a steady walk downwards.
There was one full month where my investments increased as much as my student loan interest per month. That was a good one. A net-zero, if only for a little while.
But now we watch the red, and I am happy that I not only transfer automatically, but recently also started telling the website we use (Nordic Nordnet) what % of my automatic withdrawal I want invested in which index funds.
This is a continuation of my sidehustle log series. The previous instalments can be found here:
March has been an exciting month.
I launched a website, thanks to inspiration from Alan Donegan and the Popup Business School over at Choose FI. I then worked up some courage to tell my friends and family what I was doing for once, seeing an ego-stroking boost in views as a result.
It is down again now, but what can you do. At least it is out there, right? One step at a time and all that. Some of the experimental soaps are almost done curing too, so they will be added as soon as I’ve gotten around to taking some pictures in the crisp winter weather we are currently experiencing this Easter.
Work has been hectic, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, so I haven’t had the energy to work on sidehustles as much as I would have liked.
Despite that, I have to admit that I actually started a new Etsy shop! I heard so much about printables, instant downloads and the laptop lifestyle from the FIREdrill podcast, so I just kind of gave it a go. It is quite fun, and a welcome break if I need to take my mind off writing and over to do something creative in a different way.
Do you have a pattern oriented mind, or are you more firmly in the camp of social thinkers who instinctively know what to say or do?
In my early twenties, I was diagnosed with autism, on what was formerly known as the Asperger side of the spectrum. After years of feeling like an outsider everywhere, I finally had something to put my wondering mind at ease.
With the diagnosis came a peace of mind to not wonder why, oh why, I never seemed to be fully included in a group, and why I had to ask other people if x was feeling y when watching movies, while other people seemed to know instinctively. By not having to think about the “why?” any more, I was able to free up hours upon hours of mental energy.
Social interactions had to be practised and categorised in mental archives. Unpredictable or angry people make me anxious and afraid.
But along with a brain that we jokingly refer to as “running a different operating system”, came a range of advantages that help in our striving towards independence and happiness.
I will not use the words “high functioning” or “low functioning” to refer to autism in this post. Those were originally diagnostic tools for psychiatrists, and were never meant to leave the therapy room. Outside, they have become derogatory and unkind.
If you want a cute yet illustrative introduction to the many facets of autism, I can wholeheartedly recommend this comic by Rebecca Burgess.
In an attempt at ever-present honesty on this blog, I have come to the realisation that I want to write about some of my issues with money.
The ever-present fear of not having enough of it to cover basic needs, to begin with, and with that, a tendency for hoarding and issues with generosity.
Admitting your own shortcomings is never a fun pursuit, but I hope it could be a relief for glossy images of picture perfect personal finance blogs where all you have to do is cut cable and stop eating out and everything will be sunshine and roses.
Of course, life isn’t always as easy as that, and for someone who has grown up without a surplus of money, there is always the risk of falling off the frugal wagon and into the dark lands of simply being a cheapskate.
Especially if you are sharing finances with your partner and have for years, I admit that this story might not paint me in the best of lights. Still, let us practice honesty and share one of the issues Mr. E. and I have dealt with over the last year.
About a week after Meet The Frugalwoods was released, I made two realisations:
Which, all combined, led me to a frugal alternative to lending it at my local library. Being Norwegian, our libraries has a limited selection of English books.
Of course, I unsubscribed as soon as I finished reading the book. Subscription services always make me cautious lest I forget them for a little too long and get charged.
Do you like audiobooks/podcasts, and haven’t started your Audible trial? Why not give it a go if you’re curious about the book? Just remember to add a reminder in your calendar about unsubscribing again before the free trial month is up.
Side thought – Maybe I should try to translate/get it translated. It is cute enough that I would recommend it to friends, but I know at least a handful of them might be more inclined to read it if it came in their native tongue.
There are times when I just sit back and relish just how lucky I am.
14 hour workdays are not one of them, but frugal friends certainly are! I will be the first to admit that I am a fairly private person in real life. I enjoy a handful of close friends that, with my currently busy work schedule, easily fills my need for social interaction by meeting up once every fortnight to once a month or so.
Yup, my life is a veritable roller-coaster of social life. Don’t you know it.
But when we meet, there is no doubt that my friends enjoy frugal solutions and activities as much as we do. If you have frugal friends, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. If you don’t, maybe you’ll come away with a few ideas to what you could suggest the next time you and your friends hang out!