Join Us For Our January Pantry Challenge!

It’s barely a few days into 2019 and what a time to start afresh and create a new beginning. Here in the Frugasaurus household, we celebrate new beginnings by diving head first into a January pantry challenge. It is a great way to clean out those cupboards and greet spring with money saved and less clutter. What more could you ask?

A pantry challenge is also a great thing to combine with other challenges like, say Veganuary. Why? Because beans and lentils store incredibly well, and it’s easy to accumulate a few different kinds. Plant food also keeps well, on average. I’d trust my oat milk much farther than a regular carton of milk. But back to the pantry challenge.

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Sidehustle Log 07: 2018 First Year Etsy Shop Review

Are you walking around with an entrepreneur in your belly? Want to start on your own but can’t quite figure out how or where you would find the time? I give you an honest, no holds barred, review of my first year of earning money online. It is not mindblowing, it is not in the thousands of dollars range, but it does sow seeds of hope that this might one day grow into a substantial income stream.

To start 2019 off clean I am doing a review on how my little Etsy sidehustle business has been going. I know I only started my shop back in March 2018, but I prefer to stick to yearly reports. It makes it so much easier down the line.

I would also point out that Etsy changed their payments and billing system back in October 2018, so detailed numbers from March to October are lacking. But I can still provide an impression of the growth.

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2019 Intention – Creation Before Consumption

It’s that time of year again. When a lot of people set New Years resolutions for themselves and aim way too high to avoid crashing and burning by February/March.

I was never big on New Years Resolutions. As I have written about in a previous post, trying to wait until the start of a new month or the start of a new year has been a recipe for failure for me. The slate is too clean, the failure too big when you stumble.

So instead I advocate starting in the middle of the week, the middle of the month and in the middle of the year. Whenever you get the idea to start that thing, do it. And don’t worry about whether or not it is perfect. Just start, and accept it when life will inevitably get in the way. That is all right. All we can do is do the best we can to get back on track.

That is why I don’t particularly like New Years resolutions, but instead suggesting trying to set an intention for the year to come. Is there a new habit you would like to focus on this year? Have you wanted to get better at reaching out to friends and familiy for socializing? Or do you simply want to carve more time to yourself this year?

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That Elusive Christmas Spirit

We are currently on the other side of the country celebrating the holidays with family. It has been difficult to find the head space and time to write a blog post. We’ve been fed and stuffed and enjoying candy. Dinners have been everywhere else and always with dessert. Socializing has been abundant and everything in plenty.

Having some down-time seemed only prudent.

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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. I haven’t had time to work on my sidehustle, but I hope to soon!

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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