All About the Books

’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

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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: Darn your 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

Frugal furnishings

Or how we furnished our flat for less than $50.

As we have mentioned in this blog previously, when I first arrived back in Norway (Mr. E. was still finishing his exams and joined us a few weeks later), I lived with a very generous friend and her equal generous partner (thank you!). These were two amazing months of long talks, crafts, clearing some garden space in their freshly bought house and enjoying good food in great company.

It was also the time to look around online for free furniture different people no longer wanted. For this we utilised Finn, the Norwegian equivalent to Gumtree in the UK or Craigslist in the US. Other countries have their alternatives as well, I am sure, but I am not aware of them.

Thus armed with one of the most important frugal advantages; time, we set to work.  Read More

Frugal Friday: Sauerkraut

Happy Friday 13th! What better month to celebrate in than October, the month of Halloween, Samhain, ghosts and pumpkins. In the Frugasaurus household, October marks the time where leaves are coming off in droves and the weather is taking a turn for the wilder and wetter.

Not unsurprisingly, it is also a time of great savings. Autumn is a great time to get local vegetables in season, and for us, that means cabbages, potatoes and root vegetables. As I already mentioned in a previous post, I am really happy to live in a place where we have room to buy cabbage when they are ridiculously cheap, only to store them throughout the year in our pantry.  Read More

Musings on a recent trip downtown and tea

Adopting a frugal mindset does something to your mind. I’m not just talking about looking for offers or making your money stretch as far as possible, I’m talking about simple desires.

A few weeks back, Mr. E. and I went down to the city centre. It was quite the event. We hadn’t done so in a couple of months, at least. But we had a small handful of things that we wanted to buy in different shops, and the would-be added costs of shipping made the bus ticket worth it. Also, Mr. E. was buying a used book, and needed someplace central to meet the seller. Still, not being financially independent yet, we made the trip on a Saturday, yikes.  Read More