Having goals

As a young child, I distinctly remember playing around in my parents’ garden and dreaming about building a cabin in the woods and living off the land. I did not tell anyone. With a child’s intuition, I felt certain that it would be considered naive and silly. So instead of exposing it to the world, I tucked it away in a secret corner of my heart.

Later, as I entered my early teens, the dream faded into the background. I had always done reasonably well in school, and as so many others who did reasonably well in school, I was expected to get one of those ubiquitous educations. Influenced by those around me, I allowed myself to go with the flow, further and further away from my childhood dream.

It still cropped up in my life through hobbies and interests, such as working as a landscape gardener in summer, learning to sew and weave through a Viking reenactment group, and my ever-present interest in cooking, particularly electricity-independent preservation techniques, such as canning and fermenting. But it was always on a hobby basis. I assumed that I would do what everyone else was modelling. Which was getting a job, finding a partner, buying a house, having children, and pay off a mortgage. Not necessarily in that order. Because this was modelled all around me, it was a truth I never questioned. And like a leaf on the wind, I let life carry me along wherever it seemed to go.

It was as much irresponsible as it was entirely normal. Which is why this post is all about having goals and working towards them. Read More

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Frugal Friday: Preserving the bounty

For me, preserving some of the bounty nature provides throughout the growing season is a big goal in our quest towards greater frugality and financial independence. While I might not have spent as much time as I could have in our garden growing up, I did spend more than a few hours in the kitchen.

When we moved back to Norway in May, it was with the attitude that this time we were going to stay, and thus, it would be worth investing in certain kit and skills we had never yet considered. Glass jars and canning skills were two of the major ones for me, and we started early by boiling spruce-shoot syrup in May while I still lived with my good friend.  Read More

The compounding effects of living by example

I cannot claim to hide the fact that the environment means a great deal to me. I am currently spending my working life trying to research some of the impacts humans have had on the environment. But I have also come to realise, that what we really need is not necessarily more research, but more people taking charge or their own life and blazing a trail by living boldly by example.

I can not claim to live very boldly, nor to have ever “blazed” a trail. In fact, I have been scared away from more active participation in several environmental organisations, simply because their outgoing extrovertism (totally a word), confrontational attitude and often somewhat superficial insight into big issues. I find it difficult to be angry, I find it difficult to stop people on the street and hand them flyers. I have, more than once, marched in protests, but again, I seem to lack some of the anger many people are fuelled by.

So, how can a timid, introverted, analytical environmentalist still try to save the world?

Live by example

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How space saves us money

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about massive McMansions that require a map to get from one side of the house to another. I am talking about having space for a very specific room that is close to my heart.

I am someone who was privileged enough to grow up most of my childhood in a reasonably large house with a large garden. We did not have to share a bedroom, the toilet and shower were separate rooms (so useful!), and in the basement was one room specifically designated for storing foodstuffs. It is to the latter, the glorious pantry, that I dedicate this post.

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Frugal Friday: Our Not-Soda Soda

A lot of people, myself included, find it difficult to stop drinking soda. I started replacing my soda habits with carbonated water, which worked for a while. But the cost of buying carbonated water was something I wanted to remove from the budget because essentially, it’s not something I need. I’m not saying that anyone should stop drinking soda cold turkey. If you enjoy soda, and you are able to drink it on occasion, that is not a problem. For me, the problem was that I wanted the carbonated stuff all the time.

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Our frugal baptism by fire

As a part of our new and exciting beginnings on this new blog, I wanted to talk a little bit about a recent experience. While we were already fairly set on saving as much of my new stable (at least for the next couple of years) salary as possible, we were still in the very early phases or our financial independence quest. Life, on the other hand, had decided that were were going to start being frugal yesterday.

It all began when we moved back to Norway from overseas. We knew that a large portion of my salary would go towards general moving expenses. Such as advance payments on rent, getting furniture (we were super-lucky to have friends who let us borrow their car for driving around to pick up free furniture, but obviously we paid for the gas) and certain things we could not find used or free. We are still waiting until we find a cheap/free used vacuum cleaner, making do with a mop and dustpan for now.

I don’t think we did a half-bad job ourselves. Having furnished almost the entire flat with nary a penny spent except on gas for our friend’s car and two cute (still used) nightstands for 250 NOK (about $25). All our big furniture like shelves, tables, chairs, mattress and a pull-out sofa bed were all picked up over the course of a few months while I lived with a friend and then promptly deposited in the flat on moving-in day. Mr. E. arrived shortly thereafter and we felt certain that our plans of intense savings for future and happiness would soon commence.

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The case for cash-neutral hobbies

I am sure we have all read the posts that advertise keeping hobbies that are cash positive. You know, the fun project or sidehustle that turns out bringing in a bit of money on the side and helps the quest towards general 9-5 independence?

I love those. And I particularly love the idea of them. Who wouldn’t like to make a living doing something they love?

But, and here is the teeny ‘but’ for me; most hobbies don’t start out that way. For most paying hobbies, you do have to work up some skills and proficiency before anyone will open their wallets for you.

That’s why I’d like to suggest cash-neutral hobbies as an absolutely acceptable starting point. Or a milestone if you will. But not all hobbies need to go beyond the point of breaking even, even if we might want them to.

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First post!

Hi there, and welcome to Frugasaurus!

We are two weirdo Scandinavians in our (as per 2017) late twenties who discovered the fantastic blogosphere of financial independence a couple of months ago and realised it was the missing piece in our puzzle.

Prior to 2017, we spent 2 years in London. I had just graduated and Mr. E. had just begun his undergraduate degree. Prices were high, permanent jobs were nonexistent, and most of our wages/scholarship went straight to rent, utilities, food and public transportation. Yes, we could have saved while living there, but we were simply too miserable in the concrete jungle where the air was toxic and consumerism abundant.

But in May 2017, I started a new and exciting job back in Scandinavia (where we are both from). The fresh air, the smaller city, and the return to nature just outside our doorstep did wonders for our psyche. With a similarly higher (and stable!) income and a much nicer flat with big windows and almost twice the size of our London abode (and costing less), we are finally feeling like we are ready to get our lives started.

Herein lies the key. We had never really inflated our lifestyles much beyond the basics of rent, food, electricity, student loans (for me), public transportation, phones and the occasional dinner out. With my new fat paycheck (to me at least) on the horizon, I was starting to think about how to save it. I knew savings accounts we prone to devalue due to inflation. I had a vague idea that funds were good, and had been passively investing in a managed climate and environment fund, and I knew I was going to put down some serious dough towards a home down payment. Beyond that though? How could I invest my money in the wisest possible way for the maximum return of happiness and freedom?

For anyone familiar with the financial independence blogosphere, what I found next should be no surprise. Blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, Mad Fientist and Frugalwoods flooded my search engines and were read in quick succession. Thence I started discussing some of the things that had really struck a chord with my partner, Mr. E. and soon, he was getting in on the fun as well.

While the stock analysis and landlording went a little over our heads in the beginning, we are sorely intrigued by the financial independence side of it. We relish the thought of being able to do exactly what we want with our time, if we just buckle down and work hard for a decade or so (hopefully less).

This blog will be all about our journey, frugal tips and tricks, foodie noms, fails and successes and probably also a bit about our interests in side hustles. Mr. E. for one, is an avid reader and writer, and I am a scientist by trade who just rediscovered my love for home chemistry in the shape of cold process soap making.

Our mascot is the mighty Professor Roar Frugasaurus (Ph.D. in Frugality) who will either cheer us on or aim an exasperated sigh our way, depending on how we do.

Onwards to frugality, independence and greater happiness!