In The Little Things (Or, How We’re Learning to Save)

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Our “free” weekend activity: hiking!

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I haven’t mentioned our finances on this blog. Mostly because it’s not polite. And it’s awkward.

But there’s not a whole lot to hide over here. You’ve probably deduced what Bryan and I are doing (paying two rents, traveling between Chapel Hill & DC, finishing up Bryan’s law schooling) is expensive. And we’re doing it on my one salary. I won’t tell you what it is … but it’s not nearly sufficient.

As such, we’re learning new ways to save in the little things. I’m not and likely will never be a couponer. That takes too much organization, time, and I just can’t wrap my mind around it… Also, I don’t buy THAT many things from the grocery store. Disregarding taking up couponing, we’ve acquired a few new habits that are quite comical. I want to be sure to track them for posterity – you know, when one-two years from now we are in a different stage of life and we can read this blog: “ho ho ho, remember those good ole days when we froze like icicles in our bed?!”

Little Saving Graces:

FOOD
– Bryan’s started researching and baking casseroles, which last about 5 meals in Chapel Hill (this is so awesome – also comical – to me! I wish I could see/taste his final products).
– Meatless Meals. During the week, I have what you’d consider a “beaver dinner” – grazing on what can be scrounged together from the fridge.
– On weekends, we eat all meals ‘in’ our apartment. I miss trying new restaurants, but I’m building a solid list for next year!

NON-NECESSITIES
– A few weeks ago, Bryan’s apartment had a crazy flood and his extra “cheap Target towels” we had purchased were ruined in soaking up the mess. Instead of buying new towels (we can’t afford), he went a whole week drying off with a bed sheet!! I’ve since sent him back with real towels from DC.
All our furniture has been gifted to us. There is (unfortunately) quite a stark difference between our heavenly bed in DC and the stiff, hard, full-sized bed in Chapel Hill.
– We have a patio but … no patio furniture, which is immensely sad but necessary. Perhaps something for next year?
No Cable.
Netflix is our very best friend. But we borrow the password from Bryan’s parents (pssst… THANK YOU!).
– I’ve given up spontaneously purchasing coffee (thank goodness for The River School’s 3 Keurig machines!). Note: I still say YES, ABSOLUTELY to coffee dates. Those are important.
– Our favorite (sole?) weekend pastime is walking / hiking. It’s nice to be new to the area – it means there are plenty of good neighborhoods/parks/farmers markets we haven’t yet explored.
Winter coat and running shoe purchases are saved for Christmas wishlists. Agony!

CUTTING CORNERS
– Our apartment temperature stays at a strict 69 degrees. This is positively freezing to me. I’m constantly in a sweatshirt/pullover/blanket.
– Our car will proudly sport North Carolina plates for the next 6 months, thank you very much, extremely high Virginia insurance and registration fees.
– Bryan’s pre-purchased all his Megabus tickets to DC. $1-15. Much much less than a tank of gas. We also have some extremely generous friends who drive and pick him up weekly from the Durham bus station (THANK YOU!).
No Dog. Bryan’s instated this strict rule. While I don’t like it, I know he’s right. We cannot afford a dog. We have, however, created a savings account for that future day when we can feed, clothe, and care for a canine. Oh, that wondrous day!! Get here soon, okay?

Finally, and I think this is so very important, I know that generosity and hospitality are not words for years of surplus and excess. They’re words for a lifestyle lived every day, income regardless.

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3 thoughts on “In The Little Things (Or, How We’re Learning to Save)

  1. This made me smile!! Your last point is right on! I think this is such a good exercise, I might do it too. We’ve done some funny things like this. Also, PS, YNAB (You Need a Budget) software has helped us save sooooo much money! It has also just been the very best tool for being intentional with our finances and planning for umpteen irregular and future expenses (Christmas, insurance, car repairs). Anyway it sounds like you are a great team and we miss you!

  2. No doubt you are both insanely busy, but…when Brinton and I were first married, it took him months to find a job up in Chapel Hill and we were flat out broke. The only way we were able to pay our rent was by participating in psychology (and some medical) trials/experiments at Duke and UNC. We laugh about it now, but if you need some extra cash, you should look into it! Plus, it makes for a great story later, haha. I love the rest of your ideas! Hawaii is crazy expensive, so you can bet I’ll be using some of them.

  3. I can feel you on the whole waiting for a dog issue…and tell Bryan I have some tried and true casserole recipes if he needs recommendations!

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