Archive | Living Frugal RSS feed for this section

Jamiroquai May Have Been On To Something

12 Apr


Here’s the deal.  Smart phones – they freak me out.  I don’t get them and I never want one.  However, I seem to be the only person on the planet not raving about these so-called “phones”.

Everyone’s got their iPhones and their Crackberrys with their BBMs and those nosy calorie-counting apps.  Guess what I’ve got – an actual telephone (you’re welcome Mr. Alexander Graham Bell).

Want to send me a picture text?  Won’t happen.  My phone actually rejects picture texts.  I didn’t even set that feature up; my phone – knowing my easy-to-please preferences – actually took it upon itself to start rejecting picture texts.  That’s fine by me because my phone company likes to charge me for every cute picture that my friends send to me.

Internet?  Don’t have it.  Touch Screen?  Not on this phone.  Fancy Apps?  Nope.

However, my phone does boast some very practical and necessary features:

  • phone calls (received, dialed, and missed)
  • text messages (limit of 300)
  • SPEAKER phone (could not live without)
  • calculator
  • scheduler
  • voicemail (a little tedious, but helpful nonetheless)
  • phonebook

Look, I’m not disagreeing with those of you who have these fancy-schmancy phones.  In fact, I think my kind is a dying breed and I’ll probably have to succumb to the age of the Smart Phones eventually (which by the way, does that name freak anyone else out a bit?  I mean….they are just phones…or are they?).

89370_512x288_generated__e Ziv6v4pkmc5K6f9gywoQ

Back in the good 'ol days.

 I just prefer my tried and true, old-fashioned telephone.  I spend 8 hours chained to a computer all day.  On top of that, I come home after work and spend another several hours on the computer studying.  Sometimes I feel like I live and breathe a virtual (insanity?) life – having a phone that is merely that allows me to break free from the electronic world and actually enjoy life.

How much does a Smart Phone run these days anyway?  I’m sure they can be found for a discounted price, but my beat-up Rumor phone that you see up there has served me well for almost 2 years and only cost a whopping $18 (damn you Sprint and your crafty “activation fees”).

In addition to the outlandish prices, I’m assuming most Smart Phones must be set up with a data and internet plan.  Otherwise, what’s the point of even having one?  Not the Rumor though.  I survive on 200 anytime minutes and 300 text messages per month.  No extras for me please, just the old stand-by calling and messaging plan.

I totally get the appeal of having the internet on your phone.  I could see how it would be fun to update my twitter from, say, my car on the drive to work, or at the gym, or out to dinner, or at the grocery store….wait, that doesn’t sound too much more exciting than my current tweets

While many people (my best friends and Lloyd included) now prefer to carry around a virtual world in their purse or pocket, I prefer to leave mine at home on my desk where it should be.

I don’t need an iPhone; I’ve got myPhone.

So, tell me: do you swear by the Smart Phones?  What kind of phone do you use?  If you prefer the fancy phones, tell me why!  Are there any of you who are like me and prefer the old-school, one function phones?


So What If I Have Kleenexes Shoved Up Both Nostrils

15 Nov

This post is being brought to you by germ-infested sickness-swamp that used to be my couch.  I have a sore throat that would be described better as scorching flames licking at my Hangy-Ball.  Fun.

I’ve been downing H20 like it’s a Jaeger Bombs and I’m still in college.  Which always seems counter-productive when you’re sick, because then you have to rise from your slumber every 30 minutes to go to the bathroom.  Which is it doc, rest or liquids?!

But the point of this post is that around 2pm today, I shuffled (in my pink fuzzy slippers) over to Lloyd’s man cave and twisted his arm into taking me to the grocery store.  It really didn’t take much twisting since you can’t help but pity someone who looks like death with kleenexes shoved up both nostrils (thank God we’re in the comfortable stage…).

I’ve been holed up in our place for 2 days, so it’s funny how exciting a trip to the grocery store can be when you’re bored out of your mind.  While there, I spied – what’s this? – a $1.98 per pound sale on organic chicken!  Oh me oh my, this is the kinda sale a PF sucker like myself lives for.

I glanced down at my stained Target-brand Ugg boots and caught a glimpse of my sans-make-up splotchy complexion in the glass of a nearby freezer door and debated getting up close and personal to the meat-boy (during my sick-as-a-dog grocery store trips, I generally look down at all costs and walk as fast as my weak body will allow).

Screw it, that’s a damn good deal.  I marched up to that guy (did he look scared?) and requested 4 pounds of that chicken.  Who cares if I look like I just got hit by a truck?  Two bucks for a pound of good chicken is NOT a deal this sickly lady is going to pass up.

The point here is that I have no shame and will not pass up a good deal no matter how bad I look or feel.  Ah, the things we do for our budget my friends.

Now excuse me as I go pour warm water through my sinus cavities with my Neti Pot.

Top 7 Healthy & Budget-Friendly Foods That I Swear By

4 Nov

If you follow me on twitter, you might have noticed that I’m a bit of a health nut.  Working out keeps me sane.  I eat as healthy as possible, but definitely don’t deprive myself (balance is key, my dear readers).

There are those that claim eating healthy is expensive and that’s why our country is so overweight.  Unfortunately those people are just misguided, because healthy foods on the cheap are ‘a plenty in my grocery store.  In fact, I’ve noticed that when I don’t stock up on snack-y, processed foods and instead fill my cart with minimally (or zero) processed foods, my total bill is much cheaper.

Without further ado, here are the top 7 healthy foods that are staples in my pantry:

  1. FRESH GARLIC.  Garlic spices us every dish.  I like to saute onions and garlic in extra virgin olive oil as a delicious topping for my chicken and fish.  It’s also great in stews, soups, salads, and omelets!  Garlic is chock-full of antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory compounds.  So, eat up during the cold and flu season!  Cost for one garlic bulb: ~30-40 cents.
  2. ROLLED OATS. As odd as it sounds, oats are practically a cheat meal for me.  They are so delicious and so versatile.  I eat traditional oats (i.e. not out of a bag) with cinnamon and almonds for breakfast and this keeps me full all morning long.  I also love adding oats to yogurt (a la Swiss Oatmeal), pudding, and cookies!  Be good to your heart with oats – whole grain, all natural, rolled oats help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Oats also stabilize blood sugar which means NO sugar crashes!  Cost for 42 ounces of oats: ~$3.00
  3. POPCORN KERNELS. Next time you’re in the popcorn aisle of your store, look way up or way down.  You’ll most likely see one or two bags of all natural popcorn kernels hidden behind an array of boxed popcorn.  The only catch is that in order to make these little kernels uber-healthy, you need to invest in an air-popper.  I bought one about 3 years ago for $15 and it still works great.  Popcorn is a great source of fiber (5 grams per serving), protein (4 grams, who knew?!), and healthy fats.  This is a frequent nighttime snack at my house!  Popcorn is great plain, dashed with sea salt, or topped with melted olive oil based butter.  Cost for 32 ounces: $1.35 (32 ounces lasts forever!)
  4. DRY BEANS. I challenge you to stop buying canned beans that have been processed and contains artificial ingredients that you can’t even pronounce.  Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but there’s only one ingredient listed on a bag of dry beans: beans.  We all know beans are full of fiber (maybe a little too much?), but they also contain tons of protein (a plus if you don’t eat meat), and provide that jolt from carbs without the crash afterwards.  Plus, the dark, rich colored beans contain lots of antioxidants!  There are so many uses for beans – soups, salads, dips, taco-topper, burrito-filler, salad-topper, and even brownies!  Cost for 16 ounces: ~$1.25
  5. FROZEN BERRIES. Two disadvantages to fresh berries: they’re only in season a short amount of time and they’re (usually) high-priced even when in season.  The solution: frozen berries.  I like frozen berries much better because they never go bad (well, not for a long time) and their generally cheaper.  The deep, dark color of berries means their loaded with antioxidants – especially blueberries.  Berries are a great fruit for those avoiding sugar since they only have about 5-10 grams of sugar per serving, while most fruits have 25-50 grams per serving!  Surprise, surprise, berries also boast a good amount of fiber per serving – sometimes as much as 8 grams.  I love to throw berries in my cereals, oatmeal, and yogurt as well as just have a big bowl on berries by themselves!  Prices vary: anywhere from $1.50-$3.00
  6. EGGS. Eggs are an egg-celent (couldn’t resist) source of protein at a budget-friendly price.  Many people rely on chicken, fish, and beef for protein, but – unlike eggs – these foods are usually expensive.  I eat eggs as snacks and as meals, so they have many uses, including: hard-boiled eggs as snacks, omelets, scrambled eggs, “fried eggs”, egg sandwiches, and of course, they can be used for baking.  Cost for 12 eggs: ~$1.50
  7. YOGURT. When buying yogurt, look for fat-free, low sugar, generic varieties.  Manufacturers can be sneaky and hide tons of sugar and fat in yogurt without you even knowing it!  As with all dairy products, yogurt is a good source of calcium.  However, the superstar nutrient in yogurt is really the Probiotics.  Probiotics are live, friendly bacteria that keep your body healthy and help it to fight off bad bacteria.  Probiotics also help regulate your digestive system.  As someone who’s experienced problems with imbalances of good and bad bacteria, I rely on yogurt quite a lot to load up on the good guys.  Plus, it’s more fun than taking a supplement!  Yogurt can be used as a topping to oatmeal, mixed with nuts/fruits/oats, topping to pancakes/waffles, or just right out of the carton!  Cost for one off-brand fat-free 6 ounce yogurt: 33 cents

These are foods I LOVE and swear by!  I think this is key when finding balance in a healthy lifestyle – experiment and find foods that you love that seem like a cheat to you, but they really aren’t!

What are you favorite healthy foods on a budget?

**Disclaimer: Prices may vary.  These are the prices I’ve found at my local discount grocery store.   Prices may also vary across different parts of the country.  Nutritional information can be found here.

Trading Frugality For Comfort

13 May

About two months ago when I started studying for my first CPA test, I immediately had problems sleeping.  I’m guessing my brain had not been so stimulated since college!  I thought it would get better after my test, but last night was the worst night yet! I didn’t fall asleep until 3am! Yikes!

I find that I really sleep much better when it’s FREEZING cold in my apartment.  I just can’t sleep when I’m hot and it doesn’t help that Lloyd has the internal body temperature of a freaking firepit (seriously, what is with men?).

I used to be fairly frugal with my thermostat…trying to keep it just a tad below comfortable to save a couple bucks.  Last summer, I probably kept my thermostat around 75 degrees.

Lately, at night, I’ve been switching it down to 67-69 degrees!  However, I really do find that it helps me sleep better.

I was thinking on the way home today about how nervous I am to see my electricity bill next month.

But what’s more important – sleep or saving a couple bucks per month?  This time I choose SLEEP.

Sweet dreams!