Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 and 10

I picked this idea up from Cheap, Healthy Good. Here are two lists: one of ten things we spend (almost) no money on, and one of ten things we are willing to splurge a little on. Neither is in any particular order.

10 things we don't spend money on:
1) Bottled water. We just drink tap water.
2) Restaurant meals. We go out very rarely (less than once a month on average when we're not traveling), although when we do, we don't worry about trying to get the cheapest things on the menu. Not going to restaurants much
3) Coffee/tea from coffee shops. We make it at home, although occasionally we go someplace with friends, and this year I have occasionally gone to a local tea place to spend the day working and studying.
4) Books. For the most part, we utilize libraries. We are both fortunate to be affiliated with universities with well-stocked libraries and generous lending time frames, and we take advantage of it.
5) TV and internet. We use the internet at school, but we do not have it or TV in our home. In addition to costing money, we find that it can be a huge time suck. We are able to have our attention undivided when we are together at home, and that is very important to our relationship. It is sometimes inconvenient not to have internet access at home, but we have gotten used to it.
6) Shoes. We do, of course, buy shoes, but we make do with just a few. I wear my trusty Birkenstocks most of the time (with socks in the Houston "winter"-I am a mathematician, after all) and have a couple nicer pairs for church or going to concerts.
7) Shampoo. Once again, I do buy shampoo (I go for mid-range brands), but I only wash my hair every five or six days, so it goes a long way. I think my hair is healthier, and it cuts down on my shower time.
8) Jarred spices. When possible, we buy spices in bulk at Central Market. Every once in a while we go to Penzey's for a treat or gift for someone, but it's pretty cool to see how 20 cents of something will fill a jar that originally cost $4.
9) Fancy phones. I am using a friend's old one, and Jon got the cheapest model he could when we switched phone companies in August. We also don't have text messaging or data plans, and so far we are pretty happy with that.
10) Meat. Well, I don't spend money on it. Now that Jon lives on his own, he eats it a little.

10 things we splurge on:
1) Air travel. We live apart right now, and seeing each other is a big priority. When we do live together (only 6 more months, hopefully!), we enjoy going on trips, and we usually try to get more convenient itineraries, even if they cost a little more. We also live far away from many family members, and we like to see them.
2) Good cheese. Ever since going to France in the summer of 2009, I have been willing to buy the really nice imported blue cheese because I realize that the difference in quality is worth it. An added bonus, however, is that I only need to eat a little bit of the expensive cheese to feel satisfied, so it goes a long way.
3) Good olive oil. Central Market has some nice stuff that isn't super-expensive but is a lot more than the cheapest we could get.
4) Good gin. I enjoy my Gordon's cups and Tom Collinses, so we keep Hendrick's and Bombay Sapphire on hand.
5) Fabric stores. I can't help myself. When I go to a fabric store, I invariably leave with patterns I didn't plan on buying, remnants I don't need, and fabric that was too pretty to pass up. I am trying to cut back on my fabric buying, at least, and just use my stash, but it is hard to resist.
6) Concert tickets. We are lucky because as a student I often get good discounts, but I enjoy going to the symphony, theater, and opera, and I am willing to get nice tickets when I go. I don't let money be the reason I don't see a group perform a piece of music I really like.
7) Rent. I am still living in the two-bedroom we have been in for over two years, and Jon has his own apartment in Chicago. We didn't want to go through the hassle of moving, and emotionally, I think it's nicer for Jon to be able to come home to a place that is both of ours.
8) Good chocolate. Self-explanatory, I think.
9) Grapefruit juice. Whole Foods has some absolutely amazing fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. It's $7.50 per half gallon, but I love to have it with breakfast. I rationalize it by noting that it is less expensive than wine (a half gallon is more than two bottles) but gives me more happiness.
10) Painting with a Twist. It is one of those places where they have canvas and paint for you, and an instructor walks you through a particular painting. I feel a little embarrassed, but I really love going there and coming home with a pretty picture. Jon and I have gone together twice, and it's fun to see the similarities and differences between our paintings.

Probably the splurges outweigh the frugalities right now. Splurges 1 and 7 are pretty big but should decrease when I graduate and we are living together again.

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