Pantry staple price comparison: ALDI edition

After a Trader Joe’s opened up near me a few months back I decided to do a price comparison of some of my pantry staples at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and the grocery store I normally shop at (RS in the post for “regular store”) to see if I should be changing up my grocery shopping habits in order to get the best deals on things I buy regularly.

Turned out there are a few things that are cheaper to buy at TJ, even though it’s more out of my way, and I’ve tried to buy those items there since that post.

My last grocery price comparison post started out like this:

Ah, Trader Joe’s. The bargain store spoken of in hushed tones of reverence usually reserved for sacred spaces and museum exhibitions of old masters (or no, is that just me speaking as an history nerd?).

Replace “Trader Joe’s” with “ALDI” and I’ve got myself the beginning of a second price comparison post! Continue reading “Pantry staple price comparison: ALDI edition”

Looking ahead to debt-free life

It’s happened, friends. The credit card debt is GONE. I don’t yet have a zero balance screenshot for posterity but it’s going to happen. Soon. Yes, I am side-eyeing all of my various financial institutions collectively because I see them making sure charges get posted to my credit cards way sooner than it takes for my payments to get sent over.

Anyway. The fact remains that IT’S GONE! 🎉

ETA: I spoke too soon!

I’m not completely debt-free yet, but all of a sudden that day seems so much closer. After the extra $350 I just sent over to my student loans last week, I’m sitting on about $800 left on those. Continue reading “Looking ahead to debt-free life”

Financial lessons from Les Misérables

I drove home two weekends ago and, as often happens when I’m there, my mother and I had a culture weekend.

I love musicals and I love ballets (and I did plenty of both in years gone by[*]), but, as odd as it sounds to say this, honestly I could afford to see so many more shows back when student tickets were an option. It’s just a fact of life that buying tickets to the Kennedy Center doesn’t fit in my budget at the moment. But since my mother and I both love them, she’ll usually buy a ballet or musical (or sometimes both) ticket to bribe me to come home as inducement for some mother-daughter bonding time.

This time, as an early birthday present to me, we saw the Carolina Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet and then saw Les Misérables that evening.

I’ve seen both shows before (Les Mis is one of those that gets me every time), so I could better appreciate that essentially the theme of the day was “love at first sight” followed by “everyone dies.” It was dramatic, to say the least.

Obviously the ballet had no words, so even if I could pull some brilliant personal finance-related things out of a tale of two very young star-crossed lovers, they would be hard to narrate, given that ballet is a visual art. (Yes, of course I’ve read and seen the play. I’m still not dissecting Romeo and Juliet.)

Communicate with your partner might be one—and one that has financial implications for those of you who are partnered up. Honestly there would be no need for the entire story if they could just text each other:

“hey so imma appear dead when u see me but don’t worry it’s only fake so I can get out of marrying that totally lame other dude my parents want to hook me up with UGH lol”
“ok cool lol then i def won’t bring the poison that’ll come in handy when i think ur for REAL dead hahaha love u see u in the crypt!”

BUT ANYWAY. It’s hard to write a post about a ballet, but a musical? That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.[**] Especially because almost two weeks later and I’ve still got Les Mis songs in my head on constant repeat.

It all started with that fateful song, “I Dreamed a Dream.” Continue reading “Financial lessons from Les Misérables”

The day I broke my frugal month challenge

Today. That would be today, y’all. Well, yesterday by the time you read this, but the fact remains that we’re only halfway through January and I just absolutely annihilated all of the savings from the spending I previously hadn’t been doing this month.

I have to laugh at both myself and the universe here. Wasn’t I just saying that because of my uber frugal month challenge and my double side hustle income that January’s spending report might possibly rival December’s success? Or that the frugal month challenge was going strong? That was literally two days ago. Clearly the universe heard that and decided to throw me for a loop.

I’ve had an expensive day. The numbers aren’t finalized, but I spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 today. Considering that was the sum total of my expenses last month excluding rent, I have well and truly broken the uber frugal month challenge. Continue reading “The day I broke my frugal month challenge”

Failing upward and looking towards 2018

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” -Norman Vincent Peale, apparently/countless motivational Instagram posts
Aw, isn’t that some sweet inspirational bullshit?” -me from not that many moons ago[*]

I’ve never really been a goals person. My concrete plans ended after graduate high school/go to college/get a job, and I’ve never really known what I want to do with my life. Perhaps there’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation going on here (if I had goals maybe I’d know better what I want to be when I grow up?), but it also always seemed silly to me to make goals. “Figure out your life and get your shit together in this next year” doesn’t really work, you know? (Trust me, I’ve tried.)

And yet. Continue reading “Failing upward and looking towards 2018”

Of lemons and rice: a price comparison of pantry staples

Ah, Trader Joe’s. The bargain store spoken of in hushed tones of reverence usually reserved for sacred spaces and museum exhibitions of old masters (or no, is that just me speaking as an history nerd?).

Despite the many glowing reviews, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve shopped at TJ. The closest one to me was either in Virginia or a drive halfway across the city. I’m a fundamentally lazy person at heart but paradoxically living here has made me quite the city slicker: walking a mile or two is way less work in my opinion than having to get in the car to drive somewhere (and losing the prime parking spot I usually snag on my block). Plus I generally refuse to drive across this city on principle. Continue reading “Of lemons and rice: a price comparison of pantry staples”

How the hell do I get started?

As much as I talk a big talk about money and pretend I’ve got it all figured out (and if I could just get a damn 50% raise already I’d be good to go!), that’s not actually the case. Some days I’m internally screaming because while I’ve maybe started figuring out my shit, I feel like I’m sitting at the bottom of Mount Everest and financial independence is aaaallllllllll the way at the top. Y’all, I haven’t even done the math on how long it’s actually going to take to reach FI/climb the damn mountain because I’m afraid to. Continue reading “How the hell do I get started?”

A $500 lesson in adulting and the importance of savings

Now that the blinding rage has died down, I think I’m calm enough to write this.

I don’t drive my car every day or even every week. I don’t check on it every day. Maybe I should, and maybe I will in the future even though I don’t want this to make me obsessive about my car. It’s 11 years old with almost 150,000 miles for goodness’ sake, and I don’t want to waste my life energy worrying about it. But disaster struck a few days ago. Continue reading “A $500 lesson in adulting and the importance of savings”