Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stopping for pedestrians is costly.

But it IS the it is considerate.

Please read my Craigslist "Missed Connection" ad.

Today I called a pedestrian an asshole.
I drive a car. I know, I know. Cars are bad. Cars are bad for the environment. They're expensive. Blah blah. But a lot of the time, when walking somewhere is not practical, I drive my car.

Today was one of those days. I decided to buy a TON of groceries (to last me the whole month!) so I drove my car so that I could take them all home.

On the way home from my huge grocery trip, I stopped for you, the pedestrian I called an asshole. I stopped so that you could cross the street. Why? First, because I THINK it’s the law. (Don’t pedestrians always have the right-of-way? I’m pretty sure. Maybe this guy knows something I don’t, though.) Second, it’s considerate. Yes, law-abiding and considerate.

What makes it even MORE considerate is that it cuts into my fuel efficiency to do unnecessary stopping and going. Of course, because it is the law (as far as I know) it is not unnecessary for me to stop for pedestrians.

But, it IS unnecessary for me to stop when you CHOSE NOT TO WALK. I guess that’s a choice you can make freely. Of course it is. But it is a completely inconsiderate one. What, are you too GOOD to cross the street in front of my old beater car? Are you trying to be considerate by letting ME go? Well, guess what? It is NOT considerate for you to let me go first. Why? Because it wastes my time, my gas, and essentially, my money.
Today it was also wasting the time, gas and money of the drivers lined up behind me who honked. Embarrassing! I’m not sure if they were honking at me because I looked like an asshole for waiting for some asshole who clearly wouldn’t go, even though he was obviously wanting to cross the street, or if they were honking at your for wasting their time (and money, and gas, etc.)

Anyway, guy that I called an asshole this morning, you are not alone! This happens to me pretty frequently. So, all you pedestrians who are trying to be considerate by letting me go first—don’t! When I stop, politely wave, and then go! I will appreciate that SO much more than you letting me go. Actually, most of the time I won’t go—I will sit and sit and sit there until finally you decide to go, after wasting everyone’s time. And sometimes it takes a LONG time to realize that I am not going anywhere until you fucking CROSS THE STREET. (Today I did not play that game because of the people waiting and honking behind me.)

P.S. I actually think I called you a “fucking asshole” within my car. You definitely picked up on this, because as I drove away I saw you looking at me. Maybe in fear. Who knows.

(I posted this and then it got flagged. So I change the headline and wording a little bit and reposted. We'll see how that one goes...)

Monthly Grocery Shopping

Hi loyal followers (hah),

Today I bought a month's worth of groceries. Well, almost.

I read an article earlier this month about monthly grocery shopping. I thought it sounded like a good idea, for the most part. I decided to try it for the month, but with my own rules and steps.

I made a menu for an entire month. I did not plan for weekends, as those are crazy and I didn't want to schedule myself too much. I figure that weekends are for cooking with friends and being spontaneous.

I also made sure to plan around weekly events--for example, on Thursday nights I have a weekly babysitting job. Thursday night meals are always simple to make, as well as Friday lunches.

I am allowed to buy some products after the inital monthly trip. For example, I am allowed and encouraged to go to the produce stand once per week (On Mondays, preferably.) Awesomely, the cheapest produce stand in town is kind of on the way home from my new job, which will save on gas for the trip down there I usually make. I did plan my menu around going to the produce stand on Mondays. For example, tomorrow night's planned meal is veggie stir fry.

I am also allowed to buy stuff that will spoil or run out--mostly stuff like lunch meat, since I eat sandwiches as snacks sometimes.

Anyway. Today I went to Safeway to get almost all of the things. I did pretty well--I spent $141.34, but actually only 111.21 was on food groceries.

Included in the $141.31 was cat food and litter, sandwich bags, a quart of motor oil, some cleaner, and some hair conditioner. Even though I may have been able to get these things cheaper elsewhere, I figured buying them now would help in the long run with impulse buying. If I bought as many things as I can now, it will give me less excuses to go to the store to "just buy cat litter" but then end up buying a ton of other things. It will also save on time and gas.

I did not buy wine, even though I have been drinking a lot of it lately. I will buy that as needed. (I have not been drinking a LOT of it, I mean, but...some. It's more of a weekend thing.)

I also have not bought salmon yet. I couldn't find it at Safeway.

The question is: will this really save me money in the long run?

I am not sure. Looking at my past monthly grocerie bills, it probably will. It also may save me money on restaurant food, if I can control myself. This will be easier, as I will be working less hours at the new job and it is in a neighborhood with less interesting restaurants, as far as I know.

For the record, I spent $168 in October on groceries. This is according to Mint, which is not completely accurate because of my cash income from babysitting.

Really, I should be depositing my cash and THEN spending it, but that is hard. I am pretty sure that I used some of my babysitting cash for groceries in October. But whatever.

I also spent $49 on restaurants in October. Again, probably inaccurate, because of the babysitting cash that I had.

September is probably a little more accurate--$279 spent on groceries and $92 in restaurants.

August is $145 on groceries and $133 in restaurants.

Looking at all of it, I spend an average of $197 on groceries. Which is about where I want to be, anyway. (Of course, less would be better!)

I am shooting for around $150-$170 this month. That allows this $111 shopping trip, plus four $10 trips to the produce stand, as well as $20 of flexible money. We will see. I will keep everyone posted.

Oh! An important detail! The kindness of my mom and her husband brought down my bill pretty significantly. My mom donated to the cause--home made salsa, jam, home-grown peas and corn (frozen) as well as several other things. That will save a LOT. So thank you, mom.

The key here is to be conscious. I have to remind myself that I have an overstuffed pantry every time I want to go to the store for entertainment. I have to remind myself that every time I want to eat out. If I am conscious, I can do it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Because it might just be on the side of the road!

I have found so many great things that I have wanted or needed on the side of the road within the past couple months. I know I have already written an entry about this, but I have found even MORE great stuff, so I had to share.

Within the past nine days, I have found...

A barstool. I really needed a barstool! I have a bar in my kitchen/dining area, but no stool. The one I found isn't beautiful, but it is functional.

A crock pot! My mom actually already bought me one for Christmas, but when I found one on the side of the road, I couldn't resist. I picked it up and plugged it in (it works!) and will give it to a friend. It does need a liner, which could prove challenging, but we'll see.

A pizza cutter! I just found one of these this morning. Just was I was thinking that I needed to go to the dollar store to pick one up.

I also found some kitchen knives this morning. This is helpful, because I only have one at my house.

Also, on the day after Halloween I found an AMAZING bookshelf less than a block from my house. It is one of those "cube" bookshelves--EXACTLY what I was looking for.

Anyway, now that I have found all this stuff that I need, I have learned something: sometimes it pays to wait. It's better not to buy things. Just wait for them to come to you....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Garage Sale

Today a friend and I tried to have a garage sale. Unfortunately, we chose the COLDEST DAY EVER. I am also still feeling sick, so that didn't help.

We sold four things: a necklace, two cds, and a Joey Fatone Bobblehead Doll. The JFBD cost seventy-five cents. I told the guy who picked it up that Joey was on Dancing with the Stars. That really sold him. Also, on the price tag, under where it said the price, I wrote "super hot."

So, that was awesome.

Other than that, we didn't last too long because it was FREEZING. We brought all the stuff to Goodwill. It was a lot of stuff, but it was okay, because that is less stuff in my house to worry about. Thank goodness!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save Money AND The Environment

One of the seemingly eccentric frugal things that I do is hang dry my laundry. Well, I guess a lot of people do it, so it's okay, but it makes me feel a little bit eccentric.

Plus, I don't hang dry ALL of it. I normally do two loads of laundry every week or two. One of these loads I designate for things that can and will go in the dryer. (Mostly towels--I tried to hang dry those once and they got kind of yucky.) The second load is for stuff that I can and will hang dry--mostly dresses, shirts, tights, and slips.

When I made the decision to hang dry laundry, I search my 624 Square Foot Apartment for a place to do it. I didn't really find anything. I decided that I had to be creative. Very creative. And this is what I came up with.

Step 1: Over the Door Hanger

This is an "Over-The-Door" Hanger. I got it at the Salvation Army a few years back. I hang coats on it, normally...

Step 2: Laundry Basket
I put a laundry basket on the Over the Door Hanger. The hooks of the hanger fit into the holes on the laundry basket

3. Hang the clothes
I hang the clothes from hangers. Once they're all dry, I can just hang them in the closet! Sometimes I will also use clothespins to hang things like tights and slips from the holes. If needed, I will run a fan to circulate the air (this is right by my front door and in my hallway, so sometimes it needs some circulation.)

This doesn't save me much money--usually $1 to $2 per load, which is what it costs to dry a load in my apartment building. But, hey, $1 to $2 is better than nothing, and it also helps the environment.

It's funny though--whenever I am walking down the street in my neighborhood, homeless people ask me for money. I never give it to them. I always just say "Sorry" when asked, but inside my head I say "I didn't just spend 20 minutes hang drying my laundry so that I could give you the dollar!"

Also, I can't overload this laundry basket hanging dryer. It has gotten too heavy before and fallen. A lot of times I will hang some dresses and skirts from my shower rod as well so that the load is lightened.

Not Ruling Very Hard. (Or "When Life Gives You Lemons, Get a New Job")

Hi Friends!

I've missed you! As you can probably tell by the title, I haven't been ruling very hard lately. It's quite sad. But, I plan to start ruling again soon. Let's talk about it!

I have had a hard go at work for a while now. My job is quite stressful. I have been a manager, meaning I am the one to pick up the slack when we are understaffed (which we frequently are) or when anything out of the ordinary happens. It was fun at first, with all the responsibility, but after a while it just became unhealthy. I do not think that humans are meant to work even EIGHT hours a day, let alone ten. And I have been working ten a lot of days.

This has affected my work in many ways. I am less focused and get less done. It's affected my home and financial life, too. I have gotten sick twice in two months and also gotten a bit out of control with my spending this month. Some examples:

1. Ooo, you know American Apparel? Well, it is a super cool store where you can buy super-overpriced but supposedly ethical and super cute cotton wear! Anyway, about that. I bought a sweet and soft gray cardigan there. I love it, and I will wear it often, but geez. I really couldn't afford it and didn't really NEED it. Luckily, I only buy a few things there a year. And no wonder--the cardigan cost me $44 plus tax! But, when you're overworked and it is Veteran's Day and you are out buying expensive coffee and looking at stores with a friend, it SEEMS like a good idea.

2. Ditto on all the other clothing items I have bought this month. Definitely cute, but unnecessary. (None are quite as expensive as the Overpriced Apparel cardigan, though.)

3. You know when it's Friday night and it seems like a WONDERFUL idea to go to a gay bar and spend a ton of money? Yeah, well, it's actually NOT. It's fun while it lasts, but then you wake up with an awful hangover and a credit card reciept. Maybe MAYBE every once in a while, and that's how I usually do it, but please. I cannot make this with a habit.

4. Ditto on going to the fancy drink place down the street.

5. Dining out is a great source of fun when you've worked all week! And with an Entertainment Book it is super cheap! Right?! Well, kind of. I bought an Entertainment Book, which has already paid for itself. This is lovely, but should NOT be used as an excuse to eat out a LOT.

In addition to all this fun stuff, my computer broke! While this is happy, because I hated that computer...I had to buy a new one. I managed to get what I was looking for for a good price, AND I have an emergency fund for expenses just like this. But, it is still an unexpected expense that doesn't feel quite amazing.

But, my friends, GOOD NEWS! I can start ruling at life hard again soon. Tomorrow is Pay Day, and I will be turning over a new leaf. (Well, not quite new, because I'm not TOTALLY out of control, but newish.) And then, three days after Pay Day is Thanksgiving, and then after Thanksgiving...


Yes! Thank you! My new job has benefits (not only benefits--Amazing benefits!) pays more hourly, and has SUMMERS OFF! Granted, the money will be less yearly, but I am hoping to supplement with some kind of a chill and fun summer job. And even better news--I will only be working eight hours per day! The work is much more along the lines of what I want to do, and will hopefully be more interesting--I won't be stuck in an office all day. I'm also hoping for less stress, but I'll keep you posted on that one.

Anyway, I am quite grateful for the change of pace and hope to have more time to keep up with this blog. I will keep you updated about how to Rule at Life. Check back soon!

PS That Girl is not me. I am not an American Apparel Model. Thank God.