Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Great way to save money

Be so busy that you don't have time to do anything except the bare minimum. Hang out with girlfriend? Do it while studying. Eat out? No time. Eat a burrito when you get home. No ingredients? Go to bed hungry and mad.

Good times!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cheap eatin' (with people)

Ate on the cheap today. Woke up super late (around lunch time), ate a bean burrito each. Then went to study all day. Brought a home made salad made from 3/4 a head of lettuce ($.75), 1/4 of a cucumber ($0.33), a tomato ($1.00), 1/6 of an onion ($.20), some cheese ($.50), a chicken breast ($2.00) and some dressing ($.40). Less than $2.50 per person and it was delicious. We didn't even eat all of it, even thought it was so good.

It's hard to write interesting things about being frugal well all you do is sleep, go to school, eat, study and poop.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Trying to do it all

Man, it is hard to keep up on school, health, frugality and an SO all at once. So far I've had to cut most extraneous things in my life. Like posting in this blog (what little momentum I had has surely dissipated). Not the end of the world though, mainly because I started using this more as a journal than a blog. What's the difference? No idea.

I can officially call myself "caught up" on 1 of my 7 courses. Believe it or not that's for better than normally expected for this stage of the semester. By the time this week is over I intend to be up to 4 or even 5 out of 7.

The question now is do I work or go to bed?

Mmmmm sleeeeeep. (that settles it).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yeah, I'm a Bad Blogger

Yes I'm not posting much. This is mainly because I am shockingly busy and it's my own fault.

On the plus side I tried making refried beans and it was marginally successful! Since I got the beans for free through some good fortune I think I saved myself a couple of bucks

Hey, if I'm not going to save a couple bucks, how am I going to save a couple hundred?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Price Checking

When is Costco worth it?

Given that it costs $50 a year (just less than 14 cents a day), intuitively, it is worth it. I mean, I can buy beef for $1.50 cheaper than my local grocery store (beat that!), and bread is such a good price! And oh my, look at that gourmet chicken salad, that's cheap too!

The trouble is that Costco makes you want to buy so much crap that you actually shouldn't be buying. It's a hassle to get there (especially without a car) and when you do, you feel almost obligated to spend your money cause your there. But the price differences on the things I'm actually going to buy just aren't worth it. Diced tomatoes? The difference is 33 cents per can. I would need to buy 150 cans to make it worth it. And that's assuming I don't succumb to secondary, unnecessary spending.

Watch out for these traps. They make money on people who buy the membership and don't use it and the people who buy stuff they don't need. If I buy what I need, the membership isn't worth it, so I'm out.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Best news possible

Do you know what the best possible news is when starting a semester with 7 courses? Not a single one of the classes has a textbook. Every single class so far either provides all the notes up front or offhandedly mentioned a reference book which (according to one teacher) "I've never actually opened". Instead of the normal options of buy at bookstore (up to $800) or buy/download online (hours of work + $100) I have the best option possible - just go to class and get the notes.

'tis a good day.

For the sake of getting my courses straight in my head, I'm going to summarize them here. This is mainly for my own use, feel free to ignore.

MATH 400 - hardest undergrad applied math course at UBC, I've had the teacher before and he is quite excellent. All notes are provided. This class is going to take some work.
ENPH 479 - project course, 4 credits. My project partner and I have worked together before, and work together well. We're both determined not to repeat mistakes from the past. This is going to take a lot of work to do right (we already have our project which is good).
PHYS 404 - medical physics. Looks like it's mainly learning about different types of medical physics technology (MRI, XRay, Nuclear Medicine). More understanding than math. Time commitment should be rather low - pre-reading, class attendance, quick review should be more than enough. Concepts should be really easy to understand.
EECE 453 - don't know what to think yet. There's only been one class so far and it didn't seem to arduous. Could ramp up but seems more conceptual than mathy. This could be a good or bad thing.
PHYS 410 - computational physics. All programming will be done in C++, but spent the last semester writing C++ code. With some luck, this course will compliment the project very well. Just need to stay on top of it and do the HW (worth 80%).
EECE 356 - I did not like the pre-req to this course and I'm going to have to re-learn a lot. Shouldn't be too hard, but requires a decent time commitment or I'll get behind fast.
APSC 450 - Engineering ethics. Rumor has it this class is easy. First lecture in 45 minutes. We'll see.

Between the SO, Sailing Club, frugality and health, I don't know if I have the time to work part-time for the month of September, I may have to reduce my commitment early.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Small goals towards Big Goals

Keeping in line with my own advice, I decided to bring my goals down to reality recently. No more of the "I'm going to be a small God by changing everything about me in the next 5 minutes!". No. That is counter-productive.

I have 2 big goals right now. 1. Lose some weight. I want to lose 30 lbs and get below 185. The only way I'll be okay with failing that is if I put on enough muscle to be above 185. 2. Get more frugally amazing.

Today I completed two small goals that work towards those big goals. I did not spend a single cent today and my food consumption was well below average. Now I feel great and it's giving me the energy to complete another, more secondary goals.

Huzzah. And all that.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cost Tracking

The spreadsheet that I mentioned previously is proving extremely helpful. So far I can tell you that I'm on track to spend 20k this year. This is about twice my spending goal. This means I need to put more effort into cutting spending, obviously.

My biggest problem right now is getting my social life in line with my spending goals. If a friend calls me up and wants to go for a beer, I can't think of a non-cheap ass way of saying "It's too expensive for me". I caved yesterday and ended up spending 50 bucks over the course of the night. And I got a bad sleep. And annoyed my SO. And had a hangover.

It just isn't worth it, but I can't seem to learn the lesson well enough.

Anyone know a way of not drinking when almost everyone you know drinks?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting Geared Up

Alright, I've got most things in place to jump into this semester. The current plan is not very exciting at all. I'm going to wake up and cook breakfast and lunch - egg white omelets + bean burritos. Then go to school, do my best to not eat at any of the cafeterias or stuff. Once I get incurably hungry, I'll bus home and heat up chili that is going to be made in massive massive batches.

The only thing not quite ready is the chili. I'm going to do a full cost analysis on buying the ingredients from Costco or from No Frills near my place. By the end of the month I all but guarantee that I'll have found the cheapest way to support this diet.

On another front I'm working on a website that will hopefully bring in a little income during the semester. It would be pretty sweet if I could come out of the month of September even on cash between this website and working part time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

School be starting soon

And there's too much to do, so I'm going to keep this short.

I found the best place near my house to buy cheap dry beans. A greek supermarket - some beans are as low as $2.60 per kg.

That is all.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Two Days off from work

So what's the best way to spend two days off from work. Clearly the best first step is to sleep in until 11:30 am (I knocked that one out of the park).

Now I need to use this time to actually get things done, there's a decent list of things that I've been procrastinating for the past couple months. Guess I should spend today finally getting all these things done.

The main list:
  • Fix bike
  • Finish Sailing Club Stuff
  • Get through all starred e-mails
  • Re-do resume
  • Get some appointments made

Plus I have friends coming over in 5 hours.

Don't think I'm going to get it all done. (Not with that attitude). Shut up voice in my head, you don't even have hands.