Frugal Portland http://frugalportland.com Save 50%. Spend Consciously. Take Control. Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:01:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Portland, 100 Years Ago and Today http://frugalportland.com/portland-100-years-ago-and-today/ http://frugalportland.com/portland-100-years-ago-and-today/#respond Tue, 30 Jun 2015 15:52:18 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6660 This is really awesome — narrated by a centenarian (or so they’d have you think), this video shows today’s Portland overlaid on top of the Portland from 100 years ago: Yesterday’s Tomorrow – A Portland Journey from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo. Live a today worth celebrating tomorrow.

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This is really awesome — narrated by a centenarian (or so they’d have you think), this video shows today’s Portland overlaid on top of the Portland from 100 years ago:

Yesterday’s Tomorrow – A Portland Journey from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.

Live a today worth celebrating tomorrow.

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AirBnB Portland: Great Portland Neighborhoods http://frugalportland.com/airbnb-portland-great-portland-neighborhoods/ http://frugalportland.com/airbnb-portland-great-portland-neighborhoods/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:00:40 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6631   We’ve talked about AirBnB in the past. I love it. It’s my favorite way to vacation. We’re going to Las Vegas Heck, I even AirBnB’d on my honeymoon! But we’ve never talked about where to stay when you come visit Portland, and that’s a shame. Hotels are very expensive here, and they’re mostly downtown....

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We’ve talked about AirBnB in the past. I love it. It’s my favorite way to vacation. We’re going to Las Vegas Heck, I even AirBnB’d on my honeymoon!

But we’ve never talked about where to stay when you come visit Portland, and that’s a shame. Hotels are very expensive here, and they’re mostly downtown. Now, there’s nothing at all wrong with being downtown, but it’s only a fraction of the Portland flavor you see on TV.

So, where should you stay when you visit AirBnB Portland?

Great question.

I did a little digging, and thought, if I were coming to Portland, where should I stay? Which means, of course, only “entire homes” were eligible, since Brent just is not a fan of staying in someone else’s space.

There are a ton of awesome AirBnBs, but on first glance, many of them are in somewhat remote areas of the city. When you come visit, you want to be in a neighborhood. You want to walk to a coffee shop. Get that “keep Portland weird” vibe.

So, here are my suggestions of awesome AirBnBs in great Portland neighborhoods:

Downtown

Get to these by going to AirBnB (use that link to save $25!), then selecting the “entire place” filter, then filter by neighborhood and choose “downtown.”

Downtown is a bit pricey, but still less than a hotel room in the summer. For between $100 and $150, expect to get a studio or a small one-bedroom apartment.

Downtown Portland AirBnBs FrugalPortland.com

NW Portland/Pearl District

Get to these by going to AirBnB (use that link to save $25!), then selecting the “entire place” filter, then filter by neighborhood and choose “Northwest District” and “Pearl.”

Situated a bit west and a bit north (we’re talking maybe a mile) from downtown, Northwest Portland and the Pearl District seem to be about the same price, but instead of itty bitty studios, you get more space. Plus, you get more funky layouts, and you’re still what would be considered downtown if Portland weren’t so determined to name every six block square a neighborhood. My friends used to live in this neighborhood. You could spend your whole trip eating and drinking and shopping here and you would leave fat, happy, and in love with Portland.

NW Portland Pearl District FrugalPortland.com

 

Funky Southeast

Get to these by going to AirBnB (use that link to save $25!), then selecting the “entire place” filter, then filter by neighborhood and choose “Richmond.”

This neighborhood is the hippest part of Portland (and you can believe me, because it’s not my neighborhood!). SE Division street runs through this neighborhood, and there’s something new there every time I go over there. Here’s my suggestion: find the cheapest place you can tolerate in this neighborhood and spend your savings on coffee, restaurants, and beer.

Funky SE Portland AirBnB FrugalPortland.com

Inner North Portland/Mississippi Ave/Williams Ave

Get to these by going to AirBnB (use that link to save $25!), then selecting the “entire place” filter, then filter by neighborhood and choose “Boise-Eliot.”

Now, this is the neighborhood adjacent to mine, so I can’t be as unbiased here as I was about Division. This is a cool urban neighborhood. The major eateries are on Mississippi Avenue and Williams Avenue, which is a major bike corridor. You’re not too far from downtown, and there are plenty of awesome-looking places here. If you stay in this neighborhood, tweet at me and let me know! Maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee with you. Or some Thai food.

North Portland-Williams-Missisippi Ave FrugalPortland.comNE Alberta Arts Area

Get to these by going to AirBnB (use that link to save $25!), then selecting the “entire place” filter, then filter by neighborhood and choose “King” and “Alameda.”

This is where I live, and if you know me, you should stay with me when you come, because you know I have guest rooms! We also have a studio apartment in our house, which we are renting to someone on a long-term basis, but I have thoughts and dreams of turning it into an AirBnB when our tenant leaves (which hopefully won’t be for five or six more years). There’s a bus that will take you straight downtown and a bunch of things that will keep you entertained should you not want to leave the neighborhood. Alberta Street is so fun and funky. Let’s go have tea one afternoon!

NE Portland Alberta Arts FrugalPortland.com

If you stay in a hotel, you get to see one side of Portland, but if you stay in an AirBnB, you get to see a lot more of the city. Portland is remarkably bike friendly and public transportation is abundant. Come visit, and get a real sense for the city I call home.

 

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Don’t be Afraid to Change http://frugalportland.com/dont-be-afraid-to-change/ http://frugalportland.com/dont-be-afraid-to-change/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 16:19:44 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6642 The following blog post is part of  The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Portland! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand...

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Don't-be-afraid-to-change

The following blog post is part of  The Road to Financial Wellness Blog Tour. Over a period of 30 days, the Phroogal team will go to 30 locations to raise awareness about financial empowerment. Today they will be in Portland! Our goal is to help people learn about money by starting the conversation. We understand that local conversations can help bring about national awareness.

June has been a big month of changes for me, and for Frugal Portland.

On June 1st, I gave two weeks’ notice.

On June 12th, I went on vacation.

On June 23rd, I started working for myself full time.

On June 24th, I reached out to more Portlanders who can give this site the local flavor you’d expect from a site called Frugal Portland. This move is two years past due. I’ve been hesitant to start talking about Portland because all my friends who read this aren’t Portlanders (although that would be awesome!). But it’s time. I need to move past the “dear diary” posts and embrace our funky little city.

On June 25th, I learned that my Kickstarter failed.

Today is June 26th, and I’m wrapping up my first week of self-employment.

I have to tell you, it all feels awesome.

I wake up excited to get to work, knowing that the effort I put toward work will have a direct impact on my life (the other side of that coin is fear, I know, that when I don’t “feel like working” I am not making any money, but I have plenty of tasks that don’t feel like work that are just as important).

I talk to my partner every single day (at least once), and we keep each other on task.

But the best part?

I feel like I’ve freed up more than eight hours of my day.

The time I’ve saved makes plenty of sense. I was a dedicated employee at my last job, not a slacker. So I was already not getting paid for “butt in chair” time — I was working that butt off!

But it’s more than that.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change

The fear I felt before acting was nearly palpable. My friend Robbe wrote an excellent post about fear, and how you’re only afraid of something if you’re seriously considering it. His example was how his mom isn’t afraid of skydiving, because she’s decided that she’s never going to do it. Plain and simple.

I wasn’t like Robbe’s mom. I was seriously considering “skydiving” and it scared the snot out of me.

But once I talked to my boss, and told him honestly where I stood, the fear subsided.

Am I making eight bajillion dollars a month, sipping drinks with tiny umbrellas on the beach?

Of course not, and anyone who tries to tell you that’s what online work is like is either lying to you or themselves.

Online work is work. And I’m not replacing my income right away. I wish I could say that in four days, I’m already making what I did.

But I’d be lying if I said that, and this blog has been a space for raw, sometimes ugly, honesty.

How am I Going to Make Money?

My focus is on building my own brands (Frugal Portland, For Profit Blogging, Stacking Benjamins, and The Free Financial Advisor) to the point where we’re making a livable income.

I started writing again for Babble, so watch for those posts.

I’m doing freelance presentation design for a few companies, which is something I really enjoy (hello, stock images!).

We’re considering doing one-on-one consulting for people who need our help.

That’s not exactly a five-year-plan, though, is it?

That should scare me even more than simply quitting.

But, as one former colleague wrote, when she heard I was leaving, “No guts, no glory.”

So here goes. Don’t be afraid to change. Remember, job security is a false security blanket. It might feel warm and cozy, but it could be snatched away from you at any moment.

 

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How to Create a Budget That Allows You to Save More http://frugalportland.com/how-to-create-a-budget-that-allows-you-to-save-more/ http://frugalportland.com/how-to-create-a-budget-that-allows-you-to-save-more/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:00:12 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6617 Saving money is already a bit of a challenge but when your bills and expenses eat up most of your income and money is already tight, it can be extremely hard to continue to put money aside each month. If your paycheck seems to disappear days after it reaches your account, saving can be the...

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How to Create a Budget That Allows You to Save More

Saving money is already a bit of a challenge but when your bills and expenses eat up most of your income and money is already tight, it can be extremely hard to continue to put money aside each month. If your paycheck seems to disappear days after it reaches your account, saving can be the last thing on your mind when you are just trying to maintain and cover all your bases.

It’s no secret that saving is extremely important in the grand scheme of your financial success. Saving money can help you prepare for unexpected expenses or financial hardships, pay off debt, reach milestones like purchasing a house quicker or sending your kids to college, and help become more stable overall.

When I talked about wanting to save half of my income each month, I mentioned how the whole idea of being able to save half seemed like a fascinating concept that I’d never be able to achieve. Clearly I was wrong.

Whether you want to save 50% of your income or just increase your savings rate a little more, you need to create a budget that allows you to save more.

The Accuracy of Your Budget is Key

Creating a solid budget to withstand all your temptations and spending discrepancies is crucial. If you’re not a fan of budgets, you kind of need one in order to increase your savings rate. Even if your budget is just a sheet of notebook paper with a rough outline of your spending categories, that’s a start. No one said you had to be fancy.

I redo my budget periodically throughout the year or when things change. We recently moved so my rent has increased slightly but I’ve lowered a few other expenses as well.

Be Realistic

When you recreate your budget, it’s important to be realistic and 100% honest with yourself. For example, if you claim to be able to spend $0 on entertainment every month or just $20 on clothes and gifts when you know that’s not the case you’re only cheating yourself. What looks great on paper (or your spreadsheet) isn’t always the easiest to actually do.

Decide which variable expenses are more important to you and set a reasonable amount to spend on select categories. For the categories you don’t care about so much you can always enter a lower spending amount to increase the money you can save.

In my new budget, I added an extra $10 on a few categories like groceries, dining out, and household goods and toiletries just as a financial cushion in case I went slightly over budget. Slip ups happen and there are times when we don’t make the best financial decisions or go over budget. It’s very common, but being prepared is the best way to combat a budget failure.

Reduce Your Fixed Expenses

A lot of people talk about reducing variable expenses but forget to do anything about fixed expenses. Predictable expenses like insurance, utility bills, and rent/mortgage payments can be reduced to free up more money for savings.

You should never let your housing expenses take up more than 30% of your income to avoid becoming house poor. If your mortgage or rent is too high, you most likely won’t have much left over to save each month. You can always try to refinance your mortgage, move to a more affordable area or bring in a roommate to help lower housing costs.

Commit to reducing energy usage around the house and be mindful of your utility usage overall so you aren’t overpaying for electricity, water and gas each month. With insurance, you can always bundle to save money on your rate by obtaining auto, life and renters/homeowners insurance all through the same company. For your cell phone bill, there are so many quality prepaid options out there to use with a smartphone so that you can ditch the expensive contract cell phone service. I currently use Republic Wireless and I love it!

Start Building a Slush Fund

When you have to pay extra for something throughout the month and you don’t want to use credit or withdraw from your emergency fund, the money usually comes out of your savings contributions for the month. Extra expenses throughout the month often translate to a lower savings contribution but it doesn’t always have to be this way.

A slush fund or cash buffer is your first line of defense when extra expenses pop up or you miscalculate your spending for the month. If you have an extra $20 or $50 here and there, you should definitely set it aside to use in non-emergency spending situations.

My ‘Save Half’ Budget

By utilizing all of the tips mentioned above, I created my new and improved budget that will allow em to save 50% or more of my take home income each month.

Living Expenses
Rent $430
Auto Insurance $95
Healthshare $131
Groceries $160
Fuel $140
Bed $25
ComEd $80
Water: $25
Phone $12
Entertainment. $50
Dining Out $60
Clothes $30
Household $30
Credit Cards $150 (Include my tollway pass for the interstate, misc. purchases)
Slush $82

Total: $1500

Savings
$250 Emergency Fund
$140 Student Loans
$900 Car
$100 Car Savings
$50 Small Savings Goals
$100 Retirement

Total: $1540

Have you ever struggled to save when money was tight? How do you adjust your budget to increase your savings rate?

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Is it Easier to Save Half Your Income When You’re Single? http://frugalportland.com/is-it-easier-to-save-half-your-income-when-youre-single/ http://frugalportland.com/is-it-easier-to-save-half-your-income-when-youre-single/#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:06:27 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6610 As more and more of my friends and peers get married, settle down, and start having babies, I think spend more thinking about being single and the effect it has on my life. Once in a while I get all “Debbie Downer” about it and find myself thinking married people have it easier financially than...

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Is it Easier to Save Half Your Income When You're Single

As more and more of my friends and peers get married, settle down, and start having babies, I think spend more thinking about being single and the effect it has on my life.

Once in a while I get all “Debbie Downer” about it and find myself thinking married people have it easier financially than those of us who are still single. I even wrote a post recently questioning whether my goal of full-time self-employment is even possible because of my being single.

But after some back and forth in the comments and further reflection on my part, I’ve come to realize that no matter if you are single or married, you need to embrace where you are in your life and make the most of it. Plus, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Both single people and married people have reasons to celebrate, and I’m going to start celebrating my “benefits” of being single.

In my last post on Frugal Portland, I shared that I’m not really socking away half of my income for savings each month, instead I’m putting the majority of that 50% toward debt, which may be better anyway. Today I’m going to explore some of the reasons that I think it might actually be easier to save half of your income if you are single instead of married.

Your Other Half (Probably) Has Baggage

When you get into a relationship, you have to realize that your honey probably has a different background, a different upbringing, and probably different financial habits than what you do. They may not even be frugal. They may come with some financial baggage, read: debt, that slows down your progress toward saving half of your income.

This can become even more of a liability for you if you and your spouse end up splitting ways and everything you acquired during the marriage is split in half. You might have accumulated more on your own without your spendy spouse and be closer to financial freedom if you’d remained single.

Couples Tend to Spend More

Even if your other half is a financial saint with no debt, it can be more tempting to spend money in certain areas when you are married or in a serious relationship. Gift-giving will probably be more expensive as couples tend to feel pressure to get each other the “perfect” gift for anniversaries, Christmas, birthdays, and more.

Plus, as long as you have your frugal act together, you don’t have to worry about a spouse’s spending habits while they aren’t with you. One of the worst habits my ex-husband had was spending $5-10 on snacks and junk food every-single-day and then complaining when I wanted to buy $50 of groceries.

Tax Considerations

Most people consider marriage to be a great way to get a tax break. For example, if you earn $50,000 annually and your new spouse earns significantly less, this may bring your household down into a lower tax bracket than if you were single. However, this rule can also come back to bite you in the butt if you and your spouse both earn a high income, which can sometimes put you in a higher tax bracket than you would be in if you were still single.

I know people don’t typically decide to get married or not based on these criteria, but maybe they should at least consider them before walking down the aisle and saying “I do”. Money is one of the biggest causes of fights and divorce, and therefore it warrants some serious consideration. After all, money isn’t everything, but it can sure have a huge impact on your life.

Can you think of any other ways that being single might make it easier to save half your income?

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The Value of Writing Down Your Goals http://frugalportland.com/the-value-of-writing-down-your-goals/ http://frugalportland.com/the-value-of-writing-down-your-goals/#comments Wed, 27 May 2015 15:48:34 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6600 Hi friends! I hope you’ve been enjoying the debt payoff stories and strategies from our staff writers, and I hope you’re liking the Portland-centric stuff (I know I am!). If it feels like I haven’t been writing as much, that’s just because I haven’t been writing much here. I’m posting all the time at Stacking Benjamins...

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The Value of Writing Down Your Goals

Hi friends!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the debt payoff stories and strategies from our staff writers, and I hope you’re liking the Portland-centric stuff (I know I am!).

If it feels like I haven’t been writing as much, that’s just because I haven’t been writing much here. I’m posting all the time at Stacking Benjamins and For Profit Blogging, some of the time at The Free Financial Advisor, and, over the last several months, I’ve been building a physical product.

And now, the Kickstarter is live, and I want to talk to you about it.

The Value of Writing Down Your Goals

I am a goal-oriented person. By that, I mean I love setting goals, writing them down, and, for example, starting a blog to tell the world I’m going to get out of debt once and for all.

I have set resolutions a thousand times (I’m super old), many of them here:

And I have to say, they work. Writing down my goals gets me clear on what I want to work toward (although I still can’t do a pull up, but I will by #Fincon15, and I’m going to find Steve Stewart and just start doing pull ups in front of him!).

Why I Love Goals

Last night, when I was at Dress for Success, the women in the group were creating vision boards. The instructor told them to pull images and quotes for what their lives would be like in six months.

Now, I usually go for the bigger picture — what does my life look like forever? But I loved what the shorter timeline did.

Her instruction:

What does your life look like by Thanksgiving?

The women responded with awesome ideas:

  • There were pictures of fruits and vegetables, along with some bikini bodies cut from magazines. I’m going to be healthier by Thanksgiving, and so is my family.
  • There were plenty of pictures of money. I’m going to be debt free. Debt free, by Thanksgiving! You go, girls!
  • One woman had a picture of a watch, then a picture of a clock. I’m going to make more time for my family in the next six months.

I’m not going to lie, some of their vision boards brought tears to my eyes.

That is why I like setting goals. Thinking about what you want out of life isn’t enough. You’ve got to write them down.

The simple act of writing down your goals, then referring back to them quarterly will change your life.

That’s what The Remarkable Year is all about.

It’s a planner/journal/motivational coach that takes you through goal setting, then checks back in with you quarterly. In the meantime, you write down all the things you were able to get done in a given week, in various categories. It turns into a gorgeous keepsake that you put on your shelf and refer back to for the rest of your life.

I Need Your Help

Can you do me a favor and check it out? Then, can you share it with your networks?

Maybe something like these:


One year. Endless possibilities. http://bitly.com/remarkableyear @remarkableyear
Click To Tweet



Planner/Calendar/Motivational Coach. http://bitly.com/remarkableyear @remarkableyear
Click To Tweet



What will you do with one remarkable year? http://bitly.com/remarkableyear
Click To Tweet


Visit us on these social networks:

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

Thanks so much! We have 29 days to go, and we already have 14 backers (and only one of those is my dad!). With your help, we can get funded and help lots of people make their year remarkable!

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Portland’s Most Budget-Friendly Happy Hours http://frugalportland.com/portlands-most-budget-friendly-happy-hours/ http://frugalportland.com/portlands-most-budget-friendly-happy-hours/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 18:07:47 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6587 The following is from staff writer Margaret. We can all appreciate a good happy hour. There are many options in Portland, but they often come with the requirement to purchase a full-priced drink to enjoy the discounted food options. The options below all offer food specials, along with drink specials, to give you the best...

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The following is from staff writer Margaret.

Portland's-most-budget-friendly-happy-hours

We can all appreciate a good happy hour. There are many options in Portland, but they often come with the requirement to purchase a full-priced drink to enjoy the discounted food options. The options below all offer food specials, along with drink specials, to give you the best buy for your money. Whether you’re going solo, out on a date, or going out with friends, I’ve picked a selection of happy hours in all parts of town that offer budget-friendly happy hours.

Cheers!

Bartini, www.bartinipdx.com

Bartini PDX

Happy Hour Times: Sunday & Monday happy hour all night (Sun. 4-11pm, Mon. 4pm-12 midnight), Tuesday – Thursday 4-6:30pm and 9:30pm-12 midnight, Friday & Saturday 4-6:30pm

All martinis are half-priced; this makes most of the martinis around $4 each (normally $7-$9). They have over 100 different martini flavors, with tastes from sweet, to spicy, to herbal. My favorite is the “English Cucumber Martini,” so light and refreshing! Bartini also has a great happy hour food menu with lots of different options. Most of the food options are around $4. You can easily get a couple martinis and a couple small plates for under $20.

Bridge City Taproom, www.facebook.com/bridgecitytaproom

Bridge City Taproom

Happy Hour Times: Daily 4-7pm

Bridge City Taproom is a sports bar but with a casual, neighborhood feel. During happy hour, they offer some great discounts on food and even cheaper drink prices. Well drinks and domestic drafts are only $2.75 each, with micros and wines costing $3.50 each. Happy hour food prices range from $2.95 to $7.95 with a mixture of classic pub food, street tacos, and even calamari.

Gold Dust Meridian, www.golddustmeridian.com

Gold Dust Meridian

Happy Hour Times: 2pm-8pm every day.

Their drink specials are pretty traditional, $.50 off pints and wells, $1 off wine. But their happy hour times (happy hour ‘till 8pm on a Saturday!) and food options are what make them worth it! Gold Dust Meridian’s food options are priced at $4-$six each. They don’t have many choices, but there are some delicious options. I recommend the seasonal ravioli; they easily rival an upscale Italian restaurant.

Suzette Creperie, www.suzettepdx.com

Suzette

Happy Hour Times: Tuesday – Thursday 4-6pm and 9-10pm, Friday 4-6pm, and 10-11pm

Suzette is a sweet little creperie spot on Belmont. It is often quiet and not too packed, great for a laid-back date. All happy hour food options are $3 each including small crepes and French onion soup. They also offer drink specials, $3.50 for draft beers and $5 wines. And don’t forget a bowl of their delicious homemade ice cream! During happy it is only $3.

Tabla, www.tablapastaevino.com

Tabla

Happy Hour Times: Tuesday – Saturday 5-6pm

Tabla has a limited happy hour time but if you’re a pasta addict like me it’s worth it! During Tabla’s happy hour, all of their pasta is half-priced. The pasta comes with the option of a small or regular portion with normal prices being $10-$12 for the small and $18-$22 for the large portion. There are some other happy hour food options, one of which is their cheese plate for only $3. Tabla also has drink specials, $5 well drinks and wine, and $3 draft beer.

The Oregon Public House, www.oregonpublichouse.com

Oregon Public House

Happy Hour Times: Daily 2-6pm and 9pm-close

While the happy hour food selection is not extensive, they offer large portions for happy hour prices. A cheeseburger or a large plate of vegetarian nachos is offered for only $6. There are some other food options as well, ranging in price from $4-$6. All pints are $1 off, most of which are normally $5. The Oregon Public House also comes with a feel-good bonus, as 100% of their profits, after expenses, are donated to the charity of your choice.

There are a thousand more, and we’ll continue this feature if you like it, as well as other budget-friendly options in Portland.

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Frugal Weekender: Episode Two http://frugalportland.com/frugal-weekender-episode-two/ http://frugalportland.com/frugal-weekender-episode-two/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 20:56:06 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6574 Stanley would very much like to go on eleventy walks this weekend, but if you’re not a dog like Stanley, maybe you’ll be interested in the following: Every Weekend $5 Fridays at the Portland Art Museum. Every Friday after 5pm, admission to the Portland Art Museum is just $5. It’s a lovely weekend for the...

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frugal portland frugal weekender

Stanley would very much like to go on eleventy walks this weekend, but if you’re not a dog like Stanley, maybe you’ll be interested in the following:

Every Weekend

$5 Fridays at the Portland Art Museum. Every Friday after 5pm, admission to the Portland Art Museum is just $5.

It’s a lovely weekend for the Portland Farmers Market and the Portland Saturday Market

Play Outside

view of Portland from the Tram

view of Portland from the Tram

Have you been to the OHSU Tram? It’s neat. If it’s clear this weekend (and it looks like it might be!) head up.

Make it an Adventure if You Go Sunday

Family Ride to the Tram: Bike, Walk, and Fly on Sunday, May 17 at 12:15pm
Splendid Cycles, 407 SE Ivon St.(corner of 4th Ave, near OMSI)
Bike, walk and fly on this kid-friendly route to the Gibbs Pedestrian Bridge and Portland Aerial Tram. Free ride on the Tram included! More info: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/44298#mayride

Day Trip to See UFOs

Because why not. The UFO festival began as a way to honor the famous 1950 Trent sighting in which two local McMinnville citizens witnessed and photographed a UFO, said to be some of the most credible images of UFOs to date. Which sounds legit. More info: http://ufofest.com/

Exercise Only Counts if Everyone Can See You

And what better way to be seen than by running in a white shirt that gets progressively rainbowed at every turn? The cost is a bit high, but I’d say the people watching here will be outstanding. More info: http://cd5k.com/

Art for the People

Mt Tabor Art Walk is going on all weekend long. It’s a neighborhood art walk where artists open their homes and studios. What fun! More info: http://www.mttaborartwalk.com/Pages/default.aspx 

Weekend Eats, Groupon Style

Brunch at Equinox

Brunch at Equinox, $7.50

Equinox is in the neighborhood adjacent to mine, and it’s been on my list for a while. I haven’t tried it yet, but this Groupon really sweetens the deal for me. Have you been? What did you think?

Weekend Eats with Living Social

Lunch+martini sampler for two at Gracies

Lunch+martini sampler for two at Gracies, $40

This looks pretty swanky! Gracies is inside the Hotel DeLuxe, which is wonderfully glamorous. Dine (and drink, apparently!) in style, then work off your lunch by wandering around downtown.

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How I’m Planning To Live on $1500/Month http://frugalportland.com/how-im-planning-to-live-on-1500month/ http://frugalportland.com/how-im-planning-to-live-on-1500month/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 11:21:34 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6524 Last month I was excited to announce my goal to save at least 50% of my monthly take-home income by the end of this year. I understand that it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, I’m going to share every detail, every success, and every setback right here on Frugal Portland. The first step...

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how chonce is planning on living on 1500 a month

Last month I was excited to announce my goal to save at least 50% of my monthly take-home income by the end of this year. I understand that it’s easier said than done. But don’t worry, I’m going to share every detail, every success, and every setback right here on Frugal Portland.

The first step toward saving half of my income would be to create a new budget and determine how much I’ll have to live off when I start saving half. I’d imagine that it would be easier to keep half when you make a lot of money. If you don’t make that much, it’s still not impossible but a little trickier to pull off.

I currently earn a very modest salary, and while I’m working on increasing my income, I’d still like to be realistic and work with what I have so far. So far, saving half of my income would require me only to have $1500/month to cover my living expenses since I’m bringing home around $3000/month between my day job and side hustles.

It doesn’t sound like much (I’m currently spending more than $1500/month), but I’m confident I can make it work.

It All Starts With Housing

I’m a big fan of keeping your housing costs low. A good rule of thumb is never to let your living expenses exceed 30% of your income. Right now, my living expenses are around 15% of my income, and I love it. Since I currently rent, I’m drawn to affordable but beautiful areas that offer reasonable prices for their apartments.

I don’t believe the common myth that the more you spend on housing, the more value you get or the better your home is. I’m perfectly fine with driving an extra 10 minutes to get to the mall instead of having to pay extra to live closer to it. As long as the landlord is professional and prompt with fixing any issues, I don’t mind.

Since I split housing costs with my boyfriend, I currently pay $315/month for our 850 square foot two-bedroom apartment. Soon we will be moving though, and I expect my new rent to be about $525, which is still doable. When we move, we will be about 20 minutes west of my job. It’s funny to point out that if I moved closer to my job – preferably 5 or 10 minutes away – we would be expected to pay about $1500-2000 to rent a 2-bedroom apartment. Both neighborhoods are fairly similar with the same amenities and benefits, but it’s interesting how much location matters in terms of cost. When we buy a house eventually, I don’t expect my portion of the mortgage to exceed $800.

Bills, Bills, Bills

Utility bills, insurance, auto expenses, and household expenses can all add up. I save money in this department by setting a strict budget and being very conscious of my spending. My ultimate goal is to keep our electric bill at $80/month. Since no one is home during the daytime, we don’t leave on lights, the television, or the air/heat.

I shop around for lower insurance rates every year and if I didn’t have any auto or health incidents throughout the year, I believe I deserve a discount whether the insurance company wants to grant me one or not. I’m not that loyal when it comes to insurance companies so if someone else can offer me a lower rate and a better plan; I’ll jump ship in a heartbeat.

There are plenty of ways to cut household expenses like making your cleaners, using coupons, and just maintaining your home to avoid costly repairs. I usually do all of the above and shop for household items at Dollar General. They carry the same brands you would find at any other store, but they cost less of course :)

I’m a Frugal Foodie

It’s no secret that I love food. I’m a big eater, and I’m always up to try new foods. I transformed my love for food into a hobby and started cooking and baking more instead of dining out. I love the savings I generate by eating at home most of the time and buying ingredients instead of ready-made food.

Processed food and some frozen food is not the best for you so just knowing that motivates me to keep cooking and planning meals. Since I’m the designated meal planner for my family of three, I created a $300/month food budget that include work lunches and so far so good. We’re eating and snacking well. I can’t buy a $25 package of gourmet crab legs (my absolute favorite) to prepare every month but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

I May Give Up Some Things Permanently

I’m already aware that in order to save half of my income, I would have to give some items and expenses up. But now I’m realizing that my sacrifices could be long-term, or permanent.

I gave up cable TV last year in order to put money toward savings and other more urgent expenses, but now I’m considering ditching it for good. When I think about my overall financial goals, there will always be something I need to save for.

Right now, I’m all about paying off debt, starting my retirement fund, and increasing my emergency fund. In the following years, my goals will most likely involve saving up for a house and investing more. Then, I will focus on making extra payments to my son’s college fund, and maybe a nice vacation. Once I tackle one goal, there will always be another one lined up.

This is why I’m content with living frugally for life, not just until I pay off all my debt. At the end of the day, I would choose financial freedom and security any day over the unnecessary expenses I eliminated in the past.

What About Fun and Shopping?

I don’t just plan to live on $1500 each month, but I also intend to thrive and keep enjoying my life. I will still dine out, go shopping, travel, and attend fun events, but I will incorporate these expenses into my budget.

I will save up for traveling in advance obviously, but I usually give myself a restaurant budget of around $50/month. It’s low, but I don’t make it a habit to dine out often. Shopping isn’t done every month in my household and when we do we shop seasonally. There are so many deals around the holidays and at the end of each season. That’s where all the hidden gems are.

I’m confident I can continue to spend little to nothing on entertainment. When you get to know your area and engage with others, you’ll discover that there’s so much to do. And the bigger more expensive outings like concerts, sporting events, and amusement parks can always be budgeted for.

Have you ever had to live off on a portion of your income that would be considered a ‘low income’? How do you increase your savings rate and decrease your expenses?

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One Awesome Financial Lesson from My Mom: Hide Your Money! http://frugalportland.com/one-awesome-financial-lesson-from-my-mom-hide-your-money/ http://frugalportland.com/one-awesome-financial-lesson-from-my-mom-hide-your-money/#comments Sat, 09 May 2015 11:57:52 +0000 http://frugalportland.com/?p=6559 Mother’s Day is tomorrow, and though I miss my mom all the time, I think about her a lot around her birthday (in April) and Mother’s Day. If she were still around, we’d be in Olympia, planting flowers. So, I was thinking about my mom when Fidelity reached out to me to see if I wanted to...

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One awesome financial lesson from mom

Mother’s Day is tomorrow, and though I miss my mom all the time, I think about her a lot around her birthday (in April) and Mother’s Day. If she were still around, we’d be in Olympia, planting flowers.

So, I was thinking about my mom when Fidelity reached out to me to see if I wanted to talk about financial lessons I learned from my mom. They’re doing this whole series, and they have a series on financial tips for mothers on their site.

The lesson I want to talk about is a little funny. See, my parents never combined finances, not even when they were young and broke. They were married 36 years, and they split everything. It seemed normal to me, but when I got older and started talking to my friends about it, I realized it was anything but.

My parents shared a credit card (frequent flier miles, baby!), but I remember Mom and her little lap desk, with the credit card bill and a red pen, marking her initials and telling Dad to write her a check for x amount. Every single month.

Anyway, they made it work. It was weird, but it worked.

Lesson: Hide Money From Yourself (And Your Spouse!)

One day, right after I graduated high school, my mom pulled me aside. “I want to teach you a savings trick,” she said, “but you have to promise never to tell your dad.”

She pulled out her checkbook, and showed me her register (remember those?). It had a bunch of numbers in it, most notably subtraction.

She pointed to a section.

“See how I’m subtracting $10 here? And here? And here?”

I nodded.

She continued, “Every day I don’t go out to eat lunch, I pay myself $10. Then, I completely ignore my bank statement so the only way I can tell how much money I have in my checking account is to look here. That’s how I was able to pay for the kitchen remodel last year, and how I’ll be paying for a new couch this year.”

“That’s interesting, Mom,” I told her, but the lesson didn’t really sink in. “Why don’t you want me to tell Dad about it?”

“Well,” she confided, “your dad would take all of this money and do something crazy with it, like, invest it in the stock market!”

So I never told him. I tried to do her trick, but as I started earning money, banks went more and more into online banking, where it’s quite difficult to ignore the amount of money in your checking account.

I did think it was funny, though. She really wanted to keep that money hidden. Not that she ever did anything crazy with it, except pay for remodeling.

After she died, Dad and I had about a thousand heart-to-heart conversations (love those!) and I finally asked him if he knew about that money.

He laughed.

“Of course I did! How on earth was she paying for remodels if she didn’t have some money saved somewhere?”

I told him the story, and we shared a laugh.

So maybe it’s not the very best financial tip I learned from my mom (that probably has more to do with being fierce in the workplace), but it’s a memory that makes me smile.

More Financial Wisdom, from Fidelity executives in Portland:

  • Someone took me through a scenario long ago where I was the Mama Bear, and I had a cub. We needed food and the question came up: ‘Who do you feed first?’ I rushed to answer ‘My Cub, of course,’ which my confidante then pointed out was the wrong approach. Now, I was literally starving to death with no energy to continue foraging for food for either my cub, or myself.  The best way to proceed was to feed myself first – it kept both us bears alive.  This example is applicable across many facets of our lives, including finance. We have to save and invest appropriately for our own future while giving our children all the tools to make their own futures successful. By doing so for ourselves, our children get to see not only what it takes, but they get to see first-hand how to implement those strategies in their own lives.  It is very empowering all around.” –Rebecca Morris, VP, Financial Consultant, Fidelity Portland Downtown
  • “Teach your kids how to save at an early age. I taught my daughter ever since she learned how to walk that any penny, dime, nickel or quarter that she has to make sure to put it in one of her piggy banks. Now she’s made it a personal goal of hers to fill up all the piggy banks in the house. When she was 5 we went to the bank to open up her first savings account so whenever a piggy bank gets full she know she can take it to the bank and deposit it in her savings account. She is learning the value of saving money.” – Mae Judar, Relationship Manager, Fidelity Portland Downtown

Do you have a story to share? @Fidelity is tweeting out the best financial advice learned from Mom in honor of Mother’s Day. Participate by tweeting the best financial advice your mom ever gave you @Fidelity, using the hashtag #MomQuotes.

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