Tag Archives: Portland Oregon

Ten Ways Frugal Portland is Saving in 2012

Saving money, living frugally, enjoying Portland. These are all things I intend to do. But how? Here are ten ways I’m saving this year.

  1. Never eat in restaurants alone, and when a friend suggests meeting for dinner, offer to cook. This is almost always cheaper and more fun than going out.
  2. Drink coffee at work during the week, and buy coffee on the weekends, but only if coffee comes with free wireless internet, and I’m planning on doing work while there.

    grocery shopping ONCE a week

  3. Walk to work three days a week starting in March. This will cut down on my car expenses, and allow for some quiet time in the morning.
  4. Grow a garden starting in March. The new place has a space for gardening, and if I can start seeds, then it will be cost effective to grow easy things like herbs and cucumbers.
  5. Don’t buy lunch in restaurants. There’s nothing worse than forgetting to bring lunch because the cost of forgetting is around $10.
  6. Don’t spend money on spend-nothing Mondays.
  7. Only go to the grocery store once a week. Fewer trips = less money spent.
  8. No haircuts or clothes shopping until credit card debt is paid off.
  9. No shopping for workout clothes, period. I have seven (seven!) pairs of black workout pants. That’s enough.
  10. Make cleaning products (both personal cleaning and household cleaning) at home.


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Frugal living strategy: restaurants are for friends

the show that makes fun of Portland

Before my days of frugal living, and incidentally before the days of my huge diet shift, I loved going to restaurants. They were the default — happy hours abound in this town, and going to happy hour for dinner could almost always be justified. I was dating someone who made a lot of money and liked to show it off (shudder!) so three, four nights a week, I was in a restaurant.

Then my diet shifted. I also got smart in the romance department and decided not to date the show-off anymore, and I realized that it isn’t restaurant food that’s necessarily what I liked, it was the whole experience: sitting at a table, being waited on, having someone else do the dishes, and hanging out with friends.

And now, I’m “that person” in restaurants. Thank goodness I live in Portland where everyone is “that person” — you know the one asking obscure questions about the menu. It was even parodied in Portlandia. I’ve gotten used to it, but still, I don’t like being fussy. Also, as diligent as I try to be, wheat is everywhere and I end up hurting about half the time I go out to eat anyway.

So, in the spirit of frugality, and for my tummy, my rule about restaurants is never dine out alone. The experience is better shared, and it saves me money to eat home cooked food unless I’m meeting someone.

To take this rule to the next level, I’ve been inviting people over for meals instead of meeting in restaurants, and to my surprise, most of my friends could care less where we meet —  it’s much more about getting together and catching up.

That’s probably because as we get older, we get more strict with how we spend our time. I know I like to spend time with my friends — I’m still open to meeting and making new friends, but I’ve past the age of going out to bars to meet dudes.

Thank goodness.

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Frugal fun: weekend up north!


suggested image for “boyfriend” — who am I to argue with the internet?

My boyfriend and my sister both live in the same town, 200 miles north of me. This is both a bummer and a blessing — they’re pals so they hang out, and it’s nice that the new girl in town has a friend like my boyfriend. It’s a bummer because I didn’t think a long distance relationship was in my cards, but such is life.

I’m embracing this, since I adore him, and he comes down to Portland often for work. I go up to his town (which, let’s be honest, is decidedly less cool than mine!) about once a month, maybe a little more frequently, and he comes to mine about as often.

Let me just say. Long distance is definitely more frugal than short distance. A lot of “how to live more frugally” posts I read talk about how to do cheap date nights. But date nights are not expensive if they are only done on a periodic basis. Sure, I need to have a car (or be way better about planning to take the train because last-minute train tickets are prohibitively expensive), which needs to be insured, but I’d have a car anyway, and “wear and tear” is a hidden cost.

I live a very simple, very frugal existence when I’m in Portland (and I try not to let Mint tell me any different!) — working, exercising, eating in, reading books, etc. None of this costs much money. So, when I go visit, there’s very little guilt associated with eating in restaurants three nights in a row!

That’s not real life. We know this. We try to keep it as real as possible when it’s just the two of us, so we make breakfasts and lunches, and just eat out at night, when social obligations call. The first night was exotic burgers with his brother, sister, and brother-in-law, followed by a hockey game with my sister, her new boyfriend and a few of their friends. That night ended up at a bar with that same group. Saturday was dinner for nine: boyfriend, all his siblings, assorted family members, and house guests. Then I went out with my sister, her boyfriend and her friend. Sunday a different subset all met up at a restaurant.

And you know what? With that much family time, and that much fun, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

In my mind, that’s what being frugal allows me to afford.

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Climb Time

I am usually not a deal-of-the-day buyer, since I think that those kinds of things usually end up costing me more money than they end up saving me, but that may be another post for another day, since this post is ALL ABOUT buying a daily deal!

If you live in Portland, and you want something fun, frugal-ish, and exercisey, then the climbing gym is for you! I have actually paid full price for this: a 90-minute class followed by two weeks of climbing, and I think it’s a good deal at $40, but at $20?


It’s great — you learn how to climb, you learn what to do, how to spot, what not to do, and it’s a $20 way to get into my gym! I already bought two as gifts (now my friends don’t have a single excuse!) — it’s only like $4 more than admission plus shoes.

Want another picture of the wall?

Okay here you go.

Now, go get it! I’ll see you at Circuit!

  • Singles Rock Climbing! Belay – Wait a Second? (chroniclesofl.com)
  • Climbing (voiceoftheblueridge.wordpress.com)
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Frugal Win: A New Home!

English: CineMagic Theatre in southeast Portla...

theater in my new neighborhood

I have been apartment shopping lately. Sometimes it’s good to know the kind of person you are. Say you live in St. Johns, which is very far from the things that you do on a regular basis (other than going to the movies). You love the St. Johns bridge, but you know you can go visit it any time you want, and it’s about time to be closer to work and the gym and the … everything.

That’s me. Another thing to know about me is that I’m a planner. I like to have ducks lined up in a row way ahead of time. I don’t like the idea of not knowing where my next move is. This makes me a bit obnoxious when things are up in the air. I’m getting better at it, but it’s good to know my limitations.

Other people would wait. Seriously, the end of February is a long way off. When I do look, it’s obvious that there are availabilities immediately, all the time. I’m wasting people’s valuable time making them show me an apartment that they’d like rented out in the middle of January, not the end of February.

But I found one. A little mother-in-law apartment in the basement of my landlord’s home. And since it’s her home, she’s willing to rent to me this far out, because as she said, “it’s more important to find the right tenant than it is to collect two more weeks of rent.”

So, the ducks have lined up. And the rent? Is exceedingly reasonable. It includes everything — from water/sewer/garbage/composting (oh, Portland) to electric to laundry (!) and wireless, it’ll cost $825 a month. And I’ll save on gas. I plan on walking to work three days per week, weather permitting.

Also! SUPER neighborhood. It even has a pretentious name: Colonial Heights. Walking distance to two hippy grocery stores, to a few great restaurants

I’m excited, although probably somewhat prematurely.

Southeast Portland, here I come!

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