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A New Beginning

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by , 09-28-2008 at 03:41 PM (1066 Views)
I am new to this whole frugal living concept, so I highly doubt that anyone will find anything especially helpful here. What you might find are humorous stories about a City Girl trying to figure out how to live a frugal lifestyle.

To give you some background, I live in Chicago where the cost of living is pretty high. I have a good job and make a decent living. My lifestyle is quite comfortable, but I have recently realized that if I didn't change my ways, I wouldn't achieve my dreams. My dreams are pretty simple. I want to buy a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Bucktown with a patio big enough for a grill and my friends. And I want a dog. All before I retire.

In order to afford the condo (and dog) I will need to get rid of my credit card debt. There is no way I could afford my credit card payments AND a mortgage.

A few weeks ago, I sat down and looked at my spending for the previous month. It wasn't a big surprise that the area I spent the most was on dining out. My busy schedule didn't seem to allow for time to make dinner or pack a lunch. What was surprising was how much I spent! I figured this would be a good place to start cutting back. The problem? Beyond boiling water, I don't know anything about cooking and the only isle in the grocery store I was familiar with was the freezer section where I could find my frozen pizzas and Lean Cuisines.

In addition to the challenges of learning to cook and navigate the grocery store, I make a fraction of what many of my friends make. I'm trying to find ways to spend time with my friends without spending a lot of money. I'm having to cut back on the happy hours, dinners/lunches out, jewelry making classes, black-tie fundraisers, etc.

This is going to be long road, but with a sense of humor and some hard work I hope to achieve my goals in 5 years. Wish me luck!

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  1. Gabe's Avatar
    Good luck and I am looking forward to your posts! Your blog is a great start!
  2. grubster's Avatar
    Sounds like a good plan :) New to this too and hoping to change my ways with help from veterans around here lol
  3. LastDragonfly's Avatar
    You will need your sense of humor while you are learning to cook. Most of all don't get discouraged and ask lots of questions. Buy some salad greens and make yourself a wonderful salad to accompany your pizza---voila! you now have cooked a meal!

    Have fun, experiement, read lots of recipes, watch Rachel Ray (she never measures anything--just eyeballs it) Find out who you are and watch yourself save tons of money.

    If you ate lunch out every workday which is approx 20 days per month and spent around $10 each day, you have spent $200 on lunch but could have spent it on moving forward to your dream (dog).

    Go for it. You will find lots of inspiration and see lots of individuals like yourself that are totally debt free and they are living their dream.
    Best wishes!
  4. winner's Avatar
    Hi City Girl,
    With your great sence of humor and optimism, you will get your dreams for sure.
    Cutting back helps a lot, having a budget is even better. Pay you credit card, but in meantime save $50.00 (it is not a big money, you won't even notice) per paycheck into your saving account. At the end there won't be debt and you will have some savings.
    I consider myself as a very good,practical cook, but my daughter never wanted to touch a frying pan. She got married at 25 and didn't know how to boil an egg. For two years they were eating out (my heart sank, because I knew how expensive it was), but I didn't wan to stick my nose into their marriage. Brodie (my gradson) changed everything. Now she is 31, she is a better cook than me. She takes a book a picks up a recepe, than experimets on her husband, if it passes she put a post-it note on the page. What I like about her as well, is her presentation of food, she serves her food in semi-formal mood and created a good habit to keep clean in the kitchen. I am so proud of her, she really came along and is very practical in 6 years it is their second house (they renovated and made a very good profit with the first one). She is DIY type of girl, not afraid to try things. She saves wher ever she can, she makes her budget, menu, uses coupons and they can't stand eating out anymore. We are very close, we are good friends, and to save on gas if there is something on sale we buy items on sale for each other.
    Good luck to you!
    Keep us posted. Go month by month if you are able to save jus a few bucks, it is a good start. You will be so proud of yourself.