Friday, May 15, 2009

Pinching Pennies. Ouch!

Photo courtesy of

Got to love me some economics. Wait, that's not right. I'm pretty sure I very nearly failed economics in high school. There was something involving a "GDP," or some such...

This might be why I hate budgeting money. I much prefer to just try to be good. Michael and I are enjoying the experience of planning a wedding, a honeymoon, and our entire future together all on a shoe string. A shoe string that I call my wee itty bitty pay check.

Michael and I both worked for the Bush Administration prior to the "change" in January. We were both due to lose our jobs at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Agency for International Development, as soon as President Obama laid right his hand on the Bible. God blessed us when the day before my departure the Obama transition team asked me to stay until the new administration is in place. Well guess what, kiddos. I'm still here! Good news. Yes.

Bad news: Michael and I both live in Washington, DC ranked in the top 10 most expensive places to live in the country. Pretty sure that all of the other 9 places were in California and NYC. Scraping by in this town can be tricky. But we are doing it, and here's how:

Laurff Budgeting 101:

1. We don't have cable or the internets (it's a series of tubes!!)- something that the cable company probably won't tell you is that you can get HD channels (if you have an HD TV) with your rabbit ears. We don't have the History Channel, Comedy Central or HGTV but we have enough. On ABC3 we get to watch the ATeam at least once a week! Cha-ching. For the internet, we have been meaning to talk to Michael's neighbor upstairs to see if we can split the cost of his wireless connection. Easy peasy- just need to do it. I am your neighbor, lend me some wi-fi.

2. We have one car- Michael's. He gets a really good deal from his landlord on parking. Yes, in DC you have to pay for parking. People post signs for available parking spots for a mere $350 a MONTH. Yuck. We don't have to drive the car very often thanks to DC's stellar public transportation system. However, riding a bike is much faster than any other form of transportation in the city, plus you get the added bonus of exercise. We got mad bike skills.

3. Eat in! Everything is more expensive in DC, including food. Michael is an amazing cook and he gets to test out new culinary concoctions on me on a regular basis. Since we workout most days of the week we have to make sure that we get plenty of protein. We do this economically by stocking up on bags of frozen chicken, family-size cartons of eggs, a bit of meat and lentils. Lentils are super inexpensive and can be made to taste like anything. Plus they are a great source of protein.

4. Craigslist- There was an expert on the Today Show that noted that every household has on average $3,000 worth of "stuff" that they could sell on Craigslist. It is true. When Michael let me move all of my worldly possessions into his apartment we realized that we had too much stuff! On to Craigslist it went. We made about $300 in a week. Between the two of us we had around 10 pieces of luggage- suitcases go quickly on the Craigs. Superb!

5. Netflix- Oh how we love the Netflix! Another way that we cope without cable is with the movie delivery service, Netflix. So many movies, so little time. The only catch is that to really get your money's worth you need to watch them when you get them and get them back in the mail as soon as you can. Otherwise you end up having "Rear Window" for three weeks...

Just a few ideas for saving some dough. Take it or leave it but whatever you do, SAVE!


Jason said...

I love that you coined a nickname for the two of you...Laurff. Way better than "Brangelina."

Lauren said...

Nice, huh? Our neighbors came up with it. Took me a while to even realize that is what they call us. I'm usually just "Laurlen."