a round-up of thrift, april 2024.

I was really discouraged in April. I am still discouraged in May. And today I looked at June, and I’m even more discouraged now. Is there really any need for me to be writing these posts, where it seems like anything I do simply does not work?

But I guess, forced by circumstance or actual healthy reasoning, some of my choices are changing. Even today I came to the office, and my first impulse was to go get a take-out coffee. Doesn’t matter that I have 7 euro left to my name (yes, 10 days into the month, one week after salary).

But I didn’t do it. I didn’t get that coffee.

Though obviously one coffee is not going to save me from financial ruin.

So what else did I do?

If you’re new to these posts, please read the first couple paragraphs of the month of February. If you’re of the lazy kind, then at least know this: I know how to save money. I don’t need advice. If I implemented every single money saving tip I know, I’d be one rich motherfucker by now. Unfortunately I am not exactly right in the head, so it is what it is. We’re working on it.

1. I’ve got a whole kitchen set up in the office, I’m telling you. Cooking at home continues to be difficult, and my pancreas doesn’t like to subsist on ramen and crackers (who’d have thought, huh). So I bought a bunch of instant porridges and flakes, a big tub of yoghurt, some pre-washed veg, and garlic salt, and this is my lunches most days. Breakfast is a supermarket muffin that is sometimes accompanied by a cheese sandwich. Supper is eggs or beans on toast. This has allowed me to almost completely avoid the deli counter, obliterate take-out, and minimise bakery visits.

2. I brought water from home. Sometimes people responsible for office water delivery forget to order it on time, and we run out before fresh bottles arrive. I used to buy a bottle in these cases, but this time around I brought a big-ass bottle from home. And I filled it with boiled water.

3. Speaking of water, my father bought a new electric kettle. I don’t really want to get into the whole story – and yes, there is one. But my stove-top kettle is out of business once more. I can’t deny the convenience of an electric one.

4. Last month I was thinking that I would run out of detergent pods, but I still have three left. I’m still not buying detergent, because after the pods are gone, I’ve got two samples, and after that is gone, I’ve got laundry sheets, and after laundry sheets are gone, I’ve got washing soda, and after washing soda I’ve got soap nuts. So I won’t be too surprised if next time I need to buy laundry soap comes around in 2025.

5. I rounded up all my instant noodles on one shelf, and although I don’t have an exact number, it looks like there’s at least 20 packs. As we’ve established above, I can’t have them daily, so ramen became a delicacy that I enjoy on Saturdays. It sounds ridiculous I’d wager, but I LOVE cup noodles/ instant ramen/ ramyun/ etc. It’s a thing I look forward to, and it gives me a decent dopamine boost, thus distracting me from desire to spend money. I’m thinking of pushing ramen to Sundays and bringing back cereal Saturdays. I used to eat cereal and watch Elementary on Saturdays, and it was a nice ritual.

Anyway, since there are at least 20 packs, I’m set for a couple of months without additional expense.

6. I spent 0 on fixing my car situation (and I hope I did not just jinx it). I charged the battery from my father’s car, put air in my tyres using my compressor, and was good to go. The only thing I paid for was car wash, but I went to an automatic one and spent 5 euro, instead of going the usual route of human labour and detailing and paying at least two times more.

7. I, er- OK, this sounds asinine, but I tipped less. Technically the only thing I had to tip for in April was over-the-counter coffee and a baked good – and the baked good I pick and pack myself. I also had to pay for grocery delivery once I think, because I was sick and at home – or was that in March… I don’t remember, but that I tipped well as I usually do, because these bags were heavy as fuck, and I live up some flights of stairs in a building without a lift. Coffee in a bakery, though, is a different matter. All I did was leave 1 or 2 instead of 5 or 10 as I would otherwise, because hey. Coffee costs 35. Baked things like I said I pick and pack myself. So all I did was tip proportionally instead of greatly over-tipping like I usually do.

I should extrapolate, I think, and mention that the ladies pouring my coffee are salaried workers. They have a fixed salary, and also a percentage of the entire amount they sell on that day. So they are not reliant on tips alone for their income.

But the narcissist in me will gladly return to overtipping the moment she can. She just can’t right now.

8. I used the things I had at home for my journalling. I wanted a tag system for my book journal so I could easier find certain things, and I thought of buying stickers, because I’ve seen people do the sticker system, and it looks very nice. But I went with what I have and used markers instead. I also used colour pencils for my tracker instead of buying colourful pens like I originally wanted.

9. My food waste, although present, was much lower this month. The amount I will be satisfied with is zero, though.

10. I used weaker medication for very minor headaches. As someone who lives with migraines, my first impulse is to always take a stronger pill so that a small headache has no chance of turning into a full blown migraine episode. But thankfully – well… – after years of coexisting with headaches I am quite proficient in differentiating headache types and knowing which one will turn into a migraine if not treated with stronger medication, and which one will just annoy me a bit longer but won’t render me useless for a day or two. It is not a practice I recommend. Take your meds, and don’t skimp on them. But I do what I have to do for now, and it did save me an estimated 10 to 20 euro.

11. Speaking of meds, I stopped taking supplements for insomnia – because I ran out of them and I had no money to replenish, and I hope I did not just jinx myself, but so far, so good. I still take all my main meds, though, but as it often is, main meds are cheaper than fancy supplements. When summer is in full swing I might have to go back to them, but for now I’m saving another 20-30 euro.

12. I’m drinking tea I swore I’d never drink again. And- I like it. They must have changed the leaves, because I promise it used to taste like paper. Now it tastes like a honey infusion. Anyway, so I had an unopened box at home for reasons I cannot begin to tell you, because I honestly have no idea. But I ran out of Lipton – which I, too, swore I would never drink again… – and I couldn’t find any other black tea but this box. So I was like, fuck it, I want tea, let’s try it. And I did. And I liked it. So next time I run out of tea, I’ll buy a 100 pack of this stuff.

Maybe it tastes different because the box says ‘high grown’ instead of ‘ceylon’. I am not sure how much truth is there in their marketing tricks, but it does taste different.

13. I stopped myself from ordering take-out dessert by making chocolate mug cake at home. There was nothing sweet at home, and I was very, very close to getting a cake delivered, but I fixed myself a microwave mug cake, and it was enough.

14. I bought the cheapest ice cream. Still tasty.

15. I ran out of but didn’t immediately buy a new jar of instant coffee. I’m not a big instant coffee drinker these days, but I do keep low-caffeine instant on hand for dalgonas and stuff (because those two heaping tablespoons of non-decaf will send me running for the hills). Well, I ran out, and I haven’t bought a new one. No more dalgonas for me. Whenever I want a late-night coffee, I just make one in a moka pot using my decaf Lavazza.

16. I don’t drink my morning coffee at home. Rather, I wait until I get to work and have it at the office for free. (Well, I still buy my own milk, as I am not a fan of powdered creamer.) Pretty sure this also helps keep my cortisol a little lower, as it takes me about an hour to make it to work after waking up, which means I don’t drink coffee first thing, as I’ve been doing since… age 10, I think.

17. And I suppose the biggest thing I did in April that will affect all the upcoming months is I negotiated a raise. Even with said raise I’m discouraged for June already – but how much more discouraged would I be without it? So of course I’m happy I will be getting more money each month. I just really need to continue reducing expenses as well.


a round-up of thrift, february 2024.

Verily I say unto you, I think these posts are going to suck. As I’ve mentioned again and again, I’ve not been good with money lately, and all my thrift and frugality usually comes after all my money is gone. If I have money, I’ll spend it. But that’s exactly why I don’t have any left come mid-month – and my salary comes in monthly. Then comes the amount that I make as a landlord. It’s a small amount for the property even for where I live. It’s gone quickly too.

All that to say is, more often than not my financial situation around 20th and beyond is ‘I’ve got food at home, so that’s good’.

But I don’t have money for a cab home. Which sounds fancy, but seeing as I’m a night shift worker, it’s a necessity. There’s no public transport circulating when I get off work, and it’s not safe to walk one hour in the dark. Rental scooters exist, but they’re about as safe as walking, and about as expensive as a cab.

And I’ve been an idiot (newsflash). My car was stagnant all winter because I couldn’t drive in the snow with summer tyres (the entire tyre – I’m a poet and I didn’t know it – the tyre shabang is a story for another day) – so yes, my car’s been stationery, so when I went to start it earlier this week, of course it didn’t start. I hope it’s just the battery.

Anyway, back on track – these posts are going to suck. Which is exactly why I need ’em. If you’re frugal, these roundups are going to horrify you. I feel you. I’ve been frugal, you know. But a combination of mental illness and stupidity (mostly the former, really) got me where I am today. Neck-deep in debt, still making one bad choice after the other. It’s a little better than it was three months ago, where I couldn’t keep up with the vast majority of my bills, but I don’t know for how long it’s going to stay that way. I hope I will be lucid enough to make good financial decisions. It won’t turn my life around in a month, but I hope it will help to at least keep the debt at neck level for now. Then maybe we’ll get it to shoulder level. Chest, waist, knees. And, heaven allow, I hope I get it down to my ankles, and then shake that off as well.

But it’s a long way in the making.

For now, these posts are going to suck. They will be therapeutic for me, maybe hilariously horrifying for you.

Also, please! I encourage comments, but I am not looking for advice. I KNOW how to save money, I just don’t DO it for reasons briefly disclosed above.

So this month:

I cancelled my HBO and Crunchyroll subscriptions. (Not a voluntary action, might I add. I need my entertainment to keep the ruckus away.)

I decided against resubscribing to Epidemic Sound. If I continue posting vlogs, I will eventually choose to subscribe, but I will try to do it a year in advance, because the savings are significant.

Switched cab class from comfort to economy whenever it made sense. (Y’all, I know how this sounds, bear with me.) I order my cabs through an app, and since I’m a paid subscriber of Yandex (for $2 a month the benefits are really good), I get a 10% discount on Comfort rides most of the time. Which technically pays for the app in about 2 rides. With 10% discount most of the time the difference between Economy and Comfort is negligible enough to ignore, but I have to keep in mind that in my situation no savings is small enough. So I’ve been switching to Economy and riding Comfort only when no Economy is available or I’m in a rush and need the fastest class (which is comfort most days).

Hey, at least I’m not riding Comfort+.

…. 99% of the time. …

Anyway, moving on.

I drank coffee at work instead of getting my fix at a local bakery. Coffee at work sucks most of the time, because no one bothers to clean the machine. But I’m trying.

I bought breakfast brioches and other baked goods from the supermarket.

If I was really jonesing for the bakery fix, I’d go an hour before closing time to get 30% off. (Not much is left at that time, but eh.)

I kept instant oats and couscous at work for whenever I’d be too overwhelmed to pack my lunch. This and the bakery are probably the biggest savings this month.

Three times I stopped myself from going into the cosmetic shop and buying random shit.

Washed laundry on cold setting when appropriate.

Used the fast wash when appropriate.

Took generic medication instead of branded one. I can’t use this for everything, as some branded meds really do work better than off-brand – my migraine can tell the difference, trust me – but I’ve been in this rodeo long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. That alone, too, is savings, because I don’t end up buying pills that I know won’t work the way they should.

Drank boiled water instead of filtered or bottled. Water is safe here to drink from the tap, but I live in an older building, and these pipes keep me concerned, okay. I can smell the raw water is off. So whenever I can’t afford to replace the filter in my pitcher or have big jugs delivered, I drink boiled water.

Wondered what would be cheaper – boiling water on gas stove or continuing to use my electric kettle. I got overwhelmed by data and variables, but it looks like using gas is cheaper, especially if you use gas to heat your home – and I do. So it might be time to shelf the electric kettle for a while. I’m really trying to bring that electric bill down.

Charged my phone and small electronics at work so I don’t have to charge it at home. That alone will not pay my debt off, but every bit counts.

This one is questionable, and is more on the miserly side than anything else, but hey, I couldn’t afford it. By ‘it’ I mean toilet paper. So I took a few rolls from work. I’m trying to analyse my emotions and thoughts about it, and I find that I don’t feel bad about doing it per se, but I do feel shitty when I think of all the things that led up to a point of me not being able to afford toilet paper on a good motherfucking salary. Then again, when I was initially hired, I was promised quarterly performance-based raises (and my performance is doing work of 2.5 people, ok) and year-end bonuses. As it is, I don’t even get a pizza party every last Friday of the month, two slices per person, thank you very much. So I’ll be getting my performance-based raises in toilet paper, then.

Related: I printed out a textbook at work. No regrets.

Related-related: I did not buy soap and air freshener with my own money for the office. I used to do it, but I no longer will. If we all want to be smelling shit and washing our hands with Fairy, then so be it. I’ll just have to use heavy-duty hand cream.

Chewed one gum instead of my usual two.

At home, I opted for weaker coffee. I usually use two Nespresso capsules per cup. I started using one, and just making my coffee overall smaller, so it’s not terribly watered down.

I’ve been measuring out my peanut butter. Another thing that would not help me buy a house, but maybe it will be better for my waistline.

Bought a discounted veggie burger with sell-by date the next day.

(For full transparency I have to mention that one of the patties did go bad because I had no energy to cook it. The other one was delicious, though. Best veggie burger I’ve had so far.)

Bought tuna in oil instead of brine. I don’t know why, but the oil one is cheaper.

Bought sardines and other fish instead of tuna. Tuna is a favourite of mine and cats, but meh.

Bought the cheapest apples. One did go bad, though.

Opted for the longest and therefore cheapest passport renewal option.

Still I did not make it to the end of the month with money in my pocket. I had to borrow $15 (for cab rides), but my bank wiped out my account for scheduled debt payment before I could get to the ATM to take the money off. Thankfully I had around $3 left in change so I’m using that money for trolley rides home for the remainder of the month. Which means I have to stay at work 3.5 hours after my shift ends. So that’s 12.5 hour work days, because I don’t lounge around. My ethics are shitty overall, but I’m a chronic workaholic, so if I’m at work, I work. And that leaves me exhausted. So I come home and rot. I don’t cook, I don’t clean. I don’t do laundry. It’s currently third or fourth work day in a row where I’m eating those instant oats and couscous I mentioned above, because I can’t find the strength to boil water for some rice and beans or pasta with jar sauce.

I’d like to end this on a cheerful note, but this month has been difficult. I’ve got some medical shit come up, and most of my anxiety is medical related. I had to up my dosage of all the meds that I take, and I had to spend some good money on some imaging out of pocket, because there’s no way in hell I’ll be waiting for 6 months to get it done. I’m glad I was able to find that money, but it did mean more debt. And then I spent more money for a psych consultation, because yeah.


The horrors persist, but so do I. I will try to look at the good things. Like this being the end of the month, so the salary will come in tomorrow.

I just need to ensure that I stick to the plan and don’t go on a spending binge to keep the ruckus away.