A fun and thrifty weekend

I hope you all had as fun a weekend as I did!  What I enjoyed so much basically boils down to dinner and a show, but I’d love to share the details of those activities with you and how they dovetail with my frugal lifestyle and potentially expensive tastes.

We didn’t leave the apartment on Friday night.  Home-cooked noodles, a little TV, and a one-on-one D&D session.  Doesn’t get much cheaper than that, especially when you download/stream the video entertainment (and why wouldn’t you?).  Maybe I should also mention that imagining things is always free.

The Girlfriend had a great idea for Saturday.  A local ballet troupe was performing a steampunk version of Dracula with a live rock & roll soundtrack.  Tickets were heavily discounted with a student ID, so we headed downtown in the early afternoon to buy our tickets from the ticket office directly, avoiding the irksome online “service” fee.  Never throw out your college ID!  That little piece of plastic can get you discounts well into your 20’s.  We bought our tickets together with IDs from colleges 500 miles away from the show and from each other, and the ticket agent didn’t even bat an eye.  Balcony seats were $10 each.

I'll always be a student of life

We didn’t even need to bring our opera glasses.

After buying the tickets we meandered through a few free art exhibits and finally met up with some friends before the show.  The seven-piece band absolutely killed it (that’s good), and the dancing was suitably varied by character.  We went directly home after the performance.  Downtown parking in the city where I live is $5 for 24 hours, making the total cost for Saturday only $25 for the two of us, despite all of our activity.

On Sunday I decided I wanted sushi.  I’m a bit of a sushi enthusiast; If I could only eat one class of food for the rest of my life, it would be sushi.  Can’t get enough of that fish and rice.  Many sushi restaurants offer reasonable lunch specials but eating out too often is definitely not frugal.  So why not make my own?  As luck would have it, salmon filets were on sale at the grocery store across the street.

Now I’m about to share one of my favorite money-sharing secrets: the Asian grocery store.  Not only are many common types of produce pretty well discounted there, but the variety simply can’t be beat, and I’ve almost always enjoyed the experience of trying something new.  This wasn’t my first sushi rodeo, so I already had the fundamental materials like short-grain rice, bamboo rolling mat, toasted seaweed, and rice vinegar.  I even had all the extra stuff like soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi paste too.  A small container of miso can be used with green onions and tofu to make dozens of servings of soup, which goes well on the side.  My mouth is watering just typing all that.  I’ll be sure to include a picture next time; my finished product is continually improving with practice.

So I made some delicious sushi, and some California rolls for The Girlfriend.  We finished off the weekend by enjoying a quiet evening of reading.  I was engrossed in At the Mountains of Madness by Lovecraft, whose body of work is out of copyright and can be found for free online, while The Girlfriend giggled at The Casual Vacancy, which she had on loan from the local public library.

Over time I expect the effects of little frugalities like these to snowball and be reflected quite impressively in my overall account of personal assets.  On the way, I hope my EOM posts (with occasional drill-downs of specific expense categories like “eating out” and “groceries”) make such a conclusion inevitable.  And most of all, I want this post to illustrate that conscientiously saving is no great sacrifice.

You do not have to give up the things you enjoy.  You do not have to abandon your tastes, however refined or esoteric they may be.  But before you continue down the path of the green pilgrim, leave your consumerism at the door, and you will travel lighter.

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