Friday, February 5, 2010


Warning: money talk, but there's a treat at the end of this entry!

I have a tendency to think in terms of 10-year plans. I know, I know, plans never make it past the first engagement, but I can't help it! How else do I know that I'm acting in a way that furthers my goals? Well, my friends, to further my goals, I bring you the next step in my life resolutions. This one is going to be much harder than cutting down on radio time, but it must be done, so onward!

I've been living fairly comfortably barely within my means. Now, I'm afraid, it's time to get on with it and start saving. No more excuses - I know I can do it. What does that mean, realistically? It means I'm no longer going to buy what I can otherwise make or do myself (within reason). Like all of my resolutions, the frugal aspects of this one coincide with its environmental and anti-consumerist ones. But here are the practical details:

First - no more going out for lunch. I will pack a lunch every day. Going out for lunch will be reserved for the once or twice monthly occasion of really needing to get out of the office, SERIOUSLY. I will eat lunch away from my desk, in order to not go absolutely looney with no lunch break. If I forget lunch, I'll have to survive on the leftover pastries and popcorn in the office and since I don't have much of a sweet tooth or any sort of fondness for popcorn or junk food, I'm sure one day of this diet will force me to remember my lunch from that point on. Since I never eat out for dinner except on special occasions, I don't really feel the need to cut down on that expense. I think I'll be freezing little lunchables for myself and buying more deli meats (yum!)

Second - I don't need to purchase certain services. For example - an oil change. Not only do I know how to change my own oil (I've never done it in this car, but I've done it in my old Jeep - and it was surprisingly easy), I find it significantly harder to schedule time to drop off my car or sit and wait for it than to just find time to change my oil myself. Now that it's light out after I get home from work, this will be even more doable (stay tuned - it's time for an oil change - maybe Sunday or Monday?)

Once the summer comes around, both of these will be easier. Winter food takes a long time to cook and that often turns me off to cooking for myself, and diy is always more fun when it's warm out - especially when it involves sliding myself under my car.

if I do this right, it means I'll be saving about $15 a week (about how much I spend on eating lunch out) plus $15 or so on each oil change. Which doesn't mean I'll be able to take that vacation I want to take necessarily, but I might be able to figure something out (Maine instead of Seattle?). And, to further it, does anyone know a high-interest, low-risk savings account option?

Phew! Now that you got through the money talk, here's a treat:

Chai Custard
I made this for dessert yesterday and LOVED it. It is the easiest, most delicious dessert I've made in a long time. The perfect conclusion to a thai-style meal. Also, it was way easier than pie. I made it for two, and didn't follow a recipe, so bear with me. I didn't use a recipe - so you should feel free to estimate also.

You need:

- 3 egg yolks
- 1/3 pint of heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 cloves
- a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg
- a pinch of cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of cardamom (the whole seeds (not pods) or powder)
- a sprinkle of grated ginger (if you haven't put ginger in every other dish that night like I did)

- something to bake it in (I used a mini pie plate, you could use little canning jars, ramikins would be ideal)
- egg beater/wisk
- an oven preheated to 325

separate the yolks and beat them up. add sugar and beat smooth. ad cream and milk and beat some more. add all the spices and beat until mixed. Pour into your baking container and bake for about 8 minutes, or until the sides have set but the center still jiggles.

A Note
I have a sneaking suspicion that if you scald the cream and steep some black tea in it, the custard will come out even tastier.


  1. Oooh exciting recipe!

    Dan and I are pretty sure that your couch yields higher interest than most banks at the moment (think off all the change that collects from people's pockets!).

    I started keeping a change bank... which has transformed into a little more. Every time I get paid (biweekly), I take out about $40 from my paycheck that does not go towards rent/bills/house things. The next time I get a paycheck, any money (even if it's a twenty dollar bill) I have leftover from that initial $40 goes into the change back. Dan contributes in his own way as well. This is our "fun" bank. Some day we're going to open it and do something more interesting than our every day "fun" activities.

    We need to open a savings account, but we're kind of stuck in a paycheck to paycheck cycle until I can find a better job.

  2. last year I put all of my change into a gallon jug - all of it, no exceptions., i had a rule where I couldn't actually spend increments smaller than a dollar (I kept some quarters on hand for meters, but that was it). And in May i cashed out the 1/2 gallon (my bank had a free machine that didn't take the $.10 fee coinstar takes) and walked away with over $200. It was awesome. I haven't had the chance to start that again - that gallon jug broke in the move. I need a new one.

    I like your system though - regulating my nonessential expenditure per week by putting a limit on it and then saving the overage on that would be a sensible way to save - and to encourage me to not spend all my money on a whim on clothing or something else that's silly.