The Calculus of Convenience

For several years now, I've lived in a sort of financial sweet spot. After paying off my debt, I realized that Kris and I had everything we really wanted or needed, so we never had to buy much for the house (except when something broke). But now that I'm on my own, I'm finding all sorts of little things I need to buy again. And those little things add up.

Last Friday, for instance, I invited the neighbors across the hall to join me for a glass of wine. Great! Except that I apparently no longer own a corkscrew. Oops. Something else to add to my ever-growing list of things to acquire. (Other items on the list: slotted spoon, measuring cups, kitchen tongs, pill box, hangers, picture hooks, toilet brush, and so on.)

Some of these things can be obtained frugally. I'm happy to buy kitchen utensils — including a corkscrew — at local thrift stores. I don't need fancy stuff. But sometimes I end up spending more due to necessity, or because I make a spur-of-the-moment decision.

A Quick Bite to Eat
I'm a creature of habit. Because of this I tend to eat one of two meals for breakfast: chicken sausage or Bob's Red Mill organic high fiber hot cereal with flaxseed. I cook the chicken sausage on the stove, but I've always made the oatmeal in the microwave. I have a little two-minute routine that produces perfect oatmeal and makes me happy.

Well, the new apartment didn't include a microwave. And I was fine with that. Besides my oatmeal routine, I'm generally anti-microwave. I'm perfectly happy preparing food on the stove or in the oven. (It's my inner Luddite, I guess.) I resolved that I was going to live without a microwave, which seemed like a frugal choice.

That resolution lasted one week. During that week, I made oatmeal several times, and each time sucked. First of all, it took more than ten minutes to prepare each batch. (The electric range takes much longer to warm up than the gas range in the house.) Second, the quality of the oatmeal produced on the stovetop was awful: gummy, lumpy, and gross. ¡Que triste!

So, when I found myself in a local department store last weekend, I made an impulse purchase. I bought a microwave.

The Calculus of Convenience
The microwave I chose cost me $80. If I'd been in frugal mode, I would have done more research to find the best model at the best price. I probably would have used Consumer Reports as a tool. But I wasn't in frugal mode. I was in “I have a new apartment and need to buy things” mode. (This is a dangerous thing in and of itself, and a subject for another time.)

On a long walk yesterday, I ran the numbers through my head. Was buying a microwave a poor financial decision? Of course not. Let's make some rough assumptions:

  • It takes ten minutes longer to make oatmeal on the stovetop than it does in the microwave.
  • I eat oatmeal for breakfast twice a week — or about 100 times each year.
  • Both devices use the same amount of power to make oatmeal. (I have no idea if this is true; this is just my way of saying let's leave this factor out of the equation for now.)

One way to look at the cost-effectiveness of the microwave is to look at the “price per use”. In this case, if the $80 microwave makes 100 bowls of oatmeal in a year, that's about 80 cents per bowl. (And the cost per bowl would continue to drop over time.)

Another way to look at this, however — and the way I prefer to look at it — is to see how much time I'm saving, and how that applies to the cost of the microwave. So, if I think I'll save 1000 minutes during the first year of owning the microwave, that's nearly 17 hours that I've recovered. And $80 divided by 17 gives us $4.71 per hour. If my time is worth more than $4.71 per hour — and it is! — then the microwave is a good deal. (Plus, the hourly cost will decrease the more the machine is used in the future.)

If I could quantify the quality of the oatmeal, I'd have a final way to compare costs. But I can't. All I know is I much prefer the perfect microwaved oatmeal to the gummy gunk I had been eating. That's worth a lot right there!

Conclusion
Obviously, I'm not fretting over this purchase. I can afford it, for one. For another, we all know how handy a microwave really is. I'm not about to lapse into “how much is my hot chocolate?” thinking. (I hope.)

There's a balance to be had. Sure, it's silly to spend on unnecessary (or unaffordable) appliances and gadgets. I wouldn't use a KitchenAid upright mixer, so it would be foolish to buy one. Kris, on the other hand, uses hers all the time. It's a valuable tool in her kitchen. And as much as I covet a $650 blender, that's outside my budget. (It might be in your budget, but it's not in mine.)

For me, it's fun — and motivating — to run the numbers on purchases like this from time to time, just to be sure they make sense. Now that oatmeal will taste even better because I know each batch saves me a little more money…or something like that.

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Emily Hunter
Emily Hunter
8 years ago

When I’ve gone into super frugal mode, I get to the point where I just analyze the heck out of my purchases. I agree with the idea of substituting time rather than money in there for the equation. Your time is worth more than free, most definitely, and those several minutes saved each time is worth at least $100. So, it’s breaking even on the first shot. 🙂

MoneyNing
MoneyNing
8 years ago
Reply to  Emily Hunter

I noticed that whenever I try to analyze the smaller purchases that I can easily afford, I always end up not buying them because I lose interest in the “fun” side of buying. And speaking of calculating the time saved vs the cost. Most people actually have more time on their hands than they believe. I mean, it’s one thing to say I can be working on a side job, making $15 an hour so it doesn’t make sense for me to spend an hour looking for a $10 savings, but who actually has something going on for 24 hours… Read more »

Shan
Shan
8 years ago
Reply to  MoneyNing

I agree, I have never understood the price per hour of your time and how that factors into frugal decisions. I work on a salary and I cannot make any more money from that job by working in the evenings and on weekends. If I want to spend an hour selling 2 items on ebay in my free time and I only gain say $12 but it is fairly easy to do and I don’t have to leave my house, why would it matter whether that is greater than or less than my wage per hour. Should I just sit… Read more »

Maggie@SquarePennies
8 years ago
Reply to  Shan

Exactly. I could make more money working at McDonald’s sometimes than writing blog posts. But, I don’t enjoy working at a fast food place and I don’t need the money that badly. I’d rather blog away being happy.

Grad Student
Grad Student
8 years ago
Reply to  Shan

Price per hour is very easy. It’s simply a way of putting all tasks on the same scale and answering the question, “Is it worth it?”. You could then draw a line and say, “I think any frugal activity that saves me less than 5 dollars per hour is a waste of my time”. You could also say, “Of all these tasks I’ve calculated an hourly wage for, there are seven that I really really hate doing. Unless that task saves me at least 15 dollars per hour, I won’t bother”.

Peter Brülls
Peter Brülls
8 years ago
Reply to  Shan

While I agree that one shouldn’t let rule themselves by the dollar per hour issue, think of if this way:

Unless you have a steady, workless income from interest – which most people don’t – you pay for any money you have, be it salaried of free-lance, with part of your lifetime – a very finite resource. That’s great, if you do exactly what you want and love it, but I’m betting money that most people could image doing something else – or how they do it, at the very last – if they didn’t have to.

Emily Hunter
Emily Hunter
8 years ago
Reply to  MoneyNing

I think that to some it becomes one of those principle of the thing matters – they’re going to find a deal on it, regardless of the actual cost of the item itself. With some folks, it’s just ingrained.

I’ve done the same thing and not bought because the thrill of buying left me. My major financial hits are on the little things.

jack foley
jack foley
8 years ago
Reply to  Emily Hunter

Great that you have tremendous self-control..

this is what people needs to learn in times like we have now..

Cheryl @ Heavenly Cent
Cheryl @ Heavenly Cent
8 years ago

I believe that thinking through purchases such as these is what makes you frugal. Too many times people (myself included) buy on impulse or buy because they think this or that will make them happy. But to truly get ahead, one must start to think through purchases and to question whether or not things really buy happiness.

Belligero
Belligero
8 years ago

You know something that eats into quality of life? Stress.

If you’re constantly stressing over small purchases, it’s not an effective use of not only time, but also emotional and physical energy. Not to mention the health impact of being a stress case. Once you make a decision, don’t over-analyze it.

Sometimes you have to choose your battles, or life is going to pass you by while you’re figuring out how to save two bucks on something.

I definitely agree that stuff ain’t going to make you happy, though.

EconomicallyHumble.com
EconomicallyHumble.com
8 years ago
Reply to  Belligero

I would have to agree with this… we do need some flexibility in our budgets so that a small purchase does not matter. Lately I’ve learned to use use the stovetop as my personal timer. I put the water for to boil and set the timer for 9 minutes…. and then work like mad for 9 minutes. Then I pour the coffee in the pot and set the timer for 7 minutes.. then work for 7. (hmmm, Im going to out a post up on this). So the old stuff may make a great timer for new projects on the… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago

I use the stove timer to force myself to take ergonomic breaks. When it goes off in an hour, the sound is so hideous (and relentless!) that I am forced to get up and walk over to shut it off. Once up, I do a little stretching and maybe drink some water before going back to my desk. It’s also good for what I call “commando cleaning”: Set the timer for 20 minutes and clean like mad. When the timer goes off I have the option of quitting. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But you can get an awful… Read more »

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

Commando cleaning – does that mean you do it *in* your undies?
Please don’t actually reply – it was just a funny thought I had – that I thought you Donna, would appreciate…

Kingston
Kingston
8 years ago

This is in reply to Donna Freedman also. Yes! I do this with studying French (I’m in university) as well as with housecleaning. I use my phone alarm to give myself manageable “bites” of work, generally 30 minutes or so, which are much more tolerable than open-ended time if I’m in a bored/cranky/procrastinating state of mind. Once I get started I can usually keep going longer. If not, at least I’ve done something!

Ash
Ash
8 years ago

Donna I do exactly the same thing but only with claening which I hate. I plug in my alarm clock and work for 30 minute stints.

Thad P
Thad P
8 years ago

Great article. Lately I have been thinking not so much about the danger of impulse buying, but why we even approach the issue of decisions, especially as marketing and branding impact us. Thinking through the “whys” can go a long way in keeping impulse purchases in check.

Snappiest title for a blog post I’ve seen in a long time too!

MoneyforCollegePro
MoneyforCollegePro
8 years ago

Really insightful article. I could not imagine moving out on my own and having to buy things I needed all over again. It would definitely require some soul searching.

guinness416
guinness416
8 years ago

Dude we know what luddite means …..

Good post, I’ve moved a bunch of times and there’s always a cost associated with the “little things” (even figuring out where the cheapest local grocery is and the like). Bu regardless of the 80c per bowl getting rid f the frustration of stovetop oatmeal is probably worth 80 bucks.

BIGSeth
BIGSeth
8 years ago

You should probably bake in the money you’re saving by being able to actually have the oatmeal itself. Gummy stove oatmeal would turn you to less healthy and more pricey options in short order.

Meghan
Meghan
8 years ago

The first time that I had my own apartment (not the first time on my own but the first time with no roommates or co-habitating partner) was when I moved to a new city to start grad school. For those two years of my masters I went without both a toaster and a microwave, and let me tell you it sucked. But I didn’t have a car, so the inconvenience of not having those things outweighed the inconvenience of having to lug those things on the bus. Since I didn’t have time to make multiple shopping trips, buying items like… Read more »

Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
Lauren {Adventures in Flip Flops}
8 years ago
Reply to  Meghan

This is when I loved online shopping. I’ve ordered all kinds of things from Target and just had them shipped. If you do it at the right time, or sometimes if you go through ebates or spend the right amount they ship for free!

Meghan
Meghan
8 years ago

I live in Canada, so we’re 1-2 years away from having Target stores. The point I was trying (not very effectively) to make is that not having a car makes it more difficult to stock up on stuff when you set up a place. Going around to garage sales or thrift stores when taking public transportation takes a lot longer and may not actually save you much when you factor in transit costs (a day pass here is $10). Shopping online is an option, but you may be paying more and don’t have the option buying used. And not every… Read more »

Sam
Sam
8 years ago

It absolutely makes sense to factor in price per use and time saved, I use that analysis when I buy clothes are shoes as well. If I buy a great pair of expensive black pants at $100 and I then wear them once a week that is $2 a wear the first year (not factor in dry cleaning costs). The $20 or $30 unlined black dress pants fall apart after a few months so they end up being much more expensive overall.

Jean
Jean
8 years ago
Reply to  Sam

Sam, you are absolutely right – better to spend the extra money on something that will last rather than buying a cheap version & have to replace it in a few years. “Buy well, buy once.”

fantasma
fantasma
8 years ago

I can see you moving outside of the USA soon, (¡Que triste!).

Enjoy your adventures.

Annelise
Annelise
8 years ago
Reply to  fantasma

While I applaud JD’s language learning, I found that part a bit pretentious and cringey. I’m learning Chinese but I don’t feel the need to pepper my writing with Chinese characters that most of my readers won’t understand to make myself feel clever. And to get back to the point of the article, in my youth I moved around quite a lot and I always set aside a few hundred dollars per move to purchase things that weren’t provided in my rented home. Sure, I could have tried to do without or spent money shipping items from my family home… Read more »

My University Money
My University Money
8 years ago

The “opportunity cost” that you indirectly refer to when you ask how much your time is worth is definitely something that is often forgotten in society. I take this into consideration whenever I think about tackling a new project these days. For example, I was recently considering whether or not to do all the accounting/tax work for my recently created small business. I’ve always done my own personal taxes, and am fairly confident that I could figure everything out given 12-15 hours of study. On the other hand, paying someone else to do it was very affordable and freed me… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

When my parents were self-employed, they paid someone to handle the taxes too. It not only freed them up to focus on their work, but there was that extra accountability too. Having an expert accountable for the return — it provided a lot of peace of mind.

KS
KS
8 years ago

We went through something like this but on steroids when we moved to Ireland in July. We of course brought many of the things we needed and wanted, but had to go through the aches and pains of figuring out what we needed NOW, what was arriving, had room for, brands, and where to get things. Not to mention knowing that our stuff would arrive 6 weeks after we would so many of the things we had in transit would work, but needing things NOW. Not having a car (except for the first week when we rented a car) complicated… Read more »

Maggie@SquarePennies
8 years ago
Reply to  KS

Congratulations on doing all that for an international move. What a challenge! For anyone in JD’s situation, I think it’s also important to try to manage stress. Keeping the daily routine as easy as possible, whether it’s making oatmeal or toast, is valuable. It’s an intangible value, but it’s important nonetheless. JD, don’t beat yourself up about the microwave. Sometimes it’s just important to get the basics without too much running around comparison shopping. I place a high value on sanity, and stress is an enemy. Once you have the basics in place your usual frugality will become second nature… Read more »

J
J
8 years ago

The “my time is worth X” argument often (not always) seems dubious to me. For example, one of my friends will order pizza and get it delivered. He claims that the delivery charge/tip of about $5 is worth it because it saves him 20 minutes of driving, and his time is worth more than $15 an hour because his wage is above that at his job. However, he’s not actually working during this 20 minutes. JD, are you working during the 8 minutes you save each day, making 55 cents (4.17 * (8/60))? Maybe you do sometimes due to the… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  J

This is a great question. The time saved is irrelevant if I don’t put it to good use. The way I look at it now — at this time in my life — is that I have so much to do that I always feel like I’m behind. If there’s a way for me to save time, then yes it’s worth it, because I do use that time I’ve saved for productive things, such as replying to comments on GRS. 🙂

Kate
Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Does the oatmeal on the stove need constant supervision, or could you respond to comments while it’s boiling as well? 😉

Good post, I always appreciate to read something about stuff we/you can afford instead of stuff we/you can’t!

Brendan
Brendan
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I agree with “J” as well as JD, here. Some people may use that argument as an excuse to fall into bad habits. However, for people working to full capacity (especially if you are self-employed, salaried, a student, or anything else where the more work you do the more you get back, e.g., pay, promotions, resume enhancers, etc) inefficiencies in your daily routines (i.e., things you don’t enjoy or do for work, but are part of life) are more likely to cut into working hours than into non-working hours. For me, as a grad student, I study until I’m burnt… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Instead of simply calculating the value of your time, you should consider the value of your FREE time. At the one extreme, you may have a well-compensated individual who is bored and depressed in his free time – so he actually gains by “losing time” to be frugal. At the other extreme, you have a minimum-wage worker with 2-3 jobs who has very little time to recreate. His free time is worth much more to him than the other individual, even if the dollars don’t work out the same.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Tom

I don’t actually have a lot of free time, and the free time I do have, I prize greatly. I could use it to study Spanish or to read a book or answer comments on GRS. (Or write posts for GRS.)

Mike Holman
Mike Holman
8 years ago
Reply to  J

I determine how much I would pay for an hour of free time. That’s how much my free time is worth.

Ben
Ben
8 years ago

I’m not going to criticize because I’ve been there too, but it sounds like you are justifying the purchase after the fact. Were these things savings thought out ahead of time or is this a rational to make yourself feel better. Like I said, it’s not a judgement, but I often find myself doing that and it takes a bit to realize.

You have done well in getting yourself out of debt and staying there, but these type of life changes tend to make people lose focus. Don’t fall into the trap.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Ben

Yes, I think there’s some rationalization going on, and I need to be careful that this doesn’t lead me to rationalizing a $600 blender. But it’s also just my nature: Once I’ve made a purchase like this, I run the numbers in my head. It’d be better if I ran the numbers before the purchase (and I often do), but it’s still interesting even if I’m doing it after the fact.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Don’t forget to factor in the joy of anticipation.

A corkscrew doesn’t do this, but you’ll appreciate the microwave more for having failed with the stove for a while. If you use a crappy tool (like a vacuum that doesn’t work very well, or silverware that’s fine but you don’t like) for a while, getting a better one is really nice.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I see tons of microwaves in my local thrift stores, estate sales, etc.

Brian @ Progressive Transformation
Brian @ Progressive Transformation
8 years ago

I recently heard of a home installer that is going to work for a big department store as their main guy. He recently had to go to a meeting because out of the 7 stores he will work for has also has to offer sales while in the home. Sounds great, except the offers are 20% more than they are in the actual store! Why, because its convenience. The store came to you and you saved time. It was a bit surprising and felt as though the practice was sheisty. But thats capitalism. This proves we have to be frugal… Read more »

cc
cc
8 years ago

i know this is the most obvious tip, but don’t forget about yard sales. when i moved to college i spent my saturday mornings driving around to yard sales, some were a bust, others you can pick up lightly used, quality merchandise for literally pennies. i have since moved from such a heavy-yard-sale-area, but i still use many of the items i bought during that period. i couldn’t have spent more than $10 a day, but was hauling in perfectly nice, serviceable housewares. i would say “instead of cheap stuff like walmart” but i got a lot of $1 kitchen… Read more »

Kiernan
Kiernan
8 years ago
Reply to  cc

Indeed. Craigslist and Freecycle are good too. When I redid my kitchen and discovered I had many duplicate utensils, I gave them all away on Freecycle.

Making oatmeal on a stove is the worst.

Rozann
Rozann
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

I respectfully disagree that oatmeal made on the stove is “the worst.” I have made oatmeal on the stove for the my family for the past twenty years and we ALL love it. I have seen oatmeal made in a microwave and wondered how anyone would find it appetizing. YUCK! But to each his own.

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  Rozann

It depends on how you make it.

I have oatmeal 4x a week on average. I use old-fashioned rolled oats, not instant, and cook them in the microwave with water and dry milk for 70 seconds. Add spices, nuts and berries and stir.

Fast, cheap, nutritious, and never gummy. My own experience mirrors J.D.’s – stovetop oatmeal gets overcooked very easily.

And takes a lot longer, and you can’t cook it in the bowl you plan to eat out of so there’s washing-up to do … just not as efficient.

schmei
schmei
8 years ago
Reply to  Rozann

It also depends on what kind of oatmeal you’re making. We’re quasi-Luddites without a microwave, but we enjoy oatmeal roughly once a week: 1-minute rolled oats cooked on the stove top. Never gummy, and takes about as long as the coffee.

For both finances and hot breakfast cereal, do what works for you! 🙂

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  Rozann

When I make oatmeal on the stove, I bring the liquid to a boil, then lower and slowly stir in the oats. It’s never gummy and doesn’t take that long to cook. I also prefer the old-fashioned oats rather than the quick cooking kind.

I’d like to know how people are cooking their oatmeal to get it so gummy.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  Rozann

I make mine in my rice cooker every morning and it (almost) always comes out perfect.

Nancy
Nancy
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

I agree about Freecycle! I just moved out on my own this past June, and I received all of my kitchen items from freecycle. It’s a great feeling to know that you’re diverting items from the landfill that are perfectly usable. I’ve given a lot away on freecycle, as well. It’s a really easy transaction. You should definitely check it out.

julie
julie
8 years ago
Reply to  cc

GREAT finds can be had at the end of academic years as dorms are cleaned out – at the university I work out all sorts of fridges, microwaves, and furniture is set out under a big tent- things abandoned carelessly by the students…but still quite useful.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  julie

when my sister moved out of her college dorm, she discovered and brought home a handful of ballgowns. ballgowns! they were so much fun to play with as a tweenager.

Kraig @ Young, Cheap Living
Kraig @ Young, Cheap Living
8 years ago

I had a similar experience recently. I got received a $500 gift card for Christmas last month which could be used almost anywhere. I left it sit around for about 2 weeks until one Sunday, I had extra time to spare and thought, I could use some new clothes. Well, 3 hours, 2 malls and 3 department stores later, I burned through the entire $500. That was more clothes spending that I’d done the entire year of 2011. Afterword, I had examined my purchases like you did. Was it stupid? Probably not. Can I afford it, thankfully yes. Does it… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

I enjoyed this post and I’m glad you bought the microwave. Just wanted to make a suggestion – let your friends know you need “stuff”. We have done some serious decluttering over the years by giving our excess stuff away to newly single people.

When you live in a house for two decades, stuff has a way of piling up – for instance, we’ve got 3 corkscrews. We only really use one of them and infrequently at that. After my brother in law’s wife left him, we unloaded a lot of our “stuff.”

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I’ll second that! When I got my first place, my friends and family helped me out a lot by giving/selling me stuff they no longer needed. At the time, some of my friends were moving (we had just finished grad school), some relatives were downsizing and some people were combining households when they moved in with a partner.

Years later I still have a lot of that stuff — dishes, a lamp, small pieces of furniture, a couple of shelves, etc. It makes me smile because it reminds of the original owners.

ksldr
ksldr
8 years ago

From a totally different perspective…. If you add your oatmeal to the water and then heat it up you will have creamy (or gummy) oatmeal. If you boil the water first, then add your oatmeal you will find it much less gummy. You can do something else (read the paper, do the dishes, clip coupons, etc) while waiting for your water to heat on the electric stove, so time will not be an issue.

Coley
Coley
8 years ago

I’ve been away for awhile, and just yesterday I read the divorce announcement post. Like many of the commenters, I was surprised to read it, but then I really wasn’t. Poor Kris–she loved and supported you for all the years when you were a fat and broke spendthrift. Then you lose a little weight and manage to save a few bucks and you slowly decide that she’s not good enough for you. The truth is that you never deserved her in the first place. And now you’re writing pointless and tedious posts about setting up your sad little bachelor pad,… Read more »

Shannon
Shannon
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

Funny thing is that I have the exact opposite view to you – Kris always seemed very strong-handed and condescending towards JD.

inghram
inghram
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

I have to say that these recent posts make me incredibly sad (and a little mad like “Coley” above. I’m sorry that you and Kris grew apart. Its sad to see you blithly talking about setting up this apartment. I think if I didn’t know your history, that any person who suddenly finds themself setting up an apartment alone would be interested in these posts, but for me, they are very sad. Although I wish you well, I think this will be the end of my reading this blog. Good luck in your new direction. I know you are a… Read more »

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago
Reply to  inghram

Yes its sad but divorce happens. I’m pretty sure JD thought about it more than we all have. I’m pretty sure he prepared himself mentally and emotionally for his announcement.

I would find it even more sad if they stayed married and one partner was unhappy in the relationship. If you’re over the age of 18 then you’ve seen those types of relationships.

We’re not the ones in the relationship. They are.

Amy
Amy
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

Harsh and not at all constructive. However, I do have to say I have seen this scenario played out enough times that I will be very apprehensive if my dh suddenly decides to “really get into shape this year”, which in many cases seems to be code for “looking to put myself back on the market”.

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Or it could be code for “I’m afraid if I don’t get into shape I will die early and the person I love more than anyone else will be a widow.”

Have a little trust!

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Agreed. It could also be code for “I don’t like the way my knees hurt and my heart races when I climb stairs.”

Aryn
Aryn
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

My husband recently started to go back to the gym after a long break due to back surgery. He went back because he looked at himself in the mirror and didn’t like what HE saw. He has a gut and he doesn’t like it. It has nothing to do with wanting to back on the market, it has to do with not being happy with how he looks to himself. We women do the same thing.

Also, if he gains much more weight, he’ll have to buy new suits and he hates shopping.

margot
margot
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

This assumed narrative of JD’s divorce is getting a little old. Yes, Kris stuck by JD through some less-than-desired character traits and life phases. But, I’m guessing that JD did the same thing for Kris. Do you really think that, unlike most other humans, Kris was a perfect marriage partner who had no traits that she needed to work on or that JD “stuck by” her for? Given how young they were when they met, I’m guessing that both Kris and JD have changed a lot over the years (or that they haven’t, which would be equally difficult to handle,… Read more »

Amy
Amy
8 years ago
Reply to  margot

Re: Vitamix – Get one. I put it off for years even though I had the money. It is the only high end kitchen appliance I own and I use it every day. Consider buying a refurbished one – cheaper and it has the same warranty as the new ones I believe. Having had an under warranty part replaced once, I can assure you the process is painless and the service is top notch!
Just do it 😀

margot
margot
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Hi, Amy! Thanks for your Vitamix suggestion. You wrote just what I need to hear, as I do have the money but still can’t get myself to make the very expensive purchase. I’d love to know what you use it for every day if you check back here. I’m worried I won’t use mine enough to justify the price. I want to make smoothies, which I can make just fine with my current blender (though I’m sure the Vitamix would be faster). I want to make juice with the Vitamix since I know I’m too lazy to clean a real… Read more »

Tom
Tom
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

JD, I thought that was a very polite response to what I would have found an infuriatingly presumptuous post.

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

Last week everyone was upset and had mixed feelings including me. I don’t know JD in real life but having read his blog almost every day it was really strange. I didn’t expect it. But lets be mature we don’t know the true story. Things at that post are bad enough, people were throwing accusations about what might be wrong. Some people were even accusing Kris of certain things. I admit I left a lot of mixed comments myself. Having had some time to think, I think its best if we as readers try to be mature and leave them… Read more »

Julie
Julie
8 years ago
Reply to  Coley

The whole thing is such a cliche: middle-aged man realizes he’s OMG going to die some day, looks at his life and finds things lacking, decides (OF COURSE) that he just needs to divorce his wife and everything will get better, then (OF COURSE) protests that he’s Different and Super Special and not at all like the legions of other men in his identical situation who made the identical decision. It’s like trying to tell teenagers that their Grand Romance isn’t going to last the semester. (But you don’t understand! We’re different!) Middle-aged divorce is devastating from a financial perspective.… Read more »

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Jaime, I think Julie just made your point for you. 🙂

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago
Reply to  Julie

Well given the fact that he’s sold his blog, I think JD is going to be just fine.

Besides it doesn’t take much to furnish your own house, it can be done between $5-10,000 depending on how fancy you want to get. Krystal from the Krystal at Work blog it did for around $3,000.

Anyway, how do you guys know its a mid-life crisis? We should just remain neutral ( I know its hard though).

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

For a corkscrew… I recommend a double hinged waiter style corkscrew
http://www.amazon.com/Double-Hinged-Waiter-Style-Corkscrew/dp/B0000AV1B9/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1327414912&sr=1-1

It has a second lip on the longer hinge that lets you lever the cork all the way out, instead of pulling it most of the way and then yanking.

For being frugal… you can probably find them for cheap, it looks like a lot of winery’s give them away, so a thrift store might have one if you’re patient.

schmei
schmei
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

I second this! I have a sweet pocket knife with one of these included… very handy when traveling (though of course you have to check it through if you’re flying).

Shannon
Shannon
8 years ago

Still no post about the fact you sold this blog? One would imagine the least you can do is inform you readers that has happened.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Shannon

Patience, Shannon. I’m working on it. It’s a long story, and I want to tell it right.

Update: Post complete: “How and Why I Sold Get Rich Slowly”. I need to sit on it a few days, and I need to get confirmation that it doesn’t violate the NDA, but it should appear by early next week, I hope.

Kristen
Kristen
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I just wanted to say I’ve missed reading posts from J.D. lately. It’s your voice, J.D., that has made this blog a success. It’s missing something these days with so little content from you. I’m not sure if that’s how things will remain moving forward, or if it’s situational and temporary. Regardless, I wish you well.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

Thanks, Kristen. I miss writing in my voice. There have been a lot of things preventing me from doing so, though they’re mostly internal pressures. And now some of those are being relieved. I’m finally honest about the relationship issues, Quinstreet has given me permission to write about the sale of the site (writing that post as we speak!) which will allow me to be more open about some things, and I’m feeling less like every post has to be a home run. I’ve been re-reading old GRS posts, and I see that a lot of them are just “hey,… Read more »

JL
JL
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Wonderful. As a long time reader, I look forward to it.

Laurie
Laurie
8 years ago
Reply to  Shannon

I found out that this blog had been sold from another personal finance blogger looking to make some point that I now forget. The fact is, I found out from someone else. I see that that the change in management has not affected content – so, you could choose to continue as-is and not blog about it, but I would recommend changing the privacy legalese, and add a little something to the About section.

It would be ethical though if you let the readers know.

Susan
Susan
8 years ago

After my divorce, I restocked almost my entire kitchen from garage sales. The amazing thing is that the older stuff (from casserole dishes to slotted spoons) is still in great shape 30 years later. The prices were exactly right–cheap! I even replaced my favorite cookbooks at the sales, for pennies on the dollar. I generally found better prices (and stuff) at garage sales than at thrift stores, but found it paid to do research on where the best sales were, and sticking to upper middle class neighborhoods that had multiple sales close together (to save on transportation costs).

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Ditto. When I fled my marriage and drove to Seattle, I hit a big rummage sale and also hit a few garage sales. On a couple of occasions the yard-saler just gave me the stuff (a piece of Tupperware, some canning-jar lids) or arbitrarily reduced the price because I was buying five or six items at a time.
Still using all of it. Doesn’t matter to me whether that colander came from Target or from Curb Mart. 😉

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Susan

some of the stuff is pretty cool, too, and hard to find elsewhere. i picked up a neat looking clock, googled it and it’s from the 50’s and works great, so that’s cool, vintage chic. my dad, a cooking fanatic, has also found some really high-end cookware for a buck or two- people don’t know what they have, or they just don’t care and want it out. yard sales also let me indulge my wrought-iron phase for a very little amount of money. sconces for everyone! a quarter a pop! i visited a foreign family’s yard sale and all the… Read more »

sharon v
sharon v
8 years ago

@Coley The time for beating the guy up is long past. Regardless, with an almost 50% divorce rate, there is an audience for this too. Add in the vast amount of people who are apartment dwellers, and there are a lot of people who could benefit or at least sympathise with the minor costs that pile up after every move.

I’m moving at the end of the month, and I’m almost apralyzed with the thought of throwing out (or donating) enought stuff to move from 1,000 sqft to 500 sqft

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  sharon v

good point! i have noticed i’ve been paying a bit more attention since the focus is on apartment living. i’ve moved about 8 times in the last 10 years, so i’m very interested to see the upcoming discussions about nesting out a new place.

Ely
Ely
8 years ago
Reply to  cc

This is funny, because I am so not! I sometimes fantasize about downsizing, but hubby wants to go the other way – thinks our house isn’t big enough – so reading posts about it might just make me insanely jealous! 😀

JohnnyFit
JohnnyFit
8 years ago

I would never consider a microwave an unnecessary expense; but, the most recent one I’ve bought turnedout to be a great $15 bargain from craigslist.

Ru
Ru
8 years ago

Ha, we had the same problem! As I said on one of the reader stories this week, I moved into a flatshare 2 weeks ago and had no chest of drawers, printer or microwave. I eat porridge for breakfast every day, but I don’t like making it in the microwave- it has a habit of exploding! I make my lunch in the microwave instead, by chucking dry noodles, veggies, water and some protein (usually mushrooms) into a container and nuking them. The warm meal in my handbag helps keep me warm on my way in to uni and saves me… Read more »

Samantha
Samantha
8 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Tip from a once-Scrooge-y roommate: if you’re going to charge them, do it NOW. Say, “are you interested in using it? I figured you weren’t since you hadn’t had one before. I paid 80, so it’ll be $X each. Thanks!”

I definitely would! Maybe you’re a better person than me, but I would just stew about it every time I saw them using it. Better to get it out in the open!

Ellisa
Ellisa
8 years ago

There wouldn’t be a need for this post or all your new stuff at all if you weren’t getting divorced in the first place. Poor JD, decided to leave his wife and now he has to stock up on all the little things he didn’t think about. This is one of the many reasons why experts say that divorce is bad on the finances. However, I guess buying an $80 microwave is a small price to pay so you can live in a smaller place (since you mentioned wanting to downsize in a previous post), travel whenever you want, and… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Ellisa

Ellisa, see my reply to Coley above. There’s an open thread about my divorce where you can post your “J.D. is an asshole” comments. Plenty of people are continuing to do so. I’m going to let this comment remain, but in the future, I’m going to exercise a heavier hand with moderation if this topic continues to crop up whenever I post. It’s fine to mention the divorce, but I don’t want every thread becoming a referendum on the decision. Okay?

Ellie
Ellie
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Heh I like that JD is keeping his divorce post thread open so we can all go back and yell at him when we feel like it. Might go do that now 🙂

Ellisa
Ellisa
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

JD, I’m sorry. I got so caught up in my anti-divorce rant, that I forgot to mention something. You should save yourself the hassle/stress of having to go out each time you realize you need something and make a household list of things to stock up on. Those might include cleaning supplies, spices for cooking, kitchen wares, towels, linens, etc. If you really wanted to minimize your costs and you’re patient, you could also check out Freecycle in your area.

RobertaM
RobertaM
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Please start filtering these comments already! It’s getting old and I want to pick up useful tips that are relevant to the current post. Hang in there JD. Peace to you and Kris.

Cam
Cam
8 years ago
Reply to  Ellisa

Wow. Is your husband really so easily swayed that a blog post would inspire him to ditch however many years of wedded bliss you guys have enjoyed?

Ellisa
Ellisa
8 years ago
Reply to  Cam

If thats the only take away you got from my post, then I feel bad for you. My point was that divorce is expensive, small purchases to start separate households add up, and that although I don’t agree with divorce, JD was going ahead with his divorce against Kris’s wishes.

Jean
Jean
8 years ago
Reply to  Ellisa

Ellisa, you have lived a sheltered life. First of all, it’s called a divorce because both parties aren’t agreeable to the terms of separation. When both agree, it’s called a dissolution. Secondly, don’t project your views & opinions onto someone else – don’t judge unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. (Sorry, JD – I, too, am getting tired of the judgmental comments. I’ve been through a divorce and no one understands unless they’ve been there.)

Mark
Mark
8 years ago
Reply to  Cam

It’s starting to work on me, posts about buying crap for an apartment make the thought of leaving my wife and child irresistible!

Sorry Elisa, but you are an idiot.

Davina
Davina
8 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Yep, Elisa is an idiot, and probably very likely to be left by her husband.

J.D.’s note: Not cool, Davina. I appreciate your support, but GRS is not a place where commenters pick on each other. Please don’t.

Davina
Davina
8 years ago
Reply to  Ellisa

You oughtta mind your own business. He can live his life any way he wants. And since you’re so perfect, put your own self up to the light so we can judge YOU.

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago
Reply to  Ellisa

You haven’t walked in their shoes. Do you know the total sum of Kris and Jd’s feelings, wishes for the future, and all their thoughts? Obviously not. Everyone has their faults and JD has been very kind about not letting the public know about any faults that Kris has. She seems like a very good lady, but nobody is ever perfect. Ever. I wonder if that’s the problem. All of us have this image of what Kris must be like, most of us think she’s a very nice lady. However we don’t know her faults and we don’t know what… Read more »

Terry
Terry
8 years ago

When I had my own place for the first time I went without a microwave for about a year. I didn’t really need one but my Mom had a friend who was moving and she bought that one for $20. You can always find them on Craigslist and in thrift stores too. It is ok if you are busy and have the money to buy new but there are always used options. Also when I moved in with my boyfriend we ended up with 2 microwaves so one went to the shed. Later a friend moved and needed one so… Read more »

betsy22
betsy22
8 years ago
Reply to  Terry

From years of living in shared housing, I’ve found that microwaves are kind of strange that way – either none of the housemates own a microwave, or else everyone does, and you have to figure out where to store (or give away) the extras.

dh
dh
8 years ago

JD, you’re on your own now — it’s time to get radical, son! 😉 Forget all those yuppie bullshit tools. Simplify your eating habits and go raw vegan — or close to it. Here, watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vvBxICwfXA

John @ Married (with Debt)
John @ Married (with Debt)
8 years ago

I believe in frugality, but I also believe in sanity. Have you seen the Extreme Cheapskate show? Some people take things to compulsive levels.

In the grand scheme, $80 isn’t that much, and if it makes your life easier, you should do it.

I’ve broken myself of the habit of always buying the cheapest item because I’ve been burned. Now I go for the one that will last the longest and keep me out of the stores because I hate shopping.

partgypsy
partgypsy
8 years ago

I agree! Though I usually aim for the middle range item that will last longer than the cheapest item, and keep me out of stores. I don’t do as much frugal shopping as I can, because often it is an “emergency” situation (oldest needs a pair of pants without holes for school, watch strap broke, dog chewed up our last wooden spoon). If I was smart I would know exactly what to stock up in advance at yard sales. But as I don’t shop alot (at thrift stores or elsewhere) and dislike “hoarding”, I end up having to pay a… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago

It’s $80 more than saying to a friend “Hey there’s no microwave at my new place, do you know anyone who is getting rid of one?” though.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago

Welcome to the life of setting up a new household. I would seriously suggest you go on the internet or get a book, Look at what is suggested for basic household supllies, adjust it to your needs and go out and get them, all at once. Heck, go to ikea and get one of those new apartment sets that has everything. Its not a frugal issue, its a stress issue. It makes no sense to go out and get something each time you need it. Assess your needs and lifestyle and get it all at once. Its also very expensive… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  Barb

I dunno, I quite like the idea of buying each item as you need it, what’s wrong with that? I’ve rarely found a set of anything where I needed everything in the set. There’s always an item or two that I have no use for. Maybe buying piece-by-piece is the more expensive route, but at least you cut down on waste.

I’m considering downsizing from my 480 SF apartment and I only want to have the bare minimum of possessions since space will be even more limited.

bethh
bethh
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

I agree – those new-apartment packages seem to consist of a few useful things and a bunch of not-so-necessary. Better to buy in bits and pieces as needed.

Josh
Josh
8 years ago

The time cooking oatmeal on the stove is not 100% wasted time, (I have not cooked oatmeal but assume it is similar to all other meals I cook) in that you have lots of time to take breaks and do something else while it is on the stove, such as while the water is heating up (you don’t need to stand there and watch it — go do something else!) or while it is cooking, just coming back to stir occasionally, again you don’t need to stir the entire time. While you would not be able to do anything too… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
8 years ago

Good article because it employs a methodology that values your time. How much of your time would have been spent researching the best microwave for the money or shopping yard sales for a used one? Your “impulse” buy was money saving because you knew you could afford it, even before you took the microwave out of the box. The key, of course, is knowing whether or not you can afford it. That is possible only with a firm understanding of your budget and your hourly earning rate. I would love to see an article explaining a quick and dirty way… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

“I would love to see an article explaining a quick and dirty way to determine whether you can afford something to help readers navigate real life scenarios when they are tempted make an impulse purchase.” Agreed. My method is the 24-hour delay: whenever possible, if I feel the impulse to buy a certain something, I postpone it for 24 hours. If I think of the item the next day, it means it stayed with me and I probably am best off getting it. Usually I promptly forget that I ever saw the desired item in the first place. If I… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago

An earlier draft of this post discussed some of the financial decisions Kris is looking at, too. For instance, she’s had to get internet for the house. Which plan should she get? And since she and I went in to the cable company together to set up service for our respective households, they somehow messed up the accounts. Mine had her name on it, and vice versa. Plus, she’s looking at insurance for the first time in her life. That’s always been something I’ve taken care of. Now, she’s trying to figure out what the different coverages mean and which… Read more »

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Honestly, Kris’ perspective on this sort of stuff would be pretty interesting to read. I know it’s probably not feasible right now, but maybe you have a reader (or know a person) that could contribute a slightly opposite perspective–the one that stays in the house and pares down things, etc.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Ash (in US)

I’ll see if Kris is up to it, Ash. She might be. I think it’d be interesting too.

Jan
Jan
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Yes, if Kris is up to it at some point I would be interested in her perspective too.

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Ash (in US)

wouldn’t that be kind of harsh? it’s a crummy situation to be in on both sides, i can’t imagine blogging together about it to a public audience.
jd, you are allowed to have your privacy! don’t worry, us internet people will do just fine. and good luck in that new apartment.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago
Reply to  cc

Yep, thus the mention of a reader/blogger/different person… the last thing I want to do is suggest things that may throw salt on wounds (or gasoline on fires).

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

My DH and I have some dangerous knowledge deficits. I handle ALL the investments, insurance, healthcare, and tax recordkeeping. And on the flip side, I don’t know the combination to our safe. Or what’s in it.

schmei
schmei
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

Yeah, it’s interesting/scary when one realizes how much the other person takes care of. My DH is out of town for a few days and I keep adding stuff to the list of “things I should probably ask him about/thank him for”.

Also, he’s just really tall, and I’m really not… and I’m realizing just how much stuff I keep on high shelves. If I were setting up house without him, the entire storage situation would be different.

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago
Reply to  schmei

Excellent point. I handle all the finances in our home. Once we got rid of all our debt it began nagging me that my husband had no idea about our accounts. Finally, I made a master list of all our accounts and passwords in the event of my incapacitation. At that time it occurred to me there were a lot of things about the home maintenance I had no idea about. For example, where the water shutoff is for the whole house, when to replace the furnace filters, etc. So I made a list of that stuff too which we… Read more »

Aryn
Aryn
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

That’s a very important point that many spouses discover following an illness or death, not just a divorce. Most of time, it’s widows who find themselves having to learn these things when they’re already elderly because the husband always took care of things.

Something can happen at any time, so it’s vital that both spouses are aware of all accounts, all bills, all passwords and combinations, and just how much money comes in and goes out.

Jean
Jean
8 years ago
Reply to  Aryn

I think this also comes up when a spouse is deployed. A former co-worker was very fore-thinking and made her husband “fill in the gaps” of things he always did – even if it was a seasonal thing – before he was deployed for a year. Being single, I’ve tried to leave a list of things for those that will have to deal with the details if I meet an untimely demise.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  chacha1

I started filling out Erik Dewey’s Big Book of Everything because it was recommended here – it’s (gradually) filling in a lot of those deficits for us.

Plus, if something happens to both of us at once (not horribly unlikely, since we spend 90% of our time together) whoever has to settle everything would find it useful.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

JD,

Just so you know, you don’t need to get the $650 blender. Blendtech makes a $400 version that I recently bought. I hate to say this, but I love it.

It’s really, really hard to quantitatively justify that purchase. But I use the dang thing regularly, and when I need/want the ability to blend/puree things as finely as it does, it’s a life saver. Heck, I ground lamb in it the other day, which I needed for meatballs when the store ran out of the ground stuff.

Dan
Dan
8 years ago

Figured I’d write a separate post to add that your experience of needing to outfit a new apartment isn’t much different than say a newly wed couple.

My wife and I got married two years ago, right after I started my first job out of grad school. We pretty much paid for our own wedding, and we still use the furniture I had before I met her. (We did buy a new bed.) But to this day, we/I carefully examine each purchase, and don’t buy it for the heck of it.

Laura+in+Cancun
Laura+in+Cancun
8 years ago

We actually got a microwave as a wedding gift last year, and we have yet to take it out of the box! Our kitchen is tiny, with just one tiny square of counterspace, so we’ve been doing everything on the stove for a year and a half.

It’s surprising how much I don’t miss it! We’ll probably get some shelving in a month or 2, though, so the microwave will probably be incorporated then.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago

Jeez! Trolls much? I’ll agree with some of the other posters–tell your friends you are looking for stuff. Most people have spares, or older dishes they’ve replaced but have yet to throw out. You might even find yourself with more “stuff” than you can handle. 🙂 Off the top of my head I know I have an extra vacuum, a spare set of dishes, and three or so spatulas in my place. They might not be best quality (or 100% matching), but they’d give you a chance to shop for better bargains. On a different note: though this article doesn’t… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Ash (in US)

I second that. When I got here, my sister gave me a few things that she and her husband had upgraded versions of, like a Pyrex baking dish, some storage containers and a few knives. These things work just as well as the ones I might have bought from a store. I did buy a microwave, though — but I used a discounted gift card. The card also paid for sheets, a set of on-sale pots and pans, and some things my daughter needed. So anyone who’s looking to shop at a particular store should consider looking for discounted gift… Read more »

Jennifer Cox
Jennifer Cox
8 years ago

Totally not the point of the article you wrote, but I can show you how to make awesome stove top oatmeal (electric range preferred!)

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer Cox

Are you in Portland? We could make a GRS video post for some upcoming Saturday: “How to Make Killer Oatmeal on Your Electric Range”. Probably not a huge audience, but it would be fun nonetheless… 🙂

bethh
bethh
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I’d love to see a side-by-side oatmeal prep/taste-off post! I’m in the Bay Area but can advise remotely on my stove-top steel-cut oats technique (I make enough to last all week and they never get gummy (at least not to my taste)).

Jennifer Cox
Jennifer Cox
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I am in Portland! But first we would have to devise what kind of oatmeal you like. Perhaps mine is only good according to the very limited audience I have (although one of my “fans”, my husband, used to be a breakfast cook at Jam on Hawthorne so I like to count his opinion!)

Kaytee
Kaytee
8 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer Cox

My husband prefers oatmeal made on the stove as well, and won’t touch microwave oatmeal. This may be because he prefers oatmeal that is thick enough to glue walls together, and always adds extra oats.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  Kaytee

Since I moved to high altitude I have not been able to make microwave oatmeal – it explodes! Stove top is the only way to go.

Davina
Davina
8 years ago
Reply to  Kaytee

I believe the slow-cook oatmeal is more nutritious; the quick-cooking stuff has had the the outer layer of the oat removed for faster cooking.

Sue
Sue
8 years ago

I’ve long thought that the bridal shower is a passe idea. People are getting married later in life when they’ve already acquired two of everything they need for the household. But divorce…that’s a time for a shower of gifts, because you’ve just lost half of your stuff! I remember my first week of separation, with a bed but no dresser, an entertainment center with no TV, and end tables with no couch between them. And in my kitchen I had 3 plates, 3 cups, and 3 bowls as we split our set of 6 down the middle. But it does… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Sue

Ha. Love the idea of a “divorce shower”. 🙂

Polly
Polly
8 years ago
Reply to  Sue

Nope – the BEST idea is the one my mother had. She suggested that at the 35 or 40 year mark of every marriage, there should be a marriage shower, because absolutely *everything* from the initial bridal shower(s) are now completely worn out and need to be replaced – towels, dishes, pots/pans, bedroom linens, everything!! Divorce shower? How disrespectful!! The most wonderful party that I’ve been to in years was this past summer when family and friends came together to celebrate 50 years of marriage – and believe me, those two can fight like cats and dogs, but they absolutely… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  Polly

A shower is just a bunch of people getting together to give gifts to someone they care about. You can shower someone for any reason, it doesn’t have to be a celebration.

Sara
Sara
8 years ago

I think the process you used to decide to buy a microwave is a good one. I often see things (usually kitchen gadgets because I am a sucker for them) in stores or advertisements and think, “I could really use that,” but I always hold off on buying it. Usually, I end up forgetting about it. Sometimes, though, I find myself thinking on many occasions, “If only I had that [fill in the blank], this would be so much easier/better.” Once I have identified frequent occasions on which I would get value out of the item in question, I consider… Read more »

margot
margot
8 years ago

If you can be bothered, try freecycle! It’s amazing. You can post some very open “wanted” request essentially asking for any type of kitchen items or household items that others don’t want because you’re setting up a new home. I’m sure you’ll be doing others a favor, because half of Americans probably own double or triple of the things you need and maybe some of them are purging this month. Also, while the reasons surrounding it are sad, the financial aspects of your divorce are really interesting material for blog posts. The basic posts that you write about your financial… Read more »

frugalportland
frugalportland
8 years ago

The hidden costs of moving are absurd. I noticed that my mom recently got a new garbage can for her bathroom. That’s the first new one since I was a kid. I have purchased at least ten bathroom garbage cans due to moving! It all adds up.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  frugalportland

And garbage cans are frickin’ expensive. I priced them at Target, and they started at $50 or something like that. Give me a break! I’m opting to use brown paper grocery bags under the sink — one for trash, one for recycling.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Here in Seattle, the land of single-stream recycling, I generate very little trash. (I’m single.) My garbage can is one of those really small, rectangular ones and it cost me $1 at the dollar store. I empty it maybe twice a week. I line it with plastic shopping bags, which I end up with even though I carry a reusable bag everywhere I go. (I will cop to picking up bags that blow past me on the street or that have been left in front of my apartment building. Any bag that’s not soiled or soaking wet is fair game.)… Read more »

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I never thought I would buy an expensive garbage can, then I moved into a tiny apartment where I couldn’t tuck the can out of sight. It sounds kind of silly, but I wanted a garbage can that was nice to look at since it was going to be out in the open. Plus, I wanted a can that would trap smells in since I’m single and don’t generate enough garbage to empty it daily. I bought a SimpleHuman can from Bed Bath and Beyond, and yes it was probably close to $50. But I’ve been very happy with it.

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Doesn’t sound silly at all. I’m lucky I can hide mine under the sink, because the kitchen is so small I don’t know where I’d put the trash — a cupboard door would always be bumping into it.

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago
Reply to  frugalportland

I would say one of the best things I learned in college was how to pack! I had a roommate that could cram more stuff into a car than I ever thought possible. Saved me quite a few dollars down the road on my second move, third move, etc.

May not be your situation, but definitely an underrated skill.

Dee
Dee
8 years ago
Reply to  Ash (in US)

Any tips? I move a lot and try to pack things in my car, but end up making multiple (annoying and gas guzzling) trips!

Ash (in US)
Ash (in US)
8 years ago
Reply to  Dee

There are a few things that are easy to explain. Some stuff you have to train your eye for. 1) Pack everything that needs boxes and whatnot FIRST. It’s easiest to pack a car/truck efficiently if you have everything packed already. 2) Things only take up their physical “space”. So, if you have something like a trashcan, it only takes up the physical plastic space. So you could put the trashcan/empty container in first and then put the box you wanted to put there in that spot. So, the trashcan is in the spot but it’s not really taking up… Read more »

betsy22
betsy22
8 years ago
Reply to  frugalportland

Also bathroom storage – you think that you’re all set, and then you realize that the soap/shampoo holder thingie that you had in your old bathroom just doesn’t fit in your new one, for whatever reason…and you really want a hook to hang your bathrobe and your old roommate kept the toilet bowl brush and plunger and….. By the time you’re done with all of that just kind of basic stuff, it can easily be a little bit of money, even if you can find some of it at garage sales (though who would buy a used toilet bowl brush?!?)

Jen
Jen
8 years ago
Reply to  betsy22

Eww!! Worst yet, who would sell one?!

doug_eike
doug_eike
8 years ago

Having a solid financial situation requires making lots of good financial decisions in a row. Once good spending decisions have become habitual, though, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not buying things that you really do need. Unlike what many folks say, it’s not a matter of balance. Rather, it’s a matter of making so many good financial decisions that loosening up once in a while won’t hurt the overall financial picture. Thanks for the insights!

Sarah
Sarah
8 years ago

hi JD, Best to both you and Kris during this difficult time. I mostly use a microwave for reheating leftover homemade food. I find oatmeal in the microwave to be the worst, all gummy and quite like you describe it on the stovetop! I used to hate oatmeal but about a year ago discovered a friend’s recipe that has me hooked: http://devoncrosbyhelms.com/2011/03/nutrition-navigation-taper-week.html I use reg milk instead of soymilk, no chia seeds (which are tasty but expensive), about 1/3 cup of egg whites, and 1-2 tbsp almond butter on top (which melts while I wash the pot). I start adding… Read more »

Christine B
Christine B
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

Sounds delicious, Sarah. I will definitely check out this site.

Ellen
Ellen
8 years ago

I don’t think this one is going to break the bank J.D. :). And you will use it every day, so it’s a fairly useful “impulse buy”. When I started school, I was lucky – a friend of my parents was moving and sold me all their utensils etc. at a very good discount. You could always try hitting a yard sale or 2 this weekend to pick some things up. But – don’t cheap out when it comes to safety (e.g. – buy good oven gloves!).

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

This may be getting a little off topic, but I’ve found a few good baked oatmeal recipes I enjoy. Best of all: they reheat well or taste good cold and can be frozen. I like it because for some prep and baking time, I’ve got meals for later on. (I can’t stand reheated oatmeal any other way!) I usually end up reducing the sweetener, but you can add nuts, chia or flax, and dried or fresh fruit to suit your taste. You can use a milk alternative like rice or almond milk, and there are eggs for some extra protein.… Read more »

kaye brouse
kaye brouse
8 years ago

Actually, using the stove is more expensive. The electric stove runs on 220, whereas the microwave runs on 110. So you are using twice as much electricity per minute. It takes me about 3 minutes to cook the hot cereal in the micro versus 10 on the stove. Some of us are a little OCD or rather CDO…the letters are in the correct order.

Chris Y
Chris Y
8 years ago
Reply to  kaye brouse

Actually, that is not correct. While it is true that the stove runs on 220Volts and the microwave uses 110V, it doesn’t mean it’s using twice as much electricity. Depends on the Amps and time that each appliance uses to do the job, since Volts x Amps x Time = Energy used. It takes less time to boil water in a microwave. There’s too many factors to be analyzed that you can’t do the comparison in your head, but here’s a source that looked at this exact comparison (for making tea) and their conclusion was that the stove uses less… Read more »

Christine B
Christine B
8 years ago
Reply to  Chris Y

Cool! Thanks, Chris, that’s really interesting info.

My vote on oats: stovetop. You can always add a bit more water (I sometimes add a bit of coffee cream 🙂 or even a bit more cereal, if you see it’s too watery. (After all, technically, rolled oats can even be eaten raw, so you can really make it to taste moment by moment.)

I use microwave only for heating up some stuff…including coffee/tea that I’ve let sit too long.

Cheers!

Jeff
Jeff
8 years ago

I have a tiny kitchen that has a very limited amount of counter space. I live without a microwave now, and invested in a toaster oven instead. I only have room for one, not both. It works okay, but when it comes to heating up leftovers, it’s just not the same. I make meals in bulk (usually rice, beans, tofu, and a few veggies stir-fried), but most of them cannot be reheated properly in the toaster oven. If it’s in a plastic container, forget about it. Instead, I use our microwave at work to turn my leftover dinners into lunches.… Read more »

cc
cc
8 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

we recently gave away our toaster oven, we just never used it and our apartment is chilly and running the oven heats it up 🙂
we talked about giving away the microwave, but we use it like once a month and it holds our silverware tray up in the air for us, so it stays. we have to clear out the counter every time to open the door though 😉

ali
ali
8 years ago

Craigslist and freecycle are great resources. Also garage sales.

The timing is not right for you JD, but if anyone is moving in late summer they should check out Back to College sales because that’s when microwaves, sheet sets, basic kitchen utensils, trash cans, and other things for dorms/college apartments go on sale.

Grad Student
Grad Student
8 years ago
Reply to  ali

I will do you one better:

Check moving sales starting May instead. That’s when kids are moving out of college and you can get all that stuff that they used for a year for cheap or free. You might not have access to on-campus junk or flyers, but some folks will post on Craigslist I’m sure.

Tyler S.
Tyler S.
8 years ago
Reply to  Grad Student

This is so true – there are so many kids that have extra stuff that they can’t pack into cars, they just end up giving it all away or trashing it, even if it’s it great condition!

We got our microwave free – someone had upgraded years ago, and had one sitting in the garage. Not luxury by any means, but it gets the job done!

bethh
bethh
8 years ago

Learn from me: spend the money on a decent can opener! I struggled with a cheap-o one for ages, and finally had a temper tantrum that resulted in stitches when I got stupid. I spent all of $8-10 on my replacement can opener – so worth it! No more trips to the emergency room! (It really was quite embarrassing.)

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

Ha. I just used my new can opener for the first time last night, and was angry with myself to see that I’d bought the kind I hate the most: the kind that pinches my hands when it “clicks” to lock in the can. (Why these are still made, I’ll never know.) Plus, then it barely opened the damn can. It’ll do for a while, though. I’ll replace it with a thrift-store special!

bethh
bethh
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I will send you a ten-dollar can opener – I’m serious about this! I have taken a militant stance against crappy can openers ever since my fiasco in 2000. (I had to show up at a new computer-intensive job with my stitched fingers in a metal splint. It was awesome.) Okay, I’ll pipe down, but think of this whole calculus of convenience every time you pinch your fingers or struggle with a can!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

Your post made me smile. I once cut myself on a pair of cheap tongs in the grocery store. I sheepishly had to go to the meat department and ask for a bandaid. In my experience, it’s the cheap tools that do the most damage. I was a hazard when I had cheap knives in university. When I got my first apartment, I took the advice of the pros I know and spent my money on three good knives rather than buying a cheap set. It’s made a world of difference to my cooking — especially since I’m always chopping… Read more »

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Buy OXO products. No I don’t work for them, I bought an OXO can opener and I love it, its very comfortable, easy to use, and works extremely well. Its a manual one.

OXO is one of the best brands for appliances out there. This is the one that I have:

http://www.amazon.com/OXO-58081-Steel-Can-Opener/dp/B00004OCMM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327469796&sr=8-2

Amber
Amber
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

I love my good cook can opener. the edges are removed completely smoothly – no jagged edges. I use it every day. It was a gift though so no idea how much it was.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  bethh

LOL! That’s hilarious! I can just imagine – I have items liek this in my kitchen – it’s not quite broken so I can’t quite justify replacing it – but I hate it and would much rather have a better one. I have a toaster like that – every time my husband uses it he complains. A better toaster is probably worth marital harmony…

KSK
KSK
8 years ago
Reply to  Bella

I hate to plug products, but I bought a hideously expensive Breville toaster from Williams-Sonoma 15 years ago (I had a gift card). It has 2 wide very long slats. I can toast a half a baquette with no problems. Although it was expensive ($75), it was totally worth it. I use it multiple times every day. About 10 years ago, my original Breville wasn’t working very well. I returned it to Williams-Sonoma and they replaced it with the newer model at no cost to me.

Bella
Bella
8 years ago
Reply to  KSK

Recently we were at my in laws and my husband was admiring her toaster, even pointed it out to me – see the bread goes all the way up. and I asked her where she got it – Williams Sonoma – $100. I about died – but if that’s what it takes I’m currently considering it.

Beth
Beth
8 years ago
Reply to  KSK

I would pay $100 for a toaster if it would last that long! I seem to go through a $50 toaster every two years. (I only buy them when they’re on sale, so it’s really $25 plus 13% tax)

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago
Reply to  KSK

We went through a $20 blender every year or so for a long time before I sucked it up and bought a $200 one. I think that was 8 years ago.

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