Closer to a better tomorrow

Today’s quote from my “Be Good to Yourself” calendar came at just the right time. For a few weeks now I’ve been telling myself to get in gear and start working toward next year when I hope plan to attend graduate school in the UK.

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.
~ Doug Firebaugh

I’ve been working on my applications and I’ve been thinking about the practicalities, but I’ve not actually done anything to get me closer to success.

One of the biggest hurdles (other than the required acceptance letter, of course) is the financial side of the issue. In short, I need to come up with about £24,000 ($36,000) for tuition and living expenses. That’s no small task. (In fairness, I’ll have about £9,000 of that once I finish filling out some tax refund forms for the UK, but that still leaves a £15,000 deficit!)

In an effort to curtail spending I’ve cut the cable and have opted to not buy a complete new wardrobe for the year (despite knowing that Paul would want me to) and will instead work with what I’ve got just adding a couple of pieces here-and-there.

I’ve also decided to trim my grocery budget drastically, which is going to be difficult because I’ve gotten used to buying higher-end foods over the past few years. But, I suppose that I need to get into practice if I’m going to be a starving student!

Anyhow, the main point is this:

I’ve just purchased a big container of Yuban coffee. The sale price was $2.99 per pound, compared to the $12 per pound I normally spend on fancy coffee. I have about three days’ worth of Pioneer Coffee left, and then I’ll have to start slumming it. I’m not really looking forward to this part of my higher education goal, but I suppose I need to cowgirl-up and get on with it.

Other money-saving plans include making more soups and casseroles instead of steaks and prawns; buying fresh flowers less often and instead finding pretty leaf-filled branches and other ‘free’ items from my yard to display on the mantel piece; and eating apples, pears, and other inexpensive fruits instead of expensive berries and exotic imported produce.

It feels a bit ironic to be taking the day’s “Be Good to Yourself” quote and interpreting it to mean depriving myself of lovely foods, but I’m playing the long game here so am happy to make the short-term sacrifice!

Tonight’s dinner: Left-over meat loaf w/ frozen veggies. Tomorrow: Beef stew made from a hodgepodge of left-overs from the freezer. Yum!

12 thoughts on “Closer to a better tomorrow

  1. Budget yourself little treats every once in a while, then they’ll feel really special and you’ll still be making progress with your savings plans.

    It’s a tough one but I have every confidence in you!

    go, girl.

    xx

  2. i am the queen of frugal living (i kid myself) so take it from me, identify some very cheap or free treats and reward yourself regularly or it all becomes A Burden.

    good luck in your plans

  3. The nice thing is that my frugal grocery budget is being set because I want to do it, not because I have to do it.

    Before I decided to go to university I could barely afford to feed myself and literally had less than $30 most months for food. Back then, I took every offer given to eat at someone’s house. It made all the difference.

    Now, I can afford food and will certainly treat myself now-and-then. I think that I will stick to the cheap and not-so-cheerful coffee for the work week and will get extra-nice stuff at the weekend for my French press (that’s cafeteria in funny UK speak). After all, I never really get to savor it during the week.

  4. I am so impressed Frances, I hate budgeting, whether I have to do it or not. I’m kind of a baby that way. What a great goal though. Something about saying “I’m saving to go to graduate school in the UK” is so amazing to me. I’m just saving to buy the $90 jeans I want!

    I know you can do this.

    • Thanks, Kristin! Also, I must give you a quick thanks for indirectly sharing The Scrapbook Project with me. I just saw a link on your blog and it looked interesting. So I’ve signed up. Yay!

      (And I should clarify that Yuban is perfectly acceptable coffee. It’s what my daddy drinks and what I used to drink until I got a proper job and became a bit of a coffee snob. So it’s not like I’m resorting to complete sludge!)

  5. Hi honey…
    I’m all for the frugal living… As a single mom this is my life. I hate to be picky but it’s… Cafetiere… not cafeteria… A Cafeteria is a low service food outlet like a school lunch hall or works refectory. xxx

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