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Frugal in New York City – Bee Thrifty: Episode Two, The (Staying) Home Issue

Posted Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 at 3:46 pm by Christine in Cultural Bees. More in

This morning I woke up and in what I thought was a dream state, heard Soterios Johnson say that the winds could be up to 40 miles per hour today.Whatever it is you do, no matter how much money you make, may you stay inside today.Forty miles an hour.That is some WTF news.

So, in light of that news, I don’t plan on going out today, except perhaps for my daily walk.In fact I haven’t been going out much lately, which makes Episode Two of Bee Thrifty less exciting.

Less exciting, it’s true, though abundantly more thrifty.

I think we can all learn from it.  So, let us begin.

Apartment Searching:  Lesson one begins with the trials and travails of New York apartment living.  I have had a thrifty dream here in Brooklyn, a four bedroom duplex with two bathrooms, a washer and a dryer, a BIG, beautiful kitchen and 4 roommates (one of whom is my boyfriend). I won’t go into the details, but the building was bought by a landlord who doesn’t fix things, two of the roommates (not my boyfriend and I) slept together (or didn’t depending on who you ask), and one of the two in question moved out without notice.  Suffice it to say, the Utopia is falling apart and I am in the lovely position of looking for real estate in NYC.  What’s the market like these days, you ask?

Well, I don’t know what the economic downturn is doing to the rental market, but I will tell you this much:  if you want to get a good apartment for a good price, move in December or January.  Nobody wants to spend time with prospective renters right before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and nobody else is looking. They just wanna get that crap rented and not think about it while they curl up in front of a fire with a hot cocoa.

So, go ahead, if you’ve been thinking about moving. MOVE!  Though, not everybody at once.

That would ruin my plan.

Eating:  Lesson two for being thrifty is do not develop some random allergy to something that is in everything you eat/drink/consume.  It is a pain in the butt, and expensive to boot.  If you do however, happen to develop an intolerance for say, wheat gluten (yes, that is right, wheat gluten is in everything), then it is true that your frugal standard ramen noodles are off the menu.  However, I have some great news for you–TRADER JOE’S!!!!

Actually, even if you aren’t gluten-free, I highly recommend trekking yourself and a friend (to help you carry the goods) to either location (Union Square or Court Street, Brooklyn), especially if you are having a gathering.  The lines in the store can be ridiculous, but if you can go during the week, in the morning or mid-afternoon, its not so bad.  And the prices are ridiculous.  For the past two weeks, I have spent less than $30 on food that has lasted me a week!  Go now, make haste.  Its worth the wait. (Special note:  Frozen mini tacos. Yum.)

Library Shopping:  Finally, I want to tell you something your library is good for besides borrowing.  Buying!  Yes, it’s true, most libraries must sell their books at some point, and when they do, you can buy their books, and feel good about your hard earned cash going to a good cause.  I just stocked up on a load of 18th century poetry from the Brooklyn College Library.  One bag=five bucks.  Call your local library branch and see what they’ve got going on in the coming months.  Christmas shopping anyone?

So, last week’s mission of getting student tickets to Dr. Atomic fell through, as I will be out of town for the weekend showings and I have class for the weeknight showings.  However, if you are interested you don’t have to be a student to get cheap tickets, thanks to a gift from Met Board member Agnes Varis and her husband, Karl Leichtman.  You can get reduced tickets for any opera the day of the performance, but there is a special schedule for the remaining Dr. Atomic shows.  Go here for details.

So, for the next installment, I hope to get out and do a little reporting again for you.  Monday November 3rd, I will attend a Saloon (Not a Salon) at Georgia Sagri‘s studio in Queens, which will feature artists Blake Rayne and Kerstin Brätsch in a high noon stare down.

Saloon (Blake Rayne, Kerstin Brätsch)
Monday November 3rd 9:00 p.m.
37-06 36th Street, Third Floor, #9,
Long Island City, NY.
For more information please email [email protected]

And Tuesday November 4th, I will VOTE!  I implore you to do so as well.  It’s the thriftiest thing you can do!

Until next time.  Spend wisely!

[Scene from Doctor Atomic at The Met]

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