Monthly Archives: September 2007

The ink crisis!

Four days into the school year, and already I have piles of books to read and papers to write.

My printer has been bone dry for a while now, and I’ve been avoiding buying a new ink cartridge. The school library is closed today, so I can’t print my papers (for free) on their computers.

Oh, my dear co-eds. The insatiable college homework machine does not stop churning for empty inkwells!

Reluctantly, I ventured out into the rain towards Office Max, with a 10% coupon in hand.

Black inkjet cartridge for my Epson printer:

    Epson brand:            $24.99

    Office Max brand:  $21.99

Of course I chose the store brand cartridge.  Still criminally over-priced at $21.99, but better than $24.99. The coupon saved me another two dollars.

I’m sure I could have gotten it even cheaper, but poor planning will cost you big bucks every time. Shame on me.

Before heading home, I stopped for gas. The Shell station had regular unleaded for $2.74 a gallon. Still criminally over-priced, but much better than it’s been.

As I pumped liquid dollars into the tank, something horrifying occurred to me. As soon as I got home, I grabbed a calculator and did the math.

Assuming there are two fluid ounces of ink in the cartridge I’d just bought, then a gallon (128 ounces) of ink would cost $1407.36.

The ink for my printer costs 513 times the current price of gasoline.  

How is that even legal?

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Filed under college, frugal, money management, rip-offs, saving, school, wastefulness

Choose wisely

Twenty-four hours from this very moment, I’ll be sitting in my Creative Writing class.

YES! BACK TO SCHOOL!

I’m happy and excited, but also a little anxious– I’m already afraid there will be too much on my plate this semester:

~ A full course load of 16 credits

~ Homework and study

~ My personal writing/blogging

~ A work-study job on campus

~ An off-campus job

~ Care-taking duties at home

I want to really focus on my studies. That’s the most important part. This is the first time I’ve been a full-time student since 1987, and I want to succeed this time.

Financial aid will keep me physically alive, but there won’t be much left over for fun and extras. I am capable of living on very little money, so I’m not very concerned here.

The work-study job will give me a little spending money. I expect it to offer  flexible hours that won’t interfere with classes.

The off-campus job pays pretty well and features a generous employee discount on excellent products. It’s a seasonal position, which means I can make a pretty good amount of money between September and Christmas.

Unfortunately, I’m worried this job may interfere with school too much. I worked there last year, and loved it! However, I wasn’t a full-time student then. I don’t know my schedule yet, but…

Can I work until 12:30 or 1:00am… and still make it to a 9:30am class?

In the last few weeks before Christmas, it’s crazy busy there, with all the available overtime you could possibly want… and that will probably coincide with final exams.

That questionable job starts during my third week of classes, so by then I should have a good idea of how much time and energy my school work will require.I know my limits– I’m not one of those super-achievers who can work 60 hours a week, go to school full-time, and make straight A’s.

Economics is all about the choices we make: when you choose one thing, you must let another thing go. You really can’t have everything. Pursuing everything at once is a great way to make yourself crazy, sick, or both.

I choose to put my education first.  If that means I’ll need to forgo the extra cash (and generous employee discount on my Christmas shopping) in order to succeed in school… then so be it.
Will that be necessary? We’ll find out soon enough!

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Filed under frugal, goals, money management, personal finance, surviving, work

Cornbread recipe

Since I was home-bound for the past few days due to care-taking responsibilities, my poor Dashing Gentleman Caller had to somehow survive the weekend without my vivacious company.

He planned to console himself by making a huge pot of chili. Poor thing was missing me so badly he needed to drown his pain in musical fruit. Could be just a coincidence, but college football season has started, too.

Now, since you can’t really have chili without cornbread on the side, I asserted my awesomeness, and whipped up a batch for him.

Cornbread is super-simple to make, and well worth your time. I used to buy those little 35-cent Jiffy cornbread mixes, but I found a great recipe that tastes much better. Besides… with the mix, you still have to add the egg, milk and butter anyway, so I’m suspecting you’re better off just investing in some corn meal and flour!  I’ll have to analyze the actual costs (I think there are about 18 cups of flour in a 5-pound bag)….

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CORN BREAD

1 and 1/4 cups white flour

3/4 cup corn meal

4 Tablespoons sugar

5 teaspoons baking powder (yes, 5. Not a typo!)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a 9-inch pie pan (I use a Pyrex one).

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Beat the egg and milk together in a separate bowl. Add egg/milk and the melted butter to the flour mixture, and stir well.

Spread batter into the buttered pie pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

(Best cornbread I ever had!)

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My Dashing Gentleman Caller stopped by on Friday (during his beans-and-meat-buying trip) to pick up the cornbread, and showed his appreciation by buying me a six-pack of Dr. Pepper.
I love the barter system!

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Filed under baking, barter system, bartering, cheap fun, cooking, cornbread, frugal