Being a geek, whose daily diet consists of comics, books, music and video games, can be challenging in these times. Especially when you only have a one, low paying job like I do. Because I have to pay rent, consume food and suffer from rising gas prices before I could sate my geeky soul with pop culture. But if you’re willing to sacrifice, you can still retain your nerdiness even if you’re a poor man.
That’s exactly what I’ve accomplished for a year now. I sacrificed some things, lived a frugal lifestyle and endured as a geek. So, on my first year as a frugal nerd, let’s take a look back at the things I’ve done in order to spend less and still remain as a pop-cult geek.
Going to the movies and buying DVD or Blu-Rays were the first things I gave up when I started living frugally. As much as I want to catch the latest flick before someone else could spoil it for me, I have to give it up. Sure, it’s only $8. But when it adds up to 4-5 movies a month, it can really put a dent in your wallet. I still watch movies from time to time though. But, for the most part, I just use Netflix’s $12 plan (one Blu-Ray out-at-a-time with unlimited streaming), and it’s been working out just fine.
No New and Hardcover Books
One of the things I’ve sacrificed is reading. If compared to last year, my read count this year is way down. I also stopped buying new and hardcover books, which were my weakness back then. Instead, if I ever wanted to read a book, I just visit sites like half.com where I can get really cheap used paperbacks. Kindle has also saved me because they offer a lot of free e-books on their site.
I also trimmed down my comic pull list to a minimum by getting rid of some titles and focused on mature, indie books that I really love. It took me a while to do this but I did it. I also found a site called DCBS, which sells comics for 40% to 50% less than the cover price. I still have to pay $6 for monthly shipping though. But, overall, I’m now spending $50 to $60 less in comic books than I did the last year.
The first thing I did when I started living frugally was search for easy recipes online. That way, I could cook for myself, pack lunch to work, and stop eating outside. I still do eat Chinese and McDonald’s. But I’m only doing that once in a blue moon. Most of the time, if I’m not able to cook, I just eat instant noodles.
When I did my groceries before, I always sneer at those super mom’s who lay out pages of coupons in front of the cashier. Now, they’re my heroes. I never thought I’d do this but bringing coupons has saved me around $10-$20 each time I do my groceries.
Like with comics and books, I also cut down on my gaming habits. I used to buy one new game every month. But, now, I only buy games once in a while and only when it’s on sale. So, in order to get my gaming fix, I turn to MMOs like RIFT and LotRO. Both of games are doing excellent work in keeping me entertained. In fact, they’re keeping me too preoccupied to the point that it has disabled me to do other things, which in turn has saved me a lot of money.
I didn’t really put a limit on my budget when it came to music before. So, I’d usually end up wasting cash on CD’s that I don’t even like. Now, after capping my music budget to $25 per month, I’ve started to put a lot of thought on an album before purchasing it. I’ll read reviews first –lots of reviews– and stream songs from the net before deciding to buy. It’s tough though. Especially when there are a lot of good music to choose from. But this practice has saved me from squandering my money on bad music.
When I set out to live this lifestyle a year ago, I never thought I would make it. I thought that I’d get a second job, or even a third, just to sustain my geeky needs. Thankfully, I didn’t. I was able to make ends meet, with one job, and still get the things that I like. I’m still far from my goal though. Because I stumble from time to time and spend on that new book or game. I’m also not saving enough money. But, hopefully, by next year, I’d be an even better frugal nerd.