Save and Make Money with . . . Bamboo?

Bamboo trees

With so many ways to save money, using bamboo might not be the first thing you think of. Yet, it is such an amazing resource that provides so many benefits. Not only is it one of the sturdiest materials in the world, it can go very far when it comes to saving you some money. Everything from making your own backyard bamboo farm to using it to cut down on utilities, bamboo is a product that is both multi-faceted and versatile. Read below to find new ways that bamboo can help you make and save money.

Start a Bamboo Farm

One way to make supplemental income is to start a bamboo farm. You can start a small bamboo business for only $800. Bamboo is one of the most commonly utilized plants on the planet. Over half of the world’s population use bamboo in one way or another. Bamboo is also the fastest growing plant, with the record for one plant growing 47.6 inches in one day. You can buy different types of bamboo to sell to different customers. It has thousands of uses. You should grow what sells. It is possible to make $72,000 with a quarter an acre of space.

Use Bamboo Products

One of the best ways to save money is to use bamboo products. There are plenty of products made with bamboo that will save you in specific ways. The company Seek Bamboo is a zero waste store that has products like bamboo toothbrushes that can help you save money over time. The company also manufactures non-bamboo products that will help you save money and time. For example their wool dryer balls provide a way to shorten the time it takes for you to dry your clothes, offering a natural way to soften them and get rid of static.

Another product is bamboo cutlery, which is a great alternative to plastic. Not only is bamboo biodegradable, it will last longer than single-use plastic cutlery. It is also affordable, durable, as well as stain and odor resistant. Furthermore bamboo paper products last much longer than, for example, your average paper towels. Bamboo paper products can be washed and used over and over again. This will cut down on your paper product expenses around the house.

With so many products like bamboo straws, toothbrushes, soap, and even bamboo bedding options, there is no reason to waste your money on cheap, tenuous products. Instead invest in reusable bamboo that will last a lot longer than the others.

Eat Bamboo

Bamboo is also a healthy ingredient used in cooking. It isn’t just cheap, it is hearty and good for you. While it is widely consumed across Asia, few people in the West eat bamboo. Bamboo is filling and delicious when prepared correctly. You can put it in a stir fry or, if you are really ambitious, make bamboo noodles and other products. Bamboo doesn’t typically go bad and can be stored for a very long time. It may sound wacky to suggest eating bamboo as a way to save money, but the benefits are endless. It is non-perishable, healthy, cheap, and delicious.

Bamboo & Society

Bamboo doesn’t just help individuals save money, it can be used on a much wider scale to facilitate civilization. It is a renewable resource that can be harvested in one to five years while other trees like oak take around forty years. Bamboo will help combat deforestation. It doesn’t just absorb greenhouse gases, it releases 35 percent more oxygen into the atmosphere than hardwood trees.

As mentioned above, they have an incredible growth rate. No other plant grows as fast, some species can even grow more than three feet in a day. You can also use every part of the bamboo plant in some way, making waste very low. It is as versatile as it gets. It requires no pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Bamboo protects the soil and can provide all kinds of economic development.

Bamboo is a miracle plant of sorts. It is useful and eco-friendly, growing in a wide variety of environments. You might think that bamboo is a weird way to save money, make money, and forge new opportunities to live in a more sustainable and cleaner world. But in fact it is very fitting. 

6 Ways to Decrease Your Housing Expenses

Housing is one of the single most considerable costs people face in the modern world. Many people find they can easily spend a third of their income (or even more) to pay the rent or mortgage. This can mean all kinds of budget problems. Fortunately, there are ways to bring these costs down. It’s possible to reduce the amount of money you’re spending and still get the kind of housing arrangements that offer privacy, safety, and convenience. And decreasing your living expenses can lead to an increase in your quality of life.

Option 1: Downsize to a Smaller Apartment 

If you’re a young person just starting in life, chances are you don’t need a lot of living space. The same is true of empty-nesters and people who are retired. Think about how much space you’re using right now. You might have a three-bedroom house when all you need are two bedrooms. That single additional room can cost you hundreds of dollars a month. Instead, look for smaller options. You’ll often be delighted at how much you can save by aiming for a one-bedroom or even a studio instead of something even a little bit larger. 

Option 2: Move to a Less Expensive Area 

Some areas are just more expensive than others; that’s just a fact of life. If you live in an expensive-housing area, you can shave lots of money off your housing costs by choosing to live elsewhere. Many cities have much cheaper housing options, and in the digital age, it’s often possible to work remotely. That makes it easy for people to head off to a different place and reduce the amount of money they pay in housing. You’ll save money on housing and see a brand new place at the same time. 

Option 3: Get Roommates 

Roommates are another way to reduce your housing costs. A roommate can help split your housing costs in half; multiple roommates can decrease your mortgage or rent even more. At the same time, bear in mind these arrangements can be highly complicated even if you’ve done it before. It’s a good idea to have your roommates sign an agreement before you agree to share housing. This way, you have something in writing if there are ever disputes down the line. Agreements don’t have to be complicated; you can find a roommate agreement template online and modify it to your needs.

Option 4: Airbnb

If you’re lucky enough to have a back house, mother-in-law suite, or other section of your home with a separate entrance, consider operating as a host on Airbnb. You don’t have to take in paying guests all the time; you won’t be running a rooming house. You can simply list your property on the service for just the dates you’re willing to play host, and mark it out the rest of the time. The extra money from Airbnb guests could help with your mortgage payments.

Option 5: Refinance Your Mortgage

In the last few years, mortgage interest rates have fallen by several points. If you have an older mortgage, now makes the perfect time to look into refinancing. This is a good choice if you’re planning to live in a given location for at least the next several years. There are initial fees that can run several thousand dollars. However, those fees can be rolled into the rest of the mortgage and paid off over time. In the meantime, you can benefit from reduced payments each month that still have a tax-deductible interest. Do a quick credit check and find out how much you can save. 

Option 6: Co-Living Arrangements 

Co-living arrangements where people share housing costs have become increasingly popular in recent years. These are all about living in a place with others at the same time. They can be informal or formal. If you know people who are looking for a place to live, ask them if they want to set up an arrangement for housing with you. In other instances, you’ll find specific co-housing arrangements that have already been set up by people in the area. You can often join them and share in housing expenses for vastly reduced rent.

Welcome to our Home…again

It’s about time.  Welcome to our home. If you were actually walking into my house right now I would have a great playlist on, you would smell the Capri Blue anthropology candle scent (my fave) and I would be offering you something to eat or drink (possibly a bite of the apple crisp I made today?).  But, since you are entering via cyberspace, I’ll just say….welcome 🙂

Entry Way:

Just a nice little area to display some art and picture frames.

The Dining Room:

Here is Ninja’s favorite find in the house.  This table was a Craigslist find for $250 down in San Diego.  It came with six chairs (one is used for the desk in our bedroom) and 4 leafs to make ONE GIANT TABLE.  The table itself was originally $800 from Crate and Barrel, and we found stickers on the chairs marking them at $79 from World Market.  We definitely got a deal on this.  The shelf above the black organizer was a DIY project idea from Bruce Bucks that Ninja whipped up the other day.  We are still deciding on a paint/stain color for the shelf. Suggestions?

The Kitchen:

Our landlord loved the idea of concrete countertops.  He wanted them in the main house below us, so he decided to get his contracters liscence and learn how.  Our kitchen was his guinea pig. They are super nice and pretty different. Nothing else too exciting going on in our kitchen at this point.

The Living Space:

the teal storage bench is temporarily kept here before being moved to my classroom

Ninja’s favorite piece of furniture in our house is the dining room table. My favorite piece is our white couch: the free white couch, might I add.  Everything in this room came straight out of our San Diego condo, no new pieces.

The Bedroom:

Yes, we share a full size bed. Yes, I sleep great….but don’t ask Ninja how he sleeps 🙂 This is my new West Elm bedding I got on sale and I LOVE.  Our office space for Ninja’s at-home working/blogging is shared with our bedroom.  Best thing about this room? Two windows – I love natural lighting.  This room is still a bit bare on the walls, but we’ll get there.

The $1.99 desk...can't beat it.

The Closet:

BIG upgrade from our last closet.  I love all the hanging space, and the built-in shelves.  Ninja and I got to have a say on the closet organizer/layout, but the dimensions of the closet didn’t really allow for any sort of “design”.  It fits our clothes…and we’re happy.

The Bathroom:

We can fit at least 8 times as many people in this bathroom compared to the SD condo.  Not sure why we would ever need 8 people in the bathroom…but still, it is nice to have space to move.  This bathroom also has a window….super BONUS… Especially after Ninja has been in it 😉

The Views:

All of our neighbors take great care of their yards/gardens, and we get to enjoy them as well.  I desperately want those flowers in a vase in my house…think they would notice?

Outside three of our windows we get a peek-a-boo view of Puget Sound.  This is where we get to see amazing sunsets as well.

Ninja and I are so excited about our new place.  Some upcoming projects include:

  • Painting (walls and our new shelf)
  • Hanging things in the bedroom
  • Hutch makeover (new backing/hardware)
  • Pillows recovered
  • Curtains

There are always more projects to be done, but I’m learning the lesson of being content…no matter how big the to-do list is, or what my dream design looks like.  We are so lucky to be where we are (9th best city to live in the COUNTRY) and to finally be together again.  Hope you enjoyed your tour!

What’s your favorite room in your house? What room do you desperately want to make over?

p.s.  Today is my official last day of summer so you probably won’t be hearing from me for a while.  I’m entering the world of crayons, ABC’s, and five year-olds.  Pray for me 🙂

p.p.s. If you wanted to see what our San Diego place looked like you can do so by clicking here

Guilt Free

Happy August 17th!  To some of you that means nothing. To me, it means 5 more days left of summer (unless we are basing it on Seattle weather…which means summer started about 5 days ago).  What have I been filling my time with besides relaxing vacations, catching up with Seattle area friends and family, and decorating our new place? I’m so glad you asked.  I have been experiencing GUILT FREE SPENDING.  It is almost like Christmas.  My school gave me $500 to spend on my classroom as a new teacher to the school.  HALELUJIAH! One of the most freeing aspects of this money? Ninja has no part in it (I mean this in a very loving way).

Five hundred dollars can go faster than you realize.  In efforts to implement some frugal habits I have learned from my husband, I have definitely done some research.

Garage Sales: I’m not a rummager.  If someone labels their stuff as junk, it usually loses appeal to me as well.  Last Saturday was a different story.  I scored good junk.  For only $20, I walked away with a big pile of books, puzzles, a tent, and a desk organizer.  So worth it.

Second Hand Stores: Half-Price Books is my new best friend.  I prefer this to Amazon so I don’t have 5 million shipping charges and I actually get to feel and see the condition of the book before I decide on the purchase.  The goodwill (as you remember from our too cute desk) has also surprised me.  My new teal storage bench ($1.99) for my class library is one of my favorite items this year.

Pinterest: I love Pinterest…and I began to love it even more when I discovered how many teaching ideas are cataloged.  I have gotten so many money saving ideas and tidbits from this website. 

Sunday paper sale advertisements: I have my mom and sister on my side with this one.  We all pay attention to Office Depot, Target, Walmart, and Staples ads and are sure to find the best item at the best price.  I have found folders, binders, pencil boxes, etc. all for less than $1.00 a piece.

I love shopping for my classroom and I love it even more when it doesn’t affect my own finances.  I’m so thankful for my new school and the budget and time I get to use to start the year off (last year I was hired and given one day to prepare before the kids were there).   The best part is I added up all my receipts yesterday and I have only spent $250 so far.  Maybe I’ll actually get to purchase some things off of my “wish list”, not just my “needs”. 

Do you have guilt free money set aside?  How do you spend it?  What would you use a $500 guilt-free budget on?

p.s. If you missed Ninja’s post today, check it out here.


Presale Paradise

It has come a little late…but wait no longer.  Moving is BUSY, and I have a sick Ninja at home (no post from him today) so I am finally getting to sit down and share my treasures from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  

The presale appointment for my mom, sister and me was set at 10 am.  We walked out the doors at 2:20.  It’s a little shocking to realize we spent 4 hours and 20 minutes (with a  squeezed in refuel at the Nordstrom Cafe…fav lunch place) in the store, but we left with some great finds.

I was able to get Ninja to document them…he’s a trooper even when he is sick (quite a sight to see too…he walks around the house with tissue stuck in each nostril, you learn so much when you’re married). 

This was one of my favorites.  Splurge for sure($80), but I still saved $40 from the original price.  Once I put it on, I knew I wasn’t leaving the store without it.  I’ll probably wear it with a more neutral color tank underneath…we’ll see.

(obviously wasn’t ready for this photo haha)

Two of my sisters and I got this Caslon sweater.  So cozy, and winter white cute.  Best part? Only $44 instead of $68.

I love NORTHFACE. This will be the perfect jacket for those rainy days to work. No hood, but that just means an umbrella is the perfect match. This was the most expensive purchase, but you know its going to be a long-lived item from a brand like North Face. Damage: $133 (normally $179). And I might add that Ninja loved this one because a rain coat was on my “needs” list.

Word on the street is that fur is in.  I’m not loving the white under this vest, but it’s what I can find in my tornado of a closet during moving week.  It’s by Hinge, the tag says “Designed in Seattle”….it must be my welcome home gift.  

I also got a cute tank top with buttons and lace to wear under cardigans to work- but I got tired of trying clothes on.  Ninja was in a little bit of Nordstrom shock realizing the cost of some clothing items (I stayed within budget though).  So, I decided to blow him away showing him I know how to shop a deal when I see one.  Two new pairs of shoes for under $25…TOTAL (black were $9.98 and brown were $12.98).  I know they are Target, but when they are that cheap, you just can’t say no.  Plus, they aren’t an everyday item so they won’t get worn down quickly. 

There’s a little sneak peak to my latest shopping finds.   Ninja home #2 is getting closer to completion, but we need a Hawaii trip first.   After that we’ll take you on a tour. 

WOW Drama….

How exciting was yesterday?! Lots of hot comments.  I do have to say, I did kind of love the way everyone stood up for me. 

Being married to a PF blogger, I understand that our financial life is an open book to all of you.  Therefore, our different view on finances will often come up.  To get things straight, I didn’t marry myself…and I am so thankful for that.  Ninja and I are different people, and we have different views. One viewpoint is not better than the other. Through our differences, I am able to learn so much.  This is coming from the girl who only saved after I had boughten my needs/wants for the month. Thanks to Ninja, I learned the importance of paying yourself first…yes, even before shopping. Along with learning new things about PF, I am also challenged – as illustrated by our conversation about the presale. I don’t want to be stubborn, never questioning (or bettering) the way I do things.  Ninja challenges me in a usually healthy way.

During our finance fued, my first thoughts were very similar to some of yours:

  • I work too
  • I have good judgement
  • I did fine with money before we got married (I saved myself a very comfy decorating budget the 8 months prior to combining finances 🙂 )
  • I don’t need rules and regulations.  

Did you notice how many I’s there are? As we took a break from our discussion (My hair desperately needed to be blow-dried), I had that gentle reminder that it’s not all about me.  We got married, and I promised to put the needs of NInja above my own.  Helping him provide for our household, helping him handle our finances in a way that it is responsible, and being a steward of all we have been given, is the kind of wife I want to be. Having that realization, subsided all my selfish “I deserve more” thoughts, and allowed me to come to work towards a mutual compromise.

With a better perspective, I could affirm to Ninja that I want him to feel comfortable with my spending.  I was able to understand that money spent shopping means money not put in savings.  He was able to realize that his initial communication WAS a little overbearing, and he has to be careful with how he talks with me.  As we talked it through, we fought for a solution that was less about us as individuals and more about us as a couple.  

And did you notice, it got me $100 more in my spending budget!? Yay, for compromise 🙂 I have one good husband and am so thankful.  We have different commitment levels to our savings – so what? We find a way towards a middle ground, we learn a little lesson in selflessness, and we thank the Lord that He is walking with us through it all.

I’m writing all this, and being raw with you, in hopes that you don’t feel sorry for me, or worry about our financial choices.  Married 11 months, we are still ironing out details, still learning together, and you, readers, are invited along for the ride 🙂

P.S. Nordstrom Pre-Sale Day= AMAZING.  I”ll be sharing my finds soon….


Paying to Work

I love what I do – but it is kind of a love-hate relationship with teaching.  I just finished my first year as a contracted teacher and it was a rollercoaster.  There are some things about my work that some people just don’t understand…Ninja especially.

My job costs money.  Like really, lots of it.  The costs are not ALWAYS necessary, but definitely worth each penny.  It’s a job of many titles when you teach kindergarten.  You are nanny, custodian, counselor, mommy, interior classroom designer, researcher, and of course, teacher.  I found that spending money on certain things helped with my organization, shortened certain tasks, and just made things easier.  Unfortunately, these things cost money.

In my eyes, the benefits outweigh the cost.  Ninja, on the other hand didn’t (and still doesn’t) always understand how a job can actually cost us money.  Simple things like a headphones for the computers, a book stand for my library, or even a GLADE scent plug-in made HUGE differences. Each purchase either solved a problem or made me more efficient.  Dividing my list of things to buy into “have to haves” and “wishes” and knocking out small things one at a time is our perfect compromise.

Now, starting a new school year…after a 1,200 mile move mind you…I’m on the hunt for filling my new classroom and making it ready for the 20 little crazys I will get to meet soon. Craigseasy, Pinterest, eBay, and Sunday paper ads are my new addictions.  Bookcases, rugs, books, folders, pencil boxes, bulletin boards, chart stands…the list goes ON and ON and ON.  BUT, being married to a budget nazi, I have found a need to compromise.  There are things that I want, but understand how backwards it is to pay out my pocket for my job and therefore I carefully pick out things that are worth paying for and then find them on sale.

As I’m reminded everyday, communication and compromise are the ingredients for a successful marriage.

Does your job cost you money? How much would you be willing to pay for work?  Am I crazy for doing what I do? How do you decide what to buy and what to keep wishing for?