Weekly Roundup: Frugal Home Office Edition

I’ve been spending some time looking for a secret hideaway where I can get more writing done. I’ve accepted a couple freelance opportunities, in addition to my writing here at Frugal Dad, in an attempt to sprint to the finish of this debt snowball plan.  In doing so, I’m finding myself needing more and more quiet time in front of the computer.

My requirements were pretty simple.  I basically needed a small room with a door somewhere in the house.  All the bedrooms are occupied, and in the summer our garage is too hot to sit in any length of time.  I decided to squeeze into our utility/laundry room, working from a laptop on a four foot folding table.  Have computer, have pen, have scratch pad, will write for food!  I’m enjoying the bit of solitude, even if it is a bit cramped.

The Fab Five

Oversaving Does Not Lead To Happiness.  This post reminded me of my mantra to live frugal, but still have a life.  While saving money is an important part of being frugal, it is also important to find balance and spend some of your hard-earned money on a few things that bring you joy.

Frugal Ways To Get A Good Night’s Sleep.  As an insomniac (and a frugal one at that), I appreciated the tips here.  No Mt. Dews after 2:00pm? No late-night snacking?  No wonder I can’t sleep!

The Dave Ramsey Budget: Budgeting TIps for Successful Savers.  An excellent overview of the process of creating and maintaining a budget (with a Dave Ramsey spin).

When “Free” Things Aren’t Free: Beware the Hidden and Indirect Costs.  Let’s face it; nothing is really 100% free in this world.  There is inevitably some exchange for “free” goods and service, whether it be time or even future dollars.

Are You Emotionally Invested In Your Credit Card? I suspect this is why so many people rush to the defense of credit cards.  They got their first card in college.  It has a picture of their beloved dog on it.  They charged their anniversary cruise on it three years ago (and are still paying for it).  Just remember, if you are starting to feel attached to your card read through the stories (including my own) of companies dropping ten-year members for no apparent reason.  In the credit card world, loyalty is definitely not a two-way street.  (Bonus, an interesting “plasectomy” video here).

The Best Of The Rest

March Madness Money Lessons

Internet Job Boards – Wasted Effort?

Getting Off the Debt Treadmill – Stop Running In Place and Start Making Progress

Emergency Funds For Losing Your Job

How To Save Money On Camping

How To Manage Money In Your Marriage

Comments

  1. I have exactly the same set up in my average size house with no spare bedrooms or study. I have a 4 foot desk and shelving up the walls in the tiny 4 foot wide nook off my laundry. It is peaceful, next to the kitchen and has a door to shut out the noise when I need to, it is small but it is big enough for what I need.

  2. That is basically my setup as well, though if the kids aren’t home I work in the dining room. Gotta love the wireless/laptop combination! I work part of the week from home, and I’m also writing a book. The setup is far from optimal, but it’s functional enough to work for me.

  3. I’m glad you found your own space but I still can’t believe you wanted a smaller house. Where will you sit and work when you finally do get one?

    I’m not sure about you but I actually prefer working on a laptop most of the time. After four jobs in a row requiring I work at a laptop, I’m actually more used to typing on the smaller keyboard than the full size one I have at home!

  4. @DavidK: Probably look for a smaller home, but with a bonus room/sunroom, etc. Our house now has good-sized bedrooms, but no bonus areas (other than this larger-than-normal utility room I am now using). Another option may be to close in our porch area to convert to an office. I don’t want to add anything to current home if we do ultimately look to move, though.

  5. When I needed an office I had our carpenter installed an entrance to the “tall side” of the space under our stairs. The floor space there is only about 4’ wide, but it is 8’ or so in length. Since I am relatively tall I cannot stand up in most of it. However, the office equipment (file cabinets, printers…) all fit nicely on the “short side” which leaves the “tall side” for my desk.

  6. Re: Found spaces. In the past I used a 4×6 walkthru entry closet with a 4 ft long desk on the 4 ft side. It barely fit, but there was 3 ft of walking space under the window, and then shelving above the desk. This was my only farm/business office space for years. It worked because it had to. The trick was to get an old steel miliary desk with all the drawers/file spaces in it.

    Now I have a 6 x 6.5 walkin closet space with a window in it and a pocket door for my scrapbook room. Again it has a large rolltop desk in it, and floor to ceiling shelving and cupboards on both walls. I gave up my walkin closet for this, but to me it was important enough to have the separate space.

    Think vertical – and take full advantages of all the wall space.

    Walk in closets, if they have windows in them, are wonderful “found spaces” for office/desk tops, if you can bear to part with them. Another excellent space is the area under a stairwell, if you have a 2nd story or an attic space with a small stairwell.

  7. Since you say you have good sized bedrooms, is there room to put a small desk in the master bedroom? I’m sure it would be more comfortable than the laundry room.

  8. @Diane: I used to work from the same table set up in the master bedroom, but my routine of banging away at the keyboard at 4:30am (or late into the night), was not welcomed by the other occupant of the bedroom (Mrs. Frugal).

    @Rainy Day Saver: Hmmm…might be a stretch. I’ll probably stay conservative and not claim it. After all, the space is so small the savings would be negligible at best!

  9. Thanks for the link! For the longest time at our old house our computer desk/etc was in the middle of our living room kind of in the way. Thankfully at our new house we have a dedicated space in the basement for a desk/computer/etc.

    I’m sure I’ll be making use of the new netbook my wife got for her birthday as well – to blog from anywhere i want!

    Like your graphic below for cash crate! ;)

  10. Perhaps another verb besides “banging”? I totally read your response the wrong way. :-O

    Oh what I wouldn’t give for a basement. (I’m sure FD feels the same way.)

  11. @DavidK: Bad thoughts David, bad thoughts! LOL! And yes, I’d give anything for one of those full, live-in basements. Half the room could be an office and the other half a play room for the kids.

    @Bible Money Matters: Yeah, an awesome logo designer I know did the work!

  12. Did you ever read Stephen King’s “On Writing”? He speaks of his writing career beginning at a fold-up table in the laundry area of a tiny apartment. From humble beginnings . . . Good luck with the freelancing!

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