Frugal in the City

Welcome everyone!

I hope your week has started off just as fantastically as mine!  If not, I hope I can brighten your day.  And what’s the best day brightener of all?  Saving money! At least for me it is.  I’ve lived in Greensboro for the past few years first as a student and then as fledgling young professional trying to get on my feet in this dastardly economy.

It’s funny when you get out of college, everything seems so bright and shiny and new.  That is until you fall flat on your face.  I learned quickly that college life, staying up all night, eating out all the time, hitting the clubs whenever I wanted, was an illusion that wouldn’t be following me once I walked across the stage to get my fake diploma. Even with the real thing hanging on my apartment wall I tend to believe that I’ve learned more in the past few months of being truly on my own than I ever thought possible.  Despite my full time job and cheap rent I still struggled to break even each week. I made so many costly mistakes that still make me blush with embarrassment.

Bottom line:  It sucked but I got through it.

That’s right I lived to tell the tale.  And tell I shall.

First off, in case you didn’t notice, college spoiled me like the dickens.  And I’m not talking about diamond this or diamond that.  I’m talking about some of the simplest things that I’d taken for granted.

A washer and a dryer.  As sad as that sounds I have to admit that it’s true.  While my Mom stopped doing my laundry when I was in my teens I had become used to being able to do my laundry whenever I wanted and having it cost next to nothing.  Even in the dorms my Dad always sent me back to school with a zip lock baggy full of quarters.

It wasn’t until I moved into some student apartments  that I really began to take my privilege for granted.  When I moved into my own one bedroom apartment I opted instead of getting a washer and dryer put in to have my bedroom closet be left as the biggest walk in closet I’d ever seen. It was amazing.  What wasn’t as amazing was the amount of money I had to pay after hauling my clothes down the street to the apartment communities’ club house.  First of all the dryers didn’t work very well.  It always took me twice as much to dry.  I was looking at  30 bucks a month for laundry if I got lucky.

Then I decided to go back to school while waiting to be accepted to a certain MFA program.  My time shrank significantly.  Who the hell wants to drag themselves and however many pounds of clothes half a mile away to wash them?  Not me.

So, I checked out a few wash and fold places around town and found that I’d be hurting my finances more than helping anything at this point.  Then I recalled a little place opening up on Walker Ave.  just as I was leaving school.  I had ignored it convinced at the time that was going to be far far away from Greensboro when they opened.  So, I checked them out and nearly died with relief.

University Laundromat is by far the most amazing place I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing my laundry in.  On top of that if I’m tied and don’t feel like driving anywhere I can drop my stuff off and let them have at it for an initial fee of $10 for the express laundry bag they carry and $20 after for whatever I can stuff in there. They actually have a set record of 55lbs!

Now, I do a whole months laundry for 20 bucks.  It’s ridiculous! Besides that the owners Jim and Karen Bell hold a fantastic Dinner and Laundry night every other Wednesday of the month.  Basically you can just come in and put your laundry in the washer and chow down on the pasta, salad, and fresh baked bread they provide.

Personally, I’d go for Jim’s spicy pasta.  But they make a multitude of dishes for you to try and even have some live music from time to time.  All and all I have to say that they’re place is the most comfortable laundromat I’ve ever been to.  It’s safe as well thanks to Jim working with the UNCG Police to patrol the area more after dark.

I can’t get enough of this place.  Even if I did have a washer and dryer I think I’d go with their express bag service as a treat every once and while.  It’s nice to be able to just come back to you’re apartment and put away clothes instead of mindlessly folding them after a long day of work.

Besides, Karen and Jim make for awesome company while you’re there.

On the Frugal Dining front I have to say that I have a new favorite pizzeria.  Pizzeria Italiano on Elm St. is perhaps one of the best pizza places I’ve been to  in the city. They’re faster than most places which makes it easier to come and go on your lunch break.  The service is unmatched by all of their employees and I have say I haven’t had one bad experience yet.  I’d try their “Two slices for 5.25” during the week from 11 am to 3 pm.  If they don’t have your pizza already made they’ll make you a fresh slice of whatever you want. Already I’ve stopped there a few times to make sure that it’s not just some specific member of the staff doing all the work.  Everyone there is exceptional meaning you can go anytime of the day and receive the same service.

I can’t get enough of them and hopefully you won’t be able to either.

Well, I know it’s a short post but that’s all for now.  Look out for more updates on the best ways to save money living in the city and some more of the best places to eat that won’t make your wallet burst into tears.