Living in Boston has been interesting so far and full of challenges. Here are some things I am working on.
It is hard to not go out a lot here because there are so many food options! According to grubhub.com, there are about 180 places that will deliver to us. We have decided that we can go out once a week and we always look for cheaper options at that restaurant; I generally get a $10 sandwich. I am also attempting to try many pizza options in Cambridge to find the best for the price. So far, Basta Pasta is it. Beauty's is close second due to slightly higher prices.
As far as groceries go, we have Shaw's and Stop and Shop. Shaw's is a 15 minute walk if I desire to do so. But, in general their prices are higher than Stop and Shop. Shaw's does have a better selection sometimes, including the only place to buy Smucker's Natural Chunky Peanut Butter (something we decided we would not void ourselves of), and a much better generic cereal selection. Generic cereal is one way I have found to reduce my grocery bill. So every couple weeks, I quickly run to Shaw's for those things. Every week I take Nolan to Stop and Shop and fill up on what ever fruits and veggies are on special that week, and replenishing staples. So we can eat relatively healthy and cheaply throughout the week. I think so far, I am averaging ~$250 month in groceries. Also, things like berries and soy milk are expensive here, so I don't buy them anymore. There is always a brand of ice cream on sale, and every few weeks Boca goes on sale, so I stock up. Brand loyalty is out the window now as we try to conserve money.
We have visited two churches here in Cambridge. Since it is the summer, many people are gone. One church has very few people coming now (maybe 20?) and has a nice feel to it. Not many young people but enough for there to be a couple kids that go downstairs during the sermon. The other church is larger with more people, and I liked the music there much better. There appeared to be more, younger people here. Neither place has felt like it could replace CGPC and we honestly have not been going every week. This is something that is missing from our lives and hopefully in August when students return, a church home may present itself. We miss our CGPC small group!!!
There are many opportunities for seeing sites in Boston! So far I have seen the JFK Library, Quincy beach, tall ships, New England Aquarium (not really a great one), walked the piers, Acadia National Park (Maine), Portland (Maine), Cape Cod, walked a lot around Cambridge and downtown Boston, walked the Freedom Trail, USS Constitution, Boston Common, walked around North End a lot, Harvard and MIT of course, and watched the 4th of July fireworks over the Charles River. Coming up will be the Science Museum, Fenway, a boat ride, Boston Harbor Islands State park, and I am sure many more things. I will take suggestions from those who have lived in the area!
Due to not being able to find daycare, I am not working and am staying home with Nolan. This is fun, hard, and rewarding. I have not yet decided if I will work when daycare becomes available. There are plenty of good, high paying job options for my field if I choose, but staying home is also fun and we are considering our time in Boston as a chance to try new things. So while it would be nice to have some income for our extremely expensive rent and not live off of and clean out savings, we will take it one step at a time. Selling our house last week has made this decision much easier (Yay by the way).
It is hard to be a stay-at-home dad. The few people with kids near Nolan's age we have met are all women; this is fine, except that it is hard to really become friends with them. Maybe I need to just give it more time as they are all very nice. As Nolan is still nursing, this makes being dependent on mom another complication that stay-at-home moms do not have to worry about. He gets cranky for milk sometimes, and I take him to MIT every day to eat with mom.
Luckily, the program that Kacey is in is partially sponsored by partner companies; so she is getting a top 5 MBA program degree for not too much money. But as I am not working, we are living off of savings. Technically, this is what savings are for, but it would be nice for it to not all go away. Hopefully, Kacey can find a few scholarships, but we will also need a school loan. Most of the loan will go towards rent; while sad, it is part of the college expense, especially in this city. We are finding ways to reduce the money we spend yet still enjoy living. We will constantly learn how to do this. We are limiting ourselves to going out to eat once a week; and even then we try to do it cheaply. I now review grocery store circulars before going shopping. I review the web for coupons, but there are very few things we buy that have coupons available. We save maybe a few dollars a month with coupons and that is it. I look for free things and discounts. A Charlie Card gets you discounts on many things around Boston. Also, there is a company sponsoring different free events every Friday throughout the summer. We have utilized a few and hope to do a few more. I welcome any other tips you have out there.
If I keep trying to think of more things to write about, I will never publish this post. Hopefully now going forward I can write things as I think of them and not bottle them all up for a monthly post.