Denali Northern Expenditure

Month: September 2015

How to Save Money on Groceries (even in Alaska!)

Alaska is not a cheap place to live. It is also really hard to determine a “price point” for any item here because they can fluctuate greatly based on barges, etc. And Alaska doesn’t follow the usual, consistent grocery cycle budget-conscious shoppers in the lower 48 count on.¬†With that in mind, there are ways to cut down the costs significantly on groceries in Alaska. Here’s how we do it:

Fireweed Finance: A Seasonal Check-up

I’ve mentioned before that life in Alaska is very seasonal. The fireweed is the perfect example. In the summertime, Alaska turns purple as the fields of fireweed all over begin to bloom. The fireweed is so ubiquitous, it’s part of the culture. It’s the name of roads and businesses and used in lotions, candles, and jellies. I’ve even eaten fireweed ice cream! The flower begins to blossom at the bottom. As the summer progresses, the blossoms move up the flower until the flowers are just at the top. When all the blossoms have bloomed, the flower goes to seed in a white flurry that looks like smoke. The progress of the fireweed is closely monitored as our cultural indicator of summer. It is said that when the fireweed “burns out,” or goes to seed, summer is over.

August 2015 Plan Update

We live very seasonally in Alaska. That’s just the lifestyle. The summers are glorious, but short, so any day where the weather isn’t terrible, we’re doing something outside. Our house and garage get all kinds of messy during the summer because our bikes are always out and ready to ride, we have a million projects going on, and we’re exploring this state as much as we can.

August began with the death of my Grandfather and a trip to Oregon for the funeral. Then Mr. T’s bike got stolen. Things turned around when mid-August¬†brought a visitor to the Banks home. M, a dear friend from my youth, flew all the way from NYC to experience as much of Alaska as four days could provide. Our family drove all over, climbed glaciers, picked berries, explored gold mines, ate out, looked at furs, watched Beluga whales, hiked, used a hand-tram, and laughed a lot. It was a fabulous visit and we all had a great time.

School also started which means we now juggle trying to keep up our adventuring before winter comes while also trying to find a schedule. It’s a tricky transition, but things seem to be going fairly smoothly so far.

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