Choices and Shame

I’ve been avoiding my budget and, therefore, blogging in June.  I’ve been shopping and I know that I haven’t been making great frugal choices.

shop

It also doesn’t help that ML has been doing a great deal of the shopping so I don’t have a record in my own bank account of things that I have purchased. I currently owe him about $500.

Here’s how it breaks down, I think:

  • Skin care (more on that later) $300
  • Shoes $50
  • Groceries $70
  • Bunny $40
  • Gas $40

We decided he’d shoot me a bill this weekend so I can have a breakdown in my budget and reimburse him.

The skin care line is what has been shame inducing for me. I tend to be a drugstore girl, I’ll purchase Oil of Olay or Clean & Clear when it’s on sale. Now that I’m getting older I’m seeing that those who pamper their skin have better results in general. I’m currently battling mild acne, acne scarring, and wrinkles!

I also am a woman of colour in a city in which the drugstore clerks try to ‘whiten me’ by selling me foundations that are a shade or two lighter than my skin. To get my colour I need to mix 2 foundations. If one of my colours isn’t in it’s a trial and error adventure as not all stores will offer samples on the less expensive lines.

I wanted to purchase products that are made for my multiple needs, skin colour and were not tested on animals.

So this time I decided to head to Sephora, I often avoid Sephora because their products are great but much more expensive than my usual fare. Thank goodness ML went with me and was able to hold my hand through the process. The woman who helped me was wonderful and did the exact opposite of what I expected: she told me to purchase less things than I anticipated.

She refused to let me purchase a toner, extra moisturizer, eye cream, anti-wrinkle serum, concealer, and scar correcter.  Instead she worked with me to get two moisturizers (day & night) that would address different concerns, cleanser, acne serum and a foundation in my colour. I also purchased the foundation brush she was using as my current brush would waste the expensive product. This purchase in a drugstore may cost me $100.

While thrilled with my purchases I began to feel vain and spend-thrifty immediately. How can I claim to be frugal but throw down $300 on things that no one would even see? I don’t have an answer to that.

Do the products work? Yes! I just went through a week that often sees me having multiple breakouts all over my face and instead I just had 2 small blemishes. Using just 1 foundation has made a huge difference! I’m no longer leaving splotches of foundation on everything that touches my face and I don’t feel like my skin is completely hidden.

I am going to track how long it takes for these products to finish. I purchased them mid-June and with a shelf life of 12 months I’m hoping that based on the amounts they last for at least 7 months. If they do, the monthly breakdown would mean that I would have spent ~$40 per month on them which is the amount I allocate monthly to ‘fashion’ items.

The goal has always been to spend money on things that matter to me. Being able to purchase from a skincare line that does not test on animals is extremely important to me and now that I have the money to do so I am happy with this purchase.

Are there things you purchase that feel exorbitant but worth it?

 

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

May 2017 Debrief

May

TRACKING

  •  # Buy nothing days : 9
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 6 uses in 2017): 0 – I suspect this will be pulled out in the summer
  • # times ate out/purchased take out: 11
  • # activities with loved ones: 18
  • $ saved at Costco: $52
  • % over or under budget: 3.5% over budget

CELEBRATE:

  • I had budgeted $300 for my gardening (including materials) and it came to $222
  • I spent a lot of time with people I care about this month

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

  • Car line was used to replace the muffler
  • Life Happens line was used for the gardening supplies
  • Gifts was used for birthday presents

KEEP IN MIND

June is traditionally one of the months that I just fly over budget.  While I have a decent plan I need to be forgiving next month as I realize that I have tightened my purse strings from what it was.

We’re also increasing the amount of hosting we do, though a lot of this will be covered by ML some will come from our grocery line.

OVERALL

This is month 2 of the tighter budget and though I’m still over I’m getting better each month. Our savings really came in handy and helped us

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kitchen Savings Update

In the middle of my post yesterday I decided to see how the kitchen fund is doing. I had written a pep talk on the realism of kitchen goal in March.

Goal Savings
 $20,000.00
Kitchen  $2,231.00
Home  Renovation  $2,184.00
Sky is Falling  $4,900.00
Total Savings  $9,315.00
New Goal  $10,685.00

That’s really exciting! I’ve been saving for quite some time in these accounts so I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve saved $10G in less than a year. Though all the power to you if you can do that!

With 10 more months to go this means that I’m aiming at saving $1,000 in my kitchen fund. I’ve picked up a small side hustle that should bring in some money that can be put there. ML’s got one that will most likely contribute $4,000.

This bring my goal of $1,000/month down to $700/month. While still a bit of a stretch this feels more realistic. I’ve gone from talking about a new kitchen to really feeling like this could be our reality!

Anticipated hiccups:

  • Hosting friends for 2 weeks in August
  • Multiple summer weddings (showers, gifts, travel, hotel)
  • Christmas spending (we always use our buffer here)

I can’t do a whole lot about those but it helps to remember them so I’m not thrown when they occur. This year I’ve been please with how frugal we’ve been.

Here’s to the kitchen becoming a reality!

When Dreams meet Reality

I’ve been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat!  It’s filled with amazing beats, good advice and American History so there’s lots to love. There’s one lyric that makes me think of life after debt:

aaron burr

This has been our life this year! Getting out of debt was our brand new beginning. We were going to do lots:

  • Accelerate mortgage payments
  • update the house
  • get a new kitchen
  • save for a new car
  • build our emergency fund
  • go on a vacation

All of those are great goals but let’s be honest they’re not going to happen at the same time. Once we both got debt free we really had to face reality and figure out what it is we really wanted to do.

While most of our money is going towards the kitchen we are trying to work on the other points as well. This has ended up with me feeling as though I don’t have enough. I know it’s ridiculous so when I heard that line I finally had an explanation!

When I began this blog I thought it would take me 30 months to repay my own debt. I hadn’t even considered helping ML. In less than 2 years we were both consumer debt free. That’s an awesome achievement!  However,I hadn’t emotionally prepared myself for a realistic life after debt.

This year has been a year of learning how to set realistic goals again. It’s also realizing that I still choose not to have money for certain things. Maintaining my consumer debt free life and achieving my goals means that I still have to make choices.

I don’t think I had really anticipated that. Somehow in my dreams debt free meant that I could have my cake, eat it in one sitting and not have a tummy ache. Definitely a fantasy!

The reality is that maintaining a debt free life has been very similar to living with debt. This time instead of me paying the bank with interest, I’ve been paying myself and getting interest.

Which is a pretty awesome way to live. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to redistribute my debt payment so that I can fund my new start.

 

Home Insurance

At the beginning of May I got my home insurance billing notice. It’s a big number  but I’ve been socking away a bit each month for it.

Tiny problem: I under-saved.

Yep, completely did my math wrong and I’m now $180 short of what I need to pay up next month.

I was surprised at how upset I was by this hiccup. It wasn’t so long ago that I was forgetting that this would be due and putting the entire  amount on my credit card. An extra $180 is much more realistic! I can re-arrange my finances so that it won’t affect my budget numbers.

Next step: up my budget as of July in this budget line and remember that I have 11 months to save not 12!

April Week 2

I was awesome this week! I only spent on two things:

  • Groceries
  • A package of markers for me

I did go slightly over board on groceries as I purchased deeply discounted steaks and a pork loin instead of picking one. I’m not regretting it as I’m once again building our pantry and we’re menu planning. This week we’re making Mexican Rice and shrimp pasta

The markers were a definite splurge but I couldn’t resist them as I have a few adult colouring books but most of my markers have dried up. I’m considering it a mental break cost and giving it to myself.

The rough part of this month is that when my internet/phone bill came in much lower than budgeted in March I didn’t clue in to the fact that this meant that costs had been pushed over to April. So that bill is $70 more than budgeted.

Where does this leave me? In a tight spot but it just means reminding myself of the difference between wants and needs.

How did your week go?

April Week 1

I tend to reconcile my budget weekly to ensure that I don’t forget why I was spending but once my finances got under control I stopped posting weekly. As I’m trying to be uber frugal I’ve decided to revisit this habit as it’s a great way to keep me on track.

The first week of April has been crazy!

I’ve spent a lot of money but I’ve also done a lot of things:

  • hosted sleepover
  • Went to a museum
  • Went to a play
  • Lunch with a friend
  • Breakfast with another
  • Celebrated 2 birthdays

I’m still on track to be on/under budget but I do need to pay special attention to:

  • eating out: I’ve got one more date and that’s going to have to be it
  • entertainment: nothing is planned but I’ve only got a a little bit left in this line
  • groceries: I’m on track but need to be cognizant of my spending so menu planning is key

How’s your week been?

Change and Rebirth

I recently returned to work full time. It is wonderful but exhausting and I realize I’m not the person I was before the concussion.

That woman couldn’t wait to have lunch with friends, enjoyed staying an extra thirty minutes to finish tasks, and was patient. The person I am now craves that hour alone to read or nap, is ready for the end of the day, and is much quicker to snap at any mild inconvenience.

Needless to say I’ve been in a foul mood for the last few weeks as I’m not me yet. Last night I had a bit of a revelation: that woman is gone. She needs to be mourned and acknowledged but I need to stop trying to be her. Instead I need to tune in to the current me.

This person has some great qualities, she:

  • enjoys long walks
  • doesn’t binge watch Netflix
  • Takes her time to cook
  • goes to be early
  • doesn’t drink nearly as much ( I didn’t drink a lot previously, under the recommended amount for women but I’m now a one glass of wine a week gal)
  • significantly cut sugar (no more dessert for lunch)
  • is not addicted to caffeine
  • Still reads like crazy

I haven’t blogged a lot since getting hit and I wondered if this was another interest I had lost, if my mind just was not letting me focus. I don’t think so. I think blogging is harder for me now as I no longer want to be near a screen as much.

While I haven’t been posting, I’ve been reading. It takes me longer to formulate my thoughts, which in turn make me feel like I’ve missed a window to jump into a conversation. I will return to blogging but I suspect I’ll make it a weekly post for a while as I slowly get my feet back under me.

The concussion was hard, not as bad as some but worse than others, and it definitely changed me. Some of that change was immediately good, while other pieces need to be accepted. This is how I feel:

giphy

Which is much more powerful than waiting to return to the person I was.

Photo from here.

 

 

Monthly Debrief: March 2017

I’m a bit late reviewing my month and though it spent like I was spending lots I feel I did pretty well.

 

TRACKING

  •  # Buy nothing days : 16
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 6 uses in 2017): 0 – I suspect this will be pulled out in the summer
  • # times ate out/purchased take out: 8
  • # activities with loved ones: 12
  • $ saved at Costco: $39.00
  • % over or under budget: 5% over budget

CELEBRATE:

  • We were very responsible with our first trip to Costco
  • We did really well on our pantry challenge

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

  • No savings were dipped in for this month

KEEP IN MIND

  • This was the first month on my new, tighter budget. So while I was over budget, I still spent  less than last month. This challenge is going to be a frugal reset for me and will hopefully result in me putting more money towards the kitchen reno.

OVERALL

Job well done, though I really need to bring that eating out line under control. Part of the cost is that ML and I are going out together more right now so I pay for both of us which inflates the amount spent. Since it’s something I enjoy doing with him, it means that I need to be selective about who I go out with and where we go if I want to have at least one nice meal out a month with him.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Meal Planning Check In

Image result for lots of meals

I was really pleased with me for taking the time to find 11 recipes that I could make using my pantry items. Great idea but how did it go?

What we ate:

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole I adjusted this to suit my timeline.This took us from March 10 -12th

Mexican Rice Casserole  After a heavy chicken and potato dish we went for something loaded with our veggies. This took us from the 12th – 14th

 Pasta with Vienna Sausages This turned out surprisingly well since I crushed the rigatone. I added vegetables that I thought may not make it to this one.

One pan Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Cheese The broccoli had turned by the time I got to this dish but we did a good job using what we had.

 Lentil sloppy joes These were as good as we remembered!

Meal #6 Chicken Tacos  We mixed in some of the lentil sloppy joe with the chicken for a fuller taco.

Meals we didn’t end up making:

 Chana Masala and rice

 Roast chicken with potatoes (and later sweet & spicy sweet potatoes)

Roasted duck with red beans and rice

 Mexican Rice Casserole

 Tuna patties

Leg of lamb with roasted potatoes and bean salad

 

Eating Out

I’m guilty of eating out. I had eaten my lunch too early one day and got a second one, while another day I was the only one in the office who had brought lunch so we did a team lunch. My lunch became dinner that day.

ML had a craving which he fulfilled by purchasing fish cutlets from the grocery store and making our own filet o’fish sandwiches. His $8 was defintiely well spent!

We also invited some friends over, as I had canceled on them when I had my accident, but they don’t eat lamb or duck and we wanted something fancier than chicken. So we ended up making this great stuffed pork loin that not only fed our guests but kept us fed for an entire week.

Next Step

It was a great way to use what we had in the pantry and save money in the grocery but our pantry is looking quite bare.  We took our time last night and selected three meals and ML got our groceries for less than the anticipated $50.

I’m not sure when next I’ll indulge in a pantry clean out but it was definitely fun and informative.

Image from here