When an Attempt at Frugality Backfires

I had to park for 2 hours and decided that I really didn’t want to pay $10 for that privilege. Knowing there’s free street parking for 3 hours I was pleased that I had found a way to save $10.

It was a great win until I came out to a parking ticket. I had parked too close to the nearby driveway. Now in my area this is a rare ticket given by new officers or those who are haven’t given out enough. It was a bit of a kick as parking had now cost me $40.

A friend recommended contesting the ticket as he routinely does this and gets out of them. I can’t do this, mainly because even though I know this isn’t a law that is widely enforced I may have very well broken it. I didn’t have my measuring tape with me to whip out and and measure my distance from the offending driveway.

I’ll pay the ticket and chalk it up to someone doing their job exceptionally well, even if it’s a job I don’t like.

Have you had an experience where trying to save funds have cost you more?

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One Lovely Blog Nomination

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A huge thank you to Life as I interpret it for nominating me for this award! It truly is a lovely blog about life.

I’ve pasted the rules directly from the nomination post.

Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog.

Share 7 facts or things about yourself.

Nominate 5 bloggers that you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

7 Facts About Me:

  1. I’ve recently taken up knitting again and can’t stop! I’ve already done 2 slippers, 1 pair of booties and a bow tie in less than a month.
  2. I like doing things in which I can get fairly quick satisfaction. Once I build my confidence that’s when I’m willing to take on bigger tasks/commitments. No knitted sweaters yet!
  3. I suffer from Imposter Syndrome , which is part of the reason that I started this blog. Once I get my successes on the blog I can see how far I’ve come and when I vent about doing poorly it helps me recognize when I’m actually doing poorly vs. just living.
  4. In the last few years I’ve embraced DIY culture. I’ve done my best to make sure that I’m using or can give to people who will use.
  5. I’m a mess! I want to be tidy at all times but I drop things around my home and office meaning to come back to them. I’m much better than 10 years ago and I’m making huge steps (Yay KonMari!)
  6. I always think of myself as a rule follower, however, when it comes to self-help and DIY I tend to make my own rules.
  7. I’m a list maker. I make lists for weekend tasks and then add TV and relaxing so I can cross them off 🙂

My nominees:

I’ve been so fortunate to meet some great folks since joining the Blogging community this year! These folks have some very lovely blogs and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do:

Nuttybabe at  Another Frugal Blog keeps me inspired and looking forward to her next step.

Ruby Browne speaks to my heart and has described some of my most painful experiences so clearly that I find solace.

Krista Kemp at From Food Stamps to Future is multi-talented and thoughtful.

Jncthedc at All About Healthy Choices  speaks about health care in a way that I relate to and then want to take action.

Green and Thrifty is on a similar journey and I love knowing that I’m part of a community that’s trying to be green and thrifty.

The Ways we Judge

As I was packing my lunch one morning I thought of a colleague who never packs her lunch. She doesn’t complain so I really don’t have a reason to think ,”Why doesn’t she pack her lunch.” It might be the number of people I know in positions similar to her’s who desperately want more pay or better positions and yet spend $10+ on lunches out.

I felt a bit silly judging someone for no reason so I shook myself and stopped thinking of her.

Then when she was heading out to pick up her own lunch she sent a group e-mail asking if the rest of the office wanted in. I originally said yes as the other team members had jumped in but when looking at the menu I realized nothing really appealed. I didn’t want to spend $20 on a lunch that I wouldn’t love especially when I had a perfectly good lunch in the fridge.

I went to her and said I was opting out as nothing sparked my interest, it turned out I really wanted what I brought.  That’s when I realized the ways in which she was judging me. Her first question was what I had brought, then “Are you going to eat that all week?”

I must admit my back went up!

Then I found myself reacting like an uncool kid trying to impress, “No, that’s the last of it but I’ve don’t have it for dinner every night,, in fact last night was Nachos.”

Here’s the thing with finances and life,  I waste too much energy thinking: thinking if I’ve given the right response, if I spent correctly, if I’m being frugal or cheap.

The wonderful thing with working is that you meet people who are very different from you. She enjoys having something different for lunch every day, I enjoy home cooking and prefer making meals out a treat. This doesn’t make us better or worse than the other.

The interaction made me realize I need to own my choices in my life. Yes I do like making a big meal and using the leftovers for 2-3 days! Frankly ML & I are good cooks and we only cook things we enjoy.

It also made me feel a whole lot less guilty of my morning judgement. Wondering about people and what makes them tick is natural, treating them shabbily for their choices or believing you’re on higher moral ground is wrong.

I Need Friends! (Too Desperate?)

Every so often I’d mention that I would love a site that would introduce you to people for purely platonic reasons. A lot of my friends have had huge life changes which means I see much less of them or have to book things ages in advance.

Last year I found the site! It’s called Meetup (I’ll let you google that).

Meetup is a website that has groups based on your geographical location and interest. I’ve only joined a few and through it have met a lot of people and gotten myself a few new friends.

A lot of the group events I’ve entered are free though I’ve attended a few at cafes or restaurants where there’s obviously been a cost involved.

If you’re looking for a way to meet people in your community, have a great day (or night) out, and spend little to no money find your Meetup!

A lot of our local organizations post their events on the site so I’ve gone book clubs, game nights, craft things and movies.

What do you do to have fun and meet new people?

October: Weeks 1 & 2 Down

Well I’ve been ill so the budget went out the window. However, my budget training seems to have kicked in and I’m still in good shape for the rest of the month. It really did all come out in the wash!

I spent more on eating out than anticipated but less on groceries.

I also attended a conference that wasn’t in the budget and went with a friend who loves to spend. It turns out I’m not immune to peer pressure, I ended up getting an express manicure and having drinks with her. The extra $40 wasn’t a great use of funds but neither is it something I’m beating myself up for.

Being sick meant that I wasn’t taking care of myself so my nails, which I’m usually quite proud of, were broken and chipped. In short, they were in need of a manicure. Usually I got to place close to my home when I reach this stage and spend the same amount on a full manicure.

The drinks, were also a bit of a success. Unless I’ve planned to have an alcoholic beverage at a restaurant I’ve begun passing. This is because I’ve started paying attention to the prices of bottles. I’m not at all keen to spend $8 on a glass of wine from a $15 bottle. As I’ve begun this budget journey I’ve realized that this woman doesn’t like to drink alone. If she’s having a cocktail she wants you to have one too, knowing that I enjoy a drink she’s often baffled and comments if I opt for a pop or juice.

This time I was a bit more prepared and asked for a Shirley Temple. It was a fun drink and didn’t cause the usual questions about why I’m not drinking.

I’ve only got a few friends who appear to derive great joy from their purchasing power. As I’ve begun curbing my spending I’m realizing that if I don’t match their spending they seem immediately suspicious and begin trying to push me to purchase items. When faced with this behavior I’ve no desire to disclose my financial status to these folks. Frankly what I choose to spend my money on is my business.

Sharing my financial journey with you is one thing, sharing it with someone who I don’t feel will be overly empathetic and may even feel judged is not something I want to do.

As I really do enjoy being with these folks I’m realizing I need to have a specific spending plan when I want to hang out with them.

It all Adds Up

I despise ATMs. I end up paying twice to access my own money. I have folks in my life who think my distaste is a bit overdone.

I had an experience today where I needed to get cash. Though there was an ATM in the hotel I got directions to the closest branch. I’m so glad I did! If I had opted to use the regular machine I wouldn’t have been able to get any money.

I transfer just enough money into my chequeing account to get me through the week. The additional $5 surcharge to access my money would have wiped my account balance.

By getting cash from the Branch’s machine meant not only keeping my money but being able to purchase lunch.

What are some examples in your life where small charges make a big difference?

No Countdowns so far but There’s Still Counting

Fall has not been wonderful to me. I’ve been quite sick twice since the weather has turned so I’ve ignored my budget for this month. When sick I tend to hunker down and not spend on a lot.

I do know that we had a few unexpected bumps but I strongly suspect that it will all come out in the wash.

In the meantime I got to count my blessings.

I’ve spent the last week in bed being thankful for cups of hot tea, affordable over the counter medications, the great staff at the clinic when the OTC stuff was no longer working and my health benefits that covered the prescribed  drugs.

Yesterday was my first day back to work. I’m so grateful that I get sick days and work in an environment that I can take them. I’m lucky in that I get to do something I love that challenges me but on days when I’m operating at less than 100% I can still feel competent.

I’m so thankful for my family. ML has been a saint as we switch up gender roles in our house and I suffer from a “man cold.” Our families were wonderful sending us some meals to help us through the day and still having us over even when I confessed to feeling like garbage.

You know the downside to being ill and miserable but when I stopped focusing on those pieces it turns out I have loads to be happy about.

What about you? What’s making you happy today?

Adventures in Knitting Continued

So the last time I tried traditional knitting things didn’t go as planned. Instead I discovered arm knitting. IMG_20141108_100416

That throw was the first of many that I made for Christmas. The beauty of arm knitting is that it gave me rather immediate results. Within 2 hours I could create a blanket.

The speedy Slippers aren’t as quick as the arm knitting but within 14 hours I had made these beauties!

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The great thing about this pattern is that it enabled me to make something useful quickly to build my confidence. I’m not sure how many folks are going to get slippers this Christmas as 14 hours is a large time commitment but it’s nice to know at least one person will get these.

Cost:$0 as I got the yarn and pattern gifted to me.


My Adventures in Knitting

I learnt to knit at a very young age. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience so I dropped the terrible habit as quickly as I could.

As an adult I yearn to knit beautiful things. So I dusted off my “Learn to Knit” book from childhood and remembered why I had hated it as a child. None of these beginner patterns were really for a beginner. Dolls clothing and stuffed toys are really quite advanced when one is just starting!

I’m lucky in that I have a friend who has knitted on and off for years. When she becomes interested in something she immerses herself in it. She’ll read every book and blog and watch all videos. The beauty is that she isn’t stingy in her knowledge.

Recently I confessed that I’ve never completed a project as they all seem to take a long time and I keep getting muddled. She pulled out her bin of patterns and started her search for something I could do quickly.

Speedy Slippers was the pattern she gave me. This has probably been the best exercise so far! I’ve spent at least 7 hours on them and have lost count of the number of times I’ve started over as I can’t figure out how to fix my errors. In the meantime though I discovered what some of my errors are and tricks that help me. I’m learning more muddling through this pattern than making the endless squares of my childhood.

Once I get the hang of it I’m certain they will be speedy!

Do you Knit? Any tips or tricks to guide me?

No Spend Month

I’ve read about a lot of no spend challenges and I thought I could take one on. I even signed up for a newsletter to help me with the challenge.

So far the emails have given me tips that I already know and attempt to follow. The big tip however is don’t spend on extras that you haven’t already saved for. I’ve already fallen on this one by going out for an impromptu team lunch, purchasing bake sale pans and a tray of cupcakes at an event. I was originally very skeptical of no spend challenges, mainly because of the title.

No spend is a bit of a misnomer it’s really a necessary spending plan. Necessary spending changes from person to person. This month I feel I need new boots. Need is a fairly strong word.

Will I die without it? No but I only have one pair of black winter/fall shoes. If I have more than one I won’t wear out my current pair too quickly. I also have a lot of clothing that would look much better with brown boots. Therefore it’s in the budget.

After the first week I know that a no spend challenge is not for me. As you know I tend to give myself strict limits and then feel awful if I don’t maintain them.  If I had taken the no spend challenge I would have felt terrible about the additional expenses this week.

My current weekly spending plan works for my needs. I am grateful that I explored the no spend as it highlighted that my current tool is the right one for me.