Debriefing March 2016


  •  # Buy nothing days : 14 days (really surprised considering the spending)
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 8 uses in 2016): 2
  • # times used champagne saucers (aiming for 7 uses in 2016): 3+0=3
  • # times ate out: 20
  • # activities with friends/family: 18
  • # months until home improvement fund: 5 months
  • % over or under budget: 11%over budget (deep breathing!)
  • % consumer debt paid off: 26% for a total of 78% of the debt being paid since August.


  • Not being angry by the fact that we went over budget.
  • I’ve been good at submitting my nsurance claims and the company’s turn around is great!


  • Used my car savings, gift savings, fun fund (for wine tour ticket)
  • ML has been saving for a computer for us and we decided to purchase though he hadn’t received the final payment to afford the computer. My savings accounts were able to fill these gaps for us


  • We spent double our budget on eating out.
  • Gifts! Gifts were an expensive cost.
  • This month was a dip in the road of budget planning not a hole, so I can keep driving along
  • I’m a bit nervous about next month as I’ve had to increase my savings substantially to accommodate being able to attend a wedding in May


I’m impressed at how far I’ve come. I don’t like that I overspent, as it means that next month there’s less money for debt repayment, but I’m not beating myself up about it.

I think this has to do with the fact that the spending wasn’t mindless. Yes we ate out but each meal was memorable for some reason e.g. birthday celebration, good visit with friend/family.


Image courtesy of arztsamui at

Unexpected Break and Gift Giving

It turns out that after taking a week off I needed another week to ease back into working which meant that by the time I got home I had no desire to blog. I’m so glad to be back!


I currently put $100 a month into my gift giving line because I honestly thought it would cover Christmas and the family birthdays. That means that I’ve put $300 in it so far and it’s almost empty. Which begs the question: how can I feel that I’m being cheap when it comes to gift giving yet spend ~$80/month on them?

There are two things at play here:

  1. I know more people than I think I do, people with whom I want to celebrate
  2. I don’t have a good sense of how much I actually spend on a gift

So far I have spent money on a friend’s birthday, child’s birthday, wedding token for a colleague, ML’s Christmas gift (late), Easter tokens for my parents, and began buying a friend’s wedding present. Only 3 of those items had been planned for.The rest were cases where we were invited to a party and wanted to celebrate with the person.

I think I’m going to have to do a better job of stocking the gift closet and keeping an eye on the items in there so I can easily and frugally provide meaningful presents for pop-up events.

I tend to think that I spend $20 on gifts/person yet that’s clearly not true. In reality I spend between $20-50 on birthdays and anniversaries and $100-$200 on weddings and baby showers. Though I’m tempted to increase the amount I put into my gift line I won’t because the increase may  mean that I tighten too much and end up overspending any way.

I had done a lot of crafts for Christmas gift giving and it was a fun thing for me to and also ensured that people got personal gifts.This week I began knitting again and noticed that I could easily add to my knitting repertoire and gift closet concurrently. I just need to remember that the value of the gift is much more than the yarn! For example, I’m knitting my dad indoor boots for Father’s Day. I found a pattern I loved and began doing it. Except that the pattern did not look at all like the photo so I had to rip out all the stitches (4 hours of work), write my own pattern, and knit the pattern (another 4 hours). That’s 8 hours spent on knitting a single boot!

I am going to continue to track my gift spending this year so I will hopefully have a better idea of how much should go into this line.

What does gift giving look like in your home?

Vacation Lessons

I’m so glad I took last week with ML. Filling up the emotional bank account with good stuff has definitely been great.

ML and I  have different interests and due to our work schedules we often take separate vacations. When we do take vacation together we often have big plans: renovations, road trips, etc. It was nice to spend time together yet apart.

We did things together but also enjoyed our own interests in different rooms. It was a bit of a relief to find out we could do it without one of us feeling neglected.

It was a great lesson! Here are a few more to help me maintain my calm:

  • Reinstitute morning tea with Bunny. The one on one cuddles does us both a world of good
  • I’ve got loads of things that relax me; aim to do more than binge watch Netflix with ML on an evening
  • The doodling helped me in a way that lists don’t… Maybe add it to my work format
  • I’m going to keep up the doodling journal but maybe adjust it to weekly “bank deposits” rather than the daily ones I’ve been posting

Here’s to a great week back at work!

Thanks so much for all your tips and encouragement!

Friday Flow

Today felt like the last day of vacation as the weekend seems like a slow slide to back to work.

It was a good mix of errands and relaxation. We planned our menu for the Sunday lunch we’re hosting for friends, meals for the beginning of the week and the items we’re taking to our families for Easter celebrations.

The Bunny has her own room in our home and as she doesn’t have a healthy respect for other’s personal property we just keep her in that room. As we’ve been spending loads of time with her and tidying up a lot today we brought her to the basement for playtime.


It took her a while to warm upbut once she did she was in heaven, in the photo she’s just gotten back into her cage. After 2 hours of exploring I packed her back up and took her to her room. The goal is to keep this up so she could spend more time with us while we are in different rooms.


Budget: over budget by $35. Not great but if I can manage to stop spending it’ll be alright as I can use the fun fund. In spite of being over budget I’m feeling good because I hadn’t planned on taking this week off and spend as much in eating out. Having neither of us cook a whole lot this week was lovely!

To be honest I ate out way more than anticipated the entire month. It’s had an impact on my budget and waistline. So my aim is to stop eating out for the rest of the month and make healthier choices at home.

Thursday: family and friends

We both stayed in bed until at least 10 so I got a bit nervous I wouldn’t get enough relaxation in. Not true! The only thing I didn’t do was have a proper bit of exercise.

We got to see both our families for short periods and went out with friends of ML to try a new sushi place in town.

The roughest part of the weekend, I find, is doing laundry and groceries. Almost all the laundry was finished on Thursday night and we’re going to do menu planning and groceries today.

Hopefully this leaves the weekend completely free for the two social items on our calendar.


How are you feeling as your week comes to a close?

Thank Goodness for Savings

Yesterday I spent 3 hours in the car and was doing highway driving. I was a bit concerned that every time I started to slow on the highway the steering column began to shake.

I am due for an oil change so instead of waiting to the weekend I called my mechanic and he took a look at it. My $30 oil change is now a $730 oil change and brake job.

Even with my over saving for the early March stuff I didn’t have that money in my car fund. On top of that I just emptied my “Life Happens” account to help ML buy a new computer.

To make up the difference I dipped into a savings line I have in the event that I owe taxes.

I haven’t had to dip this deeply into savings for a while and I was a bit scared that seeing 2 savings lines be at $0,plus dipping into 2 more, would make me feel awful. Instead, I feel powerful!

I had enough money between all my accounts to cover the big cost of the car and loan ML money for a new gaming computer. A year ago this may have set me back and at the end of the day I wouldn’t have known if the savings, LOC, or both had paid for these.

I may be a bit over budget this month but I can guarantee that it would be from not saying no to myself rather than unexpected costs.

Bonus: not being able to drive took choice away so it’s been a couch surfing, Karaoke with Bunny, cuddles with ML kind of day.

Tuesday or the Day of the Drive

Yesterday felt busy and quick. A lot of it had to do with the fact my doctor is about an hour away. Unfortunately there were accidents when I was going and returning.

I was insanely proud of myself for packing music and sandwiches so I had fun on my solo trip. I also took books, the bit cut out in my daily doodle, it was a good idea since I got there early and they didn’t have any magazines.

I did attempt to dye my hair yesterday but it only sort of took, which is to be expected since I didn’t bleach my hair. I’m tempted to buy another tube of pink but will probably do that next budget.


Budget: I took Bunny to her vet to get her nails trimmed. Though it’s something we could technically do at home, it’s such a miserable experience for both. It’s worth the $15.

After recovering from the surprise trip, she generously forgave me and we spent some time watching Netflix 🙂

Monday: National Pi Day

Can you guess what we did yesterday? In honor of it being national Pi Day and Napping day we did both!

I’m loving the doodling! Telling myself that it’s just for fun has made it so that I’m not pressuring or second guessing myself.


Budget: we did a small grocery run that was about $30.

Vacation:The beginning

I’ve found if I don’t make a list I’ll come to the end of a day (or vacation) and think, “I’ve done nothing! I’ve wasted it!”

To combat this I’ve begun this vacation by doodling my activities. Anything with a little clock sketch is an appointment of some kind.

I was at a conference Saturday so this really reflects Saturday night and all day Sunday.


Budget update: Not off to a great start since I overspent by $110 as of Saturday. $30 was on fast food and the other $70 was on hair stuff (2 hair colours, deep conditioner, fake bangs, and bright pink extensions).

No regrets on the fast food as it was a treat to kick off the vacation and has kept me fed for nearly 2 days.The hair stuff is all experimental. The bangs are too light and the extensions need to be played with. Even if it’s a complete waste my mum and I are going to hang out on Wednesday to dye my hair and play with the extensions so I’m not feeling too badly about it. Also if I’m conservative for the rest of the month the damage shouldn’t be too great.

Today has been great and I’m feeling fairly relaxed.

How’s your Monday been?


Nothing to wear

I was packing away my laundry this weekend and suddenly felt like I didn’t have a single interesting thing to wear. In fact I felt that I had worn every piece of clothing multiple times and must look like I don’t have a good selection

The itch for a new look took hold and though I tried to fight, I didn’t last long. In the past this would have meant a visit to a store to get a few key pieces to enhance my look. Since I attempted Project 33 last month, this time it meant a trip to my basement to find a few pieces to add.

I found 10 tops that excited me and tried them on. Two immediately went into the donate bin as they were rather unflattering. Faced with 8 new pieces I turned to the items that were in the wardrobe and removed 8 pieces that just weren’t as exciting this time around. These were pieces that for whatever reason I felt I was wearing too often.

Since beginning Project 33 I’ve been tracking the items I’ve worn to work. Remember that I said I felt I had worn everything multiple times and had nothing new to add? Turns out this is a case where feelings and reality differ. Here’s what really happened (the number is the number of times I’ve worn the item in the last 24 working days):

  • 5 grey snap pants
  • 4 black pants
  • 4 grey pants
  • 3 brown pants
  • 3 Aztec sweater
  • 3 black shrug
  • 3 blue camisole
  • 3 teal camisole
  • 3 purple sweater
  • 2 black camisole
  • 2 black sweater
  • 2 green and black top
  • 2 grey top
  • 2 grey dress
  • 2 orange dress
  • 2 pink and black sweater
  • 2 purple top
  • 2 striped top
  • 1 pink top
  • 1 tan camisole
  • 1 teal top
  • 1 white sweater

Though the numbers clearly show that I haven’t been over wearing these 22 pieces I obviously felt differently. The beauty of Project 33 is that this time I was able to gain the satisfaction of shopping, including browsing, without leaving my home or spending a dime.

Those 8 pieces I swapped? I’ve put them in an empty bin in my basement so when next I go ‘shopping’ I won’t dip into them first. My hope is that I will end up wearing a greater selection of my clothes and combat wardrobe boredom.