Reblog from Kate Saves

I haven’t shared my political views very often and with a concussion I’m less likely to make great points. My fellow Canadian, however, says it so well.

Be kind, even when frightened. I have been frightened. The colour of my skin has made certain people feel that they are better than me or deserve more than me.

That’s when it’s even more important to listen and be kind.

I am one of the many who were completely shocked by the results of the American election. I’m just a casual Canadian observer of American politics, but I totally thought my girl Hillary Clinton had it in the bag. After I went through a period of what felt like grief, I wanted to know how…

via On Privilege — Kate Saves

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Monthly Debrief:January 2017

January

TRACKING

  •  # Buy nothing days : 19 days (as of the 29th)
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 6 uses in 2017): 0
  • # times ate out/purchased take out: 6
  • # activities with loved ones: TBD
  • % over or under budget: 7% under budget (I’ll be doing some spending today so this will change a bit)

CELEBRATE:

  • Uber Frugal Month was a huge success! We spent a bit more than half the budgeted amount on groceries and I’ll be able to put a sizable chunk into my Fun Fund.
  • In spite of my injury I didn’t soothe myself with purchasing things.
  • This time last year I had 7 months to go on my consumer debt! Now the only debt I have is my mortgage. Paying it off in 10 years no longer seems like a crazy idea.
  • ML is debt free!!!!!

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

  • I was able to pay for my parents car repairs from my savings and then get reimbursed

KEEP IN MIND

  • February is going to be tough! I’ve got a conference, loads of lunches that got moved from January and I’m out of town for a chunk of it.
  • Don’t get caught up in sale hype. If you don’t need in the foreseeable future don’t buy it (Looking at you tinned veg that was ‘on sale’)
  • I probably won’t be this far under budget next month as I did cancel a lot of things this month
  • I hope to keep the spirit of uber frugal month alive in February.

OVERALL

I’m really pleased with this month’s spending! Previously illness meant ‘treating myself’ to feel good food, a new book or a game of some sort. This time it meant free audiobooks on YouTube, Bunny cuddles, and making use of all my Christmas tea.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My absence

Post Concussion Syndrome Word Cloud Concept with great terms such as brain, injury, trauma and more.

I was in a minor accident this month and was concussed. In fact, I still have symptoms which has resulted in me not being online a whole lot. It’s been an awful and wonderful experience. Awful as I experienced some terrible medical care at the local leve and a concussion is an awful thing to have! Wonderful because my work place has been fantastic,my family has been great and my family doctor is an angel.

The recovery process is slow and excruciating to someone like me who loves to have projects on the go! I feel like a child who has been grounded. I’m typing the majority of this with my eyes closed as it’s eating into my concentration. granted, I shouldn’t be typing at all. I should be resting my brain.

I will,soon. I’ve missed blogging and I’ve missed chatting with all of you. So much has happened! I ‘ve had so many  “Aha” moments through this process that I’ve been wanting to document. This is partly to share but also because I use THE blog as a way to remind myself of my life lessons. I’m less likely to re-read the journal I’m currently keeping.

I’ll leave you with one meaningful piece of information I discovered: post – concussion care is a fairly good way to live my life. THough it really does upset me I’ learning that all the things I should be doing now are things I really need to incorporate once I’m healed:

  • meditating for at least ten minutes a day
  • limiting my screen time
  • having  less caffeine and sugar (I’m currently banned these treats)
  • Drinking loads of water ( I was doing well but really need to keep it up)
  • Giving myself breaks from my desk and from tasks
  • Easing my way through my day instead of treating each day like a race

I won’t be around much for the next few weeks. I’m trying to limit my online presence to ten minutes a day. My doctor is allowing me to return to work part time as I fear that I’ll go crazy if forced to stay home. She indicated that this will slow my recovery but balance is also neccessary so if a few hours at work helps me come home and rest then she’s allowing it.

I’m grateful for that.

I hope you’re having a great January and a less adventuous start to your year!

I look forward to being back with you properly soon and catching up!

A simple 5 ingredient personal care regime

When I began to really focus on wasting less on a budget I turned to blogs for inspiration. Steph has been a great source of ideas and provides lots of motivation.

Three years ago, when I began experimenting with making my own skin care line I wish I had this list.

purplegumboots & greenpickles

The only 5 ingredients you’ll need for your zero-waste personal care regime for face, hair, and body

View original post 667 more words

Child Filled Weekend

So the fun weekend with my favourite kid was a hit!

I’m an awesome non-parent. Children who don’t try new things, pick up their toys or refuse to take a break from screen time are totally different beings in my home.

It must mean one thing: I would be the perfect parent! (Kidding!)

I do feel extra sorry parents because kids are on their best behaviour at other people’s homes. So it’s easy for us to feel as though people who attribute untidy homes or difficulty budgeting to kids are making outrageous excuses.

With the exception of groceries we spent $0. Instead we played video games, board games, read books, did some housework and cooked a tonne.

Here’s the thing, I love having my friends kids come over and hang out. It was wonderful to have someone to play with (I re-discovered my Wii!) and encourage me to relax. There’s no way I would have a friend over and not hang out with them so of course I do the same when kids come.

The benefit of my munchkin guest is that he had no interest in going to a bar, going out for breakfast or killing time at the mall to find a new game. Instead when we planned the day the goal was, “Let’s play games!”

Everything was a game: from chores to actual games. I even got a better workout in as once he realized what I was doing he wanted to join. Once he joined his energy kept me going when I would have quit.

Frankly. his boundless enthusiasm made him a much better coach than a lot of people I know. He was honestly thrilled that I was doing anything and just wanted to do things for fun.

I had a great weekend and it served as a fairly frugal reset which was wonderful. It also helped me focus on joy again and the importance of making sure my days are balanced. I’ve had an extra busy time recently and this weekened was just the vacation from my life I needed.

ML & I are still not having kids. While a weekend is fun, easy, and allowed us to feel like we would be rock star parents it is also a reminder that the life we have chosen works really well for us. The heartbreak we would be forced to endure attempting pregnancy as well as the sacrifices that we would have to make to become pregnant and once the child was born are not things we are willing to do.

I think this is the first time that I’ve had a child over in a long time and not felt a twinge of sadness when they left. It was lovely to realize that I’m truly happy with me life.

 

 

Family & Money

Based on comments my post about house and pet sitting  I was able to take some money from my parents without feeling strange. My major hangup, I realized was that I make good money and have a steady job. So while the money is nice to have it isn’t necessary. Plus since they also brought me back multiple gifts and gifts for ML, I felt we would be even. Covering my costs felt like excess and that I was taking advantage.

I left them invoices and took money for the true extras that were only incurred because I was living in their home:

  • groceries I purchased to make them a welcome home meal ($10)
  • Gas for the car ($35)
  • Parking permit that my mum needed and I picked up ($35)

I was adamant that I wasn’t going to take money for the car repair, but my  mum really felt that was unfair. So we struck a deal: if they allow ML to pay for the items he had asked them to pick up and offered to pay for, then I’ll accept car money.

Much to her annoyance I refused to tell her how much I spent to feed myself, and apparently a quick check of the pantry had her convinced that I hadn’t eaten enough of the food they left. God forbid, I confess that I brought my own wine and didn’t dip into their stash!

In my original post, I mentioned feeling a bit strange about them leaving money for me. I probably wouldn’t have reacted as well as I did to last night’s financial power struggle if it hadn’t been for a colleague, who has a daughter a bit younger than me, who shared:

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re your parents’ kid. They can still see the little girl running around and the urge to provide doesn’t go away.

That resonated with me. Suddenly I could see how insulting it would appear that your child doesn’t think you can provide them with some basics.

Thank you so much Rachel and Lauralynne for sharing your thoughts and helping me out on this!

Not so Uber Frugal Month

I began this month, really ready to tackle an Uber Frugal Month but my desire to save money and visitt with friends were definitely at opposing ends.

There have already been 2 trips with friends for lunch this month, with 3 more meals coming up. I’m laso  hosting 2 meals at my home and my favourite kid is coming for an overnight visit.

Whenever, I have a guest I try to stock things they’d like. Usually this is easy with other adults. They’ll generally eat the same food, don’t snack a whole lot but consume a tonne of coffee. With kids, it tends to be different. While adventurous in their own home they crave familiarity in other settings. They also eat way more than adults.

This morning I did a quick grocery trip to “kid friendly” my pantry. I got everything on sale but still spent $33 on kid food including:

  • Juice packs (we don’t drink juice so I want him to take the packs when he goes)
  • yogurt
  • fruits
  • sandwich meats (we tend not to stock these as we over do a good thing)
  • bread
  • granola bars ( I also picked up a pack for work)
  • chicken nuggets (we both  like them and it’ll be super easy to cook while giving him attention; also good job past me buying fries on sale last week! They were triple the price this morning)

I cheated a bit on this one and shopped at a grocery that allows me to use my credit card points. In the end this only took $3 from my grocery budget.

I haven’t checked my budget so I’m not sure where I’m sitting. I do know that purchasing those groceries are cheaper than buying a pizza for dinner, going out for breakfast, and picking up something for lunch. Since spending quality time with people I care about doing interesting things is important to me I don’t have a problem with these expenses. I’ve scrutinized my life and know that all the meals will enrich my own life as these are people I truly want to see.

How’s your spending this month?

Cars

Every so often, ML and I used to consider getting a second car. It’s been a while since we had the conversation since we were able to see how bad the cost would be for our goals.

This week was eye opening when we realized that we would be able to car share while managing two households at opposite ends of our city.

Though I must admit that the freedom of a second car has been thrilling! I can go home for lunch, leave work on time and not depend on ML for any of my activities.In fact we could live pretty separate lives.

This led me to another realization: 1 car is good for our relationship. Having a single vehicle means we carpool to and from work. This gives us a daily opportunity to have some relaxing or thoughtful time together.

It also means we need to chat about our schedules in a weekly basis. It didn’t truly click until I realized that this week I haven’t enquired about his events since I really don’t need to know. I wonder how many little details we share that we would never think to bring up if it weren’t for the car. I can guarantee ML would know a lot less about my job.

Which brings me to my final point: compromise. I talk a lot about how much I feel ML compromises because of my values. That’s a big thing! He’s embraced frugality , warmed up to composting, and even cut back on our electricity. But there are a lot of little things we do when we share a car. For example, we don’t always work the same schedule so we’ll figure out how to share the car so one person can go to work while the other runs errands or attends a separate event.

Who knew that having one vehicle could be good for our relationship?

 

 

Car Drama

I’m house and puppy sitting for my parents this week. As I’m living in their home, they’ve given me use of their vehicle.

This is wonderful as ML and I share a vehicle and managing 2 households with 1 car would have been problematic. However, it would have been possible.

I found this out when their vehicle coughed and died in an out of town gas station. We had no idea what the problem could be so we mapped out a plan.

Luckily, it was a dead battery so I’m now  enjoying my own car and the joys of a newer vehicle.

My parents, much to my mortification, were kind enough to leave me money to cover gas and any expenses(food was what they were thinking). While I appreciate the gesture, a part of me was incredulous.

I’m not about to let my parents pay for pizza because I didn’t want to cook.

There was a lot of conversation in December about giving and receiving gifts graciously. I’m struggling with this. Paying for gas and getting my own groceries won’t impact my budget at all. Therefore, I don’t want to accept the money. Even the battery cost is fine as it will come out of my savings line for the car.

I’m leaving the money in its spot for now but will need to think of how to handle the inevitable conversation when they realize I haven’t taken anything.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

All I can think is we’re a family of too proud people. No one wants to take advantage (me regarding things I can afford) or a hand out (me with groceries; them with the car).

Pantry Update

Yesterday I mentioned that I spent half my grocery budget. This was an extraordinary win since I did my groceries at lunch time and I hadn’t eaten yet.

I managed this because I had a ham bone in the freezer and the ingredients to sort of make a ham bone soup. I also had the ingredients for the mujadarrah that Laurelynne mentioned.

So why did I do groceries?

While I could have skipped the trip, I wanted to fill up on some sale items:

  • tinned tuna
  • Fries
  • Pasta sauce
  • Mushrooms (to be added to my eggs in the morning)
  • Tortillas (for my breakfasts)
  • Diced tomatoes

As I mentioned I went shopping hungry so I also purchased (on sale):

  • Vegetable lasagna (for the freezer)
  • Fish cutlets (used for a quick dinner while waiting for my ham bone soup to finish)

While I definitely didn’t stick with the Uber Frugal Month challenge of only purchasing what I’ll eat this week, the purchases will help off set later costs.

I’m fortunate that I have the space to store these items because shopping ahead, when I’m making sure to check dates and use my pantry items, definitely is cheaper than purchasing all my ingredients in one go.

This wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time this was us:

Image result for throwing away food

Now we do a weekly check of our fridge to catch anything that may be a little old and make sure we use whatever it is soon. I also do seasonal pantry checks. This means emptying out the cupboards to find what’s in there and may have been pushed to the back.

I did this a few weeks ago and was surprised by the amount of lentils we had! I also found a few items that were on my list to purchase that had been pushed around and were hiding.

Image from here