No Spend Reaction

George takei recently posted this article to his Facebook page. I often avoid the comments section on big pages on Facebook but I delved into this one.

The article is about a London woman who did a non spend year. It’s great because she provides a clear definition about what that meant for her and also gave concrete numbers.

During her no spend year she spent $2,200 per month which allowed her to save $27,000 over the course of the year. I enjoyed the article and liked her tone. I find that sometimes FIRE folks can sound a bit abrasive and holier than thou.

While I found a few positive responses, the majority were rather jaded and generally fell into “must be nice to be rich!”

My immediate reaction was,” Good grief! I bet if you weren’t on Facebook complaining you could do something similar.” Somr other folks felt that way and replied as such.

Then I thought about it. Some of these commenters I’m sure can’t do anything like this because they are completely cash strapped.

Others had ‘wise words’ for the poor which i found harsh. I’ve never been truly poor but when we were making less we also had less time and resources to make great financial decisions. No time to do decent menu planning meant purchasing convenience food at the grocery store. Cheaper than fast food but more expensive than my current life.

then there’s those who make enough to save but don’t really see how they can. Again me but this time only about 3 years ago. Before starting this blog I knew I should be able to save but always seemed to use all my money. As I rarely was making as much as the people blogging about their savings I was apt to think, “If I made as much as them, I’d be able to save!

Now I read those blogs and articles and I’m inspired. I see a community that is sharing tips and tricks. I also can recognize ways to improve or splurges that i am truly comfortable with.Once I began blogging, I started to improve my relationship with my finances. While I wish I was able to save $27,000 in a year towards a long term goal I can’t and that’s alright.

For me it’s been about tracking my spending, getting creative with saving, guarding against lifestyle inflation and saving for treats.

I’m so glad to have found a community that has helped me grow and I’ve found bloggers who are kind and thoughtful with their lessons.

How do you feel about maibstream articles sbout frugality?

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The Problem with Boredom

“I’m bored!” The complaint of kids and bratty adults. Unfortunately, I’ve been one of those bratty adults. Unable to do a lot of the things I really want to or numb my mind in  the usual ways, for the first time in a long time I’ve been bored.

I didn’t realize how much boredom I was taking care of by catching up on Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Vampire Diaries, Murchoch Mysteries, Archer and the like! It’s a bit disturbing actually. My other time ‘waster’ is reading, I average 2 books a week. Lacking the concentration to indulge has also put me out of sorts.

With the concussion, knitting and driving have also gone out the window. Learning new skills with all my time is also not recommended as my free time is supposed to be spent resting my brain.

It turns out my life, while I adore it, isn’t very restful for my brain.

I was a little nervous about checking my budget because my solution has felt like this

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Great in the moment but not so great when those bills are gone and I can’t remember what I spent them on!

The plus side of tracking is that I can see what I spent money on. I combated boredom by eating out more than usual with ML. Since it was all healthy food I can’t be too upset at myself. In my ideal world working less hours this month, cancelling all social plans, and basically being a hermit would provide the silver lining of more savings.

While I have spent less than I budgeted, the great savings I should have seen were literally eaten.

While I was originally upset with myself (I could have gotten at least 1 small cabinet for the kitchen!)the money has gone to meals out with ML. It has been a great opportunity to date him at a time when our relationship could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

He’s been an absolute gem but I’ve been completely dependent on him. We have a division of labour that works for us that has been destroyed by my concussion. While I can, and do, manage housework I can’t take myself to appointments, get groceries, and do the numerous errands that I usually run.

I generally run my life like this:

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So having to step back and say, ” I can’t do this right now. Can you help me?” Has been a huge change. A colleague went so far to say, “You’re always doing so much. Maybe this is the universe telling you to slow the f*** down.”

Maybe, apparently I have a hard head so the universe is really driving the point home!

How has your week gone?

 

When a $300 budget gets blown

So I took my sick self on vacation.

Well to be honest, I had planned to tack on a vacation to a work trip back in December. However, with the boink that I sustained I never sat down to really plan out this early February trip properly.

I had $300 to spend on food, transportation, tokens/gifts for family members, and any miscellany items. This was for three days.Based on my local vacations that sounded reasonable. Here are a few things I should have recognized going in:

  • An exchange rate that isn’t kind
  • I wouldn’t have my car
  • This is a tourist area so everything costs a wee bit more

If that wasn’t enough, halfway through I realized there was no way my concussed self could stay as long as planned. So I bit the bullet and paid a $270 fee to change my flight. While I wasn’t thrilled with the fee my mental health thanked me. Coming home to ML early and having time to re-set from jet lag was probably the sanest thing I’ve done in ages.

Before going I made a great decision to purchase a Go City card! I paid $240 for the card and did $330 worth of activities. This was definitely a good deal. My mistake was thinking that because I had paid for the card I wouldn’t have to pay for tourist things, completely ignoring transportation costs.

Here’s what my spending actually looked like:

Cash out (snacks, gifts, cabs)  $            81
entertainment (Go City Card)  $          240
Flight Change  $          270
Meals  $          101
gifts  $            84
misc (sunglasses and snacks)  $            33
Resort fee  $            55
Transportation  $            97
 $          961

Typing this out I feel better as the $300 in spending money was not intended to include the Go City Card as I had paid for it before leaving which brings my total spending to $721. When I had originally done the math, based on pending charges, it had looked as though I had spent $1,300.

You can imagine my feelings as I saw all my hard work to stay out of debt melting away due to a vacation. I didn’t let fear or regret cloud me rather I looked at my monthly savings accounts. Only a few of them must have monthly contributions so I pulled the money allocated for the rest of them and put it in my vacation line.

Any leftover money at the end of the month will then be placed in my savings accounts rather than my fun fund.

Lesson: Remember to budget properly as vacations can be really expensive. When going to high tourist areas scout the area on Google Maps to get a feel for the cost of restaurants and the location of groceries. This is especially important when I don’t have my car.

What frugal vacation tips do you employ to keep yourself on budget?