I feel Rotten

I’ve been so proud of myself. While friends and colleagues having been getting the awfulness that has been going around I have been healthy. Well Thursday it came crashing down.

I awoke feeling less than stellar with a terrible headache, sore throat and upset tummy. Yesterday I added chills and joint pain to the list. That’s how I broke my no-spend plan.

Today I attempted to broaden my dietary limits from tea, toast and popsicles with less than stellar results. It seems I still need soft foods. I’m too ill to cook and, as ML is working this weekend, I don’t want to add to his list.

This is where I’m grateful to Pinterest. As I was searching for no-cook food that required minimal work I came across baby purees. My parents kindly offered to do a grocery run so I asked them to pick up a few fruits so I can make some healthy purees.

It was interesting to see the simple, nutritious meals the mommy-bloggers are feeding their children. I was struck once again, by how we can overcomplicate food.

I don’t intend to make purees a meal once I can digest properly again but I’m thinking some of them will make great work snacks while helping me get my fruit and vegetable servings up.

Do you have flu-busting tips?

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Paying for the Kitchen

I don’t often share figures but this post is definitely going to be an exception! We’ve been saving for the kitchen renovation since we paid off our debt in 2016. Our original budget was $20,000, however, as we began working with our vendors and really putting together our vision for the space at the end of last year it became apparent that this project will cost roughly $30,000.

As we had already committed to completing the renovation this year we bit the bullet and opted to make use of the 18-month interest-free credit option that the store offered.

We have $17,000 saved right now and anticipate there to be $10,000 worth of work to be completed still. Since that $10,000 will not be on a deferred payment plan I will be using my savings to cover it. This means that I have $7,000 to be the $16,596 credit card bill.

I’ve modeled 3 payment scenarios:

  • Paying off the card in 12 months, which was my goal
  • Paying it off in 17 months, which is probably more realistic
  • Paying off as much as I can in 17 months and then transferring the balance to my line of credit. The interest rate on the credit card is 28%! My line of credit is much more reasonable.

 

12 months 18 months 18+ months
February  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00
March  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00
April  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00
May  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00
June  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00  $    1,383.00
July  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
August  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
September  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
October  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
November  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
December  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
January  $    1,383.00  $        807.00  $        330.00
February  $        807.00  $        330.00
March  $        807.00  $        330.00
April  $        807.00  $        330.00
May  $        807.00  $        330.00
June  $        804.00  $    2,730.00

(ML side hustle + 330)

 $  16,596.00  $  16,596.00  $  13,275.00
 $    3,321.00

Looking at these numbers, paying this off in 17 months is a bit of a stretch. I currently set aside $330/ month towards the kitchen renovation line. I think upping that to $807 in July is going to be very tough!

What I’m not showing here is that the $1,383 payments could probably extend pass June as it’s coming out of the $7,000 that I’ve already saved.  I’m going to do some fancy math here let’s see if it’ll make sense to you and future me.

Payment Savings
 $  7,000.00
February  $    1,383.00  $  5,947.00
March  $    1,383.00  $  4,894.00
April  $    1,383.00  $  3,841.00
May  $    1,383.00  $  2,788.00
June  $    1,383.00  $  1,735.00
July  $    1,383.00  $     682.00
August  $    1,012.00
September  $        330.00
October  $        330.00
November  $        330.00
December  $        330.00
January  $        330.00
February  $        330.00
March  $        330.00
April  $        330.00
May  $        330.00
June  $    2,730.00
 $  15,010.00
 $    1,586.00

This seems much more realistic and I’m sure that if I’m rather frugal I’ll be able to add a bit more to a few months so that way I don’t have $1586 moving to my line of credit.

Corporate Greed and the Frugal Family

I believe that everyone should make at least a living wage.

The government has raised the minimum wage drastically. It’s a big jump of roughly $3/hour but sadly still about $4 below a living wage.

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of fear-mongering about the ways in which this is going to hurt the people it’s meant to help and cause massive job losses. Another check in the not surprising column is that big businesses are using it squeeze their staff.

ML works in the retail industry which is notorious for this sort of nonsense. His boss has been mandated to cut staff hours by a big amount. I was a bit surprised when I heard the number and I definitely didn’t envy him the task. I think he did it in the most humane way possible: he cut just a bit of everyone’s hours. ML is now working 1/2 hour less per day.

My first reaction was joy as it’s definitely easier on us if ML finishes a bit earlier due to car sharing. Then I began to take in the economic impact on us. Due to our budgets, it isn’t an enormous inconvenience but it does mean that ML’s spending money, which was modest, to begin with, will take a hit.

We’re fortunate that this squeeze is not impacting our necessities. It does impact our savings and our ability pay off our kitchen as quickly as we’d like.

I am pleased that the wages are being increased but saddened that we have to legislate human decency.

 

 

Missy Bunny and the Rising Costs of Kibble

Image result for rabbit eating  kibble

Last night Bunny ran out of kibble. I debated just cutting her kibble this morning and giving her extra hay and greens but ML felt strongly that, as I was already out, I should pick up her kibble.

Her usual pet store is out of my way and when I arrived it was closed. They’ve got a no-name kibble, literally, it’s a plastic bag with a label on it. For this delicacy, I pay under $5. Since I was already on the hunt I went to the store that is close to our home. The kibble there is a minimum of $15.

Bunny is actually rather picky about her kibble. When her store closed a year ago for renovations it took us a long time to find a replacement she deemed worthy of her delicate digestive tract. I was examining these packages to see if the kibbles were too big, looked too much like litter or had ridiculous serving sizes. To add to all of this, I was the only person in the pet store at 8:30 pm.

I ended up purchasing the $15 kibble out of shame and the cashier advised that if Bunny refused the kibble I can return the opened package.

As I relayed this story to ML, he took a turn at inspecting the kibble. “Yeah, I think you’re right. This is the one she doesn’t eat,” he agreed.

That’s when we had to make the decision:

  • Attempt to feed her the pricey kibble knowing that if she eats it we would keep it.
  • Return the open package if she refuses to consume it and purchase her usual food
  • Return the sealed package and purchase her usual food

We’re opting to go with option 3. After work today, I’m going to her store to pick up the kibble. If they don’t have it, I’ll use option one but if it’s in stock I’ll be returning her fancy food.

I’ve struggled a bit with this decision as I feel I’m toeing the line of being cheap.  I am aware that I should have just walked out of the store rather than purchasing the kibble due to price alone. My saving grace is Bunny herself. She really is a picky eater and it happens that her appetite and my budget are in agreement.

Image from here

Attempting a 2nd No Spend Week

Last week went so well that I’m aiming to try it again. This time though it can’t be truly no spend.

This week The Goal is to spend less than $20 between Bunny and a few groceries. As we didn’t do our groceries this week ML & I once again planned our menu.

We made the chickpea tacos though the mayo bombed. I finally made a version of Woolton Pie and mushroom gravy. I had used stir fry veggies which in retrospect I should have added the potatoes and carrots.

Those 2 meals will take us until Wednesday. At that time we’re thinking of Mac n Cheese. It’s a grey, cold and dreary week so heavy comfort food feels like a great option.

I’m hopeful that my lessons over the last two weeks will help me when we opt to do groceries.

How’s your Monday?

Zero Waste Drink

I still have 6 tangerines from my shopping last week. Unfortunately, I have lost 3 so I’m determined to do something with them this weekend.

I had thought of making tangerine muffins or preserves but I’m quife tired today and I have made 3 things already.

I decided to take another look at what I can do with tangerines. I found an extremely easy recipe: a tangerine martini!

This beverage used up 4 tangerines and is quite a treat!

Keeping Strong and Not Fearing the Pantry

I decided, with ML’s help, to stay out of the grocery this weekend. When I began speaking of feeling overwhelmed by the idea of meal planning he took me through a tour of our pantry. We still have a lot of ingredients.

A taco kit led us to think of making vegetarian tacos. I found a recipe with a chickpea filling, which means I’m now using the 2 tins of chickpeas, sweet peppers, spring mix and the avocados.

The cupboard is a bit emptier. Since our kitchen is going offline in a month this is a good thing. The less food we have in the cupboards and fridge means we have less to find new homes for during the reno.

I am learning that I have a fear of empty cupboards.  Part of it is not wanting to pay retail for something I could have gotten on sale. A fear of missing out on good deals. another that I like options. I enjoy knowing that I can get inspiration from the jars, tins, boxes and bags that reside in the pantry.

ML and I have come a long way. I don’t think I give either of us enough credit when it comes to managing our pantry. I’ve spent January giving our diets a good shake and we have embraced the changes and kept each other motivated.

I’m off to try my hand at vegan mayo.

How’s your day going?

No Spend Week

The week has gone well! I didn’t give in to the temptation to purchase snacks at work because I ‘wasn’t feeling for my apple.’ More importantly, I saw two friends without spending. The first I took chocolates to from the gift closet, the second was a bit more stressful.

I hadn’t planned on giving her dinner but I couldn’t starve her. My own plan had been to have avocado toast. Filling enough for me but I knew wouldn’t be enough for her. I was really tempted to order in and claim, “Life happens!” However, the freezer saved me as I found a frozen lasagna.

I’m sitting with Bunny and we’re struggling to not do a grocery run tomorrow. We made the mistake of peeking at one of the flyers and noticed tinned beans on for $0.88! Then we saw a couple items for the freezer and a some snacks for hosting

I spent an imaginary $30 in 2 minutes. I can easily justify these purchases to myself as stocking the pantry or wait until  Sunday as it will  be a new week.

I am really tempted to take the Sunday option but the thing that is holding me back is I still have almost all the food from my last shop. In fact my tangerines haven’t been touched! I desperately need to do something with them before they turn. I may try my hand at preserving them this weekend.

ML and I are going to menu plan this weekend with what we have. If we feel we’re running low or really want a few sale items I’m going to set a strict budget for them.

How’s your spending been?

Pancakes vs Crepes

Image result for pancakes and crepes

Sunday night, I made pancakes for the first time in ages! I  followed the recipe and everything turned out lovely. As the recipe only makes a dozen small pancakes  I decided to whip up a second batch to ensure we were covered for the week.

Small problem: I got distracted and cocky. I neither measured nor mixed properly. These errors turned my bstter into crepe batter. I adore crepes but I don’t make them as they’re more time consuming  than pancakes and mine never seem to turn out quite the way I want them.

I’m beginning to suspect I just never found the right recipe. If we’re being honest, I  still don’t have it as I doubt I can recreate the recipe my mind conjured. The 17 small crepes I made are perfection!

Have you had delicious kitchen errors?

Image from here

Planning ahead for a Frugal Month

Last January I decided to join the uber-frugal month challenge with limited success. This year I’m trying again and I’ve used one of my previous successful measures to guide my task.

Here’s how I’ve assigned my spending:

Week 1 December 30-January 7 Groceries 30
Misc (fancy Starbucks for a friend ) 10
Week 2 January 8-14 Groceries 50
Eating out 50
Gas 40
Bunny 40
Misc 10
Week 3 January 15-21 Groceries 50
Misc 10
Week 4 January 22-28 Groceries 50
Misc 10
Week 5 January 29-Feb 4 Groceries 50
Misc 10
January Total 410
Anticipated Savings 150

I suspect that I can be even more frugal in regards to groceries and misc. spending, however, I don’t want to make myself feel too pinched as that always backfires. The Eating Out cost is dinner with a girlfriend that we had arranged in December.

The kitchen is looking as though it will be $10,000 more than originally anticipated we’re working on increasing our savings a great deal. With this very concrete goal I suspect that it’s going to be much easier to stick to the uber frugal month than it has been previously.