Word of 2019: Kindness

Image result for kindness quote

In 2017 I began the tradition of having a Word of the Year. This month the word Kindness has been rattling around. I’ve found myself struggling with being kind to myself and this has bled over into thinking rather uncharitably of others.

I’ve been doing a lot of interview prep so I’ve been looking at SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and trackable. Kindness on the surface doesn’t really appear to be something that fits into this but I was undaunted! I decided to break it down into categories.

My Health

  • Being diligent about taking care of my skin. This is includes removing all make up and applying daytime/nightime lotions as well as not skipping the moisturizer after a shower or washing my hands.
    • I’ve re-arranged my bathroom so my skincare items are always out; put hand lotions beside the sinks and purchased a desk version and purse version
  • Return to a work out routine
    • I’m starting slowly with 1  day of scheduled class and 20 minutes of movement (yoga, dance, elliptical)
  • 8 cups of water a day
    • I struggle with this when it’s cold but I’m starting my day with a glass and then I have a beautiful carafe for the office that has helpe dme a great deal
  • More vegetables and fruit
    • We’ve been busy and lazy so my aim is to intentionally eat 5 servings a day

My mind

  • Continue to work on the budget
    • This gives me peace of mind and has been a fantastic way to see my own growth while allowing me to do fairly consistent value checks
  • Write 4 posts a month
    • I have missed blogging but I feel as if I don’t have a lot to say. It’s such a strange thing as I love just reading other people’s experiences so why do I tell myself htat my own life is less valid.
  • Explore applying for my Masters
    • This has been on my mind for a bit but I’m not quite sure which area I’d like to focus on
  • If we get rabbits, train them to do simple tricks and work on agility
    • This would be great for all of us. The rabbits will get the mental stimulation they need and I will have new skill

Self Care

  • Listen to myself
  • Speak kindly to myself – write one good think you did today
  • Continue to explore my spirituality – meditate in some form once per day

Others

  • Give people the benefit of the doubt by recognizing their own struggle
    • 3 kind thoughts for every one negative
  • Record how I may have positively impacted someone’s day
    • Today so far I have wished someone happy birthday and participated in a fundraiser
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Snapshot of 2018

I don’t give myself enough credit for doing good things and it was pretty obvious when I was wallowing in self-pity because I’m starting the year in the red. Let’s start with the bad news: I owe $4,000 on my line of credit.

It’s a big number but I’m working on getting some reimbursements for a trip ($700) and a medical expense ($400). We had also over-saved for the Kitchen so the additional $1,000 will be put immediately on the card. That should bring the debt down to $1,900.

Not amazing but not as terrifying as $4,000.

Now for some good news! When looking at my BHAG2018 I definitely rocked it!

Kitchen

After years of wanting to change our kitchen and attempting to save for the enormous expense we did it! We saved a great deal but we also made use of the (no interest for 18 months) store credit card. I know that my aggressive desire to pay off this debt led me astray as I didn’t adjust my spending enough. Though we don’t have to pay off the Kitchen until October, we’ll own our kitchen by the end of January.

Anniversary Party

We had always planned on throwing ourselves a reception do-over for our  10th anniversary. It was the research into that affair that led us to renovate our kitchen. We were not willing to spend $20,000 on one night to celebrate with friends and family! We did, however, through a fantastic party for $2,300 at our home over the summer. It may still seem like a lot but I tracked all our spending (invitations, decor, furniture rentals, cutlery, bar items and food) so I am confident that it was quite reasonable.

Emergency Trip Home

My grandmother was suddenly rushed to the hospital in November and love had me making arrangements  to fly home for a few days. Luckily my mum and I split the cost of the trip and we had friends who drove us so we didn’t have to hire a car when we arrived. We were able to spend quality time with my grandmother, visit with family & friends, as well as get gifts for those who had helped us on both ends of the trip.

This was completely unplanned so there was absolutely no money budgeted for a trip. I was pleased that we were able to make it work.

Other lovely news

I had a few girlfriends make quick trips to us which was lovely. I got to spend quality time with one over a long weekend in September and another of the break. I will be starting a new job tomorrow which will be an exciting adventure.

I have been working harder at taking time for myself by setting boundaries and trying to honour my own truths. Sometimes those truths aren’t fun, they’re more along the lines of I need to go to bed by 8:30…

2018 was a year that we did a lot of big things. I know that 2019 will come with its own joys and struggles but I feel secure knowing that I will continue to improve.

 

Happy New Year!

 

Dreams Change

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks emotionally. I came off a tough week at work to enter some rough family situations. This was all on top of the construction nightmare we’ve been experiencing with Home Depot. Needless to say, I’m exhausted.

It’s a good time to re-visit my previous posts regarding my values. It’s always a wonderful way to find my center. In late 2016, I decided to embrace my creativity by pursuing a longtime dream of performing in a band. Due to my accident, I never did get to perform in front of a live audience. I learned that I really don’t want to! I’ve been paying the fee for a while but when I decided to take a break for the summer I realized it was no longer bringing me joy.

Image result for singing

The microphone which used to represent love and escape now feels like a trap. Not exactly a great way to add value to my life! Though I’m leaving the formal program I know that my lessons are sticking with me and I hope to continue singing and playing with apps while strengthening my voice.

Are there long-held dreams that you’ve followed but discovered didn’t quite suit you?

Immunity to Change

This entire blog is based on my journey to save while not feeling deprived. In recent months, I feel as though I’ve fallen into a terrible, spending rut. Luckily for me HR ran a workshop based on Immunity to Change  and provided a worksheet as a take away a few years ago.

Improvement Goal:

Keep my spending within my monthly budget

What I’d need to do differently:

  • Map out my monthly spending,
  • Look ahead to upcoming events that would encourage me to spend more,

Behaviours that Go Against my Goals:

  • Saying yes without consulting the budget (to experiences, friends)
  • Giving in to cravings (food budget)
  • Tell myself I deserve things and give in
  • Indulge in sales
  • Not properly planning (menu, events)

Worry Box/Competing Commitment

  • I’ll miss out on amazing opportunities
  • I won’t capitalize on good deals
  • I’ll seem cheap, rather than frugal, to friends and colleagues
  • I’ll appear selfish
  • If I don’t give to people they’ll think I’m using them

Big Assumptions

  • If I don’t go out with friends I’ll lose our connections
  • ML & I will get stuck in ruts because we don’t do things outside our home
  • If I don’t spend money on experiences and products I’ll cease to be interesting

It seems like a simple exercise but it did require soul searching and I can see that some of my habits come from a fear of losing relationships as well as losing the carefully crafted self.

The next step is to challenge these assumptions and test them to see if they’re true. I know they’re not true, however, it’s interesting to see that my fears have remained the same over time. The problem is that I stopped recognizing and combatting them.

Do you think this could be useful to you?

Finding a Reset

When your electronics give you difficulties, the first step is always to restart.

I feel like I need to do that with my life. Our spending got a bit out of hand in February and as we don’t fully have our kitchen back I don’t feel that we have taken control of it again. This has led to increased food spending, which bleeds into other areas of our life, as well as not making the healthiest selections.

I’m afraid that my response has been rather juvenile. I’ve taken long breaks from budget planning and menu plan in a way that doesn’t really help me achieve my goal of healthy eating.

My first time getting rid of debt I used this blog. This time, I’m hanging on to that precipice. I do have household debt, as we opted to use a deferred payment plan for the kitchen, but this isn’t what’s stressing me. If we had to pay it back at this moment we could. We opted for this plan to allow our money further opportunities to grow.

The thing that is upsetting me is that I’m catching myself in dangerous thoughts: I deserve that, It’s not too much, I bet I’ll save a lot of money later. I’m using those three to justify purchases that don’t necessarily fit in my budget.

The bill for May hasn’t come completely due but based on my projected spending I’m going to be over budget. Some of that could have been saved for while some is a result of that not so great thought process.

Now that I’ve identified my problem my next step is to re-commit to weekly budgeting as well as to blogging. I did an awesome exercise through HR to help you identify what your big hurdles were in goal achievement. I’m hoping that using it for my budget will help get me back on track.

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.

An Anniversary of sorts

See the source image

I’ve gone back and forth in acknowledging this day, well yesterday. A year ago yesterday my world got very scary and very small.

i celebrated this personal milestone by indulging in things that had been lost to me as well as by acknowledging things I gained.

The concussion taught that I can still get things done even if I take my time so I did some of the things I had begun doing due to the concussion:

  • Tidied my home before work
  • Ate breakfast while listening to a book on tape
  • Allowed myself screen free tasks at work
  • Took small breaks to excercise my eyes
  • Opted to walk to meetings
  • Didn’t have lunch at my desk
  • Used lists to breakdown tasks, especially ones that felt overwhelming

I also indulged in a few things that for a while were impossible:

  • Drove to a friend’s house after work
  • Watched trashy TV with above friend
  • Had wine
  • Ate chocolates
  • drank a second cup of coffee
  • Read a book on lunch and before bed

It’s interesting that all half of the indulgent things are really just that. They’re items that may make me feel good in the moment but they’re not necessarily helping me lead a fuller life.

I struggle a bit as I’m not sure what can be attributed to the concussion, getting older, or not taking good care of my mental health.

Some examples are:

  • My inability to function the next day if I stay out/up past 9pm
  • Lack of ability to truly binge watch shows
  • Desire to have less lights on
  • Inability to be appropriately angry (almost anything can upset me)

For the rest of this month I’m going to try to re-implement my concussion learnings and focus on being present and enjoying my own life.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Spending

I had budgeted $10 per week for Miscellaneous spending even though I had recognized that I’m consistently over budget in that area. Well it’s going to be tight!

Last week alone I:

  • purchased bus tickets at $15
  • Bought a drink for a friend who I owe at least 5 drinks to $6

I’m now having to prepare myself to”

  •  purchase 2 library book $100
  • purchase a text book $100

My water bottle emptied in my purse. I have slight water damage on the text book that I borrowed from a colleague as well as a brand new book that the library has and an older, hard cover book.

While I know that I have the money in my ‘extra’ budget which is supposed to go to the kitchen fund it’s rather upsetting.

Instead of letting this colour my day I’m going to be grateful that I have the funds to cover these costs, that the pinch while unpleasant does not mean that I’m unable to achieve my goals or have to do without this month.

UPDATE: I met with my colleague who laughed at me and said, “Now it looks loved!” So it’s down to the library now.

BHAG2018

I’ve been struggling to come up with big, hairy, audacious goals. For the past two years I had all consuming goals with big payoffs ( demolishing debt and saving for big home renovations). This year the goals don’t seem as big, in keeping with my word of the year they’re more of a continuation of 2017.

Goal 1: Pay no interest on the kitchen

We’ve been saving for the last year or so to completely overhaul our kitchen. The plan was to pay cash and be totally consumer debt free. Then we learnt if we used the store credit card we’d pay no interest on cabinets, flooring and appliances for 18 months.

This allows us to purchase other items with cash and defer full payment on those pieces for a bit.

My goal is to have the kitchen paid in full by year end. My stretch goal is to have the kitchen paid in full by April. I’m not going to stress about this as if I take the year the money not going on the card is accumulating interest and will be used as a final payment.

Goal 2: Host an anniversary party

ML and I always wanted a wedding do over. As the cost of that rivals the kitchen we opted to have the kitchen done with the intent of hosting at home.

My desire to pay off the kitchen in April has a lot to do with wanting to transfer kitchen savings to party savings. We’d like to host a standing reception. Based on our wants that’s going to cost about $5,000.

This is another reason to keep the kitchen under budget as ‘leftover’ kitchen budget will be turned into party money.

Goal 3: Take time for self-care

Thanks to the concussion I learnt I can do a lot on slow days by prioritizing relaxation. Somehow an exceptional amount of work gets done but I finish the day relaxed rather than frazzled.

I need to continue prioritizing down time, less screen time and enjoying days rather than racing through them.

What are your plans for 2018?

Committing to Carolyn

I’m a tortured omnivore. I enjoy meat and  have grown so used to it I struggle to think of consistent vegetarian meals. I enjoy cooking in spurts so meat dishes appeal to me when I’m at a creative low.

The downside is that I don’t enjoy thinking of the way animals are treated so that I can have a tasty meal. Even a little thought to the matter makes me queasy.

It may be easier if I were willing to purchase from farms directly. If I knew my chicken was being raised well rather than in agony I’d feel just dandy eating her.

The truth of the matter is that I’m a wee bit lazy when it comes to walking my talk. Farms require research, relationship building and a 45 minutes drive each way. The grocery with my 8 drumsticks already packaged from who knows where is 5 minutes away.

Laziness leads me once again to consider more vegetarian fare. This then lead me back to looking at information about food rationing in WW2, which took me to Carolyn’s 1940’s Experiment. I’ve been addicted to the site for years. Coming back to admire her determination and debating if I could ever do such a thing.

I often only last a week or so when I honestly attempt to live on the rations but I’ve had some unexpected success when I haven’t been trying.

This year I’ve decided will be different. I’ll continue towards eating more like the 1940s. For me this means:

  • Less convenience food
  • Lots more vegetables
  • Meat sparingly
  • Stretching food through creative cookery

To to set myself up for success I’ve made a list of recipes I want to try from her site in January.

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The ‘R’ column in the margin is the recipe number on her site. In addition to these I have a few meat dishes on the menu using the lamb and ham.

ML has no real interest in giving up meat but has promised to eat his ‘cheater food’ outside the home and not tell me.

I’m hoping that this start to the year will give me a good basis for a sustainable way to consume less meat and enjoy time in the kitchen with ML.

What tricks do you use tobe creative and frugal in the kitchen?