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?

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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.

image.jpg

 

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?

2018 Word of the Year: Continue

Last year I discovered the concept of selecting a word of the year. I think I can still get more mileage out of the stretch but I also feel like each year deserves its own theme.

I don’t feel very prepared for 2018. Everything feels like a continuation with no truly new things on the horizon. I suppose I feel as though I’m at a stage where I can be great if I continue to do the work I started. When I use the word continue I don’t mean to purely keep doing what I was doing before. I think of it as improving upon foundations that have been set. This includes:

  • Keep attending singing lessons
  • Stay on track with my budget tools
  • Commit to my excercise program
  • Explore ways to get even closer to zero waste
  • Commit to more vegetarian meals
  • Keep up the decluttering efforts and being conscious of what we bring into our home

Do you have a word that encompasses 2017 or you would like to focus on in 2018?

Taking a Break

Image result for winter break

I’ve got the week off and I’m really trying not to overbook myself.

I started 2017 with the intent to StretchThe universe got on board and before I knew it I was given no choice but to be very gentle with myself. Not really what I was aiming for!  However, I did learn that when I prioritizing self-care things still get done. In fact, not only do a remarkable number of things get done but I feel better about them.

I’m hoping that by putting my goals out here I’ll be kind to myself and the universe will conspire to help me keep them, albeit in a less painful way.

  • Sleep in and read novels I get lost in
  • Complete my course work for a certificate I’m working towards
  • Spend leisurely time with Bunny listening to audio books
  • Shop for the last couple of appliances we need and the flooring
  • See friends/family a maximum of 4 times (or every other day on average)
  • Take candlelit hot baths
  • Move the rest of the ‘kitchen’ downstairs and set up a breakfast bar
  • Enjoy gently exercises or vigorous dance parties as the mood strikes
  • De-clutter the back basement

I’ve tried to give myself one fun ‘task’ for every work task. While I adore my friends and family, I can no longer go from party to party. Post-concussion I crave down time to balance.

Do you have time off between Christmas and New Year’s? Do you have any personal goals?

Photo from here