Pity Party

Is there anything more annoying than someone with a near perfect life bemoaning the fact that their life is imperfect? If our response to public figures is any indication, the answer is a resounding, “No!”

I know better. I know that both situations and chemistry play a part in mental wellness. I know that, much like a cold, you can do a lot of good things and end up getting sick anyway. I can have a meaningful conversation with a friend as to why they don’t need to have a reason to be fighting the mean reds. But then it happens to me.

I have a list of reasons why I should not be sad. I can easily rhyme off a dozen of them:

  1. I have a job I love
  2. I am married to the love of my life
  3. I have medical coverage that includes massage and psychological health
  4. I have a good relationship with my parents
  5. I have a good sibling relationship
  6. I have a good relationship with my in-laws
  7. Some of my in-laws provide the best made up family (siblings, cousins, etc.)
  8. I have amazing friends who I can call up in moments of joy or sorrow
  9. My home is perfect (even excessive) for my needs
  10. I am surrounded by books I love
  11. My pet is cute and occasionally cuddly
  12. I can move freely both with my body and in my community

That was less than a minute and I can keep going, yet it doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel guilty. I have all this good and on a bright, sun-shiney day I want to do nothing. I want to watch the day roll by and pretend nothing exists or matters.

My depression isn’t crying in the bed. It isn’t not being able to have a conversation. It isn’t a lot of what we see in television and movies.

It’s a deep feeling of shame, of lack of self-worth, of trying extra hard to be “people.”

It’s not wanting to do anything but forcing myself to clean, because if I can fake it for five minutes at least when I’m back on the couch with my numbing agent of choice my surroundings will look pretty.

It’s filling my days with back-to-back meetings so I have a ‘reason’ for not having work done.

It’s working myself to exhaustion so I have a reason to take time off because I can’t love myself enough to take a break early. Because I don’t think I have a ‘reason’ to be depressed.

I know this will pass. I have been here before, I will be here again. I just need to be alright with the moment, the cloak that enshrouds me.

Maybe one day.

The P Word

Privilege is the word I’m thinking of.

It’s tempting to pat ourselves on the back for making good choices. Choices that mean that if, God forbid, ML is out of work until March 2022 we shouldn’t see a decrease in our lifestyle. Here’s where I see our privilege:

  • We both have jobs that allowed us to get out of the debt we accrued when we were making less than a living wage
  • The housing market, when we purchased, was no where near this crazy
  • We each tend to work only 35-40 hours a week, which has given us time to build our community, invest in ourselves (including shop for good deals) and stave off health-related issues due to exhaustion
  • We have good health benefit packages so have been able to deal with injuries and illnesses quickly; those jobs also gave us the time off needed or accommodations to recover

I’m highlighting all of this because while I celebrate the good stuff, I also want to recognize that I’m lucky. Sure I did the ‘right things’ but I also had the opportunity to do it. ML & I were reflecting that 10 years ago this would have been a crushing blow that we would take us years to recover. Ten years ago we had the house, student debt, consumer debt, car payments and no network. I know other people in similar financial situations who haven’t weathered these changes as well. Here’s how we’re doing it.

We don’t have kids

This seems like a strange thing to list, however, because we don’t have children we haven’t had to worry about so many things that parents consider namely the feeding, clothing and mental stimulation of children. Daycare alone would have taken away almost half my monthly income for at least 3 years and then about a quarter of it as we would need before and after school care.

Combat Lifestyle Inflation

We’re in a starter home. It’s what it was termed when we bought it and it’s most likely how it will be listed when we sell it. While mortgage brokers and banks are happy to extend us further credit to purchase a larger house or at least one in a swankier area, we decided to make this our forever home. We opted to invest in renovating our kitchen to better suit our needs once we though we could do it with minimal credit support. I was so pleased that we paid 0 interest on that kitchen! Even when we’ve made decisions that were a bit pricey, I was usually able to shift back within a short time frame.


The pandemic has actually been fantastic for helping us stay in our budget. With the limits to hosting, opportunities to eat out or find entertainment outside the home – so many of our previous spending triggers have gone. Our practice with frugality also makes us work to find the ‘free’ version of something.

Being Present

This seems like a strange one to list, however, enjoying our now and what we have allows us to not bee searching for the next best thing. I very rarely accept the free-trial of anything. Why? Because once you get used to something, it can be hard to give it up. This ties into the way we have avoided lifestyle inflation.


I’ve been using this blog since 2015 and though my blogging has dropped sharply, my budget use hasn’t. I have been finessing my budget spreadsheet over that time and have been tracking my own rise and fall annually.

Making Savings Work for us

The way we save may not work for everyone but it works for us. I have lines dedicated to the things that matter to me and every time I have gotten a raise, I’ve figured out how to either incorporate it into my existing savings plan (increasing our mortgage repayment fund was one of these) or direct it to an area of interest (my layoff account which turned into an education fund which has been redirected to bill paying).

The decision to increase savings lines that could have long term impacts on our financial well being (home reno, mortgage repayment and car care) rather than increasing either our spending or short term savings (gifts,medical not covered by insurance, or vacation) has meant that now that something big is happening we’re not trying to re-evaluate our values and see how we can work within our means.

I’m feeling pretty proud of who we have become.

Do we spend too much on things we don’t truly need (I type as I consider our bar, tea collection and my array of candles)? Yes!

The name of this blog has always reflected our values. Can we pull back in these areas when called to? Yes!

Will it be hard to not click on the next pain relieving, must-have tool that Instagram offers up in the ads? Yes!

Will I resist temptation? Most likely because I’ve got my budget as a guide and I’m using this blog again to help keep me honest.

Is this all possible because we’ve both been making (above) living wages in good working conditions that leave us with enough energy and time to be thoughtful? YES!

My Credit Card Spending

My credit card company has been bought out by another institution and while I can’t say I’m happy with all the changes (goodbye easily downloaded transaction records!), I’m thrilled with the charting features.

This one allows me to see how much I spent in a specific date range and where I was spending the majority of my funds.


If you scroll over the bars it tells you the amount you spent*:

  • Groceries: $116
  • Shopping $57
  • Restaurants: $33
  • Transportation: $32
  • Household: $12
  • Services: $10

I try to use my credit card for all swiped purchases as I get points so the only thing not on here are my bills, cash purchases and e-transfers. This month is a bit of an anomaly as I spent nearly $400 through cash and e-transfers. It will be interesting to use this feature in coming months when I’m sticking to my credit card.

*The system doesn’t entirely align with my own tracking as it throws all the Walmart purchases into Groceries, whereas in my own spreadsheet I would put it in the category that aligns with the products purchased.


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


  • 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

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!


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 combating 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.