Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and I know it because that urge to tidy and clean up is strong right now. It may be more pronounced since an acquaintance recently put her home up for sale. Of course, being a slightly nosy person I went to the real estate website to check out how her home looked.

It looks fantastic!

It of course got me on a kick of checking out other homes that are for sale in the area. One of the things I noticed is that a lot of the homes seemed staged. I could be wrong maybe they live with perfect light, fresh flowers, and perfectly accented furniture all the time. If they do that’s fantastic and frankly how I want to live. There are loads of tips on how to but the most consistent tip was: make it look like you have lots of space by packing up as many of your belongings as possible.

The aim is to pack up your excess things so it looks like you have more space. Like this:

Image result for before and after staging photos closet

 

Since embracing the life-changing magic of tidying up and minimalism I’ve found my outlook on my space has changed. While I do wish we had more built in storage, this desire to have my home feel like a fantastic oasis has resulted in me attempting to make the staging goal of having 30% of cupboard space clear my reality.

This resulted in two boxes of household goods and clothing being delivered to a charity shop, a large garbage bag of items dumped, and a few things being gifted to friends and family members who were interested in them.

It’s amazing how much a good a decent scrub and tidy can do for our home. My hosting schedule has taken a hit as I don’t have the energy to have people over. Since the house is feeling more welcoming I’m wanting to invite people over even if it’s just for some snacks and conversation.

Has the spring cleaning bug gotten you yet for the year?

Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

Yesterday, I went public with my crazy goal for 2017/2018.

This had me reviewing my BHAG for 2017 as they’re definitely in need of an update now.

Here’s how they’ve been adjusted:

Goal 1: Save for new kitchen

2018 is going to be our 10th wedding anniversary.We’d still love to throw a big party. In fact that’s what got the kitchen ball rolling. When we looked into a what we wanted to do we realized it was going to cost us at least $10,000.

That money seemed better spent on a kitchen, we could then host 120 people in our home for an anniversary open house. We’re willing to forgo the vacation if we can get a fantastic kitchen that allows us to entertain and actually enjoy cooking together.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

This will be the year that we fix the sinking driveway and update our light fixtures. I feel that these are two realistic goals that can easily be achieved and will make our home seem much more welcoming. I’ll give myself until May before I think about the driveway properly since it’ll be either snow or rain covered until then. The light fixtures we can begin our search in the new year. There are at least 4 that must be replaced with a couple of others that would be nice to have done.

Other Goals

While I would still love to work on my emergency fund, I’m not going to throw all my additional money into it. The aim is to not use any of the money in it for the new kitchen.

 

 

17 for 2017

Carol recently did a post that asked a surprisingly hard question: What is on your 2017 list that is fun stuff, not about debt or work etc?

I left a brief comment that I really had to think about and really doesn’t make me feel really joyful. I want a list that makes me feel like this

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I don’t know about you but everything seemed to come back to some sort of goal, whether it was finance, fitness or friend related. I also have a bad habit of turning fun lists into chore lists ( reading a magazine – check!) but this time I swore it would be different.

Drum roll please! Here’s my Fun 17 for 2017:

  1. Sit around and do nothing or something (reading, daydreaming, meditating, knitting)
  2. Experiment with the funky liqueurs that I got as gifts
  3. Pamper myself – bath oils, hair treatments etc
  4. Do a tour of the national parks within a 4 hour radius
  5. Once summer comes, eat outside
  6. Sing, out loud, whenever the feeling strikes me
  7. Dance when the mood hits (that crazy woman dancing to Britney in the grocery store might be me!)
  8. Open the curtains on bright days
  9. Light candles on dreary days
  10. Keep up the zero waste goals – I feel like a rockstar when we we don’t put out lots of garbage
  11. Stay in bed as late as I want on weekends (also don’t overbook my weekends)
  12. New recipes
  13. Tea with Bunny!
  14. Aim to blog at least twice a week
  15. Hang out with ML doing something fun, last year it was walking
  16. Say no to things that  I know will be draining (yes I adore you, no I don’t want to go out)
  17. Because it is actually fun for me: see if I can increase my fun fund by spending less than I budget

How about you? What would make you crazy Kermit happy?

GIF from here

 

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?

 

My absence

Post Concussion Syndrome Word Cloud Concept with great terms such as brain, injury, trauma and more.

I was in a minor accident this month and was concussed. In fact, I still have symptoms which has resulted in me not being online a whole lot. It’s been an awful and wonderful experience. Awful as I experienced some terrible medical care at the local leve and a concussion is an awful thing to have! Wonderful because my work place has been fantastic,my family has been great and my family doctor is an angel.

The recovery process is slow and excruciating to someone like me who loves to have projects on the go! I feel like a child who has been grounded. I’m typing the majority of this with my eyes closed as it’s eating into my concentration. granted, I shouldn’t be typing at all. I should be resting my brain.

I will,soon. I’ve missed blogging and I’ve missed chatting with all of you. So much has happened! I ‘ve had so many  “Aha” moments through this process that I’ve been wanting to document. This is partly to share but also because I use THE blog as a way to remind myself of my life lessons. I’m less likely to re-read the journal I’m currently keeping.

I’ll leave you with one meaningful piece of information I discovered: post – concussion care is a fairly good way to live my life. THough it really does upset me I’ learning that all the things I should be doing now are things I really need to incorporate once I’m healed:

  • meditating for at least ten minutes a day
  • limiting my screen time
  • having  less caffeine and sugar (I’m currently banned these treats)
  • Drinking loads of water ( I was doing well but really need to keep it up)
  • Giving myself breaks from my desk and from tasks
  • Easing my way through my day instead of treating each day like a race

I won’t be around much for the next few weeks. I’m trying to limit my online presence to ten minutes a day. My doctor is allowing me to return to work part time as I fear that I’ll go crazy if forced to stay home. She indicated that this will slow my recovery but balance is also neccessary so if a few hours at work helps me come home and rest then she’s allowing it.

I’m grateful for that.

I hope you’re having a great January and a less adventuous start to your year!

I look forward to being back with you properly soon and catching up!

Child Filled Weekend

So the fun weekend with my favourite kid was a hit!

I’m an awesome non-parent. Children who don’t try new things, pick up their toys or refuse to take a break from screen time are totally different beings in my home.

It must mean one thing: I would be the perfect parent! (Kidding!)

I do feel extra sorry parents because kids are on their best behaviour at other people’s homes. So it’s easy for us to feel as though people who attribute untidy homes or difficulty budgeting to kids are making outrageous excuses.

With the exception of groceries we spent $0. Instead we played video games, board games, read books, did some housework and cooked a tonne.

Here’s the thing, I love having my friends kids come over and hang out. It was wonderful to have someone to play with (I re-discovered my Wii!) and encourage me to relax. There’s no way I would have a friend over and not hang out with them so of course I do the same when kids come.

The benefit of my munchkin guest is that he had no interest in going to a bar, going out for breakfast or killing time at the mall to find a new game. Instead when we planned the day the goal was, “Let’s play games!”

Everything was a game: from chores to actual games. I even got a better workout in as once he realized what I was doing he wanted to join. Once he joined his energy kept me going when I would have quit.

Frankly. his boundless enthusiasm made him a much better coach than a lot of people I know. He was honestly thrilled that I was doing anything and just wanted to do things for fun.

I had a great weekend and it served as a fairly frugal reset which was wonderful. It also helped me focus on joy again and the importance of making sure my days are balanced. I’ve had an extra busy time recently and this weekened was just the vacation from my life I needed.

ML & I are still not having kids. While a weekend is fun, easy, and allowed us to feel like we would be rock star parents it is also a reminder that the life we have chosen works really well for us. The heartbreak we would be forced to endure attempting pregnancy as well as the sacrifices that we would have to make to become pregnant and once the child was born are not things we are willing to do.

I think this is the first time that I’ve had a child over in a long time and not felt a twinge of sadness when they left. It was lovely to realize that I’m truly happy with me life.

 

 

Family & Money

Based on comments my post about house and pet sitting  I was able to take some money from my parents without feeling strange. My major hangup, I realized was that I make good money and have a steady job. So while the money is nice to have it isn’t necessary. Plus since they also brought me back multiple gifts and gifts for ML, I felt we would be even. Covering my costs felt like excess and that I was taking advantage.

I left them invoices and took money for the true extras that were only incurred because I was living in their home:

  • groceries I purchased to make them a welcome home meal ($10)
  • Gas for the car ($35)
  • Parking permit that my mum needed and I picked up ($35)

I was adamant that I wasn’t going to take money for the car repair, but my  mum really felt that was unfair. So we struck a deal: if they allow ML to pay for the items he had asked them to pick up and offered to pay for, then I’ll accept car money.

Much to her annoyance I refused to tell her how much I spent to feed myself, and apparently a quick check of the pantry had her convinced that I hadn’t eaten enough of the food they left. God forbid, I confess that I brought my own wine and didn’t dip into their stash!

In my original post, I mentioned feeling a bit strange about them leaving money for me. I probably wouldn’t have reacted as well as I did to last night’s financial power struggle if it hadn’t been for a colleague, who has a daughter a bit younger than me, who shared:

It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’re your parents’ kid. They can still see the little girl running around and the urge to provide doesn’t go away.

That resonated with me. Suddenly I could see how insulting it would appear that your child doesn’t think you can provide them with some basics.

Thank you so much Rachel and Lauralynne for sharing your thoughts and helping me out on this!

The Importance of Goal Setting

In her email to challenge participants, Mrs. Frugalwood referenced a post they had done which pondered if having a goal was essential for sustainable frugality. It got me thinking about my own journey.

This blog was created because I knew what I was doing wasn’t working and I wanted to track my journey. While I like to think I’m capable of making frugal choices without concrete goals, I’m not sure if that’s true. It wasn’t until I put it out there that I wanted to be debt free that I actually buckled down and got saving.

We’ve been in our home for 7 years and have always wanted a new kitchen but with it as a concrete goal I will be definitely making very frugal choices and saving towards it. I find that I can easily fall into fake frugality.

To me this is making individually frugal choices that can add up to wasting money. An early example of this is shopping grocery sales (Frugal win!) but purchasing unhealthy food or too much food and therefore wasting it (Frugal fail). My love affair with books is another example of fake frugality: I would purchase loads of books at second hand stores but as I didn’t love them they would be quickly donated. Now I only purchase books I already know that I’ll read multiple times and truly enjoy.

Do you find having goals helpful in your journey?

Happy 2017!

ny

2016 got a lot of hate, partly because there were some mind blowing political shake ups across the world but also because quite a few beloved celebrities died.

Now some died of good old fashioned old age but many who were “taken too soon” had  suffered greatly. In the midst of that suffering they turned to various substances that led to addictions that severely hurt them. While many posts hope they rest in peace, they had to fight to find peace in life.

Sort of a doom and gloom post so far but it leads to want I want for myself and you:

I don’t want to just rest in peace, I want to live in peace.

I want to greet each day with calm and to let go of the things I can’t control.

I want to make each person’s day a bit brighter because I was in it

As for those who bring me darkness?

I want to not accept their gifts of self doubt and anger.

 

In 2017, I choose peace.

Let’s be kind to each other and most importantly be kind to ourselves.

Here’s to a peaceful 2017

 

 

2017 Goal Setting

I really loved the idea of Big, Hairy Audacious Goals  and in 2016 paying off the debt to live the life we wanted was huge. Now with the consumer debt gone we want a lot of things that are all huge (new kitchen, no mortgage, vacation) and if we tackle one a year it may feel like we’re waiting forever to get to the others. So I’m taking bite sized pieces out of each of them so that we can feel good about every part of our lives.

Goal 1: Mortgage Payments

I’m going to save money every month so that at the end of 2017 I will be able to put at least an extra $1,200 towards our mortgage.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

This will be the year that we fix the sinking driveway and update our light fixtures. I feel that these are two realistic goals that can easily be achieved and will make our home seem much more welcoming. I’ll give myself until May before I think about the driveway properly since it’ll be either snow or rain covered until then. The light fixtures we can begin our search in the new year. There are at least 4 that must be replaced with a couple of others that would be nice to have done.

Goal 3: Emergency Fund

I define my emergency fund a.k.a. sky is falling account to be the account that will save us in case of job loss. I currently have 3 weeks pay (1.5 months) in that account. My aim is to save another 3 weeks pay in 2017.

I’m going to do this by throwing my budget buffer money in here starting in March.

Goal 4: Vacation/2nd Honeymoon

2018 is going to be our 10th wedding anniversary. Our wedding, while fun and the start of a fantastic chapter, was bloody stressful. We want a do-over. Sort of, we’d like to throw a big party for our friends and family and go on a vacation.

We’d also like to take a vacation out of the country that year. Knowing that this is something we’d like to do, we’re going to have to start planning and budgeting now.

 

Mini Goals

Goal 1: Conference/Vacation

I’m heading to a conference in February to a place I’ve never been before, and never intend to visit again, so I’ve tacked on a few extra days. The reason I’m never going again is because it’s frightfully expensive for me to go to this place. So expensive that the cost of adding hotel dates wiped out my vacation savings. My plan is to put leftover buffer money towards my vacation line in January and February so that I can pay for any excursions that I’d like. My aim is to return feeling relaxed and being debt free.

 

As always my overarching goal is to ensure that I stay true to myself and live a life that reflects the things that matter to me.

Are you setting goals for yourself this year?