Home Improvement

Remember this post in March: BHAG?

Goal 1: Save for New Kitchen

We have $12,000 saved for this adventure which is awesome! We’ve been working on getting quotes in and playing with our numbers as our goal is to spend $20,000 on the kitchen.

It turns out that our goal figure is not looking terribly realistic as we aren’t handy and will be:

  • Tearing down walls
  • Adjusting electrical
  • Putting in a dishwasher into a space that’s never had one
  • Re-doing all flooring
  • Putting in all new cabinets, counter tops and drawers
  • Taking out our entire back wall and putting in a sliding door

We’ve worked diligently on opting for cabinets that are reasonably priced; I bid a bittersweet adieu to the a beautiful corner cabinet that was going to cost $3,000. I’m also taking a hard look at the appliances.

My fear is that unknown costs that people just assume you know aren’t included, such as delivery and installation fees. I’m meeting with the company again to hopefully balance out all those questions over the next week or so.

With a little luck we’ll be able to start work before the end of the year.

Goal 2: Home Improvement

So I got quotes and the driveway and it is a big job. $2,500 to rip it out and re-do. Our aim is the kitchen so we’re going to put all available money into the kitchen and keep the driveway on the back burner.

We also did a lot of updating this summer which felt great and allows me to feel like we’ve slayed our goals. I still get a thrill turning on my foyer light, seeing the paint colours and hanging out in my updated bedroom.

I’ve spent the last few months doing minimal saving to try to bring my spending back on track. It’s been a big year and I’ve had a hard time staying in the black. My overall goal is to start 2018 debt free.



Celebrating in Frugal Style

Happy International Women’s Day!

If you’re like me you’ve :

  • seen the pro and anti posts on your social media
  • saw suggestions to participate in a gender strike
  • were given suggestions about celebrating by purchasing a host of items
  • been instructed to give up the second shift

The last two cost. The first because unless you’re taking a vacation day you’re out of money, also if all the women at my business took the day off we’d just have a lot to do tomorrow.

The second is obvious, no I’m not buying all my female friends trinkets to celebrate their identity.

I opted to celebrate in my own way. Instead of putting money out I went with emotion:

  • I messaged female friends who have lifted me up with notes on why I adore them
  • I took time to honour myself through a yoga class
  • I was kind to myself

The day, for me, serves as a reminder to not judge others harshly, to identify when I engage in sexist thinking/behaviour, and to continue to honour myself.

Did you participate in the celebrations today?



February 2017 debrief




  •  # Buy nothing days : 9 days
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 6 uses in 2017): 0 – I suspect this will be pulled out in the summer
  • # times ate out/purchased take out: 2
  • # activities with loved ones: 9
  • % over or under budget: 2% under budget


  • I was aiming for an uber frugal month but rather than dip into savings I used money that was within my monthly budget to pay for yoga classes and cover some of the vacation costs
  • Still behaving quite will with my concussion and I’m definitely seeing improvements
  • I’ve switched internet providers and will be seeing a $20 – $30 change in price


  • My vacation line definitely took a hit! But allin all I was good.


  • March often gets expensive as I usually have lots of joint birthday celebrations. As I’m still recovering I haven’t scheduled anything so I may be just fine
  • I did so well in January and February that I gave myself a reduction in budget. I find if the money is available I tend to spend it. I need to remember the budget cut in case I find that I’ve cut too much
  • Some groceries were purchased using points and I wasn’t home for a week this month
  • I hope to keep the spirit of uber frugal month alive in March


February has been a success! I definitely felt treated but my budget wasn’t stretched!

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lenten Beginning

It appears Catholicism is in my blood.While I don’t attend Mass and strongly disagree with some teachings, at my core I’m still practicing.

Today marks the beginning of Lent. Since the weekend I’ve been reflecting on what sacrifices I’d like to make.

While I don’t truly believe that sacrifice is going to save my soul, I do think it’s good for my spirit (aka mental and emotional health).

My concussion treatment plan is a good place to start:

  • No sugar (let’s be real this means not seeking out items that have loads of added sugar)
  • No alcohol
  • 10 minutes of meditation a day
  • Not overloading my work schedule or as Pope Francis suggests I’m fasting from pressure. While he recommends substituting pressure with prayer, I’m going to give up pressure and be present.

For me sacrifice was always about giving up something to be closer to God.To better show the face of Christ to those around us. I didn’t understand how it worked but went with the belief that God understands our hearts and intentions.

The things I’m giving up are being done with the intent to make me a more peaceful person. We are so influenced by other people’s energy and I want when people meet me they go away feeling good about themselves.

Do you find yourself being influenced by the religion you were born into?


No Spend Reaction

George takei recently posted this article to his Facebook page. I often avoid the comments section on big pages on Facebook but I delved into this one.

The article is about a London woman who did a non spend year. It’s great because she provides a clear definition about what that meant for her and also gave concrete numbers.

During her no spend year she spent $2,200 per month which allowed her to save $27,000 over the course of the year. I enjoyed the article and liked her tone. I find that sometimes FIRE folks can sound a bit abrasive and holier than thou.

While I found a few positive responses, the majority were rather jaded and generally fell into “must be nice to be rich!”

My immediate reaction was,” Good grief! I bet if you weren’t on Facebook complaining you could do something similar.” Somr other folks felt that way and replied as such.

Then I thought about it. Some of these commenters I’m sure can’t do anything like this because they are completely cash strapped.

Others had ‘wise words’ for the poor which i found harsh. I’ve never been truly poor but when we were making less we also had less time and resources to make great financial decisions. No time to do decent menu planning meant purchasing convenience food at the grocery store. Cheaper than fast food but more expensive than my current life.

then there’s those who make enough to save but don’t really see how they can. Again me but this time only about 3 years ago. Before starting this blog I knew I should be able to save but always seemed to use all my money. As I rarely was making as much as the people blogging about their savings I was apt to think, “If I made as much as them, I’d be able to save!

Now I read those blogs and articles and I’m inspired. I see a community that is sharing tips and tricks. I also can recognize ways to improve or splurges that i am truly comfortable with.Once I began blogging, I started to improve my relationship with my finances. While I wish I was able to save $27,000 in a year towards a long term goal I can’t and that’s alright.

For me it’s been about tracking my spending, getting creative with saving, guarding against lifestyle inflation and saving for treats.

I’m so glad to have found a community that has helped me grow and I’ve found bloggers who are kind and thoughtful with their lessons.

How do you feel about maibstream articles sbout frugality?

Reblog from Kate Saves

I haven’t shared my political views very often and with a concussion I’m less likely to make great points. My fellow Canadian, however, says it so well.

Be kind, even when frightened. I have been frightened. The colour of my skin has made certain people feel that they are better than me or deserve more than me.

That’s when it’s even more important to listen and be kind.

I am one of the many who were completely shocked by the results of the American election. I’m just a casual Canadian observer of American politics, but I totally thought my girl Hillary Clinton had it in the bag. After I went through a period of what felt like grief, I wanted to know how…

via On Privilege — Kate Saves

A simple 5 ingredient personal care regime

When I began to really focus on wasting less on a budget I turned to blogs for inspiration. Steph has been a great source of ideas and provides lots of motivation.

Three years ago, when I began experimenting with making my own skin care line I wish I had this list.

purplegumboots & greenpickles

The only 5 ingredients you’ll need for your zero-waste personal care regime for face, hair, and body

View original post 667 more words

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?


Word of the Year

Lauralynne wrote an excellent, thought-provoking post about her word of the year. Everything she said resonated with me to such an extent that I was tempted to share her word.

However, I know that when my mind enters anxiety mode this word may not be the best choice.

My plan this week was to come up with my 2017 goal to share so I’m going to review the blog, create a plan similar to 2016, and then choose a word.

What word would you choose to help define your upcoming year?

Boxing Day Sales

So I just posted that I got lovely presents and didn’t need anything yet I found myself joining the hoards.

I went out this afternoon when most things were pretty picked over in the hope that it’ll be less busy and that a lot of the goodies would be gone so I wouldn’t be tempted to purchase things we don’t need.

My plan was to get:

  • Christmas gift for a friend
  • Birthday gift for a friend
  • A few items for the gift closet

I did exactly this and my extras are things I feel good about:

  • mini nail polish pack (I have dumped most of mine as they’re old)
  • Hair ornament pack ( so needed and so inexpensive)
  • Dashboard camera for ML (he’s been chatting about this for some time)

Not only did I get these but I stayed below my budget. In fact I was below budget but I used my points card so I ended up only spending half the cash I had planned.

Did you indulge in Boxing Day sales?