Paying for Convenience

I was first introduced to Chef’s Plate a year ago when I was at a friend’s house. She was ecstastic to share that this company was able to deliver healthy ingredients along with a recipe card.

She urged me to look into it and gave me a coupon. Even with the coupon I didn’t find it to be a great deal.

This year another friend signed up and gave me a coupon for 75% off. Well that deal got me. I signed up and this week I received my two dinners.

The company is good for my green heart: items a sourced locally, purchased from responsibly farmed partners and they’re committed to being environmentally friendly.

My frugal heart not so much. When they say you get two dinners it appears they mean it. When I cook dinner what I really mean is I’m cooking for the next two days. To be honest, I am baffled by people who cook every night when generally you can double a recipe and deal with less dishes.

The full price for the box is ~$50. That’s the amount I spend on us per week at a grocery and it includes things like toilet paper! I’m currently trying to lower that.

Both my friends think this is a great deal so I can only assume that they regularly spend heaps of money on groceries.

As there was a shipping mix up I get 50% off my next order. I’ll order when I see a recipe that really catches my eye.

In my so very short time with them I can tell you I’m going to miss the recipe cards. Ordering the box made me realize we’ve fallen into a slump. It’s time for us to get more creative again.

Have you tried something like this? Have you attempts a convenience save and found it not worth the extra based on your lifestyle?

This would have been a salve to the fake frugal me of 8 years ago. It would have signicantly cut down on groceries and I would have been eating healthy things.

Off to hunt somebody more creative recipes on Pinterest!

February 2017 debrief

feb

 

TRACKING

  •  # 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

CELEBRATE:

  • 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

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

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

KEEP IN MIND

  • 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

OVERALL

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?

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

giphy.gif

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:

giphy.gif

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?

 

When a $300 budget gets blown

So I took my sick self on vacation.

Well to be honest, I had planned to tack on a vacation to a work trip back in December. However, with the boink that I sustained I never sat down to really plan out this early February trip properly.

I had $300 to spend on food, transportation, tokens/gifts for family members, and any miscellany items. This was for three days.Based on my local vacations that sounded reasonable. Here are a few things I should have recognized going in:

  • An exchange rate that isn’t kind
  • I wouldn’t have my car
  • This is a tourist area so everything costs a wee bit more

If that wasn’t enough, halfway through I realized there was no way my concussed self could stay as long as planned. So I bit the bullet and paid a $270 fee to change my flight. While I wasn’t thrilled with the fee my mental health thanked me. Coming home to ML early and having time to re-set from jet lag was probably the sanest thing I’ve done in ages.

Before going I made a great decision to purchase a Go City card! I paid $240 for the card and did $330 worth of activities. This was definitely a good deal. My mistake was thinking that because I had paid for the card I wouldn’t have to pay for tourist things, completely ignoring transportation costs.

Here’s what my spending actually looked like:

Cash out (snacks, gifts, cabs)  $            81
entertainment (Go City Card)  $          240
Flight Change  $          270
Meals  $          101
gifts  $            84
misc (sunglasses and snacks)  $            33
Resort fee  $            55
Transportation  $            97
 $          961

Typing this out I feel better as the $300 in spending money was not intended to include the Go City Card as I had paid for it before leaving which brings my total spending to $721. When I had originally done the math, based on pending charges, it had looked as though I had spent $1,300.

You can imagine my feelings as I saw all my hard work to stay out of debt melting away due to a vacation. I didn’t let fear or regret cloud me rather I looked at my monthly savings accounts. Only a few of them must have monthly contributions so I pulled the money allocated for the rest of them and put it in my vacation line.

Any leftover money at the end of the month will then be placed in my savings accounts rather than my fun fund.

Lesson: Remember to budget properly as vacations can be really expensive. When going to high tourist areas scout the area on Google Maps to get a feel for the cost of restaurants and the location of groceries. This is especially important when I don’t have my car.

What frugal vacation tips do you employ to keep yourself on budget?

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

Monthly Debrief:January 2017

January

TRACKING

  •  # Buy nothing days : 19 days (as of the 29th)
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 6 uses in 2017): 0
  • # times ate out/purchased take out: 6
  • # activities with loved ones: TBD
  • % over or under budget: 7% under budget (I’ll be doing some spending today so this will change a bit)

CELEBRATE:

  • Uber Frugal Month was a huge success! We spent a bit more than half the budgeted amount on groceries and I’ll be able to put a sizable chunk into my Fun Fund.
  • In spite of my injury I didn’t soothe myself with purchasing things.
  • This time last year I had 7 months to go on my consumer debt! Now the only debt I have is my mortgage. Paying it off in 10 years no longer seems like a crazy idea.
  • ML is debt free!!!!!

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

  • I was able to pay for my parents car repairs from my savings and then get reimbursed

KEEP IN MIND

  • February is going to be tough! I’ve got a conference, loads of lunches that got moved from January and I’m out of town for a chunk of it.
  • Don’t get caught up in sale hype. If you don’t need in the foreseeable future don’t buy it (Looking at you tinned veg that was ‘on sale’)
  • I probably won’t be this far under budget next month as I did cancel a lot of things this month
  • I hope to keep the spirit of uber frugal month alive in February.

OVERALL

I’m really pleased with this month’s spending! Previously illness meant ‘treating myself’ to feel good food, a new book or a game of some sort. This time it meant free audiobooks on YouTube, Bunny cuddles, and making use of all my Christmas tea.

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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!

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