COVID-19 (May 15, 2020)

Today was the grocery day. It went well 🙂 My pantry and fridge are full, and I have so much beautiful and fresh produce to consume. Life feels good and abundant again.

Who knew fresh produce would make such a difference in my life. They apparently make me happy.

I am grateful.

 

 

it turns out that tomorrow is Friday

What a surprise! 🙂

I just realized tomorrow was Friday and as such there was one more reason to be joyful today 🙂

I have had an easy-going day at the office today and this makes me feel good 🙂

Friends, I may try to be joyful yet, it does not change the fact that we have an incredibly cold and snowy weather here. This morning I waited for the bus for maybe 4 minutes and my fingers were almost frozen. I have gloves but I guess I must wear woolly gloves rather than leather/synthetic ones.

The scenery in such a snowy day is amazing and very enjoyable. I think we expect more snow early next week; are we looking for a snow day? Goodness, I hope so 🙂 You may think that I would rather be asking for the opposite and be at the office more so that I can finish work. I do want to finish work, but honestly I have enjoyed being away from the office in the last two weeks, so I wish for this to continue a little bit more now. Can you blame me? 🙂

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I could not work as much as I planned today, but I did what I could. There is an important document that I must send tomorrow, for which I have been waiting the input of a colleague of mine. He is away and I have not received his version of the document yet, so I am feeling on the edge. While by working together we all can do much better and bigger work, when not everybody works and does their parts at the same time, it does not move much. I will have to find a way to fix this tomorrow. Now I rather make a conscious decision to enjoy my time.

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According to my calculations, I have saved around 350 bucks from my salary since my last pay cheque. This looks less that what I wanted to, but it is better than nothing. I have no planned expenses coming this week (other than grocery and regular bills), and for grocery I only have a few items to pick this week. This may mean that I can save a few more bucks.

I know that if I do reach the $500 savings level once, I will be more motivated to keep saving after that. I really am focused on not making any unnecessary expenses within the next two weeks (that means no thrift store visits), no socials, no gifts/donations (I can do these later), no hair cut (my hair cut is long due, but..), no cabs (please no!), no books or any other items. I just need to pick laundry detergent this weekend – that will be the only non-grocery item I am planning to purchase.

Saving money, finding ways to maximize the value of the money (sales, use of points, etc.), and feeling fully abundant are empowering. I know there are a number fellow bloggers out there who are on the same journey as I am. Off to reading their post to get inspired now.

Have a great night everyone. I hope 2019 is treating you with Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation 🙂

 

holidays diary – day 7

Today it felt more like a break and better – I am grateful! 🙂

I am going to bed late and I am getting up after 7 am – this has been one of the blessing of this break – thank you!

I am cooking and eating relatively healthy – this feels very energizing and I am kind of proud of myself 🙂

I worked nice and easy at the office (the last two days), which is amazing. It is quiet and beautiful. Not getting 50 emails a day, not having anyone calling or waltzing in my office regularly, and not rushing from one meeting to other have been feeling amazing. On top of that, the clean and organized office has been a blessing – it feels energetic, spacious, and just lovely. I am in love with my office nowadays 🙂

My home is clean, decluttered, and well organized as well. Little re-arrangements here and there have made a positive impact. It feels really lovely  🙂

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Today was very cold, with possibly -10/15 C. Waiting for the bus was not fun, but it was well worth it. I have not taken the cab in the last while and my purse feels quite rich. On top of this, I limited, significantly limited, my junk food consumption, which makes me save lots of money 🙂 I feel very abundant, now that I have tons of extra money (well, not tons of it, but you know what I mean). Shopping hence does not feel like a way to further spend money, but to treat (with healthy food) and nourish myself. Overall, these two (taking the bus and limiting the junk food) always make the most impact on my financial well-being. I hope to be able to keep going.

This being said, I always have a great frugal life in the first 6 months of the year, and then with summer I seem to open the purse. Can I make it an exception this year? We shall see 🙂 Honestly I do not have much of an alternative; my chequing account is very low and my mortgage is due renewal this year, which means I am looking at a mortgage with a higher interest. I must be keeping my money as much as I can in order to keep up with these…. This is my plan. Wish me luck!

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This year I have not posted an yearly financial well-being/net-worth post. The main reason is that I have accidentally deleted around 6 months of my recordings. Oh, well. That is alright. My net-worth has increased around 25K, mostly thanks to home equity, but my investments (RRSP and TFSA) have lost around 10-15K…… Go figure…. I am taking it easy, however. Now I may have lost money, but I have faith that over time it will increase again. I have time.

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Tomorrow, I plan to visit the thrift stores again. A pot that I bought yesterday find its plant, a beautiful prayer plant I have at the office 🙂 Together, they are the most elegant  and elite decoration I have ever had in my possession. I feel so lucky and happy about them. Long live the thrift stores and all the people who donate there 🙂

I will visit 2 stores tomorrow. I shop at both of them; one being more affordable than the other, but the other one is bigger. I have no ambitions whatsoever and will just take my time to explore every inch of both of them. Who knows, maybe I will find some unexpectedly interesting stuff. Tomorrow will be my first “for my enjoyment only” day of the holidays.

Let’s remember that the new year is the year of Ease, Comfort, and Appreciation 🙂

 

 

 

shopping ban week

Gotta curb this spending habit I have been having lately (mostly cab and junk food expenses… yes, again… time to fix this).

What is the plan?

Well – I budget only $60 to consume till the next pay-day (12 days), including grocery and others. Should I walk in the morning and save the bus fare, this amount may as well increase a little bit. Then I can go buy some more pots from thrift store for my plants.

My choice now 🙂

I have everything I need; my fridge and pantry is full of food; and I have no urgent needs (except the physiotherapy and dental fees that I expect this week).

Let’s do it!

positive vibes

The thought crosses the mind and the heart feels.

That is what they say. I kind of believe in this.

Today, I am turning my regular thought pattern of working of problems, and rather, note the random beauty and safety around me.

Like the light coming into my bedroom window right now – what a majestic thing! It is free, available to everyone, and has found my way. I am lucky :). Ligth finds me.

The song I am listening to right now is peaceful, melodic, and intense at the same time. The guitar is both speaking and dancing. All the peaceful and lively melodies find me feed my soul, get my attention and lift my mood up.

I created two lovely sourdough loaves today and shared one with my good neighbours. To be able to share without feeling the need or enforcement is such a bliss. I like this about myself – I like to share the things I cherish. I am kind to my neighbours and I treat them time to time with nice food, little gifts. I am abundant and kind.

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I find things to do when I need to. Like today I painted a number of small terra cota pots for my yet-to-come succulents and cacti (planted seeds last week – wish me luck). I have hobbies that let me create and get excited about what I can do.

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I feel less anxious than Friday and this is wonderful. Once again, my fears triggered by external resources/people and made me remember what I should be careful about in my future steps (about work). I welcome this fear to make my future less problematic and I let it go now – it served its purpose.

I planted a number of seeds in a windy day. Some may have gone around to my neighbours’ yards. May they find their niche, germinate, and make someone happy and joyful. Nature and I have so much to share.

Rain and wind knocked some of my daffodils and tulips. One tulip is standing tall and is about to bloom. Like this tulip, I too stand up no matter what.

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Everything is available in life and I claim my part of life right here, right now.

How about this as a turn of the way I often think?

🙂

 

 

 

frugal life-style makes me feel overly abundant

Frugality means a lot of things to many people. For me, it is all about abundance.

Is it strange that the less I spend, the more able I feel?

Nope.

There are two things I guess;

1) frugality enables me to spend my money on things that most matter. I remember the first time I very strongly felt that: I was eager to purchase commercial baking yeast, but it was not on sale. The cost was around 7 bucks or something. For some reason, this sounded to me like too much 🙂 Argh…

Was 7 bucks a lot of money?

No.

I used to have at the weekends breakfast with a cup of coffee and bagels costing around 10 bucks back in the day. I thought about these two costs and I decided it was time that I leveraged my money, considering how much I was interested in buying the yeast (my baking adventures 🙂 ) . So that weekend was the first time I did not have my weekend breakfast (my favorite treat for years), and rather spent the money on the yeast. It felt good to trade expenses after that.

2) Now that I spend less, money becomes more valuable. Strange, is it not? Only a week early I used to pay around 100 bucks/week to cab rides. I knew it was a lot of money, but did not care much considering how easy it made my stressful life. Today, I bought lots of great food and my weekly self-treat of chocolate for under 20 bucks. When I looked at how they made me feel, I knew that I felt happier and excited.

20 bucks versus 100 bucks…

This is what I call abundance.

Long live frugality 🙂

 

at last; frugal and simple life again

Today I have been completely expense-free; I took the bus in the morning even though it was icy on the road; I did not treat anyone at the office with food or coffee; I walked back to home in the evening; and I did not buy the junk food that I have had an habit of eating every day since July (aka the busy work season).

I saved $30.5 today by these today.

$30.5…. in a single day…

It feels like a lot of money for me today (although I did not care doing these expenses every single day in the last 7 months..).

I feel like during only Monday-Friday this week, assuming that I will keep repeating my frugal life-style today, I will be saving over 150 bucks of mine. This is like 15 x 10 pounds bread flour (more than a year’s of what is needed to bake a sourdough loaf every Sunday); 3 weeks worth of grocery; >1/2 sewing machine (new); a night at a hotel; around 50 bus trips to work; around 8 generous thrift store purchases; or a lovely pre-payment.

Can you imagine how abundant I feel??? 

Very abundant and wealthy indeed!

I am so excited and so proud of myself.

🙂

joy journal – Oct 15, 2016

When was the last time I wrote my joy journal? Honestly I can not remember.. I believe it must be at least 3 weeks ago or so; first the work had gone crazy for a couple of weeks and then I was away for a trip to Europe. I am assuming I did not write during these times..

yet today I am joyful and cannot wait to write 🙂

1. I am grateful for getting up before 9 am! I never thought I would be grateful for this. It is partly because I have a little jet lag since my return from Europe and it makes me get up earlier than my usual 9 – 9.30 am routine. i note that there is something peaceful about mornings…. This is very surprising for this night owl 🙂

2. I am grateful for the public transportation! I took the bus to a nearby shopping centre this morning. How convenient and affordable is it? Are we not lucky that we have such a service available to us?

3. I am grateful for the coffee and bagel I have had this morning at the shopping centre. Man, they felt especially delicious today. I am so lucky to have these almost everywhere and they cost me only a few bucks.

4. I am grateful for the two pairs of fluffy slippers I have got today! They will keep my feet warm in our cold Canadian winter 🙂 I am so lucky that they were on sale 🙂

5. I am grateful for having a hair cut. Finally.. It has been 4-5 months that I have been meaning to have one. The cut itself is not great or special, but my hair sure looks way better than before 🙂

6. I am grateful for shopping today 🙂 Shopping always makes me feel great and excited! I bought lots of durable food and other items that I needed. I am feeling happy, excited, and abundant in my life right now 🙂

7. I am grateful for not waiting for the bus too long on the way back and having totes and a backpack to carry my shopping items to home. I felt like my life was very functional and easy today. very rare blessing 🙂

8. I am grateful for talking with my family and sharing laughs

9. I am grateful for the green bean meal I have cooked today. I had frozen the beans after cooking them lightly with tomato (my mom’s idea). They turned out to be incredibly delicious! I would love to get 10-15 bags frozen next summer.

10. I am grateful for the sourdough that turned out to be really good today 🙂 I am genuinely excited about it and would love to replicate the recipe next week.

11. I am grateful for relaxing the entire afternoon, watching movies and reading blogs. There is something so soothing coming out of this that I am awed. I think the stress of the last 3 weeks has lifted and now I am ready to roll again

12. I am grateful for today being Saturday; I can go to bed whenever I want and I can get up whenever I want. What a freedom.

13. I am grateful for my warm house, fluffy socks, and comfy couch that make this cold autumn night easier to bear.

14. I am grateful for being safe and sound, and having a shelter, and enough food and water.

15. I am grateful for my family, my house, my job, my salary, my benefits, my furniture, my clothes and shoes, my friends, my abilities, and all the food and other items I have in my life.

16. I am grateful for having dreams that put a smile on my face.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and having the excitement to write this journal.

 

abundance

Longing for abundance?

Go thru what you have in your home, office, car, or life first.

Make a list; itemize everything; it helps you to find out what you already have, what you had forgotten you have had, what you do not, what you need, and what you do not need. While you are at it, declutter too. When you are done;

  1. Appreciate what you have
  2. Use what you have
  3. Donate whatever you do not want/need anymore- help others
  4. Exchange them with family and friends – mend each other’s needs
  5. Re-purpose; cut out that shirt, curtain, shorts and make cleaning clothes – mop the floor, clean the doors/windows, wipe the rugs, sew a mat, scarf, tote, napkins, or toys for a kid or a pet; use the glass jars and other containers to store your dry food, spices, and other food; replace the old mat with a new one you found somewhere else at home
  6. Save items for later use (make sure to remember their existence and try not to hoard)
  7. Sell them
  8. Put whatever cannot be used, donated, exchanged, re-purposed, saved for future use,  or sold into garbage or a collection unit
  9. Give priority of use to those items that you have had forgotten you have had. This is not only good for perishable items, like food, but anything else – since they were not around for sometime, using them can enrich your life if you like change, make you feel like you just have gained an item for free,  or a need filled with no effort or funds

Abundance comes from knowing and feeling what you already have.

Remember to thank for whatever you have.

joy journal – August 28, 2016

joy 🙂

happiness 🙂

peace 🙂

I am feeling very good today and one of the things that can increase that feeling is to be able to remember and contemplate on things/people/experiences that have been giving me joy, comfort, happiness, and peace. So, here they are:

1. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up feeling peaceful

2. I am grateful for buying myself a cup of nice coffee and not eating muffin or bagels (I wanted to, though… 🙂 )

3. I am grateful for finding the receipts for the items that I had bought a while ago, which were not  needed anymore (and were not used, either). I have done this a couple of times lately; not that I like the extra effort to return stuff, but it is just awesome to be able to get rid of extra stuff from home and also get the money paid back. Win-win!

4. I am grateful for taking the bus to the stores and back. I am glad that I did not need to wait long for the bus today – I feel lucky 🙂

5. I am grateful for speaking with my family 🙂

6. I am grateful for putting some items for sale online. I am not asking for a lot of money and I hope that the items will be gone soon. Guess what I am planning to do with the money? Donate it to the animal shelter! 🙂 What a great cause, what a great happiness!!

7. I am grateful for eating well today

8. I am grateful for baking yet another steel-like sourdough loaf 🙂 I must pay more attention to the critical points of baking, rather than improvising I guess. I sure will try to eat it, and if not, turn it into croutons 🙂

9. I am grateful for preparing another batch of frozen green beans with tomato. Green beans and tomato were incredibly cheap this week and I could not help but think about freezing them. I feel very content and excited about this food freezing practice (which I started only lately). In my freezer in addition to the green beans, I have blanched carrots, zucchini, bone broth,and bread all prepared by myself. I am loving this no food waste and preserve food adventure of mine 🙂 I feel so able and so abundant!

10. I am grateful for stretching my body and getting some relief from it

11. I am grateful for getting a second hand pantry today! Boy, I have been meaning to get one for sometime and this one looks like a good fit. It is a little bit taller than what I ideally would like to have (to fit a corner in my laundry room), but I decided I could make some arrangements and still make use of it. I needed storage space to store some items here and there (like the laundry detergents that lie on the floor) and this pantry looks just fine to me. The couple brought it right to my home and I guess it was a great deal. Exciting! 🙂

12. I am grateful for relaxing whole day without stressing about anything. I realized, thanks to a couple of weeks lately that were stressful and emotional, that I usually feel quite good…. What a blessing

13. I am grateful for all the food I have in my fridge, pantry, and freezer. I am abundant:)

14. I am grateful for having the night to myself and enjoying it so far

15. I am grateful for my family, friends, job, salary, benefits, insurance, bank, house, all the furniture and services (cable, phone, internet etc.), bus service, neighbours, colleagues, food, clothes, and many others in my life that make my life fun, safe, healthy, and lovable.

16. I am grateful for being grateful!

🙂

 

 

weekly budget check – July 28, 2016

I have not recorded my weekly spendings and savings since mid-June because of the vacation I have had.

This week too I will not record it (will start next Thursday again), but I want to write down my overall experience with money right before, during, and right after the vacation.

Right before the vacation:

I relaxed my spending a little bit by buying last-minute gifts and requests by my family members and their friends. That sounds about right to me and I have no regrets. Things I have bought were useful and needed, and I am happy to provide them.

I also stopped doing grocery shopping for myself maybe 10 days prior to my vacation so that I would not need to dump out unconsumed food before I left. That felt right, too. I rather consumed what I had already had at the fridge, the frozen meals I had prepared earlier, or prepared meals using the food in my pantry. That also felt good, as I have a tendency to not consume the dry staples. Win-win situation 🙂

During the trips/at the airport:

Considering the expense, but more than that, the lack of variety of the airport food, I prepared sandwiches and veggie snacks for myself and happily devoured them during my airport/plane times.

I was happy to treat myself, too. Coffee was always welcome while waiting for the connections. So was the book that I purchased at one airport. I have had a 9-hour wait between connections at one point and that book helped me to spend time without getting bored or agitated; dollars well spent 🙂

As per water; I have had a plastic water bottle with me and whenever I found a filtered water fountain, I filled it. In some cases, this was not possible, which necessitated purchasing bottled water. Oh, well 🙂 That too was required and as such I have no regret.

During the vacation:

I have had budgeted for this vacation at the beginning of the year. So I did not care about spending my money within some limits. That, as you may be familiar with, feels good after a kind of strict budget that I have had :))) It is great to relax the rules and lift the “I should not buy this/make this purchase” thought. Freedom is needed in every aspect of our lives, I guess, however transient it may be.

Yet, at one point I thought if I continue like that I would over-spend my vacation money, so I needed to limit my shopping (especially for clothes). This did not negatively affect me, as I have clothes at home, some of them never worn, and it is time that I make use of them.

I was also moderately generous with friends and family and contributed to the food, transportation, and other expenses we have had together. I could have done more I guess, but it was still at an acceptable level. That feels okay.

After the vacation:

I am back to my regular budget. I have no regret or sadness about that. In contrast, it feels good. It is interesting that saving and becoming a conscious spender/saver becomes a delightful part of your life….

My checking account is still above $0, yet if I am not careful enough, it may rapidly drop below that level, which would not be good…. I am looking forward to making it stronger in the coming weeks/months.

It is interesting, overall, that we all have different types of relationships and beliefs about money. Often times, it does change over time, too. I have always been frugal I guess, but the “conscious spending journey” I have had in the last 1 year or so, has showed me that I can be better.

I am glad that I am not interested in extreme frugality/being a cheapskate, or being an over-spender. I am glad that I am interested in saving, limiting unnecessary purchases/expenses, and investing for my future and retirement. I still have my short-term and long-term financial goals, and more or less I keep up with them. I know there may be unexpected expenses in the future, which may derail me a little bit. But I hope I will find the courage to accept them as necessary and not dwell in the loss of money.

While lack of money is a negative experience that produces very negative feelings in me (anxiety, anger, sadness, and hopelessness sometime), I must remind myself that money is not everything; experiences and well-being of my loved ones are way more important. And my health and well-being, too.

It feels good to feel this way 🙂

on being frugal and budgeting

I sometimes feel weird writing about these topics, but then why should I? Both of these concepts have made positive differences in my life, my bank accounts, and my psychology.

I admit that my recent effort of budgeting (starting last June) was motivated by fear. The fear that I would not able to manage home-ownership without getting into debt. It is fueled by a large sum of expenses made to repair my roof, which started to leak at multiple places immediately after I bought it. I possibly have a foundation problem too, which I have been “watching” since last year – when it reaches an actionable level, I will have to spend thousands of dollars to have it fixed. With one salary, this is difficult on me, even though my salary is good and I am very grateful for it. Plus, since I started saving/investing for my retirement late in life, understandably I was stressed.

This stress helped me to look at my spending habits with a fearful yet careful eye. I decided to control my expenses in an attempt to increase my savings and to have a peace of mind. It was difficult at the beginning, I still time to time get frustrated with my spending, but each day it only becomes better; I kicked out unnecessary and significant expenses out of my life, I am able to spend and waste less, and save more for future expenses. The fellow bloggers here also helped a lot with their posts as well as their support. Overall, I feel pretty good about this experience.

While I am more frugal, I do not feel deprived. In contrast, I am more abundant than before. I have some funds I allocate for miscellaneous (i.e. not must have) expenses, such as my weekend breakfast (cost less than $20/week). I make sure to buy things that will make me feel good (such as scented hand creams that I like). These for sure makes me feel like I am not restricted or deprived. That was one smart thing to do and I am glad I have kept it so far. Additionally, my purchasing power is increased somehow (e.g. by following the sales, price comparison between the two stores that are close to my house, etc. For some reason, I am not into couponing or apps…). I did not change the quality of the items I purchase; I still use the same brand of hair dye, toilet paper, toothpaste, food, or stationary items and others. They just cost less now as the value of my money is maximized. And finally, I have developed a better appreciation for what I have and for having limited waste (food to clothes or anything else). All of these help me to feel more abundant than before.

My saving has increased a lot as a result of budgeting and applying frugal strategies and it feels awesome to see the difference.

I can say that the enormous level of fear I felt last year is now giving me abundance, a higher level of gratitude, and hope for my future. I am also proud of myself. So many positive feelings here….I am surprised as well why I could feel this way while my spending is much less compared to before. See; as the habits change so does the mindset. I hope you also see the positives out of this experience if you are going thru a tough time financially and are budgeting or reducing spending.

cheers 🙂

abundance and gratitude

One of my colleagues a couple of times commented about my TV (which is not an LCD one) and suggested I should buy a new one. She said LCD TVs now were “cheap” so it should not be a problem for me to afford.

My colleague does not understand the fact that I am happy with my TV and I do not feel the need or the pressure to replace it with an LCD TV right now. I bought my TV long time ago, it serves me well, I like it, and I have no interest to replace it until it breaks (which I hope will not happen for a long time).

How to explain such a simple thing to people with a mind set of “I must have the latest technology / the best available”? I have no idea. I told her exactly what I wrote in the previous paragraph – whether or not she sees my point, I am not sure. I hope we will not have this conversation again..

In the last week or so, with the excitement of the new budget and my ability to protect my money better, I have been filled with gratitude and thankfulness for everything I now have; everything in my house works well for me and I should be proud of exploring, finding, and using them. The furniture, the clothes/shoes, the cleaning or personal care products I use, the food and kitchen items.. Everything I have is perfect and works wonders for me and for my life.

I am also grateful for decluttering and getting rid of all the unnecessary items from home last summer. That made me become aware of my stuff and develop a deeper appreciation for those that I left at home. While I gotta do this sometime soon to get rid of a couple of old socks and this and that, I feel like what ever I have right now has a purpose and they serve me well.

I have a tighter budget now this year than before and I feel more abundant and rich than before. The reason? Knowing that whatever I get actually has a purpose and use for me. That over the years, I have found out the items that work best for me. That I follow the sales and stock up durable items. That I take advantage of the loyalty points. That I am okay with shopping at thrifty stores. That I learnt to freeze my food and consume them during the week when I am too tired to cook. That I only purchase food that will nourish my body and will be enough for a week or so, so that I will not waste any of them. That I explored different stores and now I know which products or produce are available at a better price.

That I am grateful for whatever I have, rather than what others think that I should have.

My life. My choices. I lack nothing and everything I have works wonderfully.

 

joy journal, Nov 2, 2015

joy 🙂

hope 🙂

good developments 🙂

joy 🙂

Life is full of ups and downs. I repeat again that not everything is all bright and shinny in my life. But I try to keep my head up off the water by focusing on the positive side. There are somethings that I will have to accept as they are, somethings that I can help change, and somethings that I can hope for.

Thank yo for joining me in this journey to focus on the positive, not the negative, so that I can have a stronger mind to deal with issues.

1. I am grateful for waking up on time and going to the office early (around 9 am). It allowed me to relax with my coffee and taking care of some work prior to a two-hours presentation. No rush, no stress. Allowing myself ample time helps me to prevent stress 🙂

2. I am grateful for my presentation going well, even though it is a 2 hour presentation. We have time to time such long presentations as educational sessions. I have been preparing for it for quite sometime and I am pleased to see that this paid off. The presentation went well, I have got good questions at the end, and eventually the message was transmitted effectively. Good job! 🙂

3. I am grateful for the positive feedback I have got after the presentation. It is more or less a formal assessment about the effectiveness of my speech. The feedback was also sent to my boss, which is great. I feel so excited and motivated 🙂

4. I am grateful for the work I have done today! I have been away from the office for 10 days or so because of my trips. I have been feeling the need to go back and finish tasks. I have started it today, which I am sure will continue for some more time. Till mid december, when I will slow down right before the holiday season, I am planning  to take care of a couple of important stuff in addition to daily tasks. I cannot wait 🙂

5. I am grateful for talking to my team members and expediting their work, too. One of the team members is about to leave and we are trying to make sure this transition is good for him as well as for us. We are progressing very well.

6. I am grateful for making appointments with my team members individually so that we can focus on their tasks and needs. Appointments make me focus my time on specific topics or specific tasks. I am happy to do this.

7. I am grateful for the coffee I have got today; light and creamy 🙂

8. I am grateful for the minor house repair being done today! Cannot believe it has been finally done. It makes me feel so relieved, so excited! There has been moments that I had felt pretty sour about the job. Having negative feelings is not nice. Now, I stand reminded that eventually things happen 🙂

9. I am grateful for the yogurt, mint, and olive oil I have eaten for dinner – I know they are all nourishing and healthy stuff that are useful for my body.

10. I am grateful for looking outside of my office window and enjoying the scenery. The trees are changing their colors – what a beautiful scenery!

11. I am grateful for remembering to smile today. One of my coworkers said I was looking stressed this morning. I was actually just neutral 🙂 I told him that this was the regular expression in my face; unless I smile, lots of people think that I am stressed :)) By smiling more often, I expect to feel better and radiate more positive energy to the people around me.

12. I am grateful for walking in the afternoon back from office to home 🙂

13. I am grateful for my warm house, my couch and blanket. They make me feel pampered and safe.

14. I am grateful for my TV and the cable with streaming service. I can choose among many series and movies to watch and there is a huge excitement coming out of this.

15. I am grateful for working at home this evening on an important document. We have been revising it for some time and I am very satisfied with its current revisions. After that, it will be ready to submit. yay! 🙂

16. I am grateful for the relaxing music I am listening right now. It is calming…

17. I am grateful for focusing on the positive.

18. I am grateful for being grateful and coming up with this list today! 🙂

random thoughts

What a beautiful day 🙂

The handyman fixed my faucet locks and drained my water boiler – they recommend it every year, though the handyman said he did not bother about it at home 😉 Well, that is alright; next year I can get servicing, see whether there is anything that needs to be alarming or going bad about it. Someone had said if I get it serviced, it could last 7 years, if not then change it every 5 years. Sounds good to me; I will get it serviced in the 6th year and get professional opinion.

I made a great change his morning – I went to another cafe for breakfast. Yep, I still ate bagels but this time I have got it with cream cheese, not butters. Change felt good, though I still need to find an healthier alternative to bagels. Does not matter how much I like something (e.g. my favorite cafe), it is good to give a break time to time; it was getting too familiar, too routine. I am happy with my decision to go to somewhere else this morning.

Otherwise, how am I doing? Good. I had a healthy lunch. But most importantly, I went through my kitchen drawers and the pantry. Those teas and spices which are beyond their expiry day are now rightfully in the garbage. I have found 4 cans of food somewhere, 36 rolls of paper towel (why did I keep buying them??), 15 sponges to be used (again, why bought??), an incredible amount of cleaning clothes, and garbage and recycling bags that I had forgotten I had… And, how about the facial tissues that I thought I was running out of? Yep…..

You got the idea; we need to go thru our stuff time to time to know what we have what we need. I seem to buy stuff (like paper towels) out of habit, which now is mounting in my kitchen. And, the fact that I did not look at them carefully and thought some of them were  toilet papers,  I also realized that I am running out of toilet papers.

I have a lot of dried food: dried beans, chickpeas, rice, cracked wheat, dried peppers, okra, and eggplant. I need to, I want to integrate them into my weekly menu so that I can consume them, not waste them. Yesterday I came up with the idea of buying a pressure cooker. It will help with my time and especially with cooking the beans that I keep eating out of the can. As soon as I do my research and decide which one to purchase, I am getting one.

It felt really good to be going thru the stuff, dumping unusable ones, and noticing what I have. I so far did this with the bedrooms, kitchen, and two of the bathrooms. I now am onto the living room, boy, which is gonna be though 🙂 Books and all the paperwork/stationary items that need to be sorted are giving me the chills 🙂 I also need to decide which books and CDs to keep, which ones to donate; that is not gonna be easy, but I will do this 🙂

cheers everyone

possessing versus feeling abundant

I have been shopping less items in the last few months as part of my “consciously spending” plan.  I was not necessarily limiting the goods I need; only that in order to minimize the waste and save some money along the way, I had decided to shop on a need-to-buy basis. That sometimes meant going to the store more than once a week, but overall worked wonders with me: I wasted much less fresh produce than I usually would. And that made me happy and proud. I also saved money.

This week I have taken a step further and purchased even less amount of food. I bought two tomatoes rather than four for example. And how did I feel while preparing and eating food at home? Very abundant. Every single food in my fridge is valuable. Every single one of them…

I think the point is not to have too many; but to be aware and appreciative of what I already have. Being aware of items is easy when they are visible (e.g. not behind many items in the fridge/pantry) and being appreciative is easy when we know that what we got are (limited and thus) valuable.

Many people said and many books written this I am sure. But it is by experience I remember this once again.

So I am voluntarily on a budget and rather than feeling restricted, I am feeling more abundant…. Life works in wondrous ways 🙂

I want to see whether I can get more aware and more appreciative of what I purchase next time; maybe I can try “the $21 challenge” I came across at https://growingsnowballs.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/the-21-challenge-achieved-well-almost-save-money-frugal-shopping/

Give it a try should you wish and share with us how it goes.

best,

joy journal – August 16, 2015

  1. I am grateful for getting up before 9 am. Days when I get up that early make me feel like there are so many stuff I can do within that day. I like this feeling. Often times though I have no idea how to fill the day…
  2. I am grateful for going to my favorite cafe and eating my favorite bagels and drinking coffee, while also surfing on the net. It was a delightful morning.
  3. I am grateful for doing grocery shopping this morning. I bought only a small amount of stuff, knowing that I can always visit the store should I need any items (it is 5 min away from my house). I felt abundant once I got some produce.
  4. I am grateful for yogurt. I time to time consume yogurt regularly and enjoy it highly. I had run out of it yesterday but was able to get two containers today. It is such a healthy food – I seriously think that it neutralize some of the toxins…
  5. I am grateful for eating an apple, salad and a healthy meal today.
  6. I am grateful for starting to declutter my home today. It is going well, I feel like I gotta declutter even harder, and am excited about the feeling it gives. Relief in so many different levels…
  7. I am grateful for finding items/clothes that I need while decluttering. It looks like I have forgotten what I have.. But then if they are not where I can see them, how can I remember every single item? Lessons learnt 🙂
  8. I am grateful for aerating my home today. Fresh air is awesome. It also cools down the upstairs, making sleeping easier and comfortable 🙂
  9. I am grateful for today being a sunday. I was free to do whatever I want to do and I enjoyed relaxing at home very much.
  10. I am grateful for turning the TV off. I am listening to the music rather. It is a first for me – in the last few days I was not paying much attention to the programs anyways; so why to keep it working for no reason? I am proud of myself for doing this (I always have had TV on to have a background noise – until this time; who said “never say never”? 🙂 )
  11. I am grateful for deciding to dump my VCRs and CDs as well.
  12. I am grateful for the little mat I have found today – it fit so well to is new place I am awed 🙂
  13. I am grateful for the trees in my yard. When they whoosh with the wind, it is so calming.. I would not buy a house that did not have a yard or no mature trees in it.
  14. I am grateful for flossing today 🙂
  15. I am grateful for living in a quite neighborhood.
  16. I am grateful for deciding to not throw a birthday party for myself. I want to, I really do. I want to have my friends around, eat, and laugh. But then the idea of shopping and cooking makes me highly hesitant. I made a deal with myself – I will not have the party but will give myself a gift. Something unique, original. something that will make me remember this beautiful age.
  17. I am grateful for all the books that I have at home but did not read. I thought about the books today extensively because I know I will purge them quite a bit too. But more than that I know that there a bunch of books that I have never read. These books excite me as I can grab any of them anytime and satisfy my need of reading without making new purchases. Very good 🙂 All I have to do is to continue my decluttering process and identify those books.
  18. I am grateful for the foods I eat, clothes I wear, furniture, laptop, internet, TV, cable I use, water I drink, and the air I breathe.
  19. I am grateful for reading a blog by a terminal cancer patient. She brings in a different vision to terminal disease; rather than resisting the idea of being terminal, she accepts it and sees the positive in every single moment. She sounds pretty sincere, refuse to be a victim of “why (i got this disease)”, and that is why I believe we need more patients like her providing their view. While I do not like cancer and deaths from cancer, if (and only if) it is inevitable having some kind of peace or acceptance around it very much lessens the “power” of cancer over us. That is what I thought after reading that post – that cancer had no power on that person. And I liked that. Very much indeed….

decluttering and weight loss – is there a connection?

Out of boredom, I opened the first book I have not read for some time. It is a book titled “Does This Clutter Make Butt Look Fat” by Peter Walsh that links the clutter in our environment with extra weight.

Made me think: one of my over-weight friends had told me that there must be a benefit of being over-weight: in sickness when eating may be problematic or not possible, certainly the extra weight helps to provide the body with the energy required for its functioning. As an over-weight person myself, I remember that very well. It also made sense to me biologically (we need a certain amount of energy everyday to keep going). Yet, I am also quite aware of the disease risks associated with being obese/over-weight. Nope, the extra fat needs to go..

This book also made me think my shopping habits: I have the habit of stocking durable items, such as cleaning products, canned or frozen food, stationary items. Sometimes without even using what I already have, I keep buying them. Where does this need come from? Why do I stock up stuff?

Because I feel comfortable and abundant if I have many items I regularly use. Because I may get lazy to go shopping when I need something. Because I like the convenience of not running out of anything. Because I save by doing so, as I usually purchase and stock when items are on sale. BUT would that mean that I also “save” my weight for the sick days? Feel “abundant” and “comfortable” with my weight? Possible. Sub-conscious mind works in a way that I will never understand fully.

Since a while ago, I decided to do the grocery shopping as I need, I will switch to the same with other items now. I will also continue with my decluttering activity at home and yard. Let’s see whether I will this time send the right message to my sub-conscious mind that I am abundant in any way, in sickness too my body will function just fine, and I will buy/eat as needed, not because it is convenient or saves me something.

wish me luck 🙂

my two-cents on budgeting and saving

I have read a lot of about these two: budgeting and saving. Years ago, I was a fierce saver and I still keep a modest life-style and save as much as I can. I just need to save more and I can save more, that is all (in my case it is true what they say; as the income increases, the expenses increase, too).

These experiences and countless number of books, blogs, and internet resources do not make me an expert on budgeting and saving. Nope.

Nevertheless, this experience and reading helped me to know my own preferences/abilities as well as those that I could/would not apply.

So here is my two-cents for those who are thinking about saving and having a modest/frugal life – nothing specific, just philosophical:

1. Know what you want: you want to save for future activities, to pay down debt, for your retirement, or not? I am not going to try to tell you, press you, or motivate you to decide or do anything – you are your own boss. You must, can, and do know what is best for you. That is THE most important thing; just know what you want.

2. You can save and I bet you are already saving: trust me when I say that no matter what your income is, you can save. Maybe not too much if your income is low or expenses are high, but you can always spare something. Maybe you bought an item on sale and that saved a cent or two. Hold on to that saving, cherish it, love it. Congratulate and respect yourself for having it. These feelings are incredibly powerful.

This also applies to other items, not only money. Did you use the old t-shirt as a cleaning mop, give yourself a hug. When you cook something out of scratch with whatever there is edible in your kitchen, put on a music and dance to celebrate. Did you notice you were wasting something (food, toilet paper, cleaning product etc.) and stopped yourself next time? Celebrate – you have done good. Are you cooking at home for yourself and others? Are you cleaning your own place and take care of the yard/garden yourself, rather than paying someone else to do it? You are wonderful!!! – you gotta love yourself. Your efforts are already saving you and possibly your family a lot more than what we often think of. Good job!

Do you already have a modest life-style? Already conscious in your spending habits and saving anyhow? Then, you should be proud of yourself – do not let anyone beat you down for your spending habits or life-style. Remember you are your own boss.

3. Know your income and your fixed+variable expenses: I am pretty sure the majority of us know their income, especially if it is a fixed income. I also believe the majority of us are aware of the major fixed expenses; rent/mortgage, transportation, insurance etc. Unless you can live without one or more of them (or reduce their cost), we can assume that their total is the minimum you let go every month. In addition to the fixed expenses, the variable expenses we need to be aware of, too. These are the ones that can go sky-high if not controlled well or due to unexpected circumstances (such as house/car repairs). Variable expenses are also an opportunity; if we know what they are and what value we give to them, they can be reduced (or increased – depending on your preferences).

4. Aim short periods of saving time to assess your saving: Maybe you are like me and motivated by seeing the fruits of your plans/projects in a short time. Why not to aim for saving a particular amount of money in a single day? In a week? Have a plan and see how you are doing at the end of the saving period. If you have saved, you will likely feel motivated to keep going. If you have not, no worries; try again or adjust your plan realistically. Or drop it all together – again you are the boss.

5. Give yourself rewards: I would highly recommend not straining yourself to a point that you would completely forego the safety, comfort, or the joy that your money is supposed to provide you with. Whether it is a different loaf of bread you would like to try, the new movie you were waiting for, or replacing your old tires with the new ones, reward yourself. Regularly (it does not have to be expensive to reward yourself). As a matter of fact, if you have a budget, specifically budget for your “reward money”. You are looking forward to abundance by saving, not straining or crashing yourself.

6. Whatever they say, write, or recommend may not work for you: It is good to get to know more, see different money saving strategies, and experiment with these strategies. But not all of them may work with you – your primary interest is to find out those that will be applicable to you and possibly to develop your own ways. To me that is really exciting; I love experimenting. Imagine developing your own way of savings and cherishing them:)

Examples of strategies I can give you that will not work for me is to cut the cable (the only alternative could be Netflix), or cooking beans/legumes rather than using canned food (dried beans take too much time to cook.. I am not that patient). I will also not stop using my credit card; it is convenient and essential especially during my trips. Another strategy I was reading about is “having one large grocery shopping a week” – I have been doing in the last decade, but I realized it caused some green produce to go bad; so recently I am doing the opposite; doing grocery shopping maybe twice a week and in small quantities. I have not wasted anything yet and I am proud of this.

Others I am happy to try. For example, shopping freeze (one of my favorites; I froze buying books for two months and also vacations other than the trips to visit my family), budgeting and keeping track of every single expense (my recent favorite; absolutely works for me), respecting money (a recent one again, which changed something in me – certainly works), regular automatic deposits to saving/investment accounts, paying off the smallest debt first (to feel the motivation to keep going as one debt is already off my list), having an emergency fund (even a little one helps), having one credit card, followings sales and stocking up non-perishable items (such as toilet paper).

These small savings, by accumulating, will make a difference in the savings. But the best savings come with cutting or reducing the “big expenses”. What are your big expenses? Can they be eliminated or reduced? How big would be the impact of their reduction in your savings? Think about it – you are the boss.

6. What are your preferences? Financial goals?: Why do you want to save your money? What is it preserved for? How exciting or necessary is it? When I think about the tangible outcomes, I am more excited and motivated to keep trying; maybe that will work with you, too?

A little bit philosophy, a lot of questions 🙂

Good night everyone.

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