a relatively great day

Today I realized how rich and abundant I was when I was on my frugal life style. I certainly missed that feeling and I asked myself what was keeping me away from that life style again?

Myself. My need to comfort myself at the face of work-related stress. So I take the cab everywhere (rather than taking the bus or walking) and eat junk/comfort foods. This gotta stop, right?


Now that I am in a more relaxed period of time, I would like to give it a shot again. I would like to take the bus in the morning and start walking in the evening back to home again. I do not need to buy anything except a few cleaning products, and I have tons of food to consume at home.

I was not able to make mortgage pre-payments for the past several months. My plan is to make around 2K before the new year.

I know that I have been struggling to re-implement frugality for some time, but I am motivated to give it a hand again….

Wish me luck!


when I do not have cash I figured I cannot spend it

Since July I have had all the excuses (rightfully mostly, but still excuses) to spend money and pamper myself; take the cab, buy and eat junk food, etc.

I was sorry for leaving my wonderful frugal life style, but at the same time I also enjoyed spending money. I always thought the next week, the next day, after this deadline or the other I would comeback to my regular budget. And sometimes I have done this, too. But only transiently.

Yesterday it finally occurred to me that I could not save enough to make an extra 5K pre-payment to my mortgage by the end of December…. I have planned for this for a year….It was a sad moment….

It still is……



So, I asked myself;

Well, how much can I pay?

3K at most and this is if I stop spending on unnecessary things and start being frugal right away. 

And how do I enforce this?

By making 2K as a pre-payment right away.

Now I have no extra cash in my chequing account – I cannot spend money.


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random thoughts

For a book-lover like myself, it is weird that I happen to put notes on their pages. Such an habit certainly makes the books unsuitable for others to read. Plus, it actually a little bit disrespecting to these wonderful, and information and imagination full things¬†that we call books…

Anyways, just yesterday I notice a benefit of this practice. I was re-reading a personal finance book that I am fond of and I came across my notes from years ago; I wrote two major and extra expenses that I was utterly unhappy of. As a matter of fact, whichever personal finance book of mine I look at, I find this recurring expenses and my wish to eliminate them…One of them is taking the cab rather than the bus or walking (to and from the office).

I have a very good estimate of this extra expense; I save $90/week by taking the bus in the morning and by walking in the afternoon, rather than taking the cab in the morning and the afternoon. This corresponds to around $4,500 savings per year. Considering I took the cab for many years (only because it was convenient and I thought I deserved this convenience), the total amount I paid for my transportation unnecessarily adds up to¬†quite a large amount of money….

I knew it¬†then and I know it now. But what I have experienced yesterday is the relief of knowing that this years-long struggle is now ended¬†(as part of my “conscious spending” project I have been working on the last 3-4 months) . While I am still not happy about writing on the books, I am glad I put these notes there to remind me how long I have been occupied with¬†eliminating this unnecessary¬†expense.

An additional, and perhaps more cheerful thing is that I have been working on the second expense that I would like to get rid of. It too has been¬†in my list for many years and I am making attempts to erase it. After yesterday’s experience, I am more confident that when the right time comes, that expense category will go, too. Then I will be able to cross them as issues from my life.


weekly budget check

Here is my weekly budget check report for this week (my financial weeks end on Thursdays):

Overall, my own regular expenses were within budget and when I add the “would-be-expenses” to the funds I saved from my allowance (these are the expenses that I would usually do but did not, for example taking the bus¬†instead of¬†cab and the money I pay myself for mowing the yard), total savings is $168.

There were however two extra expenses that I had to do; both are dining out with colleagues or friends ($95). They total quite a bit but they are budgeted under the “extra expenses” category and thus I am okay with them. I could live without these meals but I do value the nice, friendly time I spend with my colleagues, which almost always strengthen our relationships. Plus, they are really wonderful people. Seeing this (i.e. that money is not the most important thing in my life) is also a very positive realization.

till next time ūüôā

detailed budget

now I understand what it means to have a detailed budget.

I have been recording my total daily expense everyday for the last 7-8 years, but I had not seen it as clearly as today before (since I had not categorized expenses). I appreciate the salary I have and having a modest life-style, but I gotta still make some changes to my expenses. Otherwise, having a positive chequeing account seems a distant reality. I can do better than that.

So, according to my calculations here are where my money is going:

Retirement contributions/investments (excluding the company retirement plan): ~9% of my gross income before the taxes

Fixed expenses (mortgage, insurance, cable/phone/internet, transportation (bus only), etc.): ~26% of my gross income before the taxes

Weekly allowance (including grocery and other minor shopping, breakfast, and books): ~9% of my gross income before the taxes

Family visits: 4% of my gross income before the taxes

Extras (hosting, dinners, gifts, clothes, etc. new estimation): 3% of my gross income before the taxes

House maintenance and repairs (estimated): 8% of my gross income before the taxes

Income taxes and company pension plan contributions: ~36% of my gross income before the taxes

Remaining funds: ~5% of my gross income before the taxes

The Remaining funds category is the one that will lift my chequeing account up to a positive balance; I wonder how this is going to happen?

Do not get me wrong; I am appreciative of this amount. Yet, inside I wish for more savings, more remaining funds.

The only category I can cut from is the Extras and my Weekly Allowance; if I can be smart about these expenses, my Remaining funds can be higher. I am kind of anxious. That is a challenge for sure.

I opened an Excel sheet to record the expenses in each category¬†starting today; let’s see how it goes.

By the way, I kind of see great things as well; for example the retirement contributions and funds allocated for family visits. They are worth every penny¬†ūüôā

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