shopping spree continues :)

I have been shopping lately; I bought a new sewing machine, ordered plate sets, and yesterday and today I have been to shopping malls – yay! 🙂

Do not worry; I buy what I must and am absolutely taking advantage of the deals. I have done well with my sewing machine (almost 40% off), plate sets (50% off), and others I bought this weekend. I am also shopping to replace old and unhealthy pieces at my kitchen- whether or not they are on sale does not matter to me (my health is more important, right?).

For example; I have got rid of two non-stick frying pans that were now full of scratches. Honestly I do not like non-stick products at all (stainless steel is the healthiest, but it unfortunately sticks..). So I wrestled quite a bit with myself and only after I promised myself that I would take excellent care of this new one and never buy another one again in the next 5 years or so, I placed the new non-stick frying pan in my shopping cart.

Similarly, I had also noticed that the lids of some of my mason jars were blackened here and there. After all these years of faithful service, I thought it was time to replace them (I think it is rust…). So I have got covers and lids for the small and the large jars and am slowly replacing all that are in bad shape. For my health, that is one great investment and I am feeling very good about it.

And today, I have got myself a nice french presser (coffee maker) to use at home. It was on my shopping list for some time and when I saw today that one product was on sale and there was an additional 25%, I could not help but buy that beautiful rouge presser 🙂 I had decided to buy a french presser because of three reasons: when I host at home, I bring in the one at my office which is cumbersome; I now am getting my weekend coffee at home rather than at a coffee shop (and interestingly I very much enjoy this); and I thought that I could also brew tea in it (I also needed a new tea pot). With one product, many problems solved 🙂

And of course I am building, however slowly, my sewing supplies, like thread etc. It will take some time to get everything I need, but I am getting there. And it is very exciting 🙂

Overall, I have had a great weekend and I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday night 🙂

 

not picking the cheques anymore?

You know I have been on a budget to spend less and save more for my future, whether I do that to pay extra mortgage payments, to finance future house repairs (likely considering my house being an old one), to built an emergency fund (we all can need it anytime), to help family (they are important to me), or retirement (hey; I am important too).

And lately, you know that I got interested in sewing and have been saving extra to finance my new sewing machine, in addition to support my shopping plans for the holiday season.

You may also know that I like to be generous and pick up the cheques as dinners/cafes, if I am with friends or colleagues.

I came to a point that being a saver/conscious spender and being generous do not go well sometime. Sometime one has to choose one over the other.

Yesterday I have had two socials with the same people; a brunch and then a dinner. I offered to pay the bill of the brunch, but I was not let to. I am grateful for their kindness. Then later during the dinner I decided I did not want to pick up the bill. So, we got split cheques after a few awkward moments.

I felt cheap, I still somehow feel cheap, for not paying the entire bill, but it was the right thing to do.

One; I had no say in the choice of the diner (one of my friends yesterday made the reservation). It had one fixed menu. (by the way, that is quite strange… what if I do not feel like eating those?). Honestly I would love Asian cuisine much better and then it would worth every penny. So, strike one.

Two; it was an expensive restaurant. Do not get me wrong; it was a fine restaurant, food was interesting, and the service was excellent, but do I really need to pay around 80 bucks for a 5 course meal? I am here sacrificing from my weekend breakfast (that consists of a cup of coffee and one bagel) to help save for my sewing/holiday shopping needs, and then at one night I can spend 80 bucks? 80 bucks pay for 20 breakfast……That is a huge….The best choice is clear.

Three: as I was conscious of my money, I did not order extra meals/drinks like my friends did. Should I really pay for this?

Four: in the past I have picked cheques for both of my friends, so we should be fine.

So after this analysis, I am feeling better and I decided I might have been cheap but not unnecessarily. The question is; how am I going to continue making better choices in the future with other socials?

There will be some learning,  I guess 🙂

list of items I want

I am in the mood of buying stuff..

Whether this is good or bad, I have no idea.

Sure, if I buy things I want (i.e. not necessarily need), I would spend money and save less.

That is a loss. Kind of.

If I buy, then I can enrich my life, my activities.

Dilemma.

What do I want, by the way, that creates this dilemma?

 

baking-related items:

You know I am highly excited about baking bread – it is a great adventure 🙂

I want to have a dutch oven, a bench cutter, and a sifter, in addition to semolina drum flour, rye flour, and buckwheat flour. These are all can be purchased with around $100 – 150.

I certainly do not need this, but would love to have them. After all, rather than buying these I may continue with my current abilities: I can bake the loafs in my oven-safe dishes/cookie sheet; I have a small dough cutter, which is not fully functional but nevertheless works;  I have all purpose, whole wheat, bread, and corn flour at home, which I can use to make breads.

Yet, there is some kind of excitement in wishing to have the other items; to make my bread adventure almost full 🙂

 

furniture:

I would love to have one or two nice carpets. Not the synthetic ones, real, hand-made ones. They are rightfully very expensive, but it does not defer me from wanting them.

I would love to have an additional pantry cabinet; it would have it in the laundry room and place in all the cleaning products, like laundry detergents, dryer sheets, etc.

I also would love some more artwork/decorative pictures around the house; in the living room, bed room, and the bathrooms…

well, all of these would possibly cost me thousands 🙂

eeerk! No way I am paying that much money now 🙂

….

I guess I will have to opt to buy the baking-related items for now. It is possible that I can save some more money by being careful about my weekly spending, which can be then leveraged to purchase them. I may be able to use my fun funds perhaps…

Hope is a good thing 🙂

affordability of basic needs

I am a devoted reader of finance and savings related blogs. Only once a while I read something that annoys me about saving – all other times I truly enjoy reading, reflecting, learning, and interacting with fellow bloggers.

In my over a year blogging experience, I have experienced this annoyance twice; one a while ago where the blogger suggested that taking a towel from a hotel was one of the craziest frugal thing she or he had done (which, ahem, is not being frugal; it is stealing). And another one was a post I read yesterday about re-usable hygienic pads for females. This second one annoys me not because I think there is something wrong with it (if someone cannot afford the disposable hygienic pads or other means, that can be the only option for this fellow blogger. So I understand).

Yes I understand, but do you know what bothers me about this? The lack of enough support for females to even have easy and affordable access to such a basic need. Disposable hygienic pads (or others like tampons) are needs; they are essential; they are needed on a regular basis. And as their names imply, they are needed for hygienic and health reasons. They are good for everyone, particularly for the women who use and need them.

I understand and I even remember myself the re-usable hygienic pads; the disposable ones became available only recently in the human history. We contemporary females are really lucky to have this option. But it still breaks my heart that some of us out there still cannot afford and are dependent on re-usable pads for themselves.

If it, the menstruation, was not a taboo, I am sure we now would include disposable pads in give-aways to people who are in need of financial assistance. I hope some of us do that.

 

middle age awakening

As a middle aged person (mid 40’s now) and familiar with life and death, and change in the body and age, I have started to have different feelings, different thoughts for some time now.

Death is a subject that I, like many people, would like to ignore. I am lucky in the sense that none of my family members and dear friends have yet passed away. But I am at an age that makes me realize that this may change soon, starting maybe with my parents. Not that this means that young people in my family or friends cannot die; they may. It is just that the increasing age makes it more likely. And all is scary…

I do not think I will ever come to terms with death or understand it fully for that matter. But I am glad I at least started to realize how real it is.

A couple of days ago, I thought about my own death as well; it scared me as it felt lonely. This thought, the thought of my own death, was something new to me. I did not want to die. This somehow helped me to notice my love for life.

I decided to do and prioritize things differently to have a life that I will love and has no or little regrets.

Regrets are hard and like anyone else I too have regrets; I wished I was happier for example. I wish I had handled things better and made my well being a priority. I wish I had spent more time with my family and I did not love my job that much. My job probably has a bigger role in my life than others, as I not only earn a living with it, but also changed the countries and cities I have lived in,  hardly got settled in anywhere, and with it and because of it I have got to get many difficult life and work experiences.

Eventually, I am grateful for what I have become and for my life as a whole. But it is time to re-think, re-assess, and re-decide what is important, what is not. What deserves my time and energy? How do I find more meaning in it? How do I help others better? How do I stop beating myself and relax? How do I take better care of myself? What are my needs that I neglected? What can I dump along the way to release myself from stress, sadness, and hopelessness? What excites me and how do I get them?

I feel like I will revisit this topic time to time. I am not interested in having a bucket list of 50 things to do before 50, but hey, maybe I should. Maybe they will help me discover my needs and wishes. This is gonna be challenging as I am someone who does not have long term plans, but maybe that also should change.

Now that is what I call the middle age awakening, rather than a middle age crisis 🙂

what is it about money and happiness?

I keep hearing/reading “money does not make one happy”.

I am not sure whether we can generalize the relationship between the happiness and money in such an abstract way.

When I was young, my mom and I had to pay a visit to another city. Long story short, we visited a young couple with a young child and became their guest for a night. They did not know us, we did not know them, but they opened their house to us (we knew someone who knew this family; that is how we could pay this visit, which was essential for us at that time).

It was a very poor house, very poor people. I do not think I have seen such a poverty somewhere else. These people not only hosted us and presented their best meals and best living conditions to us, but they also showed us how happy they were. All with large smiles on their faces.

I time to time remember this family and I hope they have had a great life. I wish we had kept contact so far; I could certainly help them or their kid(s) now. Return the amazing favor and the incredible lessons they have taught me with their generosity and happiness. They have my deepest and best wishes.

I have also seen people with huge amount of money but being unhappy, being sick, or being hit by other issues of life (death of a loved one, etc.). I cannot know everybody’s problems. Nor I am interested in judging them. Obviously money did not make them a happy person, or maybe money just could not resolve their issues on the path to happiness, safety, or health. Money cannot resolve all issues. Okay.

I have also seen many other regular families/people who had financial hardship, and as a result, having a hard time in their lives. I experienced financial hardship myself. I certainly was not happy; others certainly did not look happy. There were things I needed, others needed. And these needs were not about having a bigger house, newer car, or better attire. They were about real issues, such as providing better medical care to someone dear to our hearts, or paying down huge amount of debts (not necessarily incurred by having a generous life), or putting a meal on the table for the family next day.

I think we tend to forget that there are basic needs and, sometime, more serious needs that money can actually resolve.

It may be true that having money may not provide happiness all the time, but not having money can also restrict our abilities, our essential wishes (such as food, shelter), ours or others’ health, safety, and well-being. In the latter case, I would say; yes, money can mean happiness.

Let’s not forget about such needs that can be resolved by money.

Hey, maybe we will learn something, become more appreciative of our own situation, or have the ability to help someone seriously in need.

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