holidays wish list

I am getting excited about the prospect of having some time off and shopping during the last week of the month 🙂

Fall is usually a busy month for me in terms of shopping. I usually take advantage of the sales, whether in stores or online, and purchase things that I will need in the coming year.

My plans for this year are as follows:

1. Canning kit and stainless steel funnel. As part of my new interest on jamming, I figures I may make my life easy by getting a kit, including a stainless steel funnel that can be sterilized easily and is durable.

2. Sea salt. This will be nice for my pickle trials.

3. Jars, lids, and rings. I used to have a number of jars but since I give away pickles and jams, I am running out of them. My wish is to get 250 ml jars for jams (so that I can boil and can them), 1 liter jars with wide mouth (to be used in pickling and other adventures), and two 2-3 liters of pickling jars (so that I can make pickles in large amounts to consume over time). I am so excited! 🙂

4. Non-stick frying pan. I replace these very year. No matter how carefully I use them, they always scratch over time.

5. Garbage bags. I love having a number of durable items in stock and garbage bags are one of them. I have enough bags to last another year, but one can never get enough of these bags, right? 🙂

6. Steak knives. After 15-20 years one of my steak knives (I used them for all cutting purposes) got rusted last week. I am perplexed but I guess it is time that I look for a good deal on some sharp knives.

7. Trousers and leggings. I have a number of trousers stocked up, thanks to some sporadic sales. But the boxing day sales cannot be missed. If I can find a good sale, I would love to buy a couple more and also a pair of leggings so that I can start wearing dresses 🙂

8. Thrift store visits. I love these adventures 🙂 My wish list this time includes blouses/shirts, shopping tote, purse, back pack, a book or two on baking and canning, fabric and sewing items 🙂 Who knows, maybe I will also find other items that I need or cherish. 

What a wonderful list 🙂

 

weekly budget check

It is a great day my friends; I made a lump sum payment today that I have been saving money for since the new year! I am so happy that I could make it, that I could save money, and that I did not need to use the line of credit to pay it off. I am quite proud of myself! 🙂

This means my chequing account is back to a level that I must keep an eye on and make sure that it increases every time I get my pay cheque. My plan is to keep going like this till December and then make a lump sum pre-payment to mortgage. I am hoping this will be around 4K or something. It is such a pleasure and joy to be able to have such an effective budget, reduced spending, great savings, and ability to feel abundant and not poor(!). I am so happy with these right now.

As per my weekly budget check; in short I have had regular expenses (such as for grocery), bought two blouses from the thrift store, and purchased some medications within the last week, but my expenses were still within my limits and all work out really well.

I have $1,320 accumulated in my fun funds, which I plan to use for a short vacation sometime in October (yay!).

During summer months my salary increases because I guess the CPP payments are done till then and that means there are more money left in my pay cheque. This is a pretty nice sum for me, which always excite me. Together with that extra money, my aim is to save at least $650 from my biweekly salary till December. This money is what I want to use primarily for my pre-payment in December.

This being said, I put a pre-payment order today for next week in the amount of $350. I saved this money in the last 4 weeks by lucky encounters (such as expenses at socials that I did not have to pay for others), having breakfast at home rather than at a cafe, savings from discounts etc. This is the highest amount (other than my tax return) that I put in as a pre-payment this year – this excites me 🙂

I am excited. I am happy. I am proud. I have a budget that works wonders for me, financial aims that excite me and I keep working towards, a simple life-style that makes me happy, relaxed, and abundant, and a great job that pays me good enough so that I can do all the savings, necessary expenses, mortgage payments, and investments for my future.

I  am very grateful.

🙂

Sunday morning musings

Happy Sunday everyone 🙂 Wherever you are, I hope you are having a great day, joy, hope, safety, and anything else your heart may desire.

Happy father`s day too! Those fathers who have been great to their kids and families – you should be proud of yourself. Hope you are having a great day too.

I am having a rather quiet Sunday.

When compared to yesterday this is an excellent change I must say. So how was my Saturday? First of all, I prepared my first sourdough with beet and we shall see how that will develop this afternoon when I bake it (proving now). I also did quite a bit of shopping yesterday: as usual I went to a store 10 min away to purchase milk. And then to another one 25 min away (on foot) to purchase yogurt that was on sale; I consume them quite frequently so I was happy to get them yesterday. Also, weather was so nice (around 20C, which is Summer! for us here) that walking and being outside felt like I was on vacation somewhere exotic or something 🙂

Sunny GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Then, as if all these walking was not enough, I decided to walk (~1 hour each way) to a shopping mall, having a hair cut along the way and checking two thrift stores for pitchers. Well, at the end I did not find anything I really needed, so I also checked a department store. I found a pitcher but honestly it did not give me any joy, so I decided to leave it there (even thought it was affordable and do the job). I am glad I have done this because I checked another nearby store and guess what? I found the loveliest pitcher just like I wanted: affordable (and on sale), large enough to take all the kefir I produce (around 3 liters – I plan to collect a couple of days’ produce and store in the fridge), with a large neck/lid (so that cleaning inside is easy – kefir usually leaves it fat marks on glass quite easily), and the lid is adjustable so that you can tighten it up or loose as you wish (which is critical while dealing with kefir, because grains produce gas which needs to escape the container otherwise it can explode)! How happy I was with that purchase? Very 🙂 That is a great feeling.

Dance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

When I reached back home it was already past 7 pm and my legs were just aching. I think I walked around 3 hours yesterday. I know I could stretch and relieve some of the muscle tension in my legs yesterday but I was too lazy to do this and rather I slept over it and now I am feeling much better. 

So, what are my plans for today? I am taking it light today. I have an interesting sourdough loaf to bake, family to talk to, some laundry to do, and some work to seriously think about. I can also work on the yard and clean the weed up.

And, I can always enjoy my coffee and reading 🙂

Books GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Have a great Sunday friends 🙂

 

gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/books-dLkX3ylQ2WIhy;https://giphy.com/gifs/happy-happiness-gif-zxZcQLCWjgNAk;https://giphy.com/gifs/sunny-HvYdoLbPqSdNu

 

weekly budget check

I have done well this week, too. I think after a while, being frugal becomes a second nature 🙂

————————————-

Here is this week’s spendings and savings:

Weekly allowance: $120

Expenses related to the weekly allowance (grocery and a cab ride): $54.5

Fun funds saved this week: $120 – $54.5= $65.5

Fun funds expenses: $0

Total fun funds accumulated so far in 2017: $1,039.5 !!! 🙂 (a milestone! What do I do with this 1,000 bucks I saved from my weekly allowance? Tell me!!!!! 🙂)

Other expenses: $31.5 (gift and donation)

Savings from would-be-expenses: $43 (these are the savings from expenses that I would normally make, but decided not to; such as having breakfast at home rather than at a cafe, walking rather than taking the bus, the discounts at grocery stores etc.). 

These savings have a special place in my heart because I know that I could easily make these expenses. And, more importantly, every once a while I contribute these saved money as mortgage pre-payments! How about this extra motivation to save? 🙂

——————————–

Pantry and freezer treasures enjoyed this week: frozen bread, bean meal, and red lentil soup from the freezer 🙂  #endfoodhoarding; nothing from the pantry this week (ouch! I may have but I just cannot remember…..)

And as part of my “eat more diverse food challenge” I believe I have consumed around 7-8 food that I had not consumed the week before; ones that I can remember are beet, celery sticks, shrimp, carrot, red lentil, green lentil, and rolled oat. I must confess this is hard – to eat a variety of food and then trying to remember them 🙂 But it is all for good, so I will keep going 🙂

Happy savings and happy healthy eating! 🙂

weekly budget check

I believe I have not posted my weekly spending and savings last week. It was quite similar to  this week.

Notably; my minimal spending plan is going really well (i.e. I do not stock up food or other house items, I am careful with my grocery purchases, and I have my weekend breakfasts at home but not at a cafe), my “fun funds” have a positive balance for the first time in a few months (yay! 🙂 ), and I am making a lot of expenses, especially related to sewing notions and fabric 🙂

here is a snap-shot of this week:

expenses within the weekly allowance (all grocery): $26

fun funds this week (i.e. funds left from weekly allowance): $120 – 26 = $94

total fun funds accumulated to date: $120.5

other expenses: $266 ($49 was made for a social and the rest were for sewing notions and fabric)

Savings: $204. These are the savings thanks to sales/discounts, or thanks to not making the expenses that I would normally do but preferred not to (such as taking the cab rather than the bus). It is amazing how much I can save this way…

———-

My plan is to keep doing what I am doing, except that I am hoping I will be done gathering the sewing notions soon so that this one large expense can be minimized in the future. I need scissors and some other stuff in addition to fabric, but I think I have got the majority of the things I need. This is a relief as I love making these expenses! 🙂 I have been to stores this evening and collected some left-over/remnant fabric to use here and there. They cost me $26 bucks but I was the happiest person on earth 🙂 So, I am assuming I will keep doing this for sometime until I realize that I have more fabric than I could efficiently use. I am hoping I will not become a fabric hoarder 🙂

have a great Thursday everyone 🙂

 

 

weekly budget check

The minimal spending plan till the holidays is continuing. This was a great week in terms of spending my weekly allowance frugally (covering grocery, transportation, weekend breakfast, and other little daily expenses).

The additional shopping and taking advantage of the deals are also continuing, meaning money is spent now to save money over the long run (what an interesting thing to say….).

My fun funds are nowhere near being positive, which is bothering me. Hope to lift it up above $0 before the new year 🙂

—————————————

Expenses within the weekly allowance: $48.5

Fun funds (left-over from the weekly allowance): $120 – $48.5 = $71.5

Fun funds expenses (my discretionary spending): $80

Total fun funds accumulated to date: -$53 (yes, yes… it is a negative balance. no, no…. this is not great…)

Other expenses: a hefty $238.5, $100 of which is made for sewing supplies and notions

Savings from sales, transportation, and other expenses that I would normally do but have chosen not to this week : $222.5 (at least that is a good number; i could as well spend all of these. I am glad I have not..)

————–

Overall, I am benefiting from the “minimal spending plan” – it helps me to consume what I already have, which is awesome (also helping with limiting waste and food hoarding). Since I still have lots of fresh and dry/canned/frozen food to be consumed, I think I will be fine with continuing with this plan for some time.

I will slow down with my other expenses and am not planning to make any stocking up or additional shopping for personal care or cleaning products (other than for sewing-related needs) .

Let’s see how the next few weeks will go ahead 🙂

How to maximize the value of grocery funds


I am not an expert; but I have been making effort to save from grocery budget and limit food waste. These two goals together have helped me to try and find out ways that were useful in my journey. Here what I found are useful practices:

DO:

1. Follow the sales: Take advantage of the flyers that appear at your door steps. If that is not an option for you, do not despair – the majority of the stores have e-flyers that can make this exercise quite easy.

2. Shop at variety of places: I am not saying go travel 30 min to a store just to pick up a cartoon of milk. But if there are items that are on sale at different stores and if they are practical options to do so, you may want to consider visiting them. Often times, different stores have different items on weekly sales.

3. Buy bulk: Consider this if you are certain that you will consume the product. Dry food, like rice, pasta, legumes, and canned goods are good examples. Fresh produce usually does not last too long, unless they are dried, frozen, or canned.

4. Use coupons: Whether they come in the inserts, news papers, or apps, you can use coupons to save a dime or two.

5. Use loyalty cards: Many stores offer their own or main stream loyalty cards to their customers. The points accumulate and can give you a free item or two.

6. Freeze food: You can freeze almost any of the veggies or fruits with some practice. Blanching is a good way to preserve veggies, for example.

7. Freeze meals: Freeze extra portions of meals for future consumption.

8. Take an inventory of your fridge, freezer, and pantry: Know what you already have. This helps you to not only appreciate what you already have, but also to identify what you really need.

9. Make your own pickles, jams, peanut butter, sauces, etc.

10. Prepare meals from scratch

11. Bake your own bread: this may be intimidating to many, but it is a lot of fun! It is quite affordable and healthy too 🙂 Expand it to pizza and noodles

12. Opt for un-cut/unprepared meals, veggies, and fruits to save instantly

13. Use your own shopping bags/totes if your store charges for nylon bags

14. Have a meal plan and make an effort to stick to it

15. Take advantage of holiday sales

16. Use left-overs as lunch the next day or to prepare soups

17. Use bits and pieces of veggies or meat in hearty soups

18. Share what you have, especially if you think that you will not consume the food. Family, friends, neighbours, soup kitchen, and food banks are good examples

19. Buy frozen veggies

20. Keep a good stock of regularly used items so that you will not feel deprived

21. Know your coupons and their characteristics (e.g. expiry dates, brand/model they are eligible for)

22. Be grateful for what you have and try to appreciate your efforts

23. Shop when you need, not when you think you should shop

24. Check your bill at the cashier and correct or remove items if their price is not right

25. Change your habits; whether it is the food types, stores, or shopping habits, give a better habit a chance

26. Try new recipes and improvise

27. Learn from others: there are many blogs out there that gives good tips to reduce the grocery bill and the food waste.

28. Monitor your savings 🙂 whether you saved by following the sales, using coupons, or loyalty cards, once you realize how much you do save, it will make you feel great and motivated to keep going!

 

DON’T

1. Buy things only because they are on sale or you have coupons for

2. Care about peer pressure; rather focus on your own needs and goals

3. Get crazy about saving all the time; everyone deserves a nice treat every once a while

4. Buy suspicious food from dollar stores or from the stores’ sales rack

5. Sacrifice your health and well-being by under-nourishment or by consuming limited types of food

6. Forget to celebrate!

 

*In my experience using my credit card works for me (I pay the full balance at the end of each month and I do not buy things that I do not need) – so I cannot solely recommend using cash.

**I am not very familiar with price comparisons – if that works for you, go ahead.

***I am not into using food that are beyond their expiry dates

 

 

minimal spending plan till new year

Holiday season is coming. That means; a) I am socializing more often than usual, and b) shopping! In both cases, I will be spending money 🙂

I want to take advantage of the sales and the fact that I will be off for two weeks during the holidays means that I have time to go around and shop without rush. it is quite fun actually!

My plan is to purchase a new dining set, mixing bowl, sifter, french press for home, tea kettle, and other small stuff. I also would like to stock up my cleaning products, such as garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towel, dish detergent, and others. The regularly consumed food, such as canned food, are also in the list. Sure, I will also buy new pants and shirts when they are on sale. And socks.

The list was actually bigger than that, but I felt that I must trim it….Considering the fact that my biggest financial aim till new year is to make an additional payment to my mortgage, while I am excited about the idea of shopping and purchasing stuff that I will need, I am also aware that I may be financially strained if I am not careful and cut some of these expenses.

Since it is more beneficial to take advantage of the sales (and to socialize with great people), I have just decided I should implement a “minimal spending” plan. It is not as strict as “shopping ban“. It just aims to be more resourceful by using the food in the pantry, freezer, and fridge, and eliminating my weekend breakfast-related expenses till new year. I am not against occasional set-back, but I am determined to do my best.

I have been toying with this idea this past weekend (in order to save for my sewing machine) and it actually went okay. My grocery bill is lower, yet I have everything I need. I was okay brewing my own coffee and have breakfast at home. I also seem to have stocked up a lot of cleaning products/dry food/frozen food, so the timing is good. As a matter of fact, it is actually quite good that I will be consuming what I have; this will give me a chance to help replenish them with fresher ones.

I have 6 weeks to keep my weekly expenses low, to my best, and then leverage these funds to shop.

When it is a short period of time, I know it is doable. When I first had shopping ban on purchasing books, I was not sure how long I could keep up with it. But it did happen and is still continuing voluntarily. I hope that this minimal spending plan will work out just fine, too 🙂

sewing may be my newest hobby :)

Since I used my little portable sewing machine to sew myself cloths to use during baking last weekend, I cannot keep thinking about how enjoyable that activity, the feeling of being capable of and self-sustaining were.

I want to buy a sewing machine!

I can sew table cloths, napkins, bread bags, curtains, pillow cases, and make quilts, embroidery and much more! I can repair my clothes. I can re-purpose whatever I have. I can make gifts for family and friends. After many trials and errors of course 🙂

I really am excited about this idea.

I want to be an informed consumer; one thing I would hate would be to buy a machine that would not be comfortable to use, or suitable for my projects. I was looking at the internet and there are so many different brands and models – which one is it that I would like to get? I know I am looking for a beginners/intermediate level model that allows me to sew, quilt, and make embroidery. I know I need a machine that have many stitch options and allows me to adjust the stitch length and width. I will need a machine that fits many different foots suitable for my needs, hopefully coming with the purchase as accessories but not needing extra purchases and thus inflating the cost. I know I can get a mechanical or electrical one, and hopefully with a lot of room on the right side of the needle to help comfortably handle the fabric. I also would love a light machine that does not produce a lot of noise while operating. Something that can handle thin and thick fabric would be nice, too. I will keep reading to find out what else I need to be aware of while selecting my sewing machine.

Information, however, is overwhelming and somehow putting me off; so if you, the dear reader, have any recommendations, please feel free to share in the comment area.

I am thinking I can catch up the holiday sales if I can make my mind till then. I really would love to spend as little as possible. I considered the second hand ones and actually found a nice Singer sewing machine at $60, but I decided it was not worth it. A new one is probably the best bet with all the accessories available with the purchase (if possible). Plus, I can trust that the machine is at good condition.

So, with this decision, my next hurdle is to identify how to save for money to purchase this lovely addition to my life. I am perfectly capable of buying it right now, but honestly there is something nice about saving for it first by cutting expenses in other areas.

I have 6 weeks till the holiday season to save around $200-300. Wish me luck my friends 🙂

coupons can be exciting sometimes

If you follow me, you know well that even though I am on a frugal journey, I am not interested in couponing, unless coupons show up at my doorsteps as inserts or are stuck on the items in the stores.

This week I have got 3 inserts and several coupons that I can use. Two of them were manufacturer coupons for my hair dye ($2 each), which I was planning to purchase this week (they are on sale on a store nearby). I went to the store this morning and found out, to my surprise, that the packets also had $3 store coupons on them. So I bought three packages and together with the sale price, I paid $20.5 and saved $21.

Can you imagine?

$21…..

This is the first time that I have got that lucky with coupons. Perhaps I should be paying more attention to them?

I honestly think that I can start a new project where I can donate the savings I got from coupons. It may not be too much, but even a small amount is helpful.

🙂

random thoughts

It has been a fine Fall day; a little bit cool but otherwise nice and shinny 🙂 I love this year’s Fall – from the scenery to nice weather, it has given its full potential to our enjoyment.

I have not worked too intense today; I rather left the office at noon and walked to a nearby shopping centre 🙂 It is very rare for me to go shop on a work day, so I loved the fact that I permitted myself a bout of spontaneity – talking about breaking the routine 🙂

My first stop was at a thrifty store, where I found a fine piece of art work for my office 🙂 It is a canvas painting with lots of natural colours, trees, and plants in front of a lovely house with great wooden doors and windows. Just looking at it makes me feel in the nature – loved it 🙂 Money well spent.

I then proceeded to check another store and was able to find two gifts for my neighbours and one of my good friends. I could not believe how affordable they were, which was quite a relief. One of the gifts I purchased was a product of my home country, which made me extra excited 🙂 I thought at first the gifts per se would not be enough but then I decided to supplement them with a freshly baked loaf of bread. The fact that there has been budgetary issues where I am and, lately, my organization increased our pension plan contributions, made me very aware of the limited purchasing power. I believe the gifts are just appropriate and the bread will just make them even better 🙂 So my consciousness is clear.

I also visited my favorite dollar store. Well, the majority of the items are not $1 anymore, but still things are quite affordable when compared to other stores. I am excited about the new oven mints (they are bright red and look so lovely 🙂 ) and the pens (they have been my favorite in the last one year or so) I purchased 🙂 I did not buy everything I wanted to, leaving the joy and excitement of shopping to some other time.

Tomorrow a friend of mine and I are going to a shopping centre again. We would like to put our hands and minds on some craft, so let’s hope we will be able to find those fabrics. I also have been meaning to get some left-over pieces of fabric, which I plan to use during baking/dough preparation. We will see how it goes 🙂

This weekend seems like a triple dose of shopping as I am also planning to go to another shopping centre on Sunday! I know, I know… You are thinking; what is she doing – talking about frugality and saving and then shopping three days in a row? See, sometimes you need to do what excites you. Shopping always does excite me…. I do not buy things that I do not need, so no worries about over-spending. I want to buy a couple of items which are on sale this week, like olive oil, as well as hair dye for which I have a coupon. I also need to buy another set of gifts for my friend, which I am happy to check for sales now rather than later.

So my friends, the holiday season is coming, the sales are on, and gifting is somehow both required and exciting. My past experience is that I spend more than average during the holiday season, but this is mostly to take advantage of the sales. I have a list of things that I hope to catch good sales for and this certainly excites me. I would like to buy new pairs of socks and pants, for example. In the past I was able to get really good deals during the holidays. Then I can forget about looking for them during the rest of the year. So that is what exactly I am planning to do this year too 🙂

Hope everyone will be able to get the exceptional deals and enjoy their purchases 🙂

joy journal – Oct 23, 2016

I am feeling very joyful and I cannot wait to share it 🙂

1. I am grateful for the warm weather. It has been raining yesterday and today. There is a lot of humidity and surprisingly a relatively high temperature. My window is open right now to let the cool and fresh air get in. What a luxury for a late October day 🙂

2. I am grateful for sleeping well and waking up not too late. I was refreshed and ready to walk and work my body. It is a great feeling for someone like me who is usually not a morning person. I give half of the credit to the warm weather.

3. I am grateful for going to two stores and getting stuff that I would be needing soon. One of them were eggs, which were on sale. Since I consume eggs quite a bit, I was happy to find them on sale and stock up for the coming weeks. I love it when the food I love is on sale; it makes me very abundant and grateful 🙂

4. I am grateful for walking like 30 min in the morning to the stores. It was a fine day; my body enjoyed the walk and the sweats, and I was convinced once more that my iron and vitamin D supplements are doing a great job keeping my energy levels up. I lived in a minimum energy levels for almost 7 years… It is hard not to feel sorry for yourself when you do not even want to walk 10 min to a store. It is actually a horrible feeling, as I was prior to that time quite active and energetic. I am so grateful for my doctor putting me on these supplements and making me feel alright again. May they find the help and support when they most need it.

5. I am grateful for the milk I drank this noon – it was fresh and so tasty. Milk has never tasted so great to me, so I savored it for some time…

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

7. I am grateful for my family being safe and sound.

8. I am grateful for my no food-waste policy. I admit that I am not 100% successful in this, but since last year I have come quite a long way. Today, I prepared a nice dish with the stalks of the swish chard that were left from yesterday’s baking. Basically, fry a large onion in vegetable oil, cut and mix in the stalks, add 1 cup water, let them soften for 5 or so and then add salt and chili flakes. Yummy 🙂

9. I am grateful for being 194 pounds.. I am steadily and slowly losing weight and I am excited about this. The tricks were: a) limiting late-night eating, b) eating raw veggies (like celery, red cabbage, cucumber, tomato, herbs, lettuce, carrots etc.) every day. I believe both of these are working just fine. I also think increased calcium intake helps with weight loss, though I have no idea whether this is a scientific fact or a statement from the milk lobby?

10. I am grateful for my new hair; for the first time in my life I have long bangs now. My hair is neck-length and my bangs too. For the first time in my life.. And I am loving it 🙂 Go try something new and surprise yourself 🙂

11. I am grateful for the food I have had today; all fresh, healthy, and tasty.

12. I am grateful for the sourdough I baked today; I should have baked it a little bit longer but it was just fine. I added a little bit more salt this time, which really suits this hearty bread. I hope to remember to continue with it.

13. I am grateful for having so many food and pantry items at home. I believe I do not need to purchase anything for a month or so (except the fresh produce and milk). Looks like I have done very well in terms of stocking up things that I regularly use. I feel very abundant and excited about it 🙂

14. I am grateful for the TV show I have been watching since yesterday – The legend of the Seeker. I remember this show from many years ago and I am loving seeing it again. Thank you youtube for making this pleasure possible.

15. I am grateful for having an uneventful and relaxing sunday. It may be a work day tomorrow, but that also is fine.

16. I am grateful for being safe, healthy, and felling good about myself, my body, and my life.

17. I am grateful for being grateful and feeling excited and happy 🙂

 

 

a quick note on coupons

While I am not into coupons, I used one today (BOGO); it was for my favorite soap that was also on sale at a nearby store. I could not help but ask the cashier whether I could use it (argh – very in-experienced couponer here 🙂 ) and it turned out that I could. I paid $2.99 (plus tax) for 4 bars of soap that otherwise would cost me $8.98 (plus tax).

Can you imagine?

The coupons came in an insert with the weekly flyer combo. While I love looking at them and deciding what to purchase every week, this week’s insert was the one that delighted me most. I have a coupon for the hair dye I must buy and I sure will use it before it expires 🙂

eggs, frugality, and walking

I am not an extreme frugal, but those who follow me know that I have been on budget (since last June), significantly eliminated unnecessary expenses (such as the annual fee for the credit card – one time opportunity but hey I have saved more than $100, or by changing the cable package – monthly savings are around $25, or by taking the bus rather than taking the cab to work – weekly savings around $40). I also started to freeze food and implemented a “no food waste” strategy. All has been working wonderful so far 🙂

I am not good with coupons (not that there is anything wrong with them – I just do not have time or interest to look for the coupons of items I regularly consume/use). I price-check and shop for items usually when they are on sale. I check the weekly flyers of three stores in close proximity to my home. One store is five minutes away; another one is 10 min away, and the third one is 15 min away.

After yesterday’s baking a bread saga :), I realized I was running out of eggs. I love eggs! They make easy meals (hard-boiled or poached) and can be used in many different dishes (I will post the recipe for an egg-onion-parsley-pasta sometime) and an absolute ingredient for baking. Anyways, so yesterday I checked the flyers and I identified that eggs were on sale at Shoppers. I walked there this morning (a total of 20 min of walking both ways; talking about the health benefits of being frugal), bought two dozens of eggs, and happily come back home.

I do not know how much I saved by this activity but to tell you the truth I do not think it is a lot (many be a couple of dollars), but I am more awed by the positive feelings associated with this; I walked and energized my body; it felt awesome, somehow meditative, to be walking and watching the rhythms of my legs as they walked 🙂 I got exposed to sunshine and got some Vitamin D I need :); and overall I felt satisfied by finding eggs to purchase (they run out of it pretty easily – past experience).

Who would know that such a small financial savings would create such, multiple and positive, feelings?

joy journal, Jan 26, 2016

🙂

1. I am grateful for feeling positive, energetic, and overall good nowadays 🙂 That is one of these times when things are going well and my mood and body feel good. While I know that it is not gonna last for ever, I am nevertheless extremely grateful for this experience.

2. I am grateful for sleeping well and getting up nice and easy.

3. I am grateful for not beating myself up for taking the cab this morning (the first occasion this year) rather than the bus; i could wait 20 min for the bus and I made the choice to start the work early by rather taking the cab. The fact that I could not wait to start to work this morning tells me once more I am in a highly productive phase – priceless 🙂

4. I am grateful for my coffee and tea at the office. I am extra grateful that I keep brewing my own coffee, as I like it, when and as much as I want it.

5. I am grateful for working nice and easy, with no stress today. I have completed a lagging document today, which feels very exciting and awesome. It is sent to others for review, after which all I have to do is to integrate the suggestions and then submit. Yay!

6. I am grateful for being appreciative of my writing performance nowadays. I have drafted two documents, all without much of a struggle nowadays. And they are really beneficial for me. So, tonite I feel like celebrating 🙂

7. I am grateful for working at the office till 6 pm today. I love it.

8. I am grateful for walking back to home. There was rain yesterday night, which helped dissolve the ice around the perimeter of my house and some of the snow banks. It is also warm – this evening while walking back home I sweated for the first time in a long while.

9. I am grateful for having no bread today and eating a healthy salad and oven-baked fish.

10. I am grateful for relaxing at home today. I did not go to yoga/stretching classes this evening. I will resume tomorrow.

11. I am grateful for watching a lovely movie.

12. I am grateful for the pens and papers that allow me to write and take notes. I love them 🙂

13. I am grateful for my house that keeps me safe, sound, warm, and cozy.

14. I am grateful for checking the flyers of the tow nearby stores; this week’s shopping will save me some more money.

15. I am grateful for my new budget that has forced me to have a hard look at my expenses. I have a number of things implemented in my life, all of which increase the purchase power of my money. Price comparisons and shopping items when on sale are the two prominent ones that constantly help me save money. Where was my mind before? It is hard to think that I let a large sum of money leave my purse previously, over years.. But it is equally exciting that from now on, I am more able and free of waste/unnecessary expenses.

16. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

 

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.

 

weekly budget check

The end of the weekly budget and I am looking at huge numbers this week… argh… 🙂

My total expenses are $465, including my transportation (mostly cab fare), grocery, coffee and breakfast (these are my weekly allowance categories. They total $300 this week, way more than my usual $150 allowance…) as well as a big shopping at the weekend; the purchased items included gifts for three people and clothes that were on sale; I assumed by purchasing the clothes at a reduced price, I was saving.

I actually did save; when I combined all the savings, it was a hit this week, with a whopping amount of $208.5. This is a large sum of saving, but I am feeling really bad about the total spending….

I know that is not ending here and with the holidays and all the sales, I will make other purchases. That is kind of okay as I have been on shopping freeze for many items for a long time and was planning to end it during the holidays to take advantage of the sales.

Nevertheless, the expenses hurts a little bit…

Oh, well.

on conscious spending and being “cheap”

I should thank the financial hardship I have had since I bought my house almost two years ago; it did force me to have a hard look at my finances and my spending habits. I should also thank the bloggers who share their stories and their useful tips, and support me with their comments and kindness through this journey.

Like any other endeavor, it was hard to deal with the emotions resulted from the financial constraints and it was also difficult to implement changes required to stabilize my finances and keep my spending lower. After 4 months now, I am happy to see the positive progress in my life, as budgeting did not only helped me to understand myself and save my money for future (whether for retirement or house-maintenance and other unexpected expenses), but it also helped me to limit wasting; from food to books to household items to clothes/shoes.

I have been always interested in keeping a modest life with modest material (such as furniture or attire). I have never been interested in showing up by owning “material”. I have never been interested in having the latest technology at home or the trendy clothes. I do not have a car and I do not plan to have one. I always lived close to my workplace so that the commute would not be an issue. I always shopped and stocked up when items were on sale. I knew my limits and I knew I wanted to save and invest for my retirement, So debt and wasting have never been a big deal in my life.

Yet, it is true what they say; as I started making more money, I started to have more waste. Sometimes it was the fresh produce that stayed in my fridge for long, sometimes it was a jacket that I bought, which I later did not like and did not even return back to the store. It was the cab drive in the morning and the evening that I thought I deserved well. It was the unnecessary generosity with socials. It was the books that I bought every week that made me so joyful.

I have changed now.

I do grocery shopping as required to limit the waste. It is only possible that there is a big grocery store 5 min away from my house.

I have spending-freezes that I started with on books, which I later extended to others. The nicest thing about these freezes are they are temporary and as such they never make one feel deprived. Another positive outcome is that it becomes a habit before you realize it; for example my 2-months shopping-freeze on books was initially planned for 2 months, but later I extended it till the new year. It also simplifies my life; I do not need to think about buying such items regularly.

I started to notice and make use of the coupons, discounts, and loyalty points. I am not an extreme couponist and I do not think I will ever be. But when I see a product with a coupon, I ask for it to be scanned (sometimes the coupons are stuck on the package and they need to be scanned at the cashier to be applied to the sale). The coupons and deals are there for the customers and I am a customer myself; so if I am eligible to get it, I will get it.

I designed my meals around the on-sale produce each week. This substantially reduced my spending.

I explored different stores and identified those that have better prices. I look at their flyers every week (not too many stores; maybe 3-4), which does not take much of a time of mine. I hardly miss a sale that includes a product I will need in future, even though I do not need it now (toilet paper is a good example of a product needed continuously).

I started shopping at thrifty stores for items such as jackets, shirts, and purses. I will probably never buy shoes, underwear, or pants from these stores (I cannot bypass the possible hygiene issue). I am amazed by the affordability and the good quality of the items there. Plus, I am contributing to the recycling of material and helping the ones in need with my purchases. That is a triple-win.

I decluttered my house and I gotta see what I have had. I have had a lot of stuff, which I had forgotten. Especially the food in the pantry and the cleaning products. I felt an extraordinary amount of abundance that is still lasting.

I called my credit card company and got my annual fee to be waived for this year; I will call them next year, too.

I hinted to my cable company that I was not happy with the prices and I could cancel it. They later offered me a much better and cheaper plan, which I gladly accepted. It is for 3 years and I will be saving around $500 each year.

I prepared sandwiches and snacks for my trips to limit both expenses and unhealthy food consumption.

I let a friend of mine paying her portion of the meal cost, rather than me paying for the entire bill.

I have better appreciation for every single item I have now. I was good at being grateful for everything I had, but now I am better. I was good at re-using items (such as using the shopping bags as garbage bags), but i am better now (e.g. using the old clothes as mopping cloths). I was good at not wasting food, but now I am better (e.g. freezing the extra diced onion to be used later).

There is a pleasure coming out of all of these. Knowing that I can do and am doing a lot better to protect my money and limiting wasting of food and other items. This newly found pleasure is the one that makes me keep going. I have some new plans to reduce my spending further, which I will articulate in the coming days. Exciting! 🙂

I still struggle with the idea of “being called cheap”, though. I have a respected profession, I am single and have no kids, and have a decent salary. Hence, people expect me to be doing well and being generous….

I am concerned that if other people knows that I shop at the thrifty store or if I tell people that I am happy because I got my credit card fee waived, for example, then they may look down on me. One of my colleagues did not understand why I called the credit card company and asked for a waiver. I understood her as I was like her in the previous years; why should anyone be concerned about and make a phone call for a $120?. But I should not feel cheap. I rather should feel like if they give these discounts to others, it is my right to get it, too. I feel like we are even now with the credit card company, as for years I stayed with one credit card and I have used it for every purchase.

I like to share what I know or learnt with the people around me. But maybe the lesson I should get out of my conversation with my colleague is to not tell people about my frugal experiences.

There is a difference between being a frugal person and being cheap. I have never let others pay for me at the socials; I never borrowed money that I did not later pay back; I never stole; I never did dirty tricks to confuse or take advantage of people or the systems.

I am not cheap; I am solely a happy frugal who consciously spends and protects her money and gets an enormous hope and pleasure out of it 🙂

joy journal – Sept 27, 2015

There is so much to be grateful about 🙂

I have been feeling the need to acknowledge them, which always make me feel great. So here they are:

1. I am grateful for being safe, alive, and healthy.

2. I am grateful for my family and friends, without whom this life would have been quite dry, unlovely, and unexciting.

3. I am grateful for sleeping late today; every once a while it is a good break for my body. No activity, no digestion, no unnecessary thoughts. It felt good.

4. I am grateful for having my coffee at the favorite cafe, browsing internet, and just relaxing this morning.

5. I am grateful for catching the bus and going to shop. I found a chance to chat with a lovely lady while waiting for the bus and the ride was pleasant.

6. I am grateful for buying the last bit of the stain to finish staining my deck. The person at the store said it was normal for the stain to lift off in our climate. So I have not done anything wrong with the stain last year; it was supposed to happen 🙂

7. I am grateful for walking around and checking a dollar store. It is one of my favorites as they have very nice stationary items (which I LOVE) and great gift bags. I bought a couple, just to make myself feel happy. That store also reminded me; when I was a student and when I was not making as much money as I am now, I had assigned myself $10/week just to spend in the dollar stores. There has been a great feeling coming out of forgetting myself in these stores while checking the items and then buying the things that will give me joy.

8. I am grateful for not buying myself a lunch while I was away from home while shopping.

9. I am grateful for the toilet papers I had needed and bought with a huge discount/coupon savings today. I am so excited about this, as I have been meaning to do this for sometime. I checked for months the stores, but was not able to identify such sales till today. Today was the day and it felt good. I do not have to think about it for a year or so.

10. I am grateful for the honey and rolled oats I have purchased today. I have not bought honey for years (I used to add it to my tea for its nourishing and relaxing effect). And this is possibly the second or the third time that I bought the oats. I bought these to make myself granola bars as snacks. I tried it this evening and I should say it is a very filling snack. Plus, it is sweet, which is nice. I am planning to try other types, such as with raisin and seeds/nuts, to have different snacks for myself.

11. I am grateful for the plant I have bought today. It was on sale and it is so beautiful. I need a nice pot and new soil for it, which I will buy in the coming weeks. I also am thinking about buying a plant fertilizer; I guess all of my plants would like some extra nutrient time to time.

12. I am grateful for finding my mascara in the store today; it is price is 50% of what it used to be in the past. I am not sure what the real reason for this is. Maybe new products showed up and it is not that popular anymore. I do not know, but I know that I am happy to have it 🙂

13. I am grateful for buying and drinking skim milk. I am not a milk person; but after realizing the nutrients in it, I cannot not have this nutritious drink anymore. I will make it a regular beverage for my daily life.

14. I am grateful for my clothes and shoes; I have more than enough for a couple of years and that feels good. I am abundant.

15. I am grateful for everything I have at my home and my home itself. When I look around, I can see that I lack nothing and I have everything. I am very thankful for this.

16. I am grateful for thinking about new budget categories, starting with the new year. I think I need a separate category for clothes+shoes as well as for cleaning products. Currently I am confused about whether to include them in my weekly allowance or not. If I do include them into the weekly allowance, then I end up over-spending time to time. I do not like this. I do not like over-spending 🙂

17. I am grateful for the salad I have had this evening; it was fresh, healthy, and tasty. I love salad! 🙂

18. I am grateful for my house, my jacket, and my blanket that keep me warm in this chilly night.

19. I am grateful for being grateful 🙂

random thoughts

It has been chilly today but they expect a warm Monday tomorrow 🙂

I like this about my city – the weather can change in such a short time.

My plan for tomorrow evening is to finish staining the deck and paint the woods close to the soil. They are in good condition, but I was advised to paint them every 3-4 years to protect them from the water damage. As tomorrow will be warm, it sounds like the right time to me.

I went to shop at noon to get the stain for the deck. I visited other stores around too. It is always an enjoyable activity for me (did I mention I loved shopping? 🙂 ).

Luckily, I catched some sales today; I bought a nice plant and toilet papers with discounts. It is interesting with the toilet papers that they were not only on sale, but there was also a coupon valued $3 on each pack. I have been hoping I would catch up something like that to stock them up for some time – so I felt happy :)) I bought 3 packs, enough for more than a year. My estimation is that the sale together with the coupons led me to have an 50% discount for each pack. That is not bad at all. I thank myself for noticing the coupons 🙂 I would feel silly otherwise – why to throw away money while the vendors let me keep it?

I contemplated about taking the cab, but then decided not to. I carried my plant around (together with other stuff I purchased), took the bus, and came home. I am seriously proud of myself :). Yet my back is aching 🙂 Maybe it was not the best idea.

I have decided not to hesitate to take the cab if I have many stuff to carry around – my health is more important than a cab fare.

have a great Sunday everyone 🙂

random thoughts

I feel like writing about small indulges that make me feel pampered 🙂

Considering that the only expenses bigger than $1,000 were my washer and dryer (excluding my flights to visit my family and my house), I guess I am doing good pampering myself while also looking after my funds.

So here is a list that I can come up with now:

1. Having breakfast: I love having breakfast at the weekends! there is something nourishing about it and the fact that I get to have it on the weekends only, it is my way of start celebrating the weekend. Breakfast does not need to be too expensive (though it  depends on your preferences. Nevertheless, breakfast and lunch are often times much cheaper than dinners).

2. A good book that captivates my interest. There is nothing like a great book that makes your day enjoyable, time frozen, and mind and heart filled with new knowledge, emotions, and empathy. 90% of my books are purchased from second hand bookstores or charity. The only book I have had pricey was a project management book I needed to study as part of a certificate program (time to sell it now). Borrowing books from libraries, of course, does not cost a dime – give it a try.

3. Chicken noodle soup: is there any other food that nourishes the body while also relaxes the mind? What is the cost of this? $3?

4. Taking photos: that is a really fun activity. Other than the cost of the camera and print outs, the cost of all the memories and lovely pictures recorded is basically $0. Plus, can we really put a price on recording memories?

5. A good cup of coffee every once a while. I love caramel or maple syrup added coffee every once a while. There is a cafe that do these in a shopping mall I go time to time. A great way to award myself.

6. Food: food is always a tricky material for indulges. I happen to reward myself a lot by food, especially pastries and bread (though I am trying to limit them lately). My new year eve meal is almost always some pastry I make at home with beef and pastry sheets. Even though I love this meal, I am glad that I do not bake it more than twice a year.

7. Movies: Although I have not done this in years, seeing a movie at a theater is a lovely experience.

8. Tea, apple cider, and hot chocolate: whether black, green, or herbal, tea has a calming effect. On cold winter days, in addition to tea, hot chocolate and apple cider are my favorite beverages.

9. Leisure walking: Although I do not do this as often as I wish to; when I do, I enjoy it very much. Especially those that occur spontaneously where I do not before hand plan for the route, take my time to enjoy and examine the scenery (even looking at different houses and their characteristics can be an interesting activity).

10. Going through the stores at the airport: One of my favorite activities! I love looking at the merchandise and the variety of items. This is particularly nice when the airport is in a different country. As you can guess, the books sold are the ones that get my most attention. but hey, they are great 🙂

11. Browsing the stores: I have a negligible habit of impulse buying thus I am not afraid of going thru an entire store, examining and exploring the items. It is one of the meditative experiences for me when I truly focus and thus get a mental break from daily thoughts and tiredness. Thanks to this activity, I have discovered many different food (e.g. savory I am so fond of) that were not a part of my regular diet.

12. Taking a road trip: I love it when we drive on a car together with friends or family. Have you noticed that the conversations are different, lovelier during road trips? Especially when we all are going to places that we have not explored before. Whenever I have a chance to suggest an activity, i suggest a road trip 🙂

13. Music: Music is… awesome! I listen to it while at home and office. The free music channels and youtube makes it basically free. Could not be happier 🙂

14. Writing my blog and reading other blogs: Very amusing, relaxing, informative, and affordable activity. Okay I need a computer and an internet connection to do so, but these two help with so many activities (listening to music, watching videos, doing research, learning, booking flights and hotels, etc.) that their cost comes really low. Plus writing helped me to learn a lot about myself – how about that as a great benefit?

15. Planning, planning, planning: I have a thing for planning for goals I would like to tackle. Coming up with a question and then designing a step-by-step strategy to reach the goal is always exciting for me. Yep I do mess up with executing the plans sometime (my recent healthy life-style plan that I blew is a good example), but eventually all go well.

16. Sleeping in: every once a while there comes a weekend morning that makes me sleep till noon. This does not happen to much, but I believe it happens when my body needs it. Often times, it is relaxing.

17. Sleeping late: there is something peaceful about late-nights, some kind of freedom… Friday and Saturday nights are my freedom nights when I can stay up till late, reading, writing, or watching TV. Serenity..

18. Spending time in my yard: I have a small yard with a couple of trees; lilacs are particularly my favorites. Seeing them in summer is a beautiful feeling. The same thing with just being in the yard and listening to the sound of trees – the soothing whoosh their leaves make with wind…..

19. Scents: I love my perfume but due to scent-free policy of my workplace, I only wear it at the weekends. Its scent is so lovable I am glad they produced it! The same thing with candles and soaps. I have a soap that leaves a nice scent after each hand-wash. I would not change it at all. When comes to candles, I did not buy lately but I make sure to check them at the stores. One of my favorite one has honey-cinnamon scent.

20. Wearing my best shoes: I am a person of habit, so I keep wear the same things weeks after weeks. Yet, every once a while wearing a different outfit or my favorite shoes makes a difference in my mood 🙂

21. Grocery shopping: I love grocery shopping. Finding fresh produce is a rare and often cheerful activity for me (where I live, fresh produces are hard to find).

22. Shopping after the holidays: this is the season for shopping!. The sales right after the Christmas are unprecedented. Boy, do I stock up? 🙂

23. Thrifty store visits: Even though I often end up not buying as much as I plan to, I love browsing through the shelves in thrifty stores, especially the kitchen items and the books. A good book I certainly will buy. The kitchen items are mostly an interest; to see all the old stuff… I have a thing for old things. They are different and very interesting for me.

24. Ethnic stores: There are so many different things in these stores that I make regular trip to one close to my house. It is a little food store where I can find the most interesting spices, hot sauces, and dried food. Plus, that store is incredibly cheap. I wonder why that is.

25. Soft facial towels: These are priceless; there is nothing nicer at the end of a busy day to come home, wash my hands and face, and feel the soft towel on my skin. I would highly recommend you to get a thick, slushy towels that is a delight to use.

26. Creams and moisturizers: my hands require hand cream throughout the day. In winter, it is almost essential to moisturize the rest of the body. I am grateful for these creams and lotions that not only nourish my body but also smell good 🙂

27. Time spent with family and friends: Do I have to talk about it? It is the favorite activity of many people. Are we not lucky?

I hope your list of things that make you feel pampered is longer than this.

Go pamper yourself in this beautiful Saturday! 🙂

holiday plans – the change is here

Here are my plans for the 12 days off till after the new year;

1. I will have breakfast every single morning – you got it right; every single morning I will go to my favourite cafe and order my favourite breakfast with coffee. That is my dream!

2. The delightful breakfast will be followed by a visit to my favourite book store close by; I can find beautiful books, buy or browse them as I please. Cannot think about a more lovely time spent.

3. I will walk around, maybe check the shops, see whether there is something interesting I may be interested in. Now that I will have spare time, I will take my time going through the stuff and fully engage my mind with whatever is at my hand. A great mental break – lovely.

4. I will call and visit some of my good friends – I am really looking forward to this! Everybody including me is so relaxed during the holidays that it is a perfect time to enjoy each others’ company and laughter.

5. I will go to the malls and check all the sales I can find – now that is one perfect time to find the best items at an affordable price. Since time is not an issue, I can explore in more detail and find and purchase those that I may like. I really would appreciate getting new shirts and trousers for winter.

6. I will visit the thrifty store, too. There are so many stuff that are interesting in such stores. Especially household items, such as old china or kitchen tools and furniture. I have been always fascinated by the fact that if I want to have a sense of the past of the city I am in, the old items, either at houses belonging to the people, or those who are dumped at the thrifty stores, are an excellent way to do so.

7. I would like to knit a nice toque this holiday season – based on my past experience if I can decide of what kind of toque to knit, I can produce it in a single day. I think it will be red and orange yes the colours that give energy during the winter. Great idea.

8. I will clean my house really well – starting the 2nd floor rooms which are much easier to clean. I will clean the floors well – they are in good condition but a little bit of deeper cleaning would be nice to protect them from permanent dust.

9. I will de-clutter the house – yes I will. I can keep things but not those which are not needed any more. That will help my house breathe better; it will refresh it, it will energize it. Together with the unwanted/unneeded items, I will also dump my old scars and painful memories. As I create space for new items at my house, I will also open space for new beginnings and memories. That is the most exciting of all the activities I plan to do during the holidays. This will lift my heart and my mind.

10. I will start implementing better and healthier life style. I am usually okay in terms of eating good and at least walking every single day, but I can do a lot better. I will start daily light weight exercises, I will stop eating refined carbs, and I will start breathing and relaxing with music more.

11. I will call my friends and family members to catch up with people important for me.

12. I will donate the books I am not reading any more.

13. I will clean my email inbox; ever year this is one of the best practices I follow – just delete the unnecessary/temporary emails, organize and store the others that are important. Open space for new emails, new developments, new important communications! Open space! Awesome – so exciting 🙂

14. I will shuffle the furniture around a little bit – I would like see my home a little bit different – just to have a mental stimulation, a fresh look, a statement of “change is here”. You would not believe how useful this kind of changes are in making more profound changes in our lives. Go ahead, change something and find in yourself the courage and wish to change other aspects, whether it is relationship, habit, life-style, or hobbies.

15. I will review my year and note all things that I have been grateful for. That is a great exercise not only to feel grateful, but also to appreciate the year that is ending and to welcome the new one with hope and positivity.

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