9 days to holidays and reflections on finances

Counting down the days till holidays 🙂

I started cleaning my office yesterday, my traditional activity before the holidays. I am 1/3 done and would love to complete it sometime soon. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Friday, but maybe next week. But I will be doing it 🙂

I also started thinking about my budget and life-style for the next year. I can see that unless I become more careful I may not be able to save what I want to save. Last year has been a great teacher for me in terms of finances and my own attitude. 

I learnt that:

1. if I do extreme budgeting I get unhappy and all I think about is spending money. I know that because I tried a pantry challenge or something early in 2017 and restricting my shopping experience was unpleasant and expensive :)))) So I should not restrict my already tight budget

2. Work stress makes me feel like I am entitled to make unnecessary expenses, such as on junk food. This is very silly and I need to work on this

3. I need both short-term and long-term financial goals. My overall calculations are for the entire year, but I would feel much better if I can have a soon-to-be-completed goal so that I can keep my eye on it, strive for it, and eventually feel the satisfaction of completing it. I think I will have to work on this idea to keep me motivated. After all, we can aim all we want but unless it is realistic or reachable, we will lose our hope first and then the intention to reach the goal.

4. While I can spend on junk food and rationalize it, I also continue not to over-spend on grocery or other things, which is strange… This must tell me something. Why do I turn blind to unnecessary expenses, which are often much more than my grocery bill? if I can figure this out, I can figure out many other things…

5. I continue to be not cheap when it comes to socials. I notice that many people do not get that generous with me when I host them, so I want to opt for a smaller thing to take with me to socials; a loaf of bread, a jar of pickle, a baked goods are good options.

6. I stopped picking my colleagues’ bills when we go out together, which is awesome.

7. I still treat my team members with lunches or so time to time; this was 2-4 times a year so far. I think I will make it once year now. I will have to really work on this because I really like celebrating their accomplishments. 

8. It is great to be taking advantage of the sales for items, such as clothes, required each year. This occurs often during October-December. I think one thing I should aim for is to save this money way advance; whether it is thru my fun funds or savings from the expenses that I could easily make but do not (like picking up others’ bills). 

9. Talking about the fun funds, I have never been clear about how to use them last year (fun funds are the money left out of my weekly allowance). I think it is time that I handle this better. I think this year I will replace the term “fun funds” with “weekly savings” and I will use these savings as mortgage pre-payments.

10. I will be on shopping freeze for trousers and jackets this year; the only place to shop for blouses/shirts will be thrift stores. I will continue to buy items that are supposed to be personal, like socks, from regular stores.

– to be continued –

 

random thoughts

I am back to my normal routine as of today and it feels good.

Yesterday after the noon, I was busy with socials and having great time with friends. That felt good. It was also expensive (the cab ride only took 51 bucks). Add to this the treats and gifts. But what can I do?

Barbra Streisand GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today I have gone to thrift stores. It was one of those days that I have no interesting stuff to pick. I could probably pick a number of things but none would be something that I would absolutely need. I tried around 20 blouses/cardigans and it is interesting that I did like none of them 🙂 That is okay too – there will be times when I find something really lovely and excited to purchase it.

My hair is doing well. I think because of the exposure to sun today, it looks a little bit lighter. That is what I need to see. I am scared, however, to find out how it will turn out in 2-3 weeks when the roots start to come out. Goodness, help me.

Hair GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Did I mention that I lost my sourdough starter? Yesterday I was about to feed it, but i could not find the glass jar in the fridge. It was an awkward 15 minutes of my life where I just stood there, looked around, tried hard to contemplate the situation, believed that somebody was messing with me, believed that a supernatural creature was messing with me, and eventually I came to the conclusion that with the stress and the agitation of work last week, I had forgotten to spare starter and put all of the fed starter into my loaf last week.

That sucks.

That starter worked really well. Thank goodness, I have had dried it up last January. I have dissolved some of it in water, and fed with flour yesterday and this morning. To tell you the truth, it just smells like flour but not starter. So I do not know what will happen, whether there is an microorganism to revive in the dried starter, and if so whether I will get a robust starter as before. But all I can do is to trying. The worst case scenario is that I start a new starter, even though I really would like my first starter to revive and be present in my life….

Starter GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

My kefir grains, on the other hand, doubled. I think I have got them in May and it was just a table spoon of grains. Now I have double or even triple this initial amount. This has happened lately, in the last few weeks which I think is because of the warm weather. It has not disappointed me at all. I should find ways to preserve these grains; freeze them? Dry them? I gotta look at the internet again.

Tomorrow will be another lovely day. Until then, enjoy your day and night!

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/barbra-streisand-QKrWE39mhcW9W;https://giphy.com/gifs/starter-sL8vDIavJFUkw;https://giphy.com/gifs/hair-new-girl-zooey-FVbOUyHlYO1DW

 

random thoughts

The entire week was warm and with blue skies. I think the spring is coming. I think the winter has left us. I think things will be only better after this 🙂

I was at a boring social yesterday with a colleague of mine and I went to office and had a very productive day today. So, if you had asked me which one made me happy, you know it is the day at the office. Honestly, the lack of distraction is the best thing I can have in my office. I left the office feeling quite happy about myself and the work I have done. I think I have resolved a couple of road blocks in this project so far and from now on I can only move faster and better. This feels amazing 🙂  

I am really happy about this.

 

preferences for social activities

I have just declined a social invitation from a nice couple that I happen to like. I have met with them last week for a dinner and I will be meeting with one of them for a breakfast this Wednesday. The social that I refused to take part was scheduled for the next weekend.

This is the second time that I said no to these lovely people. Seeing  them rather frequently is the first reason for my refusal and the restaurant choice is the second. The place they have chosen is an expensive diner with food that does not appeal to me. Honestly I have no reason to spend 90 bucks on something that does not even excite me.

But the first reason re; seeing them lately too frequently is something that I always knew but never voiced before. Well…. It is true. I live alone and am perfectly happy with it 99.9% of the time. When I see people rather frequently I develop negative reactions. I cannot help it.

At least I have been true to them and to myself.  I really like these people. Hopefully next time we will eat at my place.

These friends of mine seem to get me and do not push it, which is awesome. I had friends in Toronto who would get quite upset if I had declined their invitations. It was so weird, so ridiculous that eventually our friendship has ended. I have not talked to them for quite a long time. Honestly I could not care less. You cannot force people to socialize with you whenever you want it. See, I am still angry with those people.

Anyways; I am thankful that I continue to be assertive and say “No” as necessary and I have great friends who totally get it and still be cool with me.

I feel good about myself and lucky 🙂

boredom

I realized that the majority of the things that excited me in the past (hanging out with fiends, new challenges and hurdles to overcome, seeing new places, being spontaneous, living in big cities that have a lot to offer, falling in love, picking those lovely black shirts at stores etc.) are no longer in my life.

Did I get old?

What happened?

Why do I not have excitement in my life?

How did I end up in where I am and with what I do and live with?!!!

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I have no one but myself who is responsible for this. I should have never moved in where I am. I knew I was not a small city person – walk to the same places, shop at the same malls, visit the same stores, see the same faces, eat at the same diners…. yet, I moved here because I have got an exciting work. Thanks! Argh!

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I must start a social activity; maybe a cooking or sewing class. I am even in favour of attending a bingo night. Goodness, I must do something different than what I am doing – this is such a boring life!

Come on me, come on…

Boredom GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

gif by:http://giphy.com/gifs/boredom-oBe1Biubb65q0

 

 

weekly budget check

When it rains, it pours.

No, not the rain – I am referring to my spending pattern 🙂 

This past week was a relatively high spending week.

Let me explain:

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Weekly allowance: $120

Expenses related to the weekly allowance (grocery, breakfast/coffee at the cafe, cab rides- if ever, and other little miscellaneous expenses): $87

Fun funds saved this week: $120 – $87 = $33

Fun funds expenses: $0

Total fun funds accumulated so far in 2017: $597.5  (dance with me here! Wohoo 🙂 ) 

Other expenses: $111 (social/dinner)

Savings from would-be-expenses: $46.5 (these are the savings from expenses that I would normally make, but decided not to; such as walking rather than taking the bus, having breakfast at home rather than the local cafe etc.)

Notes: it is interesting that sometimes spending money feels right. For example, on Tuesday morning I took the cab to office for the first time in 2017 (I usually would take the bus or even walk). It felt right and I am not resentful about its fee because I woke up at 6.45 am and by taking the cab I started my work-day at around 7.20 am. It was a very efficient day and I am very happy about this.

Also the dinner expense I have made (today) was well worth it. I took a couple out for a simple dinner tonite. They are very nice people, I enjoy spending time with them, and I have been to their home many times. It was my turn. Also, they just bought a house, which I wanted to celebrate!  It was a great night with great people – so all is well 🙂

Mortgage pre-payment: I paid an additional $270 today as mortgage pre-payment 🙂 This is my third payment this year totaling $870. I am very excited about these payments and am motivated to save more from my regular expenses so that i can keep making these payments 🙂 🙂 🙂

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Pantry/freezer treasures enjoyed: rolled oats, flax seeds, soya beans, and green lentils from the pantry 🙂 I love, love using the food at home! 🙂 

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Happy budgeting and happy savings 🙂

the fifth and the sixth day of the staycation

Finally I feel like I have done quite a bit done today 🙂

Yesterday I baked three different loaves for a social I was invited to, cleaned some more parts of my house, had great time with four kids and four adults at a lovely dinner.

I am glad the socials are done. I just need to host a friend of mine whose mom is visiting them. This, honestly stresses me out as I am not a great cook. But, then the way I see many people are not, either (a positive outcome of frequent socials in the last few months). So I say – go for it and enjoy! I cannot wait this “task” in my to-do-list to be over (see how joyful I am about this? argh…).

And I am done with cleaning the kitchen, floors, and every single corner of the house today 🙂 I have more space in my fridge and kitchen cabinets now. No need to say that I am dumping a fair amount of clutter and gathering items to be donated. It feels good. I am not done with decluttering, though. I still have my storage cabinet to be cleaned and decluttered. Honestly it always scares me, but I think I will be fine once I start it.

I also need to wash two shag rugs at a nearby laundromat. After that I want to sell them. There I said it… I bought and use them with love, but I think it is time we depart our ways and get new ones…. That also feels good to me 🙂

My rotary cuter and cutting mat are not delivered yet – they were supposed to be here last Thursday, but alas.. I have been waiting for them to start doing some serious sewing but this afternoon I was not feeling well and I decided I could work it out somehow. And I kind of did – I sewn a lovely yellow and large dish cloth to be used on my counter 🙂 It is simple yet lovely and I am sure it will help me keep me my counter dry.

As my to-do-list is being taken care of, my reflection time is coming along…. Somewhere above I mentioned I was not feeling well. I missed my family and I am very aware of the fact that none of us are getting younger. When there is family there is love and when there is life there is death.. 2 + 2 = 4. It is very scary. I love my family and I do not wish to them to die, but this can happen anytime. Heck, I may die myself anytime. Why am I away from them? When am I going to be done with the work and start spending time with them? I was not planning to go visit them this year, but I guess I will do it – I want to do it. I was telling a friend of mine the other day – if I could retire I could quit work, too, but I just cannot. Money is not the most important thing, yes, but it can provide opportunities and some kind of happiness, right? Right.

The past one year I have been grieving after my dad and my relationships with the rest of my family has been slightly strained as a result. I am still grieving for my dad, still feeling the reality of death (some mornings I wake up thinking that “there; one more day of my life to be wasted. yet it is so precious. How can I enjoy i and make it more meaningful?” I have no answer to these questions…), but I have nowadays started to feel the fear of losing my other family members.. This clenches my heart…

I believe it is time that I care about my family members more.

After his death, I developed this strange fear of forgetting my dad, but I know that this will not happen. I think my father too would love me caring for the rest of the family.

Self-reflections to continue…..

 

 

random thoughts

Three more days till my two weeks holidays time off 🙂 I cannot wait!

Honestly, I am done with work. I have things to do but enough is enough. I have been working very hard and made a good attempt to finish ongoing work. I will make one last push tomorrow and Wednesday, and then I will take Thursday off (even though it is not  apart of our holidays). I deserve this extra day 🙂

I have done the majority of my shopping by taking advantage of the sales, though I still would love to check trousers and get one or two if they are on sale. Other than that, I have no need for shopping and I feel good about this. Of course I have many socials to attend, especially this week, which kind of makes me bored already, but I will go through it. The exciting things will be to declutter my home, clean it up, and get some time for myself.

I have quite a reflection to do and the holidays have always been the best time for me to do so… This year has been full of ups and downs…. While on the average it was one year that I have had felt happy, it was also the one that brought me the most profound sadness; my dad has passed away this year.. May he rest in peace…. I did not know what sadness was prior to this and I had never appreciated life as much I have since my dad’s death…My dad has given me life and also taught me the best lesson ever by his death; that I must appreciate life while I have it…. How could I not feel this before, when he was alive? He has seen me mostly depressed and fed up with life; that feels so unfair to him… But I am sure he would love to see me now with this new zest towards life.

I am also older now and getting close to 50 🙂 hah haaa. I have never thought I would but here I am! With age comes change in the body as well as in the attitude towards anything really. I appreciate my family and I still care about my work, but I want to have a better and healthier life-style overall. I am losing weight slowly but steadily, which is good. My mood is overall better, which is awesome. I must continue to care for my back and keep doing my stretches and light weight training, which have been really good for me. I want to get better at sewing and start doing some serious projects, which I hope the holidays will be a good opportunity to do so. I am still keen about saving and paying down my mortgage, but I am not going to get too enthusiastic about it and would like to make it a priority to enjoy my life and care for people I love…

It looks like I have little new projects for the new year. This somehow bothers me (i.e. does not excite me that much) but I would like to think positive. Perhaps this is an opportunity to go with the flow. Who knows, maybe I will develop new interests and projects without thinking about them? After all my two current interest, blogging and sewing, were never planned and were just spontaneously born 🙂

random thoughts

It was a kind of “oh well, I think I am getting down with something” day…

I think the windy weather is making me kind of sick; it is quite strong and when it hits, it hits.. Time for the hot chocolate 🙂 Lots of it 🙂 🙂

The wind outside is quite concerning; I am so grateful for my house standing tall in this weather. We have had a strangely cold, snowy, and windy week. Two days were snow days and this evening was certainly not great. I managed to go to grocery store nice and easy, but when I had left, the snow and wind were just beating us. It is great that my house is very close to the store 🙂

I have socials to attend this weekend and I am hoping (yes, I am..) that we will cancel them. I am supposed to have a hair cut; clean the house; do the laundry; shop at a mall for my needs; and then attend an early dinner tomorrow – how am I supposed to do all of these, while I also feel kind of sick and cranky and the weather is crazy?

Nevertheless, I am hoping that at least the weather will be better, I will feel a lot like my regular self and enjoy my time as it develops tomorrow.

Have a great Friday night everyone! 🙂

 

 

social invites; when it rains, it pours

It was not even 5 minutes that I have written a post where I bragged about attending too many socials during the holidays, and now I have got two more invitation emails asking me to join them for a social. One of them is from someone who has been kind to me at the beginning and then was mean for no reason at one occasion. I had not seen her in the last 3-4 years.

So what do I do now?

I guess I will keep being polite and ask her to join me for a coffee or something like that. It gotta be short.

Sometimes I feel like people “feel” for people like me who live alone and almost feel the need of “saving” us from our loneliness by inviting here and there, especially during the holiday season. It is like “poor thing – please come and get some joy”… I wonder how many people think or feel this way.

One other time the host (who is actually a good friend of mine) had “kindly” said that they invited me over because they were worried their kids were not exposed to enough diversity (I am not from here). It was so awkward for me (I felt like I was being treated like a display object on a store’s window or at rare items museum), but obviously not for them…

And another friend of mine insists that I spend the new year eve with them. Last year I made an exception and went there. But this year I do not want to. I told her that I was not sure and we will talk some other time. If I am going there, it will be on my terms; I will leave early like 8 pm. I want to be home and by myself reflecting to welcome the new year, with hope, joy, and appreciation for the last year. However it was and however it will be.. I told her my wishes for the new year night last year, but it does not go through. Why is that I wonder?

How do I tell people that I am okay spending time by myself… No. Correction.. How do I convince people that I am okay spending time by myself?

As a matter of fact, why do I ever have to convince anyone?

Not everyone wants to spill their guts out; some of us are okay rejoicing themselves or mending their scars alone. Living alone does not mean that we are lonely.

There.

I did rant.

And feel slightly better already 🙂

feeling what I feel

It has been a snow day, meaning I stayed in the whole day and worked through my computer. It also means that I shoveled 🙂

I think the winter is gonna be harsh this year; it is one of these rare occasions that we have had a snow day before January…

I felt bored at home but kept working anyhow. It is one of days that I would rather be at the office, but there is nothing I can do about this right now.

The holidays season is upon us and I have too many social events to attend. I have 3 to attend this week and at least 2 other the next week. Every once a while it is great but I question myself – do i really want to do this? Possibly not, but I gave my word so I am going. I am prepared to gracefully accept the fact that if there is nothing I can change, then I must make an effort to at least enjoy…

I am feeling down.. I have been feeling down for some time and I want to feel good again. I know life is a cycle and we are entitled to both good and bad times, but it does not defer me from wanting to feel good.

There are a number of thoughts and things that bother me. I do not think I can solve them. Yet, I am still bothered by them. it is one of these times that forgetting would be a good and useful option. I try to change my perspective and try to approach from another angle. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not.

In the middle of everything, I just want to feel good again.

Sometimes I know what can make me excited and sometimes I have no idea. Food is good, so is exercise. Being grateful is probably a powerful healer – should be writing my joy journal today….

I am worried that I will have a shitty holiday vacation this year. Time to time I have had it. A time that I have just for myself without the requirements of work does not always mean that I will have a great time. As a matter of fact, if I do not lift my spirit up till then, I am sure it will tire me.

Oh well….

Maybe all I have to do is to grab a box of chocolate:)

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