all the good things lately

Many things have been going better lately and I have been feeling better as well 🙂

Notably:

My short and disrupted sleep pattern have been reversing slowly. I can now sleep till 7-8 am. I still wake up during the night and have fragmented sleep, but the improvement is that I can mostly go back to sleep.

My anxiety levels are almost leveled… This is amazing. It can come back (and sometimes I do feel that it is), but as long as I stop stressing myself about stuff and write my worry journal, I am in a more comfortable state. It is strange to notice that my anxiety flares up as soon as I think “I do not know what to do“.. Duh… Classical trigger of anxiety. Nevertheless, I am very grateful for this period of time.

I feel very confident and have self-respect, admiration, and esteem. Wohaaa 🙂 This is HUGE. I owe it to a number of changes in me lately;

1) I am more initiative (such as in initiating new projects) and motivated to expand my skills to new areas. I do not try to calculate risks anymore – only big ones, not the small things that made me busy, anxious, and less initiative in the past few years. It goes well so far, I am forming new collaborations, I can ask people for favors of involvement easier, and I believe that all is much better now with these skills. I also appreciate my development and efforts more, knowing that this way I will be able to grow and do better professionally. I appreciate myself extra because these also takes guts. Seemingly, I have them 🙂

2) I believe the reason I am less conserved and introvert and more initiative is that I care less.. Yes, you heard right. The less I care about the potential and negative outcomes (e.g. failure, being rejected, etc.), the better I do and get responses. Strange but works! 🙂

3) These are all possible because I finally realize to take time for myself and my own value, personally and professionally. Good times 🙂

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I am one of these individuals that benefited from self-help books. Not all of them, but some were quite influential. The idea of worry journal, feeling better with detaching from my immediate issues and seeing the bigger picture in life, reading positive messages and feeling better as a result, etc. were all good to me. I am not naive enough to think that I have a life-long habit of thinking and feeling better, but at least I know that these strategies can be re-applied, if needed in the future.

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I have other areas in my life that I must focus, though. My diet is not the healthiest, my weight increased lately, I hardly exercise, and my spending habits are still harming my saving goals.

One way to help implement them in my life is to write specific goals. So here I go:

My diet: Aim for eating 6 different foods each week; stop pizza and eating out; eat more protein; buy and eat more veggies, especially crunchy ones.

My weight: once I start eating better and walking everyday, I know that it will decrease to its usual amount. Also, stop eating pizzas, peanuts, and junk food!!

My exercise: I can walk in the evenings quite easily. I can also start walking in the morning (to office). Weather is nice and once I start it I know I will enjoy it. I can also do light exercise at home – like my back exercises and light weights.

Spending habits: If I lose the junk food, I am sure I will be in much better shape financially. I also need more specific goals….

MORE to come.

 

 

 

 

 

shopping ban – items

Enough is enough.

Today I was re-potting a new plant I bought yesterday, and when I went thru my planting items I have seen how many planters (both plastic and porcelain) and plates to go underneath the pots I have had.

Way too many….

How am I going to use all of these?

I possibly will not.

Also, how many plants do I have?

50?

Sigh….Many of them succulents and in individual pots. I must be combining them together. Does that mean I need to buy new pots????

I am overwhelmed really……….

Time for a serious decluttering activity and a shopping ban list:

Shopping ban items:

  • plants
  • planters/pots/plates
  • soil/perlite

Decluttering:

will take some time, but here is the usual idea:

  • dump everything that do not work or is worn out
  • donate everything that I do not use (yes, these include the porcelain plates that I no longer use; small plastic pots that I have bought with great excitement but never used; the plates that I purchased for planters but never used; clothes that I no longer wear; any other kitchen/house item that I do not use)

Time to open space and save some money at the same time.

 

 

 

weekly budget check

I have not posted these checks for a while.

Now that I am making a serious attempt back to my frugal life-style, here comes this week’s account:

Weekly allowance expenses: $119, including grocery, cab fare, treats at the office, and junk food. My weekly allowance this year is 100 bucks/week, so I over-spent this week.

Fun funds: The fun funds so far are at the negative side: -$596.

Fun funds are those that are left from my weekly allowance starting each new year. Last year I had used the fun funds for things that my heart wished for and a pre-payment. This year I am looking forward to bringing this to a positive balance, but I am not sure how fast this can happen 🙂 

Other savings: $7

Health related expenses and donations: $23.5

I am hopeful that next week will be a much better one, if I can continue with my frugal and simple life saga.

I have done something nice and made a pre-payment order today. I likely will need to tap into my chequing account really deep for this payment…. Normally, I like to have a healthy level of funds at the chequing account, but this payment will drop it significantly. I thought unless I challenge myself like this, I would not have enough motivation to save more and limit extra expenses. So, the weeks ahead will be somehow challenging and  interesting.

I am up for it!

I hope there will be no additional expenses in the next few weeks 🙂

year end finances – 2018

Today is the end of my fiscal year. Time to see where I spent my money and how I saved it.

Money Cash GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

EXPENSES

Weekly regular/daily expenses (allowance for eligible expenses=$120/week)

  • grocery: $2,796
  • eating out (alone): $166
  • cab: $1,018 (ouch!)
  • junk/unnecessary expenses: $1,621 (ouch!)

when compared to last year, all of these expenses, except eating out, have increased significantly.

Other expenses

  • Expenses related to cleaning and other household and personal care products: $1,494
  • Clothes: $620
  • Socialization-hosting-clothes-health-care-hair cut/dye-gifts-donations-hobbies=$5,268 (around $1,800 is hosting/socials-related expenses)

it looks like this year my social-life related expenses have increased compared to last year.

  • Europe vacation: $1,500

My total expenses not including mortgage, bills, bus fare, house tax,  insurance and other fixed expenses=around $15,000.

Looks like too much for a single person?

SAVINGS, INVESTMENTS, and OTHER GOOD NEWS

Retirement investments and HBP payment:

  • TFSA+RRSP+HBP (home buyer’s plan payment)=$19,000.  I feel good about these 🙂

Fun funds

  • fun funds (aka remaining funds from weekly allowance): $639
  • fun funds expenses: $270 (anything I wish as extra was an eligible expense)
  • remaining fun funds: $369 (yay! 🙂 )

Mortgage pre-payments=$7,790 (my tax return as well as weekly savings). This was the first year that I have made pre-payments to mortgage. It is amazing to see how little savings can make such a huge difference. I am not sure how much I have saved from the interests, but anything helps really.

Some of the savings this year were because of discounts, coupons, loyalty points, and other lucky encounters. For example, by just following the sales I saved more than $1,100 this past year. I am not into coupons and that shows; only $24 was gained by using coupons. Loyalty points were useful with around $200 worth of discounts. Every bits counts.

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Overall: I have done well and increased my net worth quite a bit.

I could do better, but I will let it go. I have done what can be done.

My spending habits changed, but surprisingly I spent more on daily expenses and at socials. Something to think about.

Now, it is time to move on and plan for the next year. 

I cannot wait 🙂

Retirement GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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gifs by:https://giphy.com/gifs/loop-brown-jackie-lZd4oyt1EzC3C;https://giphy.com/gifs/retirement-deIChhcsO8iIM

complete frugality

Is it possible for me to be frugal 100% of the time?

I have been thinking about this since yesterday. You know I take the cab sometime and then usually (not always – sometimes I like pampering myself) I resent it the rest of the day.

It is one of these activities that works against my frugal and effective budgeting activities; a ride to office costs around 10 buck – considering how much effort I put to save 10 bucks each week, it is understandable that taking the cab is quite counter-intuitive and counter-productive for me. 

I thought about it and I know there are three other areas in my expenses that are against my frugal life-style;

  • social treats to cheap friends/colleagues (these are the ones that would let me pay for everything, rather than putting their hands in their purses!),
  • gifting (new year gifts, kids, house-warmer gifts, etc.), and,
  • social treats/donations that I must do because of my work place seniority. 

Some of these I can handle better I guess.

First thing first, those friends/colleagues who take advantage of my generosity: obviously I am pissed off by them! Next time I can try to be assertive with them!

Gifting: when I bought my sewing machine I thought I could sew gifts, but now I can see that this is not gonna happen anytime soon. So, I better start shopping for the new year gifts while there are sales. There will be other gifts that I will have to get along the way, like a birthday gift I probably will need in two days  – these I guess can be purchased when they are needed. I am afraid I have nothing additional to do about these expenses.

And social treats/donations that I must do at work: This is also an area of expense that I can hardly limit…. We have annual contributions for recognizing some of the employees’ work with us, which is perfectly fine and I am happy to do these (they so well deserve these). I am often asked to donate to causes that we all care, which I am again very happy to contribute to. And I usually take my team out for lunch several times a year, which is also great because we usually do that to celebrate a significant achievement or a life-event such as a wedding. It is also a great team-building activity. So other than choosing affordable places for lunch, I cannot see much of a thing to change here, either.

Alright. And the rest of my expenses seem to okay (not including the trips I pay to visit my family).

When I look for an opportunity to see whether I can further reduce my spending, I see that this may be possible.

But things that I can do are really small; like making my own detergent (which I do not want to), cutting my hair (which I do not want to), stop dyeing my hair (which I do not want to), buying grains and beans in bulk (like 10 kg bulk) and making them my primary staple (which I do not want to – I like grains and beans a lot but I want to eat fresh produce more), reducing the heating really low (which I do not want to), canceling my cable and risking the good price of internet-cable-phone plan (which I do not want to), not buying occasional awards such as a bar of chocolate or a drink/meal/breakfast for myself (which I do not want not to), and occasional waste like a bad apple here and there.

So, looks like for now, I am at a good shape and have a plan to tackle some of the the unnecessary expense areas. And who knows, once I reach the next level of frugality I may come up with new ways to cut my expenses and become more self-sustaining and resourceful 🙂

After all, there is always a chance of surprising ourselves – just like this bird/crow(?) in the gif below! What a smart animal! 🙂

Food GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

gif by:https://giphy.com/gifs/closer-level-3O5ihx3odCq76

 

 

 

 

random thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

Priceless.

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