Frugal Feb 2016 Update #2

Day 16 Update.

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At the 2016 Toronto Auto Show!

Note: I meant to post this yesterday. So let’s pretend today
is still Feb 16th…

Yesterday was Family Day in Canada, so it’s a four
day work-week (hurray!). To everyone that celebrated it hope you enjoyed it. Unfortunately, my family was busy but I had a wonderful day of lazing around my condo complete with using the condo’s gym for the first time in forever. Had to be somewhat productive so I didn’t feel guilty.

Besides pre-planned costs for my upcoming vacation to the UK and Iceland I was right back on track on my frugal budgeting.

Money Spent from Feb 8th – Feb 15th

Mandatory Expenses

  • Rent
  • Internet / Cable Bills
  • Gym Membership
  • Savings to TFSA
  • Savings to RRSP

Budgeted Expenses

  • Birthday Gift for the BF ($30)
  • Drinks with my Sports team ($35)
  • Flight to United Kingdom / Iceland in May  ($600)
  • Groceries ($0 – Used $25 gift card)
    • Ground beef
    •  Green Beans
    • Mushrooms
    • Onions
    • Celery
    • Ricotta Cheese
    • Mozzarella Cheese
    • Diced Tomatoes
    • Tomato Paste
    • Bread

Activities & Meals

My weekly Wednesday sports league was unexpectedly cancelled on us, so instead our team had an impromptu trip to a local bar instead. Thursday was the mid-season season premiere of How To Get Away with Murder so my friend, roommate and I had some drinks and watched the show. Saturday did some Body Pump and met up with my dad to go to the 2016 Canadian International Auto Show (got tickets for free through work). Valentine’s Day was spent with my BF and involved making homemade lasagna (and he made chocolate & peanut butter cheesecake for dessert), drinking wine and watching romantic comedy’s all night.

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Frugal Feb 2016 Update #1

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Superbowl Veggie & Pita dip tray (I regretted the use of food colouring later, oops). 

We are on Day #8 of Frugal February and time to do update numero uno on how things have been progressing since beginning this challenge last Monday. I didn’t start off on a high note as I had two unexpected costs totaling around $360.00 bucks come up. It came to my attention that my passport expires next month and two days after that my cell phone screen broke and became unusable. So that had to get fixed. Womp, womp. Thankfully, I have an emergency savings fund for unexpected expenses like these and I’ll be able to pay them off my credit card at the end of the month worry free.

While it’s not exactly the way you want to kick off the month where you’re trying to save as much money as possible it IS a nice reminder for why I do this challenge. Saving and setting aside money for expenses like above are what personal financing is all about for me. It’s nice that I don’t have to stress about additional costs because I’m being proactive with my money to prepare for these bumps along the road.

Anyways back to last week’s recap.

Money Spent from Feb 1st – Feb 7th

Mandatory Expenses

  • Monthly Metro Pass

Budgeted Expenses

  • Groceries equaled up to $18.49. I also used up one of my two gift cards I had from Christmas. I was a dodo and forgot my other gift card at home. Below was for groceries for the current week AND veggies & dip for Superbowl Sunday.
    • 3 green, 2 red & 1 orange bell pepper (on reduce to sell for $1.99)
    • 3 packages of pre-sliced mushrooms (on reduce to sell for $1.99)
    • Package of baby carrots
    • Celery
    • Two broccoli heads
    • Package of cherry tomatoes
    • Container of low-fat Mayonnaise for dip
    • Bag of pretzels for dip
    • Bag of tortilla chips for dip
  • Drinks with friends after the ballet on Friday – $16.00
  • Purchased European Aquatic Championship tickets – This is coming out of my ‘Travel Fund’, which I’ve been saving for a couple of months now.

Unexpected Expenses (taken out of Emergency Fund)

  • Fixing iPhone
  • Renewing Passport
  • Passport Photos being redone

Activities & Meals 

At Home Meals 

I busted outb0026295-3a87-447d-9e8f-0e8ac0467b25 both the slow cooker and my rice cooker that I got for Christmas and for everyday at lunch this week I will be eating homemade burritos. In the slow cooker I through in some bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, spinach and beef that I had in the freezer with some taco seasoning mix and just let it sit on low for 8 hours. I’m excited to try it today!

I made enough rice for all my lunches and dinners this week, so I’ll create meals which will be incorporating rice in some form.

Since February is jam packed with a number of special events coming up this month I pre-made lemon cupcakes, which I put in the freezer and will take out to decorate for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc. as they are needed.

Finally, as mentioned above I made a veggie & pita tray with some dips for a Superbowl / birthday party yesterday. I made ranch drip, roasted red pepper & garlic and then tried to make them look like the Bronco’s and Panther’s team colours, which didn’t turn out so great. Oh well. Live and learn.

Activities  

Activities last week included a work event at Chill Ice House, which is a bar here in Toronto that’s entirely made of ice. There was a throne made of ice, thab52d8f6e-a0e9-4ebb-acda-6c83a4f50341.jpgt you know I needed to have a photo with. It felt very Game of Thronesesque.

Played some floor hockey on Wednesday with my sports team where I somehow ended up playing as the goalie and was hit in the groin area with one of those plastic orange balls. It hurt.

Friday went to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s ‘Going Home Star – Truth & Reconciliation’, which was a very powerful piece of work. Highly recommended if it’s going to a city near you.

Also, made it to the gym Monday – Thursday and also attended Body Pump on Saturday.

Phew. Busy week, but this is my life now (and the reason I don’t have time to update my blog as often as I’d like…).

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2016 Frugal February

9a4a02c4-36cd-4f10-90a4-f13f1e043b3e.jpgDue to the overwhelming demand (aka one request from Kirin 🙂 ) I’m bringing back Frugal February for 2016! It’s not exactly going to be the same as last year. It was so ridiculously cold here in Toronto last year that I was able to get away with being a bit of a hermit.

Unfortunately for my wallet, but fortunately for my social life, I’ve got a lot planned events this February. Plus a few unexpected costs have already popped up like renewing my passport before it expires next month. So, I’m going to use Frugal Feb in the areas of my life that I can to save some extra cash (food, certain entertainment, misc. purchases) and budget accordingly for being social throughout the month!

Goals for February:

  • No going out to get fast food alone. Ever.
  • Going out to restaurants is ok when with other people. However, to cut costs only going to order water. Also, no appetizers, desserts, etc.
  • Focus on using up ingredients in the pantry before heading to the grocery store.
  • Grocery shopping will be reserved to getting fresh fruit and vegetables and any staples that run out. I’ve still got some gift cards for certain grocery chains from Christmas, so going to use those up.
  • Have more date nights at home with home cooked meals, movies & board games, or out in the city like walks, skating, free shows, etc.
  • Make lunches for the entire week every Sunday. Meal prep Sundays!
    • This week is a mushroom and cauliflower soup with rice! It’s (thankfully) delicious.
  • Re-visit old movies, tv shows & video games whenever I get the urge for some new at home entertainment.
  • No unnecessary spending on myself. No new clothes, no new electronics, etc.

All money saved will be dedicated to my “London Fund” where I plan on traveling to in May! I’m already down one day, so only 28 more to go.

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Changing Bad Habits

January 2016 is already off to a flying start and I’m getting back into the swing of things from the Holidays. I wanted to make January all about me, so as part of my “embracing change” New Year’s resolutions I want to see if I can start making some changes in my daily habits. Specifically the habits I’m not too fond of.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so I’m trying to implement the following changes in my life for 21 days to hopefully make them permanent for the rest of the year. Currently on day 7!

  • Wake Up at 6:00 am every weekday and 8:00 am weekends.
    • I started doing this in November once I started going back to the gym, so keeping this one plugging along.
  • Make my bed every morning after waking up.
    • I admittedly rarely made my bed last year, which caused my room to look messy. I find I have a much better attitude coming home to a cleaner room and I sleep better getting under the covers of a made bed.
  • Hit the gym every morning during the week.
    • As I mentioned before I started doing this back in November. For me I don’t care if I do some weight training or if I just walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. I just want the habit to stick of getting up in the morning and going.
  • Put tomorrow’s gym clothes in my gym bag immediately after getting home from work.
  • Put my keys / wallet / winter accessories in the same spot every day immediately after getting home from work.
    • It’s amazing how many times last year I desperately searched for these the next morning when it shouldn’t be that hard…
  • STOP using my laptop in bed before I go to sleep.
    • I think this is the biggest one that I want to change from last year. The bright screen from my mac would keep me up much more than originally intended a lot last year. I don’t keep my laptop in my room at all anymore.

Combine all this with my continued use of meal prepping on Sunday’s and budgeting money in spreadsheets to keep track of my finances I’ve got what I feel is a positive and healthy life style I’m working towards.

Let’s hope I can keep it up for 21 days and ideally the rest of the year.

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Goodbye 2015!

Tonight’s the night we say farewell 2015 and hello 2016. Has time just flown by this year for anyone

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Happy New Years!

else? It’s crazy.

2015 ended magically for me. It was the perfect holiday break and exactly what I needed after a stressful few weeks at work. Getting to see family, friends, eating maybe a little too much comfort food and getting to sleep in was just what the doctor ordered for me.

I started 2015 single… and will be ending it taken! Did not see that one coming when 2015 first rolled around. It means I can now finally stop going to the gym and eating healthy! Kidding. I like going too much and feeling positive about myself.

2015 was a great year for traveling for me. Chicago, Orlando, Vancouver, Houston, New York, Washington D.C. & Vegas. Phew! That is a lot. I loved getting to see all my friends and getting to spend time with them in their specific states and provinces.

I continued to try new thing. From checking out the Art Gallery of Ontario, to axe throwing to finally attending Toronto’s all night art festival. Life for me is all about experiencing everything that I can.

I’m foreseeing that 2016 is going to be challenging. It’s going to be a year of big changes in my life. Not only for myself, but for my family as well. However, this is where my new years resolution is going to come in. I only have one this time.

It’s to embrace change.

For 2016 I want to remember the past, but to live in the present and prepare for the future. My future.

I’ve got big plans for 2016, so here we go. Let’s do this. I’m ready!

To everyone who reads and comes across this blog. Happy New Years! All the best for 2016.

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