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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Water Day = means saving $$ and contributing to a good cause

My big splurge this month is supposed to be a hair cut\color. Well as luck would have it Civello sent me a promotion via email for WATER DAY. I can get a hair cut for 30$ (from the senior stylist who usually charges 120$) and a color for 50$ (instead of the usual 110$) yay for BIG savings!!! The money goes towards a Charity. The only catch is my salon is offering this promotion from 10-2 PM on April 4th. So it will mean an extended lunch hour and waiting until April to finally get my hair done, but these are small sacrifices. I am going to put the money I saved aside. I am attending a big Italian wedding in May - which means a lot $$ in an envelope for the happy couple. The bride is an old friend who I don't see or speak to often, but there is an important history there and I am really excited to be part of this moment in her life. The wedding is out of town, so I need to start saving pronto.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tea and Mindfulness.

Well we did see a small increase in our grocery bill, but not quite 5%. That being said I am going to be a lot more conscious about where we shop. We found that certain staple items are cheaper in certain stores. All it requires in a little planning.

On my to-do list today was to think about lent. Lent for me is about more than giving up certain things, it's also about making room for more positive influences in your life.

I am only going to drink coffee on Sundays. I have so much wonderful teas at home and I never drink them. Giving up my morning coffee is going to be difficult. I thought about giving up coffee 7 days a week, but my mom just shipped me my favourite coffee in the mail - I always appreciate my coffee more on weekends. So I will be allowed coffee on Sundays. Maybe that's a bit of a cop out but this will be challenging nonetheless! I now drink 2 -3 cups per day. Yikes.

I am also going to meditate once a day. I used to to do this a long time ago and it was so beneficial. It reduced my anxiety, I slept better, I worried less and after a few weeks I had a sense of inner peace. I plan on waking up earlier each morning to do this. I have so much trouble waking up in the morning. Getting out of bed, is the hardest thing. But I do think that over time this will become easier.

I really Blond & Balanced suggestion about giving up Facebook. She did this a couple years ago. I will think about this a bit more because I don't want to try to many things and set myself up for failure. That being said I might try this after lent for awhile.

Although technically I only have to start on Wednesday, I will begin tomorrow. I took today off so tomorrow is the start of the week for me and it makes more sense to start the routine right away.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Groceries 5% increase? we'll see.

It's just the beginning of the month and I have been tempted to veer of budget pretty quickly. Fortunately I've been able to exercise some discipline.

Grocery prices are expected to go up 5% or at least that's what the news reports are saying. I've value eating well and having a fridge full of food. I don't value waste and try very hard not throw away food. However sometimes I'll make a little too much dip, or forget something in the back of the fridge and need to toss it out. That being said I like food, I like having a variety of cheeses, veggies and fruit always on hand. I like fresh baguettes and I splurge on good cuts of meat and fish. I will sacrifice things in other areas of my life, but never with food. I am heading out soon, list in hand to buy this week's groceries. Since I am not in a rush (this is rare!) I am going to check out 2 or 3 different stores (no frills for staples, and separate local spots for my meat, cheese, fish and baguettes. Grocery shopping when I have time can be a lot of fun and I try to enjoy it. We're 2 people and we can spend anywhere from 70-110$ a week. pricey I know..let's home these reports about rising grocery prices don't affect the budget too much.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February Wrap Up

I did pretty darn good this month! I managed to save a lot of money. It was a tight month - with very little left over but that's OK. I wanted a hair cut and color but I didn't have the money. It usually costs me almost 150$ to cut and color my hair. (hair cuts are pricey in a big city). So hopefully I can do this in March, if not I will get a hair cut but pass on the color.

This month I also lowered my Internet\Home phone bill.Saving an additional 30$ a month. Not too shabby.

Goals for March:
Splurge on a hair cut (color?)
Continue to hit the gym 2-3 x per week
Update my resume ( I never did it in February)
Meet all my savings goals.
Do my taxes (I've settled on ufile)
Find creative, affordable but meaningful birthday gifts (3 this month alone!)
I won't buy any coffee\drinks this month (!)

more to come..

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tax Software and other stuff

I am going to do my own taxes this year. I've always had other people to my taxes for me. I have a friend who does them professionally and always offers to do them. I pay for their servics - although it's never very much. I've never been comfortable with this because I don't like the idea of them knowing everything about my finances. So this year I am going to do them myself. I'm a little weary but I think I'll be OK. I do need to start researching different tax software programs. Luckily I've come across a couple blogs that are covering this subject - so today will be a reading day to try to figure it out.

I've been doing pretty good on the spending front this month so far with one exception. Due to poor planning we ended up spending a lot more than we needed to on Vday. We had non-related plans on Vday but we decided at the last minute to squeeze in a dinner. We ended up a restaurant and we both chose the "winterlicious" special. 3 courses for 25$. Of course they charged us for the extra side of bread and refill on our drinks. We ended up spending 80$ for a meal that we rushed through because we had to rush off to another appointment. It wasn't very enjoyable and we both regretted it immediately.

Plus I was saving some of that money for a hair cut and color this month. Oh well it wouldn't have been so bad if you we could have actually sat back and enjoyed the food. Lesson learned.

On another note my pattern of saying i'll do things, planning on doing things and NOT actually doing them has reared it's ugly head. So today I will DO the following:

research and choose a tax software program
Gather all my tax papers and see what I am missing.
Do 45 minutes of Yoga
Plan my meals for this week, go grocery shopping and do some cooking. I will eat out once this week but it will be for a colleague's going away lunch. I will bring a lot of snacks that day so I don't overspend. (That reminds me I spent 8$ of lattes this month) Starbucks has a tea latte special that I took advantage of - or rather it ook advantage of my pocket book -

Saturday, January 29, 2011

on the mend

This cold\flu has knocked me out longer than I thought it would. But I am not on the mend and I have big week ahead of me.

Tomorrow will be a big grocery day. I hit costco every other month. I need to stick to a list since I can easily spend a lot of money when I go there. I am also attending mass, ironing and cooking for the week. Monday & Wednesday night I will go to yoga. I have a ton of work to do to catch up from last week, but I will pace myself so I don't end up sick again.  I tend to jump back into things a little too quickly when i start to recover and then I end up sick again. must avoid that.

I am also going to start meditating again. I did awhile ago and I felt some much calmer. I will start with 10 minutes a day - starting tonight. tonight i making home made pizza. yum. so hungry.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Add some fun

I can easily get caught up in being responsible, safe, strategic. Yet often what drives me is very short sighted. i don't want to be controlled by money, I want to control it. I also don't want to be afraid to spend money on things that bring me value. Here are a few things I've always wanted to do but haven't done.

Take a professional photography class
Go on a yoga retreat. By myself.
Go camping
Go on a couple overnight hiking trips.
Watch less TV, read more.
Take time to cook, and learn to try new things.
go to more museums.
host a dinner party
do more crafts, stretch my creative muscle.

Not of these are out of my reach yet I never take the time to do them. It's time I start.

Writing them down makes me feel more accountable. I am working on 2 books right now. I can easily finish both this week. This cold weather and the fact that I am stuck in bed (or on the couch) trying to recover from this flu is good motivation.

Goals this week:
Get better! Rest, fluids are both on the menu
finish 2 books.
Update resume
Make homemade chicken broth and soup
Prepare healthy snacks (hummus and veggies, yogurt and granola) for the week
Make a hair appointment. Take more time to create a professional image for work.
Drink a lot more water.
If feeling better, go to a yoga class
start researching the cost of a new laptop - this one is very unreliable.start a savings plan for it.