Sunday, 26 October 2008

Spendspendspendspendspendspend, etc.

Right. Well, I can't say that my spending this month was anywhere close to "frugal", more like "How much can one woman actually spend?"

As it's basically the end of October, I thought I'd review how I did/am doing on my goals.

1) Start paying cash for everything – when it’s gone, too bad!
- This definitely needs work.
2) Two no-spend days a week
- Again, something to focus on
3) Start keeping track of my spending, down to the last penny (something I needed to have been doing for months already)
- This I've started!
4) Start shopping “at home” before going to the grocery store
- will be doing this this week, before I go shopping
5) Delete World of Warcraft from my computer
- Done!
6) Hang plastic in my windows before I leave for Victoria on Wednesday
- Three out of four done; last window to be done in the next couple of weeks
7) Finish my 101 Things & my 50x50 list
- No
8) Get to bed by 9:30 p.m. every night
- Most nights I have, despite visiting friends on holiday, etc.
9) Get snow tires on the truck before I leave for holiday (we had snow on Monday! It didn’t stick, but still…and I’d rather miss the rush)
- Did this on Oct 7; very glad I did, as we now actually have snow to stay
10) Find out what I currently owe on my student loan
- $3395.20 as of Oct 23/08
11) Start Christmas shopping in Victoria
- No
- Absolutely did!!

Long-Term Goals
1) Read 2 – 3 books a month (totally do-able)
- Three this month:
"A is for Alibi" by Sue Grafton; "The Case of the Missing Library Books" & "Mr Dixon Disappears" by Ian Sansome)
2) Floss daily (I really like my teeth where they are!)
- 10/31 days so far
3) Find and use wheat/gluten-free/low sugar/organic alternatives whenever possible (snacks, regular use items, etc)
4) No book purchase until the end of December! (I work at the library for crying out loud – this shouldn’t be difficult…)
- have bought 4, but will most likely return one
5) Keep, roll and deposit change regularly
- on track
6) Meal plan and cook weekly
7) Reach $2K in emergency fund, then halve my contribution and put half towards my outstanding student loan
- EF is just over $1500; in the meantime I'm going to put $10 p/wk extra onto my loan

Better than I thought, but still not fully completed. The long-term goals, obviously, are a constant work in progress, but a decent start on them is promising.

My holiday, while welcome, relaxing, very enjoyable and warm, was also quite horrifying with respect to spending. It turns out that being "stuck" in the North, with limited access to all the wants of the Outside is a very good thing for me, apparently.

I went down with a list of needs:

New jeans (Warehouse One is not an option, I'm afraid - I'm TOO OLD to buy pants there)
Underwear (because I refuse to shop at Wally World)
Decent gloves (more competition=better prices)
Body Shop items
A wedding present for my sister and new BIL

And ended up with a LOT of wants:

Fabulous beeswax candles
A Bodytalk session
Museum/IMAX visit
Various soaps

And of course the dinners and lunches that I shared with my friends. And the little "things" I picked up: Gel Gems, slippers, table settings (for my new table), books, funny magnets, mailing a pkg of "things" home, some T-shirts...

Yes, it was, essentially, sheer and utter madness. I don't even want to add up the numbers because I'd probably fall over. However, I will say again that it has been over two years since I've been Outside, I put money straight into all my savings accounts first (in most cases a little more than I normally do), and I received an extra $1000 on my regular paycheque. Excuses all, I know, but I'm set for a very long time now, and the next few months will just have to be extreme belt-tightening ones.

I realize that furniture is not usually something that you'd buy while on holiday, but I love what I bought. My sister's partner is an artist and he and his ex-wife used to have a business, part of which was reclaiming second-hand furniture. David would carve the hard edges off the pieces and add images into the wood - stars and moons, for example - and his ex would paint them these wild, bright, funky colours. I think David is happy to have that final tie broken with his ex, as he wants nothing to do with her, yet is also glad the pieces are going to someone who will really appreciate them. The price they gave me for 7 items is excellent ($400), plus I will pay for the shipping. The only catch is that I have no idea when I'll be getting the pieces, as they're making plans to move to Cambridge (UK) for my sister's PhD, but as nothing's definite yet, it could be 3 months, it could be more like a year. Regardless, I will at last be able to get rid of my garage sale/college dorm collection!

The trip itself was great. I didn't realize how much I actually needed a holiday until I was on it! The first day I arrived, taking the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo, on the Island, I saw a pod of killer whales and a pod of porpoises! I've never seen the porpoises before, so I was thrilled, to say the least. I also saw a little group of 4 porpoises from the ferry on the way back to Vancouver! I visited with two friends up-island and then headed down into Victoria, where I stayed with my sister in James Bay, the oldest residential area in Victoria. Beautiful old Victorian-era buildings and a 20-minute walk from town, so I was back and forth daily, as well as making visits to the beach and ocean, which is a block from my sister's place.

I'd forgotten how damp it was there, and I plumped up like a plum! It was great - my hair curled up, my skin was lovely and smooth and soft...but it was difficult to sleep sometimes simply because it was also quite warm. Not complaining (!), just making a point. :-P My sister and her boyfriend had a commitment ceremony the weekend I got to town (basically they got married, just without the fuss and muss and bother of a "legal" wedding and a third party officiating), then it was Thanksgiving and then I only had 4 days to see my friends! I couldn't see everyone, unfortunately, but I saw the people I really, really wanted to see. It was a little overwhelming, as I had to work around their work schedules obviously, but we picked up basically right where we left off, which was, I admit, a relief to me. Distance shouldn't change the basics of good friendship, but it can, and I think I was worried about that.

All in all, a wonderful break, although I was a little melancholy on my return last week, mainly because there are aspects I really do miss, but I know that moving back would be a mistake as it was a "grass is greener" moment. I've decided that perhaps I just need to visit a little more often, instead.

And try to convince my friends to visit ME instead! :-)

I do have some photos, but I've been a little unmotivated since I've been back, so haven't downloaded them yet. I will post some when I get organized and share a little of Victoria with you.


Anonymous said...

I am glad that you had a great time!! :) Visiting with friends and family is definitely good for the soul.

Something about this month, i haven't done as well as i would have liked on the spending front either. Hopefully next month is a better one, for you and me both ;)

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-your trip sounds absolutely magical and although you haven't 'got there' with your targets this month, at least you are aiming to do better next month!

Anonymous said...

Oh so glad you had a nice time! You are doing sooooooooooooooo well with your goals! Well done you!!

Doctor S said...

That is the best title I have seen in a while!! That trip sounds amazing, I see everyone out there is going on amazing trips, I need some of you people to plan one for me!

johanna said...

Hi, I'm so happy that I found your blog. I'm an Education student at UVic and I want to move to the Yukon when I'm done my degree, so it's great to learn more about it through your blog.

Anonymous said...

I have awarded you with a butterfly award! :)

Arual said...

Hello, thanks for adding me to your blogroll :)
I was wondering what a 50x50 list is? I may have answered my own question typing it out...50 things done by the time you are 50?
I have a 101 list too, but its hard to keep up with. I try to get the small ones done though.
Have a nice day :)