Sunday, 29 January 2012

February challenge, January update AND Sunday chit-chat

I've committed to both of Carla's challenges in February because, why not? Why not challenge myself to another low/no-spend month PLUS a good old declutter? The biggest challenge for me will be to figure out what I want to tackle, savings-wise: do I want to bump up my EFund or continue to pay down my debt? Plump up the vet or travel accounts or focus on the VISA card?

The final week of January hasn't been a great no-spend, but it wasn't frivolous - at least, not for the most part!

Jan 25: Robbie Burns day! :)
$5.38 for tea & a cocoa macaroon
$3.85 tea & bagel at Tim Horton's
$10 co-worker for 5 tickets for fund-raising draw
$5 co-worker for another co-worker's good-bye gift

Jan 26:
$11.86, bag of nuts (organic and very delicious, but yes, very expensive. May have to reconsider these next month)

Jan 27:
$40 Chiropractor
$67.71 groceries
$51.35 16kg bag, dry cat food (for the boys)
$6.29 watch battery - now I can't get the back on again... >:(

These are the groceries I bought (forgot the 24-roll NN toilet paper, and picked up milk after this). Still can't quite get my head around the fact it's almost $70 worth and that's IT. Even with 30% off the meat. I have two packages of cheese there which is $13, so perhaps that's part of it. I love this PC extra-aged cheddar!

Let's see what the damage actually was:
1 kg NN hone - $8.98
2 pkgs cheese @ 6.79 ea: $13.58 (regularly $7.99)
Brown sugar: $2.99
Roasted red pepper hummus (400 g): $5.79
Sandwich bags: $2.98
50' aluminum foil: $3.79
2 pkgs rice cakes: $2.48 ea (I generally buy organic, so these are a couple of dollars cheaper)
chicken 1: $10.98 (less 30%)
chicken 2: $10.72 (less 30%)

So. I can definitely do better in some respects. And I'm sure there are those of you out there who are asking, "What? No fruit or veggies?" Well...I have a bunch of apples already at home, and I'm currently trying to eat my frozen veggies, but I'm really (!!) bad at actually eating what produce I buy, so I limit it. Comparatively it's cheaper, but sometimes not by much.

Sunday chit-chat.

What are you…

Reading?  Finished reading “The Girls Who Went Away” last night, so I have to figure out what I want to read tonight. I borrowed “Enough Already” by Peter Walsh from the library, so I think I might start that to get me in the right frame of mind for Carla’s February declutter challenge. I’ve read a previous book of his and liked it – although parts weren’t applicable, like the chapters on kids - so I thought I would probably enjoy this one, too.

I gave up on the “Money Drunk, Money Sober” one and took it back to the library.

Watching?  The usual – DIY/HGTV. J

Listening to?  Nothing special this week.

Cooking/Baking?  I’m already trying to decide what I’m going to have for dinner and haven’t had breakfast yet! :P

Happy you accomplished this week?  The final exam for my writing course.  I lost motivation about halfway through. It wasn’t awful, just not quite what I was hoping for. A good clean of the apartment.

Looking forward to next week?  The start of the February challenges and figuring out what I want to strive for! J Returning a book to the college and getting a $45 refund (need to find my registration form for this).

Thankful for today?  Dinah (my diabetic cat) is doing very well. I took her to the vet yesterday afternoon to get her glucose levels checked. They’ve fallen back into the normal range (13.5 as of yesterday, from a high of 20.8 last week), which I’m very pleased about. So two injections a day, plus her diabetic diet, is working well.

Whoo!! Finally - updates for “Angry Birds!” And free, so even better. J

After coming back from the vet, I spent most of yesterday afternoon rearranging my living room. It’s a small space and my furniture is a bit too big for it. It wasn’t an awful initial arrangement, but it seems you have to live with something for a while before you see how it might work better. I moved a bookshelf, switched the sofa & loveseat locations, et voila! It’s actually cosier than it was PLUS I can finally use the electric fireplace that came with the suite.  It works great and I can hopefully keep the electric bill down a little by using that instead of the baseboard heating.

While I was at it, I swept and mopped the floors, vacuumed the rug and the bedrooms and dusted (almost) everything. I still have to clean the bathroom, but that will get done another time. I was too pooped to do it all in one day!

I had a phone call from my brother in the UK, too. It’s my mother ‘s 80th birthday this July and my brother and his partner want to make it special for her and her twin sister, who lives out east. I was having a bit of an issue with this mostly because I feel obligated to attend for obvious reasons, but was thinking it’s either this or the UK trip. Realistically I can’t do both in the short time I’ve allotted for travel. My brother - being the swell guy that he is - offered to pay for my flight to Ontario so that I could attend the birthday and not jeopardize my UK trip next year in the process. I didn’t say yes right away, but I’m definitely considering it. It would mean I could get Outside for a trip – perhaps spend a few extra days in and around Toronto visiting a friend or tagging along with him and his partner to Montreal (I heart Montreal). If I do it, I can just add in the cost of the ticket to my overall costs next year. Hmm. Really, it would be silly not to take him up on this wouldn’t it?

I’m looking into the deferred leave program through work and brought home a couple of paystubs to play with to see if it would be a worthwhile undertaking. Then I had the brilliant idea of just trying this on my own to see if I could do it for several months before I make the decision to officially sign up. You can take a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of one year off and most people take 3 years or so to put the money aside. I’m just not sure I can wait that long, but it’s all a matter of priorities isn’t it? I’m playing with the percentages (up to 10%) to see what would be comfortable for me. I have to also take into consideration my debt payments as well as my RRSP & EFund contributions, so I have to take the maximum I can without leaving myself struggling and “destitute.” If I start on my own, I can adjust as I go, save more or less as the mood strikes, but once I make a decision with the work program, I’m stuck with the amount I choose, so a trial run, so to speak, might be a good idea.

This might be my February challenge, actually...


Gill - That British Woman said...

that's good that you can do the deferred programme through work. That is really nice of your brother offering to pay for your flight.


Jane said...

I think a trial run is an awesome idea and fits into the No/Low Spend month too! I hope you can make it work!

Jolie said...

What a great brother!!

laura @ nomorespending said...

How lovely of your brother!

~Carla~ said...

Groceries are crazy expensive aren't they?! They're supposed to go up another 3-4% this year too... :(

That's very generous of your brother, I'd definitely take him up on his offer!!

Ella said...

I am doing Carla's double challenge too. Have to post my goals for the month this evening. for me the harder will be the declutter part!