Sunday, 15 January 2012

Spend/no-spend update, week 2

Time for an update to stay accountable to this challenge! So far I believe I'm doing very well. I actually cancelled my attendance at a workshop I was going to take tomorrow because I thought the "suggested donation" of $30 would be better spent elsewhere - or not spent at all!

It's a chilly
-23C here today (-34C with windchill, but let's not count that...), but the sky is clear and blue, and the wind has tapered off somewhat. The temperatures have dropped 20 degrees in two days and the next week or so look to be much the same. Our real winter has arrived at last. While warmer temperatures are nice, it's just not right. The North needs to freeze. Beaches appeal to some, but not to me. Call me crazy, but I prefer the snow and cold of the North, which is why I went up instead of down! At least for now, but I will never willingly go to a beach. That's just not my idea of a good time.

Anyway, what does my week look like this week? Let's see:

Jan 6: No spend!

Jan 7: Brunch w
ith a friend (at her house), which was a lovely two hours spent in excellent company. I stopped while I was out and bought cat food (3 tins) and one box of cat litter for a total of $15.74. I also bought a package of rice cakes for $4.92.

Jan 8: I worked today, but have NOT bought lunch during the week so far. I've
 been making my own. It helps that there isn't anywhere particularly close-by to buy lunch. You essentially need to bring along lunch and snacks, so it's unintentionally helpful in that respect. On the way home I bought a bunch of bananas: $3.50. Yes, that's correct. It is a lot to pay for bananas. :(

Jan 9: No spend!

Jan 10: No spend!

Jan 11: Pay day!
Bills paid:
Hydro: $90 (I'm on equal payment plan and this, apparently, is my equal monthly payment. I could likely just pay about $60 p/month and still be in a credit over the winter, but I'll revisit this in the spring)
Internet/phone: $119.29 (Internet has gone up to $62.95 p/mth; phone is about $35. My internet is ADSL, cable is the same price and no, there's no other supplier)
Cell phone: $28.33 (I'm on the bare minimum plan)
Oil change: $75.60 (it was time)
Groceries: $47.75 (because I was smart and stocked up on dry goods!) What did I buy?
  • 4L milk $4.59
  • 2 loaves bread: $5.98 (for the two; separately $4.99 ea)
  • Pre-made salad: $3.73
  • 1 english cucumber: $1.98
  • Baby spinach (lg container): $4.48
  • 2 bunches green onions: $1.78 (0.89 ea)
  • Two yogurt parfaits: $5.98
  • 6 Ambrosia apples (which are fabulous, btw): $5.71 (1.740 kg @ $3.28 kg)
  • 6 Pears: $4.92 (1.330 kg @ $2.82 kg)
  • 3 Baking potatoes: $3.33 (1.180 kg @ $2.82 kg)
  • 2 red peppers: $4.78 (.545 kg @ $8.77 kg <-- not a typo if you can believe it! Outrageous.)
Plus I put $100 into savings!

Jan 12: Groceries: $17.51 (dark chocolate coconut ice-cream, frozen peas & corn)
Insulin needles: $39.95. I have a diabetic cat and decided that stocking up makes more sense. I bought a box of 100 needles, although it's not really a discount as the individual bags of 10 are $4 apiece. I also queried a charge for the sharps container ($7.25) and it was refunded to me. I have always been under the impression that you just exchange a full one for an empty one; I don't ever recall having to pay for these before, so I'm glad I asked. I put the $7.25 back into my jars and coin containers.

Jan 13: No spend!

Jan 14: Cat food (diabetic kibble, 8.5lb bag): $46.20
4 boxes cat litter (15kg ea): $31.96 (I get this from Cdn Tire, as it's the best deal out there, so I stock up when I buy. It's $7.99 for the box, and sometimes it goes on sale at $5.99)
8 tins cat food: $29.40 (Holistic Select, 13 oz cans @ $3.50 ea. This is a lot to spend on cat food, but they all eat the same stuff and this is the only type my fussy little Princess will eat anymore. The boys aren't quite so spectacularly fussy...each tin lasts 3-4 days)
Paper towels: 8 rolls for $4.97, which is actually a great deal! I'll have paper towel for months now.

My new VISA arrived with less fanfare than anticipated, as I forgot it was coming. The number is only 3 digits different than my last one, but I've put it in my wallet anyway. The urge to use it has not struck once since the beginning of the month, so I have hope that I'll be able to continue this no/low-spend challenge through February as well. That would be a huge accomplishment!

I've also adjusted the auto-payment on my LOC from $85 bi-weekly to $50, which is just over the minimum. This is so I can focus on paying off the VISA first and fast. I'm comfortable with this and will keep it low for as long as it takes to pay off the CC. Last night I rolled the coins in my piggy-bank and came away with $100! I still have lots of coin to roll and I plan to put it all on my VISA (except $80 US, which will go into my US account in case I visit Alaska again this year).

All in all, I'm pleased with my progress thus far. My frame of mind has adjusted itself from "lack/deprivation" to "nurture/plenty" and it's amazing what a difference it makes. I just have to stay organized and continue making breakfast and lunch a daily habit, as well as having snacks available so that I'm not starving by the end of the day. So simple, yet it's taken me so long to "get it." :)

English class starts on Monday; writing course finishes Friday. My sister has given me 2-weeks' homework as well (we're doing coaching sessions on Skype; it's something she's looking at getting into and I thought it would help keep me on track, structured and accountable for whatever I take on this year) and my brother is taking the first step of one of his challenges this year. While I was in Victoria over Christmas, we gave each other challenges to be completed by the end of the year, and we are accountable to each other for their success (or lack of). Mine are to save $1500 - 2K towards a trip to the UK next year and to write and send a book to a publisher in 6 months! My brother's are to take more initiative within his relationship and to audition/play music with people 3 times. We chose to give my sister a challenge to volunteer somewhere that rings true for her, but doing something she wouldn't ordinarily do. These have to be finished by the end of the year, so there's room for some flexibility, but the intent is to do things that are a bit scary because without that, you don't get the same feeling of growth or accomplishment. 

Doing things because you can is fine, but to really push yourself to do better, you need a little bit of scary!


The Asian Pear said...

Ah... I wish I had as many No Spend Days as you!

On a side note, all of it seems like groceries & pet stuff. Keep it up! p'-'q

Northern Living Allowance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Carla~ said...

Colour me stupid but I had no idea cats (or animals for that matter) could get diabetes! *blush* You're doing great, food is expensive no matter how you slice it, so you have to grin & bare it! ;)

saving for travel said...

Wow! I love the challenges you and your brother have set each other.

And your inspiration board is great too.

Sft x

Gill - That British Woman said...

great on the number of no spend days you had. I am enjoying reading your blog and am now a follower.

Thanks for commenting on my blog also,

Gill in Southern Ontario

Northern Living Allowance said...

@Pear - thanks for your support! And you can do the no spend days. I thought they would be way harder than they actually are...

@Carla - I know, right? It's actually not uncommon in cats. This is my second diabetic kitty and she's actually on human insulin (you can also get feline if needed...not sure what the parameters for that decision are). Yeah, food is crazy expensive these days, but you have to eat, so what are you going to do? Thanks for being an inspiration for this challenge!

@SFT - thank you for stopping by my blog! I just found you through CanadianSaver and love that photo of you in Cornwall. I had many visits to my grandparents there (just outside Helston, 20 mins walk from the beautiful Praa Sands). I've become a follower of your blog!

@Gill - thank you! It's good to be back to blogging. I have joined your blog as well and will enjoy following you this year.

Karen E said...

I hear you on the pet costs. My cats are on canned Wellness grain-free and we go through about 5 cases a month at @$28US a case. Can't supplement with a high-quality dry anymore due to one kitty's issues with dry food. What we do for our furry kids! =)