Tag Archives: shopping

I had January goals – they were just secret, that’s all.

You know how sometimes you set a goal for yourself, tell everyone about it, and then fail miserably and have to tell everyone how you were on the front seat of the fail bus all the way to Failtown?

Yeah. That’s why I didn’t post about my January goal.

I mentioned in December that I was going to try and control my Christmas spending and actually hoard money throughout the Christmas season! Well, I got carried away with Christmas consumerism and vacation spending, and didn’t manage to save that much.

But in January, I decided that I would save as much as possible – no more frivolous spending. It was a new year, and it would be a new me. I was tired of never having extra savings, and knew it was because I wasn’t giving much thought to my day-to-day purchases. I had a hard look at my spending, and my paycheques, and decided that I could save even more than the 29% of every cheque I have deducted via automatic savings plans.

And I didn’t tell the blog about it.

For some people, public goal setting is beneficial in that it motivates them to do well or face the embarrassment of admitting to everyone they failed. Not me! Have you seen some of my goal setting posts? I basically fail every single goal I set and laugh it off/make excuses, except for the automatic savings plans. That’s money I know I can’t touch.

After I decided to save as much as possible it was like a switch flipped inside me. I gave every purchase a second, even third or fourth thought. I stopped going to the mall, I stopped getting sushi for dinner on a whim, I stopped reloading my Starbucks card at every opportunity. I slashed my disposable spending in half.

I feel like the worst personal finance blogger ever, because I can’t tell you why or how it happened. For some reason I just stopped, and I ended up saving 44% of my net income last month. That’s my motivation to continue this spending holiday into February, because I’ve already cut my spending in half so I can just keep it going (and February is a short month!). In fact, I found it so easy to keep going that I’m on track to save 52% of my upcoming paycheque. Seeing the boost in my savings account is my motivation, even if I’m not setting SMART goals for dollar amounts, I’m still seeing the balance in my accounts go up. That’s good enough for me.

Have you ever done a complete 180 when it comes to your spending or saving? What precipitated it? Have you made it a habit or did you go back to your old ways?

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December goal: money hoarding.

Money hoarding in December seems kind of counter intuitive, but considering I started my major Christmas shopping in November, I think it’s reasonable. Christmas is always expensive and even if you’ve set a budget for gifts (mine increased exponentially this year), sometimes the perfect gift appears right in front of your face… For $15 more than you were planning on spending. That being said, I wouldn’t do that for every person on my list, but it does happen and the budget needs to be adjusted rather than busted. I just have a few more people left to shop for so I’m braving West Ed this weekend (quelle horreur) to finish it off. This will be me after twenty minutes.

Grumpy cat "celebrates" Christmas. imgur.com

Grumpy cat “celebrates” Christmas. imgur.com

Needless to say, I’ll be happy to be done my shopping and out of the malls (anything else I need will be coming from the internet), and my one goal for December is to save as much as possible outside of Christmas gifts. Groceries should be better since I won’t be here for the last week of the month as I’m heading back to the West Coast for Christmas. We’re doing our mini-Christmas the weekend before I take off. I only have nine more days of work left before my (12 day) vacation!

Lord love a duck, 2013 is almost here!

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November success: we planned ALL the meals.

We did it!

Clean ALL the things!

November’s major goal was a major success. We planned our meals for the whole month. Naturally, we went out for dinner last night to celebrate. We did go out once in November, but it was on a weekend and it was a late brunch, so we didn’t count it as a strike against our goal (also it was at the restaurant of my people, De Dutch Pannekoek House, which opened recently and I really really wanted to go. So we went).

November's food spending. Yowza.

November’s food spending. Yowza.

Overall, we spent 93% on groceries and 7% on eating out. We spent more than I thought for groceries for the month ($570.49), but that’s because the numbers a) aren’t separated out into groceries vs. toiletries & personal care, and b) we had a lot of dishes with meat, which really drives up the cost of a meal. We’ll be working to get that cost down in the future by shopping more of the flyers.

I found that planning meals also yielded a lot more leftovers to bring to work for lunches (Mr. Dollars doesn’t always have access to a fridge, but I do, so if I can I bring something). I only bought lunch twice, and both times it was a soup that is utterly irresistible to me and is served only on Fridays (it’s called Wicked Thai by Campbell’s – you can’t buy it in store but if you see it in a kiosk BUY IT your stomach will thank you). Nutritionally speaking, I think our meals were WAY better than what we had been eating before, ie: crap. Just by virtue of eating at home we increased our nutritional intake immensely. Something to work on in the future is buying more fruits and veggies to snack on and making sure to incorporate them into our daily diet.

For now, we’re going to keep meal planning. We’re on a roll (we actually planned two weeks of October too, to prepare)! I’m also heading out to the coast for Christmas, so December will be a little choppy, but we’ll get back to it in January I’m sure.

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Blogiversary!

That’s right – today marks one year of writing this blog. Now, are you ready for a super sweet amazing awesome fantastic giveaway?

I hope not. This is a small time blog, and there are no giveaways here! Moving on.

So, what’s changed over the past year? Well, I went from half-living together to being shacked up, and will complete my major financial goal of having an emergency fund to cover 6-9 months of expenses on Thursday. I first found out about emergency funds from all of you lovely PF bloggers around 2010, put a plan into action & started saving my own in 2011, and will make the last payment into it on October 4, 2012. It’s the biggest goal of my adult life so far (other than getting my degree). I don’t get my hair done 3x/year anymore, but now that I’m back to brunette I’m seriously considering box dye since I basically have a heart attack every time I leave the salon. When I first started my blog I was worried I didn’t have a unique angle, but over time, I’ve discovered that you don’t have to be unique: what unites the PF community is a love of personal finance, & I’m so grateful to have become part of it over the last year. I want to thank everyone who reads this blog for taking the time to tweet with me & comment here. It means the world to me and I’m so happy to have so much support.

Now for some of my favourite posts from the past year: the personal finance honey badger, money in your 20s (for women’s money week 2012!), my PF confession post (it was hard to write but I received a lot of supportive comments about all the feelings I was pouring out), and my ranty/judgeypants post about one year anniversary parties.

But, the highlight of my year (nay, my LIFE) had to be when Bridget at Money After Graduation texted me to say that Gail Vaz-Oxlade herself had tweeted the link to my blog post about turning down a line of credit from BMO:

My personal finance hero, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, tweeted my blog. For real. I die.

Thanks for a great year, you guys. Here’s hoping there are many more!

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(Savings) GOOOOAAAAAAAALS!

This is how excited about saving money I get – I make a reference to a sport I don’t even watch. It’s crazy that this time last year I didn’t really have any financial goals other than to save my emergency fund, and I certainly wasn’t saving for more than one thing at a time. Here’s my update on my goals and their progress so far. A few of these goals will be complete with my next pay, which coincidentally enough is the day after my one year blogiversary!

Emergency Fund

Goal: $9,000 Saved: $8,885.23, 98% (!!!) – I’m the most excited for this to be completely funded. I’ve had this goal for almost two years.

Travel Fund

Goal: $2,500 Saved: $982.25, 39% – my mom and I are planning a trip to NYC next fall and I’m hoping to have this goal completed by about June 2013 in order to buy flights or put down cash deposits.

AppleSavings

Goal: $1,783.95 Saved: $1,486.72, 83%
I’m so close to finishing off these goals I can feel it. However, I know it’s going to be a huge step to actually spend the money on its intended use. Are you close to finishing any goals?

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