Posts tagged ‘money’

C25K: Week 8 Day 3

Woop!  Killed it this time instead of just mildly torturing it.

(Oh! I want to link to this article comparing breastfeeding to running.  I’ve linked it before but it’s friggin’ awesome hence the double link.  Enjoy.)

I killed it in terms of pace, speed and challenge, but I did not kill it in terms of distance.  In fact, I have taken a few steps backwards when it comes to distance, but only for this one run, and I THINK it’s because I tackled a MASSIVE hill, I ran at a very very intense incline for probably about 6 blocks.  It was hard, it slowed me down to no end, and there were many-a-time where I thought I should stop and walk the hill, then give’r the rest of the way, but not once did I stop, not once did I let my negativity overcome my abilities, because I knew that it was there.

I ran down to the river tonight and along the river for only a slight bit, and then back home.  It’s funny how I can always time my runs so that I am arriving home just as the run should be done.  I guess I’ve been running around this neighbourhood for the last 8 weeks so I’ve got a pretty good grip on how long it takes to get from point A to point B.  I am SOOOOOOO excited to start week 9 because I KNOW THAT I CAN TACKLE IT, ROUGH HOUSE IT, and MAKE IT!  And that just makes me so astoundingly happy.  Two more minutes of running than what I’ve been doing?  Piece of cake.  I’ve got this, baby, I’VE. GOT. THIS.

Whenever I see other people running, I feel like we are in a bit of a secret club and we can connect on a level unheard of.  It’s a neat feeling and I feel good to be part of ‘that group’, or clique, really.  Grade 8, how I’ve missed thee.  And this is totally egotistical and actually I am wondering if I should even put this anyway but I’m going to because I know deep down that I am not an egotistical selfish person, and I hope you know that too, so… here goes.  Sometimes when I see people running intervals, like they are just starting out a program, or doing a different kind of running program, I VERY SECRETLY (not so much anymore, sigh) think to myself, maybe they read my blog, and maybe I inspired them, and maybe they’re doing the C25K challenge and secretly following along on my blog!  YAY.  Likely NOT but it’s fun to think that and it gives me a jump in my step.

Since we’re divulging, I’m going to divulge something to y’all that makes me feel like a big whopping loser but that’s okay.  I think I did so well tonight at running because I was totally using it as a therapy tool.  A couple hours prior I had a meltdown on the phone with the National Student Loans Service Centre.  Like, I’m talking a breakdown.  I’m kind of embarassed and I’m willing to bet I was the girl they talked about after we hung up the phone.  Ugh.  Since I’ve been on maternity leave I have readjusted my loan so that I only have to make interest payments.  I initially wanted to do repayment assistance where the government would help me, but our income was above the limit for that.   That was stressful, because they have super strict dates and things you have to do and if you don’t get it in RIGHT on that date, it’s kibashed, but yet you still have to wait for pay stubs, information saying how much you make, etc., and if you don’t have it by that date, kaboom, done.  I kind of got the runaround with that so needless to say whenever Student Loans comes into the picture I have a mild panic attack.  I got a letter in the mail saying my account was SERIOUSLY PAST DUE and I owed like, $3000 or something, and my account was negatively affecting my credit.  I was ultra confused because I HAD made the payments that I was required, however, they had sent a letter with my revision of terms that I was supposed to sign and return by a certain date (aforementioned STRICT DATE) and since I didn’t, blam, all done, things got f’ed over and cancelled.  I DIDN’T GET THE LETTER.  So I started crying on the phone.  To the poor lady at the student loans centre.  Whom I said “Just listen to me PLEASE! I keep getting screwed over! I am so confused, please just listen to me explain this, *sob sob sob sob*”  Like I said, UGH.   This is what pregnancy and motherhood hormones do to us!  So long story short, I’m kind of a loser, it’s all figured out now and all is well and I don’t owe $3000 after all (good grief, thank goodness), and I took out my lameness on my run hence the awesomness.  The end.

Week 9, you’re on baby, YOU ARE ON.  I’m pumped.  Cue Rocky theme song music here.

July 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm 2 comments

Me vs. Health Stuff.

It is an ongoing battle, a competition.  I don’t mind competing, but I do like to win sometimes, and the shitty thing about this competition, is that I never seem to win.  We could, I’m sure, go into a deep analysis of how to define a win, of how I’ve got the competition in my favour because I’m conscious of it, or how health is actually such a broad term for such a wide variety of things.

Regardless of that, I’m going to briefly touch on a few of the health stuff things I’ve been partaking in as of late, or at least thinking about.  And I promise I won’t talk about how frustrating this weight loss journey is and how I have become somewhat self-conscious of my image and I feel like I am taking a step backwards in that regard and how I am confused as to why this journey is so difficult because I feel like I’m doing a lot of right things and minimal ‘wrong’ things.  That’s for another post.

So.

Health Stuff.

Flax meal – I have been adding it to EVERYTHING I can.  Cream of wheat?  Toss a handful in.  Chicken taco salad?  That too.  It’s kind of silly because if you asked me all the benefits of flax, I could maybe tell you two, but yet I am injecting my diet with it by the handful.

Omega-3 – I picked up a bottle of these babies on the advice of a couple online supporters who stated that it helps with post-partum depression and just overall produces goodness in the body.  Our babies deplete our Omegas so we need to recharge them.  I must say, I have been feeling pretty good since I’ve started taking them.  However, I’ve started taking them at the same time that I’ve started getting more sleep.  The combination is my friend.

Vitamin D – Happy pills #2!  Since we don’t seem to ever want to transition into summer, or at the very least, spring, I’ve got to rely on a little white pill to produce what the sun ain’t giving me.  I am taking my prenatal multivitamins still (and will likely continue to forever) but there isn’t sufficient vitamin D in them, so I’ve added a supplement as per my doc.

Exercise – When it was starting to transition into spring (but then Saskatchewan decided that spring sucks and more snow is much cooler) we were walking every day, sometimes twice a day.  I’d pop Cade in the carrier or the stroller and we’d go and it was the best thing ever.  He loved it, Lily loved it, and I loved it, and so did my body and my brain.  I felt more alive.  I can’t wait until we can continue doing this again.  Walks will definitely be a daily, if not twice-daily routine.  I have also joined a gym which I utilize 3-4 times a week for approximately 45 minutes.  Not too intense, but intense enough and it feels good.  Current routine is 25 minutes cardio and 20ish minutes of weights.

Cloth Diapers & Wipes – Ahh!  This is the newest of the new health stuff.  We so far only have 3 cloth diapers, pocket-style, which we are going to try out probably starting today.  I actually just found some fabulously cheap FuzziBunz on kijiji that I hope to pick up next week on our way to Edmonton.   I’ve heard they’re one of the better pocket diapers so I am pretty excited, especially since I’m getting them at about $15 below retail selling price.  Score.  We’ve been using cloth wipes for a few months now due to sensitive skin/diaper rash, so that’s not really new, but switching to cloth diapers definitely is.  We made the decision based on money, the environment, as well as Cade’s health.  I’ve read too many articles about one of the big-name diaper brands special dry technology causing chemical burns, skin rashes, the chemicals that are in diapers to make them super absorbent, the crazy long time that diapers (and the human waste in them!) sit in landfills, creating toxins in the soil and air, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about having a disposable diaper against Cade’s skin nearly 24 hours a day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of disposable diapers.  There is nothing like it.  However, I am hoping (and I expect there to be a learning curve and frustrations in the beginning) that I will feel this way about cloth diapers eventually.  And plus, cloth dipes are just so gosh darn cute.  There will be times where we still use disposables, I’m thinking camping, long trips, airplane, etc, however eventually, once we build up our stash (and it may take a couple months!) we will be a full-time cloth diapering family.  There’s silly things I’m wondering about, such as if he will like having a cloth diaper on (it’s pretty darn soft, so I’m thinking so) and if we will have issues with pants fitting over them.  I think that we may just have to size up so we can still fit his fluffy bum into his array of cute pants in his closet.  Does that sound vain and exploitative towards my child?  Who doesn’t like to have a cute dressed babe?  I’m sure he loves being dressed cute, too… ahem.

My posts typically end with the cute little baby babbling coming from the boy’s room, and this one is no different.  However, this one did prematurely end with a knock on the door, crazy Lily barking, only for us to greet a hearing impaired man who was attempting to have us attend a Jehovah’s Witness gathering on Sunday.  Have a fabulous Friday and an even better weekend y’all.  xo.

April 15, 2011 at 10:34 am 1 comment

A Saskatoon Saturday.

Saturday means different things to different people.  And different things to different people on different Saturdays.  Today’s Saturday for us so far has meant sunshine, farmer’s market, and family fun times, and I am not complaining one bit.  There is nothing better, nothing more special, nothing more happy-hormone producing than when the sun is beating down on my boys and I as we are walking into the Farmer’s Market with a soy London Fog & a Latte in hand.

If there is one perk to having a child who wakes up early, as most children do, it is that it forces you to be up, out and about, exploring the world while your little one is fascinated by the new sights and sounds of whatever adventure you have chosen for that particular day.  Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is wonderful, magical and a practice that should be more prevalent.  Everything is new and fresh and exciting.  Negativity is nearly non-existent and everything is greeted with a smile, or at least a smirk filled with wonder and amazement.

So today’s chosen adventure was to wake up, get ourselves and the boy ready, and head to the Farmer’s Market, an activity which we have always wanted to do more than we actually have done.  There was no better day than today.  The boy slept til’ about 9’ish, which is sleeping in for us, and so once he was up, fed and ready, we all headed over to the market to see what delicious goodies we could find today.  I cannot wait until the weather gets even nicer (yes I realize we ask for a lot and are seemingly never satisfied by the weather, no matter how nice it is) but what this will mean is there will be that many more vendors with that much more fresh produce available for us to buy.  Today, we sort of just splurged on some ‘treats’.  We first grabbed our exploring beverages from Cava Caffe, purchased some sausage and beer sticks from Benlock Farms (the same place Park Cafe gets their beef from), pizza flax crackers and garden veggie pizza on whole grain spelt bread from Raw Serenity, and topped the morning off with a delicious lunch.  I opted for a combination plate from Garlic Guru, which was a glorious and amazing meal of pita crackers, red pepper hummus, spinach balls, quinoa tabouleh and Southwestern lentil salad, while Kyle had a beef dip from Giuseppi’s at the Market, which he also reported as being fresh, tender and tasty.  I’m crossing all crossable appendages that my meal does not adversely affect my milk and in turn Cade.  Could make for an interesting end to this Saturday.

Particularly once there are more vendors with more fresh food at the Market, I would love to try and buy at least 1 week out of every month’s produce from the farmer’s market.  I think this is doable, and would allow us to have some delicious tasting produce, free of pesticides, and even better, it being locally grown, helping our community’s farmers and food growers.  I figure it is the least we can do to in order to support sustainability and promoting organic foods and local eating.  One trick to having a good supply of produce to choose from is hitting up the market early in the day.  While today we went at 11am, which may seem early, I think arriving by 9am is ideal in order to have the best selection.

The rest of our Saturday seems to be pretty open, which satisfies me.  While some days I appreciate knowing there is a busy, fun-filled day on the horizon, I am content with today being a go with the flow kinda day.  One of the boys is playing video games, the other is snoozing, and the pooch is draped across my legs, catching some shut eye in between monitoring the outdoors to ensure that there will be no intruders.  It’s a good day.

April 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm 1 comment

My house is small, but would you like a London Fog?

I’m going to rant a little bit, just so that you can all think I am greedy, spoiled, a wanna-be elitist, whatever it is that you want to think but I promise you it likely isn’t true because I am neither of those.

I am frustrated.  Often with a lot of unfair things in this lovely world, but at this exact moment, I am specifically frustrated by the housing market and by money, just to speak on general terms.  I hate how houses cost eight bajillion dollars to buy and before that you have to have 5 % of a downpayment, so then you need 4 bazillion dollars to put down.  It seems impossible, even though I know it’s not because people have done it, but c’mooonnnn.

Kyle and I are middle-class, average-income, working individuals.  We rent a decent house, albeit small and old and could use some work, but it’s good and it works for our family.  We’ve got a fairly big yard, and live in a really good neighbourhood.  The owners of the home live next door to us and are wonderful, plus they obviously allow pets which is an absolute must for us.  I’m not entirely complaining about our current situation, but I am frustrated that I feel forced into it.  I am ready to move on and be done with the rental market, because just between you and me, it kinda stinks.  Because we both have student loans, and one car loan, along with paying high rent which is nearly the cost of a mortgage (we pay $1200), it’s frustrating and hard to get ahead.  We have worked for everything that we own, and we’ve worked hard.  We’re not starving, and we certainly aren’t hurting.  We can afford luxuries such as going out to eat once in awhile, a nice car, modest travels once in awhile, and we have good friends and family.

I realize eventually we will own a house, but it’s likely going to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2-3 years, hopefully on the lower end of that.  Basically, whenever we get decent sized chunks of money from now in, we’re going to attempt to save it when we can.  When we can, being the key words there.  There are a few things we need to take care of before we can do this, such as obtaining some furniture for our upstairs living area.  We’ve had our couch for probably about six years, and it has been really our main piece of furniture in the living room.  It’s taken a bit of a beating and, for lack of a better word, looks like shit.  The springs have started to go on the left side of it, too, and because it’s bright red, it shows every bit of dirt, spill, as well as the nasty dye from new jeans, so needless to say, it needs replacing.  The other ‘issue’ (here’s where the spoiled, greedy, elitist part comes in) is that it’s hard to have people over, because there’s minimal seating room.  We’ve got a couch, and a glider chair that we purchased right before Cade was born.  This mama’s got some other mama friends that she would like to entertain… and it’s hard to do that with shanty-town furniture :)

We’ve had to learn to budget differently since I’ve been on mat leave and have only been making 55% of my wages.  It makes it a bit hard, because we’re probably using 55% more water, power, energy, etc. since I’m home all the time with Cadester.  There’s certain sacrifices we’ve made in order to make this new financial arrangement work, and we’ll have to continue to make them when I’m back at work.  Though my wages will be back to normal (I’ll feel rich, until…), we’ll have to pay for daycare.  It’s not the end of the world it’s just been an adjustment and will always be different now with a third little bean in tow.  I shouldn’t even complain, because we really don’t have it that bad.  And like I said about the spoiled piece, I do sound spoiled.  We don’t need to buy a house, we want to buy a house.  We don’t need new furniture (though I like to think we do… but we do!), we want to buy new furniture.

I get into certain moods where I spend too much unnecessary time focusing on what we want or don’t have, rather than on the lovely things that we currently are able to enjoy.  I know we all get into these ruts, or at least I tell myself we do to feel better.  Do you guys get into ruts where you want want want?  It’s the beauty of living in a technological, modern generation, I suppose.  Deep, deep, deep down I know that my life is grand and everything (well most things in it) are grand.  I’ve got a healthy little boy who is the best thing ever(albeit too healthy, he’s drastically growing out of all of his clothes right before our very own eyes), I’ve got a lovely dude in my life who loves me and treats Cade and I with such love and greatness, I’ve got pretty amazing people in my life that I am able to call my friends and family, I’ve got a super-cute little stinker of a doggy who makes me laugh daily, and I too have my health.

I’ve got a dirty-ass couch and my house needs to be painted.  So what?

What kind of budgeting ideas do you guys have?  What areas of your life do you sacrifice in order to expand other areas, and what are those areas?

 

March 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm 5 comments

Making it Through Mat Leave

With Kiwi’s due date quickly approaching (3 ish more months, guys, totally insane), I’ve been racking my brain to either figure out a) how to make more money in a short amount of time b) how to realistically and without TOO much effort make money doing something fun (such as a hobby?) while on mat leave to have some extra cash or, the more practical and probably more likely option being c) how to live more frugally within our means.

When I go on maternity leave in November, I will be making 60% of my regular wages.  Given that we’ve certainly adapted to a standard of living that we’re at now, it’s going to be tough.  I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t created anxiety explosions within me more than once.  I am confident and know that we will make it work, but I know there are things we could be doing differently to assist with this change.

I guess for starters is that some elements in our life right now are somewhat non-negotiable.  Not entirely, but I guess I just feel that they are.  We bought a car in May of 2009 that we are financing.  At the time I had not planned on Kiwi blessing our lives as soon as Kiwi is going to, and so I really did not think much about how much of a money grabber it would be.  With that being said, it’s wonderful to have a reliable vehicle with amazing gas mileage and  warranty (which will extend even after we’re done paying for the car).  Given that I foresee a lot of travelling in the near future, getting rid of the car really isn’t an option.  And plus – you can take babies on the Greyhound, but you can’t take dogs.  When we first found out Kiwi was going to be in our lives, we had talked about finding a vehicle that was more affordable.  We dismissed that idea after doing some calculations and weighing the pros and cons, however the thought comes up now and then and I wonder if this still may be something to consider.

Add to that the fact that we’ve both got student loan debt.  Dirty, dirty student loan debt.  I need to look into it further, but I may be able to ‘freeze’ my student loan payments while I am on maternity leave.  I’m kind of banking on this, otherwise that money-making scheme I wanted to come up with?  I’ll need to seriously put it into action.  Luckily I’ve been working in my field basically ever since I convocated, however, Kyle hasn’t been so lucky, and so his debt is even more of a “HIIIIII I’M HEREEEEEE OBNOXIOUS AS HEELLLLL AND FREAKY FOR YOUUUU” sentiment that sort of just drapes all over your shoulders and hangs out.  Like those people that overstay their welcome.  BUT BUT BUT!  Kyle starts an archaeology position on August 16 SO some of that will be dealt with!  It’s sort of temporary — full-time until November when the ground freezes up, and then depending on artifacts and things they find in the field, there could be lab work throughout the winter.  So uhm, basically I’m thinking about going on a ‘plant artifacts’ mission.  Any ideas?

And then there’s RENT.  Even dirtier than student loan debt.  Saskatoon is ridiculous, as is many other places in Canada.  Makes me want to hurl, actually.  Over and over and over again.  Every so often I look at places to rent to see what the ‘going rate’ is and it’s not really that much less than what we pay now.  And we’re in a pretty good situation I’d say.  We have amazing landlords who live next door to us.  I know, could be a recipe for disaster, but it’s been great and we couldn’t be happier.  Might I say best landlords I’ve been fortunate to deal with?  Truly.  We had planned to move out of this place when we found out we were pregnant, however they made us a deal – they took back the garage and are using it for their own storage/work space, and cut back our rent $250 for doing so.  So, no garage, but $250 less rent.  Still have the huge fenced yard and whole house to ourselves.  And we live in a superb neighbourhood that we’re extremely happy with and feel safe as safe could be in.

To sum it up – I’m not sure how those ‘major’ expenses could be cut back, however I am willing to grab some ideas about other areas in life where people have had success.  I do know we have to come up with a strict and rigid budget that is realistic.  We need to be honest in what we’re spending our cashmoney on, and we need to be honest about where we need to claw back.  I really need to do some research in terms of frugal living – little ways to save money, as well as larger ways to save money.  Meals that are nutritious, time-efficient and affordable.  I’ve become fairly productive in terms of food – buying vegetables and fruits that are in season, chopping them up so they are easy to grab and we are less likely to grab convenience or fast-foods, and cooking in larger quantities so that we have left-overs and food will probably not go to waste.

I’d really like to generate some discussions around what y’all do in terms of frugal living and establishing a sensible budget.  I don’t want to be extremely rigid in that we limit our recreational activities, though it’s not like Kyle and I are extremely social individuals.  We spend a lot of our ‘recreational activities’ going for walks, going to the dog park, or socializing with people in a non-consumer environment.  One drawback I suppose would be eating out in restaurants or grabbing food because we didn’t plan a meal ahead of time, for example.  We’ve certainly improved in this area and eat out maybe once a week, however I know this can be reduced to even say once every two weeks, or once every three weeks.  Anything to save a little bit of money, really.  I’ve become very careful about not using my credit cards as well – I try to spend money only when I know I have it.  I completely paid off my cards in April and I haven’t really used them since.  When I have, it’s been for small amounts (such as parking via cell phone/credit card) and I am sure to pay the balance off immediately.  Basically right now we are adjusting to a new lifestyle, and will be adjusting to a newer one come probably the middle of November.  Since Jenna moved out, we’ve been forking out a little bit extra each month to cover the extra bills and rent, and it’s taking some time to become accustomed to the new ‘budget’ – that really is yet to be developed.  We’ve started to stock up on diapers and wipes, and will continue to do so so that we are good to go for at least a few months.  Little things like that will I’m sure make a difference.

The important things to me while living comfortably and financially feasible are:

1) Continuing to eat healthy, wholesome meals

2) Living in a safe neighbourhood with easy access to amenities

3) Having physical space to move around and not feel claustrophobic

4) Attempting to not live paycheque to paycheque, though this is the one we struggle with the most – I’ve recently started having money off of every cheque deducted so I do have some savings, but not ideally as much as we’d like

5) Eventually owning a house, though I foresee that being a 3-4 year plan yet given the way the market is presenting itself

6) Having a positive sense of family and being able to provide our child and each other with love, nurturing, comfortable living, learning opportunities and fun

Given that I am in a definite pregnancy-induced nesting state, I am planning on essentially ripping our closets, drawers and storage areas apart in search of things that we can sell on Kijiji, or even just donate if it’s really not deemed as being ‘sellable.’  My plan is to eventually have an online garage sale of sorts, and hopefully make a few bucks off of that that we can put towards bills, upcoming expenses, or savings.  I don’t see this as being unrealistic, it’s really just a matter of going ahead and doing it.

So back to square one, how do you save money?  How do you live frugally and practically?  What are some money-saving tips around the house, the supermarket, and the community?

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August 3, 2010 at 11:21 pm 4 comments


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