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365 Challenge Day 249 – Not Buying It

26 Mar

Two more things to add to my April 1st shopping list: house plants, and bird seed.

Although I’m torn about the bird seed.  I miss having the birds visit my backyard.  And I kind of regret to putting the seeds out over the winter when they really needed the food more.  But, at the same time bird seed is pretty firmly in the category of non-essentials.  And if I want to continue to save money and spend less money this may be a good thing to leave off the list.  It’s actually more expensive than you would think…

The good news is I through some stale bread in the backyard this week and saw a bluejay, one of my favorite birds : )


365 Challenge Day 248 – Not Buying It

25 Mar

One week countdown!!!  I’m almost at the end of my New Year’s Resolution to not buy anything non-essential for three months.

I did pretty well!!  The only impulse buy I had that I regret is a book, which I have barely opened, so it definitely could have waited.  It’s funny, in the very first week of January I started with a shopping list of things I’d need to buy come April 1st.  I thought it would just grow and grow, with a new five or six items being added every single day.  But actually, in the three months, it’s pretty much stayed the same.

Here is my shopping list for April 1st:  new yoga mat, some new yoga pants, new floor mats for my car, new clothes for my kids (just some basics, they grow fast)…

Is that it?  I know I have more items, but those are the ones that jump out at me.  I haven’t actually been writing down a list which is probably for the best!!

I feel like I really broke the habit of overspending.  I’d like to continue like this as much as possible so I can be more mindful and strategic with my money.

I know I’m a bit of a geek, but I can’t wait to do some analyses at the end of the month!!  To see how my spending habits changed!

365 Challenge Day 244 – Quinoa

19 Mar


In an attempt to eat more vegan, and bring food for lunch instead of buying, I made a big batch of this quinoa salad.  It turned out so YUM!  I think I’ve perfected my recipe:

cooked quinoa, chick peas, craisins, pine nuts, baby green peas, scallions, curry powder, lemon juice, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper

The last time I made it, it was missing something, a little too bland.  The lemon and garlic did the trick!!


365 Challenge Day 239 – Not Buying It

19 Mar

My credit cards are all completely paid off.  I have a tiny bit of other debt I still need to catch up on.  But I also have $1,500 in a special account ready to spend on our vacation : )  It feels awesome.  This is the first year in many that I have been able to use my tax refund for traveling with the kids, instead of just paying off my credit cards!  They were already paid off!!

365 Challenge Day 238 – Not Buying It

19 Mar

I’m in the last couple of weeks of my three month challenge to avoid buying anything non-essential.

I’m doing pretty well with it!!!

I had a recent slip.  There was a book I really wanted to get.  I had planned to wait until April 1st.  A couple of weeks ago I was with a friend and we went into a book store.  I happened to ask if they had a copy of this book.  They didn’t, and looked online and said there were only a few copies left in the warehouse.  What??  I asked what this meant and they implied that if it sold out, that would be it, no copies left!  Of course I panicked and immediately ordered a copy with them!!  In retrospect this was very silly.  What are the chances this book would have actually sold every last copy within the next few weeks?  And to add insult to injury, I read a couple of pages and decided it was too dry.  I haven’t been able to get into it.  Argh.


365 Challenge Day 235 – Spending Spree

28 Feb

Two months into my “Not Buying It” challenge, I was doing so well, and I’ve had a major setback…  My fridge and cupboards were starting to look a little spacious, which was nice, but no more.  My mom asked me if I wanted anything from Costco, and I decided to just go with her.  I thought, I’ll only buy items if they are organic.  And I figured there would be two or three items.  I got REALLY carried away.  Wow!!  They have a LOT of organic foods at Costco now.  A LOT!!  And I bought about 2/3 of them.  If you knew how tiny my kitchen is, and how little storage I have, you would realize that this was a slightly ridiculous thing to do : )  Luckily I stuck mostly to non-perishable items, so I don’t think much will go bad.  I feel like I have enough silken tofu, canned corn, canned soup, apple sauce, mac & cheese, and frozen berries to last a few months!!  I really hope it takes my daughter 6 months to go through that 10 pound bag of sugar with her baking!

I saved the receipt so I can compare the prices.  My feeling is the stuff wasn’t cheap, but was definitely reasonable.  But if the stuff I bought works out to the be the same as at TJs, I might as well go there and not become a food hoarder!!  I’m going to spend the rest of my afternoon figuring out where to hide this stuff!

Oh, did I mention how much I spent?  Ummm….  Yikes.  $450!!  No joke.  I did a few non-food items, trash bags, razors, and probiotics.  But the rest is all food.  My kids kids better LOVE this stuff.  I got a huge $10 package of chicken tikka masala, and chicken coconut curry.  I REALLY hope it doesn’t go to waste.

365 Challenge Day 234 – Debt

20 Feb

How do people feel about having debt?  My credit cards are paid off (for now : ) and I definitely hate having credit card debt.  But I still have student loans, car payments, and a mortgage.  This kind of bothers me, but I accept it.  I have friends who hate having debt so much that they will make extra payments to pay off their student loans early, or even pay off their mortgages early!  I think because I had kids and started working part-time right after I finished grad school, that just never felt like an option for me.  I’ve always paid the minimum.  But at the same time I have made choices that were based on enjoying my life rather than paying off debt.  When I was really broke and the kids were little I got a tax refund of more than $6,000.  Did I put it towards my student loans?  Hell no!  I bought three tickets to Senegal, West Africa and went on a vacation/adventure with the kids!

The student loans are starting to annoy me though.  I’ve been paying them off for more than 15 years, still have a ways to go, and I don’t even want to think about how much interest I have paid!  Maybe, just maybe, if I really figure out how to spend less money day to day on food and other living expenses, I can start to pay them off more aggressively.  I’ve only got a few more years before I’ll take on a whole new round of student loans for the kids.

365 Challenge Day 233 – Not Buying It

20 Feb

This post is part of my “Not Buying It” three month challenge, three months without shopping, inspired by Judith Levine’s book.

I’m about halfway through my Not Buying It challenge.  It’s going fairly well…

Let’s see. Well, I got my tax refund and the good news is my credit cards are completely paid off!!  And I have money set aside for our vacation so it won’t go on my card.  Yay!!

I definitely splurged on some groceries this month.  Didn’t spend as much effort trying to use up the ingredients that are already here.  But my cupboards and fridge have more space than they usually do, so that’s a good sign. I’m not hoarding : )

I really haven’t bought much.  I’m not thinking about it as much these days, so I have to really stop and remember to make sure I’m not overlooking something.  But it’s mostly that I’m out of the habit of shopping, which is great!  The only thing I can think of is I bought some very necessary winter gear, good gloves for my son when he went snow boarding, and new hats my daughter and myself because we had both lost our favorites.

There is a book I want to buy, the library doesn’t have it.  I still want a new yoga mat, a good one.  Some new yoga pants…  that’s all I can think of that I want come April 1st.

365 Challenge Day 226 – The Numbers

1 Feb

January is done, so I have one month of “Not Buying It”, to see how I did…  not so great.  Not bad, but I could definitely do better.

According to my financial tracker I spent a whopping $655 on Food and Dining in January.  WTF?!?

This is definitely an improvement over my average spending, because I can easily spend over $1,000 a month.  But this is still a lot for someone who is trying to not spend any!!

I did go a little nuts before the blizzard and stock up, turns out I spent over $200 that day alone.

Most of my money went towards my mortgage, condo fee, and condo insurance which I prepaid for the whole year this month.  And, of course, I spent almost $2,000 on a vacation which I will take with the kids in April, but had to pay for now.  All the rest of my expenses were pretty low.

I did a pretty good job of not buying “stuff”.  I wanted a new yoga mat, new yoga pants, some books, more plants for my house, new floor mats for my car, and many, many, MANY more items, that I did NOT get.  Yay me!!

But I looked back at my spending from last year, and somehow in January and February last year I did the same challenge and managed to spend almost NOTHING on food each month!  I don’t know how the heck I did that!!  In January I spent $111, and February $81, and that includes groceries and eating out.  By comparison, in August I managed to spend $1,700!!!  I looked through to see if there was anything weird, but no, we had a vacation, and just ate out a lot that month.  Yikes.

So, today is February 1st, and I’ve got lots of food in the fridge and in the cabinets.  Let’s see how I do this month!!

365 Challenge Day 225 – The Body

31 Jan

I came across this quote today, and I love it:

“If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world, which then appears to be other than you or separate from you, rather than the living continuum to which you belong.”

This is by author Philip Shepherd, from his book New Self, New World.  I hadn’t heard of him before, so I looked him up.  There is a five minute video in which he explains the premise of the book, and I find it fascinating.

This really resonates with my experience and my understanding of how detrimental living from the “brain” can be, when not connecting to the body.  This is one of the main reasons I switched my primary practice from sitting meditation to yoga.  I heart yoga ❤