Category Archives: organization

Swag Alert: Teletoon Goodies

Yay! The drought may have finally ended!

Since the economy has been doing so poorly lately, the stream of events, parties and general free stuff in the ad world has all but dried up :( Since moving to my position a year ago I was receiving much less anyway, but since Christmas it has been positively dismal.

So it was nice to get some left-overs today at the office.

Teletoon is going around all the agencies for their annual upfront presentation. This means goodies, and lots of them! I wasn’t actually invited to the meeting this year since I don’t work directly with TV anymore, but it turns out I knew one of the reps anyway, so he grabbed me a gift bag and candy apple, and I was later able to have some gourmet cupcakes from the kitchen, too.

Here’s what I got:

The cutest little tin lunchbox filled with a lip balm, rubiks cube of cartoon charaters, a couple of pens, a sticker and a cartoon deck of cards! And the caramel apple, of course 😉

Pretty good considering I didn’t even have to sit through the presentation!

I really like the lunchbox too. Normally I wouldn’t know what to do with it, but it just so happens I’ve been on the lookout for a small box such as this. So I turned it into this:

My dental kit!

I needed a small box to stash my stuff in…since the bathroom remodel there isn’t anywhere hidden to keep my things. I had been keeping it all in one of those bathroom caddy things, but I didn’t like the fact that you could walk in and see all my hygiene paraphenalia; not to mention my toothbrush was out in the open picking up who knows what kind of germs!

This way it’s all tucked away in a cute little box with a lid. If you look closesly you can just barely see my toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, cup, mouthguard and dental appliance brush. Neat and tidy!

I am just tickled pink! 😀

No Spend Days!

There is a PF blogger that I really admire, Canadian Saver over at Saving4Later. She’s really good at keeping track of her daily expenses, budgeting and instituting No Spend and No Driving days.

I’ve been trying to incorporate a few of her methods into my own life recently, especially as I try to frantically save up for my trip to Las Vegas in April (Short timing, I know!).

I can’t be as vigilant as she is, but I’ve given it a shot and have been able to track most of my expenditures over the past couple of weeks and have even succeeded at having a few No Spend days!

I’m a spender, plain and simple. Yes I save and have no debt, but I still am surprised to see all my extra money slowly bleed away every month, and I wondered where it was all going. Turns out I’ve been spending over $100 per week on food. That is a simply ridiculous number for a single girl!

But I did the math and the tracking… I had been spending around $10 every weekday for lunch, and sometimes more if I bought dinner or went out with people as well. With occasional grocery shops (my mis-guided attempts to “save money” by “cooking my own food”) that were $30+ I can see now how the number got so high.

Some weeks were even higher when I included the recent clothing purchases I had made (like a super-cute custom-made cherry sundress). I can’t return the dress but I might return some other tops I just bought to free up some more cash for my trip. I can’t touch the money in my EF or my Wedding Fund because that would just be weak of me.

Anyway, long story short: By doing this tracking I was able to see where my money was going, and then start to see where and if I could cut back. My lifestyle is just not conducive to having many No Spend days every week, so I am focusing instead on simply trying to reduce spending through packing occasional lunches, forcing myself to eat dinner at home, and trying not to buy frivolous things in the meantime. It helps to have the Vegas goal in mind.

I am happy to report that for the past two weeks I have been able to do a total of 3 No Spend days! It doesn’t seem like much but for me it’s great!

I think I may try and buckle down a little more in the coming weeks and see how many No Spend days I can accumulate because frankly, I just can’t afford not to at this point. I want to make sure all my credit cards are at a $0 balance before I leave on my trip but it’s going to be tough to clear my PC card of $400 in the time left to me. I’ve got rent and my TTC pass coming out of my account with this next paycheque and that leaves me with very little left over for the credit card, and general living expenses.

I do get paid once more before I leave on my trip, but it is literally the day before I leave. Hmm, I guess I’ll just have to see how this all plays out. I really just want to travel the right way with nothing on my credit cards and a generous mad money cushion so I can have a good time in Vegas.

Bye bye, Christmas!

I finally got most of my Christmas stuff put away… with the renovations still not complete it’s hard to get organized, but I’m slowly getting there.

Tonight I skipped my kung fu (which I feel really guilty about since I haven’t been in months now) but ended up sweeping our upstairs landing, the entire staircase inside the apartment and the foyer. Then I washed it all. On my hands and knees. Using elbow grease and a sponge.

The water was BLACK by the time I was done. The worst part is, it is so dirty I think I’ll have to wash all the floors again since this only took off one of the multiple layers of crud caked on my floors. They used to be beautiful gleaming hardwood floors, now they’re just a faded version of themselves. It’s quite sad.

The bright side of this is that I didn’t freeze to death. It’s -30 C (-22 F for you Americans out there) and even my super-warm apartment has cooled significantly. I can normally walk around in my undies and be comfortable, but today I had to get fully dressed in warm things and slippers. The horror!

I can’t really remember where I was going with this post. I stayed up late last night watching episodes of Big Love on my laptop and now I regret it. Oops.

*Don’t forget to enter the draw for my give-away of 3 FUZE prize packs!

Financial Update

I’ve just updated my tracking bars on the side and have also decided to make a few changes.

Primarily, I’ve decided that right now is just not a good time to buy a Vespa, what with the economy the way it is and the chance that I might lose my job. It would involve large upfront and ongoing costs. I could handle it in a good economy, but not this one.

The decision was difficult, but I’m switching all the money I saved for travel and the scooter into my emergency fund, and my old emergency fund into my fun & travel fund.

Got that? 😉

I feel better now, knowing that I’ve got at least two grand to fall back on. Now I just need to moderate my spending. I’m also going to try and do what everyone else in the PF world seems able to do: actually sock the money away.

I want to actually reach my EF goal, and then move onto the next one, I suppose. I will continue to simultaneously contribute to all of my accounts, but anything extra I receive will go into the EF from now on. I will also try and use it less!

The next change I made was swap the Wedding Fund account into a TFSA. We’ll see how that works out.

I also updated my networth through NetworthIQ. I am SO happy to see it starting to go up again. My RRSP’s have gone up since the huge drop in October, and my credit cards owing has also gone down, increasing my networth overall.
Thank goodness!

This year seems to be off to a good start. Now I’ve got to keep it going that way!

*Don’t forget to enter the draw for my give-away of 3 FUZE prize packs!

The Ways of Frugality

So earlier today I wrote about how I let my credit card get away from me recently…

Now I’m not in debt and never have been, but I have certainly seen some lean times which cause me to go into saving mode. My recent stupid actions have pushed me into that saving mentality again.

When I get like this, I think of ways that I can be my most frugal. I cut back on all luxuries and see what I can do without. I enjoy living a comfortable lifestyle and I like to save money for my various goals, but sometimes they just don’t make the cut!

Take for example a pedicure. During the summer I get these fairly regularly (cash flow permitting) since there’s nothing better than showing off pretty digits in some hot new sandals! I usually get at least one pedicure to start of the season as my little piggies need a major makeover after being trapped in socks and shoes all winter.

This time around though, I’ve been hit with a cash crunch. So one of my ways of being frugal and pinching those pennies? Home pedicure!

Today I slaved over my bathtub in some awkward yogic position attempting to transform my hobbit feet into something less heinous. It reminded me why I get pedicures in the first place :s I had the knowledge but only rudimentary tools… I felt like I was un medecin sans frontieres relegated to some backwater 3rd world country. No scalpel? That’s ok. We’ll use this bent butter knife!

(heh heh heh, yall enjoying the mental picture?)

I’m also making an effort not to buy any food for the next little while. I’ve got some Jenny food to get through and other stuff in my pantry and freezer which should help me keep costs down. I’ve also got to stop eating out for lunch at the office.

Those are just 2 of the ways I’m being extra-frugal until I get a few more cash infusions. A little extra belt-tightening should help me get out of this situation pronto!

Seeing as this blog has a large focus on personal finance, I’d like to open the forum up to the readers to find out some of the interesting ways that you save when you really, really need to.

Please, share your stories!

Money Goals Update

So umm, I’ve not been doing too well lately with money. I’ve incurred a lot of expenses for various things (NIN tickets, train tickets to Ottawa, T’s bachelorette, clothes) lately, and have jumped back on the diet bandwagon, so that spending has gone up as well.

Although… I’ve just updated my progress bars, and things are looking up, I think. My condo fund has been totally pillaged to pay off my credit card bill (and there’s more to pay off, too! :S) but I’ve been beefing up my other accounts at the same time.

I feel really strapped for cash, but I guess I’m not too bad off. PPP finally paid me a few bucks and another possible blog-moneymaking venture is in the works, and my Travel & Entertainment Fund (read: Vespa savings!) has increased quite a bit since my last update.

Here’s the breakdown:
(this time I remembered to write down the old amounts for comparison! Yay!)

Emergency Fund
Was: $585.68
Now: $987.29
Change: +$401.61

Condo Fund
Was: $3,080.92
Now: $1,086.72
Change: -$1,994.30

Travel & Entertainment Fund (Vespa)
Was: $650.58
Now: $2,076.10
Change: +$1,425.52

Random HSBC
Was: $100.00
Now: $200.24
Change: +$100.24

Wedding Fund
Was: $1,818.45
Now: $1,989.24
Change: +$79.79

Ok, that’s not too bad. Sure, the Condo Fund went down nearly $2000, but I also was able to put away a total of $2,007.16 in the other accounts. It just about evens out, but I’m still pleased that I’m still maintaining at the bare minimum. The credit card bills have been sky high so I was worried that I was actually removing money from my savings to pay it off rather than saving.

Phew! I feel better!

However, maintaining just isn’t good enough for me, so it’s time to break out the old Saver’s Skills as I like to call them. Read any personal finance blog and you’ll find them. The main ideas to saving in my books are:

Get rid of debt. If you’ve got anything outstanding, clear it out so you can start with a blank slate. This is easy for me to say since I only have a small amount I owe on my credit card, and it has not yet accrued any interest. I can knock it off quickly.

Cut costs wherever possible. This is slightly more difficult for me, but I should be able to do it. I’ve been letting my spending get the better of me lately, so it’s time to crack that whip and slash my spending! No more eating out when I have Jenny food to get through, and no more summer clothing purchases until I’ve lost more weight. I also need to try and find things to occupy myself with so I don’t get depressed and go shopping to fill the void. Instead of filling the void inside of me it just fills my apartment with clutter. Sooo not zen.

Find/create additional sources of income. This is also a tricky one for me. Making money often involves spending money, and I’m not able to do that. I’ve taken a few steps and have done some PPP ops and have tried selling some clothes on eBay, but I haven’t really made more than pocket change. I think I will continue to try those avenues, but I’m also going to call in any debts to me outstanding. My parents owe me money for a garage sale we did, and for possibly a few other things. Again, it’s only chump change, but every penny counts!

I think I’m going to make this a monthly challenge for myself, but I’m starting it now instead of in June. I won’t bother to ask any of you readers to join me as it’s a rather large challenge and is more involved than something like a grocery budget, beauty budget, retirement savings, etc. challenge. (BTW I think those are excellent!). It’s also hard to track. I’ll just report back in a month or so and let you know if any of my schemes are working.

How do you process information?

I love being organized, and organizing. I think if I really tried, I could be a professional organizer.

I stumbled across this awesome blog: The Unclutterer.

Right now there’s a great post about learning about how you process information, and how you can apply that knowledge to organizing your life.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

I’ve already left a comment 😉