I like saving money. I like spending it too. Two days ago my accountant called to discuss my taxes. [Read more...]
See that picture? That picture is of my feet on the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway at 1:00 a.m. I had just finished saying goodnight to my friend Gail McInnes. We met up for coffee then went to an event.
That’s not important. What’s important is what those self-satisfied feet represent. I spent money that day. I bought clothing, drinks and a meal.
Contradictory, you say? Well, yes and no. I said I was cutting back on spending but in a realistic manner. That means budgeting and sticking to it. I made a budget at the beginning of the month and knowing myself, knew it would be difficult to give up shopping entirely. Once I figured out how much I was going to save, my household budget and bill payments, then I calculated how much I could spend shopping.
It’s not a lot. With my goals for this year, I didn’t give myself a lot of leeway for shopping or entertainment but I knew I had to put something in there or I will end up writing whiny posts like this one. Just like fitness experts advise that you have one cheat day a week where you can splurge on junk food, I built in one day where I can shop but only up to a limit – and it’s a very low limit. It’s like a little release valve, you open it to release a bit of pressure so you don’t suffer from a catastrophic implosion.
It’s all about being realistic and knowing yourself. If you can go cold turkey, I fully respect you. Personally, I need to slowly cut back because going cold turkey guarantees disaster. Next month’s budget will have a smaller shopping budget and I plan on getting rid of a few items in my closet. I’m thinking of going the consignment route.
I got a top if you were wondering. It was on sale.
So after the whining in my previous post I decided I needed some serotonin. Or cheese, either would do. I baked some baking powder biscuits (American-style biscuits, not British) last night.
I think this was the first recipe given to us during our cooking class in high school. Imagine a bunch of 11 and 12-year-olds trying to sift flour and not get any on our uniforms.
2 cups sifted flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese (optional)
Combine all dry ingredients, rub butter into the flour, add the cheese, then add the milk. Mix to make the dough. Shape the biscuits – you can use a cookie cutter if you want – or do what I did and just use a muffin pan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degree F or 230 degrees Centigrade.
I also added:
You can add bacon bits too if wanted.
I’ve eaten them with split pea soup. Perfect for today’s weather.
See those? I want them. I want them badly but I haven’t bought them. I’m trying to be good but it’s really, really hard. I’m trying to keep my goals in mind to keep me from buying shoes I don’t really need and dresses I also don’t need. [Read more...]
I was going to call this blog “Cheap Date” but no. Anyway, so going out. As part of my saving money scheme, I’m looking at how I go out.
Not cutting back on going out. I’m not giving it up entirely as I don’t think that’s a good idea. You end up staying home and that can have a negative effect on you. You can get depressed and I don’t know about you but there’s only so many times I can rearrange the furniture before I start texting/bbming people and going, “I need to get out of my house! Argh!”
So yes, I believe you need to get out and socialize sometimes.
You can have friends over but not all the time. I don’t know about you but sometimes I just don’t want people in my home. That leaves going out. Prior to now I’d go out, spend money then wonder where it all went. Now I’m looking at ways to still go out, still have a good time but not empty my wallet or overheat the debit card.
I started thinking about this earlier this week. I met up with Kate and we ended up having drinks and sharing an appetizer. The bill came up to $31 between the two of us. Cheapish night out but I could have gone without the beer.
A friend of mine, Gail McInnes, owner of Magnet Creative Management, goes out as part of her business so she’s an expert. Sometimes the bar is an open bar, sometimes it’s not. What she likes to do when she doesn’t want to spend a lot of money is get a beer and nurse it for most of the night.
That makes sense. You can do the same with a glass of wine but keep in mind that a glass of wine is often the cost of the entire bottle. Then again, I should just not have a drink when I go out but I don’t think that’s realistic (see above). What I’m going to do is this:
If I’m going to eat, then no alcohol. If it’s drinks, then one. If it’s horrible wine and really expensive (it has happened) then water. That $10 for a glass of blah wine buys a bottle of decent red at the LCBO.
If you’re wondering why I’m not blogging about saving money on heat, it’s pretty simple.
It’s not cold enough in Toronto to justify turning on the heat. A sweater and a pair of wool socks works just fine. In fact, I’m wearing the wool sweater I darned a few nights ago.
I live in a building that’s about 25 years old. There’s a lot of concrete and I’m surrounded on all sides except one so my place stays quite warm. The one side that isn’t surrounded faces west so it warms up when the sun is out.
That can be a pain in the ass during summer but winter time it’s great.
Add a down duvet, flannel or jersey sheets (my friend Patti swears by them), a hot water bottle and I’m toasty warm. All of these bought off-season and on sale, of course. In fact, I got the queen-sized down duvet at a silent charity auction about seven years ago.
Plus I have nice sweaters. I should wear them.
That is my pantry and yes, I drink Folgers coffee at home. As you can see, it’s half-empty right now. As part of my cooking at home task, I find I’m spending a bit of money (not a lot) buying basic stuff like stock, spices and legumes. [Read more...]
Part of cooking is scraps. Prior to this project, I would throw out all the vegetable scraps but thanks to my friend, Dana, I have started keeping them in a bag tucked in my freezer.
The plan is to use them to make vegetable stock. We’ll see. [Read more...]
I reorganized my cupboards. The results show that I have a lot of tea. The left is all tea, except for that dip. Of course I’m drinking tea while I write this. [Read more...]
A little austerity chic is happening in my wardrobe right now. I have a weakness for dresses and did buy quite a few last year (didn’t blow my budget and paid cash, fyi) but this year I decided to cut back on my clothing budget and wear what I have in my closet. That includes remixing outfits and repairing anything damaged.
I am drawing the line at drawing on stockings though. [Read more...]