Friday Plans

I have barely any time left before I have to leave the city where I go to school.  And because I am totally busy with essays and studying right now, I don’t have time to think about it too much.  Today I have my last big test before exams, and this weekend is probably my last weekend here ever.

I was a little bit torn because it’s Easter and I wanted to spend time with my family.  But a last weekend here was more than I could pass up.  I’m going to use it as a last opportunity to do the things I have been meaning to do for almost two full years.

Tomorrow I am going to see a movie all by myself in a cool theatre.  I’m going to enjoy a yummy caffeinated beverage in a café.  I might go out for lunch or dinner.

I still have schoolwork to do and I still have packing to do.  And also a to do list a mile long.  But I don’t want to have been so busy with the daily grind that I forget to take the time to do some special things for myself.

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First Time Ever

Hopefully it is finally safe to say that the last gasps of winter are behind us.  This year I’m doing something new that I’ve never done before: I’m packing away some winter clothes.

I’ve always had a small enough wardrobe that it didn’t really make sense to pack anything away.  I would layer long sleeves underneath dresses, etc. in the winter and take layers off in the summer.

One of the things I’m most nervous about in the move is combining my two closets.  I know that I’m all of a sudden going to have too many clothes because I have a good number in each city and now they’re all going to be in the same place.

That desire to make space in my closet combined with the realization that there are some clothes that I just don’t wear in the summer time.  Warm fuzzy socks, long johns, polartec shirts and sweaters, the heaviest of sweaters, toques.  All that stuff is pretty bulky, so I started tossing things in a cardboard box, and then I’ll pack it away and store it until next year.

I think it will be kind of fun to open it up in November or so and find my favourite flannel shirt, my coziest mittens, and stuff like that.

Hopefully once I go through everything, it will also free up some space in my closet.  In a few short weeks, my two closets will become one and I am so hoping that everything will fit inside.

I would share pictures, but it’s too much of a disaster area right now.  I’m trying to organize and make room, but I seem to mostly be making a mess.  Hopefully soon there will be some awesome after pictures to share!

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An Impulse Purchase

I usually think a purchase through before I make it, but I used Amazon’s “one click” button for the first time last week, to make a very impulsive purchase.

Thankfully, this is not an impulse purchase that I now regret with the perspective of a weekend behind me.  Rather, I’m just as glad that I pulled the trigger.

I bought the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which was under $10.

I had already read the book twice before by getting it out of the public library and was feeling the need to read it for a third time.  I’ve been feeling down for awhile now, helped in part by the miserable winter I am sure, and needed something to boost my mood.  I only wish I had read the book a month ago.  It really helped me put mental energy into focusing on what I can do to make myself happy.  After I read the book, I always spend the next week or so reflecting on how I can put Gretchen’s experience into my own life.

I’m still in the middle of the reflecting stage, but I am already noticing that I feel happier.

For anyone who hasn’t read the book before, my favourite chapter is the one about money, which is her focus in July (she focuses on one thing a month to make her happy for a year).  So many good nuggets in that chapter about how to use money as a tool to bring you happiness.

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5 Things This Thursday

Hanging in there on these last few weeks of classes.  Stringing together more coherent thoughts than this is proving impossible.

1. Tomorrow morning I hand in my essay for one class which brings that class to an end.  One class down, four to go.

2. The extra-coldness and extra-snowiness of this winter are leading to some extra-uncertainty for me right now.  Because we had some snow days I am in limbo right now waiting to see which classes are going to be added and when to make up for those dates.  I like certainty and hate this feeling of not knowing when I can be where.

3. My time in this city is rapidly coming to an end and I have been crossing items off a little bucket list I made myself of things to do while I’m still here.  It’s been really fun and has also made me get out and visit places I know I would regret missing out on later.

4. My apartment is getting more and more sparse as I continue to pack.  It’s weird to live surrounded by boxes.

5. My bedroom at my parents house is full of stuff.  My apartment is full of stuff. I have too much stuff.

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So I Remembered Why April Is Going To Be Pricey

I forgot this was my last full month of school.  That has some costs.  I don’t know why graduation costs money, but it does.  I also spent some money on my last ditch online shopping opportunity.

Moving costs are also going to add up fast.  I won’t be moving until May, but I’m not sure when I will be paying for the truck, etc.

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I hate moving.  I have done it a lot.  I have talked about how I hate it a lot.  For almost two blissful years I got to stay in one place, but now I have to move again.

The thing I hate the most about the last several moves I have done, which have been related to school, is that there isn’t any time.  Exams happen or classes start and somehow during all of that chaos you have got to figure out the time to deal with packing and moving arrangements, cancelling and hooking up utilities, etc.

I have tried to to packing a little bit at a time so that it does not all hit me when I am supposed to be studying for my last exam.

It is ridiculous how much stuff I have to move.  I really thought of myself as a minimalist when I moved here, and now I would laugh at that.  I am barely fending off hoarding at this point.  The good news is that packing is giving me a chance to get rid of stuff.  Lots of stuff.

Even though I’ll still be here for another month, my living room is filled with boxes and everything I think I can get away with not having for a month is packed away.

Moving is the worst.

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Carrots, not Sticks

I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job lately at identifying things I’m doing that aren’t going the way I wanted and trying to come at it from a different angle for more success.  So I thought today I would share a couple of things that have been working really well for me.

I have written before about my struggle to only sleep for 7 hours a night.  I fell off the wagon and was struggling getting back on.  Every morning I would wake up when my alarm went off, but I just couldn’t seem to actually get up.

So I started to set the bar a little bit lower.  Instead of actually having to get out of bed, I decided to just shoot for rolling over in bed enough to reach the channel changer.  And I started waking up after 7 hours every single day because I love to watch TV.  As in would do it professionally if I could.  And that bit of TV gave me a chance to wake up slowly.  Without commercials I can watch an hour long show in 40 minutes, so I was still getting out of bed 20 minutes shy of 8 hours of sleep.

Another problem I was having was actually doing something productive.  There is no doubt that my body is tired after 7 hours of sleep, so I have a hard time being productive when I still feel groggy.  So I made myself a deal that if I could get to the fancy coffee shop down the street by 6:15am, I could go there on any morning.

So if I’m in bed at 10:30, this is what my typical morning looks like right now:

5:30- alarm goes off, tv goes on, but I stay in bed

5:50ish- get out of bed feeling more awake, brush teeth, get dressed, pack bag

6:10ish- head out to coffee shop, stay and do work for a couple of hours

There’s still room for improvement, but I’m getting a caffeine boost and a couple hours of productivity, so overall I’m happy.

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Budget Nostalgia

It’s the first of the month today and I’m not doing a thing about budgeting.  Last week I transferred over the $1500 for this month’s budget from ING to Scotiabank so the funds would be available by the first of the month when I paid my rent.

But other than that, I don’t have to do anything at all.

I’ve created an efficient budgeting system.  One flat amount of money to spend each month, everything included.  Very easy to keep track of.

But I’m feeling quite nostalgic for the good old days when the first of the month meant a couple of hours counting the money that was left in each of my many cups that held the money for each category.   And then I would fill each cup with the money for the next month.  Later I changed these cups into envelopes.

I would then go online and add up the money from all of my accounts.  And add in the cash I had, down to counting my change each month.  Then, each and every month, I would write a net worth report by hand in my little notebook.

I didn’t have a VISA and I never used my debit.  Every cent I paid flowed through my hands as cold hard cash, which made me acutely aware of how much I was spending.

I’m happy with how simple my budgeting is these days.  It works for me.  It doesn’t take up a whole lot of time.  I do miss those good old days sometimes though.

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April Forecast

I think April will be a pretty easy month on the budget.

There’s just honestly not that much that I need this month.  I will have to restock on bus tickets and cash as they run out and I have all of my usual expenses, of course.

I just can’t think of any unusual large expenses that are going to pop up this month.  That’s probably a bad sign.  When you don’t know what’s coming is when things are the worst.  But for now it seems like a nice, easy month.

Probably my last easy on the budget month for awhile, so I’m really going to savour it.

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Bad Budgeter

For someone who loves budgeting as much as I do, I committed a major faux pas.

No, I didn’t incur any debt, thank goodness.

My debit card expired and I got the new one in the mail.  I knew that activating it would only take a couple of minutes, but I just felt so busy and didn’t make time for it.  It seemed like an easy task to put off because I could still use the card and log into my online banking info.

And then all of a sudden one day I couldn’t.  I waited too long to activate my card.  And when I tried to log in online it told me I had to call customer service.  Which I put off for a few weeks.

I couldn’t use my debit card, so I didn’t have a lot of cash.  I could still use my VISA though, so it still didn’t seem like something that needed to be urgently fixed.  The most annoying part was that I couldn’t log into my online banking and therefore had no idea of the status of my accounts.

Finally last week I fixed it with a simple phone call that I should have made ages ago.  The damage in my account wasn’t pretty.  I am just squeaking under the budget for March and am excited for April as an opportunity to spend less.

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