I’m the worst at Youtube videos. I never like, I never comment, it takes forever before I remember to subscribe – even if I love every video you post. I’m working really hard at being an engaged viewer. I’m not there yet but, hey, what is life if we aren’t always striving towards something, right? One day I will totally remember to comment on a video.
LOLOL, guess who didn’t do a final wrapup for their No Spend April challenge?
Classic Erin. New blog series = the flimsiest of plans.
Short version = despite spending an inordinate amount of savings on new couches/chairs, No Spend April went pretty well. I didn’t continue it into May, but I am certainly more mindful of the spending and I am planning (as I do every summer) to have a Frugal!Summer. Maybe this summer it will actually work?
I keep thinking I skipped writing about No-Spend Week Three and I’ve messed up – and then I realize that I’m currently in Week Four and April has just been a bit of a runaway blur. I still have over a week left! I should be less smug about “no-spend”.
- Truth time: I bought a set of chairs and a new couch last week. (Note: Couch was bought on my mom’s HBC credit card so she can get points and I will be reimbursing her when the bill comes due, so not until May.)
This is literally the opposite of “No Spend”.
But hear me out! I’ve been looking for a new living room set since last summer. Despite being a fully functional adult and actually having a pretty cute house, I’ve never actually picked out my own, new furniture and bought it. Right around January, I picked out the chairs I liked at Ikea and the couch/chaise I loved at The Bay. Since then, I’ve just been waiting for a good price and, coincidentally, Ikea had a living room sale and The Bay put their couches on sale for 55% off, which is the best sale I’ve seen since the summer.
So, since this spend was from savings, it’s something that I would have spent a ton more on if I waited until May and it was mindful… I think it fits into the philosophy of “No-Spend April”.
- This week also contained my pre-selected social outing – it was my friend’s 30th birthday and his girlfriend planned a whole surprise day for him (board game café, beer and chip tasting, Escape Room, Pin Bar). To be honest, I originally wasn’t going to go. I even texted her and was like “Ugggh, it’s No Spend Month!” And then I thought about it. About how I would probably regret it if I missed it, about how I shouldn’t be an anti-social shut in, about how I had budgeted myself one night out this month. And about how, really, life is about moderation and normally I would go out every weekend and have so many self-dates so I was still doing better. So I went and it was so much fun and so good to see my friends.
The No Spends
Groceries were $23 this week and I’m just killing it.
Maybe because I did purchase my new living room set this week (though it won’t be moving in until early June), but this month really isn’t feeling like a No Spend Month anymore. Not in that I’m spending a ton, but I’m just not feeling deprived, which is what I expected. It’s really just about making better choices about what I’m spending my money on and focusing on my goals.
I think I’m going to continue with a No Spend May (I have waaaaay too much stuff in my pantry still that I need to cook through), excluding a shopping day with Claire for my upcoming Vegas trip. I have finally found a roommate that I like, who will be moving in for May, which means a little help on the household expenses, but I don’t want to be going too wild just because of that. Gotta save for the future. Be the ant and not the grasshopper and all that.
I am two days behind on the challenge and I am totally okay with that. I am getting so much better at finding the space in my day and prioritizing my yoga. 30 days to make a habit, right?
Week Two! Coming in late because I spend the weekend in the mountains and now I have hives. Which I suppose is helping me do my no-spend month?? (The hives, I mean, not the mountains. Well, maybe the mountains too.)
- I mean, I guess I spent $12 getting my allergy meds for my hives? But I think Blue Cross is going to ultimately reimburse me for that and also I feel like hives is a medical emergency so it fits in my criteria.
- As alluded to above, I spent the weekend in the mountains and did spend $28 on Saturday night on drinks for myself and my mom. She bought me dinner that night, drove us out to the mountains (thereby using her gas) and also bought me Macdonald’s to eat in the car so I was feeling guilty that my mom was taking care of me as a 30 year old woman. I had to pull my own weight, at least a little bit!
- Also, this challenge is all about making better choices with my money and I think I did that. A weekend in the mountains could normally be significantly more expensive!
- Groceries this week went significantly over the $30 budget at $44 – but I was under budget last week at $20 and I think some of the things I picked up this week will roll into next so I’m not too fussed. As long as I hit around $120 for the month, I’m happy.
I’m feeling quite pleased with myself still. I definitely think announcing/blogging about the No Spend month has helped, as my friends have been super supportive and suggesting all kinds of fun things we can do for no money. It really is easier to be fun and frugal than I had convinced myself that it would be and I think I can see myself continuing this lifestyle into the future.
I should mention here that I did purchase a Newbie month at HotShop Yoga and Spin – I typically pay quite a bit more in fitness memberships and had placed all of them on hold for the month, then found that I missed the fitness class setting. I count this as a win – I get to try somewhere new and I’m still being fiscally prudent. I’ve just discovered that it’s not reasonable for me to completely cut fitness spending out of my budget, unless my financial situation makes it absolutely necessary.
I also cashed in some Shoppers Optimum points during the bonus points event this past weekend to replace some “essentials” that were running on fumes – hairspray, deodorant, primer potion so my eyelids won’t be forever shimmery. Success!
I continue to love the TRUE challenge – there is nothing like turning off all the lights, lighting a candle and settling in for half an hour on my mat each night. I think once this 30 day challenge is done, I’ll try to create my own daily at home practice by combining various other Yoga with Adriene videos. Maybe I’ll eventually feel comfortable enough to create my own flows!
It’s recap time! Because we’re one week into No Spend April already. WOO! Week One! (Also, I totally didn’t take pictures of my meal prep this week. Hopefully that’s not actually something you want.)
Blah blah blah, mortgage, cell phone, condo fees property tax… who cares? Let’s get down to the things I can control!
1. My gas gamble didn’t work – gas went up by four cents and I had to fill up this weekend. Meh.
2. Groceries only cost $19 this week! I have a rice and bean recipe that I am obsessed with and my pantry was already stocked with carrots, peas, onion and rice so I mostly just made a huge batch of that and then supplemented with some burrito bowl fixings. Delicious.
3. … I went to the Make It Market with my mom on Saturday and spent $40.
You Spent $40!?
Calm down, internet. I spent $40 and I don’t feel bad about it. I bought a one-of-a-kind art piece, created by a local artisan. For about six months, I’ve been trying to put together a wall in my kitchen – it currently has a chalkboard and a canvas print on it and I really want to hang up a corkboard that I already have for organizational purposes. However, this wall needs a something else to help balance the proportions… and I finally found something! After months of looking! I can finally not have my corkboard just leaning up against my wall in my kitchen.
I feel fine with this purchase because it was conscious and mindful. In months of looking, I hadn’t found anything I liked and I spent a ton of time weighing out the purchase before making it while at the Market. (I also didn’t buy any craft distilled liquors or tiny rings like I vaguely wanted to, so… winning.)
The No Spends
I know, that’s not an actual phrase, but I’m using it.
One of my biggest expenses is eating out. Part of it is that I love trying out new restaurants, with or without other people, but another part of it is just habit. I used to travel for work and I got super used to sitting at the bar in a restaurant with a book and a glass of wine to unwind. I got super used to grabbing a Chopped Leaf bowl on my way home from the gym because it was quick and healthy, and I was starving. Like I wrote about the tuna melt last week, a lot of what I did was just so easy and relatively inexpensive… but easy and inexpensive adds up, yo!
Right now, I think I’m still riding on the high of being oh so virtuous. It feels good to clear out my pantry and to go home to eat the meals I prepped. (Note: Old!Erin would totally have prepped meals and still gone out to eat anyway… that’s why it’s nice to have the “challenge” element to lean on.)
Oh my gosh, you guys, I am loving the Yoga With Adriene TRUE challenge. It reminds me a bit of being back in university and getting in touch with all the elements of myself – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. I will note: I don’t recommend this challenge if you just want to “work out”. Though there are definitely some challenging physical elements, this is really about developing a yoga practice and figuring out what it means to you.
I did miss a day of the challenge – on Friday, I spent the night at my parents’ house, having a railway night (long story), and then I spent a day out with my mom on Saturday, going straight to my Saturday night plans. I had thought I’d be home by 10 pm or so, then being able to unwind with a little yoga, but that was not to be. In an amazing moment of kismet, Adriene actually spoke about how we have to develop our own practice, how it make take some of us longer than 30 days to complete the challenge and how we have to celebrate ourselves… during the session I wasn’t able to complete on Saturday and ended up doing on Sunday night. How perfect!
Well, my friends, I’m two days into No Spend April and I haven’t goofed it up. Yet. (I would really hope that I wouldn’t mess up in two days, but… you know. If I hadn’t publicly announced to the entire world that I was doing a No Spend Month, I probably definitely would have popped on over to the original Sunterra after my Lagree class on Monday to grab one of their tuna melt paninis. Only $6.99! Such a good deal! Those things are like crack.)
Okay, but let’s talk about the fact that if I get a tuna panini every week, that’s $28 a month and that is basically my entire grocery budget for a week.
Also, I’m definitely almost out of eyeshadow primer and am going to be rocking a real shimmery eye for most of the month because I do still have a bunch of the Sin Urban Decay Primer Potion left. And I should use that stuff.
Anyway, thus far I immediately had to get gas on the first – only $25 worth because I was convince the price of gas was going to go down and I could get a marginally better deal later in the week. (Sidenote: I was correct. It went down by about two cents. I could probably save a full $2!)
I also technically picked up my groceries for the week on March 31, because I was out running errands with my mom and she had to go to Superstore anyway. Full disclosure: I spent $34. It was all the nutritional yeast and the cashews’ fault!
But the yeast will last for longer than the entire month and the cashews are both delicious for snacks and earned me 1200 Optimum points towards free groceries. And $34 is pretty close to $30, so I’m not going to complain.
I live by meal prep so I made peanut butter and berry oats for breakfast the week (you can see the berries above, though I did mix them with the dregs of a few packs that were just languishing in the freezer) and chicken stirfry bowls for lunch for the week (all I had to pick up for that was the spinach and frozen veg – I had herbed chicken, basmati rice and all the sauces kicking around all ready).
Dinner is chaos, I’ve discovered I’m obsessed with the new Green Giant cauliflower tots, they’re all I want to eat ever anymore and I’m sure they’re secretly terrible for me so please don’t destroy my dreams. Also, I will be so sad when the package that I weirdly hoarded in my freezer for no reason at all runs out, because those things are expensive if they’re not on sale. And I’d try to make my own, but cauliflower is expensive too, yo.
An Incredibly Important Question
Do you guys want to see pictures of my meal prep? Is that a thing people like?
Readers! Viewers! Guys! It’s me! I’m blogging! I know… are you hallucinating? Am I hallucinating? Is this a shared delusion, ala those people in France who died from dancing? (Note: Yes, that is a real thing. I’m super up on my internet obsessions from three years ago. Confirm it here.)
Though all those things may yet be true, I’m also blogging. I often get enthusiasms to get my life in order and this is one of those times. So you get to reap the benefits! How fun is that!?
As some of you know well, I recently had a super incredible roommate – young, fun, similar interests, tidy, hobbies and activities that kept her out of the house occasionally… all the things you want when you are bringing in a virtual stranger to share your home. She recently moved back into her own home, as she had been only there short-term while waiting for her renters to move out. This sounds like a random digression, but the reason I bring it up is because I haven’t yet replaced her. Having such a great roommate made me realize that I don’t have to compromise. I can wait again for a great roommate. I don’t have to live with all the 18 year old boys who keep trying to submit to be my roommate. (Why? I don’t know why… I think my ad is pretty clear that I don’t want to live with a child?)
But while I don’t have to compromise, what I do probably have to do is tighten up my belt a wee bit. And if there’s one thing I love (and thrive in doing), it’s challenges. So, without further ado, let me announce…
Yes! I had a friend do a No Spend January and she walked out of it with such insight about her spending habits – it’s time for me to gain that insight. And it’s time for you to come along with me on this journey on the blog. (Because even if I love challenges, I need shame to complete them.)
Anyone who has listened to my Riverdale podcast, Mystery, Outsiders and Abs, knows that I feel very strongly that you have to pay your rent if you want to live in a place. So obviously “no-spend” won’t be no spend…
Yes, you can spend on:
- $30 grocery budget per week (probably just eggs, veggies and fruit)
- Utilities/mortgage/property tax
- Emergency medical supplies (fingers crossed, I won’t need this)
- 1 social outing (because girl is not going to go crazy… I mean, anti-social)
No, you can’t spend on:
- Class Pass will be put on hold
- Yoga membership will be put on hold (I’m going to do the Yoga with Adriene TRUE 30 day challenge to fill this gap… two challenges at once!)
- Personal care products (makeup, skincare, face masks, shampoo, etc)
- Eating out
- Fast food
- “Spa” treats (massage, mani, pedi, etc)
Eee! How will I succeed? Only time (and this blog) will tell!
I’ll be posting weekly updates on the blog and sporadic sneak peeks on Insta (probably on my story) – aflimsyplan
First Theatre Thursday of 2018, ya’ll, and I’m treading onto some probably already well tread ground… fear. And Theatre.
You Mean Stage Fright?
Now, I don’t mean stage fright – I think most peoples’ minds immediately pop to stage fright when they think of acting, but it’s a totally different fear. “Oh my gosh, I could never do that, I’m so afraid to talk in front of groups!” you say. I hear it all the time.
Like a jerk (or like most actors), I’ve never suffered from that fear, though. At my day job, I take literally any opportunity to talk to the class… you need someone to give exam instructions? I’m your girl. And I’ll probably think I’m hilarious while doing it. That being said, I’m not going to pretend that I’m not nervous before I go on stage. Of course I am, even when I feel confident – I want to do a good job and I think when you stop feeling a little bit nervous about a big project, that’s when you stop caring about what you do.
Acting In a Play Isn’t Like Delivering an Exam Spiel Though, Is It?
You’re right, it’s not. I free-style my exam instructions like crazy, when I’m in a play we spent approximately 1-2 hours rehearsing for every minute that takes place on stage. Combine that with a lack of fear of public speaking, and you get nerves, but not fear… because all the big risks happened during rehearsal!
For instance, I’m in a show right now. (When am I ever not in a show, am I right?) Tonight was the first night that I put my script down and delivered my lines completely from memory. My script is my security blanket, I will hold it until the last possible second even if I’m not actually reading from the book in my hand. It’s a real crutch.
So, tonight I put the book down. And it was terrifying. I was anxious all day. Even though there was a support system – our stage manager had the script in front of her and I could say the word “Line” at any time, at which time she would tell me what line I had forgotten – I still didn’t want to do poorly. I didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of my well prepared colleagues who didn’t make the mistakes I made.
Obviously, I love to overthink things.
But I took the risk, I swallowed the fear and I did it. And it was fine.
So, What DO You Mean By Fear?
I may have tipped my hand by talking about taking risks in the previous section… but the fear in theatre is wrapped up in the vulnerability actors need to experience to be successful in theatre.
When you see an actor sobbing, screaming or laughing on stage, they truly go somewhere inside themselves that allows them to experience that emotion.
When you see a ridiculous piece of physical humour, the actor had to test out that physicality in rehearsal. They had to try something out, make a big offer and know that maybe this huge thing they were trying wouldn’t work. The thought might have crossed their mind that if it didn’t work, they would be embarrassed – or something deeper – in front of their colleagues.
No wonder actors drink right? J/k, j/k. (Maybe not j/k…)
In a good rehearsal hall, you take the risk. You make the big offer and if it doesn’t work, you make another big offer and keep trying until something works. It doesn’t matter because you know your colleagues are right there with you – you will just all keep working together to make the show amazing.
I’ve been lucky enough to always be in good rehearsal halls.
Y’all, I may have finally over-committed myself. I always love to have a very full life, but I’m starting to feel a bit of the anxiety that always comes along with too much fullness. I’ve become fairly good at recognizing this feeling quickly, but there’s not a lot I can do to reduce my commitments over the next few weeks. A few of them will fall off in mid-June and then I’ll be ready for some fun and also for some regular writing… which is fun!
But in the meantime, yesterday I accidentally put one of my earrings in my second piercing hole which I haven’t used since 2007 and I didn’t notice that I was uneven until the end of the day.
So, I can’t change the number of commitments I have, but I can stop trying to cram in any more stuff… I can also use my limited free time to engage in a little self-care and limit the anxiety.
Ways to Deal With Being Overwhelmed
Stock Image belongs to an Atlanta cleaning company and was the least sexy cleaning picture I could find. Troubling.
This idea probably seems counter-intuitive – cleaning is work! Work is stressful! Aren’t we trying to reduce stress!?
Well, yes, but… I don’t know about you, but when I’m busy, cleaning is always the first thing to go. Not the daily stuff like dishes, but I develop a really bad habit of just dropping and going, and the regular maintenance stuff like vacuuming and dusting just disappears. Right now, my room looks like a tornado went through it and it is incredibly stressful every time I go into it. For me at least, if I could spend half an hour setting things right, that would crazy enhance my mental state. I’m thinking sometime on Saturday…
Image of meal prep belongs to Fit Mommy via Pinterest
Nothing is worse than knowing you have an hour to dash home, eat dinner, then get back out the door again for another commitment… and you have no idea what to eat. Either you have no food at home or stuff that takes actual preparation which then leads to the added stress of wasting food/money. The amount of times I’ve either spent $20 picking up sushi like the rich person I am not (SkiptheDishes is dangerous!) or just had Mr. Noodle with peanut butter for dinner…
Right now, I’m doing Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart and it is a godsend. I don’t have to think at all, they lay out the shopping and prep, and the meals are quick and tasty.
Let someone else do the hard part for you and focus your mental energy on the rest of your life.
Treat Yo’ Self
Image is obvious, isn’t it? Please!
Like, at least a little bit. Find something in your week that you can do just for you.
Love “Game of Thrones”? Carve yourself out an hour per week so you don’t fall behind on your show. (You know you’ll get spoiled if you do!)
Cherish your solo podcast time? Multi-task it… listen while you’re driving, take a walk in the sun with headphones, lock everyone out of the kitchen and listen while you cook.
Want some wine? Well… yeah, why not?
Actually, regardless of if you like podcasts or not, get out to take a little walk and a little sun (or fresh air at least) daily. Even 15 minutes will do a world of good… and if I can find 15 minutes in my day to get outside, you can too.
Instant Forgiveness This is something we practice in theatre but it’s good advice when you are overwhelmed too. Sometimes you’ll do what you consider to be “screwing up”. You may pick up McDonald’s instead of following your meal plan. You may forget to leave time for a run. You may have to cancel plans because you just need a night at home. Don’t beat yourself up about any of these things. It’s not a screw up, it’s just human and so are we.
Even though I’m using a lot of “you”s in this post, this is a just a sampling of the things that work for me when I’m overwhelmed. What are your best tips for dealing with the times where you’re just a little (or just a lot) overwhelmed?
Y’all, it feels like it’s been months and months since I wrote a monthly wrap up post. There have been so many different things to happen in the month of April that I cannot believe it’s only been 30 days. Also, they are painting the offices at my work and it is making my allergies act up like whoa, so my mind isn’t exactly all here either. I’m a little worried about the day after they paint my physical office. #firstworldproblems, am I right?
Overall Month Rating
A. It has been absolutely beautiful week and today there was free pizza at work, but I swear I’m not blinded by that. This month I went to London with my baby brother, I maybe sourced a fun little way to make some extra money during the summer, I started rehearsals for an incredibly fun play… and I found a roommate for the summer. Yes, it’s only for four months, but I think it will be so much easier trying to find a roommate for September than for February and it warms my heart to help out an endearing little college student for the summer.
Highlight of the Month
Can I just say all of London? If I have to narrow it down, seeing In the Heights in the King’s Cross Theatre or our Yeoman Warder tour at The Tower of London were definitely hugely great days/moments.
Lowlight of the Month
I NPC’ed a 12+ hour long LARP event the day after returning from London. I love LARP, but that was a poor choice. In a hilarious (??) turn of events, I took two fairly lengthy naps during the event. On a couch in a room that houses some sort of childcare/child playroom/child thing. That is never a recipe for waking up and feeling good about your life and your choices.
Number of Workouts Completed
Okay, it may have been an ambitious choice to loudly state that I was going to start a Couch to 5K on a month that included a two week trip to a place full of cider, fish and chips, and museums. That definitely did not happen. There was also a two week break from barre during the trip… but I sure did complete a ton of steps daily while trying to save money on the Underground. I’ve also kept up the soothing morning yoga.
Number of Plays Watched
Well, I’ve been pretty open about seeing three rad plays in London…
Number of Movies Watched
In theatres – 0. All my money was ear-marked for London this month!
At home/on the airplane – 8. When you are determined to kill jetlag, you can watch an awful lot of movies on an airplane. (However, it didn’t work. Maybe I’m getting old?) We also watched Hot Fuzz approximately two times (in various bits and pieces) over our time in London, caught Clueless while exhausted one night and on our second last morning of our trip, we enjoyed a bit of a lazy morning and plugged the tablet into the tv to enjoy Frozen on Netflix with a morning cider.
Number of Dates I Took Myself On
Just one! I agreed to drive Bryan and Darci to an event so they could drink and, while they were in the event, I took myself for a petite dinner and reading date. Naturally, it was awesome. (It also led to my potential opportunity for the summer.)
Best New Food Discovery
Jacket potatoes are super a thing in London, I realized. Lots of pubs had a lengthy list of different jacket potato fillings you could select from and there were even street vendors that offered ones to purchase and eat on the go. One night, while dying for a little comfort food, I enjoyed a jacket potato with tuna and mayo stuffed in it. You can guarantee that I will be whipping one of those bad boys up on a lazy winter Thursday night.
Best New Culture Discovery
Anne Perry’s Inspector Thomas Pitt series of historical mysteries. This is really more of a re-discovery, as I read and casually started collecting the series in paperback when I was in university and always needed a paperback book to stash in my bag for transit. When I was in London, though, I kept recognizing street names from the titles of her books and now I am devouring these books like crazy. Twisty and turn-y mystery plots, an accurate Victorian London landscape, awesome and complex female characters (Thomas’ eventual wife Charlotte is arguably the main character of series) and a quirky cop as the title character all come together to create a light, entertaining read that doesn’t make you feel like you have a sugar hangover.
Best Book Read
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey. I’m a sucker for anything zombie, but this book approaches it in such an interesting way. It’s obvious that there are zombies, but it isn’t about zombies, per say. Once I had finished reading the book, even I knew it was over, I knew the story that needed to be told had been told; I still wanted a sequel. This book is equal turns eerie, thought-provoking and heartbreaking. Please read it.
A note: I feel a little bit awkward writing this post without acknowledging the fires in Fort McMurray. At the same time, I’m not sure exactly what to say. It’s sort of similar to how I felt during the Calgary floods of 2013 – though I knew very few people directly affected by the floods (many of my friends were evacuated briefly but their homes were safe), it was ever present in everyone’s world and we were all affected. That’s sort of how the fires are flitting around the edge of my world. An absolutely lovely woman that I work with recently moved down from Fort Mac and I will be supporting her and the friends/family that are fleeing down to her. Please educate yourself on what is happening to our neighbours in the north and what you can do for them to help out the most.