Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So that gift I was supposed to get for $30 easily escalated into a gift for $56! eek, I suck but @least it's something I know the person will enjoy. & she is at the end of the day an awesome person so @least it's not like it's going to a jerk or something.

We also went out to dinner & the bill when split evenly came out to $35! There's a huge dent into the 'Eating Out' budget. I hate when we end up splitting evenly! Sucks especially since I am vegetarian & always end up w/ the cheapest meal & I generally don't like getting drinks. I should really try to speak up for separate bills. Perhaps it can be part of a resolution for the up coming year.

Also I was at Sephora today & was looking @ Philosophys Purity Made Simple cleansers. It has been voted as a 'Best of Sephora' winner for 2008 & it's gotten good reviews. Normally I'd have jumped the gun but I just realized I had made a $30 budget for clothes & beauty. The thought of maxing out the Clothes & Beauty budget with one purchase made me think twice (*yay, look ma I can do it!*). I still have half a bottle of cleanser to get through so I can wait patiently.

I also looked @ how my stocks have been doing. I only started investing a few months ago. I bought stocks @ what I thought was an all time low. Only 52 week lows kept coming even after I had purchased them. I have faith that eventually the stocks will pick up so I've left my money in there. Right now I am @ -25% on the stocks.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Went to the mall & pretty much left right away. The malls are still insanely packed. I am assuming w/ people looking for post-boxing day sales. Kids screaming & scarce parking was enough to have me leave. However I need to brave the crowds tomorrow to pick up a gift for a friend.

What's a good generic gift for a girl you have no idea what to get? Besides off course the basket of body lotions or candles which by the way I think is just as impersonal as a gift card. With that being said, I am still thinking of perhaps getting a gift certificate to Sephora. What girl doesn't like Sephora? & my budget is ~$30 since I've got 2 other small things to give to this person already.

I also realized I have not factored gifts into the budget I created yesterday. It's hard because it varies by person. Some people...I plan on spending ~$100 and others I plan on spending $20 & off course there's ranges in between. But there's only 5 yearly recurring gifts I buy. So perhaps I could create a yearly number and then divide by 12.

Even though it's technically not January yet, I've decided to start tracking my purchases. i.e. gas has been updated to reflect my $26 gas purchase. Yup $26 to completely fill the tank which was almost empty.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009 Budget

So I decided that I need to up the beauty budget to $10. Why? Because a haircut would easily have me waiting months before I could save up for it, if I stayed at the $5 budget. I know I'll also have to buy some sunscreen @ some point. I buy a more expensive one for my face. ~$29. So yeah if I kept it @ $5, I'd go over the yearly budget really quick. So a combined beauty and clothes budget of $30 seems reasonable. Phew, this budget doesn't give me the hives like the previous $20 for clothes & $5 for beauty budget. & combining the two makes sense. I know that there will be months where I won't buy clothes but will want a pedicure (beauty), so with a combined $30, I could work with that.

I decided I'll try & track my monthly budget on the right hand side. So I am all ready for Jan 2009.

The rest of budget works out like this.
Eating out: $100. Ugh, ugh, ugh. This is my Achilles heel if you will. I am good about brown bagging my lunch to work. I think I can count the number of times I've actually had to go out & buy my lunch for 2008 in one hand. Pretty good right? YES! but going out for dinner is another story. Going out to a restaurant for drinks or dinner w/ the bf happens @least once a week & that's where I fall down.

Entertainment: $50. I think this is more then enough. I don't go out as much as I used to so that's reasonable. Plus I think I'll roll this over so I can save up for extravagant months where I am a party animal ;)

Misc: $50. You never know right?

Gas: $150. This is hard to budget as it depends on gas prices & I have no say in it. Sure I could take the bus again but right now I drive to work & I think that's staying as is (knock on wood).

Groceries: Perhaps I should group this with eating out but a budget of $100 here. I am happy with this area and don't mind spending the $100. I almost always brown bag & am vegetarian so sometimes pay premium for things like veggie burgers & whatnot.

Above is everything I see as being variable for the month. Here are my fixed costs for the month: Rent: $800, Cell phone Bill: $40, Membership fees: $60. I think that's it @ a whopping $900!

So to recap that is
  • $30 - Clothes & Beauty
  • $100 - Eating out
  • $50 - Entertainment
  • $50 - Misc
  • $150 - Gas
  • $100 - Groceries
  • $720 - Rent
  • $40 - Cell phone bill
  • $60 - Membership fees
  • $1300 - Total
That's not too bad actually. That's a little over half of what I take home monthly. So it should leave me around the same amount to save. The thing is I know over the past year I have not been saving over a 1000 per month. Perhaps as I keep tracking this on a monthly basis I'll see areas where I am faltering & will be able to correct it.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Progress bars

Trying to decide what I should add on the progress bar on the right hand side. Perhaps a monthly budget tracking tool but I might get annoyed with having to change it monthly.

Perhaps I should track savings instead. Not sure it's the best idea when I don't have a good savings method in place. i.e. right now I just have a savings account & some cash in stocks.

Also I couldn't find a widget on blogger that allowed me to track progress so I had to google how to do progress bars in HTML and add it myself. Perhaps another reason why I am not so keen on having to update it monthly.
OK so yesterday I had a realization. I really have enough clothes for 2009. My style has evolved to something more classic? Not sure if classic is the word but I do try to ask myself 'Will I actually wear this for years to come?'. 'Is this just a one hit wonder?' So w/ that, I've spent the extra cash on items I plan on owning for years: Jeans, jackets, work clothes, shoes, etc. W/ that said, there is really no reason for me to spend much on clothes next year. Looking back on 2008, I think clothes & eating out are the two areas I can cut back on.

With that in mind, I've decided that $20/month on clothes is a reasonable budget. Basically this allows me to get one nice top on sale a month or a jean over 2-4 months. That means $240 for all of 2009!! Not sure if that is realistic since I can easily spend $100 on a nice pair of boots & there goes half of the 2009 budget. But I figure I'll try this for the next few months & see if I have to revisit it half way through the year. Off course, I am allowing myself to carry over anything that's not used in that month & also adding in the stipulation that if for some reason I am at the Outlets again, going a little over the budget is acceptable. I think going to thrift stores really will contribute to me staying w/in this budget. I only started thrift store shopping last summer but I cannot stop. I can't count the number of unique things I have purchased & also items w/ tags on them.

Also decided that $5/month on beauty products is a reasonable budget. I know, am I crazy or what? Crazy: Yes. Wanting to save money: YES. I mean I don't really buy beauty products much anymore. I've enmassed enough eye shadows & such to last me for years to come. I am no where near hitting the pan on any of my shadows.

I think I'd like to try setting up some monthly tally on the right hand side tool bar so I can see it and remind myself of how I am doing.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Shopping

So who went shopping?

I go just about every year for clothes. I am a girl after all. I have the patience to sift through clothes & wait in lines for great deals. At least for a few hours. So I went this year again. What's the damage? $120 on clothes & $30 on a makeup brush set from costco. So $150 in total. I am also debating returning about $30 worth of clothes back as I am not sure I will actually wear it. Pretty good if I do say so myself.

The brush set at costco as seen below is an awesome deal. I started getting into makeup a little over a year ago. I have a pretty decent eyeshadow collection and brushes are key to a good application. I am willing to pay the extra buck for a quality soft brush that will last the test of washing & other abuse. This set has gotten great reviews at makeupalley.com & I trust the girls on there. A decent makeup brush goes for $10+. MAC easily has brushes that go up to $40 and that is something I am not willing to pay yet. So to get 10 brushes plus a makeup roll for $30 is an amazing deal.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

negatory on the raise

So my company with many others has decided to push off giving raises to their employees due to the 'economic situation'. Off course this comes with lots of anger from the employees. Lots of people have talked about applying elsewhere. I've certainly thought about it. While I am relatively happy where I am, thoughts of higher pay & seeing what else is out there have definitely entered my mind. What's holding me back? My lazy ass basically. Though I finally started updating my resume about a month ago, I stopped half way through because it got frustrating. It's hard pumping yourself up and talking about your job while highlighting what you did there. It's easy to have a conversation and tell people what I do but putting it down in a few lines is another story. I wonder how many people don't apply elsewhere because they can't get around to updating their resume.

I came across this wonderful post from squawkfox which talks about the dos & don't of resumes which reminded me again that mines been sitting on my computer half finished. I think I'll try taking a stab at it again over the break. Hey I don't celebrate christmas so I have no excuses for not working on it (i.e. family obligations).

Friday, December 19, 2008

snow storm

So it's snowing & I was one of those people that went to work. Left @ 12 & a 30min drive took me an hour. Saw lots of crazy driving & am glad I am home. It was definitely not a fun drive home. I can't even imagine rush hour driving. I know we live in Canada & all but if I can stay home during a snow storm, I will.

was supposed to go out w/ the bf tonight but the snow storm is keeping me indoors. @least I am saving some money I guess :S

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Aveda Academy Haircut

Tomorrow I am going to the Aveda Academy downtown Toronto to get my haircut. I've been there twice before. Once w/ the more advanced level students downstairs ($35) and was very happy and a second time w/ the beginner students ($11) and was kinda meh about it. So trying it again downstairs @ the $35 place. I figure if it's as good as last time I was there, it'll be a good deal.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Smart Set Sale

Smart Set is having a 25% off everything in their store sale. Normally I wait for items to go on sale but one thing that hardly ever goes on sales are their satiny tank tops. Sometimes, colours get discontinued & that colour will go on sale but hardly ever does the black & white ones go on sale so I took this opportunity to buy them.

Bah Humbug

So I realized as I drove to the mall this weekend and struggled to find parking @ 11am in the morning that it's that wonderful time of year again. Christmas! Coming from a non christian family who didn't only came to Canada in the 1990s, Christmas is something we had never celebrated. As a kid, I was always envious of people that came back from Christmas break with pretty new things to show off.

Now however, as I've gotten older, it is one thing I am glad I don't participate in. I love the idea of friends & family coming together. Buying gifts however is something I do not enjoy especially when I feel obligated to get them. I mean if I feel I should get somebody a gift, I'll do it. I don't want to be told that I should getting somebody a gift in the spirit of the season. Lord knows how much money I'd be throwing away on gifts people didn't need. Those baskets of bath & body things & such.

What amazes me even more is people going broke buying gifts for people. I guess as somebody that doesn't celebrate the season I just don't get it. It would probably be different had I grown up with a Christmas every season. But I think it should be about the effort made & gestures as opposed to the dollar value of the item. I was in EB games this weekend & they were saying how the Wii & Wii Fit were sold out! These items together cost a few hundred dollars! & chances people receiving these gifts are also getting other items on top of them. I guess you can label me a scrooge but I just don't get it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gmail stickers for postage

Well as I was logging into Gmail today, I saw this link for GMail stickers. I have some very dorky friends who would be quite happy to display these. I remember when I was in uni & having firefox stickers on your laptop was the cool thing then. Cool? maybe that isn't the right word but in my program it was. Well it looks like Gmail is offering to send you some stickers if you send them a self addressed stamped envelope.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Going out can be expensive

It's been an expensive weekend. ugh, ugh, ugh.

Movie: $10
Dinner on Friday night: $15
Groceries: $29
Gas: $30
Car oil change: $50
Makeup: $3. Cheap but it was still unnecessary & I am having buyers remorse.
Snack: $3
Dinner & drinks w/ the girls: $40

So in the matter of two days, I've spent ~$200! Granted about ~$100 were necessities: The oil change & groceries & gas. But half of that was avoidable or could have been minimized. I think the worst was dinner & drinks w/ the girls. The thing was I felt pressured to giving in to purchase a drink & dessert just because everybody else was. I don't know why I felt that way but I didn't want to be the one debbie downer that didn't order any alcohol. I really should have stood my ground or ordered a beer or something instead of a $7 glass of wine & an $8 plate of dessert that I couldn't even finish.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

holding on to the savings

I've told myself to not move anymore money into my questrade account for another month. I feel like if I move it, I will be tempted to buy. & it's not that I am against buying. My fear is that stocks may go down even more before they get better. I mean I thought a month or two ago was the best time to buy & look @ me now. I do have faith, things will pick up but only if I had a magic 8 ball that told me when.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My clarisonic brush has arrived!!!

So I finally got the brush. The $200 brush & it's charging right now. I have to wait for 24hrs before I can use it. Crossing my fingers that I made a value purchase.

On the to-do for tonight is a manicure by myself. I've gotten decent @ giving myself a french manicure. It's good for those nights I feel like being extra girly & don't want to spend the money on nails.

Also in other news, I am way overdue for getting my haircut & not quite sure what to do. Should I wait & go to the Aveda academy & get it cut or go to a salon & do it. The Aveda Academy is the cheaper route but it's all the way downtown & time consuming which I am not sure I have much of.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Canadian Tire Gas > Petro Canada

So for years I've been pumping at Petro Canada but now w/ the help of Great Canadian Rebates it seems like Candian Tire Gas Bars are a great deal. For a limited time, you get 5% cash back through Great Canadian Rebates, plus I get another 2% cash back from my credit card. & it seems like you can get some Canadian Tire money from it too. I don't really know how that quite works yet as this is my first foray into Candian Tire Gas bars. But for the price, I couldn't pass it up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gas Prices & investing

Gas prices are set to go down to under 80c tomorrow to a whopping 79.3c! I also have the fuel savings card from Petro Canada which saves 5c savings card from petro canada which deducts 5c per litre up to 200L. Well it's safe to say I'll be pumping some gas tomorrow.

I've been hesitating looking @ how my stocks are doing knowing it's plumetted. I am down ~23%. Sucks considering I only started investing a few months ago. But it could be worse considering I know people that are down more & they have been in the market for years. But I still try to stay firm in the idea that now is the best time to buy. I just bought a small amount of Shoppers Drug Mart shares. I love Shoppers Drug Mart. It was actually the first stock I wanted to own but I held off because it was expensive & when i started investing, the Canadian dollar was doing well so I bought US stocks. But now w/ the dollar @ .83c I decided to stick w/ Canadian stocks so when shoppers fell below $45, I decided to take the plunge.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

big purchase

So I've wanted the clarisonic for almost half a year but resisted the urge to purchase due to its hefty price tag. Well I finally gave in & dolled out a whopping ~$200 for a electric brush for my face! Ridiculous right? What made me finally dive & take the plunge?
  • I've been lusting for it for over half a year. With normal large purchases, after a month I completely forget about it meaning I really didn't need it after all. But this I still want & I don't think it will ever go away till I try it.
  • I've spent far more on skincare before. Fact is I don't have the greatest skin and when you add up all the money I've spent on skin care, it would probably be far more than $200. Now that I've finally found something that semi-works with my skin, I haven't been spending all those extra $ on trying new things. In terms of cleanser, lotion & all that, I am done & sticking w/ my current routine. & it's way cheaper than what I used.
  • It's gotten rave reviews all over the place & i feel like it may help.
  • Finally, it's resale value is still fairly high should I not like it and decide to sell it.
  • Sephora finally started offering it in Canada which would mean I'd save on shipping charges. But turns out I still got a better deal on ebay & I got the pro version. tsk, tsk sephora.
  • I've been good w/ my spending this month & felt I could budget it in.
So those are all the reasons I've told myself so I could sleep at night ;) Now only if this damned thing would show up in my mail so I can start using it & see if it lives up to all its hype.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

everything adds up

You know that phrase that you mom & dad tossed you when you paid an extra dollar for a drink or to supersize you meal about how all those pennies your spend adds up. Well I am firm believer of this. My parents instilled it in me & while when I was young, I secretly loathed their frugal ways, I am learning to appreciate this in my older age. Here is a list of things I do to save money.
  • Never pay 5c for those bags @ the grocery store. Instead I bring my own. I keep a stash of bags in the trunk of my car so I am always armed & ready.
  • Pack those lunches. I remember when I was on internship, I brought my lunch every single day. Oh I was young & stupid then. No longer young & wiser, I pack my lunch every day. On the days I forget, I keep my freezer stocked w/ a few frozen dinners so I can take it with me when I don't have the time or leftovers for lunch.
  • Speaking of lunches, I use reusable cutlery for my lunches. Once upon a time, I bought plastic forks & would use it @ lunch & toss it out. Now I just wash & store in my desk for the following day.
  • Order water when out for dinner. Hardly ever do I order any fancy drinks...once in a while, I will splurge on a cocktail but not too often. I don't really drink anything besides water & alcohol so it's not a big change for me.
  • Coupon clipping. Boy do I love me my coupons. There is a trap with coupons where one ends up buying things they don't need just because they have a coupon for it. I always ask myself, is this something I will use. save.ca is great for this.
  • Cutting those cotton pads in half. I use a cotton pad to apply my toner everyday. I cut them in half so I can prolong their use. I know there are lots of people who don't even use them but I have no idea how to apply toner effectively without a cotton pad. I've tried using my hands & product ends up going to waste by falling into the sink & such.
  • Freezing. Anything you think will spoil, just freeze. I freeze cheese & bread now that I don't think I will use in time. Here's a tip, shred that cheese first so you don't struggle to get that cheese to thaw so you can use it in your meal.
  • Thrift. I think this deserves a post on it's own because as of a year ago I never set foot in a thrift store. I looked @ my credit card bills & realized the amount of money I was spending on clothes was ridiculous. Not willing to give up shopping, I tried out a thrift store & was quite happy. Not only was I spending way less, I was able to find a large selection of unique things. Now this doesn't mean every single piece of clothing I buy is from the thrift store but definitely trendy things tend to come from. Classic pieces that I forsee myself using for years like jeans & jackets, I still buy retail.
  • Signing up for freebies. My mailman probably hates me, but I can't resist free & as a result I often sign up for freebeis. But it's saved me money as I've gotten things like full sized lotions & other things....even underwear!
  • I never buy books. The library is my friend.
I am sure there's a lot more but this is what's coming to mind off the top of my head.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Soo I had heard about dividend investing when I was researching about investing. As of 3 months ago, I knew virtually nothing about the stock market. There's still a lot to learn but I am picking up a few things. It seems like a smart move & makes me feel better about owning some Citi stock...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

So one, I have too much time on my hands and second, I am determined to save money & get all those elusive things such as a house, sunny vacations, that designer bag, mac makeup and retire comfortably. Well things may not pan out as hoped but those are some of my goals. Vain!? Call it whatever you want but this is me & I figure posting some thoughts online will help me stay on track.

Here are my stats as it is:
  • 26 year old girl
  • Graduated from university last year with a hefty OSAP loan (~$30K)
  • Paid it all off (saved every penny from internship & was able to pay it off before interest kicked in)
  • As a result I am in a good position of having no debt
  • Doing that 9-5 routine to pay the bills & save
  • Started investing as of 2 months ago. Some will say this is early but I still wished I had picked this up earlier.
So yes I graduated from university last summer and left wide eyed with a job I started after taking a few weeks vacation to celebrate graduating. Awesome right? Yes but then the reality of being an adult kicked in. Work, health plan, retirement plans, should I rent now questions and all those other dreary things you pushed off for as long as possible set it. Things I never thought about or even really had any knowledge about before all of this.

And so this is where I am in life. Suddenly realizing I am adult & need to start thinking long term. When I was in school, it was about that next exam which was a few weeks down the road. Now it is about buying that car, getting that house and other things which are possibly years down the road :S