Recent Posts

Credit Scores Aren’t Financial Report Cards

Credit Scores Aren’t Financial Report Cards

Have you ever received one of these letters from a bank? “Congratulations on being a responsible credit user! We’d like to offer you an increase on your credit limit. We appreciate your business and hope you enjoy this extra purchasing power!” Now, to me that […]

Debt Payoff Report – February 2018

Debt Payoff Report – February 2018

Is it awful that one of the best things about February was buying a replacement can opener? I will easily drop money on luxuries yet agonize over mundane household necessities. Not needing assistance opening canned goods was absolutely worth it and I should have done […]

Things I Missed When I Quit Shopping

Things I Missed When I Quit Shopping

The novelty of trends and designs

The time between unwrapping a perfect object and its first sign of wear, entropy in action

The marking of occasions and milestones

The feel of soft fabrics running through my fingers

The thrill of completing a task that only a list maker could truly appreciate

The expression of personality

The lights and sounds and subtle scents of new beginnings

The distraction from difficult moments

The not-so-casual conversation with strangers paid to make me feel good about myself

The sense of control in a life that felt out of it

Shopping isn’t just a stereotypically frivolous activity that we shame women for enjoying. It’s a complex web of sensations and neurotransmitters. How we feel can be as important as what we buy. When we try to overcome an unhealthy relationship with spending simply by stopping, we remove a source of fulfillment and a coping mechanism from our lives.

Unsustainable at best, destructive at worst.

You deserve to feel all of those things – pleasure, joy, accomplishment, celebration, originality, excitement, distraction, confidence, novelty, control.

Find them wherever you can, in ways that aren’t accompanied by the guilt and anxiety that overspending can be.

Visit a museum or art gallery and lose yourself in the expression

Create something with your hands

Take a walk outside and touch the space around you

Clean and care for the things you already own

Learn a skill that ignites you and puts you off balance

Volunteer and be a force for change

Strengthen relationships with people who lift you up

Speak to a therapist about your closely-held insecurities

Do something you’ve been afraid to

Carve out time and space for yourself, violently if necessary

If you just like to shop  – embrace that too.

In a world that questions our every step, walking confidently in your own direction is its own act of self-love.

When Did Living Alone Become The Minimum?

When Did Living Alone Become The Minimum?

One of the opinion pieces that fascinates me every year is the minimum amount it costs millennials to live in my city – Vancouver, Canada. Here’s the breakdown: Housing: $1,929.67 Phone and Internet: $105 Transportation: $133 Groceries: $211.97 Entertainment: $321 Fitness: $75 Insurance: $20 Total: $2,795.64/month, or $33,547.68 annually For most of these […]

You Can Do Anything For 30 Minutes

You Can Do Anything For 30 Minutes

On Monday last week I decided that I would be going to the gym at 6AM. It wasn’t something I’d extensively planned. It wasn’t a ‘new year, new me’ move. It wasn’t even a habit I intended on creating. I just wanted to go to […]

Debt Payoff Report – January 2018

Debt Payoff Report – January 2018

It’s time to say goodbye to the first month of 2018. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go – January tends to be a tough one. We indulge in December and then struggle to dial it back to our usual routine for the first few weeks.

My minimum payments are around $1,300, so although this month was my lowest month since 2016 I’ve still made more progress than I would have in my previous mindset. I usually pick it up in February and March so I’m not too worried.

Including interest, I’ve paid $1,712.88 to my debt this month!

January Milestones

I’m under $30,000 on my student loan!

No other milestones, but I did take my first vacation in almost three years which was one of the reasons for my lower repayment this month! Spoiler: it was so worth it!

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What’s up in February?

February should be business as usual as far as debt repayment goes. It’s a short month so hopefully that will mean lower spending, right? I’m already looking forward to tax refund season in March! I know some are against the ‘interest free loan to the government’ but near the beginning of my journey having a large lump sum was better for me than smaller amounts throughout the year that could be easily spent. This is my last year with a significant refund because I’ll be using up my remaining tuition tax credits, so I need to make the most of it!

Travelling While Indebted

Travelling While Indebted

Some recommend avoiding all luxuries while paying off non-mortgage debt – no travel, no meals out, no purchases other than necessities. I’m not one of those people. A few of my friends and family members have passed away at young ages, and I know that […]

That Decade I Earned $0

That Decade I Earned $0

Being transparent with your finances online is interesting. I know it helps to see real numbers which is why I share everything, but there are obvious downsides. Like, all of the times people tell me that they wish they had my income. I can’t help […]

Treat Yo Self

Treat Yo Self

I’ve tried many different spending challenges over the years – not buying clothing for a year, setting up a budget for specific categories, not eating out for 100 days, aiming for a certain number of $0 spend days every month. I can’t argue with the results – last year I reduced my spending by $7,000 and paid off $30,000 of my student loan debt. This year I’m trying something new.

I’m giving myself permission to buy whatever I want.

Yes, I’m surrendering to the treat yo self mentality. I am acknowledging that I am a human and that my wants are valid. I’m setting myself free to buy anything that will add value to my life – as long as I make the actual purchases later.

I created a list called Things I Want To Buy – In 2020. At that point, if all goes well, I’ll be debt free. After I increase my emergency fund and ramp up my retirement contributions, I’ll be free to spend the surplus. Note that I said surplus, meaning that I can spend whatever I want after my savings goals are met and without borrowing money to do so.

I don’t know what I’ll want to buy at that point, but I’m off to a great start. My list contains everything from the banal to the luxurious, from a can opener and a sheet set to a $250 pair of boots and several international trips. I’ve got a section for physical items, and a separate section for travel & other experiences.

As time goes on and my desires change I fully expect to add and remove things. I might even save various versions as miniature time capsules of the items and experiences that occupied my thoughts.

For list lovers, this exercise has an obvious draw. By recording all of the ideas floating around in your mind, you’ve allowed your brain to remove them from the forefront of your consciousness. Often I’ve felt overwhelmed by multiple tasks and then relieved when they seemed to shrink in number just by being captured visually.

For completionists, there’s the comfort in finishing something – ideally the list of potential purchases will replace the urge to buy an item in order to get it off of your mind.

For impulse purchasers, the act of recording and then waiting should allow the rush of novelty to pass. You’ll be able to remove the item from your list later, without it ever manifesting physically in your life. No buyer’s remorse, environmental impact, or feeling like you should keep things you no longer want simply because they cost money.

For rebels, saying “yes, but later” to your wants feels so much more gratifying than saying “no.” Often when we deprive ourselves we simply move the pendulum too far and then let it loose to swing wildly in the opposite direction. When we say “yes, but later,” we allow ourselves to find balance more easily.

I can identify with each of these personas, which is why shopping mindfully has always been a challenge for me and why I hope this new exercise will help me make even better choices in the future.

Will I still make purchases over the next two years? Of course. If something I use often breaks or wears out and can’t be repaired, I’ll replace it. If an item stays at the top of the list for months and I decide I don’t want to wait anymore, I’ll probably buy it. There might even be a few impulse purchases in there, if I’m being completely honest, and that’s okay too.

The point of this exercise is not deprivation. It’s realizing that while some things are worthwhile to purchase now, others can wait.