Live below the line - Meal prep

April 28, 2013

Well, the time has come! Starting now, I will be living below the line for the next 5 days. If you'd like to know what living below the line is, check out my last post!

Turns out it's extremely difficult to purchase 5 days worth of food for only $8.75. I actually got all my food for $8.12. But that is the point of this whole campaign; to bring awareness and fundraising towards extreme poverty. To eat like someone in that situation would, and believe me, it has already been extremely eye opening.

I tried to get as many food groups as possible in order to get at least some of the nutrients I need. I honestly failed in the vegetable area, but I hate vegetables to begin with haha. Therefore, I went more to the fruit. I definitely have enough carbs, which so hopefully not leave me too hungry.  There is actually a ton of rice there, as well as macaroni.  For my protein, I bought some pinto beans, but couldn't buy a ton of those. I was torn between the beans or eggs, but eggs were just too expensive.

I just finished all my food prep, so here it goes! I'll definitely be writing another post after this week is over. I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk about!

Could you live below the line?!

Live below the line

April 24, 2013

Today was a great day for me! I learned about a fantastic new campaign called Live Below the Line. This is an innovative awareness and fundraising campaign that started in order to make a huge difference in the fight against extreme poverty.  The minute I heard about it I knew I had to support it.  It is shocking to find out what people have to live on and how much people have to spend in a day in other countries, especially third world.

The challenge is to live off of $1.75 per day for food and drink for 5 days straight totalling $8.75.  By doing this, you will bring to life what 1.4 billion people currently have to spend on a daily basis just to survive.

This really hit home for me. Just the fact that in Canada, you can spend $8.75 on ONE meal alone and it's no big deal at all.  I have never really though about that but it's true.  We are so lucky here, and others don't have that luxury.

So there you have it. It will take a ton of planning as well as self control to get this done, but I think I can do it and I'm helping a fantastic cause along the way by raising money.  In a way, it will also help me with my grocery bills and controlling my spending that I have talked about in a previous post. It will no doubt me hard, but I am up for the challenge. Luckily, I have the support of everyone around me and even a great friend doing it along with me!

I will definitely post about my results and how the whole experience went. The 5 days is starting Monday, April 29th. Lets do this!

Making extra income

April 22, 2013

Turns out I have two jobs. Both of them happen to be income that allows me to make more some weeks and less on others.  Turns out summer is normally a bit slower for me, which allows time to go on vacation, etc. But I also like to try and find unique ways to make extra income in the summer.

That being said I've been thinking hard about different things I can do in the summer. So, I was curious, what ways (if applicable) do you make a little extra income?

My frugal hair

April 19, 2013

One thing that I have learned through my life so far, is that hair is the best way to give yourself a fresh, new look. Although, that comes with a price, am I right ladies?! It's the cuts, colours, the deep conditioning treatments and anything else you can think of.  It's extremely expense now to go to a salon and get your hair done. It's not like a $30 cut a man can get!

I actually just booked a hair appointment for myself earlier today.  Now before you get mad at me, I've gotten my hair done at a salon maybe 3 times in the last 6 years, and I've gotten it coloured maybe once in those 6 years.  To be honest, I'm totally against salons.  Its crazy expensive, and for the most part, I can maintain my hair by myself and still be happy with how it looks. Which is what matters right?

I started to do the math and was blown away with my results.  I averaged out 5 salons in Edmonton and wanted to see how much the typical women spends on their hair in a year.

Just to get your hair cut, it's about $65.  Most women like to get their hair cut (trimmed) about every 3 months or so.  Then you add dying your hair which is about $75.  So plus tip, the average salon visit is about $160, if you are lucky!  Then times that by 4 visits a year = $640. Just for hair?!  I just can't rationalize that for myself. 

That being said, what I've done since junior high, is box dye and trim my hair myself. It is definitely a daunting task, and obviously it isn't even in the same ballpark as salon treatments.  But you know what? I did a pretty darn good job with the box dyes and it didn't ruin my hair at all.  A box of hair dye costs about $13 give or take a few dollars. I normally dyed my hair about twice a year which equals $26.

Now $640 - $26 = $614 a year that I save by doing my hair myself.  That is also the amount I spend in gas on my car in a year!

It all seems like a pretty easy decision to me.  I have also been growing my hair out, which means I don't really need to get it cut. I have been trimming it on my own which is surprisingly easy. I have bangs as well, and I learned an awesome way to trim them and keep them looking Hollywood.  Check out the YouTube video below which I followed to learn how to do it.

How to cut perfect side swept bangs at home
Props to Rosebud143 on YouTube. She has a ton of great hair videos and this video is very easy to follow along with.

That being said, I know it is important to some women to get their hair done regularly. Just for me, it's an expense I am totally okay with cutting back on... Haha sweet pun Keens.  So, it was about time for a hair cut and colour at a salon as a treat to myself.  The next one will happen a few years from now. 

What do you think? Would you ever considering taking your hair into your own hands? Is it worth it for you?

Excessive unplugging disorder

April 15, 2013

Since this journey started, I have found so many ways to save money.  Although lately, I have found that I have a new money saving habit that is going a bit overboard; or maybe not.

In the place that I live right now, I am lucky because 2 of my 3 utilities are covered by my rent.  The only one that isn't is electricity. Now, this is not a huge bill for me every month, but every nickel counts right?  My bill used to be $35- $45 ish a month, which might be a lot for some people, I'm not sure though because I don't have any other place to compare it too.  So, I did what any almost normal person would do, I tried to stop using so much electricity to cut down my bill.  Little did I know, it would be a little more excessive than I thought!

Since then, I literally unplug every possible thing in my apartment before I leave for my day. I unplug my microwave, which is a hassle because I to have to reset the clock every time I want to use it, but long term benefit outweighs convenience for me. I also unplug my toaster, my apple wall plugin, my lamps, my hair tools, and my other misc chargers. But lately, I have been unplugging my entertainment system as well! Which has made a big difference. If you think about it, that system has 8 different things plugged into it! To me that is crazy. Even though things aren't on, there is a bit of electricity that flows through the device, thus costing you more money.

Just to compare, I got my last month electrical bill the other day, and it was $30.96. Saving even $4 ish a month is a win to me.  Now will making this little change in my daily habits be the reason I become a millionaire? Probably not, but it is part of the road to get there. It is also another step for me to be more financially aware and continue to find areas to save money.

What do you think, is unplugging worth it?

5 money mistakes I've made in the past

April 10, 2013

I know that everyone has to go through the stage of learning about money. For some, it is when you are young, for others they don't learn that till much later in life unfortunately. Now I would say I learned about money very early in my life, and I have always had pride in myself that I had a good handle on it. Yet you don't learn to appreciate it fully until you are older and on your own I'd say.

But everyone makes mistakes right? I have definitely made my fair share of financial mistakes on my journey to becoming financially stable.  In the last few year,s I have done very well for myself and am on the road to become a millionaire. That being said, I've made some mistakes along the way that got to me where I am. Most of these were made in my late teens, I should have known better...

1) Buying expensive presents for people when I couldn't afford it.  Your friends are still going to love you regardless, and if they don't, they aren't true friends. Try and make something yourself or get something in the price range you can afford. It's the effort and thought that people care about.

2) Only making the minimum payment on my credit card.  This mistake didn't last very long, but when you just get your credit card at 18, you don't really understand the full concept of borrowing money from the bank. I mean, it's your money on there right? Nope. Now, I don't rarely use my credit card at all, and when I do, I pay it off in full before the payment is due. That's also a great way to keep your credit rating up.

3) Living paycheck to paycheck and relying on credit. I spent money that I didn't have, yet the stress of waiting for the next paycheck is the worst feeling in the world.

4) Saving very little money. This is a big one that I have definitely corrected since then, especially starting this millionaire journey. My savings have doubled since then in only a few months.

5) I never paid attention to my credit rating. Who would have though, your credit rating is pretty important... haha the other day was actually the first time I checked to see what my credit rating was, and to be honest, it was really great for someone my age! I was so impressed with myself, the last few years of being very financially aware and stable have helped that immensely.

Moral of the story, we all learn about finances either early or late, but at the same time, better late than never. I'm on the road to success, and I couldn't be happier.

What are the mistakes you've made if any?

5 reasons to be excited about summer

April 4, 2013

With the spring weather lately, I am getting excited for summer to roll around. There are so many reasons why I prefer summer, and now that I'm starting on this money journey, I love even more.

1) Allows you to clean house -  In the summer, for me at least, it allows me to go through my apartment, my stuff, my work and organize and throw things out. Everything needs to be lighter in the summer including your possessions. With the warm weather, it's the perfect opportunity to reorganize and simplify things. I have a lot more motivation to throw stuff away when I'm nice and warm instead of when I freeze being outside for one minute.

2) More cost effective activities - In the summer, there are so many more things to do outside.  I actually save a ton of money in the summer, because instead of snowboarding, going for dinner and going to movies;  I go for walks, enjoy festivals, go biking and pretty much all outdoor activities that cost little to nothing. One of my favourite things to do is get a camera and go for a walk. Photography is a little passion of mine, and you'd be surprised what you can catch on film while enjoying the outdoors and fresh air.

3) Less energy - If you own a house or rent a place, you know that especially in Canada, your power bills sky rocket in the winter. Obviously because we have to deal with -30 degree weather.  Power and gas bills go down a ton in the summer, and I love it!

4) Gardening - There are so many great herbs and vegetables that you can grow, that will cut down your groceries bill in half! I currently live in an apartment, SO I'm not really taking my own advice. But one thing I'm so excited for when I own a house, is my garden.  I can't stand plants indoors, but love plants outdoors! Bring on the healthy veggies!

5) Air travel - It's well known, especially in Canada, that flights are more expensive in winter because that is when everyone is trying to go away on a tropical vacation. Yes, winter is when people want to go away more, but in you choose to go in the summer, you will get more bang for your buck in terms of air flights and accommodations.

Summer brings so many wonderful things, and I can't wait for summer 2013! It's not long for us, so we have to enjoy it while we can!