Save your money and stop living pay-cheque to pay-cheque.

This is a topic of discussion that has come up a lot within my life and my circle lately.

Presently, I have two expenses in life: a cell phone bill and groceries. This is not by fluke, this is by choice, strategic work and purpose. A long time ago I made the choice that I didn’t want to live life with debt. Further to that, I made a choice that the extra money I did have was going to be used for travel. This works for me. This is not what everyone wants, and I understand that. I also understand, though, that no one wants to live pay cheque to pay cheque.

So, here are a few recommendations I have, being a thirty year old who has paid for every expense (including a university education) since I was sixteen years old. Take them with a grain of salt, or don’t take them at all. Either way, I hope that you find a means to make some space within your budget.

  1. Make a budget. Oh and be realistic about your budget. Ensure there’s a column for “Needs” and a column for “Wants”. By completely differentiating the two, it will help you to determine the things that are required to be paid and they things you’re choosing to pay that you may or may not be treating as a need.
  2. Determine where there’s wiggle room. For my friend, it’s in his subscriptions. He subscribes to Apple Music, to Netflix, to something called ‘Green Kids Crafts’ and to several magazines. (Yes, there are still magazine subscriptions) I may seem as though it’s only 10 dollars per month so why not, but over the course of year these subscriptions totaled more than $400. That is $400 that could easily be going towards paying off debt, or being put into a savings account.
  3. Where you do need to have an item, like a cell phone, see if you can go for a cheaper cost. Using the cell phone as an example – do you really need 10 gigs of data per month? Or do you want 10 gigs of data? Can you get by with 1 or 2 gigs and, in the process make your cell phone bill a lot cheaper each month? Make a commitment to putting your phone on wifi wherever you can and you will absolutely be able to get by with less data. Apply this principle to other areas of your life, where you can, and the savings will add up.
  4. Don’t be swayed by “steals and deals”. Could I upgrade my phone? Sure, I absolutely could! My current phone still works, though. And, if I upgrade my phone I’m required to either pay for the phone upfront (which is a hefty price) or pay for it in payments (which works out to be even more expensive). Companies know this. This is why they’ll try and entice you with a “sign up now and get a $50 credit” deal. These deals don’t benefit you in the long run and won’t help your wallet for more than the initial period of time in which the deal is valid. Save your money, pass on the deal.
  5. Shop second-hand/pre-owned/pre-loved. This is an important one. Fast fashion is one of the more expensive parts of a person’s budget each year. But don’t just relate this principle to your clothes. Not only can you find excellent condition, if not brand new, clothing in second-hand stores, you can also find appliances, home goods, sporting equipment and more. If it’s something that you don’t absolutely need to have brand new, why not see if you can find it second hand, first?
  6. Meal Prep/Meal Plan/Eat all of the food that you purchase each week. Planning your meals ahead on Sunday may seem like a daunting task, but, if you go to the grocery store knowing what you plan to eat for the week you can purchase only the items that you need. Purchasing only the items you need for the food you’re going t make will save you money on your grocery bill. And, if you only have certain items in your fridge during the week, you’ll be more inclined to actually eat those items and not just let them go bad.
  7. Adopt the ‘Cash is King’ rule. I didn’t make this rule, but I whole heartedly agree with it. At the beginning of each week I go to the bank and take $100 out of my account. For the next week, this is what I have to spend on my luxuries, not-needed items, or to go out for food. It is really easy to swipe, tap or insert your credit card for purchases without thinking twice about it. But, by telling yourself that you only get ‘x’ amount of dollars each week, you’ll be more cognizant of your spending. It won’t be so easy to just go out for dinner each night you don’t want to cook if you look in your wallet and notice you’ve only got $40 left until Sunday.
  8. Start a ‘side-hustle’. This is something popping up a whole lot more lately as people are learning that they can turn their passions into a money making option for them. A side hustle does not need to look or be any specific way, it can be whatever that you make of it. Perhaps you walk dogs in the neighbourhood for a fee. Perhaps you babysit. Maybe you take surveys online. Maybe you take a part time job as a waiter/waitress. Whatever it is that you decide to do, find something that can make you money and go for it. Don’t worry about how much money it makes, this is not something you do with the goal of becoming a millionaire. This is something you do with the goal to subsidize your income. Dog walking might only give you $25 dollars a week. But, that’s $25 you can put straight into your savings account, or towards paying off debt. FYI $25 extra dollars per week is $1,300 per year. That’s a lot of extra money at the end of the year!
  9. Create a cushion for yourself. Even if it’s $10 per month – put that money away and don’t touch it. Knowing that money, however small or large the amount, is tucked away somewhere for you if you ever need it, will provide you some peace of mind in the process of paying off debt/saving. After all, you never know when the universe is going to throw unexpected expenses your direction. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in late 2018 and has had a slew of unexpected expenses this year because of it. Thankfully, she’s been able to use that cushion for the things that she needs and she’s not living accumulating debt right now, she’s more focused on getting better.
  10. Unsubscribe from emails, notifications and people who make you feel as though you need things you do not. Why? Isn’t it obvious? If someone or something makes you feel as though you need something in your life that is unnecessary then it’s adding a burden to your life you do not need.

I think the most important thing to remember in the quest of becoming debt free, or creating some cushions for savings, is to be smart about it. You’re a smart person and you’re capable of knowing that even the smallest differences are important.

Small differences are still a difference. If you want to live debt-free, or save for travel, or save for a home or a car or whatever it might be that your little heart desires, be smart about it.

Thrift Haul – March 17

I’ve been visiting the Thrift Stores often lately. I don’t know what it is about wandering the aisles looking for hidden gems, but it has been calming me. Somehow, I feel as though I am cheating the system… but in a good way.

There’s a lot of benefits to shopping at the Thrift Store:

  • You are not contributing to fast fashion – trendy items that are created quickly, sold at overly high prices and wind up in the trash (or thrift stores) at the end of each season when new trends come out.
  • Quite often you can find things that are still brand new with tags on them – and you wind up paying a much cheaper price than the store tags when you buy them at a thrift store
  • Vintage is badass
  • You will find clothing, accessories, etc… that are quite often one(or few) of a kind, so no one else you know will have what you have.

I could go on and on about it. Bottom line is that I really like Thrift Stores, the thrill of the hunt and having a bomb wardrobe for a fraction of the price of what it would cost if I went to the mall.

Without further adieu, here’s what I picked up:

Vintage Men’s Levi’s Jeans

There’s a Youtube Channel that I watch called ‘Haley’s Corner’ in which she frequently picks up men’s Levi’s from the Thrift Store to wear as ‘Boyfriend Jeans’ and they look so good on her, I thought I needed to try. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the look on my body. Cost: $6.00

Men’s True Religion Jeans

True Religion jeans are EXPENSIVEEEEEEEEEE. Finding them at the Thrift Store, I thought – I’m just going to see if I can sell these online. They’re a little bit of a different look with the light wash and dark stitching, but it’s kind of cool. I will be trying to sell these online – wish me luck! Cost: $6.00

Women’s True Religion Jeans

Again, to reiterate why I purchased the last pair, True Religion Jeans are expensive! I’ve heard there are a lot of ‘knock offs’ out there, so I did my research online to check if these were authentic before purchasing, and they absolutely are! They have all the notes of authenticity to them and they’re in amazing condition. Cost: $6.00

Ecko Unltd Tee

Honestly, I love over-sized tees for sleeping in. This shirt, when I found it, I couldn’t pass up. It’s just the most majestic colour of blue – the photo doesn’t even really do it justice. I’m also really into the ‘massive logo on the front’ look right now and this one felt in such good condition, I had to purchase it. Cost: $1.00

Baby Gap Hoodies

These ones have been through the dryer a few times and have a little bit of pilling on them – but I honestly don’t think my brother’s babies are going to care! I mean… they’re so stinking cute, how could I pass them up? Besides, babies grow out of things so quickly, they’ll wear it long enough to look cute and then it’ll be passed along for bigger clothing. So I’d rather pay $1.00 for it at the Thrift Store then the $35 that Gap is selling them brand new for. Cost: $2.00 ($1 each)

If you have a Thrift Store near you, I encourage you to wander in there one day and take a look around. You never know what you might find. And, like my mom always says – something doesn’t have to be brand new to be exactly what you need in your life.

Thrift Haul – March 13

I’m a big fan of Thrift Stores. Something that my mom has instilled in my brother’s and I since we were kids is that things don’t need to be brand new to be exactly what you need in your life. As a result, we’ve all been frequent visitors to Thrift Stores over the years and have managed to find some pretty great things. I’m thinking I might start sharing the things that I find. Because… why not?

Today I needed to drop off some clothing at the Thrift Store for donations and I thought while I was there, I might look and see if they had anything nice. When I got there I noticed a sign on the door that said “ALL BABY CLOTHES .50 CENTS EACH, TODAY ONLY”.

As my two younger brothers are having babies this year, I’ve been on the hunt for some cute baby clothes for them. I thought “This is a sign from the universe, time to shop!” Here’s what I found:

Toronto Blue Jays Tee

For me – this shirt looks a little worn, a little distressed and perfectly lived in for me. It’s oversized and cozy and exactly what I need. And, I’m Canadian so I am absolutely a Blue Jays fan. Price: $1.50

Tragically Hip Tee

This shirt is for me – I’m not sure what this is from, really. But I’m a big fan of the Tragically Hip and I thought it was a cool shirt. Plus I really like band tees. It felt relatively new and only lightly warn. The tag says “M&O Gold”. I’ve never heard of that brand before. Price: $1.50

Roots Onesie

My sister-in-law really loves the brand Roots. Though she hasn’t asked for Roots clothing, my brother told me she’s really hoping that she gets some. I went to the Roots store last week looking for a onesie for their baby and they were $45! This Roots onesie is going to be perfect for their baby and I still have lots of money left to purchase other Roots clothing I find! Cost: 50 cents.

Carter’s Long Sleeve Shirt

Though this shirt didn’t have tags it felt brand new when I held it. And honestly, Carter’s clothing is CUTE. Why not? Cost: 50 cents.

Mickey Onesie

This was too adorable for me to pass up. Since I don’t know if I am shopping for nieces or nephews, I am trying to stick to clothing that can be worn by a girl or by a boy. This one felt perfect. It’s only been very lightly warn and is Disney Branded. I thought it was quite the score. Cost: 50 cents.

Oscar the Grouch Long Sleeve

This shirt, Sesame Street Brand, was brand new with tags still on it. I’m honestly not even sure if Sesame Street is still a thing with kids or if it’s all Peppa Pig now, but I thought this was pretty cute. Cost: 50 cents.

Life of the Party Onesie

I’ve never heard of the Small Wonders brand before but when I felt this it felt brand new. And, it’s cute. Why not, right? Cost: 50 cents.

Nike Onesie

I just thought this was adorable. It’s Nike branded and only lightly warn. It’s definitely much more green in person – my camera doesn’t do it justice. Cost: 50 cents.

TOTAL COST: $6.00

There were so many brand new items at the Thrift Store today. There were jeans, with tags still on them, from American Eagle and Hollister! I couldn’t justify purchasing them though as they’re not my size.

I’ve been contemplating starting to buy these things when I find them and trying to sell them online. I don’t know if I’ll ever do that, or if it’s more of just a pipe-dream of a side-hustle. Either way – it’s still a good place to look if you ever need or want cool clothing! There were so many pairs of Levi’s there. If you’re a Levi’s lover like I am, check your local Thrift Store.