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My No Spend Attempt

9 May

Ok, so, if you look at No Spend challenges in a very black and white sort of way, I failed. I however, choose to acknowledge the grey in life and think I didn’t do so bad.

no spend challenge

I set for myself a No Spend challenge, it was to last two weeks, and officially ended yesterday. I was allowed to buy gas for my suv, as well as food / household items as needed. Oh, and pay bills, obviously lol.

In that two week period I had two opportunities to donate to charity, one to the Edmonton Food Bank and one to the Vancouver Food Bank, and I donated to both. Neither of those donations fit in any way, shape, or form, to the short list of acceptable purchases but I have no regrets.

I also paid the entry fee for a virtual marathon. This one is a bit trickier. I had intended to wait until the end of my No Spend challenge to buy my entry but found out last week that it was the last day for the early entry fee, which meant that after that date it would cost more to sign-up. I suppose I could have just said I wouldn’t do it, or I could have waited until my challenge was over and paid the higher entry fee, but, well, no. I wasn’t going to miss doing this with my friends, and why would I wait a week and pay more for something when I could buy it that day and pay less?

The No Spend challenge was meant to help get my spending back in line with my budget, that doesn’t mean I stop looking at the bigger picture and spend less on a certain day only to spend even more 8 days later. Sometimes logic is what is in that grey space.

So yeah, technically, I broke the No Spend rules. Ok, not even technically, I did break the No Spend rules but not in a bad way. Not in a I bought more books, or clothes, or some other random item that I don’t really need but I’m bored and saw it online and impulsed bought it way. I donated to charity, and bought something I was going to buy anyways on a day it was a cheaper purchase, how can that be bad?

This is why I tend to shy away from No Spend challenges, and similar things I see in the budgeting world. They don’t always lead you to making the logical purchase, or they may restrict you from an opportunity to help someone else.

To me, I think the better way to go about curbing your spending is to stick to the budget you gave yourself. Maybe you don’t budget, and ya know, if you don’t and that works for you, cool. For me, I budget. I set myself an exact amount of money to be used for gas, food, household items, and other categories. My problem is lately I’ve been going over budget by buying more online, things I never would have bought before, partially out of boredom, anxiety, because outside of work I do nothing and interact with almost no one, and somehow that has led me to increasing my shopping. Not good. Shopping is not a coping skill. I need to stop treating it like one.

Which is why, for the next two weeks, I’m not putting myself on a No Spend challenge, I’m putting myself on a Stick To Your Freakin Budget Challenge. Much more my style, don’t you think? 😉

 

The Evolution of Shopping

12 Apr

I wrote a little while ago about how my shopping experience went when I had to go to Bosley’s to buy cat food. It was odd, but not in an unmanageable way.

This past Thursday I went to Safeway and experienced the next step in the evolution of grocery shopping. The week prior I was all icked out when I went to that Safeway because people weren’t social distancing within the store, it seemed crowded, and I was uncomfortable enough that I left before getting everything I needed.

This past Thursday I went back and oh how things have changed!

First there was the line up to get in…

April 11 2020

I don’t know why I was surprised by the line-up, I’d be hearing all week about stores having lines, I guess I just didn’t think this Safeway would since it didn’t have one a week prior. It was a nice spring evening and the line moved fairly quickly. There isn’t a sign saying how many people are allowed in the store, just that a “limited number” of customers are allowed in, which makes me wonder how the guard at the door knows when to let people in and when to make them wait.

You might be thinking he lets people inside when people inside the shop come out but no, that wasn’t always the case. I’ve decided to not think about it too much, like any of us need another thing to stress about?

Once inside I eventually noticed the aisles are all one way, like in Ikea. Arrows on the ground showing which way to walk as well as hanging on the signs at the start of each aisle. I didn’t notice at first, so I may have gone the wrong direction in an aisle or two, in my defence, I am not the only one who did that!

The shelves were looking a little sad. The combination of a sale and it being later in the day meant a lot of stuff was gone. I found it interesting that when I noticed there was only a small amount of a product left I would think about buying it, even if it was something I don’t normally buy. Like the baked beans. I haven’t bought those in years but seeing the shelves so low in stock made me wonder if I should. Does everybody else know a secret I don’t about what food I should be buying right now?

Luckily I came to my senses and stuck with buying my normal food items. No point in stocking up on things I don’t eat.

April 11 2020 a

I should have taken a picture of the produce, so many things were moldy, or wrinkled and almost no good anymore. Isn’t it better to have no produce for sale than produce gone bad? The quality of the produce has me buying more and more frozen fruit and veg…which was another area that was scarily low on stock.

The internet is exploding with people baking bread, which ok, I guess if you’re in self-isolation and have time to kill why not? One of the aisles had yeast for sale and it was packaged like this…

April 11 2020 b

I don’t know if that is a normal price for yeast but I’m fairly certain that is not the normal packaging for the yeast. I admit, I bought some, not because I have some overwhelming desire to bake bread but because the bread section was scarily low in stock, I bought one of the last loaves. Maybe my baking bread will have to become a thing, I hope not, but better to be prepared, right?

Eggs were still out of stock, sigh, but I was able to find vanilla for a friend who couldn’t find any when she was shopping. That turned out well because when she was shopping today she found eggs for me, yay!

This might be the new way of shopping, see what you can find not only for you but your friends, and they will do the same, and everyone will swap items. I figure if we combine what the grocery store near me has, and what the grocery store near my friend has, we can almost always find the items we want. It is an odd system but it seems to be working for us so far.

Something I noticed in the store are people being much better at social distancing while inside. Whether it is because the aisles are one way only, or because there are only so many of us inside at a time, or we are all scared of being near someone and getting sick, there was a decent amount of space between people. If I needed something and a person was in the same area I’d stand back and wait until they moved on before I reached for what I wanted, and others did the same. It made me feel a bit rushed in having to pick items from the shelves but I’d rather be a bit rushed because I know someone is waiting their turn than have that person come up beside me.

We are all going to become this cat…

april 11 2020 c

Cats Are Gonna Cat

8 Apr

Today started with Striker meowing at me incessantly until I got out of bed. I thought he needed something, like food maybe, but what he actually wanted was to steal my bed.

He didn’t even pretend to look ashamed at his underhandedness.

Then at work I saw something amazing! The African Violet I repotted and I was sure hated me is showing signs of flowering. A miracle if ever there was one!

When I got home from work I had a card waiting for me, which actually means Striker got an envelope in the mail that he allowed me to have the contents of.

My day is bookended by the cat…seems about right!

A Salute

6 Apr

I caught the tail end of a salute from the firefighters for the essential workers getting us through this pandemic.

The RCMP send two cruisers past my work at 7pm and do the short siren sound, and the people in the neighbourhood come out and make a lot of noise.

Of course I had seen this mentioned online pretty much everywhere but until I heard it for myself I didn’t see why it was a big deal. I’ve experienced it twice now and it turns out it is a big deal. The people I see making the noise look so happy, you’d think they were cheering for their favourite sports team or celebrity, they are that excited.

For me, even though I don’t consider myself an important front line worker, not like a doctor or a nurse or a paramedic, I felt appreciated for the work I am doing, and it was nice.

So for those of you out there making the noise at 7pm, please keep it going, it matters. 🙂

How I Navigate

5 Apr

I was explaining to a friend at work this evening my route from work to my place and she couldn’t stop laughing. She says she wished she had recorded it because it was funny and should be shared.

Since we are all needing a bit of humour right now I thought I’d share it here, though I don’t see why it’s so funny. 🤷‍♀️

I exit the underground parkade and turn left, then I turn right and end up on whatever road that is. I drive straight for a while, pass the first chance to get on a highway, the road will eventually go down to one lane each direction, then there will be an intersection where if I turn left I go onto a smaller highway I can’t remember the number of or I turn right onto a street with a different name.

I turn left onto the highway. I quickly get up to 70km because there is a steep hill right away. Once I get to the top and start on my way down I have to be careful to not go too far over the speed limit because the cops like to hide along that road and give tickets.

I’ll pass a gas station on my left that has a Tim Horton’s in it. The speed will go up to 80km and just as you’re settling in you have to go down to 60km because you are nearing shops again. By the time you get to the busy intersection with the pharmacy on the left and the Husky with the cheapest gas on the right you’re down to 50km, which sucks.

Keep following the road, oh so slowly. On my right I’ll pass a bee sanctuary / honey shop, a curling rink, a community centre attached to the curling rink, and an outside skateboard park, then I’ll be back to large empty fields on either side of the road.

Once I’m back to empty fields the speed goes back up to 80km. I’ll want to get and maintain at least that because there is a large hill to get up. Top of the hill I need to immediately slow down because there is a busy intersection.

Go through the intersection and take the entrance on my right to get onto a large highway, it might be the 1? Maybe the 10? I’m not really sure.

Follow that for ages. It will branch off to the right multiple times, always keep to the left. Eventually I’ll be at exit 26, or maybe it’s 25? Either way, I know the street name, so get off at my exit, drive straight for a bit and turn left at the street past the little mini shopping centre that has the Subway.

Go through one roundabout, past the elementary school on my left, straight through another round about, take the third exit of the third roundabout, go up the hill, place is on the right, third building from corner.

And that is how I navigate.

Isn’t that how everyone does it? 🤔

A New Way To Shop

3 Apr

Even before the pandemic my preferred way to shop was online, though there were always some items that had to be bought in person. I found it irritating that not every single item I wanted to buy couldn’t easily be purchased online, and now here we are, buying most things online and it is some sort of treat to be able to go to a shop. Weird huh?

Cat food is one of those items I have to buy in a shop because Striker, my Cat Overlord, is incredibly food picky and will only eat one flavour, of one brand, that can only be bought at one specific store. Well, chain of stores technically.

At work yesterday I used part of my break to run across the street to Bosley’s so I could buy Striker his food since stores close early now and I can’t always get to them before closing if I go after work.

bosleys

Pre-pandemic pic. Before the front doors were covered with warning signs.

When I got there I read the sign on the door saying customers are not allowed in the aisles and that staff will assist them. Then I got inside and learned all the new rules of shopping in this era of social distancing.

I had to wait just inside the door while a staff member hollered out hello to me from the counter, as he put on gloves he asked me what I wanted. I described the cat food I needed and he went and hunted it down. While I waited I glanced around, all the aisles had caution tape strung in front of them as a visual reminder that customers are not allowed in the aisles. In fact, they were only allowing one customer at the till, and one by the door, anybody else would have to wait outside. They had two staff working so that big ‘ol store is allowing a max of 4 people in it at a time. Impressive.

When he found the cat food he said I could come near the till so I followed the tape markings on the floor and moved farther in to the shop. I told him the two other items I needed, I was picking up items for two people at work cause I’m a friendly sort, he went and grabbed those, I paid by tapping my payment card since they don’t accept cash, and was done.

The only things in there that I touched were the items I bought, talk about a stress free way to shop!  I think it saved me money because I like to wander the pet store and usually come away with a treat of some type for Striker but for my friend, who I bought litter for, it cost her a bit more than normal. See, she needed cat litter, she said to buy a small bag of whatever the cheapest brand was. That is exactly what I told the gentleman working. The bag he picked was rather large and when I asked him about it he said it was only fifty cents more than the size down and was such a better deal. I can’t exactly argue with his choice since I can’t see the options so I went with it.

I don’t mind this new way of shopping, I knew what I wanted, it was easy and relatively fast, and I don’t think I’ve ever had such dedicated service in a shop, but it feels odd to not be able to see all the options and choose for myself. We are so often inundated with too many options, now that I can’t see any of them I wonder what is hiding over on those shelves, in that aisle, that I am forbidden to enter…the curiosity is real!

apr 3 2020

 

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