Oh! Bye October? Hi November, Stay and Chat A While

Ouch.. my last post was saying bye to September and when I wasn’t looking October flew out the door too!

I miss you guys so I was happy when I found myself with no plans tonight. I’ve already put on a coat of nail polish, once it’s dry I plan on moisturizing my hair and putting it into chunky twists.

Fitness

I am on my third week of diet/exercise! I find my food choices have improved drastically. I miss chips but I find that allowing myself some yummies in small portions infrequently helps me from going absolutely crazy. My friend S and sometimes L have been at the gym like fiends. And we’ve reached the point where we get bummed out if we miss a day so we’re there quite often. Usually after work. It’s night-time dark by 5:30 PM here (thanks Daylight Savings…) so all I want to do when I get home is jump into my flannies (flannel jammies) and veg. Tonight I’m lucky enough to do that because I ran 10k on the treadmill this morning (ack!). Tomorrow I’ll be gyming in the evening.

Why am I hitting this again so hard? I tried on a couple of dresses I have and was just so done with looking the way I do. I don’t want to gym to get ‘skinny’. I may have said this before. I want to gym so that I can see positive changes in my body. I want to look and feel strong. I want to run easily and I want to be comfortable in the clothes I wear.

My biggest hurdle when working out is definitely my period. It’s not the early mornings or the last 2 kms on the treadmill. It’s feeling like a bag of crap and still putting on my gym wear and getting out there. It’s avoiding foods that make me feel cozy when my insides feel like they’re getting chiseled away at. So let me tell you it’s going to take everything in me to just buckle down and do it.

Life

My bf and I are planning a NYE not here. We’re going to kick it in the big city with a couple friends and enjoy some time off together that isn’t here. I’m really excited. It’s just what I need to look forward to. We’ve both got our time off approved and so we’re going to book hotels/flights this weekend.

Also! Between the two of us we have 3 (potentially 4) holiday work parties to attend. Mine are Friday and Saturday of the same weekend and it just so happens to be on a boat (holla)! To save ourselves from a drive home in what will be plenty of snow, we’ve got a hotel Saturday night and will just take the shuttle there. I’m so excited. It kind of gives me a boost to work out hard so I feel great that weekend.

Raffi has his winter tires on so I’m just waiting for the snow to creep lower down the mountain and eventually cover the town. I do love when it snows. Especially that first full snow. Everything is muted. Quiet. Still. And it looks gorgeous. I’ll have to make sure to capture my surroundings this winter.

It’s also been raining for literally, the past 4 weeks. A solid month of rain. We’ve had 3 rainfall warnings during that time. My new gumboots have definitely made themselves useful.

Rocco

Rocco has been behaving. He rocked a bomb twist out Sunday evening when my bf and his family came over for dinner. He’s so soooft! I’ve gotta moisturize him and put him up so he can stay that way. I also desperately need to order some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It’s a great product and keeps my hair moisturized, smelling great and feeling so soft.

Money

I need to do better at budgeting and sticking to it. I can put away a large amount of savings no problem. Then I give myself a little spending money. But then when my money runs out… I end up picking up my Mastercard… I never hold a balance on my card, but that means I have to get the money from somewhere (savings) to cover my purchases. Not the route I want to be taking. So I need to figure that out. But I decided to have an automatic transfer to my RRSP every paycheque so that’s one less thing to worry about. I just need to decide what sort of retirement portfolio I want to take part in… I also need to figure out what that really means, yknow?

I hope you’re all doing well and I can’t believe this year is wrapping up so quickly. It will be Christmas then New Years’ before we know it! I’m thankful for every day I get.

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My Money Goals

Now that I’ve achieved being consumer debt free I’ve adjusted my goals.

Saving

I’m fortunate to live at home, pay a minimal amount for rent and have access to vehicles. This has allowed me to commit 51% of my income to savings. As soon as I get my cheque, I transfer that money to my savings account and I forget about it. My plans are to buy a vehicle by the end of the year and because I’ve mapped out my savings I know I’m going to have a good amount of money to buy wheels. Earlier I was debating on whether that savings should also go to my student loans which would drastically cut down my loans. But I’ve seen the practicality of owning a car. Especially when my plan is to purchase used, and to pay for the whole thing up front. No financing or monthly payments, I want to drive that car off the lot and know I own it completely, preferably with a years insurance paid and winter tires all ready to go. After that I can reduce my savings amounts and increase my student loan payments.

Paying Down My Student Debt

Since beginning my job I’ve been able to pay my calculated student loan payment without a problem. Looking at the budget I decided to up my payments by 40%. So instead of paying $392 every month I’ve committed to putting $1000 on my loans every month. That’s 22% of my monthly income allowing me to shorten my pay period which means I’m paying less interest which is worth it.

The Other 26%

The rest of my cashflow goes to bills which basically includes my phone & rent. I no longer have a credit card ‘bill’ per se. Whenever I use my credit card I immediately transfer money from my debit to cover it. I mainly use my credit card for the AirMiles and since I only spend money on things I can afford I’m able to keep my balance at 0 and completely avoid interest charges.

One thing I need to sort out is my retirement savings plan. How much, where, how often? I need to get something going in that area sooner rather than later.

Some Other Things

I recently dropped $290 on new glasses which is so worth it. I picked them out and it was satisfying to pay for them in full. I’ve had my current glasses for a little over 7 years. My prescription has shown to be quite consistent over the years so I haven’t had a need to change my frames (and until now I haven’t had the money). So I’m quite excited to be able to change my look and update my glasses. I’ll make sure to add a pic of me with my new specs!

I have 2 trips planned this year. July I’m going to Haida Gwaii. My return trip ferry pass has been purchased, our campsite has been booked, we’re sitting pretty right now. I’m also planning to go to Toronto and visit some dear friends in October. I chose October because it’s a 3 paycheque month and I want to take advantage of not dipping into my planned savings/loan repayment. I’m excited because I’ll be able to pay for my return ticket with my vacation pay. And with the 3 paycheque month it doesn’t throw off my budgeting.

To be honest, I love budgeting, I like staying on track and watching my savings grow and watching my debt be reduced. I also like knowing I can take care of myself. Being independent is big for me. This is the first time in a long time I’ve been financially independent to the point where I do not have to choose between paying one bill vs another.

What’s the most difficult financial aspect right now? I can map out my savings and stick to it like a pro. It’s the buying of random stuff that gets me. I like my space uncluttered. I try not to purchase stuff that I won’t use or will eventually toss. But every once in a while a girl needs a new shade of Essie nail polish or a workout top yknow? I think it’s key to be aware of that. I don’t hold myself back from everything all the time but I try to be conscious of what I’m spending my money on because money is time and I spend enough of it at work, my money better be going to something fantastic.

What are my short term goals? To purchase a vehicle in full and pay down my student loans.

What are my long term goals? Completely pay off my student loans, have a good chunk of money in savings and to have a good retirement savings plan.

You turn!

What do you find most challenging about finances? 

What are some of your goals? Long or short term?

All that being said, cheers to smart finances and taking control of your money!

Cheers to smart money!

 

Work Work Work, Sleep, Run, Socialize, Sleep, Work

It’s 9:14 PM and I’m in bed. Satin cap on. Hair washed and twisted. Teeth brushed. Yep. Another day.

I started washing my hair a little late today but I had my hair in sections after shampooing and deep conditioning it and was tidying my room when my mom got home. We needed groceries and I needed lunch stuff so clearly I wouldn’t have time to do my hair. I released my hair from its sections and fluffed it out for a large puff. When I got home I was ready to get my hair set for the week. I liked the look of my big afro puff but I knew I was in for a treat. My hair had been detangled and set to dry in sections and now it was essentially a wash and go. I actually haven’t worn my hair loose and out in close to a year. It didn’t take too much longer, but since it was dry I steamed it so I could twist it long and stretch it. About an hour and a half later I was good to go.

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Fitness

My favourite topic right now! I convinced L to find a training plan on RunKeeper. She’s aiming for a 5k, which she demolished recently so will likely be upping that to a 10k. We were women on a mission this weekend. We had plans for a full Saturday it made for a fantastic day. First off, it was the first spring like day this year. I was in leggings and flats and L had a sundress and boots. I stayed over at her place Friday night. We watched a movie, gabbed and ate the yummy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches L made.

Saturday morning we were up at yoga at 9 am. After living here for 7 months I was finally able to actually go to a class with L and yknow? She loved it. We got a good stretch and were both laughing when we admitted our arms hurt the next day. After class we parted and I went for my 4.8 k trail run while she walked her dogs. We met up again for sushi lunch and then wandered and shopped for lip gloss and workout clothes. I got two 2 Nike workout T’s from Winners and a hat from SportChek. After our successful shopping trip we visited a local craft fair and L purchased a gorgeous handmade mug. (I really want to take a pottery class).

L and I are kicking ass at this training program. We plan to run a race in July together. We also made plans for a bike to the lake (about 20 kms one way) with a picnic lunch in two weeks. Ambitious? Quite. An adventure? Absolutely!

Today I did my 8 km long run. On a normal run, say 5k, my average time is about 5:30/km. I can see myself running a race pace of about 6:00/km. Mostly to keep myself from tiring out to quickly. 5:30 is on the border of comfort and pushing myself. 5:15 is pushing myself. I noticed in my long runs I usually average out about 5:45/6:00. I love that I can look back on previous runs with the RunKeeper app. I can actually average out my long run days and see where I’m at.

So far in this training program I’ve run 46.4 km/29 miles. Can’t complain about that. Although my hamstring are soooore. I need to make sure they’re well stretched and taken care of so I don’t injure myself. The rest of the month has me running 56.2 km/35. So for the month of April I will have run at least 102.6 km/64 miles.

Money

I’m pretty excited, I worked my full two weeks this pay term so I can expect a full paycheck. Now I’ll be able to accurately base my budgets on a full 100 hour two week work portion. I do need to watch my spending actively. Because I work so much and am never home/have the time to go out and do things during the week I manage to spend a big fat zero Mondays to Fridays. But then Saturday and Sunday roll around and I’m less $132.35. Ouch. What’d I spend that on? Slurpee/chips, yoga class, dinner, beer (went to a concert with my boy Satuday night. We’re supposed to be on a diet buuuuut… haha).

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During lunch with L I had an epiphany. I’ve been wanting a tattoo for about 5 years now and I’ve had the same idea these entire 5 years. It’s never changed but now… I have money! I can afford to get a tattoo. L’s getting her second one so we’re going to go together. I have some work to do researching artists around here and finalizing my tat. But I’m pretty jazzed! 🙂

 

My Words Are My Wings: My 250th Post!

I started this blog May 2012.

I’ve appreciated every comment, every like, every follow. At 150 followers (eeeee!!) I really enjoying putting something out there and I do my best to ensure what I’m placing on my blog has substance. My blog has evolved since my first posts and it has continued to grow and reflect my interests. I try to cover what’s important to me without being all over the map.

Natural hair was my first love and I still enjoy writing about Rocco, through trials, tribulations and success, I am still in love with my natural hair.

Fitness is also something I try and incorporate into my life and therefore my blog. I have been on both ends of the spectrum; slothful and sedentary and then insanely active. Both are easy when you’re into it. Not moving from the couch is so simple, yet getting up for a morning run can be equally as easy– once you’re into it. The hard part is the transition! Going from that couch to putting on those running shoes and hitting the road is brutal. I’m in that place now. But once you’re out there, tunes on, hair up, it’s a great feeling and your body thanks you. Biking and running, count me in.

Money stuff. Not so thrilling to chat about but it is part of every day of our lives. It influences our actions, decisions, and those decisions affect us. I want to be in control of my money and not at its mercy. That’s me.

Minimalism and simple living. I found myself diving into the world of minimalism, allowing the simple themes to influence my living. I removed a lot of stuff from my living space and felt a huge freedom in that action. I try and incorporate this simplistic ideal in other areas of my life and it has proven worthwhile.

Cooking. A little side addition, but I’ve shared some recipes that I’ve tried and liked. I plan to add more.

I also write the occasional poem and oftentimes I surprise myself.

So thank you for reading this blog. Whether you were there at the beginning or came across it recently, it’s great to know My Curly Potential has been enjoyed by others.

Ndeshimona

Packing… Again!

It’s happening again. Packing. That word gives me anxiety. I should be pro at it by now.

I think it’s going to be easier this time (in comparison to previous times as packing is never easy). But I am not moving house and home this time. I’m only taking a selection of items. The rest is going straight to the thrift store.

What am I taking? I have three tubs and three suitcases. A TV and my bike.

I wasn’t convinced about taking my TV but it’s fairly new and I don’t want to have to buy another one ever. Plus my TV is bigger than my parents, I have a 32″, so they may as well get an upgrade while I’m there.

  1. TV
  2. Bike
  3. Clothes
  4. Duvet
  5. DVDs (no way I’m leaving the full series of Will & Grace and the first 5 seasons of One Tree Hill.. my guilty pleasure)
  6. Wii + Games
  7. Wok + mini pot and mini pan
  8. Cutlery (I have a really great set and I don’t want to have to buy another set of cutlery when I move again)
  9. My bestie mug

Greyhound said they take 5 items at a time for shipping. So those will be my TV, bike, and three tubs.

I’m sad to leave my peanut plants. I plan to bequeath that to my 2 year old niece. As well as my bamboo plant by the name of Monkey Mango Peach and my pepper plant I got from Salt Spring Island. I can see little buds happening. Little flowers that will eventually be peppers! It’s just too exciting! I’ll also give my bro and his fiancee my bed. They’ve been looking for one so this is perfect.

A couple of themes emerge when packing. Deciding what to take or leave I often think ‘Well I might use this one day…’ that’s when I have to stop and ask myself ‘When’s the last time I used this? How many times have I moved and moved this with me because I thought I may use it?’ That often decides it.

My brother’s coming over this weekend to help me out which is great! He can have first dibs on stuff he wants before it goes to the thrift store. I’m debating whether to post my futon on Craigslist or just drop it off at thrift store… It would be nice to get something for it..

My Automatic Savings Program Is Pretty Awesome

I opened my ING TSFA (tax free savings account) May 21, 2013. About two weeks away from my 25th birthday, I was reading a blog about personal finance and I really liked the basics of this account. I needed to deposit at least $100 to get started so, I was challenged to do a little better and wrote myself a cheque for $105 (ha!). I mailed it the next day on my way to work.

A couple of days later my account was set up online. There was my $105 sitting happily alongside the $25 ING gave me for opening my account using a special code that I’d gotten from the blog. Don’t worry, I’ll hook you up.

I decided my best bet for saving would be to set up an Automatic Savings Program. Easiest. Thing. Ever. Minimum is $10 and you can go with daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. I decided I would commit $20 weekly to my savings plan. Every week ING takes $20 from my chequing account at my main bank and I get to see that sucker grow. Recently, I’ve upped that contribution to $25 so I am seeing $100 a month go into my little savings.

What’s good (I think) is that I can take money out of my savings account but it takes up to two business days. So I have time to assess whether or not I really need the money or whether I can make plans without it. For emergencies I have immediate cash with my credit card.

At the rate I’m going I will $1000 in that account by February 2014. How awesome is that?

Oh! And my orange key is: 40433020S1 Use this code when you open your account and we both get $25!

My Thrifty Shopping

I was in Vancouver this past weekend hanging out with a good friend of mine. We. Had. A. Blast! This is going down as one of my most memorable adventures with L. She’s on her last leg of schooling, she’s already got a fantastic job on the horizon and we knew a fun weekend was what we needed. It felt great to go out and socialize.

One great thing about L (among many) is she is my go-to thrift buddy. We both have the patience and humour that are optimal characteristics of a thrifter and we are honest in our opinions. I found three dresses and a shirt that I knew would be useful additions to my wardrobe. I didn’t purchase anything on a whim and I felt really good about what I took home.

I  mentioned to L earlier that I needed a spice rack. I’m sure she saw me looking at her magnetic spice racks with envy. Well, what did we happen upon in the thrift store? A magnetic spice rack! I was so happy when she found them and for $6! Perfect. Because they’re magnetic they can go on the fridge and I’m not losing any precious counter space. Just what I was looking for.

I’ve added photos of the dresses I purchased. I have to say I’m pretty jazzed at what I took home. Also, they were my only purchases on my weekend trip of ‘take home items’ otherwise it was food and drinks so my home remains uncluttered. I’m also kind of pleased I went with a ‘buy nothing new’ method. I just gave clothes a second life. You can find a lot of treasure at second hand stores. It is hit-or-miss but I think that’s the fun in it.

Other pics from my Vancouver visit!

Thrifting… do you love it or loathe it?