November 2015 Budget & Shopping Ban Update

December 1, 2015


Care to go on a trip down memory lane with me, friends? As I was working on this post, I remembered that the first budget I ever wrote was in November 2011. Sometimes I hate going back to old posts, because they remind me of different life stages I was in (some not always pleasant to revisit) and the writing was so bad. But the budgets… I love looking at old budgets! My very first one shows you how serious I was about paying off my debt, in the early days. In November 2011, I brought home approx. $2,775 and anticipated that I’d put $1,632 towards debt repayment – that was 59% of my income!

This month, I earned $4,590 through freelance client work, set aside $1,377 (30%) for taxes and another $1,029 (22%) for retirement; that’s not quite 59%, but it’s pretty close – and I’d never know this stuff, if I hadn’t documented it all here! As I said in my interview with Mark for his guest post on Rockstar Finance this week, I don’t share numbers so we can all compare them against one another – I do it to stay accountable and to track my progress. If you want to be able to analyze your numbers and find trends, I’d suggest you save copies of your budgets somewhere, too. :)

Now, to this month’s budget – the final one in my fourth year of doing this!

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Gratitude Lessons From a 3-Year-Old

November 25, 2015


This is my final guest post of the year, written by my good friend Kayla Albert. As my American friends head into Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic of gratitude – and Kayla would be the best person to do it. When you’re done reading, I’d love to hear one thing you’re grateful for this year. :)

“It’s time to pray,” she said, a full grin inching up the corners of her mouth, sticky fingers reaching out to grab the hands closest to her. From there, my 3-year-old niece would instruct each of us to close our eyes and listen.

I’m not entirely sure where or when she committed herself to the process of giving thanks, but considering her aversion to most foods and eating in general, it was the only reason she suddenly seemed to enjoy mealtime. We would allow her to take center stage with her list of thanks at the beginning of the meal, and she would eat her broccoli a little less begrudgingly than before.

It was never about religious tradition. She simply learned to say “thank you” and was gently prodded towards recognizing the things in life that made her happy, and she created a gratitude practice of her own.

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I’m Dreaming of a Minimalist Christmas + 15 Posts to Read Instead of Shopping This Week

November 23, 2015


I’ve been struggling to come up with a good idea for a post about how my thoughts on the holiday season have changed since I’ve embraced minimalism. Last year, my entire family adopted the idea of a “Minimalist Christmas” where we could only ask for a few things we really needed and couldn’t ask for more than $100 worth of stuff in total. I’m pleased to say it was a success, and we ended up having one of our best Christmases ever – all because it wasn’t centred around gifts.

This year, I imagine our Christmas will look fairly similar, but there are only 32 days to go and we’ve barely talked about what our plans are yet. For years, one of my holiday rituals was to finish all of my Christmas shopping before December 1st. I would start bugging my family for a list of what they wanted in October, compare sales prices, buy everything and usually even have it wrapped by the end of November. Now? I doubt I’ll have even started shopping by then…

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