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Tag Archives: 2012
What kind of spending blog would this be if I didn’t also review what I bought in 2012?
(Okay this is just for me and you voyeurs out there.)
(I didn’t start recording this stuff until February 2012, so there’s no January 2012 unfortunately.)
Let’s start with the books!
MOST NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2012
In an effort to read more, I am going to read at least one of my purchased books per month in 2013 and give a short “yay” or “nay” to read it or not.
Only these books stood out in my mind as I went through my library of what I’ve read in 2012.
Consistently awesome author for 2012: Malcolm Gladwell
Every Malcolm Gladwell book I read, I love. Learning about how I and others think, looking at how he puts the whole picture together is a real treat for me.
He has a real style and knack of writing (or a fabulous editor!), and I will pretty much buy anything he writes.
Malcolm Gladwell‘s other books:
- Outliers: The Story of Success
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
- Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
The most influential book for me for 2012
Took me 3 hours to read, and it was worth every penny I paid. I made a lot of bookmarks, and will be reading it again and again.
It is also an excellent book to help me CURB MY SHOPPING for 2013.
It kind of disgusts you as you read it when you think about all the marketing ploys and tricks being used and how it worked on you, but once you know the game, you can avoid all those pitfalls (presumably).
Most interesting twist on a classic character (kind of like fan fiction!)
I LOVE detective stories, shows, and crime-anything, so it goes without saying that BBC’s Sherlock TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch, the new Elementary TV series with Lucy Liu… and basically anything to do with Sherlock Holmes as a character grabs my attention.
This book was written in the style of Sir Conan Doyle by the author Anthony Horowitz, and is a “new” book in the series of Sherlock Holmes, and it pays homage to both the original author and the character quite nicely.
Most insufferably long book, and yet also my proudest book accomplishment
For $1.99, how can you say no? On my iPad on the Kindle app, this book was no less than 45,835 page turns.
Let that sink in… 45,835 PAGES to read. It took me about a month and a half, because I couldn’t read about his philandering for more than 50 pages at any given time.
Overall, it was still interesting to read because I am a bit of a history buff, and I especially like reading about how people acted in those days, what the customs were, and all their rules for living.
I was rather annoyed a few times with Casanova as a PF blogger because he was just so bloody wasteful with his money, spending it on seducing women left and right even up until a past-expiration date.
(That said, women didn’t have much choice but to offer in those days other than their beauty, body and virginity to get any kind of money to survive, so in a way, he was doing them a favour to help them survive.)
The man met almost all the heads of Europe at the time, hung out with all of these rich and high-society folk, was generous to a fault, and didn’t seem to work very much. I can’t even figure out what his job was, other than ‘traveling playboy’.
Would I read it again? No. Dear god NO.
Do I regret that I read it? No. I learned a lot and had a better feel for how things were back then.
On to what I bought!
All of the following was tracked on a daily basis for the entire year of 2012 with my budgeting and expense tracking tool.
When I finish a year, I prepare for the new one, and copy the old values over so I keep building a nice archive of all my expenses. I especially like seeing my history dating back from 2006. I wish I had started this sooner!
On to the numbers!
(You can click on any image to biggify.)
2012 INCOME = $130,210.69 for 10 actual weeks worked
I made more as a gross income, but as I’ve prepaid my income taxes, that’s pretty much my net income not counting any taxes that might arise from my investments (dividends for instance).
I’m rather surprised at this number, because I always had it fixed in my head that I didn’t work much…then I realized it was because I was thinking of actual HOURS I worked (you know, 40 a week?)
See, I only worked 10 actual weeks this year, which is why I felt unusually (usually?) lazy this year, because it was only 400 hours of brain power spent, versus the 2000 in a typical full-time job for a year.
If we average that, I made about $13,000 a week for actual weeks worked although $45,000 of that was not related to actual hours of work in 2012, so if we take that out of the equation, I made about $8500 a week in 2012 for actual weeks worked.
2012 EXPENSES = $52,043 or about 39.97%
I spent $52,043 which does not include savings or charitable donations. I took those out as “expenses” because they’re not actual lifestyle expenses.
I had a pretty eventful year if I say so myself.
I went for about 4 weeks to Hong Kong and Macau for ~$3000.
I moved to New York City about a block from Times Square, and a few blocks from Central Park for most of this year.
I am not too upset about this being over my projected “ideal household budget” which is in the $30,000 – $40,000 range because I spent a lot of money moving from one country to another, about $15,000 at a minimum by my estimates.
Note: Around $15,000 were all put into categories like “Rent“, “Transportation“, “Travel“, “Fees“, etc, because I didn’t make a separate Moving category..
Also, I let myself be a little too liberal with the Wardrobe spending this year especially near the end, with spending in December 2012 because of all the deals, the sales and discovering Ebates Canada, but I’ve mentally re-adjusted myself.
I am going to clamp down on this in another way for 2013, rather than trying my stale old methods of banning or restricting myself which never work.
(Funny how a fresh fiscal year will make you say all these wonderful things and feel like you mean it!)
2012 SAVINGS = $62,167.69 savings or 47.74%
I saved a solid amount this year, considering I didn’t work much and felt like the whole year was a vacation….. which it kind of was, if I’m being honest.
I don’t think that’s too shabby for net savings, even though my net worth begs to differ (glad the market jumped a little, however!).
I have also recently completed the rest of my donations to various charities this year which will help offset any investment taxes. So that has lowered my net worth as well, but in a good fuzzy way.
2012 END OF YEAR NET WORTH = $200,145.63
I prefer looking at net worth to see how I did, over actual dollar amount savings, because even though I save money, I am more interested if that savings stuck and my net worth increased or not.
Otherwise, I can say that I saved a ton of money, but if my net worth didn’t go up, it isn’t good enough for me. It means that I am not putting my money to grow in the right places if I am always saving a lot, but not getting ahead.
My net worth stands at: $200,145.63 for the end of 2012.
Here are the past 12 months of only looking at 2012 from January to December.
COMPARING FROM 2011 TO 2012
To know whether or not I’ve done well this year by my standards (versus last year), I always ask myself 3 major things as a personal benchmark:
Did I save at least 25% of my income?
Did I save at least $36,000 this year?
Has my net worth gone up this year? By how much?
As long as I am going in the right direction (up!) by at least $36,000 net a year (the minimum reasonable amount calculated at $3000 saved per month), I have at least met my goals.
Then it’s a question of meeting my other secret goals, like saving 50% of my net income and trying to stay within $30,000 – $40,000 for life spending.
I should try much harder for 2013 and I have a plan to do just that.
What’s that you say?
I could have actually made my $40,000 net expenses goal, and I could been more in the black if I had just not bought any clothes or wardrobe-related things this year to the tune of about $9000?
Yeah you’re right… but be quiet you.
I’m not a miser.
There’s nothing wrong with a little shopping, especially having met my goals. I’m mildly disappointed but not angry at it, and I wouldn’t return anything I bought that I haven’t already.
No point in not wanting to live for the sake of reaching some mythical $1M savings goal before I even want to retire.
2011-2012 YEAR FOR MY NET WORTH CHANGE
Increase +$44,928.58 or a +29% increase
I started at $155,217.05 at the end of December 2011, and I finished at $200,145.63.
I saved $62,167.69, but my net worth only went up $45,000 or so due to the following:
- charitable donations
- investments going south then going north, then going south
- investments held in USD, waiting for a rise, which is making me very frustrated
These are all numbers that look just about right to me.
Almost all of my funds are currently a BIT below market value, and on top of that, the bulk of my assets are held in USD, so it doesn’t look so hot at the moment.
As for the currency exchange: I don’t want to convert my balance of USD to CAD and lose money, quite yet.
I’m holding out and hoping for 2013 and I will make a call either in June on what to do. I mean, c’mon! The rate is currently 0.97 CAD to 1.00 USD? I can’t stomach that loss.
If the stock market does better in 2013, it’d be great, but I’ll just focus on net savings and staying in one country.
2011-2012 MONTHLY BUDGETING EXPENSES AVERAGED OUT
That looks about right, all things considered.
Everything went up except for:
- Groceries — went down by $472.51 (surprisingly!)
- Grooming/Spa — went down by $72.66
- Electronics — went down by $1686.96 (didn’t buy a new laptop this year)
- Books & Gifts — went down by $2363.49 (didn’t buy my parents expensive gifts)
- Entertainment — went down by $294.40 (was absorbed into other areas like Eating Out)
- Website — went down by $108.50
Rent really went up because I stayed in hotels when I moved, and paid 100% of it, rather than sharing the cost (50%) with BF.
Groceries – I’m kind of surprised Groceries went DOWN this year, by about $472, we’re buying smarter I think, and it helps rather than just eating mindlessly.
Cellphone went up because I got a smartphone (iPhone 4) and then I got rid of my smartphone because I saw no value in it. My cellphone bill will be about $13 a month going forward (my half of the bill).
Car/Gas went up because when I moved, I had to rent cars to get around (no one can really walk in the U.S., as everything is so far apart) and that was not cheap.
Household was nasty this year, moving to another country and back. We re-bought all the stuff for the kitchen, but then the Boxing Day sales hit in December for Boxing Day… yadda yadda. Laundry also got lumped into this category.
Toiletries/Makeup will not be this high next year. I have most of my stock for 2013 bought during sale days, and I don’t need anything else. I have all of my favourite beauty items for 2012 which I will continue to use for 2013. No more experimenting!!!!
Eating Out still looks reasonable to me, but I should probably scale back.
Wardrobe/Jewellery is still not reasonable, but I have a new way to stay in line rather than overspending.
Electronics is an area I’m quite proud of. I didn’t buy much this year because I have everything I need! I’m eying the Kobo Glo, but I don’t want to pay too much for it. I’m willing to wait, to get it at a good price.
Books/Gifts stayed nice and low because I’ve been using Swagbucks to get them for free, and I didn’t buy my parents any fancy $1000-gifts this year.
Entertainment is now a defunct category that I am removing for 2013. My entertainment is eating, traveling or buying cute things. I don’t go to the movies, or do “entertainment” (vague) things.
Travel & Accessories stands to reason to be lower than last year. I took off most of last year to travel around Europe, Asia and the U.S., and I only went to NYC and Hong Kong and Macau this year for a month. Next year, I want to go back to France, and visit other regions of France.
Website – it costs money to maintain a blog, which I am hoping will be covered by Google Adsense for 2013. Still, it is a very low amount for a time-consuming hobby, which is exactly what blogging is to me.
Work/Office – Buying office supplies, mailing things, or anything related to WORK as an expense got thrown in here.
Miscellaneous — Stuff that crops up. Legal bills are here, as are bank fees (currency exchange or wire fees for instance). I’m creating a new category for this.
2011 VERSUS 2012 CHART
NET WORTH TO DATE
MY NET WORTH SINCE NOVEMBER 2006
Hey, as long as the trajectory goes up, I’m happy.
So pretty, even with all the bumps.
I am hoping to have a nice big spike in 2013 from working (more).
MY 2012 MONEY GOAL = Stay @ $200K net worth
It was originally to save $250,000, and then a lot of changes happened, and at the end of the year, I just wanted to stay above $200,000 for my net worth.. WHICH I ACCOMPLISHED!
I ACCOMPLISHED IT!
(Yes, I had to dig through my purses for each country and count money like Euros and my emergency $20 bills, but I MADE IT!!!!)
REVIEW OF BLOG FOR 2012
I started this blog literally in the first days of January 2012 after I decided that I missed it too much, but I needed to be more realistic by scaling back on my expectations and to just relax about it.
It’ll now be permanent, I promise.
As I am sure you certainly find this as boring as I do, I will spare you the pain and just do a blog update once a year for the sake of my records.
BLOG INCOME FOR 2012
I started Google Adsense literally on November 1st 2012, and it’s my only real steady blog income which I keep and use to cover the cost of the blog (web hosting, domain name registration), and gives me a little back for the time I put into it (even though it’s really a hobby…!)
November 2012 Blog Earnings: $317.10
- Google Adsense Earnings: $17.10 with 17,095 page views
- Sponsored Link: $300 (one-time)
December 2012 Blog Earnings: $70.07
- Google Adsense Earnings: $70.07 with 21,848 page views (WOO HOO!)
It almost covered this year’s website costs.
I hope next year will be more fruitful.
RSS FEED SUBSCRIBERS = Went from 0 to 244
Started the blog around the early days of January with 0 RSS Feed subscribers.
Ended 2012 with 244 RSS Feed subscribers.
TWITTER FOLLOWERS = Went from 0 to 253
Started the blog with 0 Twitter followers.
Ended 2012 with 253 followers.
Thank you again!
MY 5 BEST POSTS OF 2012
- What should my net worth be?
- How much money should you have saved for retirement so far?
- Almost Rich: Earning $160,000 – $200,000 a year and barely making it
- How do fashion bloggers afford all their spending?
- Are single women too successful to find love?
MY 5 TOP REFERRERS OF 2012
- The Star (because of David Graham’s: Meet Generation M – Minimalists Article)
- Fabulously Fru-Girl
- Financial Uproar
- Shopping Detox
- The Asian Pear
MY 5 TOP SEARCH TERMS OF 2012
- household budget spending ideal = 828
- monet water lilies = 697
- mochi and macarons = 438
- the budgeting tool = 319
- shopping = 244
Budget + Shop + Eat.
Yep, that sounds like it describes my blog perfectly.
NOTABLE 2012 BLOG FEATURE:
- Meet Generation M — minimalists trying to live better by cutting clutter, consumption (David Graham, The Star, December 4th 2012)
MY NEW 2013 TRICK TO SPEND LESS ON CLOTHES
I’d like to do the same things as 2011 and 2012, and I always re-iterate that I should change:
- Stop spending so much money on clothes, toiletries and makeup
- Work more than 2 months of a year..
- Save more money to reach a higher net worth
- Bla bla bla….
In reality, I do want to do those things (the working and saving is a given)…. but as I don’t spend in other big-ticket areas (like having a car, furniture or a home), I feel like clothing is something I should allow myself, and to set a more REALISTIC-for-me budget in that area and/or change those stale limitations.
I don’t want to keep setting the same old stale goals that I keep breaking every year.
It just isn’t working for me.
I have gotten rid of so much stuff that didn’t add value or look great in my wardrobe, that it started to look a little bare so I’ve been carefully replacing items with higher-quality things that are cut better and flatter more…. but also cost more (as evidenced by last month’s December 2012 Shopping Spree).
I’ve noticed that I have been thrifting a lot more, and enjoying the hunt, so my changes for 2012 will be:
- Do more thrifting/consignment shopping than new retail shopping – at least 50% of my purchases?
- 100% avoid being tempted by cheap stores like Zara, H&M, Mango, Forever 21 and so on (easy..)
- Being pickier — I’m getting so much better at this!
- Total, and utter ban on new makeup purchases — I really have every beauty/toiletry thing I need
- Only allowed to buy refills
The above will make more of a difference in my budget than putting a ban or a vague “stop spending..” limitations on myself.
Have to get creative if I want to embrace and internalize the change!
OVERALL SUMMARY OF 2012
Overall, I think I did better-than-I-had-expected this year.
- Made $130,210.69 net (taxes prepaid already) for 2012, working 10 weeks this year
- Saved $62,167.69 net or 47.74% of my income
- Spent $52,043 (lifestyle only; net of prepaid taxes and savings), or 39.97% of my income
- Net worth went up $44,928.58 or 29% from 2011
- Met my 2012 goal of staying above $200,000 net worth
- Met my general money goal of saving a minimum of $36,000 a year
- Met my general money goal of saving at least 25% of my income
Could I have done better?
Well, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped but I know exactly why and where I didn’t push myself to save more, and 2013 will not be a repeat of this (it’ll be better).
Luckily the financial start to my year was great and it cushioned all the things I had to pay for.
I did all right for myself.
Not fantastic, but all right.
LOOKING TOWARDS 2013
MUST-READ BLOG TO START THE NEW YEAR: GREY CAVALIER
I have sort of a soft spot for seniors, especially really kind, subsitute-for-Grandpa-or-Grandma types. You just can’t refuse them anything, they’re so adorable and full of interesting tidbits!
I love that they remind me to take life less seriously (it isn’t a race to the end), to enjoy it, and have lots of rich, full experiences.
So I was especially pleased to find this blog: Grey Cavalier (quite aptly named), written by George White, a 92-year old man who just lost his wife Mima of 67 years. (Okay, so I teared up…)
He started the blog to feel better at the end of it by sharing how the world looks through his eyes.
Photo via Grey Cavalier
“I intend to make the best of things, try to forget my pains (at least for a while), and visit some of the lovely scenery and mountains in that country [Switzerland]. I’ve seen many photographs, now that I received my first ever passport a few weeks ago I can now experience it for myself.
I would like to share my adventures with you, and at the end of it I hope to feel a lot better. I hope you enjoy what follows.”
I don’t know if I ever recounted this, but I met a lovely French couple (seniors) from Burgundy, and they were so full of stories and life, after 15 minutes, I almost invited them to visit us in Canada.
I’ve considered volunteering for those retirement homes where you go and chat with them on a regular basis, and I may do that in 2013 if I can find a place to settle down and stay for more than a few months.
2013 PERSONAL GOALS
- Avoid buying so much plastic — or at least, if I buy it, be able to recycle it in the Blue Bin
- Avoid buying things Made in China — the plastic fumes make me nauseous & the quality is low
- Read more books, or rather, read ALL the books I’ve been getting for free with Swagbucks money
2013 MONEY GOALS
- Reach at least $250,000 in my net worth by the end of 2013
- Spend no more than $30,000 net on living expenses this year (including travel) — budget coming up!
- Do freelancing for some side income of at least $300 a month on average (separate from my career)
2013 CAREER GOALS
- Work more than 10 weeks in 2013 — har har…
- Continue learning French — the worst for me are all the le and la ‘s in front of words… GAH!
- Think about getting a very expensive certification that may be helpful (have to do the ROI on this)
I hate doing too many goals I’ll never reach, but these are things I’d like to get done this year or at least think more about as I go about 2013.
Only a few are concrete and measurable like the money ones.
That does it for my 2012 year in review! I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you had a fruitful 2012 as well.
THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT!
This aptly named “Time to Prioritize” shirt pretty much says everything about my life post-college so far:
INCOME = $492.11
Not a pathetic $0!!!!! Hahaha. Okay, I know. I have to work in 2013, but I need contracts first.
- $17.10 — November 2012 Google Adsense Income (sorry, I didn’t even realize I made any money)
- $70.01 — December 2012 Google Adsense Income (whoa… that escalated quickly! )
- $300 — Did 3 hours of freelancing on the side
- $105 — Sold a few things
EXPENSES = $5058.67 (Eeep!)
- I spent a lot. A lot.
- Savers will have to avert their eyes when I post what I bought this month.
PIE CHART FOR THE EXPENSES
TOP 5 CATEGORIES OF SPENDING
NET WORTH = $200,145.63 or a -($3206.63) decrease or a -1.58% drop
I MADE IT!
I MADE MY 2012 NET WORTH GOAL TO TREAD ABOVE $200,000 WATER FOR MY NET WORTH!
Of course, this would have been better if I didn’t shop so much, but you say tomayto, I say tomahto…
My investing however, not so hot because this market is making me #$*&!#&@$^@$.
Overall the year has been decent.
My net worth went up and I met all my minimum goals, so that’s what matters.
NET WORTH FROM THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Taxes. Finding a contract. Taxes.
That about sums it up.
Hope you had a great December.
I think it’s safe to say I don’t need to try any more products. I have everything for makeup and skin now.
My skin has never been smoother, softer, and more even-toned in my life. Diet had a big thing to do with it too!
I’d only like to change my makeup wipes to something more eco-friendly, Josie Maran or Korres maybe?
CLEANSERS & EXFOLIANTS & MOISTURIZERS FOR SOFTER, SMOOTHER SKIN
- Korres White Tea Fluid Cleansing Gel - On my 4th bottle now!
- Clarisonic Mia Brush – Best purchase ever, my skin is smooth & exfoliated
- Dr. Dennis Grossman Extra Strength Alpha Hydroxy Wipes – Use once bi-weekly & LOVE IT
- DDF Ultra-Lite Moisturizing Dew - Super light, used as a base moisturizer year-round
- 100% Argan Oil – I like using a bit of this on my hair, and also on my face once in a while
- Yu-Be Cream – This is THE BEST for eczema, no silicones, petroleums; Used on body AND face
- Kirkland (Cost-Co) Makeup Wipes – Also the best makeup wipes but I’m looking for eco-friendly
SPF CREAMS SO YOU DON’T GET WRINKLES & LEATHERY SKIN
- Skinceuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50 – You will not burn; No white cast; I use it alone sometimes
- Suhadafit Skin Milk SPF 50 – Absolutely ZERO white cast; Super light; Fruity & Great in summer
MAKEUP FOR THE EYES
Annabelle is a Canadian brand, so you won’t find it in the U.S.
- Annabelle Eyeshadow Pots (Gleam = Gold) – Perfect for work, not too shimmery or matte
- Urban Decay Naked Eyeshadow Palette – Bestselling neutral shades of all time for work and play
- Urban Decay Liquid Eyeliner – I like their deep dark navy blue Sabbath, a bit too wet sometimes
- Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Eyeliners – They stay on and last all day
- Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner – Found in Asia, it draws the thinnest lines & is easy to use
- Annabelle Smoothliner Pencil Eyeliner - Their Brownie (Brown) colour is my favourite, super smooth
- Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara – Still one of the best drugstore mascaras I’ve ever used
- Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara – Got this as a sample, and I liked the really fat brush
MAKEUP FOR THE FACE AND CHEEKS
- Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed – Longwearing, smooth & super easy to apply in layers
- Makeup Forever HD Microfinish Powder – Best powder to set & banish shine; AWFUL for cameras
- Annabelle Haute Zebra Bronzing Powder – Light gold shimmer, sometimes I use this as a blush
- Time Balm TheBalm Concealer – Still one of the best creamy concealers I’ve ever purchased
- AmazingConcealer Concealer – This one is a lot thicker & more opaque than Time Balm
- Kate Kanebo BB SPF30 – Found only in Asia; Was a fan of Smashbox but this goes on better
- Fresh Sugar SPF 15 Lip Balm – Smells great, SPF 15, and moisturizes well
- Maybelline Baby Lips – Hate the name, but it moisturizes really well with a slight colour tint
Sonia Kashuk is only in Target, mostly in the U.S., but it’s coming to Canada!!
- Sonia Kashuk @ Target Makeup Brushes — Amazing and a great quality for the price
- Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler – Can’t beat it. Bought a Koji No. 70 in Asia, but wasn’t the same
- Tweezerman Tweezers – Slanted tweezers are expensive, but they do the job easily
- Urban Decay Eyeliner Sharpener – Does the job, doesn’t complain!
- 100% Argan Oil - I rub it on the ends sometimes or to smooth down my hair
- Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Oil Shampoo/Conditioner – Killed my dandruff, leaves my hair super soft
- Bulgarian Lavender Oil – Essential Goodies – I don’t really like perfumes, essential oils are my thing
What are some of your favourite things?
I call this the month of Winterizing.
I bought stuff for the long, cold Canadian winters ahead, which kind of look like this….
CANADIAN POLICE CAR CHASE
Also, has everyone met my new pet baby seal, Fluffypants??
She only knows one trick right now, but I’m working on teaching her more.
But isn’t she just ADORBS!? SOOOOO fluffy!!!
On to what I bought.
!!! FREE !!! E-BOOKS FROM AMAZON VIA SWAGBUCKS
I forgot to mention this in my previous roundups, but I’ve been buying e-books on Amazon with giftcards I’ve been earning via Swagbucks so far:
- You are what you wear: What your clothes reveal about you
- Millionaire Teacher
- Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are
- The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t
- The Hunger Games Trilogy
- The Complete Memoirs of Casanova (Unexpurgated Edition)
- I’ve Got Your Number: A Novel
- Eyewitness Travel Guides: French Visual Phrase Book
- Le Petit Prince: la meilleure vente de l’histoire des enfants (illustré)
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
- The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal about Human Nature
- The Boxcar Children Mysteries Box Set: Books One Through Twelve
- Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You
- Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)
- Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
Also, I ran the numbers, and getting $5 Amazon gift cards works out to be a better deal than spending all my points and getting $50, so that’s what I’ve been slowly doing.
I highly recommend it especially if you live in the U.S., and can buy STUFF online too.
MINI TOOTH BRUSHES
There’s a little secret that I’m actually quite obsessed with dental health.
Not with the whole getting your teeth as white as a porcelain toilet bowl, but more with actual dental HEALTH.
I brush, I floss, I try things to try and keep my teeth and gums healthy, because I read somewhere that it all starts in the mouth.
You can prevent a lot of diseases and problems, if you just take care of your teeth.
So I was super pleased when BF found these mini tooth brushes (literally), and you can use to clean in between you teeth in addition to flossing.
You’d be surprised what floss CAN’T bring out of your teeth sometimes, and these little brush things are incredible, or maybe you can use them in place of flossing (although it won’t fit into some super tight spaces).
I really like them. I just wish they weren’t plastic.
The white things are the caps…
THRIFTED ANTHROPOLOGIE EVA FRANCO ORAYA DRESS — $65
It looks brighter in person, less dark and drab.
More like this!
I had no clue this was an Anthropologie dress. It originally retailed for $188 USD, which means in Canada it would have been $228 CAD or more.
I got it for $65!
The print looks like this up close in some areas:
It didn’t fit perfectly in the back, but that lovely proprietress of Kensington Market’s Kali Maa SEWED IT FOR ME.
She seriously did the tailoring for me in half an hour, FOR FREE so that I would consider buying the dress for $65. Otherwise I would have left it, because tailoring would have cost $65 in and of itself.
All I knew was I liked the print on it (someone described it as fabric on acid), which turned out to be some trippy desert cacti print with an overlay of cartoon-y dots.
I am not entirely in love with the bright orange sash (the colour jars me a little), but I figure if it really bothers me, I’ll just wrap it around myself, and put another belt over it.
Maybe a dark red, or a leather obi belt, which I incidentally did NOT have in my belt wardrobe, and ended up purchasing!
THRIFTED CASHMERE SWEATERS — $30-$40 each — $100 total
Some of you are very grossed out by wearing secondhand items, but I’m not.
I wash everything before I wear it, and I even throw a little tea tree oil in there for a bit of disinfectant.
IVORY SUTTON STUDIO SHAWL CASHMERE SWEATER — $30
It’s from Bloomingdale’s (it’s one of their brands), but it is so soft and cuddly… fabulous.
It looks like this:
RALPH LAUREN CASHMERE T-SHIRT SWEATER — $30
It’s a t-shirt rather than a long-sleeve sweater. Feels great! It looks kind of like this:
NEIMAN MARCUS CASHMERE SWEATER (GREY) — $40
It was a larger-sized men’s sweater that I think was accidentally shrunk in the wash which is why the tag said 2X (as in XL times 2), but the cuffs were tighter so it fit better and doesn’t feel too loose and floppy like it’s too big for me (as it did with the other men’s sweaters).
Looks sort of like this but in a darker heather grey..
MINI POST: WHY I BUY CASHMERE SECONDHAND @ COURAGE MY LOVE
What I can see, is that if I were to buy that cashmere sweater (a nice one), at retail in a store, it would cost me about $300 – $800.
$300, is if you buy it from J. Crew, where the cashmere is just a teeny bit itchy because it isn’t the super best quality of cashmere no matter what they say, and $500 – $800 is if you buy it from The Cashmere Shop in Yorkville, where they make all the goods by hand with the finest cashmere from Mongolia (no goats are harmed, just their nice soft, warm coat is taken each summer).
….but I am NOT willing to pay those prices quite yet.
I can pay $200 MAX at retail it for a cashmere shawl or $150 retail for a scarf from White + Warren who makes incredible cashmere pieces, but that’s my limit.
(Even White & Warren sweaters are a teeny bit itchy because they don’t seem to use the same cashmere in their sweaters as they do in their shawls and scarves, or they don’t do them as nicely. I don’t know what it is.)
So I buy cashmere secondhand for $30 – $40 per sweater from Kensington Market at Courage My Love, I wash it once before I wear it, and check it before I wash it again to get that slight incense/sandalwood smell out of the clothes.
Labels don’t matter much to me.
What I care about is thickness (ply), softness and how NOT itchy it is.
It should never feel coarse (sometimes manufacturers mix camel hair in there), and the hair should not come off in your hand like crazy.
It should always feel like I’m cuddling with 48 puppies minus the allergies when I put on a cashmere sweater on bare skin.
These cute little furry guys snuggling with you x 12 = how a cashmere sweater should feel on your skin
I go through each sweater with a fine tooth comb to check for stains, flaws, pilling and other things I don’t want to even waste $30 on (there’s always another cashmere sweater around the corner).
Sometimes I find a great cashmere sweater, and sometimes I don’t.
I just keep checking back regularly. So far I like Lord & Taylor, Ralph Lauren and Sutton Studio as cashmere brands.
UGG TALL ADIRONDACK OTTER BOOTS — $361 — RETURNED
It ended up being $361 taxes included, after a 30% Friends & Family discount from SoftMoc.
I figure I have 75 days to think about them without wearing them, so I went to Montreal to see what other boots they have available to BE SURE they’re what I want.
I went all around Montreal, looking at boots, touching everything, but nothing came close to the soft, furry, loveliness that is an UGG specialty.
Sold. I also really like the Vibram sole, it’s super durable and tough, which is great!
UPDATE: I basically returned them, and I am now $361+ into the black.
- They were really comfortable and I liked how sturdy and light they felt
- They’re nice and high, with a great sole….. But then:
- It looks like another warm winter this year, I can get by without warm boots I think
- It took me 5-10 minutes to get in and out of the boots, and I AM NOT a patient person
- I was thoroughly, 100% ANNOYED with SoftMoc Canada’s customer service on all fronts
- So annoyed, I didn’t want to keep them 25% because of my experience with themCHA-CHING! $361 back in my pocket.
RUDSAK RED LEATHER OBI BELT — $50
I need a red leather belt. I don’t have one in the perfect deep red (not too dark, not too orange), and when I saw this, it reminded me of the perfect red of my Samsara vegan leather bag.
It looks like this.. sorta.
They don’t have any pictures online (WTF), but here’s a similar one by a seller on Etsy by larimeloom, which is not made of leather.
TRIED A FEW NEW DAVID TEA’S TEAS — $6
I’m glad I didn’t buy any more than some samples.
I tried these three new teas:
- Vanilla Orchid Oolong — It was nice, and the best of all the three teas, but too subtle for me
- Organic Banana Dream Pie — Their Banana Nut Bread is far better than this tea
- Cookie Dough — This one was the worst and tasted nothing like cookie dough for me
Lastly, some macarons.
Okay, A LOT OF macarons at La Maison du Macaron. About 48. I ate them all and they were yummers.
Each is about half price (around $1.33 each) versus Laduree ($2.65 each), and tastes decent enough.
Apparently low blood pressure was the only cause of my health problems this month (nausea, dizziness, fatigue), and otherwise I am in tip top, perfect shape.
Got my free checkup and free blood test (thank you universal Canadian healthcare!), and a Post-It prescription from my doc to take omega-3 pills and folic acid.
Will be back to see him for another blood test in 3 months.
I also went in to see a massage therapist for my slightly pinched nerve who told me to heat my right shoulder and side, because it’s stiffening and could use something to help the muscles loosen.
She told me to heat pack it and stretch that side more during yoga (cheaper than weekly massages).
NOT WINTERIZING ANY MORE
I just realized that the less I work, the cheaper I become with my expenses.
There’s no need for me to do this because I am beyond financially comfortable for my age, but I’ve noticed a pattern in myself: every time I stop working for more than 2-3 months, my mind starts ticking and slowing down on the spending.
BRING IT ON GRANDPA WINTER!!!!!!
I get cheaper, I don’t want to buy or pay for anything that is not absolutely 100% amazing or tasty, and I don’t even want to hear the word “vacation” come out of BF’s mouth.
It’s kind of awesome in a ridiculous way.
Even for 2012, I wanted to buy:
- a hat ($200)
- boots ($400)
- gloves ($200)
- a super warm coat ($700) for -35 Celsius degrees days
But I’ve decided against all that.
I went from giving myself a budget of $1500 for everything in total to $100 because I’m still considering a non-cloth/fabric hat of some kind, and I want to replace the insoles on my old winter boots to sexy Birkenstock ones.
(Note: The big fat budget is because I like to buy things once and not buy them any more.)
- Boots: Returned UGG boots because of price; Will keep old ones & wear 2 layers of socks
- Gloves: On hold for now and will just put my hands in my pockets all winter if I get cold
- Coat: Keep my old coat, wear THREE layers of cashmere and deal with it
Purse & Bank Account = Happier.
FEELING THE BURN OF CASH?
Our insula (associated with pain) is activated by prices that seem too high.
…and she also notes that if you spend in CASH rather than on credit, you don’t feel any pain, hence why if you want to find money to save, you have to buy everything in cash so you’re in pain every time you fork over a penny.
That doesn’t seem to apply to me. (See above: Not Winterizing Any More)
I buy everything on my credit card, but I still feel the pain when I see the receipt and the amount, because I treat my credit card like a cash card.
INCOME = $729.95
Surprisingly (or not), I made a little bit of money this month!!!
- Advertising: $300 (1 advertiser, one-off deal)
- Consigning/Selling stuff: $429.95 (still have some stuff out on consignment)
It doesn’t cover my expenses by a long shot, but at least it wasn’t a pathetic $0 this month.
I also can’t really call consigning/selling stuff “income” as it is really lost income in the form of a previous frivolous expense, but it does make my wallet feel better.
Note: I can’t realistically make any money until 2013, as there are no contracts because most of the company budgets have been used up, and they have no money left for freelancers.
Nice excuse right?
Too bad it’s true. *sigh*
EXPENSES = $3000.16
Almost right on the nose..
Aside from rent, I was partly in Hong Kong for this month, so I put my Hong Kong spending here, which inflates it slightly by about $264.81.
We also went for a little Montreal jaunt to tie up loose ends (I owed $11 from my driver’s license payment, what’s up with that!?), got my license changed to QC, and picked up macarons, which ended up costing me about $400 for the whole time there.
I also paid a few $*#&#*@ bank fees because I always forget that when I write a cheque that I shouldn’t be paying off my credit card as I spend money on it — it’s my habit to make sure I keep my credit card at $0 balance and I can watch out for any fraud.
I should WAIT UNTIL THE CHEQUE CLEARS before paying off my card!!
I never learn my lesson, on the rare 4 times a year I write a cheque to someone. Out $15.
TOP 5 EXPENSES THIS MONTH
NET WORTH = $203,252.26 or an increase of $1336.56 or +0.66%
NOT IN THE NEGATIVE!!!!!!!!
- The stock market gained a bit.. THANK ALL THINGS FINANCIALLY HOLY…
- I think I’mma make it after all with staying above $200,000 in my net worth for 2012 *fist pump*
NET WORTH FROM THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Not much happening.
I’ll spend December looking for a winter hat, and hassling Nelson to give me those Amazon.com or Future Shop gift cards he has in his current giveaway, and the new $20 bills he has lying around and has no idea what to do with.
(Hey Nelson, make sure you mark this post down as 2 entries in that contest! I need to stay above $200,000 so I can’t spend like crazy…)
I have a few dinners coming up, which I am budgeting for, but otherwise, I don’t expect to really be spending much.. but you know. I’m an impulse shopper.
Gotta stay out of those stores and focus on thrifting instead of buying retail.
THERAPIK: MY NEW BEST FRIEND ON TRIPS
The best $12 I’ve ever spent.
I bought this device a while back but didn’t have the opportunity to use it until a huge insect bit my ankle in the hotel room.
I was itching it like mad until I realized I packed the Therapik.
I put it on as directed, for about a minute or longer, and felt a little pain from the heat like an insect sting but as my bite was so itchy, it kind of relieved it.
…and it worked.
I can’t believe it worked!!!!!! I do NOT need to worry about getting bitten any more and suffering the itch a thousand times worse than chickenpox.
This is also not a placebo situation as I have extreme eczema and when it itches, it itches. I never pretend that anything works when it doesn’t, especially for itches.
So remember how I wanted to spend $0?
My budget increased to $100, but then as I mentioned an enabler on Twitter made me realize there were some Asian brands I had to try!
Here’s what I bought:
ISEHAN SARASARA DAILY MILK SPF 50 = $15 EACH
I bought 2 bottles, and I wish I bought 6 (I didn’t have the space). I LOVE this SPF lotion.
It’s like a milk.
It is as loved as my Skinceuticals SPF 50 cream, but it is even better to wear in the summer (I think), under makeup.
It doesn’t leave a sticky, greasy film, it isn’t tinted (AT ALL! No white cast from the zinc oxide), and it has made my skin feel softer.
I’d definitely consider buying this in bulk once I run out.
KATE KANEBO BB CREAM = $15 EACH
I bought 2 bottles of this, in the darkest shade they had OC-D (which will be too light when summer comes around).
It blends nicely onto my skin, feels light, dries to a powder and has a sheer coverage, nothing too fake or makeup-y.
I have to learn how to use a light hand, however.
KATE KANEBO UV MINERAL BASE SPF 30 (CLEAR) = $15
Yes it does feel a bit like eyelash glue, and it DOES smell a little, but it’s a clear, SPF 30, UV mineral base, and it does the job in a pinch.
It is not as loved as the Isehan Sarasara Daily UV Milk, but it’s a makeup primer with SPF 30. SPF 30!
KOJI NO. 70 EYELASH CURLER = $6
I can’t say it is as well-made or as comfortable as the Shu Uemura eyelash curler, but it was $6 and great for in-a-pinch moments.
It curls my eyelashes better, if that helps. I notice that it grabs more of my lashes as well.
DOLLY WINK LIQUID EYELINER = $15 EACH
Amazing. I suck at liquid eyeliner application, and this is more like a felt tip pen. There’s not too much liquid, and it draws a fine, thin, precise line.
KEANA PATE SHOKUNIN PORE PUTTY POWDER = $15
Kind of hate this.
It is way too drying for my face. Even over an SPF lotion it is TOO DRY.
Not sure what to do with it.
KEANA PATE SHOKUNIN PORE PUTTY BB CREAM PACT = $15
It’s BB cream, in a pact. I was suckered in, what can I say?
It is a bit light, but enough for a quick cover.
TANK TOPS = $75 WORTH
Just like what the old men wear here in Asia!
No seriously. I bought lots of tank tops and long-sleeved basic tops in white, black and grey. They’re great to wear under clothes or just around the house.
I must have spent close to $75, and picked up about 15 tops at about $5 each.
2 JADE MARKET NECKLACES = $10 EACH
Faceted beads, the only colours I don’t have.
NEOGENCE HYALURONIC LOTION = $3
The Yu-Be cream was too moisturizing (made my skin very congested) for the humid heat here, so I was desperate to find another option.
Found this kind of watery-ish liquid that had hyaluronic lotion in it which helps grab moisture from the air onto your skin.
Can’t say I hate it, but I also don’t love it either. Doesn’t feel moisturizing, but it did help relieve my tight skin.
That’s it for October and the first half of November.
As promised in an awesome infographic that I spent a lot of time on.
(Gawrsh those things take a long time!!)
Update: It is actually 24 days, because in addition, 4 days were spent traveling (time zones) which makes it 28 days, or 4 weeks.
It isn’t exactly 5 weeks (as in 35 days), but it was the tail end of one week, and the beginning of another, so I thought of it as 5 calendar weeks in my head, when the actual weeks by numbers is really 4.
I am making this long-winded note because I don’t want to redo the infographic. *sigh*
Update 2: Damn it. DAMN my OCD self. I updated it to say 4 weeks.
Here’s what the budget looks like in terms of percentages:
As you can see, flights and hotels obviously cost a lot more than everything else.
SAVING MONEY ON FLIGHTS = $800 SAVED
We took flights that had a stopover and that was about $400/ticket in savings.
Actually, this is probably better than a direct flight because it gives you a break from the plane.
Our flights were basically 2 legs: 15 hours, 3 hour stopover, 1 hour flight from somewhere in the U.S. back to Canada.
It gave us a nice break from the airplane, a chance to stretch, and either the first or the last leg was very short.
SAVING MONEY ON HOTELS = $720 SAVED
As mentioned, we stay in cheap hotels like Ibis.
There were two of them in Hong Kong — Ibis North Point and Ibis Sheung Wan, with the Sheung Wan location costing about $30 more per day.
We didn’t stay there because it was new and we didn’t know how big it would be (almost double the size of the Ibis North Point, and the size of an American-normal-sized budget hotel room).
As a result, we saved a lot by sleeping in a 120 square foot closet, also known as the Ibis North Point hotel.
SAVING MONEY ON FOOD = $935 SAVED
Food is the third biggest cost, and it could have easily been double if we had not been avoiding restaurants, and eating pre-made meals and buying fruit from a grocery store instead.
The hotels we stayed in also had mini fridges, so we bought milk for the morning and were able to keep small things in there.
A typical breakfast would be about $10 per person, and lunches and dinners are $20 per person, so had we been going out to eat every day for 24 days, it would have been $50/day per person on average.
24 days x $100 (for 2 people) = $2400 which is a reasonable budget for what we consider good food
(Also, we don’t like cheap or junk food when we go to restaurants because it’s crap, and if I’m going to a restaurant, it had better serve real food.)
Instead, we bought everything we wanted to eat (fancy yoghurts and sushi), and spent only $30.51 per person, or a little over half.
24 days x $61.02 (for 2 people) = $1464.48 is what we really spent
We saved about $935 doing that, although BF was getting antsy about the food costs near the end and wanted me to stop stuffing my trap so much.
SAVING MONEY ON TAXIS = $1000+?
We used the handy Octopus card, and spent $252.39 for the two of us to travel pretty much anywhere we liked in Hong Kong.
In contrast, taking a taxi would have probably tripled that budget, to about $1000. Or more.
$1000 / 24 days = $41.66 per day for transportation.
(We have no clue what it costs, as we don’t take taxis even in our daily lives, but if the prices are anything like in Toronto, it’s an expensive luxury.)
Cabbing to and from the airport, to and from sights and back and forth from the hotel adds up.
Anyway, the tram was way more fun and a great, cheap way to tour the city for the low price of $2.30 HKD or $0.29 USD!!!!!
TOTAL SAVINGS = ~$3455
Not too shabby.
Every little bit and every little sacrifice adds up to significant savings when you travel. That amount that we saved above, is enough for another week or two weeks somewhere.
This update is late because I spent most of it in Hong Kong, and whenever you’re overseas, it is a huge PAIN in the butt to access your online financial accounts without them thinking you’re some spammer or hacker.
Hong Kong Wet Market Vegetable Stall (2011 Photograph)
The good news is I got a lot of photos, and we can say we’ve seen everything in Hong Kong, and I bought all I wanted to buy.
The bad news is that Hong Kong Airport, and my flight back home was delayed for an additional 6 hours, which added a little sourness to the trip.
Not to worry, I’ve been complaining left and right today.
INCOME = $0
- Need. To. Work.
- Need. To. Work.
EXPENSES = $635.08
IF ONLY I could stay like this for November and December, I would be DAMN HAPPY.
I don’t have many Hong Kong expenses here, because I did most of my spending in November, the week before I left.
I don’t like to buy things ahead of time, because I ALWAYS run out of money (*ahem*) and I always end up seeing something I want to buy at the last minute.
I ended up spending about $267 on various gifts and things, which I will post about later.
My original Hong Kong spending budget was $0.
Then I decided $100 was a good idea.
So my budget went up to $300.
YARRRRRRGH! *pirate face*
TOP 5 EXPENSES
Hey not bad. Rent was $300 to my parents, even though I spend 3/4 of October away from home.
NET WORTH = $202,015.70, a decrease of $(5019.16) or -2.42%
- &^#$@* stock market. That’s all I can say right now.
- I really didn’t spend $5000+ worth, but my net worth took a huge dive this month because of the economy
- At least this is an opportunity to pick up funds for cheap. I won’t be selling until I retire anyway, which is a long ways off (35+ years)
The main thing on my mind is working, tying up loose ends and getting organized.
Oh and this beauty:
No, I don’t need an Apple iPad Mini (who does?), but I’m seriously considering it, because the iPad is really too heavy to carry around on a daily basis, but the size is awesome for magazines, books and sheet music.
I’m considering it for reading on the train (I have books in no less than 4 apps — Kobo, Kindle, PDF Expert and iBooks), and using it like an effing, massive iPod Touch.
First things first — Need. To. Work.