7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money 💰

Disclaimer: I uploaded this post in 2019 as its own page, but nobody stumbled upon it. I added updates and edited the original blog post to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Btw, I searched high and low for the original Pikachu x Coffee & Donuts image(s) but I could only find them as re-shares on Pinterest. I cannot take full credit for these, so if you happen to know where they came from, feel free to let me know so I can give the artist(s) credit. Thank you! ✌💖

The Frugal Millenial

As a Millenial, I noticed that I do not fit the typical Millenial stereotype. Yes, I do enjoy homemade avocado toast once in a while, but you probably won’t find me frivolously spending money on daily Starbucks coffee runs or FabFitFun subscription boxes. Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with Starbucks…. more on that later. ☕ Since moving 2000+ miles away from home, I have learned to embrace frugality and started living below my means, which in turn, helps me save money. I am not saying that you should become frugal like me. All I am saying is that people are at risk of over-spending and buying sh*t they don’t need if they aren’t conscious of their spending habits. Surprisingly, cutting back on unnecessary spending is not as painful as it sounds nor does it have to be difficult. Below ↓ I have 7 practical tips on how to save money, whether you are a college student or a broke Millennial who needs to cut back on frivolous spending and curb your bad habits, once and for all. Let’s get started, shall we?

7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money

1. Think before you buy. When you receive your next paycheck, birthday money, etc. you don’t need to spend it immediately. How can you think like a wealthy person if you keep blowing your money on materialistic things or wants, rather than needs? It’s not about how much money you make; it’s about how much money you save.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: Is a daily Starbucks run really necessary? I go to Starbucks maybe once or twice per year, and even then, I am conscious of how much I am spending on these overpriced drinks. Sometimes, date night is a must so I do splurge from time to time but this is not a daily or weekly thing for us. Being frugal doesn’t mean that I don’t buy nice things. However, we buy what is on sale and only if we need it vs. want it. For example, a few years ago when my daughter was a toddler, we bought a Baby Gap hoodie that was on sale for $10 in the U.S.

2. Less is more. Do you really need 4 tablets, 2 laptops, and 3 smartphones with unlimited data and roaming? If you are being honest with yourself, then you probably don’t need data on your tablet when you travel and you can still live well without the latest tech gadgets. This is not only expensive but it won’t keep you satisfied for very long. Soon enough, you will want the next latest, shiny thing that is within reach. Like video game, manga collecting, etc., it gets old after a while or you will grow bored of it. Most concerning, you will end up burning a hole in your wallet from this compulsive habit. Although some people might disagree, collecting stuff might not give you the sense of satisfaction that you have been searching for.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: We all gotta start somewhere. During the decluttering process, you might also benefit from reading this book: “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.

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3. Shop at discount stores. If you can find the same brands at a discount store, then shop there. In order to know if I am actually getting a good deal, I shop by unit price to save money on groceries, etc. My husband taught me this trick so that I don’t get carried away shopping at places like Dollarama where smaller items by weight are disguised as being a good deal 😆 Sometimes, upgrading to a larger size elsewhere makes sense, like dish soap or…. ahem! toilet paper! 🧻🙊 Most of the time, I can get away with shopping at Dollarama for the same brands.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: When we were still living in the NW of Calgary, I was excited when there was a Dollarama opening nearby. If you are familiar with the NW of Calgary, it used to be challenging finding a Dollarama within a 10min. driving radius. Since we moved to our townhouse, I happen to live close to a plaza with a Dollarama! 😅 This is the best Dollar Store in Canada in my opinion. I often shop here for discounted brand-name items and cute stationery (see photo of cute tropical stickers). The photo of the Dollarama signage was taken in the NW of Calgary before we moved across the city in May 2021.

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4. Don’t collect multiples. This is an ongoing problem at my mom’s house. She often buys multiple items of the same thing because she forgets what she already bought. As a result, items like food in the fridge often get lost and forgotten. Not only is this a waste of money, but chances are you will end up tossing these expired products in the trash. I try not to buy multiples by keeping track of what I own which is easier when you own less stuff in the first place. Do you really need 5 bottles of soap from Bath and Body Works? Unless there is an amazing sale on soap and you plan on giving them away as gifts, skip the multiples. My husband often buys multiples so I have a rule that we have to use up what we have before going to the store to buy more. 🛒🏃‍♀️

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I got a discount on these items which I would normally buy anyway because I bought them in a gift set rather than individually. Best of all, these items are full-sized so I got to try new brands and scents that I would not have tried otherwise. They sell these gift sets at the beginning of the school year, so it is like Christmas in September! To this day, I still don’t know what happened to the dry shampoo… I think it got left behind the last time I visited Ontario. If anyone has ever tried dry shampoo, let me know if it is worth buying in the comments below ↓ I’m curious to know what you think! 🙋‍♀️

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5. Make it Yourself. Do you have a habit of getting takeaway every time you leave the house? Do you need that daily 3 PM caffeine fix at the drive-thru? Instead of buying drinks, fast food, etc., the frugal alternative is to make it yourself. It is much cheaper to make a smoothie at home but it requires a little effort. I prefer to take the DIY route plus I can control what I put in my body (calories, fat, ingredients). With the internet being readily available to us, there are DIY recipes on YouTube, from Starbucks mock-cappuccinos to bath bombs.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I never understood why anyone would spend full price on hot water and a teabag at Tim Horton’s, especially when hot water is virtually free and tea costs roughly 10 cents per bag. For this reason, I only order steeped tea at Tims which I cannot replicate at home. Trust me, I tried every hack and my homemade steeped tea tastes nothing like store-bought, even after I tried filtering the teabags at home for a richer, bolder taste. *Le sigh*

6. Cancel your subscriptions. As much as I enjoy reading magazines, much of what I read becomes redundant over time. There are a couple magazines that I really enjoy but even these get old after a while. Magazines are also quite pricey so it makes sense to order a yearly subscription. The only problem is that I was locked into a 2-year subscription to Cosmopolitan even though I got bored of reading them after a few months. I couldn’t care less about the advertisements, makeup, and fashion sections (more ads for expensive products that I don’t need).

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: Before discarding my magazines, I made a vision board with snippets of positive messages. Before I moved to Calgary, I mailed my vision board to an online friend who lives in the U.S. For a while, we were sending each other snail mail. Since I reached most of the goals that I had put on my vision board and I didn’t have room for it in my new apartment, I gave it to her. What you are seeing here are some of the snippets I used. At this time, I am unable to dig up a photo of the vision which is probably buried in a file somewhere on our computer.

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7. Rewire Your Brain. I recommend having a broke student mentality, but not to take it too literally. If you have ever been in post-secondary school, then you will understand what I am talking about. Much of changing a habit begins with the way you think. By thinking a certain way, over time you can reprogram your brain to understand that the sacrifices you are making now won’t feel like sacrifices in the future.

(っ◔◡◔)っMy Two Cents: I have also adopted a minimalist mindset over the years and I am much happier with what I have these days. I no longer chase the latest, shiniest thing that is waved in my face. Learn to appreciate the good things in life and be grateful for what you have. 🙏💕

“Nothing worth having comes easy.” Theodore Roosevelt

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To all of my Millennial and non-Millennial readers, I hope that you enjoyed reading this blog post! 🙌 If this blog post taught you something or made you think about things differently, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I will be AFK (working) this weekend, so I will reply to your comments when I have time.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset

When I was still active on Instagram @serene_hilz, I posted an IG story about my struggle with handling strong, negative emotions. I realize that I am naturally drawn towards negativity, so perhaps that is why I attract more of it in my life. Lately, I have been reading more negative blog posts than usual, and I believe that this could be due to my newsfeed. Not surprisingly, I tend to follow like-minded individuals who seem to be negative like myself. After all, misery loves company.

(◔_◔)っSerious Question: How are we supposed to embrace negative emotions so we can get on with our day and have more mental clarity? To answer this question, I have compiled a list of 10 things that can help you change your negative mindset. Let’s get started!

10 Ways to Change a Negative Mindset

1. Check your attitude. The way you think about your life, goals, dreams, and desires can make a difference in how you live your life. Think about it: If you ruminate on the things that you do not have in your life, then you will subconsciously attract more of these things in your life. Not only that, but you will also create more frustration which is harnessed from negative energy. You are ultimately doing yourself a disservice by being a Negative Nancy and there is nothing cute about whining to me or to anyone else.

2. Think Better Thoughts. What is the difference between people who feel stuck in life and people who go on to accomplish great things? Successful people think differently than the rest of the herd. Often, successful people have already changed their mindsets, whether they are aware of it or not. The good news is that it is never too late to transform your thinking patterns too. One way to adopt a growth mindset is to become aware of your negative thoughts and actively choose to think better thoughts. Stop ruminating over the things that went wrong or believing that you are a victim in life. Instead, you can channel this negativity into a creative outlet, like blogging.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Yikes. I think this one deserves its own blog post. I cannot stress this point enough but comparison really is the thief of joy. We live in a society where social comparison dominates, and whether we admit it or not, humans love to compare and judge. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms really do bring out the green-eyed monster in people. Next time you feel tempted to compare yourself to someone you envy, try shifting your focus. Instead of focussing on others’ achievements, turn inwards and start focussing on your own unique qualities. I know this is easier said than done, but try counting your blessings the next time you catch yourself being envious of someone else.

4. Cry It Out! 😭 They say that “good girls don’t cry.” I hate to be the person to tell you this, but mentally stable girls cry. Big boys cry too. There is nothing bad about having a good cry. Most of us are taught that crying is immature, uncool, and a sign of weakness. If that was the case where we weren’t allowed to be vulnerable, then I would not be writing this blog post. More than ever, we need to allow ourselves to feel these feelings, both good and bad, and tears are a natural, emotional release. This, crying is a healthy way to let go of bottled-up feelings and emotional pain.

5. Forgive Others. How much time and energy do you spend being angry towards other people? Anger is obviously serving some kind of purpose in your life; otherwise, you wouldn’t be projecting anger into the universe. That being said, what good does it do for you to hold a grudge against someone who has done you wrong? Learning to forgive others is easier said than done, since negative emotions often cloud our judgment, thus making forgiveness seem like a waste of time. However, learning how to forgive others will give you peace of mind and, in turn, you will become mentally stronger.

“Unforgiveness is like drinking posion and hoping the other person dies.” – Margaret Stunt

6. Forgive Yourself. Do you say cruel things to yourself that you would never say to anyone else? Would you speak to your friends the same way you speak to yourself? Chances are, you probably judge yourself too harshly. AmIright? If you think that you are being too hard on yourself, maybe it is time to practice self-compassion and forgive yourself for being the imperfect human being that you are. We cannot undo our past mistakes, but we can choose to make better choices in the future if we can forgive ourselves and learn to trust the universe.

“You’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay

7. Learn to Let Go. There will always be things that you cannot control no matter how much you try to micromanage or wish for a more desirable outcome. And sometimes, feeling out of control can be overwhelming. If you believe that you are a #victim, I cannot deal with you right now. Seriously, nothing annoys me more than people who have a victim mentality. That being said, learning to let go and surrender to the universe is not the same as playing #victim. The universe works in mysterious ways and it is okay to surrender to the divine universe. Acknowledging your weaknesses and letting go of the things yet you cannot control will, in turn, make you a mentally stronger person.

8. Accept Life As It Is. Accepting reality can be scary because it means being okay with the way things are in the present moment. If you have been fighting reality, you might not be ready to accept your life as is. Similar to Point #7 it means surrendering and letting go of your fantasy self. It means facing and accepting what is, which allows you to make wiser choices in the future. Resisting reality might seem like the easier choice, but avoiding and resisting the truth has negative consequences.

9. Do Nothing. What do I mean by this, exactly? Doing nothing seems counterproductive, doesn’t it? However, doing nothing is similar to sitting in a silent room and meditating. I understand that meditation isn’t for everyone, nor am I telling you to meditate. People who have kids and/or busy schedules might not have the time to “do nothing.” A calmer mind can do wonders for your mental health if you are able to shut off the monkey chatter. The brain is not meant to run on overdrive all the freaking time!

10. Practice Mindfulness. If you haven’t been practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, start reconnecting with it by first silencing your mind. By living in the present, you break away from focusing on the past or future. If you have a philosophy background, you’ll know that the past and future are not real; the present moment is real. Since mindfulness enables us to bring our attention back to the present moment, perhaps we should start focussing on the things that are right in front of our noses. Just saying.

“Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with the contents of your mind.” – Rasheed Ogunlaru


(っ◔◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥

When you are feeling more relaxed and calm, you will be able to focus your energy on the things that actually matter. Best of all, you will be able to think more clearly which enables you to plan and better organize your thoughts. Remember, insanity is the definition of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so I challenge you to try something different today. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ if this blog post taught you something or made you think about things differently.

This image was edited by me aka. Mama Hillz

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞

I want to continue where I left off since uploading the 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 9.0🌞. Sure, there are several topics that I could be writing about right now, but I want to finish this before I move on to something else. You see, I tend to get hyperfocused and/or fixated on one thing which I feel inclined to finish before I am able to move on. I have always been like this and I don’t really see it as a shortcoming or problem. I checked my drafts yesterday to see if there were any more outstanding Sunshine Blogger Awards (SBAs) but it appears that I am all caught up! That being said, I really wanted to wrap up and retire the SBAs on my blog for good so the 🌞Sunshine Blogger Award 10.0🌞 will be my last one in this series.

Btw, feel free to leave comments in the comment section below ↓ BUT if you say something generic like, “Congratulations” then I’m not going to reply to you. To clarify, this was an open nomination for anyone who wanted to participate, so I basically nominated myself LOL

The Sunshine Blogger Award is per recognition award for bloggers who inspire readers by promoting positivity and bringing joy. Since nobody nominated me for any recent Sunshine Blogger Awards, I did some digging on WP and found an open nomination from a blogger named Beverly who runs a blog called https://becomingtheoilandwine.com. Honestly, this is the first time that I have read her blog so I don’t really know what her blog is about yet. When I have more time, I plan to catch up on her blog posts.


🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD RULES🌞

The Sunshine Blogger Award has rules (surprise, surprise!). These rules ensure the success of this award, providing exposure to all the award winners. The rules are quite simple and straightforward.

RULES FOR AWARD:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions 👈 optional
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts 👈 optional
  • List the rules and display a Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED:

1. What is one of your funniest funnest time of the summer? I’m not sure if this is a typo, and even then, this question is confusing. Funnest time of the summer? 🤔 I think the person asking this question meant to say “most fun.” I deal with high functioning depression so I cannot recall the last time I had fun during the summer. If I had to choose something, it would be enjoying refreshing bubble tea on a hot, sunny day! 😎 The husband would agree – this is his drink, not mine!

2. How do you like your ice cream? Plain or Toppings? I think D.W. can answer this question! 🍨

D.W.: Does Muffy have an ice cream machine? If she does, I’m gonna have vanilla with vanilla sprinkles and hot vanilla sauce. Does she have a petting zoo? I wanna pet a whale. I think I’ll pet the whale first, and then I’ll have the vanilla with vanilla sprinkles and vanilla sauce. But if I pet the whale first, my hands might smell fishy, so first, I’ll have the vanilla with the vanilla sprinkles and vanilla sauce, and then… Oh, wait. Whales are mammals, right? I wonder if my hands will smell mammaly.

3. What are your favorite gospel songs? I’ll recognize the songs when I hear them, but otherwise, I don’t know the names of the songs that I like. I don’t keep a playlist of gospel music.

4. Do you like ice skating or riding a bike? I used to be able to do both, but I haven’t ice skated or ridden a bike in over 15 years. I would like to go bike riding again since we live close to a 30-kilometer bike path, but we need nicer weather before I can turn that dream into a reality.

5. What is your favorite food to eat during summertime? How I dream of sunshine and summertime! I look forward to eating watermelon 🍉 and other yummy fruits that are in season during the summer months. Since it is wintertime, you’ll find me eating boring apples, bananas, and oranges. 🍎🍌🍊

6. What is your favorite book to read? I gave up buying (and reading) books in 2020 to save money and I haven’t looked back 😶 If I were to read a book, you would probably find me reading a self-help book or a recipe book from my bookshelf. One of my favorite books is, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life” by Mark Manson.  

7. What dream place would you enjoy visiting? Lately, I have been daydreaming of visiting the Maldives ever since I watched YouTubers vlog about this dreamy place! 🏝

Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels

8. Do you have any pets? If so, What kind? I have a Pug named Zoë and she lives in Ontario with my parents. My dad spells her name differently: Zoey. Since I live approx. 2,200 miles away, it is rare if I get to visit my dog. I miss my dog terribly. I blinked and she is now an old lady.

In Spring 2019, my husband and I adopted a rescue cat and I named him Timon, after the Lion King. He is a free-spirited cat who is untrainable, but I love him dearly 🐈‍⬛💕 In Spring 2021, my husband decided to get a bunch of fish so we have not one but three fish aquariums. Two fish aquariums are freshwater and the third fish aquarium is saltwater. I told him that cats and fish do not mix but he wouldn’t listen to me. 🤷‍♀️

9. What does Christ mean to you? This is a tricky question for me to answer because I consider myself to be a very spiritual person and only a little religious. What does “a little religious” mean, exactly? 🤔 It means that I lean towards Christianity and share the same morals and values as a Christian, but I do not actively read the Bible and I go to church because my husband makes me is Catholic. That being said, I find that going to church gives me a sense of calm and peace of mind, in similar ways as guided meditation. In the past, I was more agnostic but have started embracing religion a lot more since I became a mother. I am open to change, but I cannot see myself ever becoming a super religious person.

10. What encourages you to keep writing? I enjoy writing for an audience. Knowing that there are readers who give me the time of day and genuinely care about what I have to say means the world to me. Unlike other forms of social media, blogging gives me a voice. Also, I prefer to share my thoughts with like-minded people instead of keeping these thoughts to myself. I am an open book by nature, so this is a great platform for me to be my true, authentic self! 💖

11. Where is your favorite place to go to for vacation? I cannot remember the last time we took a real vacation, except to visit our families in Ontario last summer. However, I hardly call this a vacation; it is more of an obligation. We took a plane there so I guess this still counts? ✈ Ontario is my home province.

This is a photo of my childhood room. As a teenager and young adult, I had this limiting belief that I would be imprisoned between these four walls for most of my adult life. At the time, I was too scared to venture out on my own. Since moving out, my room has been repainted and my parents’ house is currently being renovated. I wish I could have told my younger self what I know now: The real prison is your mind and your limiting beliefs are keeping you stuck in life.

🌞SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD NOMINEES🌞

Again, I have decided to leave it open to anyone who wants to join in on the fun and I am keeping the same questions as last time. Tag, you’re it!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU:

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is the theme of your blog?
3. Is your blog a hobby blog or do you monetize your blog?
4. Are you a vegetarian?
5. How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you?
6. Have you ever tried online dating?
7. Do you have a Nintendo Switch? If yes, what is your favorite game? 🍎🍒🍊🍑🍐
8. Do you play Animal Crossing? If yes, what is your Island’s fruit? 
9. Do you believe in magic?
11. What is your favorite cereal?

And….GO!! I know you have very busy lives outside of the blogging world and I appreciate that you took the time to read this blog post! I look forward to reading your answers if you decide to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award.

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