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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Carrot Coconut Muffins

Disclaimer: This recipe was originally posted as a separate page on November 15, 2017. I changed it to reflect the direction that this blog is headed in. Thank you for understanding!

My husband and I take health and well-being very seriously. Usually, I will make several trips to the grocery store when trying a new recipe but this time, I decided to only use what was in my cupboard. I changed the original recipe I was referencing quite a bit. You can find the original carrot muffin recipe over at Genius Kitchen.

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CARROT COCONUT MUFFINS

Servings: 12                          Time: 40 minutes                          Difficulty: easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 2 cups shredded carrots

DIRECTIONS

  1. Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk the egg.
  2. Add orange juice, margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar to the bowl. Stir well.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. Stir in egg mixture and mix until dough is moistened.
  5. Gently fold in carrots and coconut. I shred the carrots using my Vitamix blender.
  6. Spoon into well-greased muffin pans. Cupcake liners are optional but I don’t recommend using them for this particular recipe. The dough is too dense, making the cupcake liner difficult to peel away.
  7. Sprinkle some of the white sugar on the muffin tops for extra shine. Again, this step is optional.
  8. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F.
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Photo credit: Genius Kitchen, photo by Jose G.

Thanks for stopping by! ♥

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One Good Thing: Boxing Week Deals

I originally got the idea from blogger Becky who runs a blog called Strikeouts + Sprinkles. She has a weekly blog series called One Good Thing although I only plan on making this blog post a one-time thing. She made me realize that I tend to view life from a negative perspective, and therefore, I need to be more mindful about focusing on the positive things in my life. You might be wondering how the above photo fits the theme of this blog post; this is a photo of my car covered in snow from last week’s snowfall. Normally, such an event would discourage me from leaving the house, but luckily, my husband volunteered to rescue my poor car. Had he not forced me to get out of the house, I would have stayed indoors all weekend feeling sorry for myself.


Ruthless Frugality

Six years ago, I embarked on the frugal journey while working on personal development and honestly, I prefer this lifestyle compared to the typical consumerist culture that has plagued the western world. Every year, I look forward to the semi-annual sales because I can save money on items that I already use on a regular basis. This week, I am grateful for the boxing week sales and still having access to in-store shopping in my province. This weekend, I was able to buy what I needed for the New Year. These items will easily last me an entire year! 😊

Disclaimer: This is not a humble-brag blog post similar to the ones I have seen littering the WP Reader lately. The purpose of this blog post is to give readers hope and empower them to think about how they can save money and live life more intentionally. I challenge you to think about the things are most important to you, and learn how embrace discomfort in the year 2021. Most importantly, you need to learn how to let go of the things that do not matter and completely let go of the things that give you zero return in your life.

Buy All The Things!

Even though I am not currently employed, hopefully I will be starting a new job(s) in the New Year. It costs money to live, but I do not like spending full price on things if it can be avoided. Please note that there is a clear difference between being cheap and being frugal, and if you need more context, please google it instead of asking me. Also, if you want to learn more about frugality, you can read my blog post called 7 Ways to Stop Wasting Money under the page titled STUDENT LIFE ツ

Today, I will share with you what I bought during boxing day weekend. I purchased all of these items myself after making a list and checking it twice prior to going out. None of these items were gifted to me. Let’s face it – most bloggers would love to receive gifted items from sponsors and advertisers but this is not reality for the majority of people. Most of us are stuck buying our own shit stuff. Here is what I bought:

1. The Body Shop: Body Butter and Shower Gel

I bought 3 sets of body butters and shower gels from the Body Shop, priced $5 each ($15 for all 3). One travel size butter butter costs $6 regular price so this was a great deal. It takes me a very long time to use body butter so travel sizes are perfect for me. I have yet to try these scents: British Rose, Almond Milk & Honey, and Mango. The shower gels are bonuses! Every year, I also get a $10 gift card on my birthday just for signing up with The Body Shop!

2. The Body Shop: 2 Body Yogurts

One body yogurt costs $16 CAD regular price. At sale price, they usually sell for $10 each. Using the birthday gift card, I scored a free body yogurt 2 years ago not knowing if I would even like it. I ended up really liking the texture of body yogurt since it does not leave a sticky or greasy residue on my skin. I recommend body yogurt to anyone who is tactile sensitive like me. For this body yogurt duo, I only paid $12 CAD! This is what I call a discounted-discount item. I am happy that I waited until after Christmas to buy it as I have been wanting to try British Rose and Almond Milk Body Yogurt for a while.

3. Posh Planner from Costco & Backup Planner

Not everything goes as planned which is why I ended up with 2 planners for the year 2021. Ironically, I ended up with the same planners last year! I initially bought the planner on the right costing me a pretty penny ($4) from Dollarama. The planner itself is OK but the pages are really thin. Then I went to Costco for a non-alcoholic sparkling juice beverage, and to my surprise, this Costco had the Posh Deluxe Organizer! I love this 17-month, habit-tracking planner; Posh Deluxe Organizers are the best, hands-down. I loved my 2020 Posh Planner but I am not a fan of the price. It costs $14.99 CAD at Costco; if you go anywhere else including amazon.ca to get this planner, it will cost you $29.99+ so consider your options.

Where will 2021 take you? Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope that you feel inspired to live a more intentional life next year. By habit tracking, I believe that we can stop wasting money once and for all. Feel free to leave a comment below ↓ and I will do my best to reply to your comments! ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

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No Shows Really Blow

My laptop is still causing problems so I haven’t been posting as often as I would like. Thank you for being patient with me as I attempt to solve these issues (thank you, handyman husband, for your help in this matter). I am in no hurry to buy a new laptop as I am taking the Frugalwoods Approach to live on a simple budget and making do with what I have.

Kijiji is a Godsend

Some of you may know that I recently embarked on a Kijiji journey as a way to embrace minimalism. I am forever grateful that such a platform exists for us Canadians, where we can attempt to hand our crap over to the next guy in exchange for cold hard cash. The truth is summed up perfectly in this famous quote:

b6e33-o2bo2bh2bh2bl2ba2bl2ba2b-2bc2bo2bmRather than pawn off overpriced junk like the majority of people like to do, I intend to sell my sentimental items at significantly reduced prices because donating was out of the question. These things are still dear to me and have a value attached to them, so knowing that there is a risk that these items could end up in the landfill if I were to donate them makes me feel uneasy. Knowing that someone actually wants to pay money for these items helps me let go of both my physical and mental clutter which is preventing me from discovering my true passions and desires in life. It is my way of saying goodbye to these things in a respectful way, which is a concept that Marie Kondo emphasizes.

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We all gotta start somewhere. During the decluttering process, you might benefit from reading this book: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

But Then Again, No.

The thought of meeting a stranger doesn’t have to be scary as long as you listen to your intuition and take measures to protect yourself from the scammers and creepers. If anything feels off to you, listen to your gut because it’s probably right. I cannot stress how important it is to have a buddy with you if you are selling to a stranger. Never go alone because you don’t know who you’re dealing with.

🍁 Protect yourselves, my Canadian friends! 🍁

If someone tries to lowball you by offering to pay a price that is significantly lower than what you listed, kindly tell them to GTFO. Seriously, you’ll get good at saying NO to people. I block lowballers because I cannot deal with people who do not take me seriously, and why should I? Lowballing is rude, especially when I have listed my prices competitively low, to begin with. Also, I get the sense that people who cannot pay my asking price don’t actually have the money which is a red flag.

Last but not least, be prepared to be disappointed. People will inevitably bail on you at the last minute or fail to show up at all, hence a “no show.” This actually happened to me yesterday evening. I did not encounter issues with my first customer but my second customer was a different story. She texted me 10 minutes before meeting up to see if I was open to an e-transfer, mind you, for an item I was selling for $7.00. I refuse to do e-transfers because I prefer simple transactions involving cash. Cash is a language everyone understands; either you have it or you don’t.

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All the new Canadian bills looking pretty. Photo credit by Reddit User Zingledorf

I thought her request was suspicious as I proceeded to tell her that there are ATM’s where we were meeting. She gave me some lame excuse as to how she doesn’t have time to go to the bank and get the money. Not to mention that my husband and I drove 30 minutes out of our way to meet her at a location she requested, which was clearly a mistake on our end.

Anyways, I was aggravated by her bailing on me so I ended up stuffing my face with Bulk Barn treats which is something I regretted afterward. Bulk Barn is another Godsend store in Canada, for those who choose to eat their feelings when their emotions get the best of them. In my case, I felt a mix of frustration, anger, and disappointment which translated into sour cola gummies, sour berry gummies, sour cherry gummies and clusters of OMG goodness (not entirely sure what they are but they’re divine). Fortunately, the prices are reasonable and you control how much you buy since everything is weighed.

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Enjoying the beautiful Cotton Candy Sunset last night while typing out the rough draft on my balcony. Sometimes I need to reconnect with nature to overcome writer’s block! 🌸

If you are Canadian, I am curious to know whether or not you have tried Kijiji as a buyer or seller. If you aren’t Canadian, have you used Craigslist or other apps like Let Go? What were your experiences like? Please join the conversation and leave a comment below ↓

Thanks for stopping by!

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Happily Ever After

sunset-hands-love-womanThis post may be a day or two late, but I can explain. Still, I am not the proud owner of a laptop and am having a difficult time blogging from a cell phone. When will this madness stop?! May 7 is a special day for my husband and me because it marks our 2 year anniversary. When people ask me how I know that he is my soulmate, or ask me for relationship advice, I tell them this:

“I just know he is right for me because my heart says yes. I do not have to think about it or question where we stand in our relationship. It feels right to me so therefore, it must be.” -Hilary Tan

Love is simple, love is kind, and love does not have to be a complicated hot mess. A relationship is only as difficult as the two persons make it out to be. Your fate is manifested by the mutual exchanges between you and your partner. A relationship cannot work if both parties aren’t committing to each other or communicating effectively.

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Our 2 year anniversary and 5 years of being together is another reminder that we are doing something right. ❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

I am writing this post on our anniversary, May 7, but it still needs editing and further tweaking. Tonight we binged on Limoncello cake from Costco. Oh Costco, you really do have the best cake. I love this cake! 🍰 So much for my diet and my goal to quickly lose the rest of my pregnancy weight this summer.

Who says you have to get fancy cake at the bakery? Costco is where it’s at; not to say that the Costco bakery isn’t fancy but you know what I mean.

I snapped a few photos of this lovely cake at home but I don’t think that the photos turned out well. We recently moved a bunch of stuff into the apartment so it’s very disorganized and cluttered right now. It’s not the most ideal place for snapping pics that are supposed to last a lifetime. However, there is one noteworthy photo to share – the lovely orchid that my husband got me to celebrate our anniversary! He is so thoughtful 🌺

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The orchid is cut off in the photo (left side). This is the extent of my photography skills. My hubby seems to be enjoying the cake very much 🍋

Anniversaries don’t have to be expensive or extravagant if you don’t want them to be. For us, we are perfectly happy with our $17 cake that tasted amazing and the lovely orchid thank you very much. I am slightly annoyed by the Mother’s Day advertisements that were shoved in my face last weekend while we were at the mall. It’s just another reminder that we must BUY ALL THE THINGS!!

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I could not find a decent BUY ALL THE THINGS! meme so I give you The Simpsons.

Why are we celebrating our special moments in a simpler way? Less stress. More savings $$$. We are embracing life as frugal Millenials not because we have to but because we want to. The cake was our splurge and it was totally worth the money and the calories. This purchase wasn’t senseless. When we see most of our peers living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to make ends meet, we realize that this is not the lifestyle that we want to manifest for ourselves. We are willing to embrace the frugal life if it means living more comfortably. Having a bunch of expensive jewelry and other bling that we apparently desire based on what society tells us we want won’t make us happy in the long run.

 

 

Less Is More

Ever notice that you have more abundance when you stop trying so hard? This is a phenomenon I have been experiencing lately. In a nutshell, if you have less expectations, you’ll naturally attract more opportunities into your life. Here are a few examples: 

Example 1 A month ago I flirted with minimalism and started decluttering my house, thanks to Frugalwoods. To this day, I am still living by these new frugal standards and believe I am starting to form a lasting habit. Even though it’s only been a month, I am feeling significantly happier. New items seem to welcome themselves into our home without my warm embrace, so I am constantly looking for old items to purge. It’s not any less cluttered in our small apartment dwelling than it was before, but I now have a grip on the stuff that naturally has a tendency to cling. And this is VERY freeing.

Example 2 I thought that it would be fun to try selling my unwanted items locally. These days, there are various apps that can assist in such a task such as Letgo and VarageSale. In theory, this concept seems pretty straight forward. 1. Post your items 2. Write a bad-ass advertisement 3. Pray that someone messages you 4. Profit $$$. What they don’t tell you is that small town dwellers will have a difficult time selling on these sites. The reality is that you probably won’t get the messages that you’ve been hoping for and you may end up wondering if your stuff actually does suck despite the great ad you poured your heart and soul into.

I have some good news for you. There is hope and it doesn’t have to be this difficult. Do yourself a huge favor and ditch the apps. Sell within marketplace garage sale groups where people actually congregate. Think Facebook garage sales. Post your ad there and walk away. It’s that simple. People will actually flock to you because Facebook is the place where most people spend their free time and likely stumble upon your stuff.

Example 3 A month ago, I also made the commitment to cut my spending habits which meant no more junk food purchases except for the occasional treat. I am very bad at keeping track of my spending habits so I write everything down. This method helped me see where I was spending money and made me conscious of the junk food I was treating myself to on a weekly basis daily basis. In reality, my “occasional treat” was really my every-other-day treat or days-when-I’m-stressed treat or I’m-freezing-I-need-a-fancy-hot-beverage treat. By slashing my spending habits in half, I also managed to lose a few post-partum pounds with minimal effort.

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Christmas came early this year 😀

Example 4 Opposites attract. Literally. After I stopped buying junk food, we still seemed to welcome a lot of treats into our house from external sources. Mall trick or treating, candy given to me parents, the in laws etc. I mean, look at this candy! This is candy I accumulated without spending a cent. I believe that if treats are given to you, then it is perfectly acceptable to eat and enjoy them without guilt. Savor the moment and all of the good that comes from giving (and receiving). Both sides can be sweet.