Give Me Back My Five Bucks - a quest for financial independence

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Injured. Again.

Life has gotten busy over the last 6 weeks. August was filled with weekends working on renovations at BF’s rental house, a trip to Seattle, and a long-weekend home in Victoria. And as soon as it looked like everything was settling down, field hockey season started. :)

I’m probably in the best shape I’ve been in years. I can run 15-20km fairly easily, and I’m about 10 lbs. lighter than I was going into last season – which means I’m a lot quicker on the field. The team has changed a lot as well – a lot of new faces … and while I think I’m playing better than I have in years, I definitely notice that it’s getting more difficult to keep up with the younger players. Even with being in better shape. Getting old. Not cool.

Speaking of field hockey, remember this time last year when I injured my foot at practice? I played on it for a while, and then realized hockey and running were too much for my foot. So in January of this year I stopped running. And when field hockey season ended, I started up again. I was pain-free for most of the summer… but my first practice of the season? And  yep, the pain is back. :|

So with the Victoria GoodLife Half Marathon less than a month away, I had to make the extremely hard decision to not run. In fact, I haven’t run in about 2 weeks. I’m not in excruciating pain with I exercise, but it’s definitely there and it’s uncomfortable just to walk to work.

I’m really bummed out. That’s two half marathons in a row (BMO Half Marathon, GoodLife Half Marathon) that I’ve had to quit training for. Paying the entry fees and not running makes me a bit sad, but I wonder if I’ll have to eventually choose between field hockey and running – because it’s clear I can’t do both at the same time and stay healthy. :|

Over the weekend, BF and I met up with one of his friends who was visiting from out of town. She talked about getting in as much traveling and exercise as she could now, while her body would still allow it. And she’s right. I’ve been holding off on dream trips to Machu Picchu as well as Kilimanjaro for years, in the hopes that I could find someone to travel with. But now that I’m turning 32 next month, I know that my window of opportunity for the kind of adventure travel (and experience) I want is getting smaller. I need to make these trips a priority in the next 5-7 years, otherwise I might never get to do them at all.

So from now on, I’m going to funnel as much of my freelance income as I can into my Travel Fund.

A case of FOMO

Have you ever been on a diet and had a planned cheat meal? And then that cheat meal turned into a cheat day? And that cheat day turned into a cheat week? And all of a sudden, you’ve gained 5 pounds? Yeah. It can be super easy to fall off the dieting wagon. And it can be just as easy to fall off the budgeting wagon too. It’s happened to me many times before, and it has happened to me again. Thankfully I caught it in time before it could do any real serious damage, but …

… I’ve been hit with a case of FOMO.


It all started off innocently with a tweet about the upcoming Vancouver Interational Film Festival (VIFF). Last year I went to 4 shows, and loved every one of them. So I went onto the website, and found two films I really wanted to see. After briefly discussing the best times with BF and finding a coupon code online for $3 off per ticket, I booked the shows.

Related: Why I dislike the term #YOLO

A few days later, we decided to have a date night on Granville Island – beer at the brewery, and a comedy show at TheatreSports. When buying our tickets to TheatreSports (with a 2-for-1 Entertainment Book coupon), I saw that Colin Mochrie was set to perform in the beginning of October. We both got a little bit excited, and decided that we had to go to that show. $86 (!) later, we had tickets.

It was only then that I realized we have tickets to the BC Lions game this weekend (although those were free), a Ryan Adams concert (already paid for) in the beginning of October, and my sister is taking us to a Canucks game AND a Giants game for my birthday. There’s also a a concert I really want to see at the end of October. I’ve missed the last 2 or 3 times he’s come to Vancouver, and I’d hate to miss out again. Plus, I kind of want to get away over the November extended long weekend. And also maybe over New Years. But my bank account has been shouting at me, and thankfully I’ve decided to listen. No more in 2014! No more concerts, expensive events, and definitely no iPhone 6 (even though I really, really want it). :)

This little breakdown in spending has cost me $110 in the past two days.

A few years ago, I would have gotten pretty upset with myself for this kind of spending. And sure, I’ve already blown this month’s Entertainment budget. But there are so many areas in my life that I’ve cut back on, in order to spend money on experiences instead of stuff. And if I’m continuing to save for retirement, and my spending doesn’t get completely out of control, I’m okay with it. As long as it doesn’t happen too often. But I think this little break in spending will be a good one for me. :)

When’s the last time you experienced FOMO?

Spending Recap: Sept 1-7, 2014

Monday 1st – Victoria, BC
$35.87 ferry
$67.55 (rental car for Hawaii)
$106.67 Hotel deposit (for Hawaii)

Tuesday 2nd
+ $350 freelance income
$28.33 groceries

Wednesday 3rd
No Spend Day!

Thursday 4th
No Spend Day!

Friday 5th
$6.85 lunch
$16 drinks

Saturday 6th
No Spend Day!

Sunday 7th
$24.56 lunch (for 2)

Freelance Income: + $350
Expenses: - $285.83

TOTAL: + $64.17

First thing’s first – we booked our rental car for Hawaii (we leave in 8 days – eeek!), and put down a deposit on the hotel. The balance we will pay when we get there. I’ve almost always booked trips far in advance, so it seems pretty crazy to have booked a somewhat big trip to Hawaii and leave all in the same month.

The week was pretty normal. We were all set to work on BF’s sundeck again this week, but in an amazing turn of events, we no longer have to do anymore work on it. :) It was such a big weight off of our shoulders that we decided to make the most of the weekend. Friday night we had a date night on Granville Island – dinner at the market, drinks at the brewery, and a comedy show at TheatreSports. On Saturday after my field hockey game, we met up with friends for lunch and some beach time with their kids. Sunday was brunch with his friends, and a relaxing afternoon.


September 2014 Goals

No joke, September is going to be an expensive month. I’ve got a trip to Hawaii budgeted, as well as paying my field hockey team fees. With $4,000 worth of expenses this month, I’m just very thankful that in August, I made almost $2,000 in freelance income which pays for Hawaii and a little bit more.

You’ll see that my food/grocery budget is relatively low this month – at $150. This is because we’ll be out of town for a week. I’ve also lowered my Entertainment budget back down to $100, after it was sitting at $150 for much of the summer. Aside from Hawaii, I don’t anticipate any big activities. We’ll be going to another BC Lions game this month, but we have free tickets. And I’d like to go to TheatreSports on Granville Island if we have time, but there’s a 2-for-1 coupon in the Entertainment Book for that. :)


September 2014 Goals:

  • Stay on budget. I know this is an obvious one, but it’s so easy to go crazy when on vacation. We are pretty good at keeping track of expenses while on vacation, so hoping to continue that success. :)
  • Finish cleaning out my storage closet. I made a good dent last month, but the rest needs to get finished.
  • No take-out coffee. Lattes aren’t a treat anymore. It’s become a “whenever I want it” kind of thing. I need to break that habit.
  • Save $850 towards retirement. Normal contributions are $750/month.
  • Start budgeting for Christmas. Have you started saving for the holidays yet?

Spending Recap: August 25-31, 2014

Monday 25th
$6.14 gelato
$49.24 gas

Tuesday 26th
+ $236.07 freelance income
$14.25 groceries

Wednesday 27th
$4.15 lunch

Thursday 28th
+ $501.46 freelance income
$20.90 groceries

Friday 29th
$47.25 hair cut
$12.50 lunch

Saturday 30th – Victoria, BC
$35.87 ferry

Sunday 31st – Victoria, BC
$44 Saanich Fair
$24.29 groceries
$9 pub

Freelance Income: + $737.53
Expenses: - $267.59

TOTAL: + $469.94

It was a busy week. Field hockey practices started up again, I took a day off during the work week to help BF with the renovations on his house, and over the weekend I headed back to Victoria for a couple of days.

I wasn’t able to book a hair cut at the place I normally go to in Victoria, so I settled for an Aveda salon in Vancouver. It was reasonably priced and conveniently located, but my cut was just okay. And if I’m going to spend $50 on a hair cut, I want it to be more than just ok. Lesson learned.

Over in Victoria, our days were packed with visiting family. Saturday we hung out with BF’s family – went for a walk in the afternoon, and his sister cooked us dinner that evening. Sunday we went to the Saanich Fair with my family, and my parents had us over for dinner. My contribution was an apple pie from the fair, as well as ice cream. :)

It was nice to be back on the island for a few days, because I don’t anticipate my next visit to be until Thanksgiving weekend in October.

How was your long weekend?