Give Me Back My Five Bucks

From vegetarian to vegan: a one month experiment

Most of you know I’m vegetarian. I started off as pescetarian when I came back from Germany in 2013. After a few months, I turned vegetarian – and have been for almost two years now.

It’s been an interesting two years. I still get asked by my good friends if I’m “still not eating meat,” as if it’s a fad I’ll eventually get sick of. :) I’ve been put in more than a couple uncomfortable situations, and I have traveled to places where getting a vegetarian meal can be tricky (I ate a lot of eggs). But overall, it has been such a positive change to my lifestyle that I can’t imagine ever eating meat again.

Taking the next step to vegan has always scared me. That’s why I’ve never done it, or even attempted to try. It’s new territory that I’ve always wanted to explore, I just didn’t (and still don’t) know how to go about doing it. Cooking seems daunting – especially cooking for others. Going out to restaurants and traveling will become harder than it already is. But here’s the thing: I’ve always known that eventually, I would want to make this lifestyle change. And now is the time to test it out.

Maybe this will work, and maybe it won’t. But today marked Day 1 of a 30-day vegan challenge for me. I’ve actually already failed, but that’s okay… I ate a piece of pumpkin loaf that I realized afterwards was clearly made with egg, and then I almost put milk into my coffee this morning.

Over the next month, I anticipate higher than normal grocery bills and a lot of “whoops” moments. It will be tough to change my habits, but that’s what’s fun about these 30-day challenges. :) And with any luck, one month will turn into two months, and a new lifestyle will come from it.

So, if any of you are vegan, I’d love links to your favourite vegan recipes or restaurants!

Get rewarded for everyday purchases when using your debit card

Note: while I received compensation for this blog post, all views and opinions are my own.

I started using credit cards to earn points and rewards a long time ago. As many of you know, I support the responsible use of credit cards. I think that they can be an excellent way to earn travel rewards or cash back bonuses. However, they’re only beneficial if you can use them responsibly – which means never carrying a balance.

If you know your spending habits and can manage your budget effectively, a debit card is an excellent option, but doesn’t that mean you are missing out on rewards for everyday purchases?! That’s why I just don’t bother using my debit card at all if I can help it – I like the rewards too much. :) However, that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

Enter debit rewards cards.

I didn’t actually think debit rewards cards existed, and they don’t for the most part – but Scotiabank is the only bank in Canada that offers you debit rewards on your purchases with three separate debit rewards cards.

w2b-scene-debit-cardSCENE Debit Card

Most of us know what the SCENE rewards program is – you can earn points for free movies, merchandise, and more. This is perfect for students who like going out to movies, but might not have the budget to go as often as they’d like to go. You can earn accelerated points through Cineplex online and in person (5x based on purchases) as well as at a few other select locations including Sport Chek, Milestones and East Side Mario’s. You will also earn one point for every five dollars spent in other locations.

w2b-scotiabank-cash-back-debitMoneyback Debit Card

This card is very similar to cash back credit cards in that you can earn 1% on every purchase you make – up to a maximum of $300 per year. For those that open up an account before October 31st, you’ll earn double the rewards – $600 – through to that day.

NHL_Debit_Card_ReflectionNHL Debit Card

With every purchase made on a ScotiaHockey NHL® debit card, you will be entered to win grand prizes including four 2016 NHL® All-Star Game packages, four 2016 Stanley Cup® Final packages, four 2016 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off™ packages as well as 45 monthly prizes.

I’m actually really excited that debit rewards cards have been introduced in Canada. This means people that don’t want to rely on credit cards still have the ability to earn great rewards for their everyday purchases. And for those of us that will continue to earn rewards through credit cards, this is just an additional way to earn rewards through responsible spending.

What do you think of these debit rewards card offerings?

Friday ramblings

Last night I went with a friend to the PNE. It was VanCity night, and as a member, we both got in for just $5! :) Our goal was to watch the free Boys II Men concert, but apparently that seemed to be the goal of every other 30-something person in Vancouver. The venue was filled up by the time we got there, so we had to watch the show from the beer garden. It was really fun watching the crowd lose their minds when they sang their hit songs. :)

Tomorrow I’ll be headed home for the long weekend. It’s been a couple months since I’ve seen my friends and family, so am looking forward to watching ball games with my dad, brunching with my friends, and going on a hike or two.

Recently with my thoughts on renting vs. owning (and selling my home), I’ve made a few noticable changes. Mostly I’ve been getting on board with the minimalist and shopping ban movement. I’ve recently gotten rid of a lot of things I no longer use in my house (decluttering, but also in preparation of moving – whenever that might be), and have cut down on shopping for clothes, books, and household items. Now, I’m not in a position to go on a shopping ban right now like some of my other PF friends, but perhaps in the future. This exercise has definitely been helping to become more aware of the things that I need versus what I actually want.

This has freed up some room in my budget to save a little more, as well as attend a bunch of great events over the next few weeks:

  • Pecha Kucha Night Vancouver – ($10) they’ll be chatting about sustainability and the green future of the City of Vancouver.
  • Vancouver Art Gallery: Art Makes Us – ($12.50) the event where they will finally unveil the concept design of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. This interests me because I love the art gallery and all things design/architecture, but also because the company I work for is in this industry.
  • Vancouver International Film Festival – (?) one of my favourite events of the year. :) I took a quick look at the schedule, and there are already 4 or 5 documentaries that have caught my eye.

It also looks like aside from my little vacation to Vegas in October (and a couple of visits to Toronto for work), I won’t be going on any other trips this year. This means I can carry my vacation time and savings over to next year. I want to plan a really fun trip for next year. Tops on my list would be China (to see where my dad grew up), explore the UK, or head over to Turkey again.

There’s also lots of work to be done on the Canadian Personal Finance Conference – we are just over one month away – can you believe it!? I’ll be booking my flights soon, and cannot wait to meet those of you that will be attending. :)

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