Give Me Back My Five Bucks

July 2012 Goals: Recap

In a month where there was a lot of uncertainty – writing contracts potentially ending at the same time as deciding to stay in Germany for an extra 4+ months – I think I did fairly well. I billed out for an additional $1,400, and I received my first writing contract as a travel blogger.

I’d like to thank everyone for their support with Frugal Wanderer. I forgot how hard it is to start a new blog from scratch! While I still want it to be personal and keep within my style of writing, I’m trying new tactics with Frugal Wanderer – like actually trying to work on SEO and other types of marketing. It’s something I’ve never done with GMBMFB, so I’m excited to see how it all works out.

Over Budget:

  • Cell phone – I loaded my German phone with more credit than usual, because I plan on using it while we are traveling in August.
  • Household – I seem to never remember to budget in laundry expenses.

Net Worth Change+ $1,222 (+ 1.69 %)

It’s nice to see my net worth going in the right direction, because I have a feeling August will end up in the red.

July 2012 Goals:

  • Go running 6 times. FAIL. I’m just not going to bother listing running as a goal anymore.
  • Have all travel plans confirmed for August & September. CHECK! Everything is booked – even my plane ticket to Toronto for #CPFC12! :)
  • Find an orthodontist in Stuttgart. FAIL. Orthodontists are really expensive here. I’m going to wait until I’m back in Toronto.
  • Increase my net worth by $1,200. CHECK! I just barely squeaked by. It’s tough getting paid in a timely manner during the summer months, with so many people on vacation.
  • Contact my banks in Canada. CHECK!

Ongoing 2012 Goals:

  • Post a new photo every day on my Tumblr account, My Life In Pixels. FAIL. I really didn’t want to abandon this project, but it’s really hard to keep up with it, as well as Frugal Wanderer and GMBMFB. I know, excuses.
  • Only post my own photos on GMBMFB. CHECK!
  • Write one guest post for another blog or website. CHECK! I am writing a series of posts for a great website.

Saving money when shopping online

Note: this is a sponsored post

One of the biggest ways that I save on shopping is by finding ways to save money online. Shopping online is more than just convenient – it will usually save you a bunch of money. Typically by purchasing online as opposed to going to the actual store, you will save on the product, as well as the cost of gas and parking. Plus, shopping in your PJs is the best. :)

Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way that have helped me save money when shopping online:

Online coupon codes

A quick internet search for the store and “coupon code” or “promo code” will usually yield a number of websites to help you find discounts.

Contests & surveys

Okay maybe these sorts of websites won’t directly help you “save” money. But you can potentially make some cash to help offset your shopping costs by using a survey website (which is really just as good), and contests are fun to enter. :)

Avoid customs and shipping fees

Often times purchasing products from across the border means Canadian shoppers are faced with custom and extra shipping fees. If you live close to the border, try a parcel handling depot like TSB Shipping in Point Roberts, Washington.

Another option is to look for free shipping by opting to have it shipped to the closest brick and mortar store to you. That way, you can still get the internet discounts, but you will save on shipping and potentially get your item much faster by picking it up in person.

Facebook and Twitter

Often time retailers offer additional discounts for their products when you sign up to follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Last year I purchased a present off of the Roots Canada website. I noticed their Facebook page was offering an additional five per cent discount on top of the 20 per cent discount they were already offering on the website.

Nobody wants to pay full price for something that can be found cheaper elsewhere. By checking out all of these resources you will more than likely find what you’re looking for online at a cheaper price than in a store. Plus, it’s a lot less time consuming, and you are more likely to stay on budget.

Is your bad attitude keeping you poor?

When you’re trying to gain control of your finances, sometimes all it takes is having the right attitude in order to make it work.

Some people are so quick to make excuses and blame other people or unforeseen circumstances regarding their financial situation. I see it all the time – and I’m guilty of it too. We make choices every day, and every choice we make has consequences. Some are good, and some are bad, but they are all an outcome of the choices that we have personally made. Taking credit for the good choices is always fun, but when the results are bad, it is a lot easier just to point the finger at someone or something else.

Here’s an example: I know someone who has taken out in excess of $45,000 in student loans – sounds familiar, right? When she graduated from university, she was shocked to find out what her monthly payments were going to be, how long the amortization period was, and that she had been accruing interest during her “grace” period immediately after graduating.

Over the course of one Skype conversation, she had blamed her parents (for not teaching her about how to manage/save her money), her teachers (for not telling her that her degree would be “useless”), the government (for not being more clear about the terms of the loan), the university (for costing too much) – and her grandma (for giving her sister $2,000 towards school, but not her).

Even though she spends more than she makes, even though she got to decide what degree to take, even though the terms of the student loan were written clearly on the paperwork she signed, even though it’s not her grandma’s job to pay for her education – she blamed everyone but herself.

It’s natural to pass the blame. I find myself doing it all the time:

  • Traffic on the highway made me late”, even though I woke up 15 minutes late, and traffic is the same almost every day.
  • “I can’t afford to work out because the gym costs too much” even though I have a bicycle, hiking boots, and running shoes.

When I was in debt, I was constantly blaming my low-paying job for not allowing me to save, my credit cards for their high interest rates, and my car for always breaking down. But it’s not my employer’s fault I was spending more than I made. It wasn’t my credit card’s fault for charging me because I was living above my means. And it certainly wasn’t my car’s fault that I never properly maintained it.

Of course, there are plenty of external factors that can (and do) play a role in any financial situation, but even those can be tremendously altered by our actions and behaviours.

However, with each misfortune I faced (which I felt was making my life significantly more difficult than everybody else’s), it became harder and harder to pass the blame when it was clear that every separate problem had one thing in common: ME. I knew my bad attitude was holding me back from trying to figure a way out of the crappy situation I had put myself in.

When we have a bad attitude towards money, and we’re constantly acting like a victim, we are immediately setting ourselves up for failure. It seems childish to blame the world limits for our choices, and when we’re only focusing on the negatives, it’s nearly impossible to create new opportunities in order to improve our situation.

The victim mentality allows us to stay safe from the reality that our lives are the way they are because of us. It takes a lot of courage to take responsibility for our own actions. It means that our decisions will now determine every success and every failure in our lives – and that’s scary! But what’s even scarier is never making financial progress, and continuing the downward spiral to financial disaster.

Do you think a bad attitude can stop somebody from achieving financial success?

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