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Bought a Breville Juicer!

Breville_JuicerLast night I bought what I have been wanting to buy for about a year: the Breville BJE510XL Juicer. I didn’t work it into my June budget, but I think it’s the right time to buy it. I’ve been wanting to do a juice cleanse for a few years now, but it’s hard to find the right time. Field hockey season doesn’t work because I can’t have any down time, which eliminates most of the year. And during the summer, it’s hard to avoid patio season and hanging out with friends.

But in a couple of weeks, I have to get a medical procedure done. This means I won’t be able to do any sort of exercise for one week, and I’ll have to take it pretty easy for 2-3 weeks afterwards. I don’t know if that means I won’t be able to run for 3-4 weeks, but what I do know is that I have a one week window where I am required to do zero physical activity – perfect for a juice cleanse.

For the most part, juicing is not exactly a frugal thing to do. Even though I am saving money by not buying meat (yes, I am still a pescetarian!), the cost of fresh veggies definitely will add up. And it will be interesting to see just how much my grocery costs increase next month because of it. But the good news is, during the summer there’s plenty of cheaper veggies, so it will likely be less expensive than in the winter. :)

The juicer itself was expensive. I could have bought a cheaper brand, but I think when it comes to things like this, you get what you pay for. So I bought it for $199. There was a refurbished one available for $129-149, but about 30% of the comments I saw were about the juicer not working out of the box. I know a lot of PF bloggers say that refurbished products are fine, and I agree for the most part. But played it safe buying the new one after reading the refurbished reviews.

As for the cost, I felt a bit guilty making such a conscious decision to ruin my budget this month, so I picked up two one-off freelance writing gigs, and am currently contemplating another.

Those that have a juicer, or have done a juice cleanse before – I’m looking for advice. What are your favourite recipes? Do you have any tips for a beginner juicer?

How much do you spend on clothes each year?

This year, one of my goals is to spend some money on building a professional wardrobe. But I’ve noticed I tend to purchase items from fairly expensive stores like Banana Republic, J.Crew, and Anthropologie. I find the clothing looks better, lasts longer, and fits better. And that’s okay, I just need to realize that I likely won’t be able to buy as many things on my wish list as I want to.

Apparently we are supposed to keep our clothing budget to 5% of our overall spending. At least, that’s what Bridget said. And that seems reasonable. So I did a bit of calculating to see where I stand with my spending this year.

Aaaaaaand wow. My clothing budget represents 14% ($1,226.14) of my discretionary spending so far in 2013. Or 3.5% of my gross annual income to date. Yikes.

That’s actually a lot higher than I thought it would be. But I bought a suit, and significantly upgraded my work wardrobe. So it’s not like I have no idea what I’ve been spending my money on. Still. It’s pretty eye opening when you calculate the numbers.


Which basically means I’m putting myself on a clothing shopping ban. You may recall I put myself on a clothing shopping ban for the year of 2011. Well, I’m going to do the same thing, except I’m imposing this ban until the end of September. That’s 3.5 months without buying any clothing. I can probably do it until the end of the year, but I’ll take it baby steps at a time. :)

Oh, and I’ll still be allowed to alter and repair the clothing that I currently own – because the suit that I bought earlier this year? It’s too big for me now. :| Which is great because it means I’ve lost a bit of weight, but bad because that’s a brand new suit! I’ll have to get both the pants and blazer taken in.

How much money do you spend on clothing each year?

How many hours did you work to buy that?

2013-05-03 09.09.21

A few weeks ago, I blogged about considering the cost-per-use for items that you buy. As most of you know, with the cost-per-use concept, you take the purchase price of an item, and divide it by how many times you think you will use it. For example, when I buy a pair of black flats for work, I will likely wear them 3 times per week, for 2 years. So (52 weeks) x (2 years) x (3 wears per week) = 312 times before I buy a new pair. If my shoes cost me $75, that’s about $0.24 per use.

Another way to help you determine whether something is worth buying or not, is to figure out how many hours you will have to work to purchase that item. It can be a serious eye opener. I used this approach a lot when I was a teenager making $8 an hour. When I realized I would have to work two full days in order to pay for a university application fee, I asked for my hours to be increased. And when I broke a heel on a pair of boots, I calculated that it would cost me 12.5 hours of work just to replace them – so I spent the equivalent of one hour of work getting them repaired instead.

Today, I use the same method when I’m thinking about buying a big-ticket item. For example, in 2011 I worked approximately 60 hours each week (60 hours x 52 weeks = 3,120 hours total). I earned around $80,000, which means my hourly salary (before tax and deductions) was $25.64. After tax, my true hourly wage was around $18. So when it came time to making the decision to get adult braces, the $6,980 price tag meant that I would have to work 387 hours just to pay for them – or nearly 6.5 weeks. Yikes.

I go out for lunch with co-workers almost every Friday. This costs me around $10. After taxes, my true hourly wage is around $23. Which means I have to work less than 30 minutes to pay for that meal. To me, it’s worth it.

My mortgage is $1,070 per month, which ends up being about 46.5 hours – or less than 1 week of work for me, after taxes. That’s also worth it.

Then there was a gorgeous dress I saw online at Anthropologie, but it was $300. And as much as I loved it, I couldn’t justify the 13 hours of work it would cost to pay for a dress.

You get the idea. Obviously this method, much like the cost-per-use method, has its pros and cons. But I really do find it helpful to break down how many hours I have to work for something to see if it’s worth it.

So the next time you have a few minutes, take into consideration your wants vs. needs. How much of what you are spending on a regular basis is on needs – like groceries, rent, insurance, and utilities? And how many hours are you actually working each week just to pay for the stuff that you want?

Asking yourself these questions is important, and taking the time to calculate how many hours you have to work to afford something is a really great exercise in the value of a dollar. A dinner out with friends every week might not seem like a big splurge, but if you’re making minimum wage, or you can’t pay your bills, or you are drowning in debt, or you’re working overtime just to make ends meet (so that you can continue buying stuff), maybe it’s a good time to evaluate what you can truly afford.

Is the lifestyle you’ve built for yourself worth the hours you put in?

Do you ever calculate how many hours you have to work to buy something?

Do you think it’s a valid method to evaluating purchases?

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