Give Me Back My Five Bucks - Page 8 of 2823 - a quest for financial independence

Recent Posts

Spending Recap: June 23-29, 2014

Monday 23rd
+ $199.59 freelance income
$11.50 lunch

Tuesday 24th
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 25th
$11.50 lunch

Thursday 26th
No Spend Day!

Friday 27th – Tacoma, WA
$5.08 road trip snacks
$7.33 Chipotle
$37.40 hotel

Saturday 28th – Florence, OR
$2.18 ice
$20.17 groceries
$53.18 hotel

Sunday 29th – Lincoln City, OR
$11.50 breakfast
$4 coffee
$55 dune buggies
$56.51 gas
$20.22 dinner
$60.56 hotel

Freelance Income: + $199.59
Expenses- $356.13

TOTAL: - $156.54

I had two lunch dates this week with friends, which is a bit out of the ordinary. But both times we went to the same place, and they’ve got a pretty cheap lunch menu, which is why the cost for both days is exactly the same. :)

The rest of the week was spent on holidays in Oregon. Here are some of the expenses, but I’ll recap the entire trip in a separate post, with pictures and everything that we did.

July 2014 Goals

July! This is going to be a busy, but exciting month for me. I’ve got a field hockey tournament to play in, a trip scheduled for Victoria to take my dad to a baseball game, and BF is having a couple of parties for the Celebration of Light fireworks.

Since there are a lot of expenses happening this summer, I’m trying to keep it relatively frugal this month. I added in my expenses for travel (which includes my trip to Oregon from earlier this week), as well as $50 for field hockey. The tournament is only $20, but drop-in sessions start this month and those cost between $5-8. I might not go to many, but at least it’s in my budget if I do decide to go.

I’m also going to try to schedule in a spa day for myself. BF gave me a gift card to a spa for Christmas, and I haven’t used it yet. But now that I’ve passed probation and am eligible for extended health benefits at work, I figure I can use that to my advantage and make this a free spa day! Benefits will cover me for a massage, and I can use the gift card for a facial, or maybe a pedicure. :)


July 2014 Goals:

  • Save $800 towards retirement. $600 towards RRSPs and $200 towards TFSA.
  • Earn an additional $800. I’ve got a lot of invoices out there, so fingers crossed they come through this month.
  • Work out 5-6x/week. I’ll be playing field hockey, running, and using the gym at work. On days that I don’t exercise, I still expect to walk 10-15k steps.
  • Get rid of my old television. This is rolled over from last month.
  • Fix my sink. This is rolled over from last month.
  • No coffee. Recently I tried to drink a cup of coffee, and couldn’t do it. It’s been at least 5 or 6 years since I’ve had a regular cup of coffee, and I just can’t handle the taste. But I love lattes and other fancier drinks. The problem is, they’re too expensive to have on a regular basis. So I’m cutting it all out completely for the month. Better for my health, and for my wallet. :)
  • Limit dairy intake. I don’t buy dairy products much on a regular basis, and I almost never have milk, butter, or eggs in my fridge. But I want to limit eating cheese, putting milk in my tea at work, or putting a boiled egg into my lunchtime salads. Those little things are what I’m used to, and I want to see how I feel if I’m really conscious of limiting how much dairy I eat.

June 2014 Goals: Recap

Even though my net worth increased this month, I didn’t do very well on my monthly goals. It was a hard month for me. Super stressed out. Work was busy, my personal life was a bit chaotic, and I had a pretty active schedule of things to get done.

We also traveled to Oregon at the end of the month, but didn’t actually plan the trip until about mid-month. That’s why you don’t see anything budgeted for Travel below, and I also didn’t record any of the travel expenses either. Since the trip ended on July 1st, I’m just going to throw it all into July’s budget just to make it easier. :)


Over Budget

  • Cell Phone – My plan took longer than expected to switch over to the new, cheaper one.
  • Internet – Same with the internet. I still payed the higher price for this month before I get dropped down to the cheaper plan.
  • Clothing – I bought a bathing suit. It was a little more than I had wanted to pay, but I’m pretty happy with it.
  • Car & Transportation – Can we discuss for a moment how expensive gas is in Vancouver? :( Although I do commute from BF’s house on a regular basis (he only lives 10 min. from my work), I did drive to-and-from Surrey at least three times this month.
  • Miscellaneous – I had to buy a new charger for my MacBook Pro.

Net Worth Change: + $1,728 (1.80%)

Big gains this month with my RRSPs as well as my stocks. I also bought my first ETF months month as well. As long as my net worth keeps going up, I’ll be happy. :)

June 2014 Goals:

  • Work out 6x/week. CHECK! This was a mix of running, hiking, tennis, long walks, and going to the gym. I’m also really proud that I was able to get to a 12+km run this month. I’m still a long ways from being ready for my half marathon, but I’m feeling really good and strong.
  • Cut back on sugar. PASS. I didn’t do too horribly with this on a daily basis, but I definitely didn’t say no to celebration cake or chocolate while on vacation. :)
  • Earn $1,200 in freelance income. FAIL. I only brought in $497.07 – but I still have about $900 waiting to be paid out.
  • Automate my property tax. FAIL. I didn’t even think about this.
  • Get rid of my old TV. FAIL. This month went by so fast, and then half way through the month, work got really busy and I didn’t have much free time to do anything. Plus, I was barely home. So, nope. Didn’t get this done.
  • Fix my sink. FAIL. BF didn’t have time to look at it this month. Hopefully we’ll be able to take a look in the next few weeks. If not, I’ll just hire someone to fix it.

Spending Recap: June 16-22, 2014

Whoops, I scheduled this to post last Friday while I was on vacation, but clearly it didn’t. :|

Monday 16th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 17th
$2.75 pizza
$23.59 groceries

Wednesday 18th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 19th
$5.25 Subway

Friday 20th
$42.15 dinner (for 2)
$12.09 wine

Saturday 21st
$24.15 brunch
$44.80 MEC

Sunday 22nd
$5.25 Subway
$45.56 gas

Freelance Income: $0
Expenses- $205.59

TOTAL: - $205.59

This week was pretty good in terms of spending. I spent most of the work week working overtime, going to the gym, and laying low. On Friday, I treated BF to a date night – dinner at a Chinese restaurant and a bottle of sparkling wine. Saturday morning I went for brunch with Cait. We went to this amazing restaurant called Yolks, and we both decided that we might have had the best eggs bennies ever, and we’ll definitely be going back there again. :)

Sunday I ran 12.2km (my longest run since January), which I’m really proud of. I think if I can keep this up, I’ll be in good form for my half marathon in October. Then we had a BBQ celebration at BF’s sister’s house because his newphew just graduated high school. They were super thoughtful and picked me up a couple of mushrooms to grill on the BBQ, so I didn’t have to go out and grab any groceries.

I’ve also started using the free gym at work. I’m not sure why it took me this long to try it, but I’m really liking the space. It’s pretty small, but not many people use it, and there’s almost always equipment free. So I’m going to try to use it after work a couple times each week. Plus, it beats paying $5 to use the gym by my house!

A fun evening making French macarons

I’ve been obsessed with macarons for a couple of years now, but have never attempted to make them. Everyone always told me how hard and finnicky they were to create, so I just left it at that and continued to buy them regularly. But when I saw a TeamBuy coupon for a 2-hour macaron making class for $45, I jumped on it.

We booked a few weeks ahead of time, and ended up going to a class last night at Professor and the Pigeon – a cute little bakery and coffee shop located in Kitsilano. The class started at 6:30, and we had about 15 or 16 people in the class. BF was the only guy there, which wasn’t surprising.

There was a wide range of skill level in attendance. One woman said she’s tried to make macaron at least a dozen times before, and there were people like us who have never attempted it at all. I bake a few times a year – banana breads, pies, cookies, etc. But am by no means an expert.

The first thing we did was watch a demonstration on how to make the macaron shells. Then, she divided us into 3 teams, and we started making our own shells. The group I was in was making Earl Grey macarons. Yum!

We started out by measuring the ingredients, and we were both pretty surprised at how simple the recipe is: just egg whites, white sugar, icing sugar, and almond flour. :) We blended the egg whites and white sugar together until the batter formed stiff peaks, and then we were ready for the next step.

We then poured the icing sugar and almond flour on top of the egg white mixture, and started mixing together. It was really important not to overmix, but I was surprised at how runny the batter was (similar to the consinstency of melted chocolate). After we got it just right, we filled a piping bag and went to town. Ours came out a little bit uneven, but pretty good for a first try. :) Then you let them sit on the tray for at least 30 minutes, until they dry out a little so that you can touch them (kind of like a blister).

They don’t spend long in the oven, and it makes a big difference temperature-wise whether you are using a convection oven or a regular oven. Once removed from the oven, they have to cool completely before you can move onto filling them with deliciousness.

While they cooled, we started to make our Earl Grey buttercream filling. It’s a little disgusting knowing how much butter and sugar actually goes into the filling, so I’ll just skip over that part. :) We used ground up tea, mixed it with hot cream, and then added it to butter, sugar, and vanilla extract.

Now the fun part – assembling the macarons! :) I was a little bit stingy in the amount of buttercream I put into my macarons. Thought I could somehow make them healthier… but, don’t skimp out. They were much better when you put more buttercream than what you think is a healthy amount, haha!

Making macarons was a really fun experience, and made an awesome date night. We were concerned before going to the class that we wouldn’t be able to make them at home. But it turns out, they’re quite simple to make. You just need to know how to get the right consistency with the batter, and get the timing perfectly. I’m glad we took the class because it gave us hands-on experience before we attempt to make them ourselves. :)

Here is the finished product. So pretty!

photo 1

NOTE: This wasn’t a paid review or anything (although I did use a referral link to the coupon site), I just love macarons and was really excited to share this experience. The price for the class is normally $99, but you can buy it through TeamBuy (referral) for $45.

Have you ever tried to make macarons before?