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Archive of ‘Karyn’ category

Karyn’s May Challenge: Keepin it Positive!

I’ve noticed that at the end of the day, the stuff that really sticks with you is usually the most negative. As someone who works in a very high-energy job and has to have a great deal of patience while interacting with customers, there is always a chance that an interaction won’t end well.

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I find myself having stress dreams about not being able to give it my all at my job, or have fears that I’m letting people down. I found this incredibly frustrating because I adore my job, my bosses, and my coworkers. The negative feelings I was having was usually ones that I was projecting onto myself. So for my May Challenge, I decided to focus on the positive. During my day if I had a positive experience I would write it down on a scrap piece of paper and then put in a jar at home.

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This way I could see the positive moments building up. If I was ever having a rough time I could always go and read something to get me back in a jolly ol’ mood.

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This seemed like it was literally the easiest challenge on the planet. I didn’t have to make a crazy budget, I didn’t have to fuss over my life, I just had to keep on living it but write down the positive things that happened.

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Again, it seemed like an easy challenge and yet somehow I failed.

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Throughout the month I noticed awesome things happening, but I never wrote them down. I kept using the excuse that I would write them in a notebook once I got home, or that I never had any paper in the moment. I easily could’ve written them on my phone since I take it with me pretty much everywhere. I had no excuse.

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I was even so embarrassed about my failure that I lied to my sisters during one of our meetings that I was doing great. I thought that maybe I could make up for lost time, but ultimately I didn’t write down one single thing.

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I’ve decided to take this failure and turn it into a win. It has helped me realize that I tend to self-sabotage. Whenever I take on a challenge that forces me to look at myself, not my money, I tend to freeze up.

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I’m going to continue my May Challenge as my June Challenge. I really want to see the positives build up.

I can do this!

Karyn

Karyn’s April Challenge: The Taxes Terminator/Procrastinator

We all have a hate/hate relationship when it comes to tax season. No one enjoys it, and if they say that they do, they be cray! Last year I decided to get some extra help on my taxes since it was so in-depth and I was out of my league. Little did I know that I would be seriously screwed over by H&R Block.

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This year was going to be different. I planned on having a Tax Party with my super sibs and the BF and get my taxes done while having fun at the same time.

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This DEFINITELY didn’t happen.

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I got super swamped at work and had no time for anything, let alone planning a Tax Party. When I did have a spare second to myself I just ignored the fact that my taxes were due. I was procrastinating like a gawd dang pro.

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I kept talking about how I still hadn’t done my taxes with my manager and he suggested I use a program called StudioTax. I said I would give it a shot, but ended up forgetting all about it… until two days before taxes were due (yikes).

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This was go-time. I had to get this done now or I could be in serious trouble, especially if my taxes turned out to be anything like last year’s fiasco.

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Fearful of having to read so much money jargon, I downloaded the free program and go to work… and 30 minutes later I was done. 30 FREAKIN’ MINUTES!!! I was shocked. I thought I was going to be at it until the wee hours of the morning.

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Instead I ended up using a seriously user-friendly program that allowed me to instantly connect to my CRA account and instantly upload my T4s. It automatically filled in everything. IT. WAS. UH-MAZE-ING!!! The only thing I actually had to look up was what line I had to input my student loan interest. Other than that I was golden!

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Now once I was finished I had to figure out how to send it to the CRA. I originally thought I would have to download and print the forms and then mail them out. Not the case with StudioTax! I was able to easily send my finished forms electronically via NetFile, which was included in the downloaded program.

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My taxes this year were a freakin breeze!!!!

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If you still haven’t completed your taxes or are looking for an easier program for next year, I HIGHLY recommend using StudioTax. My GAWD I suggest it!

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#effyoutaxes

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<3 Karyn

 

Karyn’s March Challenge: Gettin’ Strong, Gettin’ Swole

At the beginning of 2017 my sisters decided to pick a word or a phrase that we would attempt to embody in the new year. For mine I decided on the word strength. To me this could mean finding strength in pretty much anything within myself. For my March Challenge I wanted to actually become strong. You have probably read some of my other posts where I gush about how I have joined Elite Martial Arts and I’m working my way to a black belt (fingers crossed) in Krav Maga.

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What you may not know is that being involved in this amazing sport doesn’t really come cheap. But to have incredible instructors teach me how to become a dangerous woman… well I’d say it’s worth every penny! For March I challenged myself to make the most out of my Elite membership and go as much as I possibly could. They offer classes near where I live as well as downtown Toronto, so I had plenty of options.

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My problem was that work was getting mad hectic and I kept missing classes. Missing class was no longer an option for me, especially since I was going to be dual belt testing in April which meant that I was going for my orange and purple belt. If I wanted to accomplish my challenge I would have to get my rear in gear and step my game up.

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My goal was to go at least four times a week. Since I work Monday-Wednesday in the evening (when most of their classes took place), I would have to make up for missed time by going on Tuesdays mornings downtown, twice on Thursdays and then once on Fridays. Plus I would try to supplement my workout by doing some P90X with the bf at home.

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For the first few weeks I was straight-up killin’ it. I was feeling strong and noticing legit improvement. Plus I didn’t feel guilty for spending the money for Krav since I was going so regularly. Everything was coming up Milhouse!

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And then work hit me hard. I was only able to go once during the week, and then the next week I only went twice. I tried to make up for it with P90X, but I was frustrated at myself since I had invested so much of my time and money in this. Plus the stress of dual belt testing weighed on me, and I started to feel like a huge failure.

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Luckily I have amazing managers that let me take a few nights off to be able to go to Krav and prepare, as well as fantabulous instructors that gave me extra attention and motivation to keep going.

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In the end after a two hour test, I emerged incredibly sweaty, seriously out of breath and victorious!

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#PurpleBeltFTW!!!!

 

During my test I was fiercely fatigued and almost gave up. My brain kept going over all of the days I missed and if I could have just gone to those classes I wouldn’t be feeling like I was going to simultaneously throw up and pass out. Amazingly, those negative thoughts were drowned out by the incredible support from my fellow students. They cheered me on when all I wanted to do was give up. My instructors demanded I continue and that stopping wasn’t even an option. I ended up finishing and feeling so proud of myself and so touched by how everyone had my back.

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Choosing to take this on for my March Challenge, I never would have thought that it would have been this rewarding. Usually when I complete my challenges I just give myself a pat on the back and just move on to the next thing.This time it really made me reflect on the choices I have made and the people that I surround myself with.

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I am so glad I chose strength as my word for 2017. I was able to discover that there is the physical and emotional strength that you can build by yourself, but also the strength you create by surrounding yourself with people who push you forward, who believe in you and who cheer you on when you think you can’t take another step.

As sore as I feel while writing this, I can tell you honestly it was well worth it.

-Karyn

Karyn’s February Challenge: Me Time

When we started Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress, I initially thought that my only focus would be on finances. But as we progressed, my sisters and I began to really look at the mo’ progress side of things. While watching my sisters take on personal challenges that helped them to become more well-rounded people, well, I decided to join them.

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For the month of February my goal was to find more “Me” time. To some this may not seem that challenging. You probably have no problem finding ways to relax and take a moment to enjoy something you love. For me I have always had an issue with slowing down. If I wasn’t working I would feel like I’m failing. If I wasn’t going above and beyond what was expected of me, I felt like I was letting people down. So finding time to just do something that I found fun actually seemed kind of daunting.

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Luckily for me, the month of February had me make some major changes to my schedule. My amazing managers noticed that my stress levels were through the roof and decided to lend me a hand. They talked to me about having time off to relax and recuperate. We tweaked my schedule and I was able to create time where I could have the opportunity to actually plan some me time.

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Now that I had the ability to take a breather from work I had to start thinking about what I wanted to do. The first two things to pop into my head was of course Krav Maga and movies. Krav is literally all I do when I’m not working, so that was a no brainer. Movies on the other hand gave me pause.

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Movies cost money. Right now I’m trying to stick to my 12-month budget and so far it’s been challenging to say the least. Paying for movies isn’t cheap, even if I am using Scene points. Just thinking about the cost of all the films I wanted to watch started to get me stressed out. That was the OPPOSITE of what I wanted for my February challenge! So I decided to say SCREW IT to my entertainment budget and I just watched any movie and every movie that came my way.

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I’ve gotta say that it was awesome!

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I felt like I was in uni again, just going out with friends and catching a flick. It kind of felt freeing.

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Yes, yes, I know I’m just talking about going to see some random movies, and it shouldn’t seem this dramatic. For me, it was an opportunity to indulge and have fun. I really missed that because I was adulting so freakin’ hard.

I’m really glad I had the chance to take on this challenge. It forced me to take a good look at myself and see where I was going. I’m so lucky that I have my super sibs that inspired me to start making mo’ progress in my life and start enjoying it!

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-Karyn

Enjoy the little things

Right now I’m in the middle of my January Challenge which is all about budgeting $50 per week on super healthy food. I’ve also tasked myself with preparing all of my food in advance and making sure I’m eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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It seems like a simple task, but I’m notorious for forgetting to eat meals and then substituting healthy food with absolute junk. So far I’ve been doing pretty well, but on top of creating this new healthy habit I’ve also tasked myself with going to the gym twice a day, at least four days a week. Now that can really cut into my meal prep time. Usually I’d just go buy dinner (something healthy-ish) and call it a day, but when I came home from working out the other night I found the most magical thing left for me. My boyfriend made me dinner.

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It totally made my day and I scarfed that plate of spaghetti and broccoli down, but it also made me realize something. When I am completing a challenge I sometimes get caught up in the action of it and forget that I should be having fun. Of course I’m learning new skills, but if it feels like a chore to me I won’t keep it up after the month is over.

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Coming home and seeing this wonderfully prepared dinner made me realize that I wasn’t having any fun with my meals. It had already become routine and boring. So I’ve decided that I need to put some pizzazz in what I make and create new and exciting things and not just stick to the ol’ faithfuls.

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I need to start enjoying the little things along the way and not just the end result of finishing my challenge.

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So for those of you in our #MoMoneyPosse who have decided to make new healthy money habits, just remember to enjoy the journey. Focusing on the end result can motivate you, but make sure you are having fun while you get there!

-Karyn

Unemployment Desperation: How I Almost Signed Up For Clincial Trials

When I was unemployed I had this fear of never being able to find a job again. If felt like nothing was available except for unpaid internships that wanted me to work eight hours a day, five days a week. I became so desperate that I started to look up ways to earn cash fast.

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I was tempted to accept a job as a telemarketer, but my conscience wouldn’t let me take it. I also snagged a job selling hot water tanks and heaters, but declined because I felt so shady barging into strangers houses trying to sell them stuff they didn’t need.

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I was at the end of my rope and was sitting on the subway coming back from yet another interview when I saw a sign for clinical research trials. For some crazy reason this actually appealed to me and I decided to look up the website once I got home.

What made my decision to pimp my body out for medical trials so strange was that I prided myself on not drinking alcohol, smoking cigs or doing drugs. Heck, I didn’t even take Tylenol when I had a headache, yet here I was willing to let pharmaceutical companies use me as their lab rat for scary drugs.

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Why was I even considering this? I had money saved in the bank and had enough of a cushion that I would be comfy for more than three months even if I had no income coming in.

The reason I was willing to do this was that I was afraid. I was afraid that something terrible would happen and I wouldn’t have enough money to survive. When you’re unemployed your brain goes into extreme panic mode and you feel like anything that could go wrong will go wrong.

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The thing about these trials is that they seem somewhat glamorous. Sitting around watching TV, eating free food, and helping test drugs that could really benefit people? Sounds like a blast. Plus you can get paid incredible amounts of cash. The trial that caught my eye was for a week and I’d earn $1,500. Seeing that much money offered made my mouth water and my bank account tingle with joy.

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When I finally got home I was so excited to sign up and get on my way to earning some money, but the rational part of me demanded that I research the negative effects that doing these trials could have on my life.

The results were scary. Some people had incredibly severe reactions and were hospitalized, other people were fine at first but had complications a few months later. What actually scared me the most was that I found interviews of people who did clinical trials as a full-time gig. On many clinical trial sites, it states that you cannot participate in a study if you are involved in another one, but there are people out there who do 2-4 trials all at the same time. This is just plain dangerous. I didn’t want to head down that road so I put an end to that idea.

As I kept looking for jobs during my five months of unemployment I would Google fast ways to make money and the websites that popped up would keep suggesting that I do these medical trials, or that I should sell my blood or my hair to make a quick buck.

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The fact that these are options for people who are in financial trouble worries me, but what I noticed more often than not was that they were marketing for millennials. So many people were signing up because their work contract ended and they needed to pay rent and their student loans.

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That was one of my main reasons for even considering medical trials. Not having a job and being weighed down in debt from school can make you desperate. I hope that you start looking at your finances now and making changes and creating healthy money habits so you won’t be tempted to do these things just so you can earn some fast cash. It’s not worth it if you end up hurting yourself in the long run. You are worth more than that.

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Let’s get #financiallyfab the healthy way and start planning our financial futures today!
– Karyn

Karyn’s Monthly Money Challenge: Talking Future Finances With Your Partner

My July Money Challenge was to talk to my boyfriend of six years about our future finances. I was hoping that our discussion would lead to us getting a joint checking and savings account. Unfortunately I didn’t complete my challenge.

I could give you a ton of excuses why I didn’t do it, but the real reason was that I was scared. I was worried that once I brought it up he would dismiss the idea, or that we would have very different views about money.

These fears should have actually motivated me to complete my challenge sooner. If you can see yourself building a life with your partner you should talk about money once you start having these doubts. It could save you from oodles of grief down the road.

My goal for August is to have a real sit-down with him and talk about our future money plans. It could be as simple as going to the bank and getting advice, to actually creating a joint account. My main challenge is to put aside my fears and to really get down to the nitty-gritty of the issue. I want to make sure that we have like-minded goals. This way we can really start planning for our future together.

Wish me luck!

Karyn

 

KARYN’S JUNE CHALLENGE: ENDING THE IMPULSE BUY

I always thought that I hand a handle on curbing any impulses that I had when it came to my purchases. I don’t buy coffee, I don’t buy alcohol, I don’t buy cigarettes, I like to save up my money for things I really want and things I really need. I occasionally splurge, but it’s always within my budget.

This past month was incredibly busy for me and surprisingly took a toll on my wallet. Going into this challenge I assumed I would impulse buy maybe one or two things and would only rack up about $50.00 of unnecessary spending.

Boy was I WAAAAAAY off. I ending up spending $150.00 on things I did not really need.

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And what did I blow my money on you ask?

FOOD.

Food is my weakness, my kryptonite, so to speak.

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Now I’m not grouping in purchasing stuff from the grocery store as an impulse buy. I’m talking about ordering food online, grabbing a burger instead of packing a lunch, and giving into my sweet-tooth and buying bags of chocolate covered almonds to gorge myself at work.

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Looking at my bank account, it didn’t really make that big of a dent, but it did make me realize that I have to be more aware on what I spend my money on. I’m not going to give up on food (cuz you kinda need it to live), but I’m going to be more conscious on what I buy. I’m going to be strong and say no to Hero Burger and yes to a sandwich I made the night before. I shall say nay to buying lunch at Shoppers Drug Mart (yeah poor decision making there), and yay to going grocery shopping on my breaks.

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In order to hold myself accountable for my random munchies impulse buying, I’ve tasked myself with learning new cheap and easy recipes and making them for lunch and dinner. I have a giant chalkboard in my house, so each day I write down what I’m going to eat during the week and how much I should be spending. This giant visual keeps me on track and less inclined to break the bank every time my stomach growls.

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This was definitely a wake up call for me and hopefully it’ll get you thinking about what you impulse buy.

– Karyn

SUMMER SAVINGS TIPS

Do you find your funds start to dry up in the summer time? It definitely does for me since there are so many cool things going on and you end up having oodles of free time. The more stuff there is to do, the more money you tend to spend. I’m here to give you some tips on how to be savings-savvy when it comes to summer spending.

CREATE A BUDGET
I know you’re probably tired of hearing us tell you to make a budget, but it seriously will help you out. Figure out how much you are willing to spend each month and divvy it up for each week. If you go over your budget one week then make sure you subtract that amount that you overspent from the next week until you are back on track. You have to take into account vacations, concerts, movies, etc., and it could get a tad technical, but come autumn you will still have bank while everyone else is complaining that they have drained their accounts.

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DITCH THE PATIOS
Winter is finally gone and you can now go outside without worrying about losing a finger from frostbite. This means patios will be open and you will find yourself sitting outside eating some great noms and drinking something refreshing while time flies. Annnnnd then the bill comes and snaps you back to reality. After sitting outside at the restaurant/bar you may end up paying more because you’ll be staying longer. Your food has been digested, your drink drained and now you are feeling ready for seconds.

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Now, I’m not saying to nix the patios every time, but just to be smart about it. Do you just want a place to sit outside and have a drink or something to eat? Well, grab a friend, make a snack and go to a park or the waterfront. Sure, you won’t have someone waiting on you, but that means you won’t have to pay a bill or leave a tip. Patios are fun, but they will drain your wallet before you know it.

BUY YOUR TICKETS EARLY
Is there a concert that you’re planning on attending this summer? How about a convention? Tickets will be expensive, but prices will ALWAYS go up the closer to the date. The second you are 100% sure you are going, BUY THE TICKETS!!! I’ve been burned before as a newbie going to a convention. I was hesitant in buying my tickets and then at the last minute I decided to go, but the prices had been jacked up and I didn’t have enough to buy them.

Don’t do what I did. Plan ahead and buy your tickets as early as possible. You don’t want to be stuck buying them at crazy prices or resort to buying them from someone else after they all sold out. You want to enjoy it, not immediately regret it.
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HAVE A STAY-CATION
It can suck scrolling through Facebook and looking at your friends’ pics from their vacations or hearing people planning for their cruise next month. Your bank account would weep if you even thought of attempting to plan a trip. So instead of feeling left out, plan your own stay-cation!

Don’t be put off by a stay-cation. I know I sound like an ol’ fuddy duddy suggesting it, but they can actually be pretty rad. This is an opportunity to explore your city/town. Go online and check out places you’ve never been and find out if they have any coupons, discounts or free days. Go to a museum, chill at the beach, catch a cheap play, or just go to a part of town that you’ve never had the chance to venture.

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If you have a bit of a larger budget, maybe even book a hotel somewhere snazzy and just do all of the tourist-y things that you can think of. Go on bus tours, do some sightseeing and try to find as many landmarks as you can and take a picture with them. Sure you may not be in Fiji, but you can still have fun at home (plus, your wallet will thank you).

GO EXPLORING
When you were little did you ever go one adventures or pretend that you were discovering a new land? Having an imagination doesn’t cost you anything so let your childhood self run wild! Grab a map and pick a place, whether it’s in a city or out in the boonies, and either plan a route or just plan to get lost. Pack a bag with essentials (water, food, phone, etc.) and just walk around. For obvious reasons, wear appropriate attire. If you are walking in a wooded area, wear long sleeves and pants/leggings (bug alert!) and definitely wear good walking shoes. City or forest, your feet will thank you.

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LIBRARIES ARE COOL
Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card! Yes, that’s from everyone’s fav. aardvark Arthur, but hey, it’s still true. Libraries aren’t for squares anymore and are a haven for those who have a budget to stick to. Libraries are great when you want to escape and find a quiet place to relax. You can choose a book (or three) and waste the day sitting and reading.

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Now if that’s not your jam, you can use the computers to muck about and not go over your Internet usage for the month. Also, libraries always have something going on. They are usually pretty connected to what’s happening in the community. Take a looksee at their bulletin boards are see if anything tickles your fancy. You might find a nugget of gold in there that you wouldn’t have discovered anywhere else.

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MOVIE NIGHT
As someone who is crazy about going to see films, when someone says movie night I am always down. Unfortunately, movie night at the theatre will mean making your wallet cry after spending your hard-earned cash on that expensive IMAX ticket and the overpriced popcorn that no movie-goer can do without. So for those of you who can’t say no to seeing Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World you can cut some costs by going on a cheap night (usually Tuesdays), or just opting out of the 3D and IMAX and just seeing the flick in 2D. Say no to the popcorn and that giant jug of pop and bring your own water bottle. Plus, if you are feeling a tad rebellious, go snag some snacks at a bulk candy store and sneak them in. This way you aren’t paying $15.00 for a handful of gummie worms.

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If you really wanna save some dough, bypass the theatre altogether and have a movie night at home. Grab some friends, have each of them bring a snack, their fav film and have a movie marathon! This will cost you next to nothing and you will get to see movies that you’ve never seen before and get to watch old favs. The only difficult decision you’ll have to make is choosing which film to bring!

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Saving money during the summer months is all about getting creative. Remember that parks and the beach are free. Don’t be afraid to get silly. Grab some friend sand have some (cheap) fun!

Do you have any summer savings tips for us? Leave a comment below or let us know if you’ve tried our tips.

-Karyn

KARYN’S MAY CHALLENGE: (ONLINE) SHOPPING ON A BUDGET

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Karyn how is this a challenge? All you have to do is just budget like you would if you were regularly shopping.” That’s exactly what I thought, but my views quickly changed.

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My goal was to buy at least 3 different things and stay under my budget of $50.00. Simple, right? Well, I also added that I couldn’t buy anything black (which is pretty much my go-to colour) and it had to be spring/office appropriate. This meant the clothes would be a wee bit more expensive and it would really make me consider my purchase before buying it since I had a whole closet to match.

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Since this wasn’t my first rodeo, I had a couple of sites in mind to start my shopping. The first few I went to were waaaaaaay out of my price range. If I wanted to buy anything there I would only be able to afford one out of the three things I was challenged to buy. I decided to switch up my game plan and look for sites that were having mad amounts of sales. it took me a while but I narrowed it down to two sites, tobi.com and sheinside.com. I was able to find tons of stuff that I liked and was adding things to my carts with reckless abandon.

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I ended up having A LOT of stuff to sift through so I could find my three choices. Keeping to my criteria I was able to keep both sites’ picks under $50.00 and stayed away from my dark fixation. But here’s where things got interesting.

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I was in a real pickle trying to decide which site to buy from or if I should just buy some things from one site and some from the other. I felt very torn until I noticed the shipping cost. SheInside had free shipping to Canada, where Tobi you could get free shipping if you spent over a certain amount. This is where sticking to your budget it important. I’ve definitely done this in the past where I have added more things to my cart in order to get free shipping, but ended up going insanely over budget or bought things that I didn’t even like.

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This immediately narrowed down my choice to SheInside! I was able to keep my purchase at $40.56 without having to add the insane cost of shipping. The only downside is that I do have to wait a wee bit longer than usual for my purchases to arrive, but hey I can be patient.

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MAY CHALLENGE: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

– Karyn

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