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January 2017 archive

Gabby’s December Challenge: BUNDLE THE F UP.

I’ve been living in Canada my entire life, yet I’ve never bought myself a proper winter coat as an adult. I was always skirting by with something to break the wind and wore tons of layers instead. In my last year of high school I actually just wore this fake leather jacket and bundled up with a scarf, hat, and mittens. That’s it. And obviously, I was always miserable.

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Why do we do this to ourselves? We know the weather is going to be horrible every year, yet we stick it out with whatever will do the job. But when I heard this winter was going to be one of the worst, I knew I had to do something.

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So I set out to buy myself a baller winter jacket. There were three things it absolutely needed to have:

  1. Needs to be warm (duh)
  2. Needs to be fashionable + fit me well
  3. Needs to be at a reasonable price. I was planning on spending anywhere from $200 – $400.

I started the hunt. I looked around for stores in my neighbourhood, like Patagonia, asked around at my work and took my coworkers’ suggestions, and looked online. But nothing seemed to check off all my boxes.

Then it dawned on me: three years ago, my parents treated us all to really nice winter coats from this store called Lorne’s on Spadina and Adelaide. I got this beautiful white peacoat that is still really warm, but I feel like (as Canadians) we need more than one winter coat. One for fashion, and one for functionality.

So I went back to Lorne’s, and sure enough, there were plenty to choose from. And then I saw it: this beautiful coat with a fur trimmed hood that actually looked like it would flatter my shape. But, as a good shopper, I looked around the store for more options, tried some on, and almost threw up at some of the prices (LOL). I ultimately came back to the first coat I saw and tried it on. It fit like a dream. I got to talking with the sales lady and mentioned that the fur trim on the coat in my size didn’t look as floofy as some of the others. She instantly switched the fur with another jacket’s. Talk about service!

Now it comes down to price. My dream coat cost $550. Gulp. But I figured since I just got a raise, and this wasn’t some frivolous purchase, I was willing to spend the money. Especially since it’s really warm and I love the fit. The sales lady also mentioned that the one I had was the last one in my size and that the manufacturer stopped making that specific colour. (It was called “merlot,” by the way– I took it as a sign 😉

So I bought it! I am now the proud owner of a warm-ass winter jacket. And it was only $620 with tax. Pretty good considering some other coats I found were, yes, cheaper, but I definitely knew I would regret it since they didn’t seem warm enough.

The first day I wore it outside, it was like angels were singing. I was so toasty, and when I got on the streetcar I didn’t feel like I was melting. I got compliments constantly and it wasn’t weighing on my back like all my other past winter coats.

And then I realized: I actually don’t mind winter now that I have a proper coat. In fact, I welcome it.

Karyn’s December Challenge: Making A 12 Month Budget (And Sticking To It)

The budget queen strikes again!

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For my December Challenge I wanted to gain control of my finances for good after the horrifying year I had (I’m lookin’ at you H&R Block/CRA). After finally paying everything off I could now focus on my savings… except that my life was changed, turned upside down, if you will.

I had to move (again) and figure out how to pay for rent, food, internet and whatnot (guhhh this is getting old). Plus I had to factor in how much I spend on Krav, movies, eating out (which is happening a lot lately) and just the randomness that pops into everyone’s life.

So I was reunited with my old pal Google Excel and got to work.

I looked at my wages and then figured out how much I spent on all the junk that I need (and want) in my life.

It looks a lil sumthin’ like this.

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I decided to kick it up a notch and maintain this financial tracking for all of 2017! Yeah, it’ll be a pain in the butt, but after the financial fiasco that was 2016, I ain’t takin’ no chances!!!

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Wish me luck Mo’ Money Posse! I hope I can keep up with this mo’ money plan. I promise to keep you all updated on my progress!!!!!!

-Karyn

Gwen’s December Challenge: Internet free? Not a Possibility for Me!

Let me start by saying I completely failed my December challenge.

My challenge was to live 30 days without home Internet. It was a bold move, though with complete confidence, I cancelled my Internet with the intention of going cold turkey in December.

WHY?! You may ask? The catalyst to cancelling was watching this YouTube video:

I loved learning about minimalism from Joshua Fields Millburn of TheMinimalists.com. I was so inspired by the fact that he runs an online business and doesn’t have Internet access at home. As I was also in a bit of a funk at the beginning of December, I figured if I cancelled my Internet, it would force me to work out of coffee shops and cafes more often (and be with the energy of the people), instead of hermiting at home.

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My Internet-free plan worked for about 10 days. Then slowly, my addiction to being connected online started to creep back in. I found myself waking up in the morning and wanting to jump on Instagram right away. Or I’d check the news on my iPhone, and suddenly want to know everything that’s happening in the world. The trouble was, I had just 2 GBs on my phone’s data plan (which was running out quickly). And of course using my phone to check the Internet killed the whole spirit of the challenge!

Within a couple of weeks I had maxed out my phone’s data, and lost all desire to live out of coffee shops. As I needed the Internet for work, I decided to accept defeat (this time) and bring the Internet back.

Bringing It Back:

I suspect the feeling of getting the Internet back, was much how a caffeine addict feels upon their first taste of coffee after a dry-spell. WHOOOOOSH. Eyes dilated. Overstimulated.

Unlimited Facebook… and Instagram… and YouTube… oh my!

After two weeks of missing unlimited access to the content I was used to reading (from the productive health and wellness sites and business content) to the unproductive (aka a few celebrity gossip sites). It was officially time to mainline the Internet to see what I missed.

Turns out: I missed literally nothing.

I was able to catch up on the goss (LOL), and a few of my fave YouTube shows within an hour.

This was a very eye-opening experiment to me and a reminder that it can be challenging to change ingrained habits after watching one inspirational video. Now, I know it IS possible, though as it’s the new year, and perhaps you’re putting pressure on yourself to go ‘cold turkey’ with something (i.e. eating super healthy, cutting sugar, no alcohol etc.), I’d love to share a gentle reminder to go easy on yourself. If you don’t live up to your impossibly high standards, re-evaluate and start again.

Focus on building momentum, not perfection. That’s what I learned about cancelling the Internet. And it’s a challenge I may one day take on again.

My January challenge is to start preparing for taxes (yay! LOL). I have set up a meeting in February for all things taxes with my financial planner, Shannon Lee Simmons of The New School of Finance. This year, I’d love to be proactive with going over everything and crunching the numbers with time to spare. Every year is a new process, and this year I’ve put ‘Tax Prep Party’ on my calendar in a two hour block every Monday of January as a system to kick-start the process. I’ll report back at the end of the month about how my tax prep is going!

Sending you tons of positive vibes!

<3 Gwen