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Archive of ‘Karyn’ category

Karyn’s September Challenge: Failing Forward

I failed.

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What did I fail at, you may ask? I failed at even attempting to challenge myself this month.

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With everything that is going on in my life at the mo’ I’ve found that I’ve stopped almost everything that I used to call routine. I know that sometimes deviating from the usual can actually be a good thing, but in my case following a routine keeps me moving forward.

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For September I originally wanted to try to step outside of my comfort zone, but instead I stayed within it. All I did was either work or go to Krav (which is not a bad thing, but my life lacked variety). I kinda wanted to do some new and spontaneous stuff, but instead I sat around binging Netflix and just hanging out.

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I realized that after dropping my routine completely for an entire month (actually to be honest, quite a bit longer), I needed the stability of it.

I am NOT spontaneous. I like planning things, and mapping stuff out. Writing lists is my drug of choice. I like to be prepared. So after hopping on the wagon (of a “list-less” lifestyle) for waaaaaay too long, I now know that I need that stable foundation in my janky life.

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So yes, I failed September with my procrastination, laziness, and need to escape. I see this failure as a win though. I succeeded in realizing that I find purpose in plans. Now I’m going to take this knowledge and apply it to my October Challenge!

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For October my goal is to get back in the swing of things. I plan on going to the gym twice a day, five days a week. I want to up my social media output for Mo’ Money, Mo’ Progress, I want to read more and Netflix less and I want to get back to making my food instead of eating out.

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I want to get back to being me. Without failing in September I never would have know that this is how I want my life to be; full of lists, everything planned and going according to schedule.

Sounds like a dream come true!
Karyn

Karyn’s August Challenge: Saving that Moolah by Couch Cruisin’

Well hot dang my life has taken some serious sharp turns. I had to leave my lovely apartment due to problems with the building and throw all of my stuff into storage. It was super sudden, so for the time being I’m sleeping on couches. UGH

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Now when I put it that way it sounds awful, but the plus side is that now I live rent free, don’t have to pay for parking or utilities AND I get free unlimited Internet (dat high-speed life).

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So I decided to take this seriously frustrating moment and turn it into an opportunity. How much can I save in a month while not having to pay for rent?

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To find this out I had to breakdown my expenses.

MONTHLY EXPENSES

Storage Facility: $400

Food: $200

Gym: $20

Misc. $150

Total: $770

In comparison to what I had to pay before my life flipped, turned upside down, I had to pay $1,300 just for rent. So as of right now I am saving $530 out of the gate! This is majestic!

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The main plan is to use the money I save to pay off my student debt. I know I have a long way to go, but it’s going to be suuuuuuuper worth it.

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Now I know I put $100 as miscellaneous, but for the end of August I had some last minute expenses pop up. Specifically Fan Expo.

This is my fifth year attending the con, but instead of going as a serious fangirl, I’m going to promote my workplace. That means flyers and chatting up oodles of folks. But it doesn’t mean I don’t get downtime, so I have been spending my hard-earned loot on food and geekiness.

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Surprisingly I haven’t gone over the budget of $150, but I still have a few days left at the con and you never know what might pop up and strangle my wallet.

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It’s hard not to look at a situation that I’m currently experiencing and see all of the negatives it brings. Luckily I have a great support system that has helped me see it for what a G-time this can be (plus it will be a great story later)!

My fingers are crossed for all of this to work out for the best!

Wish me luck.

-Karyn

Karyn’s July Challenge: Babies be EXPENSIVE (AKA I Learned Nothing New)

Sorry if the title is a tad misleading, but no, I ain’t no mama yet! Though one day I would like to be. This got me wondering about the cost of raising kids, and why we millennials are never really taught about those kind of expenses. Also, the majority of our generation isn’t super focused on having kids “right now”.

Many of our parents had us in their mid-twenties, while their parents had kids even younger. Starting a family used to be top priority, but today it’s seen as more of a relaxed choice.

For my June Challenge, I wanted to do a little research and find out how much it would cost to take care of a baby for just one month. I decided to focus on newborn finances instead of an older kid because that first month has probably the steepest learning curve. So here is what I found out.

DIAPERS

Did ya’ll know that those kewt, tiny babies can be serious poop machines?! They can go through 10-15 diapers a DAY for the first month!!! Good lawd!

On a trip to Walmart (cuz you all know you’ve been to one), I found a Super Pack of Swaddlers Diapers for $29.97 + tax. It contained 70 diapers, but since we know a baby can blast through 10 a day, that pack would be gone in less than a week! This means that you would at least need a minimum of four packs of these bad boys to sustain you for one month. That comes out to $119.88 + tax, JUST. FOR. POOP!!!!

CLOTHES

Many people throw baby showers and receive oodles of adorbs baby outfits as gifts. I’ve run this challenge off the idea of not having a shower, since there are people who opt out of them or just don’t have one, for various reasons.

Personally when it comes to clothes I’m probably going to frequent thrift stores since my little bundle of joy is going to grow like a weed. Since there are people who do buy their precious some sweet duds, I did a little online shopping.

I figured since I would be birthing a poop monster, they would need a onesie for every day of the week, at least two sets of PJs, four pairs of pants (did I mention they poop?!) and four shirts #minimalistlifestyle.

After shopping around on a couple of sites like Walmart, Carter’s, Old Navy and Target, I was able to keep my total to under $200 bucks. This still doesn’t take into account of the vomit, snot, and general mess that comes with a baby. So $200 for a haul of clothes that would be out of commission almost instantly is ludicrous!

FORMULA

Not everyone breastfeeds their babies. That’s just a basic fact. Not all babies can have breast milk (allergies are just one example) and not all mothers can produce it. This means that formula can be crucial to a baby’s growth.

I never realized how gosh darn complicated formula is. Depending on how much your baby weighs it can vary how much formula you give them. According to BabyCentre.com, they suggest you give your baby 2.5 ounces of formula for every pound of body weight. They also mention that it varies whether the child is hungry or not. Some days they’ll want more, some days they’ll want less.

Browsing more baby stores than I care to admit (on the interwebs, of course), I found TheITBaby.com, which did the math for me (thank gawd) using a Target brand of formula.

Consider the following:

Month 1: a 7-pounder bundle of joy, means 17.5 ounces of formula per day, which is $1.58 per day, totalling $47.89.

To be honest this isn’t too bad compared to the other expenses that have already been racked up.

I literally could go on and on regarding expenses for a newborn, but I’m going to stop here. The reason that I’m stopping is that this would pretty much become a full-fledged novel and you probably don’t have time to read it. Or you could find a million better ones in any book store.

With just these very basic items as key examples, I think you get the gist that having a baby is definitely expensive. For my challenge I wanted to become better informed on what financial expenses new parents have to face and what research is needed before I take that step.

If I do decide to have kids soon, I’m very lucky to have the internet at my fingertips. All I have to do is Google cheap kids’ clothing or go on Kijiji and find a car seat or hop on over to the Bunz Trading Zone to get a cute, secondhand pram. My parents really didn’t have that option and neither did theirs.

After doing the research I now know that saving up for a family is definitely something I want to start doing ASAP. If you are thinking about becoming a parent I HIGHLY suggest you start saving too!

Good luck!

– Karyn

Karyn’s June Challenge: Keepin’ it Positive Part 2

So for my May Challenge I attempted to write down the positive things that happened in my day-to-day life… and I epically failed. So for my June Challenge I decided to try again, this time yielding better results.

My first issue was that I told myself that I was only allowed to write down things in a book. Unfortunately, I didn’t carry it with me everywhere I went. This time I was more reasonable and used my phone instead. It’s always with me so I had no excuse to not write things down.

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I found that just jotting down very simple things that made me smile was easy enough. Pretty much any time I received a text or a notification I used it as an opportunity to reflect and write down something new.

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My notes ranged from waking up before my alarm to finding $10 in my pocket. I also used this as a chance to keep positive about my finances. I would note that I paid my bills on time or that I set up an easier system to check my banking.

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I know this may seem like a mundane task that doesn’t really result in anything big, but watching your list of positivity grow helps remind you of all the good that really does happen during your day.

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I did have some serious downs during the month of June, but when I felt like there were no ups coming my way I would peruse through my list and remember that even the smallest thing that brings a smile to your face can be all you need.

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I’m going to keep trying to update my list on the daily even though my challenge is over. I tend to be a Negative Nancy when the going gets tough, so I’m hoping that building this ever-growing list of good times will help me keep my chin up.

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-Karyn

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

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