My giant purse!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

On Thursday my friend S and some of her friends went to the movies in the evening. While they were at the movies, their truck got broken into and all their stuff got stolen.

Of course, most people's reactions to that would be "Why did you leave all your stuff in your car??". But, when you , think about it, how often have you left something in your vehicle and had nothing happen to it. Hind-sight really is 20/20.

The stuff that got stolen, amoung other things, S's boyfriend's Ipod, S's Mastercard (doh! She called to cancel it, but the theives had already bought $200 worth of cigarettes on it - of course she doesn't have to pay for it), assorted clothes and purses, and probably some cash.

Now, I've worked at a Police Station long enough to know that in all reality the police will never find the person who did it, nor will they find her stuff. It's sad, and it's frustrating to say, because that's a good chunk of change for the girls to replace.

I feel really bad for her, and could only imagine what had happened if I had gone with them (the invitation was open, but I had to go home and feed the dog). I carry a lot of stuff in my purse. And, now, just for your viewing pleasure, I offer you an inventory of what would've been in my purse had I gone and left my purse in the vehicle. (I rarely do, because I like having my purse on me, but still.
This is my purse. It's a giant, red, Matt & Nat bag. I absolutely love it. It carries around pretty much anything I want, including work clothes, lunches etc, without looking bulky. The extra-wide strap also helps the comfort level when I'm carting around tons of stuff!

Value: Around $135 brand-new.

This is the collection of some of the more expensive things I cart around. First, my polaroid camera - not really worth-while anymore, but the film that is in it costs me around $33 for a pack of 10. Then, the Ipod Touch. I also tend to have my Nintendo DS Lite on me regularly (I'm allowed to play at work) with 10 games.

Value: Ipod touch is about $400, Polaroid and photos, maybe $40, Nintendo DS and games is probably around $350. This is a collection of notebooks I carry around with me. The first on the left is where I write down gift ideas and such that I see. I am always seeing things that look cool or make me think "Oh, X would love this!" but when it comes around to buying birthday or holiday gifts, I can never remember what I was looking at. So, as part of my new years resolutions, I am writing this stuff down. The middle book is where I keep notes regarding cameras, pictures and ideas about photography that I have. It helps to track what you're taking a photo of, so that when you get them developped you don't sit back and wonder "What on earth was I taking a photo of??". The last book is my money book. I use this to keep track of my spending when I am not around my budget spreadsheet.

Value: Around $60 for all three books.

This is just a collection of some of the random things I have strewn about the purse; crackers left over from yesterday's lunch, gum, spare change that never made it back to the wallet, pill container and hair accessories, and finally, compact powder.

Value: Not including the $$, maybe $40.

And, another expensive peice: A pair of Chanel sunglasses that I bought in London last spring. This was one of three major purchases I had planned when I went to London. The other two were an original-old school umbrella and a Mason Pearson Hairbrush.

Value: $450.

Now, if we're playing the hypothetical game, so chances are I would've taken my wallet into the theatre with me, but what if I hadn't?

This is my wallet. Yes, it's Matt & Nat again. Yes, I know I have a problem. It's okay.

Value: $75
This is the inside of my wallet. I've got a VISA card, an AmEx, TD Debit Card, ING Debit Card, Driver's License and School ID - which doubles as my bus pass.

Value: $9100 in credit limits, $2500 in overdraft available on my Debit, and $95 for the bus pass.

This is the other side of my wallet. It contains all my club cards, savings cards and gift cards.

Value: $40 or so on gift cards and points available to redeem.

And, finally, the money part of the wallet. I've got about $165 in here in bills and assorted change. Yikes!
Value: $167.24

Well, there you have it - my purse and wallet. The grand total should it ever be stolen?

A whopping $1772!
(Not including credit limits and such.)
I think I need to rethink what I'm carrying around on a daily basis. Also, come to think of it, I didn't includ my cell phone, which is sitting comfortably in my pocket. That pushes the cost up over $1,800! It's crazy to think what would happen should I ever get mugged.
What about you? What do you carry around on a daily basis?


Okay, I'll admit it.

I really don't know how this whole "feed" thing works, but I added a link on the top right-hand corner of the blog should you want to "feed". Or something.

If there's any problems or sugesstions, please let me know!

I just got this HTML thing down-pat, yeesh!

What a long day!

I feel like I haven't updated in days! When...actually.... it's only been about 1 day. Hah.

I didn't update at office-job today because K worked with me all day - I am trying to keep this blog on the down-lo for anyone who knows me, because I am faaaar more honest and open in this blog than in my real life.

Thank you ever so much for filling out and voting on my little poll there. So far the answers seem to be broken up into "Yes!" and "It's alright..." which is good. At least there's no "No!" although, maybe some of you are just being nice. Who knows. For now, I think it'll stay put, but knowing my restlessness with templates, I'm thinking it'll probably change on a monthly basis or so. Even though it's a lot of work!

A quick update on the no-bought-food challenge. All is well! I didn't spend a dime on lunch (or breakfast - since I start work at 7:30 a.m., I don't usually eat at home) at all this week! I am very proud of myself, since I really am the queen of eating out. I am finding sandwiches seem to be the most satifying thing I have brought recently, although my jars of mandarin oranges are pretty awesome, too. You can join in the challenge until the end of next week, or read about how we're all doing right over at Krystal's blog!

I have started an Excel template to keep track of how much I am spending on individual groceries. My problem is, being relatively young and inexperienced, I can't always judge whether the price posted for an item is good or bad. So I am going to start writing down each item I am buying and the price I paid. That way, I can start to learn what is a good price/sale or a bad price and where I bought the items. I'm looking forward to saving even more money!

K and I went shopping again after work - we're such bad influences on each other! It's so bad. We went to the mall (to kill a couple hours before I had to work at fast-food job) and (of course, after spending the day complaining about how broke she is!) she bought a couple items. I bought a Dairy Queen blizzard (yes, that was dinner. I know, it's bad, but it was so tasty!) and a couple packs of Polaroid photos (the company is no longer making the Polaroid photos, so I'm trying to stock up as much as I can before the end of the year. The catch? They are $32.99 for 20 photos...). I also stopped by the photography store and bought a tripod that I had been eyeing for a while. I needed a new tripod to support the weight of the new camera. These are all things that had been "on the list" of eventual things to buy - but somehow I still feel guilty.

I really shouldn't, I have space in my budget for these items, and I'm ahead of the game in all ways, yet there is a nagging voice that just makes me feel like a failure. I need to remind myself that I need to treat myself once in a while, otherwise I risk "binge-spending" and going overboard. In a lot of ways, this whole frugal thing is just like dieting - I need to treat myself once in a while to keep from going stir crazy as I make all these adjustments in my life.

I'm not feeling guilty anymore starting now. (Of course, this doesn't mean I'm going to go shopping again tomorrow!) Hopefully as time progresses, I will adjust more and more to this lifestyle. Again, I think as I get closer and closer to leaving for London, as well as seeing more and more money in my savings accounts, I will feel that all this hard work has paid off.


I have a new layout...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

As you have probably seen. There's a poll on the left, i'd appreciate it if you'd let me know if you like it. I know personally, I am that much more drawn to a blog that is asthetically appealing, even if the content is blah. Hopefully my content is enough to keep you comming back, but if it isn't, i'd at least like to have an interessting layout.

Man, that HTML nonsense in confusing! It's taken me an hour and a half easy to get this up and running. I like it way it sits right now - at least it's something a little different.

I went out to lunch with S today. I know what you're thinking! But I didn't spend a dime!! Well, actually that's a lie, I gave S a dime since she was short for her purchased lunch, but I don't count that. I had a yummy, brought-from-home lunch consisting of spinach dip, french bread (I can't wait until I'm back in Europe and can get decent french bread!), and canned mandarin oranges. Yum yum! I also treated and drank a can of Sprite (available free from out office fridge!) as well since my water bottle doesn't have a cap...

I'm looking forward to updating my networth and my progress bars at the end of February. I have been tempted to update it with every deposit into my accounts...but I have resisted. I did change the colors, though, today. This way they are more in-tune with the whole theme thing.

New Year's Resolutions reviewed

Well, it's been 6 weeks since I made my faux-New Year's Resolutions and I thought maybe it was time to look back over what I had set out to do. For a quick refresher, here is what I wrote:

1) To write shit down.

I think I've done pretty good at this. I have a total of three books right now. One is a camera book. I write down ideas, tips, tricks and keep records of photos I've taken on film so that when I get them back, I know which picture is what in terms of F-stop, Aperature, etc. My other one is a "gift-idea" book. It's starting to collect magasine clippings, websites and business cards that I have collected on the way. Hopefully within the year I'll have a full selection of git ideas. My third book is my money book. I have a new laptop that doesn't have Excel and, as such, the only place I can update my budget is here at the office. So, on the weekends and evenings, I write down any purchases, notes, and transactions I make so that I can add them to the spreadsheet when I get into the office. I would say check! in this area!

2) To get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep.

Well, I'm trying. I would say that yes, I have gotten at least 6 hours of sleep each nice. However, I'm quickly learning that 6 hours really isn't enough. I'd like to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but when I work both jobs in one day, it makes it hard. I get up at 5:45 a.m. and get home at 9:45 p.m., and it usually takes me at least an hour to wind down after a day. I'm going to try to get at least 7 hours of sleep from now on.

3) To get healthy.

This whole "eating in" thing is starting to work, I think. Not only is it saving me money, but I feel better, too. Plus, I'm eating more food during the day than I was before, and it's better quality food. Yum yum.

4) To wash my face, floss and brush my teeth EVERY night. I'm not really doing these as much as I would like. I bought a flosser that looks like a toothbrush (I have a very tiny mouth, and yet lots of teeth! so I find flossing very difficult) so that I can reach all the way back in my mouth. Currently it is in my room beside my computer so I see it quite often. I've taken to flossing quite a bit! I'm not brushing my teeth as often as I would like and I haven't been washing my face, either. I really should, because I look and feel much healthier when I wash my face - I look more, ahem, "put-together" then when I'm wearing day-old makeup! Whoops.

I think taking a passive approach to my NYR goals is working. I'm not dwelling on them, but I am still leaving them in the back of my mind. How are your goals comming?


For those of you who didn't see, here's a picture that I took of the lunar eclipse last night. Unfortunately, I was at fast-food job for most of the evening, so by the time I rushed home, grabbed the camera and tripod, and set myself up in the backyard, it was almost near the end. The little star to the left of the moon is Saturn. Pretty sweet hey? I would say that this photo sums up my two biggest nerd-indulgences: Photography and Astronomy.

I was thinking about my so-called hobbies and how they affect my finances. I wouldn't say I spend a lot of money on Astronomy. I took some classes in college, and, even though I paid for them, they were counted as part of my degree as options. It was nice because included in the text books that I bought was a peice of software called "Starry Night Sky". It's an awesome program, and one that costs more than $200 on it's own. You put in where you are on the earth and it shows you the sky. Exactly what you would see if you were outside. It's very handy as it includes things like lunar eclipses, star names, distance charts, solar eclipses - all sorts of fun! It also lets you fly around the galaxy looking at the sky from other planets - which is more fun than practical if you ask me.

Now, photography is much more expensive hobby to me. My first camera was a Yashica 32mm film SLR that my dad gave me (he originally bought it when I was a baby! - that makes it 23 years old!). I spent a lot of time taking pictures and blowing through film like there was no tomorrow. After getting out of high school, I took a full time job and started making decent money. My next big purchase was the Panasonic Lumix FZ20. It's a "prosumer" digital "SLR-type" camera. That means that it does a lot of the things that a full on SLR does, without all of the functions. The thing that really appealed to me was that it had a 12x zoom.

Well, that camera followed me to Europe twice, NYC once, and many many trips around my hometown and vacations. On the way I bought at least 3 tripods (some tiny, some larger, and one "gorillapod"), 5 extra batteries (again, I take pictures like there is no tomorrow. While I was in Europe I blew through at least 400-600 pictures a day! I should've only had 4 batteries, but I thought I lost one, so I bought a new one, only to find the old one. See? Bad habit!!), a remote shutter, and a filter. That camera treated me so good.

When I got back from NYC, I really noticed that my camera wasn't acting as good as it used to me. And it was no longer doing all the things that I wanted it too. I thought that the $1,000 or so I had invested in it had paid off. I had taken over 13,000 photos with it in abour 3/4 years.

So, I started looking around. My friends H and K had both purchased a Nikon D40x, and while they were gorgeous cameras, I wanted something more. So I wandered over to Digital Photography Review, (a great site if you want to know everything about cameras!) to look at the Nikon D80. The reviews were steller, other than a couple minor things that I could deal with, and I happily wandered over to my local Camera store and walked out with one!

The damage? $869 for the body and another $700 for the lens. The catch? I had just received, in the mail, a $1,000 scholarship for tuition - now, I had graduated at that time, so I was allowed to cash the cheque and move on - so I did! (Only with a new camera!).

Since then, I've aquired a vertical grip (gift from my parents for my birthday) and a couple of camera bags. However, the pleasure that i've gotten from this camera has already made the purchase price worth it. Anything I want to do with this camera - I can!

A lot of people raise their eyes (and eyebrows!) and question my need for a so-called "fancy" camera. They wonder why I feel the need to spend all this money on cameras when they are content with a $200 point-and-shoot camera. I have a hard time retorting to that question - it's hard to explain to someone how much of a passion I have for photography.

My mother is always telling me I should quit my day job and become a freelance photographer. I'd love to do that, but I fear that turning a hobby into a career could ruin my passion in it. I'd like to expand my portfolio and start shooting friends' weddings and such (my friends need to get married first!), but I don't think I ever want to make this a career.

I feel that the money is well-spent, although other people may disagree. But, I figure, everyone has got a vice, whether it be shoes, purses, cigarettes, alcohol, or, for me, cameras!

What are your hobbies? Are they expensive?

Day 1 of Mini-Challenge

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It's kinda of boring not being able to update my budget spreadsheet when I get back from lunch, but it is oddly satisfying at the same time. Besides, I'll be handing out $70 for my sister's birthday present soon enough!

In other notes, I made my first $20 via PayPerPost. It was dangity easy. You should try it. Even if you just make the first $20 and give it up. Think of it, that's $20 you could save. Splurge. Spend on someone else. Give to charity. Why not?

I'm outta this job and onto another one!

If you're in the western Canada area tonight around 6 - 10 p.m., look up. There's a total lunar eclipse. It's unfortunate that I work, but hopefully I'll catch the tail end of it - just enough time to run home and grab the camera!

I guess it was meant to be!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Krystal over at Give me Back my Five Bucks has started a mini challenge. The goal is to not spend any money between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, from here until March 31st, 2008.

I've decided, since I'm on that kick already, to join her and others in this goal! I'll update my progress weekly, if not more often. I think I'll also start keeping track of my hypothetical "savings" that I'm keeping by not eating out.

If you want to join us, head on over to this post and leave a comment!

Last Week's Goals

Last week I made a goal of only eating out once a week. (Well, technically the goal was to NOT eat out at all, but I had previously made lunch plans). And, i'm pleased to say that I achieved this goal!


  • Cheaper! I spent about $35 for groceries for the week - for both home and work compared to over $100 in fast-food/restaurant eating
  • Food is healthier
  • I feel more satisfied when I munch all day than eating one gut-busting meal (ie. carrots, crackers, nuts and a sandwich rather than a huge fast-food meal since I'd be starving!)
  • I feel healthier and have more energy.
  • I don't have to go outside when it's -50C
  • I'm a good influence on K.


  • I don't get outside when the weather is nice
  • It can get monotonous and boring (it's already starting to..)
  • I don't get the excersize of walking to and from places.

Now, yes I know, most of the cons are things I could be doing anyways. I've got to start getting outside and just walking, even when I don't have to buy lunch. Like, right now, I could go deposit my fast-food work cheque instead of sitting in the office, but complacency often gets the better of me.

I also need to start finding some diferent food items to be bringing to work. I've been on a big spinach dip-fest recently and have been consuming spinach dip and french bread as my main course on almost every meal since Thursday. Today I think i'll stop by the organic grocery store and pick up some hummum. Mmmmm hummus.

This week I'm trying to pack a lunch every day too, but I might treat myself and have lunch with K (okay, I lied, I'm not a great influence on her...) on Friday when she gets back from vacation.


I am currently looking through the 140th (can you believe it's been THAT many!) Carnival of Personal Finance here this morning. It's nice to see a larger imput from Canadaian PF bloggers around, because, as much as a lot of the basic topics such as money, savings, etc are universal, things like investing and retirement are now. I don't know what half of the jargon that us Canadain folk use - let alone the American stuff! It's nice to be able to read through some things that actually make sense to me. Head on over and check it out - it's a great summary of some of the best articles each week!

I also was reading We Need to be Debt-Free's post on Patience. You can find it here. It really got me thinking. I am also not very patient. I know that. I check my ING Savings balances on a daily basis, just in case the interest has gone up. I know it won't go up until the end of the month. But I still check daily.

I play around with Excel and online calculators to see how my savings goals are progressing. I tinker, change font sizes, placement, anything to make myself feel as though I'm progressing. I am very pleased in the progression that I have made, I just wish it came faster. I hate waiting.

I need to learn how to take it one day at a time and just reeeelaaaax. Ahhhhh..

K, at her other job, gets paid on the 1st of the month, every month. I think that at the beginning that might be harder, but at the same time, I think i'd really like that. Right now, after realizing that I was getting dinged for withdrawl fees everytime I transfered money from TD to ING Direct, I am currently waiting for my other two paycheques this month before depositing the remaining money into my savings account. If it got a lump-sum paycheque at the beginning of the month, I could plop all my savings away right at the beginning, then use the remaining money for budgeting. That way, when I was out of money, I was out.

This way, it's a little bit frustrating, I am constantly allocating part of each paycheque to each fund and keeping meticulous notes about how much money I put where and when. It can be kind of a pain in the tushy. Plus, for my office job, I get paid the 2nd last business day of the month. Technically that paycheque falls, let's say, in February, however, by then, it's practically March. Throws me for a loop sometimes.

So far so good for PayPerPost!

Apparently I am called a "postie"!. I kind of like that.

So, I signed up for PayPerPost. I've seen some of the articles that Krystal from Give me Back my Five Bucks has written, and I thought to myself "What they hey! I might as well earn as much extra dough as I can with this blog!". Now, of course, that's not my first goal with this blog, is it meant to be an outlet for my life and finances, but I figure, it doesn't hurt to at least be paid for the time I spend here. So I signed up.

The process was very easy. I went over to the website and signed up. It took a couple of days for my blog to get "approved" but I got the e-mail this morning that it was approved! The website is incredibly easy to navigate and they seem genuinely dedicated to us "posties". I'm looking forward to getting ahead!

The thing I like the most about PayPerPost is that you can choose your opportunities. You don't what to write about soup? Cameras? Websites? Fine! You don't have to. You can surf the webpage and pick and choose things that you would be writing about anyways - except you'll be getting paid. I'm looking forward to writing about things I already care so much about - travel, photography, the internet, and, of course, finance!

If you are a blogger that would like to write about as many (or as few!) things as you like for a little bit of extra $$$ - check out PayPerPost!

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Check out this link above if you'd like to join the PayPerPost group!


What would you have done?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

So yesterday, I was leaving 2nd food-court job, it was around 9:30 p.m. and the mall had been closed for a while. There were a couple stragglers and some other store-employees left in the food court. I was walking through the food court when I spotted a shopping bag from a children's clothing store sitting at a table...all alone.

So I walked over, picked up the bag, and looked around. No one looked at me and there were no families left in the food court. So I took the bag and kept walking. I peeked into the bag and saw the receipt. It was paid in cash and the total was $18.47.

So, I then had two options. I could drop the bag off at the Guest Services counter and hope that someone claims it. Or..... I could take it home and return the goods for cash the next day.

I did seriously think about it. But I ended up dropping it off at Guest Services. Not sure if anyone claimed it. I figured my guilt was worth more than $18.47.

What would you have done?

See, I have this 'theory'. It goes by the kiddo term 'finders-keepers.' It sounds mean and childish, but I really do think that if you lose something and someone finds it, it's not their problem that you lost it. I lost a coin purse about 2 years ago that contained $150 in it. I never found it. I'm not particularily bitter, because it was my stupidity that I lost it, and it worked out well for whomever that found it.

Honestly, if that bag had had more than $50 worth of stuff in it, I probably would've taken it home. Now, if I had seen someone drop the bag, or a wallet, etc, I would've picked it up and taken it straight to them. No question about that. And, if I ever found someone's wallet, I would do my best to track them down. But a coin purse? A 20$ bill on the floor? It's mine.

My friend S once asked an interessting question. She said:

"Okay, imagine you're walking down the street. You see an enveloppe on the sidewalk. You pick it up and open it. There's $10,000 worth of cash in it. You look around to see if anyone claims it or comes running back for it. No one does. It's been 15 minutes so you decided to head home with the cash. The next morning in the newspaper the front page is an article about an individual who lost this $10,000. What do you do?"

What would you do? Would it depend who the individual was? What the circumstances are? What YOUR circumstances are? Would you keep it? Would you give it to them and hope for a reward? Would you mail it to them annonymously?

Personally, it would depend on who the individual was and where I was in my life. You hate to judge people, but I totally would base my actions on what I thought of this person.

What about you?