Frugal Life Friday: Know When It’s Okay to Splurge

I’m a planner. I constantly write myself to-do lists and of course, each year I enjoy setting goals and New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I made a few different resolutions. A few of them were financially related, like participating in The Spending Fast, paying down student loan debt, and trying to work on saving more… but I also had a goal of exercising.

You could argue that as a teacher of 10 children between the ages of 2 and 3, I get a fair amount of exercise chasing toddlers around. But I did want to get involved in some sort of fitness outside of work. I looked back on the different types of fitness I’d done before, and I decided that I didn’t want to spend the money on a gym membership (had one in college I only used when I went with friends, had one at my previous job, never used it although I worked there for eight months) and that although just getting outside and running is a great inexpensive way to work out, I really haven’t been successful there either. I committed to running on a team and doing part of a marathon, and even knowing that I had a race to look towards, I didn’t really work hard to exercise then either.

But I looked at what I had enjoyed. Any sort of class that involved a group of people is what I seemed to enjoy. I was part of a cheerleading team for a while, which kept me fit, and was also a team sport I seemed to like. My sophomore year of college, my boyfriend at the time convinced me to join his Muay Thai kickboxing class, which I ended up doing for a year and loving.

And then I heard about Derby Lite. Derby Lite according to their website, is “Roller Skating for Fun & Fitness” and a “high energy class where you learn to skate a la roller derby without the impact or competition.” Derby Lite includes a warm up, on skate skills and drills, exercises to work on upper body strength, and stretches to help you cool down. It sounded like it had the excitement I liked in my fitness classes and would allow me to also meet new people in the city where I had just started working a few months ago.

Like any large purchase, I thought it over. I made sure it would work in my schedule, and gathered opinions from some of my close friends and family members. Then I really sat down and looked at my income for the months of February, March, and April (when the class would take place). Even with saving and trying to pay down extra on my student loans, it seemed very affordable when the cost was divided per class, and knowing that I wasn’t spending needlessly taking a trip to Target every few days (since I had started The Spending Fast) made it seem worth the splurge.

Xin Lu, Senior Writer at Wise Bread, a frugal living website recently wrote an article about “Why You Should Allow Yourself Splurges” where she shared some pretty good reasons for splurging. It’s a break of your routine and can have long term benefits, like the benefit of better health, in the case of splurging on a fitness class! It’s also reinforcing that even if I am spending money to pay down debt, I can still treat myself every now and again, so I can be motivated to save even more!

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Have you splurged on any purchases lately?

Life Lately {5}

I apologize for the crickets chirping over here recently. I didn’t plan on taking a lengthy break from blogging, but such it is when life gets crazy and in the way.

Annabelle

Annabelle

{1} You might remember about a month ago when I introduced our new little puppy Annabelle? About a week after we got her she had the most crazy intense seizure, and we ended up having to rush her to the emergency vet. And then she went to our local vet for the next 3 days. We weren’t sure what was happening, what had caused it, or what life was going to look like after. There was talk that she would possibly be blind, she might have mobility issues.

Well she did make it through, and has had a few minor seizures since then. No blindness or mobility issues, and overall, has been doing really well.

{2} I’ve been spending my weekends (when I usually spend time blogging) sewing reversible cowls and spending lots of time with my family.

{3} I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of direction I want to take this blog. It’s a general lifestyle blog, and since it’s my blog I feel like I should talk about what I want, even if that is multiple different things… but I can’t help but wonder if I should really focus on specific niches.

So there will be a few posts before now and the beginning of April, and then in April I will be back with a planned schedule and some ideas for this little home on the web of mine.

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10 Things (Around the Web) on Tuesday: 13

I’m going to do something a little different for this week’s version. Instead of showing 10 links to different cool things I’ve found around the web lately…

I’m going to share with you 10 Awesome (New-to-me) Blogs.

While doing work lately on planning new things for my blog, I’ve come across a few new favorite blogs!

  1. Kate of Striped Cat Studio. I’ve actually known of Kate for a little while, since she participates in Blog Brunch. Her Alt Summit business cards included a little paper doll cat, how awesome, right? I also love her play on words, with her “Week-Caps” at the end of the week.
  2. Laura of LBeau Room. She’s a Roller Derby girl. And she posts cute pictures of her cats. She also included a picture from Firefly of Nathan Fillion in a recent post. I think we are destined to be friends. (She just doesn’t know it yet… but she will soon. I also hope that doesn’t sound creepy.)
  3. Elise of enJOY it. I first came across this awesome post about creating content, but I’m seriously in love with her entire blog now. She has a bunch of great goal setting posts, but her DIY and craft tutorials make me feel like she has more talent in her pinky finger than I could ever dream of having. She made this gorgeous quilt with some amazing fabrics, great pillows, and a fun ribbon dreamcatcher.
  4. Kellene of This Lovely Little Day. She’s a fellow ginger with an amazing sense of fashion. I’m still trying to figure out if I can pull of the shorts + tights look. (Which I’ve been trying to figure out for at least a year now.)
  5. Lidy of Hello Lidy. First of all, her blog is adorable. And her two little ones? They are even cuter than her blog.. if it’s even possible. She posts really cute DIY’s.
  6. Anita of Anita Boeira. Anita is also destined to be my friend. She recently posted about the really cute valentine’s dress she made. She has a very cute little house, and posts pretty awesome DIY’s and fun projects to make!
  7. Laura of sweeter salt. She’s a fellow Mainer and has a great sense of style.
  8. Mariah of Oh, What Love. She spoke at Alt along with Jessika Hepburn, Emily Frame + Mina Brinkey and they shared an ebook about Getting Past Zero here… which I found to be awesome, I got a ton of information out of it. Mariah did a great post with an inspiration playlist. She has a series called Theme Thursday… I particularly like this one with a mustache theme.
  9. Lessy of Little Lessy. She wrote some great recaps of Alt Summit. I love the idea of a seasonal gallery wall. I love how she does her monthly goal posts… I should definitely use more pictures/graphics when doing my goal posts!
  10. Marigold of Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! She also wrote some great posts about Alt Summit. From her favorite quotes to how she prepared. I love the idea of personalizing proposals for different sponsors… and I hope to do something similar if this blog ever gets huge and I look at gaining sponsors. Every summer she does a skirt and dress sewing and wearing challenge called The Summer of No Pants, which I am hoping to participate in. I’m a beginner sewer, and I figure this might be a great way to get some practice! I also love these Harry Potter Birthday Party invites. Marigold taught a design camp at Alt on how to make Yo-Yo necklaces. Alicia, who was there, made a Yo-Yo headband, which I love. I got a Yo-Yo maker a while ago in one of my package swaps… I am definitely going to try to do this!
Alica rocking a Yo-Yo headband that she made at Alt. Image credit @WhimsyBox

Alica rocking a Yo-Yo headband that she made at Alt. Image credit @WhimsyBox

I hope maybe I’ve helped you to find a new blog or two to read!

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P.S. What are some of your favorite blogs to read?

Introducing Annabelle!

Annabelle

Yesterday we added a new addition to our household that already includes Abby & Charlie, as well as the humans.

Meet the new puppy: Annabelle!! My mom has been following the Maine Lab Rescue facebook page and she mentioned to my dad and I that they were having an adoption event yesterday at Planet Dog in Portland. We decided to go, since there was a puppy that my mom had seen on facebook that she liked. Well, when we got there, most of the pups they had brought to the event had already been adopted, but not this little sweetheart! She’s such a lovebug. She just arrived in Maine last week, is about 14 weeks old, and is a lab/shepherd mix. If you see a lot of pictures of her on instagram in the very near future, that will be the reason. She gets along very well with Charlie, and Abby has been barking at her a little, but I’m sure they’ll end up being great friends.

I can’t say enough great things about the work of the Maine Lab Rescue. They ask great questions on their applications, they are so friendly, and the adoption fee includes spaying, making sure she’s all up to date on shots, and she’s been living with a foster family, so she’s been socialized. We couldn’t be happier with our newest addition!

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P.S. What have you been up to this weekend my lovely followers? Anyone adopt a new family member recently?

Coffee Date

If we were sitting down for coffee, I would hope that we would have had our coffee date before the “Nemo” storm hit, because I’d be worried about you being on the roads.

I’d tell you that I had a Snow Day yesterday, and spend most of it doing blog stuff. I’d tell you that I spent a good portion of today on my blog too. I’d tell you that I can’t really account for all that time spent since the layout looks the same and there isn’t a whole bunch of new content, but that I’ve been working on an editorial calendar and coming up with new post ideas, and that I’m really excited about this little space on the web.

I would tell you that even though I didn’t go to Alt Summit, I learned a whole lot, through ebooks from a few sessions, and recaps all over the internet. I’d tell you that it makes me even more determined to get there next year.

I would sit down with a Starbucks frapp if we were sitting down for coffee. I was worried about my budget and making it from last payday to next payday after paying my student loan bills… and I’d tell you that I somehow made it work, and I will have more than enough gas money to get me through the week… and to celebrate that little success, I’d spend the last $4ish dollars I have on a Starbucks card to reward myself.

I’d tell you that although the Barometric pressure must have been messing with the children in my class, I still love them just as dearly. We did some wonderful projects this week that came out so cute. A few of them were ideas that I brought in, and I’m happy with how well they worked with the little cuties I work with.

I’d probably make it a short coffee date this week. I’d tell you that I am hoping to make a vlog for a coffee date one of these weeks… who knows, maybe you can be on the lookout for it next week!

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I’m linking up with Alissa of Rags to Stitches for this coffee date. Go visit her and some of the other lovely people linking up too.

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Savings Jar + Altitude Summit

I feel like practically every time a blogging conference rolls around I start wishing I were there. This happens especially when The Altitude Summit (aka Alt) happens.

finances

I’d already decided to set aside coins and some cash for a special treat as one of my goals for the year. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided that I was going to save up for Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in 2014.

Savings Jar - So Far

Savings Jar – So Far

I know I’m going to need to step up my savings game, but I found this great idea from The Full Moxie that I’m going to implement. Basically, you start the 1st week in the year by putting $1 in the jar. The following week, $2. Then so on and so forth until the end of the year, always putting in as much money as it is the week in the year. If you go to The Full Moxie website, in the link I just referenced, she’s even included a printable!

I ended up spending money, but I found this large decorative jar at Target and I’m going to use it to save for Alt!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alt_design_summit/8419323880/in/set-72157632625295149

Alt Summit Map – Picture by Justin Hackworth via the Alt Flickr page.

I’ve loved reading all of the recaps of Alt. I was stalking the #altsummit hashtag on instagram and twitter the entire weekend that it was happening.. And I loved this map where all of the attendees placed their business cards.

I am so proud of this little state where I live. I really want to go and put Maine bloggers on the map!

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P.S. Have you ever been to Alt Summit? Are you going to go next year? What’s your method for saving?

Coffee Date + February Goals

If we sat down for coffee, I’d probably ask you how you are doing with your goals and resolutions for the year. I’d probably not be actually drinking coffee (since the caffeine gives me migraines) but drinking soymilk with coffee flavored syrup. I’d tell you that since starting to drink my little soymilk + coffee syrup concoctions, I’ve been going through soymilk like crazy.

Soymilk + coffee flavoring with a yummy pastry from the farmers market!

Soymilk + coffee flavoring with a yummy pastry from the farmers market!

I’d ask how things are going in your life. Things at work are going awesome, the kids in my class are doing really well with goals we’ve been setting about sitting on the potty. We are doing lots of fun art projects, and this weekend I get to make invites to our class Valentine’s day party.

I’d tell you that some of my goals/resolutions for the year are going better than others… but overall, that I’m very happy with how things are going!

image from the alt summit website.

image from the alt summit website.

I’d tell you that I’ve decided what I’m going to put the coins and change that I’m saving up towards. I’m going to try like heck to go to Alt Summit in Salt Lake City in January of next year. I always get jealous of all the pictures and info that comes out of Alt Summit each year. This year they even had a “beginner” track geared towards people like me with little blogs. I have a wonderful post planned for middle of next week about my savings jar.

I’d tell you that as far as my goals of getting more exercise hasn’t happened yet… but will be soon! I’d tell you about Derby Lite. It’s a roller skating fun + fitness class using some of the skills drills common in Roller Derby! I’m registered for a class that starts later this month not far from where I work, so I’m very excited.

I’d tell you that I’m doing well with saving my coins and such, and that I have re-opened my etsy shop… but my goal to curb my spending hasn’t been going that well. Between my Derby Lite stuff, and some stuff I bought at Target, budgeting hasn’t gone well… but I’m hoping to change that right around.

February Specific Goals

  • Have a blast at Derby Lite and meet new people!
  • Get my budget under control.
  • Enjoy all the fun and excitement going on at work and in my classroom.
  • Continue to be creative and work on knitting/making jewelry/ect.

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