As previously mentioned, my word for 2018 is Consumption and it’s time to check in for my first month!
January was a whirlwind and it went by so quickly. And to be honest, I wasn’t as intentional with consuming as I wanted to be – purely from a lack of time. The plus side was, that same lack of time meant I didn’t have time to consume much of anything!
But I thought it would be a good idea to track my journey on a monthly basis both for any of you who might be interested or who are trying to be a more intentional consumer, and for myself, to keep it top of mind and so that I can look back at the end of the year and see how it went!
The best part of January was having my post-op appointment with my specialist and having all my pathology reports come back negative (if you’re like George Constanza and aren’t sure what that means, negative is good!).
Ok, so let’s dive in! (a note – this doesn’t include purchases for either of my businesses. This was purely personal consumption although I do hope to talk a bit about how I’m consuming within my businesses as the year progresses!)
I started Weight Watchers on January 11th with a goal to lose 30 lbs and stretch goal of 35 lbs. After being physically stagnant and emotionally eating for most of 2017 (and finally getting the ok to be physically active again this month) I needed some help to get myself back to a place where I’m happy and where I feel like myself.
WW has worked for me in the past so I decided to give it a go again and so far so good (down 8lbs after 3.5 weeks). It’s helped me kick my sugar cravings and get my portion control back in check – two big things I can easily let get out of hand if I’m not paying attention or I’m feeling depressed. The drug I’m on right now also has weight gain as a side effect so I really felt like I had to do something to take control again.
I didn’t track how much I spent on food, which I will try to do for February but I was definitely more conscious of what I was consuming. (nothing like WW for help with that!). Here’s a few things I noted:
- I paid $96 CDN for a 6 month WeightWatchers online membership which I already feel has been a solid investment
- I definitely ate out more than usual this month for lunch, partly due to my business partner being away – leaving me with little time (or desire) to get out and properly grocery shop and meal plan – and partly due to having several lunch meetings.
- I’ve discovered that going out for lunch on my own is a really welcome break in my day when it’s really busy. When you work from home, getting out of your house is a nice break and I really appreciated the 45-60 minute of alone time with my book. I mostly supported small, family run restaurants and cafes that are a short 5 minute walk from my home which meant more exercise for me and less use of my car. (the new WW point system makes it a lot easier to eat out now and stay on their plan)
- my grocery shopping was much more focused on whole foods (also a WW side benefit) over packaged foods. It’s definitely hard this time of year to buy local produce but I tried to stick with what’s in season so, root veggies, lots of citrus and pomegranates and locally grown greenhouse produce (although even that was sadly lacking… spring is coming soon!!!). I also made a good dent in my deep freeze using up berries and veggies I grew or u-picked last year and put away for winter. So nice to have my own raspberries, strawberries and blueberries and peas and green beans! I also used a lot more canned stuff – corn, beans, tomatoes.
- I remembered to take my own reusable bags to the grocery store on all but one trip last month (I never remember to do this so I’m quite proud of myself!)
- I did not shop at Loblaws this month. I’m not a fan of their business practices to begin with and only shop there when my other options are limited but, after their admissions of price fixing and their terribly self serving attempt to “apologize” they are now 100% on my no shop list along with Walmart. Unfortunately, that also includes Shoppers Drug Mart now, which does make me a bit sad.
Transportation & Travel
I walked almost everywhere this month. I had a couple of trips to the doctor, to see our bookkeeper, to see my mom and to get groceries that required my car. My only trip into the city was done on transit. And I booked a trip to Toronto for February almost entirely on Aeroplan and Marriott points.
- $60 on gas last week (my first fill up since early December!)
- $165 on car insurance
- $7 on parking
- $8.60 on transit fares
- $156 in taxes and fees on a round trip flight to Toronto (the trip is this month but I bought the ticket, on points, in January)
- $25 for a hotel upgrade for a lake view (hotel was also done on points). I wouldn’t normally bother with a view upgrade but it’s a special weekend that deserved an upgrade 🙂
I didn’t purchase anything in January but I did get rid of a lot of stuff that was pretty threadbare and beyond even donating (some of it was repurposed for cleaning rags) and I’ve already purchased a few items this month.
Health and Wellness
I hate the gym so I don’t have a membership and have no intention of getting one. I am pondering investing in a handful of sessions with a personal trainer to get myself back on track but I didn’t actually take that step in January.
But I did get out more with Sam – the weather was very warm – even hit double digits a few times. But it was also soooooo wet. So much rain. So our walks were frequent but short.
So rather than going to the gym, I decided to check out YouTube and found a gold mine. Loads of yoga videos and some really good barre classes and so, I started working out with those at home and I’m slowly getting back into a groove and feeling much better. YouTube really is a great resource!
Also, for the first time since becoming self-employed, I purchased extended medical and basic dental insurance coverage back in November (through Pacific Blue Cross if you’re interested).
Here in Canada our basic healthcare is essentially free (although we do pay a provincial monthly user fee). But without extended private insurance, we have to pay for things like prescriptions, and extended health care like massage therapy, physio, etc as well as all dental and vision care. My health issues from 2017 left me with a pre-existing condition which is not covered and makes me wish I had purchased insurance in 2016! If you’re healthy and self-employed, now is the time to get insurance! My dental coverage kicked in on Feb 1 and my vision care kicks in on May 1 which is exciting!
I also bought a Magic Bag after pulling a muscle in my neck/upper back and realizing that I don’t seem to have a hot water bottle anymore. And I restocked a few personal care items.
I’m not going to get into this too much because I’ve whittled this down as much as I care to but aside from rent, insurance premiums, money put aside for savings and retirement and the usual bills we all have I have kept the following:
- netflix and crave tv subscriptions
- kindle unlimited subscription
- monthly subscriptions to two newspapers
- spotify subscription (which I plan to review)
- two monthly recurring charitable donations
Other stuff is basically everything that I don’t really need but that I still spend money on. We all need some leisurely pursuits!
- 1 magazine (I’ll just say right now that books and magazines are my weakness when it comes to spending)
- 5 books – two kindle books and three actual books
- 2 jigsaw puzzles – one was a gift for my mom and one was for me – we’ll trade when we’re done and I also trade with my hair stylist.
- two pairs of knitting needles and 5 balls of yarn which resulted in two new scarves that are being gifted and a third that I’m making for myself
- printer paper and a fountain pen
I also got a load of links to check out from a friend who works for Buy Me Once that I have to confess, I haven’t hand the time to read yet but they are on my list for February to start checking out. I’ve been reading the Buy Me Once blog regularly as well – it’s a great resource!
So that’s it – that’s my baseline. I think future updates will be shorter because I won’t have to restate a lot of things I had to mention this time around! I definitely want to move more from just watching how much I consume to being more conscious of the things I do ultimately choose to consume.