Minimalism is a Privilege

I’m usually a big cheerleader of minimalism. But what if it’s the only realistic option?

Brandon and I have been paring down, spending less, and trying to minimize every part of our lives over the last few years. Although I still believe I can always get rid of more Stuff, I’ve hit the point where I have to stop. For now, anyway. Even though I have completed my student loan payments(more on that later in this post!), because I’m making very little income, it’s hard to truly appreciate the moment. I’ve started to wonder if I need to start selling things to continue experiencing my current lifestyle. Let me tell you, that lifestyle consists of having an apartment and occasionally buying bus tickets for temp work – I’m not extravagant, even when I can afford it. I’m understandably a bit concerned about my future, but mostly worried about when the hell I can get my hair cut again. Serves me right for getting an asymmetrical cut that I need to get trimmed once a month(I love it, but probably should have waited until my income was more stable).

Think about all the minimalism tips out there. Think about all the ways to “save” money. Go thrifting instead of buying new – yes, but you’re still shopping and spending money. I generally hit up the Goodwill once every season, but only if I need something specific. The Latte Factor only works if you are already spending $5 a day. That would be a luxury for me right now, and I find it wasteful even when I do have that extra cash(it’s…been a while since I’ve had extra cash). Clothing swaps are the best and, in my opinion, the most fun way to find clothes – but it’s a gamble if your friends aren’t all the same size(which isn’t realistic to most friend groups anyway).

While my current minimalism may be somewhat “enforced”, it’s not the end of the world. Even if I feel like I’m struggling, I know I’m not alone. Brandon and I are going through some tough times right now, but we’re going to make it to the other side together. Things will even out, mainly because I believe they have to, after all the drama we’ve been put through. (Seriously 2016, why are you so awful for everyone?)

My financial goals are small. I’d like to be making enough income to start saving again. Literally any amount would be acceptable – even $5 a month. I’d like to have a bit of money socked away by October, so Brandon and I can take 2 or 3 days off for our anniversary. A vacation isn’t realistic until next year(fingers crossed we have the time and money for a whole week off), so I’m keeping my expectations low. I’ll say I’m going to pay off my credit card by the end of the year, but I’ve been putting more money on it lately, so I will simply see how close to $0 I can get. Next year, I’d like to be able to pay it off every month. But we’ll get see what the next 6 months bring us, yeah?


Now for some good news! I PAID OFF MY STUDENT LOAN!!!

I want to thank everyone who left comments here, on Twitter, and Facebook. Writing about this kept me motivated, and I kept it a priority because of you. While I am not left with a lot of money now, it’s been a huge relief to get that debt off my proverbial plate.
Here’s hoping July and the last half of 2016 is better for all of us – financially and emotionally.

My Shopping Ban: Is Done!!!

Welp, May was something else.

Reasons June will probably be better:

– I might get a day off work (more time for reading and Netflix!)

– my student loans are completely paid off (more on that in a moment)

– Time with friends (schedules TBD)

– more money coming in if I get a contract (savings? Currently unfamiliar with that term)

– maybe maybe maybe spending a little bit o’ money on my self (thinking pedicure)

Let’s start with the big news. My student loan. It’s done. Paid. Gonzo. The last automatic payment was transferred early this week, and I couldn’t wait to get rid of the rest. Made a payment for the last $88 yesterday, and look forward to receiving one of those nice letters congratulating me on paying off the loan. My next step? Paying off my credit card by the end of the year and saving money on top of all that.

May wasn’t a very spendy month. The Beyoncè concert (which was bloody cold, but amazing) resulted in a $55 tank top, which was lower than what I originally budgeted for merch. After buying a denim jacket for $8 (it fits my She-Hulk shoulders!!), I visited Winner’s (after Goodwill did not have all the items I was looking for – always try secondhand before buying new, friends) a knee-length dark denim pencil skirt and a navy blue knee-length knitted vest(with pockets!). Haven’t bought new clothes in a long time, but I’m happy to report I’ve been wearing both a couple times a week since the purchase. With that purchase of $52.48, my clothing expenses came in under my desired budget of $150.

I’m not going all out like I thought I could previously. Instead of spending $200 on myself in June, since I spent over $100 on myself in May, I’ll fold that into my “reward budget”. Which is why I’m going to attempt book a pedicure this month. That’s about all the self-care I can handle right now.

As of this posting, I’m hopefully relaxing and reading on my day off from work – but more likely cleaning the house because why would I ever stop doing things? Ugh, I need someone to fix my brain BUT AT LEAST MY STUDEN LOANS ARE PAID OFF.

Later, nerds. 🍷

My Shopping Ban: 6 More Weeks

As of this writing, my loan is at $620.65.

Hard to believe this weight will be gone from my life in 6-7 weeks. I looked it up and I will have had this loan for 7 years and 7 months by the end. Silver lining? Shorter than I thought. I had always rounded up the time to 8 or 9 years. It really does feel like I’ve been paying it off so much longer. Now that I’m so close to the end, there’s a part of me that just wants to fall off the wagon. Who am I if I’m not paying student loans? Who am I when I don’t have debt one day? I’m weirdly uncomfortable with those thoughts.

My mixture of financial feelings are as follows:

1) The overwhelming sense of freedom. I’ll have $200 extra dollars a month! I can go places and do things with all the extra money!

2) The crushing realization that I still have to dig myself out of the hole I’ve put myself in. I have barely any savings after putting everything into the store, and haven’t been making a lot of money over the past year.

The happy medium? I’m going to keep getting contract work as often as I can. I’m going to continue paying my credit card off, but not as hard and fast as I am with the student loan. I am going to add to my savings and when I have reached a comfortable place, then I can hammer down my credit card debt.

In between all that, I want to have fun with my friends. Go out to dinner, see movies, go for small trips. Since I’ll be more relaxed about paying off my credit card(it’s not too bad, only about $1300 owing on it), I’ll create new goals to keep myself motivated. My next goal after June is too see if I can save $1000 by the end of September.

Do you have a summer financial goal? Leave a comment below, or find me on Twitter.

Debt, Fear, and Time Travel

When I think about all the money I needlessly spent in my 20s, I get a little sad. I realize now that I could have have paid off my debt by now if I had been more serious about paying it back when I was making more income. I often want to go back to my 20-something year old self and tell her to be more cautious with her money. But then I think, would I have gone to school, would I have moved to Vancouver(and returned to Edmonton less than a year later, broke and alone), would I have made similar enough choices to end up meeting Brandon? Then I get really sad there’s another me out there that didn’t end up with an amazing husband, two beautiful cats, and a business we can both be proud of. Or maybe she(I?) did, and they have six cats and have two separate jobs that aren’t anything alike, but they are still happy. Good luck, Earth 2 Danica. Hope you don’t have to worry about lizard overlords.

I have a lot of regrets in my life. Some of them are decades old, some are less than a year. I try my darnedest not to regret anything, but I am not strong enough for that. It’s almost ironic I didn’t get serious about paying off my debt until I could barely afford to.

When I think about my future, it still somehow seems attainable, even with my current financial status. I don’t have large dreams for retirement. I’ve always wanted a small life, and that won’t change when I don’t have to work anymore. I hope that I’m in a position to choose when I retire, that I have some control over my future in the future. I don’t feel that currently, and that scares me. My goal for this year is to get some of that feeling back. I will pay off my student loans, pay off my credit card should I be bringing in enough income, hopefully take a small vacation, get back to being more comfortable financially by having a little bit left over after bills each month, start building my savings again. I don’t think these are far flung goals. I feel they’re attainable, and I’m going to try my hardest to focus on the long term instead of This Exact Moment, which is what my depression wants me to focus on.

My Shopping Ban: Side Income

I’ve signed up with a couple temp agencies again.

This is not a decision I dreaded, and while it is for the main goal of making money, I’m happy to have some different experiences in the future(and use my substantial background in office administration again). I’m hoping to pick up something quickly, and can focus on putting aside some of my paycheques towards my debt.

In case anyone is worried I will be leaving the store – when working under a contract, I still plan to work at Variant Wednesday evenings and weekends, and any events that Brandon and I would usually be hosting.

This side income will help in the short-term(paying off debt, having money for rent and bills), and long-term(hopefully going away for a few days for our second anniversary). This will also help the store, as what would be my paycheque can be re-invested in merchandise or advertising.


In other news, decluttering is still going well. I’m keeping a few things in our storage room for the swap at the store in April, so that’s in a bit of a holding pattern. I know it’s going, so it doesn’t bug me so much. At least there is less in the living room.

Brandon and I are holding to our goal of only owning books that fit in our white shelving unit, even with the new books we traded for a few weeks ago. There will be a more books going this year as they’re borrowed, and we will continue to declutter books and movies as we experience them and make the decision whether to keep or not. Some things honestly only need to be experienced once, and that’s okay.

Let’s Start A Shopping Ban!

Aware that it is nearly mid-February, I’m putting myself on a shopping ban. (Basically, don’t wait until the 1st of a month to start something – or worse, NEXT January 1st) My end date is currently May 1, but I will readdress that date near the end of April.

My reason for this ban? I’m so close to paying off my student loans. Only around $1200. That’s both a lot of money, because I’m not making a lot of income right now, and barely anything at all, because that number was so much higher for the past 8 years or so I’ve been paying it off. I’m avoiding calculating how much I’ve paid in interest because it is likely a depressing number.

So this is me, being accountable to everyone who reads this.

I pledge:

– not to buy any new clothes – not even ModCloth when they have sales – not even Goodwill for a little “treat”

– not to buy any new nail polish(my go to purchase when I’ve had a bad day). I will use the colours I currently own.

– not to buy my comics from work – this will unfortunately mean creating a stack at the store for myself, but while the single issues will be fine to wait on, I will make a list of collections I want to possibly purchase later in the year. I’ve been more or less doing this already, but now I’m a bit stricter with myself.

– to declutter and purge any items I’m not using – I’m planning to host another clothing swap at Variant Edition in probably April, so will keep some things I plan to donate until then

– to have friends over for tea, conversation, and Netflix if we so desire, and generally attempt free experiences

–  to not worry about what the apartment looks like when said friends do come over – not technically part of the ban, but it is something I need to work on

– to make myself a reading pile to pick through so I can return the books I’ve borrowed from my parents sooner, and donate books I feel only need one read to the free little libraries around the neighbourhood

On or around May 1, I will check into how much left I owe, and consider whether or not I will extend the shopping ban. Once my student loan is paid off, I’ll go full force into paying down my credit card, but right now, I want this to be my main focus. I want to be able to celebrate this milestone in 2016, and then move onto to my next hurdle.

I want to thank my friends for being kind and understanding when I turned down their invites to events because I couldn’t afford it. I appreciate you, and hope we can spend some money-free time together this spring.

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