101 Pounds Later.

Carvey-running-tips-slideThis morning I was greeted with a welcomed surprise, which inspired me to write this impromptu and likely poorly proofread post.

I’ve had weight issues and problems for the majority of my  life. Going all the way back to my early grade school days I always felt as if I was the “fat kid” in the class. I struggled with cravings and overeating in a big way. I can clearly remember going into super ninjaspy mode, sneaking down into the kitchen to make secret sandwiches, sometimes only an hour or two after taking in a full on supper! Sometimes I’d make as many as three sandwiches, and if I was feeling extra ballsy, I’d quietly open one of the cupboards and grab a box of Swiss Cheese or Premium Plus crackers. Off I’d run to the safety of the basement, or my room, where I’d shovel the glory down my gullet while taking in an episode of The Drew Carey Show, Seinfeld, or the Simpsons.

I was so proud of my secret, shameful thievery, thinking my parents would never be able to guess where all those boxes of crackers where disappearing to… I even got caught making these sandwiches many times, but I was always quick with the excuses.

“No!! They’re not for right now, I’m just making my lunch for tomorrow!”

That was definitely my go-to/favourite excuse.

And when I’d creep back into the fridge to grab my “lunch” later that night I would smile, and continue on my way.

Anyway, fast forward many years later and here I am today, and what a great day it is!

Now I don’t weigh myself on a regular basis, it’s sort of like following the Stock Market; watching the daily fluctuations up and down can just drive you crazy! Today, however, I decided to take the plunge and jump onto that square shaped, self-worth measuring machine.

Usually the number on the far left of the digital readout screen is a “2,” and there were times in my life when I would be faced with a “3” staring back at me. But today, for the first time in over a decade, that “2” has morphed itself into a “1.”

My arms flew into the air! “Holy shit!!”, I yelled. 199.5 pounds! I FUCKING DID IT!

If my 22 year old self knew this was coming he’d never believe me.

“Shut up and wash down that Delissio pizza with this strawberry milkshake already!” is what he’d demand.

It’s easy to have the “hindsight is 20/20” moment when you start losing a significant amount of weight. Of course I should have done this years ago. I always knew it was a serious issue affecting both my self esteem and my health.  I’ve been actively pursuing weight loss in a serious way for at least 6 years now, after spending a bit of time living in a van. I wish I would have stuck with it sooner and not fallen off the wagon so often, but that doesn’t matter now. This time is different, and I’m playing for keeps.

If you’re fighting with the weight loss dilemma in your life then just pull the trigger.

DO IT!

NOW!

Seriously. Do it. Once it starts rolling it becomes easy!

You don’t need a gym membership, or a dietitian. You know what food is good and bad for you. It’s common sense. Exercise wise, start with 40 squats and 40 sit ups every day. Go down to Walmart and buy a $40 set of weights and start doing 25 to 50 concentration curls a day. This all takes 5 minutes, and it makes a HUGE difference.

As the motivation grows you’ll extend and expand upon your routine. You’ll start to feel so good that the positive effects can’t help but snowball into a very positive lifestyle change.

No longer do my knees and ankles scream for me to sit down after 5 to 10 minutes of walking. No more does that inner thigh/leg chaffage build up and ruin my outings and adventures. (To my fat friends: I know you understand the horror of the fat walk chafe. Skinny  folk will never, ever understand this sort of discomfort.) My energy and motivation levels are at record highs. My self worth is magnified, and I ooze respect and self confidence now. We all should, we all will, and we’re going to start right now.

GET TO IT!

Your friend,
The Frugster

 

Photo credit: http://weightlossconfidence.com/

Why Your 30 Cent Raise is Reason to Celebrate!

I don't even know what to do with all this CASH!

I don’t even know what to do with all this CASH!

Working for a low wage usually brings about a lot of “woe is me” feelings and concerns from most everyone. Hell, I’ve been one of them! It wasn’t even that long ago when I use to feel that I deserved better and that I was way too smart for my shitty job. Why should I give a shit about this job, especially when the pay made it feel like it was barely worth it? What did my employers expect? That I would “do the shit” out of this job? As far I was concerned I was only here because I had to have some sort of job, I guess.

Well after a decade of continuous low paying wages, and recent paradigm shifts in my own life and how I see the world, I’ve come to the realization that any wage in this absolutely glorious country is a blessing. We’re lucky to be living where we are, and we shouldn’t take it for granted.

Anyway, onto the idea for this post.

Working for minimum wage is something a lot of us Maritimers are use to experiencing. As with the rest of the Western world, a lot of the jobs being created these days are service industry related. With the latest recession we saw a lot of these service jobs either disappear or shrink to part time. Job growth is coming back, but again, mostly part time, service industry jobs. It’s easy to bitch and complain about this short end of the stick. It’s easy to justify that making ends meet with minimum wage is not possible. You may be thinking this very thing as you jump into your financed car and pull on through your local Burger King’s drive-thru on your commute home from your service industry job. Well, it may not be exactly easy, but surviving on minimum wage is completely possible. In fact, if you have things set up properly, you could even RETIRE in less than 15 years while only working for minimum wage.

So, you’re working for that magical $10/hour, when suddenly it dawns on you, “Whoa, dude, I’ve finally stuck around this “Insert Retail/Service Franchise” job for a full year! It’s time to see if I get a yearly raise.” Now most respectable companies, and franchises, will provide their employees with an annual review, accompanied by a raise, which you totally deserve. I’m nearing this exact moment myself and I’m getting pretty jacked up on the fact that I will have gone from $10 to $10.15 to $10.30/hour over these past 6 months.

I’ve talked to a few coworkers about this monument-us occasion – the 30 cent raise – and the reaction is usually the same. A chuckle, a shrug, a roll of the eyes, and a reply similar to “ha, big deal, it’s basically nothing.” I’ll usually smile, half agree, and say something like “yah, I know eh. Seems silly.” But in my mind I’m already doing the math.

How can earning extra money, for doing the exact same job, ever be shrugged off? Now I know inflation will mess with the numbers and the example I’m going to breakdown, but really, let’s just forget about that for the sake of focusing on the positive side(s) of this great gift you’re about to receive. Plus, you’re already saving and investing a huge chunk of your take home pay, right? That savings is literally making you money right now. This will help to tame that pesky inflation thing.

Math time! I’ll take the numbers I mentioned in my “Surviving” post for this example, since this is actually what will be happening in my life.

  • As I mentioned, I generally work between 22 and 27 hours a week, so to keep things simple I’ll take the average and say 25/week.
  • I’ll also pretend I’m going from $10/hour right up to $10.30.

So, at $10/hour it’s easy to see that I make $250/week, before tax. Now, let’s add in that glorious raise. That gets me up to $257.50! I know, I know, it feels like you should be depressed about that number, right? But let’s take a closer look….

That works out to an extra $7.5 a week. Times that by 4 and we get $30/month. Times that by 12 and we get $360/year! Now let’s get the true number. Let’s multiply that by 52 – the number of weeks you’d actually work in a year – and you end up with $390! Three hundred and ninety extra dollars a year! That’s not so horrible, is it? (Plus, we haven’t even factored in working Stat holidays and etc…)

How about we  think about it this way:

Again, you’ll see in my previous article that my rent is $345 a month, and my phone bill is $45.80 a month. So, that 30 cent/hour raise has basically slashed my expenses in a big way. It’s as if I only have to pay my rent and phone bill 11 months of the year now, instead of 12. I already had these bills covered, no problemo, while working at $10/hour, but now with that raise, it’s as if both Bell Mobility and my Landlord came knocking on my door.

“Hey, you Bastard, you know what? You’re such a gloriously reliable – and may I add extremely sexy – customer/tenant that this December your bills are ON US! And, you know, why not, EVERY December from here on out is going to be covered by us as well. That’s just how much we appreciate you.”

Or, similarly, it’s as if my gracious Employer decided to say “Hey, you know what you Bastard, during December were going to give you your paychecks, like we’ve been doing all year, but we’re also going to forward some extra cash to Mr Landlord and Mr Cellphone, on your behalf. When those bills don’t show up in the mail don’t even worry about it! We got ya covered brah”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that deal any month of the year!

And this is the cycle of avoiding lifestyle inflation. Another year will go by, another review will arise, and another raise will appear on my check. So, 2015 will only have 11 months worth of Rent/Phone bills, and 2016 should only have 10. And so on, so on, so on…

 

photo credit:
http://careergirlnetwork.com/getting-a-raise-when-you-dont-have-a-boss/

August 2014 Income and Spending

Alrighty, so here we are with another month that’s come and gone and it’s time to air out the unmentionables.

FYI: I broke my right wrist this week so I’ll be keeping things short and sweet. And yes, I’m right handed…boo…

Anyway, here are the numbers.

INCOME

Paychecks: $1084.80
Tips: $6.95
Interest/Dividends from investments: $18.71
Other: $56.92 (This includes $40 from a gig with my band, $4 from returned bottles and $12.92 I received from SOCAN as a royalty payment for a tune of mine that is currently being used in a TV show across the pond in the UK.)

Total: $1167.38


EXPENSES

Food

Juice for Booze: $17.97 (this is the “Cider Fund” for our delicious Frugal Home Brew!)
Coffee/Snacks: $37.43
Groceries: $115.89
Booze: $20.42
Fast Food/Restaurants: $56.90

Bills

Cell Phone: $34.35
Rent: $258.75
Tenant Insurance: $5.61
Internet: $23.28

Transportation

Taxi Rides: $24
Public Transit: $8.25

Home Supplies and Maintenance

Kitchen/Bathroom supplies: $11.05
Clothing: $5.25

Miscellaneous

Drivers License Renewal: $84
Gifts: $19.11
Records/Albums: $2.09
Other Misc: $11.13

Total: $ 735.48


INVESTMENTS

Questrade TFSA Deposits: $428.47


So right off the bat you can see that my bills are much more in line with my “normals” compared to July’s numbers. My philosophy of paying my bills weekly is working out swimmingly, and I’d recommend it to anyone who finds paying it all with that one paycheck at the end of the month too stressful and depressing.

I was successful in basically cutting my expenses on booze and restaurants/fast food in half, which is a reason to celebrate!

My overall hours at work were cut back, so my income was on the low side of things this month. That being said, I was still successful in saving and investing $428.47.  A savings rate of about 36 or 37 percent. That amount was transferred directly into my discount brokerage account and was used to buy some more low cost Index Funds.

Well, that’s it from your friend The Frugster today.

How do my income/expenses compare to yours? Any tips and tricks you care to share?