Another Frugal Week Behind Me

Working long hours definitely goes hand in hand with frugality. The later I leave office, the less money I spend. Last week was out of control and I am seriously looking for a new job around April. I know if I don’t, I will absolutely go crazy. What’s a girl to do? Save herself, I guess. So please keep me accountable here, OK? 🙂

I just spent an amazing, frugal day with T. We biked from Queens to Greenpoint in Brooklyn, sat in the Grumpy’s Café for a couple of hours splitting a cup of coffee, working on our laptops. After that we sat on a bench in the nearby park, enjoying 65 degree weather, where we ate a couple of ham sandwiches and drank a thermos full of hot ginger tea that we brought with us. That’s how we roll.

I love Peter Tunney’s art. This must be one of my faves. Spotted in Long Island City, Queens

Since I’ve been catching a cold since yesterday I will be taking it easy for the rest of the long weekend. I was just actually watching some random videos on Facebook and stumbled upon a quite interesting one on motivation.  Namely, motivation is a bunch of BS. We will never feel ‘motivated’ to do something we are scared of, something that is new and unpredictable, something we feel uncomfortable about. We just need to do it, that’s all. Motivated or not. We’re only a step away from change, and yet we find ourselves stuck for days, weeks or even years in an unhappy situation. I’ve basically hated my ‘new’ job a week after I started but here I am eight months later still going there every single day. I am literally finding it a joke at this point. I am paid almost $85K per year (which is a big upgrade from my previous job) but I deal with daily disrespect and I dare to say emotional abuse. It’s pretty awful. Or pretty laughable actually, I think I am going to start drafting a comic book on my work life. I mean, some of the things going on there, one can’t even make up.

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We Are Travel Monsters

This weekend we are away in Florida celebrating T.’s birthday, our anniversary, and me getting US citizenship last week 🙂 Normally we celebrate locally, most of the time at home, but this time is different. T. has a few meetings and his employer is paying for a hotel here in Palm Beach. Spouses can tag along so we are making a weekend out of it. 🙂 And while we had to purchase our own flights, it’s turning into the most frugal vacation we’ve ever taken.

Let me start from the beginning. So we are sitting on a plane on Friday at 8 AM at JFK and hear the announcement that our fuel tank needs to be refilled. Then, an hour later we hear that there is an issue with the engine. After that, the wings needed to be de-iced. To make a long story short, we got to sit six hours on a plane without moving. Frustrating?  Sure. But after we called  Delta and complained, we got $400 each to make up for it. I shall also say that we only paid $97 per person per ticket. We made $606 right there in flight credits and still made it by 4pm not missing a thing. :)! This will be a return flight somewhere for the both of us.

If you ever get delayed for more than 3 hours (or possibly even less, depending on airlines), make sure to check what compensation you are entitled to.

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Keep Calm and Frugal On

I am determined to make this year the biggest year of savings for us. T. and I are a good team and although there is still a bit of room for improvement ‘to be on the same page’ I have to say he’s definitely become much more aware of ‘where the money is going’. Well, in case of doubt, it should ALWAYS be staying in a wallet, rather than leaving it.

We did well in January. I did my own version of a non-spend month and will continue to do my best each month this year (and beyond). T. goes along and is pretty easy to keep happy, I am thrilled that he has been giving it his best effort to embrace the frugal mentality. Unlike in the past, while reviewing our finances, I no longer feel I want to literally shoot him.

Walk on a Long Island Beach? Free. Although we did not last long because it was freezing today!

It is T.’s Birthday today. Starbucks offers a free drink (any drink, any size) on your birthday. You need to use their app (sign up a month before), but even if you don’t have the app and show the ID they will honor it. That’s what we did today. T. was not even able to log into his app account. He showed the ID and got a giant size, delicious green tea latte. We got an extra cup and shared it. Yum and free. 🙂

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On Humanity

After the ban of migrants from several countries was issued by the Presidential Office, I have been distraught this entire week. After a few days I literally had to stop watching heartbreaking video clips, that were posted all over the web, of the family members waiting for their loved ones at the airports only to hear they will not be re-uniting with them. Especially one, of an older man from Iran, awaiting for his brother, crying, stack with me. I am thrilled to hear that the ban has been lifted at least for those who hold valid green card and visas. I am full of hope that those brother and thousands of other families will reunite soon.

This week I am spending more time counting my and my family’s blessings. We have shelter, stocked fridges, healthcare, full wallets and no fear of being bombed, raped or killed overnight. We are safe. We have won the ‘ovarian lottery’ as Warren Buffett has said it. None of us chose where we were born and yet we are the lucky ones. I am feeling guilty, like tonight, so cozy by the fireplace, spending time with T. and our friends, full bellies, about to watch a movie. There are children out there in the war zone who are about to lie down and sleep on the ground, hungry, scared. They will not be waking up knowing that another day will be different, they know the moment they wake up, they will live another day in hell.

How can we enjoy a day knowing what’s happening? How are we going to look back sometime from now knowing we let this happen? It’s crashing my heart and soul that these who have most power, instead of empathy and shelter offer rejection and just close the door. Uncaring. Instead of compassion, they’re building ‘the wall’.

I will never ‘get over this’.

 

Cries From Syria

It is very far from what I usually write about here, on this little blog of mine, but I am urged today to share how I have felt about the latest atrocities by the newest Mr. President.

I am an immigrant. I guess I lucked out being born in Poland rather than Libya, Iran or Syria. But we also all know that none of us had any say in choosing where we were born. It should not defines us who we are or if we deserve freedom and safety or the right to fight for better future for our children.

I am disgusted by President’s actions.

It personally touches me as an immigrant and as a human being.

 

Frugal accomplishments and No Spend Month – week 4

January came and went (well, almost). To me, it was a long month, on one hand, and a super quick one on the other. I am literally counting days till spring already so I do not mind that the weeks are literally flying by.

My sister is giving birth on Tuesday so we are all on pins and needles. After three girls, finally a baby boy is joining the family. Everyone is thrilled and cannot wait to meet the little guy next week. And me? Well, since I am a few thousands miles away, I am extra thankful for WhatsApp and Skype!

I am still going through a bit of a ‘down’ time but trying to lift my spirits with small things that give me pleasure. Whether it is a bubble bath, hot cocoa, yoga (to the tunes of YouTube) or re-organizing my fabric stash again – I am doing all I can to get myself out of this winter rut. I am also trying to be a bit more social, although all I want to be doing is literally cover myself head to toe with a blanket and veg out on my couch watching Gordon Ramsey. I do have a bit or crush on him though so I guess that’s fine, right? 😉

This is the winter rut I am talking about. This is what NYC has looked like for the last 3-4 weeks. This is a view from my desk at the office.

Money wise, I am not sure if I did well by all the frugal standards. I surely have been trying to literally buy nothing (except groceries) but had some not so frugal expenses regardless.

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No Spend January Update – Week 3

I am going to say this week has been semi-successful as far as no spending goes. Of course within our frugal community only, because as compared to a ‘regular Joe’ next door, I did absolutely amazing, basically I have been a super star.

On my way to work, while on a subway, I am giving myself a ‘frugal boost’ by reading morning posts from my favorite bloggers, getting myself motivated and excited about living life to the fullest, all while being joyfully frugal. It does not hurt to remind myself occasionally that the frugality is not just about saving money, it is a lot about happiness and contentment as well as the art of ‘stopping’ and not searching for more. I am 80/20 at the moment. While being more aware than most of the human population, I have my weaknesses and once in a while I am not able to resist a good sale or buy something totally unplanned (or needed), but that’s ok. This is an ongoing work in progress, I am blessed to be able to make mistakes while reaching for ‘perfect frugality’.

Frugal Living - Enjoy Free Art!

Let’s enjoy some free art. No ticket purchase necessary.

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No Spend January Update and Weekly Frugal Update

I have been enjoying daily encouragement emails from Ms. Frugalwoods (on ‘no spend’ January). I don’t do the ‘bare bones’ version of the challenge, I still do grocery shopping as usual but try to stay away from everything else. No coffee out, no clothing, no snacks or lunches. Basically no goodies, just needs.

Hmmmm

Saying that, this week I spent more on the ‘extras’ as compared to the week before (which is when I spend $0). I probably could have held of with purchasing the items for the time being but I assessed that it was important that I just get them.

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My Happiness List

The other day, while in the office and looking for some files in the storage area, I stumbled upon a dusty book. Since I am a sucker for books, especially ones that seem inspiring and in search of an owner, I put it aside to skim through.

The seemingly children’s book (no idea how it even ended up in a child-free office like mine) is a gem. Also, as of last night it found a new home and currently resides in Queens 😉

My Happiness List

While I see myself as a very positive person, I tend to fall off the wagon occasionally, especially in January (and a bit of February too) with these temperatures being below freezing, it is just too easy to feel a bit blue (whiny, ungrateful and just overall cranky).

I definitely appreciate an unexpected source of happiness quotes and some suggestions on how to put myself in a happy state of mind. Of course all good things require some sort of work. But fear not, this work is actually pleasant. A ‘Happiness List’! That seems easy, right?

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I Made Turmeric Capsules (and why I did it myself)

I have heard SO much good stuff about turmeric for as long as I can remember, yet never used it in cooking or as a supplement. I think it literally has been named a ‘magic’ powder as it is believed to have many amazing health benefits and to name a few:

  • it is anti-inflammatory
  • it increases the antioxidant capacity of the body
  • may lower the risk of heart disease
  • may prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • it has benefits against depression
  • anti-aging, great for skin (may reduce wrinkles)

Well, my friend (let’s name her Betsy) who studies wellness and cosmetology recently made her very own turmeric capsules. Yep. This is serious business. I considered buying turmeric an old-fashioned way, namely at CVS or on Amazon to have it Prime-delivered, and here she is whipping out a batch all by herself. 💃

Why would she want to do it herself?

There must be a reason, I thought. Betsy is a health freak, big time. I am talking DIY deodorant from moroccan clay, bee wax and other organic, raw, vegan ingredients kind of a freak. Her Instagram feed is very specific, most of her hashtags are #natural #healthy #organic #DIY. Well, the reason turned out to be very simple –

  • If you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it. Duh.
  • It is literally like a bazillion times cheaper to do it yourself.
  • The capsules are really fun to make.
  • Once you have all the supplies, it is easier to continue to make the capsules (and take them) rather than remember to run to the store to get them (and pay again!). That’s Betsy’s philosophy and I agree. I usually take a supply of what I have on hand and then it takes me weeks to get a new batch. I am just bad like that.

I am awfully delayed with getting to it but after I caved in in early December and got all of the supplies, I finally made my very first capsules. 4 batches to be exact. That’s right:)

Turmeric capsules in the making. Please note an opened laptop on picture #2. While it is super simple to make the capsules once you know what you are doing, it was a bit tricky the very first time. Thankfully YouTube came to the rescue.

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