How to be Thrifty

Clipping coupons with scissors

Image courtesy of http://www.ccPixs.com

I’ve recently come to terms with the harsh reality that I need to start saving money. I’m trying to figure this out before my financial situation is deemed critical. There are only so many times one can dip into their savings before there’s nothing left to dip into. I’m working on replenishing my funds before it’s too late. Here’s what I’ve learned through my experience thus far. Feel free to leave additional helpful tips in the comments below.

Give yourself time to figure out how to save money.

It’s like cutting our sugar. The first few weeks are the hardest. Sure, you can afford to go to Booster Juice every once in a while, but you don’t need to. If you go frequently, these seemingly minor purchases can add up very quickly.

Patience

Patience is not my strong suit and from my experience, being thrifty takes patience. In the past, the thought of searching the internet for coupons or sifting through racks of clothes for a good deal, sounded exhausting and not worth it. Not anymore. Ok, that’s not totally true. The thought still exhausts me, but my hope is to power through in the name of saving money.

Discernment

You need to learn what’s worth spending money on and what you don’t really need. This is something I’ve always struggled with. For reasons that escape me at the moment, I have trouble spending money on shoes I would wear to work every day, (boring, yawn) and yet I had no problem buying a new pair of workout pants, because you can never have enough of those, right? The other day I ran out of hand soap and thought I could just use body wash for a while. I also ran out of this expensive hair product I use, and, at the time, I felt that was more important to restock… I can’t decide if that was the right decision or not. It’s a work in progress.

How to be a Sports Fan

So you want to be a sports fan, do you? Most people believe that a sports fandom is ingrained in you at a young age and can’t be developed later in life. This is not true. You can start to follow a new sport or sports team whenever you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m here to show you how.

Step 1: Choose a Sport

First thing’s first. Select a major league sport. (You could also go the hipster route and choose a lesser known minor league, but for the sake of this tutorial, we’re going to go with major league.) This should be the easy part. Hopefully, you’ve decided to become a sports fan because you’ve recently discovered the joy of watching a particular sport and want to take your newfound joy to the next level. If you don’t enjoy watching sports, frankly I don’t know why you’re doing this.

Step 2: Choose a Team

Once you’ve chosen a sport to follow, it’s important to stick to one team. Own them. They’re your family now. Their fans are your family now. Now, it is possible to switch teams, but it’s very difficult and you pretty much just get the one grace period (if you’re lucky). Then you really have to stick to that team or no one will take you seriously (well, sports people). They’ll think you just jump to whichever team is winning and have no loyalty.

How to Select a Team

Hometown Favourite

Your team of choice can be selected through a variety of factors. Most fandoms are in support of their hometown. If your hometown doesn’t have a major league sport, you can support a nearby city.

Choose the Best Team

You can also go with team performance and winning history. A big part of being a sports fan is telling others why your team is better than theirs. If you’ve selected a team with a history of being the best, your arguments will come a lot easier.

Pick Your Favourite Colour

If all else fails, go with your favourite colour. Afterall, you’re going to be wearing a lot of it.

Step 3: Cheer No Matter What

Once you’ve chosen a team, you cheer for them regardless of how well they’re playing. It’s called patriotism.

How Not to Hit on a Girl at the Gym

do not do this advice or warning - handwriting on pink sticky nMost women will tell you that the gym is not the ideal place to get hit on. Most women at the gym are there on a mission. It’s likely she’s managed to carve out enough time in her busy schedule to work out and she would rather not spend more time there than necessary. It was enough for her to muster up the motivation to go to the gym. Don’t give her a reason to skip her next workout.

Secondly, if she’s working out really hard, she is most likely sweating and feels disgusting. This is not the time she wants to be noticed. This is when she’s hoping no one is paying attention to her.

I know what you’re thinking. “But all I do is workout at the gym. Where else am I supposed to meet someone?” Okay, if you absolutely must approach a girl at the gym, here are some very important tips to remember.

When to Definitely Not Approach a Girl at The Gym

✋When she’s on the stair master

Don’t be the reason she falls off and has to go to the hospital

When she’s dripping in sweat

She’s obviously working super hard. Don’t interrupt her momentum

If she’s wearing headphones

She’s not wearing them so much to hear the music as to not hear other sounds around her in the gym. Sometimes I continue to wear my wireless headphones even if the battery’s dead

 If she’s wearing a hat

This is the universal sign for “I’m trying to be invisible”

I know, I’ve made this seem like a lost cause. I mean, it’s not entirely, but you should know what you’re getting into. This is dangerous territory and you must tread lightly if you hope to succeed. If you’re paying attention, a woman/or women will send pretty clear signals whether she/or they want to be approached or not. Here are some helpful tips.

Tips for Hitting on Women at the Gym (If You Must)

  1. If a woman hasn’t made eye contact with you, she doesn’t want to. It doesn’t mean she hasn’t seen you yet and you need to make her aware of your presence. She’s aware. Wait for the green light.

  2. Don’t scare/startle her. She’s most likely wearing headphones and can’t hear you coming up from behind. You don’t know if her natural defense is fight or flight. You could up with a punch to the face.

  3. Going off of point #2, wait for her to see you and decide not to run away. If she doesn’t want to stick around and tao you, don’t follow her.

Now, if you’re one of those women whose unfortunately fallen victim of one of the guys who has read this post and decided to try these tips out for himself, here are some great tips for avoiding people at the gym (or anywhere).

 

Not Fashionably Late Enough

party_lateI haven’t quite figured out how to be late enough to a party so that I’m not the first one to arrive, but not so late that I’ve missed the important parts. This is less of a how-to guide and more of a journey to how I figure out how to do this.

What do you do if you arrive before the other guests do? Do you sit in your car awkwardly? Do you turn around and go home and wait in your own living room until it seems appropriately late enough? How late is late enough?

Also, why am I hanging out with people who don’t arrive to parties on time? If you want people to show up at 8 p.m., tell them the party starts at 8 p.m. What kind of people have to be told the party is at 6 p.m. in order to show up at 8 p.m.?

Now, what if you decide to venture in early? Maybe someone walked and you’re not actually the first one (they didn’t and you are). What do you do now? The easiest thing to do is offer help to the host. How good are you at chopping vegetables? We’re about to find out.

I’m not a fan of small talk, but sometimes there are few alternative options, especially in situations like this. Assisting in the kitchen can help spur conversation. What are you cooking? Have you ever cooked that before? Actually, don’t ask that one.

When you run out of things to ask about the food (or they don’t need help in the kitchen), here are a few sample conversation starters. However, I do not guarantee they will work, but you are more than welcome to try:

  1. How was your week at work?
  2. What nail polish colour is that?
  3. Do you have anything exciting planned for the summer?
  4. Do you like sports?
  5. What do you think of *insert sports name here*?

I would also like to include that this quandary is not indicative of me getting older. It’s simply because it was ingrained in me to be early and I simply don’t know how to be super late. I basically have to give myself a “when the party really starts” time to aim for.

If you have any tips for this perplexing dilemma, please leave them in the comments below.

 

Coffee Shopping in the City

IMG_4303I’ve been trying to branch out and buy coffee from less mass chain establishments. In a big city like Toronto, that means more hipster. From the few I’ve attended so far, I’ve learned that they’re smaller, have less seating, and are filled with people. You would think a place with few places to sit would have less people in it. They also have less pastries/ food to choose from. However, they are quite aesthetically pleasing and make for a great photo backdrop. If you’re more hungry for a good Instagram photo than you are for lunch, you’ll be fine. 

Today, my coffee shop of choice didn’t have anywhere to sit and I settled for a nice rock outside. It’s actually quite lovely with the sun and a slight breeze blowing through your hair. As far as the coffee’s taste, it’s fine. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s also not life changing and worth the switch from Starbucks. At least I can collect points towards a free purchase at Starbucks. It’s also a bit watery. Wait, are Americanos supposed to be made with water? They didn’t have iced coffee and I was forced to settle.

Another downside is that many of these hipster coffee establishments close super early. Like 6pm early. On a Saturday! I guess they want their employees to have a social life and enjoy their evening? What about my evening? I planned to sit here and use their free Wifi for the next few hours and now I have to find somewhere else to go. 

One Year With Rhonda (The Honda)

rhonda_blogRhonda (the Honda) has been in my life for a whole year. Now, Rhonda is not the first car I’ve had the pleasure of owning, but she is the first brand new one. I’ve learned a lot about owning a new car this past year, mainly how difficult it is to keep your car looking brand new. With an old car, you’re less concerned about it’s outward appearance. What’s one more scratch? No one will notice with the giant patch of rust on the fender.

Here are just a few things I learned about owning a new car/ being responsible for all repairs:

  1.  New cars need more expensive oil and with that, more expensive oil changes.
  2. Black cars are difficult to keep clean, but they’re still worth it because (I’m convinced) they look much cooler than alternative colors (when clean).
  3. There is no such thing as a small (inexpensive) repair. It’s either not worth fixing or it’s going to cost a lot (or both).
  4. You should give your car a name. Ok, getting a new car didn’t teach me this, but I wanted to include it anyways. You probably spend more time with your car than anyone else and she (well, mine’s a she) deserves a name.

 

30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years

30th_birthdaySo, I’ve officially taken 30 trips around the sun. And in those 30 years, I’ve actually learned a lot. Here are the 30 most important things I’ve learned so far (trust me, it’s worth reading the whole list):

  1. Watch where you’re going both visually and in life.
     
  2. Dogs are the most important beings in the world! You should take as many pictures with your dog as you want because dogs don’t live as long as people. You need enough photos to get you through the years they are no longer with you.
     
  3. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it (mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.).
     
  4. You need different friends for different things.
     
  5. Small car repairs don’t exist. Everything is expensive.
     
  6. Sometimes you don’t need to redecorate. You just need to clean your apartment.
     
  7. You don’t need to wear makeup every day. No one cares.
     
  8. Don’t do anything or be anyone  other than yourself just because you think you’re “supposed to”.
     
  9. Don’t make life decisions out of obligation. You’re the one who will have to live with the decision.
     
  10. It’s better to be alone then to be with the wrong person
     
  11. If someone makes you feel like throwing up, stop wasting your valuable time with them.
     
  12. You’re stronger than you think you are.
     
  13. Snow is not as pretty when you have to shovel it.
     
  14. If you don’t like your handwriting, change it.
     
  15. Happiness is not a competition. There’s room for everyone.
     
  16. Olive oil can freeze.
     
  17. Don’t be afraid to take a job because you feel like you’ll be trapped there. If you don’t like it, look for a new job.
     
  18. It’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you save
     
  19. Don’t buy anything you can’t afford to pay for (within 30 days).
     
  20. Whether someone hurt you or not, if their parent dies, nothing matters anymore. You go to the funeral.
     
  21. When working out (or after),there’s a difference between good pain and bad pain.
     
  22. Eating a few pieces of pizza is fine. Eating an entire pizza is not fine, especially if done on a weekly basis.
     
  23. Jumping isn’t bad for your knees. Jumping poorly is.
     
  24. Not every doctor is considerate of your time. If you have a good one, stick with him/her as long as you can. If you’re not happy with them, take the time to find one you’re happy with. Your health is worth it. 
     
  25. Sometimes coffee isn’t as much as a benefit for you, as it is for those who have to interact with you.
     
  26. Don’t hand out “I love you’s” like candy.
     
  27. Winter boots that keep your feet warm and dry are better than ones that just look pretty.
     
  28. Original song lyrics are merely suggestions. Sing what you want.
     
  29. Dance in your car like you’re putting on a production.
     
  30. Laughing with your brothers is the best medicine.