July Recap & Month #3

I didn’t get as much done on the tiny house in July as I wanted to, but that’s okay. I worked on the tiny house 7 days in July. I did a lot of little things, I put up the ice and water shield by myself, and we finally put in the blocking.

We also fixed the ridge board, which had started to dip down in the middle. I believe that happened between putting it up and putting the collar ties in, because the collar ties keep the rafters from moving. When I realized this issue and measured the height of the board, we took out the newly installed collar ties, used a jack and three long 2x4s sandwiched together, and jacked up the ridge board an inch to the right height, then re-installed the collar ties. But we had put the ties back in so hastily, two of them were a bit crooked, so I fixed those. Then I noticed later that one of the ties was a little short on one end because of where we had nailed it. So I’m going to have to fix that again. I’m probably going to re-do two of them to make the collar ties symmetrical around the living room skylight.

Because we didn’t get a lot done in July, there are so many things to do in August, and some of that might get pushed until September, but that’s how building schedules go, right? 😛 August is also going to be a busy month for other reasons, so we’ll see how all this goes. I’m sure once we get back to the bigger tasks that you can really see the change, we’ll be out there more often. It’s like sweeping every night versus cleaning behind the stove. You should clean regularly, but you get more satisfaction out of the things that make a big difference.

As for my shopping ban, I didn’t do too well. 😛 I wasn’t as committed to it, and ended up going shopping several times with friends, especially later in the month. At first, I only bought things that I needed and had been on my to-buy list for a while, like a new pillowcase and a small cutting board, and I bought several replacement items, like new work shoes. But being out in stores made it harder to resist the sale items and the “I might use this someday” items. I spent some money on scratch tickets again, and some pretty things, and going to the movies. But I am getting better at saying no to things I don’t need. For every thing I bought, there were probably at least 5 more things I wanted but said no to. Even though I bought lots of things in July, I’ve built the habit of being very conscious of my spending, and that’s something I can carry with me.

I didn’t do too well eating out less either, because I didn’t have a plan to replace it. Grocery shopping tends to be an afterthought in my weird schedule. Getting a milkshake and someone else to cook for me in the heat of July was a lot more appealing than digging through the cupboards with no ideas. But I did learn more about what I need to do to eat at home more and I had some great meals with friends, so I consider that a success. These are all life experiments that I’m doing, so even if it doesn’t go as planned, I still learn something. 🙂

As for avoiding convenience stores, I did okay, only stopping in 5 times this month despite being tempted many more times. And again, I’ve built the habit of being conscious of my spending. Convenience stores have a purpose, and it is nice to be able to run out and get an ingredient we’re missing, but I’ve stopped spending so much money at them. 🙂

In the end, I was over my budget again, but I learned a lot. I’m aware of my spending and what affects it. I won’t be continuing the shopping ban into August though. I have something in the works that’s going to require shopping and spending. However, I get to keep my good habits and continue working on the not-so-good ones.

Cheers! Stay tuned for some big stuff coming up!

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Shopping Ban: Month #2

I did pretty well avoiding shopping and convenience stores in June. I did break the rules a few times, but I’m okay with that. The point of all this is to spend less and to pay attention to my spending, not to deprive myself. The disappointing part is that I’m over budget again in almost every category. But I still managed to surpass my tiny house savings and emergency savings goals!

I tracked my spending a little differently this past month. For the first time, I separated money I spend on other people (especially on food) from my own spending. So this month, I spent $95 on Dylan and friends, buying food and treats, mostly for helping me out with the build. But instead of this lowering my own food spending, it just gave me room to spend more, and I ended up being $103 over the high end of my food budget range this month. Avoiding corner stores led to more eating lunch out, I think.

I actually did better this month with personal spending. I bought a few things at a specialty store when Dylan and I were across the province; I wasn’t going to miss out on that and I’m still happy with my purchases. I spent $4 to get a spare key cut for my car, I allowed myself $20 for scratch tickets, and I splurged on my favourite pens and paper (because I ran out/was running low). I also bought one kitchen tool (even though I’m not supposed to buy kitchen stuff until I have my own kitchen – but that’s my own rule) because it was included in a promotion to support Fort Mac, and I’d been actively wanting it while I cooked. And that’s it, adding up to a total of $125! Last month I spent almost double that, so yay improvement, but it’s surprisingly difficult to buy absolutely nothing!

I worked on the house 9 days in June, plus 2 days of research, and multiple trips to hardware stores. I’m definitely getting better at being firm with hardware store staff and getting what I need without being treated like a little girl.

Oh and as for convenience stores, I broke the rule about 3 times (compared to at least 10 trips in May), only when the grocery store was already closed, and not while I was at work.

Maybe I’m a big weirdo for being 20 and keeping detailed track of all this stuff, but guess what? I’m meeting my goals. I have goals. I have savings. I have plans. Besides, how are you supposed to improve when you don’t know where you’re at? I’ve been keeping track of my income and spending since I was 15 and got my first job. Maybe I’m the odd one out at my age, but why should I care? Maybe this is all too much info, but how are we supposed to learn and improve and teach each other if we keep quiet about our spending? We aren’t taught in school how to make and stick to a budget, how to plan out our groceries (which I sucked at this month), how to save, how to do all these things that are relevant to our daily lives, so we have to figure it out on our own.

For July, I’m going to keep avoiding shopping and convenience stores, while working on cutting back on restaurants/take-out/fast food.

 

Shopping Ban Results

At the beginning of May, in this post, I explained that I would be doing a shopping ban for the month and not allowing myself to buy material things I don’t need. I have a bad habit of impulse buying random things and extra clothes, and I wanted to consciously put my money towards the build and my future instead.

I did well for the first week, spending money only on my hair appointment and a mother’s day gift.

In the second week, I convinced myself that scratch tickets didn’t count because they aren’t something you keep – but I still should’ve avoided them. I also added $10 worth of minutes to my phone, which I do every few months.

Then in the third week, I think I just wanted to spend money. I made a couple donations, supported an artist I really like, bought 3 books, and bought a gift in advance. So that was more than I planned on spending, but all on good things.

Towards the end of the month, all I bought was a pack of paperclips (for a dollar) that I’ve been needing to organize my tiny house spending receipts.

So it went pretty well, but I still spent $236, and I overspent my food budget by $96. I worked on the house 12 days this month, plus the day I moved the house, which is great, but I also bought more take-out food than usual because I was working hard and hungry!

For June, I’m going to continue to avoid shopping. I’m also going to challenge myself to not buy anything from convenience stores, because that’s where a lot of my money went this month. It’s going to be extra difficult because I work at a convenience store! I want to focus more on planning my food ahead of time and eating healthy, and there’s almost nothing in the corner store I work at that is healthy. There’s not even any apples, so I will definitely need to remember to bring good snacks to distract me from all the tempting sugar!

Check back soon to read about my build plans for June! 🙂

Back in My Boots!

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Happy Beltane! It’s midway between spring and summer, and it’s a new month. I’m ready to start fresh!

April Recap:

It was a very busy month with my two jobs, and I turned 20! My aunt, uncle and cousins sent me this card, wishing me happy construction, and I thought it was very fitting. 🙂

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I finished my SketchUp model, which was a big accomplishment for me, and sent it to the engineer. She replied saying I needed collar ties, which I knew about but had forgotten to include. It only took a few minutes to add them and send it off again, so now I’m just waiting on the final reply for that.

I’ve been working on my steps list, which is a detailed PowerPoint I’m writing for anyone who wants the step-by-step info on how to build a tiny house. Maybe no one will use it, but maybe it will be helpful to someone. Plus I’ve done so much research on every little thing I’ve done so far. It would feel like a waste to leave it all to just float around in my brain. 😛 I want to consolidate what I’ve learned into one place to make it easier for anyone following in my footsteps. 🙂 So I’ll soon be posting the next set of steps that I’ve completed in real life and recorded.

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Today I finally had a chance to sand some of my beams. I’ll be getting the house out any day now, so I want to have those done. I finished half of them, and will sand the other half later this week. I forgot how much I enjoy sanding, although I’m very grateful I have power tools!

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My main goal was to get rid of the roughness like this, not to make them perfect. I just didn’t want to have to sand them above my head once they’re in the house.

I find it can be really hard to motivate myself to get started, but once I tied up my boots and went outside in the sunshine, it was lovely! Sanding is so peaceful, almost meditative for me. I love working with wood, seeing all the details and imagining the story behind every piece. I can let my mind wander, and I’m away from technology and not trying to multitask, which is a great change. It’s so good to get outside and to work with my hands too. I’ve had a great day and I’m feeling accomplished!

I also finished sorting through my old bedroom. It’s a relief to get rid of some old clothes and junk that I kept “just in case”. I’m living with my boyfriend now at his parents’ house, and the tiny house will be moved here. I was over here most of the time last year anyway, so this way it’ll be easier to walk across the driveway to work on the house rather than driving back to my parents’ house.

I did miss out on hanging out with some friends today so I could sand instead, and it’s hard. I’m still building my daily life as a young adult, which is often more than enough to deal with, so I must be crazy to be building a HOUSE on top of normal life. I don’t know how other people manage to get big projects done while still balancing their everyday lives. Little by little, I suppose.

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Something else I’m starting this month is a shopping ban, inspired by Cait’s at Blonde on a Budget (and she’s Canadian too 🙂 ). I spent way too much money last month, and even though I’ve made decent progress putting money towards the tiny house, I want to pay it off faster than I have been. So, I might do this for just May, or maybe I’ll do it for 3 months, or six months, or a year! The idea is to only buy the essentials – food, basic toiletries, and gas (plus bills). You can have an “approved buy list” for things you know you’ll need soon, but I haven’t made one yet and I’ve already bought enough recently. I think I have enough stuff at the moment!  You’re also allowed to replace anything that gets worn out or breaks. But really, you get to make your own rules for what works for you.

For my shopping ban, I’m focusing on not buying physical things that I don’t need. Going out to restaurants and treats from the corner store are permitted (within budget), while clothes, crystals, and knick-knacks are not. I will be buying books occasionally, but then taking them into the used book store to swap for different ones or donating them. I want to read more, so that’s why I’m not restricting myself as much for books, but I will also be going to the library more often. And the one extra I will be spending money on is my hair. 😛

I find that every time I got out, I come home with things I never planned on buying, and I want to stop doing that. So I’m going to avoid the malls and even when I do end up there, I’ll know that I’m not allowed to buy anything, rather than thinking, meh, why not buy this? My tiny house is the reason. My future is the reason. Travel, a car, a motorcycle, an education, land, these are all things I want to save for! Since it seems like I can’t differentiate between what I need and what I temporarily want, I’m doing a shopping ban to break the habit of mindlessly buying random stuff! I have no space left to put all the crap I buy! I’m so lucky to have as many clothes and shoes and beautiful things as I do, I should be grateful for what I have, instead of passively browsing for new things.

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Lastly, I’m starting a Facebook page for my little house. 🙂 I’m shy about sharing all the details of my life with the acquaintances I have on Facebook (this blog is for close family and interested strangers 😛 ), so I’ll be using the page to give people a look into what I’m up to without having to get into everything. Plus it will be good for quick updates. I’ll post on here when that’s up and running! Thanks for reading!!

Quotes

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris