March 2018: What did I buy.

*Side note: I decided to not call this a ‘No buy’ as I am I still purchasing things. Maybe Low Buy? Yeah, that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Will update with a new title when I have a better name for it.

March has been one of the most stressful seasons I have ever encountered. I am thinking on putting a number of things I can buy in a month (excluding transportation passes) but still continue with a no clothing buy.

I’m going to try my best to decrease the number of purchases in April as I am aiming to build a good savings buffer before moving out in the summer.

What did I buy:

  • Brunch with family
  • Coach Chelsea boots
  • Lunch x 5
  • Uniqlo blouse x 2
  • Salsa dance lessons

What did I not buy:

  • Vince Camuto blouse ($40)

Week 1 – April 8th – 14th

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
AM Cross traing – Erg + Core (1hour) Weights –Upper Muscular Endurance Rest Rest
PM Weights – Upper Muscular Endurance Cycling – 60 mins Weights + Plyo (Lower Muscular Endurance) Swimming Swimming

Training

  • Rehabilitation and build foundation
  • Honestly I have no idea what I am doing or even know where to start.
  • This is what my week looks like and I’m trying it out

Running

Legs – Endurance and foundations

Resistance training:

Back Squats: 8×4
Hex Deadlifts: 8×4
Leg Press: 15×4
Lunges: 4 rounds
Calf Raises: 20×4
Leg Curls: 12×4
Leg Extensions: 12×4

PLYO circuit x 5
Leg-ups – 12 steps, each side
Sled push
Farmer’s walk
2 min rest


Cycling

Been using a Kaiser spin bike, but whenever I bike, I have knee pain during the session. Tried to adjust the seat here and there, while fixing the biomechanics of cycling, but still no Bueno. Thinking of asking the bike shop about what might be happening when I go window shopping this weekend. What I’ve been using as ‘training’ resources are GDN cycling videos on Youtube. It is incredibly annoying when commercials come on every 10 mins. Talk about a mood killer.


Swimming

1. Workout A

Warm-up

2x200M Freestyle, 1 min rest
8x50M medley, 25m drill/ 25m swim, 15 sec rest after 50m

Main set

8x100M Free, 30 secs rest after 100m

Aerobic

Speed set

4x25M, 15M max, 10M easy, 15 sec rest between 50M
1 – 2 Free, 3 – 4 Breast

Cooldown

100M choice

TOTAL: 1,600M

2. Workout B

Warm-up

400M, 100M Free, 100M Choice

Kick set

3x50M, Speed up to max pace
30 secs rest between each 50M

Main set

5x200M, 40 secs rest between each
1,3,5 Swim
2,4 Pull buoy

Cooldown

1x50M choice

TOTAL: 1,600M


Nutrition

It was a bad start. My co-worker brought my weakness to work, pastries, for two straight days. Then, she proceeded to put it on the shelf in front of my desk. I think the next time this happens, I need to reflect on how seriously I am taking this journey. Something more actionable would be simply to move away from my desk. Been really trying to incorporate a healthy breakfast to kick start the day, oatmeal and banana is my new favourite.

Going 100% with 65%

Since dislocating and breaking my ankle, I wanted to write a post about my recovery journey but couldn’t find the right words to describe it until today.

Every time I train, it didn’t feel like I pushed myself where my face would be flushed, sweat trickling down or doing the weights/reps/sets that I know I want to push myself towards. It feels like I didn’t work hard enough because I wasn’t performing to the intensity I use to train to.

But it hit me. I had to be kind to myself, because I WAS pushing myself. I am only 65% of what I use to be. But I am putting 100% effort of that percentage into training and getting better.

Yes, I am not progressing as fast as I want to in order get back to normal. In fact, some days feel like I am going backwards. It’s incredibly frustrating and hard to restrain yourself from going too hard for risk of reinjury.

I need to understand that I am only 65% of what I use to be but it does not mean I can’t put or am not putting 100% of it into getting better and stronger each day. Training focus may be different, but intention remains the same – being the best version of myself.

What I did to pay off $28,300 worth of student loans in less than 2 years.

Thank you, OSAP, for my education. I don’t think I could ever pay you back.” – Broke, unemployed 22-year old me, fresh out of university.

Here is the magic formula:

1. Switch to a low to no interest loan

You will never pay your principle amount if you keep accumulating interest and you would end up paying even more than your initial loan amount. This is where compound interest DOES NOT work in your favour. I was fortunate enough to have family help me pay off OSAP first, and then I would pay the full amount back to them. Effectively, having a zero interest loan. Thanks fam.

2. Budget, budget, budget

Never go to war without a plan.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

Joking. I don’t even know if the book said that. However, that does not change the point.

You are in this for the long run. Paying off your student debt is like a marathon where it requires patience, pacing, and a lot of stamina. It’ll be all motivating at the start like the first 2KM – 5KM, but afterwards, it is so easy to slip and fall to old habits, spending away what could be going towards your loan. Plan exactly where each dollar should go before every month, which leads me to my next point of execution…

3. Set an aggressive monthly minimum amount

My minimum amount was determined by calculating how long I want to realistically take to pay off this loan. (I.E Loan amount ÷ # of years ÷ 12 months) I averaged about $1,600 – $1,800 a month, depending on the month’s financial situation.

4. Decrease expenses

There are two parts to this: A) Reoccuring expenses and B) Other expenses.

A) These would be expenses that would repeat month over month. Living at home and commuting via public transit meant that I could save some money by paying a lower rent and transit rate. Then, I put the difference towards my loan.

B) Other expenses would consist of going out to eat, shopping for clothes, etc. I am guilty in this area where spent a bit more than I should. Going out with friends and clothes were weaknesses of mine. Looking back, there were many occasions that I said ‘yes’ to, but there were many more instances when I had to say ‘no’.

5. Little to no savings

Honestly, this is one of the dumber things that I did in order to dump more money into my loan. I only did this, because my landlords were my parents.

6. No vacations

Plain and simple. I have not traveled for leisure or gone on a vacation since graduating and started working at my first full-time job.

Stay-cations ALL THE WAY.

7. Delay major purchases

Sony Vaio & Samsung Galaxy SIII

My 6 year-old Sony Vaio and 7 year-old Samsung Galaxy SIII.

I staved off major purchases till I neared the end of my loan. Here, you see my 6-year old Sony VAIO laptop that kept blue screening and slow AF Galaxy SIII that constantly crashed, dropped calls and no longer connect to wifi, among a plethora of other issues. Despite these issues, I kept holding onto them, because my budget could not take the massive hit of new purchases.

And that’s it! The truth of the matter is, there is no magic solution to student debt.

Decrease spending, increase loan payment.

I admit that I could not have done it all on my own. I had help in terms of family giving me a lower rent rate, and giving me an interest free loan. This helped significantly. The rest was on my own when it came to planning and putting money aside to ensure that I was on track to pay everything off as quickly as I can.

Best of luck and I’ll see you on the other side!

Loan Payment #22

This post is to officially announce that I paid off my $28,300 loan on March 15, 2018!

FREEDOM never tasted so sweet.

I woke up exactly at 5AM to check my paycheck deposited in my bank account. Then, made the final transfer of $1,800.

In all honesty, I did not feel any different. It didn’t seem like as if I paid off everything. Instead, it was just like any other payment. I have a feeling that it will truly hit me in April when I can actually keep a large sum of money for the first time in two years.

No Buy – February 2018: What did I buy.

I put myself on a ‘No Buy’, for clothing or new tech, after setting a personal record in spending during the holiday season and noticed that I had spent a little over $3 000 on clothing over two years. It helped that work kept me in the office all February and out of stores.

To put it into perspective, that’s essentially two months worth of student loan payments. TWO MONTHS. I can’t even remember what I bought or how much I wore the items. Lesson here is, everything adds up and know your habits.

Clothing is my weakness. Back when I was younger, we would only have one shopping trip a year and that is because our grandfather wanted to treat us. My folks were (and still are) incredibly frugal as they came as immigrants with barely anything. So, now that I have disposable income, being able to buy clothing gives me a sense of freedom to do what I want and have what I want.

My ‘No Buy’ is not meant to deprive me of enjoying life but rather train healthy, financial habits. I like how I use to only buy clothes once a year, it made the purchasing that much more special. On the other hand, you can’t save as much money because certain items are cheaper during the end of certain seasons. In order to not pay ticket price and recreate the occasional purchasing trip, I have a list of pre-approved items:

  • Black Chelsea boots with 2-inch heel (specifically the Coach BOWERY boot) – $470
  • White blouse (Uniqlo) – $35
  • White flowy, button-down shirt (Uniqlo) – $35
  • Red dress (or any one-piece in that tone) – $100
  • Black blazer – $80
  • Black pair of jeans, solid, no-distressing (Levi’s) – $80
  • Merino Wool crew-neck, knit, sweaters x 2 – Uniqlo ($80)

Notice that most of them have a specific store assigned already. That’s from me doing research on what exactly I am looking for and prevents me from wandering off and seeing other things. These are all officewear as I have more than enough of ‘university/lounge-wear’ and not enough professional outfits. I identified that these should be the remaining pieces to have a well-rounded office wardrobe that I can wear many times over.

Finally, I think it would be really interesting to document what I wanted to buy and what I did end up buying this month.

What I bought:

  • Treated family to dinner
  • Reunion dinner with high school friends
  • A chicken soup because I felt sick that day
  • Tea x 2
  • Weekend Cottage/Snowboarding trip
  • Gift for Dad’s birthday

What I wanted to buy, but didn’t:

  • Gold chevron ring ($60.00)

F*cking up at work: What to do when you screwed up.

I’ve f*cked up at work. You f*cked up at work. We’ve all f*cked up at one point in our professional career.

How do you get over that sickening feeling that comes over you when the ball drops? A chain of thoughts go across your mind, over-running rationale and logic, before you can even grasp the true magnitude of the scenario. You’re probably already jumping to the worst case scenario.

There goes my reputation.

I let my boss and team down.

Am I going to get fired?

I learned that when you know that you screwed something up at work, there are a few things you must do:

1. Take a short walk. Drink water. Breath. Do not cry.
2. Assess the magnitude of damage.
3. Find a potential solution.
4. Loop your manager in with the assessment and contingency plan.
5. Execute on said plan.
6. Implement a better process to ensure that it won’t happen again.

We always think about the worst case scenario to prepare ourselves emotionally for the worst. However, this only prevents us from focusing on what can be fixed. In addition, we are our own worst critics. You would beat yourself for missing a deliverable when it is not the end of the world. It’s bad, but not to the level you are hitting yourself over and over again.

Nowadays, I change my mindset by thinking “This isn’t too bad. Anything can be fixed. It could be worse.” Having this in mind allows me to decrease the time spent self-deprecating and increase more proactive, solution-oriented thoughts. It is hard to think that way, but that’s part of growing more resilience in the face of adversity.