Waste Not


Three weeks ago, after a solid week of researching zero waste with the zeal of a person possessed, I decided I was up to the challenge.  For those that don’t know what zero waste and it’s resultant ‘movement’ is all about, it’s essentially a conscious and proactive lifestyle change, to ultimately stop producing any waste whatsoever.  Now, this is impossible – the term is aspirational and meant as a catchy motivator, as a lofty goal to remind us we can probably always do better, or make better choices next time we’re faced with *insert waste producing situation here*.  We shouldn’t be holding ourselves to impossible standards such as literally producing zero waste, and then beating ourselves up when we don’t manage the impossible.

Which brings me to the alleged #zerowastefail.  The more I scroll through social media the more I see this term or this hashtag and lament.  There are several points to be made here, important ones, and the message is, you have never failed.

  1. We live in a world where in many countries consumerism is king.  Where people mistakenly attach their identity and their worth to material possessions.  Capitalist societies in particular rely on the business of making stuff, and the manufacturers are aided and abetted by the marketers who tell us that if we don’t have this thing, that thing, the best thing, the newest thing, then we are less than.  We can’t feel the way we want to feel or be the person we know deep inside we can be, if we don’t have this material symbol to show our friends, families and strangers that we’re enough, or better than.

    Manufacturers have a social and environmental corporate responsibility to start making more environmentally sustainable items, packaged in environmentally friendly packaging – if packaged at all.  

    The onus does not lie solely with the consumer.  You can and should vote with your dollars, contact manufacturers and alert them to the new and growing demands of consumers that you’re provided with environmentally sustainable products, and petition retailers and manufacturers alike to make the changes that will help you leave a planet future generations can actually survive upon.

    You have not failed, because you were unable to find, within a reasonable distance from your residence, at a price you can afford, a product without packaging.  That is not your fail to own, that is the fail of the manufacturer and the retailer.

  2. If you are out and about and have forgotten your zero waste kit, or your cup or straw, or are out for longer than you thought and got hungry and needed to buy food that comes in packaging or a takeaway container, you have not failed.  Society isn’t geared towards zero waste.  Society is geared towards instant gratification, convenience, and minimising expenditure of money and energy.  Sadly it’s cheaper and more convenient for most takeaways and some restaurants to serve food in plastic containers and provide plastic cutlery.  That is not your fail to own.
  3. When you do have your zero waste kit with you, you’ve brought containers from home to buy something, and the retailer refuses to use your container, that retailer has failed you, that is not your fail to own.  Sometimes you do not have the time, the patience, the budget or the inclination to say no and go somewhere else.  That is still not you failing at zero waste.  You certainly did what you could, and some days you’ll go somewhere else, some days you won’t.  It’s a learning curve, and you’ll know not to go there again if your intention is to use your own container.

    Generally it’s not possible or practical to know or find out if every place you may enter will accept your brought-from-home container.  They may say things like ‘it’s against health and safety laws’ (FYI in Australia it is not part of any legislation that a person cannot have their food, regardless of what kind, served in their own containers) or ‘I don’t think we can do that’.  What you do from there is your personal call based on your own personal circumstances at that time, and making the decision to still buy the product is not a failing on your part.

  4. Failing is knowing you can do something – anything – and flatly refusing.  Failing is having your eyes opened to a problem and making a conscious decision that it’s somebody else’s issue to deal with, or that one person won’t make a difference, or that you callously don’t care what happens to all the inhabitants of this planet because you’re completely about yourself only, with no regard for others.

    To do what you can, when you can, with the resources you have, at a pace that makes the process sustainable in the long term for you, is not a fail.

To see so many people claim a #fail is counterproductive to the movement.  It gives the impression that it’s easy to fail, because so many people seem to be doing it.  It gives the impression that it’s hard to be zero waste, and that failing is inevitable (so why try).  It gives the impression that people are constantly failing, when in fact they’re constantly doing wonderfully.  If you’re trying you are not failing when it comes to zero waste.  The goal is never perfection, perfection is impossible, the goal is simply to be the best you can be at any given moment in time, based on the your circumstance at that moment.  You don’t fail, because industry/society is constantly working against you.  As one person, you have the power to make a difference, and all the armies of one out there are succeeding every single day, with every choice they make, and telling yourself you’re failing is to undermine all of your wonderful and helpful efforts.  To try is to succeed.

I hope to see this term, this hashtag, this idea taken out of the vocabulary rotation.  To my mind it’s misleading and wholly incorrect.  What do you think?

Frugal Chat

five frugal things

I discovered this ‘five frugal things’ post idea, started on The Frugal Girl blog and I love the idea.  I love it so much I’m joining in.

It’s a reflection on ways I’ve been frugal over the past week, and the bonus about keeping track of them, is that I’ll be mindful to maintain my frugal ways and find new ways to be frugal so I have something for a blog post each week.

1.  $40 Grocery Challenge

This past week I continued to challenge myself to spend only $40 for the week on groceries.  That budget is to cover toiletries as well.  Basically anything I would normally buy from a supermarket, so it’s not very much dosh, but for probably an average of three weeks out of four it’s doable.  The grand total spend for the week came to $39.90.

2.  Used up a lot of food in my fridge

This week I made sure I ate leftovers – even if the combinations on my plate weren’t my first choice!  I was mindful to use what was in my fridge/pantry, and work recipes and my grocery shopping around them more.

3.  I shopped around for replacement items

I am about to run out of moisturiser and there really isn’t a budget for things like that.  I just keep savings and I’m loathe to spend my savings on anything.  I decided not to dip into the savings anyway, and used my budgeted spending money, and thankfully remembered that a new beauty product shop opened locally that has 40% off everything.  I bought a Sukin brand moisturiser, they’re vegan and also the base type of range of beauty products (meaning they’re budget and not extraordinary) and I got nearly $6 off!  It came to just $7.80 and lasts a couple of months.  Frugal buy yeeeaaaah 🙂

4.  I used up my PayPal balance to buy dinner

My Easter dinner plans went out the window because a restaurant took my booking when they shouldn’t have, they were closed for the Easter period.  Buying a good vegan meal in the radius my family were prepared to travel in was then made impossible so opted to stay home.  I had worked my whole week’s menu and groceries around being out for dinner so there really wasn’t anything for me to eat that wasn’t breakfast food (porridge etc) and I was pretty disappointed.  I decided to order in some UberEats because I had $12 from a credit sitting in there not getting used which brought my balance down considerably.  I am supposed to be getting a $50 voucher for the issue at the restaurant I had booked, so overall I will have spent less money on dining out/ordering in than if I’d kept my booking.

5. I used free wifi

Sometimes I need to study outside the house to avoid distractions.  I used to go to Starbucks and pay for a drink to get one hour free wifi, and one day the server was kind enough to inform me that the the whole shopping centre had free wifi and it was pretty good (I had presumed it would be terrible).  I went back this week to do some study in the food court and used the free wifi.  I took myself a snack, and was able to stay longer than the hour I would have gotten with a Starbucks coffee.

If you’re following along with this post yourself, please leave a comment and link to your blog!


meditation – days 1 and 2

I’ve been told to meditate for years by seemingly everyone I speak to.  I’ve always known it would be a good idea to at least try it out, but frankly it seemed like a lot of effort.  In unpacking that now, after three days of changing my routines around and meditating, I think what I actually meant by that, is that I felt like there’s not the time in the day, and my mind races too much.  Trying to tame that beast is too much effort and I don’t feel like I have the energy for that.

I have assessed where my time goes each day (loosely, but it was obvious), and now know that actually I have more time than I could possibly require to fit in some meditation.

I downloaded the Calm app, purely because I’ve read some blog posts recently about people loving it, and more to the point it was the first free app that popped up in my search (most of the app requires in-app purchase though).

There’s a couple of free options to choose from, and I selected the 7 Days of Meditation, to teach me what I’m supposed to do, even though I figured I probably understood the concept.  Each meditation is only for 8-10 minutes and although I find the voice guiding me highly distracting and annoying because she rarely shuts up, she obviously has to speak to to guide me 😀

I seat myself down on my big lovely hippy floor cushion, cross my legs, and listen to the app – trying to block out the incredibly distracting noise of the busy T-intersection I live at.  Particularly today, the first day back to work after Easter, I meditated in peak hour.

Day 1
The time flew.  I was really ready to meditate and had set my morning up so that I would be in the best inner space to commence this practice.  Parts of my body ached from sitting in that position – I have spondylolysthesis so sitting like that properly is kinda painful.  I followed the instructions and really had no issues with distracting thoughts.  On the two occasions a thought popped into my head I said “thank you” and pictured my hand gently brushing the thought away, which is something I’d heard around the traps over the years.  It worked.

Afterwards I was pretty sure I hadn’t meditated long enough for it to have any impact on my day, but as I reflected back that evening, I think the practice potentially honed my focus for the day.  I also noticed that I got up and down a lot less from the laptop when I was studying – more focused.  I managed to do one task at a time without constant mind chatter about how I need to be doing so many other things and as a result I was calmer throughout the day.

Day 2
Again, had various body aches and pains.  I breathed into them and they either went away or I forgot about them for the most part.  I had more issues with drifting off into thought, but I just brought myself back to the meditation and didn’t give myself a hard time over it.  Again, it felt really short but I was buoyed by the effects from the day before and I wasn’t disappointed.  I was very productive throughout the day in terms of housework.  I was unable to sit properly at the computer and do my work because I had laptop troubles but I did initially sit down without my usual internal whinging about it.  Again, I was focused and moved from one task to another without much worrying about all else I had to do and whether time was running out.  I worried very little throughout the day and was definitely much calmer than I usually am.

I get it now, I get meditation.  After only two days I see what all the fuss is about.  I’ve really set my days up to benefit as fully as I can from the practice of meditation though, and will outline in another post how I’ve changed my routines to do that.  I can’t credit meditation alone with improving my state of mind and productivity.

I’ve just completed day three of meditation and am raring to go and meet the day head-on.

What have you put off doing for years that you wish you hadn’t?



taking stock of what i do with my time

When I was a child – and I’m sure many of my readers would relate to this – I woke up either naturally or to an alarm (even if that alarm was dad clapping and yelling “wake up wake up!  One up all up!  It’s time to start the day!”, or mum gently saying “Chooky, it’s time to wake uuuuup”).  I did not wake up to or a because of a mobile device.  I would groan and open my eyes and assess the situation – how my body felt, if my eyes hurt too much to keep them open for longer than two seconds, what was the weather like, was I in a good or a bad mood, and even when we finally owned a computer I didn’t think about getting on it at all really.

I always had my Siamese cat Jasmine with me so I would pat and chat with her and her purring would wake me up.  I’d toddle off to the loo, go to the kitchen for a glass of water and look around at what was happening in the house and outside the windows, still deciding what my next move was – and what mood I was in for the morning.  I either had homework to do, playing to do, jobs to do or television to watch.  More often than not I had books to read because voracious reading was definitely my main childhood hobby.  Of course as I grew older I had school to attend so on those mornings my routine revolved around breakfast, lunch making, bag packing and getting to school.

None of this ever involved computers or mobile devices, in fact if you didn’t count a toaster it involved no technology at all!  I didn’t have the greatest attention span, as children generally don’t, but I achieved my goals for the day, whether it was reading, going to school or doing jobs for my pocket money.  I thought more clearly, I knew my objectives for the day, and if things changed I generally adapted.

As an adult, none of my mornings are like my childhood ones.  The first thing I do is roll over and check the time on my phone, check messages and emails and then go through my Instagram accounts which sometimes take an hour and a half – I literally factor this time in on work days so I have enough time to mess around on my phone before I have to get up and get ready for work.  Now that I’ve put that in writing it seems the most unnatural thing to do – albeit organised.

I get out of bed and say hello to my rats, pat them and take photos of them on my phone, get their breakfast and medication ready, take some more photos, get my coffee and sit down to upload photos onto my Instagram accounts and continue liking and commenting.  Once I’ve made my coffee I sit down at the computer and depending on my mood, check blogs for hours before commencing study, or study first.  This goes on all day and into the afternoon until I turn the television on from between 2pm and 4pm to watch three to five hours of the exact same re-runs I’ve been watching for probably nine years.  I spend the evening on the phone, the laptop and watching television, and all my waking hours are broken up by bouts of cleaning and cooking between screen time.  If it’s a work day, simply insert nine hours of work, travel and mobile phone/app usage.

What is this life?!  Many a time I have changed my routine and found different ways to do things because I’ve always wanted more for myself in terms of achievement during a day.  I stopped watching television for a year in my early 30s before it was a thing people did, I’ve implemented routines, I’ve challenged myself to switch off technology, to go to bed earlier and get up earlier and none of it sticks.  Perhaps nothing will ever stick, perhaps that’s just who I am.  In reading other personal blogs I know that trying out lots of different ways to exist and function in a day is a fairly normal thing.  And that’s ok, but I realise that if the way I structure my days and the way I live inside my walls doesn’t serve a positive purpose in some way, then it needs to be reassessed.

I’ve taken a lot away from all the trials of new ways to spend my days and nights, and my natural routine has adapted to include a lot of new habits.  It’s now time to take a good hard look at where my hours go though.  In May I turn 38, and if I consider how much life that means I have left – let’s say another 42 years if I’m lucky – that means almost half my life has gone and I can’t say I’m completely happy with what I’ve done with it.  I want to achieve a lot more, and I won’t achieve that spending 16 hours a day moving my head from one screen to another.

I will not try to be something I’m not – I’m not an outdoorsy or active person.  I will not embark on things that I know from the outset I’ll never keep up, like dusting everyday.  I will force myself to try things I know I will benefit from, like meditate, and I will embark on creating new habits that even if I don’t stick to them every single day, I know I’ll benefit from, like making my bed each day.  I’ll continue to incorporate habits that do work for me and I’ll share those with you all.

I often ask myself if it’s really wasting time to watch so much television when I love it so much.  I genuinely enjoy it.  It’s not fashionable or particularly attractive to say that my hobby is watching television, but I am who I am and I love TV.  I have this discussion with friends quite often and we always come to the conclusion that if we love something that much there’s no shame in it, it’s not hurting anyone, it’s just a hobby.  I struggle with it though, because if it really wasn’t hurting me, I wouldn’t second guess it so often.  It wouldn’t be plainly obvious that I could be doing a lot more (enjoyable things even) with my time instead of watching television.  It’s not even that I have to cut out television altogether – and I see no need for that – but I don’t need to watch four hours of reruns everyday.  I can buy the box sets on DVD and always have them there when I “need” a hit.  That’s four hours of my day I will free up with absolutely no downside.

As of today, things are going to change, but they’ll change slowly.  I’ll trial all the new habits and routines I’m interested in, and aim to spend what time I have left on this earth in such a way that I don’t look back and wish I’d wasted less time.

How do you spend your days?  Do you think there’s a lot of time you’re not utilising in ways that will make you happy or proud at the end of your life?

Student Life

study apathy and avoidance – finding the why and overcoming it

**This post was a living document, written over hours of research and deep thought to take apart the reasons for my study avoidance and solve the issues.  It was a cathartic and enlightening experience to write in this way and if anyone is having issues staying on track with their study, I hope this goes someway to helping you unravel the mystery that is motivation.

At the end of 2015 I commenced my first year of an internet communications degree.  I achieved excellent grades and although sometimes I thought I would have a breakdown, I pretty much remained enthused and motivated.

This year, 2017, in my first year of the public relations degree I swapped to after I did a PR unit in internet communications and realised it was my jam, I have completely bombed in the motivation department.  In fact I’m writing this blog post even though I haven’t done more than 45 minutes of school work for the past 5 days.  I love this degree even more than I loved internet communications and the work isn’t difficult, I don’t know what my problem is, I just can’t muster up the enthusiasm to do the work, although I still enthusiastically love the degree.

When scrolling through my WordPress reader I found this mind map about how to focus in the age of distraction, and it is well worth opening it and having a look.  As it’s 1pm now and I sat down at 9am to study yet haven’t done any, I thought the mind map was worth scrutinising.  What also needs scrutinising is my attitude; how have I started the year doing the degree I was born to do with so little drive to do it?

Upon a Google search and read through of at least ten articles on the subject of lost motivation for study, I found that literally none of them were relevant or helpful, except one sentence in one article that alluded to having things one would prefer to do other than studying be a barrier to the mindset of study.  I’d rather be Googling things and reading blogs, cleaning my flat and flipping through recipe books.  I also think the knowledge that in my particular online method of study no breaks are ever timetabled – not even a day – and knowing that can become all-consuming, even paralysing.  If I squish these two things together (I’d rather be doing other things, and I’m obsessed with the other things because I am never able to have a break to do them) I’ve probably come close to hitting the nail on the head, and reconciling that this is probably more a rebellion than de-motivation.

I want to have time to do the things I enjoy doing, and sure, allocating a day off a week (I usually only get to have a day off from work and study maybe twice a month despite aiming for once a week) is great, but nothing beats knowing a proper break is coming up.  A nice rest.

This year I actually applied to go to university on-campus and was accepted into an amazing double degree that would have been life changing for me.  Unfortunately there was no way for me to go on-campus for that particular degree and keep my wonderful job with it’s almost totally inflexible shifts.  So I applied to another university to do a singular degree and was accepted, only to find that again, I’d have to choose between my job (that I unequivocally need), and my future.  Or perhaps less dramatically, my future as it would have played out having that degree under my belt.  My closest friend encouraged me to put my future first and pursue the degree, because another job would eventually come along, but for the first time in my life I’m in a rewarding job I love that suits my personality to a tee and that’s nothing to throw away.  Even if it is in pursuit of greater things.  I chose to keep the job to avoid financial distress and the distress of applying for more work.

Instead I did what I do best and researched, and came up with an ingenious plan.  I could swap to the communications degree I’m doing now, and major in PR, which is almost the same as the PR degree that was my second on-campus choice, and it’s through the same university but delivered entirely online.  I can live with this option, studying online has a LOT of benefits.  I do think I’m struggling with the knowledge that I have another 1-2 years with no breaks to complete this course.  I can of course have a break if I choose to, but if I’m not studying full time then the government cuts off my student payments and I can’t survive on the income from my job alone.   I did have a break for three months at the end of last year, which is one online study period.  I was unable in that entire time to get a second job to make ends meet.  It was a frugal time indeed!

Thankfully, through the process of writing this blog post, I have figured out (I’m pretty sure) why I am avoiding study.  It has gone beyond procrastination, it was really engaging an ineffective coping mechanism that will ultimately have very negative consequences if I don’t sort this out.  Avoidance is usually never the answer (sometimes it is!).

So now, having identified the reason for my avoidance I will employ a version of a technique Dale Carnegie mentions in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, which I am currently re-reading.  To paraphrase him, he advises that whatever one is worrying about, whether it’s losing a job or ending up in jail over the bungles of employees etc, to decide what the absolute worst case scenario is and accept it.  Then with a fresh approach and unburdened by the worry that everything is out of one’s hands, go forth and devise a plan to avoid the worst case scenario as much as possible.

In my case, I have identified what I think is likely the reason for avoiding all school work and my total apathy towards study.  Now I know that I’m probably baulking at/rebelling against the notion of never having a break and getting to do the things I would enjoy or prefer to be doing, I can devise a plan to work around it.  I can accept that’s probably the issue; and actually I do feel like a weight has been lifted.  Truthfully, there is always the (not very suitable or desirable) option of having time off if I want or need it, there’s no gun to my head.  I’m already incredibly organised and have mastered the art of breaking my work up into doable chunks each day, so I just need to re-visit doing that.  I’ve hardly bothered to use my diary this year and so I need to focus on using it to break everything up so I can tick it all off and know for sure I have time spare to spend however I wish.

There is a lot I want to do for myself on a personal level and I feel like there’s not enough hours in the day to accomplish much at all when I’m working around my heavy study load.  I study an extra unit each study period so I can try to catch up on the year I “wasted” doing the first degree.  Most of those subjects I wasn’t able to RPL, although some I was, but again, if I don’t actually assess what I need to achieve each day I’ll never get a balance.

Now that I have a game plan I’m going to get started right away, and I’ve printed out the mind map so I can (after I’ve completed some study) keep myself on track and limit my distractions.  I’ve previously managed it fairly well but this year will require a concerted effort, especially now that I have a problem I’ve never had before.  Knowing what studying an entire year feels like thanks to completing one, I’m not surprised my enthusiasm for doing it again nose-dived.   A bit of pragmatism though; spending five days a week in a workplace trying to navigate the emotions of and interactions with strangers who are forced together to achieve common work related goals is worse.  I have been acutely aware since commencing study that this is a time to cherish, when I can mostly work to my own timetable and I only have to interact with other faceless students online in forums a few times a week.

To recap:
Why are you avoiding study/work/chores?
Accept your reasons.
Devise a workaround and set it in motion.
Look for the positives in your situation and remind yourself of them.

Have you ever had an experience similar to this?  How did you overcome it?





meditation for the melancholy

Meditation is for anyone obviously, not just the melancholy.  I don’t know if my particular mix of moods is common among humans or not, but I’m a sort of pessimistic pragmatist with moments of optimism.  I find it difficult to remain excited about things, if in fact I somehow managed to get excited about them in the first place.  I overthink almost everything, I ruminate over the past constantly, and I worry about every possible thing that could happen in the future.  None of these habits are helpful in my life and I’ve tried various ways to be less of a buzz-kill to my own existence, often with some good outcomes, but I never sustain it.

My modus operandi in life, I would say, is that of phases.  I go through phases with regularity, although if something really works for me I often continue on with it but without the fresh-phase-gusto.  So many times I’ve tried to keep a routine of cleaning my flat to a really high standard and then realise there are so many far better things to be doing with my time than scrubbing tiles on a weekly basis.  So I don’t keep a spotless flat, but I did adopt some habits that make cleaning easier and less of a drag to do.  So the phase passes but elements remain.

I wish I was more perpetually motivated, but I’m just not…aah a great lament.  To this end, I have realised that when I discover something new I’d like to do, I’m consciously aware it’s probably a phase and I need to pull back on my reckless enthusiasm.  For instance, the financial outlay of coming up with the idea on Monday morning to start sewing, then buying a sewing machine and $500 worth of related paraphernalia on Monday afternoon.  I hated sewing after 20 minutes and that was actually the catalyst for making a pact with myself and my bank account that all phases had to be commenced as cheaply as possible for a week or two, until I know whether I’ll continue it or not.  This was an area I applied frugality to with great success actually!

One of the other things I know about myself is that I have a need to research the crap out of things I’m bringing into my life – whether it’s a couch or a new habit – until the amount of time I’ve spent researching instead of doing becomes a bit of a joke.  I went from being crazily impulsive to overly academic.  And I’m doing that right now, with meditation.

Meditation, my soon to be new phase, is something that will help me manage (or overcome if i’m lucky – but I don’t count on ever being lucky because…pessimism) my unhelpful habits and emotions.  I don’t want to meditate and I’ve never wanted to, but I’m going to force myself to, even though I’m not looking forward to the inevitable; feeling immensely uncomfortable and like a failure for not being brilliant at meditation.  I have a very active mind that rarely switches off, and whenever I try to it goes into overdrive and starts panicking about things, making concentration basically impossible.  I also have this notion that I ‘don’t have time’ for meditation.  For some reason I can spend five hours a day watching television but can’t spare 10 minutes to sit on my bum thinking probably the same nothing I think when I’m watching television like a zombie.

Nonetheless I’ve been researching meditation and know what I have to do…I even have a hippy floor cushion just begging me to sit on it for meditation instead of to put makeup on in front of the full length mirror.  Despite all my recent research I don’t know where to start, or how to do it, and by which medium I’d like to be guided.  I’ve simply been reading about people’s ‘meditation journeys’ and how it’s changed their life.  Once I’m satisfied with what I’ve found out, and found probably a podcast to meditate with (so I don’t have to mess around firing up the laptop or messing with a CD), I will start a meditation challenge.  I like to challenge myself to do things because frankly, if I don’t, I’d probably never get up to much with my life at all!  It’s a way of compartmentalising something so it seems doable.  “Well I only have to do it for a month and if I like it I’ll extend it, if I don’t, it was only a month”.  Sometimes we have to trick ourselves into not being lazy or demotivated.

What are your experiences of meditation and what are your preferred methods of guidance (podcast, CD, YouTube, no guidance etc)?


Frugal Chat

five frugal things

I discovered this ‘five frugal things’ post idea, started on The Frugal Girl blog via a post on A Bird With a View blog and I love the idea.  I love it so much I’m joining in.  So there!

It’s a reflection on ways I’ve been frugal over the past week, and the bonus about keeping track of them, is that I’ll be mindful to maintain my frugal ways and find new ways to be frugal so I have something for a blog post each week.

*A little side note: as I start to fill this blog with content there will be more posts than readers would normally be getting from me when I start on a regular blogging cycle.  I am getting this blog to a point where it’s worthy of feeding into social media platforms – you can read about why I’m bothering to think of such things in my About page.

1.  $40 Grocery Challenge
This past week I challenged myself to spend only $40 for the week on groceries.  That budget is to cover toiletries as well.  Basically anything I would normally buy from a supermarket, so it’s not very much dosh, but for probably an average of three weeks out of four it’s doable.  The grand total spend for the week came to $41.65 because I did ‘splurge’ a little on half a watermelon and some half price peanut butter I didn’t technically need.

2.  Used up a LOT of food in my fridge
I don’t normally scour my fridge and pay as much attention to what’s in there as I did this week.  In addition, I almost always eat what I feel like eating even if that means an item or two will go to waste if I don’t make something to use it up.  It was never exactly a conscious decision to waste, it was more a sort of self indulgent habit to eat whatever I want despite some collateral wastage.  This week I used up so much and got some really important perspective on food waste while I was at it.  I used up the last of food in jars, the produce in the crisper, emptied out some bags of lentils and deliberately chose not to immediately replace anything that didn’t require immediate replacement.

3.  I shopped around for groceries
If it wasn’t going to cost me the same in petrol as I’d save on groceries going from shop to shop, I shop-hopped last week.  I have a fairly good idea of which supermarkets or shops have the best value on a lot of items, although when it comes to produce it’s always a gamble.  I split my groceries between Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and a local fruit shop.

4.  I skipped the chiropractor
I’ve been going to the chiropractor on average once a fortnight for almost a year.  I know I benefit from it, but I’ve recently decided that if I have to go that often for so long then my body isn’t really doing the self-healing it’s meant to be doing, and if I feel fine then I can stand to miss a few sessions and put the money away.  I actually feel better than ever since going and I’ve kept it up for a long time so pushing the sessions out will not be to my detriment.  I basically only go because I study for so long each day, I just like to get my neck cracked.  Everything else is in alignment.

5. I joined an online HIIT video tutorial website instead of a gym
Well, to be fair, I was never going to join a gym.  But for $10US a month (roughly $14AUD per month) to have my very favourite style of exercise (high intensity interval training, or HIIT) delivered right to my computer by my very favourite instructor (I’ve been following her for over seven years!) it’s a really frugal way of keeping motivation (this isn’t a sponsored post).  Sure walking is free but it’s a drag.  Every day, there are new workouts uploaded, and there are challenges to participate in as well.  I also went to Big W to buy myself a set of hand weights for $8 each instead of going to Rebel Sport or some other far more expensive store.  So that’s it, for the cost of a set of hand weights (I have other home gym equipment like a yoga mat and kettle bell already) and for a measly $14 per month I can be motivated to stay fit.  The best thing about it, as soon as I start to lose interest – and I hope I don’t! – I can just unsubscribe without penalty or notice.

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