A Little Dusty From The Ashes


I’m back, friends. After The Big Situation of 2017 (already!) I took some time off the interwebs to recalibrate. I was feeling icky about the downsizing at work, I was feeling even more icky about turning to my old demon of shopping to console myself, and it was obvious I needed a timeout to think of healthier ways to get some TLC.

After taking some time out to think about a big-picture, all-encompassing self-care plan, I can report I feel refreshed and excited to implement some healthy, frugal habits. When writing the title for this post, I was filled with gusto and thoughts such as”Rising from the Ashes!” or “Phoenix Rises!” and other ridiculous sentiments came to mind, to which I gave a nod to terrible millenial-vernacular and thought “lolz”and took myself down a few notches. It’s more like a hobble out of the ashes…covered in dust… coughing up little dustballs. A little worse for wear, but out of the rubble nonetheless.

With some thought, I decided my focus shouldn’t be solely to have a fail-safe for when poop hits the fan and I get the pangs to spend. I need to focus on feeling good and healthy and vibrant most of the time. I don’t want to get too eager and say “all of the time” because I don’t think a) that reflects reality and b) I don’t want to set myself up to fail. I had to be honest with myself and say no, no I don’t feel great or vibrant most of the time. Actually, I feel stressed most of the time. My insomnia has gotten worse and worse, I feel physically nauseous every morning on the commute to work, I’m tired, sluggish., and sometimes straight-up hopeless. My mind and body is fighting an addiction, which has led to a mountain of debt that just heaps on more stress. It’s a vicious cycle, and I need to find a way out.

In the past week I’ve made some moves. I’ll list them per fcus below:

Money: I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. I know what I need to do; the kicker is sticking to it, through good times and the bad. I did call up my credit card company and told them I misplaced my visa and to send me a new one; I didn’t misplace it, but I remember my visa details perfectly and that’s all I need to shop online. I want to eliminate that threat, so I got the old one cancelled, and the new one that comes in is going straight in a block of ice in the freezer, no peeks at it first. As for everything else, I need to stick to my original plan, and also stick to what I’ll list below so I’m in the right headspace to stay on track.

Food: I do cook almost every meal I consume, and I do use whole, fresh foods to cook, but I can’t say I have consistently good habits when it comes to eating. Yes, I’ll make that salmon steak or veggie chili from scratch, but I’ll conveniently forget to eat it with something raw and green (I love carbs, I love them with a passion). Don’t even get me near the peanut butter, and god help me with cheese. Due to insomnia, I often seek energy through calories which leads to true problems with portion control. This wasn’t really an issue in  my 20’s when I could eat what I wanted and magically remain bubbly, energetic, and rail-thin … but then 30 hit. Now not only do those excess calories show up on the waistline, but I feel sluggish, tired, and perpetually hungry. I’ve wanted professional help in this regard for a long time but never had the excess money to cough up (or more realistically, was always short due to mismanaged priorities). So I called up my benefits company and asked if I could trade the allowance for another service for a nutritionist. They said no, but if I buy the service as an integrated package with one of the covered services, then I can submit that claim. So I sniffed around and found an osteopath that is also a nutritionist, and voila! I have two new health services, covered at 90%! I’ve started on Monday so I can’t report back on the effectiveness yet, but I look forward to documenting the journey.

Exercise: Grumble, grumble. Gosh I don’t enjoy exercizing. I needed to approach it differently, and I needed to find the motivation in its health benefits, both physical and emotional. So I took a cue from my nutritionist hunt and I asked around if anyone knows a good physiotherapist that concentrates on strength exercises. Lo and behold, a friend goes to a physiotherapist (which is covered by my benefits) that’s also a certified trainer. I’ve been twice now, and honestly, I feel wonderful! The focus is physio-related and preventative (strengthening exercises to undo years of seated office work, for example) and it turns out it’s just what I needed. I always thought my posture and gait were fine until the therapist showed me how to consciously work the right muscles, and the difference is palpable. The conscious patterns of being straight, aligned, and open – coupled with the strengthening exercises for those muscles – has got me feeling wonderful so far. Not only am I happy with the benefits coverage, but now I have a cost-free date with my gym every couple of days, strength program in hand.

Growth: I acquired a television when I moved in with my boyfriend a couple years ago (this bookworm didn’t have one for years) and although we don’t have it hooked up to cable, we’ve fallen into the Netflix trap. I do enjoy watching a little something to lighten the tasks of cooking and dishes every evening, but we would then get sucked into the next episode, and the next, until it’s time for bed. We’ve decided that once dinner is done, the Netflix turns off. We’re going back to our habits of reading, studying, calling a friend or family member to catch up, or taking pupper out for a longer walk. I’ve lined up my book queue to include some books on sales techniques, negotiation, and some industry knowledge, as well as some of my Deepak Chopra and Seth Godin favourites. Fresh notebooks and pens are prepped. I’m ready to learn.

Guess who’s happy evening walks are going to get longer?


Social: Pardon my language, but in this arena, I’ve grown a pair. I’ve lobbied out some free ideas to some friends (monthly potluck, doggy dates at the park with a thermos of hot coffee, free galleries) and to anyone who’s tossed back a suggestion to do something spendy instead, I’ve just straight up said no. No embarassment, no trying to sway the decision, but a to-the-point “I’m committed to spend-free activities this year so I can focus on my goals, so you’ll have to count me out on that one. But I’m still down for XYZ (insert free idea here) for whoever wants to join.” I know not everyone is a fan, but my only other option is to go back into anti-social hiding with the excuse that I’m super busy with work (as I have this past year) or find new friends. I’m committed and comfortable enough with my focus and my resolve that if this results in others joining me on some fun, out-of-the-box adventures, great! If it means going it alone or just the domestic duo I belong to (my bf and I, sometimes joined by a pup), great! If it means I attract a new group of people in line with my focii, that’s great too! But no more hiding, and no more feeling bad to sticking to my guns.

In the miscellaneous category, I’ve also decided to book a benefits-covered RMT massage, commit to a blinders-on 15-minute tidy-up every evening to prevent clutter creep-up, drink warm water and lemon every morning, and write a blog post every week, as it helps me really sit down and think about my goals.

I know this post isn’t quite money-related, but I do believe these changes and healthy habits are pivotal to leading a life that’s frugality-sustainable. Most of these new habits come for free or almost-free, and the physical and emotional health benefits will prevent spending on many different levels in both the present and in the future, whether it be emotional spending or health costs.

I’m feeling pretty psyched about this. I think I can now confidently wipe a little more dust off 🙂




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  1. I think you are brilliant for doing what you can within the benefits plan! That’s so wise ?

    I don’t know if this will help with the insomnia, but I’ve suffered from it and when it was really bad I made a mantra basically of 3 positive things that I could focus on. I repeated the 3 things over and over and tried not to let worry take over my thoughts. My friend, a yoga teacher, also advises to relax your jaw. Focus on relaxing different muscles and especially on keeping the jaw loose. I do feel like it helps. I sure hope the exercise helps you sleep better. I always figure that by the third sleepless night my body just has no choice but to rest. Since I’ve started thinking that I almost never have 3 bad sleeps in a row whereas I used to go weeks. Even if it’s in my mind, it helps to go to bed thinking I’ll sleep fine. Also traditional medicinal nighty night tea.

    I think all of what you have said here is a wonderful direction to be headed. I’ve found that blogging about finances really keeps me accountable and set on my goals. I hope it works that way for you too. Lastly, I so need that dog!!! What an adorable sweet beautiful dog!! My kids must never see that picture! ?Jill

    1. Honestly Jill, those were some of the best and most original suggestions for insomnia I’ve ever received. I’ve been suffering it with it since I was very young (with fluctuations of when it gets from bad to worse) and I’m thankful for the suggestions I get offered quite often, but after struggling for over 25 years with it, god help me I have thought of warm milk and a hot bath! I had a massage therapist friend once tell me the secret to releasing loads of bodily stress is in the jaw, and I didn’t even think of connecting that with my sleep routine until you brought it up – I will definitely try some compression with my little Thai massage roller and keeping it loose. I think your mantra solution is brilliant – you really hit the nail on the head about some of the genuine reasons I don’t sleep, and it’s worry and racing thoughts. Being able to think of a rotation of positive things, at a pace to rival and overtake the worrisome thoughts – is an incredibly good idea. I’ll also try speaking a good night into existence; you’re very right, telling ourselves tonight will be a good rest is bound to bring on far more change than being convinced it won’t be. Thanks for these tips!

      My pupper definitely is the little light in my life! Funnily enough, he helps me to keep on track with a more frugal lifestyle. I go straight home since he came along (no stop offs at any spending traps) and it’s easier to decline a spendy invitation with the good excuse that I can’t leave puppy alone for long 🙂 I’m thinking about writing a post about how he’s helped me stay on track in many ways – gotta give the little guy credit where it’s due!

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