No Spend Challenge | Monthly Wrap-Up

If you need a refresher, please go read No Spend Challenge | I Messed Up. Setting ambitious goals is one thing, but persevering despite a less-than-perfect month takes even more self-praise, motivation, and commitment. In total, I had 7 days where I “accidentally” bought non-essential items. Nothing is truly accidental because we are ultimately responsible for everything we do, including yearly subscriptions that we may have forgotten about 🤦‍♀️

Below is the PDF sheet that I printed off and taped to my wall for month of January. Whenever I had a good day, I got a sticker. I know it sounds silly but it keeps me motivated since I like to keep the positive streak going. I am also keeping a tally at the bottom of the sheet which indicates the number of days that I cheated or unintentionally spent money. I am aware that January has 31 days and felt that it was only fair to include that extra day in the challenge.

This is how I kept track of No Spend January.

Perfectionism Was Not The Goal

I received lots of feedback from my readers throughout the month of January, and your comments meant a lot to me – thank you so much! ❤ I couldn’t help but notice that several of you a) agreed with me or praised me for attempting such a challenge or b) were appalled that someone like me screwed up the No Spend Challenge or c) questioned this challenge with much skepticism. To clarify, I am human too and make mistakes just like everyone else. God might be a woman according to Ariana Grande, but last time I checked, I was an imperfect human being and still am to this day. Remember, perfectionism was not the point of this challenge. In fact, perfectionism can be quite damaging to one’s mental health and probably contributes a great deal towards neuroses.

Setting Personal Goals

Sure, I could have chosen to lie about my spending habits, but that would have defeated the purpose of this challenge 🙅‍♀️ Although the No Spend Challenge was annoying and inconvenient at times, it made me more mindful of my spending habits and helped me develop a better relationship with money and unnecessary purchases. Rather than go cold turkey during the month of February, I have decided to continue tracking my spending using a planner. I also realize that banning myself from places like Dollarama did not save me money in the long-run. Therefore, I am limiting myself to one Dollarama shopping trip per week with a budget of $20-30 since I also shop for the family. Honestly, this challenge helped heighten my awareness, and I am even more mindful about my spending habits these days. I learned that I do not need to deprive myself of the simple pleasures in life, as long as I continue to live an honest and intentional life 🌺

A Small Victory!

I accumulated $50 worth of Tim Hortons gift cards from Swagbucks, which helped me survive the month of January 2021. My husband decided to join Swagbucks using my referral link, after seeing that I was able to redeem $100 worth of e-gift cards in 2020! Because my husband joined and earned 300 swagbucks (SB) within 30 days of joining, we each received a $3 rebate bonus. In conclusion, Swagbucks is legit and rewards people for shopping online, submitting receipts, completing surveys, playing games, and completing daily tasks (they’re easy). You won’t get rich from Swagbucks but you will be rewarded for your efforts.

A shoutout goes to Nicholas Tan (my husband) for supporting me! Thank you for the delicious Steeped Tea(s)! 😊💕

If you sign up using my referral link and start earning SB, you will be helping me out A LOT. For every 10 SB you earn, I will be earning 1 SB which adds up over time. Also, if you acquire 300 SB within your first 30 days of signing up, you will receive a 300 SB ($3.00) welcome bonus on top of the $3.00 that you have already earned. As a thank you for earning SB to help support my steeped tea addiction, I will give you a shoutout in a future blog post (your blog link included) as my way of saying thank you. That way, other bloggers can find and follow your blog too! ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

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No Spend Challenge | I Messed Up

I think I just screwed up the No Spend Challenge. I did not think it was possible to royally screw it up until January 8, 2021. One thing I learned about myself is how easily I call it quits as soon as I make a mistake 🤦‍♀️ And just like that, on January 9, 2021, the No Spend Challenge went out the window. Like I said in my previous blog post, No Spend Challenge | January 2021, I have an All or Nothing personality which can really hinder progress and prevent me from implementing lasting habits. I know I can do better and I plan to pick up where I left off… today, anyways.

Below is the PDF sheet that I printed off and taped to my wall. Whenever I have a good day, I get a sticker. I know it sounds silly but it keeps me motivated since I like to keep the positive streak going. I am also keeping a tally at the bottom of the sheet which indicates the number of days that I cheated or unintentionally spent money:

This is how I am keeping track of No Spend January.

Hilary, How Could You?!

This No Spend Challenge was going well until I received a disturbing email on Friday, January 8, 2021. This company had no problem telling me that they charged my credit card for a another yearly subscription of $30.00 USD. In all honestly, I completely forgot that my subscription was about to expire and assumed that I already unsubscribed from this service. I know that this is my fault and nobody else’s, but I wish they had sent me an email alerting me that my subscription was about to expire. Personally, I think that auto-ship and subscription services are dangerous when forgotten about, and I honestly do not know how all of you manage to keep track of your subscriptions. I will not mention the name of this company out of all due respect. Don’t get me wrong – this subscription service is pretty good, except that I no longer need or use this service. *Sigh* I tell myself that I am more forgetful than usual due to my pregnancy brain. Update: Rebecca is getting a baby brother in May. We are Team Blue! 💙

Calling It Quits 🙅‍♀️

I felt guilty. I felt shame. I was angry at myself because I was the one to blame. I was upset because I broke the promise I made at the beginning of January 2021. So, what did Hilary do to make up for this screw-up? She dug a deeper hole on Saturday. SHE SPENT MORE MONEY! 💲💲💲

I ended up spending money on sour watermelon slices, sour neon gummy worms, and OMGs ($13), postage for the US and international stamps ($17 + $8.20). and a few other miscellaneous items that I certainly did not need ($15). Even though I continued to avoid Dollarama like the plague, as mentioned in my previous post, I ended up spending more money by avoiding Dollarama, so avoidance was clearly a dumb decision. At least I learned from these mistakes; however, I still messed up the No Spend Challenge, nonetheless. Like I tell my fellow blogging friends, I do not expect anyone to have a perfect month, and this includes myself. Like you, I am human and I make mistakes. Like you, I need to start practicing self-love and forgiveness. It is okay to mess up, and the important thing is that we pick up where we left off. 🙏💕

Thanks for stopping by!

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No Spend Challenge | January 2021

Can you picture yourself not spending money during the month of January? I was inspired by Happy Simple Mom to embark on this journey one year ago and I haven’t looked back. I did the challenge last year and felt much better after putting a temporary ban on buying non-essential items; thus, I was able to detox from the Christmas debt hangover. Is this extreme? Maybe a little, but I assure you that this challenge is totally doable. In fact, you might actually enjoy it. Chances are, you probably already have a lot of stuff laying around your house for future DIY projects (Pinterest, anyone?). And if you are like me, chances are you probably forgot about most of the stuff that you already own.

Below is a list of 10 non-essential items that I will not be buying this month. I do not encourage you to ban essential items like groceries, gas, phone bills etc. because these things essential for a reason. Non-essential items include extra things that you can learn to live without, and this list will vary from person to person. Remember, what you choose to give up for January is entirely up to you! 🙌

January No Spend Challenge

Here is a list of some of 10 things that I am not buying throughout the month of January 2021! 💰

1. Coffee and Steeped Tea I love coffee from MCDs and Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s. Even though I can make MCDs coffee at home, I crave their coffee when I am running errands. I also crave Steeped Tea from Tim Horton’s which is a bit trickier since I cannot replicate it at home. I have tried numerous times to replicate it but I have not found a good replacement for store-bought Steeped Tea. I am able to justify buying Steeped Tea in-store by using gift cards and Tim’s Rewards (buy 7, get one free).

In 2020, I used my Swagbucks Rewards to purchase $75 worth of Tim Cards. If reward programs like Swagbucks appeals to you and you are interested in signing up, my referral link is https://www.swagbucks.com/profile/hellokitty8404. It is free to sign up using my referral link and you will be helping me out too. It’s similar to “Buy Me A Coffee!” but doesn’t cost you anything! ☕💕

2. Junk Food I have been a junk food addict for as long as I can remember. I could live off of junk food instead of real food but my guilty conscience does not allow me to succumb to poor lifestyle choices. However, I do consume a concerning amount of junk food on a weekly basis, specifically sugary treats like candy and chocolate. There is nothing wrong with junk food in moderation, but I admit that moderation is not a word in my vocabulary 😂 For this reason, I will be making my own treats in the New Year. In the past, I have made DIY honey-lemon candy, protein gummy candy, air-fried BBQ chips, kale chips, Dalgona coffee, and chocolate mug cake.

Dalgona coffee is the classic 2020 quarantine beverage! ☕

3. Ordering Takeout We told ourselves that we would only eat out twice a month, but we do not keep track of our spending. I feel like we were eating out at least 4 times per month, not including the Tim Hortons runs. I realize that we eat out way too much, so during the month of January, we plan to cook our meals at home. Often, I find myself giving into hanger when I am running errands, my husband wants to celebrate a special occasion, our daughter is hangry too etc. Next time, I will pack snacks when we travel, even if we are just running errands.

4. Eating at Restaurants We eat out at restaurants once a month because we spend more on takeout, and this goes hand in hand with point #3. Still, there is no reason to eat out if we can learn how to create our favourite dishes at home. There is no need for physical cookbooks since I can [usually] find what I need on the internet.

5. Online Shopping I pride myself for having self-control when it comes to online shopping. I keep online shopping to a minimum and only use a couple of sites, at most. There are some products which I can only buy online, such as Natural Calm – Calmful Sleep Natural Sleep Aid (powder) which you can purchase at an unbeatable price here. Now that my shipment has finally arrived, I do not need to buy anything else for a while. Oh yeah, and I avoid Amazon because of bad experiences/scams from questionable sellers.

6. Dollarama This goes hand and hand with #2 and #7 because two of my biggest culprits when shopping at Dollarama are junk food and stationary. Dollarama has good quality stationary and I cannot fathom why anyone would spend full price on greeting cards. The prices at Dollarama range from $1-$4 per item and the quality is decent, unlike other dollar stores I have shopped at. I shop there 2-3 times per week and usually spend $20.00+ per shopping trip. It is a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud.

It is addictive and it is hard to stop 😆

7. Stationary Where do I even begin with this one? I ❤ stationary! I love sending mail as much as I love receiving mail. Snail mail seems to be a dying art, and I usually give up when so-called pen-pals don’t reciprocate at all. I know I set my expectations too high and need to work on that. I also have an all-or-nothing personality, so this year I ended up mailing zero Christmas cards. That being said, I still have a problem when it comes to buying stationary and I get carried away sometimes. Therefore, I am putting a ban on stationary and will use up what I have before I buy more. 💌

I got a little too carried away one Christmas and realized that all of this effort wasn’t worth it in the end 💔

7. Skin Care Products Not only did I find some great deals during Boxing week, which you can read in my previous blog post, my mom also mailed me a bunch of skin care products from around the world for Christmas 2020. I definitely have an abundance of skin care products not limited to: face wash/cleanser from Japan, mini shower gel(s), a family-sized shower gel imported from Greece, body butters, body creams imported from Greece, hair care products from Korea, pain relief analgesics by Kalaya, and body yogurts. There is absolutely no reason for me to buy more skin care products unless I run out of something, which is highly unlikely.

8. Alcohol We are not big drinkers, so alcohol has never been an issue for me. Also, I am 19 weeks pregnant so I am not drinking alcohol anyways. I find it incredibly irresponsible for pregnant mothers to drink, fully knowing that they are harming their unborn child. For pregnant women who want something a bit classier than sparkling water this holiday season, there is a non-alcoholic beverage on the market known as sparkling fruit juice and it tastes delicious. I like how this beverage even comes in wine bottles which closely resembles champagne. This drink is a treat and not an every day indulgence. Cheers! 🥂

9. Miscellaneous Gifts I often spend money on others before I spend money on myself, and I like to buy “just because” gifts for my husband and daughter. I feel like this is my way of telling them that they are important to me. I know what my husband’s favourite candy and snacks are, for instance. He is aware that I am doing this January No Spend Challenge, and I am pretty sure that my daughter won’t notice. A friend of mine has an upcoming birthday, and because she lives in a different province, I want to send her something by mail. This might end up being an exception to the rule as I have no way of sending homemade gifts without paying ridiculously high shipping costs.


Finally, I encourage you to try this challenge during the month of January to kickstart the new year! I also encourage you to track your spending habits using a budgeting app or free PDF tracker so that you are able to see the progress that you are making. The results may surprise you! 🙂

If you need some extra encouragement this month, feel free to message me on my Contact Info Page. Please note that I mostly use email and WhatsApp. Also, feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ and I will do my best to reply to your comments! ❤

Happy New Year! 🥳🥂

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500 Followers: A New Milestone!

(っ◔◡◔)っHappy 2020! I wish you all a beautiful, magical New Year!

I know that this blog post is [very] late so I’m going to keep the belated New Year wishes short and sweet. We are well on our way into the month of January and it’s hard to believe that we’re living in the year 2020! If you made New Year’s resolutions this year, are you still sticking to them? Keep in mind that January 12 is the day that most people ditch their resolutions. 🙊

I had initially made a New Year’s resolution to write something everyday for 365 days, whether that is blogging, journaling, or note-taking. Even if I force myself to write 200 crappy words each day, it’s enough to build some kind of momentum, especially when I’m feeling uninspired or lack the motivation to get started.

Just Do It ✔

I am notorious for writing long-ass text-messages, long-ass emails, and leaving comments the size of Mt. Everest on my friends’ blogs, and yet, I rarely invest the same amount of time and energy needed to write blog posts on a consistent basis. Throughout my blogging journey, I learned that I much prefer writing for an audience than I do writing for myself. Another key factor that demotivates me from getting started on writing blog posts is based on an idea called paralysis by analysis. I haven’t previously heard of paralysis by analysis until recently, while I was listening to The Mindset Mentor podcast by Rob Dial. If you want to learn more about the crippling effects of paralysis by analysis and how you can overcome it, I highly recommend checking out his podcast on iTunes.

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A New Year, A New Direction

What is this blog’s outlook for 2020? Honestly, I wish I could tell you that overcoming paralysis by analysis will make me a more productive and active blogger. I wish I could tell you that I will publish weekly blog posts like I did last year, and that I won’t become another blogger who suddenly drops off the face of the blogging planet. I don’t want to feed you empty promises because I was too ambitious at the time, and then fail to deliver on these promises. This year, I have a bunch of shit stuff that I need to deal with and unfortunately, blogging is not my top priority right now. At this time, I am working on an even bigger project that will hopefully pave the way for a better future. This year, I’ve decided to return to university to finish what I started. 👩‍🎓

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go and no one else.” —Les Brown

In the beginning, I created this blog so I would have a place to share my poetry with people who actually enjoy reading poetry. A few years ago, I didn’t even know that I could write, let alone poetry. And as time went on, I discovered that I have more to write, more to create, and more to give back to the universe. These realizations were only discovered through the hardships that I have faced over the last decade, and for that I am grateful. I also discovered that writing helps me process complex emotions as well as make sense of my tangled web of thoughts. By pruning the proverbial shrubs, writing allows me to better understand not only myself but also the people around me. This blog is like a baby to me which I would feel terrible for abandoning. Similar to human babies, blogging takes long-term commitment and a great deal of time and energy.

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During my quarter-life crisis back in April 2019, my blog really started to blossom. Honestly, I did not expect to gain 500 wonderful followers, and yet, here we are. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart, for spreading the love and helping to keep this blog alive! ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

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