Be Like Vinny Chase

Vinny Chase3Entourage used to be one of my favorite television shows. In it the lead character, Vincent Chase, is an actor trying to make it in Hollywood with the help of his rag-tag crew of friends, each of which have their own talents and story lines. An episode would start with an issue in Vince’s career and, with the help of his friends and overbearing and hilarious agent, Ari Gold, he would overcome the obstacle presented. Women, money, drugs, cars and celebrity cameos were the “flash” in each episode. The constant theme throughout the show was Vince’s unrelenting attitude that everything was going to work out. He’d have a smile on his face throughout the episode, regardless of the challenges presented, because he thought ‘it’ll all be okay’. And it was.

Granted, it was a television show. The characters were rich and famous. And they weren’t dealing with real world problems. It stands to reason, however, that a positive outlook will serve you well.

At the end of my maternity leave, I wasn’t sure where I stood with my job. I wanted something more. I loved reading and writing and I was good at customer service. It clicked that I wanted to work in a library. In order to make that happen, I had to go back to university and get my Masters of Library and Information Studies degree.

Problem #1: my GPA wasn’t high enough. Okay, I could handle that; I spoke to an adviser and learned that I could take a couple of correspondence courses through Athabasca University to bring up my marks.

Problem #2: I wanted Fall 2016 admittance and the deadline for admittance was Feb 1, 2016. At the time I decided to do this, it was October. Usually the Athabasca courses ran for 6 months. I had to condense 2 courses into 2.5 months in order to complete my final exams in December so that I could work on and submit my application in January for the University’s February deadline. I did this while parenting 2 small children and going back to full time work in November.

I worked probably the hardest I’ve ever worked – any time the kids were asleep or occupied I read course material or hammered out essays. My husband and I went to Mexico and there I was in our hotel room, submitting assignments and doing required reading. I’d come home from work, make dinner, play with the kids, put them to bed, then work on school until midnight. I received the marks from my courses and got the A’s that I needed to advance my GPA.

With confidence, I submitted my masters application. I waited. Aaaaaaand I didn’t get in. I met all program requirements but didn’t make the cut for the competitive GPA.

I was disappointed, yet not as much as I thought I would be. I was happy that I had worked so hard towards a goal and tried my best. I was glad that in the two years to come I wouldn’t be overburdened with school, homework, a part time job and parenting my boys. And returning to my job hadn’t been as painful as I’d initially thought. For all these reasons I was okay with not being accepted. Most of all though, I figured “everything will work out.”

When dealing with day to day stress or big, life changing events, I have to believe that everything will work out. My life is better for it.

Disappointment is inevitable, however one of life’s constants is how inconsistent it is. A positive outlook is difficult to maintain at all times but if you look at the world through rose colored glasses life is a blessing. If you expect the best out of life, the best will be rewarded to you.

So be like Vinny Chase. Take care of those around you. Be loyal. Be humble. Work hard. It’ll work out.

Legit Ways to Save $

One of the very un-fun things about being an adult is money management. For many, the amount of money in is overcome by the amount that spills out. Add the expense of a mortgage or children and the results aren’t all that fun (Yay Adulting!). So here are some actual ways to cut down on those pesky expenditures:

  1. Do a household budget. You don’t have to be an expert. Budget-of-punjab-2013-2014Simply download a template from the internet, print out the previous month’s bank account statement, and add the information in the required fields. It can be encouraging and sobering to view where you are spending money. The great thing is, a budget gives you a concrete starting point on where you can and cannot cut costs.
  2. Review your bills. This one is monotonous and boring and necessary. Make sure you are getting the best deal. Rework your cell phone, cable (or cut it all together for Netflix or Crave TV), power, electric and hydro. And while you’re at it, make sure you are getting excellent customer service. For example, our house has a cistern instead of a city water connection. We have water delivered to our house once per month. The delivery guy we used before was okay but I would leave him a voicemail when we needed water, then never really knew when he was coming. I didn’t love what I was paying for. We moved our business to a wonderful water company called Fill ‘er Up Potable Water. I can text when I need a load of water and I’ll receive an answering message within minutes whereby the operator gives me a date when he will fill up our tank. I can also pay via e-transfer. So convenient. If you have a cistern or need bulk water, more info about this wonderful company can be found at http://www.filleruppotablewater.ca/
  3. Talk to your investment specialist – this one is also a no brainer. If you don’t have investments, that’s ok but as soon as you think you have a spare dime to put away, put it into some type of account for your retirement. Even a small contribution each month will help offset future living costs.
  4. Second hand stores. A co-worker took me to this wonderful shop called Plato’s Closet just down from Whyte Ave. They have in-season clothing items for men and women. The savings amazed me. Turns out, the sister store to Plato’s is Once Upon a Child. I had never really thought to go there for my kids. Then Connor’s feet grew 3 sizes in 6 months. I went to Once Upon a Child the next time Connor needed indoor shoes. For $8.00 I found him some really cool looking little high tops, which is half the price of the already cheap Wal-Mart or Joe Fresh.
  5. Hand me downs! With 2 kids, that are 2 years apart but nearly the same size, hand me downs come in super handy (get it? I crack myself up). I have a group of gracious friends who have boys that have out grown all kinds of clothes and I straight up ask for clothes when they are done with them.
  6. Use Upcycling Sites! I am a part of the Upcycling Facebook group in my community. This site is for household items that have value, but you’d like to get rid of, so you ‘upcycle’ to someone who could use them. I’ve given away variety of items like kids clothes, kitchen ware, small appliances, etc. on my local Upcycling page. You can also ask for anything you think you might need – remember it’s free – and if someone has it, great, if not, you would have likely bought it anyway. I recently ran out of perfume, which costs around $50-$100 a bottle. I put up a post requesting anyone with extra perfume to pass it on to me. I had 3 women give me bags of perfume that they weren’t using. I sorted through the scents I wanted, kept some and tossed the rest. I scored about $300 in free perfume!
  7. Meal plan! IMG_8292 Not only does it help with the budget, it helps my sanity.  There is no stress coming home from work and wondering what I’m going to make for dinner with two hungry kids clawing at my legs. Each month I print out a calendar and write down what I will make for dinner each night for that month. The plan helps me organize what groceries I will need to buy each week and also what I need to take out of the freezer the night before.
  8. Buy your meat in bulk and freeze! We learned this long ago. We eat a lot of chicken and it can vary between $8.00/kg to $14.00/kg. When we see that it’s around that $8-$10/kg mark we buy lots then freeze it. If you’re going to do this, invest in a vacuum sealer.
  9. Buy your K-Cups at Winners. For real. They usually have a great selection of coffees. Better yet? Ditch the Keurig or Tassimo and opt for a pot. I know it’s not as convenient but hose little cups are costly in comparison to loose grind coffee. I will admit, I haven’t fully gotten there yet – I have a Keurig in my ensuite bathroom so that I can have coffee immediately after waking up.
  10. Stop going to the places you spend money! I love books. Like, I love books so much I want to work in a library so that I can be amongst the stacks and breathe in the smell of musty paper all day long. I (used to) spend a lot on books. I have a Kobo which I load up to read on vacation. I buy iBooks for my phone. I listen to audiobooks when I’m cooking or driving. And one of my favorite things in the world, abet one of the hardest to find time for, is sitting down and enjoying a book, uninterrupted. So, at this time when I am trying to save, I’ve stopped going into Chapters because I know I won’t leave without spending. So whether it’s Starbucks, magazines, house gadgets, etc.- just DON’T GO THERE.