I have been coveting a Banana Republic bag for quite some time. This one;


I even made it a part of my goals for 2015 in my 30 goals for 2015 post, look:
2Every so often I get a new purse because an old one has worn out, or the functions that I need it for change. The current purse I use for a bit dressier occasions when I still need to carry a few things around is starting to show signs of wear, so I’ve been looking to replace it.

There are a few purses I have considered, between MK, Kate Spade and BR. In hindsight this was complete idiocy…. I have a line of credit/mortgage to pay off, I have retirement to save for, I need a newer car in a couple of years. A new pricy as hell purse? Even after a discount any of them run me over $200. Who am I kidding?

In 2012 I used up 75% of the emergency fund I had saved at that time to cover living expenses as my income plummeted in early 2012, it started increasing again in July 2012 when I picked up seasonal employment but I did not start contributing to my retirement savings again for most of 2013., and then only with a measly $25 a month October and onward.

I bought a nice Ck bag in August of 2013 and while I haven’t regretted buying it at all, until now, the mid $200’s price tag set me back about a months worth of groceries and in reality…. even though I saved for it; could I really afford it? No. The purse cost me about 1% of my income that year. 


Was it worth it? No. I like fashion, I do enjoy looking nice, dressing nice. Banana Republic, Ck, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren… I am a sucker for the preppy new England look. I don’t quite dress like it, but I do own a khaki coloured trench coat, and I wear my jeans with a leather belt, and flats, and yes I like fancy purses and preppy dressshirts and a-line skirts. I find it appealing. But am I really wearing these items for me, or am I also wearing these items to present an image to the world? Most likely the latter.

While I liked that purse, it’s highly unlikely anyone other than my friends and family really noticed me using it. I didn’t end up liking the quality and the handle has had to be sewn on once already. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with finetuning your image for yourself and the world. After all, it’s important for your work and social life, but was this expense warranted for me personally? Did I need more stuff in my closet while I am looking to have less stuff? Was it really worth it? Not at all. I don’t want to be poor, this is not the way to not be poor.

My 2015 income should end up being about $30,000 after tax (which reminds me that I’m currently four days late filing my tax return, crap). I projected my income at $27,500 in January so I’ve been able to increase that which is awesome! :) My income is earned in a variety of ways, I’ve had more than one job on the go since I graduated college;

– My normal part-time cleaning gig which consists of two different contracts (I am the main contractor)
– My seasonal luxury cottage scrubbing (self-employed), and the occasional extra job here and there
– Commission based property rentals, mostly seasonal, 4 properties including my own house for the time being
– occasional random side jobs

The $2,500 increase is not much but it’s something. $30,000 is not terribly low. I can and do, do a lot with my $30,000. 

But I have $4,725.64 saved for retirement right now. Under five thousand dollars. That is just… I mean that will get me what, a quarter of a year of living in the future? Maybe after compounding the interest I’ll get a year worth of living out of it in a good 30 years orso. Maybe more, maybe less, I have no idea because it’s not worth it to do the math because the point is: that is ridiculous. 

I have house debt to pay off asap and if I ever want to retire, a retirement to save for. I don’t want to be poor.

I had no business buying a $240 purse in 2013, and I still don’t in 2015.

What ridiculous purchases have you made that were really kind of stupid??

For the first time in my life I have reached my emergency fund goal. I actually reached it on Thursday, it’s been almost exactly five years since I started this journey on my blog. 6 years orso since I first started reading personal finance blogs and getting serious about fixing my finances permanently. It has been a long, long road with many ups and downs and… I have $10,000 sitting in several accounts designated as my emergency fund holding buckets, right this very moment


I have wanted to reach this for so long! It feels… slightly disappointing to be honest. I felt much lighter when I paid off my student loan, this feels very different… perhaps because it’s just money sitting there and I won’t really ‘feel’ much about it until I need to use it for something. Perhaps also because I am waiting for my contract to be renewed and if it’s not, I may need to use the emergency fund to get through the winter unless I find reasonable work soon. (Of course if my contract doesn’t get renewed I will clear off my resume a bit and just take any job I need to take to get by)

It’s a nice accomplishment, with very mixed feelings. I really hope I won’t have to use it any time soon and to prevent that from happening I intend to keep saving in various accounts for other minor and major planned and unplanned life expenses.

My next goal? Build up a buffer in my chequing account. Any time I get money in I’ve been dividing in over my credit cards, debt, spending and savings right away. It’s a habit… oh it’s payday? Let’s see how fast I can get my account to zero again!

Time to start living on last months income.



Back in October I ended up buying an industrial sized drum of 35% peroxide and a 25kg bag of Lye from a guy off Kijiji. He was using it for woodworking (so he says, but who knows, maybe he was making drugs :-o) Anyway, so I ended up paying something like $35 bucks or something for them. The peroxide was for work but the lye… I had no idea what to do with the lye but I took it home anyway.

2015-05-11 15.05.46

I did some googling and quickly figured out a basic soap recipe and made a batch of basic soap with four different oils. (Castor/Olive/Semolina/Coconut) I’ll save rehashing soap recipes, there are already lots of websites out there that will tell you HOW to make soap. Just pick something you like, be careful and start your chemistry lab. It’s fun! (Also use this: Soapcalc)

I don’t know why I keep seeing all these blogs and comments of women that say it took them months to stop being scared of lye or are still terrified to work with it… maybe it’s because I’m used to handling chemicals, lye is NOT scary. Just be careful and jump right in.

I used a cute silicone heartshaped ice cube mold that I already had on hand to set the soap in. it turned out pretty cool so I made a second batch that week of larger soaps to wash the dog with.

2014-10-12 21.08.07

They’re nothing special, just a very basic olive oil soap to which I added some Tea Tree and peppermint essential oil. I tried to unmold them too quick after about 24 hours so I totally botched a few bars, they needed to sit for a few days to be hard enough to unmold. They ended up quite soft and have been curing on the shelf in my basement until now.

2014-10-14 08.34.49

They’ve turned a much darker colour and are very hard now and ready for use. In fact I used a whole bar on my dog after this happened:

IMG_4861f089a79b5626c831d0932e8f27ebDog sees beach after 4 months of no beach -> dives right in -> gets out of water and rolls his non-wet half in stinky mud. He had to be hosed down in the tub and scrubbed, I used up a full bar of soap to get his fur thoroughly shampoo’d and cleaned up. He smells clean again now though! Or rather, he just smells like his earthy, sandalwoody-pleasant dog-self again. And no itch, the soap was superfatted to be very rich – you can read what that is right here –  and contains no dye, no artificial anything, it’s very gentle.

So, having actual days off these days means my creative side comes out more. When I don’t have time to breathe and just putter around the house I just don’t have the energy or ideas to work on little projects. Late last fall I decided to start taking a regular schedule and work more regular hours with scheduled days off and it’s working out so nicely! Among all the other healthful changes I have made in my life in the past year already, I am finding more time to come up with ideas! ANYWAY, this past weekend I made another batch of soaps! I started with a simple olive oil and coconut superfatted 19% base (about 60% coconut, 40% olive oil) (yes that’s a lot, but it’s my chem lab and I’ll do what I want)

2015-05-10 15.10.20 2015-05-10 15.26.58

Lye is kind of fun to play with, it reacts when you add distilled water and heats up very rapidly. I just do it in the sink with the window and door open to create good airflow and gloves on. I’ve only made small batches with about 250 grams of oil, so I’m not working with a lot of lye here.

I grabbed these cute little icecube molds from Dollarama, they have sillicone pushout bottoms making it easier to get the soaps out and I figured they are the perfect small size to make trial batch of single/a few time use mini bars. There was no actual recipe that I followed for the process after creating the soap base. I did some rough research, added salt to make some into scrub bars and added essential oils, cinnamon, honey into others to make something else.

2015-05-10 15.51.42 2015-05-11 01.03.13

Look how super cute these little scrub bars are! I made four types of mini-soaps which if you follow me on instagram you’ve already seen me spam about :) I made a Frosted Cranberry body scrub bar, Cinnamon, Honey & Vanilla body scrub bar, ‪‎Peppermint ‎Vanilla ‬body scrub bar and ‪a few Ylang‬ Ylang & Tea tree face bars.

So far nobody likes the Ylang Ylang :-(, I personally do think it smells a bit like old lady but… I have a small bottle of DoTerra Ylang Ylang essential oil so I figured I’d try to do something with it. I love the peppermint vanilla scent and I’ll be trying out the cinnamon scrub bar in the shower tonight.

2015-05-11 18.20.52

These hardened up much faster than my first two batches of soap due to the high coconut oil content. They were too soft after 4 hours but I was able to unmold them easily and without damage after 24 hours. I decided to wrap them up after 72 hours, they are hardening quite nicely! Right now they have the feel of a Dove bar, I suspect they will get harder over the coming weeks.

I made my own cigar band wrappers with scrapbooking leftovers I used to make my new planner a few months ago, I glued them shut and lined them all up on a plastic tray to place downstairs to cure for a few more weeks before I give them away (and ship a few off to other places)

2015-05-12 12.35.32

They look like truffles and they do smell delicious but they are definitely not edible!

2015-05-12 21.44.04

Aren’t they adorable? I tried out the Cinnamon scrub bar this evening and the lather is great, again very similar to a Dove bar. Unlike my other bars which go quite soft when wet these stay nice and hard, lather well and dont leave my hands feeling dried out at all. I am so happy with how this turned out. They’re awesome!

I will be modifying this recipe further this week. I’m looking for more scent and soap ideas. My next batch will likely be a chunk of castile soap but I’m thinking of how to make a good grease-fighting handscrub soap with added salt or sand or oatmeal something to be abrasive for cleaning hands covered in oil from working in the garage. Any ideas? Ever make soap? It’s so much fun!