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Those of you that have known me for a while may recall that I’m not a huge fan of entire spending bans, the logic being for me that when I restrict myself completely I tend to go overboard and binge after a while because I guess… discipline is not my forte in all areas of life!

But it’s a new year. New me. No wait, that’s one of those health slogans. 😉

New year, new financial plan!

There are a few items in my budget that I’ve wanted to address for a long time and I’ve always had a hard time with.

I didn’t tell him to pose haha, he just did!

 

Clothing

Last year I spent about $916 on new clothing, or about $76 a month. This includes bras – I’m not one of those fortunate enough to buy 4 for $100 at la senza… most of my bras are 40-50$ a piece :(- yogapants, shoes, new winter jacket and just various clothing related things.

I am so spoiled, I have always earned enough to be able to afford what to others are luxuries. I have good quality clothing and outer wear and it’s something I definitely don’t skimp on. BUT I have so much, I have five pairs of jeans I do not wear because they’re too tight, I have various other pieces I do not wear because they’re too tight! And simply, I just have enough clothes for years and there really is no good reason for me to buy ANY, any clothing at all this year. I already started this on February 15th, aside from a $90 Lululemon gift certificate I still have sitting around, there will be NO buying of clothes for the remainder of 2017.

Food/Groceries

The second category is food. I have since meeting my boyfriend gotten been ating out a lot less to the point where I mostly much prefer to eat at home. Eating out is expensive, I used to have coffee habit and after I kinda kicked that to the curb I did still eat out every once in a while, or picked up a tea. Enough for my “eating out” category to keep inching over $100 a month which is really too high. The end of the year in my YNAB budget also gave me this neat graph detailing more about my food and misc spending;

In 2016 I spent roughly $325 on groceries per month. That is a lot for a single person. I did eat A LOT of fresh fruit, I preserved a lot, I eat very healthy, i eat no processed things, I eat meat 1-2x a week, I don’t buy chips… fruits and veg cost quite a bit though. A lot of my eating out/ restaurant spending ended up in the blow money category since it no longer had its own category because I had erroneously hoped to largely eliminate restaurant spending. The blow money category cost roughly  $210 per month after removing the purchase of a new cyclocross bike and the cost of spa day for my birthday in October.

The blow money category really encompasses a lot of different stuff (not… blow, its just a term, I dont smoke weed etc) and sometimes I throw things in there that have no other home, it includes eating out though which after glancing through the expenses made up at least half of that $210 a month. Ouch?

I thought I was doing better with my spending in this category last year but clearly I have not. Because of that this month I embarked on a mission to only spend $130 on groceries during February.

Today is February 22 and I have spent $128.20 on groceries and $48.31 on eating out (1x tim hortons, 2x eating at work during snowstorms, one eclair and one snowstorm gas station run of chips/pop and one dinner out with my cousin, which was fun) and it wasn’t all that bad! I’ve been scrounging the cupboards and have been creative with meals.

It has been different, but not overly difficult. This is what self control feels like. I need to practice this a little more.  Curbing my food and clothing expenses will help add $2,400 to my savings this year. That’s two months of living expenses, or two trips, or a quarter of a new-to-me-vehicle. It’s money I badly need to save.

Spending-ban Goals for March:
$0 in the restaurant category
$145 groceries
$0 clothing etc

 

Owning any type of vehicle isn’t all rainbows and cotton candy. There are real costs to maintaining one, and you have to be prepared for some headaches from time to time when it quits on you. One way to not only save some money on maintenance costs, but also save the planet is by getting used parts from your local salvage yard or junkyard.

Don’t Fear the Junkyard

There’s a myth that junkyards are scary and intimidating places. Although it’s true that these places can be huge (acres on acres), junkyards are not scary places nor are they intimidating. The only reason to be scared of a junkyard is when you’re dressed for a party, instead of dressing to get dirty.

Junkyards, salvage yards, scrap yards and everything else in between should be your first option if you’re looking to find a replacement part for your vehicle at a price that you probably won’t find anywhere else. A quality used part that’s in tip-top shape is a better financial and environmental deal than a brand new one.

Get Schooled

The good thing about sourcing parts through a junkyard is the education you’re bound to get, especially if:

  1. You have a passion for engineering
  2. You love anything auto-related
  3. You want to learn new things

You can’t buy what you’ll learn in a junkyard anywhere on the planet. Where else in the world can you go, pay maybe a dollar as an entrance fee, choose a vehicle that you need to get a part from, and use your tools to pry it from the long forgotten hunk of metal? Maybe in engineering school, but you won’t get as dirty and tuition is expensive.

Two Flavors

There are two kinds of junkyards. The old school version is where you go pay them a visit, ask if they have the part you need, and (maybe) get directions on how to find the vehicle. Some junkyards have maps and are arranged by make of the vehicle or country of origin, while others are just one big maze of rust buckets.

For example, junkyard 1 can have all Japanese made cars on one side, American made cars on the other, and European made cars hiding up the rear. Junkyard 2 can have Toyotas on aisle 1, Fords on aisle 2, Chevys on aisle 3, etc. So it’s up to you and providence to search for the vehicle you need to get the part you want.

The second type of junkyard is more modern. You’ll have to tell a clerk what you need – same deal here – make, model, etc. The clerk then calls out to the staff on the yard and they will do the work for you and deliver the part to the office. You can inspect it, and if you’re OK with it, pay them in cash.

No DIY? BOO!

Obviously, the newer model of junkyards are boring, but you’ll still get your part for cheap. This is because junkyards make money recycling the metal and other components of the vehicles they salvage, so selling the parts is just icing on the cake. The good (and bad) thing about this is they don’t really care if the part is rare or not.

If all their engines sell for $120, it doesn’t matter if it’s a rare HEMI or a Toyota 4-banger. It’s $120 just the same, so you have to really be smart about your purchases and do enough research on the part you’re looking for before heading out to the junkyard and spending money on gas.

If you’re a powersports enthusiast, there are a lot of salvage yards for old snowmobiles, ATV’s and other vehicles. The rules for sourcing parts for powersports is pretty much the same, but the best place to find used and new parts and accessories for your snowmobile is usually on online stores and forums.

Time to Get Dirty

So give your local junkyard a try if you’re looking for used vehicle parts. It doesn’t matter what type of vehicle: if it has wheels, they probably have it somewhere. Just make sure you bring some tools, wear