Monthly Archives: September 2015

Shit I Didn’t Buy Today: Crate & Barrel Edition

When I embarked on this journey to improve my finances, the first thing I had to do was learn how to say “NO!” to unnecessary purchases. $5 here, $20 there at the time never seemed extravagant, but over time it adds up and you’re left with an empty bank account and a house full of (pretty) crap you never truly needed in the first place. Since I started this journey in earnest about a year and a half ago, I’m pleased to say that I have gotten a lot better at turning my back on stuff that –  in the moment – feels like I need to have. That’s not to say that I don’t ever covet unnecessary things, because I still do and I guess I am a masochist because I like going into stores full of stuff I don’t need. Case in point: CRATE & BARREL.

I found myself in Soho this afternoon with a friend after grabbing lunch. I was getting ready to go home and the subway station was right there…underneath the Crate & Barrel flagship store. I’m not even going to pretend that I thought about putting my head down and hurrying down the steps to the subway. I went inside and spent the next 45 minutes touching everything in sight and rationalizing why I needed it. Here are the items I came thisclose to buying:

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  1. Plastic cereal container ($17.95): why would I want to look at the box when I can just look straight at the good stuff?
  2. Syrup pitcher ($12.95): a triple-threat pitcher that can hold syrup, beverages, and flowers
  3. Decorative pillow ($49.95): expensive back-support apparatus for while I’m watching TV
  4. Shower curtain ($59.95): raindrops, shower, hahaha get it?
  5. Wastebasket ($19.95): garbage should look good
  6. Serving bowl ($17.97): for the dinner parties I’ve never hosted
  7. Dish towels ($12.95): ok, I actually really wanted these

But you know what? I left empty handed. And saved $191.67. In all honesty, I didn’t think about these items again until I sat down to write this post, which is a sign that I never really needed them in the first place. I’ll add them to my C&B wishlist and let out a sigh of relief that I dodged a financial bullet.

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The Cost of Running a Half Marathon

I recently signed up for my first half marathon (!), which will take place on October 10. The training so far has been challenging, to say the least, but it’s great to have a concrete goal to work towards. When I signed up, I underestimated the cost associated with running in these types of races – especially for longer distances. It’s not just about going outside for a quick run. I’ll be out on the course for at least 2 hours (not trying to break any records here) and I’m going to get sweaty and hungry and thirsty and my knees are going to start hurting and my feet are going to blister… as I write this I realize I’m not making running sound very attractive but oh well, too late now. In other words, I had to buy a lot of shit to make sure I’m well prepared for training and race day. Here’s a picture of my recently acquired loot and the cost so far:

Don't worry, there's a paper towel underneath my shoes.

Don’t worry, there’s a paper towel underneath my shoes.

  • Registration fee: $96
  • Shoes: $95
  • Pants: $58
  • Equipment belt and water bottle: $48
  • Energy gummies and electrolyte/sodium water mix: $6
  • Total: $303

Wow. I hadn’t totaled it up until just now but that is definitely an investment for what will be the hardest physical challenge of my life thus far. Time for the justification game:

  • The shoes were totally necessary. My last pair was 2 years old and my knees would hurt so bad after my runs. The new shoes provide a lot more cushion and I’ll be using them for another year so I don’t regret this purchase.
  • The new Lululemon pants were an indulgence. My sister gave me a gift card for my birthday but I had to pay the balance in cash. But look good, feel good — right?!
  • I think the equipment belt will end up being a good investment. I can run hands free and stash my phone, keys, gummies and some cash in there. Most women’s athletic clothes – or at least the ones I own – don’t have deep pockets like men’s so it’s hard to figure out where to put everything. The water bottle could also count as an indulgence but my biggest fear in the world is literally dying of thirst, so this will at least give me reassurance that I can take a sip of water on my long runs even if there is no water fountain in sight. I also like that it’s made of a grippy, rubbery material so hopefully it won’t fall out of my hands when they get sweaty.

I think I am pretty set for now, although I could see myself potentially purchasing another pair or two of performance running socks which make all the difference in the world. Looking at my investment through the lens of my banking account, I am now even more determined to totally own this run! And maybe run more races in the future to make all of this stuff worth it.

Cooking from the Cupboard

I’m coming back down from a spendy long weekend: I was at the beach with friends for 3 days and also purchased a new pair of running shoes. Both were essential for me, in terms of mental and physical health; however, that doesn’t mean that I’m not still a little anxious about the hit to my monthly income. As I rummaged through my fridge and cupboards today wondering whether or not I needed to make a grocery run, I came up with a goal to make as much food as I can from what I have in store already.

Here’s what I found in my kitchen:

Freezer: 3 chicken cutlets, 2 chicken sausages, 1 pound of ground beef, half a package of Trader Joe’s Japanese fried rice, and 3/4 of a loaf of bread

Fridge: 6 eggs, hummus and tahini, 1 apple, lunch meat (turkey, roast beef), provolone cheese, red sauce, Siggi’s yogurt and leftovers from last night (whole wheat pasta with pesto, edamame, almonds and lemon)

Cupboards: whole wheat pasta, couscous, quinoa, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), dried fruit (currants, golden raisins), fig bars, asiago croutons, pretzels, a couple of granola bars, a can of tuna, chicken stock, oatmeal, 1 can each of black beans and white kidney beans

Here’s what I plan on making/eating:

  • Continue eating my leftovers (2-3 more meals)
  • Chicken cutlets with couscous
  • Sausage with pasta
  • Fried rice and eggs
  • Tacos
  • Sandwiches (for lunch)
  • Granola (for breakfast)

I know I’ll need to stock up on some essentials, so I will budget $40 for them this week. Things I will probably need:

  • Milk
  • Salad greens and frozen veggies
  • Fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Taco fixings: cheddar cheese, salsa, avocado
  • More bread

Keep in mind that I’m trying to stretch this food between two people! I’ll keep you all posted on my progress. If you have any suggestions for what I can make from my ingredients, leave me a comment!