Conversation in my head at the grocery store

Is it guilt? I found myself picking up (what appeared to me) a good chocolate cookie mix. I held it, thought about when Conor (my toddler) and I would get our hands dirty this weekend and bake it.

Oops, it required a mixer. I began to put it back to the shelf but I remembered that we have a mixer, that’s good enough. Wait, it’s more like a smoothie/baby food hand mixer, idiot.

But that should do it! Even hand mixing could do it.

Really? Do you need endless supply of sugar at home? You still have tons of candy from Conor’s trick or treating and 2 small tubs of ice cream that you already eat a few spoonfuls of at night.

Fine. But it’s cookie! Conor would love making cookies! The batch could sit in the jar for a few days. We’ll consume them just like we do with small tubs of ice cream–bit by bit.

And again, you really want endless supply of calories that you don’t burn?

I’m gonna run 3 miles this weekend.

How are you gonna fit that in between chores?

Sunday! We usually take lazy Sundays.

You’re going on an afternoon date with Jon after dropping off Conor for a playdate, remember?


And I placed it back in the shelf and walked away.


A Volumptuous Furniture

One of the many, many great things about the internet is giving humanity access to things that were otherwise out of reach decades ago. It would take plenty of know-how, money for traveling, or simply finding someone who knows where to get things exactly to your taste.

With the internet, sometimes you don’t even have to look. You can stumble upon it one day, even when you’re not looking.

Living as minimalists, we practice quality over quantity. Even if it means buying things on the expensive spectrum. That’s one of the joys of practicing minimalism – you can afford to splurge on the very few things you decide to buy.

Here’s one that would be lovely to get, but I’m not going to because I don’t know if I need to. My point is: I found a furniture designer that is to my liking. 🙂

What a busy summer!

Portland did not disappoint me this summer. With it being our first here in America, it has been full on and I’ve enjoyed it. I thought that it was only Jonno and I who talked about flaking out on a few events, but I met a friend of his who spoke about it. I felt normal suddenly. 🙂

I’ve read many complaints about the heat in the Midwest and in the East coast. I just love Portland’s summer, just about right.

And what also defines summer (to me) is it being such a spendy season. I don’t think I get this much gusto to shop in any season. We’ve already spent $400 on our joint birthday barbecue party and will need to spend a few hundred bucks on a road trip to visit my father-in-law.

A friend from NZ is coming to California on business so we decided to see him together as a family instead of the original plan that only Jon went down to see him. That’s $780 for airfare for 3 and $250 for 2 nights in an apartment rental, with just a few mouse clicks. Technology is such an enabler.

So it’s easy for me to these days to snap. We have to be really good about cooking and eating at home this August. I don’t want Summer to be over, ever, but it’s hurting our pockets. 😛

Portland, you’re beautiful.

Haggle you silly

I didn’t like haggling when I was young. When my mother did it with me, it embarrassed me. I thought that it allowed people a view into our family’s finances. I knew that my mom could afford whatever it was she was haggling for, so it made no sense to me at that time why she haggled like crazy. I believe my mom used that “view” to her advantage. When people thought she was poor, they were more inclined to give her a deal. That was back when she had 3 kids at school at the same time. As soon as people noticed that she wasn’t really poor, they started complaining what a chintz she was. 😛

A little over three years ago, I started becoming involved in personal finance. It was an accident while in preparation for parenthood. Looking closely at spending, attitudes toward spending, goals, and consideration of another person joining the family, I became more aware and proactive about money. This started a level of comfort with money that I thought I would never have. I’m still not comfortable about telling people what my annual pay is, but my reason now is that I could be earning more than they do and I don’t want them to know that. 🙂

I also haggle now. I haggled down real estate commission when our house was sold (saved us an extra $500 on top of lowering the rate for repeat business because she sold the house to us). I haggle when I can but I also choose the place where to do it. A recent visit to a vintage shop cost me a $28 step stool/seat for my toddler. I had wanted a wooden stool for $8.50 but he didn’t want it. He sat on the $28 stool and said he “loved” it. We don’t even use the word LOVE for affections on things, so I wonder where he picked that up. I went up to the counter and haggled it down to $20. The lady said she couldn’t engage in haggling. Ok, sure.

As soon as we got home, I told my husband that I tried to haggle but he and a friend said that it’s not normal in America to haggle.

YOU’RE KIDDING ME!!! You’re kidding me???

I don’t know how much truth there is in their opinions but I would like to know for sure. I just don’t understand why haggling would not be used to get better deals. I don’t see anything wrong in doing that if used in appropriate places. I don’t haggle at farmers markets because I support and value them. I will haggle one-off or rare transactions, such as property sale commission, buying cars or big-ticket items, and going to vintage shops.


The infamous $28 vintage Cosco high chair

Ban shopping my a$$!!!

Obviously, I failed to ban myself from shopping for kid stuff this month. Sigh. It’s so hard!

I thought I was getting good at it, until today. I checked my emails, saw an email from MyHabit. I saw sale of t-shirts for kids and I thought:

Uhm, I should google The Beatles t-shirts for him.

Our little man likes The Beatles and so far likes their Yellow Submarine song a lot. And whaddya know, MyHabit had Lords of Liverpool Kids sale today! The first shirt I saw was Yellow Submarine in big prints and lyrics.


Then I know of the promo code MYHABIT1 for my first purchase, which gives me $10 off, and then there’s free shipping. I couldn’t help it! I just had to get my child those cute shirts so I bought 2.

And my husband also bought 2 using the code and free shipping.

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Total: $40 for 4 shirts. Shirts that our child will very much appreciate…

Or we’re making up that last sentence to feel good about our purchase.

Shopping ban on kid’s stuff

Sometime in May I thought about banning myself and my husband from buying anything, except food, for our little man. It has not left my mind since the day I thought of it.

In May, we spent around $385 on our child – toys, tickets, clothing and shoes! I mean, wow!

Image from

It’s not that we are sorry we bought him things, but there were a couple of mindless decisions there. We bought his strider and scooter at the same time. We bought 2 throw blankets for him because the first buy was not a well-thought-out decision. Maybe there’s more but I can’t remember now.

Personally, a strider and a scooter are too much in one go, but we did it because we couldn’t decide on either since he was an infant. We did the either/or thing, and obviously that didn’t work. What’s the difference in buying them at separate times when we knew we were going to get them  both anyway.

So it’s hard to kill the excitement when I see sale items on Gilt, One Kings Lane, MyHabit, Overstock, Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc.

So far, we’ve only spent $28 for babysitting him on date night. But, oh goodness, give me strength to ignore temptation!!! I have this thing where I can be so cheap on myself but I will splurge on my loved ones. I don’t even understand why I do that.

Twenty-seven more days left on my self-imposed ban. So far I’ve found myself “sometimes” making a mental wish list for him that would disappear. Those things are obviously not necessary to get. So I guess it’s working after all. 🙂

Shopping galore

From my post on this weekend’s shopping plan, let me show you what I ended up buying.

  • A pair of jeans. Check! $40 @ Macy’s but today (5.5.11) it’s only $29.99. Well, finding the right pair took awhile because I had to be realistic about the style. Pants that rest on my hips no longer work for me. I end up with a muffin top! Eek. So I got myself a BandolinoBlu Jeans Mandie Classic Fit Straight Leg. I still have not lost my pregnancy tummy and this style is the best if you have a bit of a pouch after giving birth. It sits just a bit above the waist and hugs the hip and emphasizes your (and my) behind. 🙂
  • A non-black skirt. I didn’t manage to get this but my husband and kiddo did for Mother’s Day! 🙂 They got it at Twill and I just found out that it was $72 when I logged onto internet banking. 😛

  • A pair of slacks. Check! $39.98
  • Dress socks. Fail!
  • Casual socks for Jonno. Fail! I called him from the mall to let him know that I was running low on energy after circling the shops for 3 hours. 😛
  • A multi-function wallet. I checked the wallet that I thought I wanted twice! I even took out my old wallet to compare but there’s nothing different to justify the spending. I’m after a squarish wallet that has a zipped coin compartment and an ID window outside. I don’t want to show my bus pass by opening my wallet. I don’t want extra steps in my life. I found this which I think I will get in store, so hopefully they’re stock in downtown when I check in this week.
  • And more: a dress $23, 2 tops $30, and a Levi’s denim skirt $38. 🙂 These are the unplanned buys, but I’m happy! I’m going to put away a few clothes to give away. I don’t plan to accumulate clothes again. Ever!

Total damage: $160.56.