Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chic Habits: Water and Hydration

I know that when I drink plenty of water I feel really good, and if I don’t I usually end up with a headache.  Most days I drink lots of glasses of water, away from mealtimes.  Drinking water too close to eating food hinders digestion, as the liquid dilutes your digestive juices.  I read ages ago that you are best to avoid drinking a lot of fluid within half an hour of a meal, and at least one hour after.

So once breakfast is over I have quite a few glasses in the morning, and the same again in the afternoon.  I don’t tend to drink a lot of anything after dinner as I want to have a good night’s rest without getting up for the loo!

A chic habit I have been implementing lately is to have a ‘dedicated water day’.  I will either have a one-litre jug on the kitchen bench, filled with water and maybe a few slices of lemon, or I will treat myself to a large bottle or a couple of smaller bottles of still mineral water.

My goal is to drink two litres of water by dinner time.  Just think of the toxins being flushed out of your body, your skin being plumped up and rehydrated, and all your hard-working internal organs having plenty of clean, fresh water to let them do their job well.

I always feel so refreshed when I have a day where I focus on two litres of water, and an added bonus is that when I’ve just had a glass of water, I don’t look around for something to nibble on.  Win/win.

American measurements – two litres of water equals roughly half a gallon, just over two quarts or 68 ounces.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The No Spend Month

I have been inspired lately by Tracy’sblog.  Tracy is going through tough times financially but bravely putting it out there to get herself going and I must say it’s very inspiring for me too.

I know my husband and I have it much better than a lot of people, but we are still chipping away at our home loan.  We have plans to pay it off early and that is going well, but I feel like I’ve been a little complacent in other areas.  I’m not a huge spender but still buy things here and there that aren’t really necessary and do contribute to our clutter.

I have no trouble keeping out of shops, and when I’m there for a specific reason (I rarely go to ‘just browse’ anymore because it’s too boring for words) I buy that item (having first waited until a time that it will be on special) and then leave.

Online shopping however is another story.  I enjoy buying books, dvds and cosmetics from the comfort of my home and, well, it’s just too easy and I do it too often.  Because all the purchases are on my credit card I can easily add them up with the click of an Excel formula.  I was shocked at how much all those small amounts totalled over the past twelve months.

At the beginning of February Tracy started a No Spend Month, and I also read about a similar idea at Simple Savings.  I was encouraged to start my own no spend month and there are already at least three occasions that I went to purchase something online and then remembered my promise to myself.

I left those items in the shopping cart and instead wrote them down in the first week of March of my diary.  I wrote the item name, where it was from and the price.

I have occasionally been back to visit those items and one even had 10% off just for that weekend.  The month of February crawled for me, realizing there was still more than two weeks to go before I could buy this item!  As the month progressed though, I’ve found my wanting for these things has waned.

In New Zealand, if I cannot obtain something from a New Zealand etailer, I order from a US or UK store.  A New Zealand order comes within a day or two, but when I wait 1-4 weeks for an order from afar, sometimes I have forgotten the appeal and when it turns up I don’t even want it that badly.  Isn’t that terrible?

So even though it’s been a bit annoying at the time that I cannot just ‘click and buy’ but rather ‘click and then realise and then write it in my diary and then not buy’, I’m really pleased I did it.

My no-spend month has been so successful that I am considering making it an ongoing feature of my financial life, where I have to wait until one month’s time to buy something.  So if I see a book I want on the 17th of February, I will write it in the week of 17th of March to see if I still want it.  Some books I have purchased online I haven’t even opened yet, and we are talking several months!  Gee, I really had to have that book didn’t I?  It’s changed my life hasn’t it?

Fiction I have no problem getting out of the library and happily returning when read.  Non-fiction on the other hand I seem to have given myself a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  Because it’s non-fiction it’s serious and important stuff and I NEED it for my home library.

But what about that other, free, non-cluttering library, the one I pay for with my property rates?  I can borrow a particular non-fiction book more than once, whenever I want to read it.    And it’s only the newest books that have big queues, the ones I’m considering for my home library I can easily borrow pretty much straight away.

Now we are in the first week of March, I happily left two items unpurchased that I had written down.  I did order one second-hand book from Abe Books (US10 including postage), so I think I did pretty well.  None of the three items were big, but as I said before, all those rats and mice add up.  Having participated in ‘No Spend February’ I reduced my expenditure – and clutter – by 2/3 and I'm happy with that.

I am definitely using the ‘one month out’ diary method for any future online purchases now.  Do you use any tricks on yourself?
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