Save. Spend. Splurge.

Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Seeing as now I am not sure I will be able to work again for perhaps the entire year, it’s time to go into Semi-Emergency Mode.

I hate Semi-Emergency Mode, but it is not as bad as Emergency Mode (which is beans and rice, and zero, ZERO spending whatsoever).

I do not want to live like this, and it is not realistic for me, but it has to be done until things change.

What is Semi-Emergency Mode for me?

Frankly, it’s probably a normal budget to everyone else. 😛

I have been spending wildly and I know it. I’m a bit of a Grasshopper which I talk a bit about in my newest Investing Like a Boss book.

Knowing I have money saved is a great thing, but I need to make it last and stretch it until I get a contract which in hindsight would have been smarter to do once I stopped working completely, but I did not expect this curveball of not being able to find a contract after a full year of not working, amidst what some people are calling “the end of the Canadian recession” but companies are not hiring freelance contractors like me to guard their cash reserves until the U.S. settles down, politically.


It is what it is.

I still have fixed bills to pay, about $1500 a month which includes all ‘shelter’ which are condo fees, apartment and car insurance, municipal taxes, and utilities only.

I don’t have a mortgage, because we paid cash for our home.


  • Baby Bun’s playgroup at a cost of about $50 a month until he goes back to daycare – well worth my sanity so $600 a year
  • Baby Bun’s clothes and necessary items only if he grows too big and NEEDS NEW PANTS and his disposable diapers for night (we love the Naty 5 Pullups)
  • Internet – A given, really.
  • Our upcoming vacation to Europe – about $2000 for my half (generous allocation for food and eating) and my family is coming to visit, so another $1000? I do not know. I will be careful in my spending, but I am not getting rid of this, family comes first and we haven’t traveled in a few years, so no one from his side has seen Baby Bun. I want to do this yearly, I would keep this vacation to Europe over anything else.
  • Gifts to family and friends who are having babies for the most part – I luckily stocked up on my partner’s gifts for the year (all wine), so I’m good there, I am allocating $1000 here but will not eliminate it. Good friends are hard to find.
  • Gas to drive around aiming for $50 a month or $600 a year, although I am going to stop going out everyday and will only go out for Baby Bun’s playgroup and not because we’re bored. Time to learn some interesting home activities and to clean & declutter furiously in an attempt to stave off boredom.
  • Medical-anything – If necessary. We’re talking antibiotics and prescriptions.
  • One Single Dentist visit – I need at least one cleanup this year, will wait until the end of the year
  • Anything government-related – I need to get a new passport (along with paying for new photos) and have to renew registration yearly
  • Legal fees – We are handling two cases, so this is luckily a rather low-cost thing compared to what it could be, but necessary..


Aside from that, the following items will be rationed and cut down quite considerably but not eliminated yet; if I go onto Year 3 of Not Working, many will be eliminated completely.

  • Any and all treats and eating out – David’s Tea (now I am putting less tea to steep); Starbucks anything; Cafés for pastries; Cakes, etc
  • Medical supplements – I eat a Bio-K capsule every other day, and take Bio-Sil & Fermented Cod Pill supplements which have all shown to stop me from getting as sick as my partner & Baby Bun (I am amazed). Plus it’s good for my skin. I may stretch this stuff to every 3 days.
  • Skincare products – I won’t give up my pricey skincare products but I am going to ration them instead of going wild and just splashing it all over the place; we are doing a few drops mixed into moisturizer and that’s it. If anything truly runs out and I need it (e.g. moisturizer or sunscreen), I am going to repurchase.
  • Metro tickets aiming for $25 a month because it is an activity and it gets me out of the house with Baby Bun but I do not need to do this daily
  • Telephone – I already have it down to a basic plan but I am not adding more minutes or calling anyone to bump it up unless it is contract-work related.
  • Parking – I already don’t pay much here, about $53.38 from last year’s budget but let’s make it zero
  • Postage – I have been mailing out cards and random gifts to family and friends, this will stop unless it is necessary or related to getting income
  • Drycleaning & repairs of all kind – Unless dire and necessary, no more dry cleaning, repairs or fixing of anything. I have a list of what needs to get done, and it is not happening until I get some money in the bank. I do need to take my down coats in once a year along with my sheepskin boots to get them cleaned to avoid permanent damage, but nothing beyond that


  • All frivolous shopping – I do not need anything, no more jewellery, clothes, shoes, or things; good thing I have started DIY’ing stuff like that cuff above. Did you see my newest video on this? 🙂 I have started doing videos so if you have any questions you want me to answer via video, let me know (anonymously or not).
  • All makeup is out – I don’t need any makeup, let alone MORE makeup, although I am sorely tempted by a huge list of things I’d like
  • All primping/spa is out – I haven’t had my hair cut in a year, I was planning on doing it with a contract signed so until I get one, I am not cutting my hair.
  • All books, magazines and music – Time to get friendly with my library with a physical hardcopy instead of an e-book
  • Anything yoga or workout related – I have the yoga app, I am filling my evenings and weekends with heavy duty yoga workouts; when summer hits, we are walking in the park & spending FREE time outside
  • All electronic purchases – Time to sell what I don’t use and as for electronic purchases, I am in need of NOTHING. Even if this laptop dies, I have two more in reserve. The only thing I could replace is my e-reader if it dies but I already bought a new refurbished one last year (I really do read a lot), but that’s it.
  • All toy and book purchases for Baby Bun – Anything for fun only, is gone. He has plenty, and we have a whole stock of toys in this local Toy Library we can borrow from and return, not to mention our local library.

This is going to suck, but not as bad as if I had to go into Emergency Mode by which I’d hole up in the house and go nuts with Baby Bun doing NOTHING AT ALL.

Well, at least summer will be upon us 😉

What does it all add up to?

If we take my last year’s budget as a marker, this is what I should be spending this year, halving what I spent last year by 54.19%.

I have shown last year’s budget, and this year’s new one with Annual 2017 numbers (but January and February, mind, are a wash because I only just recently instituted Semi-Emergency mode).

General Monthly = What I should be spending on average per month based on that budget.

Actual Monthly = Fixed amounts that should be spent; the rest are ‘one-time’ or ‘all-at-once’ expenses that aren’t spread out monthly, but come and smack you in the face in one big bill.

I track all of my spending and expenses with The Budgeting Tool, and I am still sticking to my Investing Like a Boss Strategy outlined here while using The Investing Tool to track & manage it all for less than 4 hours a year.

I’m afraid, I am really going to have to try and live off the blog now.

I won’t lie, this is not going to be easy, nor perfect, and it will very well suck for me.

Will I be able to do this?

Don’t know. Guess we’re going to find out what I am made out of. YAY!


  • CorianneM

    Ay that sucks 🙁 wish you all the best & who knows, sometimes these are the moments where new doors open for you.

  • Tania

    Best of luck to you on finding a new contract! I am job searching myself. Ditto on the comment above regarding library books. My library in the US, I’m able to easily load borrowed ebooks on my kindle now but the ebook selection is less so I do some hardcopies too.

    Don’t skimp on the dental (hopefully you can get two cleanings in). Dental health affects all other sorts of areas of health.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you! Good luck to you on your job search too.

      I need to get my mother’s library card and borrow from the Toronto Library online. Montreal isn’t that advanced yet…

      Yes, I know.. dental health is key. I do brush and floss regularly, plus use interdental brushes. I tend not to have many (if any) issues when I go to the dentist but in recent years I’ve dropped over $10,000 for Invisalign, a new brace for my back teeth and a root canal. O_o

      I am okay with regular cleanings now but no more major dental work.

  • Kathy

    I will not ask what has changed for you but will simply say I hope you and your family are well and this is not a health crisis. Best wishes and I hope to continue “seeing” you here.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you Kathy, I appreciate the thoughts! I will continue blogging (more than ever to keep myself busy).

      It is more that I didn’t remember that I can’t travel now because of Baby Bun and I am limited to staying in my city, which means I am unable to take contracts to fill the void. I effectively lengthened my contract bench time from 1 year max to 3 years now or longer.

  • Alexis

    You should be able to get free ebooks from your library (through overdrive) your old university (if you went to one, and get an alumni card) and through

    Good luck!

  • tomatoketchup

    Out of curiosity given your current situation: any regrets buying the house?
    Hope the job prospects improve soon, and good luck with everything!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Zero. Good question though.

      I have zero regrets buying the place because my rent has dropped significantly down to $500 a month (average over the year) instead of $1000. I am still paying all the other bills (e.g. electricity) as I did before. It has saved me $6000 even though it ate my liquid cash flow.

      I still have around $100,000 I can tap into for my savings but it goes by quick the longer I stay benched.

      As I mentioned to Kathy it is more that I didn’t remember that I can’t travel now because of Baby Bun and I am limited to staying in my city, which means I am unable to take contracts to fill the void. I effectively lengthened my contract bench time from 1 year max to 3 years now or longer. We made a pact that we would both be present parents and not ones who travel for work, so… :\

      The good news is that if by the end of year 3 (END I said, not start.. 😉 ).. .. I should be able to get a 6-figure job fairly easily ($120K is about my going rate as an employee)…

      I just don’t want to work for a company or a salary, as I am too used to being a lone wolf but I’ll do it if I go for 2 more years on the bench without finding anything. I’m just gearing up for the long haul.

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