Edel Grace

Programmer, Developer, Enthusiast


February 2018 in Review

Mar 3, 2018 | Comments


February felt so short! Shorter than usual. I suppose it always feels this short because February is short already. Also, Reading Week is a week where we have the entire week off so it’s inherently less productive due to the less hours.

I started using Todoist as my organizational system but we’ll see whether or not it sticks. So far I like it. But I’ve been using the premium version and I might have to pay for it soon… Not looking forward to that. My Amazon Prime and YNAB subscriptions also need to be renewed this month. March will be expense heavy.


  • Feb 05: Limericks for dinner
  • Feb 07: Went to the gym
  • Feb 08: My grandfather passed away
  • Feb 16: Went to the zoo (post)
  • Feb 17-18: Attended a hackathon (post)
  • Feb 19: Dinner at BlueFin (post)
  • Feb 23: Watched Black Panther


Overall spending in February

My total monthly expenses for this month. I’m not sure whether to include “savings” as an expense since it’s just that: savings. So in reality, it’s $481.45 of spending but that’s still quite a lot, unfortunately.

Just for fun: Going out, a lot of eating, and Humble Bundle subscription

We went to the zoo and watched Black Panther so that took up most of the expenses. The zoo is expensive, nearly $60 for two people. As always, I eat out too much. I keep telling myself I need to cut down on it but I lack the discipline. I gained a couple of pounds, unfortunately.

Bills: Tuition/school, phone, transit

I accidentally bought a day pass instead of a 1.5 hour ticket. Whoops. Also, I signed up for graduation and the convocation ceremony fee is hefty.

Expenses: Clothes, food, and misc

I bought some tights and they were really cute. They had cat faces on them! I also went grocery shopping for some stuff for my boyfriend. And I accidentally forgot to cancel my Kindle Unlimited trial and was charged for a month.

Bills (optional): Gym and netflix

I need to cancel my gym membership. I’ve been going to my university gym instead. My boyfriend and I watch more than enough Netflix to justify the price.

Hours of Sleep

Hours of sleep

Wow! I was really on the nose for my average amount of sleep this month. I averaged around 7 and a half hours of sleep per night. That’s pretty good. You can see my four hours of sleep from the hackathon and the immediate recovery I had the next day. Overall, I’m pretty happy.

Hours spent on phone

Hours spent on my phone

I’m not happy with my almost 10 hours of phone usage but that was during the hackathon where I was dead tired to do anything else. I forgive myself for that. But I’m determined not to spend too much time on my phone this time around.

Books Read

  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Sky is Yours by Chandler Kang Smith (post)

Goals for this month

  • Keep up my 7 and a half hour sleeping average
  • At least $50 less in spending on food
  • Keep up my Todoist streak of completing 5 tasks per day
  • Absolutely no Reddit or Tumblr this month

January 2018 in Review

Feb 8, 2018 | Comments

My 2018 started pretty quick. By the 2nd of January, I was back in class. I took a block week course and barely survived. My sleep schedule was terrible and waking up for an 8:00 AM class everyday was extremely jarring.



  • Jan 02: Started classes
  • Jan 03: Dinner at Limericks
  • Jan 06: Dinner at Seoul Korean BBQ
  • Jan 07: Winded some yarn and started on a shawl (post)
  • Jan 10: Went to the gym

    Trying to run fast

  • Jan 16: Went to a Crochet and Knitting Meetup
  • Jan 17: Went to the gym

    My gym partner took forever to come so I spent over an hour on the treadmill

  • Jan 19: Went to BlueFin for all you can eat sushi (post)
  • Jan 20: Celebrated my birthday with friends at Moon Korean BBW (post)
  • Jan 21: Went to Taco Time with my cousin for discounted food (post)
  • Jan 23: Tried Tango lessons
  • Jan 24: Dinner at Sho Sushi
  • Jan 31: Went to the gym

    My gym partner didn't show up but that's okay I planned for this

  • Jan 31 (cont’d): Also went to Kilkenny’s for a charity event that my friend was hosting. It was a lot of fun! We ate really huge burgers and played some trivia games. My brother and I were in a team together and we were extremely uncultured. That’s okay, it was still fun. One of my other friends, Ray, got super drunk and we were carpooling and it was a really interesting ride. Thankfully our driver was sober!


Overall spending in January

Bills: Tuition, phone, and account interest/fees

Optional bills: gym and netflix

Just for fun: Mostly eating out, bought Civ 6, went to see Jumanji, and bought an app (a sleep tracker)

Bought a mouse because mine broke, not sure what the misc category is to be honest

Hours of Sleep

Tracked the hours I slept, I seem to sleep around 6.5 hours on average

Hours spent on phone

Hours I spend on my phone. Thankfully I seem to be spending less and less time on my phone


All in all, it was a good month. I spent a lot more than I wish I should have. Tuition is a no brainer but still. I need to get a job. That’s the goal for next month hopefully.

I Watched: Westworld

Feb 1, 2018 | Comments

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers, and mentions of death and sex. You have been warned!

This year my SO introduced me to Westworld, a TV series that recently had their first (and last?) season end. Westworld is a highly advanced Western theme park populated with extremely life-like robots that cater to every want of their guests. It is rife of violence, alcohol, sex, and whatever you could imagine in the wild West. One of the founders of the park boasted that the park was able to let the guests find their true selves.

However, not everything is as delicately planned and controlled as one would hope. Some of the hosts go haywire and the line between humans and hosts become blurred.

There were several things that have surprised me about this show, mainly all the plot twists. The main one being (again, spoiler alert) that one of the employees at the park is, in fact, a robot himself. He had been created in the likeness of one of the deceased park’s creators and the partner of the current surviving park creator. When this was revealed, it blew my mind. I had already read a theory on Reddit that this character was a host but I thought the commenter were just reading too much into it. Turns out, they were right!

I’m conflicted about this. I read this theory after watching episode two of the season. Does this mean that this was too predictable and the writing inadequate? If I had never read that theory, I never would have guessed. Thankfully, I dismissed the theory as being too “out there” and was still incredibly surprised with the big reveal.

Despite this, I still found it to be a pretty interesting and compelling series. The acting in it is superb and it is visually stunning. I hear that might be a second season of Westworld and I am looking forward to it wholeheartedly!

I'm Stuffed

Jan 22, 2018 | Comments

Disclaimer: These are my own opinions of these restaurants, this post is not sponsored!

This weekend was a very filling one. Each day I was eating something yummy, somewhere!


My brother and my cousin went to Blue Fin Sushi. They have an all you can eat lunch pretty cheaply for $17.84 CAD. No limits or anything! I was supposed to go with them last week but I ended up missing it. Last week my cousin ate so much he threw up. I took that as a good sign that they wouldn’t skimp out on the food.

So my brother and cousin suggested to go again and I could finally go with them! I had been waiting for this lunch the entire week. I definitely did not push myself to the point of throwing up but I did eat enough to feel considerably full. I could have powered through one more order but it is a lot of sushi!

One order of sushi


My birthday was last December. I originally planned for a lunch but the weather was extremely bad. It snowed quite a lot and the roads were terrible for driving. So I cancelled it and then rescheduled! Unfortunately not everyone could make it still but still had good attendance.

The person who couldn’t make it was the person we were counting on guiding us through the menu since he’s been there a couple of times. I decided on going to Moon Korean BBQ because I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about it from my friends. It was the cutest little restaurant. The decor was minimalistic but also homely with some Korean pop music going on in the background.

They even had the cutest cutlery sets!

Pretty dishes

Anyway, we ended up just getting the all you can eat menu. We had a two hour time limit of 10 different items per round. We ate a lot of meat and opted for grilling our food ourselves (but not without some handholding from our server).

Meat grilling on the table

The food was absolutely delicious. I wish I remembered to buy cheesecake for dessert though. 10 out of 10, would eat again!


Sunday was much less glamorous. My cousin had coupons for Taco Time and we just went and bought burritos. I bought a beef and cheese burrito and, man, it is a lot of meat. I could not finish it and felt full for the rest of the day. We also went to buy timbits for a snack afterwards.

There was a Goodwill nearby and we decided to drop in. I’ve never been there before and wanted to see what was there. There were a bunch of cheap tea sets that made me think of Moon Korean BBQ. I know where I will shop for my dishes and such for when I move out!

In Summary

This weekend was really nice! I spent too much money and calories on food, however. I’m hoping to cut down on all this food from this point forward.

Uber Frugal Month January 2018: Day 1

Jan 2, 2018 | Comments

This is a month-long challenge held over at Frugalwoods. Feel free to join whenever you can!

Today’s Mantra: Anything in life that’s worth doing takes effort.

Today’s Action: Write down why you’re participating in the Uber and answers to

The Homework

Step 1: Establish your goals

Why are you participating in this challenge?

I want to build good spending habits for when I move out. I currently still live with my parents and admittedly am still quite spoiled. I’ve had most things paid for me and have a “safety net” if my spending ever gets out of hand.

What do you hope to achieve?

I hope I can nip frivolous spending in the bud. I really want to cut out expenses that I really don’t need.

What are your longterm life goals?

Oof this is a big question. I’d love to be FIRE (financially independent and retire early). There are many hobbies and pursuits I’d love to devote myself to. I want to learn languages, read a lot of books, learn hpw to play guitar, keep on crocheting and knitting, blog about life, travel… The list goes on.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Graduated. Moved out. In a city that isn’t Calgary. Workimg a job I don’t despise. Be close to RE and already FI.

What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it?

I am spending too much and saving too little. I need to build those habits and learn to live without.

Step 2: Review last month’s spending

I use You Need a Budget to track my spending. It’s a great app and I’ve been using it for a whie now. I’m a little hesitant to look at my December spending but let’s jump in anyway…

December spending pie chart

$733.12 CAD doesn’t sound like a lot but it is when you take into the fact that I have no income and all that money is coming from my savings.

It’s no surprise that most of my spending is “Just for Fun.” This is the category I use for eating out and my hobbies.

I spent about what I expected for gifts. I budget $200 for 4 people. Then I had to add 2 more people for Secret Santas. So all in all, $179.28 for 6 people isn’t bad!

My bills include my phone, tuition, therapy, and any account fees. I don’t see myself reducing this any further.

Optional bills are gym and Netflix. I share a Netflix account with my SO and we split the bill but it does come from my card. We both use it a lot so it justifies the spend. I didn’t go to the gym more than once last month but I share the membership with my brother. I need to downgrade my membership as I still intend on going to the gym.

Expenses are clothes. I did have one unnecessary clothes purchase. I don’t regret it at all and my SO was pleased but it was still unncessary.

Since Sears was closing down they put everything on clearance. I managed to buy four cute orange plates for my future apartment just for $6.22.

Step 3: CategorIze your expenses

Done and done. Anything not bills are discretionary.

Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?

This is tough. I would love to no longer eat out but that is a good chunk of my expenses.

  • Clothes: I got tons of clothes for Chrisrmas. I don’t need anymore.
  • Coffee: I don’t even like coffee and I always feel gross and groggy.
  • Eating out on campus: I can’t avoid eating out entirely because date nights but I really do not need to eat out on campus. I’ll bring my own food.
  • Yarn: While I didn’t get any yarn last month I do not need any more yarn and I always impulse buy yarn.
  • Future moving out items: That can wait for when I have cash flow.
  • Books: Who needs to buy books when you have free library memberships??
  • Video games: I have a ton that need playing still. No steam sales for me!
  • Gym membership: This is a hard maybe. I prefer the gym equipment. I might just downgrade it.

Step 5: Embrace the art of substitution

  • Coffee = homemade tea. We have a bunch of peppermint tea bags. I should use them.
  • Expensive gym = less expensive gym. I currently pay $22 per month for my gym. I can downgrade to $12.

Step 6: Reduce spending on discretionary expenses

The main thing here is food. My SO and I eat out a lot. Time to load up on coupons amd cashback deals and get the cheapest options or smaller portions.

Step 7: Empower yourself to insource

I could have insourced a lot of my gifts from last month since I know how to crochet and knit. Time to load up on mitts, hats, gloves, scarves, and headbands.

Step 8: Examine your habits

Main places where I buy things: on campus, in the mall, at Walmart, Steam, Amazon, at my SO’s house. I could avoid the campus food court entirely and refuse to come with my friends. I could not go to Walmart when I don’t need to. I could start bringing food to my SO’s house.

Step 9: Plan ahead

I think the main theme here is to pack my own food!! That’s my main flaw. I’m too lazy and my own cooked food doesn’t taste as good. Time to hone my cooking skills.

Step 10: If you do buy stuff, get it used/cheap

Steps 8 and 9 pretty much covered this. I’m pretty sure I can get away with avoiding some of my spending completely.

Step 11: Banish excuses

I’m trying! We’ll see how this goes. I have no excuses for most of the things that I can eliminate.


A photo of me

My name is Edel Grace Altares. My programming interests include full stack development and back end development. My languages of choice are Python and Java. Outside of programming I enjoy crocheting, video games, cats, historical fiction, and reading.