Year of Sacrifice

Back in June, when Joe and I met at the library for a super-professional soon-to-be-unprofessional meeting, I had no idea how drastically things were about to change.

I had debts, and two jobs, and I was putting the minimum amount on my debts each month, but I couldn’t really do much more than that. I wasn’t really buying groceries, because my job at the eatery meant I brought home a lot of expired or extra food. I didn’t really do much personal spending, but I also wasn’t trying that hard not to.

During a few long drives, and trips to the beach, I’d heard Joe refer to something called his “year of sacrifice.” It sounded awful, and boring, and not at all appealing. He had spent the last year saving money by eating rice and beans every day. For every meal.


I’d die.

And that wasn’t even part of the sacrifice, he said. The year of sacrifice was to start in August, when he moved to a cheaper apartment. Before we’d started dating, he’d had a plan. A very clear plan, to spend less on rent, food and anything else.

And then I blew that plan right out of the water.

Dating, especially at the beginning, is not cheap. Sorry, Joe, to throw such a wrench in your plans. 😉

Perhaps I was supposed to say no to pizza, to Thai food, to sushi, to ice cream, to french fries, to Indian food. Perhaps I was supposed to offer to cook instead.


I thoroughly enjoyed those months! It’s no coincidence that “wooed” rhymes with “food.”

But now, see, things are different. We’re not “dating” anymore, so much as we are “together”, and the expenses and plans are shared.

Which means… the sacrifices are now shared, and I actually have to take part in the process, instead of just making fun of his sad rice and beans from my side of the fence! Ah, the good ol’ days.

We’ve been talking a lot about sacrifices lately, and he has mentioned this dreaded “Year of Sacrifice” a few times. But now the game has changed. He knew what his sacrifices would be when he was a single man, but I am NOT eating rice and beans for a year. No way.

So what will they be now?

The Apartment

Right now, we pay $1095 total for the rent and an indoor parking space. Heat and hot water are included, but power is not and internet is not. We don’t have cable. We live downtown, which was convenient for me when I worked on Spring Garden Road, but now my work is… everywhere and nowhere at the same time. I have no “workplace,” so living downtown isn’t necessary. His café is in Bedford, off Hammonds Plains Road, so for him, living downtown means about 45 minutes of commuting every day.

We’ve done some searching, and managed to find a few apartment buildings nearer to his work that are not only cheaper, but include some of the things that we’re currently paying extra for, like parking.

I have always adored this apartment, and I will be sad to leave it, but I can’t deny that it’s a money-suck, especially for two people who want to travel and own a home within the next few years, and especially when we can potentially save $200-$300/month by moving to a cheaper/more convenient location.

I can argue a lot of things, trust me, but I can’t argue with logic.

His Car

On average, not counting maintenance costs, Joe pays about $820 per month for his car payments, insurance and gas. And he still owes just under $30,000 on it.

Not gonna lie, those numbers scare me. Which is precisely why I have never bothered to own a car!

He’s been toying with the idea of trading it in for a smaller, cheaper car. There really is no need for such a pricey vehicle, especially if we move closer to his café and his commute is drastically reduced to 5-10 minutes each way. The only other time we use/need it is once a week when we go get groceries, or sometimes going for drives on our days off together.

We have agreed that I won’t use it for my work, which will only accelerate the need for servicing/repairs (we learned that hard truth in January when I borrowed it for about 16 hours of driving in one week). I will just continue to rent when needed instead, which has so far been not only economical, but profitable.

My Professional License

I graduated almost four years ago from McGill, after an 8-month, unpaid, very expensive, gruelling internship, which guaranteed me jack-squat in the way of employment. In those four years, despite applying to hundreds of hospitals, universities, community health clinics, etc. I never managed to find secure, full-time employment as a dietitian. But every year, I cough up nearly $1000 to retain my license and my membership with Dietitians of Canada.

At this point, I’m happy with my job, which does not require me to remain a licensed dietitian. Even if I left my job, nobody would hire me as a dietitian anyway. I’ve been out of the game too long. The perfect time to get a job as a dietitian was when I was fresh out of school, but that time has come and gone. There is no reason to keep throwing money at something that has already cost me a great deal, just to keep some letters at the end of my name. At this point, I’m just wasting money trying to keep my pride and hold onto the past, when I should be saving it for whatever is in my future.

Time to relinquish the license!

Continue with the Meal Planning

Like I said, I was totally wooed by food. Joe knows how to win my love, and that is with a late-night romp to the Thai place down the street, for a big styrofoam box of noodle heaven. Or better yet, finding a spot at Suzuki for several pretty rows of veggies and fish wrapped up in warm rice, that we inhale like lines of cocaine.


As I was saying, food is totally the way to my heart. And Joe’s. We fell in love over scoops of ice cream and bowls of salty edamame. I won’t even pretend there was anything else to it.

That being said… it’s all very expensive. Since January, we have gone out to eat maybe one or two times. The rest of the time we are sticking to the meal plan that we come up with on Wednesdays. I cook, he tells me how wonderful I am and does the dishes. It’s a great system. And as I mentioned in my February review… we spent about $150 TOTAL on groceries in February. It is clearly working.

Does he still suggest pizza almost every night? Yeeees.

Do I still crave sushi almost 24/7? Duuuh.

That’s why it’s a sacrifice.

They are all sacrifices. I wasn’t too keen on any of them, but I know as well as he does that it’ll all be worth it when we are travelling through Europe, or sealing the deal on a house, or paying off all these debts that are looming over us.

Then we’ll go out and celebrate with fifteen plates of maki and die happy with ruptured stomachs in our new house.

How romantic!


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