When we rounded up our staff's Weekly Upgrades last Saturday, our editors were untangling pesky headphone cords, basking in true crime TV, baking puff pastry, and finally closing out our excess browser tabs.
This week, several of us were more focused on personal improvements, whether that looked like careful budgeting, finally catching up with old friends, embracing the importance of breakfast, or taking the time to soothe persistent skin problems.
What upgrades did you make this week? Let us know in the comments.
Clear out app clutter (under duress)
After iTunes failed to copy all my data from my iPhone 6S to my new 8, I spent a couple of hours manually downloading and logging into all my apps. Turns out, that's a great way to get rid of apps I never use. Thanks, Apple.
Nick Douglas, Staff Writer
Invest in some brightly-coloured new wheels
I bought a lovely new bike from tokyobike and I couldn't be happier with it. She's yellow and her name is Miss Mustard. We enjoy rides to the shops for groceries.
Patrick Allan, Staff Writer
Consider the state of your scalp
I got prescription shampoo for my gross scalp. Really my head feels so much better. I was using OTC stuff and it just wasn't working. Then I went to the derm and now I have gross sulphur shampoo but my head is falling off anym ore.
Claire Lower, Food and Beverage Editor
Make a plan to catch up with long-lost pals
I wrote down a list of friends I haven't seen in a while. I'm trying to go down the list and schedule time with each one, even if it will take me months. I think writing their names down helps me take initiative, instead of wistfully wondering what they're up to and assuming it's just too hard to get together these days.
Michelle Woo, Parenting Editor
Break your bad breakfast habits
I'm bad at breakfast. More often than not, a latte is my first meal of the day (I classify the coffee portion as a sort of liquefied version of cereal). Occasionally I'll snatch a breakfast wrap from a bodega, but my frugal lifestyle discourages me from making it a daily habit. Besides, by the time I'm at my desk and ready to eat, I've already lost my appetite, and would prefer something a little more appropriate for lunch.
The solution is simple: Outsource breakfast, and make sure it's on the cheap. My new routine now involves a slice of breakfast quiche, mankind's greatest invention. The quiche itself is inexpensive, about the same price as that breakfast wrap, and procured from my nearby market after a typical workday. My voracious eating habits mean the quiche only lasts about three days, but it also means I'm full of food and fuel before those days begin. Quiche-free days usually mean I'm full of 'tude instead of food, making me seriously consider the whole "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" thing as more than a dumb catchphrase.
Patrick Austin, Staff Writer
Make a plan for where your money's going
I'm usually reasonably good about saving and sticking to some semblance of a budget, but I can also play it fast and loose when it comes to charging stuff on a whim. Plus, within the last few months, I both moved to a much more expensive apartment and started a new job, meaning that my finances changed significantly, and the half-baked budget strategy I had in place before was totally out of date.
This week, I sat down and took a close look at my income and recurring expenses, and put together a new budget based on the "50/30/20" rule — 50 per cent of your income should be for necessities (rent, groceries, electricity); 30 per cent for fun stuff (restaurants, shopping, travel); and 20 per cent for savings. I also made a plan for what to do with that 20 per cent savings (a mix of emergency fund, retirement accounts and other investments), and I have to say, having a concrete plan in place is a huge relief from a problem I didn't even realise had been causing me stress.
Virginia K. Smith, Managing Editor