If We Were on a Coffee Date…

December 11, 2015


I know I say stuff like this often, but I truly can’t believe it’s already December 11th. The first 10 days of the month have been a complete blur, filled with packaging up Mindful Budgeting 2016 Planners, shipping them all over the world and sending out tracking numbers – all while trying to keep up with my freelance work. On both Monday and Tuesday, I worked 15-hour days… and I don’t say that with a point of pride or to make it sound like I’m “busy” (I hate that word). I’m sharing that because it was the first time when I really felt like I was operating a business – and understood the commitment and devotion you have when it’s yours (and has your name on it).

There shouldn’t be many more days like that in 2015 but, honestly, I wouldn’t complain if there were. I’m learning so many lessons throughout this process – about both myself and this business – that I wouldn’t know, if I hadn’t turned this dream into a reality. But I can’t deny that I’d love to find a few more hours in each day, so I could do some writing! The good news is I think I’ll be able to take at least one week off freelance work, over the holidays… and then the new year will be here!

Anyway, since we haven’t talked much this week, I thought I’d take us all out for a virtual coffee date today. I published a post like this exactly 10 months ago, when I was travelling to New York City to spend a week with Shannon, David and Leanne. Today, I’ll just be hanging out at home and then at the post office – not quite as glamorous, but still exciting nonetheless. If we both had an hour to spare, though, I’d say we should meet for coffee and this is what I’d tell you…

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask if we could go to Starbucks so I could order one of their new holiday spice flat whites. I used a free drink coupon I’d been holding onto for a while, to get one last weekend, and it was such a delicious treat. I love cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Mmm mmm. :)

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you I’ve sold 264 planners (and only have 36 left!). Your first assumption might be that I’ve made $10,000+ – and that’s true, I suppose. But with the printing and shipping costs, I’ve also had big expenses to cover and won’t be making a huge profit. I’d tell you that I’m going to write a post in January that outlines all the costs and lessons I’ve learned, in case anyone is thinking of doing a similar project in the future and wants some tips. (I’ll need them for next year!)

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you that one of the things that has kept me… well, calm… during these past few weeks is the Calm app. I use it to meditate in the morning and again before bed, and sometimes I’ll just open the website during the day for relaxing white noise.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d show you the picture of the generous gift Penguin Random House Canada sent me this week. I knew they were sending me something, and figured it was going to be 2-3 books, but I never expected a stack this size. I’m already halfway through Love in Lowercase, and am really enjoying reading fiction again. Sometimes, I feel like I should constantly consume non-fiction… but a good story is a good story, whether it’s real or dreamt up. Thank you again, friends at PRH!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you I got another surprise in the mail this week: an adult colouring book from my friend Kayla! Seriously, what more could I ask for this Christmas? Not a darn thing. I am so lucky to have the friends and support system I do. <3

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask what your favourite thing about the holidays was. I’d joke and say my answer was penguins, hehe. That’s partially true… I do love seeing penguins everywhere! But my favourite thing has to be the buzz of magic in the air. The holidays are full of loving moments and surprises; bright lights and nights around the fire. Now if only it would snow here… I don’t think we’ve had a white Christmas since I was a teenager!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask if you had any goals or plans for 2016 yet. I’d tell you I don’t have many plans for the first half of the year, because I’ll be having / recovering from hip surgery… but that I’m planning a big trip for the fall!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you my other plans for 2016 are all blog and business-related. I’d tell you I’m publishing a free resource for anyone who is starting a shopping ban in 2016 on January 4th; Carrie and I have recorded the first 8 episodes of our new podcast which we are launching on January 5th; I’ll be teaching A Simple Year in July and want to create a course of my own; and I’m definitely going to launch a 2017 planner!

If we were on a coffee date, I’d also ask what your favourite podcasts are right now. I’d tell you I’m currently devouring old episodes of Death, Sex & Money as well as the Unmistakable Creative. I also listened to the first episode of Season 2 of Serial yesterday and am addicted all over again.

Finally, if we were on a coffee date, I’d ask if there was anything else you wanted to accomplish before the end of the year. I’d say I want to take at least one week off of everything: freelance work, the blog, everything. And I want to write an epic recap of the entire year, in a new format that I can use for years to come. Then I’d probably take my last sip of coffee and say it’s time to get back to work! But I wouldn’t say goodbye without a big hug. :)

What would you say if we had coffee today?


  • Reply Kristen December 11, 2015 at 4:28 am

    If we were on a coffee date, I would say 2015 was different then I expected. Through Podcasts, blogs like yours and other information I have completely changed my life. I am healthier and happier (most of the time!)
    If we were on a coffee date, I would say the highlights of my year were getting to know my 18 month old niece and going to Iceland.
    If we were on a coffee date, I would say I am excited to continue the lessons I have learned into 2016, to make it the best year ever. I would tell you about my upcoming trip and another I am planning.
    If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you I love your blog and find you inspiring. I would wish you all the best for 2016.

  • Reply Rob December 11, 2015 at 5:07 am

    Hi Cait!
    If we were on a coffee date, I would say that 2015 was a very busy and emotional year for our family and the year isn’t quite over just yet. Busy in the sense that we got more of our house projects completed, as well as increased our volunteering activities at the Senior’s Club that we belong to (I handle all their computer work and my wife has joined different committees). Emotional in the sense that my wife’s 95 y/o mom passed away this past May and recently I (and a buddy) painted rooms in a house that our church group is setting up for a refugee family who are scheduled to arrive in Toronto any day now, just in time for Christmas. So I like to think that, in payment for receiving a comfortable financial lifestyle, we are giving back in a small way to the benefit of others less fortunate.
    And also – if we were on a coffee date, I would like to wish you and your family all the best of the season and that your 2016 is a happy – and especially very healthy – year ahead. Keep smiling, blog friend!

  • Reply Amanda December 11, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I’d tell you that we “met” just a few months ago and I am learning so much from your posts. I will tell you to please keep posting & congratulations on a successful year. I am looking forward to your Shopping Ban 2016 plan for us readers as I am hoping to join in on the “fun.” :) Well done on selling those planners. I had no idea you were making, printing, & shipping them yourself! No easy task, but I am certain you have learned so much and I look forward to your post on that.

  • Reply Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies December 11, 2015 at 5:23 am

    What a fun coffee date it would be! Congratulations on all the success with your planners and all of your other endeavors in 2015. I second your podcast choices. If we were on a coffee date, I’d pretty much insist that we spend a fair chunk of it hypothesizing about the Taliban phone call! Have you given Criminal a go? Invisibilia and Hidden Brain are really compelling too. Wishing you a wonderfully relaxing and restful holiday season filled with friends and family.

  • Reply Steve Miller December 11, 2015 at 5:24 am

    Hi Cait – If we were on a coffee date I would listen to all you accomplished in 2015 and say “nicely done”!

  • Reply Isabelle December 11, 2015 at 5:47 am

    I we were on a coffee date I would listen much more than I talk, because I am an introvert and don’t share easily.
    I would tell you that I am working at being OK with who I am (introvert and all!). I would share that 2015 was all and all a good year, but that I hope 2016 to be even better. I would tell you that I am discouraged about my second house not selling after 6 months and losing so much money and energy on this. And that I am very happy with the new house, which I love dearly and am very proud of. I would tell you that my kids are just totally awesome and that I am gifted with a great husband. I would share that as much as I appreciate the money and time (I work only mornings) my job provides, sometimes I get very bored with it. But I came to terms with this and I am staying put. I would tell you that I am turning 35 in 3 weeks and that I am satisfied with where I am in life (married, kids, job, house, etc), but I am not happy about my physical state/health, and feeling like I am entering the second half of my life needing to make big changes and lose a lot of weight for my health and my self-confidence (like 80 pounds). All and all, I guess I would have a lot of things to share! Maybe I would talk more than I thought…
    Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Laura December 11, 2015 at 6:31 am

    If we were on a coffee date, we would spend the first few minutes drooling over how good the holiday spice flat white is! :-) I had a stars reward and got one the other day…trying to figure out how to get another without breaking my budget!

    Then I would tell you how your blog has motivated me to look a bit more closely at my life – what I want, where I want to go, etc. etc. I would thank you for the 2016 journal and that I was looking forward to continuing to improve my financial situation in 2016. And I would maybe thank you for including shipping -it isn’t cheap to ship books across the country… :-)

    And I need to go download some podcasts to keep me busy at work…Looking forward to your podcast in the new year!

  • Reply Maggie @ Northern Expenditure December 11, 2015 at 8:49 am

    You’ve had a great year, Cait, and I would love to have a coffee date with you… even virtually. I would tell you that 2015 has been a whirlwind of adventure, and energy house updates, and other projects and that I plan to slow down in 2016. Right now I have nothing concrete planned and it’s thrilling. I would tell you that my husband arranged his socks in the KonMarie method two weeks ago because I read the book and I told him we were doing it in 2016… and now his peaceful sushi-rolled socks make the rest of our house look frazzled. I’m excited to plunge in on making our house feel a bit more like that after the New Year. I would tell you that I’m heading to the UK for 3 weeks in the summer with my husband for our tenth anniversary and I am BEYOND EXCITED for the trip. 2016 should be a great year. I plan to be a lot more mindful about the things I choose to tackle.

  • Reply Erica December 11, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Hi Cait! If we were on a coffee date… I would update you on how amazing 2015 has been. I started following your blog in 2013 (the first blog I have ever followed) and it has truly changed my life. This year I changed jobs, moved 300 miles to the beach, paid off my credit card, made new friends and downsized my life by over 50%. I am almost out of debt – with only $4k left on my car loan. Today I purchased the Mindful Budgeting Planner :) Now I am feeling prepared to tackle 2016!

    Don’t worry so much about writing right now. You will have plenty of time while you are recovering next year. I want to say congratulations on all you have accomplished this year. Enjoy your week off- you deserve it. Thanks for the coffee date this morning… Cheers!

  • Reply Tawcan December 11, 2015 at 11:02 am

    If we were on a coffee date I’d update on how amazing 2015 has been. We are on track to receive over $10,000 dividend income for doing absolutely nothing at all. Our finances are as solid as ever. I switched my job position and are enjoying work more than ever due to the new challenges. We managed to go on 2 separate over-sea vacations and go to explore many new places.

    I’d also tell you that your blog is awesome….I wish mine can get as awesome as your in the future. :D

  • Reply Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor December 11, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Sometimes I feel torn over my urge to read fiction, when there is so much helpful non-fiction on my reading list. But I have always loved a good, well-written story and reading it from time to time keeps me sane. So I’d want to chat about fiction on a coffee date.

  • Reply Devon December 11, 2015 at 11:27 am

    If you enjoyed the first season of Serial you should listen to the Undisclosed podcast. It is a team of lawyers that really dig into the evidence and the law around the case. They give update on his case as well. Be careful though, it’s addicting!


  • Reply Alyssa @ Generation YRA December 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    If we were on a coffee date, I would say “I wish we could be here for hours!” because there is so much I would love to learn from you.
    If we were on a coffee date, I would give a huge wholehearted “Thank you,” for your reassuring words, evolving communities you’ve provided, and overall kick-butt hard work efforts that are done so in the most humble & modest of ways.
    If we were on a coffee date, I would show you a video of Penguins in a parade wearing (you guessed it) Christmas sweaters!! :)
    If we were on a coffee date, I would take note of all your incredible insights & accomplishments.
    If we were on a coffee date, I would pass on a gift card – that way you could share more time with others & enjoy even more holiday spice flat whites.

    Cait – thanks for everything you do! I hope you have the most marvelous break from freelancing. I look forward to reading your 2015 summary, and seeing what 2016 has in store!

  • Reply allroundbetterme December 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Hey Cait! I’d love to go for a coffee date with you! :)
    What would I say… that 2015 was a year of learning… and big milestones for me (I got married!)
    And that 2016 is going to be another crazy year (more weddings and travel). Not sure what it will bring, but hopefully lots more mindfulness and growth for me personally. I would say that I love penguins too, but am a bit more drawn to polar bears wearing scarves. In my household, we are secretly hoping for a white Christmas too, but we all know the likelihood of that in our area of the country is pretty slim… Anyway, I should get back to work myself… Ending the coffee date with a big hug and a sincere congratulations on the amazing success of your planner!

  • Reply Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless December 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Hey Cait,

    This is such a nice post. I remember your previous coffee date post too. :)

    So, if we were on a coffee date, I’d:
    – probably order herbal tea instead because if I have coffee after 7am I’ll be up all night.
    – recommend the podcast StartUp — if you haven’t heard it, you might consider checking it out. It’s about starting a business, and it’s done in a reality show style. Also, oh my gosh, if you want to listen to a podcast that is totally worthless education-wise but is super funny, check out “The Worst Idea of All Time”: two Kiwi comedians pledge to re-watch the same terrible Adam Sandler movie every week for a year, and review it AGAIN on the podcast each week. The first episode at least is worth listening to — I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe.
    – tell you that I PASSED my dissertation defense yesterday (!) and have been mostly wandering around in a kind of mental fog since then. I think the extreme nervousness and lack of sleep from the past few weeks has finally caught up with me. The only productive thing I did today was clean my bathroom (a worthwhile endeavor).
    – ask you how you’re feeling about the upcoming hip surgery.
    – say congratulations again on the planner, and I can’t wait to start using it! :)

  • Reply JoAnn December 11, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you how I need to have more dates with friends, even if it’s a dollar coffee at McDonald’s or a (free!) walk at the park because it keeps me sane.
    I would tell you that 2015 was eventful-weddings, a major surgery and multiple doctor appointments, my youngest starting middle school, braces for both kids, family/relationship strains.
    I would tell you that 2016 seems daunting to me. A possible job opportunity, my oldest starting high school, anticipated continued family issues, a root canal.
    I would tell you that today marks three years since my mom died and today totally sucks and I just can’t wait until tomorrow.
    I would tell you that I think what you are doing is inspirational and I think about “things” in a different way now, wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and take that hug for sure.

  • Reply Stephanie L December 12, 2015 at 6:31 am

    If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you:

    I’m looking forward to your January post about the budget planner sales. That’s hard work.
    I’m evaluating my options… the promotion to a position that I’ve always wanted, whether I can physically handle working even more hours than now, and whether declining the promotion would mean ending up doing most of the work anyway without the raise & title.
    The hubs’ and my vacation was exactly what we needed, and we need to prioritize it next year. Perhaps more than once.
    I’ve let go of the feeling that I’m failing to control my spending when I cover some expenses for my parents. Instead I’ve worked it into the budget to set some $ aside regularly, and if what they need exceeds that, well, I’ll figure it out.
    A lot of people (me included, until recently) have issues with young teens having cell phones. My far-away niece just got one for her birthday a few months ago and I am THRILLED with how I’ve gotten to know her better through texting each other and sending pictures! I knew she was a sweet kid, and now I’m like ‘damn, she’s really awesome.’ :)
    And as for a 2015 wrap-up, I’m grateful for my thoughtful and hilarious husband, the memories I have of my grandmother (she died in March), Weight Watchers, professional growth, a fantastic rheumatologist, and a more mature approach towards “stuff” and its acquisition and how much importance I’m willing to assign to it.

    Happiest of holidays to you!

  • Reply giulia December 12, 2015 at 8:49 am

    ùfirst of all congrat for your 2016 mindful program and organizer success… well if we were on a coffee date I’ve probably talk alot about the fact I hate cold and winter but at the same time love Christmas time, I would invite you to do a walk into Chritmas market in centre, ok we haven’t starbuck in Italy but cinnamon seems great…and thenhave great time, I will thanks for everything I have in my life (family, friends, healt)…. thanks for sharing those posts are great!

  • Reply Jaymee December 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Hey Cait, this is such a lovely post. Thanks for sharing and being so open :)

    If we were on a coffee date, I’d love to pick your brains a little because you seem like such a down-to-earth go-getter; a woman I’d love to call a friend. I’d ask about your journey to this lifestyle you’ve created because I feel like I’m embarking on something similar – I’m sure you’ll understand me and will have great tips to share.

    There are many more things and I think I’ll just have to save them for if/when we actually get a chance to grab a real coffee! :D You know, I was debating on that Holiday Spice Flat White… I may just go ahead and try it out next time! All the best Cait & congrats on how far you’ve made it!

  • Reply LITTERLESS December 12, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I love this! Hope you have lots of good real coffee dates this month, too. If we were on a coffee date, we might chat about all that we’re excited for next year, and maybe craft some holiday cards, too? xoxo.

  • Reply Maureen December 13, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    If we were on a coffee date I would be drinking a London Fog my favourite tea indulgence. I would let you know how much I am learning from you and your blog and that I am in my late fifties. I have been pretty responsible with money my entire life but you have shown mw how to be smarter still. I would let you know about another blog a friend of my daughter in law and her husband have called exploring alternatives which shows how little stuff you really need in life. Between their and your blog I am learning so much. I would let you know that your blog is reaching people over many generations. I find you inspiring.

  • Reply Kelsey December 13, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Hi Cait,

    I have to say that everything happens for a reason and one being that I found your blog! I had lost my bus pass a few months ago and when I was feeling crummy about it, I googled ‘lost bus pass’ to try and find someone who had gone through the same painful experience! I am so glad, in an odd way, to have lost my pass because it led me to your blog! You have inspired me in so many ways, I can’t even imagine not budgeting anymore. I make my own budget every month and take your tips on minimalism to heart. Thank you Cait.

    Ps do you have any advise for traveling? I have to take a few trips next year and the cost of the flights are daunting alone. Are there ways to save money on flights or how to make the most out of a city without spending a lot?

    Have a wonderful holiday too! :)

  • Reply Leanne December 14, 2015 at 4:40 am

    If we were on a coffee tea date, I’d freak out that it’s been TEN months since our last one. I’d tell you how proud I am to call you a friend and how much I freaking LOVE your planner and can’t wait til I can start using it. I’d tell you I’m planning a shopping ban with a twist in 2016 and that you are/were a big inspiration for that. I’d wish you luck with your surgery and hope you have a swift recovery so that we can hang out here in the UK in the Autumn! I’d promise to try and keep in touch more next year xx

  • Reply Chris December 15, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Nice post Cait and looks like things are hectic in your world but you survive through organization, thats they key to success. Now about that real coffee…… Let’s chat on making that a reality when the world isn’t spinning so fast for you and that Im back in the country.

  • Reply Lisa December 15, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    If we were on a coffee date I would say that I’m so enjoying this holiday season but I still have a lot on my to-do list before it ends! Also, I’m going to check out those podcasts you’ve suggested. I listened to Serial last week and am definitely hooked on this season already!

  • Reply Sarah B December 16, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    If we were on a coffee date I’d tell you how terrifying and exhilarating freelancing has been the last year for me, but I’d also tell you how scared and unsure of the next month I am. Freelance marketing is exciting and nothing new. I’ve been doing it for five years but always been at an actual location and now I’m home…with a two year old and a blog. Any advice for a blonde mom?

  • Reply Jennifer December 18, 2015 at 9:17 pm

    Can’t wait to see what the free resource is for the new year! First-ever shopping ban, here I come!

  • Reply Claire December 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Hi Cait
    I found your blog by chance in the early hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep because of hip pain and was amazed to read on your post that you are having hip surgery in the early part of 2016 because I will be too – a hip replacement in my early 40s due to hip dysplasia and arthritis. I’ve been reading your blog today and finding it so inspiring and will definitely be putting your tips into practice in 2016. I think I was definitely meant to find you! Best wishes for your surgery and 2016.

  • Reply Sofia December 29, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Loved reading this post. Listening to Death, Sex & Money now and it’s making decluttering my room so much easier. I would order my routine peppermint mocha latte with whip cream if I could have coffee with you. I would tell you about how hard 2015 was and how I accomplished so much but still feel behind. Can’t wait until we can have another phone chat or in person conversation.

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