Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ending and New Beginnings

Today I will work for my small town job and the boss for the last time. He has sold the business effective at midnight tonight. If the new boss will keep me on remains to be seen.

I've spent alot of time thinking about this change and how it will affect our finances. If I no longer work at this facility, my income will take a cut of about $10,000 per year. I will also not be spending as much money on gas, meals, etc. as I won't have to travel for about an hour to get to work.

I have enjoyed this job for the last several years, working when needed, meeting lots of new people, and getting to know folks in a small town. Oh how I wish I had the money to buy the place! I love it just that much.

But when one door closes, another opens elsewhere, and I have been contacted about the possibility of working for an out-of-town employer who is considering me for some steady contract work in my hometown. We are still in negotiations, but I am hopeful that my price is right. I have said that my price is negotiable, so I hold out the hope that we can come to some sort of agreement.

If things were to work out on both issues, I could work for both new boss in small town and new contract employer. That would be ideal, as it would increase my income about $10,000/year. I would likely have to put DS into daycare, but with the income increase, I don't think that would be a problem.

I'm feeling a little sad about today, and a bit anxious and excited about what the future brings. As long as I'm not without extra work for too long, our EEE shouldn't be depleted.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

End of September Update

I'm feeling pretty good about what we've acomplished this month. Even with my sporadic income, we managed to pay the bills, pay down the debt, and set some money aside. I still need to have a discussion with B about our BIG GOALS, how to best prioritize them, plan for them and then start implementing that plan.

Here are our September numbers:

Planned spending - added $91.75
Xmas Fund - added $220.83
Emergency fund - added $634.65
RRSP - added $449.59
General Savings - $20
Can. Saving Bond - added $175

$260 paid to Personal Loan
$200 paid to CC with 28% int. rate
$140 paid to CC with 0% int. rate
$255.05 paid to Auto Loan
$22.50 paid to HBC card with 28.8% int. rate

We put a total of $1591.82 into our various saving pots this month.
We paid a total of $877.55 toward our debt this month.

Of our ten original year end goals, two have been completed. We have more than $800 in our EEE fund, and we saved (and spent) $2000 for our summer vacation. I have to check back on the statements, but I'm fairly sure we have paid off more than $1000 of our $5600 credit card debt.

I'm about 50% complete on my RRSP goal, and over 50% complete for our XMAS account goal. These goals will be the main focus over the month of October.

Not yet completed/started:
$1000 buffer in chequing account.
$2000 in auto repair/replacement fund.
$3500 paid to lawyer.
Open savings accounts for the kids.

I added another goal for July of 2011: To have $2000 saved for 2 week cottage vacation in August, 2011.

Also added: To have $25,000 saved toward downpayment and other assorted costs of buying a house. Goal target date is April of 2015.

As for our goal of staying current with monthly bills, so far, so good. But we are heading into the leaner months so we will see how this plays out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prioritizing Our Bigger Goals

I was lounging on the couch last night, reading a book, watching television, and working on a knitting project. Out of what seemed like nowhere, B started talking about going away on a 'grown-up only' vacation (an all inclusive resort somewhere warm).

B does his dreaming on the computer. He looks up vacations, cars, motorcycles, and many other things that he would love to have, but we cannot afford. Last night, he says we can go to the Dominican Republic (again) in the spring for a week for less than $2000.

My instant response was, "We can't afford that." Which we can't. But I got to thinking. All the goal setting that I've been doing has been pretty much about what I think that we want. I've had almost no input from B. He agrees that yes, we should have Essential Emergeny Expenses saved, and yes, we should start putting money aside if we would like to own our own home in the next five years. He really hasn't had much input other than that.

I'd like for him to become more involved in the finances, so that he can see on paper why we can't afford a vacation. Actually we can afford that vacation, but it would deplete almost all of our savings, and I'd prefer to have money at the ready should we be unable to meet our financial obligations for a given month or two.

It seems my priorities are about saving and his priorities are about spending. Or so it seems.

I think it's time the two of us sat down for a 'financial meeting', to talk about where we are, how far we've come, and where we like to go from this point on. We need to get our priorities in alignment with one another.

Savings/planned spending goals to include in this discussion are:

- Essential Emergency Expenses: how much to have before we can switch our focus to something else.
- RRSP account: funding of my account and opening one for him.
- Xmas account: what our cap will be for this year, and how much to deposit monthly for next year.
- House Fund: making a plan to have us in our own home in five years time.
- Family vacation account: two weeks at a cottage on the lake next summer-how much $ and when to have it by.
- Grown-Up vacation: develop a plan for when, where and how much $ to save.
- Debt Free Day: decide where this fits into our overall game plan.
- Future wedding: this one is still falls to the bottom of the list, but it is there.
- Auto Fund: our vehicles will eventually need repair and replacement, so we should be saving for this eventuality.
- ??: maybe B has goals that I don't even know about. Won't know until I ask.

Have you talked with your spouse or significant other about goals? How did you prioitize them?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Credit Card Bill

I was so happy to get my Capital One Mastercard statement in the mail yesterday. (Can you hear the sarcasm?) I know that one day the urge to check the mail will be because it will brings news of how my money is working for me instead of reminding me of how stupid I have been in the past.

Yay!! The balance is under $5000!! The interest rate is still at 0%. It shows 2 payments of $100 each in the last thirty days. Good, good. Wait a sec! What is this tiny printing near the top of the statement?

MIN. PAYMENT NOTICE: If you make only the minimum payment, we estimate that it will take you 10 years and 1 month to pay off your balance.


I do some quick math. Balance of $4789.74 divided by monthly payments of $143.00 at zero percent interest equals about 34 months. That would have this debt paid off in July of 2013. Not 2020!! It makes me wonder how they figure this stuff out.

The new credit card rules are supposed to help the consumer understand what their debt is really costing them. If I didn't know better, I would have taken Capital One at their word, figured I'm going to be in Debt Hell for at least 10 years, and ran out to the mall to buy a hundred dollars worth of temporary feel- good stuffs.

Now I know I should be throwing more than the minimum payments on this puppy to get it paid off, but I feel it's more important right now to throw all extra snowflakes of available money at B's MBNA Mastercard which is charging him an astronomical 27.98% interest!! The note on his statement says that making minimum payments, that account will be paid off somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 years from now! We plan on having the $2900 balance paid off in under two years.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Variable Income = Budgeting Disaster

I've been self-employed for almost six years now and in all that time, my income has never been the same in any two like periods. To say I have a varying and fluctuating income is putting it mildly.

When you have a variable income, it can wreak havoc on the best laid budget. If you allocate a certain amount of your income to monthly bills, like rent and hydro, and then your income isn't enough to pay for it, how do you deal with that?

I've found that from month to month, my income is not stable. There are times of both feast and famine in my line of work. One thing that I've learned is that I must put away extra in times of feast, for the times of famine. When I've had a good month, I can't allocate every dollar for immediate use. I must set some aside in case next month I need it to make a debt or bill payment.

Let's say I've earned enough this month to pay for almost all of my regular expenses. Then some contract work becomes available. With the 'additional' income, I can finish paying for this months expenses and set some aside for next month. If the additional income is $600, I immediately set aside half that amount. $300 will go into my various savings pots; $150 into my Emergency Essential Expense Acount, $75 into my RRSP and the other $75 will be divided into planned spending/savings categories. The other $300 will go into my cash flow to pay part or all of any bills left unpaid at that point in the month.

There are several benefits to this type of budgeting. I am Paying Myself First. A portion of all my income from this point on goes into my RRSP, for my future because I may not want to work forever. I am also learning to live on less, and living within my means. I am no longer using debt to finance my life. If there is a lean month, I can take from the EEE fund, without guilt. That is what it is there for. Essentially, I have created my own line of credit, without the interest fees.

Sometimes there are several lean months in a row. Life happens. I take my basic monthly budget and cut back as far as I can. I cut the grocery and transportation categories in half. If needed, I can cut back, but not out, the amounts I put into savings/planned spending. I will even trim the debt repayment amounts if necessary.

Budgets aren't set in stone, and must be as fliud as your income. If you have a steady income, then your budget should remain relatively stable.

How do you plan for a variable income and how does that affect your budget? Please share your secrets with me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can you do it?

I used to think that some magical faerie was going to come floating down from the sky, wave a magic wand and fix all my problems. Then I became an adult and that illusion was shattered. Nowadays, I'm just grateful to have someone else load the dishwasher.

On Gail's blog this morning, she talked about the requests for help that she gets everyday. The hundreds of families who are in desperate need of help and are willing to do anything to find a way to get some breathing room. Really? They say they will do anything, but they won't buckle down and do the work themselves. Hmm.

I know how much work it is to go through all the financial documents for a family living on the edge. I've done it. Not only did I do 3 to 6 months worth, I did a whole years worth. What we spent in the year 2008 on dining out alone could have kept us out of financial ruin. It was an eye opener for me, and made me vow to do whatever it takes to fix the mess we made.

I'm sure the folks who have been on TDDUP and Princess have been grateful that Gail and her crew did all the hard work of figuring out where the money had been going. But I think that they lose something from the process if they do not do it themselves. After making the cuts necessary and balancing and implementing the budget, there are immediate emotional benefits. When the dust settles from the 'financial intervention' if you will, there will be an immense feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. I know that we felt a sense of pride because we had done it ourselves.

What bothers me the most , I think, is that folks who say they are willing to do anything, as long as someone tells them what to do. They are willing to do anything but put in the work themselves and take action! To those folks I would say, stop whining and just do it!

Yes, it is hard work. Yes, you will get frustrated. You may not even get it right the first half a dozen times. But at least its more than what you're doing now, which is just wishing for a magical financial faerie to wave a magic wand and make your troubles disappear.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Budget has a cold

I've been fighting a bad cold/illness for over a week now. It has taken its toll on me physically, emotionally and financially. I've 'borrowed' money out of next months' expenses to purchase some medication, and food stuffs due to this illness. I'm not happy about borrowing money from next month, but at least I'm not putting it on a credit card!

I haven't been diligent about writing things down when I spend money, nor have I kept up with the budget making, etc. It's a setback, yes, but I'm not about to beat myself up about it. This cold has done enough of that already.

I'm supposed to go and take out money to refill the envelopes today but I'm not sure if I have the energy to do that along with visits to the doctor.

I suppose being a couple of days behind won't matter too much, as long as I don't miss any automatic payments going out.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Time for some de-cluttering

Last night, I took 3 garbage bags fulls of kids clothes and a box of stuff to a thrift store. I know I have more stuff to donate, but I have to work through our rooms first to find it first.

My sore throat and cough this week prevented me from getting much sleep, so I did spend some quiet time during the pre-dawn hours thinking about some things that need to be done. De-cluttering makes it to the top of the list everytime!

So in no particular order, here is what I hope to accomplish by the end of October:

1. Go through all of DS's toys and downgrade to only 1 bin in the livingroom. Donate all others to thrift store, setting aside only a few special things for when granbaby boy comes along.

2. Go through my closet and dresser and get rid of all clothing that no longer fits, or is no longer wearable.

3. Go through all storage in bedroom closets and purge.

4. Tackle DD2's room with her. Encourage donating anything and everything that no longer fits, is wanted or is liked.

5. Same with DS's bedroom.

6. Kitchen- clean and purge.

7. Add soil to the household plants.

That would effectively bring me to declutter every room in our apartment, including closets. I know that doing all of this prior to the holidays will help me feel less stress during that crazy, busy time. I hate having a cluttered house during Xmas.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Budget is A Work in Progress

I used to think that budgets were horrible. Budgeting meant that all your dollars were allocated to something, and once you wrote it down, it had to be adhered to to the letter.

I've been using something of a budget for the last nineteen years. I never liked them. I always listed the 'must be paid' items above the 'may not have to be paid in full' items. By the time I got to the bottom of the page, there was no money left for savings, or for fun for that matter. When I started using Gail's budgeting system, I had done it again. I budgeted so tightly, the spreadsheet squeaked. Then something minor would come along, blow the whole budget out of whack, and I would think, "I've failed at budgeting AGAIN".

Then one day, while watching TDDUP, a lightbulb went on inside my head. My perception of the budget was all wrong. The budget wasn't telling me that I didn't have enough money, or that I couldn't spend money on things I truly wanted. It was there to help me achieve my goals. As Gail says, " Because it’s never really about how much you make. It’s about what you do with the money."

I realised that the only way I was ever going to actually save money, was by opening a savings account and putting money in there. PAY YOURSELF FIRST. I've heard this a gajillion times, yet I never really 'got' it. It means you must set aside a portion of your income before you pay your bills and whatnot. Otherwise, there will always be a reason to spend that money. If it's not available in your chequing account, or cash in your wallet, it becomes harder to spend it.

Now when I budget, I allow for things to pop-up like they do. My budget is still not perfect (are they ever), and I've reworked ours at least a thousand times over the last two years. Now our budget is something that I can live with, and change in a heartbeat if necessary. Because ya know, life happens.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gail Club Meetings

Last night, the London Chapter of the Gail Club met downtown for coffee and a chat. What is a Gail Club you ask? Well, I'll be most happy to tell you.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade is the financial sham-wow. The 'debtinator' she is lovingly called by folks who are close to her. She can help to show you how to clean up your messes, and attack your debt to get that evil demon off your back. Reading her blog daily helps to keep me motivated. I like to think of it as Gail giving me daily advice over a cup of coffee every morning.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of followers on her blog. Many, many times she has been asked by folks to help them fix/clean up their financial messes. Other helpful readers would offer comments and advice, knowing that GVO doesn't have the time to answer every call for help. Gail decided to give the reader a forum where we could help one another based on geographical region. Thus, the Gail Clubs were born.

Our London group is small, but very close. We have been meeting almost every month for over a year. We have been there for each other through a birth, a death, paying down debt and everything in between. The wonderful folks are a financial sounding board, often saying to one another,"What would Gail say about that"?

If you haven't seen Gail's blog, head over here:

If you would like to join a Gail Club in your area, head over here:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Define 'savings'. It can mean preserving, as a verb, and it can mean reducing an expense, as a noun. Save can also mean to keep safe or intact. These definitions really show a major difference in the way one thinks. Has anything in your life journey set apart these definitions for you?

Once upon a time, when I was shopping myself into bankruptcy, I thought getting a $10 item for $6 was 'saving'. I used to think that using coupons 'saved' me money. The truth was, I was using 'reduced prices' as an excuse to buy things I didn't need, and probably didn't even want. I know I wasn't 'saving' because I didn't even have a savings account.

In the early part of 2008, things had started becoming really bad for us financially. Most months we couldn't even meet our fixed expenses, let alone put any money away for the future. This is when I discovered Gail Vaz-Oxlade. I started watching her show, Til Debt Do Us Part, and started feeling somewhat better about our situation. I told myself that those people had far more debt than we did, and we would never be like them.

I think I was dillusional. Turns out, we were exactly like those folks on t.v. We had tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Most likely it was in the neighborhood of $65,000, but I'm not entirely sure. I started looking at our payments, and figured out how to reduce our expenses so that we could start getting a handle on our debt.

Now, two years later, we still have some debt. But it's not at the level it used to be. We've paid off about $40,000 worth of debt in that time. And for the first time in my life, I have money in a savings account! Occasionally, when I find a way to reduce an expense(save-noun), I also manage to put that money into the bank(save-verb).

There are some uncertain times coming for us over the fall and winter months, and I am handling it all with a lot less fear than I would have in the past. I know that we can deal with whatever life throws at us, and not worry where next months rent or phone payment is coming from. This peace of mind is priceless, and I have Gail to thank for her wisdom and guidance.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Month challenge update

I was looking add $400 to the Emergency fund this month, to hit the $1000 goal. It seems that I may have been able to accomplish this in less time than expected. Let me explain.

As I stated in my Monthly Challenge post, I was able to contribute our regular monthly amount of $100 and carved $50 out of a 0% interest credit card payment. There were several other areas that I was looking at to find the other $250 needed. I found it in the least likely place, one of our fixed expenses...our rent!

The rent on our modest 3 bedroom apartment was slated for another rent increase at the beginning of October, from $976.26 to $996.25 per month. We were given the appropriate amount of notice. But I had questions. The lady in the rental office was as confused as I was as to why my rent was higher than others, and going up again. After some investigation, she found it was because we had failed to renew our lease.

B and I had a quick discussion, and agreed to sign another 12 month lease, with the rent being decreased from the current amount down to $959/month, which was what we paid when we first moved in two years ago. Yay us! A monthly difference of $37.25 per month than what we had budgeted to pay. That calculates into a 'savings' of $298 over the next 8 months. I budget yearly from June to May due to my contract. The only thing I need to do is to transfer the $250 from one account to the E-fund account, which is scheduled to happen in the next couple of days.

I will have achieved my monthly challenge goal in under 15 days! The additional $48 dollars from the rent budget will be left in the rent account to earn interest with the rest of the rent.

Cutting back in other expense areas hasn't gone as well as I had hoped, so there is no money being transferred to savings from there. I am still saving $5 bills and pocket change to roll at the end of the month. I'm hoping for $100 from this action. Contract work has come in, to the tune of about $400. To get ahead on the next goal of increasing the Xmas fund account to the $1100 goal, I will put 25% into that. Another 25% will go into the biz saving account (for things like taxes and new equipment). The last 50% will go into the household account for October's expenses.

It looks like I will have to work on 2 goals next month anyway, so getting a head start on them isn't such a bad idea.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Are you prepared for the holidays?

There are only 106 shopping days left until Christmas. Can you believe it? This year has flown by much faster than I could have ever imagined. I'm still trying to get my Xmas fund account up to where I would like it to be. So far, I've only saved $450 of the $1100 goal, but that is $450 more than I've saved up in advance in any of my previous years. I'm hoping to be able to add some money from contract jobs over the next couple of months, however I will work with whatever I've got. This will be our first Xmas without any sort of credit or loan whatsoever, and I'm very proud of that fact!

I start thinking about the holidays sometime in June, shortly after my MIL's birthday. This year, I had a conversation with DD1 about not 'buying' anything for B & I, instead I would prefer something that involves her spending time with us. Her holiday budget is going to extremely tight this year, with the baby coming and all.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm going to be a grandma for the first time. DD1 is expecting, and the baby's due date is December 26th, which also happens to be B's birthday. The gift of making me a grandparent is greater than any thrift store find she could ever come up with, so I've told her there is no need to 'give' me anything this year.

There are gifts that I planned to make last year, and ran out of time to make them, so they got bumped to this year's gift list. Here we are into September, and I still haven't started any of those projects. Good grief, I really should get started on them.

What are your thoughts about the upcoming holidays? Have you saved money for the extra expenses? Have you planned gifts to buy and make? Share your ideas with me, please.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I have agreed to volunteer for for the next two Saturday evenings, during the Western Fair, for three hours each evening with a charity call "Keeping Kids Warm". These fine folks knit various items for children of all ages within our community.

I wanted to volunteer for a group who has similar interests and ideals as my own, and Keeping Kids Warm seems to be a good fit. I have yet to meet the lady who heads this cause, but I am sure that I will find this experience a good one. I am looking forward to helping out during the fair at the booth, and knitting some things for them.

I used to volunteer a lot of my time with organizations, but lately haven't done so. I would like to improve that.

Do you volunteer, and how much of your time do you devote to the service of others?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I love the library

The closest branch of the public library is a mere 5 minute drive from our apartment. It is situated within the community centre in our part of the city, and is across the street from a major shopping mall, within walking distance from G-ma's apartment, and backs onto the property of the public school where DD2 attends.

This library has a children's area with great reading material for babies to teens, some toys for DS to play with while I browse, and even computers for kids to play learning games on.

For the grown-ups, there are aisles of books, CD's, DVD's, newspapers and magazines available for borrowing. There are computers to use for job searching, and general use, as well as ones specific for searching the database of books available within the sity-wide library system. I can put my name on a list to borrow a book that was just put into circulation, as well as find books that have been recommended to me, usually by one of the librarians whose reading interests are close to mine.

Inside the community centre, there are free or low-cost programs available for mostly everyone, in addition to the ones that the library offers. This is where I can take the little guy four mornings per week, to the drop-in program. For two glorious hours, he can play with wonderful toys, meet other children, hear a story and a song, and get a nutritious snack, while I can knit, and chat with other parents and/or caregivers. This is one of the many free programs available to us.

There is also a food cupboard and baby food bank available, an Ontario Works satellite office, a preschool half-day program, a senior citizen meeting group, a young parents program, a Women's group weekly meeting (facilitated in Arabic), and probably dozens of other programs and groups who meet there that I don't even know about. It is truly a central area for finding out what is going on in our suburb of the city.

When I need to find something free to do with the family, or need direction on how to find a resource that could be of use to frugal families like ours, they have always been there to help guide the way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Maybe I'll write a blog post about procrastination....later

Procrastination is the biggest nemesis in my life. I have always felt that things will get done in their own time, and not a minute before. Having learned that procrastination can cost me time and money also, I have been trying to fight this demon for many years.

I have never been a 'do things right away' kind of person. I don't do the dishes right after supper, and I don't file my taxes on time. *gulp* I know, I know. Those are bad things to *NOT* do right away, but I can't help it. I always think there will be more time to do those things, but there never is. To tell the truth, I would much rather be knitting, watching my son during playgroup than to be cleaning the house, or getting my business files up to date.

This is where my lists come in. I list all the things that I would like to accomplish during a week, and I add to it as other things come up. During my computer time during the day, I will take a 5 to 10 minute break, and try to finish, or at least start, something on the list. It may only be taking something out of the freezer for dinner, but it's a start. I find that when I've started something, I usually keep working on it much longer than the 10 minutes required. Before I know it, the task is somewhere between half and fully accomplished.

One of my upcoming monthly challenges for myself is to de-clutter the house. We have far more stuff than is necessary for a family of four. This task is a daunting one for sure, but it is something that I feel *needs* to be done. There are children's and adult clothes to be sorted, toys to be cleared out and closets to be gone through. I am hoping to be able to get some of the money back from these things by selling them on kijiji, but if it doesn't happen, that's ok too. As long as all of the un-needed stuff leaves our home.

This task will be much more than 5-10 minutes, but I can do it in 5-10 minute increments. This week, I cleared out a particularly bothersome corner of our bedroom that had piles of clothing that had been sitting there for months. That corner did only take about 10 minutes, but it urged me to take on another task, the spare socks. When we moved here almost 2 years ago, we had a garbage bag of socks that hadn't been paired up. Earlier this year, that bag of socks was found in DD2's bedroom closet. I pulled it out and started working on pairing them up, and getting rid of socks that wouldn't fit anyone in our home. DD1 helped, and within an hour, it was finished.

I felt such a sense of accomplishment, I thought, "Imagine what I can do if I de-clutter five minutes at a time". No more procrastinating for me this year. Well, maybe I won't slay the procrastination demon, but at least I'll get some stuff done.

How do you deal with procrastion? Or do you have another demon that kills your time? Share your thoughts please.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A funny thing happened at the mall last night

Since trying to reform my terrible shopping habits, I try to steer clear of the mall as much as possible. I am getting better at looking through stores, and appreciating the beautiful wares that are for sale, but not feeling that I *must* have everything that I like. I try to limit myself to only what I need.

Last night, B and I went out to look at a townhouse that was available for rent. It was nice, but a bit small, and not really something that we loved. We liked it ok, but it wasn't for us, even if it was in the right price range. We decided then to take a drive around the suburb that we want to live in, to see if anything else was available. There was a lot of discussion about what type of place we were willing to live in until we're out of debt, and more ready to look at buying a home of our own. We found an apartment building that we could agree on, within 5 minutes walking distance of mostly everything we needed. Now to find out if there is anything available in our price range.

After our drive, B asked me if I would go inside the mall with him, to give him an opinion on something. From a chat we had the other day, I already knew that the purchase he was contemplating was between $300- $500. Knowing how much he wanted a flat screen t.v., I just presumed we were going to look at more televisions. Boy, was I wrong!

I followed him into the jewellery store. I never thought that an engagement ring was what I was supposed to give him my opinion on. We spent about an hour looking at different rings, trying them on, etc. There was one I really loved,and B said I could wear it home. I told him,"No, I can't wear it home. I insist you do it the right way".
After a quick explanation, he agreed with my reasoning, put my shiny new thing in his pocket, and we went home.
He had our adult daughter and her boyfriend sit at the dining room table, with our 2 year old son, and got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!!
He was crying, our daughter was crying, I was crying. Even DD1's b/f remarked that he got all tingly in the eyes, and was glad to be witness to such a special moment.

And I thought we were going to buy a television!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thoughts about Money

It isn’t just about what you make, it’s also about how you manage what you make. - Gail Vaz -Oxlade

I have heard or read a variation of this quote at least a hundred times in the past decade. For some unknown reason, I've never really put much thought into it. Sure, if you're making decent money, you have enough to manage. When you're dirt poor, your worries tend to run along the lines of how to feed your family and keep a roof over your head at the same time.

Now I'm not saying that we're dirt poor. Far from it, in fact. But I grew up in a household where the cycle of extreme poverty helped me to develop a mindset that I was, and always will be very poor. I'm still trying to change my thoughts on that.

Being poor is relative, I suppose. I know folks who make five times more per month than I do, and I know several people who would love to have access to the kind of money that I have. The truth is, I'm neither financially wealthy not poverty stricken (anymore) and I'm learning to come to terms with that. This is where Gail's quote comes in.

I've learned that there will always be money in my life. There will be times where there will be seemingly plenty of it, and there will be times where it will seem like there is next to none. It's what I do with it that matters.

Budgeting my money is still a work in progress, and I may never "get it right", but I sleep better knowing I'm doing the best I can with what I have. I still make mistakes and overspend, especially in my entertainment category, but I have also learned to forgive myself for that. I only allow myself one day of guilty feelings over money overspent that I cannot get back.

What helps me to not feel so guilty is that for the first time in my life, I am saving money for my future, saving money for emergencies that will inevitably happen, and I'm saving up for things I would like to have. My pots of money aren't huge, but they are there, and I put that money there for those reasons. That's worth a good night's sleep to me.