Thursday 30 January 2014

The Last Roommate Ever

As I write this,  I am sitting in an almost empty townhouse.  All of my stuff.  (Save for a few odds and ends) have been moved out either to storage or to my new place.  A few items have yet to find their way to the dumpster outside.

Yesterday morning I reminded the roommate about two things,  to give him a heads up as it were. 1) that our stuff should be out tonight but had to be gone but morning and 2) that I would be returning the Cable/Internet equipment today to the cable company.  He nodded and agreed casually.

I loaded up the stuff which was to go to my new house in the truck and off I went.  On my way I decided to first drop off the cable equipment.

There I got the surprise bill of $64.95 for "pay per view movies" (adult movies to be precise) All charged last Friday  (a week ago).

Naturally when I got home after dropping my stuff off to my new  home (at about 5:30 pm) and returning here to do last minute cleaning and what have you,  you cabin guess what I found.

All of the stuff that Roommate cared about was gone and the bulky crappy he didn't want (and assorted garage) was left behind. 

Now,  I had not intended to stay in touch with roommate,  and in these final days of his tenure here he has changed his phone number twice. I never bothered to keep track of it. Besides,  if he is willing to do this to me, a phone call won't make Jim pay.

I swear this.  He is the last Roommate I will ever have. He is the last person who's bills I will be responsible for. At least with a wife/girlfriend 1) you both share the responsibility and failing that 2) at least I am getting a little somein'-somein along the way.

But now to focus on the happy things like closing out the townhouse and turning in the keys this morning.

Monday 27 January 2014

The Last Weekend Before the Big (Arguably Little) Move

Okay,  this weekend was productive, yet I felt that it could have been more productive.  I have packed up the living room and the lower floor. I have moved just about everything that I want to keep in storage (yet I am not still using).

I packed up my television and the lower cable box and was about to pack up the cable modem  (internet) but I paused . . . . I realized that I like the internet  . . . . I reeeeeealy like the internet.  So why punish myself when roommate has already told me that he plans to be out by Tuesday?

I remembered to take a few pictures of how the storage unit looks now, so here goes . . .

The house is looking more and more forlorn with less and less stuff in it. There is lots of space in my room as I have almost nothing in there. I have piled up a small amount of stuff that I want to keep and possibly put into storage.

I met the couple who are moving in to my place once I am out. They came over and bought my table from me as well as a few odds and ends which I didn’t want to take with me. So yay less stuff to go to charity (or if I get frustrated, the dumpster outside my door).

I still have the couch and loveseat to get rid of but at least the roommate said he will take them (for free) but at least that means  that I don’t have to find a home for them or what have you. So everything is set. I am now beginning the final stretch (of the beginning).

Thursday 23 January 2014

Cash Budgeting Made Simple

Okay, I got paid yesterday and that means I had to make a few choices on how I was going to proceed.

First of all, thanks to my bank’s new policy I had to line up with paycheque in hand to deposit my paycheck. Didn’t we invent ATM’s so we wouldn’t have to do this? I then decided to pull out the cash I needed for:  Groceries, Rent and Personal Spends.

I went to the dollar store and bought three cheap wallets. I made sure to buy the ones with a coin pocket in them. Then I put a put a label on each of these wallets:  Rent, Groceries and Contingency.

I put the rent money in the Rent Wallet and the grocery money in the Grocery Wallet. I put the personal spends money in my main wallet. The Contingency Wallet I left empty, for now.

I have decided to put small amounts of money in the Contingency Wallet when I can. If people pay me gas money or what have you. In short when possible I will put small amounts into it so I will have a bit of a fund for a rainy day. I don’t intend to keep too much in it but a few hundred would be nice, just in case.

I have also decided to put half of the monthly budget into each wallet each paycheque, that way it is not a large hit on one paycheque.  As well it will mean I can make smaller and more regular payments to each credit card. This way there is less time between payments and (I think) less interest accrues. In any event the goal is to even out the demands on each paycheque.

This Saturday I will return the Cable/Internet equipment to the cable company and then curse myself for doing so. I know that I need to get busy on moving stuff out and I don’t want the house to be comfortable for either roommate or me. Cable and internet does make it more convenient to sit around and not do much . . . productive.

I have put up an add for my Table and Chairs and Couch and Loveseat on Kijiji. Next week, on the 29th and 30th I will be moving my stuff into storage and cleaning up my place. On the morning of the 31st I will then turn in my keys and for that one night I will be homeless (but probably will move into the room a day early.

Hard to believe this is coming  down to the wire, or rather this is not the end, far from it, it is only the ending of the beginning, the real challenge will come next month when I start paying down my credit cards.

Sunday 19 January 2014

The Last Gift, to my Last Landlord

It has been an interesting few days. The bed was delivered and put into storage, as I had planned. I regret that I forgot to take a picture of it (my bad).

On Saturday I got a visit from my Landlord (or at least the person who represents them). We get along fine and on a personal level I like him and he me. He came to take a brief tour of the place and see what would need to be done once I move out.

This place has a few odd quirks, for one they expect you to move out a full 24 hours at least before you can move into your next place. You are supposed to be out of here by noon on the last day of the month. Yet any place you move into will not let you do so until noon on the first. This leaves you 24 hours of homelessness and worse still all of your possessions loaded onto a truck parked in some hotel parking lot. 

That is one thing but the other odd quirk is that I am expected (between the lines of course) to pay for all of the work preparing this place for the next tenant. I am expected to pay for the carpets to be cleaned and because I did the horrific thing of putting up pictures then whole place will need to be painted, then of course there is the professional cleaning crew required to clean this place. At the end of it he gave me the “deal” of “forgetting” my damage deposit in return for all of this.

I would like to say that this place is alone but all of the places I have rented in I have never got my full damage deposit back no matter what I have done. For one reason or another they always find a way to keep it.

The real trouble is that you pay the damage deposit and instead of putting it aside, like they are supposed to, they spend it. So when you move out they don’t have it. Then of course there are the things they need to do to get this place ready for the next tenant. Well this is business and you don’t make money by spending money, you make money by spending someone else’s.

I know they play these games and I hate to be treated like I trashed the place like I was a drunken rock star on tour. I am decent to the place, sure I could clean and vacuum more but I don’t deserve this.

I know that I probably could kick up a fuss and file a claim at small claims court or some such thing, but the truth is that I just don’t care to. This is the last person I will rent a place from. . . . ever.

I know that I am going to rent a room from Landlady, and that is fine, that is different. I don’t plan on putting up any pictures and my stuff will still be in storage. This is a stopgap, a rest-stop on my journey.

The room I will rent will not be home, not really, I am not to get comfortable there, it is . . . an extended hotel room. My next place will be my own home. So with that I am okay giving this last “gift” to my last Landlord. This means that apart from a cursory wipe-down and vacuuming of the carpets, I’m, not doing anything to this place. He can earn my damage deposit . . . and he will.

Friday 17 January 2014

This Sh . . . Stuff is Getting Real

Okay, I packed up my bed last night. It is now ready to be picked up by the movers who will then move it into storage. There I will pack it away, for the next year and a half to two years.

Here is my bed the night before last . . .

Here is my bed last night . . .

And here is what I slept on last night (and will till the end of the month) . . .

Yes, it’s a camping cot, I’m not kidding . . .

This afternoon should prove interesting. As I pack the mattress away I hope to sandwich it firmly (but not too firmly) between the box spring and the wall. 

My goal is to force it to stay upright and not sag, as it has to be up on one of the short ends. It may damage it, who knows. 

If I can store it laying on one of the long ends that would be preferred.

One thing is certain, either I will be sore by tonight or I will feel guilty . . . I just can't watch other people work and do nothing. It is even worse when they are doing stuff for me.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Started Using My Spreadsheet Today

Okay, you know how I told you that I had made up a spreadsheet to keep track of expenses and forecast my finances? Well I had set it up to start tracking on Feb 1, and not Jan 1.

I had decided to start Feb 1 as I was not going be in the place until then and I had figured that this month was a write off.

Well, I realized that while I was not in my new place, I was still working on this project this month. I am on track to achieve my first Financial Goal . . . getting my butt out of my overdraft. Trust me, this is a big deal for me, as most of 2013 was spent in the overdraft.

So I sat down and with the help of the online banking records I was able to update the spreadsheet to reflect the current status of things. So it now has started tracking my expenses as of Jan 1.I was then able to add in my expected expenses and pay and voila, I now know that I will end this month in the black. (Financial asteroid notwithstanding).

I now need to keep track of my expenses and update the sheet as it goes. I will not get to overly ‘retentive” about it. For example earlier this week I bought some windshield washer fluid and a pack of chocolate treats.

 I will not split this bill up in to “spends” and “truck maintenance.” Instead I just put the whole bill into “truck maintenance.” If you want to technical one could argue that one part was what the truck needed and the other was for the driver.

The goal is to keep track of the major areas that I am spending, not the exact amount down to the penny. I do not plan on splitting up bills if I don’t have to.

I did give “Fast food” its own spot on the spreadsheet. I don’t plan on budgeting anything for it but I know that I spend it. I want it to stare me in the face as to how much I am spending where. Kinda a self-shaming thing.

Well tomorrow night I take down my bed and get it ready for the movers to move it into storage. After that it is me sleeping in a cot in my room. It will seem cavernous without the furniture there. Ah well.

The weekend after that (the 25th) the rest of the stuff goes away and only the absolute essentials will remain. Of course cable and internet will be cut on that day as well . . . gee, perhaps I should warn Roommate? 

Tuesday 14 January 2014

The Gateway Spend

I almost did it to myself, I almost fell into the trap of the Gateway Spend. You know what that is, don’t you? It is that first spend which enables and/or entraps you into further spending.

If I do “just get a hitch” for the truck, then what? A hitch doesn’t do anything by itself. You need the trailer to go with it. So what if I just get a cheap trailer? Well then I will want to use it.

That means camping fees (with hook-ups) and then of course there is the propane . . . and gas . . . and fuel. When I am not towing it I will need to store it somewhere, so there is that cost . . . and always something extra.

You see where this is going . . . “just getting a hitch” is the same as getting a trailer. If that is the case then I might as well use the money I would have spent on the hitch to be the down payment and initial payment on the trailer and roll the hitch into the cost of the trailer loan.

That would then put a further dent in my budget and tie me into the costs listed above. As it stands now I do just have a tent (grumble) and I can use it (grumble) to go camping for a fraction of those above costs. Yes it would be fun to go camping and if someone were to just magically give me a trailer (not likely) I would then consider “just getting a hitch” and seeing where that goes.

For now I will focus on first getting into the room and then paying down that first Credit Card. The trouble is that I have two free family passes for the upcoming RV Show here in town.

If anyone is interested in one of them contact me.  More than likely I will need a chaperone for it so I don’t walk away with a trailer. Yes I know the smart thing to do would be to just not go but what would be the fun in that? Perhaps next year, when my cards are almost, if not paid off I can buy one as a treat, who knows, for now, I will resist the temptation of the Gateway Spend.

Monday 13 January 2014

The Defence Against the Shopping Spree Impulse

Okay, I think I have a solution to the Spending Spree Impulse . . . I think. What it entails, for me, is to step back and look at the bigger picture.

Since I am somewhat of a whiz when it comes to Spreadsheets, I have made up a spreadsheet to track my expenses. This spreadsheet will not only budget out my expenses but track what I actually spend and see how that impacts the long-term length of the project. (If anyone is interested in seeing/using the spreadsheet, I will send it to you . . . without my data in it of course).

Speaking of the length of the project I have increased it from twenty-four months to thirty months for a few reasons.  Two years from now it will be February and that is too cold to move and/or buy a place. Second of all 30 is a nice round number. Thirdly that will put me in the middle of summer, a nice time to buy and make a move.

Also that will help me achieve my long-term goals of this project. For me, it is to pay off my Credit Cards in a year, and have 20K in the bank for a down payment. The one little deal I made with myself is to get a Trailer Hitch most likely next month, before the Credit Card Pay down starts.

I want the trailer hitch so I have the opportunity to get out there and do something. If I come across a cheap/free trailer, I can actually take advantage of that and still go camping (if you mention a tent I will hurt you). I know that to buy a trailer would blow a hole in my budget unless I tighten my belt further.

The one thing I know about budgeting is that if you make it too tight you will not be able to stick to it. In a few months you will scream “F*ck it” then rush out and splurge on something, thereby ruining your budget.

The only way you can stick to a harsh budget is if that is the only source of cash you have. No money means you find a way to live on what you have, perhaps not the most elegant of solutions but you find a way to exist on little cash, trust me, I have done this.

Budgeting when you have cash is much harder because it requires discipline not to go out and spend money available to you. Rather than do something fun like buy something new and shiny this budget requires that I do the boring thing like pay down my credit cards. I see the pain of the spend but not the reward of the nifty new thing.

This can be overcome by looking and revising my budget to help keep the larger picture in mind. By seeing not only what I am doing now affects not only this month’s budget but the whole project. Each spend or save decision rippling down the budget like a stone thrown into a pond.

This also lets me see the balances of my credit cards go down and the amount of my savings go up. This is the cool thing to see and I can keep in mind the place I will buy and keep fixed on that goal rather than the little nifty things I want to spend on now.

I do want to get some sort of a trailer so I can go out and enjoy the outdoors in the warmer weather and not simply barricade myself in my room for the next thirty months.

Next up on my closing down the house project is to put my bed into storage. That happens this Friday. Then I will sell/give away the stuff I don’t want: Chest Freezer, Washer/Dryer, Couch & Loveseat, as well as Dinner Table & Chairs.

Saturday 11 January 2014

I Got the Place!

Okay, I got the call yesterday to inform me that I got the place so I met up with the Landlady yesterday evening to pay the Damage Deposit. Cause . . . money talks and B.S. walks.

This left me with some time to kill as it was an early day. I was off at 1:00pm and didn’t have to meet up with Landlady until 5:30. So I could casually run some errands and do what I please for the afternoon. I decided against holding up at home until driving down to meet Landlady.

I first went to the place where I bought my hat to ask them why I have to keep re-steaming my hat. After a few weeks my hat starts to flop down and it loses its curl, then I start to look like a . . . well, not like I want to look like. Apparently the hat needs to be “Stiffened and Reshaped,” so the hat is in the shop . . . literally.

I then dropped by the house to pick up a gift card for a restaurant. A friend of mine was coming down and I wanted to treat her as well as have an excuse to use said gift card and not dine alone . . . a few times.

After dropping by the house I decided to pick up the deposit from the bank. I was going to pull the cash out of the machine but since my deposit is $250.00 and not $240.00 or $260.00 and I didn’t want to pull the extra ten bucks out and spend it to break the twenty, I decided to line up.

So I lined up . . .  and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited until finally seeing a teller. After getting my cash I had a little chat (yes I was polite) with the teller about why after twenty years of no holds on my account that suddenly my deposits are being held.

She told me that the bank was doing this for everyone and that “all the banks are doing this now” as a way to protect myself (but mainly themselves) against fraud. She assured me that I was at the highest level of holds and that any money deposited one week which was over two thousand dollars was being held for five business days. (I declined to thank her for protecting me) . . . but I at least now knew why the money I deposited was not in my account. 

For me, that meant that combination of Roommate paying me and my paycheque all culminated in a large chunk of that not being available to me. This now throws a wrench into my planning and budgeting, since I have my truck payment coming up and the hold will be released (or should be) a few days before that is to be paid.

I will wait and yes look for another bank (for the first time in thirty years) to see if I can find one which will treat me like I expect. I don’t like holds, no matter how you spin them.

With Damage Deposit in hand I decided to check out a RV Dealership. Now I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. I shouldn’t be there and it was only asking for trouble. This was not the one with the Arctic Fox trailer but some other place. I decided to check out a cheaper line of trailers to see if I could get one just for warmer weather camping. You know fun in the spring, summer and fall.

They had a few and one smaller one which seemed nice and just what I was looking for. I also got a free ticket to the RV Show at the end of this month.

I was and am toying with the idea of buying a trailer if I could keep the payments down to near $100.00 per month. This will put a hole in my budgeting but I do want to go camping this year and I was only window shopping.

In the end I was reminded that this one did not have the same features as the Arctic Fox and explained why it was so much less. But then cheaper was what I was looking for.

This brings up another point and something which you should be aware of. There is the “Shopping Spree” impulse which pokes its head up when you free up cash in your monthly budget for the first time in a while.

There is that little voice which says “why not upgrade your computer, you know it’s slow” and “why not get a simple RV, you know you want to go camping this year.” Of course this will put the plan back and blow a hole in your budget. The whole reason for doing this was to pay down bills and not incur more debt.

At some point before spring I would like to get a hitch for the Truck and perhaps a used and/or cheap RV so I can do some camping but I will do it slowly and sensibly. The impulse to spend and “treat yourself” does come up, so be prepared for it.

Friday 10 January 2014

I Might Have a Place

Okay, Day two of my House Hunting turned out much like the first. A potential Landlord told me they would call me that night (Wednesday) and arranged a time to see the room . . . that never happened.

I was frustrated but I got up the next morning and looked through ad, vetting them against my list of criteria. I only wanted to consider places that I actually wanted to live in and would serve my purpose.

On day three of my House Hunting I made contact with another potential Landlord. When she told me that she would email me the address so I could come over, I thought “here we go again.”  In about an hour or so, sure enough she had emailed me her address and appointment was set for that evening (Thursday, AKA Last Night).

I had a few hours to kill so I decided to go to the local mall and brows some shops, as well I needed a haircut and a beard trim.

I had let my beard grow and with the combination of the hat, I ended up looking like a Hutterite/Mennonite/Amish . . . take your pick. (No, I have no pictures to show you)

(Not that there is anything wrong with those fine folks but, I never want to be taken for something which I am not).

The stylist was quite skilled and did more than simply put the #4 guard on her trimmer and mow my head . . . she actually styled it. (Okay, you can see what I look like after the haircut)

With Hat

Without Hat

I went over to the place that I was to look at and despite my efforts to go slow I was still ten minutes early, but thankfully the (Potential) Landlady was not offended but impressed.

I looked at the room and had a nice chat with P.L. and I we got along well. Her rules were common sense and stuff that I would do anyways. In essence they boiled down to “be considerate of the other people in the house.”

I liked the fact that the room was furnished with even a TV, desk and fridge in the room.  I had noticed small details here and there, such as a small fridge and pantry shelves in the room. Such little details which show that: time, effort, and thought had been put into renting rooms out in her home.

Once the talk was over she decided that she needed to sleep on it and would contact me either today or Saturday. I wait for word but even if I don’t get this place, I will be okay. Something will turn up.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

First Day of Room Hunting, Off to a Rocky Start

Okay so since I have decided to rent a room I have placed a few parameters, conditions and specifications on what I want.

1) Preferred $500.00, no more than $600.00 per month
2) All utilities included
3) No more than half of the distance for my current commute
4) Furnished preferred, but not required

I have been looking and I had found a place, close to work and even backing on to a river park system. I envisioned myself going for bike rides on the paths by the river in the warmer weather. I even seemed to hit it off with the people I would be renting the room from. 

I had arranged to take a look at the place and meet them last night. I was killing some time in the area that I would be living. After waiting an hour (with more time to go) I got a text from the would be landlords that their roommate would not be moving out until the end of next month. Apparently there had been some miscommunication within their house.

This leaves me with more places to look at and there are a few places within my ranged that are even cheaper than I had expected. This means that I will get something so I will keep looking.

I am feeling frustrated and oddly enough sadness is creeping in. I am not sure exactly where it is coming from or even what I am sad about but it is here nonetheless. I will keep going as I have no choice, I am committed now, I will just work through this; this too shall pass.

I am still tempted to take a look at the trailer at the trailer dealer on Friday, but I know that if I do that I may end up buying one and then oops I am home (with no fixed address). I will reserve that option for if and when Feb 1 comes around and I genuinely have no place to go, then I will consider it.

Monday 6 January 2014

The Cycle of Payday

Okay, today is payday for me and it is always an emotional time full of highs and lows. As I have said before I like my job and my boss. In all the time that I have worked here I have not asked for a raise, nor have I had to, I have received raises incrementally.

I fully understand that being a boss and/or business owner is not a picnic. You are always worried about: sales, cash flow, productivity and employees to name a few of your challenges and to top it all off you are the last person to get paid. Trust me I do empathize but this will not stop me from using an old metaphor about the Working Man and “The Man.” (All in good hearted fun of course).

For those of us who toil in the trenches of modern society we look up and see The Eagle, flying free and majestically high above us. The Eagle is “The Man” AKA your employer (cue the Darth Vader Theme).

There are two days in the Pay Cycle which every worker looks forward to. That is unless you are on Salary, in which case there is just one day which you look forward to.

The first of these days which we working stiffs look forward to is “Feed The Eagle Day.” That is the day in which we submit our timesheets so as to be processed in a timely manner into our paycheques. This day you can guestimate how much your paycheque will be by your hours and other factors which influence your paycheque.

The second day which we working stiffs look forward to is “Eagle Shi . . . Crap Day.” This is day that as The Eagle flies high above the working stiffs toiling in the trenches below, flaps its tail feathers and . . . takes a poop. It falls down and into the hands of the workers blow and becomes your paycheque.

That is a happy time as you open the envelope up and look at it, you hopefully are happy to see that it is at least a bit more than you had expected. You rush to the bank and deposit the cheque.

Once at home you log into your online banking and just stare misty-eyed at the bank balance, happy to see so much money in your account. You think how much better your life would be if you could just keep all of it. What if you could somehow just give the bills a miss this month? Does the power company really need your little payment? Do the credit card companies actually need more money?

You sigh then start the other half of your payday ritual; the participation in the cycle of capitalism. You pay all of the bills you have to pay and then look at the amount left in your bank account and sigh . . . again. Then your thoughts turn to the next Eagle Crap Day.

As for me, I have just got my paycheque and the boss was generous and I got a bonus. So after my paycheque and the fact that Roommate actually paid me this means that even after all of my bills have been paid that I can actually look for a place, earlier than I had thought.

So I will actually be looking for a place this week and if I see a room I like, I will put some money down on it. If this happens this will not be good for Roommate, because it will mean that all of my stuff (Kitchen Stuff included) will be out of the place by the 25th. I also made sure to cancel the cable and internet on that day so as to further nudge him out the door.

Sunday 5 January 2014

An Interesting Couple of Days

It has been an interesting couple of days. As I told you, on Thursday I did not get paid by roommate, as he had promised. He said that he did not get down to the office quick enough and missed out on getting his pay.

Friday is my early day so I got home around 2:00 to find a stunned roommate. He said that he was leaving now to go get his pay. I don’t know his schedule but usually he works on a Friday. Roommate then gave me less than a third of what he owed me for rent and said he was going to get his pay. (Odd Clue #1) He assured me that he would pay me the rest of the rent when he returned. He left and said that when his ride came by to tell them that he was over at the bank (Odd Clue #2). 

A couple of hours later Roommate texted and asked if his ride had arrived. I said that he had and I had directed him to the bank. Roommate then texted that he was over at the mall doing some “boot shopping,” (Odd Clue #3).

Now I wanted to believe Roommate and trust that he would pay me, but his track record was not the greatest, it was more what he felt like when he felt like. It was that this was not a big deal and he was just paying me back the twenty bucks he borrowed last week.

Roommate did not return Friday and so I was getting, well not worried but pissed off. My response was “Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” Saturday morning I sat and wondered what I could do, it felt like he was trying to pay me enough to keep me happy and extend with excuses as long as possible so as to save cash, I mean come the end of the month, what could I do? We were both moving out?

I sat down and wrote a nice and articulate, respectful yet stern letter. In it I outlined that he needed to pay me in full by Tuesday the 7th or I he would not be allowed in on Wednesday the 8th. I was proud of my letter and pinned it to his door and waited. I was not going to get screwed over. This was not my problem but his. I had paid my rent and therefore had a place to stay. He was on my graces, I was not on his.

I then decided to go and pay my bill at the storage place because what Roommate had paid me on Friday was enough to cover that bill. I had my priorities and I had said that I would pay it on Saturday, so that is what I did. I also rearranged the stuff in storage to make sure that I could easily fit the bed and dresser which will arrive on Friday the 17th. (See Below)

In the mid-afternoon Roomate returned and paid me what he owed me     quite casually, without a word of apology, nor a snifter of embarrassment in his voice or manner. He still does not see the need to pay rent on time and I hope that his next Landlord will do him the favour of bashing this lesson into his head . . . for his sake.

I get paid on Monday and after my bills are all paid I should have enough to at least put something down on a new place so I start to go looking. I have decided that the best (and most boring . . . I mean sensible) option is to rent a room. I will still look at the trailer but most likely I will get the hitch put on the truck and buy an old trailer simply to go camping in the summer . . . (and be my Plan Y).

Friday 3 January 2014

The Negative Ripple Effect

Part of the problem of being me is that I genuinely see multiple points of view at the same time. I am not sure if this is what (I hope) makes me a better writer or if I have developed this because I am a writer.

My roommate was supposed to pay rent yesterday and, well, he didn’t.  He said it was something about the bus being too late to get to the office to pick up his pay. On one hand, I get it, stuff happens. On the other hand; this is not my problem.

I have been living at this townhouse for over two years, and in all that time I have paid my rent early, at least a week early. If I pay my rent late, I get the same treatment as anyone else. On the second of the month I get slapped with a fifty dollar late fee. On the seventh I get an eviction notice.

I understand that they do this not only because they have better things to do than to chase every tenant around for their rent but because they genuinely need the money in the account on the first. They have to pay the mortgage on the whole townhouse development, I get it.

The trouble with the roommate not paying me when he had told me he would is that I had trusted him that he would.  His failure to pay me has made me look bad. (Rather my reliance on him to pay me has made me look bad).

I had made arrangements with the storage company to pay off a small portion of the bill for the first six months of storage today, this afternoon. 

I had hoped to deposit the money in the account and pay them off in full and prepay the cost of moving the bed this month, as a thank you and a goodwill gesture.

I like to equate it to your paycheque. Imagine if your boss came to you on your expected payday and said, “I didn’t get around to running payroll, maybe tomorrow.”  (My heart goes out to those people that this has happened to).

You would understandably freak out, because you need to get paid when it is understood that you are to be paid.

You need that money not because you want to go to the bar and get drunk, but because you have your own bills to pay, your own obligations to meet.

Those obligations are contingent and reliant on you getting paid when you are supposed to. The same is true for your creditors, whoever they are.

Now I have had to email them and let them know that I will pay the bill on Saturday when I go down there to rearrange the stuff in storage and pack in tighter and better. I want to make room for the bedroom furniture before it arrives. (What the heck I have to make a special trip down there anyways).

Back to roommate, while I understand that at his age rules and deadlines seem like guidelines, negotiable and not to be taken seriously. As we get older and get slapped with a few late fees and other penalties we learn that they are not an in our best interest to make sure that we pay our bills on time and in full.

I trust that he will pay me tonight as he said he would but I am now mulling if I should slap him with the same fifty dollar late fee. I probably won’t as this is the last time he is paying rent.

We are moving out this month and I am somehow doubtful he will pay his share of utilities at the end of the month. (I bill utilities in arrears so as to only charge roommate his share of what he actually used.)

If he somehow doesn’t get his pay I will simply inform him that if I am not paid by the seventh, I will be changing the locks on the eighth and he can arrange to pick up his stuff. 

Thursday 2 January 2014

Trailer Vs Room

Okay, I am a bit more relaxed this morning than yesterday about the heat bill. It would be more specific to say that I have resigned myself to the fact that whatever will happen, will happen. It is only one more month to go and then I will not have to worry about it.

I ran the numbers last night and again this morning about which way would put me financially further ahead: Trailer or Room. They both have their merits:

Renting a room is more sensible and expected, it is indoors and all that. Then again I have to live under someone else’s room and their rules feeling like I am sneaking in and out of the house every time. 

As well you feel like you are always a guest in their home, which in fact you are. You are always mindful of your noise level and your all around impact on someone else’s home.

I am drawn to buying the trailer as it will be my little place, I could say that I own my home but just not the land underneath it. Wherever I go I will be home; that is appealing to me.

I also like the fact of not having to always keep the noise down or feel like I am a constant guest. In time I could buy some land and park the trailer on it as I slowly develop that land . . . who knows, that is an option.

After running the numbers though and taking into account the cost of heating the trailer 24/7 in winter to prevent the pipes from freezing, it is clear that renting the room is better financially. 

If I could find a place to park the trailer and plug in a space heater to keep the trailer warm when I am away that would be something. In warmer months I don’t need to worry about this as all I care about is pipes freezing.

I will check out the trailer place and ask a bunch of questions on the tenth, as it will be the first time that I will have an option to visit them when they are open. For now though, the room is winning.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Happy New Year . . . Off to an Odd Start

Ever have one of those arguments where no matter what you seem petty and downright cheap? At the end of it you don’t know who is right and who is wrong. I just had one of those with the roommate.

See where I live now is an older townhouse and to put it politely the circulation sucks. I have long since learned that to keep decent heat in the upstairs rooms of the house without cranking the heat, you leave the bedroom doors open at least a crack . . . at least some of the time.

I have always simply set the thermostat at 20 (Celsius) when I am home and yes turn it down when I sleep and go out. If I am cold I put on a sweater, I deal with it. All I care about is: 1) pipes don’t freeze and 2) I don’t see my breath inside.

I do this so the heat bill does not get too bad. After all, I am the one who is responsible for the bills, no matter who else is here I have to make sure that the bills are paid, on time and in full.

The roommate has always wanted things hotter (around 25 Celsius at least) and simply not cared about the bills. He hibernates in his room and keeps the door closed at all times.

That part I can live with, but he refuses to wear anything more than shorts and a shirt around the house and simply cranks the heat when my back is turned.

I came home from a bit of window shopping this afternoon to find the thermostat cranked up to 27 Celsius. This evening I caught him turning it up from 23 Celsius (my compromise) to 25 (as he always does).

I confronted him about it and he simply looked and talked to me like I was nuts and that it was all my problem, that he pays his bills and so forth. Well he is supposed to pay me his share of the rent tomorrow night (two days late and two weeks after I paid the rent).

I haven’t run the numbers but I am certain that he either costs me more than he brings into the house (compared to if he was not here) than he pays into the house . . . either that or it is a wash.

This is yet another reason why I am actually looking forward to sleeping in my truck at the end of the month. I am tired of being the one responsible for all the bills and then hoping that people will pay me . . . when they feel like it.

If I was rich, it wouldn’t mind it as much . . . then again, maybe it would . . . I just don’t know. I would hope to think that I am a generous person.