Sunday 23 February 2014

Look for the "Win", in Everything

     Okay it is hard to imagine how time has flown by, I am approaching one month in my new little place.  I just got paid my end of the month paycheque and that means that rent is due. 

     More than rent to be sure, but it is the main bill which I pay at this time of the month. Well, that and my phone bill. 

     This month has not turned out the way I had hoped. I had hoped to pay down a thousand dollars on my first credit card but all I have done is pay the minimum payments on them. 

     This month has been one of taking care of assorted bills and one unforeseen expense (which I will not go into) that I have had to take care of.

     On the positive side I have stayed out of the overdraft all month and it looks like I will get out of this month, still to the positive. I guess that is the “win” that I will take out of this month. 

      I am re-teaching myself that zero means zero and that the Overdraft does not exist. There are still tempting things to buy but what will be the point of paying down a credit card if I will simply run it up again. 

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Living on a Budget is Not Easy

     Okay I have been in my little place a bit over two weeks now. I have had one paycheque and this Friday I will have another one. I have settled into a bit of a routine; albeit a bit of a dull one.  

     I get up early, play a bit of Lord of The Rings Online, then do some sort of writing or website work for my TV show. Then I get ready and go to work. After work I come home and relax while watching TV. I try to do some work but I just seem to veg out. 

     As I have said before, if you don’t have any cash it is easy to stay on budget. You literally can’t spend what you don’t have. 

     The trick is to not spend money when you have it available to you. That is the problem that I am now dealing with. I still have the impulse to spend and buy some large ticket item, just because I can.  . . . I am working on this. 

     I have noticed that I do tend to cheat the system a bit and buy little things here and there. A fast food lunch here, a small household item there. 

     These are not large purchases and they are not that frequent. As well I am still above Zero in the bank account but I am still spending when I should not. 

    I am on track to get these bill s paid down but it is frustrating not seeing any real progress. I simply made minimum payments this month and won’t make a large payment till a month from now. 

     I do hope to make a larger than usual payment on the seventh but it won’t be until March 22 that I will be able to make a serious dent in the first credit card. On a spread sheet the months just fly by but in real life they trickle by. 

     I am trying to curb my spending habits but so far I have not succeeded. I am at least slowing down my spending, and that is some measure of progress.  

Sunday 9 February 2014

Zero Actually Means Zero


I got paid on Friday and I am already tapped out. The important thing to remember is that my bills are paid and I am still above Zero in my account.

I had a few leftover expenses from the townhouse which need to be taken care of. I had hoped to put half of my rent aside this paycheque and half of my rent aside next paycheque. 

Well that was not possible without going into my overdraft and I have already sworn that I will not do that unless it is an emergency. I will admit that there is still the temptation to dip into my overdraft. 

I have been living in my overdraft for so long that it almost feels like it is my money. It has started to feel that I have fifteen hundred bucks in my account when I have zero in the account. This is something I have to retrain myself, that zero actually means zero. 

The thing to take away from all of this is that the savings are not immediate. While I am in my new place and this means that my living expenses are lower, not all of my bills are lower. 

I just filled up my truck (I do this once a paycheque) the amount of driving that I have done since I last got paid is more than usual. This means that it was bit more than I was used to, or rather more than I had been paying at the Townhouse. I won’t see any savings in fuel consumption until next paycheque. 

Likewise I expect to pay off another bill from the Townhouse with my next paycheque. What this means is that I won’t pay down any credit cards until next month. This will delay my plans but only by a month. 

There is always a transitional period with these types of life changes. Don’t expect to be immediately relieved of the financial pressure just because you have moved. It takes time to relieve the financial pressure, but it will get better, trust me.

Saturday 1 February 2014

I Made It! The Move Is Complete!

As I sit here and write this entry, I am in my new home and I have officially made it. Despite all of the challenges that I have faced over the past two months, I am not only now in my new little place, but I have also achieved my first financial objective: I have paid off my overdraft.

I have made it out of the month of January, done all that I wanted to do, and am still a few dollars in the positive. Albeit $20.94 to the positive but it doesn’t matter that $20.95 is mine and not borrowed from the bank. I will grow my finances from here and simply not spend anything until I get paid on Friday (I hope).

After the last of the things were loaded into my little room or into storage, I treated myself. I went to the nearest fitness centre and no I did not work out, I parked my butt in a hot tub and soaked for a few hours . . . yep I was a prune when I came out, but I was a more relaxed and happier prune.

Living here is a bit of an adjustment but not unlike the time that I lived in residence at Film School. I lived in my little room and shared the kitchen and bathroom before, I can do so again.  . . . I can do this.

February will be a bit of a slow financial start for me, as I will not pay down any cards nor will I make any radical expenditures. This month will see me grow my minimum balance of my bank account to at least $500.00 once all bills are paid as well as pay off some lingering bills from the old place. I got my power/gas bill just as I was leaving.

It doesn’t matter, I am getting ahead just being here, so it won’t be until March that my first major paydown on my credit cards will begin, but it will begin.

The one thing that I have learned is that there is always some unforeseen expense that will come up. I see now that planning for a 10% Contingency Fund for any such endeavour would be a good idea, just a small amount set aside for these unforeseen expenses, such as “pay per view movies” that the roommate charged or that small thing you need to get, etc.

At any rate, I am here, my home for the next two years, yet not home. This is but a waypoint on my journey to Financial Independence and credit card freedom. With no further ado, here is my little place . . .