Tag Archives: personal finance

Catching up!

I haven’t paid this blog much attention for a while, and it shows.  I’m not sure I’m getting healthier (at least my knees are complaining more than usual), my savings are going down a little too quickly for my liking, and wisdom – well, according to Designing Your Life failure is part of the journey of life.  It allows you to reframe and try something different.

April 4, Health:  I ate reasonably well, starting with a smoothie for breakfast.  We brought a snack for “running errands” time – an apple and a banana.  Lunch was rice pudding left over from breakfast.  We are trying NOT to throw food away, but I don’t want to have two breakfasts!  Supper was a “butter” chicken recipe without butter. We used coconut oil instead.

I took the dogs for a walk – each one individually, so that added some steps to my day.  While my goal is to get over 10000 steps, I made it to just over 7000.  The lesson I have been learning over the past month is that I need to be more intentional about what I eat AND how much I move in a day!

WEALTH: Since arriving home from China, I have been spending my savings.  I needed some time to regroup, but now the job hunt is on.  As a family we are collecting our receipts so that we can see just exactly what we are buying.  I’m enjoying access to Value Village again, just to get clothing in my size.  

WISDOM:  From Designing Your Life, try stuff.  Take a chance.  Fail. Try something different.  Test alternatives.  But never, never, never stop moving.  

See you tomorrow!

Marcia

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Filed under Becoming Wiser, GREEN: Money matters that matter., RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, Uncategorized, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature, YELLOW: Moving into my Life's Calling

Partying “Inside the Lines”

halvahLast week I wrote about the party tithe and how I was going to take 10% of my net income and use it for whatever would give me pleasure.  As it turned out, there wasn’t much that I wanted to spend my cash on.  Suddenly the muffins I’d been buying quite regularly – with debit, credit or gift cards – lost their appeal.  It was kind of weird.  I’d walk by the Local Roast, look at what was on offer and walk on.  The only thing that I ended up buying all week was a bar of Halvah.

I like halvah and it’s relatively good for you with all those sesame seeds, but I am trying to remember that too much of a good thing is not good.  So I only buy this at my local Planet Organic store – and only when I need to get things there.  (This week Kefir starter was the draw!) .  I have to say that I really enjoyed it – but I know that’s because it’s not something I buy every day.

So, what happens to the leftovers of the party tithe?  In the Bible, the party tithe was used only once a year.  I’ve opted to keep the change in my wallet and I put the bills in my suitcase.  That way I’ll have some “party money” for my next trip, which is coming up in April!

Part Two: (January 17, 2013)

I wrote this post last week, just before a huge paycheck which included a great many holiday hours.  Let me tell you, its been a while since I had a paycheque over a $1000.  Because I have two jobs, I do have the luxury of  getting something in my bank account every week.  This week that second paycheque was very small because I didn’t work over the Christmas break.  Still, I am able to give, save and celebrate!  For example, this week I matched the amount I put into my “Savings Game” account.  The “party money”  is only $24 this week, but since I haven’t been spending most of it anyways, this is not a big deal.  It’s nice to be saving some of it to enjoy later when I visit my family!

All I can say just now is that I am enjoying this financial discipline.  And I’m enjoying the benefits of being debt-free and able to do the things I really want to do.

If  you have debt issues, here’s the system that helped me: Dave Ramsey’s Snowball  I’ve also read and re-read his book, The Total Money Makeover which helped me create an emergency fund and continues to encourage me day to day.

What I’m learning now is to “party inside the lines” – using the 10% figure in cash to help me.  It’s easy to go way outside the lines with lattes, smoothies from Jugo Juice and snacks here and there when they go on a debit card or plastic.  This way I know where I am and what I want to spend it on!

Have a great day!

Marcia

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Rethinking Things!

I talk a lot about savings – so much so, that my daughter tells me to stop.  I talk to my friends about it – and they do me the courtesy of NOT rolling their eyes.  This is how daughters differ from friends!

Anyways, last Sunday – the 28th I was visiting my dear friend (I’m blessed with two of them!) in Irricana and talking a bit about being debt free and lamenting about my lack of savings.  What I wasn’t really lamenting about was my lack of giving – and that too had suffered while I was so focused on the debt repayment plan.  That realization just thunked me on the head like a hammer. MB900336372 So, over the last few days I’ve been pondering my behaviour – and my savings plan.  Because while they sound good on paper and on Facebook – there’s a dimension of my life that’s lacking and I was too blind to see it.

So, why not go back to the beginning of things – and the Bible is a pretty early document, readily available online, at the library, in a hotel room. or if  you’re close by, you can even ask me for one.

God has a lot to say about how we manage our wealth.  In days gone by it might have been stuff rather than money, but since that’s how I’m paid, that’s how we’ll look at this.

The giving part is what churches call a “tithe” – 10 percent of your wages – gross or net, you pick.  But since this feels a little like stepping on thin ice for me, I’m going to start with net and work towards tithing on my gross.   That in itself could be an interesting journey.

The next part is the “party” part.  Tony Campolo introduced me to this idea, found in the middle of that long drawn out book of do’s and don’ts called Deuteronomy (chapter 14:22-26).  The idea here, is that once a year, you take another 10 percent and blow it – rejoicing before God – and enjoying it with Him.  How about that?  Fine champagne? a haircut in Paris? A one inch thick triple A dry aged steak from the Co-op?

And then, another 10 percent for savings.  Because, I’m me and I’m Canadian, and really, saving for the future is good stuff.  I might get old – and a bit of money might make it easier in the long haul.

 

glue-ver-1

Now that it’s Friday, I’ve got an opportunity to put this into action.

The net deposit from the YMCA was $302.14.  This means that $31 goes to the party tithe (Which I will take out in cash).  $53 went to that crazy savings plan.  And $53 is going to giving.  I already made one donation to a program I like to listen to.  The rest will be given at church on Sunday.  Actually, when I actually did it, the amount came out a bit higher.  Not to worry – God has never rounded down on me!

Today was a kind of different paycheck.  I didn’t have a credit card balance to deal with.  Usually I use my credit card and then pay it off once a week.  Not having that made a huge difference in my ability to move money where I wanted it to go.  It was very freeing actually and I think I will keep on keeping my credit card at home!

 

 

 

To make this long story a bit shorter:

  • Party tithe:  Keep it in cash and see how I use it.
  • Giving tithe:  Keep it at the same amount as that savings game I’m playing (at least)
  • Credit card:  Don’t use it, or pay it before I use it so I don’t have a balance!
  • Use the rest wisely, setting aside funds for rent, bills, and upcoming expenses (tuition for my course, flights to Toronto in April and August)

I don’t know if this is helpful to anyone else, but it’s been helpful to me!

Enjoy the fruits of your labours!

Marcia

 

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If you will…

If you own a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover you will see, at the bottom of every page the following statement:

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else!

There are so many people that are living with the bondage of debt.  I know, because in spite of all my reading, I still have debt.  Not as much as some people, but still enough that I am bound to my job and its hours.  I cannot just make a leap to the next adventure.  I have more than bills to pay, I have debts.

Being a good mom, I like to “talk” about these things with the two E’s in my life.  Of course to Emma it comes across as “the lecture” and sometimes I can feel her eyes rolling!  They’re both pretty patient with me however, and they are willing to listen.  They also have my copy of  ” that Ramsey book” which they may get to reading at least a little of.

Anyways, it was Eric’s birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to get him something fun.  Apparently his car of choice is a 2008 Dodge Charger with a hemi.  First I thought I might get him a model of one – but it was raining and I didn’t have time to go biking or busing around the city looking for one.  Ditto for a puzzle.  So I made him a picture!  I googled images of the car in question and created a collage that ended up looking something like this:

Eric’s Birthday Card

Well, I guess you are going to have to click the link to see the card.  Another learning curve will be to get it to show up in the blog.  However, it is worth the click so go ahead.  I do have to say that it looks nice – although the frugal side of me cringes at the cost of gas!  But I really like the middle picture on the bottom row!  What a view!

So here’s your assignment (and mine of course) if you choose to play along.  What kind of things would you like to have in your life once your financial house is in order?  What will your life look like when you’ve made the changes you need or want to make?

What do you want your life to look like?

Something that makes me smile!

Owning my own business!

Seeing the world!

And that’s just the “me” stuff.  What about the charities I could support more fully?

Creating pictures of the things we want to accomplish can help us get there.

I got a colour copy of  Eric’s card at Digital Post for about $2.50.  That included extracting the file from my memory stick.  Then I bought a frame so that it can hang on the wall and inspire them both to read the book.  In a few years, maybe the car of choice will change, but I hope they get there! (Without the debt!) Sorry Emma, I had to put that in there too!

In the meantime, I too will chose to eat and spend differently than I have in the past so that I too will be able to live differently in the future!  Just think of what an adventure it will be!

Have a great day!

Marcia

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