It’s been cold lately. Bone chillin’ cold. The temperature outside tonight is -23C.
I had to venture out to the library because my books were due. It was obvious that the cold has deterred people from going out. Normally the library has 2x the number of people. Absolutely understandable of course.
One of my buddies who is a hard-core runner has also decided against going out tonight. Smart choice I say.
Seems to me cold temperatures like these are nature’s way of forcing us to stay home and save our money. I wouldn’t want to go out unless I had to. So that means keeping my money just a couple days longer. No impulse purchases for me!
Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.
A new year. A fresh start. A new beginning. That’s what it means to me. Every year around this time I like to sit back and reflect on what I’ve done this past year. What major achievements, goals, etc…
The biggest “goal” (if you can call it that) is that the Wife and I bought a new house. We won’t likely take possession until August 2013. Other than that, I can’t say this year has been very meainingful in terms of personal growth.
I did start this blog, however, I must admit, I’ve been unable to maintain updates on a regular basis. Hopefully in 2013, I will have a better track record.
Like I said, this is a new year and a new start. I shouldn’t worry about what I didn’t achieve in 2012 but focus my attention on all that I will achieve in 2013.
Here’s to a new beginning!
It’s been a couple of months since I’ve blogged about Sarah. I’m sad to report that our arrangement has come to an end. I’ve lost contact with her and won’t be continuing with her as a case study.
No matter. In the end, it was very difficult to try to convince her of what she should do. Many times I’ve reminded her to do simple things like bring a lunch to work to cut down on expenses. However, I believe she had only brought lunch to work 1-2 times. Her work offered free gourmet coffee but that didn’t stop her from buying her coffee each day. She couldn’t afford her car payments but that didn’t stop her from buying a new car. The point is, as much as she SAID she wanted to save money and change her life around, she didn’t do it. There’s an expression – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. In this case, I can advise her on the things to do, but until she really wants to do it for herself, she won’t.
I wish Sarah all the best in her life.
So it’s been a while since I updated the status of Sarah’s financial situation. The last time we chatted, she was heading in the right direction – on her way to balancing her books. She had paid off one credit card debt and was managing her okay with her other credit debt. Things seem to be going her way.
So it came as a shock to me when she told me her financial situation has gotten a lot worse. The payments for her new car are eating away at her cash flow. This was something I brought to her attention before she bought her car. However, she felt that she could handle it if she cut back on some of her expenses. The problem was, she hasn’t cut back on her expense yet.
One of the major expensive for the coming winter is enrolling her son in hockey. It cost $450 a season and that’s before the hockey equipment. Hockey requires a major commitment both in time and money. Unfortunately the $450 has put her in negative territory. I understand that she wants her son (5 years old) to not miss out on important aspects of a childhood, but her financial situation doesn’t allow for it.
She’s also informed me that she’s maxed out her other credit card. We didn’t get into what she purchased but it’s obvious that she didn’t initially have the funds to pay for it so she charged it. She told me she’s been using pay day loans again to make ends meet – $200 every two weeks. The cost for pay day advance – $40! In her situation, she needs all the money she can save and every pay day, she’s already $40 down the hole. She’s been getting credit card offers too but I advised her not to do it. She can’t handle her current debt, what makes her think she can handle more?
I’m not sure of what else I can do to help her. She knows what she NEEDS to do, but she’s not willing to do it. There are 2 ways to get out of debt. 1. Earn more money and 2. Spend less than you earn.
She’s mentioned that maybe she can take up a part-time job. Sure but that takes her away from her son 2 evenings a week and maybe 1 day during the week. Is she willing to make such a sacrifice?
The other option is to spend less. But I’ve not seen this commitment in her either. She buys lunch regularly and I seldom see her pack a lunch. It’s money she doesn’t really have to spend. Smoking is eating away at her money too but she hasn’t cut back either.
I will try to persuade her to cut back on her discretionary spending. However, I can only suggest and offer her advice. I can’t make her do anything she doesn’t want. I really do want her to succeed but she has to want to succeed herself.
My parents are visiting for 2.5 weeks. It’s been great having them around. They get to see the grand kids (and take care of them) and they also help with the cooking and cleaning. Yes, life is good. No complaints here. I’ll miss them when they go home next weekend.
However, I have noticed that since they’ve been here, I’ve been less productive than my usual self. As my mom tells me, ‘get as much rest as you can when we’re here’. How can I argue with that?!? Still, I’m starting to feel guilty for not helping out more – only slightly though.
For example, the cooking is done by my dad by the time we get home. This is a big help whereas before, I’d start cooking at 5:30 and not eat until 6:30. Without my parents around, I’d clean up as soon as I’d finished dinner. Now, my mom kicks me out of my own kitchen when I try to clean the dirty dishes. Okay, she doesn’t really kick me out. It’s just we’re both in the kitchen trying to clean dishes and our kitchen isn’t big enough for the both of us, so I leave and let her do it. ;p
On Sunday evenings, I usually iron my clothes for the following week. She’s already done it so that saves me another 1 hour. I usually try to vacuum my carpets once a week during the weekends but my mom’s done that too. The trash? Again, done before I get home. She takes care of it all while I’m at work. See, I will miss them very much.
Still, a part of me will be glad when they go home. I’ll be able to go back to my routine again. And I’ll start feeling like I’m contributing to the family again. And that makes me feel good.
Not too bad. And let’s talk about it.