More un-Frugal Habits

Thursday, February 14, 2008

So, earlier, I discussed that I had a previous PF blog out there in the blogsphere. Well, I was looking through it and noticed a post I had written regarding what, at the time, I considered to be my top 10 un-frugal habits.

Well, it's been almost a year since that post was published, and I thought it was due time to revisit it and see how (if!) i've progressed.

Here they are, in all their glory:

1. Losing Money
2. Watching movies in the theatres
3. Not recycling
4. Buying small amounts of food/drink/etc 'on the go'
5. Not sticking to a plan
6. Being messy- Losing things and buying replacements before I look hard enough to ensure that I can't find the original
7. Being brand-loyal and not checking out the competition
8. Not cutting up/getting rid of old accounts/credit cards
9. Buying books as opposed to borrowing
10. Buying things 'for the future'

If you want to read the whole descriptions you can do so here.

Some of these I'm getting much better at, and some of them I still need to work on. Some have changed since getting a different job. Let's see...

1. Losing Money

I'm not as bad at this as I used to be, but I assume that that is because I no longer collect American change. The exchange rate is pretty much par, and as such, it does me no good to horde change.

2. Watching movies in the theatres

I also haven't done this in a while. This is mainly because I haven't seen anything good out! I'm sure once the summer blockbusters pick up I'll have the desire again. However, this time I'm going to order some movie passes with my airmiles and sneak some snacks in!

3. Not recycling

I still don't recycle that much at home, but I've been cutting down on the amount of bottled things I buy, so I haven't the opportunity to recycle as much.

4. Buying small amounts of food/drink/etc 'on the go'

I've generally stopped doing this as much, too. I think that this is mainly because I don't have as much free time as I used to! I don't shop that often anymore, and I can't "buy" things "to-go" from home!

5. Not sticking to a plan

I've been good at this one. I've made a spreadsheet and, for the second month in a row, have stuck to it. It's nice seeing results and learning about Excel!

6. Being messy- Losing things and buying replacements before I look hard enough to ensure that I can't find the original

Okay, I admit. I'm still super-messy. However, I've taken to an organized-type of messiness, and as such, haven't bought a replacement for something I already have. However, I have discovered a couple things I've broken due to messiness - which I must put a stop to.

7. Being brand-loyal and not checking out the competition

I'm still bad for this. I would prefer buying a brand I know than checking out the no-name brands. I don't quite understand my fear of no-name products. I know my mother used to think that they were lesser-quality - it's possible that I learned all this from her. Either way, it's a habit i'm going to have to break. Besides, when I get to London, they'll be less that I recognize!

8. Not cutting up/getting rid of old accounts/credit cards

Okay, I still haven't cancelled my old Mastercard that I never use. But, my Dad said that it's better for me to leave it, since it's my oldest account and helps my credit rating. Sure, I'd like to have my credit rating to stay high (it's 744 right now), but I feel weird with a useless open account sitting there. Hmmmm.

9. Buying books as opposed to borrowing

I actually haven't purchased a book for a while, but I haven't been to the library either, so this just sits rather blah.

10. Buying things 'for the future'

Heh, now that I can actually 'see' my future, I've stopped doing this. Now that I know that I'll be in London in the fall, I've stopped buying most things, as I'd only be able to enjoy them for 5 or 6 months before they get boxed up and put away. I can't bring everything to London!

Well, that's the summary of some of my past goals. I think I'm doing alright. It's time for me to leave work, but I'll most likely think of some new ones on the way home!

I used to have this one blog...

A while back. It was my first attempt at PF Blogging, and it worked out well for a while, but I quickly fell back into old habits and the blag has sat that, silently cursing me everytime I log into blogger and see both of them. Well, the time has come to erase the old and continue with the new. I'll be posting some of my favorite posts here, and after that, old blog is kaput.

Here is one of my favorite questions: How Honest Are You?

I just went to Quizno's for lunch (I printed off a free coupon off their site!) and ordered a yummy sandwich. I paid via VISA (I'm only allowed 10 debit transactions for free a month) and promptly left.

On the walk back to my office I realized that I never signed the Credit Card slip.Now I know my VISA can be charged directly to my debit account, however, I didn't enter a PIN, so I know that didn't happen. The receipt I got shows that it was a VISA and the charge went through, but I don't know if they can put the payment through if I didn't sign the slip.

I'll have to wait and see if it shows up on the 'net. This got me thinking - when it comes to company mistakes, how far will you go?I've had situations where i've bought X number of things, and the cashier only rings in a portion of those by mistake. Do you tell them? I rarely do, if ever. Or if a cashier rings something in in an incorrect price - would you correct them? I don't.Does that make me a bad person? I don't think so.

I don't think that Zeller's suffers too badly for a couple mis-rung shirts or grocery products. However, that's the same thinking that shoplifters operate through. In my opinion, it's the cashier's mistake, not mine.

However, i've had friends who would correct them. I know someone who once left a store, went home, realized that she only got charged for one of her two purchased shirts and promptly drove back to the store to correct the salesperson and give them the additional money. I think that's crazy - very honest and good of them - but crazy!

I don't feel guilty when I tap into someone else's wireless internet connection or getting a free chocolate bar because Safeway forgot to ring in the last one. To me, it's a faceless crime.Is it really, though? Maybe that cashier at Quizno's has done that a lot lately, and maybe she'll get fired over it. Who knows? Would that, then make me a bad person?

When I worked at Subway I used to make mistakes like this sometimes. If I overcharged someone and didn't realize it until afterwards, I didn't track them down in the food court. I waited for them to realize and come back to me. Most of the time, they didn't come back at all.Other times, when I undercharged someone, if they were still there I would correct them.

However, if they had already left, I just let it go, knowing that the register would most likely even itself out over the course of the day. Sometimes people would come back and insist on paying, but I always thought it was weird. My boss didn't miss the extra dollar or so they were giving us.

What's your opinion? Would you walk away with a steal or would you correct them?

Here are some of the comments I received on that post:

The SUWBAYblogger said...
The only time the signature is actually checked by Visa (or any other card) is in the case of disputes. The vendor doesnt even need to send them in sometimes. They simply need to file them. In other cases, they send them in, but they never get checked.In the case of a Quizno's sub, if you disputed it, Visa would just eat the cost most likely because it is more expensive to pursue the issue. So they just fork out the $8.00
June 20, 2007 5:23 PM

Krystal said...
Oh if I realized a cashier messed up and charged me less than they were supposed to, no way would I correct them. I figured if they made the mistake, that's there own fault and not mine.Maybe not the most ethical thing to do, but what can I say? I worked in retail for 7 years up until a few years ago, and I've made my fair share of mistakes (including a $300 mistake) ... but what can you do? A mistake is a mistake.
June 22, 2007 9:02 PM

nancy aka money coach said...
wow - what a great question! I just came across it today. I recall in my early 20s, going back to a store to give them back about $2. I wouldn't do the same now, but at the time my conscience said to do it. Here's a further development of the question: what if Nobody, Ever, corrected a financial mistake. What would the world look like? Alternatively, what if Everybody, Always corrected financial mistakes? I honestly don't know the answer, and like you, I weight the inconvenience for me of correcting the mistake against the price of the mistake - and I don't always make the correction. I don't feel badly. I guess I follow the golden rule. If I were the other business, how much would I hope the customer would correct my mistake?
July 19, 2007 10:08 AM

What are your thoughts? When is it okay to leave the store, or when should you stay? Is it at the $300 shirt, or the $1.99 pair of socks?

My age...

(I should have mentionned in my post about Excel that my budget sheet has been tweaked from Fabulously Broke in the City's budget that she has available on her site. Her blog is one of my favorites - go check it out!)

I was having lunch today with S and some of her friends, and, other than it being a complete bore (some of her friends bore me and I don't really enjoy small talk), it really gave me an insight into how some people my age deal with money.

They all seemed to think that either:

1) The world owes them something.
2) They are going to be forever short on cash.

Which, in my opinion, neither are true. One girl's parents are buying her a brand new car, yet she doesn't have her licence. She is currently debating whether she wants to spend (sorry, her parents spending) $5,000 for her to take a class in China for a month. She buys Louis Vuitton purses and doesn't have a job, currently. I'm guessing she gets her $$ from mommy and daddy. She seems to be one of those girls that worries about foolish things and which I hope secretly run out of money some day so that I can get the pleasure of watching them meet the real world. Yes, I'm mean like that.

S herself is good with money. She's got $11,000 worth of student loans, but like me, she just graduated one month ago and has a plan to pay them off. Good for her, I'm proud of her.

The last girl there, makes double what I do, and seems to think she'll be forever in debt. Not sure how that works, but I didn't want to start a debate right then and there.

I am really really proud of my progress, and I like sharing that with people (in a non-bragging sense, mind you), but all my cries of joy are met with is displeasure (read: sarcasm), confusion and/or pessimism. Here are only a few samples of things that people have said to me:

I say: "Yes I'm planning to move to London in the fall."

They say (sarcastically): "And how are you going to do that??"

I retort: "I'm going to save at least $10,000 here, get a job there and work my way around."

They wonder: "$10,000 hey? Good luck with that."

I shrug and say "Well, I've got $5,000 in the bank already and I've only been saving since January 1, 2008, so I think it's doable."

They then say one of a couple different things:
1) It must be nice to be able to save that much money
2) *rolls eyes* Oh.
3) Well, enjoy it now, you won't be able to save that money when you get a real job.
4) Talk to me when you have bills to pay.

What I really want to do with these people is grab them, shake them and yell at them that it's taken hard work, effort, and sacrifice to get where I am. I hate it when they think that I have the easy way out since I live at home and work up to 60 hours a week in two jobs.

No one, not once, not even my parents have said the words I'd really like to hear:

Good for you.

(And no, this isn't a desperate plea for you to tell me that, it's just I enjoy feeling like I'm doing good, and no one seems to have the faith in me to achieve my goals. Partly that makes me want it that much more. Just to shove it in their faces.)

I'm pissed off...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

...And thinking about investing.

Those aren't really connected, but it's what I'm thinking about right now.

I was watching HGTV, but my dad came in and changed the channel without even asking if I was watching that.

No, I was just hanging out in the living room alone. With the television on for noise.

These last couple days have been touchy between us. He's just been pissing me off with pretty much anything he does.

I'm taking this as a sign that it's time for me to move out.

I'll be out soon enough.

Speaking of moving out, I was looking into the ING Direct "Streetwise" Mutual Fund. I haven't quite looked into it, and don't really have much knowledge about it, but it would be nice, given that I'll have $10,000 or so kicking around for a bit before I'm going to need it.

Anyone know of any good sites/banks/etc that will teach me about mutual funds and/or investing?

I heart Excel.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I do. I really really do. I really enjoy tweaking and adjusting my excel spreadsheet. I'm a nerd like that. I've even uploaded a picture of it so you can see it in all it's glorious colors. If you actually want a copy, feel free to e-mail me and I'll send you a blank one should you want to fill it in yourself.

On another note, it's really bugging me that my progress bar fonts are not the same size, but I am not patient enough to try to sort through the HTML to fix it. Bah.

Some changes...

So, I've made some changes to the progress bars as well as my spreadsheets. As much as I enjoy opening tons of ING Savings accounts to keep all my savings balanced, it's not really in my best interest. So, I've combined the Plane Ticket Fund and the VISA Fee Fund into one grand account, now called "Plane Ticket / VISA Fee" with a goal of $1,800. My third ING Account is now used to my "Fun Money", an 'account' that was previously all cash. I figure, now that I've got $1,500 laying around, I might as well make some interest off of it.

On another note, I've been getting bored with the food selections downtown here where I work (never thought that would happen!), and, as such, I have decided to bring my lunch from home every day this week (except Wednesday since I have previously-made lunch plans). So far so good. Food from home is nice, and it lets me eat whenever I want, although I do miss leaving the office and getting a break. Today I may go for a walk outside either way since the weather is good.

Dear TD Canada Trust...

I hate you. You charge me too many fees. I want to leave.


I got my statement today, and while I had already seen the balance online, I was kindly reminded yet again that I had to pay almost $7.20 in fees on a $3.95 plan. Why, you ask?

I went over the limit on my debit withdrawls. But, the problem is, most of those were transfers to my ING accounts. Now, I understand that technically, those probably count as withdrawls, but it still sucks.

I wish I could move all my accounts over to ING Direct. They are awesome.

I'll just need to start making 1 lum-sum payment to ING Direct and then diverting it through there, instead of making individual payments.


AMA Driver's Education Classes...

Monday, February 11, 2008

... Are going to cost me $714. Yeah fuck that.

That's a HUGE amount of money. For 6 classes and 10-hours of in-car lessons. Fak!

I was hoping to get all this out of the way before I left, but shat, that's waaaay too much money. What a rip-off.

Hmmm. I wonder if there is a cheaper option available? Maybe I shouldn't take it at all?

Progress Bars!

I've added progress bars! Oh happy day!

I have been envious of those beautiful little progress bars that all of you have, and now, i've got some too! Now, if you want to know how I made them, we'll I'll tell you.

First off, I ended up (after googling "progress bars HTML blogger") at Hooks N' Needles site, where she has a wonderfully well-laid out post on how to make the bars. You can find it here. After making some and messing around with the colors, I then wandered over to Give me Back my Five Buck's site, where I have always admired her dainty little bars, where I looked through the HTML to find out how to make the font smaller and put the numbers on the bottom of the bars. Yes, it did take me the better of the morning, but it was worth it! Thanks to both of you!

So, now that I've put those bars up there, I thought I'd talk a little bit about them.

My "London Savings" account is the account where I'm pumping as much money as I possibly can. The goal date for all of these accounts is August 1, 2008. I will be leaving for London mid-September, but I will be giving notice at my jobs around August 1, and will no longer have income. The "London Savings" account is the account where I will be living off of when I first arrive in London, and it will help me buy food and other necessities, as well as paying for a damage-deposit and any other first-time expenses.

I will be getting a job in London, although it's hard to say how long that will take. This will be my cushion. If I get a job fast, then I will use this money to supplement my income, as well as paying for other necessities. Ideally I would like to have this fund at %50 upon my return, but I'm not counting on it.

My "Plane Ticket" fund has a goal of $1,200, although I'm hoping to only use around half of that for the flight. I live in western Canada, and unfortunately, I have decided to fly into London during their peak time. If I were to fly direct, I would be looking at around $1000 for a one-way flight - which is kind of a rip-off when the round trip flight is only another couple hundred $$. I have family in the Toronto area whom I haven't seen in a long time, and so, the plan is to take the Greyhound (a cost of around $137) from here to Toronto, then hop a flight from Toronto to London (a cost of around $600). That's the cheapest option, and since I've never seen much of Saskatchewan or Manitoba, I figure i'd be a good time all around. Any money left in this account I will be saving for a return flight.

Another option I've considered is that Air Canada, should I book a return flight and "miss it", they will credit me in the amount that the flight would've cost, which I could then use it against a return ticket home whenever I wanted to come back. I still haven't looked into the logistics of this.

My "Working Holiday Maker VISA Fee" account is to pay off the $470 VISA fee it costs to get the paperwork that states that I am legally employable in the UK for up to one year. The rest of the fund will cover any costs in actually getting my bum to Edmonton to do the application, because they can't do it in my city. Hopefully I'll just hitch a ride with my Dad the next time he goes to Edmonton, but if he doesn't then I'll be paying one of my nice friends to do the honors, since I don't drive.

And last, but not least, is my "London Fun Money!" fund. This is the fund that I will use to buy 'things' in London, as well as any money for travel within Europe (I will have friends in the Netherlands by then, and about 6 people have promised to come visit me while I'm out there) and entertaining visitors, etc. This money primarily comes from pocket change, selling items I have, surprise cheques, etc.

So that's pretty much it.

Typing all that reminded me that I need to check out driver's education classes, as I really should get my driver's license. I'm 23, it's about time. Plus, it gets it out of the way. So I'll be looking into that. It's pretty damn pricey though. I may have to add another progress bar. Heh.