For non-debtors...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So, I spent part of the afternoon today looking up Dave Ramsey stuff on Youtube. I really just discovered who this guy was, and he's pretty funny. He talks a lot about God - and I really don't follow religion, but most of the stuff is still applicable.

Anyways, I find it all a little bit frustrating. For most financial gurus out there, being debt-free seems to be the last step. Most people are like "Okay, then you're debt free! You're out of the woods! Yay!"

But.... for me, I've never been in debt. While I find many of the lessons appealing (I like to learn about budgeting and credit cards and such), I don't find that a lot of them apply to me. I have yet to find a lot of resources for those of us out of debt - things like, what to do with savings. How to invest (for Canadians), where to invest, should I even invest. Best banks, worst banks. I find that, while I feel a sense of accomplishment for staying debt free and reaching my savings goals, one at a time - sometimes I feel that that's all there is to being debt free (for now)... one savings landmark after another.

It gets kind of boring sometimes. I mean, people with debt have this huge milestone to fight to get to. You could be $100,000, $50,000, $10,000 or even $100 in debt, and you have this "debt-free" sign to look towards. All my signs are homemade - I wrote them, decided where they should be placed and how long it will take me to get there. I feel as though there is nothing "amazing" that I am reaching towards.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not like I want debt just to have something to work towards, but I'm having a hard time with a debt-free life. I can no longer relate to friends when they say "I'm so broke". I can say "Oh, I don't have the money". But that just means that I have the money, I just don't want to spend it.

And people are having a hard time adjusting, too. Most of them say "Oh, good for you" for (usually!) bringing my lunch from home, but they get bored of the fact that I don't join in their money-broke-bonding time. Almost everyone I know struggles with money, and sometimes I feel like there's no where for me to turn.

Do you ever feel that way?

Maxed Out: The Movie

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I've spend the last two hours watching the film Maxed-Out (yes, I have a hard job, why do you ask?) over on We Need to be Debt Free's blog. They have posted the movie in it's entirety and I would suggest that you go see. It's one of the better documentaries I've seen about money. You can find it here.

Watching that movie made me laugh, cry, feel bad and get horribly angry. Just like most of the people there, I constantly see people with mounds of debt and tell myself "I'll never let that happen to me." or "That'll never happen!". Well, the truth is, it can and it could.

But, watching that film has given me an even-larger drive to spend my entire life debt-free. I refuse and hate paying interest and fees - it's all basically extra income for the CC companies that, really, they didn't earn. Yikes.

It's a scary world out there, especially for those with debt.

I won't give away some of the stories, but one woman was talking about her son that had $12,000 in CC debt while he was in college and the mother said "That kind of stuff just never happened."

I wonder how many of my friend's parents really know how much debt they are in. H has got $14,000 in CC debt, while K has $10,000 in CC debt. Neither of these debts are school debt. I know lots of other people with school debts.

Visiting the Maxed Out website, one review made me stop and think. It read:

"Quite something. When somebody can make a film about credit-card debt, with every expectation that it will reach theaters and ordinary Americans will shell out $8 to $11 to sit and watch it, we've arrive at a particular cultural moment." -

How true. It's a wierd fascination. People with debt (or no debt, but shouldn't be spending), will spend their hard-earned money to watch a movie about how horrible debt it. What are we looking for? Is it to watch people that have it worse off than we do? Is it to find the Holy Grail of answers in getting out of debt? Is it to escape? To be reminded that we aren't alone?

Who knows...

Below is the U.S. Gross National Debt. Yes I know it's a lot more complicated than a number...but that number is pretty dang huge.

The Gross National Debt:

I'm getting kicked in the pants... this lunch challenge. Yesterday was my second day this week that I didn't/forgot to bring a lunch.

The going away party for K was last night, and as such, I went in for a 10-6 shift yesterday instead of my regular 7:30 - 3:30, that way I just headed straight to the party. Besides, it was soooooo nice to sleep in. Problem was, I was enjoying sleeping in too much and left the house without and lunch or breakfast. Siiigh.

I have a jar of mandarins and some jell-o at work, but it wasn't enough to tide me over. Sigh.

In other bad news, I have now gone through my whole food budget this month. Last month I budgeted $300 for food, and this month I dropped it down to $200. So, I'm going to try my hardest not to buy any more food - it shouldn't be impossible since my folks buy most of the groceries for my house. Whoops.

I have also been thinking about using the 'envelope system' as a budget when I go to London. I think that an all-cash budget will work out best for me while I'm there, since I don't know how many fees I'm going to be paying should I want to pay via debit, credit etc. However, I don't like the idea of carrying actual 'envelopes' around - so I'm going to keep my eyes open for some smaller, change purses or billfolds - if I could get three or four different colors, I could grab whichever ones I need when I went out. I like the idea of depositing my paycheque and pulling out the cash, taking out the money for rent/utilities and then splitting it all into little coin purses and off I go! That way I wouldn't have to take any more money out for the month, and I can minimize the fees.

I've been watching a lot of "Till Debt do us Part" on Slice here at work ( I don't get Slice at home - I have what I like to call "Advanced Peasent Vision...") and they always use jars to put money in for their expenses. I like that idea as well (especially when I get carried away thinking I could find vintage antique jars at a market or something...), but I'm not sure I should be staking all my money in open jars in a bedroom in a shared house... Not sure about the security of all that. The jars are nice if you are splitting your expenses with a spouse or something, but mine will be all to myself.

Do any of you use the envelope budgeting system? How do you go about it??

Savings Goal 1 Accomplished!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oh happy day! With my tax return, and a spare $100 from March's budget, I have reached my first savings goal. I now have over $1,800 in my Plane Ticket - VISA fund!

Here is the chart of my payments into my VISA fund. It looks very impressive with that little jump there, but that was all my tax return.

I'm glad that this is paid off now, as this fund will be accessed before I even leave. I will need to be applying for my VISA within the next 6 weeks or so, and hopefully purchasing my airplane ticket around the same time, if there is a sale.

Speaking of airplane tickets, anyone have recommendations from Canada for airlines? Most likely I will be taking a Greyhound bus from here to Toronto ($137 - dang cheap - unless I can find a cheaper flight), visiting some family there for 2-3 weeks, then hopping a plane over to London. I'd like to fly cheap but comfortable. And, I'd like the seats to be at least 18" across - for comforts' sake. I'll probably end up flying with Air Canada - we'll see. (If you ever want any information about seat sizes, pitch, airplane size, maps, best seats, etc, you have got to check out Seatguru. They are simply the best resource I've found for flying.) I flew to NYC using Flight Center, but has anyone had any sucess with others like Travelocity, Expedia, etc?

And, even though it isn't month-end, I figured I'd share the balences of my other savings accounts, before I update the sidebars accordingly. I actually haven't been paid (job-paid) this month, so my Plane-VISA fund is the only one to have received any money, but once I get paid again, I should have no problems adding my regularly sheduled $1,400 a month to my Savings. Actually, I could probably bump that up since I won't have the $140 to add to my Plane fund anymore. We'll see.

There are my savings bank totals. Everything seems to be comming along nicely. This also means that as of today I have a grand total of:

£3915.92(not including fees they take off for exchanging money...)

That's not as impressive, but still a big number. Budgeting for around £550 a month in basic expenses, I'm looking at, right now, having seven months of paid expenses. Or, that'll cover me for a security deposit, one months' rent and utilites up front, then an additional 5 months of expenses. Either way, my ass is covered should I not get a job right away.

I'm thinking too much!

L: 0 Lunch Challenge: 1

Monday, March 10, 2008


So, I had originally planned to meet a friend for lunch at a restaurant - it was her turn to pay, so all was well. I didn't pack a lunch. Well, she cancelled, and without adequate snacks in the office and no time after work to eat, I went out for lunch. $8.50. Seems like such a huge amount.

The upside is a nice, au naturel, sandwich wrapped in paper that reminded me of a sandwich I picked up at the base of Le Sacre Coeur chuch in Montmartre, Paris. Yum yum. Oh the memories.

Can't wait...

Another Weekend Flies by...

And a good Monday morning to all of you! That time change this weekend sure messed me up - not sure when it's supposed to be dark/like out, who knows!

I spend Friday night and Saturday working and earling the dollahs. The job is starting to get tiring again, and I think it's time that I get a break. This week is going to be rough as every day that I am not working at Subway, I am doing other social-things. And while social things are fun, honestly, I don't count those as "days-off" - days off to me mean sitting around in my jammies, watching movies, sleeping, and puttering around at home.

We are having a home inspection on Tuesday for insurance purposes, and as such, I spent Sunday cleaning the room. As I was cleaning my room, I was looking around and trying to think of what I was going to take with me and what I was going to pack away when I left for London. Slowly but surely I'm packing things away in boxes, properly labelling them, photographing their contents, and putting them back into the closet. I don't want to get to London, realize I want an item out of a box, and make my mum sort through all of them to find the item. This way, I can say, "Can you get X item out of box X?". Makes things much easier.

On the London side of things - I have received so many great, encouraging comments! You guys rock! Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy that people care so much. I have decided that I am going to start a list on one of the columns here that records all my London posts. I have found very little online in terms of helping people who want to move from Canada to the UK, and I would love to be able to start a website or something regarding that. For now, I will stick to just keeping my posts organized.

In the meantime, the Carnival of Personal Finance is up and running at Quest for Four Pillars. I didn't submit an article, but I love reading them. Plus, it's a Canadian blog - and it's nice to see articles relating to Canadian finance things. Go check it out, if you haven't already.

My favorite post from the carnival is from Blunt Money, Good News! You're standing in your own way. It really captures exactly how I feel about so many whiners and complainers in my life. Next time K or something replies with a "Yeah but, I can't..." I'm going to turn around and say "You can't? Sounds to me like you don't want to..." Hah. It probably won't end well, but it might get her thinking.

I am a firm believer in mind over matter. (No, I'm not a crazy scientologist who refuses to take medication! Right now I'm on DayQuil as I'm still sick! :D ) I really do believe that if you put your mind to it, you can get out of debt or achieve any goal you want to. Saying "I can't" really means "I don't want to/I don't know how/I'm too lazy". You can do it. As Nike would say, Just do it.