Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why Do I Live Downtown Again?

Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy.  It affects my social life. I am cheap. I live downtown, but I don’t like to go out that much because it’s expensive.  I don’t want to because going out and spending £10 per drink is dumb. I can’t justify spending £40-100 in one night because “what if I have to quit my job? What if I get fired? What if I can’t find a job?” I might need the £15 from that drink to buy me a few meals at the local fast food place. I don’t go to nice places to eat because fast food is cheaper and spending £40 on a meal is pointless when you’re getting the same amount of calories that you could get for £4 someplace else.

I sold my car partly because I live downtown and take public transit everywhere, and partly because even though my car insurance rates were very good it was still more money that I was spending.  Plus, let’s be honest, driving anywhere downtown sucks anyway, and once you get wherever you’re going you either have to spend 20 minutes looking for parking or you have to pay for parking in a lot or garage.  More money.

I should note, however, that when someone invites you to go someplace, and you say “sorry, I can’t afford it,” you don’t usually get any guff for it because most people are so in debt that they assume you really can’t afford it, either (altho that doesn’t stop them from doing it). I say “I can’t afford it” because I don’t want to say “I don’t want to waste my money on that.”

Some of my friends give me a hard time, but I can’t help but think “whatever.” Some of my friends my age make £50-90k per year (which I am super jealous of) and they party like rockstars, yet they only have a few thousand saved up. “What if you lose your job?” I want to ask them. “You’ll be screwed because you have no savings.” And then I imagine myself in that position and I become terrified… like literally, I have a mini-anxiety attack.

Now normally I think it’s good to be frugal and concerned about your finances, but I think it’s consuming me to the point that it’s unhealthy. Part of the reason I have a decent amount of saving built up at this point is because I don’t really spend a lot of money on stuff, anyway.

How do I un-consume myself with money without taking the complete opposite approach and not just start spending and getting to debt, etc. I know “you only live once” so people are going to tell me to spend more and have fun, but when if after I spend it, I need it, and I don’t have it because I wasted it away on £100 bar tabs?

Bucket List

Do you have a bucket list?  I had never even heard of the term myself until that movie came out a few years ago with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It kind of made me think that maybe I spend too much time planning and not enough time actually enjoying the experience of living.  Most of my professional life (since university) has been spent doing and planning.  I work and make money, but save most of it so I have enough for the future.  In university, even, everything was done under the goal of future success.

Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve had a vacation?  I don’t even feel like I can take a vacation because that would mean less time that I can spend working toward my financial goals for the future.  You don’t know how much money you need for the future because you never know what you’re going to need, but you still have to work toward that unknown goal just in case.  And in the meantime, you might be missing out.

Is it better to live life when you’re young and healthy and can enjoy it, or is it better to wait until you’re older and can comfortably afford it, but can’t enjoy it as much?

I used to be so sure that it was better to wait until you can afford it comfortably, but now I’m not so sure.  As I enter middle age I can’t help but think of opportunities that I may have missed because I was too busy preparing.

I have a bucket list but I haven’t done anything on it because I’m too concerned with not spending money.

I want to go to France.  Every time I see a picture of France I think it looks so beautiful.  I watch House Hunters International and I love the episodes that take place in Paris or some other French city.  I daydream.

I want to learn to surf.  I remember seeing some people surfing when I was a child and on the beach in California when I was visiting some family out there, and it always looked so awesome, but since I didn’t live there I never really had the opportunity.  I want to go to a Costa Rica surf resort and not do anything other than learn to ride the waves and relax and take in the whole scene.  Why haven’t I done this yet?

I want to learn to sing.  I always sing in my car, but I don’t really know how to sing.  I want to get formal coaching.  I haven’t done this yet because I’m very self-conscious about my singing voice and was always afraid to sing in front of someone else (even if that person was a teacher).

Why am I waiting to do these things?

That Expensive Cup of Coffee

I need to try and be more frugal, I think.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who spends $5 every day on coffee on the way to work, although on a related note, they did just put a Starbucks in our office, and although they don’t have the full Starbucks menu (eg. There are no mocha frappuccinos) it’s still better than the coffee in the coffee machines in the break room.  I’ve been known to drink coffee throughout the day, though, and it can add up over time.  Drinking coffee is actually something that I want to get away from.  I want to try and wean myself off of caffeine, so I might actually switch to green tea or something that is healthier, anyway, and see if I can do it like that.  I don’t want to be one of those corporate robots who are addicted to coffee, and I kind of see myself heading that way.  At least I’m not on the energy drink bandwagon… yet.

What’s that saying, “pound wise but penny foolish?”  That’s me.  I’m pretty good when it comes to big things with money.  I research before I buy stuff, I get good deals on like electronics and stuff, but with the little stuff I know that one of my weakpoints is not paying attention to how they add up.  So all the money I save on big stuff I end up just spending on little stupid stuff (like $3 coffee!).

I need to stop that.  I also need to have a talk with my accountant and see if there are any expenses or anything I am missing.  One of the things I’ve learned is that saving money is the same as making more money.  Say you bring home $1,000 per week.  Well, a lot of people would think “man, if I brought home $1,100 per week that’d be even better!”  But what they don’t realize is that if you can find a way to save $100 per week, that’s the same as making an extra $100 per week.

Plus, I read this book, “the Millionaire Next Door,” and it was basically talking about how rich people became rich by being frugal, not by having huge incomes.  They don’t all drive flashy cars like the celebrities and stuff you see on TV.  There’s a misconception about how rich people spend their money, and it was pretty eye-opening to learn about that.

So that’s my goal for this year.  Save more money, and do it by watching the small purchase I make that tend to add up over time.

Close To My Target Weight

I think this year is going to be the year that I get back in shape.  If you remember my post from before where I mentioned that I got interested in running because of my cousin, you’ll that it’s already a pretty big part of my life.  But even though I run regularly now and I am able to run a few miles without stopping, I could still stand to lose a few pounds.

I know that diet has a lot to do with it.  What’s that saying, “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”?  I do think I need to take a look at my diet and probably make some changes and get rid of a few things altogether… like processed food.  I have been reading recently about the harmful effects of nitrites (and nitrates), and as soon as I started reading the labels, I found they were in just about everything I ate.  Meat from the deli?  Yup.  Sausage?  Yes.  Frozen dinners?  You know it.  Even ham has nitrates and it, which sucks, because ham is delicious, and for a while there I was making ham and eggs for breakfast every day, but I probably shouldn’t do that anymore.  Well, technically not all ham has nitrates in it; I have seem some “preservative free” styles at the store, but they’re quite expensive.

I wonder if I should also use any supplements that are designed to promote weight loss and/or curb your appetite, like green coffee bean extract.  I figure a little extra boost couldn’t help, right?  I think the problem some people have is because they try to rely on the supplement (whatever it may be) rather than actually using it as its name suggests it should be used: as a supplement.  Weight loss drugs aren’t designed to cause you to lose weight on their own; they’re designed to help you lose weight in addition to proper diet and exercise.

Alright, enough ranting.  Back to talking about food.  Although I’m not proud to admit it, there was a period in my life where I didn’t really eat many vegetables or fruits.  I never really ordered salads because they’re always expensive (have you ever noticed that?), and I pretty much just ate frozen pizza or some other frozen meal every night.  Either that or fast food, because it’s fast and I didn’t have to cook anything.  But even recently I’m finding that I kind of enjoy cooking, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to make myself some healthier food and keep away from all the processed stuff as I work toward my target weight.

I’m Not a Hoarder!

I have been pretty much been online for 7 hours straight now and I don’t see myself getting offline anytime soon. I did a bunch of much needed shopping earlier this morning and got a bunch of things that I needed. I pretty much buy everything and anything I can online now because who wants to drive to a store when you don’t have to? My main purchase was some plastic containers that I found on sale. I don’t know if they are still on sale or not but you can see for yourself. I needed them because next weekend I want to tackle my downstairs which is in complete disarray. I have so much stuff down there that is unorganized that some people might call me a hoarder.

That is funny I said that because my Mom was definitely a hoarder. I didn’t really realize it as a kid growing up but she was. Her main thing was receipts and mail. She kept every single receipt she got and every piece of mail too even if it was junk. She was at least neat about it and kept them all in orderly fashion. I don’t know if you have seen that show about hoarders but she was nothing like them. Those people are disgusting and live in filth and that wasn’t her house at all. Maybe she was more obsessive compulsive about keeping those things. Anyways enough about my Mom and her crazy ways.

I have a couple more things I want to do before I get off here like I was saying. I promised my sister Alice that I would try to find a good dog breeder near us as she wants to get a puppy for my nephew. He is 12 years old and has never had a pet to himself before. She said she would look herself but she knows I’m way more proficient at the internet than her so she asked if I could do it for her. I don’t mind because it isn’t like it will take long. I commend her too for not going to a pet store where the dog would most likely come from a puppy mill. I saw a special about that on TV a few months and it broke my heart. I will never buy a dog or cat from a pet store again unless they are there from a shelter.