Archive for the ‘Saving Money’ Category

Third Resolution

November 23, 2010

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Now where was I?  First resolution is to get TKGA Masters Handknitting level I in the mail by year end, then continue to prioritize my knitting projects (you know, rather than starting projects and never finishing any?)  Second resolution is to take more care with my health, in particular my mental well-being.  My third resolution is to put my money house in order. 

I’m pretty sure that a dose of financial planning plus sustainable changes in my spending habits will not only help me achieve my long-term goals, but will contribute to my well-being in the short-term thereby contributing towards resolution #2 (double-dipping the benefits doubles my motivation!)

So what are my long-term goals?  I’d like to have enough resources to live in the home of my choosing and to not worry unduly about basics like eating and healthcare (I’m sure I have plenty of company).  Simple enough, except that if the track record for my family is anything to go by, my retirement fund will have to last me a loooong time – I anticipate checking out at 96 years old.  So I will try to continue generating an income after I retire from my corporate career:  I want to spend more time on my love of knitting, design and travel, and I want my supplemental retirement income to be generated from self-employed income.  The tricky part with this is, I may need funds upfront to invest in my business.  I guess my savings plan will need to consist of a source of income for my daily basics plus a fund to establish my business. 

For short-term financial sensibleness I did the usual listing of income and expenses, checked my insurance policies, and looked glumly over my 401K & Roth IRA and examined my credit card statements.  This has been an expensive year with multiple deductibles to pay for (hail storm in the Spring); a substantial contribution towards repairing the road we share with neighbours; son’s college tuition; and lowered income (tenant couldn’t pay the rent, husband’s reduced hours).  We do not have a fixed income, and we certainly do not have fixed outgoings!  I created a budget of sorts, but just to check that we don’t actually have to spend more than we earn, just to cover the essentials.  I decided to stop buying anything I do not need until credit card balance is zero and there’s enough in the bank to cover the amount I’m likely to put on the credit card by the time I get the next statement.

Well, the good news is that in just six weeks of being on a spending diet, I got the credit card paid off.  Now I want to get our emergency cushion up, but I decided that from this point forward, I get a spending allowance for something I do not need right now to survive.  This month, I gave  myself $150.  I blew half that on yarn (thanks to Slackford Studios for having a sale on one of my favourite treats) and the other half went towards reorganizing the kitchen.

I’ll be back with the results of the kitchen reorg and knitting progress soon, in the meantime, can’t close out without any pics at all, took this yesterday; perfect radishes and tasty arugula from my Fall garden:

Radishes

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Cutting Back & Catching Up

May 1, 2010

My son is about to be 19, lives at home, and is studying for his Bachelors degree online at home. I figure I have a couple of years to influence or educate him in anything we somehow didn’t cover while he was a child. Each year my husband and I pick a month to spend as little as possible – this year, I decided to include son. I’m pleased to be able to say that he has shown an interest in helping out. I asked if he’d contribute ideas if I show him our bills as they come in. We just got our electricity and gas bills, and I offered to split the difference with him if he would help lower our utilities. (I’m pretty chuffed with that idea).

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Look at my lovely windowsill garden! It has several layers (this one has basil sprouts in it). I grew (and ate) some lovely mustard cress which was superb on egg salad sandwiches. All it takes is a handful of seed, water and light to grow these nutritious babies. This is well in line with my desire for spending less.

I already subscribe to the theory that home-cooked meals are cheaper and healthier in the long run. Lately, my 19 year old son has shown an interest in eating healthy foods. He’s not highly motivated to help out, and he is very fond of pizza and soda. He’s also very ADHD and struggles with getting his classes done on time, although the quality of his work is mostly very good. I need to figure out how to get him more involved in food choices and preparation (it was a no-brainer when he was six!) So we had a discussion about foods that will support his growth, concentration, hormone swings (he’s still growing) and immune system, because these are things he is interested in.  There’s so much information about diets and nutrition online, it wasn’t difficult to find ideas.  However, just to make it harder to get him involved, he cut a finger pretty bad yesterday, so he’s only using one hand. After we agreed on the foods he should try to eat more of, I picked a recipe and asked him to gather up the ingredients for me.

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We settled on a fish pie – it has fish, onions, potatoes, eggs, and lots of fresh parsley in it…..and he ate a bowl full :o) I used the extra oven space to bake some blueberry muffins. I tried to substitute soy flour for some of the wheat flour. The flour mix worked out OK, but the frozen blueberries do not quite hit the spot. Ah well, still a cheap & cheerful breakfast option.

Now I have the cooking & clean up done, I want to get back to my knitting. Here’s what I’ve been working on:

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Its about time I got some serious swatching of the yarn I bought on my trip done. I can’t decide whether a pattern using a lot of twisted stitches is a good use of the yarn or not. Its pure silk, and is prone to pilling – It looks and feels gorgeous though.