Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scraping by on My Savings

Holy crap it’s the New Year and what a way to start things off. First a little housekeeping: my New Year’s Reso-fokking-lution.  I’m not usually one to break their New Year’s Resolutions, so I’m hoping that this resolution will be no different. What the fudge is my resolution you ask; to blog one a week (on average)! That means that you can look forward to a $hit-ton of blog entries this year. This is good for all of you to keep your resolution to read my blog at least once a week.  Since I’m such a kick-a$$ kind of guy, I like to make multiple resolutions. My second goal is to have my credit card completely paid off. You might not think that’s much of anything, but in case you’re not following along, my current credit card balance is $12,733.27! Frack! Ok, maybe I shouldn’t start the year off lying to my loyal readers; I’ve actually got multiple resolutions so that I have something to write about and so that just in case I eff one of them up, I can still said that I did my NYR.

Greece is the word!!
This will be a challenging year for my credit card though. 2011 seems to be the year of everyone I know travelling the entire globe and asking me to join them – what a bunch of a$$holes, right? I’ve been asked to go to a wedding in the Dominican, a stag party in Vegas, my brother’s wedding in Saskatoon, a trip to Italy with my sister in September, meet up with friends in Greece (it’s Greece lightning), and then another trip to Saskatoon for Christmas - it’s going to be an insanely tempting year, especially 2 trips to Saskatoon, in case you didn’t know, it’s the Paris of the Prairies, which isn’t much of a stretch if you’ve been to Winnipeg or Edmonton, or dare I say Regina (the city that smells like it sounds). When I think about all the debt that I’ve accumulated I realize that if I didn’t have this kind of debt, I would easily be able to go on all of these trips! I’m dropping over half my income on my debt! How nutso is that? This year is going to challenge me financially like no year ever has.

January has set the tone for my year. I’ve started off the year with NO INCOME! That’s right, the last check I got was before Christmas. I have been living on $400 in my bank account since the beginning of the year to last me until February when I get paid next. I pi$$ed away a lot of money when I was back in Saskatoon, but that was mainly because I was drunk most of the time so my judgment was definitely off. The good news is that I’m not making $14 an hour anymore so the cheque I do get is going to be a big one! The bad news is that I’m going to have to dip into my savings. But holy $hit, I actually have savings! Gail has taught me well, and I was able to get enough saved up to help me survive quite comfortably this month and pay ALL of my bills, including my rent. I love Gail! She is just the greatest.

Alright, let me explain how I’m making it through the month without touching my credit.  Remember a few blog entries ago when I was getting all preachy about an emergency fund? Well, it turns out that emergency funds actually help you out during times of financial struggle. Who knew? By putting a minimum of 10% of my income into my savings account for the past couple months; I was able to come up with $1,139.73 – a huge improvement from my usual $100 in my savings account.  Rule number one from Gail is to learn to literally scrape by when you have nothing; NO eating out, NO unnecessary spending, and NO funny business! The next thing to do is only make your minimum payments on your bills. I know this goes against everything that I b*tch to you guys about, but it’s what you have to do to keep a roof in your belly and food over your head. If you don’t have enough money to pay your creditors and bill collector-molesters off, call them, and call them before your payment is due. Explain your situation to someone who can actually help you (this is the point where you may have to say, “let me speak to your supervisor”). You may still have to incur interest, but you can save yourself from pesky late fees and so on, which will certainly save you money. If you don’t think it’s worth the trouble, consider this: if you don’t make your payments, you will start to damage your credit history. When you get the idea in your head that, “oh well, my cell phone bill is only $40, who cares if I miss a payment,” you’re sadly mistaken. Think about it; what looks worse to creditors, being unable to make a $400 payment, or not having enough cash to pay a measly $40?

There are other great things that can help you survive the month. Host a potluck with your friends for example, this way you only have to make a $10 meal and get to eat a ton of great homemade food (and if you’re even luckier, there will be leftovers too). Dig up those old DVDs you bought and re-watch an old favorite with some friends and a bowl of popcorn. Go tobogganing, skating, or do anything else that doesn’t cost you a penny. You can make a freaking sweet sled with a piece of waxed cardboard. The number one thing to do is take care of yourself and make sure that you’re still having fun. Sometimes life deals you a handful of $hit, but the jokes on life when you take that $hit and throw it right back in its face.

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. John,

    I feel your pain... Technically I was unemployed (full-time student) between August and December, so didn't receive the first paycheck from my new job until last week. Unfortunately my massive December Visa payment was due earlier in that same week. For a desperate few days I had $0.68 in my checking account and $0 in savings. Yikes! Next time I should do some math before spending twice my regular monthly take home salary in a month.