Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kindness and Sausage

Mary loves getting her hands on a huge sausage!

Monday was the first day of my permanent job! I am so happy to know that if I choose to, I can stay working for Club Fed as long as I want and never have to worry about money again! To celebrate my entry into permanency, I took a trip to Toronto for a much-needed escape from the daily grind. The journey to Toronto gave me a great opportunity to think about where I started on my debt repayment journey 6 months ago, and where it has taken me so far. The rate that I need to pay off my debt is approximately $1,000 (and change) per month in order to get my debt banished into the fires of hell once and for all. This doesn’t mean that just because I pay $1,000 toward my debt each month that it is getting paid at the right rate, no, it means that I need to pay $1,000 just toward the principle of my debt. Every month, I am still paying hundreds of dollars in interest alone – and let me tell you, it pi$$e$ me off to see how much of my money is wasted on my crummy creditors.

The happy news is that my desire to lower how much I pay in interest seems to motivate me to stay right on track. Currently I have paid off $5,396.50 and I still have 2 more paychecks coming in this month to add to the massive debt on my credit card that I intend to pay off. I’m also really amazed to see how quickly this process is moving along! It has finally gotten to the point where it is a habit for me to automatically put money from my paychecks into my savings account, and to instantly pay off my bills so that I eliminate access to my money for uses other than the necessities. When I was in Toronto, I was super pumped to see that this spirit of saving continued and even inspired my friends who don’t even live near me to take control of their debt. This is where the kindness part comes in. I am so impressed by how much the kindness of friends (and strangers in some cases) has helped me a great deal this past half year.

Aren't bedbugs adorable?!!
While I was staying in Toronto, I got to stay with friends for free! I know that most of us would gladly open our doors to our friends if asked, but we don’t always think about how much money it saves their guests sometimes. If you factor in how much money I would have had to spend on some bedbug-infested hotel in Toronto, I would have had to pay a minimum of $200 for 2 nights to stay downtown. To add to that, I would have most likely had to eat all my meals in a restaurant which we all know is completely out of whack with what I’m doing for my budget. And speaking of meals, my friends Gillian and Stephanie extended their generosity to me and paid for my dinner one night. They were so smart with their money that they even used a Groupon to cover the costs! Smart ideas like that enable you to still go out and enjoy the things you love like a delicious dinner! The restaurant even had a duck comfit poutine – ooh lala!

Forget Beiber Fever, I have the Black Plague!
Dinner wasn’t the only extension of kindness either. Gillian thought of cheap and easy ways for me to enjoy my time with her. We took a nice walk through High Park and got to check out the zoo and apparently Gillian saw some alleged peacock which I didn’t so she may have been full of $hit, but I just went along with it. It was such a nice thing to do and it really showed me that people are taking my debt repayment seriously! The kindness went further with my friends Alex and Hailey. They took us to a cheap and delicious brunch on Friday where I ate sausage, they shared delicious drinks with me, and we played games on Saturday night and I ate more sausage, opting out of an expensive night out at the bar. For me, those moments are far better and much more memorable than the bar. Seriously, how often do you get to see your classically trained harpist friend play Romeo and Juliet on the harp drunk? When we played a game called pop 5 I learned that I follow waaaay to much pop culture and that Rebecca Black is the latest internet phenom to let me know that Thursday comes before Friday and after that comes Saturday – how profound! The keeping-it-cheap mentality continued into Sunday when Brynn and Hera picked a cheap (and delicious) place to meet for brunch on Sunday and guess what, I ate sausage again! Yes, I realize I’m setting myself up for a plethora of sausage/sex jokes. 

Kindness seems to surprise me at the most random times when I least expect it. We drove out to Toronto in a rental car, but I had to park the car in a parkade overnight. I didn’t realize this until about 2:00 am so I when I went to pay I didn’t have any change on me and I had left my effing credit card back at the house so I had moved the car for no reason. There I was standing at the machine like an idiot and someone randomly drove up to me and gave me his overnight parking pass to use. Talk about random and generous! That definitely made my night so much better and I saved seven bucks! So my loyal admirers, the message here is simple, thank you for all the kindness. When we go out of our way to stop being selfish (which is evident that I was at that point with the amount of debt I had) and putting others needs ahead of our own, we can really make a positive change for the better. Paying off debt is more of a group effort than I had ever imagined…

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