Monday, May 30, 2011

Gail's Rules and How I Break Them - Volume 1

Casper and I share the same Complexion 

Oh geez, I think I’m already in vacation mode and I don’t even leave for Las Vegas until Wednesday! I think I have officially found my nemesis – Summer! Yes, it’s true, my spending has gone a little whack-o and I’m right back to spending similarly to the way I used to in this past week. It’s a challenge to stay on track when you’re preparing for a holiday in a climate that is nothing like the one you live in aka the desert vs. cold and wet. I need things like sunscreen with SPF 80 in order for me to only get mild sunburn! Seriously, I am white as a ghost. See that image of me as a cartoon in my banner? There was no color alteration required, I’m practically Casper friendly ghost.

Now where did I eff up you ask? Well first there was the 2 lunch breaks out for a colleague who left our group. I organized both, but for some reason I thought it would be a little more inexpensive than it was. Clearly, I was mistaken. I’ve already mentioned the sunscreen and then there’s the insulation I got to put around my air conditioner and keep those FREAKING PIGEONS from making a nest AGAIN outside my window. I’ve got a whole YouTube video about how much I hate them. My other “back to the old habits” spending was on my bike – again.

Not the bike lights I bought, but who cares?
I know I am becoming a bit ridiculous with the whole bike thing. It turns out that spending on anything to do with transportation is unavoidable, and my recent spending was just stupid. I let the cashier at the local bike store convince me that it was a smart idea to spend $60 on lights for my bike. Yes, they are amazing, really bright, and the batteries last for a very long time. They also come on and off really easy so that I can avoid having them get stolen. I guess one of the reasons I bought them is because I wanted him to just shut up and ring in the freaking lights, but the other reason is my inability to say yes to buy something that is total garbage. I need the good quality things when it comes to my safety and well being, and I don’t think that anyone would argue that $60 lights are worth more than my safety. Either way, I think I easily spent double what I normally do in a week to the tune of about $240. This is considerably stupid since I’m gearing up to spend $1,000 in 3½ days in Las Vegas! What is sadder, I used to spend 4 times my current budget on stuff ($500)! Can you believe it!?

Admittedly, I am beyond excited to go to Vegas, and I think I should be. However, the real problem arises if I get too drunk and stupid and decide to transfer money out of my savings account and go over and above what I need to spend!  This leads me to my first of several entries on: “Gail’s Rules and How I Break Them.”

Gail’s Rule: Savings is for long-term SAVINGS
How I Broke it: Taking money from my savings for spending money in Vegas!

Watch this and LEARN something! I ♥ Gail!
Yeah, I’m sorry Gail; in this department, I have failed you pretty badly thus far. I was watching Gail’s show “Til Debt Do Us Part” and I saw this couple of artists fail miserably at everything especially their savings. They were living in a rented house which they spent so much money on crap to fill it with. They were in their 40s with no savings, no assets, and only one partner had a job. The woman in the relationship was probably one of the worst participants I have ever seen on that show. I remember quite vividly how Gail had finally managed to drive the message into their brains that they needed to get savings going so that they had something – anything – to retire with. They seemed to get their savings plan under way and the unemployed bum thought that it would be a wise idea to use the money for an effing vacation. This did not impress Gail in the slightest. She told them that savings accounts are for retirement saving. You’re supposed to be putting that 10% of your income into a long-term savings account like an RRSP and use any money over and above that to pay for your vacation and so on.

Now, I realize that I am still quite young and really only just getting started in this whole saving deal, so in my defence, I feel that I still have plenty of time to catch up on my savings, especially once I have all this debt paid off. Where I am failing here is that I have not put any of my savings into a tax free savings account or RRSP yet! I’m not even taking my own advice! I’m simply using my regular savings account when I should be using it for putting 5% in it for “stuff” and then putting 10% into a long-term savings goal. That’s the real way you get ahead folks.

I want this so bad! My computer is 9 years old!
Now, how do you go about spending your savings. Well, here’s the simple solution. Make sure that you always put 10% of what you earn after taxes into some kind of long-term savings solution. Then, take another 5% of your earnings and put that into a regular savings account that you can access whenever you want. If you want to stay focused on your savings and stay on budget, figure out something that you want. For me, it’s a new computer. As mentioned earlier, I prefer quality, so I’m planning to buy a MacBook (it just seems right for a blogger like me who is always on the go) for about $1,500. Now, at this point in my life, 5% is about $75 of my earnings every 2 weeks. I will need to save up for 40 weeks in order to buy a new computer. Now, if I want to get the MacBook sooner, I can double my savings and put 10% into long-term savings and 10% into regular savings and have enough money to buy a new computer in 20 weeks (or 10 paychecks). Pretty straightforward right? No? Maybe it’s time to go back to grade 4 math…

That’s all for today kids! Tune in next week friends for tales of my trip to Las Vegas! Let’s hope I don’t come back here further in debt. Oh boy…


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