Home > Archive: May, 2009

Archive for May, 2009

The source of the title

May 22nd, 2009 at 04:13 pm

Many years ago I read the book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and have never forgotten it. It is about combining Eastern philosophy with Western rationalization, making it easier to live in the modern world.

I don't want to give away too much for people who haven't read it, but the motorcycle journey for the narrator is a period during which he reflects on his past experiences and his views on life.

It's not the most cheerful book, but worth the read when you are feeling in a spiritual mood.

What does this have to do with finance? The narrator used an old motorcycle for the journey and used rational deductions and commonsense to maintain and repair it all by himself ... saving hundreds of $$$'s in the process Wink

Cleared cc balance

May 22nd, 2009 at 03:19 pm

I was carrying a small, temporary credit card balance but that has now been cleared.

The Mastercard interest on that small amount for such a short time was astronomical. Using the chequing account's overdraft would have cost way less in interest.

Interest rates......aargh

May 21st, 2009 at 04:30 pm

When are they going to go back up?!!

Breathe. Breathe. That's better.

Keeping it simple

May 20th, 2009 at 03:32 pm

I love watching money shows. Today I got the chance to watch "Maxed Out". It featured a couple who was so stressed out about their finances and dreams that the wife was in tears or on the verge of tears for the entire show.

Knock on wood. I hope I never get there.

An interesting point that the host mentioned is that with finances, you need to keep it simple. This couple had 15 bank accounts.

I'll come back to keeping it simple in a second. The couple was paying $150/month on bank fees. The host told them that they shouldn't be paying more than $100 in bank fees. What the hay?! This is Canada. There are alternatives. I pay $0.00 in bank fees because I bank at President's Choice (PC) and ING Direct.

PC gives unlimited debit card usage, which means: no charge for cash withdrawals, buying stuff, and writing cheques. Even the cheques are free.

It makes sense to keep your personal finance simple. I have decided to create a different blog for my other (equally important) goal of exercising and eating healthy, so that I can give the proper focus to each goal, and not bore finance bloggers on how my toned my tummy is getting Smile

Stretch Yoga

May 19th, 2009 at 04:24 am

I found my Stretch Yoga (title) DVD while looking for something else in a cupboard. No excuse now to keep from getting all bendy and limber.

Clarifying savings

May 18th, 2009 at 09:21 am

Just to clarify my previous post ... I have emergency savings that I hope to never, ever touch until my daughter finishes her studies and is ready to get married. Then the emer. savings will pay for her wedding and other things beyond. That money is "sacred" and I wouldn't dream of touching it.

Another type of fund I have is like a self-funded line of credit. I use it to pay for things that are not part of regular monthly spending ... such as water/electricity bills, vacations, etc. I continuously replenish that fund to have a $2-3k balance.

The thing I have trouble with is saving long term aside from those two funds, to be able to have extra cash on hand when I retire. Maybe to use for vacations or just to have extra spending money. I just can't seem to keep my hands off it when it starts to grow.

My money is safe from me

May 16th, 2009 at 04:14 pm

I tried to save in an ordinary savings account. The problem is that when I see the $$ there, I think "ooh, I'm rich. I can buy things".
I had to save my money from myself by putting it away into registered retirement savings. I can't trust me with my own money. How bad is that?

Stop buying the bad stuff

May 14th, 2009 at 05:01 pm

Cutting out the bad stuff will be really hard unless DH is on board. If he buys it, I eat it ... cheesies & ice cream.
He says he has noticed that I am eating healthier, but I know that if the bad stuff is around, my willpower is nil.

I'm not blaming him, but the change needs to be a team effort.

It will do him good too as he has a spare tire, which I don't think comes from eating too many apples and bananas.

Tues. Plan

May 12th, 2009 at 02:23 pm

- stairclimbing exercise
- study tax and foreign currency translation
- find yoga mat and start doing yoga again
- start log of things to take for work lunches (I failed to start logbook yesterday) - this will save me a lot of lunch money and will be healthier.


May 12th, 2009 at 01:52 am

I was sorely tempted this evening by some fudgy chocolate ice-cream that DH had bought for me last week thinking he was doing a good thing.
I ate a banana instead.
I wish I had the willpower to make substitution work everytime.
Part of me feels guilty because I know the ice-cream is not going to get eaten and will just spoil and be a waste of money. Is that a good enough reason to eat it?

Monday' plan

May 11th, 2009 at 10:50 am

- start working on a workday lunch planner > things i can realistically make and take to work for lunch. Hopefully, writing it down will make me follow that plan.
- eat healthy breakfast again.
- have only fruits as snacks between meals.
- eat meals on time so that I feel full and am not tempted by junk food.
- do 20 minutes of stairclimbing exercise

Sunday's plan

May 10th, 2009 at 10:51 am

- have similar breakfast as yesterday
- take snacks and lunch to class to save money: strawberries, low fat biscuits, cheese sandwiches, guava drink box (that has spent some time in the freezer) to keep everything else cool.
- walk 10 mins. between the subway and class. And take train route that requires me to change lines to get more walking done.
- read over the class material during break & lunch to make study time easier.

Today's plan

May 9th, 2009 at 01:31 pm

- Breakfast today will be Soy milk, a cinnamon raisin bagel with Becel, cheddar cheese, and fresh strawberries.
- I will make a card and a gift for my daughter for Mother's Day, "from" her dolls who she calls her children.
- I will go to buy a few beautiful, long-lasting flowers for my mom for Mother's Day.
- We are celebrating Mother's Day today because I will be in class all day tomorrow.

My true desire

May 9th, 2009 at 03:33 am

I have started this blog to help me bring my lifestyle closer to where I want it to be: to eat healthier, spend less $$'s, reduce clutter and material things, and be more active.
My real desire is to live a long and healthy life.