random thoughts – conscious spending


I am really excited and interested in reading material on frugality, budgeting, saving, and simplifying life. All thanks to a (relative) financial hardship (due to recent home-ownership).

I am doing allright financially, though my savings for my retirement are not great and my chequeing account is empty. Plus, I have that huge mortgage and I am looking at some serious repairs in a couple of months. I am not complaining; I know there are many people out there not as lucky as I am and given time and with some job stability (which I kind of have), I am likely to clear my debt and improve my retirement savings in the future. But what bothers me is that I can do a lot better given my current income.

I started investing in retirement accounts quite late in my life. I was 35 when I opened my RRSP account (mutual funds); I started with a biweekly contribution of $100. I remember the day I had seen the $100 become $100.01 in a couple of weeks. It was not a huge(!) increase, but I had felt proud of myself. It was only a year after that when I got a job that had a company pension plan. 36 years of age sounds late to me to start having a pension plan. That is another reason that I would like to be an aggressive saver and investor. For my own future. While I can do it. But can I do it?

I used to do well prior to buying the house and now I am not sure what I can – something gotta give; the house, the retirement investments, or my spending habits.

I am considering selling my house after I fix the issues I am aware of. But I should say I am also somehow attached to it. I will see how it goes.

In the mean time, all I can do is to control my spending to make sure I have adequate means to continue to invest in my non-company retirement plans: together with the portion I need to pay back for the Home Buyers Plan (I withdraw money to make down payment for my house), regular RRSP contribution, and a personal retirement investment plan, I invest around 10% of my income per year for my retirement. I am glad I do that.

My primary concern is to get the extra money to finance the house maintenance/repairs and lift my chequeing account to a positive balance.

I have kept records of my weekly spendings in the last 8 years or so. I have a good idea of what my expenses are; which ones are essential, which ones are inevitable, and which ones are I can live without. I have been making some calculations and by taking the bus rather than the cab every morning, I save around $4,000 a year. I am surprised by this number. It is a huge amount of money. I have other expenses that I can remove from my life easily and double my savings. Amazing is it not?

It is.

If I can do this for extended period of time, the level of financial stability I can have is amazing.

They say frugality is a life-style and I am intrigued by this. So far my aim is to try it for two months and see what I can do and how I feel about the entire stuff.

So far, I am not consistent but I certainly am feeling excitement and interest about “conscious spending”. I like using this term because it tells me that a) it is my choice, and b) it is the responsible thing to do. Two things I like.

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