The October Assessment

I’m very disappointed in my results for October. My spending was beyond what I was hoping it would be and it included an outing to check out a possible venue for the wedding out of town. Needless to say when everything was tallied up the results were negative rather than positive. The credit card debt actually went up about $200. But with the smoking being removed and the very serious desire to cut down costs November will be the month of the restart.

The one thing that I was quite happy with is that not only did I put $150 into my mutual funds and RSP but I set aside $325. So when you take everything into account I was only off by about $25 which in the end isn’t a huge deal but I used my credit cards and wasn’t careful about my spending. I could have done a lot better. So here’s the breakdown:

October Goals

  • Get my credit card debt below $8,500 (currently at $9,093)
  • Deposit $150 into my Mutual Funds
  • Finish the quarterly goal
  • No credit card usage (and if used then the amount has to be paid promptly)
  • Find out what is happening with my Pension money
  • Find out what the status of my existing shares is, ensure I have control over the account.

October Results

  • Credit Card balance is at $9338 (up $244)
  • Deposited $325 into my Mutual Funds
  • No Quarterly goal
  • Used the credit cards
  • Still sitting on the Pension info
  • Found the status of my shares.

Overall some good and some bad but the bad outweighed the good. But one thing that I did accomplish is that I finally set out a proper net worth (as of yesterday some money went into the mutual funds today).

Assets
Mutual Funds $1,684.84
RSP $289.85
Stocks $609.44
Car(approx value) $9,000
Boat(approx value) $3,500
Pension Fund $35,000
Total Assets: $50,084.13
Liabilities
Credit Card #1 $4,832.13
Credit Card #2 $4,632.04
Line of Credit $14,847.01
Car Loan $14,794.46
Total Liabilities $39,104.64
Net Worth $10,979.49

I guess the good thing is that my net worth is actually a positive number! But I’m still spending way too much money. I think I’m going to need to be more aggressive with my cut backs and track it a bit better. November Goals to follow tomorrow.

Working versus Business Ownership

I’ve been reading ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ and a recurring thought keeps popping into my head. The people who own their own business seem to be equated with being more successful. And I couldn’t agree more that this should be the case. Now the big issue from my point of view isn’t that business ownership is more lucrative but the risks in deciding to do it. I don’t know how it is for most people but when I think about starting up a business myself I get gripped by fears of failure. These feelings make me second guess the idea before it’s even gotten off the ground.

Needless to say I’m still a working stiff, collecting a nice secure paycheck. But I’m getting to the point where I hate it; I want to be in control of my own destiny. I want to be able to make more money and let other people work for me and make money for me as well as me making money for myself. Am I ready to start looking into becoming a business owner myself? Yes I believe that I am!

I also believe that being a business owner is the best way to accumulate wealth. The reason I believe this is that best way to accumulate wealth is because unlike with a regular job where you do your thing and get paid. With a business you need to grow and learn and adjust to the things that happen; you are in control over your own success and you are in control over what you learn and do. The other nice thing with owning a business is that unlike a job if something changes the business itself is an asset where simply having a job doesn’t have any future or potential value.

So what’s the next step? Its time to start evaluating some ideas for what I could do for a business, how I could start my own thing and maybe get it going before I try stopping being a working stiff.

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Blogroll Updated

I’ve finally gotten around to updating the Blogroll; I can’t believe that it’s taken me this long to do it. I’ve been posting regularly but for some reason when it comes to sprucing the site up I haven’t been doing too much. The Blogroll update is a start; I’ll try tinkering with the site over the next week or so to make it more appealing (at least to me)

My Take on the PF World

When I first started this site a couple months ago I really didn’t know much about the world of PF blogging. I was just happy to have it up and running with a couple people coming to the site. But as with most sites I couldn’t live in a bubble or no one would ever come to the site. Therefore I started looking at PF sites and blogs. What I learnt was that there was a very large world of PF sites, blogs and a lot of information out there.

I’ve been reading and following some of these sites regularly. Sites such as All financial Matters are a wealth of information, JLP posts very regularly and you can always find something interesting or informative off his site. Other sites that I like to read are :

There are a bunch more but it’s this last Blog that really inspires me because Tricia posts up her battles with debt. Both success stories as well as the occasional admission; for me the site has a very real aspect to it. This real aspect makes the site more motivational for me.

I’m glad that I’ve joined this world of PF because I’ve learnt a great deal of information and the more I learn the more I realize I’ve got a long way to go. I’ve been reading PF books lately instead of novels and I know that I’m just starting here, but its starting to look like it might be a fun journey.

An Update – With a financial impact.

For some reason I was struggling with the title of this post; but I’ve got it now. Anyhow the primary point of this post is the fact I’ve made the decision to quit smoking. It’s a disgusting thing, most smokers would agree. I know that saying it and doing it are completely different things. In this particular case I sought some help and I got that help in the form of a book.

Allen Carr’s The Easy Way to Quit Smoking! And its working. I’m not smoking anymore and I’m glad for it. I was never a heavy smoker but I was a smoker for years. The sad thing is I only started smoking when I was in my mid 20s. It’s about time to stop paying through the nose for the pleasure of filling my lungs with gunk

The financial impact is going to be pretty immediate in that I was spending about $100 every pay on smokes sometimes more when I was buying smokes for myself and my Fiancé. We’re both quitting at the same time which will make it easier for both of us and we’ll both see the financial impact.

Backing up your Skills

One of the things that I’ve learnt since I first started working in the late 90s is that you need to continuously update your skills. You need to keep abreast of the changes in your work space and you need to keep learning new things to keep you ready for the changes that will come in your working life. Back in the 50s and 60s you could learn your job and do pretty much the same thing for years and years. Now things aren’t as cut and dry especially if you work in the technology space.

When I found myself out of work back in April there was something that I learnt that went above and beyond this and that was to back your skills up. Most people now are paranoid about loosing the data on their computers. And justifiably so; lost data can cost your company millions. But what happens when you find yourself out of a job? You get to polish off your resume add all the nice neat new skills that you’ve put on your resume but the problem is just putting them down doesn’t mean you’re good at them.

This is where backing up your skills is an essential thing. By getting certifications and taking training seminars you have something tangible that you can show a prospective employer that will help put you above the people that you’re competing against for the job. Most people unfortunately don’t think about this until they absolutely need to. Thankfully I was able to get a job without some additional certifications and I had intended to back up some of my skills but since then I’ve become complacent in getting a decent paycheck with the thought that I’ll take care of backing up my skills soon. There’s no better than now to do this; your future might depend on it. And remember when looking at this from a financial point of view: the money you make from your job is your primary source of income you can’t stand to not have it.

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A Latte a day is all it takes

How many people go out each morning and hit Starbucks on their way to the office and get a latte or cappuccino? Lots of them! Unfortunately I don’t remember where I heard this but I’m pretty sure that someone was quoting a book (feel free to let me know if you know it), but a latte a day can be the difference between being a millionaire or not. And I’m not talking about the $4.50 that you’re missing to put you over the edge.

Doing something as simple as cutting out a latte a day from your spending and saving that money can make a huge difference to your finances over the period of a year. Say for example you buy this proverbial latte every working day (or about 250 days a year), at $4.50 this will translate into having set aside $1,125. If you were to cut out a latte everyday for the whole year it translates to $1,642.50.

Before we get into the discussion of liking your latte in the morning or ‘but I don’t drink coffee’ the point that keeps hitting me when I see these numbers is that to save $5 per day isn’t all that hard but over the length of a year. I like to remind myself of this little equation every so often because cutting down by such a small amount can make such a huge difference over a year that it helps me be a bit more frugal. I don’t know if I manage to cut down $5 a day but I think I might have to start literally setting aside $5 a day into an emergency fund just to watch it collect. It demonstrates the power of frugality to me and its a good reminder to have.

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Blog Carnivals

When I first started this blog I had been blogging for about a year and a half. My other blog was a personal one where I just vented about this or that. When I started this site I wanted to keep the two separate because one was a very eclectic mishmash of things that had no focus and this blog was much more focused. So essentially the idea of a blog wasn’t new but putting posts specific to a topic was new to me. I started looking around and I discovered some very neat PF blogs.

Along with this I also started learning some of the tips and tricks to get your site up and running. One obviously was associated with participating actively in the blogosphere; you simply can’t put a site up and expect people to visit. Another thing I learnt about was carnivals where people will post up a series of links to other blogs on specific topics.

Over the weekend I submitted my first article to a carnival. The ; I’m posting this up not knowing if my article made it in or not but it’s being hosted by . Go check it out, I’m sure it’ll be up today.

Update: my entry didn’t make it, but definitely go check out the carnival. It’s a very cool concept.

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Consolidated Debt and Banking – An Update

I posted about and last week. To be true to what I was writing I wanted to start pulling some of my accounts under one bank. Unfortunately I ran into some stumbling blocks of my own doing. I tried getting one of my cards raised from a $5,000 limit to a $10,000 one and reduce my interest payments by putting the balance onto my lower interest card. Sadly I had been late on a couple of my payments to my non-primary bank and they made notes on my credit rating.

Needless to say I was only able to get an increase in my limit of $1,500. I’m still going to transfer as much as possible to the lower interest card, but I’m very upset with myself for letting this happen. I should have known better than to be late on a payment. I’ve been here before and I know it can impact my credit rating.

But the consolidation is going to commence even if at a slower pace. I still believe that using only one bank can save you money as well as consolidating debt to cut down on the interest payments wherever possible. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

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Consolidated Banking

I wanted to wait with this post until I’ve managed to get some of my banking consolidated. I worked on it this morning by trying to get my credit card limit increased to try consolidating my two cards onto one. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get as much of an increase as I wanted. Apparently I was late on a couple payments; what ever happened to the grace period? Oh well I have no one but myself to blame for this one.

Anyhow back to the topic at hand, consolidated banking; my thinking behind trying to consolidate your banking is that if you can simplify your banking then you’re less likely to miss a payment or be late. By consolidating your bank accounts with one bank you have fewer fees to pay. Most people don’t realize how much they pay in all sorts of bank fees over the course of the year. If you have to pay 1x$1.50 fee a week you’re looking at $75+ a year and this is being very conservative. I’ve always been good about withdrawing cash from my banks machines but I still see those little fees. This is above and beyond the $11 they charge me to keep my account open and active. All told I’m sure I pay probably close to $200 a year to the bank for their services. Now imagine having to do that over 2 or 3 banks and you’re all of a sudden looking at a significant amount of money.

The other benefit to consolidated banking is that you only have to deal with one bank; the more services you have the better the deals they will give you. It’s just a matter of keeping it simple. The simpler your banking dealings are the easier they’ll be to manage and if they’re easy to manage it’ll be that much easier to know where your money has gone.

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