No side-hustle here

melodramababs / Free Photos

For the last couple of weeks I’ve had side-hustles on my mind. There are lots of people out there who have another job (or two) in addition to their full time work. It’s a great way to get some extra income, which I would love to have. Every once and a while I’ve thrown around the idea of getting a side hustle, but I can’t seem to bring myself around to actually making any sort of plan or commitment.

I could certainly use some extra cash. I’m not in dire need by any means, but it would be nice to maximize my earning potential. Extra cash would help me pay down my mortgage, save up for my retirement, do more renos around the house and just give me some extra leeway in my budget. Unfortunately, the siren call of more moolah isn’t loud enough to drown out my brain conspiring against me. Here are my reasons (excuses?) for not having a side-hustle.

1. I have no idea what I would do. I’m a geographer by training and my geographic skills don’t seem to translate really well to a side-hustle, unless there is a demand for soil moisture modelling/analyzing that I don’t know about. I’m handy with computers, but not handy or creative enough that I could design wedding invitations or anything like that. I suppose the most logical idea for a side-hustle would be trying to make money off this here blog, but at the moment, I don’t feel like I’d be a very successful money-making blogger because…

2. I’m kind of busy. I work full time. I have two significant volunteer commitments – one a local history book project and the second working on exhibits for a local museum. This is in addition to weekly yoga and curling, a house to maintain, and oh yeah, blogging. I really enjoy my volunteer work, my sports and blogging. I already feel like I don’t give enough time to my blog, so it’s hard to imagine having something else on my plate to take up more of my precious time. I suppose I could always be better at time management, but when I’m out of the house for work for 10 hours a day, five days a week, it seems to leave me a bit short of time already.

3. I’m kind of lazy. There I’ve admitted it. I could be more efficient with my time, but I’m just not and right now, I’m not willing to put the effort into squeezing everything else so I can have more work to do. I like being able to sit and visit with people who stop in for a visit and not have to shoo them away because between 7 and 8:30 I’m supposed to be working on this, that or another thing. I can’t help but feel like I would burn out before too long.

4. Part-time jobs out here are few and far between. Working at a local shop is pretty much out of the question as everything but Tim Horton’s shuts down at 5 PM. Even the hours of a hired-hand on a farm wouldn’t fit into my schedule, unless I did an evening shift in a dairy barn – but that conflicts with my volunteer and sport stuff.

There you have it, my excuses for not having a side-hustle (I hope this doesn’t make me a bad personal finance blogger). Right now, a side-hustle just isn’t in the cards for me. I can’t motivate myself to change into a super efficient money making machine, so I’ll just have to accept that I have to make do with what I currently earn (that, or win the lottery or become a super-duper savvy investor). I feel a little guilty for not wanting/being able to convince myself to get a side-hustle, and as great as extra cash would be, I can’t seem to justify the time and effort it would require.

Do you have a side-hustle? Why/why not? What motivated you to get one or conversely, what are your reasons for not having one?

Categories: About Me, Personal, Work | Tags: | 17 Comments

Running for Retirement

Thomas Hawk / Free Photos

Lately, I’ve had lots of discussions about retirement with my boss. He’s getting to the age where retirement is too far away for him and his wife, and many of his peers are starting to retire. We’ve talked about how he’s planned for his retirement, how he has forecasted his cash flow for 10, 20 and 30 years from now, the company retirement plan vs other pension plans, as well as the doom and gloom reports and articles outlining how my generation isn’t saving enough to cover our retirement expenses.

I hate hearing my boss talk about retirement, because frankly, I’m not ready for him to retire yet. The man is really good at his job and has years of experience behind him, so there’s not much he hasn’t come against. Being only three years into the job, I feel like now I’m only starting to get a handle on the profession of environmental planning. If my boss were to retire tomorrow, I would ask if him to leave his brain, so I could experiment on a way to extract all his knowledge.

In our retirement discussions, we often talk about the timing of retirement, whether it’s better to retire early or late. The timing of your retirement has a huge impact on how much you need to save, if I were to retire at 50, it almost goes without saying that I would need to save up way more than if I continued working until 65. It only takes a casual glance around the pf world to find people promoting early retirement, for lots of different reasons: to spend time with family, travel, follow a passion, and even simply just not work anymore. I’m not sold on early retirement though. I really enjoy working – albeit I’ve only been working full time for three years, I’ve always been a worker. I like having something to do, I’m not the kind of person to sit around, I like being busy, being occupied and having tasks to complete. Thankfully, my job is the type of job that has a fair bit of variety, so I’m not likely to get bored. Sure, early retirement gives you more time for traveling, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to travel even if I retire at 60. Hell, my grandma went to Alaska when she was 75.

While money is an important consideration for determining age at retirement, I think something that also has to be considered is health. I want to be a healthy senior. I want to be able to work until 60 without being sidelined by health issues. I want to still be able to travel if I retire at 65. With that in mind, I’ve started running and I’m pledging to get my arse back in the gym at lunch. It’s too easy to just sit at my desk or on the couch and be sedentary. I have to invest in my health now, before it’s too late, just like I have to invest financially for my future now. Maybe I should toss a dollar in a jar for every kilometer I run, and look at my gym membership and cost of yoga classes as an investment instead of an expense.

Do you consider your health when planning for your retirement? How do you invest in your health. Also, anyone have any suggestions for my running playlist – I’m open to anything.

Categories: Goals, Personal | Tags: , | 15 Comments

Fall Top Five

Aaah, fall. My favourite season. I love the cooler nights, smell of the wheat and bean harvests, and quieter nights. If I spend an evening inside during the summer I feel guilty, like I’m wasting the good weather. No such guilt with fall, I can have a quiet night in, curled up on the couch with a book totally guilt-free. I will also thoroughly enjoy the absence of mosquitos, which were horrendous around here this summer. It’s a miracle I didn’t end up with West Nile disease. This weekend will be my summer wrap up. The last slo-pitch game of the season will be played and despite what the calendar says, that is the true end of summer. I’m really looking forward to a slower pace as I gradually work my way towards my winter hibernation. Everything just seems to slow down and go at a much gentler pace once September rolls around, which is awesome. My summer was hectic at times, so I’m really hoping to get into a calmer routine this fall.

In honour of the awesomeness of fall, here are the top five things I’m looking forward to this fall:

  1. Work slows down. Summer is my busy season at work and once the construction and field work season is over, I can finally take some time off. This fall, I’m looking forward to taking a week off and working on my deck, painting the other half of my new she,d and finally organizing my filing cabinet.
  2. Yoga classes starting again. I really miss yoga during the summer. I know, I could do it myself, but I have a horrible memory for poses (Off the top of my head I can recall: downward facing dog, child’s pose and tree and that’s it) and I really enjoy going through the poses guided by the instructor.
  3. The local fall fair. I love our fall fair: the parade, the midway, the dance, the exhibits, the food (ohgodthefood), and catching up with everyone. It’s so much fun. I’ve got my list of things to bake for the fair all ready and booked off the day before the fair so I can do all the baking. My friend and I always get together and bake for the fair and we have a blast, so it’s something I really look forward too. Last year we won a couple first prizes, so hopefully the winning streak continues!
  4. I typically spend less money in the fall. Summer is all about going out, getting ice cream, going places, seeing people and that adds up pretty quick. Things around here pretty well lock up once the first of September hits and everyone, generally, hangs around home more often. There’s fewer shopping trips to the city and fewer local events happening. It’s a good rest for the ole pocketbook.
  5. The Canadian Personal Finance Conference. I’m excited (and ok, nervous) to meet some fellow Canadian pf bloggers. It should be a great learning experience and chance to show off my horrid bowling skills during the Friday social event. Fellow attendees, if you really want to guarantee yourself a win in bowling, all you have to do is challenge me.

Are you looking forward to fall?  

Categories: Personal | Tags: | 15 Comments

Renewing my sense of place

This past long weekend I had an old friend, who now lives many many miles away, come for a visit. We had a great time catching up and laughing over new and old stories. We didn’t get up to anything too crazy, but enough that yesterday was pretty much a write off. Nothing says ‘it was a good weekend’ like needing a full day to recover from it.

My friend was pretty amazed by my little part of the world. She’s a city slicker and hadn’t ever visited southwestern Ontario until she came to see me. It was really interesting hearing her contrast her city to my country. She was amazed at how big my house is compared to her condo, how big my lot is, how quiet and dark it is at night, how many seniors there are around here, how many baseball diamonds there are and how lucky we are to live alongside a great big lake with awesome beaches.

Hearing what she thought of the area I call home was a good reminder of just how fortunate I am. All I have to do is walk 10 minutes and I’m at a great beach. Walk 10 minutes in the other direction and you’re into beautiful farm land. Of late, I’ve been taking my surroundings for granted – it’s just so easy to fall into a routine and not really see or take advantage of what’s surrounding you. I know even when I lived in the city, I never explored much – I stuck to what was comfortable and familiar for the most part, which looking back, I regret.

I think it’s time I renew my sense of appreciation for the great place I live: I’m going to go for more walks on the beach, admire the stars at night and quiet back roads. I think I’ll visit the local museums too (haven’t done that in ages) and marvel how my ancestors carved homes and farms from the vast woodlands.

What do you love about the place you live? Have you ever needed to be reminded of how awesome it is? 

Categories: Personal, Weekend | Tags: , | 10 Comments

How the lockdown is going.

You may recall that back in June, I challenged myself to have a No-Spend July. I felt that I had been spending a little more than was necessary, so instead of hiding my debit cards I thought I would do a little test of will power. Now that it’s August (ohmygod, where has the summer gone?!), it seems like a good time to evaluate how I’ve done. Here were the rules I gave myself and how I did:

  • No jeans, shoes, scarves, tops, sweaters, jackets, skirts, dresses from hence forth. The only clothing item I’m allowed to buy until the end of July are socks. PASS – I did buy some new underwear, but I didn’t buy anything else (even socks), so I’m going to give myself a pass on this.
  • No home decor items shall be bought. Only necessary home items allowed: lightbulbs, batteries, etc. FAIL – while I did buy some lightbulbs and batteries, I also bought a deckbox (I couldn’t handle earwigs in my deckchair cushions) and a solid oak tv armoire. I really wasn’t expecting to buy an armoire, but some elderly neighbours are moving and offered me their beautiful solid oak armoire for $250. It was hand made by a local mennonite and is in amazing shape, so I just couldn’t say no. Now, I just have to decide whether I’m going to use it in my office as a bookshelf or put in living room and use it as a storage pantry. (Now that I’ve gone on and on about this armoire, I feel as though I should post a picture. I will as soon as I get where I want it!)
  • I will allow myself to print 15 photos for two frames that I have recently purchased. PASS – I didn’t actually get this done. Heh.
  • No makeup. I have more than enough make up. – PASS. No new makeup. I didn’t even step foot into a pharmacy!
  • Exception: sunscreen and bug spray. I allow myself to buy in bulk if necessary. PASS.   Had to restock on my sunscreen. I should have enough to get me through the rest of the summer.
  • Gifts are exempt. This shouldn’t be too bad though, no upcoming July birthdays, just a couple bridal showers. PASS – I actually didn’t buy any gifts. The bridal showers I was planning on attending were cancelled.
  • No DVDs/games. I really really want Season 2 of Justified, but I will restrain myself. PASS – but I do have a bunch of DVDs for my Christmas wish list.

There you have it. I did manage to keep my non-necessity spending to a minimum, but I did have a two big slips with the deck box and armoire. The deck box was a result of a ear-wig driven freak out – but at least I found a deck box on sale. I know that next time, if I have a freakout, I will have to basically hide my car keys and wallet, otherwise I will end up going out to buy a solution immediately, when I really I could have waited for an even better deal at the end of the season (or at least waited another week for all the earwigs to die off).

As for the armoire, it was a deal that came up last week and I couldn’t say no. I have a weakness for solid wood furniture and when I think I’m getting a really good deal. If there’s one thing I learned this past month, it’s that I have a hard time saying no to what I perceive as deals. I think in the future, I should make a better attempt to think about deals and maybe ‘sleep on them’ instead of making snap decisions.

Despite a couple of slip ups, I think I did ok. I’d like to continue my shopping lock down into August. I think I can stick with pretty well the same rules, but I am giving myself an exception to get a print made of my great-grandfather’s farm auction poster for my office. It’s a great piece of family history that was recently discovered, so I’m going to get a print made so I can include it in my family-history themed office (ah, I’m such a genealogy nerd).

I’m curious, what have you learn about yourself through attempting careful and controlled spending?  

Categories: Goals, Monthly Summary, Personal, Shopping, Spending | Tags: | 7 Comments

Selling the farm: why I dread my Dad’s retirement.

This past weekend, I spent an afternoon at the farm, just sitting on the deck and catching up with the neighbours that pulled in for a visit. The deck is one of my favourite places in the world; from the deck, we look over farm fields as far as the eye can see and the local highway (perfect for keeping track of the neighbours). There’s nothing like sitting out on the deck swing and watching the world go by. I was looking over my Mum’s flowerbeds, the wheat field and the barn and it reminded me how strong of a connection I feel to farm.

It’s a bittersweet connection though, because at the moment, it seems unlikely that I’ll ever be likely to buy the farm. That thought eats away at me. I absolutely dread the day my parents say they’re selling the farm.

I suppose my first realization that I am ill-suited to take over the farm came when my Dad decided he didn’t want to milk cows anymore. I loved being out in the barn and helping with the chores, but there were a lot of things I just couldn’t do. I’m small, too small to reach up to the release for the milkers, too small to move the big feed cart, or not strong enough to do a lot of the tasks required around the farm. In addition to my physical inabilities, at the time, I was in my third year of university and approximately $28,000 in debt from my student loans. I would have to get that amount in loans again just to buy the milk quota. No loan officer in his or her right mind would have lent me the money – existing debt, no collateral, and I’m just a single gal.

The cows left gradually, the milking cows went first – auctioned off at the local sales barn. The bull went next, followed by the heifers and finally the last of the calves. I’ll never forget going into the barn after the last of the cows left. It was eerily quiet and seemed so empty. It took the entire family a long time to adjust to not having cows. We still thought we had to be home by 4:30 to milk cows if we were out to town or to the city. Getting rid of the cows did allow my parents to take a well-deserved, out of country vacation without worrying about getting someone to do chores.

Without the cows, we still have 150 acres, plus equipment. Land around these parts is expensive and many farmers sell the farm and then use the proceeds from the sale to fund their retirement. My Dad is no exception. With land prices around $10,000/acre – selling the farm can make a substantial contribution to a retirement fund. I would love to be able to hand my Dad 1.5 million dollars and buy the farm when he wants to retire, but I don’t have that kind of money and I can’t handle that kind of debt (if someone would even loan me that much). I also don’t expect my Dad to just hand me the farm – he’s worked hard his entire life and I think he’s entitled to profit from it. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want the farm to stay in the family, I want the farm for myself, but I want my Dad to be able to retire comfortably and I’d only want the farm if I could buy it at a fair price. Buying the farm is absolutely out of my reach, short of winning the lottery.

I feel like being unable to buy the farm is/will be my biggest financial failure. It hasn’t happened yet, but every year that passes is a year closer to Dad deciding to retire. Maybe my situation will change, perhaps I’ll find a partner willing to buy into the farm with me, maybe I will the lottery, but for now, it looks like the farm is out of my reach.

Categories: About Me, Family, Farming, Personal | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

20 Random Facts About Me

Erika over at Shopping to Saving posted a list of 20 random facts about her, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon. Being an anonymous blogger, I find I usually try to keep the personal details to a minimum, but what the hell, it’s Saturday and I feel like sharing.

  1. I’m convinced I’m short. I’m 5’5 but everyone else in my family (save grandma) is over 5’8 tall. My family loves to tease me about being the short one.
  2. I hate gravy. I will never put gravy on anything, no matter how dry the meat might be.
  3. I hate feet. I will flip out if someone puts a bare foot in my personal space, especially near my face. I cringe when someone puts a foot on my part of the recliner. I think it comes from when I volunteered at a nursing home and did a lot of pedicures and saw some nasty, nasty feet.
  4. Despite my hatred of feet, I’ve done the Sour-Toe Cocktail. It had a hang nail and was purple and wrinkly.

    A Sour Toe Cocktail – that black/purple thing is a human toe.

  5. I love helicopters and helicopter pilots. A friend once called me a helicopter-whore and I didn’t deny it.
  6. I use udder cream as a hand moisturizer because it’s seriously the best stuff EVER.
  7. I’m stubbornly independent. I want to do everything by myself (or at least try to). My Mom tells me my favourite phrase as a toddler was ‘by myself!’. It usually works out ok, but after I spend a week hobbled after moving a solid wood desk up a flight up stairs by myself, I curse my sense of independence.
  8. I almost went to university for optometry. When saw all the dead/dying trees on campus, I changed my mind and ended up enrolling in biology instead.
  9. The only thing I’m addicted to is tea. I drink at least four cups a day.
  10. I prefer listening over talking, most of the time.
  11. I have no problem with being filthy and dirty. I suppose it comes from a childhood of doing chores and ending up, usually, with manure all over myself.
  12. My sister and I have been asked if we’re twins, multiple times – she’s six years younger than I am! I like to think that I look young for my age, rather than she looks old for hers.
  13. I’ve worn glasses since I was in Grade 3. Yay for being ridiculously near-sighted.
  14. I really love learning. I wish I could be a professional student and just go to school for the rest of my life. Any sponsors out there?
  15. My least favourite chore is cutting the grass. I love it when my Dad brings his big mower down and cuts the grass for me.
  16. I can crack my collarbone. It’s pretty disgusting because bone moves in addition to making a big crack.
  17. I lived on mountain in the Yukon, in a tent, for 2.5 months and loved every minute of it.
  18. I bite my nails. I’m not as bad as I used to be, but if I’m stressed/nervous or wearing something that rough edges catch on, I’ll bite my nails.
  19. I call my cat about 12 different names: Tayla, Tay-tay, munchie, mook, mo-mo, mookie, munch-munch, nermal, and on and on.
  20. Give me a bag of dill pickle chips and I will be instantly happy.

Got a random factoid about yourself to share?

Categories: About Me, Personal | Tags: , | 13 Comments

100th post: Made it!

It’s taken me over year to get here to 100 posts, but I did it. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that in writing, like in running, I’m not much of a sprinter. Looking back over the last year and a bit, I’m really glad I decided to start a blog and chronicle my thoughts and even an accomplishment or two. At first, I was really hesitant to start a blog and share my thoughts, but through my blog I’ve got a nice little timeline of the last year as well as gotten to know a bunch of other great pf bloggers who challenge the way I think and inspire me.

Now that I have written 100 posts, I feel like I should take a good look at this blog and see how I can improve it, as I think I’ll keep on writing for a while yet. I’ve toyed with the idea of going to a self-hosted blog, as I’d love to really be able to make the best blog I can. The only caveat I have is a little voice that tells me I don’t have the time to put the effort into making blogging a lucrative side-gig. It’s true too, I often feel like I’m short a day or two each week, between work and my evening activities, I’m not in front of my computer a great deal. Then again, it would be pretty sweet to have my own little domain that’s all Country Girl. I’d love to hear what you, my dear readers, think or if you have any experiences to share with going self-hosted.

I wanted my 100 post to be sort of special – which is why I’ve put off writing this post for a couple days, I couldn’t come up with anything that seemed special. I got to thinking today, it might be fun to try my hand at a list of 27 (as it is the 27th of May) random things I’ve learned, experienced or am thankful for. Here we go, in no particular order:

  1. I’m thankful for my health
  2. I’m thankful for my family
  3. I’m lucky to have the greatest best-friend-in-the-whole-damn-world.
  4. I learned that being debt-free is a great feeling.
  5. I re-learned how to braid hair – yay for long hair!
  6. I’m glad my cat’s eye isn’t weird and freaky looking anymore.
  7. I’m thankful for Dierks Bentley. Yum.
  8. I’m thankful I grew up on a farm.
  9. I’m glad I was able to get a job outside of the city.
  10. I love living by a big body of water.
  11. I love how quiet it is when the cottagers leave after a long week.
  12. I’m proud that I was able to buy my first house, by myself.
  13. I learned that the petty bitches in high school are still petty bitches.
  14. I’m learning to let the small stuff go.
  15. I’m happy to be Canadian.
  16. I hit four home-runs last year!
  17. I’m thankful for Cadbury Creme Eggs.
  18. I’m learning to enjoy the simple things.
  19. I started yoga and I love it.
  20. I’m glad my parents encouraged me to read when I was young.
  21. I’m getting better at keeping my temper in check.
  22. I’ve done the sour-toe cocktail.
  23. I’m glad I worked hard when I was a teenager and made a name for myself in the community.
  24. I’m glad I spent the money on high tea in Banff.
  25. I’m thankful I’ve got a great mentor.
  26. I’ve got more self confidence now than ever before – and it’s a great feeling.
  27. I’m thankful for the supportive, fun and inspiring pf community.

There ya’ have it. To all my readers, thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts with me. I’m looking forward to the next 100 posts, and maybe even a couple hundred more after that!

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: About Me, Personal | Tags: , | 10 Comments

Ending the slump.

Lately, I feel like I’m in a bit of a slump. I’m struggling to find the right balance between spending and saving, budget properly and keep up with it, get things done around the house, plan for upcoming renos, work on my goals, and find the time to do things that I enjoy. There’s many an evening this month, when I’ve gotten home late from work and not had the motivation to get anything done, whether it’s laundry or blogging. It catches up to me by the weekend though, and then I feel like I have so much to do and not enough time to get things done before the weekend is over. That only ramps up the stress factor, which doesn’t much help in getting anything done. I’m getting frustrated with myself because seemingly nothing is getting done and as summer gets closer, I know my schedule is going to get busier.

I’ve had enough with not getting anything done. Time for a turn around. First, I think I need to figure out why I’m not motivated and why I’m so frustrated about it. My lack of motivation and ambition seems to stem from a couple things:

  • Being busy at work. I typically work an 8 hour day, but I’ve done a couple 15 hour days this month already. I’ve been working through a lot of my lunch hours too. After a long, busy day at work, I’m usually more keen to put my feet up and vegetate than to clean or do much of anything else.
  • Leaving everything until the weekend. I usually spend most of either Saturday or Sunday cleaning, which doesn’t leave much time to get anything else done, especially if something else comes up and something always comes up (usually Dad wanting help with something up on the farm).
  • The weather. Dull, grey and cold. It’s very tempting just to curl up in a blanket and a big cup of tea and try to keep warm.
  • My own unrealistic expectations. I can do a lot of things, but I can’t do everything. I need to be a bit more forgiving with myself and a better judge of what’s important to get done and what’s not.

I figure my next step is to look at the causes of my slump and decide how I can address them so they don’t eat away at my motivation and ambition. I have to keep my problems in mind though (like balancing spending and saving) so I don’t get carried away trying to think up innovative ways to move large, cold air masses away from southern Ontario.

Here’s what I’m going to try:

  • Stop working through lunch. Work will continue to be busy, but I think it will help break up the day if I actually do something other than work at lunch. I’m going to get back into the habit of going to the gym at lunch and on my off-gym days, use that time to run errands or go for a walk.
  • Make smaller to-do lists. For some reason, when I write a to do list, I seem to include everything I want to do for the next month and a half. I’d probably get more done (or at least feel better about what I do accomplish) if I write shorter, more realistic to do lists.
    • Associated with my to-do lists, I’m going to start writing my to-do lists on my ipad, instead of scraps of paper which I inevitably lose or forget at work. I might try and schedule my to-do list in my calendar as well.
  • Allow for some down time every night. An hour before bed to watch tv, read a book, play a video game, or whatever my wee heart desires.
  • Use a notebook to keep track of my spending, then update my budget first chance I get. I downloaded Dropbox, so I will be able to access my budget spreadsheet at work and home and keep everything synced. This way, I hopefully won’t behind on keeping track of my budget.
  • Start make use of automatic savings. Don’t worry, I typically write myself a cheque, but I think going to automatic savings would help reassure me that I am saving and cut down on the to-do list.
  • Try getting myself into a routine. A bit of cleaning throughout the week, an hour to sit down and blog, another to sit down and do my volunteer work. My thinking is a routine might help in taking care of some of the more menial tasks on the to-do list.

Hopefully, this will help me climb out of my rut. Do you ever feel like you’ve got way too much on the go or unmotivated? Got any tips for me?

Categories: Goals, Personal | Tags: , , | 17 Comments

Money through the ages.

When I was five, loonies and two dollar bills made my eyes go wide with wonder. A lone loonie was enough to buy a bag full of candy. The world was a magical, sugar-fuelled place of wonder. When I got a five dollar bill in a birthday card, I thought I was rich and should get a hat like the monopoly man (because rich people wear top hats obviously).

When I was ten, I earned a dollar a day doing what chores I could out in the barn – usually feeding the calves, cats, putting straw down, carrying the soap and rinse buckets, and sweeping the manger. My Dad would pay me on Fridays, usually pulling out the right change from his pocket. I hoarded my loonies and used my money to buy a teal, 10-gear bike. A week later, I won a better bike.

When I was fourteen, I got my first summer job – tour guide at a local lighthouse. I worked 35 hours a week and earned $6.45/hr. My first pay cheque was huge. Where was I going to spend $200? I bought myself a pair of running shoes and a whole bunch of nail polish (lime green, anyone?) with my first pay cheque. I saved most of the money I made that summer because I didn’t know what to spend it on.

When I was eighteen, I got my first loan. Over $11,000 as part of a student loan. I moved to Ottawa for school, and managed to pay for my stay in residence and tuition out of my savings, without having to touch the student loan. I fretted about the loan, but shopped and spent like never before because it was just so easy to do so in the big city. Money was second to having fun.

When I was twenty-four, I had just over $36,000 to pay back to the government in student loans. Money equalled stress. I was just starting my first post-school job and I just bought a new car. I had managed to save a fair bit of money during my Masters, but didn’t have a plan for paying back my loan. On top of all that, I had to start thinking about adult things, like retirement savings and insurance.

When I was twenty-six, I was debt free. Money was no longer my master. I started saving my money in earnest, making budgets, and planning for the future. I loved the feeling of being debt free and having essentially no money worries.

I am twenty-seven and back to worrying about money. I worry about my mortgage and housing costs, I worry about saving enough for my retirement and finding the balance between saving and spending. Despite my worries, I feel better prepared to be responsible and pragmatic with my money.

It’s interesting, or at least I think it is, to think about how your view on money has changed. My perspective on money has undergone some significant changes, primarily based on life changes like going away to school, having debt, getting out of debt and becoming an independent adult. What factors have changed how you view money and finances?

Categories: Personal, Review | Tags: , , | 11 Comments

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