Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hello, faithful readers… yes, the dead have arisen! Sorry for the long break.

I have been very busy looking for, getting depressed, and finally finding, work. Then very busy doing said work… couldn’t even do Nanowrimo.org properly this year.  I have been intently following some people’s stories on facebook, and wishing (which does NO good) that I had more time to do my stuff. Then kicked self, as I was off work for a YEAR and stopped blogging back in April. It’s true that busy people get more done. Well, I have stood up, shaken out my skirts, and started the journey once more.

What have you all been doing? I have been chasing around with my grown children and my mum and hubby.  Mid summer my middlest child brought me a puppy!! And I love him. He is a schnoodle and very intelligent (yes, always thinking), and already larger than originally advertised by said middle child. *stern face* He also has a lower canine that is NOT on the outside of his jawline where it should be.  Could be surgery in his future.

I have, as I said, started work at a non-profit, which I enjoy for the work, and the benefit to the community. It was a natural move from my previous work. You know what they say, Do what you love. If it doesn’t pay well at first, eventually it will because you will become an expert at what you love.  I’m very happy to have found something I love.

The problem with having been out of work for so long, is that now I have run myself practically into the ground from no income for so long.  Yes, there was Employment Insurance, which ran out a month before the job started. We were already living too close to the line, so we basically had a negative income for eight months. L

Here is my advice: cut corners early – don’t wait to make those stringent changes. It’s much better to look at all your costs, and cut or reduce the unnecessary ones so that the money you do have access to will go further – and you really will sleep better knowing that you have done all you can, and that there are less claims on your cash (or lack thereof).

Things I wish I’d done differently: I wish I’d gone down to basic cable and the lowest internet rate possible, with phone and answer only. I wish I’d been more stern about cutting hubby’s budget back. (Hubby is not a financier- no matter how wonderful he is. So he gets an allowance, knows what it has to cover, and that relieves his stress.)  I wish I’d enforced at least 3 veggie dinners per week to cut food budget. I wish I’d thought of a different way to spend time with Hubs besides driving around the countryside (old habit) with the gas rates rising.

As I’ve said, wishing does no good. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes.  Start with a budget… a zero-based budget. Don’t say, “I have XX number of dollars, how can I spend it?”  Say, “I have to pay XX dollars for rent/mortgage, XX dollars for pre-authorized payments, XX dollars for transport to work, XX dollars for bills (start with things like heat, phone, and work down the list, cable and similar should be at the bottom).
Now if there aint enough cash for savings, start cutting.  Goodbye most of the cable services. Once you are in arrears, you can’t change the bill AND they will cut your service! Change it now, stay out of arrears. Bored? Buy a pack of cards, or some dice. DON”T GAMBLE with them! Just play for fun, or for all those pennies no one is using anymore. Go for a walk.  Don’t sign up for Netflicks- they don’t tell you that this will drastically increase your cable internet cost due to increased bandwidth usage (means you’re doing a lot of viewing online basically).
Find ways to lower bills- can you get a better phone plan? Should you drop your landline and just have a cell? Can you force yourself to live without online rpg’s and streaming videos? Get basic internet so potential employers can reach you, and you can apply to ads. Groceries next: Can you cut back on meat? Yes, an expensive and largely unnecessary item on the bill. What about processed foods? Can you make any for cheaper? You’ll certainly get fewer chemicals in your food. What about homemade laundry soap? Hint: save up, and have your friends save up, used laundry soap bottles, or go to a restaurant and ask for a 5 gallon pail.  Some foods like pre made soup are delivered in buckets with lids.   PENNIES per load. Easy to make. Better than $9 a jug for 40-70 washes.  Same with window cleaner: vinegar in water.  Oh, vinegar! Makes a great FABRIC softener, instead of the liquid or sheets.  Can you restrict your shopping to second hand stores or EXTREME sales (like price tags under $5). Can you swap clothes with a group of friends? Can you have a garage sale and bring in some cash?
The one thing you should do is find something cheap that you enjoy and treat yourself every so often. Nothing is more depressing than thinking that you can't spend a single dollar ever.  I did NOT like buying herbal tea from a coffee shop, so we went to Dairy Queen for a small cone or sundae.  Nice treat.

Okay, those are Auntie Nancy’s tips on a budget breakthrough. Remember: Sterner first is easier than stern at last.

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