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Some things in life are more important than paying off interest?

I have quite a few posts that were sitting in my drafts from when I was keeping up this blog. Here’s one that I found particularly interesting from a then vs now perspective. It was a conversation circa November 2008 between myself and DH (at the time future DH) discussing our plans for the future.

CS: and we live two years of blissful servitude to pay off student loans
and then another two years of servitude, not as blissful by this point, to save for a wedding
MrCS: what! no! we can’t wait 2 years for the wedding!
CS: no?
MrCS: no!
MrCS: it will just have to take us 4-5 years to pay off my loan
so that we can save for other things in the meantime
CS: but we’ll end up spending thousands more on interest
MrCS: ok darling, some things are more important than paying off interest. like having a wedding. don’t you think?
CS: this is a good topic for a blog post
i shoudl ask my readers
MrCS: hahha
ok
you have readers?
CS: like.. 1 or 2, maybe.

Well I never did ask ‘the readers’, and what ended up happening is that we had a budget wedding, and now after a couple of years of saving, the loans are ready to be paid off in full after I transfer the money over. Which I should have done last week, but didn’t. I stopped sweating the interest because I figured it was negligible given how low rates have been these last couple of years. I’m not going to worry about how much interest we paid, because this will all be over soon and we can get on with our lives.

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Reflecting on silence

It’s quite by accident that I logged into this blog account, but then couldn’t help but start reading my old posts which got me started reflecting on the things that have changed in my life since my last post, and the things that have not. Reflecting on the journey I have taken since I stopped updating this blog regularly has provided me with insight and it’s something that I’ve always liked about keeping a written log of my progress.

I had an accident a couple of months ago and waiting for my injury to heal has left me with too much free time to sit and contemplate my life. Funny enough one of the big things I decided I need to get a better handle on is money. Perhaps it would be helpful for me to start keeping a record of my efforts again in this blog. So I’m going to make it a goal to update this at least once a week for the next 3 months.

A Revelation

It’s been about a year since my last update, truth be told PF had fallen to the wayside over the past year. However, today I opened an account at wesabe.com to try and get a clearer snapshot of our financial situation. It’s a pretty neat tool, but it took me for ever to tag all of our transactions. However, it was worth it to get a better picture of our spending. For example we spend a lot less eating out than I figured we did. Interestingly enough we have about 25% more money saved than I thought, but save 20% less than I thought we were saving. I thought we were saving close to 45%, but it turns out that our YTD is closer to 25%. Granted that I was jobless for 2 months of the year so had I been working that figure would probably be higher. 25% is a good amount, but it’s not amazing considering how hard we work at saving!

Basically, I realized that no matter how frugal we are or how much we save we just aren’t going to get ahead unless our income increases significantly.

And that is where I need to focus my efforts.

My first stock purchase

About a month ago I finally made my first stock purchase. BNS, which I had been watching, dropped down to $35 and I got in. Since then it has fluctuated and it was kind of fun to see how much money I’ve “made”. But today for the first time I noticed I “lost”. That’s ok though because I’m in for the long haul. It almost makes me wonder if I should buy more!

Another stock I am watching is SC.

But I have also once again been toying with the idea of starting my own business, on a smaller scale than I was thinking before just to make it more doable. So I’m hesitant to tie up all my money in stocks, I’d like to keep some extra for starting-up expenses.

Ooops

My plan of trying to live on a strict budget kind of backfired, as I miscalculated and left myself so little money that a cheque I’d written bounced. There’s $35 thrown out the window.

Maybe I shouldn’t try to cut it so close. Anyway, the experience left me a little exasperated but I’m ready to try again. I wonder if I would have better success trying this while not using a credit card. I find my bill is sometimes higher than I expect. Although sometimes things are on there that I’m getting reimbursed for, like work expenses or health expenses (reimbursed by benefits).

Watching from the sidelines

I think I’m falling into the trap of trying to ‘time’ the market. I can’t decide if I should get in now or wait until the worst of the carnage is over. Maybe what I should do is just get in slowly, although the problem with that is paying the trading fee each time.

I bought more of the index fund I’ve been buying today, but I really would like to do buy some stocks.

Maybe tomorrow? People keep telling me there is no rush to get in to the market the way things are, so maybe it’s ok to just take my time.

I am watching BNS which closed at 48.70. I’d be a lot more keen on getting in at around 43, or even 46.

Missed the boat

Urg. The markets have slightly rebounded since I was ready to buy some stocks and I haven’t bought any yet because the money is still “in transit.”

I’m really feeling like I missed the boat on that one. Live and learn I guess. I don’t think the tumultuous times are over so I will sit tight and wait a few months for a new opportunity. In the meantime I need to research ways that will allow me to access money to buy stocks quickly, but still have my reserves parked in a high interest savings account. Perhaps a line of credit tied to my brokerage account?