Have you ever heard of SMART goals? I’m not the hugest fan of SMART goals. I don’t feel like they do enough to challenge you and many people fall back on them as an acceptable way of measuring your goals. There are different variations of what SMART stands for but basically it goes like this with some variation depending on the source.
Revisiting our Entertainment Budget
Nearly a year ago I put up a blog post about cutting our telecommunications bills in an effort to free up some monthly cash flow. At the time we didn’t mention the specific reason. Cutting the cords on our cable and slashing down our other telecommunications bills was part of a larger effort to revamp our budget for a new income situation. I had received a working notice at my job and by the end of 2016 we were looking at potentially going down to 1 income. Luckily in January I found another job and managed to avoid any interruption in income. The new job was outside my industry, and ended up lasting only a couple of months. I managed to get another job fairly quickly, this time in my industry and only missed 1 pay period.
Financial privilege is spoken of in hushed voices in the personal financial world. You see if people admit that they have it they somehow lose credibility for their voice or message. However it is important to acknowledge that you have had a leg up and it’s helped get you to where you are now. I have a huge win in terms of financial privilege and I’m still reaping the benefits from it. I dislike when others don’t admit that they have or have previously had some type of financial privilege. Financial privilege changes your life and it is something that needs to be acknowledged. It should not be brushed to the side out of lack of understanding of what you have been given.
Living With Financial Regret
Regret can be a funny thing. The difference between regretting an action and being happy about it is related solely to the result. We make decisions with the information we have at the time; regret pops in when that information changes or we find out it is wrong. Financial regret is no different. When I spend money on something it isn’t a mistake. It may be an impulse buy where not much thought went into it. This is almost never done by accident. It is easy to look back on decisions and think about what you could or should have done.
What you don’t know is what would have happened had your decision been different. Would things be better, would things be worse? Would you ever get the opportunity to make what ended up being a great decision had you not made a bad one previously? I’m talking about alternate timelines which is a topic that is filled with paradoxes and endless loops.
In early May we headed to Ottawa for a weekend. The weather was horrible and the 5 hour drive from Toronto took over 7.5 hours. There were lots of times when we had wipers on full speed and then took them down to normal and then back up again. It was dark and the highway had very few lights so it made the drive a little extra stressful. Not knowing the roads didn’t help the situation either. The back and forth of the wiper speed and the intense focus of the road were critical to make sure we were able to see the environment we were driving into. This got me thinking that adjusting to your changing environment is a skill that is good in all areas of your life, personal, professional and financial.
Ontario’s Pilot Project for Basic Income in the Province
Back in the Ontario Provincial Budget 2016 – the government made a commitment to launch a pilot project for a Basic Income Project in Ontario. The concept is that every (qualified) family would be awarded a basic income. This would happen regardless of if they were working or not. This year (2017) – the pilot is being launched in 3 Ontario communities to determine proof of concept. Similar programs have been launched all over the world with positive results. In very poor areas basic income seems to have a positive impact on child malnutrition. Parents are able to purchase basic necessities to feed their children. Not every person in Ontario is affluent by any means. Ontario does not have the same issues as many of the countries with struggling economies.
It is common to see personal finance bloggers share a monthly budget. This is usually done for one of a few reasons. Motivation for themselves and their readers or for transparency on what they are spending. I think for a lot of people they are very helpful and motivational for either the writer or the reader. It’s also cool to take a look at what other people are spending in different categories. Not that we encourage judgement on what other people spend their money on, because we don’t, however it is interesting to see what people spend just as a gut check to your spending. You won’t see a monthly budget here because we don’t focus on our budget like that.
Fuel Economy and How/Why to Figure it Out
A while back Sarah wrote a post about buying a “new to us” car. When buying a car there are so many things to consider – so many features to balance. How much the car has been driven, if there have been any accidents or liens put on the car, signs of rust or other factors about condition. You need to factor in style – SUV, sedan, truck, coupe, crossover. Then there are design features like sunroof, backup cameras, paint colour and navigation consoles. One stat that people always look at, even if they don’t understand it, is the fuel economy. This is a very important factor in the ongoing cost of the vehicle. I doubt I’m alone in not giving it fair play in terms of the financial decisions involved with a car purchase.
There was never a plan to get a Father’s Day card for Scott but her arrival at 6:05am was one of the most exciting moments of our life. We are all tired and sleepy but oh so happy. Our hearts are full of love and excitement but we know that there is a lot to do to keep this little one alive and thriving. Our first night at home was nice because there wasn’t a whole bunch of people coming or going into the room whenever they pleased. As can be expected it was full of emotion and chaos of night feedings and figuring things out as we go.
It was a tough delivery that ended in a C-section. I’m still recovering from that major surgery and it has been tough. Not being able to do some of the things I normally do, like drive, have been difficult. Laughing and coughing are rough as well and having a new baby around the house makes you laugh a lot. We are all from the same humble beginnings. What I do know is that things will get better over time. Every day I feel more and more like a normal person which is making me feel better as whole.
We are clearly very biased but she is so pretty (and smart and funny – since girls are more than just their looks). She looks exactly like Scott as a baby except her hair is brown like mine. It’s funny how nature works to let dad know “hey – this one is yours”.
One of the biggest changes to our lives is that things are a lot slower. As “list” people who deal with a whole bunch of things day to day things with a 1 week old aren’t that predictable or easy to manage. We knew that we would be slower getting to places but what I didn’t know is that you can’t really rush an infant into a schedule or routine that they are not ready for. We are just taking things a day at a time and learning as we go.
We will still be around with regular content coming but forgive us if we are slower than normal on some stuff. We are trying to figure life out and we look forward to getting into the groove of this new life we have. And yes I fell asleep at the computer just before I scheduled it.
Thank you for your support and love.
Sarah, Scott and Ava
We have mentioned a couple of times but Scott was let go from his job last year. He got a working notice which was basically means that he was told the last day he had a job. He got the notice in May of 2016 and his last date was December 31st. As Scott mentioned here we took some active steps to help prepare ourselves if in fact he was not going to be able to get a job after his last day. The most drastic step we took was moving to one income as of August, 5 months before he would have lost his job. Living on one income taught me more than I ever thought it would.