Thursday, January 17, 2019

Payday!

Hi there,

When my twin lived in Japan, over 20 years ago, she wrote about payday with an exclamation mark. It was the 90's so we used snail mail, and filled up notebooks worth of epistolary prose, before sending them to each other. (We often used the type we had used in school 'Exercise Books' or 'Scribblers', as we called them in Newfoundland). Our notebook-letters my sister described as somewhat like keeping a diary, but with an audience. We filled each other in on the minutiae of our daily lives, and our trials and tribulations. Back to my twin - she had arrived in Japan very broke and had to wait about 6 weeks to get the first cheque from her new ESL teaching gig. She wrote me frequently, and fervently of the desperate countdown to Payday! ('19 days to Payday!' Lists of things she'd buy on Payday! etc.)

Today is my Payday! and I typically have mixed feelings about it. It bothers me on some levels that at my age and stage I still live kind of like a student. Paycheque to paycheque. And some paydays really don't seem to merit the excitement of the capital P and the superlative punctuation when the whole lot goes towards boring bills.

But right now, in the context of not buying anything new, I'm feeling a growing enthusiasm for getting caught up, and cultivating a sense of ease around paydays. I have been TCB - taking care of business - and catching up on my loose ends debt wise. Right now the outstanding items (besides mortgage and visas) include paying for my new glasses, and replacing my work phone which got left behind with my black fanny pack in an Uber. I'm trying to embrace accepting these expenses as a way to just get on with getting caught up financially, and focusing on my own savings and fun goals for the year. I can't buy new stuff, but I am hoping to rack up a few awesome experiences both small and big.

Also, what lesson can I take from these unwanted expenses? A good one is stop buying black bags. They blend into the scenery and my ubiquitous black clothing and are therefore too easy to lose!

And today's Payday! actually feels kind of good. It is one of those charmed three-pay-months, where I get an 'extra' pay and some wiggle room where the cash is not fully devoured by the usual suspects in terms of bills. So I put extra on my visa and will be going this weekend to pay off my glasses, leaving just the phone before I'm back in full command of my money flow.

Another thing that I did late last year was work out an 'allowance' for myself. It has been hard to stick to it due to the holiday and things coming up like paying for a phone screen, and various expenses etc. But I actually feel like this might be the Payday! two week period where I stick to my biweekly allowance and things fall into place. I may be way off about that, but it feels like I've been inching towards it.

My allowance (per 2 week pay period), in case you are curious is $200 for me and $200 for household. I have not been super strict about the division yet. Ideally the $200 for me is for whatever I want and need (without buying any new stuff) such as pedicure, chiropractor, lunch at work, etc. The $200 household is for groceries, stuff from the drugstore, if we need something repaired, if we get some workman or person in for something etc. I watched a few online videos to determine what would be a reasonable allowance, and this is where I landed for now. I even took the step of having the allowance transferred into an account which has a separate bank card, to make it really feel like a separate amount of money.

I've also been tracking my spending, which I have previously mentioned, for many months in little notebooks from Credit Canada (a nonprofit with some helpful tools) and I plan to do some analysis at some point. Like create more intentionality in certain categories of spending. For now, not buying new things puts a helpful limit that slows down my spending without me having to think a lot about it. Sticking to my chosen allowance would do the same.

A final thing I'm trying to stick with is savings. This has been hard too, but I feel like this is the 2-week period it will gel. Call me an optimist. I set aside $150 to save for my self care, and $150 to save for household and rainy day expenses per pay period. My goal is to allow this to build up rather than spending it after 'saving' it for only weeks or months. I do have some savings right now, but it is all earmarked for preplanned renos, and I want to build up our just-in-case fund, and my personal fun/self-care/growth savings too.

Anyway, day 17 of nothing new for me, and things are mostly fine. :)

xo
Tara

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