Day 40~I Almost Lied

I almost lied.  I very rarely do.  It’s difficult for me, and I have a very strong conscience.  I lost sleep over the idea of lying; even started feeling ill because of it.  And the funny thing is that I didn’t even lie, and am not going to.  How silly!

You may be wondering what kind of lie I’m talking about.  What would be so serious that I would lose sleep and even feel ill about it?  I’ll tell you.

I was going to fake sick.  I know.  People do that all the time.  But, not me.  Generally, I do my best to not over-commit myself to things and people.  Lately, I’ve been running myself ragged; and am so behind on my work that I didn’t think I could handle any more.  Today, I only have 2 children I’m supposed to watch, in addition to the large pilot project I’ve taken on for a local school board.

Everything is supposed to be ready for the schools, and it’s not.  I feel as though I don’t get more than a few minutes every day or two because of the demands of moving, children, household chores, my part time home daycare, and driving.  Today, I would have to borrow a car from someone to go across town to drop off and pick up the kids; at 3 different times of the day.  All in all, with all of the driving, borrowing, and returning; it would take me about 4 hours of traveling alone!

That’s 4 hours that I could spend getting work done that I REALLY NEED to get done.  So, my lie was going to be telling the parents that I was sick today so that I didn’t have to do any additional driving or borrow a car.  I couldn’t sleep because of the uncomfortable predicament I would be putting them in of finding someone else to watch their kids.  I don’t want them to panic.

In the meantime, I’m panicking.  So, I’m not going to lie.  I’m just going to tell them the truth (even about the part where I almost lied), and then see where things go.  I’m sure there’s a way to work everything out.  And I’ll be able to get some work done this morning.  So, that’s what I’m going to do now.  : )

Until next time,

Princess PW

Day 37~Save on Gas

Ten tips to save you money on gas:

  1. Plan your errands and shopping trips.  Try to get everything done in one or two days.  Keeping an active list of what needs to be done will help make this easier.
  2. Invite people over instead of always going out to see them.
  3. Spend more time at home.  Take up a new hobby, learn some new things, play games.  Be creative!  You’ll find more and more things you’ll like to do both inside and outside of your home.
  4. Try different methods of transportation.  Walk, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, moped, scooter, bus, subway, train, etc.  Alternative modes of travel can save lots of money at the pumps.
  5. Get a more fuel efficient vehicle.
  6. If you have to travel to ‘meetings’ for work or other business; see about having phone or video conferencing instead.
  7. Stock up on food (especially when there’s a sale).  Even milk and cheese can be frozen, so you don’t have to go to the grocery store as much.
  8. Carpool.  Get together with other people and share the driving.  It saves a lot of money.
  9. Share errands with friends, family, or neighbours.  If you need some things done and they need other things done.  Maybe you can each help each other out so you don’t have to drive as far or as many places.
  10. Have your children (if you have any) picked up and dropped off for their activities, by other trustworthy parents.  You can also contribute to drive their kids some days too.

Princess PW

Day 28~I Feel Like I’m Cheating!!

I’ve been working at the new place for the past few days; fixing it up and getting it ready to move into.  It’s starting to look nice, but my money is running low.  I don’t like that.  I’ve put forth some money for materials and labour to fix up the house, but will be getting fully reimbursed over the weekend.

In the meantime, it feels like I’m going against my ‘No Spending For a Year’ rules.  Technically, I’m still following the rules because I am getting a return on my investment that is more than 10%.  It’s more than 10% because I am getting my money back plus I will be able to rent part of the house easier because it will be nice and clean.

But, since I enjoyed ‘shopping’ for materials, and my bank account has less in it than before, I feel like I’m cheating.  I’m sure it will all be back to normal when I get my money back on Saturday.  And I will feel better about it then too.

My landlord gave me a seriously small budget to have the entire house painted and the carpets cleaned.  He also spent some time getting quotes.  But, everyone who gave him quotes gave him much higher estimates than they gave me (by a few hundred dollars).  I don’t know if it’s because my negotiating skills are better; if it’s because I’m from the area; or because they know that I am the tenant, and not the owner.  But, for whatever reason, I feel good about getting professional work for such good prices.

And since I’m very interested in renovation project management, I’m sure I’ll be able to pass on some referrals to these companies when I hear of anyone needing their services.  They help me out; I help them out.  It works for everyone.

I can’t believe it’s almost midnight, though.  Since it is and I have to get to work just after 5am, I am going to keep this short and fill you in on the house and money details again tomorrow!  Have a good sleep!

Princess PW

Day 25~Swallowing My Pride

I love the advice people give based on their experiences; especially when they go against their own word!  Today, I am finding myself knee deep in a situation that is most likely going to force me to go outside of my own ‘No Spending Money For a Year Game’.  When I signed the lease for the other house, I hadn’t looked at all of the factors.

I knew the bus schedule is different since we’re moving into another area; but I’ve just found out that my tenants will not be able to catch the bus and get to school on time.  I thought the buses at least had the same running schedule.  This is a BIG problem.

Now, I have to get a car before renting out the additional room which will pay for it.  However, if I do things proactively and efficiently, my finances will be very close to what they would be if I did it the other way around.  In the meantime, I just stepped back and looked at the unrealistic time schedule I put on myself.  Why do I do these things??

Three answers came to me instantly while I was typing that question.  This is my reasoning:

1. I create plans to achieve a higher quality of living for my family AND realize that pushing out of my comfort zone is necessary to achieve my goals.

2. I love the excitement and change; as well as, the personal and spiritual growth associated with the changes and learning.

3. I’m determined to grow and learn from my mistakes, so I don’t repeat them.

Here’s what I’ve learned from this situation:

  • Look at things from other people’s perspectives and run the scenarios on how they will be affected.
  • Have the details worked out BEFORE handing over the money.  I’ve already paid first and last, so I can’t back out now.
  • When things get too stressful, slow down.  Sometimes I have to slow down, adjust my energy, and do something I enjoy.  It helps me refocus on my goals, clarify my priorities, and reenergize my soul.  In turn, I become way more effective at accomplishing the tasks which will get me to where I want to be.
  • Take responsibility:  Even when things seem overwhelming, and people are upset because of a decision I’ve made, I have to be understanding, collaborative and proactive.  I have to brainstorm and find solutions that work for everyone, and then get to work putting them into action.  Admit mistakes and be receptive to others’ ideas.
  • Communication is SO important.  Everyone involved is a team.  Keep people in the loop.
  • SET REALISTIC SCHEDULES–Leave room for unexpected events (like needing to get a car).

Here are the things I’ve done so far to ensure my cash flow remains positive:

  • I’ve already posted ads on the internet for room rentals at my new place, although we’re not moved in yet.
  • I’ve created a schedule of what I need to do and when it needs to be done.
  • I’ve started recruiting help from friends and family.  I’ll host a ‘Thank You barbeque’ for them when we’re all moved in.

Here are the things I’m doing today to achieve my goals:

  • I’m running all of my financials again to see how much I can comfortably spend on a car.
  • I’m writing a short proposal that I’ll use when dealing with used car dealerships.  I like to be prepared because I’m a better negotiator when I have everything at my fingertips.  I also don’t want to be taken advantage of.
  • I’m going to find and rent a car.  So many cars sitting around; I’m sure someone will rent a decent one to me.
  • I’m patching holes in the walls at the new place and preparing them for painting.
  • I’m taking pictures of the condition of our new rental home so that I have records of how things are when we move in.
  • And if I’m not exhausted by the end of the day, I’ll be packing some more boxes.  : )

I hope you also have a super saving and productive day today!!

Princess PW

Day 24~Feeling The Pressure!

Eek! I am starting to feel the pressure of all of the changes happening in my life. A few things are on my mind, and need to be sorted out ASAP. I don’t have a lot of time left.

I need to get a car. I need to get the other house painted. I need to get furniture for the other house (living room and one bedroom). I need to find one other decent tenant to rent the other bedroom; and all by the end of the month. Not to mention the fact that I need to work my a#$ off this week for the project I’m doing for the not-for-profit group AND I have little people with me who ALWAYS get into things.  I also still need to pack the house and move in for next weekend!  WOW!

The funny part is that I’m doing all of this without spending. LOL Like I said before, I love challenges.  Sometimes, I laugh at the situations I get myself into, because I know there is always an end to the challenges.  So, I don’t stress too much.

Here are my ideas about the problems I’m facing right now and how they relate to time and/or money:

1. How to get the house painted:  The landlord has a small budget for paint, but I will have to do almost all of the painting in the 2700 square foot house.  I’m good, but not fast.  So, I need to choose the most important rooms and start with them.  They will be the living room, and two of the tenants bedrooms.

I’ll have to get someone to look after my kids while I paint; or find a way to keep them out of the paint.  It’s my youngest I’m worried about.  She still eats paint.  And the carpets in the house are almost all white, so I am paranoid about her spilling it.

I may rent a paint sprayer, and learn how to use it because an entire house is a lot to paint if I don’t have much time.

As for the costs, I’ll have to barter babysitting services with another mother so that I don’t have to pay for childcare.  I’ll watch her kids in return later.  The paint and supplies will be paid for by my landlord.

2. How to get furniture for the living room and bedroom: I haven’t gotten this one figured out yet.  I want to have a nice house that flows, and attracts and keeps tenants (because that is my main source of income).  It’s not quite yard sale time yet.  I have $25 of ‘unexpected income’ that I am allowed to spend, but $10 of that is going to go towards transportation.  That only leaves me with $15.

So, the only way I can purchase the furniture is if I find another source of income to cover it.  That’s where the additional tenant comes in.  My dilemma is that I need nice furniture asap to be able to rent to another tenant.  I have some cash on hand that I could put forth for this AS LONG AS it comes back almost right away.  But, I need to make sure I find a suitable tenant too.  I don’t want to necessarily take the first person who comes along.

I’ll be spending some time today looking at used furniture ads on Kijiji and Craigslist.  If it’s something that’s easily paintable, that’s an extra bonus.  If it already matches, and no painting is required, even better.

3. How to get a car: I drove by a few used car lots yesterday and had a crazy, but very possible idea.  I just need to talk to some car lot owners or managers.  I need a car for four months only.  They have a lot of cars just sitting in their lots.  I don’t do a lot of driving, and have a perfect driving record.  Why don’t I just ask around and see who’s interested in partnering up for a short term lease?  At least they can make a little money off of the car and still sell it in the summer.  There won’t be many kilometers put on and it will be maintained well over the four months.  Why not?  It’s worth asking.

Renting the additional room will pay for the car for the four months.  And then when I no longer need it, the money from the tenant will be added to my monthly cashflow.

Wow!  One thing I love about blogging is that it helps me sort my thoughts!  I was feeling so pressured a few minutes ago about money and rushing.  And now, I feel only rushed and less concerned about the money part.  I just created a kind of roadmap for me to follow regarding the house, car, money, and tenants.  I feel SO much better!

So, I’ll look around for furniture right now and later today, gather paints and supplies, and find childcare.

I’ll go paint the house, and move in the furniture I find so I can take pictures and post for tenants.  Then, I’ll finish packing and move the rest of the furniture.  I’ll borrow a car throughout the week to drive around and ask car lots about the possibility of a short term lease.  There are lots of cars, and lots of lots; so someone is bound to rent one to me.  And I will make sure I have a tenant before I sign onto any car deal.  : )

Time to leave for my adventure!!  Bye for now!

Princess PW

Day 23~Joint Bank Accounts–NEVER AGAIN!!

One of the worst mistakes I ever made in my life was opening a joint bank account and combining my finances with my someone else’s.  What on Earth was I thinking???

In the family I come from, most couples have joint accounts.  The woman takes care of managing the finances and is usually pretty good at it.  The household is always taken care of, and the man still gets his spending money.  On the advice of some of my family members, I bought into the idea that my common-law partner and I should combine our finances.  The logic was that since I was having his baby and we were engaged, that this was the next step.

And, since my partner had recently been approved for a mortgage, I assumed that he wasn’t an idiot with regards to money, and that I would be safe to combine mine with his.  After all, since I was having the baby and would not be able to work for awhile, at least I could manage the household and the finances while he worked.  Again, what was I thinking?

Money wasn’t something that my boyfriend and I often talked about.  We had way too much fun together to discuss important topics like that.  And after we had the baby, we discussed things less and less.  When we did discuss money after that, it was an uncomfortable subject because I was not working at the time.  We both held resentment towards each other during that period; Him towards me for not working.  And me towards him because I wanted to work and was no longer in the position to.

My managing the money worked for a short while.  I organized everything to come out automatically to avoid paying any penalties.  There was a savings account set up where 10% of every paycheck went into an ’emergency fund’ incase we ever needed it.  I explained this all to my partner.  I even showed him.  I tried to get him to sit beside me to look at the accounts on a regular basis.  He didn’t want anything to do with it.  He didn’t even open the mail.  (He still doesn’t).  Everything was up to me.  Until one day…

…I looked online at our bank account and noticed a few extra charges.  They were $35 each.  And I think there were 6 or 7 of them!  I couldn’t figure out what happened.  It had only been a couple of weeks since I had checked the account.  There must be a banking error somewhere!

I asked my partner if he knew why there was less money going into the account.  I thought maybe his work had screwed something up on his paychecks.  The pay amounts were a few hundred dollars short of what was usual.

My boyfriend told me he didn’t know what I was talking about.  I don’t remember how I found out; whether it was because I saw one of his paystubs or if he eventually fessed up.  But, he had changed the amount going into our account without telling me.  He didn’t think $150/wk was enough spending money for him.  Now, because of this, our mortgage bounced and many of the household bills did too.  It cost WAY more money to do things this way.  And he lied to me.

I was upset for a few reasons.  One was that he didn’t communicate with me that he needed (or wanted) more money in the first place.  And two, was that he dileberately lied to me at least twice in this instance.  How could I have gotten myself mixed up with someone who lies and screws around with the finances?  It’s the family’s security.

Later on, he told me that he believed that I was “hiding money”, because I put 10% into a joint savings account.  That also angered me because I was accused of being untrustworthy, although we set up the account together and it was a dual signing account.  So, I couldn’t even take money out without him being there, anyways!!  How is that lying or hiding anything??  He wouldn’t ever sit down to look at the accounts with me, even though I asked at least weekly.  Years later, it still angers me. Grrr.

The whole point of this story is:

If the communication around money and other serious matters doesn’t flow easily, or if you don’t know the person’s financial history well, I wouldn’t recommend tying your finances together.

I know there are some couples who share bank accounts and it works quite well for them.  They discuss everything with each other that is related to their accounts; for example, purchases, mortgages, utilities, etc.  All decisions are joint decisions.  But, that’s not how it works with many people.

In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to share household and family financial responsibilities AND keep your accounts separate.  Now that I know what I know, I’ll never choose that option again.

If you’ve got a joint bank account and it works for you, please let me know what you and your partner do to have things work effectively.  Thanks for your insight!  I appreciate it! =D

Princess PW

Day 19~More Than Just Ice Cream!

As I was leaving the bank today, I realized that I should share one of my primary money principles with you.  It’s a very basic concept but it is an extremely powerful principle.  I use it in all areas of life; and because I do, people trust my word and are there when I need them.

In a nutshell, it’s the principle of ‘Under-Promising and Over-Delivering’.

What do I mean by ‘Under-Promise and Over Deliver’?  I mean; In the grand scheme of things, keeping your word is one of the most important things you can do to enjoy a successful life.  If you’re usually late, make excuses, or cancel plans unexpectedly; people will begin to lose faith that you will follow through on what you say.  You will be trusted less and less, even if you’re a highly trustworthy person.

If you make a promise, make sure you keep it.  One of the best ways to do this is by ‘Under-Promising and Over-Delivering’.

For instance, say you borrow some money from a friend, and you think you can get it back in 2 weeks, but aren’t certain.  Make the commitment to have it back within 4 weeks to give you a little extra time.  Then, graciously surprise your friend by giving the money back plus a few extra dollars (or a thank you gift or cookies) after only 2 weeks.  They will be very happy to have their money back early, and will be more likely to trust you in the future.

Another example could be if you have a customer who orders a product from you.  Tell the customer when their product will be ready, and then get it to them a little early (unless it has to be at an exact time).  Or have free delivery or a little something extra added.

A third example could be telling your kids that they can have ice cream for dessert.  And then just when it’s time for the ice cream, you pull out whipped cream, cherries, chocolate fudge, and sprinkles; and surprise them by making a regular dessert into a sundae building experience.

I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m saying.  If people are going to think of you, and how you handle your commitments, are they going to think, “I’m not sure if that person will follow through on what they say,” or “Wow!  I love the fact that I can always count on him/her!”

If you find you’re having difficulties keeping up with commitments, then maybe you’re taking on too much.  Often it’s as easy as learning to say ‘No’, or delegating tasks.  Both delegating and saying ‘no’ are skills that can be learned and developed.  So, don’t give up hope!

Another great tip is to add value.  Always think in terms of others.  What can I do to improve the experience for them?

The more you focus on adding value to others, while staying aligned with your personal values and goals, the more likely you will be to have strong relationships and trustworthy partnerships.

Princess PW

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