I’m Going to Disney World!

Yes, it’s true! In about six weeks I am headed to Disney World!

If you met me in real life, you would be shocked to know that this is the kind of vacation that I would get super excited about. I don’t come across as someone who is obsessed with all things Disney- but I am!

My mom had a conference in Orlando when I was six and I went to Disney for a few days, and I have pretty much been begging to go back ever since!  Now my parents do not like Disney… they are much more travel to cities and visit museum-types (which I like too!).  But growing up that is all we would do, so I have always had a desire for theme parks and cruise-type vacations.

I would ask about Disney and my Dad would always say that I could go back when I could pay for it myself… and then two things happened.  My mom had conferences scheduled in Hong Kong in the spring and Copenhagen in the fall.  Conferences have always been our main kind of family vacation because the hotel room is paid for and my mom’s airfare.  Both trips ended up not happening because they were just going to be too expensive.

And all of a sudden my mom was itching to get away this fall because she felt like she deserved a vacation after two long-anticipated vacations fell through.  And somehow both of my parents agreed on Disney (because I really wanted to go).

I would have preferred to go in the spring because it would have given me more time to plan, but the timing worked out much better for the fall.  One of my favourite parts of a vacation is the anticipation, and this has proved true in this instance. I have spent loads of time pricing things out, looking at all of the different hotels and restaurants and imagining how happy I will be in the hot, hot sun!

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My Struggle With Giving 10% of Everything I Make

Definitely the best money decision that I made in the past year was to come up with my 50-40-10 spend-save-give money rule.  It has simplified so much for me, and I really hope that this formula continues to work for years to come.

The spend and the save have been going really well and it has been so rewarding to see the numbers in my various savings accounts creep slowly up.  But the charitable giving has not been going as well, which is not to say that I don’t want to give the money away.  I just don’t know where I want the money to go.

I am not a decisive person when it comes to spending on myself.  I regularly get to the front of the Starbucks line before I have been able to decide on a drink to order.  And I have discovered that I have an even harder time when it comes to spending the money I have earmarked for helping the world in some way.

I think if I was given $10,000 to give away, I could do it no problem because there are so many worthy causes that I want to support.  My problem seems to be that I have just a little bit to give away, so I feel like it has to go to the perfect place.

My favourite is KIVA because I can decide exactly where my money is going and the money I lend in microloans comes back to me, and I can lend it out all over again.  But I have lots of money in KIVA and want to branch out.

I would love to have a foster child abroad, but I want to give money all at once and not monthly.

I need to focus on the fact that I have many years of giving ahead of me, and that it does not matter exactly where the ‘give’ money goes as much as the fact that I am making a habit of giving 10% that now seems normal to me.

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My Room

Ever since I moved home from school, I have been working hard to clean and organize my room.  I have done so much work, but when I look around I get frustrated because there is still so much work to go.

My apartment at law school was just set up in a way that worked for me.  The placement of things facilitated my goals and my daily schedule.  Things here at home are just not organized enough to do that right now. My morning routine and my evening routine are not what they should be because my stuff isn’t in the right spots.

For example, my journal and the book where I track my spending should both be on either my bedside table or my desk so that it becomes a routine to open them every day, which tracks with my goals.  But my bedside table still has a box on it that needs to be unpacked and my desk is a mess.

I still haven’t managed to get my closet in shape and I haven’t even attempted to take my two filing cabinets (one from each city) and merged them together.

I keep working on it every day, but I would like to be done soon.  The time that I spend cleaning my room is time that I would rather spend on fun projects like a new cabinet that I have in the garage.

Basically I want the end results, but not any of the work or time needed to get those results.

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August Spending Forecast

Yes, it may be well into August at this point, but I still wanted to take a look at what is coming up for me in the next month.

My spending this month is going to just a few places:

Transportation- All month I am commuting, and that will cost me about $100.

Birthday Gifts- My whole family has birthdays all at once this time of year.  I already have my mom’s gift and estimate around $150 for my dad and brother.

Staff Gifts- In July and August I have staff working hard for me and I like to say thank you.  This year I have settled on treating 5 or so people to Starbucks once a week.  This will cost me about $75 more in card reloads.

Entertainment- This is almost an embarrassing amount except that this area of spending is so concentrated in the summer months and then much less for the rest of the year.  Some of my friends live and teach abroad, some will be going away for school in September and some are just in school here, and will be busier in the fall.  In the summer we go out on every Friday afternoon/evening. I try to keep my spending down by getting just dinner and one drink, but even that adds up fast.  This will eat up almost $200.

And that’s my spending for the month.  The good news is that this is one of my spend-iest months and September will be easier.

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So I think that now I can really truly say that I didn’t realize how burnt out I was from law school/moving home/studying for the bar/working with no break.  Looking back, I can see the signs that I was beyond done and needed a break. I had a sore throat/cough that kept coming back that I couldn’t seem to fight off, which is very out of character for me.

Despite running myself into the ground, I was not making any progress; my to do list was growing instead of shrinking.  The weekend before last I finally had a full two days off without any work, and I looked forward to tackling so many items on my list.  Instead I slept, watched TV, surfed the internet and relaxed. It was unintentional, but my body and mind just needed to rest.

This past weekend was a long weekend in Canada and I was lucky enough to have 3 full days without work.  I took things at a slower pace and still allowed myself to relax, but I was also able to get some stuff done.  I have been trying to do a mix of must-do and fun things, and did a pretty good job this weekend:

  • went to the farmer’s market
  • swam 3x
  • did loads of work cleaning my room
  • watched tv
  • listened to almost an entire audiobook
  • packed lunches for start of week
  • 3 loads of laundry
  • went to the bank and set up my envelopes for August

I finally feel like myself again and am ready to tackle August.  My goal for the rest of the month is to check in with myself regularly to make sure that I have something left in the tank and am not just running on fumes.


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Where my Budget Stands

My budget for the time being is $500/month and that seems to be working pretty well for me so far.  I often think how crazy it is that I can live on so little while living with my parents.

In fact, I could just work at Best Job Ever for 2 months in the summer and make enough money for the whole year plus enough extra for travel, Christmas, etc.  But I definitely want my own place, so I am saving and making pretty good progress.

I am also busy and distracted in the summer compared to the rest of the year, so I really simplified things by working my way through the calendar and figuring out when I would need to spend money, and then labeling the envelopes accordingly (ie. bus tickets, week of August 1st, $40).  That way I don’t really have to think about my spending for the next few weeks, but I won’t be risking spending too much.

While my current budget is working perfectly, my future budget and longer-term planning is keeping me up at nights right now.

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So, I’ve been having a hard time keeping up over the past couple of weeks.  Not just at the blog, but at everything.

I leave for work so early in the morning, and by the time I get home I am exhausted and just waste away the evening watching TV and on the internet.

Part of the problem is that I overextended myself by agreeing to work some weekends this summer…I am approaching 20 days straight of working and I know that my upcoming Saturday and Sunday off will do me a world of good.

But there is also this nagging bigger issue that I have felt behind and rushing to get things done since I started law school.  There is just so much on my to do list and I always seem to be short of time.

I am really, really trying this week to get things done so that hopefully I can make some progress on the “to do’s”.

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Where do you like to give?

Despite not paying too much attention to my finances over the past couple of months, I have actually been making good money.

I give $100 of every $1000 that I make, and I now have a few hundred dollars to give away.  My go to has been KIVA, but I have close to $1000 there now and would like to look at some new options.

I am choosy about where I give because I work hard for my money, and I want to make sure that wherever I give, my money will be working hard there too.

So, where do you give?  Or find places to give?

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Entertainment/Leisure Spending

One of the best pieces of financial advice I ever read was in an article in (I think) about financial advice for each decade/stage of life.  People from each age group gave advice to a younger demographic.

Each age group seemed to be worried about something different.  The oldest people in the story were frantically trying to save for retirement.  The people just slightly younger than them were trying to pay off their houses and throwing all of their money towards that goal.

The next tier younger were struggling with college costs and how much they could save to contribute to the education of their children.  Other younger folks were saving up for homes, and struggling with all of the extra costs that went along with their growing families like new cars and extracurricular activities.

One person mentioned that when they were in their early to mid twenties they felt so broke, and that they wished they had realized that never again in their life would they have as much discretionary spending.  Later on, the goals of retirement, education, and mortgages seem to take precedence over travel, meals out and other entertainment spending.

This is definitely true for me right now.  Last week I spent $20 on transportation, $50 on Starbucks (reloaded my card) and $30 at a bar for dinner and drinks.  That slants very heavily towards wants.

I read this years ago, but ever since I have tried to remember that this is the time of my life when I can spend on myself and not feel guilty.  Once I have a home, I know that I will be focused on paying off my mortgage, and the same goes for retirement savings.  I don’t want to get used to indulging in my every whim, because I don’t want the transition to hit me too hard.

The other thing that struck me when I read this article was that I could have a real advantage if I could get ahead on some of these goals.  My friends and peers of around the same age have not really started the savings thing yet, or are just starting.  My hope is that by saving for a house starting at a younger age, I will be able to jump ahead of the savings curve.

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Creating a Daily Schedule

For the next 7 weeks I am working full time at Best Job Ever.  I am tired, but really enjoying myself and savouring this time.

This job, even though it’s only 8 hours a day, has a way of filling up every waking hour.  So I’m trying to claw back on this a little and accomplish some other things this summer as well

I switched my sleep schedule from 11-6am to 10-5am because I thought that having time to accomplish something in the morning would be helpful to me, considering that I am quite sleepy in the evenings.  So far this hasn’t exactly worked, as all I have accomplished before 6am is my internet time.

It is also instinct for me to come home and plop myself in front of the tv until dinner.  I would like to do something useful during this time instead.

And finally, during all of my breaks at work I tend to do one of two things: do work or chat with co-workers.  I could work on other things during this time, like blogging, reading or other computer stuff, and that would free up some of my afternoon time.

I want to get the schedule down soon because I know from experience that as soon as I can make this a habit, it will all get much easier.

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