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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Best Laid Plans.

Got some pictures of vardo plans for everyone today! Aren't they neat? Lars drew them up for us a week or two ago.

Since the door of the vardo is going to be over the trailer tongue, a section of the railing is going to be cut out to accommodate it. Then, the plan is to have a little porch over the trailer tongue(possibly that folds upward against the front wall for travel). The advantage to this is that I won't have to try and camouflage the trailer tongue at events; it will already be hidden under the front porch step.

Thoughts on Money and Goals
One of the best things that I've learned while putting together this project is how to set a goal and budget for it. Now, I have never been very good with my money. (Weird, considering I'm an ex-head bank teller.But oddly, my money and the bank's money were two different things in my mind, and not to be treated in the same way.) I couldn't ever get a handle on it. I was constantly overdrawing myself and the bank was constantly raping me for overdraft fees.

Let me tell you how I despise banks; having worked for one in the past, I was well aware that you must always ask yourself 'how is this bank making money off of me?' Even when the checking account is 'free', even when they're giving away free toasters, credit cards, T-shirts or super fabulous car-loans, you must always remind yourself that they would NOT be doing that if they weren't making money off of you hand-over-fist somehow. Cherchez la FEE, people.

In any case, even knowing all this, I still allowed them to regularly help themselves to the money in my checking account with a big shovel due to my own stupidity and unwillingness to sort through the mess that I'd made. Well, this project changed all that.

To begin with, I realized sometime in January I could never have this vardo if I didn't bite the bullet and get my act together. And, even though Pennsic as seen from January seems forever-and-a-day away, I also knew that paychecks come and go with frightening speed and that I'd better get my act together toute suite if I wanted to do this thing. So with a motivation that was finally big enough, I finally sat down and began figuring out how much I would need for all my expenses. At the same time, I began to obsessively start paying off past-due stuff, so that I could be all caught up.

And what do you know? It worked. Not only have I been able to set aside the money necessary to realize my dream, I also have reached a point where I haven't paid an overdraft fee since the end of January. By my calculations, that means that I've saved myself somewhere in the realm of $500. (I'm NOT kidding - in fact I may even be underestimating. I was the kind of person who'd forget the latte she got 3 days ago and get hit with $25 because it overdrew my account. That means I was paying something like $28 for a friggin' cuppa coffee.)

Now, I'm addicted to KNOWING how much I have. It's so wonderful to be able to be free of worrying if I have enough for groceries or gas. I know I do. I may not have money that day for anything else, I may have to wait until payday to buy that cute blouse, but that awful uncertain worry is gone. I even hazard to say that I'll never let things get so messed up again that I have to feel that way ever again.

As an interesting side effect to this whole budgeting thing, I've been cooking a lot more (as opposed to eating out), and trying new recipes. And what do you know? They've been coming out really good. Norm feels better, digestion-wise, and Ian loves my cooking. We've also made our meals healthier, so next step for me is tweaking the cooking habit to maybe help us all lose weight and feel better too.

So, the lesson for today is, if you want to get a habit of good financial management, I say, set a goal of something you really, really want badly. It will get you the motivation you need to build the habit. Once you're used to budgeting, and it's ingrained in you good and firmly, then you can do something you should do like save for retirement. If you do it the other way round, I have to wonder if it's enough incentive to really be good. It wasn't enough for me.

1 comment:

  1. Huzzah!!! I have the opposite problem. I can save, and have for my vardo. but no where to build it. Keep going! Thank you for posting the drawings too!