Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The joy of ENOUGH. Back to saving loonies and other normal life.

For a delicious year I was rich. It was wonderful, and now it is over and that is OK too.

I have never understood why talking about money is a taboo, just like I don't understand the prohibition on discussing politics and religion. All are fascinating topics that we all deal with. We just have to agree to disagree, and remain polite in the face of another opinion or belief. Is that really so hard? 
I never understood hiding age either. 

Income level determines much of life. I feel no shame about my low level of cash income, which is the result of life choices, rather than lack of opportunity. I don't regret the choices and take full responsibility for their consequences. Well, almost. Back in the day it never occurred to me that the social safety net might disappear. I can quite happily live on the basic government allowance for old age. If it ever disappears, well, that would be such a different world anyway. Let's not go there right now.

In the past I have been rather Micawberish, often living in debt and in hope of "something turning up". Being self employed encourages that. One can always believe that next month will be better. From now on the focus is on living within the means of the fixed geezer income and earning "nega-bucks". Thanks to Erica Strauss  for that term. As Ben Franklin said:"A penny saved is a penny earned." Extra income will be pursued, but it will be just that, extra.

The year of being rich was 2013. I received an insurance settlement for the injury sustained in the car accident in 2012. Then there was an inheritance from my dear sister, whose home was close to being paid for when she died just short of 61. All those years of pinching pennies and eating margarine, for nothing. OK, she enjoyed the sport. But life is too short to not eat butter.

I was giddy with the sheer freedom of it, bubbling with excitement. The first thing I did was pay off all personal debt. In 2008, as soon as I started getting OAP, I had already torn up the credit card, which kept giving me a higher limit the more I used it. I turned the debt into a life-insured re-mortgage with my trusty local credit union. Peace of mind came from knowing that at least my family would not bear the burden of my sloppiness. We are free and clear again, and my monthly income is all mine.

It took a big chunk but what a good feeling! I gave some away, enjoyed hitting the donation button for umpty good causes online and introduced the local library to Dr. Who. We went to see the kids at the coast, an expensive outing these days what with bus tickets and hotel costs. I bought a new stove, a couch, a guest bed, some bedding, some small things, some clothes. I made Amazon.ca happy a few times. I indulged in the entirely frivolous purchase of a tablet which I love, the less frivolous purchase of a new laptop which was a mistake. I hate Windows 8 and the old one keeps chugging along, I could have waited. By the way, buying the laptop gave me a total appreciation for the simplicity of not having choices.

Dreams of a winter vacation in Cuba were sacrificed to the shoring up of the dwelling. Sister Margreet would so approve. It is still an old trailer but it will last our time. Well, maybe not if we live to be 100. I went to the dentist. 

That's it. There is some money left in the bank, but it is reserved for real emergencies. Oh, and for some labor this summer to make the place more productive. Details will be on the garden blogOther than that starting 2014 it has been back to normal, which means saving loonies and getting seriously excited about an extra twenty bucks in my pocket. 
We may not have much, but what we have is paid for.  I still have ways of earning a bit extra with the farmers market and the odd Reflexology client. 
There is an element of sport in making do. Example: my friend M. grew fantastic savoy cabbages that kept well but need to be used up now. She also still has potatoes and carrots. I have a cupboard full of canned tomatoes I got on sale at $1 per can. M. needs to recuperate from exhaustion after years of care giving. I have plenty of energy this winter and have been using her produce to churn out near industrial quantities of fabulous borscht. Click on link for the recipe. Creating good food while listening to audio books is one of my favourite winter activities. We share the proceeds. Win win.

For the time being we live in a safe place with health care and social security. We are warm, well fed, and healthy. We have a garden and a library. Enough is all the abundance I need. 


  1. Wonderful post. Thank you!

  2. I agree...a wonderful post. Thank you Ien for sharing. You are an inspiration. Truly.

  3. Thanks for reading. Quote from Cicero: If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.

  4. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed reading!


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