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Archive for May, 2010

My First Festival Season !

May 30th, 2010 at 09:51 pm

So after buying my tent, sleeping pad and sleeping bag I'm now going to put them to good use !

I'm already got a ticket to a 3 day Music, Body and Soul Festival in September - but that seems like quite a bit away yet...

So today I saw an ad for a Summer Solstice Festival happening over the weekend of 19/20 June in a neighbouring County. It sounds fantastic:

"The Body & Soul Gathering is not a gig, it's an experience. It's about reminding ourselves of the great musicians, story tellers, performers and artists that walk among us. It's about reconnecting with our culture and each other. It's about meeting with like minded people, progressive thinkers, healers, even a few kooky creatives. It's about feeling alive, inspired, excited by life. It's also about reminding ourselves what there's no time like the present to have a bit of good old fashioned fun!

In keeping with the ancient tradition, the weekend will draw to an end with a fire ceremony in tribute to the festival theme: Phoenix Rising. Marking endings and new beginnings, death and new life and the continuous cycle of change. Festival goers can create their own lanterns in an "illuminati workshop tent" and participate in the closing ceremony. "

I'm already 80% sold on going - I might buy the ticket tonight.

I'm looking forward to camping out in the countryside and meeting people with different takes on life - that's what really interests me !

Anyone feeling me ? :

May 27th, 2010 at 12:25 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfgU4iQr8PU

Love the lyrics and music - which is the whole thing really ! :-)

Debt-Free Budget in Practice

May 24th, 2010 at 10:51 pm

So here it is:

Rent/Bills: 22%
Retirement: 10%
Car Fund: 8.3%
Internet: 1.6%
Food: 4.4%
Long-Term Cash: 32%
Giving: 5.5%
Phone: 1.4%
Spending: 14.7%

I also use 8% of my Gross Annual Pay to buy Shares in my Employer to avoid paying Income Tax - I have to hold them for 3 years before I can sell. This 8% isn't included in the percentages above as they relate to my monthly take-home pay.

So pretty happy with it overall. The only one I feel a bit guilty about is the 5.5% Giving - I had previously said I wanted to give 10% - but 5.5% is a good start. I only have 14.7% to use on discretionary items which is not a lot - but we'll see how we get on.

Every week I work now, I know that 50% of my money is going to my long-term Financial stability - with an additional 8% going to running current car/buying next car.

Also I'm going to try putting 50% of any additional monies I get (e.g. Overtime, Tax Refunds) into Long-Term Cash and 50% in Discretionary Spending/Slush Fund.

I would like to have 50,000 euro in Long-Term Cash by the time I'm 35 - for a reason I'll go into another time - 4 years to achieve that - will see how that goes ! :-)



Back from Vacation

May 23rd, 2010 at 04:15 pm

Positive: Had a Great Time.

Negative: Spent more (a good bit more) than I had planned. Drank too much on one or two occasions. Acted like a jerk once.

Positive: Learned (again - but hey I'm Irish !!) that a lot of alcohol does nothing good for me - a little bit or nothing is best for me. My overspending may not hit my Cash Savings.

Basically I have 3 forms of Cash Savings:

1. 500 euro in my Checking account that I keep as sort of a personal overdraft to myself.
2. A Slush Fund - this is money that is destined to be spent at some stage - upcoming vacations, computer stuff, anything and everything really.
3. Long-Term Cash Savings. These are not to be touched and are for the long-haul. Except for buying assets - like a house - after I have "enough" cash in the Bank to feel safe.

My current situation (after vacation) is that my Slush Fund is gone but I may still have that 500 euro in my checking account. What I do is at the end of the month, I look back through the month's online bank statement and see if the balance dipped beneath 500 at any point. If it did, then I need to top up the checking account from the other 2 Cash Savings account.

Good News is that I don't think I'll need to touch the 600 Euro in my Long-Term Cash account - the buffer might still be there - just a luck thing with the days my pay-days fall on - and a bank error being refunded to my account.

Oh and yeah, I've realized I can be a jerk given a certain amount of alcohol which is knowledge I hope to integrate into my behavour in the future.

But yeah... Vacations are cool !! At the moment, am watching Michael Moore's Sicko - the French get 5 paid vacation weeks a year !! As well as Free Healthcare, Free Nannies and many other goodies... Ah.. maybe I need to brush up on my language skills !! lol

State of Play

May 9th, 2010 at 12:08 am

Recent Purchases: Tent, Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Mat. I bought new good quality ones that I hope I'll still be using in 20 years time. It was weird seeing the Tent (Marmot) coming with a Lifetime Guarantee - you don't see many of them these days !

These items were sort of a Debt-free present to myself - a practical present in that I expect them to pay for themselves many times over.

Anyways.. I've created a Slush fund. This is for Cash that is destined to be spent at some point in the future - it can also act as a first line of defense in an Emergency.

I have a Cash Savings Account that I don't want to touch - that I want to build up into a sizable amount - to be part of my Financial Independence toolbox. I mean before I start buying shares/funds I want to have a significant Cash cushion.

The Slush fund is where any money that is not spent in my monthly budget or Overtime etc etc goes and sits until I want to buy something or in case of emergencies.... This slush fund will be outside of my budget and so will be guilt-free spending... although there will be many competing potential uses for the money - I will have many inner debates on how much to keep in it & what to spend it on.

Currently I've 500 euro in it but that is earmarked for spending money for a week in Spain starting next Saturday. Life is Good. I may not even spend all the 500 - we'll see.

I also have about 600 euro in my Checking account acting as a buffer but I'm going to forget I even have that - I mean it's just to prevent me from going overdrawn at any point. I earn no interest on it but, on the other hand, it protects me from Bank charges for going unintentionally overdrawn.

I havn't been posting much recently. I've mostly just been reading the odd post here and there. I've become a bit detached from my finances in that now I don't think they add an iota to who I am as a human being. I sort of consider them as a working dog who I have to take care of, train and point in the right direction - but recently my sense of self has changed.

This quote from Eckhart Tolle TV points to how I'm feeling:

"The universe has conspired to put you here. The totality of all the molecules and atoms that are floating around the universe, some of them temporarily gathering together and manifesting what looks like a person. They were forged in the furnace of stars and in this amazing way it's all coming together; the totality of life has suddenly put you here. Everything is connected to everything else, it's all timeless."

Oh.. and I want to refocus on my Screenplay - it's bugging me from within - like a puppy scratching to get out of a cage.