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Accommodation Decision

December 17th, 2009 at 07:32 am

Currently renting a 2 bed apt for 500 a month. Living alone. The extra bedroom is for storage/guests etc.

Lease runs out in March 2010.

Landlord is willing to give me a new 12 month lease from January 2010 for 450 a month.

However, if I was to share a house with other people, I can rent a room in a house for 200 a month.... some are even advertised for 185 a month.

I'm still hoping, despite this month being a self-inflicted financial disaster, to be debt-free by next April.

My goal from next April will be to build a 10,000 euro Opportunity/Emergency Fund. Now if I was to share a house then I could contribute 250 to 300 euro MORE to this goal every month. Which is a lot of money.

Now sharing has it's own advantages/disadvantages. Advantages include it's probably more social etc. Disadvantage is you might not get on with every one in the house. I also might find it hard to get quiet time to work on the screenplays I want to work on... I am distracted easily..

So what do you think ?

Why I shouldn't Drink...

December 14th, 2009 at 04:45 am

Work-party last Friday ... got really drunk... You see I am untypically Irish in that I don't drink regularly... but that means I have no tolerance to Alcohol... so when I DO drink, it goes straight to my head and I get drunk really easily.

Last Saturday - hangover from hell. Didn't spend a lot Friday night though.

Last night was the Screening of the 3 min Short Film I helped make. Got pretty drunk by the end of the night - believe it or not ended up in a Lapdance bar.

Now I didn't actually get a Lapdance but I did chat to a georgeous Latvian woman... It's quite funny thinking about it now, but she (doing her job) was so entertaining, engaging, attentive and not at all bothered that I didn't want to see her naked, that I just found myself giving her money every 10 minutes... until my pocket was empty... and then I used my Debit Card to give her more !!

DISASTER !!

Now... she didn't actually ask for money.. but I was like a baby gazelle trapped in the gaze of this amazing actually nice person seductress !!

Ah well, I hope she puts it to good use...

Believe it or not, I don't feel sore about giving her the money.. because she did make me feel on top of the world with her great conversation and rapport... I've just realised that my feminine side is probably more developed than in most men... I mean, what MAN has a great time in a Lap Dance bar without seeing anyone naked !! lol

Is this debt ?

December 5th, 2009 at 05:01 pm

Ok sorry if the answer to this is obvious:

If you want to get a new TV and you don't have the cash upfront and you have 2 choices:

1. Save the money for a year and buy the TV with cash.

2. Get the TV now on 12 months interest-free credit.

Is Option 2 considered to be debt ? I mean yes it's a monthly payment for 12 months and yes you OWE that money to the store.

But from a strictly personal financial budgetary point of view isn't Option 1 exactly the same as Option 2.

Both ways involve setting aside 1/12th of the Cost of the TV for 12 months. Only Option 2 allows you to get the TV now.

Now I would consider an interest-free loan for a big ticket item like a car to be debt. But for a relatively small ticket item like a TV ?? I'm not sure... The monthly payment wouldn't be a budget-breaker.

Emmm....Any opinions ?

Dental Tourism anyone ?

December 2nd, 2009 at 07:13 am

Received unexpected dividends today of 65 euro from the shares I own in my Employer company.

Went to Dentist for a check-up and needed two fillings - 80 euro.

Net loss of 15 euro - not bad I suppose.

Anyway Dentist said I need 4 crowns at 950 euro each (they were 750 each at my last check-up). So 4 * 950 = 3800 euro = 5700 US Dollars.

Now Ireland has a reputation for expensive Dentists. I've heard of people getting Dental work done a lot cheaper in Eastern Europe e.g. Bulgaria. I think Asia, e.g. Thailand, is even cheaper again.

I think Bulgaria would be as good quality Dentist-wise as Ireland. I don't know how good the standard of Dentist-training is in Thailand or how well regulated they are.

So I'm considering taking a weeks or 10 days holiday to somewhere exotic to get my Dental work done and make a holiday out of it too !! And all for less than what I would pay in Ireland.

Has anyone done this or can anyone recommend any particular countries ?

So here's to the birth of my latest Savings fund - Dental Vacation !

Giving myself an Overdraft

November 27th, 2009 at 05:23 am

My current short-term target is to have 1000 euro in my checking account to act as a buffer.

I won't include it in my Net Worth calculations... it'll just be like an overdraft I have there for myself...

My bank pays 5% interest on money on checking accounts...

I'm planning to put 75/100 a month towards this goal and any extra money that comes my way...

Tested by the Tech Gods...

November 26th, 2009 at 05:10 am

So my computer went on Work-to-Rule again !

Another 50 euro to the Repair Shop - a different Repair Shop.

They exchanged the Vista Operating System for the XP one.

Also broke the screen on my cell-phone last Friday - It took 4 days for my old network to transfer my number to my new network...

Got a Samsung Tocco Lite.. nice phone... and free on my price-plan... which is 20 euro a month for 200 minutes and 200 text messages a month.

Quick bit of Profoundness

November 17th, 2009 at 07:27 am

So will be debt-free in 4 months time..

Have been thinking about my relationship with money..

It won't be my master in 4 months times, but it will still be a Limiter. As I won't have an Emergency/Opportunity Fund, I won't be able to do as I please. I'll still need a job, any job.

So when I'm debt-free next April, I'm gonna have 3 long-term areas of saving:

Emergency/Opportunity Fund (200 per month)
Retirement (15% of Net Income)
Accomodation (35% of Net Income less rent)

After that and all the other expense categories (car, food, electricity etc)... the rest of my income will be for enjoyment...

As a non-money-lusting Batchelor, I don't need a large income... My medium term financial goal - in say 5 yrs - is to be able to leave my "job" and take up a more precarious lower paid position simply because I love doing it and not having to sweat about debt or if something bad happens...

Is this possible ? Sure is.. To paraphrase the big man in the big house "Yes I can !"

Rejig Goals

November 12th, 2009 at 06:15 pm

In a weird way, I feel I have let you all down by my first decision:

Postponement of becoming debt-free from before End of 2009 to before April 2010... well, not so much a choice... I won't have the money to pay off loan before Xmas... so have decided on April.

I like April - In my attempts at setting financial goals for myself in the past, I have chosen April as the review month. It means I can have all my financial plans up-to-date and executed before my birthday in early May. And it means I can keep the Xmas Period and New Years Eve for general family good times and "where am I going with my life" self-reflection instead of messing around with budgets...

So yeah... will be debt-free next April..

Other financial news:

I've decided to give 10% of my monthly salary away each month. The plan is to give:

25 euro to sponsoring a child in Africa.
75 euro to an Irish charity which helps sick children have fun - it's a Hole in the Wall Gang thing - Paul Newman used to be heavily involved.
Finally I'm gonna save 113 into a savings account each month for helping out people I know in need in my local community.

I heard Suze Orman say that in order to receive goodness your hand has to be open.

I'm hoping I'll get a sense of well-being and even wealth from being fortunate enough to give money to others.

From next April, I'm gonna put 15% of Net Income towards Retirement and 35% towards Accommodation savings (this 35% will include Rent I pay now... the difference between my Rent and the 35% will be put into a savings account to pay for future accommodation either as a deposit or as rent to be paid in the future).

Over the last few months, I've been thinking of having a goal of increasing my Net Worth by 10,000 every year. But then I said to myself "why put a limit on it ?". So I'm not gonna to aim for a specific net worth increase every year.

Ala The Secret I've asked the Universe for 100 million euro.... don't know when I'll get it... I realise that if I read this in someone else's blog, I might say "he/she is crazy !"

Well... maybe I am crazy ! AND maybe there's nothing wrong with that ! lol :-)

Finally back...

November 8th, 2009 at 01:41 pm

My computer has been returned to me after about 5 weeks...

After:

...300 euro approx
...being taken to TWO repair shops
...getting a new Graphics card when there was nothing wrong with the old one...
...after getting a new Motherboard which is slower than the old one...
...after getting a new Operating System..
etc etc etc

Ah well... at least it's over now... although its performance is noticeably slower than before it was "fixed"...

I toyed with the idea of purchasing a new PC altogether for 500 to 600 euro...

BUT my plan is to plan a powerful MAC in approx 2 years time so I can use Final Cut Pro to edit short films....

Obviously I want to buy it with cash, I'll start saving for it when I'm debt free in January 2010.... so I just wanted my old computer patched up until I have enough cash saved to buy my Mighty Mac..

Oh.. and I finished my 7 weekend Introduction to Film-making course today... we finished editing today and have a short film !!

It's called Ada and Bob... It's about an old couple where the lady is unappreciated and she leaves in the end.... it wasn't my script idea.. personally I think it's a cliche BUT I learned an AWFUL lot making it...

I was in charge of Lighting... We will be getting DVD copies sent out to us in the near future... If someone could tell me how I could share it with people here who would like to see it, I would appreciate that...

Anyhow.. it's great to be back.. I hope you are keeping well !! :-)

Computer Problems

October 23rd, 2009 at 04:20 am

In an Internet cafe, just dropping in to say hi... hate these places ! 1 euro for 15 mins ! Aaaarggh !

Anyways my computer hasn't been working for 3 weeks... and its annoying now.... it needs a new Graphics cards apparently ... 160 euro to buy a new one and have it fitted !

Ah well.... see you all soon

Battling Anxiety/Lack of Belief/Procrastination - all the fun stuff ! :-)

September 13th, 2009 at 10:22 am

So my 7 weekend film-making course starts next weekend ! Yay !

Financially - I have the fee for the course all saved up... so I'm good to go...

Over the 7 weeks, we will learn the basics of making a film, we will then make our own 3 minute film and it will be publicly screened (nerve-wracking !) in a city in Ireland.

During the first weekend, we will learn about script-writing. All the participants will write a 3 minute script. The second weekend, we will get feedback on the scripts and suggestions for improvements.... then we'll all (the participants) get together and pick one script.

I really really really want my script to be chosen !! As will all the participants. I have four ideas written down roughly. I have never written a script before.

I rang the film centre and they recommended a book (which my library is considering buying - it doesn't have it in stock - how frugal of me !)... and some scriptwriting software....

I'm feeling overwhelmed by the physical task of writing the four scripts as I don't know what I doing from a technical viewpoint. I mean I have good ideas but very little knowledge about HOW to write a script...

I'm kinda perfectionist that way and would rather, self-defeatingly, not do it than make a half-assed attempt at one...

but I'm gonna barrel through that inertia over the next 5 days (until next Friday) and bring 4 scripts with me to the course...

coz... I wanna feel like I'm giving it my best shot...

Wish me luck !

Net Worth getting close to goal !

September 8th, 2009 at 05:54 pm

Goal of 10,000 by end of 2009.

At 8,999 at moment. Although when computing that my retirement fund was higher than expected... maybe it was a computer glitch - it being late over here....

Anyways... am confident of breaking the 10,000 mark this year... maybe even end of October/early November...

Nailing down the Percentages..

September 6th, 2009 at 04:37 pm

So will be debt-free by the end of this year..

And I've already started playing around with a draft debt-free budget... and have one that I am happy with...

But then I thought... well if I leave my current job that budget will be redundant...if I move to a foreign country I'll have to make a new budget etc etc..

Basically I spend quite a lot of time, e.g. while out running, computing different budgets in my head... etc... and I'm getting a bit tired of it..

I would like to work out a budget based on percentages... A budget that I can take anywhere and will fit all scenarios...

3 long-term areas I want to cover.

1. Retirement.

Note - Irish Government gives tax relief for retirement contributions up to 20% of Net Salary for 30 to 39 yr olds. (I'm 30).

So the obvious target is 20% - maximise tax relief.

2. Future Accommodation Savings.

I have no plans to become a home-owner at the moment. I'm not bothered by the prospect of renting all my life - unlikely as that may be. But I've decided to put money away every month to pay for my future accommoation either as:

A. A deposit for a home.

B. I never buy and the monthly payments just build up into a big fund that I can use to pay rent when I retire.

I'll be investing this money in high-interest savings accounts as opposed to the stock market as I don't know when/if I'll need to access it...

How much to save for Accommodation Savings, I was thinking IDEALLY the same as retirement - 20%. So when I retire, I will have money there to pay for my accommodation and a pension to pay for my lifestyle.

3. Invest long-term in the Stock Market via ETFs...

My employer has a scheme where one can get 8% of their annual salary in company shares tax-free. I'm thinking about having a goal of investing 10% of my income in the Stock Market for long-term savings..

So that's it... 50% of salary gone to long-term savings... the other 50% has to cover everything else - rent now, food, all expenses, car expenses, short and medium term saving, vacations...everything...

Then I thought 50% is a bit restrictive/miserly.. and then thought about 40%:

Retirement: 15
Accommodation : 15
Stock Market: 10

The only aspect of the 40% option I don't like is that I wouldn't be maximising my retirement contribution tax relief... but on the other hand, I don't want to live 35 yrs of unnecessary deprivation until I retire !!

Ooomphh... I know this is not terribly exciting but I would really like to settle on a percentage-based plan and then just forget about it and get on with other aspects of my life...

Any ideas/suggestions ?

Thanks in advance !

Cutting some fat

September 2nd, 2009 at 05:53 am

My cell phone bill in August was 50 euro - about 30 euro higher than normal and I don't really know why... so I'm gonna investigate some options and see if I can get a better price plan - I should be able to get a plan to cover my needs for about 20 a month.... up until now I've just been topping up as required but I think I need to get a fixed price plan in place and then incorporate that into my budget.

TV... I seldom watch TV... maybe 1 or 2 hours a week.... if there is something worth watching on... I work evenings so don't get to see primetime TV...
I currently pay 16 a month for TV... maybe I can lose this ? And then I won't have to pay the annual 160 euro TV License fee either...