Financial Report: It’s Been a While

Man I hate Nickelback.  Why did I do that?

How is everyone doing?  Well I’ve been down here in the desert and the days have been flying by.  But for someone who would like to run a well-written blog one day, I sure haven’t been very active in the last few weeks.  But on the other hand, man have I been living.  I’ve caught some of the best waves of my life, and surfed more than ever before in a 3-week period of time (everyday, usually 4 or more hours).  My point is that I’ve had another great taste of what retirement will be like, and I want more!

I’ve been feeling bad for not attending to some of my pursuits such as writing, but the fact is that surfing is just as or more important to me, and it’s the kind of thing that can happen with a high (or low amount) of frequency during a certain period of time, depending on the what mother nature delivers.

So to hell with it.  I made the most of the waves that came, and have a lot of time coming up to catch up on posts.  The truth is these may have been the best 3 weeks of my life so far.  In the future, the hope is that when not going to work at all anymore, I can work on blog posts, etc. on the flat days and maximize the surf bum existence on the better days.  You see, I’m working out what I want my life to look like and trying to choose carefully the things I take on that will fit with that.  Not vice-versa.  For me, one big part of that is to leave a fair amount of ‘space’ in my life.  Not necessarily for just relaxing, but to allow for serendipity and whatever else may come my way.  And each time I come home in between stints at work, I get another taste of that life, and it just makes me hungrier and hungrier to continue to strive to reach my budgeting and investing goals in order to take on the good life full-time, as soon as I can.  Surely and steadily.

So how did we all actually do with our budgets for October?  Here’s my monthly breakdown:

Successes

  • Improved on my reduced spending – tracking my spending daily really does continue to help me reduce it.  In total, I spent around $1300, which is only slightly (about $50) over  my rather tight budget, but yet another improvement over last month.  I was at work for 18 days in October, and spending virtually nothing during that time from my “Miscellaneous/Living” pot.  That bears mentioning, but it’s also a part of my budget determination.

Room for Improvement

  • Just like last month, my Budget could still use some fine-tuning –  although I can’t hide from my inaction, it turns out I can ignore it and go surfing.   I still haven’t cancelled my no-longer-necessary $39.95 Life Insurance policy.  If I had, I would have practically been within budget, although I am still happy with where I ended up.  I did, however, contact Telus, (Canadian mobile service provider) who decided that after 16 years of paying my inflated bill on time, that my request to receive a reasonable rate on my phone which I was only a couple days per month in Canada was met with a discount of 5%, which is 5$ when your phone bill is about $100/month!  The size of this bill is one of the biggest challenges for me with my budget, but I don’t currently have many options for changing it as I locked myself into a contract.  When that has expired, I will be getting a reasonable rate, or be done with Telus/Canadian Service Providers all together for a while.  Nonetheless, half of the reward of things is simply the doing of them – knowing you did your best – and $5 is $5.

New Tricks

  • Fried Brussel Sprouts – It turns out a bachelor really doesn’t need to keep much in his fridge to get by.  I have started to adjust to picking up the produce I need for a day or two (rather than a week or two) as needed.  This way, I waste less, and focus on eating what I have rather than picking up other foods to prepare something in particular.  For the last few days my main meal of the day has been a one-pan fry-up of Brussel sprouts and onions, peppers and chillies, with a good dose of fat (butter and coconut oil, toss in bacon or bacon fat if you are so inclined).  I boil the brussell sprouts for about 5 minutes and then drain and let sit while I chop the onions and other veggies that may suit your taste (red peppers, zucchini/calabaza, etc.).  I add butter, coconut oil and maybe a bit of leftover bacon fat to the cast-iron skillet and let it get hot before adding the veggies.  The brussel sprouts are added shortly after and everything is fried about 5 minutes, or until ready (I like a little caramelization/browning of my brussells personally).  I then add some dried chilles and chopped walnuts or almonds for some crunch, especially if not splurging to include bacon on this round.  Fry and mix for another 15-30 seconds and Voila!  One-pan slow-carb fat bomb fit to keep a surf bum going for most of the day.

What I’ve Learned

  • Surfing helps me save – you literally can’t spend money when you’re in the water.  Yes, it can be expensive, say if you’re travelling far to catch waves each day, but when you can establish yourself close to the recreating you want to do, once you’re established there’s very little cost associated.
  • Surfing helps me spend – that said, look for a splurge purchase of a new surfboard in next month’s summary.  Recreational gear can be expensive.  Be mindful of what you’re buying and how much use you will actually get out of it right now (not sometime in the future that you aren’t even guaranteed will ever exist).  There’s no shame in spending top dollar for good equipment that you will get years of use out of and a lot of fun.  However, we must avoid buying that equipment for the reward of the purchase as opposed to for the reward of its enthusiastic utilization.

 

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