Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"stupid money mistakes"

I was so pleased with my "I AM CREDIT CARD DEBT FREE" blog post that I couldn't bring myself to follow up with the next post: "Stupid Money Mistakes."

Back in 2011, just a couple of weeks prior to my "DEBT FREE" post, we moved out of our two-bedroom rental and into a friend's house for a couple of months. He wanted someone to be there while he was away, to watch for basement leaks and look after the lawns. He did not want any rent money, and would not take a cent towards utilities. He said it would give me an opportunity to save some money, and I corrected him and said it would help me pay off my credit card debt. And it did. Which was fantastic.

But I made a couple of really stupid spending mistakes and I could not bear to come back on here to blog about them. The first one I made on the day we moved out (I just realized that was exactly two years ago today. Bean's birthday!) The property manager had given me a year's free cable, and I had to return the boxes to the cable company. I received the boxes, packed everything up nicely, and then left them in the foyer in front of the mailboxes. For some reason I thought that the cable guy would pick them up when he came to disconnect my cable.

I put the boxes out on a Friday, and returned on the Saturday to clean the apartment. In that time I had figured out that I was supposed to return the cable boxes to the post office. But the boxes were gone and the superintendent said she had not seen them. Sure. I called the cable company immediately to see if the cable guy had returned them for me. He had not. Our building had our own dedicated cable guy and I found his number and left voice mail, which he did not return. I waited a couple of weeks, then called the cable company again. Still no boxes, and they informed me that I now owed them $400 to replace them Yeah, oops. So much for saving money.

I guess I could have neglected to pay the replacement fee but I could not bear to have a red mark on my credit after working so hard for so many years to keep my head above the dangerous waters of bad credit. Bye bye $400.

That was the big unforgettable mistake. I'm sure there was another one but it does not come to mind right now. It was two years ago after all. When it returns to my memory I will write a Part Two :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

feeding time

I follow myself on Feedly (RIP Google Reader) but the post I put out the other day did not show up in my feed. I wonder if some sort of a link break occurred when I decided not to continue my account with GoDaddy.com. Since I wasn't posting anymore I decided not to pay my annual fee, and instead returned to a blogspot.com address.

So there is a good chance that no one is reading my new posts. Is there anybody out there?

I realize that if decide to continue blogging here that I am going to have to get out there and read/comment on other blogs to drive up readership. Or I can just continue to blog away quietly. I'm not offering anything for sale here so I don't need a huge audience. But I do like to be a part of a community.

For a long time I could not figure out where I wanted to try to belong. I was focused on paying off my credit card, so that made me a financial blogger maybe? But I was on my own with my son and all the financial restraints that accompany that status, so that made me a single mom blogger maybe? But I did not want to release many details or any pictures about him to protect his anonymity so that made me uninteresting compared to most of the mom-bloggers out there. Plus the cliquey drama that I had heard about ...

It's not like I'm a total NOOB online. But like with life I pick and choose my parts. I started out on an online forum in 2003, from there I went to mySpace in 2005 and then LiveJournal that same year. I knew a lot of the folks IRL on the forum, and I made a few IRL friends on mySpace and LJ. Especially LJ. After I had my son in 2006 I noticed that people were posting A TON of Youtube videos, but my old laptop was not fast enough so I never clicked the links. I still rarely click video links, I don't know why, laziness perhaps?

Then Facebook of course in 2007 which revolutionized the way everyone socialized online. Don't say it isn't true. MySpace died a quick and tragic death, and LJ slowly followed (I still post on LJ because my "tribe" on there are single moms in Canada, USA, and overseas and we help each other whenever we can). I have a couple of photobucket accounts still that I used for mySpace and LJ. I even have a Flickr, but that's because I used to keep photos people emailed me in Yahoo Photos, and when they killed that app they opened me a Flickr. I never really got the hang of it though.

In 2009 I joined Twitter, which I loved. Facebook had become too visually distracting for me with all the photo uploads and Youtube linking, and I missed the simple status update. Twitter brought back that simplicity for me and the bonus was that I got to keep my anonymity. I could complain about family and friends without them finding out! However within a couple of years Twitter moved to a branding strategy for a lot of people, and it was back to clicking their links, and my personal way of using the app did not make sense anymore. I did start one to link to this blog but killed it when I found it difficult to maintain two accounts. I still have my Twitter and check it a couple of times a week, mostly to get news on the soccer team that I follow.

I started a couple of Google + accounts but never log in to check them. I am still wary of forgetting to log out, and then have Google track my every online move. They probably already are, but nothing is creepier than the Google Search History two years after the search.

Feedly has renewed my interest in reading blogs, and now updating my own. I like Feedly a lot, but I wonder if it will still have access to my blogroll after Google finally bites the dust?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Back again ... maybe

Today I am back. I just decided to pop on here and make a post. I thought about writing it yesterday but I did not know where to begin. I actually still do not know where to begin but here I am.

The last time I posted was almost two years ago, when I paid off the last of my $20 000 credit card debt. Prior to that I updated irregularly. When I started the blog I had just had the cable cut off to save money, and did not have internet at home. I do have access at my office, but rarely felt inspired to post anything in that environment.

I also struggled with what I wanted to write about here. I was afraid of saying too much because I wanted to keep the blog anonymous. I wanted to protect the anonymity of my son, Bean (not his real name). I eventually stopped reading other people's blogs because I felt a bit guilty about lurking on their personal photos and details, while not contributing similar information about myself.

I wanted to educate people about wellness and a simplified budget, but I was pretty new to the game and did not feel like I could contribute with any real authority. I was afraid I would alienate "normal" people if I blogged about Archangel Michael or Reiki, for example.

I was trying to follow the advice of the successful financial bloggers: decrease debt, increase income. I succeeded at the former but not the latter. I did end up purchasing some ING mutual funds but I never did get the courage to try investing for real. Honestly, I still do not have the funds to do so because I did not increase my income.

I still work as a part-time secretary at a university in Ontario, Canada. My son will turn seven next week. We still live in a rental, but a few months ago moved into a whole house with my fiancé. When I first began this blog in 2008 we were just moving out of a whole house rental so I guess we have come full circle. Living with someone is difficult, but mostly still easier than living above or below strangers, which we did for three years and counting.

I sold my old problematic Ford to the wreckers for $200 and borrowed $5000 from my line of credit to purchase a used Toyota. It was well worth the expense since I have not had any car trouble since August 2011 (knock on wood). I just paid that $5000 off this month, less than two years since the purchase.

Last summer I borrowed some more to go to yoga teacher training. I thought it would be an investment into a new stream of income but I did not have a positive experience and I am afraid to teach yoga. I still go to a class once a week to stay in shape but for now I have shelved the idea of becoming a yoga teacher.

I hope to keep in touch and post something here regularly. I hope you are all doing well.