Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Financial Status - Early February

I really enjoy after all the monthly bills are accounted for and organized, when everything is in it's rightful place on the spreadsheet.

(1) I'm keeping most of my paycheck liquid to cover the cost of an international flight appearing on next month's statement (though it is possible the timing gods may smile on me and they won't bill until after the issue date). I may keep general liquidity until my tax return is finalized because...

(2) The interest rate on my loan is dropping, albeit slowly, likely hitting 3.5% by March. The bank drops the rate slower than it used to raise it but I'll take it. Technically, this preferential-rate loan is open until next fall and will be a nice emergency-emergency source while abroad. Because...

(3) Having travel plans confirmed helped me make a liberal seven month financial projection, i.e. what my networth will look like when I start work again (It assumes I don't work while abroad and a comfortable lifestyle). I'm allowing $5K total for the trip, which may actually be overly generous in light of the current exchange rate and off-season travel.

(4) Having solid plans also (hopefully) provides concrete incentives to be more minimalist and financially responsible. I want to acquire as little as possible. It's easier to limit things like dinners out by imagining how many days the cash could sustain me elsewhere. Rather than an urge to shop, there is an urge to gut my closets (again). I'm in the process of sorting worn clothing to wear for the last few months and then eliminate, all those socks/sundries/casual clothes on their last legs (admittedly a little obsessive)...

(5) It helps to live in a city with no real social scene right now. It's also not exactly a fashionable city, and the middle of a Canadian winter. Also, my boyfriend is gone for six weeks starting mid-February. This mix is a potential perfect storm of limited discretionary spending, assuming I don't get cabin fever.

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