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Wednesday Miscellaneous

I have a lot of lofty goals this year, and I’m already struggling with keeping myself on track. Not because the goals are too far out of reach, but because I’ve been a bit scattered with my thoughts lately (which is also probably why I haven’t been writing as often as usual on this blog).

So far, January has been booked solid with work, social plans, and field hockey/running. I haven’t had a free evening since before Christmas, and from the looks of my Google calendar, I won’t have one for at least another 3 weeks. I need to scale things back. Breathe. Spend time at home. I need balance, and I don’t have that right now.

Here’s been what’s on my mind lately:

  • What I thought would stress me out the most (saving at least $750/month into RRSP/TFSA) seems to be the easiest goal so far. Everything is automated, and I don’t even have to think about it. The same goes for my $50 bi-weekly contribution to a long-term savings account earmarked for travel.
  • Speaking of travel, BF and I have made tentative travel plans this year: a trip over the 4 day Easter long weekend (so far we have discussed Portland or Kansas City), and he’s thinking of joining me for my vacation to Europe in the fall. Since I’ll be in Sweden for work, we would travel to Copenhagen, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Normandy, and potentially end up in Paris. If that trip falls through, I’ll likely do a solo trip to Finland and Russia.
  • I’ve been toying with the idea of becoming vegetarian. I’ve been a pescetarian (no meat or poultry) for almost a full year, and that has actually been really good. But I really feel like going vegetarian will be super restricting in social situations. Especially coming from a meat-eating, seafood-loving family. Of course, there are millions of vegetarians out there, so it’s not like my issues are unique. It’ll just take some time to adjust.
  • There is a ski day planned in a few weeks, and it will be the first time I’ve gone in years. So, that’ll probably be fun, but embarrassing. Mostly embarrassing. :) There has been zero snow that has fallen in the last week, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that conditions on the mountains will improve by the time I go.
  • A few weeks ago, I had a wine and movie night at my house with my oldest friend of 19 years. After a recent falling out with someone I thought was my friend, I was reminded of how important long lasting relationships are, and what true friends mean to each other. :)
  • I’m going to have to buy tires for my car sometime this year. This is a major stress for me, because I know nothing about tires and I’m always afraid of getting ripped off with any car-related things. I know people who have saved a ton of money buying tires in the USA, but with the dollar being the way it is, I wonder if it’s even worth it.
  • After reading and re-reading my Chilly Chase Half Marathon recap, I created a running schedule for the next 3 months. I think it will be hard to simultaneously train for a 10km and a half marathon (the races are just 1 week apart), but once field hockey season ends, I should be okay. And I’ve decided that if I don’t PR in the BMO Half Marathon, I’ll scrap the idea of running a marathon in the fall, and focus on my half marathon time instead.

Anyway, that’s it from me over here. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. :)

What should I do with all these coins?

I’ve always collected loose change in order to save up for something. When I was a teenager, I saved coins (and even the occasional bill) in a tin earmarked for a trip to Disneyland with a friend. I even kept a piece of paper inside, detailing each deposit (and the rare withdrawal). In one summer, I was able to save a few hundred dollars – which ended up being my spending money during my trip. It was an amazing feeling knowing that everything I bought on the trip was because I had the willpower to save a few coins every day.

Now, at home in Vancouver, I collect change in a cute penguin piggy bank. I used to save coins to treat myself to something – maybe a dinner out, or a gadget I’ve been wanting to buy for a while. But now, it’s there to help me pay down my mortgage. Once a year on my mortgage anniversary date, I plan on emptying it out and putting that money down on my debt. It may not amount to a lot of money, but every coin and every dollar counts.

Here in Stuttgart, we’ve accumulated a ton of change over the last year. There’s a tin can in our apartment that holds 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent coins (why does the Euro have so many coins anyway?). I just don’t know what to do with it all. It’s not a TON of money, but it’s probably about €20.

I was originally using it to pay for using the laundromat, but our building got a new owner a few months ago, and we now have access to the building’s free laundry machines.

I don’t really want to pay for groceries or a meal out with handfuls of change, and we have yet to come across one of those coin counting machines (I heard they’re really rare in Germany). I don’t have a German bank account either, so I can’t deposit it anywhere.

So what should I do with all of this coin? We only have 10 days left here!

We’ve only come up with two solutions so far:

  1. Go downtown and give it to the homeless people or street buskers.
  2. Do nothing and leave it for the next person who rents out the apartment.

Any suggestions? What would you do with all these coins?

What would you do with $1,000?

Let’s say you were given $1,000. Whether it’s from a holiday bonus, gift, inheritance, or even lottery winnings. You were not expecting the money, and it goes above and beyond what you projected to make this year. So, what would you do with the money? Not what SHOULD you do (or what you would tell people you did with it), but what would you truthfully do with it?

I would love to set a great example and say that I’d put the entire amount towards my mortgage, or put it into my RRSPs, but I have a really hard time believing I’d pay down debt or save all of that money once I actually had the money in hand. And I’m just being honest. Whenever I get windfalls, I usually spend 10% on whatever I want, and the other 90% goes towards something responsible. That way, I get to treat myself to something nice, while still putting myself ahead financially.

However, if I were to receive $1,000 today, I’d probably spend $250 on holiday gifts, $250 in my RRSP, and $500 towards my mortgage.

When I asked my boyfriend the same question, and he said he would put the cash towards living expenses. But when I probed him some more (okay, a lot more), he admitted that he’d probably spend it on a good, reliable bicycle (since he doesn’t have a car). And that’s fair enough. But the first thought that came to his mind is what he SHOULD do with the money, when in reality, he’d probably end up doing something completely different.

I understand wanting to splurge and spend it on something fun or an awesome trip – because it wasn’t money factored into the budget anyway. And I also understand wanting to save all of it – because windfalls don’t come around often.

A few weeks ago, I asked people on Facebook what they would do with an extra $1,000, and here’s what some of them said:

Aside from the “burn it and watch” answer, I was really impressed with the responses. :)

What would you do with $1,000?

With December coming up, would you use it to make the holidays extra special? Would you splurge and go on a vacation? Or would you save it all? Be honest!

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