Saturday, 7 October 2017

Receipt of memories

A few days ago, I had the day off.  Of course one normally associates a day off with sleeping in or lazing about to watch TV/play games.  Relaxing.
But to be honest - that is not really me.  Most weekends in fact, I still get up early but am on the 'net surfing.

But these days I feel I need to be productive.  So waking up at 6am, I felt the need to clean up.  Mainly the paperwork on my desk and sort out my cupboards.  It was such a mess that every time I looked at it I would think, "I'll deal with that another time."
Or, "I'm too tired."


So I decided to be proactive to clear as much as possible: filing, sorting and cleaning.  It was a task I had started a few days ago - as I was filing away my paperwork which had piled up.  I keep most receipts - from buying my morning coffee, grocery shopping to all the receipts from holidays.  Every week I extract a wallet full of receipts and plonk them on the table or squirrel them into envelopes.
So you can imagine how many receipts I have accumulated over a short period of time.  I had every intention to track expenses but found it such a hassle I don't.  I keep them in case there is a dispute or an incorrect charge.  Ok, ok - I need a better system and  am still searching for that!

Going through a table full of receipts is downright distressing,  however, the upside was I needed to read and determine if I wanted to still keep the receipt (for warranties etc).

Strangely, most recipes were readable, and still had a lot of information.  Times and dates of my purchases.  Restaurant receipts still had the addresses of the places, what I ate and the tip I gave.  Interestingly, the memories came flooding back to the exact places I was at.  I don't recall everything - like what I was wearing - but the situation, vibe and how I was feeling did come back. All these receipts made me think of all the places I tried on clothes, the shop assistants, the stores - pretty much putting me at all these places - some of which I had forgotten all about!

One of my friends had told me about a shoebox full of movie ticket stubs - something he had collected ever since he started going to the movies.  I was just thinking whether a scrapbook full of receipts would ever be a thing, but it certainly made my day as I never thought something as simple as a kept receipt would ever be a memory of a good thing (especially if it meant I was paying!)

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Are we there yet?

Perhaps it is me getting a bit further on on age and realisation that I have been working for quite some time.  But it did get me thinking about financial freedom - or at least a relative financial freedom.

While I was chatting to a colleague, we were commenting on how regulations and technology have really started to change the industry.  Furthermore, with family and worklife balance, how it would be good to be able to just take the time off when required.  Which brought me to an interesting question posed to me: "Do you have a number?"

I was taken a little aback, as I usually don't talk personal finance with colleagues.  But I was somewhat intrigued as to this - because it was phrased such that a number you would be happy with so you didn't need to work for money any more.  I had done some quick calcs, and had come up with a number which I thought would be acceptable in this scenario - i.e. a number where I would be confidently not eating salami sandwiches for the rest of my life.  (to be sure I love eating salami sandwiches - something which was cheap and tasty but I did eat a lot of it as I was trying to save money). Unless of course it is eating salami sandwiches in my holiday home in Italy. With water views... 

So I hesitantly stated a number and backed it up with some of my quick calcs.
"Excluding your own home, of course," they said.
"Yeah...., " I responded, unsure now of my quick calcs.  What else did I feel was missing as my mind started recalibrating.

Of course, context is required, as my colleague, who has a family,  are well paid professionals and I found my number to be quite a bit lower than theirs.

So what I realised was that this could very well be a lose-lose situation depending on who you are speaking with.  State a number very high, then people start to either judge you:
- Are you being realistic?
- Think you are already there, so believe you are rich or a snob;
- Admire you or just am jealous (as believe you are close to your goal).
Conversely, coming in low, like me:
- Are you being realistic?  How could you live off that.
- Think you are already there, but that you have no ambition.
- Admire you or jealous (that you are close to your goal).

Unfortunately, perhaps it was the fact that I don't like talking financial matters with friends which made me less aware of my personal finances, so perhaps this was a good lesson to spur me into action.

What I did find out is that while my number is not unrealistic, I need to consider the type of lifestyle I want from here on in.  I mean I can be more frugal and therefore get by on my lower number.  Knowing that I may not have as much as I wanted in retirement is a sad, but better to know earlier so I can do something about it. 

Anyone, less time on games and more on financial news I reckon!

Sunday, 17 September 2017


The last month has been extremely busy.  I certainly felt that time had slipped away from me - another month has passed!

It certainly has tested my last two areas of concern - lifestyle and focus. It certainly feels tiring when you feel the hurdles come crashing at you.  The issues which needs to be dealt with so feel that one feels lacking time.  Or the illness or sickness that sets one back when trying to get back on track.  Last month was exactly that which initially felt that I was on a path of setbacks and plateaus.  Getting ill during a period when I was busy really compounded things and as much I as I wanted to push myself in terms of the gym, I knew it was not going to be in the longer term interest - so I rested.  I also kept my diet going and tried to eat cleanly as possible.  Reduced alcohol and no beer.  Somehow Even though I only managed a few trips to the gym, I kept on going on my goal.  I definitely lost some strength, but kept losing some more weight and more importantly visceral fat and overall body fat.  I didn't think that was possible and I was thinking of the plateau I had reached and to be honest, I had moments of frustration.  Interestingly, I have felt better on the basketball court even though I have not shot a ball for some time.  I definitely fit my clothes better and strangely enough, one of my friends even commented that I lost weight.  "I thought you were letting yourself go there before - don't do it; don't be the first among our friends to do it!" he exclaimed.  Though he had never mentioned to me before, he said he didn't know how to say it to me.  Great.....
To some degree, I do think that men have issues around weight, health and body.  Perhaps to some degree, our friends don't want to judge and so will never really bring that up and I really am not sure how one would take it.  The only reason why he brought it up, was because I mentioned the new scales and that I am trying to change my diet.  Think we have established that he may not speak his mind, but at least he is encouraging....oh wait - hang on a minute there!