Monday, August 30, 2010

Part Time Jobs : the way to financial independence.

I've got a lot of hobbies and a lot of ambitions.   I end up finding that it is easier to do all my hobbies and work at my ambitions if I work two jobs.  I manage my schedule better with the stress and the curiosity of two part time jobs, than simply working one full time job.  If I can find a dream job that probably won't be the case anymore.  However when I work mostly to pay the bills it makes more sense to work two jobs....better yet to work two jobs that allow me to learn skills related to my interests or work one job that I find relaxing and one job that challenges me.  Financially it could make more sense to work at a job where you work over-time.  I am a mom who manages a household.  I guess I am not really interested/able to work more than 30 hours a week right now.

I've managed a comedy show, worked in a cafe, ran errands and worked a computer lab as second jobs. They were all relaxing social positions.  I would have probably done some of them for free, in fact the comedy show I managed after attending shows regularly.

I currently work two jobs and I've decided to use my income from my second job, which is only a few hours a week, to invest for my retirement.  It adds up to about 200 dollars a month.  My other job (my new job) is going to be used to pay my bills & expenses. If I earn over 1,000 dollars a month I will put the amount over 1000 (that's the amount I need to live) in a donation or savings account.

I think having the two jobs keeps my finances in perspective and sets me up with a budget one to live off of and one to save/donate.

Have you ever worked a second job?

We're taking a cruise!!!

All bets are off.  My partner, daughter and I are finally taking a vacation.  It is the first week long vacation that my partner and I have taken together.  We've been in school.  We had a baby.  We bought a condo.  We weren't finally positioned to take a trip without debt until now.  We elected to take a cruise on the Alantic ocean.  I am pretty excited.  I will get to cities that I haven't seen before.  Now we will be staying in cramped quarters.  We took the smallest room available with fold up beds, on a postively reviewed boat.  We read through hundreds of cruise reviews before making a final decision.  I've heard horror stories about cruises before and I didn't want that to be our experience so the reviews on Travelocity were important.

We made it even more affordable by chosing a Docking city that a relative lives in, the very famous NYC.  I will get to visit her a couple of days, she'll borrow our car (which means we won't pay parking), in addition she'll drop us off and pick us up from the dock.  So we won't pay parking, hotel or taxi fees. Our 7 day cruise was listed at 650 a person (since meals are included and reviewed as quite good) I figure this was a good price.  Once you include our daughter, travel insurance, & taxes the price actually came to around 2000 US.  Which is prior to the cost of gratuities and tour fees for the cities that we will see.  We figure it will be another 500 dollars if we chose frugal but good tours.  So 2500 is not really a cheap vacation but all considering it should be a great experience.  I am convinced it is a good way to travel with a baby.  She's half price on this boat (yes on some boats kids are free, but those boats traveling out of NYC at our time frame weren't very positively reviewed).  So we finally took the plunge.  I am pretty excited.  I think it will be money well spent.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Buying Stocks on Sale

In Canada we have this wonderful program called the Tax Free Savings Account.  We can contribute up to 5,000 dollars a year to this program and the interest, dividends, and reinvestments earned within that account are tax free.  We can use it for short term or long term savings goals.  It has been around for two years.  The first year I put it in a savings account and it serves as my emergency fund.  Its earned about 60 dollars in the last two years thanks to our low interest rates.  I am waiting for the interest rates to increase so that my emergency fund generates something.  The second year, I have been using it to invest in stocks for the very first time in my life.  I have a very limited number of mutual funds.  However because of the economy I was not interested in continuing to invest in Index funds.  The funds I invested in, in 1999, haven't grown since 1999  in fact they are 500 dollars than the purchase value.  I am not sure I will make more money than my mutual funds but lets face it, I cannot do much worse.

So I bought my first Canadian stocks, all of the stocks I purchased are dividend paying stocks, two are oil based and one is media based.  I have not really made money yet on my purchases. I jumped in slowly...buying roughly 2000 worth of stocks thus far on three different companies.  I used a free purchase promotion to buy them so I incurred no broker fees.  Spending 2,000 on stocks is a lot of money for me.  I would rather look at what happens and spend the last three thousand wisely.  I decided to wait for a good deal to spend the rest.  I have three companies and a couple of ETFs that I am considering purchasing.  I will probably only purchase two.  However I am going to approach my stock purchases, like I approach my shopping habits and wait for a good deal.

Today the stocks are down.  I am really curious if the stocks will be down through out september and October, maybe this a downward trend that can encourage me to finally jump in?  I hope so.  If any of my stocks....sink to their yearly lows during this time, those are the stock that I am going to purchase.  I am trying to remove all emotions from my stock purchases.  Its hard though.  I am a big fan of my money.  I want it to work for me, so that I can retire early and put my daughter through college one day.  In this market you have to pay attention, and spend wisely.  So thats my game plan to buy stocks on sale this october after a sizable dip.

What do you invest in and how do you decide when to buy in?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Took a Blogging Break

Last year, I tried an experiment and blogged everyday for basically a year.  I had several misinterpretations of my blog and changed my mind about the nature of my blog along the way.  I deleted my primary blog and took a long break from blogging.  I have been enjoying my hiatus and now I am wondering how I was working and writing on my blog everyday.  I won't be blogging everyday.  I won't be trying to make money blogging either...which was something i was trying to do with my former blog.

My life has totally changed in the interim, well not so much changed but my perspective.  I think before I was using an exorbitant about of time planning for my future and my families future.  I was also working at job where I was very unhappy.  I stopped working there and I stopped planning and worrying about the future.  I got two new part time jobs that are much more enjoyable.  They don't really pay the bills at the moment (and I am terribly over qualified)...but I saved up this nest egg and I am covering the difference with my savings at the moment.  I've been enjoying my life while not blogging.  I have been playing a bit more with my daughter, whose really enjoyable at her age. I got up to date on Dexter, True blood, Scoundrels and I've seen an exorbitant number of movies.  Movies and good TV shows are something that I really enjoy.  I stopped updating my CV and stopped networking.  I have been taking french classes.  I have just been taking a relaxing break from working a serious job.  I am pretty happy about taking the break.  I needed it.

I am still dabbling in my career options, and I have two upcoming possibilities, but I am trying to also just accept where I am at right now.  I think things will happen when they happen and if they don't I will live on less.  It's a nice place to be at.  These changes coincides with the purchase of my first home.  I really love my new house. So that's where I am at in my life right now....happy with a low income.

As for saving money.....or well living frugally.  Its become a necessity.  I am trying to live off of a salary of about 30 dollars a day...give or take 20 bucks.  So I am not really rolling in the dough.  However I  have this beautiful Husband who works full time and covers much of our living costs.  So I have to cover some of my food, my clothing, my shoes, and a few hundred in our mortgage payments.  We bought this house knowing that I may not be able to work (depending on childcare) if we lived on the basic minimums we could afford this house on his salary alone. Its something that I do recommend being able to live off one salary and using the other for extravagant things, saving, and investing.  It does mean living on less, in a smaller home and we are.  It also means we don't panic at this period of under-employment.

One of the coolest things I discovered with my low income is the access Montreal card.  I get free entry to the Jardin Botanique with that and use the metro to get there.  It costs nothing for an entire day of enjoyment.  The access Montreal actually give you free/reduced entry to a lot of things in Montreal.  It's not great for people who aren't from here but if you are......definitely pick one up.  I am still doing plenty of fun things inexpensively.  I will have to attach some photos and update you guys a couple times a week.

Do stay tuned.