I have always wondered how much money I’ve made in my lifetime; it’s one of those calculations that you normally do not consider sitting down and tabulating. As I rifled through past years tax returns, T4 slips and paystubs, the numbers flashing before me like road signs; I reached for my trusty calculator and furiously banged numbers into it. $390,600. $576,100. $966,000. My mind lingered on these numbers before realizing there was more: what about the babysitting done as a teen, or the numerous part time jobs I wandered through as a college student.
After what seemed like an eternity, there it was that elusive number that most never calculate over their lifetime – $1,076,000. That is how much I’ve made in my lifetime?!
O.M.G… *shakes head*
Wait, where is my net worth? What’s that number again? $15,000. That cannot be right.
I was extremely underwhelmed at my net worth, and filled with dread over the years spending instead of saving the money I’d spent twenty odd years accumulating through forty-hour plus work weeks. Mostly though, I was angry. Angry for repeating behaviour that stole most of that money from me; the anger then turned to focus and extreme motivation. I will get past this; I will make an amazing financial future happen.
Words that my father told me ring in my ears, “I told people I worked with I couldn’t do shift work anymore, that I hated it. I told them I would retire by 46. They all laughed at me at the time, but I retired by 46 and spend winters in Hawaii. Set that long-term goal Michelle, and do everything you can to get there. Make a promise to yourself.”
At 38 years of age, I am one of many that has neglected her finances and not made a conscious effort towards retirement savings. 63% of Canadians currently do not have adequate retirement savings to retire by 65.
Minimalism and Crashing, burning, purging
No, this is not as bad as it sounds, nor have I developed a strange eating disorder. It’s my current process of realizing I have majorly crashed and burned multiple times with my financial situation and its time to purge all those things that don’t belong. Consider it a new world order for me, a cosmic reset as Marianne Williamson puts it and simplifying life. When all else has failed, it’s time to look at changing your beliefs, mindset and most of all habits.
I recently donated three bags of clothing, shoes, sheets and a box of small appliances/electronics that are just taking up space and could not be sold. If someone else can make use of it, wonderful!
I’ve now moved on to phase two of my “purge” as it were and am taking inventory and removing all unnecessary items by either donating or selling. I spent a couple hours Sunday being ruthless and removing more from the mix, mostly craft items.
On Being a Vegetarian Again
Yep, I was once a vegetarian, or maybe more accurately a pescatarian. Let me tell you, I FELT GREAT. I am not sure why or how, but I managed to fall of the wagon and gain nine extra pounds in the process. As dairy, sugars, fried foods and beef started to creep back into my diet I started feeling crappy. I found a great site and book called Oh She Glows dedicated to all things vegan/vegetarian; I’ve been able to try a few of the recipes and they are simple, healthy and just what I need. Yet another way for me to simplify life and reduce grocery costs by making basic meals and the same meal every day.
What do I mean? Well, let’s say I take a bag of the kale I recently blanched; throw in some veggie stock, navy beans and voila! I have dinners for the week. Add a bit of tofu either plain or fried and we mix it up a little.
It has been 1000 times that I’ve said today, you can easily meander back through this blog and see my trials and subsequent failings. Each time I thought I had changed, picked myself up, got back on the budget wagon, and cast off consumerism to only get back on it again. How many times does it take? How many times do we have to sacrifice our dreams and our tomorrows? Do you have to hit rock bottom to get there and what is rock bottom? I have led a cushy middle class life for quite some time and I am now realizing I would rather be in a tent in my backyard with nothing. A simpler life is what I want. Of course it is still possible to live a middle class life, just not in the traditional sense. It’s about what you cast off, removing all the “stuff” from the equation and pursuing who you truly want to be as an individual. Most of all, its saving the money you earn for your dreams instead of burning it for the consumerism hell of today.