Thursday, September 19, 2013

I'm REALLY Grateful

One thing that I didn't expect to still be doing at this age is counting pennies and paying such close attention to finances. I thought the natural flow of a family's finances was relatively smooth at the start of the marriage, more difficult as you bought a home and had a family, and then smoother and easier again as that family grew up and left home and you downsized. Living in our condo has certainly been less expensive than our last house was and that's lovely since it's the same square footage only...

... I heard on the news last week that the percentage, ratio, however they calculate it of what we earn versus the cost of living has not increased since 1980. Income has gone up and so has the price of everything else and the distance between has remained static... my entire adult life. I graduated in 1980. That explains a lot.

It was a national figure which is somewhat comforting as it means I'm not alone in this and I know from my friend's conversations that it's certainly true for them as well. Even those who never discussed finances in the past are suddenly talking about how expensive everything is and struggling to figure out a new way of being.




The owner of Howard's company has gone to every branch to discuss the (not so wonderful) contract and explain why what he's paying is all he can pay. That was nice of him and gave everyone a different understanding only the raise is still less than the cost of living and we're still going backward and I think that's true for many, many people.

Two of our goals are saving for retirement and paying off our mortgage. They both take significant amounts of cash at a time when I'd much rather be doing more fun activities together. I find myself in a bit of an emotional tug-of-war between responsibilities and fun. Being financially wise can get downright dreary at times.

Of the two goals, paying off the mortgage is the most important for me, perhaps because it's more visible and perhaps because for most women feeling secure is critical to our emotional stability. As I age, I want to know that this is my home and I'll always have a place to live - as much as it is possible to guarantee - because I know there are always factors beyond our control that affect our best laid plans.




I'm REALLY grateful for my attitude of plenty in regard to creativity because I have a fabulous stash of fabrics and a wonderful collection of books, videos, and patterns that will allow me to continue to be creative for a really long time. I'm REALLY grateful that I've learned how to start with something and do one thing and then another and enjoy the process of growing a piece from start to finish. I am REALLY grateful that I even occasionally - LOL - sew a garment to wear. I'm REALLY grateful that I love to learn and that I have this "many black notes" activity in my life that allows me to continue growing and developing while challenging me to improve my abilities. I'm REALLY grateful for the skill set I've developed in the almost forty years I've been sewing and how those skills allow me to start projects with confidence even when I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm REALLY grateful for my studio and the bright, happy, creative place it is in my life. I'm REALLY grateful for others who share my creative journey and their skills and abilities and their inspiration AND... I'm REALLY grateful to have learned that life can't be all work and no play, that there has to be some of both.

Almost every morning, after I blog and get dressed, I take my journal and my latest study guide over to Starbucks and read and write while having coffee. It costs $2.15 a day - $15.05 a week - $64.50 a month - $784.75 a year. When you add it up like that, it's a significant amount of money, significant enough that you have to weigh going out versus staying home and making your own coffee. I go out because I want a reason to dress nicely. Because I'm mostly home alone and I need to leave the house and be around other people. And because I meet some of the most interesting people like the woman who sat near me yesterday. Learning that she journals every day just like I do led to finding other commonalities, a wonderful discussion, and some shared support and encouragement.  I could invest that same $784.75 in my retirement or put it on the mortgage and it would make a difference only I think it's best invested as it is - in making my life a little bit broader each day, a little fuller, more social, and more interesting.




Over the years, I've made a huge investment in creativity as most of us have. Along with supplies and equipment, I've bought books, magazines, and videos and have taken numerous workshops. The total invested is a number I don't think I want to know - LOL - as it'd probably pay off my mortgage. And I don't regret that. Whatever the amount, it is IMHO money wisely invested because it's enriched my life greatly. When I look at how dull some people seem to feel and how their life seems to be one endless sitcom after another, I wish that they too had a "many black notes" activity. It's something that I pray about for my children - that they'll all find an activity that will continue to grow and challenge them throughout their adult life.

Mine is fabric.

I was able to sew the zipper and the pocket without sewing the pocket closed while sewing the zipper in. It looks good and I think there may be a better way so I'll explore this concept some more in the future. I made the pocket a big square that will be caught into the zippered front opening and the bottom hem band. It's sewn from a black with silver metallic stripe that has stretch. I contemplated the same fabric for the lining but I think it'll create more complications than I want to deal with.

Since this picture was taken, I've sewn the side and underarm seams shut and added the hem band. The lining is next which means I need to take the lining fabric down to the embroidery place and have them embroider my grandson's name and birth date on some yardage. I decided to have the embroidery done first and then cut out the back piece so the words will end up being exactly where I want them to be.  It'll delay things. That's okay. This is a size three so there's no rush and I have a series of t-shirt ideas dancing in my head that I'm going to explore next. While I'm doing that I can think about how I want to insert the zipper, add the lining, and finish the collar edge. I'm not quite sure and I'm confident I can figure it out.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - that I am really grateful

10 comments:

  1. I agree with you about going out for coffee and considering the bigger picture. There's a fine balance between being frugal and being a tightwad. Being in my office all the time would make me CRAZY.

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    1. YES - I find even introverted persons like myself need some public exposure.

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  2. Very important post today Myrna! We are watching our finances more closely also, even though we thought we were going to have extra in these years. It's okay though. I am grateful for my retirement package, which included insurance!

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    1. We've been working on it for a while because our income right now is more fluid - with overtime - but once Howard retires it'll be fixed. We knew we needed to learn how to live on a fixed income plus he doesn't have a retirement package of any kind beyond what we've saved in RRSPs. Since I was self employed, I don't have one either. You really start thinking about that as you're getting closer to the "magic" age.

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  3. Would going for coffee every other day help, with a longer walk on the other days? We do get shocked when we have a "spare of the moment" coffee and sandwich lunch out at one of the UK coffee chains with a bill of £12 (and nearly £15 at the motorway services). It seemed we did that most weeks but for the last month only once. I think it used to be called "cutting your coat according to your cloth" to bring it back to sewing!

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    1. LOL - it's hard to read and journal while walking. The total is equal to (or less than in some cases) one lunch a week. I enjoy getting dressed up, going out, and talking to people. This way, it's every day. That's good because it's definitely not a good idea for me to always be at home alone.

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  4. I think you are doing very well if you can keep yourself to $2.15 at Starbuck's.
    Thank you for sharing your great inside.

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    1. LOL - if you're allergic to dairy, soy, and gluten, it really helps keep the bill down. Coffee. Black. I could switch to a tall and save seventeen cents a day but somehow I keep ordering the grand.

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  5. I loved every bit of this post,I too am grateful.We are trying to pay off or mortgage faster and had hoped that as our son is now 21 and finished college that we would finally be on the next stage of or lives .Enjoying it more before we become too old but we didnt count on my becoming disabled due to illness so we seem to have less not more.Hubby works in the private sector and raises are not regular or even offered usually.
    But i have a craft room and a fabric stash and my furbabies.Plus my soul mate of 25 years so im rich :)

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    1. Which again illustrates why we need to enjoy now and not always be waiting for some illusive thing in the future. HUGS. Thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.