2016-08-05 Fri

Observations

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I have been writing about Construction Sites in my Neighbourhood.

Now an article about the Pokemon GO game has caught my eye with its reported claim that one hundred and thirty condominium developments are under way in Toronto.

That’s 130 building sites.

Or about one for every man, woman and child who calls Toronto “Home”

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http://www.ChrisGreaves.com/Home/2013/20131031Thu.htm

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Retirement

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Budgeting is fun! I LIKE being In The Red.

My retirement income is small, but it is also Fixed and therefore Predictable.

My lifestyle is Frugal, therefore I can live within my means. (I must find out why “means” and what “means” means as in “live within my means(.

So I have a budget. I don’t want to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the street, and I am not entertained by nightclubs and bars. I once went to Carlton Cinemas on their $5-Tuesday night, but got very frustrated trying to use the arm-rest to rewind and then slow-speed the action shots. So now If I want to watch a movie I pull out one of the thousand or so titles I have amassed over the years by collecting $1 VHS tapes at rummage sales and watching them over and over again, whenever I want to.

So? How does my budget actually work?

It is simpler than you can imagine. Every two days or so I key in the dollar amount of bills in my wallet and I key in the amounts for each receipt of purchase. Hat often enough leaves a shortfall of a few dollars which I enter in as “Entertainment/Vacation”. Such an expense might mean that I treated myself to a rare coffee down at Bell Trinity, or to a $3 tub of ice-cream.

The spreadsheet does all the work.

It tallies my expenses by one of thirteen categories and shows a total in the left-hand columns. It compares that total to the running average for each category over the past twelve months. If my current spending exceeds my average spending, the value is highlighted in red. And again, the COMPUTER does this. I don’t have to do anything.

If you look closely you will see that “Meals”, “Phone” and “Transit” are over-budget this month. I can explain each:-

Meals

I paid for two lunches with two good friends, and was happy to do so. One Good Friend is a long-time friend who travels to meet me. Since she pays for the gasoline, I pay for the meal, that’s my rule. The other is a brand-new friend and we re well-matched in attitude. I grew up in the “man pays” climate, so I always pay on the first meeting.

These two meal costs were totally unanticipated, so I am comfortable with the over-cost.

Phone

My phone company is changing its billing rules, so I am changing my phone-company. Since I will not be able to pay by online banking after July 31st, I made the August payment in July, which means I made two payments in July. I know why I blew the budget for July; I will not have to make a payment in August.

Transit

Two things helped blow my budget this month. One was an unanticipated trip to Barrie which probably cost me about $25; I put $40 on my Presto card just to be safe. The second is the weather and my age. I am seventy and in good health, but when the weather is stinking hot-hot I allow myself to use the transit systems instead of walking. So I have bought more Seniors Tickets this month.

So now you know why I have three red cells in this month’s column.

Last month I had only two. The month before, three. The months leading up to last December saw more than three.

That was when I changed my Budget Goals.

I decided that I was retired and had spare cash to spend on things. I am not “saving for retirement” or ‘education” or “housing” or anything like that. These are my years to enjoy what I have got.

So if I go over budget (in the red) on one, two, or three categories, it is not a terrible thing, especially if I have a rational explanation. Next month I will probably go over budget in Supplies, and I already know why that might be. In September I go on Vacation, and I know that that will see a peak in “Meals” and “Supplies”.

I have risen above the budgeting of dollars and instead budget at a higher level of categories. If no more than three categories are over-budget, I consider myself to be within-budget!

Life Is Great!