Cold Hard Cash


In the first-world nations, where spending money, acquiring goods and instant gratification is blindly accepted as a way off life, some may find it a daunting task to (gasp) put money aside to purchase something. Consumerism is rampant in our society. Glossy ads, slick commercials and stunning models inundate our lives by the minute boldly promising us better and happier lives, all for no money down.  Credit cards, deferred payments and lines of credit dull us into thinking we can and should have it all, even when can not afford it. We believe the lie. I believed the lie. I believed it all. At times I still believe it. However, I am changing. I spot  the lies easier. A work-in-progress, I am seeing that if I am to take this epic trip then I need to stop. I need to stop accepting the lie. To do the opposite of what of what commercialism expects. To some, reading this is obvious and easy to attain, if they are not already doing so. For myself, not so much. Now, I am not inept. That is for certain. But I do struggle. I struggle with instant gratification and a trip of this magnitude requires planning and work. Therein lies my conundrum.  Remember that I enjoy, almost to a fault, socializing and going out with my friends and that, my readers, costs money. As one of my besties says “every time you leave home it costs money”.   So how do I  manage to enjoy the parts of life that cost money and still manage to save for my dream?  Am I not as determined as those who have gone RTW before me? Am I only a dreamer as opposed to a doer? Is it not in the cards for me? NO!! A resounding NO!! I am determined. I am a doer. And who the h*ll cares if it is in the cards or not as I am making the choice, not the cards!!

Yet I struggle. I do. So what is a girl to do? Well one thing I do know is that whichever route or methods a person chooses it must be one that works for them. Person A may do one thing and succeed but person B does the same and falls short. Do what works for you!!  Sounds easy but isn’t always. I know that I need some leeway to able to enjoy the times with my friends yet still be able to put money aside. There is one way. That is Cold Hard Cash! Not credit, not a bank balance but cold hard cash! I have found that using (and saving) cash has an interesting effect on my view of spending. When I have cash I don’t want to spend it because it is gone after that. This is very different from using a debit card. Take it straight out of your bank account and you do not see the remaining balance. Spend $37 of your $60 in your wallet and you easily see you have only $23 remaining. I often end up thinking twice. Additionally, when I use up only  the cash I  have allotted for that activity or event I can not spend anymore. Nifty little psychological trick.   

The other side of cold hard cash is using it as an incentive to save. When this was bestowed to me and I purposefully use the word “bestow” as I believe it was given to me as a gift to use and value, I realized this was a significant way for me to reign in my spending without feeling like I was missing out on activities and things I enjoyed. In fact is is almost like a game. I pick and choose the things I want to do and budget accordingly, in cash. I try to spend less or manoeuvre a savings of some sort. That  savings then goes into a container to be saved for an item I need for my RTW trip or other treat that I want. I can watch it grow and I learn ways to have fun on a budget. I can write down how I saved the money and the amount along with my list of items and goals.  It illicits creativity in me and a bit of a miserly streak. Do you want to give it a try and use cold hard cash? Just find a container, envelope, baggie or the like. Whenever you save  some cash, no matter the amount drop it into your container. Remember to keep it somewhere secretive. Try under your mattress, the back of a closet, the freezer or a locked drawer. Then find ways to save – bring lunch from home, use points for a movie, suggest a potluck instead of going for dinner, don’t order dessert (or just order dessert and skip the main course)! Found a loonie? Put it towards cold hard cash! Someone gave you a gift card to your favourite coffee place? Put the money you did not use into cold hard cash! The possibilities are endless. When you have accrued enough for something you want then take the money from cold hard cash and enjoy! If you think it will work for you give it a go. I have been doing this for a month and so far so good. I hope to buy my silk sleeping bag liner and my pack lock soon! Here’s to cold hard cash and consuming less and wisely! 

On Hold


Well, as I posted previously, I had suspended the weekly Sunday photo due to a dead computer. After two months I finally bought a new computer (laptop). Although I still am not computer savvy I do feel I have made a tad bit of progress in regards to catching up with the rest of the technological world. Now I just have to get access to my old computer (and soon, as tax time approaches I need info off of it). Ill get off my bum one day.</span><br /><div><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><div><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">So, does that mean the return of the weekly photo? Maybe....maybe not. It might become the sporadic photo post. I do have some great pics from my recent trip to Cuba and can find some others too but..........</span></div><div><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><div><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">Truthfully, I am just not into blogging right now. Actually, I am not into much anything right now. So I will take a hiatus. Not that you should be surprised as I am quite negligent of my blog on good days. Some writer I would make one day....NOT!  </span></div><div><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><div><span style="font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">In the meantime, I will try to figure out how to get out of the funk I have been in for quite a few months. Some stuff has improved (work) and others are the same. Just feeling like I am inadequate and dont measure up. Wondering if I can even do this big trip. I want to but am seriously doubting my capacity to live my dream. Doubting everything I do actually. Everyone is better at things than me – even if they are bad at them. So while I work my way out of this, I will probably not post much or just a photo or two. (That being said, I am posting a pic of my favourite piece of street art I saw in Havana right after this posting.)


So while I try to stop feeling sorry for myself and figure out where my head is at I hope you all do well and enjoy the holidays, whichever ones you celebrate, if at all. As for myself, I will probably do a double feature at the movies on Christmas Day. It`s a tradition I love that I have neglected over the last couple years.


20 minutes to midnight


This evening I went out to a belated birthday celebration. Jena had organized her group at The Tap & Barrel, a restaurant/bar in the Athletes Village area of False Creek. It was a nice time to celebrate Jena, reconnect with a couple of old acquaintances and make some new ones.

At the end of the evening I headed out the way I came, alone, in the direction of the Skytrain at Main Street. I decided to walk along the “seawall”, past the moorage of the Dragon Boats with Science World twinkling blue and red lights behind it. I paused and leaned against the post rained-on rail, taking in the reflection of lights of BC Place and the intermittent lights of traffic on the Cambie Bridge. I took in the calm on the waters of False Creek, the clearing sky and a quietness that is uncommon in a city centre, even with the blanket of night.  Soon, though, I began to hear more. The traffic din grew a decibel louder. The chatter of voices arose. The hum around me ensued. I began to notice movement around me. The couple on a nearby dock, kissing and laughing as they were caught up in love, or simply lust. The barely noticeable body taking their black and white dog out for a long awaited rain break. The group of friends laughing at a new found memory. I looked to the time on my phone. It was twenty to midnight. A Skytrain shuttled past. Again my eyes looked towards Science World and the movement on the nearby roads. Behind me I heard the not-so-distant sound of police sirens wailing. A thought flitted through my mind: “Someone’s life is about to change.” I thought of how our lives move. How standing there; everything, everyone was inert in regards to my life and me to theirs.  Much was happening around me but nothing dissected my life. Or did it? It made me wonder for a moment of the mechanics of chance; of how life goes. Or does not go. I looked up and saw the that the clouds were lessening from earlier in the day. I saw a few stars but did not feel like observing. I pulled out my phone once again. It is one minute to midnight. I tried to take a picture of Science World but the battery was so low it did not  allow it. I headed to Main Street Station and caught a train downtown and subsequent bus home.