Friday, 31 August 2012

Money,Money Bo Bunney...

There are times when I wish I lived on a commune.  
We live in an area with a lot of Hutterites and some days I definitely think they have a good thing going.
Old fashioned clothes and simple living principles aside, wouldn't it be nice to always have someone around to watch your kids if you needed? They would also always have a playmate(s).  Cook with you and for youComplete chores with you?  Earn money with you?  Tell you how much money you can spend and where?

 Maybe not that last part.

OK, moving on.  I'm not exactly sure where I was going with that.

My thoughts are on money, and working more, and buying cars, and vacations and how I recently emptied our bank accounts to pay off summer.  Life is so complicated at times that communal living suddenly had a fleeting moment of appeal.  Maybe with more modern notions?

Anyway, we are by no means suffering financially.  We are far from rich but we still live well and pay our bills.  There is pretty much no room for "extras" with our regular income and last winter I came to the personal conclusion that this is where we are at until both kids are in school full time.  I became content with that and on we went.

Then this car thing came along, as well as the desire for a family vacation now that the kids are getting a bit older and oh so much fun!  
Through what I call a divine circle of events I :
-  was forced to secure different child-care again (it's a saga with me!) which resulted in me finding a great Christian lady with a four year old girl who lives on my way out of town and is super cheap.  She doesn't feel parents should work to pay for child care!
- had to adjust my work schedule from Mondays to Tuesdays for two due to my parents going on vacation and Sierra being in Kindergarten on Mondays which is done at 3:22pm (my dad usually watches her those days) and neither Trevor or I are home from work then.   Through this my place of employment expressed the need for me to work Tuesdays more often.  Since my new child care is so reasonably priced Trevor and I decided on a three month trial where I add Tuesdays to my work schedule.  The trial part is in case the kids do not deal well with me working more.  They will always be first above money.
- discovered that my usual stay-at-home mom-friends won't be as available for play dates anymore.  One is homeschooling two of her three kids, one is also planning on working more, another has just drifted away in the friendship department, and yet another just had her third baby and has increased her personal craziness, and the list goes on.  I love being at home but I am also a social person so to do nothing run errands all week will drive me bonkers - working more will be good.

Beginning in October I will be working a solid 20 hours a week, 27 when I do a Saturday.  It will be busy but I'm going to keep my eye on that beach!  And hopefully driving a different car.
As for our decision regarding buying a car-we looked at what we could get for an amount we felt comfortable spending and were pleasantly surprised.  Therefore, a used car it will be and we will only be paying for it for three or so years rather than SEVEN. 

There you have it.  
I may be complaining bitterly in another month but for now I'm excited!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

To Buy Or Not To Buy

In the fall of 1999 Trevor and I excitedly purchased a new car.  It was a sporty, 2-door, black Oldsmobile Alero with a V6 engine that had "get-up-and-go".  Being in our early twenties and living in Calgary we felt kinda cool driving that car. 

That car turned out to be a "lemon" with all sorts of weird anomalies.  Shortly after the warranty ran out, it developed this strange clunk on every turn. We were told it was this and then that until all the parts in the entire front end had been replaced at least once. (thankfully my dad was able to do most of them so we only paid for parts)  The clunk remained.  Over time the power window mechanism broke (was replaced, broke, replaced, broke and now the window is taped up), the rear defrost failed us, and the gas gauge became totally unreliable.  More recently, a lovely grinding noise emerged.   Once again, two parts were replaced with no positive results in the noise department.  Then a mechanic checked the beastly thing over and declared everything looking normal.

Well, she is thirteen years old with around 250 000kms on it.  Overall she served us well and has yet to leave us stranded.  We threatened to sell the car or driving it off a cliff many times but the fact remained that we still enjoyed driving it.  

Until now.  It looks and feels like we are driving an old car.  
Well, we are.

So we talked about replacing it and decided to look into buying brand new again.  We researched various options and then test drove a Mazda 3 and a Nissan Sentra and decided the Mazda was the better value.  But....(the but always arises)  the payments are spaced over 7 years.
7 Years!!!
Sure it's said to be interest free and all that but seriously,
7 years?!!
 That is my biggest hang up, adding another payment to our list of bills and committing to 84 months of them. 
The amount of the payment is doable.  The purchase is justifiable in many ways but my gut cannot agree to the longevity of it.  It would be an old car by the time we were done paying for the darn thing!

The issue with buying used is the freaking financing.  Ok, so we draw say $10 000 on our line of credit with a 3% interest rate.  Pay it off in four years which brings us to a total of $11 200.  Chances are the car is already a few years old so we're still in the same place regarding having an older car by the time we're done paying for it.  Then there are the associated risk with buying a used car.
  How new or good a car can we get?  A car does loose a lot of value by simply driving it off the lot so perhaps we can get a damn nice car for way less money by buying one a few years old?
I could talk in circles.
This is our conundrum.

So how do I relate this dilemma with being genuine?
We need to determine the smartest way to get us what we need while being good stewards of our money and not putting ourselves in a potentially bad financial situation.  We need to be comfortable with all aspects of it.  We have the means to make the payments on a new car now.  There are no foreseeable reasons why that shouldn't be possible in the future.  Reasons have a way of popping up though.  
We want to be able to afford holidays, a few other extras and me not have to work full time.  Once both kids are in school in fours years than I can work more hours but until then....

Can we push our luck on the Alero for another year?
I don't know.....
Do we need something reliable?
Do we need a new car?
Is it the smartest way to meat our vehicles needs....

I wish this was a case where God would just audibly say to me,
"Yes or No."
I would be totally ok with whatever answer.
I just want to know what to do.

I suppose that is why He gave us brains,
and choice.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Beginning Anew

It has been a summer of personal reflection and analysis of my life and my blog and who I am.  For those of you joining me from my other blog thank you for following me!  If you are new - welcome here.

There are many reasons for the change over but it largely has to do with some of my previous audience and how I feel about knowing they read my words.   In short, I don't care for it.  I like to express myself in writing and I can have very strong thoughts and opinions at times.  Often those thoughts are predominantly mind vomit and while they may contain elements of my true feelings they are frequently not an accurate representation of me.  But sometimes one just needs to get. it. out.  Sadly the written word is a challenging way to convey emotion and emotion is so vital in effective communication so things don't come across fully as intended.  Knowing specifically some of the people who read my blather I know I would deeply offend them.
I want to be able to write freely and while I will still do my best to choose my words carefully I don't want to feel like I have to hold back who I am.  More often than not I backspace what I've written because of certain members of my audience.  I know, I know, it shouldn't matter who's reading, if they really know me why change for them? Well, here's the thing, it's come to light for me recently that there are certain people in my life around whom I have gradually morphed away from being the real me and become a fake version of me.  It's really hard to explain, and yes it is a sad reality but that is what has happened.  Some of these people I can eliminate or reduce involvement with but some will always be around and to keep the peace that is who I have to be.

This blog is going to be about me trying to get back to living a genuine life.  Trying to be "me" as only "me" can be.  I need to be around people and have spaces as much as possible where I am Carla and the real Carla.  Just so you know, I recognize that there are certain things that need to be kept in the recesses of my mind, and they will be, so you don't need to worry about reading the intimate details of my sex life or anything!

I'm still building this sight and working on closing out the other one but soon I hope to be back in the game with regular blogging.