Category Archives: Finances

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Free


x354Money makes the world go round. It’s sad, but hell, it’s true. Truer than true in fact. There are so many old sayings about money that it’s not even funny (maybe I should go back to sad), but that’s because it is so integral to our everyday life. Long gone are the days where you forage the land for food, trade services for survival or even when just having one income, one car in the garage and a roof over your head were the definition of success.

No, today success comes in many forms. Unfortunately the most obvious being vacations, wealth and things. Do we really need so many things? Should there really be at a minimum THREE television shows about hoarding?  And since when did “likes” on Facebook mean more than actually liking your own life? Who cares if somebody else likes that you went to a concert or how you set up your new coffee table, isn’t all that matters that you do?

I’m as guilty as the rest of them. I’ve had periods of being pretty “modern-day” poor and I can worry like a champ. I can splurge and spend as well as I can save and thrift.  The funny thing when it comes to wealth is it’s all about liquidity. How much do you have access to at any one time? For some reason that integral point seems to be the defining factor between perceived wealth and actual.

I am as poor as I’ve probably ever been – don’t own a house, still have loans to pay, yet for some reason have started handing out dolla bills as though I’m a big deal. I think it’s because suddenly that money is in my hand and it is my choice as to whether it goes to debt, vacation, entertainment, stuff or savings. It is up to me what percentage goes where and for some reason, this empowering feeling is a misconception of being successful. In reality, I am no better off than when I made less money and spent less on things, food and “stuff” – but it’s all about quality of life, all about how much it feels like I have, not actually about how much I have on paper (well, online statement, let’s be green here).

It got me thinking. I have a very wealthy family member…remarried and up to his eyeballs in debt, yet the fact that he has an enviable yearly income makes him seem untouchable beyond compare. On a daily basis I also see homeless vagabonds – holes in their mittens, scuffs on their shoes, pride on their signs; begging with their coffee cups. That hobo, that scruffy bum with $10 in hand is in truth wealthier than that lawyer, doctor, entertainer or dentist with debt. It’s not about what you have on paper, but in theory, right?

Well, once upon a time credit wasn’t accessible, credit cards didn’t exist and people didn’t need so much space or so many things. Toys were baseballs and ragdolls, cardboard swords, tree forts and old bicycles. Once upon a time there was no social media – nobody cared about your boring trip to see your grandparents in Florida, or the time you went camping. Vacations for me were roadtrips, summer jaunts, campgrounds and cabins. There was no European cruise, or South American jungle tour. There was no credit card for kids or even education funds to prep us for the all important (and expensive) education we are now forced to obtain.

That brings me back around to where we started – money makes the world go round. Whether you are happy or sad often depends on money, which is too bad. But, all those things that make you happy – books, gaming stations, vacations in the sun, hell, even heat for your house – well, they all cost money. So, though money can’t buy you happiness, it can buy you the things that make you happy.

Oh the sad, sad irony.

“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.”   – Groucho Marx

The Ginga Ninja


Money is power, Freedom a cushion



Recently I splurged. Okay, recently I’ve splurged way too much. And it appears as though my opportunities for overspending always come at a time when I’m trying to save money. Or perhaps more appropriately my realizations about my overspending are at times when I’m paying attention to money.

But, I have been on the lookout for new pillows. Maybe it’s because my brother got some new ones and I am now suffering from pillow envy, or perhaps it’s that the ones I only got 2.5 years ago now have feathers sticking out. Whatever the case, I had started keeping an eye out for decorative pillows, only to uncover the motherload.

Well, self-restraint may not be my middle name because I managed to spend a small fortune on you got it, pillows. Not charities, food or a vacation, but gosh darn pillows.

Life’s short. I say buy as many pillows as you want. – Anonymous

The Ginga Ninja

Show Me the Money


rmoneyWhen it comes to finances and life; is there a right way and a wrong way to handle money?  I used to think so.  I don’t think so much anymore.

I always came from the school of thought that you work your ass off, save as much as you can, minimize debt, try to squeeze as much fun as you can out of every last dime and always save for a rainy day.  In more recent years, despite the fact that I still have loads of debt, I also have more liquidity.  If I were smart I would be squirreling away what I do have and making some sort of investment, yet I find myself throwing caution (and money) to the wind in an effort to get back all those wasted years of worrying about money all the time.

This is not to say I never worry about money anymore.  I do, everyone does.  Even my brother who makes the value of his house every year in wages worries about money, but I must admit I don’t worry the same.  On a recent drunken escapade I mentioned to a friend that if it’s $60 and under I no longer worry, I just buy.  The stupidity of that theory is spend $60 too many times and it adds up.  At one point in my 20’s I actually had to count my takeout coffees to decide whether or not I could hit up the bar on the weekend, or afford that new 50% off coat.  How quickly we forget where we came from.

But, when are finances black and white?  We all know people who spend like there is no tomorrow and can’t help but tsk them in the back corner, but we also know people who are cheap bastards and ask for money to pitch into meat.  There has to be a happy medium.

And what happens to your finances when you are suddenly single? All those fantastic savings plans, RRFPs, mortgages, and education bonds sort of fly right out the window.  Does the heart become more important than the head when it comes to money?  Well, I think this area has shades of grey as well.

A good friend of mine did the decent thing in a breakup and walked away with nothing.  He gave up the house, the savings and all earthly belongings just to have a clean break.  Now, a year or two later, he finds himself in a financial pickle.  The head has caught up to the heart and clarity reigns once more.  However, I have another friend who was so intent on getting return from his investment, he attempted to stay in the mortgage with his ex for the long haul, inevitably tying them together for years to come.  So, when do you cut your losses?

I think I can say there isn’t a real right or wrong when it comes to finances…or feelings.  Everybody will have opinions, many will be wrong and somewhere deep in the middle is the fine line we are all searching for.  All I can say is that the last two years have rocked me financially and yet I am more loosey goosey with my funds then ever before.  Call it carefree, call it crazy, but I know I can call it life right now.  And my friend, since I don’t know where that is heading, all I can do is pray for my next keeper to be a multi-billion dollar investment banker living off the coast of Costa Rica in his beachfront home with a yacht parked out front…kidding, sort of.piggybank-red

“When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in the world.  Now that I am older, I know it is.”  – Oscar Wilde

The Ginga Ninja