I read two really fantastic books this weekend, cover to cover. The first was Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project,” which started out as a blog, and evolved into a novel. I loved it, and think it’d be a great read for anyone who has tried to quantify what happiness means to them, and tries wacky things to make it a reality. However, my inclination is that this book would be better suited to female readers.
The other book I read was Terry Fallis’s “The Best Laid Plans.” I think I found it because it was featured on the Toronto Public Library’s home page as a new Canadian fiction item. I think the reason I devoured it was because it revolves around a Canadian federal election, and gets you behind the scenes for what’s REALLY happening on Parliament Hill. It was a great read, because even though it was “fiction,” it felt more like a thinly veiled exposé of the dark side of Canadian politics. His language in particular is a challenge, since his prose is technically, well, perfect.
Yesterday, I had written a long non sequitur post about Easter and family and all that lovely stuff, but when I got home to Toronto this afternoon, I felt more like writing about dollars and cents. So long story short, I had an amazing time at home with my family, who are all very proud about the National Post article. I indulged in such basic activities as eating, sleeping, exercising, reading, and consequently I feel like a million bucks. Not only that, but I’m ready to rumble. I can hardly wait to sort out if I’ll be renting the condo this week so I can figure out if I’ll be decluttering like a fiend or not. If I do get the condo, I’m going to be putting some design choices to the readers of my blog, for example, do I get a loft bed or a pull-out couch?
Moving on, my bank account right now is nicely fleshed out with my income tax return. All together, I received close to $3800 back. This is due to the fact that I can now write off some expenses, combined with my educational costs, my professional dues, my charitable giving, my RRSP contribution, and other deductibles like public transit passes and my rent.
Ideally, what I’d like to do with the money is apply the entirety of the amount towards my car loan and get it off of my shoulders. Applying this amount would get it under $6000 (WOW – I’d really be able to pay it off by Christmas then). The lovely Krystal Yee just paid off the entirety of her loan and feels great. However, I instead added the tax return cash to my emergency fund, to help me pay my first and last month’s rent in the upcoming month, and also to assist me with any upcoming unexpected expenses.
I’m not out of the woods yet. I’m feeling very (cautiously) optimistic about the upcoming months and my earning potential, but I also know that the unexpected can and will happen. That’s why my reserves are so important to me right now; once I’ve achieved stability, I can start shifting things around again.
Once my car is paid off, I’d like to both save aggressively for my down payment and start investing in stocks. I know this is a hot button issue for a lot of twenty and thirty-somethings. Stocks are almost like this mystical presence in personal finance; elusive, tantalizing, and tricky. To me, it seems like the Cave of Wonders, where inside lies treasure and freedom, but only a talented and educated investor can make it work, otherwise you’ll be swallowed up. Aka, I want the CHALLENGE and RISK of trying something new with my finances.
I also need to rewrite my page I’ve entitled My Dream. Ever since I realized that what I really want isn’t more stuff, but in fact less stuff to assist my transient lifestyle, I’ve been feeling lighter, freer, happier, like my goals are more in line with who I am. I don’t see myself living in a house for awhile now, since I want to maximize my time as a hip twenty-something and live in a condo in the downtown core. I still will always love gardening, and the friendly/neighbourly feeling that living in a house provides, but I was rushing myself too quickly along the path of domesticity, and this bunny isn’t house trained yet.
I’m going to close with a photo of my family’s dog, Booker. My mother is a teacher and a “Miss Frizzle-esque” one at that, and she designed this hat for school this past week. This photo was accompanied by an email that read:
“Before disassembling my lovely millinery, I asked Booker to model my creation. With some hesitation, he obliged.
If the lovely Kate Middleton, future Queen of England is interested, I will design a hat for her as well.”