Posted: April 12, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

I don’t know why it is – maybe it’s because of last year’s market slowdown, or maybe it’s because our Canadian dollar has been all over the map in the last few years – but lately I’ve taken a keen interest in the economy, and regularly read the Financial Post, and I watch the currencies market.

Anyway, last week I found myself attending a meeting after work that I would normally never even think about.  It was my credit union’s annual general meeting (known as AGMs).  It was, as you can expect, pretty f**king boring, really.  They talked about balancing the books and they bragged about how they managed to tread water while banks in the U.S. were losing their shirts and running to the government for bailouts.  Seems to me their bragging was well-earned, even though the entire banking structure in Canada is fairly conservative to begin with, and so wasn’t subject to the same risks to which the banks in the U.S. were exposed.

I went, primarily because I’m still keenly interested in the technology side.  The idea of having phones that you can use as banking swipe cards seems slightly orgasmic to me.  I’m in love with the idea of a reduction in the steps it takes to purchase something.  I look forward to the day when lineups anywhere – banks, movie theatres, cashier lineups – will be a thing of the past.  Something that our children’s children will look back at and say “gee Grandpa – you mean you had to actually *wait* to pay for something?”

How ironic is it that I have a problem holding on to money?   And the fact that my discretionary spending is spent on technology?

And how further ironic is it that one of my most prized technological possessions – my $500 Shure earphones – was lost while attending this banking meeting?

Yet still, this fascination with the economy continues to maintain my ADD interest.  Along with technology, women, movies, and whatever else crosses the home plate of my wayward consciousness every day.  

Not cars though.  Automobiles may look nice but, in a busy city like Toronto (which the transit system covers like a close-meshed spiderweb, with frequent service to pretty much any place you want to go) that’s their only appeal.  I’ve checked it out a few times:  the time it takes to travel by car from my place to the furthest southern spot in Toronto is far greater than the same route taken by overground and underground transit.  With the car, you’re paying for: the car itself,  maintenance, parking, insurance and of course you can’t go anywhere without gas.  All of that amounts to about a zillion dollars a month.  A monthly transit pass: $100.00.  Seems a no-brainer, and I haven’t owned a car for years.

There’s just simply no advantage to having a car, that I can see.  It just costs too much.

Outside of the city, it’s a different story.  There are always car rental places.

It’s amazing to me that I can be so wise when it comes to cars, but so foolish sometimes when it comes to other high-priced items.   Is it really necessary to pay $300.00 per month to my cable company?   Granted, there’s a lot of coverage with that (which includes internet and my iPhone plan) but really, do I watch more than three channels per month?  Answer: no.

Plus I’ve got technology out the ying-yang.   Even so, I still find myself checking out Macbook Pro laptops and even Macbook Air, while there is contemplation of the new iPads that will come to Canada very soon.

Maybe there’s a lack of balance going on here.  A need for focus that can’t come except by external means.   Maybe I need an engineer to devise a mini-taser device that zaps me if I drag out my wallet for anything other than true necessities.

 There are no excuses.  Not really.  Doesn’t mean I won’t dream some up.

“Well it’s Ok that I use money on technology.  Some people drink or gamble their paycheques away.”

Which is true, but it doesn’t mean there’s carte blanche just to spend like there’s no tomorrow. 

“It’s probably depression.  Some people shop, you know.  Isn’t that what you’re doing?.”

There’s merit to that too.  I do feel better for a little while after buying something.  Yesterday I purchased a $300 Bose speaker system for my computer.  The sound is amazing.  The dearth of cash is not.   How long this good feeling will last is anyone’s guess.  My best guess:  not long.

Maybe if  I took a course on economics.  That would tie up some time so I couldn’t go out spending money.

Which reminds me:  it’s late afternoon and I haven’t been out for my coffee break yet.   Time to head to Starbucks.  I’m sure there’s change around here somewhere that I can use to buy a nice little $5.00 coffee…..

  1. Ah…the fun of spending money! The awesome feeling of have a 32 gig i-Phone and all the cute little apps…I want the most powerful computer made so I can surf the net and do e-mail…I’m not even into games, but so what!

    An empty wallet and lots of debt, that is what. Especially if you happen to lose your job and the ability to pay.

    If…you want to address the spending part of the issue, you have the perfect mode of thinking in your head already in your outlook on cars…The old cost/benefit analysis. How much could you save toward your pursuit of Music?

    On the other hand, there is “Be merry while ye may…” 8)

    Making choices is a Bitch!


    • It certainly is. I’m convinced the pursuit of music is worth anything I can throw at it. The pursuit of any art, really. I’ve learned that when it comes to the heart of what you find is important, there is always going to be a price to pay and a sacrifice to make. It’s just part of the cost. You count the cost, you pay the price and you carry on.

      Just to have keep all of that in mind when the next tech trend raises its head, demanding more money.


  2. Nadia Chyme says:

    Oh the good ‘ole days…

    Yup, I was one of those — spending money at the drop of hat. Well, not really. But did I really need to by $1,000 Jimmy Choo boots? YES I DID! Love them! FABULOUS. But, now with no job, home in foreclosure..well, you learn to come down from cloud nine and go with flow.

    Here’s what I think (and I agree with Rog actually)…Be merry. If you’re not hurting anyone and you’re not being crazy (like not paying your bills for a new iPad), then enjoy. I don’t regret one thing I bought or did when I was making my money — I gave and helped others AND I bought the things I always wanted. Nothing wrong with that.

    I think I’ll go put on my boots just for fun! They really are beautiful!


    • I like your style of thinking Nadia! I don’t do the clothes style thing (well not much anyway) but there are days when I walk into an excellent clothing store and realize that if I had won the lottery there wouldn’t be much I wouldn’t buy from there.

      Moderation – I’m not sure I know what the word means anymore. *laughing*


  3. Just Me says:

    I’ve never been one to spend much of my money. I think in the first year and a half that I had my current job I saved about 70% of my earnings for the down payment on my house. Debt, other than my mortgage and car, is never something I’ve found myself in. [*Knocking on wood*]

    I will say that if it makes you happy and isn’t ruining your life or anything then go for it. Just make sure what you’re spending it on actually makes you happy, and it’s not just the idea of them that makes you happy.


    • You see I really admire your ability to save like that. I know of a few others who are as clearly focused as you when it comes to prioritizing. A buddy of mine bet another guy a case of beer that he would have his mortgage paid down in five years. He did it, too. Amazing.


  4. wordofabe says:

    I think many of us have something we just like spending money on. For you it’s tech, for me it’s…oh, so many things…like the Tama drumset I talked myself into believing that I had to have (I’m not a drummer… at least, not yet!)
    Music gadgetry is so vast and delicious and…expensive.

    But if you got the dough, then spend it! You’re just doing your own little part to help the economy. I don’t think a class in economics will help with your own spending, but it sure helps to understand the forces at work on a larger scale! Economics is something I did not think too important in college, but I see that is is the key for massive policy factors that affect countries and the entire world!


    • I think a course in economics would be interesting, if nothing else. Can’t help tuning in to the TV when that topic comes up. I believe our Canadian dollar is now at par with the U.S. and that has export implications, obviously. Money-wise, we live in Interesting Times.


  5. Just Kate says:

    When you started talking technology you suddenly began to sound suspiciously like the teacher in Charlie Brown. However, the word “orgasmic” stood our loudly and clearly, causing me to press my mental “rewind” button. Imagine my dismay when I realized you’d used the word “orgasmic” in relation to phones and bank cards!

    As for your preoccupation with spending, once again, I can only say that you sound suspiciously American. Sure, you throw in weird spellings like “paycheques,” but you never say “eh,” eh?

    Actually, to get back on topic, I was hugely tempted by a Mac today. Then I looked at the nutrition sheet and realized it had about a bazillion calories and it just wasn’t worth it, so I gave it a pass. I do, however, understand your love of them. They are rather yummy in a trans fat kind of way.

    Whaddaya want? It’s late! :P


    • Yeah. You’re a brat. *laughing*

      I think you figured me out. I’m a closet American, just anxious to spend. Maybe there’s a 12-step program for my ailment.

      Phones and bank cards. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh………

      There. Good for the day.


  6. Carlos says:

    Great post.

    You know … you could make a fortune facilitating workshops in the US that teach Americans how to save their money. Just make sure you charge $500 (USD) a person. :)

    Have fun and keep writing!!!


    • Hey you’re on to something there. People are always looking for self-help speakers and facilitators. What an awesome idea (even if tongue-in-cheek). Seriously.

      You’ve got me thinking….


  7. suzrocks says:

    Gosh I could’ve written this (for the most part)! I love shopping for new technology or house decor, big money stuff… but I am so crazy with the rest of it. I mean, I’m balancing and watching my money with baited breath, but then I’ll blow large amounts on something unnecessary. I’m a flea market addict. I’ll buy 100 small things that add up to a $300 weekend all too easily… and I’ll end up using/keeping about 10 of those 100 little things. Ugh. Why??? One thing I do to curb this bad habit is to buy things used in creating. Like beads. I make a lot of jewelry, so then the finished product has a value. I can buy $5 in beads & supplies and make 3 necklaces I can turn around & sell at $15 each. So, when I’m struggling with that spending urge, a lot of times I’ll buy stuff to make jewelry. Anyway, I could say much more to this… but I’m being paged to get off this borrowed computer…


    • Hmm. You’ve given me an idea. If I could find a way to buy stuff that I could flip over in some way to make money later on, that would better justify some of my purchases. That’s going to take some thought.

      I’ve seen myself blow through a lot of money in a short time on small stuff too. And if you ask me later where the money went, I would only be able to shrug. Weird, huh?


  8. I try not to think apobut economics. It scares me like death and taxes, which i can’t avoid. Can’t understand either of ’em.

    There. Got my two cents worth in. American penneys that are not worth the cent they’re stamped on. . . .

    michael j


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