Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Lazy Weekend

I had breakfast with two former colleagues and good friends on Saturday. One lives in Istanbul, the other was visiting. It was nice to catch up with each other.

After breakfast, the visiting friend and I went shopping. Her son is a busy young man and is also working on his Master's Degree so, having no time for shopping, he had asked his mom to get him a couple of shirts for work. I helped my friend pick the shirts. When it comes to men's fashion, I am pretty good.

I did some shopping too and after we were done, I dropped my friend at the Metro station and headed home. The rest of the weekend, I did absolutely nothing other than preparing myself food, coffee and tea. I rested and took it extremely easy.

I should have taken care of some much needed tasks but just did not feel like doing them.

I guess the best part of living alone is that, one has absolutely no obligations around the home. It is my life, my schedule, my budget... I am thankful that I have the skills, means and health to be able to make my own life. I hope never to be dependent on others even in old age. Amen!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Adult Coloring Books

I have been thinking of buying an adult coloring book since I have heard that they were quiet stress relieving.

Yesterday night I went to a big bookshop and chose a coloring book, a set of 24 coloring pencils and a pencil sharpener.

Since I had a book to finish, I did not start coloring last night but I think it should be a fun activity especially for weeknights. I do not have a TV in the studio. I sometimes watch Netflix on my cell phone but mostly read. Just finished a novel; I Can't Begin To Tell You, about the Danish Resistance and British Intelligence during World War II.

I have always been fascinated by WWII stories and documentaries. The heroism, underground resistance, bold and brave military personnel, the horrid conditions under which people make do with what little they have...


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Papers coming out of my ears!

Over the last two weekends, I attacked every file, every organizer, every drawer and every purse at home to sort out the papers, receipts, documents no longer needed. I filled 3 BIG TRASH BAGS!

My God! When did that happen? How did I accumulate so much paper?

I have sorted through everything I had and made new folders to keep the necessary documents. Feeling. So. Much. Better!

It was an overwhelming task. I hope, I will never let that much paper accumulate again.

Today, when I came to work, I have realized that my desk was also very cluttered too! So, while I was in the mood, I took care of that as well. never knew how satisfying these stupid tasks would be.

May be, it is time to attack my wardrobe and shoes some time before the year is up. That task has been neglected for so long that I do not even remember when was the last time I had everything sorted out.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Many uses of Flannel Pajamas and the memories associated with it

The other day I was thinking about my grandma on my mom's side. I loved her more than anyone in my family. Literally, more than even my parents.

She was a very frugal person since she always had a small budget to work with. She had lost her father when she was just two months old and never had extra money to spend on wants. She always had to operate on a modest budget from one income raising three children after she got married.

She never purchased ready pajama sets up until she could no longer sew. She would buy flannel pajama fabric in bulk and would sew both my grandfather and my uncle their pajamas for winter and would use a lightweight cotton fabric for summer pajamas. They never had more than two pairs of pajamas for any season because they did not NEED more. When one set was washed, the other would be worn.

When the pajamas started getting old, she would cut them up to use as rags for various cleaning jobs and would tear parts of the pajamas into strips to tie beanstalks and tomato vines.

She would always salvage the buttons and zippers to use them again on other sewing projects.

Despite being so frugal, she was no hoarder. She never owned more than necessary and never had to throw out excess which did not exist.

She sundried apricots, plums, zucchinis, bell peppers and made her own jams from her bountiful garden, made pickled grape leaves to stuff. She knew her prices and would not spend more money for out of season produce.

She was both a great cook and a great baker. She did not like housework but would do it impeccably and be done with it early in the morning so that she could have time for knitting or reading. Was an avid reader.

We had a great routine when I was little. After lunch, she would listen to the news broadcast at 1 p.m. and then we would nap. We would read or do some art projects together until 4 p.m. to have our tea and while we had tea, we listened to children's plays adapted for radio. After that, we would head out to the playground and wait for my grandpa to come back from work and do some gardening before dinner.

Life was simple, enjoyable and full of love. I had the best grandparents ever...

Thursday, November 24, 2016

It is almost that time of the year!

In my country there is quiet a bit of economic turbulence so, it is difficult to know what next year will bring. However, that does not stop me from making a yearly budget and plan my savings.

How do I make my budget? I have a spreadsheet. Each month is a column and each row is either an income or an expense. I group the incomes on top of my columns. Each income ends up in a separate bank account so the rows are named in accordance with those banks. I also group the expenses in accordance with which banks they are on automated payment. This way, I can see at a glance whether I have enough money in a specific account for each expense.

My income sources are: Social Security, Rent and current job.

My expenses are:
Mortgage payment for apartment #3
Rent for the Studio apartment I reside in during the week
Debt taken over from a family member
Electricity, Heat, Water, Administration (Rented Apartment + Main Residence)
Insurance (Apartments 1,2 and 3 plus car)
Cell Phone (mine and mom's)
Cable TV (mine and mom's)
Taxes
Vacation
Credit Cards (2)
Miscellaneous
Savings
Car Maintenance
Home Maintenance
Personal Retirement Fund

In order to save for the future, I have a Turkish Lira Savings account, a USD saving account, a gold savings account and a Personal retirement fund along with a very small stock market portfolio. Oh and a few gold coins that I keep in a safe. All of them constitute my investment basket.

Each month I allocate funds over several investment categories. This morning I bought 7 grams of gold with some leftover money in one of my accounts. Come January, I will be depositing a large sum to my Personal Retirement Fund so that I get the 25% match from the Government sooner than later. I take that very seriously because who gives you 25% interest these days even for a limited amount of money?

The interest rate on TL is 10-11% and the interest rate on USD is 2.50% over here. So, when the Government matches my Personal Retirement Fund investment by 25%, it is practically a very high interest that money generates within a month.

The tricky item for next year is my vacation time. My boss is relocating overseas and I was hoping to give myself a nice vacation in the United States for my 50th birthday in June. I cannot be gone for very long when he is not here. So we will see what we will do about that.

I start making my budget usually by the end of November and keep tweaking it till the end of the year. This year I will have a very small amount of money allocated for house maintenance. I am planning something major in 2018 or may be even 2019.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jewelry to be worn, not to be left in a safe!

Last weekend, my sister and BIL came to visit me. They had bought me a gold bracelet which did not fit me properly. My sister took it back to get it fixed.

We started talking about the nice and real jewelry we have which are always kept in safes and almost never worn. I am unmarried and do not have kids. She is married with no kids. We laughed at ourselves for not wearing our good jewelry for fear of losing them. Yes, me may lose them but so what? What are they waiting for in safes if they are not going to be worn?

I do not have a whole lot of expensive jewelry. Today, I am wearing my ring with sapphires and diamonds. I keep looking at my hand and admiring my ring. Here is a picture but it doesn't do the ring justice since it is really sparkly. My hands used to be nicer but now, they are showing my age.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Frugal Solutions

This weekend, after looking at various options to place the small music set in my studio apartment, I had an "A-ha!" moment. It was temporarily sitting on a ladder I use for cleaning top shelves and high places that I cannot reach. The ladder needed to go back to my master residence last weekend and the music set had to be taken off. So, during the weekend I decided to look for an inexpensive solution to accommodate it.

I looked at several things to decide whether they would be worth the purchase and whether they could be used in the future. However, I could not find anything that met the specs. Then, it hit me! I could certainly move the 3 drawer chest to the opposing wall, put the music set on top of it and use a small folding coffee table that I had at home as a nightstand. I use the coffee table all the time when I am actually living in my master residence but as you may remember, I spend most of my days in the Studio close to my work. I was using the chest as a nightstand but it was too high anyway.

So, I left the store with a stupid but proud grin and went home.

My mother's old washing machine is hopefully going to make it's way to the studio this week. So, I will not have to haul laundry back and forth every week. The cost? Nothing. My company is sending a truck to take care of business in Ankara and on the way back it will have more than enough room to bring it back. I have been waiting quiet a while but it was worth it. I was not in immediate need of a machine and it wasn't costing me anything extra.

There are aspects of my life which may not be frugal by most standards but, everything in life is a trade-off. I am spending money on the studio to save time and sanity. I am spending money on ready-made diet meals to lose weight and save my health.

These things do not tempt me to spend money on unnecessary stuff. I am always on the lookout for frugal ways. This way, I can save money, give to others and still enjoy life.