Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's official: I am a hoarder of...

Hello my name is T'pol. I am a hoarder. I hoard toilet paper.

While I was at home back in Istanbul, I realized that I would need TP some time in two months. So, I started looking for good deals and I scored a 32 roll pack, brought it home. Then I forgot about it.

Yesterday, I walked in a grocery store by my sister's home and I saw TP on sale at a real good price so, I grabbed a 32 roll pack. I popped the trunk to put the pack only to realize that there were already three 24 roll-packs in there. At that moment I realized that I had bought those at least 6 weeks ago and since I had not taken the car back to Istanbul, they kept sitting in the car.

Now: How long will 136+ TP rolls will last me? Especially given that I spend very little time at home due to projects.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Need to spend more time at home!

I miss my home... Since I had to work in Ankara last week and since I need to work here next week, I stayed in Ankara. Monday-Tuesday I will be working in Ankara, and may be Wednesday-Thursday in Izmir but, there are no hotel rooms available in Izmir due to a Marble Event. Although it will be tiring I was hoping to work four days next week but the marble thing will likely require it to be postponed. We'll see.

I am looking forward to spending more time in Istanbul. After April 15th, mom is determined to come to Istanbul with me because, she wants to re-focus on our diet program. Between May 5th and 10th, we have a mini vacation together. After that she will most likely spend a long time with me until August. In August she will have her apartment painted. I love mom and like to spend time with her but I also miss my solitude. I know our days ahead are far shorter than the ones behind so I am kind of torn between wanting to be alone and spending time with her and this makes me feel angry with myself. After all what can be more important than mom?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I remember my first St. Patrick's Day back in 1990. I had set foot in the US in January and started working for a joint venture. Being in the US was very different than being home at the time.

A bunch of us from work decided to watch the parade in NYC and went downtown. I wore green tights, a navy-green plaid skirt and a green shirt. It was a nice spring day. We ate at an Irish bar and had green beer of course. Good times:)

Shamrock picture is the courtesy of http://www.squidoo.com/free-saint-patricks-day-clip-art-images

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Another 3-day work week

I am heading back to Ankara tomorrow. I am supposed to work on Tuesday-Thursday and Friday. Most likely, I will work on Monday and Tuesday of the week after next and then I will come back home. So again, it will be at least another 8-9 days away from home... I am so looking forward to a new project here in Istanbul which will allow me to put in 10-12 days of work each month. Hope, that happens soon. Please, please pretty please!

After I came home, I did a few loads of laundry, got plenty of rest, saw a bunch of friends, spent more money than I expected so, until the end of the month, I am not spending any more money. That is a 15 day spending freeze with the exception of absolute necessities. I also ate all my meals at home with one dinner exception.

I finally caved in and bought a pair of Nike Air Max sneakers for my Plantar Fasciitis. I was initially thinking of ordering Danskos through Amazon but since I had never bought them before, a size issue would be a disaster. It is a heartache to return something overseas besides being a huge expense.

I still cringe at the price I paid for a pair of shoes but it was a necessity.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Finances from a Dave Ramsey point of view..

Here is a summary of my financial status as compared to the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps:

1. USD 1,000 to start an EF: Check!

2. Pay of all debt using the Debt Snowball: I have two months left for getting rid of my debt on my rental property.

3. 3-6 months of expenses in savings: Check! (Well semi-check!) I have 3 months worth of expenses in savings but, unless I have a whole years' worth of cash (minus my passive income), I will not feel safe. If I can bring in my "forecast" income by the end of the year, that may be accomplished.

4.Invest 15% of income into ROTH IRAs and pre-tax retirement: We have what is called a Personal Retirement Account to which I am contributing that much. However, due to my age, I need to increase it. Besides, this is a fairly new thing (10 years) in this country so, what I have already accumulated in that account is not significant. Once the debt is gone, I shall divert my rental income property to that. BTW, there is no new tenant yet.

5. College Funding for Children: N/A. I have no kids.

6. Pay off home early: Check! I own my residence free and clear since 2005.

7. Build wealth and give: I donate money on a regular basis so, that is taken care of. I already own a rental property as a part of my building wealth but, I must start a new car fund (2018), home renovation fund(2016) and a Dream Vacation Fund once I clear off the debt and put away a whole year's worth of expenses aside.

All in all, I seem to be doing OK but, I do not feel that way. I am constantly worried about the future. For how long shall I be able to work? What if I get seriously sick? What if I become disabled? What if I live too long?

I do not have kids. My sister is married but she doesn't have kids either. Our family is really really very small. Mom, uncle, sis, BIL, two cousins (unmarried, no kids) and their mom. That is all. We do not have much of a support system by way of family. Except for my sister and her husband, everybody else is just getting by. Noone is wealthy and their income streams are small too. They may need help in the future and that is also a concern too. Sis and BIL work for a state owned bank and their income is steady though not high and they already have some assets to rely on. So, I am not worried about them but you never know...






Wednesday, March 12, 2014

If I complain enough...

Yesterday's post was about not having a decent winter and it snowed last night. It wasn't much but I am sure it was more in the mountains. On one hand, I am upset about the fruit trees which have already bloomed, on the other hand, I am scared about a water shortage.

If I complain enough, would there be more snow?

Today is a busy one but at the end of it I get to go back home till Monday. Yay!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Had no winter here this year...

We had normal winters during the last three years but this year it has been extremely dry. Summer will be a difficult time because the water supplies are alarmingly low. I am thinking of ways to stock water at home. I will be buying 5 lt. bottles of drinking water and as I consume them I will fill the bottles with tap water to use for dumping in the toilet and to take "showers" should there be a water shortage. I always keep more than 30 liters of drinking water at home.

I have already bought 4 bottles like that but, I didn't have time to consume and replace them with tap water yet. On Wednesday, I shall be going home for a few days and I will be buying some more 5 lt. bottles. I have already started keeping a bucket full of tap water in the bathroom. When I turn on the shower, I need to have it run for a while to get hot water so, I put the bucket till it gets warm and use that water for the toilet.

Northern American Continent had tons of snow this year and we haven't had any. I know many American and Canadian bloggers who are fed up with so much snow but, I think that is a blessing. We shall be faced with a major drought. Everybody is hoping to get some good rain during the spring but that doesn't really help. Snow is what keeps the water supply at a good level.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

3 Work Days coming up

The customer in Ankara decided to have a two-week break so, I was not working lately but, I spent all that time in Ankara due to my mom's cataract procedures.

I shall be working on Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday and then I will go back to Istanbul probably until the 16th. I shall go and participate in a training session because I have volunteered to work as an observer during the next local elections.

On Friday, we shall be getting together for our monthly dinner night with friends.

I am really looking forward to going home and I am also hoping to put in 6 additional days of work after this coming week. That would help my budget tremendously. I need to be able to put more money in my savings account but, it looks like it will be rather difficult before August due to many expenses coming up. Meanwhile, I am doing my best to stick to my budget.

I was not feeling well yesterday and today so, I did not go out and thus; saved money!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Eating at home and Cooking from scratch

Here are my reasons why eating at home and cooking from scratch is best:

1. Eating at home is cheaper,
2. Cooking from scratch is fun: I get to try different things and modify recipes to suit my palate,
3. I can control what goes in my food so that I can avoid sugars, bad fat, MSG, excessive sodium, etc.
4. Home cooked meals can be made healthier.
5. I can cook in large quantities and freeze food in portion sizes for lazy days.
6. I can plan my menus around inexpensive and fresh ingredients.
7. Cooking gives me a sense of accomplishment. 

Every month I go out with friends once. That is pretty much my only indulgence and it is built into my budget, yet, after every get together I cringe at the amount of money I spend. It is usually worth a whole week's groceries. 

I used to order food to be delivered quiet frequently when I was working full time. That was bad both on my budget and my waistline. I am glad I gave that habit up along with the habit of drinking coke and other fizzy drinks.

Besides, I am a darn good cook!:)))

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Advice Needed! Parents please comment on what you think about this...

I have never been married and never had kids so, I know what it is to be a kid but not a parent. Today a friend of mine called me to pour his heart out a little bit. He is a former colleague and a very good friend. His 21 year old daughter has fallen for a guy who lives in another country. This guy is 30 years old and they met online. He came to Turkey and my friend took him and his daughter out for dinners and really got out of his way to get to know this person. My friend is a more traditional type but he certainly outdid himself by agreeing to this relationship. After all, times have changed and children are more independent. Besides his daughter is 21 and will be graduating College this year.

After flirting online and meeting each other both in Turkey an in Europe for a while, my friend's daughter found out that this young man was also involved with other young women (plural!). She found e-mails which were like photocopies of his messages to her down to the minute details such as naming future kids. What a jerk! So, her heart was broken badly and she sank into a big depression. My friend and his wife felt very helpless and they were very sorry for their daughter not knowing how to console her.

Some time has passed and the man contacted his daughter on Valentine's Day and apparently sweet talked her into getting back together. They met in Holland last week and when my friend found out about it, he ordered his daughter to come right back and felt compelled to deliver an ultimatum. He told her, if she goes to live with this guy despite his cheating on her, she might as well forget her family. He believes a cheater will always be a cheater and I tend to agree with him. I lived through a similar situation when I was 30 and got pretty hurt. I still feel very ashamed of my bad choice.

My friend went to see a shrink and took his daughter to her as well.

I did not know what to tell him. After all, people seem to learn only from their own mistakes and if passion takes over, logic flies out the window. May be he needs to let her make a big mistake and pick her up when she needs support but my friend cannot even consider this option. As I said before, he is a more traditional type.

So, parents out there, what do you think? What would you recommend my friend? I am not much of help in this department. All comments will be appreciated.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some bloggers...

I am a PF blog junkie. I am always looking for new blogs to read about frugal ways, saving money, debt reduction and etc.

I usually check out the blog rolls of my favorite bloggers and sometimes I get hooked to some of these blogs. However, sometimes I stumble upon some blogs that make me puzzled at the interesting thought processes of the bloggers. That is to put it nicely...

I know people who budget, who keep track of every penny, who do not waste food, who shop wisely, who cook at home regularly, who brown bag lunches and snacks to work, who work more than one job to reduce debt and am truly inspired by their resourcefulness. It is both a joy and a learning experience reading their blogs.

There are others who keep complaining about debt, credit cards, loans and etc. and who still cannot give up their lavish life styles and who keep making real bad choices. I know it sounds like I am being judgemental and I may be. Getting rid of debt or trying to live within one's means or saving money for some big ticket item... These all require careful budgeting, making sacrifices, working hard, making do or doing without. Throwing expensive parties for toddlers who will never remember whether their first birthday was catered or homemade, leasing brand new cars, eating out excessively and participating in expensive events are all choices and I think they are bad choices.

I am not saying that we should deprive ourselves of every single joy in life while paying down debt. Differentiating between wants and needs is important. Determining what is important is not rocket science. Debt is not always the product of a careless and stupid life style. Unexpected things may happen, health issues may hit us, someone in the family may be in a real bad situation and we may find ourselves in debt. I do not consider mortgage bad debt because apparently, it is a way of life in the West and lately over here too. I do not know about student loans. Reading many bloggers, I am not sure if all student loans are worth it.

Of course we need to replace things that break down which are beyond their economical lives, of course we must take care of our health and help others who are in really dire situations.

I think I like to read people who make smart choices, who stretch their dollars and who are determined to get rid of debt or save for something for later. They are truly inspirational. I just cannot stand the bloggers who constantly complain and yet do not act wisely. So, I just do not read them.




Monday, March 3, 2014

Our favorite hospital is going to be gone soon:(

There is a hospital pretty close to where mom lives and she loves her cardiologist and eye doctor there. She had her knee replacements and her first cataracts procedure there. Today we went in for her other eye to be examined before the cataracts procedure and her doctor broke the news then. The hospital was owned by a foundation and they decided to hand the hospital over to the Ministry of Health. (Yes we still have government owned institutions like that). She wasn't sure whether she would stay or would have to leave.

She gave my mom the option to wait until she gets a new post elsewhere or have her surgery on Thursday. She said the surgery would be OK but she was not sure about the control appointments afterwards. Mom likes and trusts her so she decided to go for the procedure.

If worse comes to worst, she will have her controls elsewhere.

We really liked the place and we are pretty sure it will not be the same when it is run by the Ministry of Health. So, this was a bit of a sad day for us.