Just about all of my tax refund has gone towards debt but I did want to do something nice, too so I took about ten per cent and made a donation to my choir. We're performing Haydn's Creation in November and, being a small choir that doesn't have much money, a large performance like that, involving soloists and an orchestra, tends to be a loss-making venture. So although it's a donation it's definitely one of those that has a selfish element attached! It felt good to be able to do something other than just pay off debt.
I find it somewhat surprising how much my attitudes have changed in the last year or so though. I had managed to build up my savings to the point that I consistently had at least 500 in my annual expenses account. Of course, since most of my annual expenses occur at the end of July and beginning of August (anniversary of moving here), that account got wiped out and now I have to start building it back up again. All well and good, that's what it's there for after all. But I had gotten so used to always seeing that amount sitting there that once it was all gone I was left feeling very uneasy. It was great when I got paid at the end of August and was able to put something into it again. Given how long I have been in debt though, and how long I have relied on credit cards and overdraft facilities to cover expenses, I've been surprised at how almost visceral my reaction to not having savings has been. Although almost from the start of my getting serious about paying off my debt (about 2003) and even before that, I have always maintained a savings account to cover annual expenses, particularly when I still had a car, I often played fast and loose with the money I was saving, which meant that sometimes a bill would fall due and I'd just barely have enough to pay it because I had already taken most of the money out to cover a shortfall somewhere else a couple of months ago. So I'm taking it as a good sign that it now disturbs me immensely to not have money in the bank and to be relying on credit for emergencies. I've disliked that for a long time but it really, really disturbs me now.
And in an effort to keep me focused a bit on the future and not just sitting here wishing that my next payday would just arrive already, here's what I'm looking forward to next year:
- Save 4,000
- Cancel visa card 'cos I don't need it anymore
- Save further 3,000
- Cancel overdraft facility 'cos I don't need it anymore
- Keep on saving
And on a totally unrelated note, here's a video that I first saw a couple of weeks ago and that I have gone back to watch over and over again. I've since found out that the main guy singing is a primary school teacher and all I can say is that if they'd had teachers like that when I was in school, I'd probably be able to do a lot more in Irish now than be able to ask permission to go to the toilet or say five hail Marys!
If you like this video, by the way, there are others too, including a version of the Lion King's Circle of Life. Check out the band, Seo Linn, (which is that teacher, Stiofán Ó Fearail and a few friends).