It’s a new year.

We have officially made it to another year. So far, I haven’t gotten COVID, which is a damn miracle at this point. Omicron is rearing its ugly head, but that’s okay, I have an excellent immune system (which is seriously the only reason I haven’t gotten it yet).

I have been thinking about this blog a lot lately. I miss getting my thoughts out and working on some financial issues that I’ve had recently. So, here’s what’s happened in the last few months:

I have applied to, paid for, and then asked for a refund for, about 9 different courses. I considered graphic design, but pulled out when the first night’s class didn’t happen, no one was around to ask, the login stuff was insanely complicated, and then I waited on hold for over an hour with the college’s IT department only to find out that they had no idea why the class wasn’t happening.

I then thought I should chase the thing I love so much: art. I tried an online set of courses that would have cost me $10k at the end, but pulled out, when I again found the login information to be insane. The reps I talked to were snappy and not interested in helping me, so I got fed up.

I also tried 4 different colleges who were offering a lab tech online course with some in-person labs. The final one, the one I’m fighting with now, has driven me the most nuts, especially for financial reasons. Every other college processed my refund quickly. This one, though I asked for the refund back on November 9th (their course does not mention that you need a strong back to be able to do lab tech work, and yet other colleges have it right there, and one even makes you sign a form, saying you know that you have to have a good back, and that you can handle it), STILL, on January 7th, have not processed my refund. I sent 4 emails before Christmas, asking what the holdup was. I did not receive a response until the 4th one, where someone said they’d recommend to the finance department that I get my $5k back, and that it’d take 6 weeks. K, but I’d already waited that long at this point, in fact, even longer. So now I’m on the hook for 2 possibly 3 months of interest? I do not think so.

I have a plan to call them on Wednesday and ask them what the holdup is. Frankly, this time is ridiculous.

Anyway, online school clearly isn’t for me. The more reviews I read of these schools (especially the creative ones) the more disillusioned I become. They are only interested in way over-charging their students and not giving them a lot in return. I really want that feedback from a professional, but I think at this point, I’m just going to have to find a mentor and pay them. It’ll be cheaper, and I’ll probably enjoy it more anyway!

Alright, back to FI. Anyone who knows me, knows the one thing I’ve ALWAYS wanted is a house. A freestanding house with my own little yard, garage, and a nice bright basement that has room for an EPIC craft room. I don’t care about the living room or bedroom sizes, I just want space to have craft stations. I want the ability to dedicate a room just for painting, so I don’t have to care about the paint staining the floors, because they’re MY floors and I can fix them later, or better yet, install the type of flooring that’s easy to clean. Houses are expensive, moreso in this asshole of a province. The assessments came out on Tuesday, and in my town alone (this is for strata properties), prices went up by FORTY percent. Not 4. Not 14. FORTY. The average house price was already over $600,000 on this island. That number was extremely unwelcome.

So. Here’s where my desire for FI and my desire for a house stop working together. I do not like my job, and have been looking for a comparable one for 2 years. I feel rather stuck at the same time, because I am indeed quite lucky to have this job. It pays well enough (though not enough to buy a house), but the apartment I’m in (a 600sq ft studio) is run by an excellent management company (I believe I mentioned before that I asked them if I could use their power outlet outside my storage room to store my scooter if I bought an electric one, and they said yes!). They notified me in early October that my rent would be going up, so I didn’t even other looking at the paperwork, I just multiplied it by the regular 2% and paid them that. They called me yesterday to tell me I overpaid, and that they only raised my rent by 1.5%. And honestly? I this province, that is EXTREMELY rare. I suffer from living in this HCOL area, but my rent is really low. However, I am also suffering that I don’t have any space in this one room I call a home, to either store my food OR my art supplies, let alone have space for my cat’s litter box and TV and what not. I want to leave, and move somewhere, like cold and crappy Alberta, where houses are WAY cheaper and would allow me to even get a condo for just $130,000 that has 4 bedrooms and an enormous basement, allowing me to own, while also having my epic craft room. But then I’d be in crappy Alberta, though close to 3 friends, I’d be leaving family behind.

Anyway, I have been running numbers on and off recently. My car loan needs to be taken care of, but for some reason, I just don’t want to pay it off. That’s weird, isn’t it? I am so excited about investing, I just want to dive right in, figure out the highest dividend paying stocks, throw some ETFs and crypto in there, and then just keep transferring every spare penny until I have enough to live off the dividends.

The other thing I’m struggling with is trying to figure out what my priorities are. I want a house, desperately. I want to work for myself as a surface pattern designer once I get my skills up to snuff, and I also want an Etsy shop where I sell my linocut art (which kills my arm, but I still want to do it), and put my own patterns on things like kitchen towels, wallpaper, and make my own line of wrapping paper for all seasons/holidays/celebrations. That’s a lot to shoot for, and it’ll take time. I am really hating my current job though, and am not sure how much longer I can last there. It’s my current cash cow, so for now, I’ll just keep building my savings, investing, and throwing what’s left on my car loan. Other than the cursed $5k on my credit card, it’s my only debt. Once the school refunds me, hopefully sooner rather than later, I can hyper focus on it and get rid of it.

I’m also trying to decide whether just getting some people together and buying some land for us to build tiny homes on is a good idea. Or, maybe renovating a former school bus and living in it. I’d be really worried it’d be stolen, and I doubt I’d ever be able to relax, unless I was able to remove the tires and just put the world’s most insane security system on it. but then the portability of the bus would go away, so what would be the point? At the same time, I’m also wondering if I could just save up enough for a year or two of living off my savings, while trying to build an online business.

It’s a lot to think about. Thanks for reading.

Published by Frugal Squirrel

I'm an early 40s Canadian who just plain doesn't want to work anymore. Join me on the ride as I learn about Canadian Finance!

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