Monthly Archives: March 2017

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The Real Me. An Introduction. Again.

5 months into my 50th year on this earth and I would have hoped that I am further along in life than what I am.  I don’t know if this post will ever see the light of day, but I will write it, just in case.  I’m not even sure where to start or what to write.

My parents both worked hard, and I grew up in a typical Canadian family.  My parents both spent a full career working in their respective union jobs.  I’m not sure where my entrepreneurial spirit comes from, but it is there.  I don’t ever remember hearing about financial troubles.  Is that because my parents never talked about them in front of us or is that because we didn’t have them?  I left home at 18, for college and my life feels like a stream of unfinished tasks and struggles.

I chose some sort of computer programming course.  I thought it was basically a computerized secretary but I was wrong!  It was actual programming.   I wasn’t at college for an education, I was there to get away from the small town that I grew up in.  Needless to say, I didn’t attend classes and I ended up failing the first semester.  Thankfully I didn’t get my marks until after Christmas break!

I went home with my tail between my legs.  Listening to my dad’s disappointment and questions about what I was going to do with my life.  I didn’t have the answer.  I was 18 and had no clue what I wanted to do.  I ended up getting a job in a bar.  I made more money in tips than I did on my paycheques.  I didn’t want to stay in town though, so the search to leave started.

(insert Be All that you can be Army video)

That’s when I saw it.  A commercial for the US military.  You know the one “Be All That You Can Be, in the Army”.  Yeah that one.  I don’t even think the internet was around then, so I grabbed the Yellow Pages and found the number.  We lived about 8 hours north of the nearest recruiting center and conveniently the recruiter was going to be in town the following week.  I made an appointment.  I joined the Canadian Military as a Supply Technician on July 5, 1985 and I was on my way out into the big world.

I spent 3 years in the military.  I used to joke that it was just enough to find a man, get married and get pregnant.  I was young and still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I did know that I couldn’t head off to “war” and leave my baby at home.  So, I left the military and became a stay at home mom.

9 years and 2 children later, I found myself separated.  I had no job, no money in the bank and only a high school education.  I applied for school again and received a $20,000 student loan to help pay the bills.  I took 2 diploma courses, graduated with honors and finished in 10 months, instead of 12.  As a 31 year old single parent of 2 young children, I started my grown up working life.

Several jobs and several moves later, I met a boy.  We fell in love and had a baby.  I became a stay at home mom again, 22 years after the first time!  My boyfriend, at the time, was a stone mason laborer and making pretty good money, so I was afforded the ability to stay home and raise our daughter.  Again.  The thing with construction jobs is that they generally pay really well, but depending on what trade you are working in, the weather can impact your ability to work.

The weather affected his ability to work.  Although he was still making good money per hour, we rarely saw an 80 hour paycheque.  50 and 60 hour paycheques were the norm and although we were scraping by, I thought we could do better.  So, we looked at what our options were.  We decided to move back to my hometown, even though I hated growing up there, because the cost of living was so low.  We thought that if he got a good job there, we could afford to buy a house and settle down.  Then we arrived and I remembered why I couldn’t wait to get out – there is nothing there.  There are a few basic stores, a very small Walmart and a chain hardware store.  Most people drive 5 or 8 hours to the nearest city to shop.  Or order online.  Jobs are very limited as well.  Housing is definitely cheaper, but they generally require some upkeep which drives the cost up.

About 5 minutes after we arrived, I wanted to leave!  We stuck it out for 2 years before we were in a position to leave.  I had some medical issues that needed to be taken care of first.  In May 2013, one year after my medical nightmare started, we packed up again and headed out west.

After researching several different places to live and the economy in each place, we settled on the west coast.  The cost of living is much higher here, but the weather can’t be beat.  My husband got work in construction again, and after injuring his back in 2 different jobs, I told him that he was out of construction and needed to find something else to do.

He has always had a passion for art and I convinced him that you could earn a living to support your family doing what you love.  After all, that’s what I had been chasing for many years now.  Unsuccessful but still chasing.

We are basically here now.  He finished his school in December 2016 and has been job hunting since then.  He was holding out for an opportunity with his dream company and he just got word this morning, that he didn’t get the job.  6 days from now, if he hasn’t heard anything from the other job, he will have to go out and get a job.  Any job.  That will bring an income in to our house.

To say that I’m freaking out is putting it mildly.  I am the one that does our budget and I know how far my paycheque is going to take us.  Add in that a work trip for me, where I won’t see my reimbursement check for about a month and to say that we are tight is an understatement.

I have a pretty solid understanding of how money works but I never seem to be committed to following those simple rules for our family.  We purchases a new vehicle in December, because I got a big bonus from work and my husband would certainly be working within a few weeks.  The bonus helped but he’s still not working.  I know better than to spend money you don’t have, and yet we signed a car loan for money that we don’t have right now.

I often wonder if there is something wrong with me.  Do I suffer from “the grass is greener” syndrome?

I have chased almost every MLM company available in Canada, in the hopes of earning income from home and living the life that we want to live.  I have realized that I am interested in making the money that can be available in those opportunities but that is not my passion.

Then I turned to the internet to see what else is available.  I have spent the last few years working full time and trying to find the thing that is going to solve all my problems.  I’ve always said that I don’t need to make $50,000 a month, just enough to live comfortably on.  Maybe $5000.  Don’t get me wrong, if I made $50,000 I would happily cash those cheques!

I follow a lot of bloggers and am always intrigued by how they make their money.  I have connected with a few of them and enjoy learning what they do.  I think there is value in what they are saying, but for me, it feels like a distraction. I can spend hours a week reading all about the blogger and their journey, without putting anything in to practice.

I said it earlier and I’ll say it again:  I don’t know if this post will get published, but I’ll write it anyway and hope it serves as a reminder of the challenge that I am going to set for myself now.

I’m going to Making Sense of Cents for 90 days and see where that leads me.  I will report my progress – what I’m learning, what my results are, what I struggle with, at least once a week.  At the end of 90 days, I will publish these posts.  Unless I totally failed.  And then I most likely won’t!

In the meantime, if you have any questions, send them my way.  I will do my best to answer them.  If you decide to follow along with me, I would love to hear about your progress too.  Let’s see what the next 90 days will bring!

To make this challenge possible to measure, here are the details of where we are starting.


Total Income $2950

Total Expenses $3830

Shortfall$900 A MONTH!

Over the course of the next 90 days, I want to have a solid plan in place to make up the $900 a month shortage.  Because I’ve done this a time or several in the past, I don’t want to just rely on my husband getting a job. I want to find a way to bring in an additional $900 a month, above our incomes so that I can start working towards actually considering working from home.

Wish me luck and I hope a few of you join me on this journey.  If I get a few people interested, I will create a Facebook group where we can support each other and share ideas.  Are you in?!

Copyright &copy2010 -Dawn Reber