Month: July 2014

2013/14 Year Review [Part 4 of 4]

Financial freedom

2014, It’s only getting started

Looking back at all my posts, the past 365 days and what’s to come for the rest of the year, I must say that I am very excited to say the least. A year ago I thought my world is coming to an end. And now, it just getting better.
Now that I have a new job I will be earning more money. For the first time in my life I will experience the true meaning of income > expenses. I will be able to save some money. I am still trying to cut expenses and live a more frugal life. Just two more weeks and I would’ve kept a budget for 3 months and recorded every single transaction I made over those 3 months. Budgeting will only get easier and it will become a part of my every day ritual.
I have major plans for the next 365 days. When I write another mid-year review and I look back to this post and think that I have finally achieved something big. This would be bigger than me getting am accounting degree. Much bigger. It will be a step in the right direction. No more taking a back seat on my financial future. I will become the driver and take control. No more blaming other people for where I was a year back. I am in control of my journey and only I can change it.
So here are my goals for the rest of 2014:
  1. I will buy an engagement ring and propose to my girlfriend.
  2. I will have less debt than I started with this year.
  3. I will have my driver’s permit.
  4. I will have all the necessities required to live a comfortable live at home.
  5. I will learn all the programming languages to enable me to create a website and a mobile app from scratch.
  6. I will finish my website.
  7. I will finish my own mobile app.
  8. I will reach 500 views on my blog.
  9. I will have a budget that I following strictly every month.
  10. And I will be a more productive and healthy human being.

 

2013/14 Year Review [Part 3 of 4]

The Year of Resignations

The Year of Resignations

I was standing in the kitchen making a cup of tea and then it hit what this post should be called, “The Year of Resignations”. It was just going to be called “2014 So Far” but I thought it would be hard to find a picture for my post with a title like that.
The rest of the post has been typed up before I came up with the title but the title needs some explanation cause the rest of the post doesn’t offer up any. At my previous job people were dropping out like flies. I even had a list of every colleagues name pasted on my cubical wall and marked an X next to their name when they resigned. In the 7 months that I’ve worked there, I had about 10 crosses. Also both my dad and my girlfriend’s dad is resigning this year. My best friend is also resigning at the end of the year to become an entrepreneur full-time. And lastly a friend of my girlfriend quit this year as well. Feels like a lot of people in my life just had enough.

The post before the title change…

 

The year did not start off like I intended it to. I wanted to move into my new place because I didn’t like living at my aunt’s place. It just didn’t work out for me. They kept telling me that the place is taking longer than expected but I was running out of patience. I didn’t want to look for another place because the rent was good for a place in that area, I would get free uncapped Wi-Fi and it comes furnished.

Only in March I could move into my new place. The rent took a big chunk out of my salary. I couldn’t make it till the end of the month. I was spending a lot of money on lunch and beers with my friends. Plus I was taking my girlfriend out to dinners. My money just couldn’t make it to the end of the month. I had to start using my credit card. Not have to. More like, I didn’t want to beg my parents for money, say no to my friends when they hang out or brown bag instead of buy take out for lunch.
April month is when things reached an all time low with my finances. In less than two weeks my entire salary was done. Finished. And I had no idea where it went. One minute everything was fine, the next moment it was all gone. I couldn’t explain what happened. I had to get help from my parents. But then I decided that in May I would at least keep track of every single cent I spent. Even if I still run out of money in two weeks, I needed answers. Not knowing on what you’ve spent your money on is just the worst. Besides, this was a baby. I wasn’t going to change for life overnight.
May and June were the first two months that I recorded every transaction. I could see where the money was going. I knew what my bank balance was. The budget I set up gave me better sign where my money should go to next. I could see when I was getting to the budgeted amount. May was ten times better than April and June was even better than May. This has clearly helped me out.
Driving wise, I just didn’t have any money left to pay for driving school. I took two lessons while I was still staying at my aunt’s place because I could afford it. But since I moved into the new place, money has been very tight. I have to get my driver’s license this year or my learner’s permit will expire and then I need to redo the exam I took last year. Since I passed the learner’s exam first time, I want to pass my driver’s exam first time as well. I hope for the best.
As far as coding is concerned, I didn’t do anything about it this year. With me having to work and all, I have zero energy to do anything when I come home from work. I manage to complete the barefoot.com website as well as the doogeyfresch.com. No new business has come in and I haven’t developed my portfolio at all. I wanted to finish my own personal website but I kept making excuses about how I don’t have the money for domain name registration and web site hosting. I can hardly remember what I learned in coding because I wasn’t practicing at all.
The most important thing I can take away from the first half the year is how important it is to budget. If I don’t budget and keep track of all my transactions, I have no control over my money.

 

2013/14 Year Review [Part 2 of 4]

A new dawn

 

A new dawn

Unemployment and degree-less, I needed a new plan. I couldn’t feel sorry for myself any longer. I just started dating my girlfriend and she told me that she believed in me. She knew that this was just a minor speed bump in my life. Even when I had nothing, she still believed in me. If she could date me and believe in me, why couldn’t I?

I had to find a new job in the city so I could be close to my girlfriend because as much I knew she believed in me, I didn’t believe a long distance relationship would last. The job hunt began. All I had to go on was my one year’s working experience in audit and a high school diploma. These were my goals at the time:

  1. I will get my learner’s permit. 
  2. I will get my driver’s license. 
  3. I will get a good paying job. 
  4. I will get a place to stay in Windhoek. 
  5. I will know a number of programming languages and codes. 
  6. I will get a bike.
  7. I will get 4G wireless internet.
  8. I will clear my credit card debt.

Getting the learner’s permit was easy. I had all the time in the world to study and managed to score 91% on a multiple choice exam paper. I felt good. I felt even better when I got a call that I have an interview with an accounting firm in the city. I went down, did all the research and gave a kick ass interview. Couple of days later I got the offer. It took me just three months to find employment. I thought it would happen quicker but I was just grateful to have a job again and could be close to my girlfriend.

I didn’t have a place yet but I my family was willing to help out. I didn’t like staying there. I was in a very poor neighborhood and I didn’t have much privacy at their place. I had plans to move into a flat that a family was building on their property but it would only be available in the New Year.

I wasn’t so successful with the materialistic things like the internet and the bike. I also didn’t pay off my credit card debt. I did make one big payment to my credit card when I got my salary but ended up using the credit card again because Christmas came around and I didn’t have money.

The coding didn’t go so well. I didn’t learn all the languages I wanted to learn. I completed HTML and CSS as well as a video course on Dreamweaver. I did manage to complete my friend’s website for him called Barefoot. I also didn’t manage to complete my website because I didn’t have the money to pay for a domain and hosting.

I was happy with the learner’s permit but I didn’t get the drivers permit. I reckoned I still have time till the next year before my learner’s permit expired. My dad wasn’t a very patient teacher. So with the new job I could pay for a professional to teach me how to drive.

That’s the end of the second half of the year and it was pretty successful. I took a big step by getting employed and living in the city. I got closer to getting my driver’s permit and I learned some of the essential skills to develop websites. The following year things could only get better..

2013/14 Year Review [Part 1 of 4]

The College Dropout

 

The College Dropout

Sitting in my friend’s garden in Johannesburg, I realized that I just made the biggest fuck up of my life. I was about to fail my first semester into my last year of degree. The plan has always been to finish my degree in 2013 and make my parents proud. Instead I achieved the total opposite.

Before I set off for Johannesburg in February for my last year of full-time studies the goal was pretty simple: study your ass off and get the degree. In 2012 I was working and doing a high school subject because of some technicality about having a first language to get my degree and I hated every minute of work. I knew getting this degree would make things so much simpler.

I hardly got started and already life was throwing me curve balls. I could not find accommodation. My scholarship would cover for tuition and accommodation on campus, but I gave my application in too late which meant I had to look for another place off campus.

My family is not well off. They hardly made ends meet. While I was working, they didn’t have to give me money for anything. This was my last year though. They were willing to dig deep and help me out one last time. The money just wasn’t there though. Fortunately my friend let me sleep on his couch for a couple of months until I found a place.

Getting to campus was a mission since I did not have a car and I did not want to burden my friend any further because he was doing so much for me already. I missed classes and tutor lectures. The big snag came when I didn’t meet the required admission percentage for a certain class and they didn’t allow me to write my final exam after much begging and pleading. The rules were the rules. They aren’t changing it for anyone. And just like that, my world came to a crashing halt.

All I had to do was one thing. Get this degree no matter what. I blamed everything and everyone but myself. I could not believe how much I screwed this up. I hardly made it to the half way mark and already I had to call it quits. When I got back home I knew what was coming for me, but first I had to have one of the most difficult conversion of my life with my folks.

They were very understanding and supportive. It made things a lot easier on me. The next group I had to face was the company that gave me the scholarship and employed me the previous year. My accounting hopes were hanging on a thread.

I remember that day so clearly. I just woke up and did my routinely rounds on the internet. Check Twitter. Check Facebook. Check emails. And there it was, an email from the company saying that they won’t take me back. My employment and my scholarship contract have been terminated and they will contact me with regards to repaying my scholarship. That was the worst day of my life and the start of my new life.

Pretty good day

Happy Minion

I know in my last post I said that I would make a half yearly update next but I’ve had such a pretty good day today that I wanted to share it with my readers.

I recently quit my job and accepted a new offer from another company. The new company has new owners and it’s financial department was outsourced to another country. Now that the new owners took over, they decided to have the financial function here. That’s where I come in. I am part of a new five man financial department. I am at the bottom of that food chain but plan to work myself up if I enjoy working for the company. The pay is very good but the offices look a bit dark and dingy. The offices are located inside the warehouse and the warehouse is in an industrial area.

Here comes the good part. I don’t own a car and public transport sucks here in Africa (first I revealed I’m in the Southern Hemisphere, now I revealed the continent. Stick around for more clues). The best means of transport is taking a cab. I use to drive with my girlfriend to work in the mornings so I spent about $250 (+/- US$25) per month on transport. Now that I don’t travel with her anymore I could spend up to $600 per month. But my mom managed to make a few calls and she found me a cab driver willing to pick me up at work and at home for $400 per month.

More good news. The ex-employers are paying out my leave days I haven’t taken. That amounted to $1125. That’s money I never expected I would get. I totally forgot about it and I never thought it would be so much. That would definitely help me this month since my transport costs would be going up.

And the last piece of good news. My dad sent me $2000 for a new phone. I recently dropped my Nokia Lumia 620 and the screen cracked. The touch screen didn’t respond any more. Now I am operating with an old Blackberry Curve 9300. But now that I got this cash from my dad I can get a new phone. I was looking at the Samsung Galaxy Fame. It’s in my price range and it is an Android. After my experiences with a Windows phone, I swore to never go back to that crappy operating system. A friend of mine is in Beijing for a couple of weeks, so I hope he might see something cheap there and bring a phone along. Maybe a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. But least’s wait and see.

Wait there is more good news. Training only starts on Friday. I thought I was going to start Thursday, but I only start on Friday. That’s an extra day off. Which will give me time to work on the half yearly review.

Until next time. Thanks for reading.

“It’s not personal, it’s just business.” [Part 2 of 2]

Drake - Worst Behavior

Drake – Worst Behavior

Click here for part one of this post. 

THE STORY GOES ON…

Friday came and it was the last week of the month. I checked my budget and I seemed to have done well this month but the entertainment was still way over budget.  I kept thinking how the new job would’ve helped out. How much more comfortable things would be. That’s when it happened. My phone rang and I answered it as quick as possible. I GOT THE JOB!

MORE MONEY MORE PROBLEMS

The money was more than initially offered. Ten percent more in fact. There was a big BUT though. The company needed me to start as soon as possible because they are using a new accounting system and everyone needed to be trained. The training was scheduled the following week. I told them that I needed to give a month’s notice. They understand, so they are willing to compensate my current employers a month’s worth of my current salary. They weren’t playing around, they clearly meant business.

I felt really bad though. I felt bad for leaving my current employers so high and dry. A co-worker in my department already resigned this month and now I am also leaving and only giving 24 hour notice. Damn, that’s cold. I had no other choice though. I would be living much more comfortably. I will be getting much more money. This was an opportunity I just couldn’t pass up.

I typed out my resignation letter and scheduled a meeting with the human resources manager to discuss my resignation. At first she told me that it is not possible for me to just quit with immediate effect. I told her that the new company was willing to compensate for the 24 hour notice. The HR manager told me she would take it up with the partners and my boss. I thought there would be some resistance. I mean our department stand to lose two people in one month. Who was going to do our work? Even if they got replacements in quickly, they will still struggle with our work until they are properly trained.

MOTHERF&$#@*S NEVER LOVED US

The HR manager called back in 5 minutes and said that everything is in order and I can go. WTF?! That quickly? That’s when I felt that my work wasn’t valued here at all. It made it easier for me walk out at the end of the day. They didn’t care, so why should I? I still felt very guilty though. I couldn’t look my boss in the eyes. She hardly spoke to me the entire day. She asked me if I was moving into IT because I made it no secret that accounting wasn’t my passion and my heart lies in computers (sounds weird I know). I lied about a new accounting position and told her it was an IT job. The goodbyes was even awkward. But it’s over now. It’s a chapter I can finally close. A new journey awaits for me.

My next post will be my half-yearly review of 2014 and it’s been a year since I quit college, so I will also be reviewing my year since I took that leap. Thanks for reading. Comments are always welcome.

“It’s not personal, it’s just business.” [Part 1 of 2]

Godfather

For those of you who do follow my blog, I had exciting news to share but I didn’t want to say anything until it was more concrete. Well, the good news is that I got a new job but the bad news is that they need me to start immediately.

A lot has happened since I first got news that there might be a new job on the horizon. I’m not a big fan of long posts and I wouldn’t want my readers to read long posts either, so I will split this into two segments.

The job recruiter calls

It was a day like any other. I was at the office working away and my phone rang. I hardly get calls during working hours. I was hesitant to answer but thought “what the hell?”. It was a job recruiter and they got hold of my résumé. I can’t remember when I uploaded by resume to their website. Anyway, she asked whether I am still in the job market because there is a potential opening for me. I already have a job but I am struggling to make ends meet and I’m living from paycheck to paycheck. We got to talking about the numbers and the new job will be offering substantially more than I get now.

I was so excited about the call that I started to crunch the numbers. I worked out how much I will be getting after taxes and deductions and it seemed like a lot more money. I read somewhere that your rent or your mortgage payment should only be a third of your net salary. Well since the end of March half my salary was going to rent. But with the new job only 35 percent of my salary will go to rent. That’s almost 33.3 percent. This is a good indicator that I was moving into the right direction.

THE WAITING GAME

Ever since the recruiter called I didn’t hear back from for a couple of days. I thought that my résumé probably wasn’t good enough and I should just forget about that call altogether. I tried to stay positive but the silence was killing me. I also didn’t want to call back and seem eager. A weekend passed and no calls from the recruiter. Monday I came down with the cold. I went to see the doctor and got booked off from work on Tuesday. That morning, while I was watching House of Cards the phone rang. It was the job recruiter! I got a telephonic interviewer at 3 PM.

Luckily I was at home sick because I could prepare for the telephone interview. I’ve never had an interview over the phone before. Google helped me out. I found a couple of questions I could ask the interviewer, how to speak, pause for the interviewer, talk slowly, stand in front of a mirror to gain confidence etc. I did all of this but I was still nervous. The interview was 17 minutes and we hardly spoke about my characteristics and why I would be good for this job. They just wanted to know why I want to leave my current post and we spoke about the new position and what I will be doing. This took the pressure off a little. I felt good about the interview and the interviewer told me I will hear back from him the next day.

THE WAITING GAME CONTINUES

The next 48 hours sucked big time. I was positive that I would get a call the very next day. Even if it wasn’t a yes, at least some sort of word. But nothing. I waited all day. Staring at the clock. Making sure my cellphone ringer was on. Checking the signal. Checking my email. Nothing. My girlfriend and I agreed that if I don’t hear anything by the end of the business day, we will take it as a “No” and just move on with our lives. When that clock struck 5 I was devastated. My head dropped. As soon as I got home, I put on my PJ’s and went straight to bed. My girlfriend tried to cheer me up but it just didn’t help.

The next day at work sucked. The boss came to me and asked me to start on a new client the following week. In the back of my mind I still had one foot out the company door. I kept thinking that I won’t be around long enough to start work on a new client. But I didn’t get the call back . So I just listened to what my boss had to say and marked my calendar to start work on the new client. I still had hope, but my phone still didn’t ring. I kept staring at the clock. I kept making sure that I didn’t miss any calls. Still no call back.