Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dumb Luck

Currently, Mayu earns the monies & I do the book keeping.  This is a major problem for a couple of reasons:  (1).  I'm terrible at budgeting; I don't know the first thing about it; I can't keep track of my receipts, nor do I know, really, how much money our household spends & (2).  I'm an impulsive, online shopaholic, so when I sit down at the computer, go online to Handelsbanken.se to pay bills, I also open a tab (or two) to one of my favourite online stores - currently one of the following:  brandos, ikea or bygghemma.  But since Mayu works fulltime, and I'm home with the girls, we agreed that I would take on all duties involved with the "house" (plus, Mayu's a far more extravagant impulsive shopper than I am!)   Together, financially, we're a mess.  But the thing is???, we never, really, suffer any consequences (financial ones, that is).  The only thing I can chalk it up to, is dumb luck - the key word being dumb. 
Let me explain.
I took out some MAJOR student loans for my undergrad.  Since, when we left Canada, Mayu was being deported, we always figured we'd apply for the necessary visas and return.  At the time of deportation, we changed our permanent billing address to my mom's.  So 3 countries later, 4 apartments and a few hostels, we ended up here, in Sweden, and bought the place we live in now.  I recently acknowledged the unlikelihood of, ever, returning to Canada to live, and contacted the appropriate lenders (the Canadian Government) to give them my new permanent address in Sweden.  The conversation went a little like this:
Loan shark:  Since you are living outside of Canada & the United States, you will have to pay your student loans in full, today.
Me:  Ummmm, $30,000?
Loan shark:  Let me just check...ummmm....actually, $32,463.
Me:  That's ridiculous, I can't do that.  Why can't I keep on making my monthly payments?
Loan shark:  Because our current system cannot make these arrangements.
Me:  What do you mean, 'make these arrangements' - I would just keep on paying as I do, from my Canadian bank account, I don't understand.
Loan shark:  That's just how it is.  Also, if you cannot pay in full, current foreign law prevents us from taking any measures to collect this money. 
Me:  So, if I can't pay today, I don't have to pay ever?  This all seems pretty dumb, no?
Loan shark:  Correct.  And I must apologize now, as I will have to call you at this number a few more times.
Me:  That's ok.  Ok, thank you and have a nice day.
Loan shark:  You too.  Bye.
SERIOUSLY?  and folks, I am not kidding.  Now, I understand, getting deported and moving continents to dodge student loans might be extreme, but at least you know it's an option!  lol!    
We faced another dumb collection as a consequence of Mayu's deportation.  We owed money to a telecommunications company in Canada for mobiles which we could not use anymore because we were leaving the country.  We called to cancel our contract, but they wouldn't let us out of our 5 year contract (with 4 years remaining) - despite Mayu's deportation - and they wanted us to pay for the mobiles in full!  I told them no, that was ridiculous and that I would return the mobiles, and pay our bill up to that date.  Well, they wouldn't budge on the matter, so we just didn't pay them, period.  I think we might have, even, smashed our phones in the Toronto airport as a big f-you to the company (dumb, I know).  A year later, the telecommunications company was bought by an American company, and our names were taken off their 'customer list'  - we never heard from them again! 
Now, don't get me wrong, Mayu & I are by no means, unconscientious borrowers, nor do we test this so called dumb-luck theory - but because we're so shitty at budgeting and spending, and our lives keep taking us on unexpected journeys, we just keep happening upon this dumb luck (knock on wood!).    
Now, before you wish this dumb luck on yourself, please realize, there are consequences, maybe not financial, but other.
Case in point, this morning:  We have stocks that vest every year, for the next 5 years, and I thought a bunch were vesting this month.  It's terrible when they do - it's about 8000kr or $1000 we're out that month, and because Mayu and I are so shitty at budgeting, we usually only manage to save about half that in preparation.  So, I was bracing myself for a bad month, when Mayu tells me today that he's getting paid MORE this month - what? why?  talk about DUMB luck - because he didn't take all his vacation time from last year!  Had I not completed a Masters in June, had we not had a second baby June 20 (with a 15 month old toddler at home), renovated a kitchen (including tearing down walls and laying new floors!) and taken a 1 month holiday over Christmas, I could POSSIBLY understand Mayu having vacation time 'left-over', but, with all the chaos that happened last year, he definitely should have taken ever millisecond of vacation time owed to him.  So, although, without planning, this month will be a good one, do not believe for a second that we will not suffer the consequences:  stress-related heart attacks by the ripe old age of 35 - cause of death?  dumb luck.

Until next time,

Grumpy Old Sarah

'Only fill the kettle with the water you need' - if everyone in the UK did this, they would have enough electricity to power all the street lights in the country.  cool right?


  1. Excellent job Sarah! I wish Ted and I had some dumb luck these days!! Hilarious :)

  2. Next round's on you, it would seem ;)

  3. Just so you don't have another almost heart attack, next year will be the last batch of stocks that vest. At least the ones from my signing deal. There will probably be more in the future.

  4. shut up....as if you have had this luck. Your crazy.
    Well I have luck but it does not look like that.
    I have to take care of the budget, which I was about to sit down and do and then decided to look at your blog. So I also do not want to do it, but I guess I will go and do it and hope, I stayed on budget this month. I am trying to at lest. It is that shopping thing, it gets me every time.
    Shannon C

  5. the shopping gets me too! I always think I've budgeted MORE THANK ENOUGH for food, and then, I realize I could have bought a car for the amount I spent on MILK last month ;)...a slight exaggeration, but I'm hopeless non the less...