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Becoming more productive towards my goal
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2012-09-08 07:43:23 | Lachine, Quebec, Canada
Keywords: finances, Mobile apps, money, preparation
July was busy moving to a smaller apartment. August was to settling in my new smaller apartment, clearing the stuff I planned to give away, etc. I ended up giving up the equivalent of 25 2-cubic-feet boxes of stuff to the local charity store. I will go give them a few other things in the next few months as Iím done sifting through the rest of my stuff once again and deciding if I still need it or not.

I also completed the sampling of the local restaurants.  There are so many more restaurants here than in my old area.  I ate lots of pizza and hotdogs.  I ate real badly for the last two months.  But I was able to find my favorite pizza and other fast food joints in the area.

For the last 2-3 weeks, Iíve often went to the local library, to be in an AC environment during heat waves. This summer was very nice here with LOTS of Sun and heat.  We normally get 4 or 5 days above 30 C during a summer; this year we must had at least 20.  It was not uncommon to have temperatures just below 30 C but raising by up to 10 more degrees with the humidity factor.  During this time at the library, I brought along my laptop and worked on learning the basics of iOS programming.

iOS programming


Back in 1993, during the summer before I entered the university in Computer Science, I decided to teach myself a very popular and versatile language, known as the C language.  I decided to do so because I didnít have any computer classes in the past and I didnít want to be trailing back compared to the other students I imagined were coming from college computer programs.  Upon the beginning of the classes, I realized I was SO wrong on that count.  The teacher of our first lab class had to show how to turn a computer on, because it was a mystery to some students!   I couldnít believe my eyes.  Anyway, in the summer before I was decided to learn a programming language and the best way to do so is to build a project.  I decided to make a computer version of my favorite TV show then... a math and vocabulary quiz show from France: ďDes Chiffres et des lettresĒ (out of numbers and letters).  There are two parts of that show involving 2 contestants in solving problems.  The first part is to attain a large number using smaller figures and only the 4 arithmetic operations (addition, substraction, multiplication and division).  The second part is to make the longest possible word using a selection of 9 randomly selected letters. 

The first part is relatively easy to program and once you figure out the logic, you can easily implement it in any language while covering many important features.  So, I used that numbers part to learn and improve about a dozen languages since.  I built a version of this game for iOS.  The basic game is done... I just want to pursue a bit the development to add a few features... and then it will soon be ready to be sold on Apple Store.  In a few weeks, Iíll begin doing the same application for Android.  I also have a few other applications in mind, especially to support my blog and photo sites.

Iíve also began listing new items on eBay, which I hadnít done in 2 months due to the moving and the hassle it caused.

Finances


On the financial side, Iím still fighting to get my old employerís retirement fund money transferred in my bank.  They red tape is heavy but it should be cleared now and I will soon get the money.  I did get the money from some of the stocks I had of that company.  I had already taken into account the revenue from the sale of the auctions and it got me a bit more than anticipated at first, just putting into reality some expected revenues.

I thus increased my savings by about $800 month-over-month (excluding the stocks money).  Overall, Iím now over $13 000 in savings (including the stocks money or course).  At this rate, Iíll have somewhere between $20K and $25K in savings for my departure next June.  I canít get a more precise forecast because a few thousands will come from auctions sales, which is not predictable.   I also began to live on a limited budget.

Iím now living on a $80 weekly budget (for food mostly).  Every Tuesday, I withdraw that amount and live out of it for a week.  That pays the food and the minor expenses.  Iím paying by credit card the bigger or infrequent purchases like meds ($25 and bus tickets - I used only 6 or 7 in the last month).  Iíll see how it goes for a month... but my plan is to reduce that weekly allowance to $70.  Iím already way below $1000 per month including rent and everything... but I want to reduce it further, one step at a time, to yield more savings and reduce even more my consumption level. I find that method of budgeting simpler and more flexible than categorizing everything.  Normally, categorizing everything ($X for food, $Y for transport, etc) would be more my style... but not in terms of money management, at least not for now.    Down on the road, doing a weekly bank withdrawal will probably be my reality and Iíll have to make with that amount for the whole week, covering all my expenses (lodging, food, etc), keeping credit cards for exceptional stuff.

I did some calculation on what the costs will be on the road.  For the US portion, I take into consideration hostel/hotel (depending on location) at $50 a night, plus $20 a day for food...  so $70 a day... roughly $2000 per month.  Thatís not counting the savings on lodging through cheaper hostels, couchsurfing or camping.  For the Central and South Americas, we can cut all that in half... and more.  I did some exploration and hostels/hotels will average in a month to about $20 a night and food will be about $5 a day... so $25 a day total... $750 monthly.  That way, budgeting a $1000 monthly budget for transportation and admissions to attractions and sights, etc.  Once again, even in countries in development, Iíll still find savings on housing through couchsurfing and camping.

I opened a bank account in Florida (USA), through my bank here.  Itís part of my diversification process.  On the same day I was opening this new bank account, was announced the merger of the two other banks I have accounts with.  I had opened those accounts for my trip, one of the banks being very active in Central America and the other being a subsidiary of a major European bank.  The local bank bought up the Canadian portion of the major European bank.  Since thereís no more a European connection with that bank here... I will most likely close the account I opened just 6 months ago.

Health


Still on the preparation side, I had planned a trip next week to do a full week of walking discovering a new region.  But something unexpected came up and I had to cancel my trip.  I decided to train in another way however.  With the help of Google Maps, I created myself two itineraries of 7.5 and 10 km.  Starting next week, Iíll begin walking them to do at least 20 km a day and then increase for up to 40 km a day.

I met with my kidney specialist yesterday.  I had requested a full-blown blood test to make sure everything was okay with my kidney and diabetes.  In case something had been wrong, I wanted to have time to address it before my departure.  Everything is perfect on those sides, except for a slightly elevated sugar level... which can easily be explained with my poor alimentation during the summer.  I was disappointed to see my good cholesterol was still low.  I will discuss this issue with my family doctor in 2 weeks.  

Iím very confused once again with my body reaction.  When I was eating like a pig, had diabetes, was over 100 lbs heavier than I am now, etc,  my blood pressure was great (which was unusual for someone as big) and my cholesterol levels were great.  Since my weight-loss surgery and the quick results out of it, I had major issues with blood pressure (being WAY too low) and I had to take a medication for over 18 months to raise it up.    Now the level is normal.  Since my surgery, my cholesterol ratio went crazy... mostly because of my good cholesterol being too low.  I eat fish 6 to 8 times a week, I snack on almonds, I eat tons of fibers and oat (which help to the Omega-3 absorption), I take Omega-3 supplements and Iíve taken for the past 4-5 months a special medication to help.   I honestly donít know what else I could do to help... and why my body is acting so weird... so illogically.  As I did with my blood pressure issue, Iím asking questions for which I donít have any answers.  The programmer in me doesnít like that.  For my blood pressure, it took me many months to accept I might never have the answer.  Iím about to throw the gauntlet for the cholesterol issue as well.

Related posts:
Itinerary and finances
First year of savings
Spent more, produced less
Blog away...
Keep, sell, donate or throw away

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