A Call For Financial Literacy

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Money money money…

In trying to decide what to do with your life, one thing generally rears it’s ugly head; money.

day 3 - this is your life

“How are you going to live?”, “What will you do for cash?”, “How will you pay for it all?”, these are the types of questions you hear from people whenever you talk about doing something new, about “…making the choice between liberty and security.” And with good reason.

For example, last week I was idly contemplating pay day, making a list of what I was going to buy with this month’s cash (which included a tri-monthly bonus), when suddenly I chipped a tooth, and I discovered my car hadn’t had a proper service in over a year, and there’s a friend’s birthday coming up, and… well, you get the picture. I went from buying a new stereo to dipping into my savings in a matter of days. Such is the way of things.

But should this be a reason not to try? Hell no! You can live in fear or take risks and have fun, and either way there’ll still be unexpected things to deal with along the way. For example, I used to share a house with this lad who never worried about what he spent his money on. If he saw something he liked, he bought it. Every time he came home he had something new and interesting to show us.

I, on the other hand, was eternally frugal. I was digging my way out of debt and so was counting every penny. I bought shop brand goods (ie: non-Heinz baked beans), thought hard about any major purchase, and never did anything on the spur of the moment.

And you know what, at the end of the month we were both skint, but he’d had a lot more fun than I had. It was a revelation the day I figured that one out. That was when I stopped worrying about money, and started using it to my own advantage.

I still budget, and I still save, but once the bills are paid I allow myself free reign to quite simply spank the remainder on whatever the hell I want, and I have a lot more fun doing it than I ever did feeling guilty for enjoying myself now and then.

Don’t ever be too hard on yourself; there’s plenty of people out there who’ll try and do that for you.

Speaking of fun, meet Thumb Face. 🙂

thumb face

I’d explain him, but I think he’s pretty self explanatory. You’ve got amuse yourself somehow, eh? I’ve got a feeling Thumb Face will make a few more appearances in the future. He has a tenacious curiosity.

Change the world $25 at a time

I’ve been a member of an online micro loan community called Kiva for a while now. The idea is very simple: Entrepreneurs worldwide, who may not have access to ‘normal’ modes of funding, ask for a loan on Kiva.org. Those who want to help out can lend them all or just part of the loan (minimum $25). They invest the money, reap the benefits, then repay the loan you made in full, leaving you with your original stake which you can then re-invest.

I’ve got $75 in there at the moment (soon to be $100) which I have been able to use to help 7 small businesses all over the world. 4 of them have paid me back in full. The other 3, my most recent loans, are in the process of paying me back. It’s quick and easy to do, there’s no hidden costs, and they’ve got a 98.95% repayment rate, which is better than any high street bank. That’s because the people they help are just like you and me. All they want is a chance to make their lives better.

If you need any more inspiration watch this TED video from Kiva’s co-founder Jessica Jackley. It’s a very warm and touching presentation that I found incredibly moving.

Please give some serious consideration to investing $25 and maybe changing someone’s life. It’s a meal to us, but it could be a new beginning for them. Thank you.

Week 37 : out and about

Been a busy week this week. I’ve surprised myself with how busy I’ve been.

sandwich board advertising... sandwiches

We had a very successful International Kiki Day, where much fun was had by all and a number of goodies were procured for future enjoyment.

coconut and oatmeal cookies

I popped sarf o’ the river to see my friend Katie who I did Go Ape with, and who I haven’t seen for ages, taking with me a gluten free version of my Coconut and Oatmeal Cookies and some Chocolate Crunchies (which I’m still working on the recipe for – coming soon).

stella!

And then last night I went to a party, where I drank for the first time in 4 months. Not dirty dirty Stella, as pictured above, but a couple of mojitos. Now I didn’t get really drunk, the mojitos I made weren’t even that strong, but I wish I hadn’t bothered. I didn’t gain anything by it. In fact the only result was I felt a bit rougher this morning. That’s why I think I’m going to lay off the booze for good pretty much. I think I’d prefer it that way.

And finally, my days of ‘taching it up are coming to an end. I’ve called time on the Moustache for Cash project, and I’m now in the process of collecting all the donations and arranging to hand them over to the zoo. Hopefully this week I’ll be able to do one final blog entry with a grand total on, including some pictures of the handover, an announcement of who won the cookies and cake, and possibly another little surprise. Check back next weekend for more developments. 😉

Week 31: In which our hero goes porno (‘tache watch, part 1)

Well, no surprise what my new thing for this week was. The glorious porno ‘tache I’ve started growing.

It began on Sunday the 1st, with… well, nothing really. I just stopped shaving. After four days, it was time to go to the razor. I got in the mood for the occasion with a little some appropriate music – Je t’aime, moi non plus – by Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – then set to work.

This was the result.

catalogue moustache pose

Not bad, but a bit normal I think. It lacked bravery, style, panache, and it made me look like a copper, so more work was needed. Come Sunday the 8th and it was time to get the razor out again. This time I added a bit more, extending the ‘tache down at the edges to give it it’s full porno credentials. Regarde:

proper porno

Now you’re talking! This I like, and when it fully comes in it’s gonna look fabulous. I have an idea for some ‘tache based stunts to do in later weeks, but they’re still on the drawing board for now. More news as and when they happen.

For now, I hope you’re enjoying the developing facial hair. If anyone fancies sponsoring me in my efforts, and helping me raise money for the London Tropical Zoo, you can do so here. And my thanks to everyone who’s sponsored me already. I really appreciate all the help. 🙂

Kiki’s porno moustache

Well, I’ve decided what to do to raise some money for the London Tropical Zoo. For the month of August I will be growing some embarrassing facial hair!

the moustache begins

I’m sure that my friends, relatives, and the general public, will pay good money to see me go around sporting a porno moustache. You know the kind of thing I mean, bushy but kempt, a little down at the ends, the sort of moustache that says ‘Yeah I’ve been naked on camera, what of it?’…hahaha… Sorry, but every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or shop window I can’t help but think how daft it looks. And also a little official too, like a policeman or something, which is doubly scary.

catalogue moustache pose

So there you have it, 31 days of me getting funny looks and you guys getting a good laugh. You can’t say fairer than that. And as an added bonus whoever makes the biggest donation gets a free home-made cake from me. Now if that doesn’t tempt you nothing will!

To make a donation click here.

To read more about the Tropical Zoo having to move click here.