Why I Want to Write about Financing (or “Budgeting” predominantly)

If I start to count the number of videos I watched before starting this post, trust me I would’ve failed having tried to keep track of em. As far as most writers go, I am pretty Jon Snow when it comes to financing. The most I would’ve gotten as far as financing goes would be that o/level commerce class and a/level accounts option weirdly paired with some English literature. As most people would admit too, I’m not that book smart. I like to think that I’m street smart instead because let’s face it, if it’s not the books it has to be the “streets” until someone comes up with alternate terminology.

My “budgeting” days start somewhere in 2007-2008 when I did “odd” – but legal – jobs on the side. Then it was more on getting pocket money that I would dish out at once because, well, the chief finance officer = the mother!

Starting 2009, there were regular pay cheques coming in monthly that ranged from four figures to lo and behold, five figures every month. It wasn’t a steady stream of money but in retrospect, I actually did more with that money than I do now. This might also be because I didn’t use four-to-five-figure face products as I do now. Gah. I remember shopping for everyone after my first real “pay cheque” and even throwing a little birthday party for my mum with her closest friends and family (that amounted to around fifty people) – with only four-five figures!

Next it was India. No, my degree was neither in financing nor commerce. On the contrary, it was in communications (though I later went on to major in English with minors and psychology and communications, because I tend to be indecisive as fuck). My Mother paid for my degree and my sister for accommodation and survival as I was not book-smart enough to look out for scholarships.

I would like to think that my real journey in to budgeting and finances began then.

The first two weeks of the month was always glorious. My lovely Sri Lankan roomie and I would try out different restaurants that were forever in our bucket lists and the next two weeks spent getting as creative as you could get with sliced bread, Maggi noodles, lots of canned food (read: tuna) and the x-number of sauces. I would’ve said cereal but in reality trying to get creative with cereal sounds a little too gross.

I know I could've just done the same with my Scrabble board but we have Google to save our souls
I know I could’ve just done the same with my Scrabble board but we have Google to save our souls

But this was somewhere in 2012 and fast forward to four years now, I am a little surprised at how not much has changed! Haha. No, I’m not proud of it either. I’m laughing because that’s what I do in situations where I don’t cry.

See interestingly, the routine is still the same. Except that I work three jobs (+ odd jobs – all legal!) now and expenses and all that jazz have significantly increase. Let’s not even start with the other vices now, haha. I recently bought myself a car, or will continue to buy (or pay) sounds just about more accurate as that’s what I will be doing for a while and have decided on travelling far more than my travel quota the coming year completely disregarding my shaky job situation.

For the umpteenth time, I’m neither book-smart, nor am I feeling very brave but as the book of English idioms would have it, I’m feeling very “take the bull by its horns” these days.

Fingers crossed this goes well!

Let’s Talk about this VAT thing

I’m the type of person who rants on supposedly first world problems as you saw yesterday. When it comes to VAT and other things of national importance, I become a hermit that quietly reads the news and shares it if it happens to be exceptionally interesting (like on Newscurry or something), or just keep it to myself for information’s sake and not discuss it in public fora. Mostly because I have no interest in discussing common man’s problems not because it doesn’t affect me, but my nonchalant dismissive and cynical ways lets me think that this is the way of life. And if you haven’t guessed it already: I am everything but the revolutionist.

I’ve always been the conformist type. Ever since I was younger, probably because my older sister got her way most of the time, haha, I to some extent mastered the art of manipulation, tsk. No hate now. I also mastered the art of doing something in order to get something in return. For example, when I was in my “early 20s” #waa I would be the type to clean the house the whole week, wash dishes and cook on most days just to go out that Friday night and party all night long. Now I’m too old to party and even if I weren’t I knock off by 2300h, because fatigue. But then, I would also be the type who would do things in advance just because I remember a lot of things (I rather not remember) #ElephantBrain and when I ask for something (which again is rare because I don’t ask for things because #EgoIssues) I do not get rejected. Unless it’s a salary hike or something, haha.

But then, when it comes to things like VAT imposed on healthcare, now that makes me one of those armchair computer chair revolutionists.

No not that VAT
No, not that VAT

So, I did not know this but according to the article I read this morning (linked above), healthcare was one of the few sectors where VAT was not imposed all this while and turns out (as per the article) this stands true also for “countries with more advanced medical facilities”.

Having gone to the hospital this morning to check on my blurring vision (bit of an Arya Stark situation here) I was wondering why the cashier was struggling to find 50 cents to give back to me (I didn’t know we still used em with current inflation rates) and later saw a little notice that explained on this VAT situation (this was at Asiri on Kirula Road by the way).

Apologise if this seems blurry. I couldn't really see what I was snapping.
Apologise if this seems blurry. I couldn’t really see what I was snapping

I don’t know what the status is for people who rely on government hospitals and free medical facilities. Does this mean that VAT has been imposed on medication / pharmacies as well? And then you think that Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa are bad for overcharging patrons with VAT and Service Charge even when taking out a mediocre kottu roti. Come to Colombo and by a card of Panadol and get 15% added to that.

See, this time what’s different with my nonchalant dismissive and cynical ways is me knowing that this is unfair. (What’s more the front page of the print-Daily Mirror says of a 4% increase to water bills – and you thought water was free. Why aren’t they charging us for air already). I for one know that I have a limited amount on the OPD section of my medical insurance. But what about those who do not have insurance, or work on part-time, consultancy (tsk) or day-labour that do not have a medical plan going on?

While my nonchalant dismissive and cynical ways pay no mind to what the Government is doing to the country, things like this somehow bring out that almost dying armchair computer chair revolutionist in me and like most other armchair computer chair revolutionist, I will until changes are made or revised, sit behind a screen and rant about it.

I hope you all are well, because it’s too expensive to be otherwise.