Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saving money with Kiva

I've been a fan of Kiva (a micro-lending site) since January 2009. My goal in 2009 was to donate 1% of my income to the site, so every paycheque I transferred that money over and made a loan or two. After a few months the loans starting being re-paid, so by the end of the year I had the fun of making up to five loans every month, with the combination of new money transferred in and repaid funds.

Almost two years later, I've made over 65 loans. Coupled with that, I've been thinking about how to handle my personal spending money. I'm making a good salary this year on a one-year contract, but I want to save enough of it to be able to be a stay-at-home parent for a few years if no good job opportunities present themselves.

With interest rates so low, sticking 3/4 or 4/5 of my spending money in a savings account seems pointless. My current brainstorm is to "deposit" a portion of what I get each month in to Kiva - the current interest rate is not much better than 0%, after all! Once this school year is over I can either re-loan the money (if I have another contract) or take out the spending amount each month. It's a little tricky to withdraw the money - it has to go out through Paypal, then through the bank, and costs 50 cents - but with some planning ahead it shouldn't be a big problem.

A girl needs a little spending money, after all. Mine really only gets used for a coffee very occasionally, eating out, wool, and every four or five years a really great pair of Fluevogs. I think I need a pair of black Derby Swirl boots for winter...

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