I think it’s become no secret by now that I love the Olympics. I really hope to go to them someday. Sadly, not as an athlete, but as a spectator. My sentiment is at its strongest right now, in the closing days of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. I may have missed the Olympics this time around, but I’m already setting my sights on the next Olympics: Vancouver 2010. I will be going to Vancouver. I mean, when’s the next time the Olympics are going to be in my figurative backyard? I’d be stupid not to go. But, I still need to put some kind of a plan in place. As always, the key thing is money.
Let’s be honest. A trip like this will probably be an expensive endeavour. First and foremost will be getting there. OK, well, maybe that won’t be very expensive. To go overseas, I’m looking at anywhere from $1000 to $1500. To head to Vancouver, if memory serves, I’m looking at around $500 on WestJet. So that won’t be so bad.
Next up will accommodations. Now, granted, I do have friends in Vancouver. And ever since Vancouver first started putting their bid together in, like, 1998, I’ve been asking them over and over if I could stay with them. And they always say, “For the last time, YES!” But still, they’ve recently been adding the disclaimer, “If we’re still in Vancouver.” They do have a bit of the wanderlust, and they’ve been talking off and on for the past two years of packing it in and moving to a foreign land. By the time 2010 rolls around, it’s feasible that they’ll be off in New Zealand. So while it’d be nice and ideal to stay with my friends, it would also be good to have a plan B.
But I still think that what’ll eat up most of my money is tickets to all the events. Olympic hockey games, ski jumping, figure skating, curling…. I have no idea how much that’ll all cost. And I’m fairly certain that they won’t go on sale for a few more years. The only thing I’m going on is the average price for an Oilers game in Edmonton. And, if that is any indicator, my biggest expense will be going to the events themselves.
Now that we have the core expenses outlined, we need our money. Oh, this would be so much easier if I had a regular income to deal with! I’d just say I’m putting x dollars into my special bank account every month, and that’s that. I needed advice, and I knew exactly what to do. I phoned my sister.
When my sister was in Grade 10, my parents went to Europe for three weeks. My sister went along. I wanted to go too, but I was starting my second year of university. It’s easier to catch up on three weeks of high school than it is three weeks of university. But I digress. When my sister returned, she was bitten by the travel bug, and she vowed to go backpacking across Europe when she finished high school. In a year and a half, faced with unsteady income, she saved enough money to spend one month bumming around Europe. She’d have the expertise I needed!
So, naturally, when I called her up, she laughed at me. She said that, thanks to my experiences in Japan, I should have more than enough experience to do something like this. But Japan was different. I had a steady income. By the time I did my backpacking, I had a nice, tidy sum in my bank account. I wasn’t miles from home. If I needed more money, all I did was hit the ATM. My sister still didn’t think I needed her advice, but she gave it anyway.
One thing that was key to her saving was these wonderful things that banks have called Guaranteed Income Certificates, or GICs. Firstly, they have very high interest rates. While your money is sitting in the bank, it may as well earn more money for you! Secondly, the money is locked away in there for a set amount of time. If you want to take money out of the account, you have to pay a penalty, and/or lose all that sweet, sweet interest. And that, my sister said, is what really helps.
The one thing you need more than anything, she told me, is self-discipline. She’s seen it far too often. Someone gets a goal in mind, they open up their special bank account and start saving, but then, in a moment of weakness, they dip into that special bank account and blow all their money. If you’re going to do this, you must stay strong, she said. Don’t dip into that account for anything!
Excellent! So now, I need my seed money to start this project. Now, when I want to actually put some money towards this, is when I start getting serious. That’s always the point of no return for me. It’s nice to talk and talk and talk about it, but as soon as you have to whip out the wallet, you need to think about it a little longer. But damn it, when am I going to have a better opportunity to see the Olympics?
I keep watching the mailbox. Any day now, I should be getting my $500 paycheque from driving around the contestants in the MuchMusic VJ Search. I can think of no better way to spend that money than by dumping it into a GIC and starting my Olympic fund. Damn it, something like this only comes along once in a lifetime, and if I love it so much, I’d be a silly fool if I didn’t make the effort.
This I know. I will be in Vancouver in 2010. All I need now is a little money, and a little time.