Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Month End Report - May

TFSA/ EEE Account $0.19 (down $144.00)
Xmas Fund $75.73 (down $29.00)
RRSP Savings Acct. $27.07 ( up $0.05)
Vacations Account $500.04 (up $450.00)
RRSP MF Acct. $1,780.43 (up $524.66)
RESP MF Acct. $1150.43 (up $1125.43)
Emergency Fund Acct. $91.09 (up $20.00)
House Fund $45.00 (same)
Biz Savings/5 Categories $9829.95 (up $9826.37)
Canada Savings Bonds $945.00 (up $70.00)
B's Savings Acct. $55.00 (up $42.11)

HBC Card (28.8%): $178.49, down $83.59
Personal Loan: $6295.50, down $80.00
MBNA Card (27.98%): $1,961.37, down $31.44
Capital One Card (19.8%): $3990.67, down $105.89
Overdraft 1: $911.42, down by $32.77
Auto Loan: $ 755.82, down $247.97
Tax Owing: $4,432.11, up $96.29
Biz HST: $4,825.05 (cheque sent)
Dental Bill: $1,301.10

Total Debt owed on January 1, 2011: $23,861.01

Our current total Debt owing: $23,895.71
Difference since January 1, 2011: + $34.70
Difference since last month: down $1,951.97

I didn't make the Biz HST owing a zero just yet, as I only sent the cheque off yesterday. I will change it on next month's report after the cheque has cleared. We had to dip into savings this month, so I've a plan to repay those funds, but am waiting for funds to clear the account first.I had hoped to have the Xmas account up to par with my savings plan by the end of the month, but it looks like it will be a few more days.

At the end of April, our total savings was $2610.63.
At the end of May, our total savings is $ 14,499.93.

I'll post our goals for June in tomorrow's post.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's Your Excuse?

We have debt. A lot of it. By any one's standards.

Unless you're the type who thinks that consumer debt is 'normal' and everyone has it.

I personally know people who have no debt, other than their mortgage.

I know someone who has no debt whatsoever. (Hi Rick!)

I recently read a post on a personal blog about a couple's debt, and a husband's determination to get out from under it. Yet they spend extravagant amounts of money on things that they don't really need. The wife wants nothing to do with the finances, and the hubby is going crazy trying to figure it all out. Yet they have a tonne of excuses.

Actual quote (as a response to a comment): "...I would never spend that much on a (thing)....it's the 100 here  the 100 there that get me..."

I remember ages ago when I too used to think like that. How could I possibly live without the $1000 + and utilities type dwelling we lived in? I couldn't say no to hubby when he 'needed' to go golfing to 'relax' and have time to himself. We 'deserved' to eat out 5 nights a week, because our schedules were so crazy.

At one time, I actually thought that no one could understand the budgeting difficulties that we had, trying to budget for an entire year at a time. Business and personal expenses combined. With a highly variable income.

Over the last 3 years of our journey together, I have learned so much. About myself, about my partner, about financial matters. My excuses became just that. Excuses.

No one really wants to downgrade their lifestyle. No one really wants to feel deprived, or have to go without to pay for the mistakes of their past. But that is what becoming a mature adult is about. Accepting responsibility for your own choices, regardless of the circumstances. And then doing something about it.

I still have excuses  reasons as to why we are not out of debt yet, but I can say with pride, that we are working toward a life of freedom from debt.

Just not by buying $300 Coach purses or Juicy Couture as part of my daily wardrobe.

Friday, May 27, 2011

No Yard Sale Again

With all the work that I managed to get in this week, I never did get around to calling the church to ask about a table. Turns out, I am going to be out of town working tomorrow anyway, so I wouldn't be able to sell our stuff. Which slightly bums me out, but by working I will definitely be earning more than I would have brought in from a sale table.

I'm going to be buying a digital camera in the next couple of weeks or so, and I plan on using it to take pictures of the sale items and post them on Kijiji. Hopefully, I can still get rid of our extra stuff and make some money, on my schedule instead of someone else's.

The camera will come in handy to be able to take pictures on our adventures with the children, and so that I can figure out how to add some nice visuals to my blog posts. :)

I know nothing about cameras and I am definitely not a photographer type. I could use some suggestions on camera types, styles, prices, etc. Reader comments/advice will be certainly appreciated today.

I'm working on mostly nothing today, trying to give myself some down time. The extra work this week and the weather have caused me to have some general soreness and pain in assorted body parts. I really need to just take it easy today.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Last week, I worked several days for the out of town company that uses me as a sub-contractor. While the work itself is nothing to write home about, meeting with clients is one of the better parts of my job. Sometimes they just like to put a face to a company image, and around these parts, I guess that mug is mine. I enjoy meeting with clients and being able to assure them that we will do everything as promised, and make the process easier for them.

This week, it's much of the same. Follow up with clients from last week, and beginning the process with new clients. I'm not much of a salesperson (thank goodness), so when I meet with families, I assure them straight away that I am not there to talk them into buying products or services that they don't want. I give them our price list, show them that we have a wide range of services available, but it doesn't matter to me if they choose a basic, no frills type package, or if they want the whole shebang. I don't get paid on commission.

My main priority is to reassure clients when I first meet them, and to let them know I will help them through a difficult time. They call the shots. I'm just there to guide them.

The company that I sub-contract for has done a wonderful job of marketing in the city where I live, and I see their advertisements all over town. It's working. So many folks need this simple, yet essential service at their most vulnerable time. I'm very proud to be a part of their team.

I'll be working for the better part of the next 3 days, so I likely won't be here too much. Have a great weekend everyone. I hope to have a month end report post ready for Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Dollar A Week Savings Plan for Christmas Funds

Last month, I wrote a post about the Dollar A Week savings plan. I decided to try it, and will use this method for saving up for my Christmas Fund/Account. Of course, I was already behind in the savings plan, because I decided to start at Week # 19. To have the account fully funded by December 2nd, 2011, I would have to make additional payments equal to the amount of $190 to get caught up on the deposit schedule, and $122 to make up the difference between total deposit amounts and my goal for December 2nd.

My shorter term goal was to get caught up with the deposit schedule by May 27th, 2011. That would be Week # 25, meaning I should have $300 already in the account, with the week's deposit of $25 for a total of $325.

I fail.

I had actually worked the account up to $104.73, and then had to borrow from it. *sigh* Our budget is super tight this time of year, but will change shortly, due to a large payment coming in. But once again, I had to borrow from our future to pay for something. I don't like doing it, but I know it won't be long before that account is where it should be.

I'm stretching out my mini-goal for this to June 10th, 2011 or Week # 27. At that time there should be a balance in the account of $351 and with that weeks deposit of $27, a total of $378. I am also hoping to switch at that time to depositing a months worth of deposits at a time, to try to get ahead of the game a little bit.

June's deposits would equal $ 110 and the balance at June 24th should be $435.

Time to put my nose to the grindstone and just do it.

P.S. Makky's Mom suggested just just transferring $26.50 per week, as a 'set it and forget it' savings, which makes it easier to budget around for her. I love the idea, but knowing me, I would forget that it was being transferred, and take the money out for something else. If I physically have to deposit the money, or sit down at the computer to do an actual transfer, it's less likely to get lost in the flurry of account activity. Plus, I like being a bit more 'hands-on'. But to each their own. Who knows? Maybe I can do it that way too someday?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We're in Debt ?!?

What I wouldn't give to be 12 again, with a world full of opportunity ahead of me. I would change so many things, make different choices (like attending the J.A. week long daycamp on becoming an entrepreneur). My darling daughter, who just turned 12 this week, is starting to open her eyes to some of the goings on in the world around her that she just didn't see before.

We talk a lot in our home about debt, savings, paying of bills, and all sorts of financial related activities. Goals and dreams of things we would like to do and buy once we have saved up for it.

I was talking to DD2 the other day about trips we would like to take, places we want to take the kids to. Special trips. I mentioned that once we were out of debt, we could focus on these things a little more and take those trips.

She looked at me quizzically, and said, "We're in debt?" She sounded sort of surprised.
I replied that yes, we were.

What an innocent, yet thought provoking statement from a child. She asked me how that happened, meaning how did we get into debt. I gently explained that we don't always know what we are doing as grownups, and that we had made some bad choices, and that our debt is a consequence of those choices.

"Kinda like getting a punishment, a time out, or getting grounded you mean?", she asked innocently.
"Yes. Exactly like that, only with money", I answered.

She walked away, mumbling about never getting debt, and I smiled. I have tried so hard to shield her from my financial troubles, and may have missed out on the opportunity to teach her the perils of debt. No more. I will no longer wait until she is out of earshot to have financial discussions with hubby about bills and things. But I will be careful to keep from scaring her, and if need be, show her that we have a plan to make it better for our future.

We are still working daily on getting out of our money 'grounding'. One day, we will be out of 'time-out', and we can take her on those special trips. And that day cometh soon.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse - Are you Prepared?

I had to laugh when I read that the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) put out a blog post/social media headline about preparing for a coming Zombie Apocalypse. Right, I thought. Who would believe that? Truthfully, they actually did.

You can go here to read the tongue-in-cheek article of how to have an Emergency Preparation Kit/Plan in place should something bad happen like zombies or other disasters.

My oldest daughter had a nightmare a few weeks ago about a Zombie Apocalypse. The zombies were coming, and she knew she had to leave very soon. She started gathering things she needed and wanted, and time was running out. It was then that she realized that she hadn't packed anything for her infant son, or her sister (who was apparently visiting at the time).  She woke up scared, and decided to pack an emergency bag of supplies for the baby in a surplus diaper bag.

She told me about her Emergency bag, and I told her she should have some sort of general Emergency Kit in the apartment anyways.

It would be prudent of all of us to have some sort of Emergency Kit and Emergency Plan in place as well as our Emergency Fund accounts. Truthfully, having some sort of cash stash in your Emergency kit wouldn't be a bad idea as well. An Emergency Kit should contain water, non-perishable food, clothing, a manual can opener, flashlight and batteries (or a wind-up one), any prescription medications your family may need, extra keys for your house and vehicles, and a copy of your Emergency Plan. I also think that having copies of personal identification for all of your family members would be a good idea.

An Emergency Plan will  help you and your family to identify risks in the area where you live, and designate places outside your home where you could meet up (close by and further away) should disaster strike. It should also contain contact information for people close by and out of town that would be essential in keeping your family safe.

Emergency Preparedness Week was May 1 - 7, 2011. I didn't know that. It would be an ideal time to go over your Plan and go through your Kit to make sure nothing is expired or information is not current.

How prepared are you?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Victoria Day Weekend

It's been very quiet around here so far this weekend, even though we're on call. It's about what I expect though. Usually the first long weekend has most folks on their best behaviour, and aren't quite the risk taking type that we see later on in the summer. Which is fine by me. I can get some things done that are on my gigantic to-do list!

It's 2 o'clock in the afternoon on a glorious Sunday, and I'm making some scented tea light candles for one of my side hustles. My sister is building a business supplying some gift shops with scented products. The shops that she supplies to have a largely tourist base, who want to purchase items made by First Nations peoples. One shop has all manner of aboriginal art and the like, so our scented products fit right in with the theme of the shop.

What scents? Mainly Sweetgrass, Cedar and Sage, which are traditional medicines to Aboriginal peoples, for use to purify, uplift and cleanse the mind, body and spirit.These scents are being used in handmade glycerin soaps, shower gels, body mists, and of course the scented tea light candles.

Our hope is to have some gift sets ready for the upcoming tourist season. At a fair price, a gift set will contain one soap bar, a 3 oz shower gel, a 3 oz body mist, one scented tea light and a hand knit washcloth, each product of the same scent (Sweetgrass, Sage or Cedar). We're hoping to have more orders for these gift sets than we are able to produce in a short period of time. I personally would like to have my own profit from these products to help me eliminate some of the debt we are carrying. How great would that be?

I'm off to go start packaging some tea lights for sale. Let me know if anyone is interested in trying them out.

Have a good Sunday everyone!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Watch The Debt Payoff Page

With some minor issues involved, I was informed by the company with whom I have the large yearly contract, that this years contract will be paid on time, give or take a few days. The minor issues are that they thought my company was not enrolled in the direct deposit program, so it would take a few days with the proverbial 'cheque in the mail'. I quickly corrected my contact person that we have been enrolled in the direct deposit program for several years now, and have been receiving payments from them electronically for some time. I have to get in contact with someone else in another department to confirm this information, so that there is no further delay with the payment.

All of this to say that there will be some significant changes to the Financial Goals and Debt Payoff Pages within the next month or so while we move monies around to pay things off and meet savings goals. It feels so good knowing that this is going through as planned. It won't take us to debt free right away, but it will get us a lot closer to it.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

There was a Full Moon this Week

During my crazy, busy night Tuesday, I managed to see it for a minute or so when it peeked through the clouds. It was big, bright and beautiful. I mentioned it to an employee of one of the hospitals that I do work for, and she said they could tell that it was a full moon without ever having to see it. Even in the records departments, they saw an increase in activity that night. As did I.

I started working around 9:30 Tuesday night, and finally collapsed into bed at 5:30 Wednesday morning. Then I had to get back up with the kids by 7:30 a.m., and be at a settlement conference by 9:30. I did sneak in another hour and a half nap yesterday afternoon. I had a client conference last night, and another one this morning. By the end of the week, I should have earned an additional $600.

The good news is I've already been paid for some of it, and some income earned from past work has already come in. I've set aside money for savings and have made debt payments, given the children their allowances, and ordered hubby's Father's Day gift. As per usual, I am having some dark thoughts about money issues, which is typical for this time of year. If all goes as planned, I should be in a much better, happier, healthier place financially within a couple of weeks. I can do this.

I'll be catching up on reading all your blogs this afternoon. Hope everyone is having a good week so far!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Season, where are you???

Had a very good night last night with family & friends for my daughter's celebration. Dinner was delish, even with my modifications for the folks with tummy issues. My sister did a 'Strawberry Teaching' for everyone. There were lots of giggles at different points of the teaching. I think that olden times, the Strawberry Teaching was  the start of teachings of the birds and bees.

I contacted a lady through a Facebook community/swap page who made a Togepi cake which was fantastic. I wish I had pictures for you, but my camera is crummy. My DD1 took pics though, so next time she's here, I'm abducting her camera card to upload the pics. :)

By the time everyone left, there was no food left! considering I cook enough for a small army, that's a good thing. No leftovers to rot in the fridge for weeks before I eventually throw them out. I want to use up leftovers, I really do. But they usually end up in the trash. I'm slowly learning to use up leftovers, but not having them in the first place is even better.

My only problem was not having local, fresh strawberries for our drink and dessert. With the delay in the growing season, and all the rain and cool weather, I wonder what will become of the local strawberries this year? Will we even get any?

I'll leave you today with these thoughts:

  • buying groceries for the week and the dinner for under $80
  • making scented candles makes the house smell real nice without burning any
  • gearing up to help my sister with her side hustle business
  • children having daily meltdowns
  • worrying about having more bills than money
  • depleting every last bit of savings we had
Have a good Tuesday everyone.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hubby & I spent a glorious weekend away together. We took 2 hour long walks, we shared a soda, we spent time talking and reconnecting. Saturday night we saw George Lopez perform his stand-up routine. My goodness, my belly still hurts from laughing! We spent a night in a luxurious hotel room at Caesar's Windsor (free) and saw George Lopez (also free). We had two meals at the hotel buffet (1 free & 1 only cost $5.00). We played poker, we played slots, losing some money and winning some as well. No big wins I'm afraid, but just enough to put some cash back in our pockets. We had fun.

Today is my DD2's birthday. I remember what a difficult age 12 is. We are having a birthday/honour dinner for her tonight, to celebrate her birthday and her becoming a young woman. Women from our family will be joining us to help celebrate her, and to hear the 'Strawberry Teaching'. Strawberry is a woman's medicine in Aboriginal teachings, used to flush toxins from a woman's body that build up during menses and childbirth/pregnancy.

DD2 has requested 'Indian Tacos' for dinner tonight, so I have much to do in preparation to make the dinner. I have to do some shopping, make chili, fried bread, strawberry drink and make sure the cake that I ordered will get here on time. I ordered a Togepi cake to be made, as she is a huge Pokemon fan.

The thing I am looking forward to most will be the icing fight after dinner is over. It is tradition in our family that the birthday person gets icing wiped on their face, which results in everyone trying to wipe icing on everyone else. Some silly fun for the whole family.

I'm trying to stay as thrifty as I can with this celebration. Wish me luck.

Happy Monday everyone!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Looking for a New Ride

We are on the hunt for a newer vehicle. We'd like to get a 1 year old Dodge Caravan with Stow-N-Go seating. The reason we're looking at a newer vehicle is because our car is likely now going to start costing us more to repair than it will be to purchase (read finance) another one. Hubby has less than 6 months of payments left on the car. I'm not so keen on getting into another car payment right away (my Ford Freestar is paid off) but we may have no real choice.

Prices fluctuate all over the place for the type of vehicle that we are looking for. There are so many variables to look at: price, financing term, interest rate, number of kilometres on the vehicle, etc. If we could get what we want for less than $100 bi-weekly, I'd be ecstatic. I'm not holding my breath though.

The prices between new and used are really not all that different in some cases. However, I know that a $20,000 vehicle new can quickly turn into a $26 k or $30 k vehicle with options and extras. If we buy used at $19,999 there are really no add-ons to make it more expensive.

My preference would be to fix up what we already have, pay off the remaining car loan, and start saving the car payments to put a substantial down payment on another vehicle in a years time. I'm not so sure I can hold back Hubby from buying as soon as possible though. I talked to him about it, and we devised a plan. Or so I thought. Somehow we haven't ended up on the same page. The good news is, Hubby hasn't actually gone out to test drive anything. Yet.

I've decided to tell him that once we've saved up $2000 toward the purchase of a newer vehicle, I won't give him any grief about buying. this way, we'll both be happy. He won't have to wait for an entire year, and I will have felt that we paid for part of the vehicle in cash. I'm hoping it's a compromise he's willing to go for.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spreading Some Link Love

I love sitting at my computer, cruising the Inter web for great blogs, articles, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I know there are gazillions of bloggers out there, posting on all matter of things to do with life, love, money and an abundance of other topics. Sometimes I find some great new (to me) bloggers, and some wonderful posts. I'd like to share a few with you.

Digging Out and Up wrote a blog about Casper The Friendly Busker. I loved this post because of the gems of truth that are written in the post about bloggers and people in general.

David blogs at My Two Bucks. He did a list blog  called The Big List: 1,019 Different Ways To Save Money. I've not read through all the links yet, but I'm likely going to just to see if there is anything there that we haven't hit upon yet. New ideas are like gold to those of us who have been on our Journey for awhile now.

The Path to Frugality  has wife and Mother Martha, reading through "The Tightwad Gazette II" by Amy Dacyczyn, posting some goodies. This link will put you on to the Muffin Primer, as I like to call it. If you are a fan of homemade muffins, bookmark this one, print it out or whatever. It explains how you can make homemade muffins using almost anything you have on hand. The possibilities are endless.

And finally, Organizing Junkie has a great post on how to get started on de-cluttering and organizing. It's called PROCESS steps and helps you to think differently about cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing. I may have to try this!

How about you folks? Found anything new or interesting on the inter web that you would like to share?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Yard Sale Do-Over

I had my plan to go through one or two rooms per week. We boxed up a ton of stuff that is just collecting dust. We were hoping to sell at least $100 worth of junk to add to our sad little Emergency fund and our EEE Account. The sale was slated for May 7th. We were pretty much ready.

I had to go out of town on Friday with my sister to pick up some supplies for new products to be made for her fledgling business. We planned, talked, and worked out numbers for some time on Friday while it rained. It rained and rained. The weather report I heard called for more of the same on Saturday. Figuring the sale would be a no go, and we wouldn't be able to attend the rain date, I focused on other things Friday night. Like staying up late with Hubby to play our fave video game, Borderlands.

My Hubby is such a sweetie. He let me sleep in Saturday morning and got up with Cub. When I finally crawled out of bed at 9:30 (!!) the first thing I noticed was the sunshine! OMG! We could have been at the yard sale selling our junk! We chatted briefly about still going (who were we kidding) and chalked it up to one of those things that just happen.

 While driving later that night, we saw a sign at the church across the road from us. They are having a community yard sale on the 28th of May. Cub and I go to this church every Thursday for playgroup, so I'll ask the secretary then about getting a table for the sale. Maybe we can still sell our junk and make some money this month!

Have a happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful Mom's out there!

I was reading ND Chic's blog and about her mixed feelings on Mother's Day. Boy, can I relate.

For the record, I love my Mom and because she is no longer with us, Mother's Day makes me sad to no longer have her involved in my life. But my relationship with her was rocky at best. Mom was manipulative, had problems with expressing her feelings, usually very selfish in her behaviours, was not very affectionate with her children, and was greedy when it came to money. Everything was always all about her. Whatever her reasons were for having her 9 children, I don't think it was for the same reasons that I had my children. Perhaps it was just the expectation that once you are married, you have children (Mom got married for the first time in the 50's). She had a rough life that partially defined the person she became. In her older years, she mellowed somewhat, became less physically abusive but then her manipulations for her self preservation reached an all-time high.

I don't tell you all this to badmouth my Mom on Mother's Day. I'm telling you this so you might catch a glimpse of my mixed feelings for my Mom. Even though she was sometimes a less than stellar parent, perhaps even a bad one, she was still my Mom, and I love her despite all her faults. Truth be told, I would do almost anything to have her back just for one day. I miss her still. She's been gone almost 9 years, and I still wish I could talk to her one more time.

My mixed feelings then switch to happiness because I should be able to see my kids and my grandson today. It's my DD1's first Mother's Day as a Mommy! We'll also be going to visit with B's grandmother today and we took his mother out for dinner last night. As she said, it may be the last Mother's Day she has with her Mom, so we will be there to be part of the gathering of his large family. I think it will be wonderful to have five generations of family together in one place again. I'm going to try for another of the multi-generation pictures of Great-great grandma, Great-grandma, Grandpa (hubby), our DD1 and our GrandCub. The number of opportunities that we have to take those pictures are slowly reducing, even though we don't want them to.

I'm going to enjoy my morning coffee, and read some blogs. I may even do some knitting today.
Enjoy your Mother's Day everyone!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The First Week of May

Or maybe I should have titled this post "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly".

In the past 7 days our family has experienced:

  • an out of town, day long funeral and reception
  • DD2 had food poisoning
  • then I found critters in her hair
  • only one evening meal made at home this week
  • an opportunity to make some more money, that I had to turn down
  • another opportunity to make some 'snowflakes'
  • bought some not real silver, silver dollars for Cub at the bank
  • paid off one of the debts
  • Hubby got a super low pay cheque
  • which resulted in heading right back into overdraft :(
  • had Hubby take coffee from home every morning this week
  • had Cub ask to sit on the potty, even though he didn't do anything but sit
  • didn't go to the yard sale due to incorrect weather forecasts
  • had only one no spend day since Monday, if you don't count an overdue bill being paid
  • planned out Side Hustle #2 sales so that I can double my CC debt payment this month
*Looking up to Sky-world, Eboo prays: Dear Creator, I know you will not give me more than I can handle. Please know that I am close to my breaking point. This is typical for me this time of year, which I now recognise. But could you please go easy on me for awhile? Thank you and Amen!*

Friday, May 6, 2011

As you know, hubby hurt his back a couple of weeks ago. He didn't work for thirteen days on doctor's orders. He is back to work now, but not having his regular pay cheque for that time will stretch our budget to unimaginable limits. When you're expecting in the neighborhood of $700-$800, and the pay is only $69.00, there isn't much you can do but not spend. We can't spend what we don't have. Unfortunately, that also means that we can't pay bills with it either. He will get WSIB, but who knows when that money will come in?

The garage sale is tomorrow, and I'm sad to report we are still not prepared. We haven't gone through any of the rooms and closets as planned, and now we have less than 24 hours to get it together. I'm thinking it's going to be busy around here tonight, not to mention messy. Hopefully, we can get some stuff out of here and make some money selling our crap.

My sister and I are taking the little guy on a road trip today. She's wanting to purchase some supplies for me to start making some candles that she can supply to the retailers that she already does business with for her handmade soap and soapstone carvings. She thinks that having some sweetgrass, sage and cedar candles will help her expand her business, and I have offered to help. I know nothing about making candles, but I'm willing to learn. Hopefully, I can make a few bucks that I can put toward debt repayment. Snowflakes, here I come!

This morning I'm making fried bread for the ladies who meet at playgroup. Some of us decided to make a snack to bring for everyone to share, and two of my friends asked me to make fried bread, a First Nations treat.

I have a lot on my plate this weekend. I hope to be back tomorrow with another post. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Helping another

A friend of Hubby's from work came over for dinner last week (our treat) and a visit. We talked for some time about issues that they both are having at work, and how the company has declined over the years that they both have worked there.

We started talking about finances. She revealed that she filed bankruptcy about a year ago. She told us of her struggles as a single parent, trying to make ends meet on her lone wage, and the things that she has learned in the past year. Learning how to say no to co-workers when they ask her to join them for after work activities. She learning to live within her means, which I think is the most important lesson for everyone.

We assured her that she is not alone in her struggle, even though our situations are different. We told her of people we've met who have had to do a consumer proposal because their house was going to kill them both financially and physically. We told her our story, and how it seemed that there was an interplanetary conspiracy to break us financially. And how we found our light at the end of the tunnel, Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

Our friend was receptive to ideas that we have learned to be very helpful, and even borrowed a couple of our books, including Debt Free Forever. With a new shift in her thinking, her future can be so much better.

I just found it so interesting that someone would come to us for advice on how to improve the finances. Ha!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Goals

Here are the goals that I want to accomplish this month. I've written them down so I can carry them around with me to help me keep focused.

1. To keep track of every dollar I spend. I would like to include hubby's spending as well, if I can.
2. To sell stuff at yard sale amounting to at least $100.
3. To add $100 to our EEE Account this month.
4. Add $195.27 to our Xmas Account.
5. Budget for DD2's Honour Dinner: $100 to include meal and gifts.

That's it. Just a few simple things that will keep us moving forward, even though I'm feeling like we are not making any progress at all.

I told hubby about how I was feeling with our debt situation, and he pointed out to me, the fact that we have paid off somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 to $40,000 worth of debt since we moved to this apartment. He also pointed out we are in a much better financial place than we were in 2008. As encouragement, he suggested that he will, for one month, not buy Tim Horton's coffee in the morning before work, but instead bring coffee brewed at home. His focus this month will be to beat down his overdraft into total submission. (FYI, that's $1000 dollars worth of debt folks!) The interest and charges on that pesky overdraft alone is costing us hundreds of dollars a year. I can't wait to kick that one to the curb as well.

I'm struggling with all our financial stuff right now, which is quite typical for me around contract renewal/payment time. I'm trying desperately to let go of some this burden (that I'm putting on myself, by the way) that is stressing me out to no end.

Let's hope May goes by quickly, and with few surprises.