Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Month End Report, Part 2

I have so much to say about this month end report, I decided to do it in a separate post.

First....d'you see the difference in our debt from last month?? Almost $8,000!! Now, this is not going to be a monthly occurrence, or anything like that. But it was a good month! I like to think of it as my blizzard month, instead of just a few snowflakes, lol.

Can I get a cheer please? We paid off three, count 'em, three, debts since last report, and one small claims court settlement. All to the tune of about $9,000.00. Holy smokes! I can tell you that certainly has eased the pressure off our cash flow and allowed us to juggle some payments so that we can get our snowball effect started.

$18,994.22 vs. $16,124.93
This month end report also marks an important milestone for us with our finances. As of this month, we have more money in assets (various savings and planned spending accounts) than we have debt. Technically, we could use all of our available money and pay this debt off once and for all.  Of course that would leave us in a very precarious position, because we would have nothing to fall back on to pay for the upcoming bills that will be due in a few months time. We could probably do it, but I'm just not comfortable with it. So for now, it's enough just to know that we could do it.

On my Financial Goals Page, we have made progress on nearly every single line. All that is left to start working on are the 'wish list' type items. A buffer in the bank account and vacations. Items that we will start working on once we have made significant progress on the Emergency Fund and the EEE Account. Our Debts Paid In Full page has been filling up which makes us very happy!

And how are we going to celebrate our successes from this past month? We're going to a house party for Canada Day and buying a barbecue. Grocery shopping is going to be fun this month!

As always, your comments are appreciated.

Month End Report - June 2011

TFSA/ EEE Account $286.24 (up $286.05)
Xmas Fund $1650.02 (up $1574.29)
RRSP Savings Acct. $32.07 ( up $5.00)
Vacations Account $750.06 (up $250.02)
RRSP MF Acct. $1,766.79 (down $13.64)
RESP MF Acct. $1187.93 (up $37.50)
Emergency Fund Acct. $291.10 (up $200.01)
House Fund $75.00 (up $30.00)
Biz Savings/5 Categories $11,615.01 (up $1785.06)
Canada Savings Bonds $1185.00 (up $240.00)
B's Savings Acct. $155.00 (up $100.00)

HBC Card (28.8%): Overpaid, credit of $31.00
Personal Loan: $6055.50, down $240.00
MBNA Card (27.98%): $1,804.78, down $156.59
Capital One Card (19.8%): $3269.54, down $721.13
Overdraft 1: $376.99, up $534.43
Auto Loan: $ 556.36, down $199.46
Tax Owing: $4,061.76, down $370.35
Biz HST: $0
Dental Bill: $0

Our current total Debt owing: $16,124.93

Total Debt owed January 1, 2011: $23,861.01
Difference since January 1, 2011:  $ 7,736.08
Difference since last month:          $ 7,770.78

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Putting My Hands to Good Use

As you may remember from previous posts, I am involved with a local charity called Keeping Kids Warm. I've been helping out when I can for almost a year now, and was recently elected to the position of Newsletter Editor. I have absolutely no idea how to make a newsletter, but my good friend *Google* has been kind and provided me with some step-by-step instructional pages on how to create one.

The charity is hosting Knit Out London, a social gathering for for knitters, crocheters, and other fabric crafters in the Forest City and surrounding areas. It's a fantastic opportunity for some much needed community exposure for the charity and our affiliates to talk to people about our respective works. It's a time to gather ideas, make plans for the coming months, all while working on a current project in a great outdoor setting. This event leads up to the largest event of the year for our charity.

A few weeks later, during the Western Fair, Keeping Kids Warm hosts a booth in the Western Fair Farmer's Market, where we give out apples to children, sell apples by the bag, and apple cider as a source of income for our charitable works. There are also knitted, crocheted, and sewn items available for sale. We also take monetary donations, and recruit new people who want to become part of the charity, either as a knitter, crocheter, sewer or to be more involved in the workings of the charity itself.

I'm currently working a couple of projects for this event. A set of Apple Coasters in plastic canvas, and some knitted dishcloths with and Apple design. I'm hoping to have a small stash available for that week.

Yesterday, I got a call from my sister, who I am in business with making personal care products. She told me she needed some votive candles made in a certain scent. When I asked how many, she told me as many as I can produce. We have a retailer who has many events happening this summer, and wants a supply of our products on hand, as she feels they will be a big seller. This is a total turn around from our conversation of 3 weeks ago, where I understood we were putting a hold on product making for several months. I could have been making this stuff for weeks, had I known.

My resolve is to spend at least an hour per evening, making candles, knitting or stitching on plastic canvas while I watch television with my family. I have many projects that I would like to have completed this summer for both the charity and the business. My hands shall not be idle.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thinking about Cottage Budget

I'm so looking forward to going away for a week in August. We will be spending 7 glorious days in a haven of sun, sand and water. I have to think about the food budget for that week. We have to bring mostly everything with us, so I need to make some sort of list (how I love lists!).

Breakfast x 7 days
Lunch x 7 days
Dinner x 8 days

Hmm...we will have at least 3 adults, 2 tweenagers, 1 toddler and 1 infant to think about who each eat minimally 3 times per day.

List of Foodstuffs to Bring:

  1. Coffee, sugar, cream...I will not survive the week without it.
  2. Cereal, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, bread, hash browns, yogurt, tomatoes, cucumber, cheese....typical breakfast stuff
  3. Bread, lunch meats, cheese slices, condiments, veggies, fruits....lunch will mostly be make your own
  4. Chicken breasts, steaks, hamburgs, hot dogs, pork chops, ground beef, onions, taco fix ins, rice, salad stuff, more veggies, potatoes, buns, applesauce, salt & pepper.....we don't have a BBQ and there is one at the cottage, so I think we'll be using that a lot
  5. Brita water filter jug and individual refillable water bottles.
  6. Booze....we're not big drinkers, but I will have some coolers and beer to have at night.
  7. will want s'mores and chips to munch on occasionally.
  8. Dish soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, t.p., sunscreen, mosquito repellent, & aloe vera for the sunburns

I have a $750 budget for the cottage. $200 will be to pay half of the rental, $250 for food & booze budget, and $300 for entertainment and dinner out 1 night. And ice cream! :)

Jeez....I haven't included gas in there can't probably come out of entertainment cuz I can't for see spending $300 on entertainment. There really isn't that much to do around the cottage.

I've managed to get someone to take over my business for that week, so I can actually relax and enjoy my leisure time for once. I plan on parking my rear end on the beach each and every day for awhile. I'm sure there is at least a million things that I'm not thinking of, but I'll worry about it then.

I have a very busy day ahead of me today. I should get to it.
Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My apologies

I'm so sorry that I haven't been posting as much as I usually do. I've become very busy with life and work, and I only get a limited amount of time on the computer these days. I start writing posts, and have to stop before they are finished, so I don't post them. I'm hoping that later this week, I'll be able to finish them up and get them posted.

Let me leave this for you. I snapped this pic from hubby's work parking lot the other morning. A double rainbow is something I had never seen before. I do hope it shows up in the picture.

Here are some pictures I'd like to share with you also.

I only managed a few pics on Aboriginal Day, but they give you the idea of the beautiful dancing we watched in the park that day.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let me Try to Explain

Wednesday's post had a couple of questions left in the comments section that I should address. I will try to explain our situation as best as I can.

I am self-employed, running my own transportation company that is specific to the funeral industry. I have a contract with a medical company. I think of this contract as my 'main job'. For reasons unknown to me, this contract has always been paid for yearly, in advance. The contract year runs from June 25th of one calendar year, to June 24th of the following calendar year. It is paid in the late spring of every year.

Think of a full-time working persons salary or wage. Example: Joe is a custodial engineer who earns $36,000/yr before taxes; Jill is a administrative assistant who earns $45,000/yr before taxes. This contract would be my 'full-time' job. The company is paid $XX,000 per year. I have to budget for the year, including taxes and the operating costs of the business for an entire year with this money. Instead of giving myself a weekly or bi-weekly wage, I take out the amount we will need to cover our rent for the entire year, along with a few other smaller amounts for other goals. This is set aside in a separate account to use for rent, or, like now, we need to borrow some money for a specific thing (lawyer retainer).

At any given time, I can check the account to see how much is there, and figure out how much rent we have left to pay until May 30 th, when the next contract should be paid.

Rent will cost us $959 x 3 months = $2877
Rent (with increase) $965.71 x 8 months = $7725.68
Total Rent needed: $10,602.68

Account Balance for Rent $8862.00

Shortage of $1,740.68

To answer your question Carla, yes, I have a certain number of  months of rent already set aside, and then continually add to it as money comes in. As it stands right now, I have enough in the account to pay each month's rent until March 30th, 2012. If I were to borrow the $3500 needed for the retainer, I would have enough money in the account to pay rent until November 30th, 2010 ( and more than half of December's rent). then I would have a shortage of $5240.68. I would have to add $873.45 monthly to this account for the next 6 months to cover the shortage.

Clear as mud, yes?

Over the past couple of years, I've learned that we can pare down our expenses on everything else, and live with so much less. Not being able to pay the rent is something I am most certainly NOT comfortable with! If we pay our rent later than 14 days after it is due, the management company files with the Landlord and Tenant Board for a Eviction Hearing, and another $170 gets added to the rent amount for the filing fee. Because I used to be so bad with money, this was almost a monthly expense. We will never be able to save for a down payment if we keep giving our money away like that. that being said, we are so close to having many things paid off that will free up additional funds to add to this account, I think we can swing it.

Good things this week:
- getting bills paid
- opening a bank account for DD2

Not so Good things this week:
- paying bills
- finding a double charged debit transaction on Hubby's account

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Budgeting Day

I finally got paid for the work I did last month on one of my side gigs. Pay total: $718.60. Total hours worked : about 18 hours.

Holy smokes! That's an average of about $39 per hour. Considering there are no source deductions as it is considered trade work, I have to take out money for tax liabilities and my RRSP (which I consider my pension).

Here's my breakdown of what I'm doing with this money:

$140.00 to RRSP
$15.00 to EEE Acct.
$35.00 to Lawyer Savings
$130.00 to Business Savings, for Tax Liability
$200.00 to Shortage in Rent Acct.
$50.00 to Debt Repayment (Credit Card)
$50 cash for Transportation
$95 cash for Life (groceries, pull-ups, etc.)
$3.16 remaining in chequing account
$718.60 Total

This is my newest method of budgeting. I don't have to factor in next month's rent, because the money is already in the savings account for it. I can focus more on things that we want to achieve, like Debt Acceleration and Savings. If I need money that isn't already in the budget, I can 'borrow' from the rent account ( like I will be doing for the Lawyer retainer funds) and repay with every pay cheque I get. I can set a budgeted amount in cash for transportation and groceries, personal care, etc. and when the cash is gone, I stop. No pulling money from bank accounts with debit cards, as that money is already earmarked for something. I save for Tax liabilities as I go along, and by depositing to RRSP, I'm hopefully reducing that tax liability somewhat while saving for future me.

I figure I'm forgetting some things, but they will get implemented into next month's budget as they crop up.

Tell me what you think of this method of budgeting.

Edit: I also managed a $20 parking ticket yesterday during the celebrations. Considering the cost to park downtown, I think it's actually cheaper than parking under City Hall for 6 hours.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice/Aboriginal Day

The first day of summer. This is the day that Aboriginal Day celebrations are being held throughout Canada. There are some celebrations being held here in London, so I may venture down to Victoria Park with Cub for awhile. Today is also my M-I-L's birthday. There are lots of reasons for us to celebrate today, if only the weather will co-operate.

Reason #2186 for having an Emergency Fund: Canada Post strikes/lockouts. I bring this up because I personally know of people who have become financially reliant of their Government of Canada cheques. It's my  understanding that the employees of Canada Post have agreed to continue delivery of these types of cheques, which is good of them. Canada Pension, OAS, GIS, and Child Tax Benefit cheques are still getting to their intended destinations. Employment Insurance Benefit cheques are not on that list.  Most of these agencies have made alternate delivery arrangements for people to pick up their cheques somewhere, but the plans are not without faults. If you live in an area where you go to a box to get your mail, you would have to go to your local Post Office to pick up your cheque.

Having an emergency fund would alleviate some of the trouble surrounding get payments late because of the postal disruption. If you're living so close to the edge that not getting a few hundred dollars in the mail on a certain day, you're in trouble financially speaking. You could use your emergency money to live on for a few days, and when your cheque was finally in your hands, you could deposit it straight back to your E-fund.

I bring this up because twice this past week, I have gotten calls from people who haven't yet gotten their cheques, and needed to 'borrow' some money to float them until they got said cheque. I feel very conflicted by this because I want to help others, yet the Bank of Auntie Eboo closed a long time ago. I don't want my child-relatives to go without because of bad planning on their parents part. Just because I am in a position to be able to help, doesn't mean that I have to help.

So far this month, we are keeping on with payments, and doing the best that we can. Doing my annual numbers for income tax has really opened my eyes to our spending habits. We have lots we want to accomplish still, so keeping our noses to the grindstone will be important.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Where is the sun?

I thought that we were headed into summer, but the sun has decided not to participate. I would really enjoy being out in the sunshine, taking a walk with the little guy or playing at the park.

This past week, I have paid off the outstanding dental bill to the tune of $1300, and we've talked about 'borrowing' some money to pay for the lawyer's retainer fee. By borrowing, I mean borrowing from one of our other funds already in place. We have eleven months worth of rent in one of our accounts already, and that $3500 won't be needed until March, April and May of 2012. It would help me accomplish an outstanding goal of getting the ball rolling on what should be a fairly difficult legal battle (my ex is of the mindset that because I left, I should be entitled to nothing). I've been putting this off for far too long, and I would feel better about setting things in place.

It's an interest free loan to ourselves, and would have to be paid back by the end of February. That's roughly $440 for the next 8 months. I'm not sure how we would work this into the budget, but I'm certain that even if we come relatively close to it, all will be well. We can cut down in other areas, and will have the EEE Account to fall back on as well.

I feel a sense of urgency to do this sooner rather than later, as my ex works at a certain automotive plant which is closing permanently in August. He called this week to ask me to meet him somewhere to look over some paperwork that requires my signature, regarding the plant closure. Signatures would have to be witnessed by a Lawyer or Notary Public anyway, so I'm thinking getting my lawyer to read them over with me, and giving me advice would be appropriate.

Last time he asked me to sign some papers, it was so that he could take equity out of the house that we owned, but was in his name only, so that he could do some improvements prior to putting the house up for sale. Well, he never made the improvements, and he never put the house on the market. I feel he should have given me some of that money, but of course, he disagrees. One of the many things that we have differing opinions on.

However, I'm going to make the call today to see the lawyer, and get it started. I so want to be divorced from that man.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And Again...

So much for having my income tax done on time. I was very pleased with myself when I walked into the tax preparers office having all my annual numbers ready for them. Then they dropped it on me.

Due to last year's implementation of HST, I need to separate all the expenses into two: before HST and after HST. Then I have to calculate what all the expenses were, broken down into categories by month, not including any tax. Ugh. That means I'll be spending another full day with a calculator, some pencils, and trying to not pull all my hair out.

I did some shopping at Food Basics yesterday to stockpile a couple of things that were on sale that we use regularly, coffee being the main one. If hubby continues his new habit of taking home brewed coffee to work with him every morning, I'd like to make sure that we have some available for him. I purchased enough to last us for at least 2 months. I also took advantage of a sale on cereal.

I'm thinking that I should go back to the envelope/jar system now that we have a handle on all the big expenses again. With my little dibs and drabs of payments coming in here and there (that aren't part of the business income), I can budget for expenses and stick to them when the money runs out, thus leaving more in our various savings pots. We have so much to still save for. I am going to try my darnedest to reach all of our financial goals by year end. That will mean some sacrificing and changing the way we do things. I know I'm up for the challenge.

One other thing I realized over the past couple of days, is that I suffer from 'poverty mentality'. I'm not sure why, but I seem to think that we make less money than we actually do. I have this idea in my head that everyone makes more money than me. Perhaps it's because that's the way it's always been, growing up in poverty in my childhood and teen years.  I'll have to think some more about that, see if I can get to the bottom of it.

Well, I'm off to get DD2 to school and take Cub to the care giver's place so I can redo my business expenses. Yay!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Just In time

I had a slip of paper in my mailbox last week, notifying me that I had a parcel waiting for me at a nearby postal outlet.

I wasn't expecting anything, so I didn't rush over to get it. Yesterday, after I picked up DD2 from school, I thought I should drop in and pick up my parcel. Good thing I did it yesterday, because with the lockout today, I'm not sure I could even get it now.

To my surprise, it was a large-ish envelope containing some books.

Some time ago, I entered a giveaway from Darren over at One Year, One Canadian. In order to enter, I had to 'like' a picture of some old Canadian bills on Facebook. Well, Darren emailed me to say that I won the books from the contest.

(I stole the picture of the books from Darren's site.)

Another thing that will get done just in time is my taxes. I spent several hours yesterday compiling all the year long numbers for my business in order to take my info to the tax preparer. June 15th is the deadline for filing taxes for self-employed and businesses, so I'll actually do this one on time for once. The past few years, I have been very late with filing (I'm such a procrastinator) and it has cost me dearly. But no more. From now on, I will do them on time, every year. I fully expect to pay again this year, likely to the tune of about $4500. At least that's what I'm budgeting for. I really have no idea how much it will be from year to year, but at least it's a reasonable guess.

I learned a lot from yesterday's year long expense compilation. Some of the numbers just made me ill, and there are some huge changes going to be made.

Chants to self: "Spend less than you earn. Put 10 per cent of earnings in savings." This is my new mantra!

What have you learned about your spending lately?

Update: I just opened the book Chocolate Wars as I was eager to start reading it, and to my surprise, it was autographed by the author. Thanks again, Darren! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam

I was totally inspired by Kristen over at The Frugal Girl with her post on homemade freezer jam.

The last couple of years, as I have been learning to make things from scratch, I have made a few things that were a bit out of the standard for me. Two years ago, I made Blueberry Freezer Jam. It was good, but it wasn't quite as wonderful as I thought it would be. This year I decided to try Strawberry Freezer Jam.

After school today, I headed to the thriving metropolis of Lambeth. Well, just to the west of Lambeth, to Millar Berry Farms to get the kidlets to help me pick some strawberries. I was saddened to learn that the Pick-Your-Own fruit isn't ready yet, but they did have plenty of ripe delicious berries for sale.

I bought two, 3L baskets of 'imperfect' fruit for $3.00 each, and a six pack of pints for $23.00. We also bought fresh asparagus that was cut less than an hour before we showed up, and some rhubarb stalks.

Stopping at the TSC store on the way back to London (the east side of Lambeth), I bought a case of 12, 500mL canning jars, perfect for jam. I also picked up some liquid pectin. Total: $20.00.

I ended up with 9-500mL jars and 4-8 oz. jars of strawberry freezer jam. I also quartered some berries and bagged them for the freezer, and had some leftovers to slice to add to some vanilla ice cream for dessert.

I figure the total cost of making the jams/bags came to about $53.36.
If I were to purchase the same amounts of commercial jam, bags of frozen berries, and sliced berries, it would have set me back about $62.83.

I still have 3 jars left to fill with something though. I wonder when the raspberries will be ready?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday, Monday

Looking forward to a new week, I have optimism.

I'm optimistic that I will get most of the things on my to-do list accomplished.
I'm optimistic that I will set aside more in savings, and reduce spending.
I'm optimistic that I can "find" the $7500 in my budget that I'm short for the year.

The sun is shining, and nice warm weather will be my guide. I'm hoping to take the kids strawberry picking this afternoon, so I can make some freezer jam and have some plump sweet berries to munch on.

My energy level was fairly low over the weekend, do I'm optimistic that I can up my energy this week and get things done.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Trying to Keep some Balance

This morning, Gail Vaz-Oxlade wrote: "If life is good, say thank you and hang on; bumps ahead. If life sucks, know that it’s all about to change; just hang on."

Most of the time, in my line of work, everything has a feast or famine feel to it. There is either a ton of calls coming in, one after another, or some weeks I'm checking to see if the phone is even working because it hasn't rung in days. Some months, like this one, there is money in such huge amounts in my account while the earlier part of the year, the accounts are almost non-existent. Balance is rare, so I revel in its glory when I achieve it, even if it's only for a few moments.

Saying "NO" to additional work is very difficult to me. It feels wrong. But I cannot spread myself out too thin, because then I am unable to give client families my full attention, which they deserve. When I'm exhausted from so much work, my family suffers, because I'm Zombie Mommy, sitting at the computer, or on the couch, lost in my own thoughts and no energy to be an active participant in their lives.

I'm still learning to balance the money issues we have. Debt repayment is important, but so is living today. I hate feeling so broke in the winter months and early spring. Making sure that money is tucked away for the payments we will have 9 months from now is important to me. I still have leftovers from my old life, where I think, "There will always be money, so you can spend away". Mortgaging my future isn't going to help. I know this know. Putting theory into practice is the hard part.

I read a post yesterday whose title sums is up quite nicely. Saving $$ is not for the lazy.

Hope you all have a great Friday everyone.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2 Pounds turned into 10

Last month, I posted about wanting to lose 2 pounds. That would put me under the 180 pound mark.

So when I weighed myself yesterday, I was surprised to see that I now weigh 190 pounds. God, I wish I could stop this weight gain stuff!

I haven't gotten much exercise in, but I have increased the amount of fruits and veggies in my diet. Of course, I'm eating more now that my hernia has settled down again.

Must make time to increase my movement/exercising.

Sorry for the short post today, but I have a really long list of things to do and no car to do them with. Makes for an interesting day.

I'll be back tomorrow with another, longer post.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Debt Reduction Program - Part 1

If you Google the words "debt reduction", you're going to get back about 11 million results.

That tells me that: 1) There are lots of people writing about debt reduction  and
2) There are lots of people struggling with their debt.

Part of becoming a financially healthy family is to consider a debt reduction program, or just getting your debt paid down.

You don't need fancy spreadsheets, or pay a company to make a debt reduction plan. All you really need is some paper, a pencil and eraser, a calculator and some motivation to put your plan together.

First of all, you need to know where you are. Be honest with yourself. Get all your statements together, and write down all that you owe to companies or people. It all counts. Steel yourself, because the number may be much larger than you expected. Be sure to write down the minimum payments that are due, and the rate of interest you are paying for each debt.

On another sheet, write down all the money that is coming in, from all sources. Include your pay cheques, your child tax credit, Gst/Hst rebates from the government, everything. Adding this all up will let you know what you have to work with.

On a third sheet, you need to write down what you pay out for rent or mortgage, utilities, cable, cellphone bill, gas and oil changes for your car, insurances, and everything else you can think of. Don't forget to include occasional expenses like programs and expenditures for your kids school or extracurricular activities. This is also where you write down gift expenses for birthdays and the amount you typically spend for Christmas. Include savings amounts for retirement, post-secondary education and your emergency fund as well.

Start out with an annual number. If your annual after tax income is not enough to meet your obligations, you're in trouble financially speaking.

When we did this exercise, we were shocked at the amount of money we owed. Especially to credit card companies. The worst part was, we couldn't even remember what we 'spent' all that money on!

If you haven't already done this exercise, I urge you to do it this week. Make a commitment to yourself that you will set aside an amount of time every day to get your financial house back in order.

You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Confession Time

Last week, I was bad. Really, really bad. Like in the 'money will always come in so who cares what we spend it on' kind of bad.

I didn't cook one meal at home last week. We went to a casino. We pampered ourselves with a mani & pedi for hubby, and a half leg wax & pedi for me. I bought undergarments from the Gap. We bought a new GPS to replace the one that got stolen. We went for ice cream with the kids, just because. I bought Ice Caps for the grown ups and smoothies for the kiddies one day. To the tune of $15.00!!

My bank account is crying from all the bleeding it's been doing.

But now it's over. We're back to our normal, frugal-ish ways. Last week, I was fortunate to have next to no work to do, so I spent time with my family. And we spent money. Lots of it.

This week is going to be about getting things semi-organized and prepared for submitting my income tax. I have to work a couple of days this week also. Then there is the yard sale to prepare for. My office area is in need of a good cleaning, to get all the piles of papers filed where they belong.

I don't regret spending on any particular item that I did (well, maybe the casino). I have my excuses explanations for each one. But you don't want to hear any of it, do you?

Yes, I spent a lot of money, but during the same week I put over $8000 into various planned spending and long-term savings pots, as well as almost $7000 paid toward various debts. I didn't spend anywhere near as much on frivolous things as I put toward our goals.

I'm putting my nose to the grindstone again. $709 to go on the Emergency Fund and $3500 for the lawyer retainer. I will do this.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday, June 6th

Third time is the charm!

Setting up for the yard sale, again. No joke. It's for realz this time.

The management company for our apartment buildings have decided to host another yard sale this year. It's going to cost us $5 for the 'table' even though they aren't providing an actual table. Once again, I will haul all our junk into the van, drive around the corner to the adjacent building's parking lot, and set up shop on June 25th. (note to self: borrow a folding table)

Whatever leaves this house will not come back in, save for a few things like my folding lawn chairs and my cart. Those are not for sale, but will be needed for hauling all the junk.

In the meantime, I'm stashing small bills and coins like a crazy woman, so I won't have to make a trip to the bank for change for the sale. It's money that we're pulling out of our cash flow, but cleverly disguised. After the sale ALL the money will get deposited to the savings account, so we are already 'saving' by pulling change out of our cash flow.

I'm actually looking forward to selling off a bunch of unneeded stuff and give us some breathing room around here. Our little apartment always looks cluttered, and hopefully we'll relieve some pressure by getting rid of some of it.

Maybe I'll let DD2 sell some water or pop or juice boxes that day too so she can make some money as well.
I'm hoping to be able to pick up a few clothing items for the kids at rock-bottom prices, as a bit of a clothing stockpile for the coming seasons. I'm always on the lookout for cast iron cookware. Other than that, I won't really be buying anything. I hope.

Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm Really NOT Ignoring Everyone

Here's a bit of a mishmash of things I wanted to blog about. A bunch of little things to make one whole post. :)

I'm having issues with Blogger not allowing me to comment on some other blogs. I don't understand it at all. I can comment on one blog I read regularly, and not on others. It's annoying and bothersome.

Sarah and Jenny: I am reading your blog every day, but cannot comment at all for some reason. Please know that I am still here cheering you on from the sidelines.

I bought a camera. It's a Kodak EasyShare C182. It's digital and very easy to use. Maybe one day I'll be grown-up enough to handle a real camera, lol! I got it at Shopper's Drug Mart for $139.99. It wasn't even on sale! *gasp* The day I bought it, they were having a 20X the points event. Purchase of camera and corresponding memory card equalled an additional 21,000 points on my Optimum card. I'm so close to the $60 in free stuff, I can almost taste it!

Here's a little picture I took.

I found this bottle of laundry detergent at my local No Frills for $3.47. With my new found Extreme Couponing skills, and a $3.00 off coupon, I got this baby for only 47 cents!!! Combined with other coupons for other products, I shaved $5.75 off my grocery bill that day. I'm not likely to get on that crazy show anytime soon, but I'm reducing my spending when and where I can.

Have you seen the changes on my Financial Goals Page?  Out of our 21 goals, we have made movement or progress on 14 of them. From this point on, we are looking to have the $1000 Emergency fund in Hubby's account, wipe out hubby's overdraft and build a positive balance in that account, and build up a separate fund for the lawyer's retainer. I'm going to hold these funds in the Xmas Fund account, which already has enough money in it.

When we started out on this journey some years ago, I was the one doing all the numbers and making all the decisions. Hubby eventually came around and started helping work toward the big goal of becoming debt free. He is now on board completely and totally! I still run all the numbers, because it's easier for me to do, but we're talking about all aspects of our finances and working toward common goals.

We are going to try to have the retainer fee by the end of August. $3500 in 85 days. Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

House Envy

Hubby and I sat down and talked a bit about my house envy last night. At the outset, I told him that it wasn't something I wanted right this minute, but buying a home is on my radar. I know we are still years away from it, but it doesn't stop me from dreaming.

My friend is in the process of putting her condo up for sale, and buying a detached or semi-detached home. Her condo would be almost perfect for us. Not too big, not too small. The price is right. It has central air. Because of the location of it, my children would get bussed to school. We could afford the monthly costs of mortgage, insurance, condo fees, utilities and taxes. What we don't have is a down payment. Or much of one anyway.

Hubby mentioned he really would like our own backyard to sit in, and watch our Cub play, while we drank iced tea at our patio set. We sat and shared the dream for a few minutes. Then we talked reality, and numbers. We set a magic number.

Our magic number is $20,000. Eighteen of it would be a down payment, and the other $2000 would be for the things that will inevitably pop up. We're giving ourselves time. Seeing as his CSB's aren't earmarked for anything, and are serving as a sort of Emergency fund right now, this will become part of our down payment fund when the account earmarked for for emergencies hits $1000.

Only $19,000 to go, give or take $5 or $10.

As our debts get paid off, portions of payments will get rolled into the House Fund. Hopefully, we can own our own little piece of grass someday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hubby did it!! and some June Goals

Back on May 3rd, I wrote a wee bit about Hubby's willingness to fogo his Timmy's coffee every morning, in order to help  put our finances back to rights. In doing so, he wanted to beat down his overdraft.
I'm happy to announce, that during the entire month of May, Hubby only purchased coffee from Timmy's ONCE!
He used to spend $3.72 for two  Extra Large coffees every single morning that he worked. Buy not buying them this month, he reduced his spending by $78.12. If he were to reduce his spending only on this particular item, over the course of a year, it would free up over $900 in his cash flow. He did say that it excited him to hear that if he can keep a lid on his spending, the coffee allotment alone can wipe out his overdraft. He also said that he can't promise to not buy coffee at all, but he would be bringing coffee from home as a habit. Buying it will now be a treat.
It's not gonna happen, but a girl can dream, right?

I had 5 goals for May, and I failed all of them except one. I managed to host my daughter's birthday/honour dinner for $100.

My goals for June are as follows:

1. Call Bell Mobility and lower cellphone bill however possible. See if we have enough credit to get newer phones for our plan.

2. Build Emergency fund to $1000. Again.

That's it. I'm aiming some something simpler than I usually aim for. If I can focus on one thing, I seem to do better with goals. Having an emergency fund is important to my financial well being. I'll be giving attention to everything else this week, so my focus this month will be to rebuild the Emergency Fund.