Friday, December 30, 2011

Are You Talking To Me?

" You cannot save $10,000 until you have $1,000. You cannot save $1,000 until you save $100. You cannot save $100 until you save $10. Getting from where you are now to where you want to be requires that you do something differently. Do you have the guts to change?" - Gail Vaz - Oxlade

I was flipping through Debt Free Forever to find the answer to a question posed by Sam. In just reading a couple of paragraphs, I was amazed at the amount of inspiration I was getting by reading just a wee little bit. I always hear her voice in my head when I'm reading something she has written, so that part didn't surprise me.

What did surprise me was that it felt like an epiphany. Gail was reaching through the internet, via Sam's question, that made me grab her book so she could speak directly to me.

And I hear you loud and clear, Gail!

In two days time, I will begin a new chapter of my Life Journey, that starts with some of my most ambitious savings and financials goals of my life. (See page entitled 2012 financial Goals.) To truly focus on putting together all the skills I have acquired in the past couple of years, and to focus on attaining my goals. To have some money to retire on one day. To have some money to give my kids when they venture off to college. To find some balance in my life, financial and otherwise.

Here's to the first $1 of the first $10 of the first $100 of the second $1,000 of my first $10,000. Here's to taking control of my money and my life.

My Focus in 2012: Living Within Our Means

Gail posted a great article found here that can help you determine if you are living within your means. Some of her benchmarks are as follows:
  • Are you saving 10% of your net income?
  • Are the balances on your credit cards or lines of credit rising?
  • Are you missing payments on bills?
  • Are you taking cash advances on your credit cards?
I know what my answers are to these questions, and it ain't pretty. We still have two cancelled credit cards with balances that we are paying down. Then there is the enormous tax bill I owe to Revenue Canada. That pesky overdraft has got to stop also.

For the most part, I'd like to think that we live within our means, but when gauged by someone else's measuring stick, maybe not so much. So I think what I need to do is to define 'Living Within Our Means' for our family. You know, the personal in personal finance.

I've set some financial goals for 2012. I would love to be completely out of debt in the next 12 months, but that is highly unlikely. I'd love to have saved up enough to buy a newer used vehicle, and to take my family to Disney World next winter, but I'm pretty sure that's out of reach too. Maybe if I can just make through to next Christmas with having put some money in my RRSP and being able to keep current on our bills, that will have made me feel like I've accomplished something.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Catch Up Time

The last four days have been busy, busy, busy! I've worked (BOO!)  three of the last four days. Hubby gave me a break and worked on Christmas Day so I wouldn't miss out on any family time. Things have been good though. I'm feeling much better than I did last week, when the doctor at the walk-in clinic put me on antibiotics. I swear I have been reading all the blogs that I normally do, just not enough time to comment. I promise I am still around though.

On Christmas Day, we were at Gramma's house, when DD1's bf and my nephew were opening their gifts. Which were 'the' gifts. With the 'giftwrapping from hell' as DD2 likes to call it. The present for "Bad Guy" was wrapped several times, then totally enclosed in packing tape, with no seams exposed. The gift for Nephew was a little less intensely wrapped, but only a little. DD1 timed them to see how long it took them to get to the gift inside. Laughter ensued, and both guys made it happen in under four minutes. A new family record! (Or maybe I'm not trying hard enough!) They both told me after that it's now a tradition that they look forward too, so they can get to their new socks. So I will continue, but get more creative with the wrapping. :)

I'm trying to get some goal setting under way, but I'm not finding the quiet time I need to do so. I know that most of our financial goals for the coming year are going to focus more on security: emergency fund, Essential Expenses and RRSPs. The 'plan' on how this will be done is coming up in a future post, I promise!

Some members of Hubby's family are doing a 'Biggest Loser' type challenge starting January 1st. The winner will be determined by whoever loses the largest percentage of body weight over a given period. I am thinking of joining in. I still want to have lost 40 pounds by my 40th birthday, which may be a real challenge seeing as I still weigh what I did 10 months ago. Maybe this will be an incentive for me, as the competitive side in me will emerge.

I've thought a lot about the "Sealed Pot Challenge" that others are taking part in. I want to do this also, but of course, I'm late to the party, as usual. I have some plastic canvas, so I am going to fashion my own box with a slit in it somewhere so I can put money in. All the sides, top and bottom will be sewn together, so I will have to cut the yarn holding it together in order to get money out of it. I don't know that I can do a whole year of it, but I sure will try. I'd like to use the money next December to purchase meat to fill the freezer. I know the idea is to treat yourself with the money, but that will be a huge treat for me AND my family.

I've spent some time this week getting business files for 2012 set up and ready to go. I'm implementing a new system for myself to use so that I can keep better track of invoicing. It's gotten a bit out of hand, and I need to figure it out somehow. I hoping that my new system will eliminate the problem

Tonight, I'm hoping to head out to sing some karaoke with hubby and some friends. I'm determined to keep my personal spending for tonight under $20. Cross your fingers for me, will you? ;)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Putting it all away

Today will find me trying to find a place for all the new stuff that we've acquired for Christmas.

Yesterday was lovely, with watching the kids open their gifts, and then spending the afternoon with family. I drove a lot yesterday, chauffeuring DD1, bf and Grandcub from place to place. The bf's family has been my second family since I was a teen, so I was welcomed to join in with their celebrations yesterday evening.

I found that of all the gifts we gave to folks, the ones that seemed the most appreciated were the handmade ones (thanks for your help, Carla!) Grandma's hand knitted reusable swiffer cloths for her brand spanking new XL swiffer were a hit. Bf's family loved the scented body sprays, bath salts and soaps. It gave me renewed hope that I will be able to make more and buy less for gifts next year.

Last night, we were utterly exhausted when we went to bed. It was the best night's sleep I've had in years because of the gift from Grandma. She gave us a 3 inch memory gel foam mattress topper. Sleeping on it was like sleeping on a cloud, heavenly!

I also got a new Stephen King book (this is like a tradition for us), socks, chocolates, a huge book about the Holocaust, more books from my girls, jammies, a nice shirt, TNA sweatpants and tights. As a family we got some video games and movies, and DD2 even got all 4 seasons of Big Bang Theory on dvd. Cub received more toys than he will ever know what to do with, and vhs tapes of the older version of Blues Clues, which he loves. Grandcub was just plain spoiled, although he wasn't too interested in opening any more gifts after about the third one.

We had a wonderful day filled with lots of together family time and plenty of good food. I know I am going to enjoy the memories that we made. Now to put all the stuff away.

I hope you all had a fabulous day yesterday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our Christmas Plan

Holidays get busier every year so it seems. It's a feat to organise and plan for the happiness and merriment but I guess that's what us Moms do. I have to orchestrate for the 4 of us in our home, plus the other 4 who live in DD1's house.

Christmas Eve: We will spend time in the evening with Hubby's family. DD2 will be going out of town with her Dad. Not sure yet if DD1 will accompany them or not. Arrange to pick or to have DD2 picked up before we go home.Then sometime around 11:00 p.m., we will be frantically trying to get all the gifts under/around the tree area and get the stockings stuffed.

Christmas Day: Wake up. Make coffee. Watch Cub's head spin off when he sees the tree lit up with all the presents under it. Convince DD2 that she can make it to everywhere she needs to be. Call DD1 to let them know we are coming. Get dressed, drive across town, pick up DD1, the bf, Grandcub and nephew and drive all the way back to our place. Open more gifts. Pack all family into two cars and drive 6 blocks to Gramma's house. Open more gifts. Have breakfast. Drive DD2 (and possibly DD1 and grandcub) another 4 blocks to ex's house.Go back to gramma's where dinner will be at some point that day. Also knowing that I am on call the whole holidays adds to my sense of excitement. At some point, drive DD1 and her crew over to the bfs sister's house ( and then possibly to take them home as well). Go home. Sleep like the dead.

Boxing Day: It's Hubby's birthday. The plan for this day is to sit around all day playing video games, napping, reading or whatever strikes our fancy. I think there may be some drinking involved for hubby. We will munch on whatever is in the house, with no real meals planned.

Following those days I will still have to plan some things for New Year's Day. As is tradition in my family, I will be making doughnuts and cookies, maybe some banana bread too, for guests to eat when they come to visit. This year I will be teaching a 3rd cousin of mine how to make her great-grandmother's recipe. My mother passed this recipe down, and apparently I am the only one who managed to keep it. So, I'm sharing it with any family member who wants it. :)

Grandcub's first birthday and big-gramma's 92nd birthday are the same day, which is also coming up on the 4th of January. By the time that is over, I figure I will be all celebrated out.

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May your hearts and homes be filled with happiness and peace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 more sleeps!

Well, this wee little blog has amassed 30 followers. AND, it's made $20 so far from you kind folks reading it (and the occasional click on an advertisement). I'm getting closer to that $100 payment threshold everyday, lol!

This morning I am assisting a family with transportation to the Western Fair District so that they can get their Christmas Hamper from Salvation Army. The first day of the program, the news report said that some folks were in line up to 4 hours before they received their hamper. I hope the wait is not as long today.

This afternoon, I will be driving to Windsor and back for work. I always feel sad for families who lose someone this time of year. I know how difficult it is to be missing a loved one during the holidays, and to lose one during the holidays must be especially difficult. If you are missing someone this year, my thoughts and prayers go out to you. May you find peace.

I spent most of Sunday night and Monday morning baking cookies. That's one more thing off my to-do list! I still have to make a batch of homemade Irish Cream, but that won't take too long. I have the ingredients already and as long as I don't taste test it too much, all should be good. I still have a batch of PB cookies to make as well.

Well, I'm off and running.
Have a great day!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

We finally put up our Christmas Tree today.
No, this is not it.
This tree is from the home of Greg Horn, a Marvel comics artist.
But if Hubby would let me, this is pretty much what our tree would look like.
To see how it looks when it isn't lit up, pop over to Bleeding Cool and look at all the pics.

Tonight I'm making baked chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner. After dinner I plan on tackling a shortbread cookie recipe and peanut butter cookies.

I just finished "Knit, Purl, Die" by Anne Canadeo. It's part of a series of mysteries. I wasn't all that excited about it, but there were some shared recipes and knitting patterns at the end.

Listening to...
Hubby and DD2 playing Bioshock. Hopefully I can get the t.v. from them later so I can play a video game.

Looking forward to this week...
Christmas Eve with family. This week should turn out to be full of visiting with family and friends.

Happy you accomplished this weekend...
Getting our tree up. This year Cub is starting to 'get' the Christmas idea, along with Santa. I can't wait to see his face Christmas morning!

How was your weekend? Link up with Carla and myself so I can read your chit-chat! :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Stuff

I got my Bloggy Secret Santa gift in the mail last week, and didn't have a chance to blog about it.
My gift box came from Kitchener, so I suspect I know who sent.  ;)  However, they didn't sign their name, just signed it from Bloggy Secret Santa.

I wasn't home when Canada Post tried to deliver it, so it went to the nearest postal outlet, which is only a block away. I picked it up on Sunday, eager to see what was inside. There was a card, one beautiful hand knitted dishcloth, a pair of fuzzy socks, a paperback novel, and some Lindt chocolates. I'm waiting until I have some downtime around here to dive into the novel (I'll likely read it all in one sitting anyway). Thank you Secret Santa for the wonderful gifts. It was a lot of fun to get something just for me in the mail that wasn't another bill. :)

The Bloggy Secret Santa gift I was sending out is going to another province, so I had to make sure it was out on the 12th to ensure delivery before Christmas. I reused a Christmas box and filled it with a number of things that the recipient would like, most of them being handmade, but not all by me. I do hope my recipient posts when she gets her stuff. :)

Last night, we had dinner out with Gramma, and then headed back to her place for a visit. She's working lots lately, so we haven't been able to spend too much time with her. While there, I discovered that one of the things that's been bothering my tummy lately is eggnog. I'd been trying to figure out why I've been having so many tummy troubles and have been taking note of the things I'm eating and drinking. Eggnog is one of the culprits I think. Which is too bad, cuz I do like to have a rum & eggnog during the season. I think I'll have to switch to something a little more tummy friendly for me.

As soon as we walked into Gramma's last night, I noticed something different about her Christmas tree and the decorations. I said something about it looking like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Then she told me what happened. She had spent the better part of a half a day setting up her tree and decorating it like usual. While putting away the boxes when she was done, she heard a crash from the other room. One of the legs on her tree stand had broken (it was quite old) and the whole tree came crashing down. There was a huge mess. Most of the ornaments had broken. I mention this because her ornaments had been given to her from her grandmother and mother-in-law. Hand painted, impression glass ornaments, some of which had come from Holland two generations ago. Very old ornaments. Some survived the tree incident, but not many. She was so sad about this. These are things she can never replace.

She did show me a handmade ornament that survives, partially because of it's materials, that was given to her that once belonged to her mother's grandmother. Two pipe cleaner Santas with wooden bead heads and beards. They came to Canada with her mother in the 1950s I think. It was interesting to hear her talk about the ornaments and how old they all were while she pointed out her favourites.

I gotta run. Work calls. :(

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My RRSP Strategy for 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was looking at the idea of a RRSP Catch up Loan to assist me with some tax benefits. I received a comment that they were a very, very bad idea. I'm not one to jump to conclusions, so I took this under advisement and did some research. Of course, I turned to Gail's blog.

Borrowing more money while you still have debt is never a good idea. Borrowing money to invest for the long term has some benefits, but not enough for me to consider it at this point.

Borrowing to contribute to an RRSP only makes sense if you’re in the highest tax bracket AND you can pay off the loan within one year WHILE making monthly contributions to your current year’s RRSP. ~ Gail
So what's a gal to do? I get that borrowing the twenty something thousand dollars in contribution room I have available is not really an option for. Sure, I could borrow it and pay it back within a year, but my cash flow will take a huge hit, and I just can't live like that, nor can I expect my family to.

Taking on too much debt for the sake of some other objective is a sure way to mess up your cash flow and rob you of sleep. ~ Gail
I value my sleep too much. I don't do enough of it as it is. The sense of peace I have knowing that I am doing the best I can financially is not something I'm willing to give up either.
The most important part of my financial well being is to find balance. Saving for the long term takes time and discipline. Time I have. Discipline, not so much. But I'm getting better.
If you want to catch up your RRSP unused contribution room, trim back on your expenses or make enough extra money to sock away what you want. Don’t borrow it. ~ Gail
Oddly enough, I can hear her voice saying this directly to me. It's like she's right here in the room with me, telling me not to be a dummy, and that there is a better way to do this.
On Gail's advice, I will not be taking out an RRSP loan, catch-up or otherwise. My goal for 2012 will be to put $2500 into my RRSP, or $208 per month. That's the maximum amount of loan repayment monthly that I would be comfortable making. OK, maybe a little outside my comfort zone, but whatever. If for some crazy reason I am unable to make that 'loan' payment in a given month, my credit history won't go to hell in a hand basket and I won't be getting any nasty phone calls from the bank. It would mean that I would just have to deposit that much more the following month. I'll have no interest costs with this method, and all my money will be working for me right from the get go.
I feel like I'm behind the eight ball with my retirement contributions. I may very well be. But if I don't start somewhere, I will never be able to retire, and that is just not an option. With how much I've contributed to CPP as a self-employed person, and no pension to speak of, when I'm 65, I'll be eligible for about $32 per month. Lol!

Aim to set aside 10% of your net income every year until you retire. ~ Gail
The thing with RRSPs is that they market them to make you feel like you aren't contributing enough, and that without the help of financial institutions, you have no hope in hell of ever accumulating the astronomical cash projections that they say you need to have. This puts people in one of two mindsets. They either fall for the hype and take out 20 year RRSP loans without ever really getting ahead, or they give up hope of ever retiring comfortably, and choose to ignore the situation.
I'm choosing neither. I will forge my own path, by making contributions on my own schedule that will take into account that my income fluctuates greatly. I have goal number in mind for 2012, and I will make sure I hit that goal at all costs. I'm working on all our financial goals for 2012, so adding this in will be another part of the budgeting process for us.
What's your retirement savings strategy? Do you have RRSPs or have you ever used a RRSP catch up loan? I'd love to hear about your experiences with this.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I'm Done!

Well, the shopping portion of it anyway. I got the last of the stocking stuffers and a couple of things for hubby's birthday. I even got the birthday cards for both hubby and grandcub. It's finished!

Yesterday I sent out the Bloggy Secret Santa gift. I'm sorry you had to wait, but there was something specific I was waiting to find, and I finally did.

Tonight, Cub & I will be painting his gifts for gramma, big sis, daycare provider, little sis, and Bad Guy (that's what he calls Big Sis' bf).

Also, I will be making the gifties to give out to the charity board members. I just need to put them together and wrap them.

I gotta dig through my yarn stash because I finally figured out what to give Cub. If I have a big enough skein of blue or red yarn, I'm going to knit him a superhero cape! I figured out how I could do it without have to tie it and he could pull on and off by himself. He is constantly asking someone to tuck a t-shirt into the neckband of whatever shirt he is wearing to make a cape. Sometimes it's a dishtowel he uses. I figure, heck, he should have his very own superhero cape. Hopefully, I can get it done in the limited number of days I have left to knit!

I did take a special trip last night to hear Taylor and her Corps play in white Oaks Malls. They were very good, and I got a chance to meet Taylor. :)

I won't be going back to the mall anytime soon. I'm just thankful I got it all finished.
Now where did I put the tape I bought ??

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm Grateful for My Friends

The Liebster Award is a way to give some love to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
I am fortunate enough to have been given this honour twice now. Thanks to fellow bloggers at The Quest to be Financially Abundant and It's Me, Sam for giving me this award.

There are rules to receiving and accepting this award.

The Rules:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and Paste the Award to your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the word and love to other bloggers.
5. Have Fun!!

With that said, here are my top five picks:

1. We May Be Poor, But We Are Happy : Judy blogs about her money and her sometimes hectic life. A sandwich generation gal who has a lot going on. I love checking in with her daily to see what shenanigans she's up to.

2. Digging Out and Up : Cassie blogs about her budget challenges and life in general. I love the tone of her posts, and I'm sure you'll enjoy them too.

3. Slay The Monster : B-Kat is slaying her mortgage and showing her progress to the world! It's been great to watch her progress. I'm so looking forward to reading this one through to the end.

4. A True Undertaking : My friend writes this blog anonymously, but I do know her in real life. She's a jack of all trades kind of gal, with big ambitions and a new baby daughter. She honest and caring, and I love all that she writes about.

5. Debt can kiss off! : Taylor is a new-ish blogger (7 months and counting) and blogs about beating down her debt and her and the hubby live their dreams.

I realised while making this blog that some of my favourites have already gotten the Liebster award from another blogger, so I made sure to include some blogs that I love that haven't already gotten one.  I also realised that most of my favourite bloggers are women. I look forward to reading these (and many other) blogs every single day. Even if the posts aren't that frequent. :)

Over the last year, I've come to feel friendship from the blogging community. I've been involved in a couple of swaps, and have had personal emails from a few bloggers as well. I know there are folks in the world who would say that online friendships aren't true friendships, but I would disagree. Some of you reading this blog know more about me as a person than some of my own family. I value the friendships I have made this past couple of years, and I want you all to know I'm glad to have met you all.

Do me a favour, and check out the blogs I have nominated for this award, and spread the love.

Thanks again to It's Me, Sam and Finding My Way for your nominations. I'm grateful for your friendships.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Night Chit Chat

Linking up with Carla over at My Half Dozen Daily for some Sunday Night Chit Chat. This is my first time, so I hope I do it ok.

Mittens. Something that is prominent on my mind today. Knitting them, getting them, donating them to those in need. Keeping Kids Warm was contacted by a First Nation up north who are looking for hats, mitts and scarves for the children of their community. I am one of several people who are trying to gather as many items as possible to give to these folks.

Cooking/Baking…I spent the day working at The Met so I popped a store bought pizza in the oven for dinner. However, I did make Creamy Potato Soup in the crock pot this week.

Watching/Reading… I'm hoping to catch Stephen King's Bag of Bones on t.v tonight. Hopefully, I can do some knitting while it's on.

Listening To… The Big Bang Theory is on the t.v. while I'm writing this post.

Looking Forward to this week… Getting the stoopid  artificial Christmas tree up. A girl can hope, right?

Happy You Accomplished this Weekend… I got some nicey nice things for my Bloggy Secret Santa recipient. I hope she likes them, cuz I know I love what I got from my Secret Santa! Also glad that we held my Uncle's 75th Birthday party yesterday. He is the last of his sibling group, and we wanted as many family to show up as possible. Here's to another 20 years of a great life lived Uncle!

How has your weekend been?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Are some of the old things coming back?

Last week, while I was at knitting class, two young ladies joined who were just learning to knit. I was trying to teach one of them how to cast stitches on by herself, and the other gal was practicing knit stitches. It was nice to see some younger ladies taking an interest in the craft.

During the evening, the group was talking about skills they have learned: knitting, crocheting, sewing, baking, canning, etc. One of the group remarked that the 'old' ways are coming back into fashion. That got me to thinking.

Since the recession of 2008, the world has changed. My world definitely has. I will never be the person that I once was, who spent money on a 'thing' without thinking of how it fit into the bigger picture for us, aka our budget. I will never again go grocery shopping without a list and using sales to stockpile certain items. I know that I must put away money for my future, should I ever want to retire. I am no longer afraid to try new recipes in the kitchen, because I have learned that any homemade meal is less expensive than eating at a restaurant, even if it is steak and lobster. I make and can jam and apple butter, I can make bread, and I will always have the ability to make do with what I have in nearly any situation.

People in large numbers, are showing an interest in learning skills that were the norm for our grandparents. Have you been learning some 'old' ways to keep your family going, or have you been doing those things all along?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

And it begins

The industry I work in has seasonal fluctuations. During the winter months, we tend to be more busy for various reasons. I find I'm doing a lot of travelling around SW Ontario, and that suits me just fine.

I love to drive and just listen to whatever radio station I can get from whatever area I am in. Today I will be heading to Exeter, ON and this afternoon I will be driving to and from Windsor.

This is the beginning of the busy season for me. Hopefully, I can make the time to do everything I need to do over the next few weeks.

If posts get sparse around here, you will know why. ;)

I'll be reading all your blogs when I get the chance.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The $100 Challenge, The Second Year

Last year, Hubby & I participated in the $100 Challenge. Don't know what that is? Read the Story that started it all here.  Basically, Andrew, a Londoner, gave a man in need $100. And felt good about it. It got him thinking about how such an amount could do some good for another human being.

I wrote about the $100 Challenge last year, found here. What I didn't tell anyone really was some of the follow-up to what happened that day.

Last year, Keeping Kids Warm collected gently used coats and clothing for those in need. After our giveaway of well over $100 worth of coffee and cookies, the clothing items were gathered and dropped off at various agencies so that folks who needed them could get access to them. At one of the places, a man asked one of the volunteers if we had any dress shirts as he had a job interview the following Monday.

With donated money, and some of her own, that volunteer drove the man to a thrift store, and let him pick out a dress shirt, pants and shoes so that he would look presentable for his interview. He was truly grateful, and it made the volunteer feel wonderful to help someone who truly needed a hand up.

Well, the man in this tale got the job he interviewed for. The agency has since told us that he is now doing well, has an apartment of his own, and has become a volunteer to help others who were once where he was. When he speaks of the events that helped him turn his life around, he always starts the story with a lady who was dropping off coats and how kind she was to him.

It doesn't take $100 to help another fellow Londoner, but imagine what we all could accomplish if we just try to make a little corner of the world a better place?

I urge you to join dozens of other Londoners and give a little something to someone else. You don't even have to be in London! The $100 Challenge has people registered as far away as Australia who will be taking part on Saturday, December 3, 2011.

If you have $100 to give, or only $10, use it to make soneone's day. Buy a coffee for the person in line behind you at Timmie's. Offer to pay for someone's groceries. Approach a stranger, and give them $20. It doesn't matter how you do something, just do it on that day. Please. It can make a world of difference.

Thanks for the Laugh

A couple of weeks ago, Cub went to DD1's place to spend time with her and the Grandcub while DH & I did some stuff. The three of them went to visit Grandcub's Ya-ya (that's what they call a gramma in their family) who is Grandcub's other gramma.

After the visit, they took a taxi back to DD1's place. My daughter got both the boys in their respective seats and strapped in. As they drove across town, Cub was getting more and more excited. When they neared the halfway point, Cub finally started babbling about something his sister couldn't understand. She asked him to repeat himself louder because she couldn't hear him. He happily shouted, "Are we in the Cash Cab?" Peals of laughter could probably be heard from the street.

When they arrived at their destination, the driver was nice enough to help them unload and thanked Cub for the laugh. He told him it was the Cash Cab and gave Cub a Loonie.

I just had to share this story with you all.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Month End Report

I didn't do this last month because I was in such a depression over our finances. It hasn't been, nor still is pretty, but we are slowly figuring it out. Here are the numbers.

TFSA/ EEE Account $41.71 (down $418.83)
Xmas Fund/Car Fund $50.02 (down $1553.70)
RRSP Savings Acct. $160.07 ( up $52.88)
Vacations Account $4.01 (down $44.64)
RRSP MF Acct. $1,757.93 (up $70.18)
RESP MF Acct. $1,529.47 (up $157.72)
Emergency Fund Account $24.51 (up $15.57)
House Fund $10.04 (up $5.01)
Biz Savings/5 Categories $50.90 (down $78.17)
Canada Savings Bonds $1,745.00 (up $140.00)
B's Savings Acct. $19.69 (down $39.41)
$5 Bill Laptop Fund $0 postponing this for now

Personal Loan: $6,120.50, up $465.00
MBNA Card (27.98%): $1,063.16, down $150.57
Capital One Card (19.8%): $2,809.19, down $138.96
CIBC Visa (19.99%): $346.70, new account
Overdraft 1: $621.32,down $27.26
Overdraft 2: $396.99, up $396.99
Tax Owing: $9,692.82, up $6,501.56 (correct as of Nov.21st)

Our current total Debt owing: $21,050.68

Total Debt owed January 1, 2011: $23,861.01
Difference since January 1, 2011: $ 2,810.33
Difference since last report: + $ 7,393.46


That is a huge difference in only 60 days, but we knew it was coming. The reality is, in the past I have not been setting money aside for tax obligations, and now it is catching up with me. I have incurred more debt by means of a new credit card (to start rebuilding my credit), using my overdraft again (I know, not good at all), and reborrowing from the 'personal loan'. All the work we have done to pay down and off our debt has come to a screaching halt. It looks as though all we have paid off in 11 months is a mere $2,800. But we are determined now more than ever, to see this thing through.

In the last 60 days, I have cut back on the household spending, cancelled services, stopped pre-authorised withdrawals for RRSP & RESP (until our cashflow can handle it again), and reduced the daycare expense. In the coming week, I will try to reduce our cellphone bill (again) and pledge to put something into each of the savings pots.

Our expenses for December far outweigh our income, so we will absolutely do our best to pay what we can and make a gameplan for 2012. We are considering RRSP catch up loans. I will talk more about that in an upcoming post.

So that's it in a nutshell. It isn't pretty, but it's all ours. ;)