Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Same Thing, Different Year

Back in 2013, both Hubby and myself were laid off from our respective jobs within a month of each other. We had some indication that it was coming, but not really any notice. This period of unemployment really put us in a bad financial spot, and made it difficult to rebuild not only our savings, but our trust in employers in general.

Many things have changed since then, and we have certainly gotten back on track, but our level of debt slowly climbed back up, and unfortunately, we hadn't had the opportunity to get it paid off as of yet. We both found work, and eventually life started to normalise in our new situation. We got comfortable with our new normal and went on about our lives.

Then I broke my leg/ankle.

The savings evaporated out of our accounts faster than we blink an eyelash, and my reduced income wasn't enough to keep us on top of the majority of our bills. As most of you know, if you read this blog, that I just started back to work at the beginning of this month, with very reduced hours so that I could build my physical stamina back up to where it once was, and I could ease myself back into the level of walking that I used to enjoy.

Then Hubby found out that he, along with almost all of his co-workers, were being permanently laid off at the end of September. A few days later, I was informed at my place of employment that our retailer is leaving and we are being laid off as of the 28th of this month. (My daughter works at the same place as I do, so that's two jobs being lost here.) Although Hubby was slated to be laid off on Sept. 29th, the company opted to do the layoffs on the 20th instead.

So all three incomes in our household are gone. Just like that. All in a matter of days of each other.

I'm angry, upset, worried, nervous and so much more. I'm not yet fully healed and probably won't be for a number of months yet to come. I could barely work the modified hours I was given, so re-applying for my position with the new owner is pretty much out of the question. Also, I don't think I can work outdoors anymore in the winter with the condition of my leg.

2016 has really not been very nice to my family, and I will be very glad to see it go.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Summer's End

We're heading into the last final days of summer holidays and the weather is starting to feel more and more like autumn. We are still having some very warm days, but the nights seem to be cooling down and the heat just isn't as oppressive as it was earlier in the month.

I started back to work this week, on modified hours of course. My first shift back was 3 hours. I experienced some pain and swelling, but mostly I was exhausted. I came home and slept for 3 hours after! I'm not really looking forward to the next shift which is a stunning 7 hours. I'm not so sure I can do that but I will do it anyway. I need to be working and bringing in money. The bills aren't going to pay themselves (although that would be awesome).

While our budget is tight, tight, tight, we have managed to have the rent paid prior to the due date for September and we have some wiggle room with some of the expenses. Gas and maintenance will be up a bit with two drivers again and two vehicles that require some repairs. The insurances have been combined but won't take effect for another month at least. Ultimately, this will save us at least $50 per month ; $25 in banking fees and about $25 in insurance costs. I also asked them to add on the Tenants insurance payment amount, so we shall see how it all comes out.

I am working on a plan for meals, especially dinner ( or supper, whatever you call it ).  I am planning when I am working, DD2 can come home after school, grab something from the freezer and dump it in the crockpot and start the cooking process. When I get home from work, I can get the 'sides' ready and we can have dinner on the table at an appropriate hour. If hubby is also working that day, he doesn't get home until almost 8 pm, so there will be a plate set aside keeping warm for him. This way, I will still have time to get Cub into the shower or bath, and have his evening routine go according to plan with minimal disruptions.

We have lots of cleaning and decluttering to do today, so I better get at it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thoughts on Budgets and Other Things

Budgeting is something I do typically with pencil and paper in a notebook that I have had for years. Each month gets its own fresh page, and I list our expenses in order of importance (to me), top to bottom. On the side, I note when our direct deposits hit our account, and how much each one is. As the money hits the bank, I work my way down the list, either making a partial payment on bills (like rent) or paying the bill entirely using online banking. I've done it this way for years only because it is what works best for me. You may have your own method that is entirely different from mine that works best for you. That is what make personal finance, 'personal'.

We are already a little bit behind as some of the bills had not yet been fully paid for the month. Poor planning on my part, and a bit of a hiccup with a direct deposit not going in when it should have. If we hadn't already drained the EF over the last few months, I would have borrowed from it, and repaid a little extra with our regular deposits. So now I squeeze the current month budget a little tighter.

All of this has got me thinking about some things that I need to take care of.

  1. DD2 & Cub's Status card photos and paperwork need to be sent in. This has taken me far too long to take care of.
  2. Applying for financial help with Cub's hockey fees.
  3. Calling auto insurance company to change policy and switch accounts that it is drawn from.
  4. When that is completed, I can completely close the business account.
  5. Contact CC company about a lowered interest rate or switching to a different type of card.
  6. Figure out saving schedule for DD2's trip to France.
  7. Figure out debt repayment schedule.
  8. Plan out Emergency Fund rebuild schedule.
  9. Plan out House down payment schedule for *both* Hubs and I to contribute to.
  10. Apartment overhaul: every nook and cranny needs purging and cleaning so I can update my stock items list. (We still don't need toothpaste or laundry soap for several years. :D)
Somewhere on the giant list of things to do I also have to add:
  • back - to - school shopping; both kids will need some stuff. ( I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that DD2 is going into grade 12 this year. *sigh*)
  • The stock up list: I like to keep a list of things we use/eat regularly so that when those items go on sale, I will buy multiples of an item. 
  • Holiday saving and shopping: I started out the year with a good handle on saving for the holiday month, but during my recovery from surgery to repair my ankle, I ended up using the money for things we needed. It will likely be a very low-key holiday this year.
  • Going through Cub's hockey equipment and seeing if he needs anything new. We should be able to get away with very few purchases this year.
  • Planning for winter wear: I will likely need steel-toed winter boots, Cub will likely have outgrown everything except his winter coat and DD2 will need mostly everything as well.
  • Try to figure out some sort of a meal prep schedule and make ahead meals. Our home functions much more smoothly when everyone is fed at a decent hour.

I am often overwhelmed when I try to picture everything at once, like I'm doing now. So with that said, I'll go knit a few rows to calm myself and pick one thing on the list to chip away at today. Have a good day.

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Slippers are always a fun knit!

Dishcloths are my go to projects.

Sleepy Bunny Buddy - super soft and cuddly!

A Christmas present in the making.

A shawl I made for a gift. Look at the colours.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Batting Down The Hatches

With the reset, I feel that I should start over with some, if not all of the frugal things that I have experience with. Then I can add in new ones that I find. First off, budgeting.

I prefer to call it a Spending Plan instead of Budget, but the truth of the matter is, if I don't have one, I don't do very well over the month. I don't mind if we go over in a particular category, say grocery spending, because even if I do, it saves us money in the Restaurant/Ordering Out category. But, without the Spending Plan mapped out in the first place, I spend all willy-nilly and next thing I know, we're behind in the cable bill again. It's not perfect, and the income minus expenses are at an all time negative right now, but it is my starting point.

I've added up all the debt we owe. It's disgusting. I should be ashamed, and I am somewhat, but I've reset, so it also becomes our starting point. It will get a wee bit worse over the next couple of months while I re-juggle the spending plan and get back to work and whatnot, but it is what it is.

One thing that I found really, really helped us in the past was having a meal plan. I put up an empty weekly dinner sheet on the fridge and get the family to put in requests, or at the very least, help fill the thing in. Then I have a much clearer picture of what I need to buy when I am at the grocery store. I haven't taken an inventory of our cupboards lately, so maybe I'll do that too. Throw out old, outdated stuff that is never going to get used, and see what I can use up to lower the grocery spending this week. I'll definitely need to replenish the freezer meats (we are out of or nearly out of everything), so I will be keeping my lids peeled for deals on meats until we can save up for another freezer meat order.

Upcoming in August:

DD1 has a birthday coming up. I have already decided what I would like to gift her. It should be around $50 so that's not too bad.

DH's brother is getting married. DH is in the wedding party, so there will be a tux rental (ugh) and a gift to be bought for the newlyweds. I'll also have to find something appropriate to wear, like a dress, and we'll have to spend a small amount of money at the reception I suppose.

Then there is back to school shopping. Kids will need new shoes, there will be fees, and probably a few school supplies will be needed. I will have to keep this spending down to as little as possible.

Hockey fees; These are due by the end of the month and I'm just not sure where this money is going to come from.

All of this along with our regular monthly bills, the little bit that we are behind in rent, the amounts we are behind in some of the other bills and the debt. Oh the debt.

I'll have to adjust and readjust the debt payments as I move forward in this, but for now I've started small automatic payments just to get things going in the right direction.

Wish us luck. We're going to need it.

Friday, July 29, 2016


It been ages since I wrote on this lovely little blog. I ventured out into the bigger world of domains, and ended up with a couple of blogs elsewhere; one just for blogging about life and money and the other one was about my adventures in business. I still own the domains, but only one of them is active at this time.

Here we are, halfway through 2016 and so much has happened.
I closed my business. I'm starting another. I'm knitting more these days than I ever have been since I broke my ankle three months ago. I've been off work and not able to do much other than think, dream and plan.

Three years and a bit since our last major financial fiasco, we are again heading into uncharted territory. At least we have lots of notice this time that DH's job may be ending. So I am hitting the reset button once again.

I've burned through most of our savings in the last three months, but in a month or so I should be given the all clear to head back to work. When I do, boy oh boy am I giving our budget and debt the what for!

Yes, I said debt. Somehow we have managed to rack that bad boy up again. We were doing okay, (or so I thought) by making minimum payments and such. Really what we were doing was thinking everything was going swimmingly along while barely keep our noses out of the water! All the time we were starting to drown without realising it. Of course something always gives. This time, the first crisis came in the form of my injury.

Now that I've hit the reset button, I am taking stock of what we owe (it made me throw up a little in my mouth), and what we own, what we have, what we need, and what we can do without. I'll be rethinking every little single thing that we all take for granted around her and making tough decisions. I don't want to be going through this ever three to five years.

I'm getting too old for this nonsense.