Friday, May 27, 2011

Bi-Weekly Budget Projection: May 26 - June 8

I'm REALLY hoping June is a slow month as it seems that it should be: no birthdays :) no father's day for me :( but a trip to the fiance's hometown to see his father :)

There isn't anything that I really need but a few things that I want: a couple of new pairs of capris (I have gone down in size since I last bought new ones) and a pair of more comfortable work sandals. I'll have to see how the spending in the other categories go before deciding to "splurge" on clothing.

I REALLY want to stay on budget in June, there was just too much happening in May and the spending got carried away ... I WILL do better in June!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!
TTFN, Morgaine

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bi-Weekly Budget Update: May 13 - 25

So, I went over the bi-weekly budget by $158.73, any guesses how the overage was supported? ... Credit card :( but I did pay back exactly what I spent this last 2 weeks back on the card today (payday) :)

The purchases were (mostly) anticipated, and while I didn't have money saved up a head of time, the gifts were purchased early because we were downtown last Saturday and the shoes happened to be on sale. So it was a timing issue more than anticipation. Also, one purchase I made using the CC was purchased online so I had to use the CC anyways.

As it stands I am already overbudget in May by $59.48 and we still have about a week left to go. Argh!

TTFN, Morgaine

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: May 16 - 22

16: $7.67 (lunch)
17: $3.92 (dinner) + $4.25 (snack) = $8.17
18: $28.22 (debit - new purse) = $28.22
19: No Spend! (finally!)
20: $5.65 (snack)
21: $55.00 (cash - lunch for me, the boy, and my Mom) + $1,000.00 (cheque - deposit on wedding venue!!!) + $80.02 (credit - bday gift for T) + $42.97 (debit - Canadian Tire - $32.81 bday gift pt 2 + $10.16 bug stuff for the house) = $1,177.99 - $1000.00 (coming from wedding fund) = $177.99
22: $14.70 (credit - wedding inviation sampler stuff) + $24.39 (credit - personal care) = $39.09 - $14.70 (coming from wedding fund) = $24.39
Total: $252.09
 Emotional Tracker: 17th - really bad day, woke up late, got to work late, it was busy at work, my debit card was cancelled by my bank (potential fraud), I had to buy dinner because I didn't get home until late on Monday and didn't have a chance to make both a lunch and dinner for Tuesday. I only spent $3.92 because that's what I had available without my debit card working, when my fiance picked me up I was able to get something after, but of course neither was healthy. So, all in all a REALLY Craptacular day! And today (18th I'm writing this note) I feel worse because I ate so poorly and it seems to really have had an effect on my stomach as well as my emotional well-being. I gotta stop doing this!

Notes: Booked the wedding venue! We are booked for September 8, 2012 :)

Bought T his birthday gifts (the shoes were less than expected because they were on sale!) for a total of $112.83 (which is less than $100 before taxes, and I'm happy with that). I did put this on my credit card (Mastercard) because I didn't have the amount in my account, but it will be paid off when I get paid.

So, it was an expensive week, but I was expecting it. This weekend is going to be expensive with dinner out on Saturday and the making of a cheesecake and regular birthday cake. But it's T's 30th so I have to make a big deal out of it :-)

Tomorrow is payday so I will be posting my bi-weekly numbers. Definitely not as good as the last one :(

TTFN, Morgaine.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting to Know Me ...

Saw this on a few blogs today (Originally from Homeowner by 30 )

The ABC's of Me ...

•Age: 30

•Bed Size: Queen

•Chore You Hate: Taking out the garbage, but I don't do this normally :) Other than that, dusting, its kind of pointless really.

•Dogs: none, bunny instead :)

•Essential start of your day: sleeping in 10 minutes before I actually have to get up.

•Favorite color: Green

•Gold or silver: Silver

•Height: 5 feet 1 inches (petite)

•Instruments I play (or have played): flute and rockband bass :)

•Job title: Service Support Associate (this doesn't actually tell you anything about my job, and I'm ok with that)

•Kids: not yet ...

•Live: Toronto, ON Canada

•Mom’s name: L (don't want to give this one just in case)

•Nickname: (same as above)

•Overnight hospital stays: None since birth :)

•Pet peeve: Rude inconsiderate people

•Quote from a movie: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Princess Bride

•Right or left handed: Right.

•Siblings: 1 brother

•Time you wake up: 7:10

•Underwear: Yes.

•Vegetables you dislike: brussel sprouts, ewww!

•What makes you run late: Oversleeping and TTC - Toronto Transit Commission (thanks Cassie ;P)

•X-rays you’ve had done: when I got hit by a car ...

•Yummy food you make: Garlic Chicken, desserts

•Zoo animal: monkeys

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: May 9 - 15

9: $2.90 (cash - milk) + $2.72 (cash - breakfast) = $5.62
10: $2.72 (cash - coffee and cookie) = $2.72
11: $7.90 (cash - lunch) = $7.90
12: $20 (cash - Tim Horton's card refill) + $3.93 (cash - snack) + $7.33 (cash - dinner) = $31.26
13: $1.85 (cash - breakfast) + $38.71 (debit - personal care) + $4.98 (cash - snack) = $45.54
14: No Spend!
15: $12.41 (cash - rabbit food and treats) + $15.75 (debit - movie) + $11.28 (cash - movie concessions) = $39.44
Total: $132.48

Emotional Tracker: This was a rough week. The spending flood gates opened early and didn't close. In fact they are still open considering I just bought lunch :( Particularily Thursday and Friday were bad as I felt REALLY stressed out this week (monthly cutoff plus at work and a test for my bookkeeping course on Thursday). I need to learn to stop feeding my emotions (literally) especially with bad food. Something I'm working on on top of the financial stuff.

Notes: I am happy with spending overall this week, but still, if I hadn't spent so much money stuffing my face this week, I would have come out of this week really happy.

Funny how you tend to run out of stuff all at once? On Friday I bought: shampoo, body wash, face wash, and body lotion. Which are all out or on the verge of being out.

Went to see Thor on Sunday (fiance's choice, of course). It was alright, not as good as Ironman, not as bad as Spiderman. Just sort of meh. And, it totally didn't need to be in 3D, it didn't add to the movie whatsoever. But, try to convince the boy that we don't need to go to the 3D showing ...

I'm hoping to spend a lot less this week, as I only had 1 No Spend last week (because I wasn't feeling well on Saturday I didn't leave the house), I want to have at least 4 this week. Today's lunch out is the only meal out I have planned (ok, it wasn't planned) this week.

How did your week go?

TTFN, Morgaine

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bi-Weekly Spending Post: Apr 28 - May 12

What? A positive bi-weekly budget???

Yep, for the first time EVER (well, since I started tracking and budgeting, but I would imagine that this is still the first time ever) I had money left over! I'm looking at these numbers and I find it hard to believe that I can't couldn't stick to my budget before. I even spent money on clothes and gifts!

BTW, the left over $51.82 went to my "pay off debt fund". I hope to have an extra $1000 to throw on the Citifinancial loan in December. I've set up an auto-savings plan at ING for $35/bi-weekly which should get me $500 in this account by the end of the year. The other $500 has to come from snowflakes and other forms of "extra money" (i.e. overtime worked, GST refunds, etc). I'm not sure if its doable, but whatever is in that account in December gets thrown on the loan.

Sorry I haven't been posting lately, its been super busy at work this week (which did equal some overtime! :D) and I had a test on Thursday in my bookkeeping course. The course is going well, I'm getting it, even though it does seem that we are going through the material quickly.

Ok, I just wanted to post to say, yes I'm still alive and tracking my money! Hope everyone else is doing well.

TTFN, Morgaine

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spending Analysis: Jan to Apr 2011

So, I am re-reading Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Debt Free Forever (for motivation!) and I've decided that since I've done a good job of tracking my spending since February that this might be a good time to work out the Spending Analysis in chapter one. OMG! What an eye opener :(

So here it is in all its "glory"

I decided that its quite a lot to take in, so I grouped some categories and came up with this as the averages:
And, I had to get all "geeky" about this and creat a pie chart!
So, here it is. Scary, huh? Food is a HUGE improvement area. So, is not spending more than I make. Ouch.

Lots of room for improvement. Any comments or questions?

TTFN, Morgaine

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: May 2 - 8

2: No Spend!
3: $12.15 (cash - dinner) + $1.75 (cash - drink) = $13.90
4: No Spend!
5: No Spend!
6: $1.85 (cash - breakfast) + $7.90 (cash - lunch) = $9.75
7: $50 (cash - gift: Mom) + $57.61 (debit - Zellers: $3.04 household cleaner, $11.29 Mother's Day gift for my Godmother, $42.84 "essential" clothing)= $107.61
8: No Spend!
Total: $131.26

Emotional Tracker: ate out twice this week, I should have only ate out once, but I kept Friday's lunch on the cheap side - sushi = cheap and yummy! :)

Notes: All in all I am pretty happy with this week. With the exception of Saturday I kept the spending pretty well under control.

I've sorted out my at class dinner situation. I will allow myself to eat out one of the two nights. This Tuesday I did that and then found out that Thursday's class will be online! So I ate at home. If I had known that earlier I wouldn't have bothered eating out on Tuesday but oh well. The teacher will be letting us know with more time ahead for future online classes so I should be able to schedule this better. Next week both classes will be at the college but Thursday there is a test so I will allow myself to eat out on Thursday after the test :)

My Mom needed a new vacuum so I gave her the cash I would have spent on a Mother's Day present ($50) and gave it to her towards her vacuum. I found a very nice clock that has room for 3 pictures with it, I know my Godmother will love it, and it just happened to be on sale :)

How did your week go?

TTFN, Morgaine

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Projected Budget: May 2011

This month is going to be expensive in the Food and Gifts categories - I already know this! May has both Mother's Day and my fiance's birthday :)

We'll be going out for brunch for Mother's Day (approx $50) and I'm planning to spend about $40-50 on flowers - that you plant - my Mom is a gardener. I also buy something for my Godmother as we have a very close relationship, but I'm hoping to keep that in the $25-30 range.

For the fiance's birthday, we'll be going out somewhere "fancy" maybe Keg, Earl's, or Ruth Chris (he loves steak, could you tell?) - approx $150 - and he also wants to have wings with friends - approx $20. He has told me that he wants new running shoes - approx $150. I am also making him a "Twix" (TM) cheesecake (yummy!) - approx $20-25 for ingredients. This is his 30th birthday so it is a very special occasion :)

Whew! That's around $500 right there! So, I can't be spending too much in those other categories!

I'm glad I'm being proactive and anticipating these costs, but still, May is going to be an expensive month.

TTFN, Morgaine

P.S. dentist is all done - for this year - so that should allow me to save up some more money :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Monthly Budget: April 2011 - Oops!

So, I went over budget more than anticipated - oops! The last few days of April killed my budget (almost as much as the beginning). It just seems that as soon as I get a paycheque (Mar 31 and Apr 14/28) I go a little crazy, because I feel like I have money. Even though I already overspent in that particular month.

Food and Entertainment were RIDICULOUS this month! I can't believe I spent so much money stuffing food in my face! This is a HUGE area for improvement. We did do a lot in April which accounts for the Entertainment (this is usually a fairly low category) and now that I have the course and other things to keep me "busy" hopefully that number will go down.

On to May ... well, at least the variable budget numbers are increased this month :)

TTFN, Morgaine

How did you do in April?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: Apr 25 - May 1

25: $9.27 (debit - lunch) + $2.70 (debit - groceries) = $11.97
26: $5.65 (cash - dinner) + $3.75 (cash - snack) = $9.40
27: No Spend!
28: $2.50 (cash - snack)
29: $1.85 (cash - breakfast) + $7.64 (cash - lunch) + $4.01 (cash - bday card) + $11.29 (debit - advil, ugh!) + $36.85 (debit - gifts for my friend) + $25 (cash - dinner) + $50.37 (debit - indigo, board games)= $137.01
30: $15 (cash - goodies at a bake sale, for a good cause :))
1: No Spend!
Total: $175.88

Emotional Tracker: 29th - just couldn't be bothered to bring my lunch (decision made the night before) and then my friend called to ask if I would be up for going out for dinner for her birthday. So, I ate out twice on Friday when it could've only been once :( Other than that, I wouldn't say any purchases were emotional but just hunger. Gonna make sure I have plenty of snacks for the nights I have my course so I'm not tempted by those d*mn vending machines!

Notes: Nothing other than above. 12 No Spends for the month of April, not quite my 15 target, but I am still happy with this number :)

April's monthly budget update tomorrow.

TTFN, Morgaine

Friday, April 29, 2011

Projected Bi-Weekly Budget: Apr 28 - May 11

Some bad news ... I completely forgot that I don't get paid for stat holidays! Instead of getting paid for those days I get an extra 4% per paycheque. But it also means that for this last pay period I missed out being paid for 2 days! This equaled about $200!!!

Unfortunately, this is a month that I know is going to have "extra" spending in it - Mother's Day and fiance's 30th birthday. So, I am going to try and spend less than my allotted budget amounts (especially in the first pay period since fiance's bday is taking place in the 2nd pay period) but I've re-jigged the debt repayment and savings amounts so that I don't end up putting variable spending money on a credit card because I've left myself short in the spending dept. Of course, any extra money will go to debt repayment and I am hoping that this will be the case.

This is the projected bi-weekly budget for April 28 - May 12:

I know I keep saying that I have to spend less money eating out, but I swear the Universe is conspiring against me! My friend (whose birthday it is today) sent me a text this morning to see if I wanted to come out for dinner. And, I didn't bring my lunch today because I was late getting home from my course yesterday and I just didn't feel like lugging my lunch bag around with me today (yeah, I know, flimsy excuse!) So, this food category will probably get maxed out or over the top fairly quickly this month :( So, we'll see how well I do in cutting out snacks and other forms of money "suckage".

I hope everyone has a nice weekend!

TTFN, Morgaine

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bi-Weekly Budget Update: Apr 14-27

Here are my budget numbers for this pay period:

So, I did spend under my allotted bi-weekly budget by $88.42 BUT it still wasn't enough to make up for the overspending done in the first half of the month :( Right now I'm sitting at $41.76 over budget. Considering the whopping amounts I was over budget in the first 3 months of the year, this is not too bad. Again, I am extremely reassured that I will be able to stick to a $700/mth budget.

I am liking my class so far, and I am doing today what I hope to be doing for the rest of the course: bringing a large course or left over meal for lunch (because I have access to a microwave) and bringing a sandwich for dinner. Also bringing extra snacks from home. So, this should ease my spending on nights when I have a class. I got my Indigo gift card from CardSwap so I'm purchasing my Vapur bottle today and I can fill this up and take it with me too :)

I definitely want to keep the eating out/snacks budget low (except taking out my Mom for Mother's Day and the fiance for his birthday) since its gotten quite out of hand! I worked out some averages numbers that I will be posting soon. The food budget is scary! :(

Ok, off to Indigo!

TTFN, Morgaine

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Course starts tonight

My bookkeeping course starts tonight. I feel like I've been needing to learn something new for a while, when I'm not learning something new I get bored and spend money. So, I'm greatly looking forward to learning a new skill, particularly one that will help with my career.

The only downside is that its two nights a week. It means less time spent with the fiance and less time at home making dinner. The potential for eating out is high. Not even just dinner but snacks too as I tend to get a bit sleepy around that time if I don't have something to eat. So, this may become an issue with spending.

I'm hoping to keep this in check by: packing a big lunch that I can heat up at work and a sandwich that I can take and eat at my course (I have no idea if there is microwaves available on campus and if they are available in the evenings). I will also bring extra snack for the course break. I'm also planning on purchasing a Vapur bottle which is a reusable plastic water bottle (see image below) that would be a heck of a lot lighter than my current aluminum water bottle and is a lot more portable. The plan is to drink LOTS of water this summer and stay away from pop and iced coffee whenever possible. BTW, I'm waiting on my Indigo gift card from CardSwap before I make the purchase :D

So, that's my strategy, hopefully it will keep me from spending too much money on eating out while on this course. I will keep you guys updated here :)

Hope everyone has a nice day/evening!
TTFN, Morgaine

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: Apr 18-24

18: No Spend!
19: No Spend!
20: $380.44 (credit - being repaid from Planned Spending - Bookkeeping Course) + $99.46 (credit - being repaid from Planned Spending - textbook) + $10.98 (debit - lunch) + $1 (cash - pop) + $38.53 (debit - Shoppers: $3.94 - mini eggs + $34.59 including $25 movie gift card, present for cousin) + +$30.00 (cheque - Card Swap) + $45 (credit - to be repaid out of my monthly budget: chapters/indigo gift card from Card Swap) = $544.41 -479.90 = $65.51 (taking Planned Spending purchases out of the equation)
21: No Spend! + (+$50) (cash - for doing family taxes) = +$50

22: $30 (cash - lunch for 2) + $6.49 (cash - snacks) = $36.49
23: $21.31 (debit - PC items)
24: No Spend!
Total: $123.31

Emotional Tracker: I wouldn't say any of my purchases were emotional. The purchases above were planned for.

Notes: I'm not counting the amounts spent that I am repaying out of my Planned Spending account as these are not coming out of my monthly budget numbers. However, I would feel that if I made these purchases on a day where I didn't spend any other money that it wouldn't count as a No Spend day. So, I'm trying to anticipate these days where I know I'm going to spend money anyways and put other purchases together with it :) Next week: dentist on Wednesday. Next month: Mother's Day and finance's birthday. It also helps me to anticipate how I have to "juggle" my budget allocations. Its a work in progress ...

So, I think I am going to fail on my Stick to the Budget Challenge this month. I now have left $4.18 and still have a week left in April. :( But, I did get quite a bit of "extra" money this month: GST $48.30, 2 online survey cheques $100, and $50 for doing family member's taxes. So, I didn't spend more money than I made this month but I didn't save extra or put more money on my debt which is where the extra money I get should go. The only good thing is that it definitely made me see that $700 a month is completely doable so I should be able to stay on budget for the rest of the year :)

Oh, and 4 No Spends are still pretty good :)

How did your week go? Did you have a nice Easter?

TTFN, Morgaine

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Card Swap!

I got a gift card for my birthday in November. It's now April and I still hadn't used it. I don't want to say what kind just in case someone reads this and gets offended. Anyways, it didn't seem likely that I was going to use it as it was for something I don't really buy.

So, I was on the internet and came across Card Swap. I was able to trade in my $40 gift card for $30! That's not too shabby, I was expecting $20-25! So I accepted the offer on April 8, mailed my card in on the 9th and received my refund cheque yesterday (20th)! That's pretty good :)

So, I would recommend it for selling unwanted gift cards. Buying, umm, it depends. It seems the more expensive the card the bigger the discount so it certainly could be worth looking into if you are expecting to purchase a large item for yourself or a gift card for someone else.

There are no fees for buying or selling gift cards, which I found out because I bought a $50 chapters/indigo gift card for $45. This should come in handy as there are quite a few books I've been wanting to read ... So basically I went from owning a $40 gift card that I wasn't likely to use to a $50 gift card that I definitely will use and I only spent $15.

Has anyone else used Card Swap?

TTFN and Happy Easter!

BTW, this was not a sponsored post, just thought I'd pass the info along :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Giving Myself Some Breathing Room

While I don't want to give up on my current monthly challenge to stay within my original $645/mth discretionary budget, I think this is still too tight for me. I know I lack self-discipline on the idea of staying within budget and impulse purchasing. However, when I look at Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Life Pie, at $645/mth that equals 23% of my budget where she allows for 25%. 25% for me would be $699.46 which I'm going to round to $700 just to make it easier for me ;P

This is going to start in May. I still have $127.49 left for spending until the end of the month in order to meet my challenge. I think I can do it. The only things planned are movies and dinner on Friday. Saturday will be a movie night at home with bff and Sunday is Easter dinner at Mom's. I may not make my 4 No Spends this week :( That means 5 No Spends next week. Let's see how that goes ...

Oh, and I ate out for lunch today at work. I think I will go crazy if I eat turkey sandwiches 5 days a week for the whole month! Variety is the spice of life, after all :) Today was going to be a spend day as I purchased a birthday gift for my cousin. I can't believe she's 15, I was 15 when she was born! Where did the time go??? :(

TTFN, Morgaine

What percentage of your income do you spend on Life?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Becoming a Part-Time Student

OK, so I had mentioned in last Friday's post that I was considering taking some courses next year. Well, I changed my mind (surprise, surprise) and I've decided to take the course I've been considering this year. It is a bookkeeping course being held by a local community college. Its 2 nights per week until June 30th. $380 plus textbook $101.39 (ouch). I haven't purchased the text book yet, I'm currently scouring the internet (and I'll hit the college announcement boards next week) for a used copy. I've found one but its 5th edition and the course wants me to buy the 6th edition. With financial services being the way that they are I'm weary of buying the wrong edition and getting wrong information. So, I'm still searching. The library also only has the 5th edition.

I've paid for the course using my planned spending account, basically wiping it out of everything except the $75 deposit I made last payday. But, its still better than what I used to do: put it on the credit card and then pay it off ... eventually ... actually I think at least some of my balance is from a previous course. So, I still haven't paid it off, sigh

Ok, so why did I decide to take the course this year as opposed to waiting until next year? First, and foremost, the job I am currently working is a maternity leave contract until the end of this year. There is absolutely no guarantee that I will have a job here on Jan 1st 2012. Second, the job I'm currently working is not in my field. In fact, I never even considered working in this field until the recruiter told me about it. I have no formal education or training so it would be hard for me to transition to another organization within the same industry. In fact, I applied for some last December and again in January and February (before I got my current role) and I didn't even receive a response. Granted I will have 1 year of experience in the field once I'm done this contract, but the roles that I applied for (and are most likely to be the roles required in the future) are not the roles that I am currently working. Third, my industry has been stagnated since 2009. Being in the financial industry has been extremely hard over the last few years and I've been finding it harder each time I look for a job to find a new one, even though I've obviously gained experience over the years.

So, I'm looking into bookkeeping and eventually accounting as my next career move. Every company needs someone to take care of their books and everyone needs to do taxes, so this a career that I see a good potential for, even in down economies. I'm hoping that once I'm done with this course (and a Quickbooks course) that I will be able to take on some part-time bookkeeping work and as well translate this into a full-time career come next year. When I was looking for a job before I got this one I saw tonnes of bookkeeping jobs (full-time and part-time) online, so I think this is viable.

This was not an easy decision and one that I've been considering for about 3 years now. With the concern of being unemployed again come January I've decided that now is a good time, even if it wasn't the best time financially. I'm looking forward to the next chapter ...

Oh, and I'm thinking about what to do for dinner for the 2 days I'm not at home, don't want to ruin my No Spend Days by eating out 2 nights a week. This is something I need to consider as well. I'll fill you guys in when I make my decision.

TTYL, Morgaine

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: April 11 - 17

11: No Spend!
12: +$50 (Angus Reid) - $14.50 (debit - 2 movie tickets) - $13.98 (debit - snacks at movies) = +$21.52
13: No Spend!
14: +$50 (Global Test Market) + No Spend! = +$50.00
15: $15.00 (cash - dinner) = $15.00
16: $11.00 (cash - Tim Burton exhibit my portion from Groupon T bought) + $9.00 (cash - lunch) = $20
17: No Spend!
Total: +$36.52!!!

Emotional Tracker: Don't really have one for this week, I didn't spend much money :) It was hard not buying my breakfast on Friday but I pushed through.

I made my goal of 4 no spends this week (7 in total for April so far). If I want to make my goal of 15 No Spend Days for April I need to have 8 more in the next two weeks - so 4 more each week, which from looking at this week, I think its possible.

I got 2 survey cheques this week, why on the same week as a pay week??? Oh well. First positive week since I've started tracking my money so I had to underline and put in 3 exclamation marks, just for the fun of it :)

How was your week?

TTFN, Morgaine

Friday, April 15, 2011

Job Update

I don't really have too much to write about today so I thought I'd write a little update about my new job. I've had this job since Feb 28/11 and I have to say that it feels like a good fit for me. Its one where you are left to pretty much your own devices but are expected to work efficiently to get your work done on time for a monthly "cut-off". I don't want to get into too many details, but basically I make changes to people's accounts that would have an impact on money they receive on a monthly basis. So, if those changes aren't made on time then they may not get their payment that month.

Its also a job that has enough to do so that you don't feel bored but not so much to do that you feel constantly stressed either. The only possible issue that I foresee is that its not very challenging. I don't use a lot of my brain for most of the tasks assigned to me. However, this job is for a one year contract, I'm not here for the long haul - even if I was offered permanent, I think I could do this job for another year max before getting too bored. I would take another contract or permanent role, however, because the pay is really good and it would allow me to pay off all my debt and save for the wedding and other goals.

I like my co-workers, but we each do our own jobs and leave each other to their work. My boss has done a few check-ins with me to see how I'm doing, but I don't see her regularly.

So, all in all, a good job for me ... for now. I am thinking about taking some courses and making a career change, but that may have to wait for next year as I really am focusing on debt repayment for the time being. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Going to see the Tim Burton exhibit here in T.O.! :)


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Projected Budget: Apr 14-27

Here's the Projected Budget for April 14-27:

As per my post yesterday, I only want to spend $192.32 out of the $322.50 I normally give myself in a bi-weekly period so that I don't go over my monthly budget of $645.00 If I am able to do this it will be the FIRST time since I've made a budget that I've actually STUCK to it! As silly as it sounds, I have never spent on budget or less. As I've discussed with "Makky's Mom" on a few of my comment boards from previous posts that it is certainly a lack of discipline and willpower on my part. While I've been very proud of myself for paying off a lot of debt the last 2 years and saving more than I HAVE EVER saved in my entire life, I still feel that I have A LOT more work to do to improve my finances. Especially since I NEVER want to go into consumer debt EVER AGAIN!!!

Keep your fingers crossed for me, please :)


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April bi-weekly update

Tomorrow is payday :) So, here's the numbers for April so far:

As you can see (click on pic to make it bigger and easier to read) I over spent my first bi-weekly budget by $130.18, I had some money come in this month ($48.30 GST and $50 Angus Reid survey cheque) so I went over my actual money by $31.88. This happened because I put the Blue Jays tickets on my credit card and didn't pay it back from my account and the cash that people gave me for said tickets (oops!)

So, my plan is really buckle down for the rest of the month as I would REALLY like to try and stay on this budget even to just to prove to myself that I can! So, the second chart shows the monthly numbers and how much is left $192.32 so even though I will have more money left over after my fixed expenses from my paycheque, this is the amount that I want to "give" myself to work with for the rest of the month.

I'm going to try and accomplish this by doing the following: No clothes, No PC items (except a haircut, but I'm going back to my cheap place, even though is farther away), No books/movies/magazines, No breakfasts/lunches/snacks out (during the week)! Considering how much I've spent so far this month, I can't see how I should come up with excuses to spend more than $192.32 but this is about challenging myself, and I've never been really good at following through :( I'm hoping that I've changed enough since becoming more conscious of my money that I will be able to accomplish this goal.

What will I do with the "extra" money? Basically since I will have $130.18 that would have went to my variable spending ($322.50 - $192.32) I want to make this a "snowflake" towards my debt. Which debt it will be going to is up in the air right now. I haven't actually gotten my credit card from Scotia (my Mom gave me the $3K but its on hold in my account) so my Citi loan is still sitting there, but once I do get the Visa I will need to start making payments on it, and of course, there is still the MasterCard looming over me. Probably the MasterCard will get the snowflake since it will have the highest interest rate once the Citi is paid off - at a whopping 11.4%! :)

OK, this post is now officially long enough ;) Tomorrow I will post what is happening with this next paycheque :)

TTFN, Morgaine

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: April 4 - 10

4: No Spend!
5: No Spend!
6: $10.61 (cash - dinner) + $33.85 (debit - $30.49 PC + $3.36 snack) = $44.46
7: $3.78 (cash - breakfast) + $4.98 (cash - snack before dentist) + $129.20 (credit, to be paid out of planned spending acct - dentist) + $9.03 (credit, paid back by account - ebook) = $146.99
8: $1.98 (cash - breakfast) + $7.76 (debit - $5.60 tea as a gift to a co-worker that's leaving + $2.16 for tea latte for myself) = $9.74
9: $30.00 (cash - dinner)
10: No Spend!
Total: $231.19 (without dentist: $101.99)

Emotional Tracker: 6 - I knew I was going out for dinner on Wednesday before my concert, I needed to kill some time and there was some PC items I needed to get. 7: so tired in the morning of the 7th, I had to get a coffee and I had no more milk for my cereal so I got a bagel too. Ugh, dentist! Put this on my credit card but the money is coming out of my Planned Spending acct. 8: met up with friends before we went to 2 separate shows. I went to see House of Pain! I'm showing my age a bit, but I grew up with "Jump Around" it was fun to see them live :)

Taking out the dentist appointment (which I did plan for and its coming out of my Planned Spending account, not my monthly budget) I spent $101.99 which isn't too bad but considering how much I spent last week, this was still more than I should have spent.

I also didn't meet my goal of 4 no spends this week, but 3 isn't bad, gotta make the 4 this week though!

Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Balance Transfer

So, its looking that the Citifinancial loan might actually disappear a lot faster than I had originally planned. I know that I really shouldn't be applying for more credit, but, I got a letter in the mail from Scotiabank telling me about 1.99% interest on their credit cards for 6 months for balance transfers. Well, 1.99% is a HECK of a lot less than 29.9% which I am currently paying on my Citi loan. Of course, I don't see how I can pay this off in 6 months even at 1.99% so I looked a bit more into this. They have a low rate option on their Value Visa of 11.99% for $29 annual fee. So, I applied. I was approved for $5000. But, my balance on the Citi loan is $8000. So, I spoke with my Mom (who by the way was very disappointed in me for taking out this loan in the first place, but knows that I am now working very hard to get rid of this mess I've created) and she is going to give me the rest of the money to pay off this loan. Now, the kicker is that I don't have to pay her back, HOWEVER, this was to be money for my wedding (she was paying for the open bar, since I didn't want to pay for one). So, I have to pay myself back more or less. Its a lot easier to pay yourself and receive interest than pay someone else and pay interest! So, this is the plan. By the end of April the Citi loan should be gone with Bank of Nova Scotia Visa and a "Pay Back the Wedding Fund" debts to replace it. But at least those debts are not at 29.9%!


So, what do you think? Did I make the right choice?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No Spend Days

So I've been tracking my daily spending for 2 months now. In February I had 11 no spends and in March 12. Both months that averages out to 39% of days in the month or about 3 days per week. That sounds right to me. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I bring my lunch and snacks. Wednesdays I tend to eat out for lunch to break up the week. Friday I usually end up buying a snack and/or dinner out. Saturdays and Sundays I usually end up buying something or going out to a movie or to eat (or both). So, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (or Wednesdays if I know I'll need to buy something on Thursday which is payday) are typically my No Spend days.

In April I want to do better. I want to have 50% or 15 days, preferably more. My ultimate goal is 4 days per week instead of 3. This week is looking good so far. Monday and Tuesday were No Spend Days, today I'm buying dinner out before going to a concert, Thursday no plans, Friday no plans (just gotta make sure I stay away from my "Its Friday, I made it through anther week" treat, see last week's spending report for more info), Saturday I will be eating out, Sunday no plans. So if I can avoid temptation for a treat on Friday that will be my 4 days. I'd like to make Sunday a no spend day too as last weekend I went a bit nuts, so we shall see.

I'm hoping that having an actual number of No Spend Days as a goal will help me spend less money on the whole and help me meet my budget numbers. Let's see if I make it :)


Do you have No Spend Day goals?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Making my budget work for me

For some reason I was thinking that my budget had to stay the same every month. I think this is why I've tried budgeting in the past and have failed. Every month is not the same, so why would my spending be the same?
I'm not going to be as concerned with the categories of spending as I will be my "bottom line". I shouldn't spend more than the $645/mth for variables I have set forth, in total. But I am going to try and look at my budget in a more flexible light. March was a food and gift heavy month. With birthdays and anniversary in this month. April seems to be more food and entertainment heavy. We have concert tickets already purchased and are planning on going out for dinner before the events. However, only 1 birthday in April that I should be able to spend maybe around $20 on and no dinner out. I typically have a fairly small amount budgeting in the "Everything Else" category, however, we have the last dentist appointment and another one on Thursday to pay for. So, I've re-jigged the budget based on what I think April will be like. I've also decided not to spend any more money on clothing for this month at all. So the money left in PC/Clothes/Household is for PC/H uses only.

So, this is the "re-jigged" April budget with the amounts of what I've already spent in April (yes, 2 weeks worth of spending in 1 weekend!). I'm going to try REALLY hard to keep to this budget for the rest of the month:

I will try the same exercise in May. It will be heavy in food, entertainment, and gifts as it will be T's birthday and Mother's Day is also in there. I think this is where budgeting becomes "fun" making it work within your lifestyle.

TTFN, Morgaine.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: March 28 - April 3

28: No Spend!
29: $7.25 (debit - movie - yeah for cheap night!)
30: $1.21 (cash - Timmie's breakfast w/free coffee) + $8.53 (debit - lunch) + $15 (cash - dinner) = $24.74
31: $43.25 (credit, paid back - concert ticket)
1: $1.21 (cash - Timmie's breakfast w/free coffee) + $5.96 (cash - snack) + $44.06 (debit - CD and 2 movies) + $128 (credit - 4 tickets to Blue Jays game on Sunday, 3 people owe me money for this, so my cost is $32) + $16.77 (cash - 3 USED books, included one for my fiance as a surprise.) = $196.00 (ouch!)
2: $10.58 (debit - pet food) + $17.52 (cash - tea) + $69.27 (debit - clothes) + $10 (cash - arcade games) + $27.00 (cash - dinner) + (+ $32.00 cash - cousin paid me back for baseball ticket) = $102.37 (ouch!)
3: (+$32.00 - cash, reimbursement of baseball ticket) + $30 (cash - lunch and snacks at baseball game)
= -$2.00
Total: $371.61

I had an "epiphany" while reading Cassie's blog the other day:  Fritter Fritter. If you read my comment, her post made me think about why I've had lots of little spend days. I think it may be tied to my emotional state at the time. So, I'm going to indulge in an exercise for the sake of my own budget and sanity!

Emotional tracker:
30th - breakfast - free coffee so I bought a bagel too. I've decided to go back to buying my lunch once a week for sanity sake. Dinner, celebrating the fact that the fiance is now debt free! 1st: its Friday so I thought I'd treat myself to a coke and chocolate bar *I HAVE to STOP doing that, just because I "made" it through another week doesn't mean I deserve to eat junk. This is bad for my wallet and my waistline! Oh, there was also gum in this purchase - when did gum become so expensive??? I haven't bought any cd's, books, or movies in a long time (at least boxing day) so I was downtown and ... yeah, don't really need to explain this one!

2: I bought a Groupon for glow-in-the-dark mini-golf way back in January. Well, it expires on Apr 4th so we had to use it this weekend. That was a lot of fun for $20 for 4 people! I also spent another $10 on arcade games because my cousin loves them and she hardly ever gets to go to a place where she can play but we all had turns trying out different games. We also ended up getting 165 tickets so my cousin was able to get some fun stuff too. Then we ended up at a mall (dun dun dun!) the only purchase I actually regret was the tea. I didn't realize that you had to pay for the tin too! At the very least I should have gotten a smaller quantity (or none at all!) but once she told me the price I didn't say "umm, can I get less, actually" I need to get better at stuff like that! The clothes were 2 cardigans and 2 t-shirts which are staples of my wardrobe, were nice spring colours and they were on sale. I know I'm justifying my purchase, but as long as I don't spend any more money on clothes this month, I should be ok. Dinner was at a Chili's, there is only the 1 in Ontario and none of us had ever been, so of course we had to try a drink, and apps, and desert! So, a very spendy day but very fun. I almost felt like I was on vacation for a day, now back to reality :(

3rd: at the baseball game. I should have ate before we went, its way too expensive to eat there. Lesson learned.

So, I basically spent my 2 weeks budget in one week. Obviously I still have a long way to go in the self-discipline department when it comes to money. The next two weeks will be a spending lock-down. The only costs I am anticipating: 4-10: dinner out on Wednesday (going to a concert), dinner out on Saturday (going to a concert), 11-17: nothing so far.

Thanks to Makky's Mom for giving me a kick in the butt! If Gail is not around to do it, I'm glad someone is :) I will try to do better. Thank you for your support.

TTFN, Morgaine.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quarterly Goals Review - Q1 2011

On Jan 1, 2011 I posted these goals:

1) Have at least $2000 in my Emergency Fund

2) Have at least $5000 in the Wedding Fund *joint savings with fiancee

3) Have at least $7000 in RRSPs

4) Pay off Visa (for good, dammit!)

5) Have MasterCard down to at least $8000

6) Pay down Citi (no goal, because the interest is so high, but make regular monthly payments)

7) Not go over my budget more than $100 in any month

1) Right now its a FAIL. If I was 25% done towards this goal my EF would be sitting at $500, its currently sitting at $411.52 (I had to take some money out to cover my glasses). However, I have increased my contribution to $200/mth. 9 months X $200/mth = $1800 plus $411.52 = $2211.52 So, barring any major emergencies coming up between now and end of the year, I will still achieve this goal :)

2) ON TRACK. Actually, we will probably be closer to $6000. Right now this account is sitting at $1980 with me contributing $150/mth and fiance will start contributing $300/mth starting in April (was contribution $100/mth but now that he's debt free! he is upping his contributions). So, $150 X 9 =$1350 plus $300 X 9 = $2700 = $6030 plus interest :)

3) ON TRACK. Currently sitting at $5470.66 I am making $250/mth contributions X 9 = $2250 = $7720.66 I'm leaving the goal at $7000 because of market fluctuations. My RSPs are invested in mutual funds.

4) DONE!!! Paid off Visa on March 17th and CLOSED IT on March 18th :)

5) EXCEEDING When I wrote my goals I didn't know I was going to have this new job with the significant pay increase so I didn't know if I would be able to put big chunks on my debt. Well, my MasterCard is currently sitting at $8500 and I'm making $500/mth payments. $500 X 9 = $4500 = $4000 So I am now making this goal $5000 to account for interest and maybe a month where I can't make the extra payment. Of course, I will still try my hardest to exceed this goal :)

6) ON TRACK Well, since there was no goal per se on this one, I'm going to say I'm on track. Also, I made a $1098 extra payment in March and I am planning on throwing any extra money I make this year on this sucker (overtime, GST, surveys). I think I will now make the goal for this loan to be $5000 too.

7) COMPLETE and UDDER FAIL!!! I don't know why I put that as a goal, I should've known that there would be no way I could keep that. January I was over by $546.89, February $256.59; March $339.24!!! So, I don't know what I should do as a replacement goal. Or maybe I should just try harder? Now that I'm making more money and I've given myself more room for variable spending, maybe this is a possibility? Let's see at mid-year review :(

So, not too bad, 2 fails out of 7 but the first should actually not be a fail by the end of the year. I'm fairly content with this. I'm thinking next year I should add in no spend day goals and personal goals too. I may add them in starting mid-year. We'll see.

TTFN, Morgaine.

BTW, how are your yearly goals going so far? Are you on track?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March was such a weird month!

Because I didn't get my first paycheque at the new payrate until the 17th (and got 3 paycheques at once) I thought it would be best to also post my bi-weeklies but a bit different. I made March 3-30 with 3 weeks of variables instead of 2. The second one is more for April. I've paid all the fixed categories today but I haven't spent any variables yet so I can't put anything in there yet. But I figured I would include it here so that its understood how my fixed expenses worked for this month.

Although I went over in almost all my variable spending categories I still feel that March was a good month - although it felt SOOOOOO long and just plain weird! But as you can see from the $0.00 at the end of the 1st "bi-weekly" budget, I actually managed to track my money DOWN TO THE PENNY! To me that is just amazing :)

I got my tax refund! I paid off my Visa AND closed it! :) I still managed to make a $1098.00 payment to my consolidation loan and $526.15 to my MasterCard. I didn't accrue any new debt this month as any purchases made to my MasterCard where paid back by the cash in my account. I started my new savings account this month, added $150 to it, increased my emergency fund contribution to $200/mth (up from $150/mth) and increased my RSP contributions from $100/pay to $125/pay.

I'm starting to feel like I may be able to actually achieve my goals and it won't take as long as I thought :)

TTFN, Morgaine

P.S. How was your March? Was it a good money month for you? Was it just me that felt March was a long and weird month?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: March 21-27

21: No Spend!
22: No Spend!
23: $11.60 (credit to be repaid from bank account ASAP - ebay bb cream) + $22.01 (cash - my share of dinner) = $33.61
24: $1.21 (cash - Timmies breakfast w/free coffee) = $1.21
25: $10.51 (cash - $3.99 magazine + $6.52 snack) + $10 (cash - dinner) + $20 (cash - theatre ticket) =$40.51
26: $25 (debit - pet supplies) + $7.00 (cash - lunch) + $10.15 (cash - coffee for my coffee machine) + $1.58 (cash - Timmie's) = $43.73
27: $20 (cash - dinner) = $20.00
Total: $139.08

So, only two no spend days :( But I am ok with the amount spent. Definitely a few items that I certainly didn't need. We ate out as more than normal and I bought some snacks and a magazine. Dinner out on Friday was with my Mom and then we went to a local theatre company play. We hardly do these kind of things together so I don't regret that. We went out for dinner and a movie with friends on Sunday (free movie because of a 2-4-1 movie deal) so that was fun. But dinner on Thursday was one of those "I don't feel like making anything" days. We've made progress on having less of those than we used to but there is certainly more room for improvement in this area.

I have $20 to make it until payday on Thursday, I don't foresee any issues, more no spend days this week is what I need :)


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bi-Weekly Budget

Since I am now back to being paid on a bi-weekly schedule (I LOVED being paid weekly, this is the one of the downsides to this job, along with no benefits and no vacation) I have decided to bring back my bi-weekly budgets. I will still continue to report my weekly spending and monthly numbers but my bi-weekly numbers give a good indication of where ALL of my money goes, not just the variables. Plus if I'm tracking bi-weekly it will help me get my monthly numbers together quickly.

So here they are:

Click on them to make them more readable.

So, I'm going to work with these numbers and see how it goes.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St Paddy's Day Party - What I spent

Had friends over for a St Patrick's Day party on Friday (ok, so it was 1 day after, but I wanted to have a get-together with my friends). We had 12 people (including T and myself) and we had a blast! I put my collection of Irish/Celtic music on our computer (playlist ended up being 10 hours worth of music! Can we say obsessive???) and had Irish movies on in the background (Boondock Saints, The Commitments).

There was SO much food!!!
We made: Guinness beef stew, cottage pie, cupcakes, cookies.
Brought: butter chicken, curried lamb stew, soda bread, Guinness and cheese dip (super yummy), and salad.

I spent (some costs were split with T): $40 booze; $51.71 food; and $18.08 on plates/cutlery/etc and decorative items. Total: $109.79

I think T went a bit crazy on the booze (I know its St Paddy's day, but really $80!) so we have a lot left over and we don't drink very much so I hope at least some of it will stay until either our next get-together or even better, next St Paddy's Day!

All in all, I will be doing this again next year, it was too much fun :)

TTFN, Morgaine.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: March 14-20

14: No Spend!
15: No Spend!
16: No Spend!
17: $176.50 (email money transfer to fiance - as follows: $123.25 food + $53.25 entertainment) + $92.72 (debit - clothes) + $67.79 (debit - anniversary gift) + $11.29 (debit - umbrella) + $30.00 (cash - dinner and drinks) + $32.66 (debit - 2 CDs of Irish music - what can I say, St Patrick's Day put me in the mood!) =$410.96 (ouch!!!)
18: $1.35 (cash - breakfast) + $18.93 (debit - personal items) + $6.20 (cash - lunch) + $4.00 (cash - snack) = $30.48
19: $20 (cash - brunch) + $4.00 (cash - snack) = $24.00
20: No Spend!
Total: $465.44

Obviously not a typical week for me (even back when I used to be a lot more carefree with my money), I basically had to pay back a week's worth of spending to the fiance to cover March 11-16 and then I went a bit crazy buying some stuff I had put off for a while (new work pants, anniversary gift - March 10 was our anniversary, and an umbrella) I suppose some of it could have waited but I figured since Thursday was going to be spendy anyways due to money being transferred and going out for St Paddy's Day then I may as well go "crazy" in one day rather than spread out the craziness. This is the way my mind works.

Anyways, back to being more cautious with my money for the foreseeable future.

TTFN, Morgaine

Friday, March 18, 2011

Updated Side Bars and Exciting Net Worth News ...

After my windfall of moola yesterday ;) I updated my side bars and totaled up my Net Worth. Not only am I under $10K negative net worth but my net worth has increased by over $10K since January of 2010! Not too shabby for just over a year's work if I do say so myself :)

The only downcast part of my financial picture is that my RSP is losing money :( I've lost about $300 so far, but I'm in it for a longer term so I should (hopefully) get at least some of that money back by the time we are buying our home. If it continues to downslide too much, I may sell the funds and put the money into moneymarket, but I'm a "wait and see" type of gal, I hate locking in my losses.

Yesterday, some money "slipped" out of my fingers: $410! Well, some of it was money owed to T because I couldn't pay for some things during my 2 weeks without pay, the rest, well Once you open the floodgates ... I knew I'd be spending money yesterday and I had been keeping myself pretty tight in spending for the last little bit, I may have went a bit "crazy". I just have to make sure this is a one time slip and not a falling into old habits/behaviours. If I start spending like crazy and thinking that I'm richer than I am, please, someone out there yell and scream at me in the comments! I beg of you! :) The breakdown of the money will be included on my weekly spending report.

We are having friends over tonight for a St Patrick's Day get-together, there's gonna be lots of food (and, ok, lots of booze) and we should have a tonne of fun. I want to tally up everything I spent on this party and hopefully have an update on that on Saturday or Sunday.

Until then, have a great weekend everyone! TTFN, Morgaine

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Man, I certainly have the "Luck O' the Irish" today! I got paid for 3 weeks at my new rate AND I got my tax refund - sweet! I had almost $3500 in my bank account this morning when I logged in! Unfortunately its almost all gone now, but most of its going to good causes :)

Here's the breakdown:

- 1098.17 citifinancial
- 100.00 RSP
- 75.00 Wedding Fund
- 75.00 Planned Spending Fund
- 100.00 Emergency Fund
- 997.27 Visa (paid off!!! - calling later today to close it!)
- 200.00 Mastercard (going to make another payment at end of month)
- 69.00 cell phone
- 176.00 (T for money owed, breakdown in my weekly spending report next week)
- 200.00 Extra Emergency Fund payment!
= $356.14 variable spending money for the next 2 weeks!

Whoohoo! These Irish Eyes are Smiling today! :) Have a Happy St Patrick's Day everyone!

TTFN, Morgaine

P.S. Going to see the Cheiftains tonight - awesome Celtic band from Ireland :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Budget! :)

I got my payslip today and I have to admit that its been hard working on my actual work because all I've wanted to do was update my budget and put it up on my blog!

I worked on it during my lunch break and now that its afternoon coffee break I'm posting it :)

It's Gail's budget but I tweaked it as I don't have as many categories (no car or children). I put $0 for Visa as I am planning on paying it off (and closing it!) with my tax return.

For those who weighed in on my debate on what to do with my tax return, I have decided to pay off the Visa. HOWEVER, I did make a $1000 payment on the citifinancial loan that will go through tomorrow! So, I'm kind of killing two birds with one stone - well two stones - but it doesn't sound as good ;)

I think this budget is way more flexible in terms of variable spending and is way more in line with what I actually tend to spend on a weekly/monthly basis. With more being put towards savings and debt repayment - Huzzah! And, of course, any "extra" money I make doing overtime will go directly on the debt as well. I really want to make a big dent in this in 2011. :)

What does everyone else think? Is there something I'm missing, do you think I will spend more/less in certain categories???

I can't wait for tomorrow when the $$$ is in my bank account!!! :)

TTFN, Morgaine.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekly Spending Report March 7-13

March 7: $15.36 (credit - taxes online)
March 8: No Spend!
March 9: $2.89 (cash - Timmie's coffee and bagel - one of those mornings!) + $50 (debit - gift card) + $11.29 (debit - lunch bag - lost my old one) + $4.80 (debit - birthday card) + $8.46 (debit - lunch) = $77.44
March 10: No Spend!
March 11: No Spend!
March 12: $5.00 (cash - Timmie's breakfast) + $24.26 (debit - personal items) + $32.21 (debit - $5.09 gifts + $9.04 entertainment + $18.08 household) + $5.85 (debit - food) = $67.32
March 13: $20 (cash - lunch)
Total: $180.12

Ok, a bit over what I should've spent this week, I went a little insane at the dollarstore ($32.21) but now that I don't live next to one :( I have to think of all the things I want to get from one and get it all in one shot. I picked up a gift bag and wrap for my friend's birthday (also explains the $50 gift card). I bought some plastic containers for my soap supplies and molds and I bought all the items I need for my St Patrick's Day get-together on Friday (i.e. plates, cups, napkins, etc) plus a pen holder for my new desk at work. I only have $20 left until Thursday but I have no planned spending until then anyways. However, I do owe the fiance for dinner on Saturday and a few groceries that are specifically for the party, which I will promptly pay him for on Thursday and will mark all this down on this week's spending report (when the cash leaves my hand).

I'm very glad that the birthdays are going to settle down for a while (cousin and 1 friend in late April, fiance in late May) and then none in the summer! But there is Mother's Day in May too. Does it ever end?!?

Can't wait until Thursday!!!!!!!!
TTFN, Morgaine

Friday, March 11, 2011

What would I do with $100,000???

I got this idea from Money Rabbit who in turn got her idea from Give Me Back My Five Bucks. Like Money Rabbit I thought to do $100K since I can't even begin to think about $1M at this stage :(

1) Pay off Debt $18,291.73 (approx, not considering interest). Amount remaining: $81,708.27
2) Max out unused RSP contributions $34,291.20. However, I will not deduct all this amount, I would save some for when I'm in a higher tax bracket. Amount Remaining: $47,417.07
3) Max out Emergency Fund $10,000 (1 year expenses). Amount Remaining $37,417.07
4) Down Payment $25,000. We would like a place of our own, the house we are currently renting has so many issues with it! With the amount we already have saved we could put 10-15% down on a nice place (approx $350K). Amount remaining: $12,417.07
5) Planned Savings account: $5,000. For bits and bobs - mostly gifts and medical costs - instead of coming out of monthly budget. Amount remaining: $7,417.07
6) Wedding Fund: $5,000. I still would like to have the wedding I have planned. I know a few people who probably would've spent the whole $100K on their wedding, but that's not our style. Also, the fiance is still expected to put in his share ;) Amount Remaining: $2,417.07
7) Buffer for Chequing Account (rest). I HATE paying bank fees but I love my bank and the unlimited transactions. It would also allow me to purchase what I need to (maybe emergencies or planned spending) without transferring from ING first, I can transfer the amount when I get home. That would be a nice change :) Amount Remaining: $0

So much of that money went to debt it makes me sad :( I need to get rid of that crap ASAP!!! I can't wait to get the raise, I am so excited to put more money towards the debt starting really soon :)

TTFN, Morgaine.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spending "Freeze" and Taxes

So, I started a new job on February 28th which is about half way through the pay period - the first pay was March 3rd. But, since I started 3 days before pay day I didn't get paid on the 3rd, my first pay from this job will be on the 17th. My last job owed me for my last week at the old rate which was paid out to me on the 4th. So I basically need to go from the 5th to the 16th with one week - at the old rate - pay. As it stands at the moment, I still have $200 left. Since I don't spend much during the week, its going to be the weekends that are going to be my real challenges for the next two weeks. And, having my anniversary and friend's birthday in this time period means I have to be extra careful with my money.

But, on the 17th I will be getting 3 weeks of pay at the new rate - hooray! And then I will get my refund - hooray! So, it'll be tight for a bit but then I should be ok. But, I hope I am learning the lessons of spending wisely in lean times and this will carry over to when I have money. I think I've changed ... only time will tell.

Taxes update - I got my last T4 last night and after entering it the amount of refund changed, but only slightly, I will be getting $1187.42 back. So really close.

Anyone else want to pipe in on how I should "spend" this refund? Please feel free to comment on this or my last Tax post with suggestions.

TTFN, Morgaine

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekly Spending Report: Feb 28 - Mar 6

Feb 28: No Spend!
Mar 1: No Spend!
Mar 2: $58.26 (debit - Old Navy: $22.52 gifts, $32.19 clothing, $3.55 household) + $7.22 (debit - dinner) + $11.29 (debit - snack) =  $76.77
Mar 3: No Spend!
Mar 4: $1.85 (cash - breakfast) + $3.98 (cash - food)= $5.83
Mar 5: $6.78 (cash - dollar store gift stuff) + $30.00 (debit - movies and snacks) = $36.78
Mar 6: $3.16 (cash - tim horton's)= $3.16

Total: $122.54

All in all not bad. I certainly could have done without the Timmies on Sunday and had 4 No Spends instead of 3. I went to a friend's baby shower on Sunday and I felt that I spent a reasonable amount ($25) on the present (Old Navy was having a sale!) this is something I need to do more. I feel that I try and not look "cheap" when I give presents, but perhaps I just need to be on the lookout more for good deals for gifts I know certain people would like. I will have more spending to do in the gifts category this month, that's for sure. My bff's birthday is today and we are getting together on Saturday so I have until then to get her something. My and T's (dating) anniversary is Thursday and we will be going out for dinner. I will be getting him something, but not until the 17th (more on this in tomorrow's post). We've agreed to keep gifts to each other small for the next 2 years as we have wedding savings to worry about, but I'm sure I can come up with something within budget :)

TTFN, Morgaine

P.S. Still waiting on my last T4! Grrrrrrr! :(

Friday, March 4, 2011

Taxes Practice Run

I am still missing 1 T4 but I did have my last paystub of the year so I went into TurboTax and ran the numbers. It looks like I am getting about $1200 back. Compared to the $300 I got back last year, that's a big leap. Because I worked 2 different jobs last year and the second job paid lower than the first, the first job took more in taxes (based on that salary) plus I made regular RRSP contributions.

The problem is, I'm not sure what's best to do with this money. Now that I am going to be paid at a pretty decent rate I know that I can maintain my goal of $1000/month to debt repayment and $500/month to savings.

These are the possibilities:
1) put all on citifinancial loan (29.9% balance $8100)
2) put all on mastercard (11.4% balance $8900)
3) put all on visa (10.5% balance $980)
4) put all in emergency savings (current balance $350)
5) split it amongst debt repayment and savings

I'm thinking about 3 and 5 the most. I know that the citinfinancial loan is the loan with the highest interest rate and of course I should be paying this one off as top priority. BUT I am planning on paying $800/month starting in March which will have this loan paid off mid-2012, and according to snowball calculator, all debt to paid off by December 2012 which would be great. Also, since the interest rate of that loan is so high, interest will pretty well eat up all of that extra payment. So, I don't think this is the best use of the money.

#3 If I put all (actually $1000 since that's the Visa limit) on my Visa that would pay this off. Now, anyone who has followed my blog from the beginning would know that this would be the 4th time that I pay off that balance with the promise that I would only use it in emergencies and NEVER let it get back that high. So, if I do go with this option, I will close the card. Not just chop it up (I've done this and then re-ordered it) or leave it at home (use at home or know the numbers off by heart) I will close it. Cross my heart, I promise I will close it. The extra to go into my emergency savings.

Or 5 I could put say $700 on the Visa and $500 in the emergency fund. This would put the Visa at a more comfortable level (with the goal to pay it off and CLOSE it asap) and have my emergency fund at a level where if an emergency happened I could pay for it out of that instead  of using credit. I've been good with this at least, I haven't used my emergency fund for friviolous purchases. So far I am leaning more towards this idea since its more of a balanced approach but I am tempted as well to just slap it down on the Visa and close it. This would also allow me to add approximately $200 to my emergency fund as well.

So, I would love imput on this. If you were in my situation what would you do?

Have a great weekend everyone! TTFN, Morgaine.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monthly Budget Update - February 2011

So, I went over in every category and about $250 overall. Ouch! I didn't "technically" overspend, any amounts put on credit were repaid. I met my savings goal of $500 BUT I didn't pay the $1000 towards my debt = FAIL! I actually only put the minimum payments on my debts. The good news is that as of yesterday I got my raise! :) From my preliminary projections, it looks like I will be able to actually pay the amounts I want to savings and debt AND be more realistic with my variable spending. I tried really hard to reign in the spending the last few months, but it just didn't happen. Mostly, I ate out too much and my new hobby cost me quite a bit in start up costs.

Here's to more money! :)

TTFN, Morgaine

Monday, February 28, 2011

Spending Report: Feb 21-27

21:  $20.74 (debit - dinner for 2) + 25.50 (debit - movie for 2) = $46.24
22: No Spend!
23: No Spend!
24: No Spend!
25: $1.40 (cash - Tim Horton's breakfast and free coffee!) + $40.00 (cash - food and drinks after work) = $41.40
26: $20 (cash - lunch) + $4.92 (debit - birthday card) = $24.92
27: $3.45 (cash - $2.32 gift wrap and plastic sandwich box $1.13) + $10.09 (cash - Timmie's breakfast for me and T) + $10.00 (cash - dinner) + $6.20 (debit - pet food) = $29.74
Total $142.30

Not too bad, I'm pretty happy about the 3 no spend days. Monday was a holiday and we went out for dinner and a movie. Friday went out for drinks and apps after work, $40 was a bit expensive but it was nice to unwind and celebrate the new job with my co-workers. Saturday I went to an "Ice Festival" with ice carvings. I've seen them in pictures but never in person before. They were neat! Pictures below. Sunday it was a friend's birthday: we went to Denny's for dinner (I've never been before, had chicken fingers as I'm not much of a breakfast person) and glow-in-the-dark mini-golfing. That was fun, but we definitely ate out too much this week, hopefully this week will be better.

Tomorrow, February's monthly numbers :|

TTFN, Morgaine

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Job :)

I start the new job tomorrow! I can't wait to update my budget with my new numbers :) It seems from my February weekly spending reports that $150/wk seems to be a more realistic amount of what I spend on a weekly basis so hopefully I can be a bit more realistic with my budget with the new salary. I won't get paid on the new rate until March 17th. I will get one more weekly cheque at the old rate on the 4th so I won't have to go too long without money, but I will get 3 weeks of pay on the 17th, which is nice :)

Ok, time to get to bed, gotta be fresh for my new role tomorrow :)

TTFN, Morgaine

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Blog: 10K Wedding

I started a new blog to document my journey to my wedding in 2012 for $10K or less :)

I have some post scheduled once a week for the next few weeks, I hope to blog on that site more as it gets closer to the wedding and I start to actual plan and book/buy things.

Check it out and let me know what you think: 10K Wedding

TTFN, Morgaine

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cash vs Debit

Debt Ninja at Punch Debt in the Face had a very interesting post that put into words something that I have thought about myself for quite some time. Contrary to what a lot of pf experts (Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Dave Ramsey, etc) think, I find I spend less when I spend using debit or credit than with cash.

I will, with out a doubt, spend $200 in cash faster than with my debit card. I'm not 100% sure why I'm wired this way. I do remember my Mom saying that cash "burns a hole in my pocket" I certainly have memories of going out and spending cash given to me as a child as fast as possible before it went away or was stolen by my younger brother.

I think it may be that I am more conscious of when I have cash then the fact that I have money in my bank account. Don't get me wrong, I know exactly how much I have in my bank account right now ($127.45 - without checking!) but I'm not as conscious of it because it isn't physically there. I am a visual person. I need to see something in front of me to know that its there (or to understand a concept I've never learned before) so that may be a part of the reason too.

Also, when I don't have cash I don't make as many small frivolous purchases. One of the reasons why I've had a lot more no spend days recently is that I don't have cash to go to the convenience store (I refuse to pay a surcharge to use debit at a convenience store!) so no little purchases that would make the difference between a no spend day and a $1.50 or $2.00 spent day. Those little purchases add up!

I also track my purchases more effectively and have more of an idea of when I need to "stop" spending because my bank account is low or I've already spend X amount of dollars on stuff this month. I've only recently started tracking cash spending too and since I don't want to track a lot of purchases, spending no cash most days appeals to my lazy side ;)

I think what we all have to do is find out what works best for us and perfect this method by tracking and budgeting. I think this is what works best for me, despite what others may say.

How about you, do you spend more when you're using cash vs debit/credit? Do you think that in general people spend more when they use plastic?

TTFN, Morgaine.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Savings Goals - Realistic Edition

I'm the type of person who makes up a lot of goals, but rarely follows through on them. Most of the time it is because I don't have enough motivation (i.e. losing weight without a vacation to look good for) or because I don't have a concrete plan. With my weight loss I now have a motivation (wedding) and a concrete plan (weight watchers plus 3 days/week at the gym). With my money goals I definitely have a motivation - debt free! but I didn't always have concrete plans on how to get there. This blog has certainly helped me with tracking and trying better to control my spending :)

I have been doing pretty good with savings as well (especially in the wedding fund - see, motivation!) but again I didn't have a concrete plan for a lot of savings, it was just for when I needed the funds and I didn't have an idea of when I would have enough saved for a particular goal of mine. So, I decided to create a new sheet on my budget spreadsheet to track my savings goals on at least a semi-yearly (hoping for quarterly) basis. I am a bit behind having started in February, but its the thought that counts.

Anyways, here's my new Savings Goals spreadsheet:

So, in March I will be starting my Honeymoon and laser eye surgery funds and I will increase my RSP contributions. For the wedding fund, its actually the fiance that needs to increase his portion of this savings goal but he wants to wait until his debt is paid off (as soon as he gets his tax refund). I may need to increase my portion too depending on how much he is willing to put in and what that would mean to reaching our goal in time. I can't wait until I start the new job (Monday) and get my raise, I'm really looking forward to the dents I can put towards my debt and savings goals with the extra money :)

TTFN, Morgaine

BTW, what does everyone think of the new banner? I'm planning on making a few more changes to the design of this blog to make it more personal to me. Can you guess I like fairies?