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