Monday, December 31, 2012

Year Over Year Totals

Here's how my money has looked over the past few years:

January 2010
Assets: $3,162.22
Liabilities $22,432.67
Net Worth -$19,270.45

January 2011
Assets: $5,238.92 (+$2,076.70)
Liabilities $18,346.90 (-$4,085.77)
Net Worth -$13,107.98 (+$6,162.47)

January 2012
Assets: $9,040.30 (+$3,801.38)
Liabilities: $11,153.58 (-$7,193.32)
Net Worth -$2113.28 (+$10,994.70)

January 2013
Assets: $13,829.57 (+$4,789.27)
Liabilities $6,568.87 (-$4,584.71)
Net Worth +$7,261.09 (+$9,374.37)

I've increased my Net Worth by $26,531.54 since January 2010. Which is of course, awesome! But I can also see that I didn't make that much of a dent in my debt or increase my NW by as much in 2012 as I did in 2011. Of course, getting married and going on an European honeymoon will do that so I'm still quite proud of what I was able to accomplish in 2012. I'm hoping that 2013 will be even better! :)

Happy New Years!!!


Friday, December 28, 2012

January No Spend & Declutter Challenge

Challenge accepted!

Got this idea from It's Me, Sam which lead me to Half Dozen Daily. Since I am planning on starting my Shopping Fast in January, I only need to add the Decluttering Challenge onto my plan.

We have a second "bedroom" in the house we are renting where my bunny used to live. Its always been the room where the clutter goes. It is the most disorganized room in the house. So, it will be my challenge in January to organize this room and make it more usuable instead of just a room full of junk and stuff.

How about you? Any decluttering challenges for January? Any other resolutions for 2013?

I will be sharing some more resolutions/goals for 2013 next week.

Happy New Year! Have a fun and safe celebration. See ya next year!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Final Paycheque and Updated Stats

Now that I have my new net amount I can start budgeting for 2013! Hooray! (Only us pf geeks get that excited about budgeting!) I think it will change a bit in 2013 due to tax credits but this is a good amount to get started with.

Also since its the last paycheque of the year, I looked up what my approx tax refund would be (again such a pf geek!) And it looks like I should expect around $3500! That's way more than I've gotten in the last few years. Guess where its going? Right back into my RSP. I could use it to pay down debt or fund other things but doing this will put me at my 1st house savings goal of $25K at the end of June! This will give us some flexibility in when we could look for a new home and then I can drop my RSP contribution to a much more reasonable level (probably $100 a paycheque) and save for closing costs, up my emergency fund, AND pay off debt!!! I have to admit that this is making me very excited and now I can't wait until I get my T4 and receipts. In related news, this is the first year since 2008 (and I think that was the only other year since 2003 and now) that I will only be getting 1 T4. Even though I worked at the same job in 2011 I was a temp for 2 months and my agency paid me for those months. This will make tax time a lot quicker (oh, and our T4s are online) and easier to deal with. I only have 1 investment at the moment too plus my 2 charity contributions and my taxes are organized!

I've updated my side bars as we are closing in on 2012. I'm very happy to say that I am over 50% to my RSP/home downpayment goal, I am under $6K left in debt, and I am just shy ($58) of a net worth of +$8K. This is a great way to end off the year, if I do say so myself. We also paid for a wedding and honeymoon in cash.

All in all 2012 was a good year but I'm hoping 2013 to be an even better one with a house and (consumer) debt-free on the horizon.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas, spending time with friends and family.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Why I'm not in love with shopping anymore ...

I haven't been in love with shopping for a while now. This is a combination of a few things ...
  • I don't have as much free time as I use to. I used to shop a LOT when I was in University. I was only working part-time and there was many days when I had a couple of hours between class and work. Do you think I went to the library to study? Yeah, right!
  • I get a ride home from work now and would rather have that than shop and have to take the TTC.
  • I'm using my money for more important things - debt repayment and saving for a house.
  • I'm finding I can't stand crowds and lines more than I used to be able to tolerate them.
  • I'm finding I don't like a lot of clothes these days. It may be that I'm older and set in my ways and new trends are anathema to me. But I also think that my favourite stores have done certain things to make the clothes cheaper (adding spandex and lycra and taking away buttons and zippers) while the prices have remained the same or more expensive. There is one particular clothing store, I won't say which one, but I used to LOVE this store and bought clothes there all the time. They started with one or two styles of pants with no button/zipper but now almost ALL of there pants are this style and I HATE them. And, it does appear that this trend is contaminating more and more clothing stores. These pants are supposedly more comfortable but they roll down on me all the time and I feel subconscious in these pants with all their lycra/spandex. I feel much more comfortable in cotton pants.
  • I have a lot of clothes already. I used to be able to justify buying another t-shirt or another sweater even when my closet was already full. But I now recognize that I do already have enough t-shirts and sweaters. Pants on the other hand ...
  • I always had a hard time finding clothes that fit well. Especially pants. I am a 16/18 petite. When I find pants I actually like, good luck finding it in my size. It seems that no clothing stores want to acknowledge that there does exist fat short people. We all are either short and skinny or if you're fat you must also be tall. And since most clothing stores charge extra for plus sizes, having to add on tailoring fees if the pants are not petite makes it even more expensive.
  • I find I don't have occasion to wear a lot different types of clothes. I don't go clubbing anymore, I don't need clothes for that. We don't go to a lot of formal affairs and I have a dress for those that I can wear to more than 1 function, I don't feel the need to wear a different dress to each occasion. I have work clothes and I have weekend clothes (pjs and schlepping clothes) and that's it.
  • I've never been a jewelry, accessories type of gal, I buy the odd purse that's it. I like comfortable shoes so no heel addiction here. And although my husband likes to complain, I don't think 10 pairs of shoes is that bad. I know ladies with 10 times that amount.
The reason for this list is to remind myself that having a shopping ban for next year shouldn't be too hard. If I don't love shopping anymore why would I want to do it? Why would I miss it? I will re-read this post if I ever feel the need to go shopping next year.

How about you? Do you still love shopping? Do you hate it too and what are your reasons?

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Shopping Ban 2013 - Needs and Wants list

  • Rent
  • Monthly expenses, including:
    • food (but no coffee, pop, snacks, etc)*
    • transportation (portion of gas/parking to T and TTC tokens)
    • cell phone
    • gym
  • Personal care**, including:
    • shampoo/conditioner (but no fancy hair products)
    • face wash/toner/moisturizer/acne product/lip balm
    • body wash/lotion/baby powder/deodorant
    • hair dye
    • hair cuts (but only 4x per year and not salon)
    • feminine products (thinking about a diva cup for more savings)
    • BC pills, Advil, medicine, etc
    • Dental care
  • Entertainment
    • Netflix
    • movies out on cheap night (Tuesday) or free with Scene points
    • coffee/potlucks/game nights with friends (I don't want to shut out my friends completely)
  • Other
    • gifts - home-made or DIY if possible
*Food - trying to limit eating out as much as possible, I'm going to try and find more recipes to eliminate food boredom at home. Again, because I don't want to live under a rock next year, I will accept (reasonable) invitations to go out to eat with friends.

** Personal care - The #1 rule is that I'm only allowed to buy something once I am completely out of it at home. I also have to try and use up gifts and sample sizes before buying new as well.

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Wallets, purses
  • Jewelry
  • Makeup (only basics like oil sheets and powder, and ONLY if I'm completely out)
  • Home crap
  • Electronics
  • Movies, books (including e-reader books), music unless I have a gift card
  • Craft supplies unless necessary to make a gift, but will try to use up what I already have
  • dollar store crap
  • stationary, unless I run out of pens (yeah, right)
I think this is a fairly comprehensive list, if I think of anything else on either side, I will add it. And the general, need vs want rule should apply to any purchase. The main thing I'm trying to accomplish is to save money (and pay off debt) by not using shopping to fill in times when I'm bored, sad, in need of entertainment, just because, etc etc etc

I have to find other things to do with my life ;p

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Spending - Update

I went cross-border shopping last Sunday.

Here's what I got (converted into $CDN):

T - sunglasses $120.07
bro - jeans and t-shirts $49.85
cousin - shoes $58.30

friends (2) - bath & body works - $27.54
friends kids (2) - Marshalls - $45.58

2 pairs of pants at Eddie Bauer $95.39
Pair of shoes $42.41
Cardigan and 2 t-shirts @ Ann Taylor $59.72
Grey hoodie, undies and personal care @ Target $37.50

Total $536.36

A little more than I wanted to spend (I may have gone a bit overboard on myself, whoops) and I still have a few more gifts to pick up but I got a lot of my essentials out of the way to hopefully kickstart the no spending in 2013.

How have you done so far with this year's Christmas shopping, keeping to budget?


Friday, November 30, 2012

2013 Shopping Ban

I know I've said I would do this, umpteen times already but I think I'm ready this time.

No shopping in 2013!

Here is my inspiration:

1) And Then We Saved's 2010 Spending Fast
2) Krystal at Work's 2011 Shopping Ban
3) and this article from the Thought Catalogue

Reading these (and probably having to re-read them over and over again) has giving me the inspiration to try this for next year. I don't see myself going as extreme as #1 or 3 but I have found that I've been doing a lot better in the spending department lately because I haven't gone shopping. Makes sense, right, you can't spend money if you're not somewhere to spend money.

At the same time, I don't want to feel like I'm giving up my life, so I will still include some going out for dinner, movies, and some (very limited) craft supplies.

I will also need to buy some personal care items but I vow not to buy anything until I am out of it at home, except hair dye when its on sale because otherwise it can get expensive!

I may lose/gain weight next year (hopefully lose!) but I have sizes of pants ranging from 14-18 so I should be ok in the clothing department (I am going to look for a pair of black pants while shopping in the US this weekend) but I do need a new pair of running/gym shoes AND walking shoes, I was waiting for my trip to look into these. I killed (and I mean killed) my walking shoes on my honeymoon, they are dead. If I cannot find a suitable pair in the US I will wait until spring but then I will definitely need them so I will consider it a need and not a want at that point.

Other than that its regular bills and savings. I want 2013 to be the year that I am 100% fully out of debt and ready to buy that house! Wish me luck!

Have you tried a shopping ban? Did it work out for you?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Shopping Planning

I'm going to the US on Sunday to (hopefully) complete my Christmas shopping. I have to say I haven't prepared as well as I probably could have for this Christmas, I blame the wedding and honeymoon :)

We were saving, saving, saving for the wedding and honeymoon right up to the date (Sept 8/12) and I still had to pay off some c/c damage from the honeymoon when we got back (Oct 1/12). So, I only have 2 and half months to save for Christmas (plus the fact that my first paycheque when I returned was less than $400!) I already bought some presents and the money that I had saved for Christmas is already gone :( At least the MasterCard is sitting at $0 but my savings account is sitting at $0 too.

Starting in January, I plan to start putting $50 per pay aside for gifts (Christmas and birthdays) so that hopefully I'm better prepared for 2013. Here's hoping!

Here's a list of what I already bought and what I still need to buy (not being specific, as I don't know if anyone I know in real life reads this blog or not, except Bianca).

Bought (actual amounts, rounded)
Mom - $55
Godmother - $35
Aunt 1 - $15 plus some home-made goodies
Total: $105

To buy:
T - around $100-150
Aunt 2 - probably around $50 as she is also our landlady and is renting this house to us super cheap :)
Cousin - $5 (home-made gifts)
2nd Cousin - Around $50 to $60
Brother - $25-30
Friends Secret Santa - $25 cap
3 other friends - approx $20 each
3 kids of friends - approx $20 each
Total - $440

Combined - $545 (using highest total) Its a bit over $500, I'm hoping to cap at $500 so we shall see if I can find some deals :)

I will re-post when I have my purchases done and the actual totals. And, how I plan to pay for this all! :S

How about you? Did you do a good job of planning for Christmas this year? What's your budget cap?
TTFN, Morgaine

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I spent a good chunk of today re-reading my own old blog posts. It really puts things into perspective. When I started this blog I was $22K in debt (currently $6K) and -$19K (currently +$6,200) net worth. That's an increase of +$12,800 in net worth over 2 years without owning a home or a car. I'm pretty happy with this.

However, my attitude towards money hasn't changed that much. I still overspend on stuff I don't need. I still use my credit card(s) as a crutch and I still don't track and budget like a person should.

I keep thinking about wasted money and how I probably could have had all my debt paid off by now if I didn't keep making the same dumb decisions. I think I need to keep using this blog to keep myself accountable, even if its hard. I found that when I was at my most honest about my money, I kept myself (mostly) out of trouble. That's where I need to be going forward.

I'm not too sure how that's going to pan out for the next 2 months with the Christmas spending craziness that happens around this time of year. But I know that I can do better I just need to try harder.

When you look back, what's your perspective of the past?


Monday, November 12, 2012

The new job

Well, its taken me a few more days to write this because I took Friday off and today is a government holiday, and it so happens I work for the government. Anyways, I mentioned on Thursday that I got a one year contract at my current work place for a job that pays about $100 more per week. It will of course come with more responsibilities and I will have some learning to do, but I'm excited. I was feeling a bit lethargic in my current role. There is sometimes only so much you can learn in one role. I spent a quite a bit of my day looking at Facebook and Pinterest. I was bored.

I start on November 19th so I have the rest of this week to get whatever I currently have in my personal work queue done and get ready to take on the new role.

I also am looking forward to working out a new budget and seeing what this extra money will net me on my paycheques. I'm debating on either upping my credit card payments or increasing my discretionary money (only to ensure I don't spend on the c/c). I might end up splitting the difference between the two.

I will keep everyone posted on this.

In other news, yesterday was my birthday. We kept it fairly frugal. On Friday we went out for dinner with some close friends, I got some books and gift cards (some for books, I love my friends!) and T bought me 5 different $25 gift cards for the movies, books, Starbucks (for yummy gingerbread lattes), Old Navy, and Best Buy. I'm sure these will come in handy over the next 2 months when the priority is Christmas spending but you always want something for yourself too. On Sunday we went to a movie (gift card paid for movie and some treats), bowling (which isn't as cheap as I remember but I did have a $5 off coupon), and dinner at Caseys because they have free dinner on your birthday! Yummy stacked sandwich! It didn't end up costing me or T too much money and we had some well deserved fun.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Some bad news and some good news ...

So, I won't be needing a "pet" category in the budget for a while. Tuesday night we came home from work and found that my pet rabbit Hunny Bunny had died. I don't want to be graphic, so I'll leave out details, just know that we hadn't noticed her to be much different in behaviour and not in pain. We did notice she wasn't eating as much and was more lethargic than usual. We had an appointment for the vet Tuesday night but she didn't make it. She was a great pet and friend and we will miss her a lot.

I don't plan on getting another pet for a while, maybe not even until we have old enough child(ren) to help us take care of it. Mostly because I want to be financially able to take good care of a pet and having Hunny Bunny made me realize that it can be a challenge. I took her from my brother because he wasn't taking good care of her at all. He was living in my parents basement and she was living in the bathroom. He was a 20-something that was unemployed and partying a lot. He couldn't take care of himself, let alone a rabbit (he got it from an ex-girlfriend he wanted to get back together with). So, I took her without realizing how much this would cost me. Don't get me wrong, the financial aspect aside, she was an amazing pet and I loved her to pieces, it was just more than I bargained for. Monthly expenses like shelter and food were quite cheap (under $25 per month!) but whenever it came to taking her to the vet it was really expensive. When I first got her I was still significantly in debt (about $20K) and maxed out on my credit card. The vet ran basic tests which cost me about $300 then he told me that I should get her fixed and that would cost me another $450! I couldn't afford it at the time, so we let her be. Over the years I've been tempted to get her fixed now that I'm better able to afford it (still in debt but not as much and I have an emergency fund) but I never did. I do feel guilty because it may have been a contributing factor in her death on Tuesday. However, I had her for 5 years and I believe my brother had her for a year or two before that so she still lived a pretty good life (rabbits live about 8-12 years) and I took good care of her otherwise, she always had food, water, pets, treats, and I changed her litterbox regularly. I wish I had taken her out of her cage more for exercise, but life gets in the way.

Anyways, this was longer than I expected, I just wanted to be clear about the background. My point was that having a pet is a big financial responsibility and I want to be better prepared for it for my next pet.

And now for the good news. I got a one year contract at my work that will see my pay increase by about $100 per week. More about this tomorrow, I've wrote enough for one day.

R.I.P. Hunny Bunny :(


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thank Goodness for Overtime!

Today is payday, and boy did this one seem a long time coming! After only getting paid $380 last pay (see last post), I ended up putting quite a bit of stuff on my credit card (and, yes, not all of it was necessary needs - bad pf blogger, I know!) But, I made it through and now not only was this pay a full one (no days off) but it also included 7.5 hours of overtime. This is going to help me a LOT in getting back to a place where I feel comfortable and not worrying about money all the time.

I did a few things that may or may not make sense in the grand scheme of things, but its making me feel better for the meantime. 1) I did a balance transfer of $1,000 from my BMO MasterCard to my CapitalOne MasterCard. This brought my BMO card back down to $0 but moved my CapitalOne card up to $2,679.27 BUT, I just put a payment of $700 on that card today. I didn't know how much I would be able to put on that debt before I went for the balance transfer, otherwise I would have just transferred the $300 or not bothered and paid down the MasterCard next month. But, what's done is done and seeing the zero balance on at least one of my debts is good, for now. I just gotta keep focusing on paying it and keeping it all down! (2) I'm stopping my PAC on my e-fund now that its at $1,000. I know this is nowhere close to the 3-6 month amount I should have, but I just feel that for the time being, this should be a good starting point, in case an emergency does happen in the next bit until I can start increasing it. With Christmas being just around the corner, I figured it didn't make sense to split my money in too many directions.

I'm still on the fence about tracking all my money and budgeting down to zero at the moment. I just have a feeling that the next 2 months are going to be crazy and spendy. I know that I just gave a really good reason why I should be tracking and budgeting, but I also know that I'm going to fall off the wagon. Yes, there is still a good reason to try at least and if I fail, I fail, but for the time being, I'm going to leave things as it is. Make automatic savings and major debt repayments first priority, then maybe the tracking and budgeting will come along after that. Or, maybe I have it all backwards? I don't have all the answers, I'm just trying to work things out as best I can for me. I'm still only giving myself $350 to spend out of every paycheque (23% of my takehome pay, less than Gail's 25% for life, hah!) but I'm not going to break it down further than that, then it starts to get depressing :(
I've updated some of my side-bars, it will take some time for payments to go through, so they will change again soon, but this is still showing some progress, in my eyes, so I'm happy. Plus I'm now over the +$5K mark in Net Worth! This is a huge amount of progress considering that when I started this blog my net worth was -$21K :)

Well, that's all I got for now. Take it easy,

Friday, October 12, 2012


So, while I was on my honeymoon, it was considered a "leave of absence without pay" at work. I'm currently on a contract with zero paid vacation. I've been on this contract for almost 2 years now and while its been tempting to look for a permanent position elsewhere with paid vacation/sick days and benefits, I've stayed here because the pay is amazing and I like my job (ok, I like my work but not necessarily the work environment/some co-workers). T has benefits through his work, so we've been ok on that front as well.

Anyways, the point is that I didn't get paid for the 2 weeks I was on my honeymoon, plus 2 days off before my wedding and 1 day after the honeymoon (needed to recoup, get back to my timezone, and do lots of laundry!) So, my paycheque yesterday came in at $380! I haven't made that little in a 2 week period since my part-time job in University! I still had my RSP/E fund/Christmas fund come out of that leaving me with $155 to go for two weeks. I'm not too sure how this is going to work out, to be honest. There isn't too much planned for the next two weeks (I might buy a Halloween costume) and we've been trying to eat out less (both for wallet and waistline sakes), so I'm really hoping that I can stick to that amount and not put anything on the credit card. T has told me that he can wait for the money back on my cell phone bill so the $155 is completely spending money, but I'm still a bit concerned.

Also I'm hoping my next paycheque will be able to cover all my end of the month bills (rent, groceries, I help T with his parking costs since we carpool, savings, credit card payments, and now my cell phone) and still give me some spending money too.

This is certainly going to be a lean month but I'm looking forward to the challenge! Wish me luck!


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm back ... I think

Its been over a year since I posted on this blog and some things have changed ... I'm married! We had a great day and an awesome honeymoon. We paid for (mostly) everything up front so the wedding cash we got was (mostly) ours to spend on the honeymoon. Right now I'm sitting on about $560 on my MasterCard from the honeymoon, which isn't too bad. You don't think you've spent too much until it gets converted from Euros/Pounds into Canadian Dollars! Ouch!

Right now I'm sitting at about $6,500 in debt (all credit card) but I do have $800 in an emergency fund and over $10K in my RSP which means I'm now in POSITIVE net worth! :) That seems like a huge accomplishment to me, I know I still have a LONG way to go to be where I want to be, but just knowing that I own more than I owe makes me feel good.

But ... not so good that its taken my focus away from paying off the debt! I definitely want to be debt free before the end of next year. My preference is to have it paid off ASAP but right now with looking at my current budget, it seems that I'm still looking to at least 8 more months of debt repayments (that's if I leave my credit cards alone for the next 8 months as well!) However, I will be putting any extra money onto my credit cards if I have anything left over (this is NOT including regular payments). So, if I could have it all paid off in 6 months that would be awesome, but I do have other goals and objectives so I can't throw everything I have at debt or it would be counter-productive at this point.

Now that the wedding/honeymoon are done (and mostly) paid for, its time for our next big goal ... buying a house! This is why I can't throw everything I have to debt repayment, I also have to help save for this house. We are planning on using the 1st time homebuyers plan (i.e. take the money out of our RSPs) to pay for our downpayment. T already has his $25K and is working on a "closing costs" account (taxes, lawyers fees, etc). Since I only have $10K in mine, I still have a ways to go. Our goal is to have 20% down on whatever we are to purchase (screw CMHC!!!) and we are looking to spend anywhere between $300-375,000 on a house so our downpayment would have to be anywhere from $60-75,000 plus those closing costs. Ideally we want to start looking at houses around this time next year because we do want to start a family soon thereafter, but we can't stretch ourselves too thin either. I'm planning (starting in November - still paying off wedding/honeymoon related costs and I didn't get paid for my 2 weeks off either!) to put $550 per pay cheque into my RSP, yes, this is $1,100 per month. Its really aggressive but its the only way to have enough in a year from now.

This should still leave me with the $350(+) per pay for discretionary spending after also taking into consideration my other bills and savings (emergency and Christmas fund - probably will be converted into a gift/travel fund after Christmas). If I was able to do it (most of the time) before the wedding, I should still be able to pull this off now.

I'm hoping to get back on track with budgeting and tracking my spending again as well as updating this blog again. Wish me luck!