Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Blog! And a Giveaway!


I have a new blog! I've finally bought a domain name and have gone self-hosted!


Please visit my new blog and right now I'm giving away a $25 Best Buy Canada gift card! Check it out!

Morgaine

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekly Spending: April 1-7


4/1 - $24.14 (debit - dinner for me and T)
4/2 - $1.00 (cash - milk)
4/3 - $18.55 (cash - TTC tokens) + $235.98 (credit but paid for w/planned spending acct - taxes on flight to Alberta, rest was with Airmiles) = $254.53
4/4 - $6.50 (cash - lunch) + (+$5.00 - cash from selling an item) = $6.50
4/5 - $3.05 (cash - breakfast and coffee)
4/6 - $13.54 (debit - lunch) + $6.80 (cash - dollar store for gift bag and cards) + $49.45 (debit - pet store) + $19.21 (debit - LaserQuest) + $62.00 (credit - dinner) + (+$10 cash - from cousin for dinner) = $151.00
4/7 - No Spend!

Total: $440.02 - $235.98 (from Planned Spending) = $204.04 (+$15)

Other than the taxes from the flight to Alberta it was a pretty normal spending week. Oh, and going out to dinner and laser tag with friends for a friend's birthday.

Not much else exciting this week :)

How did your last week go?

Morgaine

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tag! 8 Questions about Love and Money

Time for another #Tag post! Got this one from Girl Meets Debt who got it from Justin at The Frugal Path. I like these posts because I think you get to know a bit more about the person behind the blogger :) Feel free to participate!

1. Would you discuss money on the first date?
Besides, who's paying? No, probably not. I work in the financial industry, so usually some discussion comes up but I wouldn't talk personal numbers.

2. How long should you wait to talk about money with your spouse?
Before they were my spouse! I can't remember exactly when T and I discussed money but it was probably fairly early on. We both had student debt when we met and tried to be fairly frugal on our dates.

3. Who brings up money in your relationship?
T brings it up more than me! He is constantly thinking about how much money he has and what else he has to purchase and tells me all about it ;) He's also fascinated with investing in ETFs and the housing market right now.

4. Is it harder managing money as a couple than it was when you were single?
In some ways, easier. I know I can fall back on T if I'm a couple of bucks short or maybe more (but I would pay it back). This prevents going into debt or paying bank fees for some stuff. In some ways, harder. We're constantly buying stuff for each other. This weekend, for example, he paid for dinner and I bought him socks! The amount was about equal, but the budgeting categories were not. We like to take turns treating each other and it may not always be equal. Right now, even though we're married, we do not have a joint account. Once we have a house, we will have a joint account for household bills that we will contribute to on percentage basis (based on income) and keep our spending accounts separate.

5. Would you offer to pay off your spouse’s debt?
Yes, if they were absolutely desperate and the interest was killing them. But, they would be expected to pay it back. In T's case that won't happen, he's now very responsible with his money and has no debt (unlike me).

6. Is debt a deal breaker?
It would be extremely hypocritical of me to say yes. But, anyways, its not. T had student debt and a bit of credit card debt when we met. Being responsible with money is a deal breaker. Even though I have been irresponsible in the past, I've learned from my mistakes and have tried to fix them (still in progress). I think more than anything, apathy would be the deal breaker. I dated one guy who just didn't care and I couldn't handle that.

7. Do you think it’s important to have the same money views?
Maybe not 100% but generally agree, yes. T likes to make more money, I like to cut expenses. He's willing to take risks with his investments where I like to be a bit safer (especially when it comes to the home fund and emergency fund). He spends more money on quality items but has less, I have more stuff but spent less. We balance each other out :)

8. Can you really change how your spouse spends money?
Yes, but you can't force it. They have to want to change. We've both helped each other with being encouraging and giving advice when appropriate but we both wanted to get out of debt, pay for the wedding/honeymoon in cash, and put at least 20% down on a home. If either of us just wanted to spend money on crap and maintain/increase debt, it probably wouldn't have worked out.

Tag! You're it!

Morgaine


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Monthly Budget Update - March 2013



Here's my numbers for March. I just have one word ... yuck!

Click to make larger


Highlights: I made extra money this month due to overtime at work and my income tax return. I put $1,300 towards debt and paid off a credit card! I saved $6,100 towards various goals.

Lowlights: I broke my shopping ban by purchasing a swimsuit, spring coat, a couple of t-shirts and a cardigan. I spent over $300 on restaurant, fast food, and or convenience food! Entertainment and gifts are also a bit high due to taking my friend out for a spa day. Everything else is fairly steady.

Luckily, April should be fairly quiet with only one birthday. I may purchase a bike but that would come out of the planned spending. We purchased our flights to Alberta for T's sister's wedding in August through Airmiles so only had to pay for taxes which is also out of the planned spending.

I've been offered a bit more OT this month so I'm going to take it but keep my goals infront of me this month, unlike last month. Just because I made more money is no excuse to go crazy and spend it all!

How about you? How did you do in March?

Morgaine

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Weekly Spending: Mar 25 - 31


3/25 - $3.00 (cash - tip for Thai delivery)
3/26 - No Spend!
3/27 - $1.80 (cash - tea at Timmies) + $2.75 (cash - drink @ convenience store) + $30 (cash - tickets to One of a Kind Show - friend owes me $20) = $34.55
3/28 - $6.40 (cash - lunch) + $13.79 (debit - dinner) + $39.55 (cash - purchase at One of a Kind show) + $51.21 (credit - booze) + $8.79 (debit - grocery store for snacks) (+$20) - cash from friend for OofaK show) = $119.74 (+ $20)
3/29 - $10.00 (cash - lunch)
3/30 - $8.54 (debit - Timmies breakfast) + $47.02 (debit - Walmart) + $35.51 (debit - haircut plus tip) + $10.14 (debit - convenience store for mix for drinks) = $91.07
3/31 - No Spend!
Total: $258.36 (+$20)

End of March was an absolute disaster for my budget. We fell off so many wagons this month - food, exercise, spending. We went up North to visit T's family and friends, so we bought some booze and snacks in anticipating of staying up late chatting and playing board games.

Since I was restarting the Shopping Ban in April and I had gone through my closet on Friday (donated 3 *big* recycling bags of clothes) I knew what I needed to buy to replace defunct items: 1) new black socks for work (2) 1 bra. I picked up both of these at Walmart on Saturday along w/socks for T.

April is here (although you wouldn't know it to look/be outside - yuck!) so we are trying to make a fresh start - meal planned for whole week including dinners and lunches, going to the gym tonight, Thursday and Friday (maybe Saturday), and Shopping Ban is back in effect!

How did your last week go?

Morgaine

P.S. The dinner previously listed for March 31/13 was actually purchased Apr1/13 and is now under the next week's Weekly Spending Report.

Friday, March 29, 2013

March Goals Update


March Goals

1) No breakfast/lunch/snacks/coffee during the work week - FAIL I started off fairly strong (I think the first 2 weeks there was none) but I lost control during the second two. Went out for breakfast 2X, lunch 2X, one drink, and 2 teas.


Financial:

1) Shopping ban - FAIL - I purchased a bathing suit, a spring/rain coat, and 3 tops, 1 cardigan.
2) Savings goals - Check - My RSP is over $25K and I put another $700 into other savings accounts this month.
3) Debt goals - Check - I paid $1300 off my debt, closed one credit card, and now my total debt is under $4K!
4) Increase my Net Worth - Complete - up +$14,511.01 (goal = $10,000) Hmm, how much should I increase this to?
5) Track spending and post budgets - Check - I need to verify the numbers but I'm pretty sure I kept track of everything.


Lifestyle:

1) Lose weight -FAIL - ??? I don't even want to know, so I'm not weighing myself yet.
2) Do something physical at least 4x a week - FAIL - Gym, what's a gym? With all my time and energy going into OT this month, the gym definitely took a back burner.
3) Eat better - FAIL - Stress eating, that's all I'm going to say about that ...
4) Read more books - Pass - Finally finished "The Kingmaker's Daughter" by Philippa Gregory.
5) Make more things - FAIL - OT, need I say more?
6) Sell/donate more - Check - I sold 3 wedding items this month and I've posted some more items online.


Blogging:

1) Post my weekly spending and bi-weekly budgets. - Check
2) Post at least one other post a week other than #1 - Check
3) Comment on other blogs and become more of the community - Check
4) Use twitter more (@morgainemoney) - Check
5) Post updates on my progress with the Shopping Ban and these goals. - Check - unfortunately :(
6) I will update my blog and sidebars with these goals (other than the Closing Costs since this is mostly T). And if I'm on pace or not. - Check

April Goals


All of the above PLUS ... Actually, stick to these goals! The diet and exercise especially. I feel so tired, lazy, and lathargic lately. Hopefully Spring is here and we can do more things outside :)
How about you? How did you do on your March goals? Was March a crazy busy month or more relaxing?

Morgaine

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Payday! OT Edition


The last two weeks (Mar 8-21) I worked 89.75 hours and it paid off ... literally :)

I made an extra $666 net. And its practically spent already :(

Hmm, $666 is this a sign this money is cursed or something?

Here's the breakdown:

$275 rent
$40 share of groceries
$50 share of parking
$500 to T to partially pay back $1000 borrowed to go into my RSP
$400 to my aunt to partially pay back loan
$100 share of renters insurance
$100 to EF
$500 to Planned Spending (want to purchase a bike this month and need to pay for taxes for flight to Alberta)
= $1965 out of $2308 = $343 which is around what I typically leave for myself.

You may notice that I didn't put any money towards debt repayment. I feel like I'm spinning my wheels a bit. At the same time that I really want this debt gone, it is at 0% (balance transfer) and the amount (just under $4K) isn't causing me stress or causing me to lose sleep.

But, anytime I have to make a large purchase, if I don't have savings, I have to put it on credit. So, the goal right now is to not accumulate any more debt than the $4K I have and then pay it off. That's why I decided to put the $500 in savings (planned spending) rather than on debt. That money's going to get spent eventually.

Hopefully that makes sense.

What about you? What would you do with the extra money? Would you pay down debt even though its at 0% or would you put it in savings for future purchases that would avoid adding to debt?

Morgaine


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I don't play the lottery




If you read my post about What I Learned about Finances from My Family you'll have read that my father was a perpetual optimist and part of that optimism became his obsession with lottery tickets.

I actually have very fond memories of sitting on my father's lap helping him pick out lottery numbers and filling in the bubbles on the lottery sheet. He would tell me about all the things we would buy when we won the lottery. We'd dream together of a nice, big house with a swimming pool, being able to go on vacations, and living the high life. Of course, this never happened.

I think my Dad won a few little prizes here and there and maybe we went out for dinner or he used it to buy something he/we needed but we never won anything big. That never stopped him.

He bought every lottery going, including the big charity lotteries (which do have better odds but he still only ever won his money back), and scratch tickets. His job included a lot of waiting around (he was a courier) and he would also wait in the car anytime my Mom went shopping. You can bet he was in the car with a coffee scratching his scratch tickets. For him, it was entertainment.

For me, I think its a waste of money. I'm in debt so I feel that I shouldn't be spending my money on things that won't do anything for me immediately. Its in my best interest to use my money for things like paying off my debt, savings, or for things that bring some value to my life. I'd much rather spend my entertainment money on spending time with friends and going to see a movie with T.

Sure, I still like to dream about how my life could be different, but instead of relying on winning the lottery to make my dreams come true, I've decided to work hard and save. For me, having my hard earned money in the bank is like winning the lottery and the odds are much better.

What about you? Do you play the lottery?

Morgaine

Monday, March 25, 2013

RSP Savings Goal Complete!

Just a short post to show that the trade in my RSP went through and my first financial goal of 2013 is officially complete :)

Weekly Spending: Mar 18 - 24



3/18 - No Spend!
3/19 - No Spend!
3/20 - No Spend!
3/21 - No Spend!
3/22 - $3.65 (cash - breakfast) + $59.93 (credit - dinner for me and T) + $2.90 (cash - chocolate for me and T) = $66.48
3/23 - $56.50 (credit - Old Navy online)
3/24 - $11.84 (debt - lunch) + $29.61 (debit - Michael's) + $12.99 (debit - movie) + $14.31 (debit - drink and snack at theatre) = $68.75

Total: $191.73

After doing extremely well not spending during the week, I may have gone a little crazy over the weekend. Friday we met up with some friends for dinner and it was my turn to pay.

Saturday - I have no excuse other than I had already broken the shopping ban this month and Old Navy finally has some t-shirts in colours I will actually wear.

Sunday - typical lunch and movie Sunday for me and T. The trip to Michael's was actually to pick up supplies to make something that a friend as "custom ordered" and I will be reimbursed for these purchases and the final product :)

Overall, I'm not disappointed in the amount I spent this week, but I need to shut the shopping down. The Shopping Ban will be back on 100% in April but I'm still going to try and not shop between then and now either.

So, that was my week, how was yours?

Morgaine

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Competing Priorities

Now that my RSP is $25K and that goal is complete, I'm going to shift my focus. The problem is to where? My personality type is one that would prefer to focus on one thing and get it done, as it gets done faster and gives me more motivation (which is why I picked the snowball method of paying off debt). But, I may not be able to do that all the time, and I'll admit that I find it frustrating.

Here are my competing priorities (in no particular order):
  • Pay my Aunt back the $4K I borrowed for my RSP
  • Pay off remaining credit card debt ($3900)
  • Save for house down payment outside of RSP (approx $5K)
  • Re-establish Emergency Fund (at least $1K)
  • Save for trip to Alberta in summer ($200, flight paid for w/Airmiles) - July
  • Save for gifts/Christmas/misc (at least $500)
  • Buy a bike ($150-250)
Ok, lets add that up (using highest totals and ignoring interest, just for example purposes) = $15,150. I will at the very least pay $400 to my Aunt and probably $400 to the credit card to bring it to $3500. The rest is going to depend on how much my next paycheque is. But let's say I pay off and save a total of $1000 in March, that leaves me with $14,150

After March we have 9 more months in the year (yes, already!) 14,150/9=1572.22 per month that I would need to pay/save (not including interest) each month for the rest of the year. That's pretty much a whole paycheque! Also, since some of those goals need to be completed before the end of the year, that number isn't completely correct, its more for example purposes.

I will have to give my budget a look over to determine how much I will be able to give to each of these goals and how to make the best use of my money.

I will post my budget at the end of the month once I have an average of money spent for the last 3 months. I also get my OT "bonus" at the end of the month so I will have a better idea of the total I have left to repay/save. I will then try to determine how to best fit these payments into my budget going forward. I will post that to this blog.

How about you? How do you deal with competing priorities?

Morgaine

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Financial Goals Complete!



Yesterday, I sent my "Investment Advisor" (I picked my own fund, though) a cheque for $5,000 which will put my RSP at $25,155. In my yearly financial goals, goal #2 is to have $25K for down payment of house. That goal is almost complete! I won't consider it actually complete until the trade goes through.

This will also put my Net Worth at $21,202. My net worth at the beginning of this year was $7,261. This is an increase of $13,941 which puts me well over my goal #5 of increase my NW by at least $10K. I will have to increase this one. But, once I take the money out of my RSP to use for down payment, my NW will decrease but I will be adding a house to the NW calculation (and a mortgage).

So, that's 2 Financial Goals completed in the first 3 months of the year! Unfortunately, I also broke my Shopping Ban this month, but I will just keep moving forward with the goal. I also have to bring my EF back up after draining it to pay off my CapitalOne card this month.

But, in more good news, I officially have a higher positive NW than I had negative NW when I started this blog in 2010!

In January 2010 I had $3,000 in savings and $22,400 in debt now I have $25,100 in savings and $3,900 in debt! From -$19,400 to +$21,200 NW. What a reversal in 3 years! :)

Granted, I still have a ways to go, I have to get that last credit card to $0 and pay my aunt back the $4K loan for the RSP, but right now, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

How about you? Have you accomplished any of your financial goals for this year?

Morgaine

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Spending Report Mar 11 - 17


3/11 - No Spend!
3/12 - $12.44 (cash - 2 chai shakes @ Body Blitz) + $27.06 (credit - my share of dinner at Mandarin) = $39.50
3/13 - No Spend!
3/14 - $18.55 (cash - TTC tokens)
3/15 - $1.50 muffin (cash) + $8.65 (cash - lunch) = $10.15
3/16 - $30 (cash - T for my share of St Patrick's Day food and booze) + ($0.88) (cash - to change jar) = $30.00
3/17 - $17.80 (cash - lunch for me and cousin) + $26.83 (debit - Shoppers) + $53.17 (debit - Joe Fresh) = $97.80

Total: $196.00

Friday, I broke my no breakfast/lunch/coffee/snacks during the work week challenge, by purchasing both breakfast and lunch! I have no excuse, we were too lazy on Thursday night to prepare anything for Friday. I did bring my lunch on Saturday when I worked OT.

Sunday, well I (if I didn't before) officially broke the Shopping Ban. March hasn't been a good month for me, spending wise. At Shoppers I went in for lip balm, it was on sale so I bought 2. But, I also saw hair dye was on sale, so I bought two of those as well even though I do have one at home. However, considering they are regularly $13.99 (well, the brand I buy) and it was on sale for $6.99 I don't feel too bad. I also bought body lotion (on sale, but not really needed, have some at home) and pocket tissues. My cousin and I went to the St Patrick's Day parade and she was in desperate need of Kleenex from standing outside in the windy coldness.

I also bought a spring/rain coat from Joe Fresh. I don't know why I even went in. I knew if I went in I would break the Shopping Ban. Its a really nice coat and for $49 it wasn't a bad deal, either. But it is against the rules.

I've decided to give myself a break for March (not that I'm planning on going crazy and use this as an excuse to do more shopping). I'm going to start fresh in April and see how long I can go next time.

Well, that was my week. How was yours?
Morgaine

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Update on Job Situation

If you've been reading for a while, you would know I'm on contract with my current employer. I've been hoping to get moved to full-time but so far it hasn't happened, they haven't opened any full-time positions that I've been qualified for, just contract positions.

Another thing you might know, T and I are thinking of starting a family near the end of the year (we want a house first).

Being on contract means there is absolutely no guarantee that my position will be held for me while I go on maternity leave. It also means no top-up (I work for a company that would top up the 35 week government benefits to 52 weeks).

I didn't think this was that big of deal since it says in my collective agreement (union document) that anyone on contract for 3 years will be made permanent after 3 years. What I didn't know (because I didn't actually read it, stupid me!) is that you have to be in the same position for 3 years in order to qualify.

I started a new (current) position last November. So, I've basically shot myself in the foot, big time! It basically reset my contract clock and now I would need to stay in this position until November 2015 in order to qualify. There's no guarantee of that since my current contract ends this November, it is a possibility that I would go back to what I was doing prior to my current role (and the clock would start again).

I found this out as I spoke today to a colleague of mine who's basically in the same position (same current role, on contract, used to be in the same role as me) but she's already pregnant. She's already spoken to HR and the union and they won't do anything. She's been here longer than me (5 years compared to my just under 3) and she's just as a good of a worker as I am so I don't see my situation as any better of getting full-time than her.

So, this leaves me with 2 options. 1) Look for a new job now, one that would be full-time, that would give me benefits, and maybe paid vacation. It would guarantee me a position when I'm done my mat leave. (2) Stay at my current job even though I have no benefits, no paid vacation (other than 8% vacation/stat holiday pay) and no guarantee of a job when I'm done mat leave.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm leaning more towards #2. This job pays way more than I think I would get elsewhere, which would allow me to sock away as much money as I can until I go on maternity leave. I've worked hard at this job, and there's still a possibility that things could change. It's still more than a year away. I don't need benefits as T has them through his work.

With #1 there's no guarantee that I won't be pregnant and looking for a new job before then anyways, I wouldn't want to go through that. In today's current economy, there is no job security. I think I will look and see what's out there, maybe I can find something permanent full-time that pays close or maybe even more than what I'm making here.

But, I think my safest bet is to wait until November and if I get renewed here, then that's when we'll start trying. If not, its gonna have to wait a bit longer. I just can't wait until November 2015.

What do you think? What would you do if you were in my situation?

Morgaine

Friday, March 15, 2013

Stupid Gym!

So, I've been with this one gym near my home for a year now (contract) and while I went pretty regularly up to the wedding, I stopped right after and have only been a handful of times since. But, I had to wait until my contract was up to cancel. This was February.

So, in February, I went in and told them I wanted to cancel my membership. I signed a form. The dude told me that since I paid for February I could still use the gym until the end of the month. I didn't, but anyways. Today, I look at my bank account and they charged me for March! I am fuming. Unfortunately, I am working OT tonight and tomorrow so I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to get this sorted out.

I was going to put a stop payment on them but it costs like $12.50 at my bank and they don't necessarily work all the time because this gym tends to change the date it takes money out of my account.

I want this money back as I hadn't budgeted for it to be leaving my account (don't worry, I'm not going into overdraft or anything, its $37) but I am paying for a new gym now closer to work and I wanted to sign up for aquafit this week.

Anyone else have this kind of experience with a gym or anywhere else that kept charging you even after your contract ended? How did you handle it?

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

TTFN,
Morgaine

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Payday - Thursday, March 14, 2013

Today is payday. My raise came through :) It was a full paycheque (no days off) and its now $32 more than my previous full paycheques. Not a whole lot, but nothing to sneeze at either.

I've been approved for more overtime this week (2 hrs tonight, tomorrow night, and 8 hrs on Saturday). There may be more next week as well. This is good because I lose 2 days at the end of the month for Easter (no paid stat holidays) and it usually takes quite a bite out of my paycheque. I also wanted to come up with a buffer again, maybe not a full EF as I will probably just keep it in my regular savings account so it might be used for other expenses while I try to smooth out my savings after draining them to use as debt repayment.

I'm also waiting on getting my tax refund. According to CRA's website, I will be receiving my $3400 payment on Monday. Its going right back into the RSP for my home downpayment. That should put me at about $23,500 meaning I only have to put in $1500 more to reach my $25K downpayment goal in the RSP. I will still have to save more outside of the RSP as well as pay my aunt back the $4K loan. However, having the $25K amount in the RSP soon is great because the money has to be in there at least 90 days before withdrawal.

In more exciting news, I made a $200 payment to my Visa (will pay more at the end of the month) so now the balance starts with a 3! Well, $3,953.13 is the current balance. To think, I started this blog in 2010 with $21K in debt, most of it consumer debt, that number is a little overwhelming to me. I think I see the finish line, and its gonna be so sweet!

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday!

TTFN,
Morgaine

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Am I Insane?

So, I've drained my Emergency Fund, and it wasn't for an emergency.

I paid off my Capital One credit card.

Once I'm sure I'm in the clear and no interest is going to be charged, I'm closing off the card.

I've done this for a few reasons:
  1. I feel like I'm so close to the finish line of paying off debt that I can taste it. I am getting super impatient to pay off this debt.
  2. I hate making 2 debt payments every month and only paying off a portion of each one. Now, I only have 1 payment, with a nice snowball from the now gone payment.
  3. I have other resources I can tap if I run into an "emergency" in the short term. Of course, my now #1 priority is to get that EF back up to $1,000 ASAP. Then I will work on increasing it to 3-6 months of expenses.
  4. I'm paying more interest (14.99%) on the credit card than I'm making on my EF (1.4%).
  5. It brings my total debt down from $6,018.86 to $4,153.13. By the end of March, that number will start with a 3.
  6. That means instead of taking until the end of the year with payments at about $600 a month, it can be paid off in November or earlier with payments of about $500/mth. Obviously, I will try and pay it down faster. But this makes the payment more in line with my budget.
  7. I will be closing this card in order to have less debt and less available credit that should help when we're going to be getting a mortgage. These are factors in the GDS and TDS calculations that the banks do when figuring out qualification (and interest rates) for a mortgage.
I wouldn't recommend this strategy for everyone, well, actually, anyone else. I thought long and hard about doing this. If I felt that I would run into some serious issues in the short term (unemployment, illness, etc) then I wouldn't have done it. Granted, life can decide to throw you for a loop at anytime, which is the point of an emergency fund but I don't see it coming right now.

Also, if an emergency does come, I only had $1K in the EF which would hold me for maybe a couple of months. With minimum debt payments of $250 it wouldn't last very long. Now my minimum would be $125 and will be getting less as I continue to pay. Also, its more than likely would have put some expenses on my credit card anyways.

So, now my Debt Repayment Sidebar has been updated and is mostly dark blue. However, my Savings are now mostly light. Once this debt is paid off, saving will be my #1 priority, its just not it right now.

How about you? Do you think I'm insane? Would you drain your savings to pay off debt?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekly Spending: Mar 4-10


3/4 - $1.00 (cash - milk) + $76.27 (credit - AdditionElle) = $77.27
3/5 $99.44 (credit $49.72 gift/ $49.72 entertainment or personal care? - spa day for me and my BFF for her birthday at Body Blitz Spa in Toronto)
3/6 - $39 (debit - chiro)
3/7 - $11.20 (credit - Go Daddy)
3/8 - $1.00 (cash - milk) + $5.00 (cash - drink and snack) = $6.00
3/9 - $8.35 (cash - Timmies breakfast for me and T)
3/10 +$30.00 (cash - sold some wedding items) - $15.99 (debit movie) - $28.00 (cash - dinner for me and T) = $43.99

Total: $285.25 (+$30)

So, on Monday I guess I officially cheated on the shopping ban. I bought a bathing suit from AdditionElle, (online hence why I used my credit card). Here's why ... my friends and I go to Aquafit for exercise (yes, I have a gym membership but doing physical activities with friends is more fun and you can motivate each other. The last time I wore my current bathing suit my friend pointed out how see-through the back had become (I had gained some weight since I bought the suit so there probably was some stretching plus I went to a waterpark with waterslides, I imagine those aren't great for the bottom of a bathing suit). This was in February. If I had thought I'd need a replacement bathing suit this year I would have bought it last year so I could keep my shopping ban intact.

I'm letting myself off the hook here because its the first clothing purchase so far this year (and this is very unusual for me), because I didn't anticipate I would need a replacement when I decided to do this shopping ban, and because its for exercise. I'm just going to dust myself off and keep going. I'm not writing off this challenge as a failure yet, I'm going to keep trying.

Tuesday - since its my goal not to go shopping (and this includes for gifts if it can be helped), I thought a spa day for my BFF (she was the MOH at my wedding) would be a great gift. And since I've been jonesing for a spa day myself (I've been working hard and I've been noticing my back, neck, and shoulders have been super tense lately). I bought online gift certs for the water therapies at Body Blitz Spa for next Tuesday since its $10 cheaper on Tuesdays :) I've spent upwards of $100 on spa days in the past (or even just for a message) so $44 plus tax was a good deal, IMHO. And if you're in Toronto, I seriously recommend them, its a super relaxing place.

Thursday - some things are a foot, but not ready to talk about them ... yet :)

Friday - when do you consider the weekend started? Friday evening or Saturday morning (or Saturday at midnight?) I very desperately needed a snack Friday, this was after my regular working hours and just before my OT was to start. If I was going to get to 6:30 I knew I needed something to eat at 5. What do you think? Did I cheat on my no snacks during the work week challenge or does after work count, even though I was going back to work?

Sunday - I finally sold some of my wedding stuff! The cake serving set and cake stand are now gone! I got $30 which then went towards dinner. Went to a movie and bought dinner. It was T and I 6 year dating anniversary :)

So, this was a super spendy week. Highest so far this year, I believe. Its also left me with not much to make it to payday on but with my no spending on breakfast/lunch/coffee/snacks during the week and the fact that we have a meal plan for every night this week (except Tuesday, after spa I'll be going out with my BFF and another friend for dinner). I should make it to Tuesday without too much trouble.

So, that was my week of spending. How did yours go?
Morgaine

Saturday, March 9, 2013

OT and Updated Blogroll

I don't usually post on a Saturday, but I'm at work, its lunch time so I decided to update my blogroll to get rid of blogs that aren't posting anymore :(

And, add some awesome new ones :)

I will have some interesting updates coming soon, stay posted. And, I may have broken my shopping ban :(

Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend! :D
Morgaine

Friday, March 8, 2013

Budget Friendly Tea



If you regularly read my weekly spending reports, you would see I buy milk every week. Its not for drinking straight or putting in cereal. Its for tea.

Instead of buying a hot caffeinated beverage everyday, I simply buy tea bags in bulk, use the hot water machine at work and add some (raw) sugar and milk.

Here's why its good for my budget:

  • 72 teabags on sale for $2.99 = $0.04 per serving
  • Raw sugar 500 grams for $4.99 (apparently 4 grams is one serving, 500/4=125 servings!) = $0.04 per serving
  • Milk 10 servings for $1.00 = $0.10 per serving
Total per serving: $0.18 and I usually have 2 servings per day = $0.36

Thirty-six cents per day for 2 large cups of tea = winning :) Also that makes $1.80 per week, that's about the price of ONE XL tea/coffee at Timmies or Starbucks

Granted, I do on occasion drink fancier stuff, I love Tetley's Earl Grey Vanilla and Chocolate Chai for example. I have been gifted some David's and Teavana tea but I just can't thoil buying for myself when Tetley will do. Drinking regular tea is better for my budget :)

All my family members are huge tea drinkers, I think its been ingrained in me to love tea. They've also showed that drinking tea has some awesome health benefits. There's so many flavours and varieties which is a bonus. I also like the fact that I don't feel the need to add cream like I do with coffee so it makes tea a healthier drink for me (gotta watch the cholesterol). Sure there's lattes but they are expensive. In the end, I'm just a tea person.

And I leave you with this fun article about Tea People vs Coffee People

How about you? Do you drink tea or coffee? Do you make it yourself to help with your budget or do you regularly indulge with Timmies/Starbucks, etc?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Foodie Gift Pack

I'm finding Pinterest to be a great resource for gift ideas.

Here's 2 awesome recipes I found:

Flavoured butter: http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/flavored-butters/

Basil Infused Olive Oil: http://www.shutterbean.com/2012/basil-infused-oil/

I did up a garlic and herb flavoured butter and the basil infused olive oil. I threw them in a basket with some toast points and brie. Add a bottle of nice white wine, and it was a very nice gift to my friend that cost me less than $25 :)

Are you on pinterest? Have you made anything that you've found (craft or recipe)?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekly Spending: Feb 25 - Mar 3


2/25 - $9.03 (debit - shampoo)
2/26 - $2.77 (cash - breakfast)
2/27 - $8.46 (cash - lunch)
2/28 - $32.00 (email transfer to T to pay him back for $5.00 borrowed and pizza ordered last week)
3/1 - $10.15 (debit - snack at movie theatre)
3/2 - No Spend!
3/3 - $9.75 (cash - breakfast for me and hubby) + $62.25 (debit Wal-Mart) + (-0.03) (cash to change jar) = $72.00

Total: $134.41

Wal-Mart breakdown: $23.94 (+tax) home + $4.00 (no tax) groceries + $9.91 (+tax) pet +$20 cash back. The home stuff was 2 plastic bins 1 for the bunny's food (if I leave it out in the plastic bag she chews on it and dragging it in and out of her room was getting to me) and 1 for other things that I can't leave lying around in that room because she would chew on them (mostly related to jewellery items). I also bought a refill for our febreeze scent thingy by the garbage can (stinky!), some large compost bags, and some olive oil (gonna try my hand at homemade pesto!) The pet stuff was food, so she should be good for at least 2 months, I hope.

Well, I have to admit that these weren't all planned purchases but its sometimes easier to just get things at Wal-Mart while you're there than go to the pet store separately. The olive oil was on sale.

I have to admit, its been harder not shopping for random stuff than for clothes. I really thought that would be my biggest challenge. And although my spending was low for the beginning of the week, I bought something everyday except Friday. I need to work on that. Wait, that's my challenge for March ;)

How did your week go?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Goals Recap and March Goals

February Goals


Financial:

1) Shopping ban - Pass - bought some stuff at the dollar store but still no clothes :)
2) Savings goals - Check - put $5,550 into my RSP this month - Its now over $20K :)
3) Debt goals - Check - I paid $1,149.99 onto debt this month
4) Increase my Net Worth - Check - up $6,601.38 this month and $9,504.46 from beginning of year (goal = $10,000/12 = $833 per month)
5) Track spending and post budgets - Check


Lifestyle:

1) Lose weight - Pass - didn't lose or gain weight, but I lost 1 inch off my chest and 2 inches from my waist, so I'm considering those to be wins :)
2) Do something physical at least 4x a week - Pass- First week 3x, then second week 2x because I fell, but I've been 4xs the last 2 weeks :)
3) Eat better - Pass - there were a few cheat days but better than last month :)
4) Read more books - Pass- reading "The Kingmaker's Daughter" by Philippa Gregory but I haven't finished it yet. Its funny, I started reading this early last month and then they find the remains of King Richard III who is a main character in this book (the protagonist's husband). Kinda ironic ;)
5) Make more things - Fail - with going to the gym and that taking up a lot of my free time and making me really tired afterwards, I just didn't get around to it.
6) Sell/donate more - Pass - Still no actual buyers. Argh! I'm going to try GirlMeetsDebt's idea of setting up a website for my items.


Blogging:

1) Post my weekly spending and monthly budgets. - Check
2) Post at least one other post a week other than #1 - Check
3) Comment on other blogs and become more of the community - Check - I even wrote a guest post! Read it here ... Getting Out of Debt ... With a Plan
4) Use twitter more (@morgainemoney) - Check - and it landed me my guest post opportunity :)
5) Post updates on my progress with the Shopping Ban and these goals. - Check
6) I will update my blog and sidebars with these goals (other than the Closing Costs since this is mostly T). And if I'm on pace or not. - Check

March Goals

All of the above plus spend less money eating out! Specifically, no breakfast, lunch, coffee, or snacks during the work week :)



Friday, March 1, 2013

Monthly Budget Update - February 2013




This month was strange with a lot of money coming in and out of my account for putting extra money into my RSP and another thing that I'm not going to tell you guys about yet.

I thought it would be best for the purposes of my blog (and for general budgeting purposes) just to look at my fixed and variable expenses. Again, I'm not budgeting until I have at least 3 months of spending data just so I know what I spend on average before trying to come up with a budget. That said, I am still making sure that I'm not spending more money than I make :)

It seems that February was an improvement on January's numbers in restaurant/fast food ($62.83), home ($18.98), entertainment ($35.49), gifts ($9.68), and medical/dental ($109.59) - hooray for not having to go to the dentist!. I spent more on groceries ($25.59) - which makes sense when you spend less on going out :) - personal care ($39.49) - stupid me losing shampoo at the gym :( plus a few other items - and pet ($90.93) - we bought Caramel a new cage. But I still spent less overall $632.37 ($64.86). With the bunny taken care of and no medical/dental expenses this month, I should spend a lot less. There's just a couple of birthdays this month.

I'm also challenging myself to not buy breakfast, lunch, coffee, or snacks during the workweek in March. I want to see if I can get the restaurant total even lower :)

So, that was my money in February, how did yours go?
TTFN,
Morgaine

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Payday

First off, check out my first EVER guest post! Its on Michelle's awesome blog SenseofCents ... http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2013/02/getting-out-of-debt-with-a-plan.html

Today's payday and its not a full one due to Family Day :`(

But I did make to over $20K in my RSP :)

I have to admit that this is kinda boring payday report, not much to say, its the usual money gone before the day is even over kinda paycheque. But there are some exciting things coming up in March.

  1. Celebrating 2 friends birthdays, one was technically in Feb (happy belated B!) and one is in March, but they are planning a joint get-together, so I hear.
  2. St. Patrick's Day - I'm Irish so its my day ;) I typically have some friends over for some Irish food and drink, and some fun :)
I'm still working on getting February's numbers together (and hey, the month's not over yet!) but it looks like I spent a bit less on eating out in Feb than I did in Jan but there's still HUGE room for improvement. So, I'm planning not to eat out for breakfast or lunch, nor grab coffee during the week for all of March. I would add in dinner but I know its not going to happen, we've just been too busy lately with gym and activities plus we are planning on eating out with some friends before a movie tomorrow and the friends bday celebration as above. But this should still help, I just need to plan out some of my lunches a bit better to make sure I have enough to cover at least 5 days and possibly have some back up options.

I should be able to post the numbers tomorrow and how I did on my goals this month.

How did your February go?
TTFN,
Morgaine

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How to Make Your Clothes Last Longer

As I am on a Shopping Ban this year, I'm thinking about ways to make the clothes I currently own last as long as possible. Here are some of the ways I'm doing this.

I call it cycling, it may have other names. Basically when I do laundry and I put my clothes away, I put those clothes underneath the clothes in my drawers (or hang behind in closet). This way I'm not wearing the same 7 pairs of underwear every week ;P

Cycling also allows you to utilize more of your wardrobe. Since it puts the clothes you haven't worn recently towards the front you are more inclined to wear them, rather than some clothes hiding in the back of the closet. It should also give you an idea of what you wear more often. If something stays at the front frequently and you never wear it, you should just get rid of it for a piece you wear more often.

Here's a great tip I learned a while back. When you switch your wardrobe over for the season (i.e. in the fall and spring) put all the clothes in the closet with the hangers facing backwards of what you normally use. This way at the end of the season you see very clearly which clothes you haven't worn in a long time and then you can make the decision of wearing it to replace something more worn out in your closet or selling/donating the item.

I stain my clothes a lot, I can't tell you how many times I bought new clothes just because what I spilt something on what I was wearing! I now carry a tide-to-go (or equivalent) with me at all times in my purse. I also make sure I use spray and wash immediately when I get home and soak the item as well. So far, this has reduced the number of clothing items that I've had to get rid of by a great deal :)

Another thing that will help make your clothes last longer is to make small repairs. I sew missing buttons on myself. I don't currently own a sewing machine otherwise I'd also hem my own pants. You can also get clothes taken in or out at a tailor.

I currently rent a house that came with a top loading agitator washing machine. I make sure I use the delicate cycle (all the time!) to avoid rips, pulling, and piling (those little fluff balls). I use cold water and only enough detergent as recommended. I try not to overdry my clothes as this can lead to shrinkage. I put all of my delicates in a laundry bag or hand wash them.

I don't really have clothes that necessitate dry cleaning, but I imagine it would help prolong the life of clothes since they wouldn't be in my washer with that damn agitator! If I moved into a more corporate environment and had suits to worry about, I might be more inclined to do this.

So, those are my tips. So far I haven't had to buy or replace any articles of clothing this year.

What are some of your tips for making your clothes last longer?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekly Spending: Feb 18 - 24


2/18 - $1.50 (cash - laundry)
2/19 - $1.00 (cash - milk) (+$5.00 cash from T)
2/20 - No Spend!
2/21 - $1.95 (cash - breakfast) + $10.49 (debit - lunch sushi) + $2.05 (cash - coffee) = $14.49
2/22 - No Spend!
2/23 - $11.80 (debit - Dollarama)
2/24 - No Spend!

Total: $28.79

Dollarama breakdown -  gum $0.79, earphones for gym (lost last pair) $3.39, freezer bags $1.13, kleenex $1.13, mini comb and brush set for gym $1.41 (old brush has lost plastic nubs and was scratching my scalp), cotton cosmetic pads $1.13, lint roller $1.41 (because of bunny), travel bottle for gym $1.41.

Everytime I think I don't need something, I can always think of at least one thing I need. In this case, it was the new brush for the gym. Which leads me to purchase said thing and then other things I forgot I needed or were "well, while I'm here" type purchases.

So, again I think I'm cheating on this shopping ban by justifying purchases because they're for the gym or the home, or for the bunny. I will also have to buy shampoo again for the gym as I left my last bottle there by accident and nobody turned it in :(

It looks like I only ate out once last week, but it isn't true. We had pizza on Friday and Wendy's on Saturday. It was pure laziness on our parts. I owe T for my share of the pizza, which I will pay him for on Thursday (pay day) plus the $5.00 I borrowed on Tuesday :)

How did your week go?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Friday, February 22, 2013

What I Learned About Finances From My Family ... Part 2

Part 2 ... My Brother, My Husband, and Me ...

My brother, now he is a great example of what not to be. He didn't finish high school, never got a good job, can't keep a job to save his life. He's not a hard worker, has no ambition, and has no problem living at home and sponging off my Mom. He can't save a penny, every single cent he's ever made his entire life has been spent, and most of it on booze, cigarettes, and clothes. I think my Mom finally makes him pay rent now that he's on welfare. Considering how my Mom left my Dad to his own devices when it came to money (and some of it hers too!) its not so surprising to see that he gets away with being a complete loaf.

Its so funny how living under the same roof can make you very alike and very different at the same time. I think most people inherit a lot of good and bad habits from both their parents. I was a spendthrift early on (Dad) and wasn't too worried about it, I could pay it off later (Dad). I didn't save, what I wanted I bought and I put it on credit (Dad). I'm a hard worker (Dad) and ambitious (?). I went to University and have taken many courses over the years to put me where I am now. I'm now becoming more of a saver (Mom) and wait until I have the money to make the purchase (Mom) although I'm not as scared about making the actual purchase and running out of money - I think this is because I'm still young and working. I can mostly do things by myself (Mom) and learned a lot about handling my money myself (courses and Gail) rather than relying on my parents. They never once told me how to budget or to save.

But I think even if my parents taught me how to budget it probably wouldn't have gotten through to me until later. As much as parents like to say "do as I say not as I do" most kids learn by example, not what they are told. If you see your parents never having a plan, never shopping with a list (Mom), and generally never explaining how they budgeted their money (they didn't) then it wouldn't have sunk in anyways.

I don't know where my and my brother's love of shopping came from, neither of my parents like to shop. Sale was my greatest four letter weakness. Although my Dad was optimistic and didn't blink about carrying a lot of debt, he wasn't as impulsive about his money. He didn't buy a lot that he later regretted.

As for my new family dynamic (married less than a year), we have a good relationship with our money. We don't have a joint account yet (when we buy a house) but we have lots of conversations about money, we know where each of us stands (savings and debt) and have very similar money ethics and goals.

T is good at investing but horrible at day to day finances. He works extremely hard (f/t job plus contracts on the side). He is ambitious and works hard towards his goals. However, he does regrets a lot of purchases (buyers remorse) and doesn't really budget (but does do automatic savings). He doesn't have a lot of debt or makes the money through contract work to pay it off quickly. I am jealous of his ability to make more money to achieve goals more quickly.  One point of contention between us at the moment, he doesn't like the housing market and keeps thinking that we will regret buying a house (if we buy it soon), he'd rather just invest the money and rent. I don't want to rent anymore, I want a house of my own, but we've compromised by only looking at houses within a reasonable price range where we can easily afford the mortgage payment and we will put at least 20% down so that we don't pay CMHC fees :)

So in the end, I think I've learned more of what not to do by learning from my parents mistakes rather than learning what to do. Other than my Mom's frugal tendencies which I'm trying to take the good part from and my Dad's hard working and optimistic outlook on life (except I tend towards Gail's motto: "Plan like a Pessmist so you can live like an Optimist"). My parents may not have made a lot of money, nor spent it wisely. However, we always had food on the table and I don't recall us ever worrying about losing the house. In fact, my parents rarely even fought about money so I didn't realize how deep the issues where until I was older. Although, its obvious I was affected by their relationship with money without even realizing it.

I think this says a lot about me and how my issues with money started and how I'm starting to recognize the patterns in order to not repeat the past.

How about you? How did your family's experience with money shape your money management?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What I've Learned About Finances From My Family ... Part One

I've watched every episode of TDDUP and one common couple type that comes up is where one is the spender and one is the saver and they get into constant fights about money. But there's also the couple where one is an "ostrich" and doesn't know or pay attention to the money so there's less fights but they're no better off. That was my family.

My Dad was (he passed away in 2009) an extremely hard worker. He worked right up until he was 75 and right up until the week before he died.

He got into a lot of debt due to his "business" - he was a courier in a company where you work as a contractor, he made OK money but almost all of it went towards maintaining his car (it wasn't UPS or something where you drive a company car) and gas. Yes, he could write these things off, but when you spend more money than you make on a monthly basis then you go into debt. I prepared his receipts for 2009 for his accountant and only 1 month did he make more money than he spent. But of course, there's the mortgage and food, etc to pay for so it was even worse.

He did like to talk about money. He taught me some good rules (buy low, sell high) and some bad (businesses should always be in the red - sure for income tax purposes, but see above). He was a perpetual optimist, things were always going to get better ... next month, next year, after tax time, etc etc etc I see a lot of this when people think that they will pay off their debt when they make more money, but it almost never happens. He was always waiting for a windfall (despite being a hard worker) and always played the lottery and scratch tickets.

He was a very giving and trusting person, he thought everyone was his friend - including his banker, where was Money Rules when my Dad was around? He often took bad advice and it wasn't until I started working in the financial industry before I could convince him that it was bad advice. He didn't have an emergency fund or car maintenance fund or even insurance. It cost my Mom a lot to pay for the funeral. He wasn't a good planner, more reactive than proactive.

He was 100% in charge of the money. When he died and my Mom had to look over the bank account for the first time in years she was overwhelmed and asked me a lot of questions, most of which I couldn't answer, only he could.

He left my Mom with a $80K Home Equity Line of Credit and a $90K mortgage at 59.

My Mom is pretty frugal, she doesn't like to spend money. This is good and bad. Sure she saves the money she doesn't spend but a lot of the time its to the detriment of home maintenance and debt repayment. Her house is practically falling apart around them, since no one living in the house is particularly handy and they don't want to pay for repairs, I really worry about what's going to be left of this house if its ever going to be sold.

As stated above, she has $170K in debt (OK, less now that its been 4 years, but not much less) anytime I suggest paying more down on the LOC she has a mini panic attack and wonders what she's going to live off of. It took me a long time to even get her to stop keeping all of her money in her chequing account. She was getting zero interest and putting herself in a bad position if she ever lost her debit card.

She is not a very hard worker, but she works at a hard job (crossing guard where you have to be outside the whole time you work) but only works 3 hours a day and goes home in between shifts. She has very little ambition, even when she was left with this debt, she didn't try to find another job or any other source of income. Yes, its hard to try and find a job at 60 but she didn't even try. She does crafts but has never tried to sell any of them (other than at my uncle's retirement home where she would get none of the profit anyways). When she lost her job in the manufacturing industry in the 90s, I can understand not finding another job in that field (thanks NAFTA! *sarcasm*), but she didn't try to take other courses, get her GED (she finished grade 10), learn computers or anything else that would upgrade her skills and get a new job/career.

She always let my Dad take care of the finances, even though it was pretty obvious that he wasn't good at it. When I started selling investments and was talking to my Dad about investing $5K into a GIC. We had to do a full financial overview. That's when I discovered he had $80K of debt spread out over 11 credit cards. My Mom only knew about 1 and she didn't even think it was maxed. He was recycling his payments(using the room created from a payment made on one card and then take out a cash advance and use that to pay off the next, etc) just to make the minimums. It was me that took them to the bank to get them the LOC otherwise they were paying ridiculous amounts of interest (I never fully calculated it out but I imagine it was an average of 19% down to 4.5%). My Mom then told me that he had racked up a ridiculous amount of credit card debt in the past (about $60K and they had rolled it into the mortgage and then took out a second mortgage). You think she would have taken over the finances at that point, or at least looked them over every once and a while!

My Mom is a hoarder. She practically never gives anything away and takes whatever people give her. She is now the proud owner of other people's crap. I've inherited this and am working on it. Where this has affected my finances is that I would buy stuff that I didn't need to replace other things that I didn't use or don't work but still don't throw out what I have. It makes up for a lot of storage space being used rather dumbly but like I said, I'm working on it.

But she does live very frugally and is a saver so now she's doing a bit better, she's paid down at least some of the debt (LOC is at about $50K and mortgage at $80K), has a $5,000 emergency fund and paid for a $4K roof repair in cash. A lot of this is things that I've been trying to help her with as I'm not sure she would have gone to the bank herself to ask for the LOC payment to be increased, to open a TFSA, change her mortgage payments to accelerated bi-weekly, and invest her LIRA (locked in retirement savings from when she had a pension) in things other than GICs - but still very safe income producing investments, she's too close to retirement to be taking on too much risk.

She will probably have to work until she's at least 70 to get this debt paid off.

Part 2 tomorrow ... My brother, Me, My Husband and My Final Thoughts :)

TTFN,
Morgaine

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weekly Spending: Feb 11 - 17



2/11 - $1.00 (cash - milk)
2/12 - No Spend!
2/13 - No Spend!
2/14 - $3.06 (debit - breakfast) + $63.00 (credit - lunch for me and T) = $66.06
2/15 - $3.00 (cash - tip at restaurant)
2/16 - $6.77 (debit - shampoo) + $3.19 (debit - coffee for me and T) +$12.05 (debit - groceries)(-$0.66 to change jar) + $77.70 (credit - water bottle, pet door, and shavings for rabbit) = $99.71
2/17 - No Spend!

Total: $169.77

Notes: went out for Vday lunch on Thursday hence the $63 spend there.

Ok, I swear I'm done spending money on this bunny (except normal food and upkeep costs) until the next time she has to go to the vet. We got her a new cage last week, tiled the entire room with foam mats, bought a doggy door for that room, and blocked off everything she could potentially hurt herself with (or cost a lot of money in damages or repairs). The only money I should be spending on her until the next vet appointment is food and shavings. This should get my budget back to normal.

How did your last week go?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day and Family Day Weekend

I totally wasn't expecting to get anything for Valentine's Day. I don't like flowers, we're on a diet so no chocolate (I may have had a Lindor that a co-worker brought in yesterday, shh!), and we were just staying in for dinner. So, here was the surprise waiting for me when we got home yesterday ...

So cute! And sweet and unexpected :)

This weekend is a long one and we've got a long to do list! But we're also hoping to get some relaxing in and take in a movie (A Good Day to Die Hard) as well.

What did you do/get/give for Valentine's Day? What are your plans for the weekend?

TTFN,
Morgaine

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Payday and Updates

Today is payday, and as per usual almost all my money is already spent ;)

Some important news ... my total debt is now under $6K! Currently sitting at $5,668.87 and my total assets are over $20K at $20,722.81 for a total net worth of +$15,053.94 :)

Its almost surreal to me that this year I should surpass on the positive side of net worth where I was negative in 2010 (-$21K).

Its taken a lot of hard work and dedication and I hope that if there are people who are currently in debt and feeling like they will never get out or never have savings, that you can use me as an example. I've been in overdraft, I got a consolidation loan at 29.9%, I've had collection calls, and a bad credit rating. Please believe that where you are now is not where you have to stay.

Please feel free to email me at morganofthefairies80@gmail.com or DM me at @morgainemoney if you want to discuss anything.

TTFN,
Morgaine

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

RRSP Boost and Waiting on Taxes

As of the end of business day tomorrow I should have just under $19,500 in my RSP. This is a combination of my usual $550 per pay automatic contribution and a $4,450 extra contribution I made.

$4K of this money is a loan from my aunt. I simply showed her my income tax report I did on turbo tax. It showed that if I made an extra $4K RSP contribution before March 1st that I would get back $3,989 as a refund. So, its basically an RSP loan that I'm paying back as soon as I get my refund.

After I pay her back this $4K I will be borrowing another $5K to bring my RSP up to the $25K max allowed under the first-time homebuyers plan. I will be paying her back in $500 monthly installments until the end of the year (10 months at $500 per month = $5K, she doesn't charge me interest :) )

I'm doing this for a few reasons.
  1. Why not take a RSP loan if you can pay it back right away without interest?
  2. There is a rule that you have to have the money in your RSP at least 90 days before you can withdrawal it from the plan for the HBP. If I wait and contribute as I have been, I won't be finished until mid-July. What if we find a place in September and I can't make a full withdrawal?
  3. I still have to save extra outside my RSP. We live in Toronto. The average townhouse here costs about $355K if we want to have a 20% downpayment (and we do, screw CMCH fees!) then we have to save $71K! And there's closing costs as well. T already has his $25K in his RSP and about $7K saved outside. With my $25K RSP we are at $57K and need $14K more to have that 20%. If I pay my aunt back $500 a month, I can save the other $500 a month outside the RSP. Giving me another $5K before the end of the year and if T can save $9K then we are done. We are hoping to get something under this range, of course :) But better to be prepared.
  4. This gives me another $100 per month to put towards debt. Yes, I realize this isn't a lot but every extra bit helps. I will be stopping my automatic deposit to my RSP. I may have to make a 1st 60 day contribution in 2014 to avoid paying tax (I'm now making more money than I ever have). But if we do buy a home in 2013 I have to pay some back to HBP and we will have the first time buyers tax credit as well :)
So now I just have to wait until I get my T4 and last RSP contribution record and I can file my taxes. I hate the waiting game ;)

And yes, I consider myself extremely lucky to have an aunt that is willing (and able) to help us out in this way. I've borrowed money from her in the past and have paid it back, so she knows that I'm good for this. So, why not get her to lend me the money to pay off my debt? Yes, I could save quite a bit in interest, but I'm doing it this way to "feel the pain" so that I never go into debt for stupid stuff again.

How much are you getting for your income tax refund and what are you planning on doing with it?

TTFN,
Morgaine

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Weekly Spending: Feb 4 - 10



    2/4 - $9.65 (debit - lunch) and $14.27 (debit - dinner for me and T) + $18.55 (cash - TTC tokens) = $42.47
    2/5 - $3.05 (cash - breakfast)
    2/6 - No Spend!
    2/7 - No Spend!
    2/8 - No Spend!
    2/9 - $25.14 (debit - bulk barn but $10.60 was ingredients for gifts) + $8.48 (cash - dollarstore $2.50 home, $1.00 pet, $1.00 personal care, $2.00 gift) + $7.33 (debit - snack at movie theatre) = $40.95
    2/10 - $142.99 (credit - pet store) ($10.00 cash given to T)

    Total $229.46

    It may seem on the surface that we did much better on eating out last week. Well, that would be partially true. I did take lunch from home 4 days last week. However, Monday. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday we either ate out or ordered in! We just have to figure out how to schedule dinner around our busy schedules. It almost defeats the purpose of going to the gym 3-4 days a week if we eat out 4-5 days!

    I think this upcoming week will be much better. Today I could have ate out, but I pushed through and waited until I got home after the gym at 7:40 to eat leftovers from last night's dinner. Just requires a bit more planning and discipline.

    I'm make a "foodie" gift pack for one of my friends for her birthday. Includes: gourmet flavoured butter, infused basil olive oil, a French baguette, and some Camembert cheese. I'm making the butter and olive oil. Thanks pinterest :)

    I bought a new cage for the bunny. She escapes from the top of this one if you don't hook the top. And if you let her down on the ground to play, she will jump up and down from her cage on the table to the floor and vice versa. I'm a bit paranoid that she's going to hurt herself. The new cage has a ramp on the side that allows the rabbit to come and go as they please when its open. I just have to rearrange the room she's in so we can have the cage on the floor.

    So that was my last week. How did you do?

    TTFN,
    Morgaine

    Wednesday, February 6, 2013

    My career in money ... what I've learned.

    This post was inspired by Cassie of Tales from the Trenches comment on my Getting to Know Me post.

    I mentioned that since graduating from University almost all of my jobs involved money. Here's a list:
    • bank teller at a major bank (part-time)
    • bank teller and back office admin at a Credit Union
    • mortage promotions telephone rep and then telephone banking rep at a different major bank
    • customer service for self-directed brokerage for yet another major bank
    • back office admin at an independant mutual fund boutique (also started selling mutual funds)
    • investment rep assistant
    • pension fund admin then pension analyst for a major Ontario pension plan
    I would say though that since most of my career involves sales I think that I didn't learn very much about finance from any of these jobs. Sounds strange, right?

    In the early portion of my career, I had to push credit cards, loans, and mortages down everyone throats. Except at RSP time (around now) then it was pushing RRSPs down everyone's throats ;P But most people told me they had nothing left to save because of all that debt that we had pushed on them. I never once helped someone budget or had a conversation about lowering expenses (I had the ocassional desicsion about bank fees, of course) the rest wasn't part of my job.

    I was never in the role of giving advice until I worked at the mutual fund boutique (and even then it wasn't my major role). I asked some friends and family if I could work on an investment profile for them, with the end goal of getting them to invest with me (so I could make commissions). If I helped anyone make decisions with what they do with their money (budgeting, cutting expenses, etc) it came more from the influence of Gail Vaz-Oxlade than my job.

    It wasn't until I was 27 (and already had worked at 3 different banks) that I started looking at my money seriously. I was still quite deep in student loan debt (about $10K) had credit card debt (about $5K) and no savings. One of the fringe benefits of getting my mutual fund license is that any commissions earned from my own investments I get 100% of them. This is what actually triggered me to start saving in a RRSP. Not looking towards the future, not wanting to save for a house (I just started dating T at that time, I had no idea we'd be where we are now), I did it for the commissions :)

    If anything, I learned more about finance from Gail and the Wealthy Barber (which I read in high school) than any of my jobs. Yes, I know quite a bit about investing and once we buy the house I look forward to purchasing some ETFs, but budgeting and saving, no I didn't get that from my career.

    Feel free to ask me any questions you might have.

    Where did you learn about finance?

    TTFN,
    Morgaine

    Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    #Tag - Getting to know the "Person" behind the PF blog

    This tag comes courtesy of Girl Meets Debt

    The Questions:

    1) How did you come up with your blog name?
    Morgaine is a character from my favourite book "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I am seriously considering it as a name for girl if I have a daughter. Its been my online moniker for more than 10 years now. Since I'm still trying to stay anonymous, I figured a moniker was a good way to go. I also like the alliteration of Morgaine and Money.

    2) Which bloggers inspired you when you first started writing?
    Krystal from Give Me Back my Five BucksThe Asian Pear, Jessie from Jessie's Money, and Jolie from Shaking the Money Tree were around before I started writing my own blog and inspired me to do one too. I've also been reading Gail Vaz-Oxlade's blog since 2008.

    Bloggers that inspire me to keep writing (almost gave up on this blog) Cait from Blonde on a Budget, Bridget from Money After Graduation, and Cassie from Tales from the Trenches plus the above list.

    3) Why write about finance?
    I want to become debt-free and be more responsible with my money. Blogging is a way to stay accountable.

    4a) What do you enjoy most about blogging?
    To get other people's opinions and suggestions. I've been struggling with some of my money decisions and having such a support team is wonderfully inspiring.

    4b) What do you enjoy least about blogging?
    Coming up with articles that aren't just numbers. The pressure to promote your blog.

    5) What’s the most helpful piece of advice you have learned from reading other PF blogs?
    How to budget, its a personal thing. I've been struggling on how best to set-up my budget and reading how other bloggers do theirs and the issues and questions they have helped me to want to create my own, not just follow a pre-filled excel spreadsheet.

    6) In terms of finance, what is your main focus at the moment?
    Main focus - saving for downpayment on first home. Secondary - paying off debt and saving for other things so that I stay out of debt for good!

    7) If you could give your younger self financial advice, what would it be?
    Oh God! So many things!!! First, work harder. You're only young once when you have the free time and energy to work 2,3,4 jobs at a time. Second, save more. I saved nothing when I was in school. Three, don't take more student loan than you actually need. Sometimes I got more OSAP than I needed for tuition, I did spend some of it on books and other school related needs, but some of it was spent on clothes and other frivolous purchases. I should have worked harder and saved the money for books, needs, and wants and used only as much OSAP as I needed, it would have saved me at least some of the $21K debt I graduated school with.

    8) Who in your “real-life” knows about your blog?
    My hubby, T but he doesn't read this. I wanted this to be an online diary of sorts and I would feel more self-conscious if he read it. Some of my friends know, but to my knowledge only my friend Bianca reads this blog.

    9) Does your real-life job have anything to do with finance or money?
    Yes, I work in pension administration. Before this I've worked in the financial industry for 8 years, all of my jobs save 1 since graduation have been something to do with money. Its funny though that I would give people advice about saving and debt but didn't take it for myself until I was 27.

    10) What’s the first thing you would do if you won a million dollars?
    Pay off the remaining debt, buy a nice house (but not a million dollar house), go on a vacation, and put the rest in savings :)

    If you decide to join along, please #tag this back to Girl Meets Debt (link at top).

    Monday, February 4, 2013

    Weekly Spending: Jan 28 - Feb 3


    1/28 - $10.71 (debit - dinner) + $7.91 (debit - dollarstore) + $36.68 (debit - Walmart) = $55.30
    1/29 - $1.00 (cash - milk) + $6.50 (cash - lunch) + $9.08 (debit - lightbulbs) = $16.58
    1/30 - No Spend!
    1/31 $146.90 (credit - vet)
    2/1 $7.90 (cash - dinner) + $15.80 (debit - conditioner and hair dye) + $27.92 pet store (debit - food and litter pan) + $6.54 (debit - Kernels popcorn) = $58.16
    2/2 - No Spend!
    2/3 - $25.98 (debit - movie theatre, for both me and T)

    Total: $302.92

    Here's the story from last Monday night if you haven't had a chance to read it ...
    http://morgaineandmoney.blogspot.ca/2013/01/did-i-cheat.html

    The total for this week is high mostly due to pet costs, damn the vet is expensive! Luckily, I saved the money for this :)


    Hopefully this week will be a lot less expensive :)

    How did you do last week?

    TTFN,
    Morgaine

    Friday, February 1, 2013

    January Goals Recap and February Goals

    January Goals

    Financial:

    1) Shopping ban - Pass - this is still up for debate - Did I cheat?
    2) Savings goals - Check - put $2366.93 into various savings accounts this month
    3) Debt goals - Pass - I paid $786.26 onto debt this month but the majority of it was to my MasterCard which is more paying down new purchases than paying off debt. I have to leave that credit card alone!
    4) Increase my Net Worth - Check - up $2,903.08 (goal = $10,000/12 = $833 per month)
    5) Track spending and post budgets - Check - only off by $1.84 but I think I had some pocket change from the beginning of the month that I didn't account for having.

    Lifestyle:

    1) Lose weight - Pass - down 2.5 lbs this month, no where close to the 2 lbs a week that they say you should lose, but at least I lost some and didn't gain.
    2) Do something physical at least 4x a week - Fail - Its hard to be motivated to go for a walk when its so cold and miserable outside. I went to the gym an average of 2x per week but I didn't do anything else.
    3) Eat better - Pass - there were a few cheat days but I would say we definitely ate better than we have in the past 4 months. I haven't had a diet coke all year (I'm a recovering diet coke addict, don't laugh, its true) and only had 1 bag of chips, a small one. Had burgers twice and Red Lobster once. Definitely room for improvement here.
    4) Read more books - Check - read 2 books this month: "The Lady of the Rivers" by Philippa Gregory and "Money Rules" by Gail Vaz-Oxlade.
    5) Make more things - Check - made 2 necklaces, 1 pair of earrings, and 1 bracelet.
    6) Sell/donate more - Pass - I posted a lot of stuff on kijiji and craigslist but so far haven't sold anything. I had some bites but nothing has actually sold. I have a bunch of stuff sitting on the kitchen table waiting for us to take to Goodwill.


    Blogging:

    1) Post my weekly spending and bi-weekly budgets. - Check
    2) Post at least one other post a week other than #1 - Check3) Comment on other blogs and become more of the community - Check4) Use twitter more (@morgainemoney) - Fail, I keep only checking my personal one5) Post updates on my progress with the Shopping Ban and these goals. - Check
    6) I will update my blog and sidebars with these goals (other than the Closing Costs since this is mostly T). And if I'm on pace or not. - Check

    February Goals

    All of the above plus spend less money eating out!

    Thursday, January 31, 2013

    Monthly Budget Update - January 2013




    Click the image for larger version.

    I've decided to just track my spending for 3 months before coming up with a budget. That way I would have a better idea of what I have been spending and not just pulling numbers from the sky as Gail would say.

    The numbers at the bottom are there because I didn't budget to zero, I apparently had $1.84 extra that I can't account for, probably pocket change from the beginning of the month. The "Other" line in income is the carryforward balance from last month in my chequing account. As part of my issues with budgeting that I stated in my blog post What's the Best Way to Budget? I found it hard to balance my budget because I usually had at least something left over from my last budget that gets carried over. If I didn't account for it, it might look like I was overspending when in fact I wasn't. This is going to be especially important for February as I got paid today so even though the income was made in January, the majority of the spending will be made in February, so I have to keep track of the overage so that my February budget won't look completely out of whack.

    January was a 3 pay month so my income is abnormally high, so are my savings numbers. I didn't put as much on my debt as I probably should have, but I was just trying to get to a good place to go forward on the year with. Having money in my Planned Spending and Curveball accounts were a good start and should help me with not overspending in the future.

    Fast food/restaurants was ridiculously high! I definitely want to get that number down next month. It shouldn't be too hard if we meal plan a bit better. Other anomalies - bought my bunny so pet is high, went to the dentist and chiropractor, and doctor which means prescriptions also had to be filled. I also purchased a year subscription to lumosity.com which cost $72 or the bulk of my entertainment budget (although its more of an educational thing, I didn't feel like adding another line to the budget).

    I may have purchased a few things that may not have been on my needs list (read Did I Cheat?) but I didn't purchase any clothing! When was the last month that happened?

    How did you do this month?

    TTFN,
    Morgaine