Thursday, January 20, 2011

Payday & Procrastination

Well, I think we've all figured out that I'm the Queen of Procrastination. Recently I've been perfecting the art of procrastinating about posting on my blog.  But today was payday and it's a day when I try to do some things I've been putting off.  So here I am.

It's late.  I'm tired.  I have a lot going on, both at home and at work.  But I need to get a sense of how I'm doing and to remember that I actually have goals other than getting through the day in one piece.  I have a variety of bills to pay, though I'm not behind on most of them at this point.  But I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed and am therefore not paying too many things today.

I am on track with one thing.  I've put away $50 into my TFSA each paycheque so far.  That's good.  I've also kept on track with adding to the Emergency Fund but I'm not giving myself much credit for that because I'm planning on breaking into that money soon to help pay for my daughter's birthday party and dinner.  I realize that birthdays come around with predictable regularity and that they aren't normally considered emergencies (unless you're giving birth while driving to the hospital).

However, after the party was all planned (including guests coming from the States) the money that was expected to cover it suddenly and unexpectedly wasn't there.  A paycheque of a certain regular size has shrunk to pure commission without any warning.  I'm just not going to explain to an 8 year old that she can't have the party we've spent weeks planning with family and friends.  Yes, we'll be tightening our belts somewhat afterwards.  But you can't just cut everything, especially when kids are involved.  And, no, it's not a three ring circus.  It's just at an outside venue because of our constant, ongoing renovations.  And some close friends are coming up from the States.

So, if our financial world is in a bit of upheaval, how am I doing with the non-financial goals I set on January 1st?  The rural house goals are also on hold, but more because of the state of the roads than anything else.  It is winter, and we do travel through 2 mountain passes to get to the house.

That leaves 2 physical goals.  The first was to go out to exercise at least 1 x week.  The second was to exercise at home all the other days.  I'm happy to report that I have, in fact, gone out to exercise at least once (usually twice) each week.  What about at home?  Well, I'm not perfect, but I have managed to exercise at home when I haven't gone out on all but 6 days so far this month and most of the days I missed were during the time we had company staying over.  Not bad.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Goals for 2010 and 2011

Happy New Year!  I'm here, let's see if I can keep it up.  I wanted to take a look at my goals for 2010 and see how I did with them, as well as set out some more goals for 2011.

Here were my goals for 2010, along with how I did:

 
Financial Goals

 
Pay down $1,300 directly in credit card debt. Pay down $1,500 in other debt. Pay down $1,080 in regular credit card payments. Total: $3,880. Round up to $3,900. Even with paying down as much and as often as possible, I'm basically $3,000 deeper in credit card debt.  I paid down $1,375 in other debt.  I made almost all the regular credit card payments.
Open a TFSA and put $1,300 into it. I opened an account and put $1,200 into it.
Put a minimum of $520 into the Emergency Fund. I pretty much cleaned out my Emergency Fund when I went to the US for a wedding but there's $1,236.72 in it at the moment.
Put a minimum of $520 into my RRSP. I put $350 into my RRSP.
Keep putting money into my set aside accounts, rural credit union account, etc. I was inconsistent with this, though better than in any recent years.
Keep current on all my bills. Not always.
Come up with $3,000 for Dear Child’s dental surgery. Well, we paid for it although a good chunk of that is the increase on the credit card.
Pay off both Home Depot payment plans on time. Done!

 
Rural House Goals

 
Plan out and create a garden in the front of the house (south west side of driveway area). Nope.
Plant lavender border. Nope.
Go to house 2x per month in summer. Nope.
Finish new floor in master bedroom. Nope.

 
Physical Goals

 
Get weight down to 120. Nope, still sitting at 132, but some of that is now muscle.  Not all though....
Walk for at least a half hour per day (or use elliptical for same length of time). No way!

So, I won some and I lost some.  What are my goals for 2011?

Financial Goals
  1. Pay off all our outstanding debt.  Not as insane as it sounds, as we are expecting a small inheritance shortly.
  2. Put $1,300 into the TFSA this year.
  3. Increase the Emergency Fund by at least $520.
  4. Put a minimum of $520 into my RRSP.
  5. Put the set-aside money into my accounts regularly.
  6. Get current and stay current on all my bills.

Rural House Goals
  1. Go to the house a minimum of once per month when the weather is decent.
  2. Build the bedframes that have been there for a year now!
  3. Step up the search for land once we have the money for a down payment.

Physical Goals
  1. Go out to exercise at least once a week.
  2. Exercise at home every day that I don't exercise elsewhere.
 Let's see how I do with these goals.  I think I learned some valuable lessons last year and have developed at least somewhat better habits.  I'm also taking better care of myself, which is really just as important as getting my financial life in order.

 

 

 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Signs of Life

Yes, I am still here.  I'm just very, very busy.  And tired.  And bored or frustrated with certain aspects of my life.

I got through all the Jewish Holidays.  I went off to the US to the wedding I talked about before and had a fabulous time.  And I've been exercising pretty well twice a week.

On the other hand, our car was totalled recently.  We weren't in it; a family member was cut off on the freeway.  The family member is okay but we've spent the past while arguing with ICBC over the value of the car.  They did come up from their initial, offensive, offer but we're probably still out about $2,000 over what we'd have to spend to replace the car.

And more things have gone wrong with the house.  If anybody tells you old houses are money pits, believe them!  A leak in the main bathroom upstairs led to a gigantic hole in our kitchen ceiling and another, smaller one.  Our upper cabinets are mostly down (with the contents in boxes) and the bakers rack I keep a lot of our other kitchen stuff on is sitting in the living room.  Basically, the living room is unusable.  We pass through it to the kitchen, bath and our daughter's room.

The floor in the bathroom and through most of the kitchen is laid and part of it is grouted.  We should get our new toilet put in within anywhere from a day to a week, depending on how busy our son-in-law is and how fast he gets around to both it and to putting the vanity back in the bathroom (with the new top on it).  The thought that we might finally have a fully functioning bathroom is exciting but seems slightly unreal.  It will be wonderful not to have to go upstairs to use the facilities there in the middle of the night, however.  I'm really looking forward to that!

Once they finish the work in the bathroom upstairs comes the messy part.  The new drywall will have to be taped, mudded and sanded until a thick layer of white powder covers pretty much everything in the house (including, no doubt, my lungs).  After that the new upper cupboards and new range hood can go up.  If that happens before Pesach I'll be thrillled.

And then there's money.  I'm so messed up there.  My credit card is maxed.  Actually, it was over limit until a few days ago.  Now it's exactly at the limit and I have to make another payment before they add the interest or that will put me over again.  I skipped a couple of transfers to my TFSA, although I still have over $1,000 in there.  And I have a huge cell bill from my trip to the US.  I tried to use it as little as possible but still incurred over $80 in long distance or roaming charges.  A bunch of those calls were incoming ones from my hubby or daughter, so I couldn't exactly refuse to pick up!

What next?  Well, I'm pretty well broke until Wednesday and I'll probably be broke again almost immediately afterwards, once I pay the various bills that absolutely, positively have to be paid.  But we'll technically have money sometime this week, because we'll get the cheque from ICBC.  We still have to decide what we're going to do about a new car.  We have to decide new, near new or very used.  We're still debating over what kind of car to get (since we have to replace it, the only sensible thing to do is to buy one this time that will fit all four kids in their car or booster seats, plus at least 2 adults).  And we have to decide if we're going to do it now or wait until my hubby receives money from his late mother's estate (probably a few months away).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick Catch-up Post Before Rosh Hashana

Okay, today is officially crazy.  Rosh Hashana starts tonight and runs until Shabbat starts on Friday night.  So, between the holiday and Shabbat I'm out of commission for 3 solid days.  I don't have everything I need for the meals and now have to make a trip to Costco (one of the places I really don't like all that much) in order to pick up something I need desperately and couldn't get elsewhere.  Aside from everything else, it's out of my way, I have to take everybody (because my daughter is the one with the Costco card and I'm the one with the drivers license) and it takes forever to get through there.  All for one or two items.

My 3 year old granddaughter has school today for a grand total of ONE hour.  Everybody else is off.  I have to go either downtown or to Richmond to the passport office to turn in my passport application because my documentation finally arrived yesterday and I can't risk waiting until the beginning of the week to do it because I'm going to a wedding in the US at the beginning of October and I'd like to be allowed across the border.

And we're trying to get out a major mailing at work today when the material we're mailing just came from the printer yesterday afternoon and we got a new mailing machine yesterday morning.  As of the time I left the office yesterday the machine was sealing 4 envelopes, then stopping.  We have about 5,000 going out!

So, why am I making my first post in over a month?  Because it's almost Rosh Hashana and I want to start the new year off right.  First of all, Shana Tova to all my Jewish readers.  Have a good and sweet year!  And I feel guilty that I've been so busy I haven't gotten back to this after planning to.

I'm going to try to do better this year but September is full of days when we can't write so the posts are going to be sporadic, even if I'm good about getting back to blogging!  Anyway, I'm off and running.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Halfway Through Summer?

Okay, so when did that happen?  One minute school was letting out and the next minute I blink and summer's half gone.  I said before that things had been pretty overwhelming and they did get significantly more so over the past month.

An older family member who had been seriously ill since the beginning of the year became critically ill, was hospitalized and was then transferred to palliative care for a couple of weeks before passing away.  It's been a rough time for the whole family.  Lots of time spent in the hospital, lots of stress, knowing that the outcome wasn't going to be good and less attention paid to a lot of other things.

Things are slowly getting back on track.  Dear Child has spent one week at day camp so far and goes back for her second week tomorrow.  The following week her nieces come back and all three girls go back to swimming lessons.

I got a big, brown envelope from the school in the mail the other day.  I was thinking that things were all under control on that front because I already bought DC's uniforms and handed in both a series of post-dated cheques for tuition and a separate one that only gets cashed next June if I don't put in at least 12 hours of parent participation at her school.  Silly me, I forgot about the school supply fee, the workbook/textbook fee, the field trip fee and at least one other fee of some kind.  Lovely.  Even better, they all have to be paid on or before September 1st, which is the first day of school this year (early, because all the High Holy Days come early this year, finishing at the end of September).  Since the kids will barely be in school through September they get to start on the 1st instead of waiting for the day after Labour Day.  Lest I forget, there will also be the hot lunch fee about a week after school starts.

I had intended to spend every other weekend and every long weekend at our house.  Needless to say, that hasn't happened.  I finally went for 2 days the other week, Sunday and Monday.  It meant taking a day off work, but I desperately needed to do some yard work and there's tons still left undone.  I hope to go again next weekend.

Friday, June 25, 2010

School's Out...For Summer!

Yesterday was the last day of school.  This summer I'm lucky, in that my Eldest Daughter is home on maternity leave.  That means Dear Child will hang out with her.  (Not sure that Eldest Daughter considers herself lucky, since that leaves her with 4 kids every day, and 5 if my Number One Son's daughter comes too, as she did some of the time last summer.)

Next year will be a much bigger financial burden for all of us, as she'll be back at work and all the girls will have to go to day camp right through the summer.  As it is, we are putting them in a couple of sessions of swimming lessons (necessitating me leaving work to pick up and drive everybody to and fro).  The lessons are 4 days per week for 2 weeks (but only 1/2 an hour per day) and we hope that the sustained amount of pool time will enable everybody to move up at least one level.  Last session (which was 8 classes once a week) nobody passed, although they all made progress.

DC will go to day camp for 2 weeks this year too, as my granddaughters' other grandparents are taking them out of town for 2 weeks.  That will give my daughter the relative quiet of only having her nursing baby at home.

Yesterday was payday. I paid some stuff then and some more this morning.  Right now I'm pleased to say that I'm current on all my bills (paid the water today) and that I have $651.14 in my TFSA, right on track for the year.  Property taxes for the rural house are due next week.  I have to check, but I think I have enough in the rural credit union to pay them.  Yay, me!

I went away to the house last weekend and spent some money, money on myself (gasp!) as well as gas.  But I just have the $50 odd dollars I charged for gas on the way back to pay back still.  And I made the regular $90 payment on the credit card anyway.

So, I have to pay for swimming lessons and I'm going to start some exercise stuff of my own that I'll also have to pay for.  And I only have about $150 left in my chequing account for food, etc. for the next 2 weeks.  But all in all, I'm not doing too badly.  And my hubby should be transferring some money over to me at month end.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thanks for the Support!

It's very nice to hear back from some of you, welcoming me back and encouraging me to stick with both the blogging and the work I need to do to.

Thanks for being there for me!

Things are very busy right now.  Work is crazy, the school year is winding down and every day seems to bring some departure from the norm (field trips, class parties, sports day, hot lunch, you name it), many people are dealing with the health issues of family members (at work, in our own family, friends) and I'm feeling stretched kind of thin.

I've straightened out some things that had fallen by the wayside, like my cell bill and will take care of the one remaining outstanding bill (the water) by next week at the latest.  I got the property taxes for my rural home and the garbage bill for it.  Both have gone up somewhat from last year, but not horrendously.  And, thanks to the fact that I've been setting aside money for those kinds of things most paydays (and keeping track of when I don't and then catching it up) I have enough money already in my rural credit union account to pay the bills when they're due at the beginning of July!  That's a big improvement from the past couple of years.

I also have been working on slowly paying down the massively increased amount that has gotten charged to my credit card over the past few months.  I have only one charge left to pay back from my Passover purchases but most of the rest are biggies.  There's about $750 owing for kitchen cabinets and flooring I charged at IKEA, the last couple of hundred owing on Dear Child's dental surgery, the $1,300 for my root canal, and about $125 for a new heavier duty weed whacker and replacement reel for the rural house.  Last year we bought the cheapest one we could find and that was a huge mistake.  The reel didn't feed properly (which meant it had to be taken apart and played with repeatedly Every. Single. Time we used it) and the whole thing broke under the usage it was getting.  We hope this one will last much longer.

My hubby is going today to finish his root canal and I already have an appointment booked for July to fill a cavity and discuss the crown I'm going to need on the tooth I had the root canal on.  Sigh.