Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Month End Report, August 2011

TFSA/ EEE Account $436.84 (up $100)
Xmas Fund/Car Fund $1603.62 (up $50)
RRSP Savings Acct. $82.11 ( up $25)
Vacations Account $45.85 (up $25)
RRSP MF Acct. $1,708.59 (down $50.33)
RESP MF Acct. $1347.64 (down $16.46)
Emergency Fund Account $1000.40 (up $347.69)
House Fund $120.02 (up $25.01)
Biz Savings/5 Categories $2420.14 (down $5321.94)
Canada Savings Bonds $1465.00 (up $140.00)
B's Savings Acct. $243.51 (up $18.50)
$5 Bill Laptop Fund $25.00 (up $25) New Fund

Personal Loan: $5815.50, down $80.00
MBNA Card (27.98%): $1,481.37, down $166.38
Capital One Card (19.8%): $3074.08, down $141.00
Overdraft 1: $909.44, up $463.04
Auto Loan: $ 102.79, down  $202.47
Tax Owing: $3182.53, down $408.88

Our current total Debt owing: $14,565.71

Total Debt owed January 1, 2011: $23,861.01
Difference since January 1, 2011: $  9,295.30
Difference since last month: $ 535.69

So this is where the money is at for the end of the month. I didn't wait until the 31st for the measly interest payments on our savings accounts. I'll just add it all up next month.

Good things:
~ Still adding to the EEE account, and seeing all the same numbers add up over time for the savings/planned spending accounts
~ Having $1000 in the Emergency Fund
~ Starting the Laptop Fund with $5 Bills

The Bad:
~ Mutual Funds accounts going down, despite still adding money to them
~ Chipping away at Personal Loan, CC's, and Tax Amount owing

The Ugly:
~ Despite my best efforts, I cannot get Hubby to NOT use his overdraft...suggestions anyone?
~ Using money from Business Savings Account that had little to do with business; probably to the tune of $1500
~ Our Rent Account has been essentially depleted now, and will have to start paying rent out of cash flow starting in October (exactly what I didn't want to have happen)

Our Net Worth is back in the negative, which is no surprise. Insurances have to be paid by the end of September again, and we will be scrambling to figure it all out. Dear God, what have we done??

Oh yeah....overspent.

(Please be nice with the comments. I'm already beating myself up huge over this month's report.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's been several days since my last post, and I'd like to thank everyone who commented that they will still read my dribble.

Change is in the air: the weather, the season and our budgets.
It seems everyone has got something going on that has/will affect their budget. Ours is no different. I'm trying to figure out where the $150/wk daycare payment is going to come from. I'm going to be on payroll part-time for one of the side gigs, so that should cancel out the daycare payment. But who knows. It likely won't kick in at the same time

Today I'm working on making a chicken soup for dinner, from left over bits and pieces of chicken from other dinners. I also have a huge pile of paperwork to go through, so that should keep me out of trouble for awhile. Invoices and bills, statements to be filed, and assorted other stuff. Not going to be a fun day.

Thank goodness I have coffee.Wish me luck!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ah, Friday

I'm so glad it's Friday. I've been up for hours and hours already, having to work before I took cub to the dentist for his very first visit. We spent a smidgen of money at Tim Horton's for a coffee for mommy and chocolate milk for Cub. I needed change for the bus, lol. yes, we took the bus home from the mall. Cub (who is only 3) that it was the best thing ever. Mom however, felt ill after a 10 minute ride. The things we do for our kids!

I'm in a bit of a lull again, wondering what more I could possibly write about on this blog. I need your input folks. What do you want to read? Do you prefer reading about our day-to-day stuff along with how it fits in with our finances? Or do you even care what I blather on about, as long as I'm posting?

The week before school starts is a typically hectic one, so I'm not so sure I'll be around much next week. I'll still post End of Month Report, which I'm currently working on now, but I may wait until the dust settles before I'm back to posting daily.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Post # 250

Here are some things to celebrate today:

  • this is my 250th post on this here blog
  • by monetizing, yesterday I cumulatively 'earned' $10.00, thanks to everyone who clicks on those ads
  • after tomorrow's payment, Hubby has only 2 payments left on his car loan
  • we talked last night about how to get all the debt paid off in a year
  • Side gig # 3 is turning into part-time employment with that company
  • Sunshine outside and no tornadoes in London

What I'm thankful for today:
  • having money in the bank to pay bills gives me peace of mind
  • pre-paid credit cards to order things online
  • healthy children who make me laugh and want to beat them at the same time, lol
  • a Hubby who loves me with all his heart
  • knitting with such lovely, soft yarn
  • having a 12 year old editor sitting beside me while I type this
  • coffee, yummy coffee
What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Emergency Plan

I know I've posted about this before, but do you have an Emergency Plan prepared, should a disaster strike?

The town of Goderich, which is just a couple of hours drive North of where I am, was devastated by a F3 tornado on Sunday. There was an earthquake in Virginia the other day, whose tremors were felt in this area as well (maybe it was after shocks, I'm not really sure). Most of today, we were under a tornado watch or warning system in our entire region. The thunderstorms were nothing short of terrific, and we did lose power briefly this evening. The weather over the last week has got me thinking about our plan and emergency supplies.

We have a couple of wind up flashlights (no batteries required), and lots of candles in this house. We do have some bottled water, and non-perishables which are always in the pantry. What we haven't talked about is where and how to contact our loved ones in the case of a disaster. What if we have to leave our homes due to evacuation? What would happen if we lost cellular service? One thing I know for certain, I would have to get my family together in a secure location before I would have to leave them.

My profession requires that I am available at all times, and in a natural disaster situation, I would most likely be needed to help out. It worries me that I would have to leave my family in such a situation. Knock wood, it hasn't happened yet, but I should really be talking to my kids and other relatives about who would be required to fill in certain duties in my absence.

I leave you with a question; How prepared are you for a natural disaster?

7 Things

Today's post is an answer to Judy's post of her 7 things. Questions like this help me to keep things prioritised, at least in my head.

What are the 7 things you can't give up, would give up or have given up? (For me, this question was about what I have, will, or won't trade for our quest to be debt free.)

Have given up:
  1. 3 bedroom townhouse with laundry facility (traded for 3 bedroom apartment and lower rent)
  2. Daily trips to Tim Horton's. I make coffee at home daily now.
  3. Buying Reader's Digest every month and buying books at full price. (ok, I have difficulty spending on anything that isn't on sale)
  4. Work suits that cost more than $100 each.
  5. Eating out several nights of the week.
  6. All-inclusive vacations to somewhere in the Carribbean.
  7. Using the overdraft on my bank account, and using my credit card.
Would give up if something were to change in our employment status:
  1. Cable. I could care less about it, but the rest of my family wouldn't be so happy with that.
  2. Discretionary spending. This would include yarn, secondhand books, pretty much anything that was not essential.
  3. Daycare. If hubby were to lose his job, or I was unable to work, Cub would continue to stay at home until he starts school.
  4. Eating out and all booze. We'd tighten down everywhere to make sure the rent and bills are paid.
  5. Savings categories, like vacations and house downpayment. These would all go on deferral until we had full employment earnings again.
  6. I would start selling everything that was not essential in our home. Kijiji would become my new BFF.
  7. Snowball payments- again, deferred until we had full income again.
What I will not give up, ever:
  1. Being a knitting volunteer. I enjoy this very much and will always continue to do so.
  2. Coffee. I could even switch to sweetener instead of sugar, but I will not completely give up my morning coffees.
  3. Internet and cellphone. These are essential to my business to keep some income coming into the house.
  4. The dishwasher. I'ma lazy housekeeper, and this saves me oodles of time to do other things.
  5. Reading books and blogs. I don't think I'll ever be the E-reader type. I prefer actual books way too much.
  6. Learning. There is still so much that I want to learn how to do. There is so much that I have yet to learn about.
  7. Growing things. I have had to cut this back from what I used to do, but I still grow veggies in pots on my balcony. I dream of the day that I can have a full veggie garden in my own backyard.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Tuesday/ To Do List

Tuesday is my self-designated Work Day. This is the day that I try to get caught up on the paperwork required for business, along with some of the other tasks that need to be done. I have a huge to-do list, so I'm not going to bother posting it. Instead, I'll just say that my list has 9 things on it, and that's before I start thinking about the household to-do list. I'm going to be a busy girl today.

Yesterday was spent working for my side gig #2. It should have been a 5 hour job, but I ended up working for 8 and a half hours instead. So much time was spent waiting yesterday, and I hate just sitting and waiting. There are so many other things I could be doing.

I've got a couple of blogging milestones coming up this week. Can't wait to share them with you all!

In the meantime, I thought I would share these with you:

Things that are good:
~ Cub using the potty all on his own (it was the first time ever!)
~ DD2 still wanting to cuddle on the couch at the ripe old age of 12
~ watching a knitting creation form while I work away on it
~ looking forward to transitioning Cub to full-time child care in September
~ finding a fantastic alternative rock station on the radio during my hours in the can yesterday

Things that suck:
~ the devastation the tornado left in Goderich
~ the death of Jack Layton
~ starting to have anxiety over money again

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

But What Can I Do Today To Improve My Situation????

Back a couple of years ago, when we started out on our Journey to Debt Free Forever, I started searching the Internet on ways and means to reduce our expenditures and/or increase our income. Not realising how much hard work was involved, I was looking for a quick fix to make that "OMG, We're going bankrupt!" feeling go away. I never did find it.

Some folks who are just starting out on their journey may be asking, 'What can I do today...right now?'
If you are looking for one big thing, with a lasting impact, you may be thinking about this all wrong.

In my experience, it's lots of little things, small savings, all added together that make a difference. You also have to have a shift in the way you think about money, and your things.

~ Learn to make do, live with less and in some instances, do without.
~ Question every expenditure and learn the difference between 'needs' and 'wants'.
~ Realise that your daily life and spending is mostly habitual
~ You need to figure out where your money has been going in order to develop a plan of attack.
~ Know that from the outset, that it is a long road, a lot of hard work, and almost nothing will happen overnight.

So my question to you, dear readers, is what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out on their Journey to Debt Free Forever?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Ramblings

A couple of great things have happened this week.

Hubby's car loan is under $200. It will be paid off in the middle of September. His credit card, which is at a ridiculous rate of 27.98%, is down under $1500. Those are two wonderful numbers!

By my calculations, when the car is paid for, if he adds that $50/week payment to his credit card, he can have that paid off by the end of January, instead of the end of May 2012 (which is what the current end date should be).

After that point, $400 would be freed up from debt repayment and could be reallocated to other debts to snowball the heck out of them. If the $400 was added to the $150 that is currently being paid on my credit card, it would wipe out the balance in a mere 6 months. That is exciting!

We haven't yet decided exactly where the payments will be going, but I have a feeling that we're going to have to re-jig the budget anyway. I know we still have to take childcare expenses into account. Cub will be going to a child care provider full-time to the tune of $150 per week.

In other news, our Cub is now sleeping in a Big Boy bed! OK, it's a toddler bed, still using his crib mattress, but it's more like a real bed than a crib. This is a hand constructed bed that I bought at a yard sale a couple of years ago for $20. My sister refinished it, and carved a car into the headboard. The pieces all fit together without screws, and is made of solid wood. When it's time, this will be passed down to Grand Cub.

DD2 is excited to be heading back to school in a couple of weeks. I still have no idea what she needs for supplies, so I'll just kind of wing it.

Hubby heads back to his day job on Monday, and I have been working this past week on side gig #'s 1 & 2. Financially, we're on track, but because I know we've overspent, I'm starting to get anxiety over it. Our rent account is much lower than it should be, and it bothers me greatly.  The insurance renewals are starting to come in, so that account will be taking a big hit soon.

Our meal plan for the week is pretty much set, and I shopped for those meals, and added veggies, potatoes and rice to the meals. We *should* be able to get to Thursday before we will start looking at eating out, hopefully.

Today, I'm going to attempt a Watermelon and Blueberry Salad to have with dinner. wish me luck!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vehicle Expenses

My van, which is a 2004 Ford Freestar, has been without air conditioning since April of 2010. I was on my way to an out-of-town conference when it decided to give up the ghost. I brought it back to my mechanic 3 days later and asked him to fix it. It didn't get done. Not because the mechanic didn't listen to my request, but when he was looking it over, he noticed other, more important repairs that needed to be done. Things that were a matter of safety. Like a tie-rod end or some such thing. Last year the air never got fixed.

Knowing it was going to be a somewhat expensive job, I set aside money for vehicle repairs for 2011. I had a budget of $2000 for repairs for both of our vehicles. Hubby's car is a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. The Grand Am ate up about $750 of the repair funds, which leaves me with $1250 for the van.

Before we left for vacation at the beach, I dropped off the work van to the mechanic with a very long list of items needing to be looked at or repairing. The sliding door on the driver side didn't open, the brakes needed some attention, the transmission needed a service, the a/c needed to be working, and the bottom panels had some paint chipped off that was letting rust in. Then I left it in his capable hands to deal with it, with an explanation that because of my work, it needs to look good, no matter what it runs like. His motto is always safety over comfort.

When I picked it up on Monday, I was surprised to find out that the a/c had still not been repaired. Everything else got fixed, or the OK, but still no a/c. He felt guilty at having spent so much of my money already, so he left that part until another time. While checking brakes, he discovered that one of the ball-joints was cracked. Some huge thing had to be replaced as just replacing the smaller piece was not an option. (He always keeps the parts being replaced so he can show me what he means. He knows I have no knowledge of this stuff.) The big part was over $300 alone.

Total parts and labour to get my baby back on the road in good condition: $1172.00. Without a/c. :(
That leaves $78 left int he auto repair/maintenance fund. Wait, no...I got the Grand Am an oil change before we left for vacation. $78 - $44 = $30.

To finally get the a/c fixed is going to cost in the neighborhood of $300, because the pump needs replacing. I gave the mechanic the go ahead to order the parts he needs, and he is going to call me to set up a time that is good for the both of us. He knows later in the day works better for me, so on the given day, he will start later in the day to accommodate my schedule. How nice is that?

Now, where to get the $300 from?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Hundred Dollar Store and Yarn

A couple of night ago, Hubby and I went to our local mall for dinner. There's an Abblebee's inside the mall, and I just lurve their eats. Anyway, after dinner, we decided to walk through the mall to the other side and cruise around WalMart for awhile. I wanted to check out their back-to-school deals.

My deal of the day was Hilroy 200 pack of lined refill paper for 25 cents. I bought 4. We also bought a replacement vacuum for a mere $49! Then things went all wonky. :(

We call WalMart the 'hundred dollar store' because we rarely get out of there without spending $100. Last night was no exception. We bought pull-ups and wipes for Cub, a lock for DD2 for school, and 1 pack of large and 1 pack of medium sized freezer bags. Juice boxes were on sale as well.

And then I went to look at yarn. Bad Eboo.

I wanted to look at some worsted weight variegated coloured yarn for a gift that I am planning on knitting for Christmas. The afghan that I am would like to make calls for the use of several of these, so I started throwing them into the cart. After about eight of them, I stopped and looked at what I was doing. Priced at nearly $9 each, I would have way overspent on yarn. I took them all back out, and set them side by side on an empty shelf. I mixed up the order, added newer yarns, took some away, and tried really hard to keep the number of balls down to something more respectable.  I ended up still purchasing 5 large and 1 small balls of yarn. Total, about $50. Bad, bad Eboo.

Even more dangerous is the upcoming Mary Maxim Tent Sale , from August 18th to September 5th in Paris, Ontario. I would love to go, but without a chaperone I know I will spend money I can't afford, on things I don't need, but would love to have. If you are a knitter, crocheter, quilter, cross-stitcher, sewer, scrapbooker, or do any type of craft or art, I'm sure they will have something for you.

I'm hoping to be able to knit some gifts this year for Christmas without spending my whole budget at a yarn store.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

129 Days Until Christmas

Did reading the title of this post make you want to throw up a little?

I despise feeling rushed through buying things for Christmas for my family, so this year I plan on taking a different approach.

First, I will make a list of who all I need to buy get things for. Then I will make a supplementary list of those I would like to get something for, but not necessary. For my kids and grand-cub, I will be using this guideline:

Something they want,
something they need,
something to wear, and
something to read.
Plus one, just one, thingy-ma-jigger from the fat, jolly man in Red.

Stockings are pretty much the same around here...every year, they can expect a new toothbrush, a package of chocolate something, and some Dollar store thingies, both personal care related and fun stuff.

I am making it my personal mission to keep the holidays this year to be less about stuff, and more about experiences. Spending time with family and friends, and doing something together.

Seeing as my kids who are old enough to read don't give a hoot about my blog, I'm going to start a separate page to keep track of the who, what, and how much of Christmas.

My personal goal this year will be to attend a Mass at a Roman Catholic church. I am not Catholic, but my husband was raised Catholic. None of our children have been baptised, because I would prefer them to choose to follow a religion of their own choosing because God speaks to them, not because of my influence. Having said that, I have been in attendance at funeral Masses on several occasions, and would like just once to see how Mass is run when the reason is celebratory.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Breaking All The Rules

OK, so I have no idea what Carla did, but she must have done something pretty bad to get her blog taken down! I mean really! You gotta watch out for those PF Bloggers. They are notorious for telling the truth and showing the whole world the evils of credit card debt!!!

Imagine my surprise when I get home from my glorious vacay, plunk myself down in front of the computer to catch up on my blog reading that I missed last week. (I did miss you. Every last one of you. You know who you are!) I click on my favourites, and open the file of PF Blog sites. I read all of Gail's words of wisdom. Then I click on Carla's blog. (Are you really that surprised that you're #2 on my favourites list, Carla?) And then....


Bewildered, I click the link again, thinking, what the h-e-double-hockey sticks did I do wrong this time????

Still nothing.

OMG!!! Where did Carla go? I need my fix of what I affectionately refer to as "My Crack Dozen Daily". (Her blog is addictive, and should come with a warning label, BTW.)

Several clicks later, and I still can't find her. I start feeling depressed, and despondent. I start grieving for a friend I've only known online. (I don't have that many in the real world either, so I try to keep the ones I do have, even if they are only in pixel form.)

Finally, I move on to the next on my favourites list, and then another when I start to hear the Hallelujah Chorus coming on! Carla's not gone, she's only moved (hopefully to a better blog thing-a-ma-jiggy.)

So to spare you all the same panic, grief and sadness of losing a good friend, here is her new address:

P.S. to Carla: I don't want your $10, but I will take a Pickachu hat or a really dark Mug Rug. ;)

Monday, August 15, 2011

And, We're Back!

This is what we spent our days looking out at. The lake was beautifully warm, even if there were some waves for a few days. The kids loved the waves though.

This is the area where we enter the beach. The cottage was about a five minute walk from this point.

The beach at dusk. We took a few walks in the evening, and were treated to some glorious views.

Like this one. :)

This is DD2 and my great-niece, who are the same age, tanning. They spent so many hours on the beach, just talking and having fun. And digging holes, lol.

This is my Cub, running around on the beach with some seagull feathers he had found. He was trying so hard to take off into flight. ;)

This is my Grand-Cub. Isn't he precious? The sun was especially hot that day, so we were playing games with the towel trying to keep him from getting sunburned.

Cub and Grand-Cub playing together.

This is DD2, Grand-Cub, and DD1. I loved having all my kids with me for a whole week!

And this is me and hubby. We didn't get a lot of alone time, but we did make time for one another. And Bailey's. ;)

We ate most of our meals at the cottage, which we prepared. DD1 made dinner at least 2 nights to take the pressure of having to do all the cooking from me. I found that having raw, cut-up vegetables at the table is an easy way to get the kiddos to eat more veggies. We had them with almost every meal. DD1 celebrated her 22nd birthday while we were away, so everything was very low-key.

However, while we were away, DD1 got a text from her BF, who had stayed home, to say that his father had suffered a stroke, and was not expected to live. Thursday night, John Waram passed away.

I was sad for the passing of a man I had known (many years ago), and for our mutual grand-son whom he had never met.

I can't even get away from death when I'm on vacation, try as I might.
But I enjoyed every minute of life that we had last week, and I am feeling recharged.
I'm ready to tackle the world again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Question To Readers, Post # 3

While I'm on holidays, I've scheduled a bunch of posts to get you thinking about the everday things that we do in the course of our lives that reduce our costs or that waste money. Please leave your comments, tips, ideas and tricks everyday, so I can marathon read every single one of them when I return on Sunday. :)

When you look at your credit card statement, or loan balance, do you remember all the things that brought you to that balance, other than interest? Can you remember what you bought, or the dinner you had that cost so much money? If you can remember any of it, how do you feel now about spending that money? Was it worth it to you?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Question to Readers, Post # 2

While I'm on holidays, I've scheduled a bunch of posts to get you thinking about the everday things that we do in the course of our lives that reduce our costs or that waste money. Please leave your comments, tips, ideas and tricks everyday, so I can marathon read every single one of them when I return on Sunday. :)

What methods do you employ to reduce your energy consumption around your home? Are you the type who unplugs things throughout the house and constantly turns off lights? Are you able to keep your thermostat at a certian level for an entire season?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Question to Readers ( or Holidays Post #1)

While I'm on holidays, I've scheduled a bunch of posts to get you thinking about the everday things that we do in the course of our lives that reduce our costs or that waste money. Please leave your comments, tips, ideas and tricks everyday, so I can marathon read every single one of them when I return on Sunday. :)


How do you reduce your food costs overall? Are you prone to picking something up from a fast food joint while you're running errands or during a workday? Do you have creative ideas to reduce how much food you are wasting? What is the most inexpensive meal you serve to your family?

Is there more that you could do to reduce your overall spending on food?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Vacation time

We leave in a few short hours to head to the cottage we've rented at Ipperwash Beach. I'm so excited.

I've still not packed, and there are tons of things on my to-do list that haven't been done yet, but that's OK. Nothing is stopping me from enjoying my holiday. I won't allow myself to feel any guilt over what should have been done but didn't get done. I am, however, going to try to make a big dent in that to-do list before we leave.

I scheduled a bunch of posts for you to read while I am away. Most of them consist of questions meant to get you thinking about your spending habits and to share your tips about saving money where you can. I am working toward getting our family to that level where we are reducing spending on everything not important so that we have to the money to do the things that are important to us.

I spent gobs of money on Hubby's car yesterday. Since last weekend we've had to get the trunk lid realigned, adjustments made to one headlight, and the driver's side window repaired. The repair cost more than what we thought, because the regulator needed to be replaced, as well as the window. The car was also in need of an oil change, and then I took it to the detailing place to get it cleaned inside and out, including the carpets. They haven't been shampooed since I don't know when, and there was a terrible chocolate milk stain on the rear floor.
Cost of repair = $323.00
Cost of oil change = $45.00
Cost of cleaning = $93.00
Total spent on the car yesterday = $ 461.00

It was expensive, but well worth it. It made Hubby happy and that is priceless! ;)

My van however, went into the shop yesterday where it will stay for the next 7 days while we are on vacation. It needs the air conditioning fixed, the driver side sliding door repaired (it's stuck closed),  an alignment, the brakes checked, the transmission checked, and some areas repainted where it has flaked off and rust is setting in. I have been putting this work off for some time, and now it can get done all at once. I'm looking forward to coming home to a better looking and acting vehicle, but not to the bill that will come with it.
This is my work vehicle, so I need it to look good and be reliable, even if I am only going to drive it into the ground. I plan on trying to keep it until it hits 500,000 on the odometer, so I have to take care of it. I put somewhere between 28 - 29 thousand kilometers on it per year, and am hoping to keep it going for at least another 2 years. To hit the 10 year mark with it would be a bit too optimistic for me, but I'm going to try to keep it going as long as possible.

I'm going to work on my to-do list, and get ready to head to the beach.

See y'all when I get back!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Side Gig Budget

I sent in my report to my contractor, and got word back today of how much I will be paid.
In all, I worked approximately 26 hours last month, and with some mileage added in there, I'll be receiving a cheque for $1325.00. Remember, this is only one source of income for me, and is fast becoming the largest.

Here's the breakdown of where this money will go:

$ 662.50 - to Business Savings Account for future Tax Liabilities
$ 350.00 - to the Rent Account
$   50.00 - to RRSP Account
$   50.00 - to EEE/TFSA Account
$   60.00 - to Debt Repayment (Personal Income Tax Owing)
$   75.00 - Cash to Transportation Envelope
$   77.50 - Cash to Life Envelope (groceries, school supplies, other)
$1325.00 Total

It will likely be at least another week before the cheque comes, at which time I'll be away on vacation. Less chance for me to spend it. ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How Do You Say Dacyczn?

A couple of weeks ago, I was browsing in a used book store when I found a couple of diamonds amongst all the coal. Sitting on the shelf were hardcover copies of Amy Dacyczn's "Tightwad Gazette" and "Tightwad Gazette II". They were in near mint condition, despite their age. For only $5.99 each. I felt like I was robbing the store owner! I paid for them out of my discretionary spending, not even blinking at the price. That $12.00 is an investment in our frugality.

I only wish that "Tightwad Gazette III" had been sitting beside I & II. :(

If you've never read "The Tightwad Gazette", I suggest you head to your local library and borrow a copy. These books cover frugality in ways you never thought were possible. Please keep in mind though, that the Newsletters that make up TTG were written in the '80's, so the price points for things have changed. The basic saving strategies have not.

Now, I have to caution you. These books are not for everyone. Nor will you be willing to implement every strategy that Amy's family used. But almost anyone can find at least one or two good ideas within the pages that will help cut costs for their family.

I will leave you with a quote from Amy Dacyczn:

" For most of us our relationship to the financial edge comes down to a matter of choice. The choice may be the decisions we make today, or we may be living with choices we have made in the past. While the past choices cannot be changed, remarkably the ones we make today become tomorrow's past choices. We can make choices that allow us to take a giant step back from the financial edge and set up a cushion. A sustained effort to scale back will result in savings for more than just a cushion. We can save for long-term goals and increased financial indepence. "

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another Full Day

Gearing up for vacation, we have a lot to do. A meal plan still needs to be made. Trips to the grocery store for supplies still have to be taken. I need to clean out the fridge for inventory. Laundry needs to be done, and bags need to be packed. I just hope that I remember everything that we need to bring with us.

I have about six hours today without the little guy to get some stuff done. During that time, Hubby & I will be going out for lunch, and our pedicure appointment is at 1. I'm so happy that we get to do this.

I was going to post my To Do List, but you guys must be sick of them by now. Instead, I'll just wish you a good day, and get working on the list.

P.S. I've scheduled a post for tomorrow, so I'll wait and see if it actually posts. ;)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sorry, My plate is full right now

I don't think I could possibly add another thing to it at the moment. I have to prepare to leave on Saturday for the cottage, and I still have to do the food shopping for it first. I have several reports that are due prior to us leaving. My to do list is longer than I would like, and there are regular household things that still need to be done.

To buy myself some time to get things accomplished, Cub is going to the sitter's for three days this week. I need to be able to sit and get things done, without distraction. I have to have quiet in the house in order to be able to get my reports done.

By the way, if any of you know how to schedule posts to automatically post on a future date, please let me in on the secret. I've tried doing it, and it's not working for me. Or I'm just so technically inept that I can't figure it out on my own. either way, I still need help.

On Saturday evening, I booked an appointment for Wednesday for Hubby & I to go get our pedicures. Yes, that's right folks. We did it. We put enough money into the Emergency Fund Account so that the balance reads $1000. I transferred the last of the money over this morning online. We went through all the accounts, scrounged through the couch for quarters, reduced spending even more, and came up with the last bit through a windfall. Let me explain.

Our DD1's BF's mother lives in Niagara Falls. She drove down here last week to pick them up, and take the three of them to her place for a few days. We offered to drive there to pick them up, and bring them home for yesterday. We left nice and early, missing a lot of the heavy traffic, and made it there in record time. We had some time to kill, so Hubby suggested we go play in the casino for a little while. In the same amount of time it took him to lose $200 in poker, I managed to win somewhere in the neighborhood of $600. I hid the money in my purse, and we left. I had enough to put the remaining $347.29 into the E-fund, but dinner for us and the kids, and give Hubby some pocket money. He he he! I'm so giddy right now.

I don't think I could possibly take on anything more this week, but I just got a call from a friend who needs some help in making final arrangements for her BIL who has cancer, and is not doing so well. I'm heading over there shortly to assist her with some planning issues. Please keep her family in your prayers. They are really having a rough time right now.

I hope nothing slops off the edge of my plate.

Hope you're having a great Tuesday!

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 2011 Goals

I typically write out our budget in my spiral notebook, which is my guide, in order of priority of what needs to be paid and when. At the top is our monthly rent amount, as well as our telephone/internet/cable/fax account, followed by credit card payments and then various savings pots.

This month, I have added 3 new categories. One is the repayment to our rent account. The sooner we pay this back, the better I will sleep at night. Second is the Laptop fund. I want to start saving for this, although it not a necessity, it will make life easier when I meet with clients. Third is a saving fund for the new equipment I will need at some point for my business. I have to have it on my radar by writing it on the budget, so I won't forget about it.

My goals for August are:

1. Deposit the remaining $347.29 needed into the Emergency Fund.
2. Put $500 into the rent account to start paying back the loan.
3. Spend the vacation money we have taken out, and to spend it without regret or guilt.
4. Put any leftovers from vacation into rent account.
5. To earn $500 total from all side gigs.
6. Draft some blog posts and see if they will actually post while I am away on vacation.

I've been feeling like I'm all over the place with our money, so to try to combat that feeling, I'm going back to basics somewhat. all monies brought in during August will be divided by percentage according to Gail's Life Pie suggestions, and then deposited to those various accounts or jars.
It won't get us out of debt any faster, or get us to our savings goals quicker, but it will make me feel better about our money. That's what is the most important, that I feel like I'm in control.

What are your goals this month? How is your money making you feel lately?