General Goals 1) to be debt free in 3.5 years 2) save lots of money

Friday, December 31, 2010

Weekly Spending Recap Dec 26-31 2010

December 26
No Spend Day

December 27
No Spend Day

December 28
No Spend Day

December 29
No Spend Day

December 30
$20. 34 (dry cleaning my coat a waitress decorated with guacamole *grumble, grumble*)
$200 TD Student loan
$117.26 General Saving (sent to car fund)
$50 Cat fund
$150 vacation fund
$425 Car fund

December 31
$1.32 change from last weeks cat food put into Cat fund
$50 from friend put into car fund

I meant to blog about an encounter I had at the bank yesterday but forgot, so here it is:

Yesterday at lunch I went down to the bank to take money out to pay my Duke of Ed fees and to pay for bus tickets when I next run out. The teller said to me "why don't you have a visa card with us." I was completely shocked I felt like I was being told off for not taking on debt!!  I told her because I didn't want one, but I said it in a question-like and defensive tone. She then launched in to how "as an employee I get preferred rates and 50% off annual fees."  I felt guilted into telling her that I would think about it.  Before I tossed my stuff into my bag and speed walked back to my desk.

First off  NO I WILL NOT THINK ABOUT IT!!! She is right I would get discounted rates at 11.99% and the annual fees are 50% off but my goal is to reduce debt not acquire more. While she was not to know that, what really bothered me was the way she asked me. The delivery was the same accusing, snotty- look down your noise attitude you would use when judging a person as being beneath you or telling someone to pick up after their dog. Also if it wasn't for the fact i am not by nature a pushover and I acutely aware of my financial situation I would have likely caved under her glare. Maybe in the past this process has worked for her but what a shitty thing for a bank to do to a customer: "welcome to our bank, let me help you get into debt!!"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bi-weekly finances and funds

Today is pay day. Pay days are fun because well you get paid ;P
I walked in to my bank and the Ally cheque hasn't gone through. I'm telling you its so frustrating. I almost wish I hadn't sent the cheque in. I think the Gods were stickin it to me today. I told you it would be boring and quiet at work today and I was wrong. It was so busy today that it wasn't until 10 min. before lunch did I realize that I needed to sort out my budget to take money out of my account.

With out any further ado:

TD Line of credit: 200.00
General Savings: 117.26
Cat fund: 50.00
Vacation Fund: 150.00
Car Fund: 425.00
Transit: 48.00 (2 sheets of tickets)
Duke of Ed fees: 30.00
Spending money: 80.00

My friend gave me back 50.00 he owed me from a while back. I have decided to put the money into my car fund.

I snowflaked 30.00 from my last pay into my TD line of credit.  I am not sure if this is an exact figure of what was left from my last pay but I think it is about right.

I have decided to move the general savings into my car fund. I haven't deposited the amount form my friend yet so I am not including it into my updated fund tracker.

Money in Money out….

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ally, Credit card, New friends, Max, boy friend

Today I called Ally to check on the status of my cheque because every time I check my accounts the money is still sitting in the account. Having money in my account unnerves me, I feel as though it might trigger impulse buying. I am not by nature bad for impulse buying but it's never good to tempt the 'pulse.' The other annoying thing is that I can't snowflake what ever is left in my account. I have no idea what will be left over, if cashing cheques have service fees and such like that. I just don't want to end up with a NSF charge because I haven't left myself wiggle room.

Pay day is tomorrow and I have made up the budget. There are a few things with it that still need some tweaking which I will do while I'm sitting at my desk bored tomorrow.

I was reading GMBMFB and she had a blog list up of the "Top 10 Realest Personal Finance Bloggers" one of them is Paying Myself. I thought I would check out her blog. I browsed through it and found a post about Debt and her reasoning for focusing on savings and not her debt.  Point 3 is " I want to learn a lesson (or two or three). Basically she said that by having the debt on her credit card it discourages her from using up the little room she would have by putting more then her minimum payment on her credit card. When I read this I felt like OMG there is another person in the world who has the same thing as I do. I completely get where she is coming from. And she understands cat vet bills  :) So I have decided to add her to my blog role ...a new friend ... or a PF blogger creeper lol

For those that were wondering Max is doing much better. His sneezing has significantly reduced and I still have $53 in the Cat fund. He's feeling better and I have money in the bank still. I fell really good about it knowing that I will be able to afford what ever comes up with the cats in the future because of my Cat fund. I feel more in control and that's always a good feeling.

For anyone wondering where I have been for the last couple of days I was away on a romantic couple of days for my boyfriend. He treated me to a lovely trip to Niagara falls. He budgeted to spend $500 in spending cash and I am happy to report we didn't spend that much. I made a conscious effort to not let him. Of course had he known he would have been very pissed with me. He wouldn't let me pay for a single thing. Which was great for my budget because I had not planed for such an adventure. However I felt terrible about it because despite his effort to keep me in the dark I know exactly what the room cost on top of all the things he paid for while there.

Our conversation on the way home was about personal finances and money. This is a great thing because for a while I was fretting about the fact, I didn't feel we could have a conversation about money.
He told me that if him and I ever got our own place together that he would just hand it to me. To make sure it was put in all the right places as long as he was given money to do stuff with. I don't know how I feel about this. But I will tell you its a step in the right direction.  I want him to learn soon rather then later about the benefits of saving good chunks of his pay.

Tomorrow I will post my bi-weekly budget.

When Life Gets in the Way Episode II

On Christmas eve I noticed that Max (cat #2) was sneezing a lot. I don't know if you have ever seen a cat sneeze but it is really cute. However when boxing day evening rolled around he had become a lot worse and he was being very ani-social. That night we decided that he had to go to the vets. So first thing we did on the 27th was take him into the vet's office. You will notice that my Cat fund has dropped to $53. This is because the vet bill cost me $146.92. I am so glad that I started this fund, though I wish I had had more of a buffer within it.  In March both cats are going in for annual physicals. This will be min.  of $150 for each cat, likely a lot more for Max because he is likely very out of date for his shots.

To night since Christmas is completely over and I do not need to get anymore gifts I transferred the $100 from my Christmas fund into my vacation fund. My vacation fund now sits at $311.52.

I checked my chequeings account and it is currently at $455.13 which means that Ally have not taken out the cheque that I wrote them. This is a problem for me as tomorrow is pay day and I have no idea how much will be left in my account to snowflake the money. I am going to have to call them tomorrow as having money in this account completely messes up the system.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Weekly Spending Recap Dec 20-25, 2010

Monday 20
No Spend day

Tuesday 21
No Spend day

Wednesday 22
Went Salsa dancing after work. A friend ended up paying for my food and drink. I brought a 15% coupon off though.
No Spend day

Thursday 23
No Spend day

Friday 24
No Spend day

** The only thing I have spent money on this week was bus tickets that I had bought a couple of weeks back. I am using them up to get to and from work. Do you think I should count the tickets in my daily spend journal. Given that the money is already allocated and the tickets have been bought ahead of time? And in future do you think I should include the tickets?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Marry Christmas and THANK YOU!!

I don't think I will get another change to say this. So to everyone who follows my blog or pops on once in a while, THANK YOU!!!!! Thank you for welcoming me in to the PF blog world and for being excepting and supportive. It means so much to me to know that there are people who are willing to talk openly about finances when my family won't. Thank you for letting me vent and make mistakes, while helping to guide me with your kind words. Because of YOU I have been able to make small but significant steps to being DEBT FREE.


To my friends in warm claimants enjoy the beaches and sun. To my friends who share the cold with me, bring on the snow.


Ally, income and student debt

On Monday I mentioned that  I had finally got around to sending in my cheque in to Ally. The lady at Ally said that they would have it processed in a few days and taken out of my account a few days after that.  I checked it today and the money hasn't been removed yet. This scares me. I hate having money or rather large sums of money in my chequeings account. I don't keep large sums in my account to prevent theft and also to prevent impulsive buying. I wish they would  hurry up. Last time I sent them a cheque they had returned it to me within 3 business days.  Mind you maybe the reason its taking so taking is because its actually being processed this time around.  Who knows... its a wait and see kind of thing.

The other day I was on the Globe and Mail site and one of the articles said that to pay down student debt you had to use the rule of 10.  Basically grads need to be making 10,000 more then their student debt to have it paid off in 10 years at a rate of 10% a year. Now according to this assessment I am making  30,000 less then I should be a year. How depressing is that, especially because I do not want to be paying off student debt for 10 years.

Yesterday a friend of mine and I were talking about getting part-time second jobs. I really want to do this because I need the income to reach my debt repayment goal in the new year. However I mentioned this to my boyfriend and he was less then pleased. I think he thinks if I got a second job that the little time we get together will end up decreasing further. I don't want this to be the case and I intend to make sure that this isn't the case. But how do I get him on board. I don't want him to think that his concerns aren't valued but truth be told I am going to get a second job.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I feel angry with: VISA!!

Today I got my visa bill in the mail. I opened it and read the little VISA message: Dear sir/madam we did not receive a payment from you last month. As such if you do not pay the mount specified your interest payment will go up to 26.99%.

HOLD ON!!! I know I paid more the than the minimum last month. I have even talked about it on this blog as to why I am paying the amount that I am each month. So I called and this is what the guy said to me: On it shows in our system that you made the payment on the 6th and your bill is printed on the 9th thus your payment counts towards your October bill and not your November bill. 3 days!!! I was off by 3 days and all the guy had to say was Sorry *shrug* not well lets see if it can be changed or how can we correct this for the next time, NOPE just sorry in the flat-line tone of I don't care I am just saying sorry because I have to. I told him not to apologize since I knew he didn't mean it and it makes me more upset.

Missing a payment affect my credit rating and it pisses me off!! I am working so hard and Make Sure I am on Top of Everything!!! I pay everything from my first monthly pay that way I know its paid. So that if anything happens at least the basics are covered the first time around.

What scared me the most after I got off the phone with him was that I might had done the same this month. I paid visa out of my last pay. I called them back a second time to make sure 100% that my payment this month went in on THIS bill pay period.

The second lady I talked to at visa was really nice and very helpful. Here's what happened I paid the payment from my other bank on the 6th but it was not posted to my visa until the 9th. However even though my last statement expired on the 8th of November and the new statement was printed on the 9th, because the payment was made on the 9th it comes down to the hours. If the payment was posted before in the early hours of Nov. 9th and the bill was printed a few hours after the payment was posted then it's counted on the Oct. bill and not the Nov. bill. Personally for a computer technically I think the Card Centre agents at Visa should have the ability to say ya its a technical glitch on the computer side we can manually change it. Sadly the second agent was powerless. I was fruitless in my endeavour to get it sorted out. She did give me some good news but until I verify it I'm not going to share it just yet. And frankly the good news is pittance in comparison to the sting I feel over this situation.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Savings Account

A couple of months ago I called up Ally and sighed up for a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account). Ally is very similar to ING in that it offers high interest Savings with no fees. The first cheque I sent them they sent back because something on it was wrong. Since then I haven't done much with the account. The other day I decided that it was stupid not to try and sent the cheque in a second time. So I called to make sure that I got it right this time and send it off today. Ally gives its client an interest rate of 2% which is calculated daily. Basically by not getting my act together I have lost out on some interest not much I'm sure but hey every little bit helps! The cheque I sent in was from my General fund which holds my 10% fund. The amount deposited was $425.05. I plan to keep my General Savings fund tracker the same as the amount is just split up into two different account at the moment. The plan is to eventually shift all of my 10% fund into my Ally account so it can collect the interest. Hopefully this time the cheque isn't returned because if it is I will start to get a complex.

On another note I am finalizing my 2011 goals and New Years resolutions still. So they won't be up until closer to the New Year.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly Spending Recap Dec 16-19, 2010

Thursday 16 (Pay day)
No spend day

Friday 17
No spend day

Saturday 18
bought cat food ~$48.58 (Already budgeted for)
Change to mom ~$0.10 (taken from change left over from buying cat food)
Canada Post envelop ~$1.80 (taken from spending money)

Sunday 19
No Spend day

Amount spent: $ 50.48

Friends of mine were having a Christmas party this evening. I joined them for the first part but when they left to go out for dinner I begged off, they already knew I wasn't planning on staying for the whole thing. But I left before dinner because 1) I had already eaten and 2) I didn't want to waste the money. Dose that sound to extreme?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

News Papers and Financial Advice

I make a habit of reading at least 1 paper a day often The Toronto Star. However depending on the day I can get through -so far 4- in one day ( The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The Calgary Harold and The New York Times). Last night I decided to read another common paper from Toronto- The Globe and Mail. The Globe has great articles about finance as it should. But one caught my eye. The article is called "Early retirement still possible-just not as early as desired"

This couple have a monthly income of: $8,000

Assets: family home: $900,000; Bank accounts: $4,000; RESPs $114,000; RRSPs $530,000; TFSA $23, 000; non registered savings $11,000. TOTAL: $1.158 million

Liabilities: None (AKA no debt)

The couple wanted to know if in 5 years when the husband would be 55 if they would have enough saved up to retire. The financial planner told them NO and to wait until the husband was 59 instead.

Can you believe that most of us would die to have 1) no debt!!! and 2) $1.58 million in assets

The thought that this couple can't retire the way they would like to with that kind of money is down right depressing. And scares the hell out of me!!

The upside to this is that clearly saving and stockpiling money is not the best way to go about things. I think I am going to follow Derek Foster's idea... or try at least.

I've already got plans in the works but when they get a little more stable I will let you know!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blog design.. assitance

I am currently at work and sighed on to read another person's blog and to post I had to sigh into mine. I got a good look at it from a PC computer perspective and it was really difficult to read so I changed the back ground again. What do you think, does this make it easier to read? Please let me know because I can't tell and I just want it to be legible even if that means its simple in design. Today has been a slow day at work well this evening last. I decided to write out my goals/ new years resolutions for next year. Is it to early to post these kinds of things considering we are only 1/2 way though December? I don't know how I am going to post them. I was hoping to do tabs as some other blogs have them and I think that's a great idea for organization. But I can't seam to find them and every time I try, I mess up the look and layout of my blog. So if anyone who is more competent than me knows how to add the taps please let me know other wise I will have to come up with another solution to post my 2011 goals.

I figured it out!!! I am so excited!!!

Pay Day and Bi-weekly Spending

I got paid today and I got my company bonus. In total my net pay was $1094.84 and bonus was 303.70. Don't ask about my gross pay the discrepancy is depressing. Any ways the following is a brake down of how it was allocated:

TD line of credit: $200.00
Savings: $150.00 (currently in holding account until I decide if it is going into car fund or not)
Vacation Fund: $75.00
Cat Fund: $50.00
Visa bill: $50.00
Cell phone: $93.85
Car Fund: 250.00
Transit: $24.00
Christmas fund: $100.00 (currently in holding until I decide if i have missed anyone off my list if not its going into Vacation fund)
Cat food: $50.00
Pay back mom: $20.00
Spending money for next 2 weeks: $31.99

Bonus money ($303.70):
Car fund: $300.00
Vacation fund: $3.70

I have updated the following fund trackers: Car Fund, Cat Fund, Vacation Fund

SO there it is, money in... money out

Thursday, December 16, 2010

HST Cheque and Dilemma Solved

Today I deposited my HST cheque in to my TD line of credit. As such it currently stand at $-32,989.02. This number will be old in another 24h. I'm a little frustrated with work. Normally we get out pay stubs about 1 to 1 1/2 weeks before pay day. Only this time we won't get them until tomorrow which is pay day. The problem is with out exact figures my ability to budget it hindered. I know that I will know by tomorrow but I always like to know way before pay day. Another thing I was thinking about was that many PF bloggers post their bi-weekly budget. I haven't done that yet but I have been debating about doing it. Also many PF bloogers post there weekly spending and no spending days. I haven't done this because most of my days are no spend days. I don't have the same kind of over heads that come with having families. But I have been thinking that it might be good to start doing it for accountability. We'll have to see with this coming pay.

I have also decided what do do about my dilemma from yesterday. Because the amount that is going to be transferred from my chequeings account into my TD line of credit and because I put the $100 HST cheque into it today, I am just going to transfer the money left over into my vacation fund.

Since tomorrow is pay day I have made the transactions that said I would earlier this week.The following is a mount transferred in to the respective funds.

Car fund: $20.09
Vacation fund: $37.98
TD line of credit: $100.00

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

HST/GST Cheque and Vacation Fund

Today I came home from work to find a letter in the mail. It came in a nondescript grey envelope with Revenue Canada as the return address. It turns out the Government is sending out Christmas bonuses as well this year as they sent me a cheque for $100. Getting 'free' money in the mail is always good however the dilemma is what does one do with it now... sigh

So yesterday I said I would put what was left over from my chequing account into my TD line of credit. Now though with this cheque (which is definitely going into my line of credit) maybe I should use the extra money for my vacation fund; which needs major work.

Oh I have great news I got the vacation I wanted so besides being able afford it and booking it I am all set to go to Cuba for my academic conference. I am so excited!!!

decisions decisions...

This is such a pain I had it all mapped out yesterday. I was feeling really happy about it all the bases (car fund, vacation fund, student debt) were all getting a little something, something. Now its all off balance.

Who ever thought that having something would be more complicated then having nothing.

Any advice?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Updates: Christmas Spending, General Savings Fund, Cat Fund, Car Fund, Christmas bonus and Rasis

I finally got around to updating my General Savings Fund, my Cat Fund and my Car Fund trackers on my blog.

General savings fund: $712.09
Cat Fund: $150.01
Car fund: $1,200.25

These numbers will be out of date as of this coming Thursday which is pay day.

I went Christmas shopping last weekend and got almost everyone covered. I still have my sister left and maybe stocking stuffers. I had a budget of $300 and I have $57.42 left. I had budgeted another $100 from this weeks pay but I don't think I am going to need it. So I will likely transfer that $100 in to my vacation fund. What ever is left over from my Christmas shopping will go into my car fund. Also as you might remember my Boyfriend had my wallet for over a week so as a result I still have over $40.00 left in my checkings account. So what ever is left of that will go into my TD Line of Credit for the snowflake finance. I had originally budgeted for next years Christmas fund around $1,000 but given that I will have everyone covered for around $300 (this year) I don't think I will need that much. Thus I will double the amount and then give myself a cushion of $200, this will being the number up to $800 that has to be saved for next year's Christmas Fund.

I have other news, the other day everyone in my department got letters stating our Christmas bonus and the raises we will be getting. So I will be getting a raise of $700 over the course of the year and a bonus of just over $380. Now I was surprised to find out that I am actually making 1,000 less then I thought I was. But since I have not actually worked a full year at the Bank I can't say I have felt the difference. In case you were wondering what I was going to do with the bonus money I have decided to put $300 in to my car fund and the rest after taxes in my vacation fund. It would have been more ideal to put it into my student debt but in the short term I need a car. Today it was -8C and with wind chill it felt like -13C, standing around for a bus sucked.

Plastic Crazy (credit cards)

I worked this past Saturday. It was dead so of course when your tied to a phone and desk the only thing to do is search the net. While on the net I came a cross the most stupid thing. It happened quite innocently, I was on the phone with a client who had a new visa card and wanted to know a symbol meant that was above the first four digits. The client was asking if it meant something like she was getting a new insurance. I had no idea so I googled the kind of card she had and up popped lots of pictures of her card. I clicked on one and after I finished with the client I glanced down to see the site I had lifted the picture from. Turned out to be chat forum from which is a Canadian last minute getaway site. The topic peaked my interest so I went back to the first page.

The first post which started the forum off was a question: What do you carry in your wallet?

As I read more and more of the posts, the form developed into 'how many debt and credit cards do you keep in your wallet.' Some people posted pictures of their plastic cards lined up others just wrote them down. Now if your going to take pictures its always best to black out the personal stuff like your card number and name. A lot of people forgot to do this, talk about stupid. That's like jumping up and down and asking for identity theft or fraud to happen to you.

One thing that was really shocking was the shear number of things people kept in their wallets. One woman has 18, that's right 18 little pieces of plastic which consisted of 8 debt cards and 10 credit cards!!! I had no idea one person was allowed that many credit cards. The kicker was the same woman had 4 more at home all credit cards that she was debating about getting rid off but she hadn't decided if she could 'life with out them' no joke! Another person boasted about how he spends $3,000 a year in annual fees for his card and how it gets him in to the VIP lounges at the airports. That's a lot of money to waste of semi-conferrable chairs at an airport.

Another thing that blow me away the shear number of doubles. People who would have multiples of the same card all with different accounts. What is the point of that, can someone explain that to me? It might be because I was looking for it unknowingly but a lot of posters had visa cards from the bank that I work for. Some had multiples of the annual fee cards that we have. Which means there are people in this world with 2 identical cards that they pay $140 a year for. Don't people know that 2 of the same kinds of cards doses not give you better or more travel insurance?? o.O

This web forum was like a bad collision, terrible to look but addictive you couldn't take your eyes off of it. I was tempted to post the second question: how must is your consumer debt?

Is a piece of plastic in your wallet really worth all this?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Car Search/ Car Fund Update

For a while these last couple of weeks I was not sure if my mom would be willing to help me with a 0% loan for the rest of the funds for my car. So I made the decision to speed up the process in my car fund by taking the money form my 10% fund (paying my self first) and putting it into my car fund. I reasoned this based on the fact that in the end it would help me and my finances in the long run. As a car means I can get a second job. Now it looks like things are a little more on track and mom might still be able to help me which is great. Also I am having second thoughts about playing with my 10% fund. I mean if I can justify it for a car what else will I be able to justify. This is a trap I DO NOT want to fall into. At the same time it would get me to my goal of $2500.00 faster then thought. Actually it will exceed the original goal of $2000.00 by the end of this month. So I don't know I am still in two minds.... sigh....

As for the car search I found 2 cars this week that I thought would be perfect and when I wasn't sure about mom's financial ability, the place that was selling the cars was offering financing options. As it turns out both cars were in from end collisions and my boyfriend has axed them from the list. Rightfully so of course but I am disappointed. One was a 2005 red Toyota echo hatchback, automatic which is exactly what I am looking for!! Its my dream car, and to have it slip between your fingers is just heart crushing.

My BF and I have decided to put the serious search on hold for now since Christmas is around the corner. Though I am keeping my ears to the ground. If anyone hears of someone selling the above car in Ontario please, please drop me a line.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Payin' bills

As I mentioned my boyfriend has my wallet. So I asked him to send me my debt card number so I could at least pay the bills. After I had dished it all out I was left with $60 in my chequing account. As I was looking at my accounts I thought 'I am ready for the next pay day.'

Another thing that crossed my mind when I was moving money around was about my general savings fund. I average about $140-150 a pay into this category. But this month because I am getting 3 pays and my general savings is up around $700 the extra $300 from the next two pays would really boost my car fund. But at the same time the idea of that money is its my 10%. I counter this with the old saying 'ya gata spend some money to make some money' and if I am ever going to get that second job I really need the car... So I am stumped.

What do you think?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sundry Debt FREE!!!!

Have you seen my new debt tracker to the right of this screen??? LOOK! You will notice something new!!! That's right I am sundry debt free!!! This last Thursday was pay day and the last $80 was taken out to make the final payment to Miranda. Now I haven't seen her in a while so I haven't given the money to her or the first $50. But the money is there sitting in my little glass jar waiting for a change to be handed over.

I my personal life I finally got my books sorted out and put properly on shelves. This might not sound like a large task but for me it truly is, at last count I had over 500 books. As it stands I have no idea how many books Ihave. The next task is to count them and put them into my database. I have put over 15 in a bag to go to goodwill.

Another thing that has happened is that I left my wallet with my boyfriend. Now luckily I had my debt card and my drivers licence on me at the time. And as it happens I have enough on me to get bus tickets because I took money out of my account at the bank before hand. Looking on the bright side of my stupid mistake with out my debt card there's no chance for me to spend any money.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Woes of Good Intentions and Bank Fees

In my last post I mentioned that was going to start a snowflake jar. So knowing that I had about $24 in my account by the 30th I strove to not spend anything till the end if the day. Or the next day (the 1st) because I knew I would be paid on the 2nd of December. So imagine my surprise after work on the 31st when my account went from $24 to $ -92.89 over night. I immediately called the bank and told the lady who answered the phone straight up I was up sent and pissed off. The lady was very professional and by the end over 1.5h call things were completely sorted out.

Your likely wondering how does one go from being in the black to being in the red over night. Trust me I wanted to know the same thing.

This is what happened: on my bank account plan I was only 'allowed' up to 15 transactions a month. However I thought this was at the bank/bank machine transactions. Well apparently it also includes online transactions. Needless to say I ALWAYS go over that number. Last month I did 55 transactions between moving money around to paying bills. This number is average for me, but because I was a student I never got charged the extra $0.65 for each additional transaction because on top of my 'everyday account' I had the 'student plan' except this expired at the end of this past month and I did not go into renew it because I am no longer a student. As a result I was changed $14.35 plus $2.00 passbook update. Had it only been $16.35 I might not have been as upset but $24-16.35 does not = $ -92.89 and that is a lot of money to be in the red!! As it turns out the night before (Dec. 29th) I was doing mobile banking and I was transferring money out of my chequeing account that I had put in for a 'just incase' but really belonged in my general savings fund. What we concluded was that there was a glitch in the system and on two separate instances it transferred out $100.00 . So between the bank fees and the extra $100 being taken out of my checking account I definitely ended up in the red.

The lady at the bank reversed everything and gave me back the $16.35 and in the process I signed up for a new bank account plan which gives me 200 transactions a month for $9.95. I know some people might think its money wasted. But I have 8 accounts with them and like I said I am always moving money around or paying bills. One of the ways I curb impulse buying is I never keep money in my chequing account. When I need to spend money I move it from my 'holding account.' The down side to all this stuff is that she said it would take a few days for the bank to approve the return of money and to reset the system online.

Now that a couple of days have passed I am able to start making official snowflake deposits.

What did I learn from this: Always keep an eye on your finances and know the amount of money in your accounts.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monthly TD Line of Credit

It is the end of the month and time to find out what my student debt is at. This month I put in 150.00 +65.00 +200.00 = 415.00.
In total this month I put in 415.00. This brings my total line of credit down to $33,189.37. This means that in total I have put in $1,191.44. I am very proud of this number. I know that its not massive but it is a start. I updated my debt tracker to reflect these numbers.

34,380.81 - 1,191.44= $33,189.37

$415.00 is not enough to meet my debt repayment goals so how do I increase this amount. I have bee reading a lot of other blogs to get ideas. One of the blogs that I was reading had a 'snowflake jar' which puzzled me. So I googled it and came across another idea to help pay down my debt. The idea of snowflake finance is to put what ever is left over even it its only 25 cents in to your debt. So I am going to try this method. Actually I already did with my lay 2 pays ago. The money that was left over before last pay was almost enough to completely pay off the remanning debt to Dave. This made me feel really great! So I am completely on board with this idea. I hope that the $24 will be the first to go into my 'snowflake fund' aka my Student Debt.

What about you? Will you start a snowflake jar?

Monthly TD Line of Credit

It is the end of the month and time to find out what my student debt is at. This month I put in 150.00 +65.00 +200.00 = 415.00.
In total this month I put in 415.00. This brings my total line of credit down to $33,189.37. This means that in total I have put in $1,191.44. I am very proud of this number. I know that its not massive but it is a start.

34,380.81 - 1,191.44= $33,189.37

$415.00 is not enough to meet my debt repayment goals so how do I increase this amount. I have bee reading a lot of other blogs to get ideas. One of the blogs that I was reading had a 'snowflake jar' which puzzled me. So I googled it and came across another idea to help pay down my debt. The idea of snowflake finance is to put what ever is left over even it its only 25 cents in to your debt. So I am going to try this method. Actually I already did with my lay 2 pays ago. The money that was left over before last pay was almost enough to completely pay off the remanning debt to Dave. This made me feel really great! So I am completely on board with this idea. I hope that the $24 will be the first to go into my 'snowflake fund' aka my Student Debt.

What about you? Will you start a snowflake jar?


As you know I don't have a car. So to get to work I spent 2.5 hours on 2 different busses. As a result I spend quite a bit of time watching people. While riding the bus to work yesterday two different girls sat in front of me. The first one has a Puma bag and a Guess purse and the second one had a Coach purse and a small Coach purse she was using as a wallet. Both girls were around the same age as I am-early twenties.

What struck me was the contrast between myself and these girls. The idea of spending $100, $300 or $500 on bags blows my mind. The most I have ever spent on a bag was 15 euros when I was in Millano and even then my travelling companion had to convince me it wasn't a stupid waste of money. The idea of spending money on something to hold my money in has always been a difficult one for me especially when I will end up with nothing to put in the wallet. My current wallet is a mistery gift it was either given to my sister or I one Christmas. But no one knows for who or my whome so it just showed up on my desk on boxing day when we were clearning up the living room.

One of the things that I noticed about many of the Personal Finance blogs was that the people writing them confessed to being shoppaholics. This is something that I am definitely not!
I often wonder how people can be so in to cloths. It might just be me but I have never been part of the 'in style.' But the strange thing is that I have noticed I start trends. Nothing crazy or really 'new' but in my 'I can't be bothered about fashion' I end up becoming 'fashionable.'

What prompted this post besides the bag girls was two girls on the bus today. They were clearly friends and in there late teens or early 20's. But both were wearing the exact same things, not brands but style. Both had jeggins on with flat knee high boots. Both were in long purple tops (different shades), both had fitted leather jackets on and designer bags. Even more ironic both were heading off to the mall.

So I am curious is most of people's debt consumer as with the case of girls I observe on the bus?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Commitments- How Debt Paralyses Me

When I first committed to paying down my student debt after the first $700.00. I was only able to put in $150.00 a pay cheque. This was because I also had all the sundry debts to take care off. Now that I have taken care of most of the Sundry debt, I have bumped it up to $200.00 a pay cheque. Once the Sundry debt is completely gone and christmas is gone, things are going to change. I am making a stance and committing to it now and you are all going to be my witnesses this World Wide Web of information and mass of people.

Starting January 1st I will put $300 per pay cheque into my student debt. This will only add up to $600.00 a month which is less then 50% of what I want to be putting into it. But its a start. I wanted to get a second job by February but if I get to go on this conference it looks like March 1st will have to be the official second job start date now.... sigh...

Its November now and I am silently freaking over February 2011. So much will come at me all at once:
* I will have a car by then
* I will have a car payment in what ever form
* I will have insurance and gas
* My first OSAP payment hits plus the 6 months of interest that has added up
*Feb. 23 I will en-role in my company stock option (10% of my income)
* The conference (if I can go)

All these extras and now I am committing to $600 into debt repayment

Breath, Sarah, Breath

I can do it, I can do it!!!

Sundry Debt Update and Extra December Pay Cheque

I am so excited I gave the last $62.80 to Dave today. Which means that he is completely pied off!!!! YAHOO finally since it was outstanding since August. Also the first $50 for Miranda is sitting on my desk ready to give her when I next see her, and at the rate that we are going it might not be until after next week's pay day. If this happens then I will have the next $80 for her. Which means that after she has that $80.00 I will be Sundry Debt free!!! I know I am jumping the gun a little bit but I am excited about the idea. To be even a little bit debt free is an exciting prospect.

In other news next month I get 3 pay cheques and I have spent the last couple of night agonizing over it to the point were I can't get to sleep. Its pathetic I mean now that I have money and I am trying to pay down debt and its an extra pay cheque I am still stressing over it. I had originally wanted to put the extra money left over after my automatic general saving deduction and cat fund deduction into debt. But other things have come up like my car fund which has to be at $2000 by the end of December. Also I have the chance to go to an academic conference in Cuba in February. And since there is no 'spare' credit (thank God) It has to be paid for in cash. The other thing is that I am not treating it as 'bonus or extra cash' for me its just another pay day. So I want to make sure I use it wisely. sigh.... advice anyone....

Friday, November 26, 2010

When Life Gets in the Way and Specific Funds Explanation

I have mentioned in a few of my last posts about "when life gets in the way" and that I would explain my reasons for splitting up my Savings into two different funds (general savings and Specific funds). I have also mentioned before about the importance of putting 10% your savings away or paying yourself first. You will also notice that I do not have an emergency fund.

The general savings fund is the place I put 10% of my income. Its strictly for savings or investing. That is I have not completely decided what to do with it. So until I make the decision, it will sit as my general savings fund, collecting 10% of my income every pay.

The first Specific fund is my car fund. Basically I spend up to 5h each day on buses and walking to and from work, were by car its 15-25 min. So I want a car so I can take the extra 4h I would save and put it towards time for a second job which is one of my goals for next year.

Now the Cat fund is a little bit more complex and has a story behind it. Two years ago this month a cat acquired me.

When I was going to university the lady who lived upstairs of me rescued animals. All animals she was not discriminating. But at the time she was focused on local stray cats. I worked while at university in the campus safety and student safety DPTM so I knew many of the first year Rez. kids. A couple first year friends of mine told me they had spotted a cat living in Chaplain North Quad which is one of the court yards that make up Chaplain College. My friends asked me if they were able to catch the cat would I be willing to foster it until they could find a home for it. I said of course and latter that week when they caught it they brought it to my place. I came back home for the Friday and Saturday to see a movie with a friend. While at home in Toronto I picked up a flee collar for the cat from a local pet store and when I got home I put it on him.

The next morning I woke up with large brown insects crawling across my chest. I had no idea what they were at the time and where they came from. But as I stripped my bed I found more crawling in and among my sheets. It didn't take long for me to isolate the source- the cat. It cost me $200 for the emergency vet on call visit, to fine out that the cat was covered in Ticks. By the time I had completely de-ticked him I had taken off over 500 ticks. I made the decision that day that if i was shelling out $200 then the cat was officially 'bought.' What followed was monthly vet visits for a variety of different things, to the point where I stated to joke about him being my thousand dollar kitty.

We surpassed the thousand dollar mark this last October when Salem (my cat) ate a piece of string and it got rapped around his tongue causing him to toss up anything he tried to eat or drink. He spent 2 nights in the vet hospital. The vet first quoted me at $1150 and it ended up coming to $750. I had $250 from the reimbursement of dental expenses I get back though my insurance and I slashed my budget to squeeze out another $250, my mom was nice enough to cover the rest. But I realized then that I needed to have a Cat Fund to make sure that if anything else like this again happened I was finically prepared. Especially now that I have another car Max and there are always yearly vet check ups.

So that's the story behind the Cat fund. I have it set for $2500 but basically I will just let it grow and grow until a situation arises where I need to dip into it. Every pay cheque I put in $50.

Blog Enhancement

I am so excited I found a way to track my savings and debts visually on my blog. Don't laugh at me I know its basic and simple but I am not all that tech. savvy !!

Any ways I have Split my financial information up into 3 general sections:
1) Debts
2)General Savings
3) Special Funds

I've spent the last couple of hours trying to sort this out. I will likely change it but for now I am very happy with it.

I will explain my reason for the splits in another post when I blog about when "life gets in the way."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The 10 % Rule OR Paying Yourself First

When I first started to read books on personal finance, the one things every book I read had in common was the 10% rule. The 10% rule stipulates that 10% of everything you earn should be put in to some kind of savings. This is also known as paying yourself first. I decided that this was a good idea so I have started this process. Recently I read that you should be calculating 10% of your gross income not your net pay. Prior to reading this I had been putting in calculating based on my net pay. Which doesn't seam like a lot but over time the few extra dollars I'm sure would add up. Prior to last pay I had $425.05 in my 10% account. Last pay I put in another 140.91. This brings my total to $565.96.

10% fund has: $565.96 (425.05+149.01)

Putting the 10% aside was easy but deciding was to do with it has not been. I have had conflicting advice on what to do with it. So for now its just sitting in my money master account. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

GST/HST Cheque

In Ontario we get GST (Goods and Services Tax) cheques. They come four times a year: January, April, July, October. So I confess I was shocked to see a cheque for me in the mail box last week. Especially since we got one last month as well. But who am I to complain. Any ways I cashed it today and deposited it directly into my TD Line of credit. It's was only $65.00 but every little bit counts.

According to TD my line of credit currently stands at $ -33,389.37.

Now I don't know if it includes the $200.00 I put in this last pay or not. So we will have to wait and see when I do my monthly up dates.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plan of Attack: Student Debt Part 2

I blogged a little while back about the size of my student debt. To recap my TD Canadatrust Student line of credit is $34, 380.00. Now my line of credit was originally only support to go to $34,000.00, but for a couple of months during the summer I did not pay my minimum payment on it. This happened because for a couple of months while I was still taking my last summer course to finish my degree I was not working. Never do as I did. Not paying your monthly minimum is a bad idea. So when it came time to catch up my first payment was $700.00. It was a real squeeze. Since I started my new full time job I have been putting in $150.00 every bi-weekly paycheque. So about $300.00 a month. As well in Ontario we get GST/ HST cheques from the government. So every one I get I will continue to put into my student debt. My goal before September 2011 is to get a significant about of the principle down. So that when October 2011 roles around and they add principle on top of the interest to my monthly payments I will hopefully not be paying $700.00 each month.

What about my National Student Loan you ask? Well I do not start making payments on it until February 2011. So until then I am focusing on my TD student loan.

Of course don't forget that I have also had several other sundry debts as well. In total $727. 41 which I have systematically reduced down to $192.80.

Focusing only on the TD line of credit at $34,380.81 and my sundry debts at $727.41, how much have I paid off since August 23, 2010?
As of the end of October 2010 I have put in $776.44 bringing by debt down to $33,604.37.
As of November 10th 2010 I have paid down $534.61 in sundry debt.

In total I have paid down $776.44 + $ 533.61= $1310.05 in debt.

So that leaves me with $34,380.81 +$776.44+ 13,058.00 -$1310.05 =$46,905.20 in debt

As of November 16th 2010 debt remaining: $46,905.20 (including OSAP debt)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Plan of Attack: Student Debt Part 1

When it comes to the 'Plan of attack' there are two distinct camps.

The first camp advises people to list all there debt from smallest amount to largest amount. The systematically work your way through the smallest to the largest. The idea being that if you have small success from the begging you will be more motivated to get all the debt paid down. The second reason for this approach is that the small amounts you paid can then be added to the larger debts to pay down the principle faster.

The second camp advises people to start with the debts which have the highest interest rate. The idea being that the higher the interest rate the less you are able to put into the principle and the more in the end you will end up paying to the lender to get your debt paid off.

Both methods work if you only have CREDIT CARD DEBT!!!

Student debt is very different and requires a different approach.

Not sure what I mean, let me explain. In Ontario, Canada which is were I live OSAP (National Student Loans) gives graduated students 6 months before they have to make their first payment. Interest still collects over those 6 months which is then paid in a lump sum on your first payment. In comparison when you have a student loan from a bank, in my case TD CanadaTrust (TD), the first year you are only expected to pay the interest. After the first year you are expected to play both a chunk of the principle and the monthly interest.

As for payment plan lengths National Student Loans automatically places students on a 9.5 year payment plan. As for my TD loan there is no real payment timeline, basically its when ever the loan is paid off. The thing about this is that you could take 9.5 years to pay off your National Student Loan and 10 years to pay off your Bank loan. However by the time you paid it off at this rate you would have likely paid for the original loan 2 times over. Also it hinders your ability to qualify for a mortgage when you want to buy your first home. For all the above reasons I am going to accelerate my payment plans.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The first steps to payin' off debt

In my last post I mentioned that I have several sundry debts to friends. I recommend that they be the first things you tackle. Taking my own advise the first thing I did was pay off Jessica. I owed her money for the last of our shared phone bill a total of $117.56. The second one I started to work on was my debt to Dave. Now he's not fully paid off, but because he is the biggest I wanted a good chunk of it paid. I have given him $270 of the $332.80 that I owed him. So $332.80-$270= $62.80 that I still owe him. He would have been paid off last month but 'life got in the way.' So he was willing enough to let me delay for a month. The topic of 'life getting in the way' I will talk about in another post. The other debts that I took care of was the $27.05 that I owed Dan. I am also happy to report that as of last night I have also paid of John which was $120.00. This leaves me with the last amount I owe to Dave and the full amount of $130.00 I owe Miranda.

Original sundry debt amount: $727.41
Current amount paid back: $534.61
Amount Outstanding: 192.80

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ownin' Up to the Debt

The first thing that Gail taught me was to Own Up to my student debt. To be honest I thought I knew what it was. I had it at a nice round number about 40,000.00. Ya I was way off almost 10,000.00 off. Gail has a great worksheet on her website that can help you as it did me own up to my debt. I know its scary to go it, but trust me you will start to feel you have a handle on your finances, when you actually know the true numbers. The second piece of advice that I have gained is: to write down any personal debt you have outstanding with friends. Then systematically get rid of the second list and plan out how you will work your way through the first list.

this is my First list:
Who you owe For What How Much Interest Rate 12 months 24 months 36 months
TD Canada Trust student debt $34,380.81 5.00% $3,008.32 $1,539.97 $1,042.57
National Student Loans student debt $13,058.00 7.50% $1,169.78 $604.29 $412.60
TOTAL: $47,438.81 $4,178.10 $2,145.27 $1,455

TOTAL: 47,428.81

That is a VERY SCARRY NUMBER!!! I honestly can tell you my parents don't even know its that high. And of course I had no idea.

The second list included the sundry debts to friends:

Jessica (last phone bill for our aptm in Uni.)~ $117.56
John (Moving truck)~ $120.00
Miranda (concert ticket)~$130.00
Dan (containers)~ $27.05
Dave (trip)~ $332.80

TOTAL: 727.41

So GRAND TOTAL: 47,428.81 + 7.27.41 =48,156.22

Ya almost $50,000.00 in student debt and I want it paid off in 3.5 years. This is the first of my grand plans and this blog is going to help me keep on track.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

About me

I got out of university just at the tail end of the most recent recession. Talk about a real downer. But we do as we must and I am chugging along.

Financial education was not high on family's list of things to teach us kids. My dad was a politician and my mom did mortgages. So ask me about mortgages and politics and I can tell you more then you would likely care to know. But when it comes to stocks and retirement funds, I am hopeless. I am not even sure my parents have it sorted out yet and they've had more time then me too.

So I have sought to educate myself.

I love watching the show: Till Debt Do Us Part and Gail Vaz-Oxlande has been very insightful with her tips. But I am not married and do not own anything but debt at this point in my life. As such most of her trips are good to have for the future, but have no baring on my current situation.

I have searched the internet and looked for financial books/ magazines for advice for people like me:

1) more (student) debt then income

2) minimal financial background

3) big dreams

And I have found snippets of advice but no real plan of attack.

So I am starting this blog to track my ability to get ride of the first item, build on the second item and realize the third.