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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Up Dating Funds and End of Month debt Reduction Tally

Despite saving for Cuba I still was able to put in $449.83 extra into student debt repayment. This includes my $300.00 I paid into my line of credit, $82.55 extra into my OSAP, $65.00 GST cheque that went into my Line of credit and $2.28 that was snowflaked into my line of credit. This brings my extra debt repayment up to 1,169.03.

Also at the end of this month my different funds sit at:

Car fund~ $2,613.11
Cat bill fund~ $239.92
Emergancy fund~ $25.00
The What If...Fund~$10.00
My snowflake total is $94.52

This evening I had a really interesting conversation with my stepmom about money. Its really strange because there are things about my her and my dad's finances that I have never 'known' but sorta knew.  And this conversation reaffirmed it.

I finally got my tuition forms from Trent. But I am missing my T4 form and a couple of other things. So I will have to call them tomorrow. OSAP have been trying to get a hold of me all week and because I have been away they had been getting more persistent. I called them today to find out what it was that they wanted. Normally they only call when they are looking to get money from you and because I knew I had paid them I was worried that something had gone wrong with my payment. Turns out they wanted to know if I had received the letter they sent me in December. Truthfully I likely did and in December made the necessary arrangements and than left it at that. Once the issue is dealt with I tend to not dwell on it. So when she asked I really wasn't sure of the answer until we started chatting about the content of the letter, which jogged my memory. The end result is they got the payment and she told me that my OSAP rate is floating at 5.5% and the repayment period is 9.5 years... yuck!!!!!

I think next year I will be focusing on getting ride of OSAP by the end of the year, like I am working on my line of credit this year.

Back to Reality

Yesterday I got back from Cuba. I had a lovely time and I came back with money in my pocket, which makes me very HAPPY!! After getting off the plane I got back to reality. I went to the bank traded money around, paid bills and picked up my BF at the airport who spend the past 10 days in Newfoundland.  I also have just set up my 'The What if...Fund'. This fund is basically designed to be an in between fund for things that come up that are just A) oops forgot to put money aside for this or B) money has not been budgeted for this but I want it/need it or C) something needs to get fixed. Option C is currently in effect as my sewing machine is in repair.

Bi-Weekly Budget

                                               Amount: $1,093.89
                                               Amount after ING: $1,043.82 ($-25)

Retirement fund: $50.00
Storage unit $75.00
TD Line of credit: $300.00
Xmas Fund: $80.00
Cat fund: $100.00
Cell phone: $94.86
Car Fund: $50.00
Visa: $50.00
Cat food fund: $10.00
Emergency Fund: $25.00
The What If… fund: $10.00
Licensing fee: $50.00
OSAP: $82.55
Spending money: $67.00

Two Week Spending Recap Feb 14-27, 2011

February 14 (Monday)
$-17.91 Cineplex
February 15 (Tuesday)
$-24.00 for Transit Tickets
February 16 (Wednesday)
No Spend Day
February 17 (Thursday)
No Spend Day
February 18 (Friday)
No Spend Day
February 19 (Saturday)
$-168.37 self store fee for march
February 20 (Sunday)
 $23 budgeted, $13 spent
February 21 (Monday)
$70 budgeted, $30 spent
February 22 (Tuesday)
$60 budgeted, $29 spent
February 23 (Wednesday)
 $60 budgeted, $23 spent 
February 24 (Thursday)
$80 budgeted, $69 spent
$25.00 to retirement fund
February 25 (Friday)
$80 budgeted, no idea who much was left over/ spent
$-2.00 for a tea at the airport
February 26 (Saturday)
$-94.64 Roger’s bill
$-50.00 for visa bill
February 27 (Sunday)
$-7.55 Go train ticket from Whitby to Toronto 

I took $500 cash as my spending money for Cuba. After converting it I got $457.35 CUC back. Through out the week I budgeted $23, $60, $70 and $80 depending on the day. I never once spent the full amount on any given day. As such after paying my exit tax ($25.00) and converting my money back from CUC to Canadian dollars I had left Cuba with $205.00 in my pocket. I debated what to do with it. In the end I have decided to use it to pay for the repairs on my sewing machine and for my Anime North ticket. This way I can 1) finish my Halloween costume for reuse at Anime North and 2) pay for my ticket with out affecting my March budget. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Wards To: Cuba

Well my friends I am off. I will not be back until Feb 26. So until then enjoy your week. I will post my spending for this week and next when I get back. As well as my bill and budget info. I paid the storage unit today.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Bus News Brings You: Inspiration

Yesterday on my commute home the first bus I take was in an collision. I am fine (in case you were wondering), the bus is fine and everything was ok I just got home late. Actually it wasn't even the Driver's fault, the lady rear-ended him. Any ways for the purpose of this story I am going to call the Diver Tej.

Today after work I got on the bus and Tej was driving again I asked him what happened with the lady and the collision as we got chatting we moved on to other things. We started onto the topic of debt and I told him I was working on paying down my student debt. He told me that 4 years ago he had over $108,000 in debt. I asked him how and he told me had had made the stupid move of lending a friend $45,000 and this friend promptly took off on him to the UK. So between that money he owed the bank, credit card debt, OSAP debt because his wife was in school and other's it came to a whopping $108,000. Tej told me that today he has only 45,000 left to go to pay it all back. So in the last 4 years while still paying his bills, rearing 3 young girls and with a mortgage he has managed to pay off over 1/2 the money. For a while he worked 3 jobs and slept about 4h a night.

I think Tej is a real success story. And even though he has not paid it all off he has come a long way. After all he could have taken the easy way out- declared bankruptcy and still been able to keep his house.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GST, Taxes and Debt Repayment Musings

I got another GST cheque in the mail a total of $65.00 which will get deposited in my TD account when I get the chance. I also got in the mail a T4A statement. To the best of my knowledge it looks like it has to do with the Canada Student Loans Program but I have never received anything like this in the mail before. So if anyone knows anything about the purpose of this form please let me know.

For a while I have been thinking about doing my own taxes. Many other PF bloggers do there own, but many others don't. I have been debating back and forth about it. This year I can't since there are forms that I fill out so my parents can use the tuition tax brake, as it does little for me. But next year I was thinking of doing them myself. I am definitely glad that I have an accountant for this years taxes since I now have a T4A form and other OSAP related forms that I have never dealt with  before.

I have been musing about a few things over the last little while and I would like to bounce a few things off you. As everyone knows I have been working away at my line of credit. But I have been wondering if it would be better to switch focus on my OSAP. The reason for this is that it is a smaller number and the it would feel like  a grand accomplishment to get at least one of my student loans paid off. The other thing is that because I have been focusing on my TD line of credit I have been only paying $50 towards my visa. While its doing down its slow... slow... slow progress. I feel strapped with it being almost at max. Another thing is that there are things coming up in the next couple of months that I will need to use the card for. It is easier to do this when the card is at 0$ since than your only budgeting for the amount you have put on it.  So I am wondering if it makes seance to take a month off putting money into my student debt besides the min payments and just dump everything into my visa to get it paid off. Or should I wait until my tax return and use that instead of putting it into my line of credit. Or if it is large enough would it make more seance to dump the full tax refund  amount into my OSAP which will knock a large chunk off. And make it feel as though its going down faster.

Do you see what I mean about musing over every thing. The other side to all this is that I feel like I am not making any progress because I only paid min. payments this last pay and put nothing into my funds. And when next pay roles around I might feel better about paying things down. As well I might be jumping the gun with everything because I haven't even put my revamped March budget to the test.

I think I might be suffering a bad case of the February blues complied with the debt fatigue. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up And ING

Thank you MPP...

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on much needed cat food ($48. 58)

2. Today I feel flat towards money. Last night I went to the movies and I paid for the condiments and my BF paid for the tickets. its only came to a little over $19 and then I got my 10% discount so it was under $17. Thank goodness for the discount because I would have had NFS, I am sure I have less then 1$ left in my account. And to be honest I am not sure I care. There is nothing I need nor anything I want. And provided I get to work ok tomorrow. I see no reason to spend money.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was this past weekend I played the game Pictionary with my BF, his family and his brother's GF. We had a blast!!! It was a great night, best I have had in a long time.

4. I will consider this week a success if I get to work ok tomorrow, I get packed and on my plane this weekend after working an early morning Sat. shift.

5. This Valentine’s Day I am spending it with my BF who does way more for me then I deserve.

I got a letter in the mail from ING. My cheque has been cashed, which means starting next month my automatic withdrawals will start to happen for my retirement fund. I now have to set up one for my emergency fund. The letter also confirmed that I should see additional $25 because I deposited more than $100 and used Jessie's Orange key for referral. I will get my own soon enough so expect to see it on my blog as well. I will have to drop Jessie a note to let her know to look out for the extra cash.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekly Spending Recap Feb.7-13th 2010

February 7 (Monday)
No Spend Day

February 8 (Tuesday)
No Spend Day

February 9 (Wednesday)
- $10 into visa for Opera

February 10 (Thursday)
$48.58  Cat food
$17.00 Rest of Opera ticket

February 11 (Friday)
$5.00 for belt
$25.00 for TTC tokens for BF
$7.55 GO ticket
$3.11 V-Day card

February 12 (Saturday)
No Spend Day

February 13 (Sunday)
No Spend Day

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bi-weekly Budget

First off I would like to say that I am NOT HAPPY with this pay's budget. Everything is bare bones. I have redone this budget 9 times and I can't seem to squeeze the live out of a dead duck as they say. The other major problem for me is while I am in Cuba I get paid. The problem with this is I will not have access to the net so I can't pay any bills and by the time I get back I will not have enough time to pay most of the bills with out everything being late. As much as I am looking forward to Cuba, I am just as much looking forward to having done with financially so I can go back to normal budgeting.

                                                     Amount: 1100.50
TD Line of credit: 125
OSAP: 117.45
Storage unit: 168.37
Vacation: 500
License fee: 50
Cat food: 60.00
Cat food fund:10
Left over: 69.68 (for Vday and the next 2 weeks and transit)

Next pay is major catch up for all the funds that got neglected this time around.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Night Before Pay Day

If you have ever lived in a house with 3 cats you will know cat food is just a much a staple as toilet paper.  We ran out of it cat food and no we didn't have an excuse like a snow storm. Truthfully the cat's wouldn't have bought the excuse even if it was true any ways.  I had hoped the cats would resort to the dog food since pay day is tomorrow. And I will defiantly be getting cat food.  We ran out because the last bag I bought mom was still buying food so I budgeted for not needing to get it for another 4 weeks. Later mom asked if I would take on the cat food buying role. Which I am cool with, I am super picky with the food I feed my two cats and mom isn't. So I was constantly on her for feeding the cats junk. Also its best to stream line what cats eat otherwise things get really smelly.  Any ways I was hoping that  the bag would last, but I miss calculated. I came after work and all 3 cats were following me and giving me the kitty big eyes look, I knew what they wanted.  Now we always have pouches of wet food because a friend always gets them for us, but like I said I am picky so I never given them it. I caved to night. The cats were so happy I think they wish the dry food would run out every week.  This will not happen again, if you see on the right I have now got a Cat Food Fund. This is part of my prep work for March when my budget gets a drastic overhaul.

Today is the night before pay day. I currently have $24.64 in my account. I am going to role $10 into my Visa. The other night I booked a ticket to my first Opera. I got a $+200 ticket for $27 as part of the New Age program to get people under 30 out to the Opera. Yah for being under 30!!  To pay for the ticket I am paying $10 out of this pay and $17 out of my next one. The rest ($14.64)  am rolling into retirement fund.

NOTE: Sorry for this late post, I was having major issues with blogger. Has anyone else had problems with signing in last night?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up

Weekly Money Check-Up is a fill-in-the blank post once a week, from MPP ...
1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on  cat litter and I have all ready mentioned how unhappy I am about that.
2. Today I feel blah towards money. I don't feel like I am getting a head with things, yet at the same time I know there is no such thing as instant gratification with this journey. 
3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was I sent off my paper work to enrol in my company stock. I know it will 'cost me'  but the fact that I have done it makes me happy.
4. I will consider this week a success if  I have money the night before pay day to role into my retirement fund to reduce the amount I owe it.
5. For the Super BowlI  did house work. Not super unexciting but I felt good about it. I also started cataloguing my books, 4 shelf's done 19 to go.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Budgeting is Just Planing in Disguise

As I mentioned yesterday I have been doing a lot budgeting to make sure that I pay bills before I leave for Cuba and any bills that I can hold off paying until after I get back. Its been a balancing act and my calculator has never been out of reach. Its funny while I don't use it at work I always being it with me, I actually start making my bi-weekly budgets at my desk. Any ways I digress...

The key to a successful budget is the planing part. Take for example the cat litter I bought yesterday for almost $15.00 for 22kg (trust me I gritted my teeth about it). Normally cat litter at Cosco cost me $7.49 and when they have the coupons I get $2 off so it only costs me $5.49. Now we normally always pick up 2 boxes of about 18kg each (we have 3 cats its a necessity). When we we get down to 1 box we stick it on the list and get more. Some how the system got derailed and when I mentioned we were on the last box it did NOT get put on the list.  As a result when mom went out shopping on Saturday she didn't get cat litter. So yesterday I had to go to Zellers last minute to get it. We were in desperate need and one litter box down without it... never a good thing in our house. Mom having spent all her money yesterday couldn't afford to pick it up.  So I paied for it.  Now don't get me wrong I am not complaining about paying for it, what galls me is OVER PAYING!! For the cost of two boxes at Cosco I paid the same amount for one at Zellers and I got less bang for my buck!! Instead of spending 15.00 on 36kg of cat litter I spend 15.00 and only got 22kg. This is where the planing comes in, had it been put on the list mom would have known we were out. But even if she wasn't able to pay for it, I would have, but at Cosco. Worse thing  about this whole situation is we will still have to get more litter in a week or two.

Lesson Learned: great budgeting and saving money comes down to planning!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekly Spending Recap Feb.1-6th 2010

February 1 (Tuesday)
$5.*** For breakfast paid in cash from money taken out of ATM Jan. 31
$-594.00 trans from one bank to another for ING cheque

February 2 (Wednesday)
No Spend Day

February 3 (Thursday)
No Spend Day

February 4 (Friday)
No Spend Day

February 5 (Saturday)
No Spend Day

February 6 (Sunday)
$-14.11 Zellers (cat litter)

Its refreshing to get back to the no spend days. I have 4 days until pay day. I dearly hope I make out ok.

I have spent the last couple of days crunching numbers both for this months bills and for my revamped March till August budgets. Once I know everything for sure I am going to share them with you.   

Friday, February 4, 2011

Good Bye Vacation Fund and Line of Credit Update

If you look to your right you will notice that I no longer have a vacation fund bar graph. I used up all the money in the account and shamefully dipped into my retirement fund account to cover the rest of the trip cost. This is  one of the reasons I decided to change the name of my general savings account to retirement fund so that it would no longer be used for 'general use.' Any ways since I have for the most part paid and this is the last major trip I will being taking in a while I have decided to get ride of the fund for now. 

I am  a little behind on my updates, I am sorry about that. I have great news I had planed to have my line of credit down to $-32,000.00. I have accomplished this, my line of credit is currently standing at $-31,965.95 which is LOWER than 32,000.00. How wonderful is this!!!

Recap of amounts put in:
Dec.31  LoC balance: -32,915.15
Jan 4 deposit: +30.00 (Dec. 2011, snowflake)
Jan 4 deposit: +200.00 (Dec. 31 pay day deposit)
Jan 10 deposit: +35.00 (Xmas money)
Jan 14 deposit:+28.64 (snowflake)
Jan 14 deposit: +300.00 (Jan pay day deposit)
Jan17 deposit: + 62.50 (GST cheque)
Jan 28 deposit: + 17.07 (Snowflake)
Jan 31 deposit: +400.00 (Jan pay day deposit)
Jan 31 interest: -124.01

END BALANCE: $ -31,965.95

The exciting thing is that I paid $2.11 less in interest as December's interest was $126.12 every cent counts! To the best of my knowledge the interest rate between the two months stayed the same. But until the paper work comes in from the bank I won't know for sure. The bank isn't able to tell me this stuff over the phone... sigh.

Oh and incase you'd like to know last month I put in $719.90 beyond my min. line of credit payment.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Saying No to RRSPs and Yes to TFSA

I mentioned yesterday that I had tried to open up a TFSA for my company stock. The first place I had started was with my employer bank to open up a staff account. The gentlemen on the other end of the phone asked me why I had not opened up RRSP. I explained that I had no interest that it was a tax deferral system and not a tax saving system. And since I am currently in the lowest tax bracket it made no scene to me to defer paying taxes now to later when I might be in a higher tax bracket. The guy launched into a spiel about how I would be in a lower tax bracket when I retired, and blah, blah, blah. I stopped him in mid sentence; there was no point in him wasting his breath. I said let me be frank with you last year I made less then 15,000 RRSP will do nothing for me!! This is of course not taking into consideration the political, charitable and education credits that I have built up over the years because my income while at school has been on average less than $5,000. The last nail in the coffin for RRSP for me is that I have over 10,000 of TFSA room to play with and before I go tax deferring my money I would rather max out my opportunity to completely shelter my money form tax in at TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT!! I know that the bank agents are pressured by the management to sell sell sell RRSP but come on commonsense should kick in when the answer of No is backed up with lots of solid reasons.

I was having this conversation with the bank agent while on the bus home and when I got off the phone the bus driver throw her two cents in. She said she thought I had made the right decision and that guy on the phone needed to learn to take NO for an answer.

This morning I wrote the cheque and sent it off to ING. I have also just sent off my paper work for entering into company stock.

Lat night I made my mom do a leg exercise with me to strengthen our core mussels. I use to be able to do 3 sets of 5min of this exercise no problem. I mean it would hurt afterwards and for the next few days but I still could do them. I am more out of shape than I thought. I struggled to do the exercise for just one set of 5min and had to take several brakes within the 5min. I clearly need this exercise and will now endeavour to do it everyday as it only takes about 5min any ways. Mom however might not be as enthusiastic to do it again. I will likely have to put her feat to the fire. :P

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OSAP, ING, Company Stocks

I got a letter from OSAP in the mail today. It was an official receipt from them stating that last year I paid $197.50 in interest. Not to bad considering I put $3,000 into it.  I still have to write the cheque to send into ING, but its going to be off tomorrow. I also got an email form work saying that I am now eligible to take part in the company stock. I called the HR department to set up a TFSA to place my stocks. Talk about getting the run around, any ways I know that I have to enrol in the program first before I can set the TFSA account up. Ya know for all the flash that comes with the 'enrolment booklet' its exceptionally light on 'How to enrol.' I was planning on enrolling in March because that's when I thought eligible. Now I know I can do it now. I am nevus as hell, though I think doing it now will be good because by March I will have a better understanding on what my base income will be. So I can reformat the budget. I want to make sure everything is in place so I can get back on track in March. I booked my trip and I am looking forward to it. However it has wrecked havoc on my budget.

No Salsa tonight. We have had lots of snow and my dance partner decided he didn't want to risk it. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weekly Spending Recap Jan. 24-31th 2010

January 24 (Monday)
No Spend Day

January 25 (Tuesday)
No Spend Day

January 26 (Wednesday)
$17.07 TD line of credit snowflake
No Spend Day

January 27 (Thursday)
Pay day funds paid

January 28 (Friday)
$50.00  Visa bill
$94.25 Cell bill

January 29 (Saturday)
$1553.16 Flight Centre for Cuba trip

January 30 (Sunday)
$5.65 food from subway
$40. 00 taken out of ATM

January 31 (Monday)
$20 taken out at ATM
$15.80 Parliament Hill Boutique Ottawa
$9.95 monthly fee

This was a bad week for spending money. I had a great time in Ottawa and it was worth the money. But I am feeling a bit pinched until pay day with less then 40 in the bank. I am hopefully working this whole weekend so that will cut back on the spending. Also now that I am home I will happily got back to taking my lunch to work.