Tuesday, March 31, 2009

week 12 and month three

Suffice it to say the money diet is going well, and it felt fabulous to finish month three with a zero balance on my line of credit. I'm going to keep plugging away and now the big focus will move from debt repayment to saving, which is going to be cool. A few big ticket items on the horizon . . .

First of all, I'm typing this post on my brand new SHINY lenovo thinkpad laptop. It was high time I joined the new millennium and got myself one; my desktop at home (which I got five years ago as a hand me down from my brother) has been chugging along and getting slower and slower, a lot of the advanced level courses I teach now require powerpoint presentations, and it was getting not cool to try to borrow laptops all the time. I did some searching around and eventually found what I wanted at a good price, and now I have it. And it's shiny. My tax return will pay for about 1/3 of it, and the rest will come from some upcoming courses I'm going to be teaching and the inevitable end of semester rush of nursing student CPR renewals.

Next I've got an ever so important birthday for an ever so important soon to be legitimate sister in law coming up, which necessitates a weekend visit to Calgary. I've got to plan for the flight, and for the fun while I'm there.

After that another someone special has a birthday coming up, and I've got something extra special up my sleeve, since this will be the last birthday he will enjoy with an old lady who has a full time job. Once I become a hobo, I doubt I'll be forking over for special events like this one. More to come on this after, say, the May long weekend.

Then there is the minor detail of the wedding, which looms just four months away. FOUR MONTHS. Warm socks, anyone?

And after that, the supporting of myself through school without a reliable full time income. So the savings becomes so uber important.

For a variety of reasons, one of which is certainly the money diet, I have decided to go off the sauce for about a month (or until finals are done). While I'm not drinking I can do EXTREME money diet, like this week for example, which I'm attempting to get through on just ten dollars cash. Anyhoo, more later. I have a chemistry pre lab to get through (last one of the semester!!!) and a SHINY new laptop to play with.

Monday, March 23, 2009

week 11

I was lying in bed last night and had a light bulb moment - I should just transfer the remaining $261 out of my savings account and pay off the line of credit once and for all, rather than waiting for new money to come in. Duh. So I woke up this morning and did just that. That's right ladies and gentlemen, the line of credit has a balance of $0.00. Shazam!!!

I went through my account history to figure out exactly how long I had been dragging that debt around for, and as it turns out I opened the account March 21st, 2006, and borrowed $4,290.00 to pay off my out of control credit card debt. The balance has gone down and up a few times over three years when I borrowed to pay tuition or another hefty credit card bill. And now it's gone. I seriously can't believe I dragged that debt around for three years and when I got serious about paying it off and got on the money diet it took just three months. Gah. Oh well, what's done is done, the debt is history, and now I can move forward.

Of course I'm not completely debt free yet - I still have three more monthly payments to make on my car, and there is the matter of the $3000 I owe to my mom. The car loan I'm not worried about - that was a $21,000 loan paid off over five years. It feels good to be at the end of that, and knowing the last payment will be done with before I leave my job. Whoohoo! The loan from my mom - well, that one is interest free (if it was from my dad, it would be another story) and now, facing paying for the wedding and paying for school, isn't the time to start paying it down. She wouldn't let me if I tried. One day though, when I'm in a better financial position, it'll get paid back. She knows I'm good for it.

So now I move on with the money diet now completely focused on SAVING moolah, rather than paying it back. OOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhhhhhh Yeah!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

week ten

Do you know what the balance owing on my line of credit is after week ten? $261.49. TWO HUNDRED SIXTY ONE DOLLARS AND FORTY NINE CENTS. I paid off $800 in week ten, thanks in part to my mid month paycheque now having sufficient padding after I pay bills, and in part to the last of a series of courses I have been teaching.

So freaking close.

Check out the trailer for Maxed Out - a documentary about credit card debt in America. The Vancouver Public Library has five copies availble for loan.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

be scentsible

I like to smell nice, but perfumes give me a headache and make me stuffed up and sneezy, so I typically opt for the more mellow aromatics of a nice scented lotion. I used one for nearly a decade with patchouli and ylang ylang, but these days I like to smell like dessert - vanilla, coconut, and chocolate are my smell poisons of choice. Scented lotions can be pricey, and they can also be thick and strong smelling. I like to cut mine 50/50 with an inexpensive unscented lotion like Vaseline Intensive Care, which has the two birds with one stone effect of both cutting the scent to a level I find tolerable, and stretching the scented lotion twice as far. There be a scent savvy money diet tip for ya!

Monday, March 09, 2009

week nine report

March may turn out to be a tough month for the money diet.

Week nine started out well - come Friday I still had all of my $60. Then I started spending money like it was 2008.

Poor Paul, on top of the twice weekly physio appointments for his being hit by car injuries, now has sustained a running injury which is quite serious and is having to attend twice weekly massage and physio appointment for that as well (plus ultra sound and bone scans to try and figure out what is going on). All of the user fees he's paying for the car accident physio will eventually be reimbursed when he settles his claim, however, that could take years. And we do have extended benefits that will cover 85% of the other physio and massage, but he's paying user fees up front. In short, he's extra broke, I feel sorry for him, so I started dishing out cash for feel better treats.

Friday afternoon, with $40 still in my weekly fund, I had lunch with my friend Ryan. It started out well, as we headed somewhere for which we had a two for one coupon, but took a turn when my friend ordered a beer, then I thought oh what the heck, I'll have a beer too. Then he ordered a second beer, and even though I was still only half way through my first, I went ahead and ordered a second one as well. All in all, a lunch I thought would only cost me around $10 ended up costing $27. But it was a fabulous lunch and I hadn't seen Ryan in ages and it was a great vent session - he got married in October and had all kinds of things go wrong. Their caterer went out of business, their ceremony venue burned to the ground, their shuttle never showed up to take guests to the reception site. Shit ain't so bad for me right now.

Friday evening, a little bit tipsy, and I thought you know what, fuck it. I've had a shitty week, Paul has had a shitty week, I'm going to go get us some nice wine and a few other weekend bevvies. I headed to the liquor store and dug into my $100 spend on anything monthly money and did just that. And so it continued. By the end of the weekend I had nothing left in my weekly money, $40 left in my monthly money, and had wiped my slush fund (which only had $35 in it anyways) clean.

Yes, I shuffled some cash around. But I did not use a credit or debit card, and I did not withdraw any new cash. Failure? I think not. I'll just have to be a little more frugal for the rest of March.

And, fueled with weekend treats and with the assistance of my good friend Tatjana, we got our wedding invites mostly done. It involved a lot of cutting, folding, sewing, and taping. Still one more step to go before they are done, and then we can start addressing and sending them out. I also taught another big CPR and First Aid course to a parents group, and made another big payment on my line of credit, which now has less in it than my savings account does! That feels pretty dang good!

Now, because I postponed my Sunday morning long run due to a bit of a hangover, I have to go do it in the snow. Ugh. I suppose I deserve that.

Friday, March 06, 2009

dissapointed in humanity

I have come to believe that I must expect too much of people.

When I send out an email invite to an event, say, a girls night or a birthday party or any other kind of shin dig, I expect that the recipients of said email will take the one or two minutes out of their day to reply whether the answer is yes, no, or I don't know.

When I send an email to my staff trying to cover a shift or get a training session organized, I expect a reply whether they are able to work the shift or attend the session or not. Common courtesy, no?

When I send a text message to a classmate asking whether they'd like to meet for lunch in a patch of sun, I expect them to reply whether they want to/are able to or not. I don't expect no response whatsoever, and then a cheery, "How was your lunch? Did you find a patch of sun?" when I get to class.

And when I book a caterer for my wedding a whole year in advance, and then contact that caterer six months away from said wedding to start working on menu planning, I expect a) the caterer will return my calls and emails in a timely fashion, b) I still have a caterer, c) when said caterer FINALLY responds to me and bails on catering my wedding, they will APOLOGISE and then provide a list of alternate contacts for catering a summer weekend wedding just five months away.

My expectations must be unreasonable.

Monday, March 02, 2009

week eight report and month two wrap up

Looking back at month two I have just one question for myself: why haven't I been doing this for longer?

Month two I took to heart the comments I had heard from a few people about just paying off the line of credit rather than trying to balance debt payments and savings. I have an automatic deposit set up for a contribution to my TFSA every other week (just $50) which still happened, but other than that, every extra penny that came in got dumped into debt repayment.

Month two was also cool because it was the first month that I got a money diet style credit card bill; a small one. Rather than relying on extra income to have enough money to pay the bill, I paid it off with my mid month paycheque AND had surplus to put into debt repayment. That felt so freaking good!

In month two I added $100 to my TFSA, paid off $450 on my line of credit. I also paid an $850 deposit on my wedding dress which isn't so money diet friendly, but in a money diet style victory, I did it without relying on credit. Sha-zam!

When I started the money diet in January, I was hopeful I would have my line of credit paid off by the time I left my job at the end of June. Now I'm quite confident I can have it paid off in full by the end of March, a full THREE MONTHS ahead of schedule. Look at me go!!! Now that wouldn't be possible if I hadn't booked this series of CPR and First Aid courses through February and March, but pre money diet I would have put some of that extra income towards debt repayment and spent most of it gluttonously. Three cheers for the money diet!!!

Week eight was a good one. I spent nothing until the weekend and then spent all but $5 in one shot. We had a fun Saturday afternoon riding our bikes around and picking up some ingredients for dinner. We decided we were in a weekend food rut - though we're committed to our weekday food routine, on the weekends when we like to make gourmet treat dinners we realized there were only six thing we made: pizza, risotto, cheesey baked pasta, potato thing, green rice (which can also liaise as a weekday dinner sometimes), and since the advent of my pasta rollers, a tasty fresh pasta dish. Of course there are infinite variations on the above six dishes, and they are fantastically tasty, but we were craving change. So we busted into some of the many cookbooks on our shelves, and tried some new things. And drank some great wine.

And now I feel like I need to go on a cleanse.